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Daniel

John,

Wonderful post. Sad to think i spent 4 years in a liberal Quaker meeting and knew nothing of our work in Vietnam. Thanks for the enlightenment.

JohnFH

The story of the AFSC Quang Ngai hospital is one of grace and sacrifice and faithfulness of the kind, paradoxically, that is shared by people under arms in the hell of war as well. It's Clint Eastwood material, if you get my drift.

Peter Kirk

According to the Apostle Paul, the "means of fulfilling the commandment to love one’s neighbor" is not just war but doing no harm to one's neighbour, Romans 13:10. So Doug is wrong and the Quakers are right.

JohnFH

I don't think it does Paul justice, Peter, to interpret Romans 12 as if it contradicted Romans 13.

If love of one's neighbor is not the justification for war, what is it? Or do you think war is supreme nonsense? Including the war to end all wars of the millennium? Your desire for consistency is admirable, but it is purchased at the cost of reducing the witness of the Bible to a hopeless morass of contradictions.

The Quakers are powerful witnesses to more than one great truth, but to affirm that does not necessarily mean that everyone is called to follow their example, any more than the Rechabites set an example to be followed by all.

James Pate

Yeah, the Quakers were anti-war, except for the one in the White House from 1969-1974. But, then again, he did help bring that war to a close.

JohnFH

As far as I know, Nixon, insofar as he was a liberal in one of the senses of the word I would not want to hold true for myself, saw pacifism as just one more of the quaint features of the religious heritage of his upbringing.

When it came to pacifism, I imagine he thought he was putting childish things behind him. But it's not that simple, and perhaps Nixon knew that, too.

James Pate

Yeah, that's probably true. He certainly had respect for his religious upbringing, since he once gave a moving speech about how the Quakers used to sit around in a circle in silence, trying to listen to God. He said that we should do more of that. But he probably did see the pacifism of his upbringing as naieve--certainly not something that would work in the real world.

Peter Kirk

John, I'm confused. Where have I suggested that Romans 12 contradicts Romans 13? Romans 13:10 teaches that Christians should do no harm to their neighbours, which means to anyone. Romans 12:17-21 teach that we should leave it to God to put right any wrongs which our neighbours commit. Nothing in these chapters tells Christians how to behave when they are in government, only how they should respond to governments which are presumed not to be Christian. Have I missed something here?

JohnFH

I think you have missed something. There's that bit in Romans 13 about the authorities being, ideally if not always actually, at the service of God. Political authority, insofar as it bears the sword, is a minister of God, "an avenger in wrath."

The words are strong and clear. Is it any wonder that Anabaptists have drawn the conclusion that as Christians they cannot and should not serve as magistrates, police officers, soldiers, or prime ministers?

But there is no indication in the text that Paul himself saw things the same way. Likewise, Jesus did not say to the Roman centurion, and if you really wish to follow me, you must give up being a soldier.

Outside of one's position in the police force, if that is what one does, it is still not easy to figure out how and in what contexts to apply to the rule of non-retaliation. But in one's position in the police force, it is necessary to retaliate. Why? Out of love for one's neighbor.

Stephen (aka Q)

War itself, if it has any justification at all, will be seen as a means of fulfilling the commandment to love one’s neighbor.

How very Orwellian of you. War is peace; hate is love; darkness is light; bitter is sweet.

If war has any justification, it is to protect the innocent against those of evil intent. Presumably, you meant something of the sort. But I find your way of putting it highly offensive — as if any soldier has a heart overflowing with love as he trains the sights on someone's head and pulls the trigger.

Whatever may be in the heart of a soldier as s/he kills, I'm sure it isn't love. If you're looking for a biblical word to justify violence, maybe "zeal" would fit the bill. I've mentioned that point here before.

JohnFH

Stephen, I'm not innovating here. See the post by Doug Chaplin I link to.

Perhaps you simply misunderstand me. The soldier who kills is not filled with love for the one he's killing, but for the one he's protecting, or avenging.

Peter Kirk

John, just found your response of 21st 03:57 PM. Still no contradiction between Romans 12 and 13. Chapters 12 and 13 both teach that Christians should not harm their neighbours. 12:19: they should leave it to God to avenge. 13:4: God sometimes uses governments to do that avenging.

