Thursday, 12 November 2015

ISIS, Cold-Blooded Executions and the Power of the Gospel

Scientific progress hasn’t improved our ethics. Some people are still reliving the horrors of the Warsaw Ghetto.

Joel Kontinen

Last week a terrorist group associated with ISIS celebrated the destruction of a civilian airplane over Sinai. Most people would instinctively say that something is very much amiss with the ethics of the group.

Describing the killed passengers – some of whom were babies – as crusaders cannot be understood as an extenuating circumstance that would make the killing less blameworthy.

We know it is wrong because we all have an inner witness:

Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.” (Romans 2:14–15, NIV.)

In contrast, we would expect a Darwinian world to be callous and indifferent to human suffering.

But the recent atrocities have prompted evolutionists to search for a plausible (naturalistic) explanation of why “an apparently normal young adult” would “drop out of college and turn up some time later in a video performing a cold-blooded execution in the name of jihad?” as New Scientist puts it.

“It’s a conundrum we have been forced to ponder ever since a group calling itself ISIS declared war on infidels. But 70 years ago we were asking something similar of guards in Nazi concentration camps – and, sadly, there have been plenty of opportunities to ponder the matter in between.”

NS asks a pertinent question but cannot come up with a plausible answer.

What turns an ordinary person into a killer? The idea that a civilised human being might be capable of barbaric acts is so alien that we often blame our animal instincts – the older, 'primitive' areas of the brain taking over and subverting their more rational counterparts. But fresh thinking turns this long-standing explanation on its head.”

The answer is not blowing in the wind, nor can it be found in neuroscience. It can be read on the pages of the Bible. People do bad things because they live in a world tainted by sin, marred by the consequences of Adam’s Fall.

They know instinctively that it is wrong, but they do it nevertheless.

The only antidote is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He died on the cross to transform people. In God’s eyes, a sinner becomes a saint (also known as a redeemed sinner), when he or she accepts the Lord Jesus.

It is a miraculous transformation, from darkness to light, from death to life.


New Scientist. 2015. Syndrome E: Can neuroscience explain the executioners of ISIS? (11 November).