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Purdy (2383)

Purdy
  jasonNO@SPAMpurdy.info
http://purdy.info/
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Bleh - not feeling creative right now. You can check me out on PerlMonks [perlmonks.org].

Journal of Purdy (2383)

Monday March 03, 2003
09:32 AM

More on the War

[ #10861 ]

So last night, I went to my church, where we had a discussion on Christianity and War, and there are a few points that I'm still trying to absorb and think about:

  • As Christians, we are Christians first and Americans second. (That's a hard one to swallow - because I wasn't brought up that way)
  • The early Church was anti-war (Pacifism), to the point where the first Christians were martyrs from their persecution. (We haven't gotten to the Crusades yet)

I was kind of expecting a free-for-all, where everyone would express their opinions, we'd get into some debates, etc, but this was more structured and more of an introduction to the background of the philosophy of the Church, when it comes to all things war. Our leaders pointed out that we wouldn't get very far if we had a free-for-all and I'm glad - it's getting me to think more constructively and objectively about the situation.

There was an interesting side discussion about the word martyr. As you can see from the link, it comes from Greek, meaning "witness." Someone brought up the 19 hijackers as martyrs, but our leaders pointed out that the hijackers were not following their faith correctly and that martyrs do not kill innocent people along with themselves. Another distinction is that the hijackers committed suicide and that the early Christian martyrs were killed by someone else.

One point that I can express well is that there are two sides to the Church when it comes to war: Pacifism and Just War. It helps to hear from the Just War crowd because otherwise, Pacifism becomes more like Passive-ism. ;)

There are three more weeks of discussion, so as my thoughts become more solidified, I'll sound them out here.

I encourage all of you to get involved in one way or another with your community. Engage the world! I do so through my church, but as I've heard from most of you, that's not your thing. davorg goes to an anti-war demo (to me, the "Merkan", a demo is a software demonstration, but that's a whole other topic). Have a dinner party, gather friends, go out, etc ...

That's part of the allure of this site (use Perl) - it's a gathering of intellectuals where we can engage each other on diverse and engaging topics.

Peace,

Jason

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  • I don't if you know this, but Tony Blair is also a christian. In my other blog, I recently wondered (in my usual sacrilegious manner) how Blair and Bush reconciled war with their christian beliefs [dave.org.uk].

    Interestingly, yesterday the UK newspaper The Independent on Sunday put a selection of readers questions to Blair. One of these was the same as my question (tho' phrased more politely). His answers to that and other questions [independent.co.uk] are interesting (but, ultimately unconvincing).

    • Thanks for the links - I'm reading them now. After reading your blog entry, this was an easy one to answer:

      Are you prepared to go to war even this will mean your soul will burn in hell for all eternity?

      Salvation is an easy answer (speaking in terms of Christianity) - Bush simply has to accept Jesus as his Lord and Savior (which further implies living/leading a Christ-like life) to be redeemed. So going to war doesn't necessarily imply that Bush's (or Blair's) soul will be damned. As Christians, though,

    • I agree with it being unconvincing - he seems to be banging on the same drum (though I thought I'd never see a political leader use the word 'orgy' - must be a UK thing).

      His whole interview boils down to: he passionately believes that Saddam must be disarmed from any WMD, which will make the world a safer place.

      I agree with that - however there are still a lot of unanswered questions I would like to pose:

      Why is the next (immediate) step war? Why can't we simply "invade" the country with 100,000 UN peace
  • Reading your journal entry reminded me of a story I heard initially from Paul Harvey (the radio host). Initially, Sergeant York applied for conscientious objector status in some part because of the 6th Commandment, "thou shall not kill".

    It was later explained to him that the particular Hebrew verb used in the Old Testament actually means "to murder", not "to kill".

    There's a link here [ptm.org] about it for those interested.

    • This is an awesome link! Thanks for this - after reading a first few pages, it seems to be a recap of our discussion (plus two other doctrines of war {Preventative War & Nonresistance}).

      Jason
    • You know - another thing - this reminded me of another tidbit in the discussion that we grazed over. We were racing from the Bible to the early church and got up to 300-400 AD, where Constantine changed the rule (based on a vision he experienced) from no Christians can be soldiers, to ALL soldiers had to be Christian.

      This brings up all kinds of questions, such as "Were the soldiers that became Christians really Christian?" and "Was it really a free choice of the soldiers to convert?"

      Jason
      • This brings up all kinds of questions, such as "Were the soldiers that became Christians really Christian?" and "Was it really a free choice of the soldiers to convert?"

        The Empire was never my specialty, but my guess to both questions would be "no". I suspect most soldiers fell into the "I'll believe whatever you want as long as I get to keep my head and my paycheck" category.

        I'm not exactly sure what you mean by "really Christian" though. By that I mean if you asked a 4th century centurion what it me

  • Wow (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jdavidb (1361) on 2003.03.03 11:11 (#17666) Homepage Journal

    Great minds think alike, huh? (Apparently we were typing journal entries on this at the same time.)

    One point that I can express well is that there are two sides to the Church when it comes to war: Pacifism and Just War. It helps to hear from the Just War crowd because otherwise, Pacifism becomes more like Passive-ism. ;)

    I wholeheartedly agree. Any stance on this issue which dismisses the other side without consideration is arrogant and short sighted. There are intelligent reasons people have landed on both sides.

    Some points that will help you as you consider the issue from a religious standpoint: the Old Testament is not our law today [goreadthebible.com] (including the Ten Commandments [goreadthebible.com]), and even though the government is granted authority by God [goreadthebible.com], we are to never obey its commands in deference to God's laws. [goreadthebible.com]

    --
    J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
    • Thanks, jdavidb!

      I'm also reminded of Romans 2:12-15 [goreadthebible.com], which implies that God's law is something that's part of the Imago Dei - our creation (humankind) was made in the image of God.

      Jason