Christians and War ( Part1)

To those who don’t know, we have slaughtered countless innocent people in the Middle East during the last ten years: https://twentiesfreedom.wordpress.com/2011/09/25/hundreds-of-thousands-slaughtered/

This article by Laurence Vance mirrors my thoughts quite well:

Although I am a Bible-believing Christian and a theological and cultural conservative, I write extensively about the biblical, economic, and political fallacies of religious people, and especially on the topic of Christianity and war. This is a subject where ignorance abounds in both pulpit and pew, and most of it willful ignorance. This is a subject that exposes Bible scholars as Bible illiterates. This is a subject that turns Christians into disgraceful apologists of the state, its leaders, its military, and its wars. This is a subject that reveals pro-life Christians to be two-faced supporters of wholesale murder.

If there is any group of people that should be opposed to war, torture, militarism, the warfare state, state worship, suppression of civil liberties, an imperial presidency, blind nationalism, government propaganda, and an aggressive foreign policy it is Christians, and especially conservative, evangelical, and fundamentalist Christians who claim to strictly follow the dictates of Scripture and worship the Prince of Peace. It is indeed strange that Christian people should be so accepting of war. War is the greatest suppressor of civil liberties. War is the greatest destroyer of religion, morality, and decency. War is the greatest creator of fertile ground for genocides and atrocities. War is the greatest destroyer of families and young lives. War is the greatest creator of famine, disease, and homelessness. War is the health of the state.

But modern-day Christianity is in a sad state. There is an unholy desire on the part of a great many Christians to legitimize killing in war. There persists the idea among too many Christians that mass killing in war is acceptable, but the killing of one’s neighbor violates the sixth commandment’s prohibition against killing. Christians who wouldn’t think of using the Lord’s name in vain blaspheme God when they make ridiculous statements like “God is pro-war.” Christians who try never to lie do so with boldness when they claim they are pro-life, but refuse to extend their pro-life sentiments to foreigners already out of the womb. Christians who abhor idols are guilty of idolatry when they say that we should follow the latest dictates of the state because we should always “obey the powers that be.” Christians who venerate the Bible handle the word of God deceitfully when they quote Scripture to defend the latest U.S. military action. Christians who claim to be dispensationalists wrongly divide the word of truth when they appeal to the Old Testament to justify U.S. government wars. Christians who claim to have the mind of Christ show that they have lost their mind when they want the full force of government to protect a stem cell, but have no conscience about U.S. soldiers killing for the government.

Much of the blame for Christian support for war must be laid at the feet of the pastors and church leaders who have failed to discern the truth themselves so they can educate their congregations. They are blind leaders of the blind. It is tragic that many so-called Christian leaders moonlight as apologists for the Republican Party. Many pastors are cheerleaders for current U.S. wars. We hear more from pulpits today justifying American military intervention throughout the world than we do about the need for missionaries to go into all the world. Our churches have supplied more soldiers to the Middle East than missionaries. It is appalling that instead of the next U.S. military adventure being denounced from every pulpit in the land, it will be conservative preachers who can be counted on to defend it.Many Christians have a warped view of what it means to be pro-life. Why is it that foreigners don’t have the same right to life as unborn American babies? There should be no difference between being for abortion and for war. Both result in the death of innocents. Both are unnecessary. Both cause psychological harm to the one who signs a consent form or fires a weapon. Why is it that to many Christians an American doctor in a white coat is considered a murderer if he kills an unborn baby, but an American soldier in a uniform is considered a hero if he kills an adult? In January of every year, many churches observe Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. Fine, but we need ministers who are as concerned about killing on the battlefield as they are about killing in the womb.

If there is any group within Christianity that should be the most consistent, the most vocal, the most persistent, and the most scriptural in its opposition to war and the warfare state, it is conservative Christians who look to the Bible as their sole authority. Yet, never at any time in history have so many of these Christians held such unholy opinions. The association they have with the Republican Party is unholy. The admiration they have for the military is unholy. The indifference they have toward war is unholy. The callous attitude they have toward the deaths of foreigners is unholy. The idolatry they manifest toward the state is unholy.

The result of Christian support for war reminds me of a story in the Old Testament about two sons of the patriarch Jacob. In order to avenge the rape of their sister by some foreigners, the sons of Jacob told their leader that if his people consented to be circumcised, then both groups of people could intermarry and the rapist could have their sister to wife. However, after all the foreigners were circumcised, when they were sore, two sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, came and slew all the men who were incapacitated and spoiled their city. When their father Jacob heard about this, he told his sons: “Ye have troubled me to make me to stink among the inhabitants of the land.”