Well, I can see why this causes some Christians to avoid being part of governments. But that argument only applies to roles which might involve the need to use violence e.g. being in the military (including its commander-in-chief), being a judge with the power of the death penalty or an executioner. The last two categories anyway do not apply in civilised countries like everywhere in Europe. Yes, some might object to any role in the police or justice system because this implies restraint and imprisonment by force, but I would not personally insist on this. But no problem at all for Christians to get involved in most areas of politics.

JohnFH

I don't understand your "in/out" rules for Christians, Peter.

It's not okay for a Christian to be a commander-in-chief of an army, but apparently it's okay to be a common soldier, or to be in Parliament and vote in favor of going to war (or not). It's not okay to impose the death penalty in consequence of a jury decision, but apparently it's okay for a Christian to be a policeman and kill someone in an armed standoff according to accepted rules of engagement.

Isn't there something faintly ridiculous about these attempts to wash one's hands of war and violence? If only it were that easy. The historic Anabaptist position is much more serious than your soft pacifism, Peter.

Peter Kirk

John, you misunderstand me. I am not trying to lay down firm rules. But the same applies to being a common soldier and to being commander-in-chief. It is OK to be a police officer in a force like ours which does not allow police to kill others - except for certain specially trained officers, and I would not expect Christians to take such a role. This position is totally consistent: a Christian should not take on any role which may involve killing or giving consent to killing. Perhaps you think I am inconsistent because you are thinking in terms of US police.

John, by your standards isn't there something faintly ridiculous about Jesus' teaching about loving your enemies and turning the other cheek? I would prefer, rather than vice versa, to be ridiculous in the world's sight (including in the sight of worldly Christians) and faithful to my Lord and Saviour.

JohnFH

Thanks, Peter, for keeping the conversation going. I know quite a few people who hold to your position.

You say:

a Christian should not take on any role which may involve killing or giving consent to killing.

But that would disbar Christians, not only from being specially trained police officers, but also from being police chiefs, mayors, parliamentarians, and common soldiers. It would also disbar Christians from being judges, for they may be called upon to sign orders to enter a building full of hostages and hostage-takers with the intent to kill the latter if necessary.

It sounds like a "let someone else do the dirty work, I'm too pure" position to me.

Have you ever advocated for your views in a public forum? Do you know of any Christian organizations that make the hair-splitting distinctions you make?

I find the historic Anabaptist position far more compelling. No to participation in the world's violence, period. The way to achieve that is to live apart, as the Mennonites, the Amish, and the Hutterites have historically done.

A Christian politics consistent with your position, would, I assume, push to see GB withdraw from NATO. Or are NATO commitments, which involve prior consent to killing in a host of situations, to approve of, so long as Christians are not asked to fulfill them?

My further claim is that you extend the range of application of Jesus' dictum about loving one's enemies beyond his intent. If that were his intent, I would have expected him to say to the Roman centurion, "and don't forget, if you want to avoid going to Hades, you must lay down your arms."

But he didn't say that, any more than Elisha told Naaman the Syrian general to relinquish his post.

This is a deeper, less other-worldly love of one's enemies than you allow for.

Peter Kirk

John, I cannot accept that the position which I am putting forward here, as a provisional one rather than something I am entirely fixed on, is in any way "hair-splitting". It is very clear, consistent and simple. In the UK it would not disqualify from being a mayor or a parliamentarian, although it would from being a police chief in charge of armed officers. I accept that there might be difficulties in being a judge with certain responsibilities, but I am far from sure that judges make such decisions in the UK.

Yes, if I were a politician at the national level I would push for withdrawal from NATO, in a gradual and orderly way. But I am not teaching that existing commitments should just be torn up or current soldiers should lay down their arms, for it is irresponsible (as I commented elsewhere re Rwanda and WWII) to leave a job half done.

Now I take your point that

It sounds like a "let someone else do the dirty work, I'm too pure" position to me.

As a Christian I would not want to shelter in the protection of violence maintained by others - although that position is mitigated by the fact that my taxes pay for armies and armed police whether I want them to or not. I would support any political campaign to reduce to a bare minimum this country's armed forces. I do accept the need for police but not ones permitted or equipped to use lethal force.

JohnFH

Peter,

There are a few people in European democracies, very few, who get elected on the premise that they will work to see their country withdraw from NATO. More often, both in western and eastern Europe, people get elected on the premise that they will work to see their country stay in, or join NATO. There are enormously valid historical reasons for the NATO friendly position, and I can't imagine that you are unaware of them.

But you are arguing from a very specific understanding of Jesus' teaching which is supposed to trump any and all of the supposed lessons of recent European history.

