Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Our College and Young Adults ministries do a small discussion group on Sunday mornings where they use this curriculum called The Wired Word. It is just a thing where this company emails a discussion based on something that happened in the news that week. It seems pretty cool for a group like this. Cheesy Website though - be warned.

This week was all about a group called CRAVE - Christians Reviving America's Values (I guess the "E" comes from the fifth letter of value). Crave's president, Don Swarthout, said, "We have apparently been fighting the war on terror with one hand tied behind our backs." They recommend increasing our military from 1.4 million to 2.1 million and allow it to fight without restrictions.

Swarthout said,
“Radical Islam has become a formidable force and it is time for us to fight to win. World War III is already here and we must come to that realization.”

I don't know about you, but this scares me. A lot.

The curriculum asked some good questions.
1. Christian views on war have tended to fall into three broad categories: pacifism (refusal to fight), a just war (qualified participation) and crusade (no holds barred participation, sometimes with the conviction that God is on our side). Which one these seems most biblical to you? Why?
2. When a Christian group calls for fewer restrictions on U.S. troops so that more killing can occur, how does that square with the Christian understanding of the sanctity of human life? (I think this question is pretty straw-man like, but I like where they are going.)
3. Does an issue become a "Christian" concern simply by having Christians care about it?

They suggested looking at Ex. 20:13, 2 Samuel 17:14, Psalm 46:9, Luke 14:31-32, Matthew 5:44, and Proverbs 12:20. They had more questions, but I'm probably bordering on copyright infringement.

Two things:
1. Scary that a "Christian" political activist group is lobbying for more freedom to shoot to kill.
2. This spurs a good discussion. I tend to lean somewhere between pacifism and just war on the continuum. I believe that there are just wars, but I just believe there are only a miniscule amount of wars that would qualify as "just." Hitler being overthrown in WWII was just. I tend to think of both Iraq wars as unjust. There are other equal if not greater causes in the world today that we are not fighting wars over. So why this? WMDs? Human rights? Oil? Halliburton? Freedom?



LC said...

#1 Are you seriously asking why we are fighting in Iraq. Really? You don’t have any idea? Try to think with your right brain, not your left. (sorry for the sarcasm – pun intended)
#2 What part of WWII did you think was just? Was the Pacific theater of the war “just” too? Or only the European part of it? How about Viet Nam? Panama? Spanish-American War? Civil War? Just trying to understand your view of justice.
#3 By “both Iraq wars” I assume you mean Afganistan and Iraq? Are they equal in your mind?
#4 What would be your top 3 “greater causes in the world today” where we should have troops fighting? Any of them NOT Islam-related? Just curious.
#5 God bless the families of all those soldiers, sailors and marines killed in the cause of freedom.

P.S. During the battle for Baghdad, Evan personally heard the Iraqi ground commanders calling frantically over the radios for the use of the WWDs as they were being overrun by our forces. Funny how Saddam had his own officers convinced there where WWDs as well as the rest of the civilized world.

Your Right-Brained Friend, LC

Eric Wakeling said...

This is always tough because I totally value the lives and sacrifices of American soldiers. I value them to the point of not putting them in harm's way for reasons that are potentially unclear. I put that list of reasons because those are many of the reasons listed for the war.

The central point of the post is that it's odd to me how a "Christian perspective" is to have less restrictions upon soldiers to help prevent civilian casualties. It's also odd to me that a "Christian perspective" is pro-war. Why does that have to be?

I think that the situations in Rwanda and Sudan have had equal if not greater reason for military forces to be used in massive force. These would be preventing mass genocides that are currently happening in Sudan at least. Iran and North Korea seem to be more of WMD threats than Iraq has ever been. I'm not calling myself an expert on which place a war should be fought, but I believe in challenging the notions that Christians somehow have to be pro-war, pro-gun rights, and pro-death penalty.

LC said...

My apologies for jumping to hyper-debate in my last comments and completely missing your point. Not good critical thinking skills on my part. Let’s see if I can add something worth thinking about…

I believe most Christians hold conservative views. I also believe conservative thinking is more apt to hold people and countries to a moral standard when more liberal thought sees that as judgmental.

On the subject of genocide and our response to it, I guess until the African conflicts begin to threaten the US in the same way as Iran, Iraq, N. Korea, etc., our government has chosen to use the arena of humanitarian aide and diplomacy instead of guns. I think we should applaud that, Christias and non-Christians alike. We’ve all read of many reasons for the killing going on there, religious conflict (i.e. Islamic oppression), retaliation for past massacres, tribal wars over land and power, etc. They are atrocities that have sadly gone on for centuries with no easy solutions, but don’t militarily threaten our country. So I would say when the US does something – anything – to help a struggling country, using less aggression, more diplomacy, something without a gun…don’t find fault. Aren’t peaceful solutions what we all want, Christian and non-Christian alike?

Eric Wakeling said...

Can I just say that I love the tension in all of this?