Support for the war on terror among Christians remains so pervasive that I’m inclined to agree with Mark Twain in saying that “if Christ were here now there is one thing he would not be – a Christian.” I’m sorry to say that blind acceptance of government propaganda, willful ignorance of U.S. foreign policy, persistent support of the Republican Party, and childish devotion to the military are the norm among the majority of conservative Christians instead of the exception.Christian armchair warriors, Christian Coalition moralists, Religious Right warvangelicals, reich-wing Christian nationalists, theocon Values Voters, imperial Christians, Red-State Christian fascists, God and country Christian bumpkins, and other Christian warmongers have made Christians to stink among the non-Christian inhabitants of the United States. After almost ten years of the senseless wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, some of the greatest defenders of these wars continue to be Christians. The morality of going to war in the first place, as well as the number of dead and wounded Iraqis and Afghans, is of absolutely no concern to most American Christians. Every dead American solider is, of course, a hero, no matter where he fought, what his motive was, or how he died.

Non-Christian Americans should know that Christian enthusiasm for war and the warfare state is a perversion of Christianity, an affront to the Saviour whom Christians worship as the Prince of Peace, a violation of Scripture, contrary to the whole tenor of the New Testament, and an unfortunate demonstration of the profound ignorance many Christians have of history and their own Bible.

 

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7 responses to “Christians and War ( Part1)

  1. The problem is not in monotheistic religions (judaism, Christianity and Islam) the problem is in people. Almost every evangelical I have met, had racist comments and aggressive words. I have seen that before in extremist Muslims and Zionists. I came to a realization that all religions when people take it to the extreme there is no more room for tolerance. I have seen war, only more hate comes out of it. And the cycle never ends. These are beautiful messages from God, but sadly we as humanbeings spoil every thing.

    • First off, welcome to my blog! Thank you for posting a thoughtful response, I appreciate the input. There exist a problem with both religion and follower in some instances.

      In response to your statement, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam do share some similarities, but they also have stark differences. In fact, Judaism rejects the Savior of the Christian. Judaism was born out of the rejection of Jesus Christ; Jews of the time thought that the Messiah of the Old Testament would come and establish his literal kingdom on earth by force and power. Needless to say, they overlooked the Old Testament prophesies dealing with the crucifixion and death of the Savior. So Jesus, the Prince of peace, didn’t do what they desired. It misses the entire message of redemption for all of mankind, which is found in the New Testament. Christianity today, which is guided by the death of Jesus on the cross and the Divinely inspired New Testament books, declares peace and joy, love and forgiveness, mercy and humility. The only violence condoned in the Bible is via the Old Testament in Israel. Israel was a theocracy with God as king. Violence was ordained to punish disobedience and wickedness (both in Israel and in other peoples), to preserve the lineage of Jesus as promised, and to bring forth God’s perfect redemptive plan for humanity (both Jew and Gentile). I could go on, but time restricts.

      Islam and Christianity differ in countless ways but for the sake of our discussion I’ll just point to peace and tolerance. The Koran provides specific injunctions to engage in acts of violence as part of the “holy war” (jihad) in the cause of their religion. “But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practice regular charity, then open the way for them: for God is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful” (Sura 9:5)
      “Fight those who believe not in God nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by God and His Apostle, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book (Christians and Jews), until they pay the jizya [tribute] with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued” (Sura 9:29)
      “When you meet your enemies who are polytheists, invite them to three courses of action. If they respond to any one of these, you also accept it and withhold yourself from doing them any harm. Invite them to [accept] Islam; if they respond to you, accept it from them and desist from fighting against them…If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them the jizya. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay the tax, seek Allah’s help and fight them” (Sahih Muslim, Book 19, Number 4294).
      Here is an excellent summary showing how Christianity today and Islam share no common virtue in the realm of peace: http://www.gotquestions.org/jihad-Bible.html

      Sadly, there are professing Christians who do the things you mention. Many are likely not Christians at all. Of those that are, many are completely ignorant as to what the Bible says about their false world-views. If the words of Christ and Scripture aren’t clear enough, early church fathers condemned their actions as well. Christianity is THE good news to a broken world. It offers peace and hope. In the Words of our Savior:
      “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

  2. Pingback: Christians and War (Part2) | Find Freedom

  3. Pingback: Christianity and War (Part3) | Find Freedom

  4. . With all respect to your view, If I may point this out:

    Jihad in islam is this:
    “Fight in the cause of God those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for God loves not transgressors.” Qur’an, Chapter 2, verse 190.
    ”There is no compulsion in religion” verse (2:256)

    You can not divide the Quran in bits and peaces as you did above, The versus you have mentioned where for Muhammed in the times of Meka when the Idol worshipers who slayed their new born girls and enslaved men, It was for that time only, and All Quran scholars agree on that.

