Murder in His Name

In volume 2 of the Fullmetal Alchemist manga, we’re introduced to a character named Scar. Scar is a murderer. He’s out killing alchemists in the name of his god claiming what they’re doing is a violation of his god’s law. Is what he’s doing Biblical? My short answer is “Absolutely not.” My long answer…is this article.

Scar is going after those he feels violate the laws of his god, those he feels are violating the nature of the universe through their use of alchemy to manipulate life. Does God want us to kill people? Take a life for people who act in violation to what we consider to be God’s law? In the Old Testament, we see instances where the death penalty is instituted. Examples? Rape (Deuteronomy 22:25-27), bearing false witness in court (Deuteronomy 19:15-21), murder (Leviticus 24:17), blasphemy (Leviticus 24:10-16). Wait a minute, wait a minute. Isn’t that what Scar is trying to accomplish – putting to death those who he believes are blasphemers? Not so fast. A few things to understand here.

First, God was their government at the time. To go against God during this time was to go against their government and give support to God’s enemies. In other words? It was treason. Treason even to this day in the US is punishable by death. As a member of that tight community under Moses, you were bound to the Lord. Those who did not, including one such as the person in the story who was half-Egyptian and may have had ties to their previous enemies, needed to be stopped. Second, we don’t know the extent of what this man in Leviticus 24:10-16 did when he cursed others. Did he try to invoke the wrath of another god to harm his neighbors? Did he threaten others? Did he insult God? Did he threaten to destroy God’s chosen leaders? What he specifically said is lost to history, but we know it was powerful and blasphemous. Words carry meaning and the nature of his crime fits the punishment, especially since again we don’t know exactly what he said. Again, this was God’s people’s government (i.e. judges with Moses as top earthly judge) putting to death one who appeared to commit treason. Third, we know from the full Biblical narrative that the Lord has been able to save those who have blasphemed His name (ex. Paul, Solomon), so this law is not a sweeping decree which applies in all circumstances but was to be applied by the early nation of Israel which, as previously discussed, was a theocratic nation.

So, what would the Lord want us to do with those who blaspheme His name and oppose Him? As Christ points out, we are to love our enemies (Matthew 5:43-48). This includes our spiritual enemies. In my recent manga & theology piece on Trigun, I wrote:

In Matthew 5:43-48, Jesus said to love your enemies. He said to do so to prove you are one of God’s sons. He said to do so as a reminder that this sets us apart from those who do not know Christ. When a person displays this kind of Christ-like love, forgiveness of their enemies, radical abandonment of what we as a culture would want us to do – we take notice.

The blasphemer is our enemy. As Vash does in Trigun and Christ calls us to do in Matthew, we are to love them. Does that mean we want them to continue blaspheming God’s name? Absolutely not. Christ calls us to approach and rebuke others in love if they sin (Matthew 18:15). This includes the blasphemer, the one we feels violates our faith. If they are a fellow believer – we are to rebuke them in love. Talk to them about their sin, calmly, and try to remind them of what they should be doing, of God’s plan for them, of the detriment of their sin to themselves and those around them. Now that applies to the believer, but what of the unbeliever who insults our God? The previous comment about loving your enemy still applies! Christ displayed love to a Samaritan woman (John 4:1-26) and reminded us that our neighbors we are to love includes those who are not like us (Luke 10:25-37). We are to show such Christ-like love.

Is Scar justified in his murderous rampage against blasphemers? Absolutely not and he should be condemned for his actions.

About the Author

Matthew Newman
Matthew Newman is an environmental engineer (Professionally licensed in Maryland). He’s also a husband, beard aficionado, Dad of four beautiful children, blogger, and all around geeky guy from Baltimore County. When he’s not chasing his kids or working, he’s probably asleep.

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