Over here, not even Dennis Kucinich, who just withdrew from the presidential race, took a withdraw-from-NATO position, at least not openly.

Present day NATO is a continuation of the alliance that fought in WWII and then again in the Cold War. I suppose it's possible that one might claim that NATO once served a purpose, but no longer does. But you can't claim that. You have to claim, based on your pacifism lite, that it was wrong for the Allies to fight back with lethal force against Germany and Japan. Or at least, that the fighting should have been left to non-Christians.

I consider that position irreponsible, and I urge you to rethink it. If that makes me a worldly Christian, so be it.

However, I do wish to safeguard the right of conscientious objectors to abstain from participation in war and, more generally, from acts of self-defense. This is a feature of the "just war" position, which I have been advocating, as it has evolved in the Judeo-Christian context. The protection of the right to conscientious objection is a tacit admission that war is always evil, and even if society as a whole believes, in a particular instance, that war/retaliation/revenge is less evil than the expected alternative of submission to a foreign power or powerlessness before an aggressor, the conscience of those who find it impossible to choose the lesser evil in order to avoid the greater should be respected.

But if I understand your argument, you are not asserting your right, based on religious scruples, to oppose NATO and NATO-like agreements, and to refuse to serve in the armed forces. You wish instead to claim that such positions follow inexorably from the teaching of Jesus, and any Christian who doesn't see that - like myself - disobeys their Lord and Master.

In that case, I urge you to keep the conversation going, because you might be right, and I want to be convinced if you are. I too would rather be faithful to my Lord and Savior than hold a position at odds with his teaching.

On another note, it's possible that in GB, judges are left out of decisions involving the use of lethal force when hostages are taken. If so, that's too bad. Presumably, however, it's not just the police chief and/or a special ops commander that signs off on the potential use of lethal force in crisis situations. Elected officials, or their appointees, must sign off on it as well.

By your lights, Christians should refrain from exercising such responsibilities. I repeat: if your approach to such matters were ever practiced, it would seem ridiculous in the eyes of non-Christians, and rightly so. What should be done, then? Should a Christian PM or public official recuse himself from certain responsibilities the fulfillment of which he regards as a legitimate task of the state (an "avenger" in fulfillment of God's wrath according to Romans 13), on the grounds that he is a Christian?

For your position to be as simple and consistent as you want it to be, I think you will discover that the historical Anabaptist position is more cogent than your current one.

You might also reflect on some of the reasons why soft pacifism is a notoriously malleable position. After all, after 9/11, which wasn't that long ago, a vast number of my friends here in the US - soft pacifists like you - all of a sudden became warmongers. The invasion of Afghanistan was seen by them as a necessity. They might sneer at Bush's language, or that of Rumsfeld; they might prefer to talk about a "police action," rather than a military enterprise. But of course, it was, and is, the latter.

I despise the word games of soft pacifists, and I think you should as well, for you are an accomplished linguist.

If the only difference between a soft pacifist and a hawk on the question of invading Afghanistan after 9/11 is that the former goes in with a gun in his holster he's ashamed of, saying, in a squeaky high French voice, "Quitte la ville," whereas the hawk goes in with pistol drawn, and says, as would John Wayne, "Get out of town," forgive me if I prefer to play the part of John Wayne.

As Luther would have said, when you must sin, pecca fortiter.

Peter Kirk

John, I do not take the position I do because it is popular, or because I want to get elected or have political power. I take it on principle. Is it suddenly irresponsible and morally reprehensible to have political principles? If even an ordained pastor is saying that politicians ought to take only positions which are likely to get him or her elected, no wonder US politics are in such a mess.

I have already written that it was not wrong for the Allies to fight WWII to sort out the mess they left behind after WWI. The same principle might justify the original formation of NATO, but not its continuing existence.

But I am glad that you are open to continued exploration of whether pacifism is implied by the teaching of Jesus.

As far as I remember from the recent debacle over the police shooting of an innocent Brazilian man in London, the only one who had to give permission for this was the police chief, who is appointed not elected. Of course he is responsible to the Prime Minister and Home Secretary. I accept that this would cause difficulties for any Christian in these positions, who to be consistent would have to proclaim a policy that lethal force would not be used in any crisis situation. Anyway I fail to see why such force is necessary in situations of crime and terrorism given the availability of stun technology like Tasers.

While I admit that I supported the post-9/11 action in Afghanistan at the time, my position has changed since then. I would not want to associate myself with your caricature soft pacifists. But you can't win an argument legitimately by painting caricatures.

JohnFH

Thank you, Peter, for your comments. I was reading over a conversation of yours with Jeremy Pierce on a thread on your blog, and was impressed by the thoughtfulness of everyone's comments.

You are staking out a position that not only represents a change of mind on your part, but which seems to have little foundation in the biblical witness, Christian tradition, or current sensibilities. Your position is impopular; you face an uphill battle; I don't think you are anywhere near convincing others of your new position. I get the sinking feeling that perhaps you are resigned to that, and that you are content to be a "voice crying in the wilderness."

I remain of the opinion that you would be better to embrace the historic Anabaptist positions completely. By the way, why don't you?

I realize that you and Tim Chesterton find it obvious that Christians must keep to Jesus' principles of non-resistance and non-retaliation, even if they are public servants, and that it is the task of Christians to get their countries out of international commitments, particularly those which contemplate the use of force.

I continue to think that such positions are wrong-headed. But since I can't imagine them finding more than a minimal following, my wisest course of action might be to ignore them altogether. But I won't, because soft pacifism in less extreme forms is indeed very popular, and only slightly less wrongheaded as far as I can see.

I don't wish to caricature your position, but I do wish to point out its weaknesses.

Peter Kirk

Well, if by "impopular" you mean "unpopular" rather than having some subtly different meaning from its Spanish roots, I accept that this is true of my position - although probably a lot less so in some countries than in yours. Anyway, I'm not sure how my position is all that different from the popular "soft" pacifism which you ridicule; note that I have accepted that some wars may be justified. But I am not taking on to myself the uphill battle of persuading others to take the same position, as I can see no real prospect of persuading a majority. I do not hold that "it is the task of Christians to get their countries out of international commitments". I hold that international commitments involving lethal force are wrong, but there are more important things for Christians to do than embark on hopeless campaigns to get out of them.

I don't take the historic Anabaptist position because I believe that Christians are called to interact with the society around them, and not to cut themselves off from the world. This involvement with society needs to include political action, but of a kind which avoids violence as far as possible and use of lethal force completely.

This position has "little foundation in the biblical witness" only for those who do not include the Sermon on the Mount and the rest of the teaching of Jesus in their canon. Perhaps those red letters in so many American Bibles are taken to mean that these words should be ignored.

Yes, my position has its weaknesses. So did Jesus' position, so much so that he was crucified. But God vindicated him. I believe that God will ultimately vindicate my position, not necessarily by making it prevail, but certainly by bringing about in his eternal kingdom the pacifist vision of Isaiah 2:4 and 11:6-9.

Truman 1

God shows such great love and compassion for an individual that been known to kill his own people. I think this shows that what God is really about and that he truly loves everyone even those that oppose him and do not follow him as their God. My question is how can God be so wise and continue to love someone in such a severe situation?

JohnFH

Hi Truman 1,

You might try to answer your own question. How do wisdom and love go together in your experience?

For example, the goal of a university education is acquire knowledge, a code of ethics, and a spirit of service. all at the same time. If one is a lawyer, for example. one of the most Godlike and painful things might be to defend a guilty person, perhaps even put him in a position to hurt someone again.

Your question is a genuine one. Power, knowledge, and doing what is right do not go together easily.

Truman 1

Truman 1,

Thanks John,

I like your example and think that your situation is a very possible one. I think that it must be like a parent of a child that has just done something wrong. Although the parent is very upset with their child they still would do anything to help them in that situation. This is what God did in this situation because we are all his children and he wanted to do whatever he could to help his child in need.

Praying with Lior 2

I have never understood war in some sense. Innocent lives are taken away, and then revenge is taken on those who first instigated the killing. In that process, more innocent lives, from both parties are taken away. I find the need for revenge to be a horrible thing. So many harmless bystanders get hurt in the process and when they get hurt, others get hurt because of it. It is a tumbleweed effect that I personally hate to see. At some point someone needs to try to be the bigger person so the harm that fires back and forth can come to an end. Unfortunately, this is way easier said than done.

Mitchell Powell

I don't really know what to say here. What you say, Mr. Hobbins, makes sense to me, but at the same time I fear that your approach puts a very pliable and massive moral power in the hands of governments, who, as we have seen repeatedly, are willing to lie and kill in vast quantities.

I don't hold out much hope for the application of a theory of warfare which places great emphasis on the motives of those carrying out the war.

