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Is God a 'God of war'?


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#1 Andrew Cadogan

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Posted 20 August 2011 - 11:05 AM

The most violent question of my youth is war and Gods relation to it. Is violent action ever just under any circumstance, I have no idea where to stand. On one hand we are told by the Son "turn the other cheek", but at the appointed time he will come to bring an end to the generals of the earth. I do not believe at all that God contradicts himself in anyway, it is only my lesser understanding of him.

God's chosen people wouldn't have survived the middle east for one minute had they not been the warriors they where. I"m encouraged to draw inspiration from King David, yet he hadn't reached adulthood before he killed a man. Did David repent for the blood on his hands? Or did he decapatate the man and raise his head in victory??? He showed no remorse for mutilating a man who had the intention of enslaving his entire people. Christ was of this mans line, as a Christian I feel no shame in saying I'm lost on this subject.

Then I see soldiers in the Orthodox church and am really confused. If Orthodoxy is pascifism why do you have marines in your ranks??? Marines primary function is to know how to kill other human beings and in the most efficient way possable. I have nothing against marines but if all killings the same you might as well be accepting SS members. The body count in Iraq is above one million dead and is actually a large percentage of the population. But the Iraqi people don't really count as people do they, fricken seems like it.

Genocide period...

If King David could defend his nation, why then is it a sin for man to in the least defend his life. I don't believe Christs example suddenly attributes sin to the preservation of your life. That was Christs paticular mission and it will be a differant one when he comes back. Rivers of blood as high as the horses bridle ring some bells? Protecting yourself with lethal force doesn't even guarantee you'll make it out alive. Lastly if I am forced to take the mark of the beast, what other than violent action will protect me from being branded. This is a very real scenario and I demand answers.

Cattle get branded because they don't know better, humans do because they become passive. Christ was not passive when he overturned the crooked money lenders and whipped them out of the temple. I believe their is a time for violent action and it is righted only by Gods approval. With God their is most deffinately a time for violent action, so are his children incapable of knowing and or not allowed to act accordingly?

I may be horribly mistaken, but thats how I feel and I hope God corrects my misunderstanding.

#2 John Mitchell

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Posted 20 August 2011 - 05:03 PM

I recall the story of a Russian czar, having converted to Orthodoxy asked the patriarch if he should do away with the death penalty. The partriarch replied that as czar he served God as His sword of vengance on earth, and the authority was given from above. Also during the time of the Great Councils, many a time the church had to lay back its ears and defend the truth with violence. To die to protect the innocent or suffer in the name of Christ is truly to take up your cross and follow HIM.

#3 Andrew Cadogan

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 11:57 AM

Thank you very much for your reply. The Russian Czars situation is comforting, I see even a king can have the same plight. Your comment of dieing is a valid point, but I'm trying to focus on the killing aspect. I would see dieing in the service of Christ as the highest honor. But can a soldier of Christ ever raise his physical sword in defence of himself and another. Does one meet genocide with total surrender and the genocide of today is much differant then ancient time. Now with tech advancemants of all sorts I'll list some monsters. Brain washing mind control of Natzi origin, wrongful enslavemant (Introducing more mind control) , chemical warfare, radioactive biological degradation, human gene therapy, human tracking systems, political sorcery, informational monopolies (T.V.), MASS deception, abortion and neo imperialism.

The Ghandi approach doesn't work when you can be carted off to a lab and opened up like a bullfrog. You think that doesn't happen you need a serious... serious wake up call. If you haven't seen Star Wars it seems like the Christians of today are about to enter the age of the Sith Lords. Why because I think we are really underestimating evil and not keeping up to date with Satans ever advancing technologies. If that wasn't true their would be more Fathers talking about this and I wouldn't be considered a loon.

I was a soldier, I joined to find out what was really happening and I'll leave it at that. That single reply worked wonders for me. I will speak with God as my General and King on these matters, if my family is subjected to atrocities more grotesque and humiliating then the cross, it will be met with deadly force. Their are worse things in this age then torturing and killing, as God said they will invent new ways to do evil. Well he was most deffinatly right.

Someone who reads this may look at this as extreme situations. But humanity is about to enter an extreme situation of technological brilliance and has man ever done good with any one of his responsibilities. For Gods sake we got kicked out of a perfect Utopia and for good reason. I am not arrogant and predicting the apocalypse, but I do know that man will grow increasingly more hideous as the decades fly by. Human gene therapy should be a huge red flag for us. When the human gene pool is at risk, it's time for war and I would like to argue anyone on that point.


#4 Andrew Cadogan

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 12:05 PM

Also the amount read and the amount of posts is a bit sad. I'm not crazy looking to justify killing, I would really like any orthodox Christians words on the matter. This question is just as important as what happened a thousand years ago in a counsel. Whats most important are the battles of today and if anyone could shed some light it would be much appreciating. If no no one has an opinion on this matter, I imagine mine is best because me and another guy are the only one thinking about it.

#5 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 12:12 PM

You might try becoming familiar with the forum search feature. Quite a few words have been posted on this subject already in other threads.

#6 Andrew Cadogan

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 01:26 PM

My apologies I will, forums are a new thing for me. I may be doing something wrong but I tried several searches with war themes and then tested the word love and 100 posts poped up. So I imagined the topic wasn't done over to many times.

#7 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 08:15 PM

You might start with this recent thread: Is it Christian to defend ourselves?

And there is perhaps some useful information here: The Fathers on violence in the Old Testament

And this: Police killing criminals?

