'War, is it for Nation or for God?'

Quahom1

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Based upon your request, here are the hard/fast Christian rules of engagement in war:

Principles of War
The first five principles apply as a nation is "on the way to war" (jus ad bellum) and the final two apply to military forces "in the midst of war" (jus in bello). Briefly, they are as follows:

Just cause--All aggression is condemned in just war theory. Participation in the war in question must be prompted by a just cause or defensive cause. No war of unprovoked aggression can ever be justified. Only defensive war is legitimate.

Just intention (right intention)--The war in question must have a just intention, that is, its intent must be to secure a fair peace for all parties involved. Therefore, revenge, conquest, economic gain, and ideological supremacy are not legitimate motives for going to war. There must be a belief that ultimately greater good than harm will result from the war.

Last resort--The war in question must be engaged in only as a last resort. Other means of resolution such as diplomacy and economic pressure must have been exhausted.

Formal declaration--The war in question must be initiated with a formal declaration by properly constituted authorities. Only governments can declare war, not individuals, terrorist organizations, mercenaries, or militias.

Limited objectives--The war in question must be characterized by limited objectives. This means that securing peace is the goal and purpose of going to war. The war must be waged in such a way that once peace is attainable, hostilities cease. Complete destruction of a nation's political institutions or economic institutions is an improper objective.

Proportionate means--Combatant forces of the opposition forces may not be subjected to greater harm than is necessary to secure victory and peace. The types of weapons and amount of force used must be limited to only what is needed to repel the aggression, deter future attacks, and secure a just peace. Therefore, total or unlimited warfare is inappropriate. ("You don't burn down the barn to roast the pig.")

Noncombatant immunity--Military forces must respect individuals and groups not participating in the conflict and must abstain from attacking them. Since only governments can declare war, only governmental forces or agents are legitimate targets. This means that prisoners of war, civilians, and casualties are immune from intentional attacks.

The interpretation and application of these seven rules is not easy in modern warfare. Nor is there any assurance that they will always receive strict adherence. Warfare is not clean or nice. It is horrible. These principles are used, not to promulgate war, but to contain it. They are principles of containment, not principles of conflagration. They are moral and ethical guidelines for attempting to minimize the death and devastation that always accompany war. An attempt to put a rational face on irrational actions.

And Salim, it isn't Muslims or Christians that have cornered the market on warfare. It is people that use religion as an excuse to do so, while another agenda is hidden in their minds...power, control and greed.

There are over a billion Muslims, and a billion Christians on this planet. Less than half a million of each faith combined, are causing all of this heartache and sensationalism, while the rest of the world looks on in morbid fascination. Makes one wonder who the real fools are...

v/r

Q
 

path_of_one

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I'll preface this by saying I'm very passionate about pacifism, but I do respect and appreciate those who feel it is their duty to be soldiers. While I truly believe pacifism is the right path, especially given the difficulty of carrying out a war at this point that avoids harming infrastructure and innocent civilians, I realize that many other spiritual people have come to different conclusions, and I respect their right to follow what they feel is the path of best action for them. I think there is nothing we can do as individuals except take these issues to prayer and base our decisions on the guidance we receive, as well as study our scriptures and try to see how they apply to issues today.

That said, I'm going to stay away from specific political issues when at all possible, outside of a few general comments. Those I think would be better addressed in a politics forum, and I think this is more about war in general than certain recent military actions. Suffice it to say that I think many, many citizens of all nations are quite uninformed about the reasons nations choose military actions (including all the actions that aren't technically wars the U.S. engages in without much knowledge by its citizenry). The U.S. government presents itself to its citizenry as a fighter for democracy, equality, and whatnot, but the reality is that many (though certainly not all) military endeavors have trained and aided dictators as opposed to the will of the people, supported elites who exploited the poor, and generally hurt the standard of living and security for everyday peasant and tribal peoples. Furthermore, our economy is dependent on the exploitation of poor and oppressed people in the third world and was built on a colonial, expansionist movement that usurped the natural resources, land, and labor of people not strong enough to defend themselves against the aggressive actions of our early government. Our power now is not, I think, a mark of God's favor, but rather a mark of a history rife with exploiting those who were powerless. Certainly, we've made big strides in the last hundred years to uphold more of the ideals we claim (such as justice and equality), but it is undeniable that our very economy and culture is currently based on using more natural resources than is sustainable, and so it is necessarily exploitive of other nations. We just do it mostly through economy rather than force now. To be fair, we're a young nation and if you look at the early history of many other nations, they were just as bad if not worse. It takes time for people to come up with a system that works.

