Why Should You Be Outraged by Crimes Against Humanity?

Why Should You Be Outraged by Crimes Against Humanity?

Like almost everyone, I’m paying a little more attention to the news these days. The plight of Ukraine boggles my mind and reads like a replay from Mr. Sincerbeaux’s 20th Century European History class in which he skillfully dramatized the nefarious schemes of Soviet Russia as it engulfed most of Eastern Europe.

The earnest commentator on NPR had her PhD in international law and was weighing in quite eloquently on the topic of “crimes against humanity.” I nodded in silent agreement with her as she insisted that even if Russia’s atrocities do not rise to the level of “genocide,” we should still be outraged.

“It’s dehumanization of human beings,” she said. And I waited…

But the crowning feature of her argument never came. Earnest, articulate, well-educated, and fully qualified to speak on the topic, she circled the airport, but never landed. God had seeded within her heart an awareness that human life is precious and worth saving, but the truth didn’t find its way into her argument.

I felt the omission like a missing tooth, for God’s special connection with humanity needed to be said in order to justify her level of outrage. We are not like other creatures or objects, and we are certainly not mere obstacles that can be mown over by tanks or decimated by bombs with impunity. We are God’s image bearers, and any argument that stops short of mentioning that comes up short.

In His Image to Glorify Him

The New City Catechism asks, “How and why did God create us?”

The answer, “God created us male and female in his own image to glorify him” may be one of the most controversial theological statements I could make today, certainly scandalous enough to get me “cancelled” in some circles. It’s the essence of our worth, and I believe it was the missing link in my well-intentioned NPR scholar’s argument. I also believe it was the reason behind the fever pitch in her voice, even if she is not aware of it yet.

The fourth-century theologian Gregory of Nyssa argued, “The sky is not an image of God, nor is the moon, nor the sun, nor the beauty of the stars, nor anything of what can be seen in creation. [Only humans] have been made the image of the Reality that transcends all understanding, the likeness of imperishable beauty, the imprint of true divinity, the recipient of beatitude, the seal of the true light.”

Let’s pray earnestly that the experts we encounter might have their research concluded and completed and the essence of their arguments shot all the way to the foundation of God while they are still on this planet and able to enjoy him forever.

We are not like other creatures or objects. We are certainly not mere obstacles that can be mown over by tanks or decimated by bombs with impunity. We are God’s image bearers. Any argument that stops short of that comes up short.

And Now, Let’s Talk Books…

Literarily

Because the Bible is a collection of sixty-six books, it is also a jumble of genres. It’s true that scripture tells one cohesive story, but the form or style of storytelling changes radically from book to book. While author Kristie Anyabwile advocates for a literal reading of the Bible’s commands and truths, she argues that we should also be reading Literarily, “according to the literary makeup of the book, chapter, or section of scripture we’re reading.”

In Old Testament books of the Law and Narrative and in the New Testament Gospels, it’s clear that the authors are telling a story with characters and a plot. The New Testament Epistles are letters, and for the most part, a straight forward reading suffices. However, with Poetry, Wisdom Lit, Prophecy, and Apocalyptic books and passages, wide use of metaphor and figurative language make it necessary for the reader to use discernment in understanding exactly what the author was trying to convey to his original audience.

Anyabwile offers a road map to heighten readers’ awareness of Bible genres alongside guidance on how to treat some of the trickier sections. Her style is accessible and her examples and stories are memorable. It’s clear that she holds a high view of scripture and is committed to the importance of women studying scripture for themselves with confidence.

The greater our skill in reading and comprehending the sacred text, the greater will be our ability to apply it to our lives–and this is an endeavor well worth our effort and a lifetime of practice!

Thanks again for reading!

Holding you in the Light,

Employ a literal reading of the Bible’s commands and truths, but you should also be reading #Literarily, “according to the literary makeup of the book, chapter, or section of scripture we’re reading.” @MoodyPublishers #bookreview

A New Free Resource…

Curiosity has been my strange companion since my recent diagnosis with Parkinson’s Disease, so I’ve created a resource to invite you into curiosity along with me! God is not some grumpy parent, silencing his children and condemning our questions. 

This line of thinking sent me on a biblical scavenger hunt for questions posed by the Bible’s authors. What were they asking and how should this affect the questions I’m asking and the way my curiosity is framed?

To receive your copy of “Half a Dozen Biblical Questions for Entering (and Enduring) Hard Times” simply enter your email and then click on the button below…

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I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and an affiliate of The Joyful Life Magazine, two advertising programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees. If you should decide to purchase any of the books or products I’ve shared, simply click on the image, and you’ll be taken directly to the seller. If you decide to buy, I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Many thanks to Moody Publishers for providing a copy of this book to facilitate my review, which is, of course, offered freely and with honesty.

