An Unholy War

Answering Jihad

Is there any answer to violent jihad? Yes. It’s the same as God’s answer to sin.

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Eric Metaxas

Let me tell you a story that, tragically, has no happy ending. Vincent Minj, who is almost 80, was the oldest of six children growing up in rural India, and he remembers the day decades ago when his sister, Cecilia, fell into a well near their home and almost died.

Somehow however, Cecilia lived, and Vincent took her survival as a sign from God. He told The Indian Express newspaper, “I thought that if God had given her another life, it had to be used in His service . . . So I just took her along with me and got her admitted to the Missionaries of Charity.”

That order of nuns, of course, was founded by Mother Teresa of Calcutta to care for the poorest of India’s poor who would otherwise die alone and unloved. Vincent, who was a preacher himself, told his father that Cecilia was going to get an education in the city of Ranchi. What she got instead was a lifetime of serving the poor in India, then the United States, Iraq, Italy, Jordan, and, finally, Yemen. She was proving the corollary of a famous observation by Mother Teresa: “A life not lived for others is not a life.”

On Friday, March 4th, Sister Anselm, as she’d come to be known, was working as a nurse in the lawless southern port city of Aden. More than 6,000 people have died and 2.5 million have been displaced in the mostly Arab Muslim country’s ongoing civil war.

Sister Anselm was serving breakfast for the residents of the retirement home when some men came to the front gate, saying they wanted to visit their mothers. This home, founded by Mother Teresa in 1992, was reportedly the last Christian facility in the country of more than 26 million people, and it ministered to developmentally disabled children, as well as to old and dying people.

daily_commentary_03_15_16Of course, the men at the gate were lying, and once they gained access, they handcuffed the residents and the nuns and shot them in the head. Sixteen people, including Sister Anselm and three other nuns, died. While groups linked to the Islamic State and al-Qaeda are roaming the city as if it were a dystopic, real-world version of “Mad Max,” no one has taken responsibility for the massacre, which the Vatican calls an “act of senseless and diabolical violence.”

Vincent now has only a worn photo of Sister Anselm to remember her by.

The story goes that a British newspaperman asked the redoubtable G.K. Chesterton what was wrong with the world. Rather than waxing eloquent on poverty, greed, or unjust social structures, the great author got right to the point: “I am,” he said.

And indeed, we all are, following our first parents into rebellion, degradation, and exile from the Garden. That’s why the good news of Christ’s death and resurrection for sinners is good, because we are so bad. And while there are many expressions of our unholy war against God in the 21st century, certainly the one grabbing the most headlines seems to be the radicals who apparently enjoy murdering and terrorizing people such as Sister Anselm in the name of Islam.

That’s why I hope you’ll listen to the latest installment of “BreakPoint This Week,” hosted by my friend and colleague John Stonestreet, who interviews Nabeel Qureshi about his great new book, “Answering Jihad: A Better Way Forward.”

Nabeel, who used to be a Muslim, is today a follower of Christ, and his book clearly and convincingly answers every question you’re likely to have about the religion founded by Muhammad.

Even better, it will help us sinners think through a truly Christian response to the unholy war we see in the news, as well as the Muslim neighbor who may live down the street. Don’t miss this “BreakPoint This Week”—it’s terrific! You can find it at BreakPoint.org, along with Nabeel’s book “Answering Jihad.”

Further Reading and Information
An Unholy War: Answering Jihad

What is the Christian response to Islamic jihad? Read Nabeel Qureshi's answer in his new book "Answering Jihad: A Better Way Forward," available at the online bookstore. And click here to listen to John Stonestreet's interview with Nabeel Qureshi on BreakPoint This Week.


BreakPoint This Week: Answering Jihad
John Stonestreet | BreakPoint.org | March 12, 2016

Nuns killed in Yemen retirement home attack
BBC.com | March 5, 2016

The Mystery of Original Sin
Marguerite Shuster | ChristianityToday.com | April 19, 2013

Yemen attack: Nun left 40 years ago, all family may get are ‘blood-stained clothes’
Prashant Pandey | The India Express | March 6, 2016

Pope Condemns "Apathy" of Media and World Leaders Over "Diabolical" Acts By Radical Islamist Assassins of Mother Teresa Nuns and Kidnapping of Priest in Yemen-Why the Deafening Silence?
Noel Irwin Hentschel | Huffingtonpost.com | March 7, 2016

Answering Jihad, author remarks

Available at the online bookstore

Answering Jihad: A Better Way Forward
Nabeel Qureshi | Zondervan | March 2016


Applying the word "senseless" to violence is problematic; it dehumanizes the participants by assuming that one has an Olympian superiority. People commit violence for reasons that are generally comprehensible(such as power, wealth, prestige, security) and use means that are generally fairly rational. The participants in violence are not being irrational, though they may well be being evil. It only appears so because of the matrix of the violent decisions and actions of all participants. Of course violence can be senseless if one refers to the well known phenomena of stress causing people to temporarily lose control of their faculties. But that is not what is being referred to.

Diabolical however might be an accurate description, in fact it seems likely that it is. However in that case one is being contradictory as the devil is a rational being.

Of course one can be using "senseless" in the terms of Aristotlian ethics and say that rationality consists in knowing the right ends as well as in being capable of making efficient calculations.