ANSWERS: 41
  • First, we must correct an error. The Bible you use may say "Thou shalt not kill..." but in fact a more accurate translation of it is "Thou shalt not do murder..". It was a proscription against killing someone unrighteously, not to be confused with executing a criminal or killing someone in defense of self or another, or killing during war (with the assumption that it was a 'right' war). That being said, Christians join the military because they believe that their country needs to be defended, or other countries (or their citizens) need to be defended or for other reasons. When soldiers go to a place like Iraq, which was run by a murderous, evil dictator like Hussein, and kill his soldiers in order to set those people free they are doing so with a clean conscience.
  • Christians serve not just in the military, but also as police, prison guards and in other professions where deadly force is sometimes justifiable and required. Police and military forces serve as an arm of the government. The Bible says of the civil leader: he is "an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer," "he does not bear the sword for nothing." (Rom 13) I seriously doubt Paul intended (or his readers accepted) this as just a symbol of control rather than a literal instrument of death. In an apparent reference to assisting Roman soldiers (according to every commentary I have heard) Jesus said "if someone forces you to go a mile, go with him two miles." (Matt 5:41) Roman law allowed a soldier to conscript anyone in the empire to carry his pack/load for up to a mile. Jesus not only failed to condemn the practice, but instructs us to volunteer to do more. Jesus also submitted to pay taxes to Caesar/Rome knowing the money was used for military purposes opposed to the Jewish state. In one peculiar reference, Jesus actually told his followers "if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one." (Luke 22:36) In this passage Jesus and his disciples went out armed with his specific consent. Since they had two swords on hand, this may have been the norm. While some may write this example off as some kind of symbol, I don't see how one could take the position that Jesus never wanted his followers to defend themselves or serve as police or military. I have no quarrel with those who choose a life of pacifisim based on Biblical principles, but I do disagree with those who teach that you can not love, serve and follow Jesus and still be a police officer, soldier, military leader (etc.) or one who actively supports them. Serving in these ways is not the same as murder (though some in these positions have committed murder) and is not prohibited by the Ten Commandments. _____________ While "sword of my mouth" and "shield of faith" are obvious metaphors which can not be reasonably understood otherwise... "go buy a sword" is not. Clearly Jesus was not telling his disciples to arm themselves for ultimate war, but the point stands that they carried swords with Jesus knowledge and approval. You may declare it to be a symbol or something, but that does not change the fact that Jesus approved of (and said nothing against) the disciples carrying swords. The Bible does say that one who "lives by the sword" will die by the sword, but that phrase communicates to me a life built around violence, not a peacable person who carries out the orders of the civil authorities which may include measured application of violent and/or deadly force. Most police and military never take a human life in the line of duty (or outside it). Another post has correctly noted that the vast majority of Jewish and Christian scholars throughout history understand the command to be "do not murder" (murder is the intentional and unjust taking of human life) since the command can not mean "never kill anyone for any reason," which would clearly contradict other direction given by God in the Bible.
  • (Responce to scymitar72 added 8/1) I have always had a problem with pacifism. The idea that, if everyone would just lay down their weapons and treat each other with the respect that we all deserve, then everything would be so much better is quite seductive. However, in the real world it just does not work. As long as Satan is allowed to tempt mortals, there will always be those that will seek for power over their fellow men through whatever means is necessary. Such people will use deadly force to further their ends. If good people are unwilling to fight such people, if they are not also willing to use deadly force in defense against evil, then evil will enslave and murder them. A perfect example occurred in the early half of the last century. During the 1930's Hitler and his Nazis took over Germany. They then started breaking treaties and annexing lands held by other countries. They took back the Rhineland and said that that was all they wanted. The allies did nothing because they didn't want another war. Nazi Germany broke the Treaty of Versailles by rearming itself. Again the Allies did nothing. Germany invaded and annexed Austria. The Allies did nothing. Germany invaded and annexed the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia. The Allies did nothing. Germany invaded and annexed the rest of Czechoslovakia. The Allies did nothing. Each time they invaded a new country, Hitler said that that was all that he wanted and the allies took him at his word. Each time he broke his promises. Had the Allies simply continued with their pacifism, Hitler and his Nazi gangsters would have eventually taken over the entire world. The Holocaust would have been many times worse as the Nazis sought to eliminate all of the so called "mud races" as well as anyone who dared to speak out against what they were doing. Pacifism didn't stop the Nazi conquest. Only the combined military might of the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union stopped Nazi aggression. When God gave the commandment against killing (which as others have pointed out is really a commandment against committing murder), God also commanded that the penalty for murder should be death. God never intended for us to just passively allow evil men to do as they wished. He did intend for us to defend ourselves, our families, our freedom, and our religion from those who would try to take them away from us. It would be nice if we could reason with evil people and convince them all to repent. Unfortunately, until Satan is bound and cast out of this world, there will always be people that won't listen to reason. Until the Savior comes again to reign personally on this Earth, there will be people that will so wallow in evil that the only recourse that we will have is to use deadly force to stop them. *********************** scymitar72, I assume that you are specifically referring to how Jesus allowed himself to be condemned by the Jews and crucified by the Romans. The problem with using this example is that Jesus had to give His life in this way in order to complete the atonement. There were several other times previous to this event that His life had been threatened by his enemies. However, in each of those instances He escaped because His mortal ministry was not finished. He chose not to allow them to kill Him. Any where along the path to Golgotha, Jesus could have stopped what was happening. He chose not to because his mortal ministry was done and it was time to complete the work for which He came into the world. Therefore, this is really not a good example to use to say that God intended for there to be an absolute prohibition against killing (i.e. that we should allow evil people kill without having to worry about good people being willing to defend themselves with deadly force.) This also brings me back to my original answer. If God and intended that commandment to be absolute, then He would not have prescribed the death penalty for numerous crimes described in the Law of Moses. *********************** "Anonymous: Capitol punishment was prescribed because they had judges and prophets appointed by God to direct, as with war, not any more." Do you honestly think that all of the judges of Israel were also prophets? You need to got back and read the Old Testament again. They weren't. The prophet-judge was probably the exception to the rule. In the times with the Israelites were righteous, the majority of the judges were probably good men that were trying to do the best that they could to properly interpret the Law of Moses. However, during the numerous times that Israel fell into apostasy, this was most likely not the case. However, God, knowing that the Law would not always be administered by righteous men, still declared the death penalty to be appropriate for several crimes. So, I am sorry, but I don't think that your argument holds water. *********************** "Alatea: Murder is always evil. You manipulate to suit your belief system.You use God to do it." This from someone who in a number of places has declared her disagreement with the commandments concerning sexual morality. I am sorry, Alatea, but with all due respect, you are at least as guilty of manipulating the word of God as you accuse me of being.
