We don’t touch on politics as much on our blog as much as we use back in the first few years here but I’ll venture on this topic just a little bit.
I deliberately titled the post the Syrian War instead of the Syrian Civil War. It’s not a Civil War. It might have started as one but it’s now quite international in character. Just today the news mentioned Iran is sending 15,000 troops made up of Iranians, Iraqis and Afghanis to support Assad. ISIS has many foreign fighters. Foreign Fighters are also among the Coalition of Anti-Assad Forces that has recently been successful against Assad. And we haven’t even describe other State players behind this proxy war.
This is the breakdown according to Wikipedia:
As with any war we see the manifestation of man’s depravity at a large scale. Here’s my thoughts concerning human sinfulness and this present conflict.
1.) If the Christian doctrine of Total Depravity is true we should not be surprised to see sinfulness displayed on all sides of the conflict whether as a goal or in the means of carrying out the goal, or both.
2.) This means that those in the West should be cautious in how absolute we would be in supporting any particular side.
3.) Total Depravity makes the situation quite complex with many competing motives and agenda of the various factions. Some might be evil ideologically. Others are blatant in their motive for covetousness.
4.) If we learn anything with removing Saddam and Qaddafi, we shouldn’t be involved with any aid to remove Assad in Syria. A more evil and more violent power will fill the vacuum with Assad’s removal.
5.) In light of point number 4 that does not imply Assad’s rule is without sin and evil oppression. The protest against Assad four years ago must have had some legitimate grievances by the people, or certain sectors of the population in Syria.
6.) Unfortunately we see in Syria the all too common pattern in which an optimistic civil uprising goes sour. In 2011 there was an air of optimism that the protest in Syria will join along with the rest of the “Arab Spring” in the Middle East. But things are not that easy. Anarchy breeds its own tyranny because the people are also sinful.
6.) In such a chaos, this often give the opportunity for more oppressive forces to rise up. Think of what followed after French Revolution. There is the irony that in removing the French King a French Emperor arise from the ashes of the French Reign of Terror. Or the Russian Revolution. People should be cautious in thinking that chaos could bring about the state’s regeneration. That thought is very pagan in its roots.
7.) Total Depravity does not mean Utter Depravity. While Christian believe there all our faculty is effected by sin (mind, emotion and body), that does not mean we are all equally as bad as we can be in everything that we do in every single instance. If utter depravity is false then I think the corollary of this is that there is such a thing as the lesser of two evils.
8.) If there is such thing as the lesser of two evils, then the greater evil must be dealt with first. The greater evil I believe is ISIS.
9.) Because of man’s sinful condition, it seems quite wise of God to make a distinction between the agents of God who are ministers of wrath (the government) and the ministers of Grace (the church). The responsibilities are divided so that the Church does not have the power of the Sword and the distraction it has from the Gospel. I think we can definitely pray for the respective governments to follow justice and even for the state to effectively and accurately administer it. But the church’s role is to share the Gospel. That involves pointing out sins of course. But that’s not the end: We point to our Savior who redeemed sinners. If history has shown us many lessons that is applicable concerning the Syrian conflict, we must not miss the most important lesson that the Gospel can turn empires upside down even as the church is being persecuted and the church not participating in violence for its cause. At the end of the day, it’s not FSA versus Assad, SAA versus Al Nusra, or ISIS versus Kurds. It’s the World versus Jesus Christ. Even two thousand years ago it was not merely about the Roman Empire versus the Germanic Goths. The Gospel instead made its impact among the Roman Empire and the Germanic tribes. Let’s not lose focus.
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