Would war against ISIS be just?

"Full application of just war principles does not only warrant airstrikes but a far more vigorous level of engagement as well"

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James K's picture

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:

 

Bert Perry wrote:

 

 

James K wrote:

 

Bert, God used the Assyrians in the OT to punish Israel.  They were his "agent" as you put it.  However, God also punished them for their acts against Israel.  Did God punish them for being just?

 

 

As I read the prophets, Assyria and Babylon were not punished for invading Israel, but for idolatry and barbarous cruelty forbidden as conduct of war in the Torah.   

Really, if we are to claim that there is no such thing as just war, we have to assume God was wrong to tell Israel to destroy the Amalekites, Ai, Jericho, and the rest of the Canaanites, Hivites, Amorites, and such in the conquest of Israel.    Not buying it, James.  National governments can be God's agents to wage a just war--the question is not whether there is such a thing as just war, but whether the war as it is is conducted in a just way.

 

Not to mention the supposed error in God's decision to return one day to wage the final war.

 

I just preached on the invasion of Canaan by Joshua and Israel as a picture of the final war that Jesus will wage against his enemies at the end.

The judge of the universe always does what is right.  His person is just.  He waged war against his enemies by going before Israel.

Someone show me one place in the NT where God says he will go before us in battle to carry out war?  I was under the impression we had different marching orders.

Someone posted above about putting a .50 caliber through the head of ISIS operatives.  Yeah sure, that is one way of dealing with enemies.  I will need a black sharpie for that verse about our weapons of warfare though.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

James K's picture

Larry wrote:

 

Quote:

And here is your error

Where's the error?

 

You said categorically, "Just war is a myth." You did not present any qualifications to it. Here's the simple case against your statement.

  • All war is unjust (the denial of just war; the converse construction of "Just war is a myth").
  • God commanded Israel to go to war against Canaan.
  • Therefore God commanded unjust war.

If that is true that just war is a myth, then Israelite wars against Canaanites were unjust, and since they were commanded by God, God commanded something unjust. I think there are some implications there for the doctrine of God, and you seem to agree in your reply to me. So I don't think I made a logical fallacy or an absurdity, and you don't seem to think so either since you seem to agree with me. The logic is sound. You would have to dispute one of the premises.

In your original statement, youu said, "We have allowed basic definitions of just and good to be manipulated into warmongering and madness." This is the very thing that the just war theory, in principle, prevents. The just war theory is not ironclad if for no other reason it is always used (or abused) by sinful men. And your statement appeals to that, namely, that "just war" claims are not truly just; they are are warmongering and madness at times. Nonetheless, the state that "just war is a myth" is inaccurate. The debate is, or at least should be, about the particulars of just war, and how they apply to a given situation.

Larry, I don't bow to Augustine's reason for war.  The Romans were themselves quite mad.  Why is the NT silent on taking military action against them?  In fact, it is explicit that we are not to rebel against the authorities AND that we are actually to live peaceably if it all possible.

Quote:
James 4:1-4

1What is the source of the wars and the fights among you? Don't they come from the cravings that are at war within you?2You desire and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. You do not have because you do not ask.3You ask and don't receive because you ask wrongly, so that you may spend it on your desires for pleasure.4Adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? So whoever wants to be the world's friend becomes God's enemy.

I already posted James 1:20 as well.

The just war theory does not operate from the position that it is something God commands.  In Deut and Josh, Israel is explicitly commanded to do something.  So no, God did not declare an unjust war.  God was exercising capital punishment against those who defiled the land.  That has NOTHING to do with any war since Christ's coming.  God does not command any nation to go against another nation anymore.  God is not using a nation to exact capital punishment for defiling the land.  What God commanded in the OT is NOT the just war theory.

Just war is a myth.  War is an evil, maybe a necessary evil to prevent a greater atrocity, but it is never just.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

Bert Perry's picture

James, if God declares the war, it is just. Therefore the wars in Canaan and elsewhere WERE just wars, and therefore there IS such a thing as a just war.

Now we can quibble about whether such and such war is just, and that's fine, but outside of the prophetic era, we cannot expect a direct word from God saying "OK, fight the Nazis" and such, and on the same page, are we to seriously argue that our war against Hitler was not just?  

