A Facebook acquaintance challenges Christians to "try and refute this logic. Come on, I dare you", and then, irony of ironies, links to a Bill Maher video in which Maher tries to let us know that no true Christian would celebrate the death of Osama bin Laden.
Bill Maher never met a logical argument he couldn't avoid, but it has led to a discussion worthy of recapitulating.
Maher is a joke. I am always disappointed to see people quoting him like he has ever had a good idea.
The Bible has numerous examples of celebrating the death of evil men who persecute the people of God, and Jesus inspired the Bible. Bin Laden's entire mission in life was to destroy America, and he equated America with Christianity, b/c like most Muslims he never took the time to understand America.
The church did not kill OBL; America did.
Maher's logic has some soundness to it; too bad he never took the time to properly define the objects of his talk. He's shadowboxing.
Rhology, as usual, I disagree. Perhaps the Bible contains examples of the people of God celebrating the death of the wicked, but God explicitly condemns this, even in the Old Testament. God is consistent throughout in his contempt for this sort of behavior. As usual, lots of people in the Bible do things that are contrary to the will of God, like celebrating the death of their enemies. But if they did, they were wrong. “As surely as I live, declares the Lord God, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live" (Ezekiel 18:23). There are lot of other verses. But I think you get the point. Maher is spot on, like him or not.
Rhology: He condemns SOME of them, and in others He is in fact the voice of celebration and festivity.
So what shall we conclude? The rightness of such celebration is dependent on something other than the brute fact of celebrating/not celebrating.
He is consistent, but not in the way you're thinking. Rather, He's consistent with respect to the types of people who died and the motivations for celebrating.
Maybe engage some of the texts I'm discussing.
Maybe you could provide some texts for me to engage.
Psalm 137:8-9 (RSV):
 O daughter of Babylon, you devastator!
Happy shall he be who requites you
with what you have done to us!
 Happy shall he be who takes your little ones
and dashes them against the rock!
1Why are the nations in an uproar And the peoples devising a vain thing?
2The kings of the earth take their stand And the rulers take counsel together
Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying,
3“Let us tear their fetters apart And cast away their cords from us!”
4He who sits in the heavens laughs, The Lord scoffs at them.
5Then He will speak to them in His anger And terrify them in His fury
Ps 7:9 O let the evil of the wicked come to an end, but establish the righteous; For the righteous God tries the hearts and minds.
4For You have maintained my just cause;
You have sat on the throne judging righteously.
5You have rebuked the nations, You have destroyed the wicked;
You have blotted out their name forever and ever.
6The enemy has come to an end in perpetual ruins,
And You have uprooted the cities;
The very memory of them has perished.
Psalm 10:15Break the arm of the wicked and the evildoer, seek out his wickedness until You find none.
Ps 58:99Before your pots can feel the fire of thorns
He will sweep them away with a whirlwind, the green and the burning alike.
10The righteous will rejoice when he sees the vengeance;
He will wash his feet in the blood of the wicked.
11And men will say, “Surely there is a reward for the righteous;
Surely there is a God who judges on earth!”
Prov 11: 10When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices, And when the wicked perish, there is joyful shouting. 11By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, But by the mouth of the wicked it is torn down.
Good, I knew you would have no trouble finding them. Google is a wonderful thing. How did we ever use bible verses to prove opposite points before Google? It must have been a lot harder before. Well, two things. First, Jesus is unequivocal in the NT. He always condemned this sort of thing. And, since he was supposed to be God, or the son of God or something like that, I guess his opinion should take precedent. Right? Oh, and secondly: You just succeeded in illuminating one of many glaring contradictions found in the OT. Kill your enemies, or care for them? Who knows? Or maybe kill some of them and care for others. But if that were the case, why not just say so? Could it be that the OT supports both points of view because it was written by lots of different people with lots of different points of view? That would explain why God seems to condemn something in one verse and then condone it later. No fancy theological acrobatics needed.
--"How did we ever use bible verses to prove opposite points before Google? It must have been a lot harder before."
Haha, to be sure. I guess we actually had to use our brains and memory back then. :-D
The book of Hebrews is all about this - the author says several times "It says somewhere" and then quotes the Old Testament. But it stands to reason - he knew it said it but didn't have any verses or chapters to identify the reference. One of those funny things.
--"First, Jesus is unequivocal in the NT. He always condemned this sort of thing"
--" I guess his opinion should take precedent. Right?"
Properly understood, quite so. He is the final authority.
--"Kill your enemies, or care for them? Who knows?"
I know, and I know that it depends on the context.
Life is complex. Unlike the biased skeptic, I recognise that the Bible can refer to numerous different aspects of numerous different topics in 2000 pages of 6-point font.