Now most atheists will scoff, saying “Christians aren’t any different from any other religion.” Christopher Hitchens believed there was no evidence that they were. But earlier this week I came across the following article in Christianity Today...
The article talks about how Muslim violence against Christians has risen in Nigeria. Apparently this has been going on for some time, and this rise began about eight months ago. Some of the Christians there are saying “enough is enough” and encouraging other Christians to begin fighting back. But isn’t that interesting? That for all this time, the Christians have been true to the Bible which says “if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” Wouldn’t it be great for Christopher Hitchens to see that in the midst of the religious violence he so opposed, Christians were indeed quite different. They have not fought back. They have not contributed to the violence.
Jesus rebuked one of His disciples for striking the servant of the high priest with a sword, and reminded us that “all who take the sword will perish by the sword.” We can all understand that... if you’re a soldier in an army, for example, there’s a good chance you’ll die in battle some day. Why? Because when you fight, you always fight against someone who is trying to defend themselves. Violence just creates more violence. We should, of course, fight for justice; but when two parties are fighting purely out of hatred or rivalry, we see senseless violence in the world. This is the world that Christopher Hitchens abhorred, and which I do also. If those Christians in Nigera take up arms they become like their enemies, and they become hypocrites. They say “We have turned both [cheeks], and they have slapped us. There is nothing else to turn.” But what did they think their cheek turning would accomplish? Surely not peace from their persecutors... that’s not the point at all. Rather, what they have already accomplished is a witness to the world, and to people like Christopher Hitchens, that Christianity is different. That we do not live by the sword, as our Lord instructed us. If they take up arms, they will destroy that witness and will bolster many like Christopher Hitchens in their opposition to Christianity.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet.