Monday, May 2, 2011

Moral Relativism Dead with Bin Laden for 24 Hours

By Wes White

Many people are feeling relieved this morning that justice has been served on Osama Bin Laden for his role in the murder of American citizens in New York City on September 11, 2001. While I do not deny that this is good news, I cannot share much of the relief that many feel at this news. As Robert Spencer at Jihad Watch wrote last night:
Osama bin Laden has gone to claim his virgins, and while that is fine news, it really won’t change anything. The role of al-Qaeda in the global jihad, and the role of Osama bin Laden in al-Qaeda, have both been wildly overstated. Al-Qaeda is not the only Islamic jihad group or Islamic supremacist group operating today, and Osama bin Laden was not some charismatic leader whose movement will collapse without him. The exaggeration of his role, in fact, was a result of the general unwillingness to face the reality that the global jihad is a movement driven by an ideology, not an outsized personality, and that that ideology is rooted in Islam.
That seems right to me.

But I would like to make another point, a more theological point, about this matter. All over the web we are hearing people say, “Justice has been served.” Justice? What’s that?

Our society has very little understanding of justice, but it is an extremely important moral category. There are real crimes in the world, and there are just punishments of them. The death penalty was the just punishment for what Osama Bin Laden did (Gen. 9:6, Rom. 13:4).

But justice is also at the heart of the Christian faith. God is a God who gives to everyone their just due. This is rooted in the standard of His own character. In fact, the whole of the Christian religion is a vindication of God’s justice. God’s justice was drawn into question by the fact that He forgave sinners and did not punish them. But He did punish their sins—in Christ. God sent forth His Son Jesus as a propitiation for our sins . . . that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus (Romans 3:25–26). Justice has been served.

However morally relativistic our society may claim to be, the fact is that they cannot get away from the basic categories of justice. They are part of our hardwiring. For 24 hours (at least), it seems that moral relativism is dead.

This piece was originally posted at Johannes Weslianus

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