I can also acknowledge that there are injustices in every war, but really, it's also significant to remember that Augustine's contribution in just war theory was not to give carte blanche to governments seeking to wage war.  On the contrary, it imposed a set of very difficult obstacles to kings who wanted to wage war--and thus it is not surprising that we find that most European wars do NOT fit Augustine's criteria.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

James K wrote:

 

Bert Perry wrote:

 

 

James K wrote:

 

Bert, God used the Assyrians in the OT to punish Israel.  They were his "agent" as you put it.  However, God also punished them for their acts against Israel.  Did God punish them for being just?

 

 

As I read the prophets, Assyria and Babylon were not punished for invading Israel, but for idolatry and barbarous cruelty forbidden as conduct of war in the Torah.   

Really, if we are to claim that there is no such thing as just war, we have to assume God was wrong to tell Israel to destroy the Amalekites, Ai, Jericho, and the rest of the Canaanites, Hivites, Amorites, and such in the conquest of Israel.    Not buying it, James.  National governments can be God's agents to wage a just war--the question is not whether there is such a thing as just war, but whether the war as it is is conducted in a just way.

 

 

Bert, there is more to the story than what you put.  God punished the agent nations for coming against Israel, when he commanded they come against Israel.

The government has the authority of the sword.  Governments are not absolved from the guilt of murder and warmongering simply because they have the right of the sword.  A parent is not absolved from child abuse simply because he has the God given right to discipline.  Many, many government leaders will be held to account for murder and warmongering.

JamesK,

This is simply wrong. You are accusing God of sin with this line of reasoning.

Assertion: There is no just war

Assertion: God ordered gentile nations to go to war against Israel

Assertion: God punished gentiles for making war against Israel which is sin

Unavoidable result: God sinned in sending the gentiles to make war against Israel

This is schizophrenic. No nation that God sent against Israel was punished for obeying God and going against Israel. They were not punished for the wickedness of war but for their wickedness in war, their unnecessary and unacceptable brutality toward Israel that went far beyond what God had commanded. They had abused the right and authority God had given them to justly exercise war and were themselves justly punished for their sin. 

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Greg Long's picture

I think we need to define terms. James, can you please define what you mean by "just", first of all, and "just war," second? Hopefully without sighing, please?

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

James K's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

James, if God declares the war, it is just. Therefore the wars in Canaan and elsewhere WERE just wars, and therefore there IS such a thing as a just war.

Now we can quibble about whether such and such war is just, and that's fine, but outside of the prophetic era, we cannot expect a direct word from God saying "OK, fight the Nazis" and such, and on the same page, are we to seriously argue that our war against Hitler was not just?  

I can also acknowledge that there are injustices in every war, but really, it's also significant to remember that Augustine's contribution in just war theory was not to give carte blanche to governments seeking to wage war.  On the contrary, it imposed a set of very difficult obstacles to kings who wanted to wage war--and thus it is not surprising that we find that most European wars do NOT fit Augustine's criteria.

God's commands for war (capital punishment) by Israel bear no relation to what goes on since Christ's coming.  The just war theory does not attempt to duplicate the OT pattern of war.  I have drawn the distinction between the OT wars and the just war concept.  That some of you keep trying to blend them misses the point then, and this is unhelpful for all.

WW2 was not a just war by any standard.  Remove a dictator who killed millions of people?  Sure, we will ally with one who killed 3 times the amount to stop that fiend.  Yeah...

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

James K's picture

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:

 

James K wrote:

 

 

Bert Perry wrote:

 

 

James K wrote:

 

Bert, God used the Assyrians in the OT to punish Israel.  They were his "agent" as you put it.  However, God also punished them for their acts against Israel.  Did God punish them for being just?

 

 

As I read the prophets, Assyria and Babylon were not punished for invading Israel, but for idolatry and barbarous cruelty forbidden as conduct of war in the Torah.   

Really, if we are to claim that there is no such thing as just war, we have to assume God was wrong to tell Israel to destroy the Amalekites, Ai, Jericho, and the rest of the Canaanites, Hivites, Amorites, and such in the conquest of Israel.    Not buying it, James.  National governments can be God's agents to wage a just war--the question is not whether there is such a thing as just war, but whether the war as it is is conducted in a just way.

 

 

Bert, there is more to the story than what you put.  God punished the agent nations for coming against Israel, when he commanded they come against Israel.