    The Jizya you have mentioned, is a tax for non Muslims who lived in Muslim countries, Muslims pay Zakat for the poor, non Muslims pay Jisya it does not apply on modern life where every one pays tax!

    The Bible and violence is much mere than what you have described.

    you mentioned the old and new testament, you can not separate them, not only the old testament but many more bibles have many Violent quotes:

    The bible says : ”When men strive together one with another, and the wife of the one draweth near for to deliver her husband out of the hand of him that smiteth him, and putteth forth her hand, and taketh him by the secrets: Then thou shalt cut off her hand, thine eye shall not pity her”

    and many violence in other bibles exact same punishment like the Quran about adultery for example. If you struck your parents and many more.

    A very good book by a pioneer in Bible studies,
    Philip Jenkins , author of ‘Jesus Wars’ explains in detail how violence in the bible is more than in the Quran. That is not an opinion they are facts.
    The problem is there is more than one bible, there is only one Quran, never touched or changed since it was revealed to Mohamad. Your argument about the new testament, I don’t agree with it for one reason, any one who reads it would justify the war on Palestinians. It is very laud and clear, the Jews are Gods chosen ones in the new and old testament, by that alone the Bible gives them superiority over any other race.

    Muslims believe that all monotheistic religions are originally one message, started by Abraham and ended by Mohammad, and that is believing in one God and that the universe is a proof of his existence.

    My point is, by dividing the Quran in to peaces, you changed the meaning, and that’s exactly what the problem is with all religions not only the Quran. I am no scholar but I do know a little thing about religion.

    Islamic Extremist phenomena only was born as a result for occupation, the west has been colonising the Muslim world for many years, the six million refugees in camps today are suffering because of an occupation that is derived by religious beliefs, that is another fact. And by this a corrupt version of Islam was born a very mad and angry one, where even suicide that is forbidden in the Quran became justified by this new corrupted face of Islam. There are two billion muslims in the world most of them are not arabic speaking, the majority practices Sunny Islam.
    You said above : Sadly, there are professing Christians who do the things you mention. Many are likely not Christians at all.

    The majority of the two billion muslims exactly share what you said about others not being true representative of their faith.

    Holly scriptures are not a novel or a books taken lightly, it is religion, that people are passionate about, it is like a knife you either make a beautiful sculpture from it or use it for your own gains.

    My apologies if I have been insensitive for any party. It is always a bad Idea to talk about religion.

    more information in this link :
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=124494788

    • Hello again, thanks for sharing your views! I’ll start by admitting some ignorance regarding contextual issues in the Quran; while I have read literature on the historicity and views of Islam, I am by no means a proper scholar. My studies of Islam (and Christianity) are far from complete.

      Regarding your response – You first rebuke me for taking certain Islamic writings out of context (if that be true), then immediately contort an Old Testament passage. In Old Testament law, which was fulfilled in Christ on the cross, God commands the Israelites to create a society based on the values embodied in laws designed to ensure equality and fairness for all of his chosen people (Israel). In submitting to God’s leadership and blessings, they are expected to keep the covenant(laws) with God. Part of the covenant is treating others well. If you are unjust, you break the covenant, and you are punished. The prophets(God chosen) are saying to the people: God’s protection and blessing is predicated on your keeping of the covenant. The text you drew from is Deuteronomy 25. The Deuteronomic Code, is its oldest part of the book and the core around which the rest developed. It is a series of mitzvot (commands) to the Israelites regarding how they ought to conduct themselves in Canaan, the land promised by Yahweh. That command is highly contextual and reflects God’s will with regard to societal order. It is not the promotion of violence, just as the many other laws regarding punishment of action are not.