First, I want to say that I also think that the ends do not justify the means. Motivation and intent does have a key role in ethical action, but that is different from assuming certain outcomes and deciding based on those assumptions. Humans are notoriously bad at making accurate predictions, especially in complicated situations. So, I don't think assuming that dropping the bomb on civilians in Japan in WWII resulted in less civilian casualties in the long run justified the action. And I don't think causing increased civilian deaths to avoid increased military deaths is justified. Now, I do think motivation and intent matter. And I see this as a question of ethics on an individual level, not a national one. A nation can only war if sufficient individuals make the decision that they will support it, even if the nation is not a democracy. One always has the choice to refuse to fight, even if it means death. And I personally know several people who were soldiers in Vietnam who felt led by God that it was an unjust war and talked frankly with their superiors, and were allowed to continue on without killing anyone. One man felt completely overcome by the Holy Spirit in Vietnam that killing these people, many of them mere teenagers, was wrong, even if his life was threatened. He filled his gun with sand so he would not be tempted to fire, even if his life was threatened. That's courage. He did what he perceived to be right, and he planned ahead to compensate for the temptation to do what he felt was sin.

Each person must decide for themselves, and the grace of God help them if they just follow orders rather than follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit, because I honestly think swearing allegiance to any human-made institution means nothing much to God. I realize others would disagree, and it is certainly their right to do so, but I don't think God thinks about humanity as we do- divided up into nation-states and whatnot. I think as Christians we are called to love God and humanity, and I believe Jesus made it clear that peace-making and praying for our persecutors, not fighting, was what was correct. Myself, I don't consider myself an American. I'm just a human. Period. My allegiance is to all people of the world. Nation-states are temporary institutions designed by people. They are based on lines drawn on a map and a bunch of folks cooperating for a while. I see people on the freeway with "God Bless America" signs on their cars, and it makes me sad. I don't want God to bless America. I want Him to bless everyone, everywhere.

In studying human history, it is a long and bloody story of the rise and fall, rise and fall of nations. What are we fighting and dying for, if we fight for a nation? A temporary and man-made insitution. Quite frankly, it just isn't worth it to me. Am I an idealist? Absolutely. Without following ideals, how could we ever change the world from its current state of "practical" actions that have escalated to increased war and death for everyone over the last several thousand years to what we all want- a world of peace? As far as I can see, history bears out that increased war technology and war has only brought more war. Violence begets violence. The atom bomb may have halted WWII with fewer lives lost, but it ushered in a danger to global health and security that is unparalleled in human history and I believe will eventually cause devastating problems. No matter how many lives it immediate saved, surely there is no justification for developing a weapon that so thoroughly poisons the land on which it is dropped that for countless generations there are severe birth defects and cancer rates, the soil and water are contaminated, and entire ecosystems are lost. In the territories of the U.S. where we tested these weapons, generations later children were still being born with horrific defects- without spinal columns, missing parts of their skull, missing limbs. Our own country, in testing these weapons on its own territories, failed to remove the local peoples of those lands and left them in radioactive zones, keeping medical information on them as if they were laboratory rats. They suffer to this day. Nothing can justify such actions to me. Nothing can justify weapons that can impersonally exterminate hundreds of thousands of people, without regard for age or infirmity, and simultaneously ravage the very earth. All I can see is that we have this long history of increasing power to do damage to the earth and one another, and we just keep wanting that power to increase thinking it will somehow result in peace. Where once a soldier would enter battle with a sword, and the worst that could be done was burn fields, which could regenerate a mere year later... now soldiers enter battle with the capacity to kill thousands at a mere pushing of a button, and can poison the earth for generations upon generations. Not positive progress in my way of thinking.