The government has the authority of the sword.  Governments are not absolved from the guilt of murder and warmongering simply because they have the right of the sword.  A parent is not absolved from child abuse simply because he has the God given right to discipline.  Many, many government leaders will be held to account for murder and warmongering.

 

JamesK,

 

This is simply wrong. You are accusing God of sin with this line of reasoning.

Assertion: There is no just war

Assertion: God ordered gentile nations to go to war against Israel

Assertion: God punished gentiles for making war against Israel which is sin

Unavoidable result: God sinned in sending the gentiles to make war against Israel

This is schizophrenic. No nation that God sent against Israel was punished for obeying God and going against Israel. They were not punished for the wickedness of war but for their wickedness in war, their unnecessary and unacceptable brutality toward Israel that went far beyond what God had commanded. They had abused the right and authority God had given them to justly exercise war and were themselves justly punished for their sin. 

Chip, the original article was about just war theory being used against ISIS.  The just war theory is not based on the OT pattern of war.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

So is the OT now to be considered an example of just war, JamesK?

-- If so, then your original post was faulty as everyone else has said, and you are simply being obstinate to refuse admitting you spoke hastily or incorrectly.

-- If not, then my previous description of your assertions remain accurate.

 

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Larry's picture

Moderator

Larry, I don't bow to Augustine's reason for war.

Good. That's not really at issue here. One can disagree with Augustine's justification for just war (no pun intended) while recognizing that the concept of a just war is completely separate from his particular delineation. The ideas existed before him and were built on, modified, debated after him. However, not being persuaded by one particular view of something does not mean that something doesn't exist or isn't legitimate. The view you disagree with may be wrong, or you may be wrong. Or both. But simply denying the existence of something doesn't mean that something doesn't exist.

The Romans were themselves quite mad.  Why is the NT silent on taking military action against them?  

Because the NT was written to the church, and the church has no authority to wage war. Likewise, James 1:20 and 4:1-4 are talking to the church about problems within the church. They are not discussing the state and war.

Just war is a myth.  War is an evil, maybe a necessary evil to prevent a greater atrocity, but it is never just.

Interestingly, your denial of just war is accompanied by an acknowledgement of one of the guidelines for just war. In other words, you say that just war may be necessary but deny that it is just. Preventing a greater atrocity is one of the reasons for just war, and it raises the issue of whether preemption is unjust.

It seems to me you are conflating Augustine's particular delineation of Just War Theory with the concept of a just war. Augustine wasn't alone; others both before and after him have interacted on these matters and ideas. It is not clear how you are using "just." You say war is never just, but what does that mean? Is it never "just" for a nation to defend its borders against aggressors? Are you saying it is never just to wage war for the protection of human beings? Again, the particulars of these situations could certainly be discussed and debated, but it seems hard to deny that it is just to defend the defenseless from illegitimate attacks.

You are right that war is often madness and warmongering, but it need not be so necessarily. It may be only in theory that just war exists, but the idea is legitimate.

James K's picture

Chip, again, the article was about using the just war approach to ISIS.  I reject that concept because it isn't actually just.  Further, the just war theory is not a copy paste of the OT.  It was Larry who brought the Canaan campaign into the discussion.

I have been consistently arguing from the NT that just war is a myth.

If a person breaks into my home, and I shoot him dead, it was a necessary act to protect my family.  It was not a just killing.

Wars may be needed to prevent greater atrocities, but it doesn't make them just.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

James K's picture

Larry,

1. The just war theory exists, but the idea that we can conduct a just war is a myth.

2. The church has no authority to wage war.  I am glad you agree.  Not only does the church not wage war, we are to love our enemies.  These aren't only problems within the church.  They are true statements for the state as well.  The christian then should not be an advocate of wars as though wars can be just or righteous.

3. I never denied self defense or the presence of acting as a shield against other evils.  That isn't "just" though.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

James K wrote:

If a person breaks into my home, and I shoot him dead, it was a necessary act to protect my family.  It was not a just killing.

So.... it was an unjust killing? Earlier, you said you believe in the biblical concept of self-defense. Which is it? God says we can do something that He declares unjust or self defense killings are just? I will ask what others have asked:

JamesK, please define the word "just" for us. 

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Greg Long's picture

Yes, because it seems you have a different definition of just than the rest of us--and most theologians and Christian philosophers.

