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Ask Father Paul - Beheadings for God?

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Answers to your questions about life, religion and the Bible

Beheadings for God?

Dear Father Paul:  I watched with sorrow, and more than a little anger, as Islamist radicals, under the banner of a murderous group called ISIS, beheaded an innocent American journalist named James Foley in Iraq two weeks ago, because “Allah (their god) had instructed them to do so.” Aside from the question of whether God is named Allah of Jehovah, why do you think people (deep down) commit such atrocities? And, perhaps more importantly, what does God think about such acts? —  Leslie

 Dear Leslie: Let me answer your second question first. What does God think about such ghastly, murderous acts as you mention that are becoming increasingly common on a world-wide scale, especially by Islamists and other terrorists?  

 First, as the creator of all life, God loves all life and he holds all life sacred and precious. Simply put, God loves his creation.  God even loves plant and animal life. But God especially loves all human life, which is his crowning glory,

 For this reason, God will never, ever, instruct a person or group to wantonly take  innocent human life. Therefore, be assured, if a person, or a group of persons advocates or carries out the killing of other innocent human beings, that person or group is absolutely and positively not acting on the instructions of God, and does not know or love God.

 We know this is true because God himself tells us so in his word, the Bible, which even the Islamists call “The Book.”

 There God gives mankind what have come to be called The Ten Commandments, which include, “Thou shall not kill.” The Bible gives only three exceptions to “Thou shall not kill.”

First, human life may be taken “in self defense,” i.e. by a person in order to save his or her own life which is in imminent danger.

Second, human life may be taken in time of a just war, but only by and against military personnel.  

And, third, by a lawfully instituted government (court) as punishment for a capital crime such as murder.

That’s it. Man may never kill another human being except under one or more of these three exceptions. God reserves ending human life for himself. Killing of a human being under any other circumstances is never, ever okay with God, and, in fact will result in serious consequences for the violator in this life and in the next.

God himself seals this commandment in Proverbs 6:16 (New Living Translation). Written by King Solomon, the passage says, “There are six things that God hates” (then listed as number three of the things God hates)  “… hands that kill the innocent.” Note it says “God hates,” not six things that annoy God, or six things that upset God or even six things that bother God. No, it says “six things God hates.”

“Wow,” some will say, “I had no idea God felt so strongly about taking innocent life.”  Well, he does, as the ISIS and other wanton terrorists will surely find out when they stand face to face before God in judgment. Instead of the promised “70 virgins,” they will get “70 devils” to torment them for eternity.

You also asked Leslie, then why then do people commit such grizzly acts as beheadings, wiping out whole villages…men, women and children? Why have Islamists and the Syrian government killed over 200,000 Syrian civilians in the last three years? Why have Christians in Ukraine massacred each other in their quest for “Who shall rule?”  Why were almost 300 innocent Malaysian Airline passengers blown out of the sky and scattered in small pieces over 15 square miles earlier this summer?

The answer takes us directly back to the earlier point.  Because some people hate God and hate the things God loves, and they love Satan and love the things Satan loves. Simple as that really. It’s a spiritual truth in existence since the Garden of Eden.

We have just learned that God loves life.  It follows then that if I truly love God, I will also love the thing(s) God loves … including life. In short, if I don’t love what God loves, then I don’t love God, no matter what I might say.  

The ISIS murders spout rubbish about God, but they neither know God, nor love God.  Human history is riddled with God haters like ISIS. They always come to a just end, and will this time also. To be in right standing with God we must love God and love the things God loves. Period.

Have a question?  Email it to me at and I will try to answer your question in the paper.

[Father Paul Massey is Pastor Emeritus of Church of the Holy Cross in Fayetteville, Ga. Visit for directions, service times and more information.]

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