There are accounts of terrible wars in the Old Testament- Jesus responded to the OT ideas of "eye for an eye" and such with very clear instructions to be willing to suffer at the hands of persecutors, to follow in Christ's foot-steps. There are certainly accounts of awful wars in the OT, but to me it is irrelevant as a Christian, because most of us are (1) not Jewish to begin with, so it's doubtful to me that our wars are holy or just as those that were reportedly under the banner of God Himself, and (2) we are under the guidance of Christ, who was very clear about avoiding fighting. Though I support individual self-defense, it is questionable to me that Jesus even thought that was OK- he did after all teach that if one was robbed, to give even more to the theif. If one was forced to travel with someone one mile, go two. To turn the other cheek (an Aramaic expression meaning "don't fight"). While he does not discuss what is appropriate action for governments/nations, it is clear that he discusses what is appropriate action for Christian individuals. And a nation of individuals who truly followed Christ's teachings- to be peace-makers and respond to hatred with love, persecution (even unto death) with prayer and forgiveness... that nation would clearly wind up pacifist. Now, perhaps the argument could be made that such a nation would clearly be impractical, and that it would be overrun by others. But I have faith that if Christ commanded us to act thusly, and we did, we would certainly be blessed by God. Does that mean we would necessarily be protected from harm, or economically blessed? No. But we would be a nation truly based on the example of Christ, and so we would certainly be blessed spiritually, which is, in the end, all that matters.

Peace to all
 

Salim Syed

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Thanks for the reply. I must say your answer was the first one which I felt was based on Christian principles that we here from it's followers. You actually believe in what you read and say, and have a great faith in God's reward for obediance at the cost of your own life.

You are honest and admit faults of your own people if you feel they are wrong. A very noble character I must say.

My own feelings about Christianity in America, is that the patriotism of the nation has overtaken the true Christian values as you have explained them.

I was watching the film 'Judas' just a few hours ago. It seems to be created by (maybe) evangelists. In the film Jesus talks about:

1) forgiving enenmies
2) giiving the other cheek
3) praying for the one who does you wrong

etc..etc..etc..

When ever I talk to Christians they always talk about these noble things, and I think if they really practised what they believe Jesus' wants of them, they would have to be pacifists.

I personally feel that the ideologies of the State (not Christians) is so far from Jesus' messages. I cannot wonder if Americans would think that Jesus would endorse their military actions and weapons arsenals...

Saying that , as a pacifist is there any situation that you would feel justifies defending one's self ? Do you not feel that God being just, would allow self defence as a last resort against agressors ?

thanks for your very unbiased views, your moral principles are not compromised by nationalism or patriotism I admire that..

Peace ....
 

Quahom1

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Salim Syed said:
Thanks for the reply. I must say your answer was the first one which I felt was based on Christian principles that we here from it's followers. You actually believe in what you read and say, and have a great faith in God's reward for obediance at the cost of your own life.

You are honest and admit faults of your own people if you feel they are wrong. A very noble character I must say.

My own feelings about Christianity in America, is that the patriotism of the nation has overtaken the true Christian values as you have explained them.

I was watching the film 'Judas' just a few hours ago. It seems to be created by (maybe) evangelists. In the film Jesus talks about:

1) forgiving enenmies
2) giiving the other cheek
3) praying for the one who does you wrong

etc..etc..etc..

When ever I talk to Christians they always talk about these noble things, and I think if they really practised what they believe Jesus' wants of them, they would have to be pacifists.

I personally feel that the ideologies of the State (not Christians) is so far from Jesus' messages. I cannot wonder if Americans would think that Jesus would endorse their military actions and weapons arsenals...

Saying that , as a pacifist is there any situation that you would feel justifies defending one's self ? Do you not feel that God being just, would allow self defence as a last resort against agressors ?

thanks for your very unbiased views, your moral principles are not compromised by nationalism or patriotism I admire that..

Peace ....
Pretty slick way of telling someone they are an idiot...I'll have to give you that.

think this idiot will go and defend the shores against some fictitious enemy.
 

Salim Syed

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Quahom1

Thanks those principles sound very good. I totally agree people are using religion to cover their real objectives.

Most people know who are really creating these wars and who are manipulating the mass media etc... but I dare not put my thoughts downs.

I truely believe that if the governments of the world were ruled by the sincere Christians, Muslims and Jews (and other faith leaders) then much needed world peace would be achieved.

I think the last century and this century has seen most polictical system overtaken by a small but very powerful set of people, who are not adhering to sincere moral principle (even though they talk the talk).

I recently found a website called http://www.unionoffaiths.com/index.html
which shows how people of faith can join together to bring the much needed peace that now seems so far away.