Photo by Adam Śmigielski on Unsplash

58 thoughts on “Why Should You Be Outraged by Crimes Against Humanity?”

  1. This is a war with dark principalities and the one who has been determined to erase God’s creation has pulled out all the stops. The good news is – the end has been determined and satan has already lost the war. The bad news is that, here in the battles we have to stay armored up. Faith won’t keep us from suffering but it will give us the strength to endure.

    There is a place where my soul rests when the world is too much with me – my faith that God does have this. I will serve Him even though He slay me. God be with you and yours.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. As usual, you have brought bracing wisdom to the table, April. I agree that this war is bigger and darker than it appears in the snarking sessions on Twitter–and thanks be to God, the end is certain.

      Like

  2. Oh that the world would apply dehumanization across the board, to abortion and euthanasia as well. But I think not realizing we’re made in God’s image probably hinders that. Realizing that we are would make such a difference in how we treat each other, from wars to Twitter snipes to canceling.

    Thanks for mentioning that book. I hadn’t heard of it. I’ve put it on my Amazon wishlist. I agree with the author that we need to read the Bible literally as much as possible while understanding that the different genres will have an impact.

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    1. Great point about the Twitter-wars.
      And I have a feeling you would nod your head as your read Literarily. I did. The content wasn’t surprising, but it was good to see it all in one place and know that many will read the book and be challenged to read more faithfully.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. If only people believed we were created male and female in the image of God, our world would certainly be different. In this crazy and and upside-down time, I cling to the truth of God’s Word!

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  4. We in Australia voted for a party with a platform to legally persecute 10% of the population (the LBGT community) last election and it sickened me – I still can’t quite believe that I live among people that thought that was somehow justifiable. The law didn’t get up but I look at that war (and others) and see that it is sold as an idea of being right.It’s the government selling hate as being right, just like us but taking it that extra step. It just makes me very sad. How in this day and age, in this century, we’re still pretty much barbarians. I would have thought Love Thy Neighbour and Thou Shalt not Kill were evidence enough for the. commentator’s argument.

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    1. Isn’t it incredible how all these “big ticket items” are so connected? If we believe humans are the crown of God’s creation, we must protect them in the womb, in Ukraine, in the nursing home, and even if we don’t agree with their politics or life choices.
      I appreciate your insights here.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Was watching Station Eleven last night and there’s a line “To the Monsters, we’re the Monsters” and I thought of this post. That’s how the incomprehensible happens.

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  5. Your words are full of truth, Michele. People have forgotten that humans are made in the image of our great God. And that book, Literarily, sounds like a great book! Thanks for the review. I’m your neighbor at #InspireMeMonday! Blessings to you!

    Like

  6. Your post made good points, however … I am more concerned about what is happening here, in America. People are dying in America too – especially the babies who never get a chance to see daylight, or breathe air.

    As long as the talking heads talk about how much life matteres, while supporting BLM mania which clearly does NOT think ALL lives matter; and as long as they scream for abortion “rights” while denying that human babies are human beings worthy of life: I will turn a deaf ear to the political panderings, and pray Americans WAKE UP, grow up, and actually believe ALL HUMAN LIFE MATTERS.

    All I’ve heard in that regard, for 50 years has been static. And that static is deafening with this {new} obamanite administration running on the old barak hussain obama agenda.

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  7. Michele, I so appreciated and totally agree with you. You always offer some interesting thoughts! We need to cling to the Lord in these days and trust Him.

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  8. I wholeheartedly agree-we should be outraged and I hope n pray most people are. However, as I read the responses, I’m saddened that people only seem to feel the outrage by what is closest to home for them, not outraged by ALL crimes against humanity. If we truly believe that we should be outraged by crimes against humanity we must apply that sentiment to all outrageous acts, not just the ones that fit our own thinking. Kudoos to you for exploring this subject!

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    1. It’s not a fun topic, and I was saddened by the intense emotion of the woman I was listening to, alongside her inability to take her own outrage all the way to the foundation. We are dehumanizing ourselves and others in so many ways with our obsession over technology and our willingness to write one another off. I agree. There’s so much more to this than what I touched on in my little post.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. There are those whose hearts have grown dull, whose ears can barely hear, and who have their eyes closed to truth. I pray for understanding to dawn in their hearts, that they might turn to Christ (Acts 28:27)! When that happens, then our country will turn around. Revival is our only hope!

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  10. No cancellation from me, Michele. 🙂 To acknowledge that we are image bearers of God, I think we first have to acknowledge that there IS a God who rules supreme and is the source of truth. I wonder if the unwillingness to do this is at the root of much of what is broken in the world today? As for the book, I love noticing metaphor and figurative language in scripture, so this one definitely intrigues me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree 100% and so appreciate your insight here. The Proverb that states, “The fool has said in his heart there is no God” may account for more than we realize.