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

James K's picture

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:

 

James K wrote:

 

If a person breaks into my home, and I shoot him dead, it was a necessary act to protect my family.  It was not a just killing.

So.... it was an unjust killing? Earlier, you said you believe in the biblical concept of self-defense. Which is it? God says we can do something that He declares unjust or self defense killings are just? I will ask what others have asked:

 

JamesK, please define the word "just" for us. 

Is it required of me to shoot a person who breaks into my home?  Is there a biblical mandate?  Before anyone says protecting one's family, think through how far you are willing to go to do that and if that is the driving force for what we as Christians are to do.

I think back to the story Jesus told about the unjust servant in Luke 17.  The servant was not just simply for having done his job.  In fact, Jesus said he was good for nothing.  Righteousness or justness isn't breaking even.  This is why the righteousness of God imputed to the believer isn't merely a return to same state Adam was in.  We actually possess rightness.

For this reason, just war is a myth.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

It isn't really about Augustine. It's about whether it's ever right to go to war. "Just" simply means right.

Consequently it isn't possible to maintain that "just war is a myth" and also maintain that "it is sometimes right to go to war."

In any case, Augustine was neither the first nor the last to try to lay down some moral boundaries for when war is the right thing to do vs. when it is not.

Although St. Augustine provided comments on the morality of war from the Christian perspective (railing against the love of violence that war can engender) as did several Arabic commentators in the intellectual flourishing from the 9th to 12th centuries, but the most systematic exposition in the Western tradition and one that still attracts attention was outlined by Saint Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century. In theSumma Theologicae, Aquinas presents the general outline of what becomes the traditional just war theory as discussed in modern universities. He discusses not only the justification of war but also the kinds of activity that are permissible (for a Christian) in war (see below). Aquinas’s thoughts become the model for later Scholastics and Jurists . . .

Alexander Moseley at IEP

James K's picture

Thanks Aaron, but I will keep my own counsel on this one.  You declaring it isn't possible to maintain doesn't make it so.  Just means right, but it is rightness by God's standard, not yours or mine.  Where does the NT give the command to go to war?  If it doesn't, then who are you to make it right to do so?

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

Greg Long's picture

Since you still won't give your definition of just war, from your posts it appears you seem to think "just" means "ideal" or "preferable." Of course war is not ideal or preferable. But as you said, "just" simply means "right." Sometimes it is right to kill. Sometimes it is right to go to war. As Aaron pointed out, the only real alternative to this is complete pacifism. You deny that you are a pacifist, but yet deny that there is such a thing as a just war. Confusing, to say the least.

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

James K wrote:

 

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:

 

 

James K wrote:

 

If a person breaks into my home, and I shoot him dead, it was a necessary act to protect my family.  It was not a just killing.

So.... it was an unjust killing? Earlier, you said you believe in the biblical concept of self-defense. Which is it? God says we can do something that He declares unjust or self defense killings are just? I will ask what others have asked:

 

JamesK, please define the word "just" for us. 

 

 

Is it required of me to shoot a person who breaks into my home?  Is there a biblical mandate?  Before anyone says protecting one's family, think through how far you are willing to go to do that and if that is the driving force for what we as Christians are to do.

I think back to the story Jesus told about the unjust servant in Luke 17.  The servant was not just simply for having done his job.  In fact, Jesus said he was good for nothing.  Righteousness or justness isn't breaking even.  This is why the righteousness of God imputed to the believer isn't merely a return to same state Adam was in.  We actually possess rightness.

For this reason, just war is a myth.

Meh. Sigh. (Wasn't sure which you would prefer here JamesK)

​Got a two-fer here.

1) You continue to evade the question by refusing to answer what you mean by just, though in fairness you did narrow the infinite possibilities by telling us one thing it isn't.

2) You also double back on yourself - again. You have previously said you believed self defense was biblical, but here you make it sound as if it isn't. So which is it, or is this just another effort to obfuscate? Same thing you tried earlier saying just was is a myth but later back tracking that statement because you acknowledged God made just war (without sinning) in the OT.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

James K's picture

Greg Long wrote:

Since you still won't give your definition of just war, from your posts it appears you seem to think "just" means "ideal" or "preferable." Of course war is not ideal or preferable. But as you said, "just" simply means "right." Sometimes it is right to kill. Sometimes it is right to go to war. As Aaron pointed out, the only real alternative to this is complete pacifism. You deny that you are a pacifist, but yet deny that there is such a thing as a just war. Confusing, to say the least.