Thankyou for your reply .... vbmenu_register("postmenu_35188", true);
 

path_of_one

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Salim Syed said:
Saying that , as a pacifist is there any situation that you would feel justifies defending one's self ? Do you not feel that God being just, would allow self defence as a last resort against agressors ?
Hello to all--
I suppose now it's the theologian, the philosopher, the soldier, and the mystic. Yikes!:)

I'd like to begin by explaining that although I do feel pacifism to be the right path, I fully respect people like Q who have no doubt prayed over their decisions and feel that their actions are right. I come to ethical decisions based on prayer and the guidance I feel I receive from God through scripture and through revelation, but I do not believe that I have a monopoly on truth. Only God is great enough to judge another's actions, and so while in my heart I can only support pacifism, both in my own life and in my voting decisions, I do not believe Christian soldiers like Q are any less Christian than I. We each are on our own paths, we each seek God and spiritual development of our soul, and each must answer to his/her own conscience and God. This is why although I am entirely against war, and I strive in all my actions to promote peace, I would never be disrespectful of soldiers as many were during Vietnam. Such condemnation does not promote love either. There are those in my family and friends who firmly believe in war as an option, and who are soldiers themselves, and I love them and respect their beliefs, though I do not agree with them and I consistently work in my own way against war (of course, only through non-violent and respectful means). I believe as pacifists we must each love everyone, no matter how much we disagree with their actions, and non-violence should be discussed and preached in love and understanding.

I feel blessed that I feel God is immanent and that death and oppression cannot bind me. I do not feel afraid of my own death, or oppression of my freedom, or poverty, though I certainly promote freedom and universal human rights through non-violent means. I believe very much that freedom of belief and practice (so long as it does no harm to other life) is a God-given gift, as we each have free will, and we ought to uphold this gift for others. But I do not believe that violence is justified through such motivations, and nations have rarely truly been involved in war for such noble causes. While the rhetoric of war may speak of dignity, those who profit from war are rarely truly concerned with the dignity and rights of the poor and oppressed, and it is (statistically) the poor, the civilians, and the children who pay the highest price of war. I have the deepest respect for life, and yet I feel my own life is only a transitory state. My own spiritual experience is that I existed before now, and will exist after I depart from this earth, and it is only God who is eternal. So, though my I may fleetingly fear what may happen to my physical form, I am very careful to take these fears to the feet of Christ and let him take this burden from me, to remind me to have courage and perseverence, for after I die this life will seem but a moment, and all humans ever made of history but an hour. It all rolls away in the Presence of God, but our actions and beliefs remain as we stand before Him. I try always to be acutely aware of this, and let it guide my actions. I am not a saint. We all have issues that are more of a moral dilemma than others, and we each have our weaknesses with which we battle. But I do believe we each, as Christians- and more broadly everyone, no matter their religion- would be correct to faithfully remind ourselves that there is, in all cases, a path of best action, of harmony, of being in accordance with God's will. Even in matters which are not under the constraints of scriptural law, in matters that cannot be judged right or wrong, there is a best course of action. I believe it is in our best spiritual interest to be ever mindful of the eternal watchfulness of God, and to be careful to develop a personal connection with Him that we might be of service to Him. I have the highest respect for those who do so, and believe that the path of best action for themselves is to fight, though I cannot agree with such actions. I have the greatest concern for those who do not, and blindly pledge allegiance to temporary, human-created institutions without real regard for the guidance of God, for I truly believe nothing this world can give is worth the pain and grief of standing before God having lived a life based on worldly rather than spiritual ideals.

That said, I will now answer the question of self-defense. My beliefs are that there may be appropriate moments for self-defense, but only in the case of immediate and personal bodily harm. I do not believe that it is correct to defend one's property or "rights" violently, as Jesus clearly says that if someone takes something from you, to give him more than he took, and if someone forces labor upon you, to give freely more than was forced. These actions prove to others, who are lost and in the grip of their own greed and hatred, the love of God and the faith of His followers- they show that we are not afraid of anything on earth, and that we trust that God will deliver us- spiritually if not physically. Self-defense to protect one's own bodily security, if immediately threatened, or those in one's immediate surroundings (such as one's children in a hostage situation) is understandable, though I do not know if it is justified. I believe God forgives and understands much that is not just. There are Christian groups that are firmly against all violence, and will allow themselves to die rather than raise one hand against an enemy.

For myself, I try to always be open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and I have faith that God would not desert me. I believe He would let me know what to do, and if I got a clear feeling that fighting back was the path of best action, I would do so. However, I would only find self-defense possibly justifiable if it arose only in the moment of threat (and was not preemptive, nor vindictive), if it was not out of anger, and if its aim was only to wound the attacker enough to escape to safety. Killing someone is not justifiable to me under any circumstances. I do believe that martial arts training and such are very healthy disciplines, not because they teach you how to fight, but rather because they teach you how to control one's force and to remain calm under pressure.

