A Christian approach to war

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by The Undiscovered Country, Nov 18, 2004.

  1. The Undiscovered Country

    The Undiscovered Country
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    I'm not trying here to start a debate about whether war in itself is right or wrong. My question is how being a Christian should affect one's attitude and behaviour during war?

    The reason for my question is that, looking at the various threads which touch on Iraq and other war issues, I have to say that in most cases I can't see any difference in the views of those supporting the war from non-Christians who support it. For instance, in the 'No agenda He's an anti-war activist' thread on the News Board, one poster said;

    'It is war. War is hell. The point of war is to kill more of them than you so that they quit. Stop with your silly flower-power nonsense'.

    Surely being a Christian, even in supporting a war means that one has to advocate higher moral and ethical standards-and compassion- in those engaged in prosecuting the war than non-Christians would. In what ways are the views of those supporting the war affected by being salt and light on the issue?
     
  2. Matt Black

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    I would think and hope that being a Christian combatant or a Christian supporting such combatants would involve the following:-

    1. A hatred of war and a recognition that war must be resorted to with great reluctance as a last resort ie: no gung-ho rhetoric

    2. A high regard for legality and due process in war eg: the Geneva And Hague Conventions and their various protocols

    as a bare minimum.

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  3. Pennsylvania Jim

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    War should be approached with, as Matt says, great relucgtance and as a last resort;

    Furthermore, it should be purely defensive of a nations' soil and the lives and property of its people;

    When those rare and unfortunate conditions are met, it should be pursued with vigor, violence, and enthusiasm, as well as high moral and ethical standards.
     
  4. North Carolina Tentmaker

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    I agree with you Matt, war is tough and it should always be a last resort. No one understands this more than soldiers who have been there, and I have. But as Jim alluded to, once that decision to go to war is made it must be pursued with great vigor and violence.

    To me you have to separate these two things. We can disagree with the reasons to go to war, in our current conflict in Iraq, we can disagree with President Bush and every decision that led up to war. I think Jesus' addressed this directly in Luke 14:31-32 when he said:
    Clearly we should not enter into war lightly and without considering any other option. I would not go as far as Jim on this but I agree that war is a serious matter.

    But then once that decision is made, by our elected civilian government here in the US, in order to be successful we must pursue that war with all our might. That is what I thought the most important lesson learned from the Vietnam conflict was, "Don't try to go to war half way!" It has to be all or nothing. We either put the people and equipment in place to win or we don't start.

    Back to your question TUC, as far as a Christian on the battlefield I can tell you from my own experience that they should have a high regard for the rules of engagement they are under at any time. Many crimes and atrocities do take place during war because soldiers can get away with it and Christians should have no part of that. Things like the prisoner abuse are crimes and should be treated as such. At the same time the violence and destruction of war need not be tempered by ones personal beliefs. Soldiers are not acting of their own volition but as agents of their elected governments.

    Remember the story of Saul and the Amalekites? It is in I Samuel 15.
    Of course Saul was judged, not so much for showing mercy but for disobeying God, but here is a clear case of God's instruction in a time of war and it is pretty clear that God was in favor of complete destruction of Israel's enemies. Samuel, the prophet of God, hacked this man to pieces after he had surrendered and that was what God wanted. Of course I would try to be pretty sure it was God speaking to me before I would saw somebody up.
     
  5. LadyEagle

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    Jesus said in the last days there would be wars and rumors of wars.

    American and Coalition Troops are salt and light. Beheaders of innocent civilian hostages are evil. Case closed.
     
  6. Scott J

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    I agree completely that war should be a last resort. But in the modern world, if we wait until it is a defense of our own soil... it will be too late.

    Waiting 5 years or 10 or 20 would not have changed who Saddam was nor his sons nor their ideology and ambitions. It would simply have allowed them to become more dangerous.

    Appeasement and isolationism were tried prior to WWII. The result was that instead of 10,000 casualties... or 20,000 or even 100,000, 60 million people died.

    I am terribly concerned about what Iran is doing. Today the news said they are trying to develop missile capable of being fitted with nukes. But this would not have changed if Saddam were still in power. In fact, an Iraqi nuke program or even threat of it would have provided justification for Iran's program and its acceleration.
     
  7. Scott J

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    This philosophy cause us to lose in Vietnam. The only successful means of prosecuting war is to take and hold land. You must deny the enemy his base and means of operation. You must also destroy the enemies will to fight...but that doesn't always mean slaughter.

