How ISIS Proves The World Is Getting Better
We have seen journalists and aid workers beheaded on camera.
We have seen Christians and other non-muslims beheaded for not converting to Islam.
We have heard reports of young girls being sold into sex slavery.
In all, the world has been horrified by the actions of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
To make things worse, ISIS wears these actions with pride.
They do not shy away from these actions, fearing how it will make them look.
They believe their actions are righteous, and display their brutality with a smile on their face.
Murder, rape, and genocide are all part of God’s will.
Furthermore, they have mastered the use of social media and converted hundreds of westerners – including women (why I will never understand) – to their cause.
Is It Really This Bad?
ISIS have exploded onto the scene with such force that it has caught us off guard.
Underestimated by most western powers, they have taken huge swaths of land, forcing millions into bondage and darkness.
For the fundamentalists behind the regime, it looks as though Allah is on their side.
For those of us in the west, it appears that evil has consumed the middle east.
A deep darkness has claimed a huge part of our world.
And ISIS isn’t alone. There are many more fundamentalist groups just like them all over the world.
Several months ago, news broke that Boko Haram kidnapped over 200 girls from a school in Nigeria. And then a few days ago, they announced that those women have been “married off” and could no longer be found, crushing hopes that they would be returned to their families.
What does this tell us about the world in which we live?
It appears as though darkness is growing, and that evil is advancing in the face of good.
For many, it proves that the “end” is just around the corner.
Most Christians, though appalled, half-expect these things to happen because their view of the end times predicts darkness overcoming the world.
Yet, I have a different take on these events.
Though dark and extremely disturbing, they offer hope.
They offer hope precisely because they are so disturbing.
Your Horror Is Hope For The World
For most of human history, what ISIS is doing was normal. It didn’t matter if you were Greek, Roman, or even Christian, these kinds of actions were a normal part of war.
When Rome conquered Carthage in 146 B.C., they did what every other power on earth would do. They killed the men and children. They sold women into slavery, and they burned the city to the ground.
Looting enemy cities was part of war. It was one way commanders kept control of their warriors. They promised them gold and women.
And lets talk about why countries went to war. Most of the time, it was simple ambition. Some king or emperor wanted more land to glorify their countries and personal ambitions.
Sometimes it was motivated by religion. Both Christians and Muslims have conquered huge swaths of land “in the name of God.”
There are many instances of Christian armies committing horrible atrocities right along side muslim armies.
My point is this: For most of human history, terrible brutality was normal. It was how the world operated.
It wasn’t until the last several hundred years that things began to change.
Outright brutality was no longer an acceptable part of war.
Countries began distinguishing between soldier and civilian.
Commanders began keeping better control of their troops.
Today, this behavior is not tolerated by the modern world.
When a U.S. soldier commits the slightest offense to a civilian, it is all over the news and they are punished.
We do not accept it. We do not condone it. We see it for what it is: animalistic brutality.
In short, we have matured as a species.
Furthermore, we don’t go to war for the same reasons anymore.
When was the last time the U.S. went to war simply to expand it’s boarders? For that matter, when was the last time any western nation went to war for that reason?
Germany in World War II is the only real example. Yet that war stands out among the rest as a special war. There was as special evil we were fighting. It was not a “normal” war.
And when the allies attacked, did we plunder the land? No.
It is true that some atrocities were committed by allied troops, but they were not condoned. And we look back at them with shame, not pride.
Ultimately, we removed the Nazis from power and gave Germany back to the German people.
That is a new kind of war the world has never seen.
The fact that we can look at ISIS with horror and disgust means that the world has progressed.
It means that the world, as a whole, has gotten better. We have grown beyond brutes who plunder and rape, to something more human.
We still have a long way to go before we bend our spears into plows, but it means we are heading in the right direction.
And unfortunately, we still need wars to deal with things like ISIS.
But those entities are becoming fewer and fewer. And if you look at the statistics – the facts (not what you see on the news) – we are in the least violent epoch in human history. (Please read The Better Angels of Our Nature to learn more about that).
“To The Expansion Of Your Kingdom And Of Peace There Shall Be Now End”
If this trend continues (as it has been for the last few hundred years), then it is possible that our children’s children may know a world without war.
So when you see things like ISIS on the news, react with horror. But realize that used to be the norm. And thank God that it now is the exception to the rule, not the rule itself.
Thank God that His Kingdom is advancing and that hell is on the defensive.
Thank God that ISIS and Boko Haram have numbered days.
Thank God that the world is getting better.
And pray that His Kingdom come, His will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.
The future holds even better days than the ones we live in today.
And ISIS can’t take that from us. It is a promise of God (Isaiah 9:7).
I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject, so please leave them in the comments below.
About Sean Edwards
Sean Edwards is an author and a communication strategist. He graduated from the Western Washington University with a bachelor’s degree in history. Sean has a passion for discussing philosophy and American politics.