The Anabaptist position looks quite strong to me. (I've attended a Mennonite church for a few months now, which of course might be culturally swaying me a bit.)

JohnFH

Hi Mitchell,

Call me John, please. Mr. Hobbins is my Dad or some such.

As for me, I don't have much hope period for an end to warfare without something like what Isa 2:2-5 envisioned coming to pass.

I concur that the Anabaptist position is strong. I think of it as an irreplaceable witness, like that of the Rechabites in Jeremiah's day:

http://ancienthebrewpoetry.typepad.com/ancient_hebrew_poetry/2007/09/jeremiah-35-an-.html

I also encourage you to read Rudy Wiebe's Peace Shall Destroy Many. My hope would be that you read it through, swallow very hard, and remain a Mennonite.

Mitchell Powell

Okay, then, John. I was trained from a young age never to open with first names when someone is older than me or in a position of higher authority.

I'm with you on Isaiah 2:2-5. I just have all too little idea what that would look like before the second coming, or judgment day, or however history as we know it ends. And now I'm picturing the angel of history and wondering if I'm just talking in circles. May God deliver us.

Your idea of an irreplaceable witness discomforts me. It sounds like saying that the Mennonites are wrong about violence, but you'd like me to continue holding the Mennonite position on it -- one which I've never held for more than twenty-four hours at a time, or without severe doubts. It sounds as if you hope that I won't be swayed into believing what you believe about war. That sort of thinking delights me for its honestness but frightens me for its seeming acquiescence to moral relativism.

I do love and have always loved the example of the Rechabites. My father taught me about them when I was very young, and their story has inspired me to do two things: 1) to choose the attitudes and behaviors of my parents over those of others when the two seem similarly plausible, and 2) to learn my traditions and the traditions of others and respect continuity.

Not that I've practiced the two always or even well, but they're part of the ideal I aspire to.

Thanks you as always for your thinking and feeling.

True Grit 2

War has no justification but war has always been around John do you know when the first actually war event in the bible was and why it happened? Some people may say that war is human nature but that doesn’t make sense to me when God wants us not to kill and to love your neighbors and enemies.

Mission 2

War, in my opinion, is an unfortunate and necessary evil. I do not like the idea of war even a little, but I think that it would be optimism to the point naivety to think that we can avoid wars.
It's even been shown for wars to exist outside of humankind in communities of other primates, as well. I think that war is something that is ingrained in our nature. I hope I'm wrong, though.

Nell 5

To me, like many other people have posted in the class, war is a confusing topic. I think it’s weird to think that in this country, that if someone were to murder another person, the murderer would be sent to jail. But, in the case of war, it is okay to murder innocent people. You can look at it two different ways, we are defending our country, but so are the people that we’re fighting against. There is no right or wrong when you look at it that way. Each opposing side is just defending their people. Some may be innocent, some may be not. War is something that will continue for years and years, possibly even forever.

Mitchell Powell

Oh! You folks with numbers after your names are students! Things make more sense now.