  • In reference to my comment on David Hedrick's answer, King David was in fact a murderer, but not on the battlefield. David was guilty of murdering Uriah the Hittite to gain Baath Sheba for his wife. King David is given as an example of one blessed with military victories over the ungodly, just as Joshua and others. Do you think that Samual could say this if God considered wartime killing evil? 2 Samuel 22:33-44 God--my bulwark, my strength, And He maketh perfect my way; Making my feet like hinds, And on my high places causeth me to stand, Teaching my hands for battle, And brought down was a bow of brass by mine arms, And Thou givest to me the shield of Thy salvation, And Thy lowliness maketh me great. Thou enlargest my step under me, And mine ankles have not slidden. I pursue mine enemies and destroy them, And I turn not till they are consumed. And I consume them, and smite them, And they rise not, and fall under my feet. And Thou girdest me with strength for battle, Thou causest my withstanders to bow under me. And mine enemies--Thou givest to me the neck, Those hating me--and I cut them off. They look, and there is no saviour; Unto Jehovah, and He hath not answered them. And I beat them as dust of the earth, As mire of the streets I beat them small--I spread them out! And--Thou dost deliver me From the strivings of my people, Thou placest me for a head of nations; A people I have not known do serve me. Or how about this? Deuteronomy 7:2 And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them: For ripplenipple, Our High Priest says now that there will be those out to destroy us will use war to do so. He says that evil and the evil one will attack us. Sept 11 is a perfect example. We who are God's people in America, were attacked in a heinous and evil way, by evil men. We are now at war trying to prevent them from further attacks. Our High Priest now says that there comes a great battle, the real war to end all wars, the ultimate defeat of the evil one will happen some day. He says that governments shall wield the sword to punish the evil ones, or the ones who have reprobate minds, as our attackers on 9/11 did. He says when He comes back as King, He will lead the armies of God personally to destroy the beast. He says that the valley will be full of blood from the evil dead to the height of a horse's bridle. He says the birds shall feast on their bodies.He has much to say about war, and I believe every word. Yes David there are Christians in every country. Only America was attacked on 9/11. As I understand there were foreigners in the buildings too, and their families share our grief and our outrage at this incident. Since their relatives died in the collapsing buildings in the good ole USA, they were under our protection at the time, and it's our duty to wield the sword for them too. A duty that I am proud to say we did not shirk away from as some do. Dear God protect our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines. Please grant them swift victory according to your will. Amen. Again, Deuteronomy 7:2
  • This is an EXAMPLE of one person's struggle with this very question. Many thousands of people must struggle with this question every day, I chose this example to shed some light on how one christian man came to terms with this dilemma in favor of fighting. This may not be the "right" answer for everyone, as we all have different paths to walk in God's will. Alvin Cullum York (1887-1964) tried to avoid the draft for WWI under the claim of being a "Conscientious Objector" (that's someone who claims war is against their religious beliefs and therefore cannot participate). At first he had trouble reconciling the commandment of Thou Shall Not Kill and going to war. He was allowed to go home and think about this dilemma. After serious soul searching, he decided to retract his objection. He attributed his decision to Matthew 22:21 "...Then sayeth he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things which are God's." He actually became a great hero, in fact, he became the most decorated American in WWI. He said he decided to fight so that he might SAVE LIVES. "York rose to the rank of Corporal and, during the final offensive in the Meuse-Argonne region, found himself facing the German machine gun nest with 35 machine guns at Chatel-Chehery. Armed with a Springfield rifle and a Colt .45 automatic pistol, he pushed out alone ahead of his depleted squad and began sniping at the Germans as they stuck their heads out of the nest to aim. He then killed six Germans who were sent to flush him out, then positioned himself at the end of the German trench and began shooting them as they stood in line in the trench, prompting their surrender. (Not mentioned in the citation is that a total of 25 Germans were killed before the remaining 132 gave up the fight.) The highest-decorated American of World War I, York returned home with, in addition to the Medal of Honor, a promotion to Sergeant, the French Croix de Guerre and a gift of 400 acres of good farmland from the grateful people of Tennessee." You can read more at: http://www.voicenet.com/%7Elpadilla/york.html "In 1941, on the eve of the United States' entry into the Second World War, York consented to having his diary adapted to film, personally selecting Gary Cooper to portray him as a condition for the filming. The film would be universally acclaimed as one of the best film biographies of all time, earning an Oscar for Best Actor for Cooper and an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. It was a straightforward adaptation of the diary with very little Hollywood embellishment; the only embellishment which York acknowledged was that the film showed his born-again Christianity as due to being struck by lightning on his way to a confrontation with a rival, whereas it was actually simply his meeting his future wife and falling in love." It's a great movie and I highly recommend it!
  • They are in the military because they can "use" God to justify killing. Hitler did the same thing, using God as his justification. He too, believed he was acting in accordance with the will of the God. The German Christian Social movement remarkably resembles the Christian Right of today. Without the support of the Christian believing people he could not have committed such atrocities. Not unlike politicians of today he too used phrases like God Forbid, God have mercy, heaven will smile on us again. The whole thing is based on follow the leader. They do as they are told to do without thought for the murderous acts that they commit. Not all Christians follow the leader but many do as witnessed today with unjust wars. These are never labelled "Christian wars". When leaders claim God is on their side, the followers willingly do their bidding. Blind support of any leader is dangerous. Christian loyalty must first be to Christ and then to country. Not all Christians are reflected here but the question was why do Christians go to war where they may have to kill.
  • First of all, just because a person calls themselves a Christian, doesn't mean they are one. Jesus says in Mt. 7 that many will come to Him in the last day claiming to be His, only to be told they never knew Him, but few will find the path to life. Many will be liars or deceived, fakes. See Jn. 13:35 and Rom. 13:10, the way others can know we're Christ's followers is by a love for others that fulfils God's commands precisely because we don't harm them. See Mt. 5:39-48 and Rom. 12:17-21 to see what the Bible says about not harming others. And as Paul says in Rom. 3:8, it is never right to do evil, no matter what good may come of it. Once, God intervened in the affairs of mankind and used men to render His justice but now, with His Son being subjected to the world's violence, we see that the "kingdom of heaven suffereth violence and the violent take it by force." (Mt. 11:12) God wants us to be pacifists indeed, as when Peter tried to protect His Lord, Jesus said that all who take up the sword will perish by it (Mt. 26:52). This principle is repeated in Rev. 13:10 when it says that the faith and patience of the saints (pacifism?) which lead into captivity must go into captivity, and those that kill with the sword must be killed by the sword. To see examples of Christians following this principle, look at the anabaptists, who were tortured by the Catholic Church for some 1300 years before protestants even came about, and were slaughtered by thousands time and again, in the Inquisition as well, because they refused to fight back. To see modern-day examples of the persecution Christians who won't fight back go through, see http://www.persecution.com Ultimately, how any true Christian could claim the Bible and Jesus allow us to harm others under any circumstance... just baffles me.
  • Christians all over the world fight in wars because they are convinced that they are fighting on the side of righteousness, defending innocent people from oppressive governments, and suppressing evil empires. Though their motives are often good and they think they are serving God by killing their enemies, what about the situation where there are Christians on both sides of a conflict? How can each of them claim to be serving the same God? Is this what God wants from us? There are certainly many cases where God directed nations in wars, is it still the same today? Perhaps we should examine what the Bible says on the subject; after all, if we are Christians, shouldn�t we follow the teachings of Christ? When making decisions consider what the Bible says, �do not lean upon your own understanding� (Proverbs 3:5) or �follow the traditions of men.� (Mark 7:1-15) So what kind of advice can we find in the Bible on war? One example we might consider is that of King Saul and David. Saul had left Jehovah to serve other gods and Jehovah planned on replacing him with David as the anointed King of Israel. In a jealous rage Saul tried to kill David several times, and later while he was chasing David, Saul camped out along with 3000 soldiers. David snuck into the camp and approached the sleeping Saul. Someone with David asked if he could kill Saul but David said no. Instead he took the kings spear and water jug as proof to Saul that he had opportunity to kill him, but spared his life. This actually happened again when Saul was sleeping in a cave, and David again spared him. What about the fight with Goliath? Didn�t David kill Goliath? Both Saul and David also fought many battles against neighboring countries, and were glorified for their many victories. They were certainly not condemned for their killing in battle. What can we learn from these accounts, and is the situation the same today? In the case of Saul, David said that he was the anointed of Jehovah, and there was no way he could raise his hand against him, even though Saul was not a faithful servant, whereas Goliath was openly defiant, and mocked God and Gods chosen people. But couldn�t this be true of people today? In Davids day Gods followers were mostly in one nation, descendants of Israel, His chosen people who were to be a nation of priests and prophets, it would be very easy to identify those who follow God, by their language, appearance, where they live and the name of their God, since in those times people actually called their gods by name. Is it the same now? The Bible tells us that now salvation is available to all people, Jews and Gentiles alike, and that there will be anointed followers of God in every tribe, national group and language group, so if we were to fight an army from another nation it could