need some scripture help related to killing when in the army / self defense

Discussion in 'Religion and Ethics' started by blu, Feb 9, 2010.

  1. blu
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    blu Senior Member

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    my soon to be stepson (he is 8 in two weeks) is learning about religion stuff for the first time this year in school and they are doing the ten commandments and he asked me if killing in the army breaks the fifth commandment...

    I know that different sects have different versions of that commandment with 'kill' vs 'murder', but I also have heard about 'just war' scriptures and verses relating to when war and self defense are acceptable. Could anyone please point me to these? I am going to explain to him teh difference in outright murdering vs doing it in a war vs to protect your own life, but having some scripture to back it up would be nice as well.
     
  2. Kalam
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    Kalam Senior Member

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    The verb translated as kill in the commandment applies only to "unlawful" killing; the same verb is not used to describe slaughter in warfare. Presumably, the commandment forbids Jews from killing other Jews. Talmudic teachings make it clear that non-Jews can be lawfully killed for even the slightest offense.
     
  3. blu
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    blu Senior Member

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    so then are there some rules that define lawful/just warfare? Either way it seems wrong to me that humans are deciding when war /killing in it is acceptable
     
  4. AllieBaba
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    AllieBaba BANNED

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    Exactly. The ten commandments tell not to MURDER, not to avoid killing.

    Murder is, as has been pointed out, unlawful killing.

    Killing during battle is lawful and sanctioned by the state. As are executions.

    Not that I support the death penalty, just saying.
     
  5. Kalam
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    Kalam Senior Member

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    The Old Testament places few constraints on warfare; the Israelites slaughtered entire cities quite frequently according to Biblical narratives. I'm assuming that you and your stepson are more interested in a Christian perspective on warfare, though.

    Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. - Matthew 5:38-40

    Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. - Matthew 26:52​

    The message of the Gospels tends to be pacifistic, even submissive. Of course, there are other New Testament passages that could be interpreted to condone warfare (Luke 22:36, etc.), and the entire history of Christianity stands in stark contrast to the message preached in the passages above, so many Christians obviously believe that there can be "just war." Unfortunately, I don't think you're going to find many answers in the Bible.
     
  6. uscitizen
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    uscitizen Senior Member

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    So as long as the state says it is ok to kill?
    Genuinely curious to understand.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2010
  7. Care4all
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    Care4all Warrior Princess Supporting Member

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  8. uscitizen
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    uscitizen Senior Member

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    Thanks, very intestering.

    I think we Americans have blown the Just War concept all to hell. I mean we fought from ambush like savages, instead of standing in opposing rows and shooting each other.
     
  9. blu
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    blu Senior Member

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    thanks for this. seems to raise more questions than answers at the moment though. will have to think on it more. for instance:

    wouldn't this mean any use of atomic weapons would invalidate the 'just' part unless they were used on us first? it also seems a very retaliatory set of rules as you can never escalate weapons/range until the other side does it... it also would mean wars would be quite boring if both sides followed the doctrine.
     
  10. AllieBaba
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    AllieBaba BANNED

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    One is illegal, the other isn't.

    You can kill someone without murdering them. Say you accidentally back over a crippled guy who has fallen behind your car. You killed him, you didn't murder him.

    Or say you shoot someone who comes into your home to rape and kill you, or abduct your child. You've killed him, you haven't murdered him.

    It's really not rocket science.

    Pacificism is noble. But so is being a warrior for freedom and justice. And they are not committing murder....as long as they are not targeting innocents.
     

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