    Even in WWII after Germany had been pounded with tons of bombs, the allies found that the Nazis could have continued fighting indefinitely using weapons manufactured largely underground and in small shops. The insurgency after the allied occupation claimed more than 1000 American lives. Eventually, the Germans saw the futility of continued fighting.

    Inflicting casualties is necessary in war. But it will not win a war.
    Absolutely. And this is also taught to US soldiers from basic training on. We immediately indoctrinate them that the American army is one of liberation, not conquest.

    Things like what Colin Powell said awhile back resonate with American soldiers. Basically in answer to charges of American imperialism, he said that our servicemen had died all over the world to win the freedom of other people and that the only land we had ever asked to keep was just enough to bury our dead.

    We teach that their job is to win wars, not cause needless death and destruction. Several soldiers have been prosecuted for violating laws that support this principle. A Marine is now being investigated for possibly murdering an unarmed prisoner contrary to this ideal.

    The US and its military takes this very serious.
    Technology has changed the way we can afford to view threats. Can we afford to wait until someone who has demonstrated a willingness to use WMD's on his enemies develops nukes and delivery systems?
     
  8. Hardsheller

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    PaJim would you ever consider going to war for a nation unable to defend itself against an agressor nation?
     
  9. The Undiscovered Country

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    American and Coalition Troops are salt and light. Beheaders of innocent civilian hostages are evil. Case closed. </font>[/QUOTE]Whatever you think about the Iraq situation, to describe troops on either side as salt and light is an obscentity to the gospel. You may or many not think that killing people is justified but one is thing is clear-it has nothing to do with good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
     
  10. LadyEagle

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    Well, perhaps on your high moral high horse, you have missed the fact that there are not just a few born-again Christian soldiers in combat right now. And it is, no matter what you think, a battle between good and evil. These Christian soldiers are not over there killing fellow born-again Christians, you know. They are killing terrorists who wouldn't think twice about sawing off your head because their god is so great. If that isn't evil, I don't know what is.

    Oh, and by the way, Christians are fleeing Iraq as we speak because they have been threatened by these beheaders to turn to islam or die. Next, I suppose you'll be saying America wasn't doing the righteous thing by getting rid of the Nazis.

    Salt and light means standing for what is right. You must read a different Gospel.
     
  11. blackbird

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    LadyEagle says, "Next, I suppose you'll be saying America wasn't doing the righteous thing by getting rid of the Nazis."

    Took the words right out of Charles Lindbergh's mouth!!---didn't 'cha, LE???

    The Army Air Corps Commander to President Roosevelt---after the nazi's declared war on the US

    "Sir! Charles Lindbergh wants to fly a fighter!"

    Roosevelt---"Not in MY Army, he isn't!!"
     
  12. North Carolina Tentmaker

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    Well said LadyEagle
     
  13. Baptist in Richmond

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    I am not sure what you are saying here. Are you making the case that Iraq posed a threat to "our own soil?" Iraq could not even challenge the "no fly zone" we imposed on their country.

    Please elaborate what you are saying.

    Iran?
    We already have troops on the ground in Afghanistan and Iraq, and there is talk about Iran? Where Afghanistan was fragmented and Iraq was dictatorial, Iran is an Islamic Republic with at least one generation of fundamentalist with a bona fide hatred of the West. I hope you are not suggesting that we should invade Iran.
     
  14. Pennsylvania Jim

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    We should tell nations like Iraq and Iran that we have niclear ICBM's ready to fire off at any time. Any attack on our soil would be the end of their nation. That's what ICBM's are for.
     
  15. Pennsylvania Jim

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    That's a tough question. I honestly don't know. Have to think about it. But, certainly it would have to be a rare and compelling case.
     
  16. Pennsylvania Jim

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    Yeah. We've really turned Iraq into a praadise, haven't we?
     
  17. Hardsheller

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    Like Britian in WWII?
     
  18. Pennsylvania Jim

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    There are two sides to that argument. The "party line" that we have been taught makes it obvious that we needed to get into the war. But I've read credible arguments to the contrary. I don't know enough about it to state a hard opinion.
     
  19. Hardsheller

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    PaJim,

    I think you are forgetting if the French had not come to our rescue in the American Revolution you would still be bowing to the Queen.

    But then maybe you think that would be better than what we have now since you're so opposed to our country's current government and its foreign policies.
     
  20. Pennsylvania Jim

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    Interesting point about the Revolution, Hardsheller. This is a topic that is more than I have time to address, especially since I'd have to study to give answers. Still, my firm conviction is that 1) we should avoid war as much as possible and 2) we haven't always done so, escecially in the last 40-50 years.
     

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