shawshank redemption 5


War does fulfill the commandment to love one’s neighbor by being there for other countries when they need our help in war. The current war is a prime example of this, we are in Iraq to help the people rebuild after the fall of Sadaam Hussein and protect them from people like Israeli snipers. At the same time, war goes against this commandment because we’re killing humans, i.e., our neighbors. We have murdering others and destroyed their cities. We came to help them, but we also damaged so much.
In terms of war, is it possible to love and help thy neighbor without hurting our other neighbors in some way? I don’t think so. I completely agree that war itself is a contradiction. We either kill to save or kill to get back at people for killing other innocent people who we sometimes know or just identify with because they didn’t deserve to die and/or we have ties with their country’s government.
The difference between revenge and love thy neighbor is a bit hard to explain. I feel that “love thy neighbor” includes not fighting with those around you and supporting and protecting one another. My idea of the revenge is doing something bad to someone else to get back at them for doing something bad to you or someone you care about. In a way, loving your neighbor does include revenge because you’re supposed to care for them and help them, so if something bad happened to them from the fault of another, it seems justified for you to help them get revenge or do it yourself. But is that what God really meant when he said love they neighbor, that if they were murdered, you should kill whoever did it? Doesn’t that contradict “thou shall not kill?”
I’m so sorry to hear about David. It’s so sad that the horrible act of the person who raped his sister eventually lead to his death. I’m not sure what I would’ve done in his place, but it is easy to see why the father did what he did. His precious daughter, who he probably still saw as his little girl no matter how old she was, was violated sexually and hurt physically and now scarred emotionally and mentally. He felt he had to cause the rapist as much pain as that man caused his daughter. I agree that something needed to be done, but putting the rapist in jail wouldn’t take away the pain, nothing ever could.
I can’t imagine the pain David felt, his sister having had been raped hurt enough, but then his father murdered the man who did it. I know David knew murder was wrong and he was probably very upset with his dad seeing as he would now go to prison, but I also know there was a part of David that felt his father’s acts were justifiable. The emotionally and mental agony he must’ve experienced is tremendous. I don’t know why they had to restrain him in the ER, but they should’ve pulled his file, that is inexcusable, especially since he had seen those therapists who know his medical history and would’ve made sure it was in his files.
When I was younger, my aunt Patti had heart problems and though she lived in Fond du Lac, her insurance only covered for her to go to Waupun for some reason. On Thanksgiving Day morning in 1995, Patti went to the doctor for a normal checkup. Though she felt at looked fine at the time, her blood pressure was ridiculously low for a person with her condition. She shouldn’t have even left the hospital, let alone drive home, but the nurses were eager to leave for the holiday and let her go. She didn’t feel too good after we ate and slept a lot. That night, she passed away in her sleep, her heart just stopped. This could’ve been avoided if those nurses had just kept her there and done whatever they had to do to help her.
Pattie was the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen and we were very close. The smell of pink “Bubble Tape” bubble gum reminds me of her so much, she chewed it all the time and always gave me some. I can’t lie, I feel a lot of anger towards those damn nurses. I don’t know if Pattie would still be alive today considering she did have heart problems, but she wouldn’t have died that day. There’s a part of me that wants to get revenge, but only by doing something like punching them in the face, which I would never actually do. The more realistic thing for me to do would be to tell them what I just told you and hope they feel pain in their hearts. Still, I would never do that. Yes, they did in a way contribute to the death of someone I loved so deeply and caused so much pain to my family that is still very prominent, losing Pattie ruined my uncle’s life. Still, in cases such as this, no matter how much pain people cause me, I can’t do it to them. Pattie already had problems and I know she wouldn’t want me to be vengeful. I respect her too much to ever do something she’d disapprove of.

shawshank1

referring to feelings many of you have on war. I think many people get confused about this topic because The 5th commandment says ,you shall not kill. This commandment teaches respect for life. As John brought up earlier in our religious studies class that the bible is not only a book of answers but a book of questions. The more I learn about the bible the more questions I have, but referring to the topic of war and obeying leaders,I have firm believes in this. I was once told that "killing in itself is a sin,but to kill so that others can live a safe life is to put yourself in harms way to help others."

Romans 13: 1-2 trumps it, obey your leaders as if unto God. God put those leaders over you so you must obey them. Thou shalt not kill is about one single person going out to kill someone not a whole PLT in the middle of a warzone, if you will remember God had the israelites kill a whole nation because of the worship of Baal, buring babies alive in sacrifice to their God.

praying with lior 10

Although it has been said several times already, I feel the need to say it once more. War is confusing, and a complete contradiction of the terms it tries to accomplish. God says to not only love thy neighbor as oneself, but also to forgive your enemies and those who do wrong. The human concept of revenge twists the meaning of ‘love thy neighbors as oneself’ into ‘bring justice to whoever hurts those you love.’ We consider this a noble deed, however when God refers to ‘thy neighbor’ we fail to see that our neighbors include those who do us wrong more often than those who we love.
@shawshank redemption 5,
I’m so sorry to hear about your aunt. I don’t quite know what I would do in a situation similar to yours or David’s. I know whatever happens is God’s will, but as a human I can’t help but wishing I could change things that I don’t like.

Shawshank Redemption 4

The story of David's life is certainly a hard life. I personally could never imagine having something so horrible happen to my sister and then have my father do something horrible also. I can't say that I disagree with his father's actions, but I feel like he could have handled them much better. With that said, I agree with the statement of, "In other cases, war is about avenging the death of innocent people". While war is very confusing, people need to realize that if people weren't out there doing it, then we would probably be in a lot more danger. Killing isn't right, but in certain cases it is almost necessary.

