With all the chatter surrounding the new film, American Sniper: The Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. History, you might encounter a few Christian friends who are not fawning over Chris Kyle’s legacy of killing.
I don’t know where you’d see this, or why you’d see this criticism, but I’m just saying, you might. When you encounter this online, you’re going to need some handy tools to try to shut these ignorant “Christians” down since criticizing military conquests is something a Christian should never do. But, have no fear! I am here to help. I’ve studied this issue closely, and I have ten guaranteed ways to shut down a fellow Christian who is an American Sniper critic:
10. Tweet them incessantly.
You know that Bible verse about praying without ceasing? In this case, you need to apply that to Twitter. If you tweet at them once or twice, they’ll probably miss your tweet– so tweet them a good 30 times or so to make sure they are aware of your displeasure with them.
9. Call them a liberal.
Now, I can’t get inside the mind of a sniper critic because I haven’t met one personally. But, if that person is a Christian, I can guarantee that they will obviously have a fear of being labeled a “liberal” since that’s such a dirty word. Make sure they know that you’re onto them and they’re probably secretly a communist or something.
8. Call them a pharisee.
If being labeled a liberal doesn’t work, bring out the big guns and compare that person to the chief rivals of Jesus. This will be soul crushing for the Chris Kyle critic, because they’ll have to face the truth that they’re actually enemies of Christ.
7. Find creative ways to compare the American warrior to Jesus.
If you can do this (and I believe in you!) you’ll successfully flip the situation to where that critic is actually criticizing Jesus. Now, I won’t lie– this will be a challenge. Especially since the American warrior looks more like the Roman soldiers who occupied land in the Middle East that didn’t belong to them, without being invited to do so, and slaughtered many of the inhabitants to maintain their occupation– including killing Jesus himself who was seen as a threat to the occupation. Even with all those barriers, I believe you’ll find a way. Be creative, and have fun with this activity!
6. Tell them they’re being judgmental.
If there’s one thing a Christian hates to be it’s judgmental, right? Go ahead– call them that. Now, you’ll have to be careful with this one so you don’t make yourself out to be a hypocrite. You’ll need to explain why it’s okay for you to judge being gay as sinful, having abortions as sinful, and why you have no problem declaring certain behaviors as wrong– but that they’re crossing the line into sinful judgement by suggesting that shooting dozens of people is wrong. This can work, but be careful– my guess is there’s a 90% chance you’ll look like a hypocrite since you have no problem declaring all sorts of other behaviors (except shooting Iraqis) to be wrong.
5. Remind them that it is not okay to critique the actions of someone who is dead.
Number 6 was a challenge, but you’ll have more luck with this one. Just firmly remind the person that it’s wrong to say anything critical about the actions of someone who is dead. Once they start thinking about this, they’ll realize you’re right– never before has anyone ever critiqued the choices of various figures in American history after they died. Why make Kyle the first?
4. Remind them that God in the Old Tesament was a vicious killer.
This one is your ace in the sleeve friends, and you’ll thank me for it if you play the card right. Just point a Kyle critic to post-Babylonian exile historical reflections that paint God as a ruthless warrior. The fact that ancient tribal people believed God to be one who commands the slaughter of enemies– including their babies– is slam dunk evidence that American violence is always justified. However, be careful you don’t walk into a trap on this one– the person will likely keep pointing you to Jesus, but take my advice: whatever you do, don’t go there. You don’t want to know what Jesus had to say on the issue. Every time they point you to Jesus, point them right back to the land of Canaan where God’s people killed babies, and lo, it was good. As soon as you can successfully push Jesus completely out of the picture, you will have won the debate.
3. Send them links from “Got Questions” and tell them to study more.
Let’s be honest: if someone on the internet disagrees with your personal opinion, the most likely reason is because they are completely uneducated and just need to study more. Help them out! Send them links on theological issues from “GotQuestions.org” because we all know that GotQuestions is the best place to get your theology– sort of like how Wikipedia employs the best historical minds of our generation. Send them as many anonymously authored theological articles as you can, as long as those articles agree with your position. Maybe such a person will put down that bulky Hauerwas book and learn something from the brilliant voices of random websites.
2. Dehumanize all the people killed by Chris Kyle.
Okay friends, I really don’t want to pull out #2 or #1, but these are your safety nets if everything else fails. If your sound reasoning from above does not work, skip to dehumanizing the people killed in war so that it doesn’t really seem like we’re talking about real-life people with names and faces. Call them names like “animals” because shooting an animal in the street (for some) is a lot easier to stomach than shooting real people who are loved by God. Keep doing this until our enemies are no longer enemies but simply animals who need to be destroyed.
1. If all else fails: shame them!
The best laid plans often fail, and maybe this one will too. So, we need a final fall-back we can use in a crisis, and this is it: shame them. Really– shame them. Do it in all caps so they really feel the shame. Type it out like this and add a few exclamation points to give the shaming a bit of panache: SHAME ON YOU!!!!!!!!!!!
This will work every time folks, because if there’s one thing a person can’t possibly recover from, it’s some random stranger on the internet trying to shame them with all caps and excessive punctuation.
So there you go friends— shut those American Sniper critics down! These ten handy-dandy tools should help you get started.