Faced with the savage violence of the Islamic State (ISIS), Christians can be tempted toward two unhelpful emotional reactions.
On one extreme is the thirst for vengeance. If Muslims extremists kill innocent Christians, intemperate voices suggest that we should kill innocent Muslims. Then we, too, would be terrorists. I trust that rational readers recognize the problem here.
But at the other extreme is an irrational urge: the desire to overlook the violence, an inclination toward the mawkish hope that we might “just all be friends.” No doubt motivated by an ardent desire for peace, and steeped in the practices of irenicism, the Christians who fall into this trap probably confirm Islamic terrorists in their belief that the Christian West is too weak to resist them.
Thus last week Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga said that he feared the brutal persecution of Christians by the Islamic State “may push back advancements in the Christian-Muslim dialogue.”
No doubt that’s true. But the leaders of the Islamic State don’t care.