For what it's worth, my mother is a Christian mystic. She was abducted at gun-point when she was a young adult, before I was born, and was taken by her attacker to a remote area in a padded and sound-proof van. She knew he was intending to rape and kill her. She prayed for guidance from God, and ultimately she responded to the situation by the Holy Spirit overcoming her and speaking to this man. She told him, at gun-point: "Shame on you!" of all things. She told him that God was watching this very moment, and her death would only result in God's wrath against him. She told me that she would never, ever have thought she would have the strength to stand in such a situation and say such strong words, essentially calling on the name of Christ and having God speak out against him through her. Her attacker, who she felt through spiritual discernment had done this before and premeditated such attacks, was overcome with fear. If you can imagine, this violent, gun-toting, big man was absolutely shaking in fear from an unarmed, 5'4", tiny little woman, because he recognized the power that spoke through her. He fled from her, and my mother was saved by the grace of God. I asked her what if God had not spared her life, and she responded that she was sure the Holy Spirit would have comforted her in her last moments, and that ultimately God's plan for the attacker would be worked out. Obviously, it was God and God alone who knew this man could be reached by His wrath and the faith of just one victim. Who knows what happened after that? What went through his mind as he reflected on the power that came through a faithful servant of God? She prays that his soul eventually found God, love, and peace.

With memory of my mother's faith, I came once to face one to whom I was close, that became utterly lost and overcome by evil. He hurt me and would have killed me. My response was to pray for strength from God, stand up against him and leave in peace, and trust to God for my protection. Did and do I have fear sometimes? Of course. My body is an animal- there are instincts there to preserve my life and security. But my soul is of God, and I find strength there to preserve my ideals. It is God who gives me the comfort and strength to forgive this man and pray that he finds God, and it is God who gives me the strength to slowly, but surely, deal with the trauma done to my heart and mind. As my husband tells me, people can hurt my body, my mind, and even my heart. But they cannot touch my soul. My soul is God's alone, and from this place can come the healing for all other pain.

I did not intend to share so personal a testimony, but it pains me when people think that pacifists have never faced death or harm, and are cowardly or unrealistic. I simply truly believe that God is my sword and my shield, and no other is needed. I go into battle as do we all, for the battle invariably finds us all. My weapons are just not of this world.

You just never know how God will work through the suffering of the faithful to turn the hearts of the lost, and none are beyond His reach. If we do not wait until the last moment, until we are in a face-to-face situation with one who is in the grasp of evil, and we can feel the Holy Spirit's guidance and God's power work in us, how can we hope for those who are lost? Bombing people is impersonal and there is no opportunity for God to guide our heart, our words, and our hands. We are not allowing for the unique working of God through us in each of our enemies' lives.

Peace to all
 

Salim Syed

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Quahom1

Pretty slick way of telling someone they are an idiot...I'll have to give you that.

think this idiot will go and defend the shores against some fictitious enemy.


Definately not what I was trying to say, your mind must be on another wave lenght. I can sincerely say that path_of_one seems extremely sincere in her beliefs.

Any listening to the Christian talks on Love and peace etc etc I would really expect them to have the same sort of ideals as path_of_one.

I also find this with myself and most Muslims. When I read about the companions of our Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) I see how far our ideals have strayed from his teachings.

I suppose being created 1400 years after his lifetime , one cannot expect to understand the way they lived, as it is almost impossible to find humans in our time who can come close to the greatness of the Prophets or even their companions.

Thanks vbmenu_register("postmenu_35212", true);
 

juantoo3

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Kindest Regards all!

The theologian, the mystic, the soldier and the philosopher...I think I kinda like that idea. :)

Any listening to the Christian talks on Love and peace etc etc I would really expect them to have the same sort of ideals as path_of_one.
Dearest Salim,
A Christian does not look to or for war. War is a consequence of last resort. Something like what you said earlier of avoiding war as much as possible, but if it becomes necessary then war with all you have. A half-hearted war is almost surely to be lost. Sun-Tzu said something like this as well.

Peace is the desired goal. Governments being what they are, institutions of men, it is hard to fully apply religious rules and doctrines at all times. Surely even in the history of the spread of Islam you can see this as well. Christianity is every bit as guilty in this respect. The dominant religion of a culture may have a series of rules or guidelines, but the actual government in the actual action of war, and more importantly the warriors called to do the actual fighting, do not always have the luxury of thoughtful consideration of their actions. They do what they feel they have to do in that moment, and consider the consequences of their actions after the deed is done. That is perhaps the most important reason not to war in the first place, aside from taking human life.