True Grit 1

This topic is one that is harder for to grasp and put into perspective. War is such a big, confusing thing to me. As for myself, I can only think a couple times when war was acceptable. Other than that, I’m definitely not for harming and hurting innocent people for a different benefit. In a way, this may almost be considered selfishness. A lesson I was taught the hard way (of course), is that it is unnecessary to do onto others what they have done to you. For example, take it back to the preschool playground when your friend throws sand in the sandbox and it gets into your eye. Clearly, throwing sand into their eye because they put you through pain would be the very wrong thing to do. It would be immature and inappropriate. Obviously comparing sand to bombs and soldiers is very, very different, but my main picture is pretty clear. Sometimes standing back from a situation may be the right thing to do. Especially when innocent people are involved and end up facing death.

The Mission 3

@True Grit 1

I truly enjoyed the comparison to the playground sandbox; and understand the point you are attempting to make. However I find it unrealistic to expect the world we live in to be absent of war at any moment. I believe that the best example of this would have to be WWII. Pearl Harbor showed that it was impossible to remove our country from the controversy overseas. 9/11 then showed us that War could find us, even when the United States wasn't looking for it.

At the same time the United States is forced to observe the wars of other countries and decide if they should intervene or not. In most cases I would consider the decision to intervene as just-full. To respond to violence with more violence seems to be the only true way to bring justice to some situations.

To insist that the United States should have avoided a violent response to events like Pearl Harbor and 9/11 could be considered preposterous. Instead it seems clear that the only solution be an immediate retaliation. As cold/harsh as it seems; I believe sometimes the best solution to getting sand thrown in your eye is throwing some right back.

The Truman Show 4

I wish it wasn't true, but I do have to agree with my fellow classmates: war is sometimes necessary. It's hard to say that killing innocent people is right and okay, because it's not. It's a very tricky thing, war. How would you go about telling someone, like David, that he cannot get back at the one who murdered his daughter? But also, how do you say it's okay?
Turning the other cheek does seem like the best option to everyone, but the person whose cheek would be "turned", so to speak.

Dead Man Walking 5

I agree with Shawshank Redemption 4, I believe that David had a very hard life and I think his fathers actions were wrong but i cannot say I would not want revenge. I think that war something that we all have to live with in our world today. Of course, in a perfect world there would be no war and everyone would live in peace, but in today's society we have to accept war because without it there would be innocent lives killed over and over again. I think that we must have war because it shows the enemy that their actions are wrong and they need to stop doing it. For example, in the case of Al Qaeda, if we would not have retaliated then, I believe, they would have kept bombing us and there would never be an end to the destruction. Instead of letting all this happen we went to war with them and it saved our country from the killings of innocent people. Overall i believe that war is a horrible thing, but will continue to happen because of the different beliefs and conflicts we, as humans, have today.

breaker morant 2

To go off of what Dead Man Walking 5 said, it is hard to restrict from wanting revenge against someone. When someone harms you or angers you in one way or another, most can't help but think, "how can i get them back?". It's a natural thought that consumes our mind. Was God the one who created the thought? Revenge only means one thing, something bad, so why would he create wrong doings??

Shawshank 2

I had a friend die this summer in Afghanistan, fighting for mine and everyone else’s freedom. My first thought honestly was “man what is going on, I wish we could just wipe the terrorist completely out, show no mercy.” But after I cooled off a bit I reminded myself that he did it for me and he would have had it no other way. One way I could comfort myself was reading the Bible and one verse that stuck with me is Romans 12:19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” I think of this verse often and it helps me in other situations when I really want to stick to someone but often refrain. Making peace in violent situation is not easy nor is always the first option. War doesn’t bring out the best in people but it certainly changes them. People that see day to day violence either become prone to it or hate it even more. The hardest thing for me to comprehend is what about soldiers, officers, people that would have to kill on a daily basis, how are they looked at by God? or are those people God’s wrath against evil? I don’t understand what the fine line is between human vengeance and God’s will.

The Mission 2

Breaker Morant 2, God didn't create anything wrong. "Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned." (Romans 5:12) This "one man" is a reference to Adam and when he ate from the forbidden tree in the Garden of Eden. Revenge is a natural thought because sin lives in all of us. No one on earth is perfect; therefore we have the immediate thought of revenge after a wrong is done to us. Next time something small scale happens to you try to stop yourself from retaliating and you'll find out how hard it is to do that; but that's exactly what God and the Bible want us to do. "Do not take revenge, my friends but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: 'It is mine to avenge; I will repay.'" (Romans 12:19) Because of sin it's hard to "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." (Matt 5:43) but again it is exactly what God wants us to do. God's revenge will come on Judgment Day. Until then there will be wars because revenge is something we can't avoid all the time.

