I Pray for Syria because…

I pray because Western interventions in Middle Eastern countries, military and otherwise, make the weak and needy of those nations, not least the already decimated native Christians, more and more susceptible to unspeakable violence. A strike against Syria’s regime is a double strike against the church.

The only sensible, and usually ignored, strategy is the one that assumes violence only begets more violence. I pray for peace-filled strategies.

What are your prayers today?

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than fifty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • billmcreynolds

    Good point. Christians in the Middle East are fast disappearing by every means (un)imaginable.

  • Alberto Medrano

    Yes, Christians pray, as they should, for the perservation of life, especially for the innocent. Yet, I believe we should also recognize that inaction is an injustice to those crying out for liberation from the weapons used on them by their own country.

  • http://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com/ Lothar Lorraine

    I pray that God will limit the evil to which the people of Syria will be inevitably exposed in the course of the next months and years.

    I’ve no doubt that the current president Assad is a moral monster. But if he’s defeated it’s extremely likely Islamists will take over the whole country and at the end of the day the population would much more suffer than under the rule of this Muslim secular tyrant.

    And I also feel annoyed by the neo-colonialist arrogance of the Western World which seems to feel the duty to be the police of “inferior people”, like French secularist Jules Ferry expressed it several centuries ago.

    Lovely greetings from Europe.
    Lothars Sohn – Lothar’s son

    http://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com

  • josenmiami

    I totally agree. I used to attend a Quaker church during the Vietnam War. After a mid-life period of being seduced by evangelical neo-conservatives, I think I am ready to return to my pro-”peace” roots.

  • josenmiami

    Albert Medrano: How do we know that the weapons were used by Assad and not by the Al Queda affiliates, the Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq? and made to look like Assad? How do we know we will not strengthen Al Queda by attacking the Assad regime? I understand your concern about the use of gas weapons but respectfully disagree with you. Generally, violence does beget more violence. Let us pray.

  • Tom Krajecki

    I am with you Scot. I don’t think we can act violently here and walk away without causing move violence to occur. I feel so sorry for these people including our Orthodox and Evangelical sisters and brothers

  • Clay Knick

    I’m with you, brother.

  • attytjj466

    I too pray for our leaders of both political parties to be slow, very slow to act with war and violence and to rather be quick and persistant to seek peaceful means of dealing with the killing and violence and atrocities being done on both sides in Syria. Let’s not act in vengence, or nation build, or enemy hate, or whatever, let’s act with peace, and people build, and enemy love. Also, we have got to stop bombing muslim people, and muslim nations. I thought we all finally agreed on that and Obama was going to lead on that.

  • attytjj466

    I too pray for our leaders of both political parties to be slow, very slow to act with war and violence and to rather be quick and persistant to seek peaceful means of dealing with the killing and violence and atrocities being done on both sides in Syria. Let’s not act in vengence, or nation build, or enemy hate, or whatever, let’s act with peace, and people build, and enemy love. Also, we have got to stop bombing muslim people, and muslim nations. I thought we all finally agreed on that and that Obama was going to lead on that.

  • Susan_G1

    War is inevitable, but use of chemical and biological agents is not. That Syria is one of the 5 nations that didn’t sign the Chemical Weapons Convention means the Hague-based Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons
    (OPCW), has no jurisdiction in Syria (while their efforts in other countries has been laudable). Had they signed it, the OPCW would be dealing with this atrocity. But they can’t.

    This isn’t Viet Nam or Kuwait. It’s more like the Holocaust. A leader who uses chemical weapons on his own people should be opposed by someone with higher standards. Again, I ask, who is your neighbor?

    I pray that someone will stand up for those that were gassed to death in their sleep.

  • gregmetzger

    Well said. My thoughts tonight taken with the pope’s message at the prayer vigil. Rich meditation, very much using Genesis as a powerful grounding for peace. http://debatingobama.blogspot.com/2013/09/popes-challenge-conquer-your-deadly.html

  • gregmetzger

    Yes, I just want to see that we try every avenue of nonviolent intervention before we resort to arms. I think Scot has said it well in terms of how our interventions usually work and who they hurt.

  • Susan_G1

    i understand that we cannot predict the future. The strike is not meant to topple Assad’s government. Violence will continue in Syria regardless of what we do.

    What are your prayers, that involve peace? What do you see as possibly effective?

  • Alberto Medrano

    I highly doubt a peaceful protest would have saved the Jews from the Nazis. I agree that all peaceful means must come first before any act of violence. Violence in itself is not evil. Rather, it is the wrong intent behind the reason of violence. To assume violence it’s wrong it’s too demonize the sometimes necessary means for liberating. Also, it makes God into a monster from the stories we find in the old testament.

    The strike against Syria is not against the country, but certain military targets. This is to push Assad to stop and negotiate. He hasn’t so far. And the Arab League supports the action against Assad’s regime.

  • josenmiami

    Alberto Medrano, you make some good points. We will never know if peaceful means could have stopped Hitler because it was never tried. The point of peaceful protest is that if enough people refuse to cooperate with the oppressive regime (as in India with Gandhi) the oppressor loses legitimacy and is unable to impose itself. If enough German Christians had taken a firm and peaceful stand against cooperation with Hitler in 1933, 1935 or even in 1937, perhaps a terrible horror could have been stopped.

    Susan_G1, I respectfully hear your point, but I do not concede that “war is inevitable.” 100,000 people have died in Syria. If we were going to intervene, it probably should have been 95,000 deaths ago. Has there been any proof put forward in the U.N. that it was actually Assad who initiated the gas attack? What is the danger that in attacking the Assad regime,, we will be arming Al Queda and helping them to take power?

    This is an extremely complicated and dangerous issue. There are all kind of unanticipated and unintended consequences that could result. We should tread VERY carefully and avoid unilateral action. I stand by Scot’s comments above:

    “Western interventions in Middle Eastern countries, military and otherwise, make the weak and needy of those nations, not least the already decimated native Christians, more and more susceptible to unspeakable violence. A strike against Syria’s regime is a double strike against the church.”

    One would think we did not learn the lessons of history of the last 10 years. Indeed, let us pray!!

  • MrHawk

    Good thing we have a Republican House which is the only thing standing between the Nobel Peace Prize winner and war.


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