Political regimes face overwhelming frustration when they impose one punishment after another onto dissidents, but all to no avail. Their frustration can easily get out of hand. If torture fails to achieve submission, then dictators often find themselves pushed to the point of murdering their own people.

This willingness by dissidents, to die before accepting defeat, is a powerful political tool amongst the oppressed peoples of the world. When underdogs do not have the military might to destroy their enemies, they are often able to achieve more by destroying themselves. Their willingness to die, and even to push the button or pull the rope themselves highlights the ultimate powerlessness of their opponents.

Gandhi did that in India. More than once he fasted to where he was near death, and when he did, things happened which could not have happened at the point of a gun.

The name Bobby Sands remains clearly in my memory from when I was a teenager. I had been told that the IRA were nothing but terrorists. But when Bobby Sands fasted to death in a British jail, it won him the respect of many like myself from around the world... even if we did not fully understand his cause.

We, the living, have an irrational fear and hatred of those who commit suicide. Their deaths, however senseless they may be in reality, laugh in the face of our obsession with self-preservation.

The word cult became one of the most hated words in the English language when nearly a thousand people committed mass suicide in Jonestown, Guyana some thirty years ago (now closer to fifty). Admittedly, evidence showed that many of the members were actually murdered. But there was no such evidence when yet another religious group, the Heaven's Gate cult in America, quietly passed away in yet another mass suicide.

The Jonestown people saw suicide as their only escape from what they perceived as persecution for various abuses which had occurred in their organisation, and the Heaven's Gate people saw suicide as a stepping stone to a higher level of consciousness. But in both cases, the public was outraged. There was no one left to punish for such wastes of human life, and so it led to obsessions with "busting” any other new religious movements which showed even the slightest similarity to such groups. After all, someone needed to pay for what had happened in those two places!

Suicide bombers push the limits even farther. They not only commit suicide themselves, but they take others with them. All of our frustration and anger at suicide is increased tenfold (or more) when suicide is linked with murder. Someone must be punished.

But like Bobby Sands, the terrorists themselves are already dead. They are beyond punishment. And so, like the cult-busters, world leaders are tempted to go on a campaign of terror themselves, targeting anyone who even slightly resembles the terrorists who are already dead. The rules for distinguishing good guys (those calling for punitive action against a particular religion) from the bad guys (those who show sympathy for a particular religion) are almost as vague as the rules for distinguishing good cults from evil ones. But someone must pay, and any attempt to listen to the opposition is seen as proof of evil by both sides.

More innocent civilians may be killed in Palestine than have been killed in Israel by suicide bombers, and more innocent civilians may be killed in Afghanistan than were killed in the World Trade Centre, but that does not matter. At least the punishment being meted out by Israel and the U.S. came from people who play by the rules... by people who stay alive after the carnage is done, so that their enemies can at least retain the hope of getting revenge one day.

I remember being told about Japanese kamikaze bombers during World War II, as though they were the most despicable people the world had ever known. Rather than take a chance on missing the target with a dropped bomb, kamikaze pilots would fly their planes directly into battleships. No amount of fire-power from the ship itself could stop the dead pilot from hitting his target. According to the U.S. it was terribly unfair.

Once again, we see the frustration that such suicidal commitment presents to those of us who want only to get the battle over with so that we can return to a normal life.

But this may be a clue as to where the problem arose in the first place.  People instinctively want (need?) a cause that is worth dying for.  I recently discovered a quote carved into a bench at a park where Muslim families often meet on a Sunday.  It said, “If you don’t have anything worth dying for, then you don’t have anything worth living for.”

What that quote probably means to the people who put it there is pretty scary in the present political climate.  But the truth expressed is still valid.  Until we can produce a working alternative to the prevailing trend, nothing is going to stop the present wave of violence.  We are in a Catch-22, where the more we try to stamp out something that cannot even be accurately identified, the more we are going to create a feeling of martyrdom, and the more we are going to expose our own lack of moral fibre.

In the teachings of Jesus we have the answer.  It is to love these people to death.  The Bible says that there is no law in the world that can stop us from loving others.  (Galatians 5:22-23)  If we Christians were to start propagating that kind of mentality within ourselves and amongst those with whom we have some influence, and if we were to make ourselves more vulnerable to promote such a spiritual weapon, and by that I mean actually LETTING them kill us, then the suicide bombers would start to experience the same kind of frustration that they have been inflicting on others.  We spit in the face of the worst that they can do.  We refuse to fear those who can kill the body, but cannot destroy the soul.

Suicide-bombong frustrates all the rules of conventional warfare; but laying our lives down in love frustrates all the claims of martyrdom and lies about service to God that the present wave of killers are inflicting on the world.  

We have the answer as Christians.  The question is only whether we are willing to step up and start practising it.

*For more information related to this article, please check out the following video: Islamic State (ISIS) and Bible Prophecy.