Christians at War

Discussion in 'Religion and Ethics' started by Turboswede, Oct 16, 2008.

  1. Turboswede
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    Turboswede Very Metal

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    I have posted this on a couple of political forum boards and so far all I get is hate mail (from the right) or unintelligent rants about how Christians are all hypocrites (from the left). I am genuinely curious as to reasoning behind the Christian acceptance of war as a means of settling international conflicts. I also would like to know how so many Christians can make a living from serving voluntarily in te armed forces, while other Christians asserted their status as conscientious objectors durring WW2, the Korean War and Vietnam based on the same religion and texts.

    My upbringing was Catholic and Anglican (ok Episcopal here in the US of A) and I consider my religious background fairly common (Sunday school, etc.). After entering my teens I stopped going to church as I had other things to do on Sunday morning.

    Even with my limited exposure to Christianity I still came away with the ideas of turning the other cheek, the meek shall inherit the earth, treating people with kindness that treat you with scorn, etc. My question is how can devout Christians go to war and actively volunteer for military service?

    I would not consider my self a devout Christian or a pacifist and I understand that there are times when military force is warranted, but it seams hypocritical to claim to be dedicated to the teachings of Christ (as I understand them) and make the voluntary choice to enter a profession that is centered around…well…honestly…killing other people.

    I do remember reading something somewhere that stated Christ would not consider killing for the state a sin, is that correct? If so what was the Christians beef with Rome?

    I know this post may be inflammatory, but I am interested in actually understanding why it’s ok for Christians to kill for the state, why would JC approve?
     
  2. ABikerSailor
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    ABikerSailor Platinum Member

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    You know, it IS possible for a devout Man (or Woman) of God to be in the military.

    You do realize that angels are actually warriors for God, right? Kinda why whenever they show up in front of people, their first words are "be not afraid".

    Not only that, but King David, Joshua, as well as many others were in the military, and they fought, and occasionally took life in defense of their land and families.

    How do I know? I'm pretty well acquainted with who HaShem is, and I spent 20 years in the Navy.

    Oh yeah........the Marines have a pretty devout belief in God also.
     
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  3. Turboswede
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    Turboswede Very Metal

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    Thanks,

    I know this is a very sensitive subject but I am looking more for New Testament support for war and (specifically) why a military profession would be viewed faviorably. I know the Old Testament is replete with examples of God’s acceptance of war and the warrior ethos, but that would seem to support a member of the IDF more than a US Marine, right?

    It just seems weird that Mennonites can avoid serving their country in times of conscription due to passages in the same text carried by mercenaries into battle.
     
  4. Diuretic
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    Diuretic Permanently confused

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    I don't know much about it but I do know that you might be referring to the "just war" formulation. It was, I think, originaly proposed by St Augustine and it is also expanded upon by Aquinas (it's in Summa Theologica). It's actually interesting to read the strictures.

    And I don't see anything inflammatory about the question. But then I'm a non-believer so I suppose I see it differently from some believers.
     
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    Last edited: Oct 16, 2008
  5. ABikerSailor
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    Just out of curiosity, why are you specifically looking for NT references? Your reference to Mennonites avoiding service kinda makes me wonder if you're building a case to get out of a military contract. Nothing against you, just curiosity.

    And......nope, the IDF is Israel's equivalent to our military. They've got different specialized branches.
     
  6. xsited1
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    The Bible allows for the killing of enemy soldiers in war. Aside from several passages in the Old Testament, here are some passages in the New:

    However, if a Christian knows that a war goes against God, he has the right to refuse to fight it in obedience to a higher power. Peter said, "We ought to obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29).

    As far as the death penalty goes, the Hebrew Scripture's codes were still being applied during the time of Jesus.

    I suggest you read a Bible with an extensive concordance. Bible stories like the 'turn the other cheek' story, for example, usually get misinterpreted.
     
  7. ABikerSailor
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    Yep. When Yeshua said "turn the other cheek", he was talking about being backhanded like a slave. If they hit you like a slave, Yeshua told his followers to tell them to hit you like a free person with the FRONT of their hand, which basically means......game on.
     
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  8. Turboswede
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    I am looking more for NT references because I would like to know if Jesus was in favor of military service, specifically professional military service. That’s why I made reference to the IDF, isn’t the key difference between Christian and Judaism the acceptance of Jesus as the Messiah?

    In school I studied Mennonite resistance to conscription during the 1st world war and how it led to the establishment of the contentious objector classification. The original CO class required that the CO needed to be part or a religious group that, due to their religious beliefs, would not be allowed to participate in any war.

    Due to the CO classification many Christians avoided conscription in WW2, and in my book you can’t find a more just war in history. In addition service wasn’t a choice for Mennonites and Quakers in the 2nd world war, we were conscripting every able bodied male between 21-35 because we were defending our country from foreign invaders.
     
  9. Turboswede
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    From those quotes it seems that a Christian would need to be able to make a decision about whether the war is in the furtherance of God’s will, is that correct?

    It also seems that scripture supports the idea of fighting enemy soldiers, is there also scripture providing for the accidental death of non combatants?
     
  10. PubliusInfinitum
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    This actualyl goes a bit deeper... the back hand would have come from the left hand, which is the foul hand... with which one performs unclean tasks. Thus the slap was designed to humiliate the unclean, those below them, those unfit for God. But turning the other cheek they were forced to use the clean right hand, proving them violent and full of rage; which proved them unclean and unfit for God...
     

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