Archive for August 12th, 2014


“… is Truth.”

I thought of that old saying last weekend, when the internet was aflame with horrified accusations that the Sunni militants of ISIS were decapitating children.

Now I do not doubt that the enraged Islamists are capable of the usual horrors that traumatized and angry men commit in times of war. They have, apparently, murdered prisoners of war, they have persecuted the ‘infidels’, they espouse the most inhuman attitudes toward women.

But beheading children? Really? Few humans are capable of such an act. Indeed, studies have shown that most humans, before the advent of desensitizing video war games (developed, ahem, by the military for that very purpose) are reluctant to kill even enemy combatants in battle, firing over their heads.

I know that Fr Dwight Longanecker, who for some reason has an audience, has speculated that the warriors of ISIS are possessed by ancient Assyrian Demons.

Yes, he actually said that.

That is classic wartime rhetoric, dehumanizing and demonizing one’s enemies. That has always led to atrocities, and the war fever of those who claim to follow Jesus has been in some ways more appalling than the crimes of war.

But my bullshitometer started squawking when I read these reports. I searched the internet in vain for someone who would investigate these claims, but only found pages and pages of fear mongering and unsubstantiated rumor.

But the inimitable Owen White found this, from a, to me, obscure Protestant missionary organization, which sought the sources for the story:

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