Holding onto Hope in a World Blinded by Hate


Israel accused the United Nations on Monday of failing to respond adequately to accounts that Hamas carried out widespread sexual violence against women when it attacked Israel on October 7. According to Gilad Erdan, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, “Sadly, the very international bodies that are supposedly the defenders of all women showed that when it comes to Israelis, indifference is acceptable.”

About one hundred and fifty activists also marched in front of the UN headquarters. One speaker said, “When the institutions that are globally mandated to protect women stay silent—not only international law loses meaning; humanity’s shared values lose meaning.” Yesterday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu similarly voiced his anger that the international community is ignoring atrocities against Israeli women.

Their statements highlight one of the great travesties resulting from Hamas’s slaughter of Israelis on October 7: despite overwhelming evidence of Hamas’s brutal crimes against women, their brutality has been ignored, described as morally equivalent to Israel’s response in Gaza, or even defended in the West.

“Reminiscent of a dark time in history”

Some of this silence and even support for Hamas can be explained simply as antisemitism. For example, protesters targeted a Jewish-owned kosher falafel shop in Philadelphia with chants of “genocide,” moving Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro (D) to call the demonstration “a blatant act of antisemitism” and to warn, “This hate and bigotry is reminiscent of a dark time in history.”

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Lance Morrow describes the rising antisemitism after October 7 as “the return of pure hatred of the Jews.” However, as Morrow notes, “The new Jew-haters—especially young people on campuses—think of themselves as perfectly virtuous. What is a thousand times worse, they think of their Jew hatred as righteous. It’s morally fashionable among them.”

The reasons have been well documented: many in this generation have been taught that Israel stole, occupied, and colonized its land from its rightful Palestinian owners. Viewed through the prism of Critical Theory, the Jews are seen as the majority oppressors of the oppressed Palestinian minority.

In a recent poll, 48 percent of college-age students said they sided with Hamas in its war with Israel. One college student was adamant: “Gaza is not a two-sided war. What is happening is the resistance of the oppressed against their oppressor.”

But many who are supporting Hamas have also been vocal in fighting for gender equality. Why, then, are they ignoring or justifying the Hamas terrorists’ violence against women?

Beware the “licensing effect”

For decades, many in academia have embraced the postmodern claim that all truth claims are relative and subjective, a worldview that has produced generations of moral confusion. As a result, when faced with conflicting truth claims, many think they are free to accept only those that align with their personal beliefs.

For example, many claim that Israel is a genocidal “occupier” of Palestine and, therefore, believe that the crimes of its “victims” can be justifiably ignored or justified. But not just the Jews are in jeopardy: anyone whose beliefs run counter to the ideologies of the cultural elite and the universities that produce them are in similar danger. As I have warned often in recent years, this danger especially includes those of us who defend biblical truth in the face of escalating sexual immorality.

Paradoxically (and nonsensically), the champions of tolerance insist that those they judge “intolerant” must not be tolerated. This is an example of the “licensing effect,” by which people who believe they are virtuous worry less about their own behavior, making them more susceptible to immorality.

As a result, those who have biblical answers to the moral issues of our time are rejected before these answers can be shared with those who need them most. If you are convinced that all doctors are dangerous to society, you won’t listen to their medical advice, no matter how sick you become. This is one of the ways Satan has “blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:4).

Ben Franklin’s advice on persuasion

During this Advent week of hope, how can we share the hope of Christ with people who do not believe they need such hope?

As we continue to reflect on the shepherds in the Christmas story, consider their motivation in leaving their flocks to worship Christ: they were told that “a Savior” had been born “unto you” and that he would bring “peace” to those who believe in him (Luke 2:11, 14).

As Ben Franklin advised: “If you would persuade, appeal to interest, not to reason.”

Every human, even the most postmodern among us, is created for intimacy with our Creator. It is in their innate interest to place their hope for the present and the future in his transforming love and grace. However, for the reasons we have discussed today, they are unlikely to consider logical appeals for the gospel.

What they cannot ignore, however, is its results in our lives.

The more intimately we know Jesus, the more persuasively we can make him known. As Christ lives “in” us (Colossians 1:27), the Spirit makes us more like Jesus (Romans 8:29). As a result, we love those who do not love us (1 Peter 4:8). We serve those who reject us (cf. John 13:14). We pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44).

And, as the hymn suggests, “They’ll know we are Christians by our love.”

Who will know that you’re a Christian today?

Photo Courtesy: ©GettyImages/Ritthichai

Publish Date: December 6, 2023

The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of Christian Headlines.

For more from the Denison Forum, please visit www.denisonforum.org.

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