have �anointed� people, like Saul. We could unknowingly kill another faithful servant of Jehovah, just because of where they were born. There is yet another difference which applies to both of these cases, making it unlike our situation today. In the days of Saul and David there were prophets appointed by God to tell people when they should go to war, or when they should not. Do we still have these prophets and priests to tell us when to fight? You may recall a prophecy saying that God would establish a kingdom that would last forever, and that the kingship would never be passed on to another. This is applied to Jesus� appointment as King and High Priest, seated at the right hand of God and able to approach Him on our behalf. He will never be replaced or pass on his throne to an heir, but because he will live forever and is perfect he will rule until time indefinite. He perfected the law, and so we need no other prophet to clarify a point of law, but only to listen to the teachings of Christ, because he always does the will of the one that sent him. And where can we find out his teachings? We were given his instructions in the witness given aabolut him by the earlier prophets, and his disciples, they left the Bible to tell us what the message from God was. Even if an angel comes teaching things other than those written in the Bible we are not to follow him, but that one is accursed. So let�s have a look at the teachings and examples of Jesus, and see if the laws regarding war changed after he came. How did Jesus defend himself when he was attacked? When Jesus was taken prisoner one of his followers drew a sword and struck the slave of the high priest, cutting off his ear. All would agree that there is no greater purpose than to try to save an innocent man who is to be unjustly tortured and executed without a fair trial. Remember that this is also the son of God, who has raised the dead and healed everyone who came to him. What higher purpose could be served than defending this man? Was the apostles action justified to protect an innocent man? The Bible says Jesus rebuked his disciple and ordered him to lay down his arms, saying �Return your sword to its place, for all those who take the sword will perish by the sword.� (Matthew 26:52) Some may say that this is a special circumstance and does not mean we should not bear arms, because Jesus willingly gave himself up so that the prophecies about him could be fulfilled. So we should examine some more scriptures to make sure we have an accurate understanding of them. Later Paul wrote �For though we walk in the flesh, we do not wage warfare according to [what we are in the] flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but powerful by God for overturning strongly entrenched things.� (2 Corinthians 10:3-4) This is further supported by Jesus' statement found at Luke 6:27, 28, �But I say to you who are listening, Continue to love your enemies, to do good to those hating you, to bless those cursing you, to pray for those who are insulting you. To him that strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also�� This command from the son of God goes much further than not just joining an army, or killing our enemies; we are to actually love our enemies! "Therefore repent. If you do not, I am coming to you quickly, and I will war with them with the long sword of my mouth." This statement makes it quite clear that while the apostles were to bear swords, they were symbolic or metaphorical. When the nation of Israel conquered a nation it was because Jehovah had taken judgment on that nation and decided it had to be destroyed because of their wickedness. There were also times when Jehovah exercised great mercy. When He decided that a nation was bad and must be destroyed he did not hesitate in providing justice, but sometimes there were a few people in that nation that were good. When this happened God delivered those people free of any harm. Consider the case of Lot and his wife, fleeing from Sodom. Lot questioned Jehovah, asking if he would destroy the righteous along with the wicked. In response God told Lot that if he could find seventy good men He would spare the entire city. Lot asked again and again, each time with a lower number, until finally God said if there were seven good men He would spare the entire city. But none could be found, and the city was destroyed. But escape was found for Lot and his family! How is this different from wars now? Righteous men are killed along with the wicked. Often wicked men are spared for political or economic reasons. Battles are fought for monetary gain and power, not for justice. Just who is leading the wars that are fought now, though? The Bible says �We know we originate with God, but the whole world is lying in the [power of the] wicked one.� (1 John 5:18-19) That�s right, Satan, the Devil, is ruling over the world right now! It is him directing warfare, so no matter what side of a battle you are on, you are fighting for Satan! And don�t be fooled by talk of righteous warfare, justice or self-defense, the devil is a very deceptive person and will play on your emotions, making you believe that you are actually fighting on the side of God, for justice, freedom and righteousness. It is for good reason the Bible warns us in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 �For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself keeps transforming himself into an angel of light. It is therefore nothing great if his ministers also keep transforming themselves into ministers of righteousness. But their end shall be according to their works.� You will certainly make mention of Hitler and Nazi Germany, the atrocities that occurred there and the need for our intervention. But did you consider the fact that the majority of the Germans were Orthodox Christians! The Lutheran and Catholic churches were the major religious groups of that time in Germany. A prewar census indicates that of the 24 million inhabitants, 23.5 million claimed to be Christians. If, then, Christians were to follow the teachings of Christ then Hitler would not have an army to conquer with! The pope, bishops and cardinals all blessed the efforts of not only Hitler�s Nazi regime but also the armies of the British and French. This led to great confusion for the religious people of that time, since every army seemed to have Gods support. Sadly, Christians were killing Christians by the millions, all claiming to be servants of the same God! We should also examine the reasons for the start of the war (WW I) to maintain a balanced view of history. Was Germany an evil empire which had to be destroyed to maintain peace, or was it just another nation, like all the others, trying to maintain justice and freedom in the best way that they saw fit? In the World Book, Millennium edition, it says �World War One started in the Balkans. On June 28, 1914, Archduke Francis Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary and his wife were murdered in Sarajevo, Bosnia. Bosnia was an Austrian territory claimed by Serbia, a little Balkan country where the murder had been planned. Austria-Hungary decided to punish Serbia, and Germany promised to support these efforts. Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia on July 28, 1914. Russia prepared for war to support Serbia. Germany then declared war on Russia. After France called up its troops to support Russia, Germany went to war against France. In an effort to reach Paris quickly, German troops invaded neutral Belgium. Great Britain then declared war on Germany.� So Germany was defending Austria-Hungary from attackers who assassinated their leaders. They were trying to maintain justice, by supporting the efforts of the Austria-Hungary people to punish murderers. The Russian, French, British and eventually U.S.A. and Canada, Australia and others were all defending the rights of people so they could commit murder and assassinate leaders while they were not even at war! Granted, Germany was not a peaceful nation, their chancellor had been preparing for war for some time, in fact they were so well armed that they threatened to surpass England in the race for naval superiority, the largest navy of its time. So who is it that we should follow in such an international dispute? Only God is able to direct warfare justly, because He is examining the hearts of men and knows even their thoughts. He is also merciful and just, and wise beyond our understanding. How could we fight another nation when Jehovah�s followers are spread out over the whole earth, in every nation? Now, in the case of WW II, Hitler was certainly an evil man, devoted to the destruction of anyone who accurately followed the teachings of Christ, particularly those who refused to join the army. It is interesting to note that the Orthodox Church bore allegiance to Hitler, saluting him and declaring �Heil Hitler� (salvation comes from Hitler). They frequently publicly displayed their allegiance by shaking hands with him, saluting him, blessing his troops, allowing their members to join the army and when it was apparent that Hitler was murdering Jews and true Christians they raised no objection. In fact the present Pope was a member of a Nazi youth group. So you might wonder, if we are not to bear arms, how could we defend ourselves? The answer is quite simple, trust in Jehovah. He is certainly capable of delivering us from any harm. And we have a part to play too, of course. We must actively pursue peace, actually work hard to attain it, and we can do that by teaching others, loving even our enemies and giving them due respect, enough to actually listen to their accusations and work towards a solution. International Bible Students in Nazi Germany gave a fine example of how to conduct oursleves. Now known as Jehivahs Witnesses, they refused to join the army, refused to salute Hitler, declared world wide the atrocities that were occurring and openly defied this evil regime, all at the risk of imprisonment, torture and death. Just what did they do? They wrote pamphlets and held public meetings, explaining to people why they believed what they did, and tried to convince people to also remain neutral in the worlds conflicts. They met with German officials and openly declared their neutrality, explaining why they would not serve Germany, and also reassuring the worldly governments that they were not subversives or underground fighters working against them, but were no part of the nationalism, on either side, but served only one master, God. These Christians who refused to fight or swear loyalty to Hitler or the Third Reich were among the first to be persecuted and sent to concentration camps. You might think that because they were imprisoned that they lost, but even there they continued preaching, and some were baptized secretly in concentration camps. It was well known that they fared better than other prisoners, though they all endured the same treatment, the Witnesses remained hopeful because they enjoyed spiritual freedom. No amount of oppression could subdue their hope and love for God, or threaten to sway their neutrality in worldly conflicts. This shows us how God can bless us even in times of struggle and certain death. Many were killed for refusing to join the army, and very few caved in. For most of this group all they had to do to be released was to sign a document saying that they would renounce their faith, yet many remained in prisons for ten years or more. Did all of this affect their faith in God or stop their preaching work? Not at all! The production of literature and its distribution continued during this troubling time. Nothing that the SS or Gestapo could do could slow down or stop the good news of Gods kingdom. This is a sure sign of Gods support and blessing on the preaching work carried out by the Bible Students, showing a fulfillment of the Bible scripture at 2 Corinthians 4:7-12 �However, we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the power beyond what is normal may be God�s and not that out of ourselves. We are pressed in every way, but not cramped beyond movement; we are perplexed, but not absolutely with no way out; we are persecuted, but not left in the lurch; we are thrown down, but not destroyed. Always we endure everywhere in our body the death-dealing treatment given to Jesus, that the life of Jesus may also be made manifest in our body. For we who live are ever being brought face to face with death for Jesus� sake, that the life of Jesus may also be made manifest in our mortal flesh. Consequently death is at work in us, but life in you. . .