What path of one has to say is very valid. She has pointed out some very important things that are real and factual. A very important thing to consider when looking at America is that not all Americans are Christians. Not all leaders, and not all followers. Very many are non-believers of any stripe, or only pay lip service to religion and its tenets. Sometimes too, the outcome cannot be humanly foreseen, as in the aftermath of nuclear testing. I feel that is a fault of science when it has no conscience, in using people as "guinea pigs." I want to believe we are growing out of that, but all too often I see things that make me wonder.

America has a tradition of separation of church and state. We try, very hard, to keep religion apart from our government. I realize this is a foreign concept to many, to whom government and religion are almost the same. We have our reasons for why we have done this, reasons I think are valid and seem to have worked for the most part very well for us. We still struggle with this, but in the end it allows us to be more accepting of others whose views we culturally differ with.

I bring this up, because it is extremely difficult to say that the US government is operating on Christian values. To some degree we are, Christian values are the foundation of our way of life. But we also include other things that separate and build upon our Christian foundation. For better or worse in the eyes of God, that is what we do. So to hold America solely to Christian values in the conduct of war is to ignore so much of our history and values. We are not, solely and only, Christian. We are also Muslim, Jewish, Hindi, Buddhist and so many other things, devout and nominal, including non-belief. And these things make themselves known in our way of life.

Very few American leaders have been openly known for their faith and religion. Abraham Lincoln was one, and he was for the most part allowed this political indisgression during his time in office because of the civil war going on. But look to how George Bush Jr is ridiculed, at home and abroad, for his stand in Christian faith. I personally do not see him as an ideal Christian, but I must give him some credit for trying to maintain some form of Christian value in his leadership, which is traditionally shunned by American Presidents. The example I gave concerning the rules of "Just War" help to show this, where Presidents before did not even try to live up to these rules. GB jr has also shown some Christian value in efforts concerning the use of fetal tissue for example, for which he is ridiculed by those in this country with even less Christian values than he.

America, especially in the last century, is a very secular nation. So there is really no accurate way to hold America's actions, in wartime or not, to Christian principles and values, because those are not the things that are used to guide us in anything much more than lip-service. I hate to say these things, but these are the reality and truth of our recent history.

Don't get me wrong, there are many well-intended and thoughtful people, even religious people, in positions of political power that help to keep the less thoughtful in check. ( I would add here though, that Christianity traditionally shuns positions of political power outside of church authority, at least here in the States) That is another beauty of our method of government. Without them, we probably would run amok all over the world, or worse, get ourselves in really deep doo-doo by doing so. But we are not perfect, and we do not kid ourselves into thinking we are. We do feel we have a better system than most, and certainly better than a tyrant.

I guess what I am trying to say is, there is no real way you can look at America's actions and hold them accountable by Christianity. On the surface, that would seem natural, but that would be in defiance of our founding principles. We do try to be moral, but as has been discussed many times, what exactly is morality? What is moral for you may not be for me, and likewise in reverse.

I know this comes across as backtracking and making excuses. Perhaps it is. I still think what you are looking for cannot in truth be found, because in reality it doesn't exist as any more than just illusion, a phantom, a fantasy.
 
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Quahom1

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I guess what I am trying to say is, there is no real way you can look at America's actions and hold them accountable by Christianity. On the surface, that would seem natural, but that would be in defiance of our founding principles. We do try to be moral, but as has been discussed many times, what exactly is morality? What is moral for you may not be for me, and likewise in reverse.

I know this comes across as backtracking and making excuses. Perhaps it is. I still think what you are looking for cannot in truth be found, because in reality it doesn't exist as any more than just illusion, a phantom, a fantasy.
Juan, I have to disagree on certain points. Perhaps in Big City, America the values considered by the media and the Big City folk are "pipe dreams". But in rural towns, and villages (where the most of Americans live), that way of living and thinking and acting is alive and well.

I live 50 miles from Wash, DC, and it is alive and well here, in the small towns, and farm communities. I mean, "nightly news" is like watching some alien planet's programs. That is not how we live. When I go to work In DC or Baltimore, I change my demeanor, just to survive. And when I get home, I can "let my hair down" (breathe a sigh of relief). Church is so important here, as are the people of the community. Seems the farther we are apart, the closer we are together.

