Just War 101: Spurs and Restraints: Overview of jus ad bellum and jus in bello

"The framework governing just war moral reasoning is traditionally divided into two primary categories.... jus ad bellum, which asks, essentially: when is it right to fight? The second category is the jus in bello: how do you rightly fight that fight that’s right to fight?" - Providence

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Taking Advantage or Caring?

(First posted in 2011)

Aesop told the tale of the Peasant and the Apple Tree.

A peasant had an apple tree growing in his garden, which bore no fruit, but merely served to provide a shelter from the heat for the sparrows and grasshoppers which sat and chirped in its branches. Disappointed at its barrenness, he determined to cut it down, and went and fetched his axe for the purpose. But when the sparrows and the grasshoppers saw what he was about to do, they begged him to spare it, and said to him, “If you destroy the tree we shall have to seek shelter elsewhere, and you will no longer have our merry chirping to enliven your work in the garden.” He, however, refused to listen to them, and set to work with a will to cut through the trunk. A few strokes showed that it was hollow inside and contained a swarm of bees and a large store of honey. Delighted with his find he threw down his axe, saying, “The old tree is worth keeping after all.”

The moral of the story: Utility is most men’s test of worth.

As I thought about Aesop’s fable, I thought how often utility is the rule. Some people are involved in church primarily to receive, not to give. Others view their spouses as servants or keep points as to who owes whom. Countless Christians serve God only for personal benefit. Utility is most folks’ test of worth. But—Praise the Lord—there are many exceptions to this rule.

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Brain-computer interfaces advance but the ethics of neurotechnology lags behind the science

"BCIs are currently being tested in people with severe neuromuscular disorders to help them recover everyday functions like communication and mobility.... patients can turn on a light switch by visualizing the action and having a BCI decode their brain signals" - The Conversation

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Why I’m Probably Not Voting This Year

As election day approaches this year, the prospect of voting looks different to me than it has in the past. Whether I look to the left or to the right, my thoughts echo the prophet Jeremiah: “…Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all who are treacherous thrive?” (Jer 12:1).

Hopefully the situation improves by 2024.

Some may wonder what principles would normally make a Christian feel obligated to vote. They include these:

  • Those in government have duties assigned to them by God (1 Pet 2:14, Rom 13:1-5).
  • In nations with rule of law and elected lawmakers, we’re all in the government in at least two ways: the power to choose lawmakers by voting, the power to seek justice through the courts.
  • Love of neighbor means acting in ways that make for a better society for them, and this applies even more to family and church (Gal 6:10).

These are solid and compelling principles, and some of the reasons I’ve heard for not voting don’t hold up either.

Wrong reasons to skip voting

(1) This world is not our home. Our citizenship is indeed in Heaven (Phil 3:20). It doesn’t follow that the condition of the world we live in now doesn’t matter or that we have no duties to our fellow humans. The fact that we will live forever somewhere makes what we do here matter more, not less. “Just a passin’ through” doesn’t seem like the right way to view our stewardship (Matt 25:14-27, 1 Cor 4:2).

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