� We can be sure that God will provide the same protection for us; He will let nothing interfere with the fulfillment of His word, namely the good news of the kingdom being preached in all the inhabited earth. (Matthew 24:14) �And this good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.� Even in the face of death we can have the hope that there is a resurrection, which is why the bible tells us at Matthew 10:28 ��do not become fearful of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; but rather be in fear of him that can destroy both soul and body�.� Even if we die in service to Jehovah we can be sure there will be a reward for our service. (Revelation 14:13) And I heard a voice out of heaven say: �Write: Happy are the dead who die in union with [the] Lord from this time onward. Yes, says the spirit, let them rest from their labors, for the things they did go right with them.� (Hebrews 6:10) For God is not unrighteous so as to forget your work and the love you showed for his name, in that you have ministered to the holy ones and continue ministering. . .� So what can Christians do to prevent wars? For one thing, we should not join the armed forces. In the example of Nazi Germany, where the majority of people were Christians, if Christians refused to join the army there would be no effective army as it would lack man-power. The same would have been true in Britain, France, Canada, The United States of America, and Australia. But what if the country assembling an army is of a different religion? By maintaining our neutrality in politics we can avoid being targeted. By being peaceable, loving both our friends and our enemies we can stop aggression. By being involved in the preaching work we can educate people and prevent racism and nationalism and other forms of ignorance and pride that divide people and nations. And what if an army rose up against us anyways? We must trust in God, that he will provide means of escape, by giving us strength to endure spiritually until the end, after which we will be resurrected to live in paradise forever. We can look forward to a time when there will be no more wars! (Micah 4:1-4) �And it must occur in the final part of the days [that] the mountain of the house of Jehovah will become firmly established above the top of the mountains, and it will certainly be lifted up above the hills; and to it peoples must stream. And many nations will certainly go and say: �Come, you people, and let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will instruct us about his ways, and we will walk in his paths. For out of Zion law will go forth, and the word of Jehovah out of Jerusalem. And he will certainly render judgment among many peoples, and set matters straight respecting mighty nations far away. And they will have to beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning shears. They will not lift up sword, nation against nation, neither will they learn war anymore. 4 And they will actually sit, each one under his vine and under his fig tree, and there will be no one making [them] tremble; for the very mouth of Jehovah of armies has spoken [it].� Some might comment that we will be enslaved by wicked people if we refuse to act in our own defense, do they think that God is incapable of protecting us?(Revelation 2:10-11) "Do not be afraid of the things you are about to suffer. Look! The Devil will keep on throwing some of you into prison that you may be fully put to the test, and that you may have tribulation ten days. Prove yourself faithful even to death, and I will give you the crown of life. Let the one who has an ear hear what the spirit says to the congregations: He that conquers will by no means be harmed by the second death.�(Matthew 10:28) 'And do not become fearful of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; but rather be in fear of him that can destroy both soul and body in Ge�hen´na. . .' ------------------------------------------------------------ Others have quoted bible verses which seem to support their belief that we should engage in warfare, specifically Rom. 13:4. This is an interesting point and requires some consideration. To be clear, this quote is referring to a Christians obligation to be subject to the world governments, not defying their authority which has been established by God. Some things to consider about this: Why did God give them authority? Because Satan and mankind rebelled against Gods rulership, saying we can decide for ourselves what is right or wrong. Instead of just killing us, because He loves us, he allowed us the opportunity to govern ourselves and see what the world would be like without His intervention. So if we defy the world governments we are not giving them an opportunity to try out their leadership, they could on judgment day say that they never had opportunity to prove their case, God being a lover of justice will not allow that to happen but has granted them authority over the earth. Here is the text in question: (Romans 13:1-10) Let every soul be in subjection to the superior authorities, for there is no authority except by God; the existing authorities stand placed in their relative positions by God. Therefore he who opposes the authority has taken a stand against the arrangement of God; those who have taken a stand against it will receive judgment to themselves. For those ruling are an object of fear, not to the good deed, but to the bad. Do you, then, want to have no fear of the authority? Keep doing good, and you will have praise from it; for it is God�s minister to you for your good. But if you are doing what is bad, be in fear: for it is not without purpose that it bears the sword; for it is God�s minister, an avenger to express wrath upon the one practicing what is bad. There is therefore compelling reason for you people to be in subjection, not only on account of that wrath but also on account of [YOUR] conscience. For that is why you are also paying taxes; for they are God�s public servants constantly serving this very purpose. Render to all their dues, to him who [calls for] the tax, the tax; to him who [calls for] the tribute, the tribute; to him who [calls for] fear, such fear; to him who [calls for] honor, such honor. Do not you people be owing anybody a single thing, except to love one another; for he that loves his fellowman has fulfilled [the] law. For the [law code], �You must not commit adultery, You must not murder, You must not steal, You must not covet,� and whatever other commandment there is, is summed up in this word, namely, �You must love your neighbor as yourself.� Love does not work evil to one�s neighbor; therefore love is the law�s fulfillment. . . Note later in the text it says you should not murder, and to love your neighbour. Is fighting in a war showing love for your neighbour? It also says that we should not be in fear of them if we are doing good, only if we are doing what is bad. Is refusing to kill someone else a bad thing? Now, as to us following them into a path we think is unrighteous, such as war, the Bible commands us that we must obey God, not the earthly governments. For example, pornography is allowed in many lands, as is prostitution in others, yet Christians the world over should avoid these things because they know it is unlawful by Gods standards, even if it is not so by mens laws. In Romans 13:4 they are in fact referring to tax collectors, judges, police and other officials. The emphasis is on doing only what is good, and having respect for authority is an example of these good things. The sword referred to is symbolic, a representation of their power over us. "Therefore repent. If you do not, I am coming to you quickly, and I will war with them with the long sword of my mouth." If the world governments are given authority over the earth is it for no reason that the Bible also says "The whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one�, and while we must give them the respect due their position, their authority does not supercede Gods, and it is God we must obey as ruler, not men. (Luke 22:35-38) . . .He also said to them: �When I sent you forth without purse and food pouch and sandals, you did not want for anything, did you?� They said: �No!� Then he said to them: �But now let the one that has a purse take it up, likewise also a food pouch; and let the one having no sword sell his outer garment and buy one. For I tell you that this which is written must be accomplished in me, namely, �And he was reckoned with lawless ones.� For that which concerns me is having an accomplishment.� Then they said: �Lord, look! Here are two swords.� He said to them: �It is enough.� So they said �here are two swords� and Jesus said �it is enough�. Does that mean with those two swords they would go and conquer all of the nations? What did he mean it is enough? Is it possible it has a symbolic meaning? After all it seems unlikely that these disciples could defeat the world with two swords. What is it they are being sent out to do? Is it not the same thing they have been doing while following Jesus? So what was that? Did they kill their neighbors? Did they fight in wars? Did they kill wicked people? Or were they involved in the preaching of the good news, forgiving people, healing them? Taking up their food pouch, purse and sword is a metaphorical description of how the ministry work would change. It indicated that the end was near and there should be a sense of urgency. There would be no rest or relaxing at home, but they would go out and not return home for a long time, thus requiring their food and money, and endurance, to put off every weight and run the race with endurance, taking only the required weapons, not of steel, but as stated in Ephesians 6:17 ��the sword of the spirit, that is, God�s word. . .� What about self defense? The bible does allow for the killing of a man in self defense, and there is no blood guilt for the killer. Doesn�t this apply to warfare also? Well, actually the biblical understanding of self defense is a lot different from that which we know today. In the US, for example, it is lawful to kill a man if he enters your home or you feel threatened. Is it the same in the Bible? No. The bible says you may kill in self defense if a robber enters your home at night, while you are sleeping, and startles you. The main point being that you are not fully aware, not fully conscious, not in full possession of your reasoning faculties, and react on instinct, not a premeditated assault, but an accident. If, on the other hand, you are robbed in the day time, while you are awake and conscious, if you kill a man in �self defense�, as many understand the term today, you would in fact be guilty of murder as described in the bible, and would incur blood guilt and be responsible for that persons loss of life. Applied now to warfare, it is particularly difficult to plan and prepare for a war in your sleep, and to fight it totally unaware of your actions, by instinct. Our best defense is to do the will of God. He is teaching us to benefit ourselves. If He tells us not to go to war He will surely provide protection for us. And if we are killed, what of it? Do you believe in God but do not believe He has the ability to bring us back in the resurrection? Would it not be better to die in union with the lord by not taking up the sword, and live forever in paradise, than to prolong your life by just a little while by killing, but miss out on eternal life? Many think that their warfare is justified, because their side is righteous, there is a website dedicated to reporting both sides of every conflict so people can have a balanced view of world events without the influence of nationalism, found here: http://www.thenausea.com/elements/usa/iraq2005/january/tigris.htm