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  11. Oh, Michele. What an eloquent response. Yes and amen, friend. Lois’ questions resonate with some of my own. When people don’t acknowledge God is real, it’s so much easier to justify the demeaning of human life. I think this is one of those times when I’m praying for mercy and for justice.

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  12. This whole discussion brings Psalm 2 to mind for me… “Why do the nations rage and the people’s plot in vain?…He who sits in the heavens laughs–He holds them in derision.” God will have the final say–His Kingdom is on the move. Even so Come Lord Jesus. Things get worse worldwide before they get better, so glad we know the ‘rest of the story’ as perceived through God’s revelation of His plans in what we deem ‘apocalyptic lit’. It may not be as fanciful as modern interpreters want to tag it. Faith-filled students of the Word are of all people most blessed to see beyond current affairs and know that God is fulfilling His purposes in, through, and in spite of man’s raging…His Kingdom come, His will be done!

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    1. I appreciate your reference to Psalm 2. We do have the benefit of an eternal perspective in reference to world events. Praying the same along with you. And thank you for the email. I’m saving it for a moment when I can give a thoughtful response.

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  13. Well said, Michele! Crimes against humanity multiply in cultures that spurn biblical truth. Humans have not evolved into better people. We desperately need the Savior. I shudder and weep to see my own nation’s overt revolt against God, truth, and life. I’m also sorry to hear about your recent diagnosis.

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  14. I agree with you – the truth that humans are the image-bearers of God is central to how we view the world and how we treat our fellow image-bearers. We must be grieved by the tragedies unfolding in Ukraine and so many other places if we are to be anything like the God whose image we all bear.

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  15. Hi Michele, I have been watching, trying to see the humanity in it and not the darkness and its attempts to trip up God’s plans. I read in Psalms 46 this morning Vs 6-7: “The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; He utters His voice, the earth melts. (7) The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” For me this is a reminder that God is in control, He rules despite what it looks like, He is using these forces of darkness to achieve His ends, despite what they may think. And, we need to pray for the peoples of those nations for their salvation so that they too may have God as their fortress through this horrific war. Thank you for your voice. Visiting from instaencourage linkup!
    God bless
    Tracy

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    1. Isn’t it amazing how God’s goodness and peace can show up best sometimes in the midst of adversity and even chaos. I come back to Psalm 46 on the reg’lar for that reason. This is definitely a call to prayer for those who are suffering the adversities of war!

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  16. I have experenced a plethra of emotions, outrage being one of them as it relates to current events. I am appalled at the atrocites in the Ukraine. It seems sureal, as If I am reading a history book, not watching things happening live, right in front of me. And then this weekend, the two horrific events: a mass murder in a Buffalo supermarket and the Taiwainese Church in California, both appear racially motivated. You said it well, “We are God’s image bearers, and any argument that stops short of mentioning that comes up short.”. I pray for the day we acknowledge that truth and treat one another as such.

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  17. Yes! Our outrage shouldn’t come because we think, “oh, that could happen to me!” Instead, any crime against another human being should stir our righteous indignation because it happened to another human being. All too often, I think we filter our outrage through whether or not we think the atrocity could happen to us.

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    1. Absolutely!
      Anita, you’ve elevated us beyond the selfish me-centered response to a crisis and helped us to filter our outrage through the eyes of a loving heavenly father.

      Like

  18. Michele,
    “We are God’s image bearers. Any argument that stops short of that comes up short.” Amen! There are atrocities being commited against God’s image bearers and among believing Christians around the globe. An assault against man is an assault against God. I’ll be “cancelled” right along with you.
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

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  19. What God hates we are to also hate.
    I hate to see innocent people killed, no matter which nation they happen to reside in. People are not our enemies, even if politics are.

    Innocents are sacrificed in every side, and I believe it makes God weep.

    We have so much to learn.

    Blessings and thanks for sharing at the Sunday Sunshine Blog Hop!

    Laurie
    Ridge Haven Homestead

    Like

  20. My son has been studying (and telling us all about) the Nuremburg trials and the horrible experiments they did… it really makes me shake my head and wonder at man’s cruelty! I just ordered a book today called The Memory Keeper Of Kyiv that is a historical fiction novel about Ukraine’s history and while these books often make me so sad I think it is so important to hear these stories. It does make me feel so helpless to stop it from happening again though…

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    1. I agree with you that fiction is a valid way to experience the essence of a country or a culture. Sometimes we need that little touch of realism to truly identify with some else’s struggle.

      Like

  21. Life is sacred and our crimes against each other have no justification especially the terrible war crimes that are currently taking place in Ukraine. Thanks for linking up with #DreamTeam

    Like

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