It is hard to avoid the news surrounding the United States withdrawal from the country of Afghanistan. What was supposed to be a methodical and uneventful transition of U.S. forces to the Afghan military has been anything but. Since our military has been packing up and going home, the Taliban have been spreading all over the country taking it over. David Zucchino for The New York Times reported late last week, "Taliban fighters poured into the Afghan capital on Sunday amid scenes of panic and chaos, bringing a swift and shocking close to the Afghan government and the 20 year American era in the country. President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan fled the country, and a council of Afghan officials, including former President Hamid Karzai, said they would open negotiations with the Taliban over the shape of the insurgency’s takeover. By day’s end, the insurgents had all but officially sealed their control of the entire country." Many officials anticipated this may happen and if so it could take months. Before the takeover occurred the Wall Street Journal stated in an editorial, “What an awful tragic irony, President Biden in April chose September 11 as the deadline for US troops to withdraw from Afghanistan. Now it's possible that on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the Taliban that once protected Osama bin Laden and that the US ousted from power, could again rule in Kabul." Could again? They already are!
Courtesy of BBC News
But what is all the worry about the Taliban taking control of Afghanistan? Government take overs happen all the time. On July 7 Haiti President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated. There has been an ongoing civil war in Yemen since 2011. Some have taken the stance that this is not our problem. So what if they have taken over Afghanistan. Comedian Steven Colbert and political commentator Michale Moore both have said we should be more concerned with terrorism that happens in our own country.
The reason for all of the concern has to do with who the Taliban are and what they could do. They are a militant Islamic terrorist organization whose actions have been condemned by many countries around the world. They are known for “ the harsh enforcement of their interpretation of Islamic Sharia law, which has resulted in the brutal treatment of many Afghans. During their rule from 1996 to 2001, the Taliban and their allies committed massacres against Afghan civilians, denied UN food supplies to 160,000 starving civilians, and conducted a policy of scorched earth, burning vast areas of fertile land and destroying tens of thousands of homes.” And now this terrorist organization has possession of many weapons that our military left behind for the Afghan military. The Wall Street Journal reported that “Scores of videos have emerged of Taliban fighters rejoicing near abandoned American helicopters, carrying U.S.-supplied M24 sniper rifles and M18 assault weapons, stacking other small arms and materiel in unending piles and driving Humvees and other U.S.-made military trucks. The Taliban have seized airplanes, tanks and artillery from Afghan outposts and from evacuating U.S. personnel, revealing one of the heavier costs of a U.S. troop withdrawal amid a collapse of Afghanistan’s government and army.” To get a sense of just how horrific the Taliban are to those that don’t believe the way they do, all you have to do is look at the tragic footage of people trying to escape. Men, women and children have been doing anything possible to get out of the country. Some tried to stow away in the wheel compartments of US airplanes or just out right grabbed onto the outside of the planes eventually falling to their death. Just think of that. People would rather fall from a flying airplane than take their chances with the Taliban.
What does this have to do with Christianity? What is the application to the church? This shows us just how important theology is. What drives the Taliban's violent practices is its religious beliefs. For many christians, theology is a stuffy term that is used at seminaries. Theology is just something that professors discuss in their stuffy studies. Solid doctrine is not always an attractive draw for a bible study for believers. But theology matters. It is important to know the truth about God, man, the bible, other religions, sin, heaven and hell. We as christians need to know what we believe. But more than that, we need to know why we believe it! We need to know the truth about who God really is compared to what other religions say He is. We need to know why the Bible is the inspired word of God. We need to know about the Trinity, the gospel, sin, Jesus and so much more. Bad theology leads to bad actions and bad decisions. We have to take seriously the doctrines found in scripture. It is due to weak theology that Christians can be lead astray (see Ephesians 4:1-14). This is why the Bible calls pastors to teach sound doctrine and for us to be aware of false doctrine. The reason why is because theology is very important. A wrong belief about God can lead to so much destruction, including terroism. Or worse yet, going to hell. Do not take theology lightly. Study up on the doctrines of our faith. All you have to do is look to Afghanistan to see that theology makes a difference.