      You claim: “It is very laud and clear, the Jews are Gods chosen ones in the new and old testament, by that alone the Bible gives them superiority over any other race.” That is a false statement. Many Bible scholars reject the Dispensational idea concerning the privileged nation-state of Israel and it’s ongoing wars, including myself. All Bible affirming Christians deny that salvation is only offered to Jew. Salvation came to the Jew and Gentile after Jesus Christ died on the cross. His blood is the sacrafice for all of mankind, not the Jew alone.
      Romans 3:29-30 “Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since indeed God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith is one.”
      Acts 13:47 “For thus the Lord has commanded us, ‘I have placed you as a light for the Gentiles, that you should bring salvation to the end of the earth.’”
      Ephesians 3:6 “To be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.”

      Before looking at innerency we should quickly explain each Holy Book.In Christianity, revelation is mediated. I believe that the Bible is the Word of God, but we do not believe that God mechanically transmitted it through certain people as if they were “channelers” of some sort. Christians hold that the Bible was written by human beings under divine inspiration, the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The divine revelation was thus “filtered” through a human lens and written in human words and within human history. That is why our scriptures refer to historical circumstances; it describes not some mystical, a-historical revelation of God but rather chronicles God’s wonderful intervention in human history.

      In Islam, on the other hand, the Qur’an is considered the “unmediated” word of God. In other word, Islam stresses very strongly that in receiving his revelation Muhammad was illiterate–and hence completely passive. He simply recited what was put into his mouth, without any input of his own. (“Qur’an” means “recitation.”) The Qur’an — which is seen as eternally existing in heaven — simply descended (another name for the Qur’an is ‘at-tanzil’, “that which descended”) and was expressed through Muhammad as a passive instrument of revelation. Anyone familiar with modern critical linguistic theory would have to question such a view. According to such theory, ‘all’ communication is mediated; as soon as a thought is put into words, it is mediated. The very fact that a thought is put into words means that it is “processed” and passed through a human lens, so to speak. The whole purpose of revelation is for God, whose thoughts are so far above ours, to mediate his communication to us through human language. God does not think in human language; to say so is to limit his omniscience, which is far beyond the constraints of human language! Thus Christians must call the Islamic view of “unmediated revelation” into question on both linguistic and theological grounds.

      You state: “The problem is there is more than one bible, there is only one Quran, never touched or changed since it was revealed to Mohamad.” This is also false or extremely misleading without qualification. There is one accepted Bible, the Canon of Scripture. Yes, there are minor differences among early manuscripts, but most differences lie in translational issues or the like due to human(inspired) authorship. You can read more here: http://www.bethinking.org/bible-jesus/the-historicity-of-the-new-testament.htm

      “Regarding one Quran, never touched or changed,” Most historical evidence refutes such a claim. It is well-known that at least four varieties exist and inspire unfailing conflict regarding the holiness of each. For readers looking for more: http://answering-islam.org/Quran/Text/index.html or http://answering-islam.org/Green/seven.htm

      Finally, you keep assuming Christianity and Islam to be “monotheistic.” There is much to say about this but I am rushed. I’m not certain such statements reflect accepted scholarly opinion. Many Islamic scholars conclude (falsely) that Christian belief in the Trinity is equivalent to polytheism.

      I do not believe that all of Islam is incompatible with peace, but I believe Christianity rightly worships the “Prince of peace,” Jesus Christ.

  5. That concluding sentence and the effect on non-Christians should make us weep. And there is no excuse for their ignorance of the original, ‘conservative,’ Christian position.
    http://www.amazon.com/Christian-Pacifism-Fruit-Narrow-ebook/dp/B005RIKH62/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1329238377&sr=8-1

    Re: …Both cause psychological harm to the one who signs a consent form or fires a weapon.” A dear Christian friend has a son who was just discharged after four tours in Iraq and Afganistan. The son is now an alcoholic who says that he has lost his faith.
    One of the most inspired pieces that I have read depicting the ‘witness’ of the churches is Mark Twain’s “War Prayer.” I included it in Oh Holy Night: The Peace of 1914, a wonderful story of the Christmas truce and a reflection on the curse of WWI. That inclusion seems to have made the book ‘anathema’ to most Christians who have read it.
    One of the saddest examples of which I read during the research on WWI were the letters of a young Christian American, raised by missionary parents, who left Ohio Weslyan to join in the war effort. His loving letters to his parents reveal a wonderful lad who, in his own words, went through hell and worse. When I talked to his daughter, she said that after the war, her father never again returned to church.

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