  • Christians join the army because they think that they are serving God, that the people they fight are evil and wicked, and it is Gods will that they are to be destroyed. They believe that they worship God in an acceptable way. But, does the Bible agree? Are these christians in the army really serving God, or are they members of a "pseudochristian" denomination, which does not really follow the Bible commands, but just pays lip service to Christ? Is everyone saying "Lord, Lord, did we not prophecy in your name" etc, a follower of Christ, and acceptable to him? The following article covers some subjects concerning whether everyones worship is acceptable to God. "‘All religions are good,’ many people say. ‘They are simply different roads leading to the same place.’ If this were true, your religion would not really matter, for it would mean that all religions are acceptable to God. But are they? When Jesus Christ walked the earth, there was a religious group known as the Pharisees. They had built up a system of worship and believed it had God’s approval. Yet, at the same time, the Pharisees were trying to kill Jesus! So Jesus told them: “You do the works of your father.” In answer they said: “We have one Father, God.”—John 8:41. Was God really their father? Did God accept their form of religion? Not at all! Even though the Pharisees had the Scriptures and thought they were following them, they had been misled by the Devil. And Jesus told them so, saying: “You are from your father the Devil, and you wish to do the desires of your father. That one was a manslayer when he began, and he did not stand fast in the truth, . . . he is a liar and the father of the lie.”—John 8:44. Clearly, the religion of the Pharisees was false. It served the interests of the Devil, not God. So rather than viewing their religion as good, Jesus condemned it. He said to those religious Pharisees: “You shut up the kingdom of the heavens before men; for you yourselves do not go in, neither do you permit those on their way in to go in.” (Matthew 23:13) Because of their false worship, Jesus called those Pharisees hypocrites and poisonous snakes. Because of their bad course, he said that they were on the way to destruction.—Matthew 23:25-33. So Jesus Christ did not teach that all religions are simply different roads leading to the same place of salvation. In his famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said: “Go in through the narrow gate; because broad and spacious is the road leading off into destruction, and many are the ones going in through it; whereas narrow is the gate and cramped the road leading off into life, and few are the ones finding it.” (Matthew 7:13, 14) Because they fail to worship God in the right way, most persons are on the road to destruction. Only a few are on the road leading to life. A look at the way God dealt with the nation of Israel makes it clear how important it is to worship God in the way that he approves. God warned the Israelites to keep away from the false religion of the nations round about them. (Deuteronomy 7:25) Those people sacrificed their children to their gods, and they engaged in unclean sex practices, including homosexuality. (Leviticus 18:20-30) God commanded the Israelites to avoid these practices. When they disobeyed and worshiped other gods, he punished them. (Joshua 24:20; Isaiah 63:10) So their religion really did matter. FALSE RELIGION TODAY? What about the hundreds of religions today? Probably you agree that many things done in the name of religion are not approved by God. During the recent world wars, which millions of persons now living survived, the religions on both sides encouraged their people to kill. “Kill Germans—do kill them,” said the bishop of London. And, on the other side, the archbishop of Cologne told Germans: “We command you in the name of God, to fight to the last drop of your blood for the honor and glory of the country.” So Catholics killed Catholics with the approval of their religious leaders, and Protestants did the same. Clergyman Harry Emerson Fosdick admitted: “Even in our churches we have put the battle flags . . . With one corner of our mouth we have praised the Prince of Peace and with the other we have glorified war.” How do you think God feels about a religion that claims to do his will but glorifies war? Because of the crimes committed in the name of God by the members of many different religions throughout history, millions of persons today have turned away from God and Christ. They blame God for the terrible religious wars, such as those between Catholics and Muslims called the Crusades, the wars between Muslims and Hindus, and the wars between Catholics and Protestants. They point to the murder of Jews in the name of Christ, and the cruel Catholic inquisitions. Yet, even though the religious leaders responsible for such horrible crimes claimed God as their Father, were they not just as much children of the Devil as were the Pharisees whom Jesus condemned? Since Satan is the god of this world, should we not expect that he also controls the religions practiced by people of the world?—2 Corinthians 4:4; Revelation 12:9. No doubt there are many things done in the name of religion today that you do not think are right. Often you may hear about people who have very immoral ways of life, but who are respectable members of churches. You may even know about religious leaders who have a very bad way of life, but who are still accepted as good religious leaders in their churches. Some religious leaders have said that homosexuality and having sex relations without being married are not wrong. But you may know that the Bible does not say that. In fact, God had his people of Israel punished with death because they practiced such things. For the same reason he destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. (Jude 7) Soon he will do the same to all modern-day false religion. In the Bible, such religion is represented as a prostitute because of its immoral relations with the “kings of the earth.”—Revelation 17:1, 2, 16. WORSHIP THAT GOD APPROVES 11 Since God does not approve of all religions, we need to ask: ‘Am I worshiping God in the way that he approves?’ How can we know if we are? It is not any man, but God, who is the judge of what is true worship. So if our worship is to be acceptable to God, it must be firmly rooted in God’s Word of truth, the Bible. We should feel the same way as the Bible writer who said: “Let God be found true, though every man be found a liar.”—Romans 3:3, 4. 12 The first-century Pharisees did not feel that way. They set up their own beliefs and traditions and followed these rather than God’s Word. With what result? Jesus told them: “You have made the word of God invalid because of your tradition. You hypocrites, Isaiah aptly prophesied about you, when he said, ‘This people honors me with their lips, yet their heart is far removed from me. It is in vain that they keep worshiping me, because they teach commands of men as doctrines.’” (Matthew 15:1-9; Isaiah 29:13) So if we want God’s approval, it is necessary that we make sure that what we believe is in agreement with the teachings of the Bible. 13 It is not enough for us to say we believe in Christ and then do what we think is right. It is absolutely necessary that we find out what God’s will is on the matter. Jesus showed this in his Sermon on the Mount when he said: “Not everyone saying to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of the heavens, but the one doing the will of my Father who is in the heavens will.”—Matthew 7:21. 14 We could even be doing what we believe to be “good deeds,” and be doing these in the name of Christ. Yet all of these would be of no value if we failed to do God’s will. We would be in the position of the ones Christ next mentions: “Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and expel demons in your name, and perform many powerful works in your name?’ And yet then I will confess to them: I never knew you! Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness.” (Matthew 7:22, 23) Yes, we can be doing things that we think are good—and for which other humans may thank us and even praise us—but if we fail to do what God says is right we will be regarded by Jesus Christ as “workers of lawlessness.” 15 Since many religions today are not doing God’s will, we cannot simply assume that the teachings of the religious organization we are associated with are in agreement with God’s Word. The mere fact that the Bible is used by a religion does not of itself prove that all the things it teaches and practices are in the Bible. It is important that we ourselves examine whether they are or not. Persons in the city of Beroea were commended because, after the Christian apostle Paul preached to them, they checked the Scriptures to make sure that the things he was telling them were true. (Acts 17:10, 11) The religion that is approved by God must agree in every way with the Bible; it will not accept certain parts of the Bible and reject other parts.—2 Timothy 3:16. SINCERITY ALONE NOT ENOUGH 16 But someone may ask: ‘If a person is sincere in his beliefs, won’t God approve of him even if his religion is wrong?’ Well, Jesus said he would not approve of “workers of lawlessness” even though they believed they were doing what was right. (Matthew 7:22, 23) So sincerity alone would not be approved by God either. Once Jesus told his followers: “The hour is coming when everyone that kills you will imagine he has rendered a sacred service to God.” (John 16:2) Such killers of Christians might sincerely believe that they were thereby serving God, but clearly they were not. God does not approve of what they did. 17 Before he became a Christian, the apostle Paul helped in the murder of Stephen. Later, he looked for ways to kill more Christians. (Acts 8:1; 9:1, 2) Paul explained: “To the point of excess I kept on persecuting the congregation of God and devastating it, and I was making greater progress in Judaism than many of my own age in my race, as I was far more zealous for the traditions of my fathers.” (Galatians 1:13, 14) Yes, Paul was sincere, but that did not make his religion right. 18 At the time, Paul was a member of the Jewish religious system, which had rejected Jesus Christ, and so it, in turn, was rejected by God. (Acts 2:36, 40; Proverbs 14:12) So to gain God’s approval Paul needed to change his religion. He also wrote of others who had “a zeal for God”—who were sincere but were not approved by God because their religion was not based on accurate knowledge of God’s purposes.