In fact there was a developer who tried to overtake a local town by sheer legaleese, and that town blew that company out of the water (figuratively speaking). Stopped development, and forced that contractor to seek elsewhere for their "profit". Town name? Emmistsburg, MD. They want growth, but on their time and on their dime.

And they look out for eachother. Just one small place, like so many other small places in America. Not like the big cities, with the fancy ways of thought, and the slick politicians who change their minds once they step in office.

I must respectfully disagree with you on some parts of your assessment of America.

v/r

Q
 

juantoo3

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Kindest Regards, Q!

I have no qualm with your assessment. At the "village" level, faith is a very important part of everyday life, no question. Certainly any person who takes up arms for their nation must believe in the cause, that the cause is just. That is how things start.

Once into the fray, sensibilities sometimes get set aside, and reviewed only after the fact. This is most visible at the upper levels of leadership, but there are far too many PTSD victims in military hospitals to deny the impact of wartime actions on the psyche of a given soldier.

Even in considering the separation of church and state, look at the recent ruling over the last day or two from the Supreme Court dealing with the display of the Ten Commandments in courthouses. The High Court was as closely divided as possible on the two rulings handed down. The Court decided that any display of the Ten Commandments must not be in a religious context, that they may be displayed only if they are presented in an historic context. Our government, of the people, by the people, for the people, has taken a stand not to directly endorse any specific religion, broadly or narrowly, at the expense of any other religion.

And I am sorry, but I have seen too many politicians promote their agendas from church pulpits. In my mind, that is a complete disregard for the purpose of a church pulpit, that is, the church pulpit is the place for administering God's Word, not political agendas. I have also seen politicians give lip-service to God in one moment, and supporting causes I view as completely opposite to God's Word in the next.

So I stand by my comments, when looking up at our leadership, historically and currently. I have never doubted the faith of the individual at the "village" level, and if I seemed to come across in that manner, I apologize.

Perhaps I should have qualified my comments better, as I understood the question to be how to hold the American government accountable strictly by Christians concepts and values. While I think St. Augustine's work regarding Just War principles is admirable, it is not scripture. It was his assessment using the scriptures as a foundation to build from. I do think using those principles in conducting warfare is a noble effort, if war can be said to be noble, but it is not strictly speaking scriptural.
 
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Quahom1

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juantoo3 said:
bump for exposure

In light of the bump, let us consider what Saddam (pseudo said). "You dumb asses, you should have left well enough alone. I'd still be ruler of the country and there would be no terrorism "but what I decide", but no you've got to mess everything up..."

I opine that the difference between now and Saddam's rule is two fold.

1. Yep, we see death and destruction...before it was covered up.

2. People are finally beginning to step out of the shadows and take a stand (try that under Saddam's rule).

This war is for humanity. If we can't stop it (or end it now)...we're toast. Survival of the species comes to mind. China is just itching to get into the action. India is not cohesive enough yet. Pakistan is a renegade country (maybe America is too). Europe doesn't seem to know their butt from a hole in the ground (with exceptions). The UN is more concerned with small arms restrictions, than with countries building nukes...(go figure). Russia went from 1776 to the 1930s in Chicago, in less then five years. It has issues...

Canada has lost it (ain't the same country it was 30 years ago, and I can say that with conviction...I lived there, just about the time that "J'ai dû apprendre le français", had to learn it). New Zealand is lost as well (I suppose being out of harm's way makes one complacent), Australia seems to be keeping kipper, as does Great Britian.

Germany holds pace I think. France, hmmm I think quietly she does. Spain? No way.

Man, if we don't stand up now, we'll have nothing to stand up with, later.

my thoughts

v/r

Q
 

juantoo3

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Kindest Regards, Q!

Man, if we don't stand up now, we'll have nothing to stand up with, later.
Yep. That is the point and purpose of the warrior tradition. The best defense is a good offense. And then using that offense only when necessary. :)
 

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Good Morning CR:

Thought I would throw my 2 cents in here. God has abundant power. Man chose to rule himself when he didn't listen to God's command.

One of the commands was, "thou shall not kill". Another command was to love your neighbor. Us imperfect humans will at times decide to make our own set of rules and somehow make them fit into bible principles.

In God's due time he will reveal himself again to due away with the magnitude that war causes and these pangs that men brought about will go away and we will live in peace as the earth was originally intented before we decided to make our own decisions free of God's commandments.

It's about love and God will take care of the rest. Peace, Tommy
 

juantoo3

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Kindest Regards, Tommy!