Nell 5

I can relate to the ideas in this article. In the Summer of 2010, I lost one of my dear friends because someone decided to mess around with a gun. I would have been more understanding if I had not heard what he did after. I felt like getting revenge. However, I could not stoop to the levels of violence. Revenge is a natural instinct in all of us, but the search of justice, is far more natural to all of us in the current times. Some of us may not get that justice, or some of us may, but the point is that in the end, we have to let go of that feeling or need for revenge. The day we kill or injure in retalliation is the day that we become worse than the person or persons who started the trend of violence. Rise up....and be better.

The Mission 3

I also know the feeling of wanting to retaliate initially after something bad happens – whether it be minor or major.
A few summers ago, there was a triple murder by my house. Three teens were shot and killed and another one was shot and wounded. This event also traumatized the people they were with as they dodged bullets, themselves. Also, a few hours before the killings, the man raped a woman. At his trial, he said he had no remorse for what he had done and that it was “spilled milk”. He, of course, was convicted guilty and a lot of people wanted to see him get the death penalty, but I was raised to know that God is the only one that can take a life, so I knew that the death penalty wouldn’t be the correct thing to do in God’s eyes and I was happy to know that the man didn’t get the death penalty – not for his sake but because it was the right thing to do. Now he gets to rot in a prison cell for the rest of his life and think every day about why he ended up there. That’s what he deserves.

Chariots of Fire 2

I found a passage in the Bible in Romans 13:17-20 that I think relates very well. “Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” Everyone feels the need for a taste of revenge, but when is too far? By acting or participating in this revenge, a person is saying that the act committed towards them was okay. Isn’t Gods punishment for them good enough? At times it is a struggle to see what the right thing to do is. Should we really base everything off the motto “An eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth?” As God says in this passage we should leave vengeance to him, for he will make the sinner pay the price.

Dead Man Walking 6

I have not lived or fought in a war because I was born in Vietnam, an independent country. So, war is unnecessary in my mind and I personally dislike that all wars. But it seems to be a controversial topic in all countries around the world. In my understanding, wars happen because everyone just wants to show their power. It is hard to say there is either right or wrong in killing innocent people. Each opposing side is just defending their people. Some may be innocent, some may not be. People know every war has an ending; but how many people consider the effects of war for both sides? Probably they will think for their side and don’t really care for the opposing side. An example is the “Agent Orange” in Vietnam War. America dropped that chemical solution in Vietnam because they wanted to end the war. I always ask the question “Why did they have to do it that way in order to end the war?” That chemical did not kill Vietnamese soldiers right away, but had a huge effect on my generation and future generations. I saw a lot of real images about that on the news and radio. Babies were born without hands or feet, abnormal head shape or had a problem psychologically and emotionally. If God wants us to not kill and to love our neighbors and enemies, why does war still exists? I know it is easy to say but not easy to do. War will continue for years and years, possibly even forever.

TheTrumanShow1

I really liked what Chariots of Fire had to say on this topic, especially with finding the passage in Romans about revenge and war. To me I think wars are very unnecessary and should only be used as a last resort in order to restore peace to the world or a nation. However I believe that the whole concept of war is pathetic since it usually stems from just a leader on both fronts that escalates into the killings of many innocent men and women. The majority of the wars throughout all of history have occurred due to one government leader not liking another leader or something that they did. If people in the world had learned not too be so greedy, prideful and selfish there would be absolutely no reason to constantly fight each other day in and day out. That is why it is important to love each other no matter what your background or heritage is, and become more selfless so that the world can live in peace as a whole.

Dead Man Walking 5

War is one of the unavoidable things in the world, as unfortunate and evil as it is. I do not like the idea of war at all, although I believe it is a necessary to maintain society. War is just a natural thing that is unavoidable and very unfortunate.

The Mission 5

I can put myself in David’s fathers place and understand why he did what he did. As humans, the first thing that comes to mind when a loved one becomes a victim of violence, is to seek revenge because you are angry. But you must remember that revenge does not change what happened or make you feel better in the long run.

The Truman Show 5

War is a important part in a world society that governs itself based upon who has he biggest gun. The only reason that keeps nations from fighting is the idea of fighting.
I feel the idea of the war in Iraq being out of revenge is inaccurate. We were attacked by a foreign nation when our guard was down. The thought of revenge was on everyone's mind, it certainly helped fuel the war on Iraq.

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