—Romans 10:2, 3. 19 The truth will not allow for all the different kinds of religious doctrine in the world. For example, either humans have a soul that survives the death of the body or they do not. Either the earth will last forever or it will not. Either God will bring wickedness to an end or he will not. These and many other beliefs are either right or wrong. There cannot be two sets of truth when one does not agree with the other. One or the other is true, but not both. Sincerely believing something, and practicing that belief, will not make it right if it really is wrong. 20 How should you feel if proof is given that what you believe is wrong? For example, say that you were in a car, traveling for the first time to a certain place. You have a road map, but you have not taken time to check it carefully. Someone has told you the road to take. You trust him, sincerely believing that the way he has directed you is correct. But suppose it is not. What if someone points out the error? What if he, by referring to your own map, shows that you are on the wrong road? Would pride or stubbornness prevent you from admitting that you are on the wrong road? Well, then, if you learn from an examination of your Bible that you are traveling a wrong religious road, be willing to change. Avoid the broad road to destruction; get on the narrow road to life! DOING GOD’S WILL NECESSARY 21 It is important to know the truths of the Bible. Yet this knowledge is worthless if you do not worship God in truth. (John 4:24) Practicing the truth, doing God’s will, is what counts. “Faith without works is dead,” the Bible says. (James 2:26) To please God, then, your religion must not only be in full agreement with the Bible but also be applied in every activity of life. Therefore, if you learn that you are doing what God says is wrong, will you be willing to change?" How then, does this apply to the question of Christians in the army? It makes it clear that there are to be those christians who believe they follow christ, yet when they approach Jesus he will say he does not recognize them, that they are workers of lawlessness. The bible also says that men will kill you, and actually think that they are doing the will of God, yet these ones are actually doing the will of Satan, the devil, serving his purpose, to destroy faithful followers of God, distract them from serving God, and make them serve God in an unacceptable way, whatever works to seperate them from God. It is for good reason that the bible uses metaphors and figures of speech, hyperbole and picture stories. These are designed to actually hide the meaning of the bible from those who do not have a righteous inclination in their heart. Though they read and memorize the text, it does not bear fruit and does not take hold, rather they continue to follow their own hearts desire, turning away from the word of God. If a scripture can be translated in such a way as to mean you should "kill" "with the sword of your mouth", to expose false teachings and overturn doctrines which are false, or the same scripture can be interpreted literally to mean we should actually kill other people with "fleshly weapons", the one who interprets it to mean we should kill our neighbour only exposes their own heart condition, their lack of love for fellow men and lack of understanding of the basic principles of the bible, and though they quote word for word verse and scripture, the meaning never enters their heart, (2 Timothy 3:7) "always learning and yet never able to come to an accurate knowledge of truth" (2 Timothy 3:5) "having a form of godly devotion but proving false to its power." In fact he Bible says that we should love our enemies, that we should continue putting up with one another, that we should forgive people their trespasses against us, and we should turn the other cheek. Of course some will mention the wars fought by the Israelites, how they were approved by God. There is a major difference, though, those wars were directed by God through prophets. Since the coming of Christ there have been no more prophets, but he will reign as king and high priest forever, the kingdom he establishes will never be passed on to another heir. So all of the commanments from God are to come to us from Jesus, and what does he say? Where can we find his commandments and advice? Can we not find that in the New Testament? So, what wars were fought in the New Testament? What people were killed by Gods intervention, or by His order after Christs rule was established? What work did Christ do while he was here? Was it preparing for war? Training an army? In fact he did train an army, teaching them how to acquire power and be sure of success, but what weapons did he equip them with? (Ephesians 6:10-24) 10 Finally, go on acquiring power in [the] Lord and in the mightiness of his strength. 11 Put on the complete suit of armor from God that YOU may be able to stand firm against the machinations of the Devil; 12 because we have a wrestling, not against blood and flesh, but against the governments, against the authorities, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the wicked spirit forces in the heavenly places. 13 On this account take up the complete suit of armor from God, that YOU may be able to resist in the wicked day and, after YOU have done all things thoroughly, to stand firm. 14 Stand firm, therefore, with YOUR loins girded about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and with YOUR feet shod with the equipment of the good news of peace. 16 Above all things, take up the large shield of faith, with which YOU will be able to quench all the wicked one’s burning missiles. 17 Also, accept the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit, that is, God’s word, 18 while with every form of prayer and supplication YOU carry on prayer on every occasion in spirit. And to that end keep awake with all constancy and with supplication in behalf of all the holy ones, 19 also for me, that ability to speak may be given me with the opening of my mouth, with freeness of speech to make known the sacred secret of the good news, 20 for which I am acting as an ambassador in chains; that I may speak in connection with it with boldness as I ought to speak." Where in this command to go to war and prepare ourselves for war is there any phrase or sentence which can be interpreted to mean the weapons are anything but metaphorical? What sort of a christian would interpret this to mean we should kill, and not to teach, and to forgive, and to destroy false beliefs, not killing people? What does it say about their heartfelt desires? Is it love and peace, the fruitage of the spirit, the commands of God, which they love, or the devil who they follow, who is "misleading the entire earth" and becoming a "minister of righteousness" to decieve them into thinking they are serving God by killing?
  • The reasons people join the armies of the world are as varied as the people inhabiting the world, but some of the general reasons might be as simple as those that follow: 1) Blood lust, though it is probably a small percentage of all those in the military, there are certainly some who join for the reason that they have a desire to kill, and this is a legal way to do it, from the perspective of the world governments. 2) Recognition; A more common reason is the belief that a person can be glorified in war, by displaying their courage under fire and in the face of opposition, and be rewarded and recognized for their achievements, with medals and citations, promotions and desirable positions. 3) Obligatory Service; some are forced to join or face imprisonment and sanctions against them by their government agencies. 4) Acceptance or conformity, sociocultural pressures; It may be romanticized by family and friends, and an expectation is present that the individual should join the armed forces, and failure to do so could lead to a loss of respect and standing within the community and family. 5) Money; Many lands offer great monetary rewards for those who join the army, they could get free education and good pay, with highly specialized training to help them find easy placement in civilian life after their mandatory service is complete, and the armed forces provide steady and stable employment, with many rewards such as paid leave and transportation, meals and lodging provided as well as good pay. 6) Power, prestige; some are attracted by the possibility of advancement to the point where they might be placed in a position of authority, with the backing of law, imprisonment and even death for those who might disobey their orders. 7) Sense of "Duty"; It may be imparted to the young that it is their duty to defend their country, as repayment for the freedom they enjoy, and to preserve that freedom, they are told that if they do not fight others could take that freedom away. 8) Revenge; Some might be so enraged by an attack by another nation that they are compelled to bear arms and retaliate in like manner, killing those they think are responsible for their loss. 9) Nationalism; Some may feel that they must enforce their nations morality on neighboring nations, killing those who do not agree with their theology or philosophy, nationalistic views or political agendas, or support a type of government which has different ideologies than their own. 10) Sense of "justice" or "righteousness"; Within this group is the Christian who believes they are enforcing Gods righteous standards and destroying wicked men for the sake of Gods glory, and believe they are following the commands of God. 11) Rascism, tribal feuds; this group believe in the superiority of their own race or ethnic group, and relative inferiority of others. They typically commit genocide in civil wars as well as invasions of neighboring territories, where they selectively kill off not the entire population, but just certain groups within the nation, instead of assimilating them into their new expanded territory. 12)Greed; Some people have none of the notions described above, no romantic ideas about the righteousness of their standards or that of their government, a firm grasp on the equality of all people and nations and a cool head over issues of revenge, but just join to try and make their country or themselves top of the pile, the most prosperous and powerful, so they can have more money and luxuries. This type usually progresses through the ranks and attains power for themselves so they can reap the benefits of their conquests. They usually incite violence by inflaming rascism, nationalism, revenge and other motives, while not necessarily agreeing with any of these points, just using them to rouse others to support them. There are many more reasons which could be included, but this covers many of the basics, each of these aspects could be expanded to fill volumes of psycho-analysis, and examples of different battles and wars, acts of genocide and hatred, but for the most part people are not led by just one of these pressures, but by different combinations of many of them, an eclectic view is required or humanistic approach. Each army is comprised of individuals from every group, and it is a very personal choice whether one joins an army or not. Many of those who do join can not satisfactorily explain the reasons why they did, and some don't fully understand the different influences and pressures which led them to their decision.