Since we are on a bit of a soul searching jag around here, I would like to comment briefly:

One of the commands was, "thou shall not kill".
Gotta love semantics...check out the Strong's:

from Exodus 20:13, the sixth commandment: 7523; ratsach, raw-tsakh; a prim. root; prop. to dash in pieces, i.e. kill (a human being), espec. to murder, -put to death, kill, (man-) slay (-er), murder (-er)

It is pretty apparent that the word has a rather strong connotation, not just "kill," but "murder." Not just kill, but kill a human. A little better interpretation of the passage, IMHO, is "Thou shalt do no murder."

Us imperfect humans will at times decide to make our own set of rules and somehow make them fit into bible principles.
Just as some of us who do not understand correctly will place themselves in judgement over others that have looked into the deeper meanings?

In God's due time he will reveal himself again to due away with the magnitude that war causes and these pangs that men brought about will go away and we will live in peace as the earth was originally intented before we decided to make our own decisions free of God's commandments.
Indeed, Matthew 24 is a rather revealing book to me. Especially verse 6, wherein Jesus speaks of "wars and rumors of wars," and to be not troubled by them, for the time is not yet... Isaiah is another great book concerning this, as is Ezekiel. But then, this is only this humble persons opinion.

It's about love and God will take care of the rest.
Yes, I agree.

Sometimes G-d uses the soldier to do what no one else has the gonads to do.

Just curious, should any Christian interfere with genocide, like Darfur, or the Serbian slaughter of the ethnic Croats and Muslims? Should Christians have come to the rescue of the Jews and Gypsies rotting in Hitler's death camps? Should Christians always stand idly by because "G-d will take care of the rest?" Oh yes, don't feed the poor in Africa, or give them AIDS drugs, because "G-d will take care of them."

Seems I remember a lesson Jesus taught, of a man who came to another in need. The man told the other to go away in peace, that he would pray for him. So the man in need went to another man, and that man gave the man what he needed, and a bit more as he was able. Which one did correctly by the man in need, the one who sent him away with a prayer, or the one who addressed the man's needs?

Which one was right, the one who said "G-d will take care of the rest," or the one who stepped up to the plate and did something about what was wrong?
 

BlaznFattyz

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thou shall not kill is in the context of do not kill for revenge, or out of evil thoughts, or jealousy, or other negative reasons.

but to kill to ensure freedom of innocent people as in self defense, then that is justified by the desire to die for and protect those you love.
 

Quahom1

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BlaznFattyz said:
thou shall not kill is in the context of do not kill for revenge, or out of evil thoughts, or jealousy, or other negative reasons.

but to kill to ensure freedom of innocent people as in self defense, then that is justified by the desire to die for and protect those you love.

Yeah, that about somes it up. agreed.

v/r

Q
 

juantoo3

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The Final Inspection


The soldier stood and faced God,
Which must always come to pass.
He hoped his shoes were shining,
Just as brightly as his brass.

"Step forward now, you soldier,
How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek?
To My Church have you been true?"

The soldier squared his shoulders and said,
"No, Lord, I guess I ain't.
Because those of us who carry guns,
Can't always be a saint.

I've had to work most Sundays,
And at times my talk was tough.
And sometimes I've been violent,
Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny,
That wasn't mine to keep...
Though I worked a lot of overtime,
When the bills got just too steep.

And I never passed a cry for help,
Though at times I shook with fear.
And sometimes, God, forgive me,
I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place,
Among the people here.
They never wanted me around,
Except to calm their fears.

If you've a place for me here, Lord,
It needn't be so grand.
I never expected or had too much,
But if you don't, I'll understand."

There was a silence all around the throne,
Where the saints had often trod.
As the soldier waited quietly,
For the judgment of his God.

"Step forward now, you soldier,
You've borne your burdens well.
Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,
You've done your time in Hell."​


[ Author Unknown -- from David Ballard, via Aiken Drum]
 

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Hi:

God has wars because he has to fight off the evel one until he is driven out. His war will fulfill Bible prophecy and that is why I am neutral.

I can't picture in my mind Jesus loading a Canon to blow away another Christian who perhaps lives in another country where there is a war.

It's unfortunate that war is part of our lives. Jesus taught about the "good nes of the Kingdom". Doesn't that give us hope of a life where we don't have reason to kill our brothers, because we don't have to.

I look forward to the war of Armagedon when our King will win and there will be no more cause to fight because we won't need to defend ourselves because everyone will glow with love. Peace, tommy
 
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