November 05, 2004

So I Really Want Your Opinion

Is it morally wrong for me to feel a sense of joy in the death of someone who I consider a vile enemy?

Like I said in my previous post, I think there are so many deaths that can be laid at the feet of this man, and so many lives that have been devastated, I find it hard to remain detached and reasonable, or simply bow my head and allow whatever is going on in the spiritual word to pass unmarked emotionally by myself.

I am not even certain how to explain this. I don't know that it will make things better, or worse. But that he is no longer walking around makes me feel better.

Maybe, as I said, I am wrong, and I am acting immorally. I want your opinion.

Posted by Rachel Ann at November 5, 2004 06:09 AM

Your hatred doesn't add anything of value to our troubled world. It just expresses the dark side of your own soul. Try sending us the light instead! Oh, and he's not been walking around for a long time; he's been locked up for months.

Posted by: jj at November 5, 2004 10:08 AM

Just ask yourself if he'd be worried in your place. The man has no soul.

Posted by: Sally at November 5, 2004 11:11 AM


Arafat didn't need to move off the compound to incite and fund and send out the young to murder and maim for his sake. How many people died because of him? I am angry. I don't know if I'm morally right to feel glad he is gone/going, but isn't it natural that I feel that way?

Posted by: Rachel Ann at November 5, 2004 11:39 AM

I agree with JJ.
I think this is more of a spiritual issue, not a moral one. Spiritually, G-d wants us to become better than we are. That's what the Torah/Bible is all elevate ourselves above our animal nature. Look to G-d for the answers, not to politics.

Posted by: diane at November 5, 2004 04:22 PM

If the question is should we be outraged at evil and feel relief or even joy at the demise of evil - I believe that is not only OK but moral and spiritual! If the question is should we be joyful that Arafat is suffering or will suffer eternal damnation, I believe we need to remember that he was just used by our enemy, the ultimate hater of mankind, and that he is a man to be greatly pitied both for the sins he has had to bear in this life and the next. There will be justice as God is just but I would be afraid to face that justice if I were him.

Posted by: Andrea at November 5, 2004 05:41 PM

Look at it from the positions of absolutes. It is good/right to feel good about the world becoming better. It is bad/wrong to feel good about the world becoming worse.

Arafat kicking the bucket makes the world a much better place. Personally, I'll be dancing a jig.

Posted by: Jim at November 5, 2004 09:29 PM

This most certainly is a spiritual issue.

The way of the world is conflict, and competition. It seems to be almost a natural turn of things, as if our society is doing some bizarre parody of Darwin's natural selection. What do I mean?

Well, we compete for jobs when we see an ad in the paper. Politicians compete with other politicians in their own parties, and then before the electorate against the candidate of an opposing party. Trial lawyers compete with prosecuting attorneys. Sports teams run each other ragged in order to get a shot at triumph.

But where competition may be the way of the world, it is not the way of the Christian. Our history originated in a fellowship of disciples, and ever since Jesus left us for the Father, our way of interacting has been Communion - gathering every Sunday, reading scripture, encouraging and exhorting one another, and the breaking and sharing of bread as a community united to one another, and with God. In varied denominations, we have done this for two thousand years, every Sunday without fail.

The way has not always been harmonious. We have often been divided not because of what we do, but because of what we are. Wars were fought all over Europe because one group of Christians did not consider another group to believe correctly.

But do you know why this is so wrong? It is because Christianity is not a believing religion. Anyone can believe. James the Just tells us "Even the demons believe - and shudder." (James 2:19b) No, Christianity is more than a believer's religion. It is a doer's religion, for as James the Just says, "But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves." (James 2:22)

And simply saying, "Lord Lord" is not enough, for Jesus tells us that to many such people He will say, "I never knew you." Proclaiming for all to see, "I am a Bible believing Christian" is worse than idling, because Jesus has a lot to say about anyone who trumpets their own righteousness - "Truly, I tell you, they have received their reward." (Matthew 6:5)

So what am I saying? I'm saying, in a very roundabout way, what St. Paul says, "Do not let the sun go down on your anger." But the kind of anger he talks about is not the confrontational anger that fuels our society. What I mean, when I reiterate St. Paul's "Don't let the sun go down on your anger" is do not grow apathetic. If you know something to be unjust, work for it to be undone! Don't be angry at the people who bring the injustice - to them we turn the other cheek, with them we walk two miles when they demand only one. But never cease to be angry at injustice; never cease to be angry at hypocrisy; and most of all, above all, never cease to have hope that God will one day right all wrongs, in this world and the next. You can have peace, and be at peace - but never grow into despair at the state of the world. It can be fixed, and someday it will be. That is the supernatural virtue, HOPE.

As I said, Christianity is a doer's faith. And for every doer, there is much to do. As Mother Theresa once said, "Yesterday is gone, and tomorrow is not yet here. Let us begin."

Posted by: Lane at November 6, 2004 02:33 PM

I don't think there is anything wrong with having relief that he can no longer cause harm, but I agree that hatred doesn't add anything to your life or the world...

Posted by: annette at November 6, 2004 06:05 PM

I really want to thank everyone for this discussion and for the e-mails about it.

I guess what I'm feeling is not joy in his death but relief that an evil is laid to rest. I don't know how long his evil will affect this world; he has poisoned a whole nation with his hatred, what I think I can pray for is his influence wanes with his death and that those who have been affected by his cruelties see a different side of things.

The loss of life has been tremendous. I pray that whoever takes over the leadership of the Palestinians stops the suicide bombings---if only for the sake of the Palestinians. Until that happens I really see how we can make peace with them.

Posted by: Rachel Ann at November 6, 2004 07:08 PM

I have no problems with how you feel, I keep checking the news to see if he is gone yet.

Posted by: renee wirick at November 7, 2004 05:21 AM

I think many are anxiously waiting to see what happens now in Palestine - myself included! It's so cool to be reading your blog from Israel - thanks for the perspective you offer being so close to the situation!

Posted by: Andrea N at November 9, 2004 05:01 PM
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