  • Here is an example of one who struggled with this very question. After serving 11 years as a volunteer search and rescue technician and geurilla warfare technician, recieving a special service award for his decade of volunteer service, one man quit the armed forces due to his conscience and reasoning from the bible, deciding that the bibles command to not kill included also our enemies, and any position which supported war efforts or those killing their fellow man was contrary to Gods law, not to kill. He went on to become loved and respected by his neighbors and coworkers, and everyone who met him, a peacable and loving man, the type of man all ones with righteous inclinations endeavour to become like. His medals and citations are in the form of the love and trust placed in him by his fellow man for his attempt to follow in Christs footsteps. His crowning achievement and most heroic act was not when he jumped into a river to pull a man to safety, risking his own life, but when a drunk man tried to pick a fight with him over and over again, speaking abusively and threateningly, he refused to participate, but told the man to go ahead and beat him up, he would not fight back, even though he is over 260 pounds and very athletic, and could easily overpower his adversary due to, not only his size, but also the training in Kenpo Karate, Judo and wrestling, really an unfair match. I'm sure that guy will never forget that act of love and forgiveness, nor any of the bystanders, the crying and hug and decalaration that "I love you" from the agressor was the highest medal any man can be awarded, it is far more memorable than the number of those killed by a man in battle, or the colour of his medals, and much more indicative of how we should act towards each other. Sappy, perhaps, but true. An important point concerning this answer and the other example of a "war hero" who had previously been a conscientious objector, it is not the individual who decides what is right and wrong, it is God who sets the standard of righteousness, it is His place alone to decide what is acceptable for all of creation and it is His judge which is appointed to sit in judgement over man and decide if they acted in righteousness or if they are wicked. This war hero will not sit on the throne on judgement day, nor will the man who quit the army, they are both imperfect and incapable of deciding for us what is the appropriate course of action. To find out what is right we must examine the word of God, the Bible, and fully understand ALL of the scriptures and how they should be applied. We can not be driven about by every wind of influence, as a ship without a rudder, following the war hero because he made this choice, following someone else because they made that choice. We must decide for ourselves, for it is our choice, we will be judged on account of our own actions and choices. When judgement day comes will you say, it's the sarges fault, he said to join the army. Isn't that what Adam said? "The woman made me do it". Was he spared judgement? what did the woman do? She said "the serpent made me do it", was she spared judgement? No. Each one is judged according to his own deeds. If you are misled it is because you did not love the truth enough to find out what it was.
  • "We who are God's people in America...", There are more countries in the world than America. America does not rule the world, God rules the world.
  • Ummm... slaughtering innocent Iraqis isn't murder?
  • The question is not properly framed. If the person had written "Since the Bible says..." then the question that follows would be appropriate. But until the "if" statement is properly proven, the "then" part of the statement is moot. Why? Because if the "if" statement is disproven then the "then" question does not apply.
  • Properly translated from the original Hebrew, the phrase is: You shall not murder. Look at a Jewish version of the Ten Commandments: http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Scripture/Torah/Ten_Cmds/ten_cmds.html The commandment "You shall not kill" forbids direct and intentional killing as gravely sinful. The murderer and those who cooperate voluntarily in murder commit a sin that cries out to heaven for vengeance. (Gen 4:10) Killing in self defense, a just war, and lawful capital punishment are not considered murder. However many Christians including Catholics believe most modern governments no longer need to use capital punishment to protect society from criminals. + Just War + The “just war” doctrine requires rigorous consideration to determine if defense by military force is legitimate. Offensive war is never justified. All the following considerations must be true to justify war: 1. The damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain; 2. All other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective; 3. There must be serious prospects of success; 4. The use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. For more information, see the Catechism of the Catholic Church, section 2309: http://www.usccb.org/catechism/text/pt3sect2chpt2art5.htm With love in Christ.
  • Of course we can argue both sides for eternity. There are bible versus that support the 2 different arguements. But it comes down to every man or womans conscience. If they are truely in the armed forces, to protect the nation that was founded on christianity, and that allows us to worship our Lord freely, for family and friends; then i see no wrong in it. Obviously not every war is based off that premesis, so each soldier will have to confront his morals when on the battlefield. Unnecessary killing does not have to take place. EXAMPLE June 28, 2005 a group of 4 US NAVY SEALs were on a operation in the moutains of Afganistan. (Operation Redwing) The SEALs were confronted by 2 goat herders and their cover was blown. They had to make a choice, whether they were going to kill them and regain their secrecy, or let them go and risk that they would go alert the Taliban. They voted to let them go, they did not believe in an unjustified murder. The goat herders descended down the mountains straight to the Taliban, the SEALs were surrounded not more than 30 minutes later. Outnumbered 100 to 4. They were all killed but 1, who managed to survive 1 month later. A rescue team of 16 SEALS and Rangers was shot down in efforts to find the last remaining SEAL. They all were killed. How can you make that decision? To kill 2 people who have done no wrong but accidentially stumble accross you, for a very "unjustified cause" to potentially save your life, or let them go and risk a failed mission, leaving a Taliban leader at Large, and risk your lives. It comes down to your conscience, and the insight God gives you in situations. The Holy Spirit is alive in you, it will play a factor in all circumstances. Man its a hard topic.
  • I think that if your reason to join the Armed Forces is of good intent and your reason for killing in a time of war is unselfish and just then I don't think the Lord will be upset. "All that is needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."
  • Get out Ur "Websters" & study the "Big Difference" between the two Words "Killing & Murder". Then read what Scriptures Teaches about this Below. Enjoy! John DOCTRINE OF MURDER A. Definition and Description. 1. Murder is the unlawful killing of another human being with malice of forethought, expressed or implied by the motivation of arrogance inside the cosmic system. The motivation comes from mental attitude sins, such as self-righteous arrogance, conspiracy arrogance, criminal arrogance, crusader arrogance, political arrogance, the arrogance of ignorance, the arrogance of unhappiness, or iconoclastic arrogance. 2. Hence, murder is both a sin and a crime related to cosmic involvement, and is often manifested in religion. All religions of the ancient world used human sacrifice. 3. Murder is the major attack on freedom and self-determination as a human issue in the angelic conflict. Murder is the invention of Satan and he is the motivator of murder. Murder is Satan's genius to invent a system to attack freedom and self-determination, Mt 26:52. 4. All killing is not murder. a. Capital punishment is taught in Rom 13:4 and Gen 9:5-6. (1) Animals that kill people as well as humans that kill people are to be executed. We are responsible for any decision we make to murder someone else. "Whoever sheds man's blood, by man [justice] his blood shall be shed [capital punishment]." (2) Man has the right to slaughter animals for food, Gen 9:3-4. But this does not give man the right to slaughter people. Man learned to kill man by watching man kill animals. (3) Capital punishment must be the result of due process of law, Num 35:30. There must be two witnesses. Homicide is first degree murder and must be punished by death, Num 35:16-18; Lev 24:17. b. Another area of legitimate killing is in battle. The soldier represents his country while functioning impersonally and professionally. It makes no difference who the object is (Christian or otherwise), you do your job and kill impersonally, not emotionally. A soldier functions impersonally and professionally to preserve the freedom of his nation, Josh 6:21, 8:24. 5. Israel, as the first client nation, was commanded to be prepared for war. Much of the establishment truth found in the Bible is first mentioned in relation to Israel. The bonified modus operandi of warfare is declared in Eccl 3:8, "There is a time for war." If you don't make time for war by being prepared, then there will never be peace. 6. Our Lord's rebuke to Peter in the garden was a warning against capital punishment because of criminal action (Peter's), not a warning about military killing. Mt 26:52, "Then Jesus said to him, `Return your sword to its scabbard, for all who draw the sword [in crime], shall die by the sword [in capital punishment].'" 7. Killing in battle is not murder. Ps 144:1, "Blessed be the Lord who trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle." 2 Sam 22:35, "He [God] trains my hands for battle." 8. Jesus Christ Himself holds the record for killing in battle in Isa 37:36, when He killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers. But our Lord will break His own record at the Second Advent when He returns to terminate the Armageddon campaign, Rev 14:20, 19:11, 15; Isa 63:1-6; Ezek 39:11-13; Joel 2:20. 9. God is the source of some wars. 1 Chron 5:22, "Because the war was from the Lord." B. The Origin of Murder. 1. Jn 8:43-44, "Why do you not understand what I am teaching you? It is because you cannot hear My word. [They were in the cosmic system and refused to listen to what He said because it condemned them.] You are from your father the devil, and the policies of your father the devil you wish to accomplish. He was a murderer from the beginning; furthermore, he [Satan] does not stand in the truth, because there is no doctrine in him. Whenever he communicates the lie, he speaks from his own person, for he is a liar and the father of it [the lie]." Those who reject truth are easily motivated to murder. 2. 1 Jn 3:12, "Not as Cain who was motivated from that evil one and consequently he murdered his brother with a sacrificial knife. And why did he murder him? Because his deeds [moral self-righteousness seeking to impress God] were evil, but the deeds of his brother were honorable." Gen 4:5-8 gives the historical account of the first murder. C. Murder, violence, and terror is always occur when man becomes involved in the cosmic system. 1. "The way of Cain" is the pattern for murder, violence and terrorism. Jude 11, "But these reversionists malign what they do not understand. Furthermore, what things they do understand by natural instinct [emotion] as unreasonable creatures, by these false doctrines, they receive corruption. Woe to them for they have gone the way of Cain. They have rushed for illegal profit into Balaam's error. They have been destroyed in Korah's revolution." 2. The rise of crime and violence indicates national degeneration and the approach of historical catastrophe in the form of the fifth cycle of discipline, Jer 4:31. 3. Murder is always preceded by the mental attitude sin of arrogance. Rom 1:29, "Having been filled with all unrighteousness [lack of integrity] evil, greed, malice, full of jealousy, murder, strife, conspiracy, deceit, slanderers..." 4. This pattern of degeneration is developed into the destruction of the client nation. Hos 4:1-6, "My nation is destroyed from lack of knowledge of doctrine. Because you have rejected the principle of knowing doctrine, therefore I reject you from being a priest nation to Me." D. Murder is the only overt sin listed in the classification of the seven worst sins, Prov 6:16-19. E. Murder is therefore prohibited, Ex 20:13. "You will not murder" is the qal imperfect of RATZACH, not QATAL. Deut 5:17; Mt 5:21. F. Believers in the cosmic system are capable of murder. 1. David murdered in 2 Sam 12:9. Murder is a sin parlayed into evil through the interlock of the cosmic systems. 2. 1 Pet 4:15, "By no means let any of you suffer as a murder, or a thief, or a doer of evil, or one who sticks his nose in the affairs of others." 3. 1 Jn 3:15, "Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer. And you know that not every murderer has eternal life in him." Believers are murderers, but not all murderers are believers. G. Where guilt is established, the penalty for murder is death, Gen 9:6; Rom 13:3-4; Num 35:30-31; Mt 26:52. 