The opposite of pacifism isn't the just war theory Greg.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

James K's picture

Chip,

1. I don't have some special definition of just.  I have pointed to multiple scriptures and how Jesus raised the bar on what is truly good.  The Canaan campaign reflected the character of God by direct command.  Since no war begun by man will ever get a divine sanction again, no one can argue that the war reflects the character of God.

2. Self defense is something a person chooses to do or not do.  We actually don't have a command that we must defend ourselves.  In fact, Paul seems to have chosen when it was more expedient for him to do so, but he hardly demanded it.  It is hardly righteous to use self defense.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

Greg Long's picture

James K wrote:

 

Greg Long wrote:

 

Since you still won't give your definition of just war, from your posts it appears you seem to think "just" means "ideal" or "preferable." Of course war is not ideal or preferable. But as you said, "just" simply means "right." Sometimes it is right to kill. Sometimes it is right to go to war. As Aaron pointed out, the only real alternative to this is complete pacifism. You deny that you are a pacifist, but yet deny that there is such a thing as a just war. Confusing, to say the least.

 

 

The opposite of pacifism isn't the just war theory Greg.

Please enlighten me then, James, by clearly explaining your position and then applying it to the ISIS situation. Because none of us seem to understand your position.

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Kevin Miller's picture

James K wrote:

Chip,

1. I don't have some special definition of just.  I have pointed to multiple scriptures and how Jesus raised the bar on what is truly good.  The Canaan campaign reflected the character of God by direct command.  Since no war begun by man will ever get a divine sanction again, no one can argue that the war reflects the character of God.

2. Self defense is something a person chooses to do or not do.  We actually don't have a command that we must defend ourselves.  In fact, Paul seems to have chosen when it was more expedient for him to do so, but he hardly demanded it.  It is hardly righteous to use self defense.

I take it from these statements that you believe an action is "just" when the justification for that action is a direct command of God. War today does not get the label of "just" because we do not have any direct commands by God to go to war. Is that accurate? Would you say capital punishment is "just" since we have a command that government is to apply capital punishment to those who have taken a life? Earlier in the thread, you said this about Israel going to war against the Caananites. "God was exercising capital punishment against those who defiled the land." If capital punishment IS a "just" action, couldn't we go to war today to administer capital punishment to people who kill other people, and thus we would be staying within a framework of what is truly "just"?

Jay's picture

At some point, it is 'just' to fight against 'injustice', is it not?

The OT examples are, quite frankly, irrelevant to this situation.  God doesn't sanction war now in the way that he did then.

I have no qualms - none whatsover - with going to war with a death cult that practices rape, murder, crucifixion, mass starvation and other atrocities of the worst kind.  This is not geo-political war, this is a war of ideology.  ISIS/ISIL has already shown that they will conquer by the sword and that they cannot be reasoned with or diplomacized to change their behavior.  Therefore, we must fight against them.

This doesn't mean that we fight without restraint against everyone.  It means that we do not have the option for anything other than war.  As was remarked of the Joker in The Dark Knight"They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn."  

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

James K wrote:

Thanks Aaron, but I will keep my own counsel on this one.  You declaring it isn't possible to maintain doesn't make it so.  Just means right, but it is rightness by God's standard, not yours or mine.  Where does the NT give the command to go to war?  If it doesn't, then who are you to make it right to do so?

Which takes us back to an earlier question: in your view, is it ever right to go to war or not? You have stated that you do not believe in pacifism. Ergo, sometimes it is right to go to war in your view? 

I'm not attempting to be persuasive at all; just trying to find out what your view is. There is no virtue in coy contrarianism. There is virtue (at least potentially) in clarity.

Jay's picture

Here's another example of ISIS terror, via the UK Guardian:

"I beg you not to publish my name because I'm so ashamed of what they are doing to me. There's a part of me that just wants to die. But there is another part of me that still hopes that I will be saved and that I will be able to embrace my parents once again," she told Italy's La Repubblica newspaper.

The newspaper was able to interview her by calling her on her mobile phone, after being given the number by her parents, who are in a refugee camp in Iraqi Kurdistan.

The woman said her captors had initially confiscated her mobile and those of all the other women, but had then "changed strategy", returning the phones so that the women and girls could recount to the outside world the full horror of what was happening to them.