  • It says you can't murder.
  • Geez, enough of the copy and paste! If you can not make a quick and simple reference, don't do it. The Christian bible has several translations (and please, no one go off on which version is correct). Exodus 20 is translated in two ways, the word is either kill or murder. Exodus 21 and 22 defines reasons that people are allowed to kill people. So the correct translation from Exodus 20 is murder. Jebus people, this is coming from an atheist!
  • According to the Bible at Acts 5:29 True Christians "must obey God as ruler rather than man" In past world wars members of the same church were killing each other because they lived in a different country. Is that brotherly love???? The majority of countries in these global conflicts were so called Christian nations but definetly not acting as Christians.
  • Just because someone elects to join the military, does NOT mean their sole purpose is to "kill." In MY case, I joined to learn and practice a trade skill. Even if I were to have been called to "arms", my goal would be to DEFEND--not KILL, there's a difference!!! (Don't get me wrong, just like in any OTHER place in the world, there are those whose sole purpose IS to kill!)
  • Not all Christians do. The fact is when Catholics, Baptists, Methodists etc. go to war, they are often killing their own spiritual brothers and sisters. As to serving in the armed forces, what does secular history disclose about the attitude of early Christians? “A careful review of all the information available goes to show that, until the time of Marcus Aurelius [Roman emperor from 161 to 180 C.E.], no Christian became a soldier; and no soldier, after becoming a Christian, remained in military service.”—The Rise of Christianity (London, 1947), E. W. Barnes, p. 333. “We who were filled with war, and mutual slaughter, and every wickedness, have each through the whole earth changed our warlike weapons,—our swords into ploughshares, and our spears into implements of tillage,—and we cultivate piety, righteousness, philanthropy, faith, and hope, which we have from the Father Himself through Him who was crucified.”—Justin Martyr in “Dialogue With Trypho, a Jew” (2nd century C.E.), The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Grand Rapids, Mich.; reprint of 1885 Edinburgh edition), edited by A. Roberts and J. Donaldson, Vol. I, p. 254. “They refused to take any active part in the civil administration or the military defence of the empire. . . . it was impossible that the Christians, without renouncing a more sacred duty, could assume the character of soldiers, of magistrates, or of princes.”—History of Christianity (New York, 1891), Edward Gibbon, pp. 162, 163. Did not Jesus say that he left us a pattern to follow his footsteps closely. If the early Christians did not go to way....Than why would it be alright for a Christian to do so today?
  • Because some people are able to compartmentalise their religious beliefs in order to justify murdering for their country as long as it pays the bills.
  • After Jesus provided the explanation of why the disciples could expect problems ahead, Jesus’ followers commented: “Lord, look! here are two swords.” Some would use this scripture to justify killing. However, Jesus’ followers did not customarily carried swords, but on this occasion they were provided. In mentioning a sword to them, Jesus was not recommending that they arm themselves for attack. Quite the opposite! His next words showed he had something else in mind and that he was using the swords to teach his followers an important lesson. Shortly he was going to be arrested by an armed band, including Roman soldiers; and the circumstances could provoke armed resistance. (Matt. 26:47; John 18:12) In order to accomplish what was prophesied, however, Jesus chose not to resort to armed resistance but voluntarily allowed himself to be seized. The two swords would not be enough to defend the group victoriously against the mob, but they would be enough for the purpose of teaching a lesson, to emphasize that Jesus was submitting of his own will, freely, and not violently resisting, as his group was equipped to do. (John 18:11, 36) When Peter impetuously drew his sword and cut off the ear of the slave Malchus, Jesus reprimanded him. He said that “those who take the sword will perish by the sword”; besides, if he wanted to he could have called on the angels for help. (Matt. 26:52, 53) But that was not what he wanted. As shown by his not engaging the two swords for defense, Jesus was willingly giving himself to die on the stake between two “lawless ones.” s for Jesus’ faithful followers, they had learned their lesson well, so that Justin Martyr wrote in his Dialogue with Trypho, a Jew (155-160 C.E.): “We who were filled with war, and mutual slaughter, and every wickedness, have each through the whole earth changed our warlike weapons,—our swords into ploughshares, and our spears into implements of tillage.”
  • I think the original text said "murder". Otherwise, slapping a mosquito doomed you to hell. Not that we don't otherwise commit sins. And the plants (and for non vegetarians) meat/fish we eat were also alive.
  • And how come most Christians are Republican and Republicans believe in the death penalty? Just saying. :) +6
  • Actually, the bible is filled with passages which say stuff like "Homosexuals have to be killed" "sinners gotta be killed" and soo on. I think most of them are in the exodus..
  • because self defense is not murder. the death penalty is not murder because the person is a crimianl guilty of murder. murder is to kill an innocent person.
  • The bible also says you should kill.
  • C.S.Lewis wrote the perfect explanation of this in chapter 7 of his book "Mere Christianity." To thoroughly understand it, you would have to read the whole chapter, but it has something to do with the difference between "killing" and "murder." There are other things exlained in this chapter that I would probably mess up if I tried to recall, and there are about three other premises that tie in with this that left me satisfied that he had given a good explanation. C.S.Lewis is a WWI vet, so he also speaks from experience. If anyone truely wants a definative answer on this topic, check the library for this book. The title of chapter 7 (if I remember correctly) is called "Forgiveness."
  • They will reqwrite the bible if required to kill. Or there is always an interpretation for everything which can satisfy everyone. Exceptions are always taken.
  • Every line, every word in the Bible is disputed and rehashed to death. Who cares.
  • I really do not think that you can take one sentence out of context from the bible and make any conclusions about it. In the bible God helped his children win wars. So is this a contradiction? I think not It's all in the context
  • When some Roman soldiers came to Jesus and asked, "What should we do," he told them, "Don't extort money and don't accuse people falsely ... be content with your pay." ( Note that he didn't tell them to stop being soldiers. ) [ Referring to those who bear the sword } "For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer."
  • Bible thou shall not murder.
  • Sacred Wood: I see we've encountered the same, ahem, individual here on AB. (for some reason, I seem to be forbidden to post a comment in reply to your comment on Alatea's answer, as I've tried numerous times over several days and my comment just vanishes into hyperspace even though I'm able to post comments anywhere else without a problem, so I have no choice but to post my comment reply to you as a new answer to the question.)
  • More than once I have heard Christian ministers explain it this way ..... "Kill" in the Bible is interpreted to mean MURDER.
  • Christians do not wage war. 2Cor 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not wage warfare according to [what we are in the] flesh . When Clergy of the same religion bless the troops on opposite sides of a war, one might wonder does Christ exist divided? Luke 11:17 Knowing their imaginations he said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself comes to desolation, and a house [divided] against itself falls 1Cor 1:13 "The Christ exists divided.." . Killing your brothers over national boundaries does not seem very loving. John 13:35 "By this all will know that YOU are my disciples, if YOU have love among yourselves."
  • Someone has to fight to defend your right to be a Christian. Even Moses killed an Egyptian for beating a Hebrew. God didn't seem to have a problem with that.
  • In the Bible, the word 'kill' doesn't actually mean 'kill', it means 'kill unlawfully'. In the same way slaves in the Bible are not real slaves, more like a lower class. And the rich men who will not enter the kingdom of heaven are not what we would mean by rich men. And the eye of the needle through which the camel won't go is actually not an eye of the needle, but a gate in the city walls of Jerusalem. And the 'day', seven of which God took to create the world, is not really a day, it's a thousand years, and ...

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