"To hurt us even more, they told us to describe in detail to our parents what they are doing. They laugh at us because they think they are invincible. They consider themselves are supermen. But they are people without a heart.

"Our torturers do not even spare the women who have small children with them. "Nor do they spare the girls - some of our group are not even 13 years old. Some of them will no longer say a word." The woman, given the false name Mayat by La Repubblica, said the women were raped on the top floor of the building, in three rooms. The girls and women were abused up to three times a day by different groups of men.

"They treat us as if we are their slaves. The men hit us and threaten us when we try to resist. Often I wish that they would beat me so severely that I would die."

Some of the men were young fighters fresh from Syria, while others were old men.

"If one day this torture ever ends, my life will always be marked by what I have suffered in these weeks. Even if I survive, I don't know how I'm going to cancel from my mind this horror.

"We've asked our jailers to shoot us dead, to kill us, but we are too valuable for them. They keep telling us that we are unbelievers because we are non-Muslims and that we are their property, like war booty. They say we are like goats bought at a market.

The captive women were praying for rescue by anti-Isil ground forces or an international intervention.

And we have to debate whether or not going to war against this is worthwhile? Give me a break.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

James K's picture

Jay wrote:

At some point, it is 'just' to fight against 'injustice', is it not?

The OT examples are, quite frankly, irrelevant to this situation.  God doesn't sanction war now in the way that he did then.

I have no qualms - none whatsover - with going to war with a death cult that practices rape, murder, crucifixion, mass starvation and other atrocities of the worst kind.  This is not geo-political war, this is a war of ideology.  ISIS/ISIL has already shown that they will conquer by the sword and that they cannot be reasoned with or diplomacized to change their behavior.  Therefore, we must fight against them.

This doesn't mean that we fight without restraint against everyone.  It means that we do not have the option for anything other than war.  As was remarked of the Joker in The Dark Knight"They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn."  

1. This is the question though Jay.  If there is injustice, is the only response just?  In other words, is the only reaction to the injustice automatically just?  I say no.  It isn't just and word is not used as it is biblically.

2. Agreed.

3. I don't have a moral objection to it either Jay.  I stop short of calling it righteous or just though.

4. I love that quote, and I would agree that it could be applied to ISIS.

By the way, are these not the same militants that John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Barrack Obama wanted to arm before Vlad Putin prevented it?

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

James K's picture

Jay wrote:

And we have to debate whether or not going to war against this is worthwhile? Give me a break.

I am debating whether or not such a thing as a "just" war exists.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

James K's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:

Which takes us back to an earlier question: in your view, is it ever right to go to war or not? You have stated that you do not believe in pacifism. Ergo, sometimes it is right to go to war in your view? 

I'm not attempting to be persuasive at all; just trying to find out what your view is. There is no virtue in coy contrarianism. There is virtue (at least potentially) in clarity.

Governments have been given the authority of the sword.  I believe that is intended for capital punishment, but some extend that into the right to wars.  War is permissible in the sense that governments are to maintain some kind of structured society.  I don't think war is righteous or just.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

James K's picture

By the way Jay, if the standard for going to war with a nation is that atrocities exist within it, then every nation would be just to be at war with every other nation.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

Jay's picture

I'll give you the last point for sure.

JamesK, you mentioned:

 In other words, is the only reaction to the injustice automatically just?  I say no.  It isn't just and word is not used as it is biblically.

No, any automatic reaction to injustice cannot be automatically just.  Otherwise, God would not have set limits on retribution for crimes and infractions in the Old Testament.  The famous 'eye for an eye' passage was not only a way of determining a just punishment, but also a barrier/limit on what the punishment could be. So in the case of Dinah (Genesis 34), the retribution was far in excess of what God required, which brought His punishment as well.

I'm not saying that we must intervene in every situation.  I remember watching footage of our troops in Somalia and the UN forces in Bosnia in the '90s.  What I do think is that if the blood of the innocent cry for justice, and this nation has the ability to do something (which we do - we're just lacking political backbone to do so), then we do, in this case, enforce the mores of civilized nations and go to war against it.

I'm not sure if the weapons and items intended for Syrian rebels would have wound up in the hands of ISIS terrorists, but I'm fairly sure they wouldn't have wound up with abandoned US weapons, equipment, and tools if we'd acted sooner.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

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