And this one: Omitted line in the Liturgy: For victory of armed forces

Herman

#8 Andrew Cadogan

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 12:55 AM

Taking into consideration the genocide that has spanned human history. My current little window will be of the most direct and passionately felt. Ironically as I posted this Lybia is being invaded for it's oil prospects. Terrorist's are being backed to revolt by the government I swore allegiance to. A government that may soon put it's people into an economical disaster, if where not already their. If we even had the right to encourage such things, we are not capable of affording.

I also know that wealth is being held from us and at anytime can be given back in order to dull us into comfort. Forgive me for this child like rant of outrage, it is truly disfiguring to be a man in this society. It is hard to find any grain of truth, to be sufficated by lies is as if never having lived at all. But Christ comforted me in some way only he can. I remembered that he is truly the one to bring an end to this.

With that I am at peace in any situation. Because I know his authority is supreme and is the basis of life and all things good. So now I know how the Christians where willing to be fed to lions. If I am persicuted for any reason, I will not look to a gun but the body of Christ. Thank you all that read :).

#9 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 01:23 AM

St. Paul was a citizen of a pagan Empire that had forcibly occupied the land of his heritage as well as many others. He was not ashamed of that citizenship and used it to his advantage when necessary. Neither Christ nor the Apostles ever preached defiance of the "governing authority" regardless. Were Nero, Caligula, et alia, "better" in some way than the current governments?

Little thoughts from a bear of little brain.
Herman the Pooh

#10 Andrew Cadogan

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 08:52 AM

St. Paul was a citizen of a pagan Empire that had forcibly occupied the land of his heritage as well as many others. He was not ashamed of that citizenship and used it to his advantage when necessary. Neither Christ nor the Apostles ever preached defiance of the "governing authority" regardless. Were Nero, Caligula, et alia, "better" in some way than the current governments?

Little thoughts from a bear of little brain.
Herman the Pooh


I imagine their is a time to act though, if people hadn't been hostile the Jews wouldn't have a place to call their own. I will put less stress on this though and gain a very good understanding before any action is taken whether it be nothing at all. Governments have the same problems as God said theirs nothing new under the sun. In paticular I don't think this is to be applied to technology though, obviously their is advancemant. This allows governments to have even greater tools of evil at their disposal. So now the humans that run the show are as bad as they where, but they have new toys to play with. Also the governmental systems evolve as they find new ways to commit evil via trial and error.

It is my belief that Gods way is perfect from the beginning. But evil will be perfected over the life span of the earth, upon it's perfection Christ will put it end to it.

#11 Andrew Cadogan

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 08:55 AM

Thank you Herman, much appreciated found everything I was looking for.

#12 Bryan J. Maloney

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 06:15 PM

According to the Prologue from Ohrid for May 11:

The Muslim leaders asked Cyril
What kind of three persons in God, were?
If God is one, from where three persons?
Our God is one, yours is three!
Cyril replies: It is not that way, it is not,
But, as the shining sun which warms at noon,
And light, warmth, its cycle has,
But a pale picture of the Divine Triade, that is,
One in essence and three divine persons
Through Christ, this truth is revealed.
Never, will a mortal man comprehend this
God Himself revealed this; this the Church teaches.


In the encampment of the Saracens they asked St. Cyril: "How could Christians wage war and at the same time keep the commandment of Christ about praying to God for their enemies?"

To that, St. Cyril replied: "If two commandments were written in one law and given to men for fulfilling, which man will be a better follower of the law: the one who fulfills one commandment or the one who fulfills both?"

To that, the Saracens replied: "Undoubtedly, he who fulfills both commandments."

St. Cyril continued: "Christ our God commands us to pray to God for those who persecute us and even to do good to them; but, He also said to us: greater love cannot be shown in this world than if one lay down his life for his friends. 'Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends' [St. John 15:13]. That is why we bear the insults which our enemies do to us individually and we pray to God for them; and, as a society, we defend one another and give up our lives, that you would not somehow enslave our brethren, would not enslave their souls with their bodies and would not kill them in body and soul."

#13 Anton S.

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 08:30 AM

Let us not mix up Orthodox Christianity with the doctrine preached by the great writer (but poor theologian) Count Leo Tolstoy. Leo Tolstoy preached non-violence in its extreme form. He considered institutions like the army, the police, the judicial system (and the Church) unnecessary. He rejected any use of force - both in private and in public. He also preached vegetarianism and considered killing animals immoral. He had a lot of followers, some of them even set up agricultural communities where they tried to live by Tolstoy's principles.

However, this religious movement was ephemeral. His followers soon quarreled with each other, their communities often disintegrated, and , of course, the 1917 revolution and the subsequent civil war wiped them off the face of the earth.

That was to be expected. Tolstoy did not understand that human nature is corrupted by the original sin. Therefore, we, fallen, weak, passionate human beings simply cannot live in peace and love with each other all the time. We simply cannot help doing violence to each other if we are not controlled. Therefore, in any human society there is some sort of authority which, when persuasion fails, uses coercion. Otherwise, the society will turn into a chaos of violent criminal gangs. For the same reason, states have to be ready to use force among themselves if they are to survive. Just imagine, what would a country of Tolstoyans do, if invaded by, say, Nazi Germany?

The Orthodox Church does not live in a dream world. She understands the fallen nature of the human race and, thus, the necessity of violence in certain situations. These situations include wars. An Orthodox Christian has the duty to protect his country, his people, his family, his correligionaries. Thus, the Russian Church did not hesitate to bless the armed resistance to Napoleon's armies or sending troops to the Balkans to free Orthodox Christians there from the horrible Turkish yoke. (Tolstoy himself justified anti-Napoleonic guerilla warfare, despite all his pacifism.)

Of course, war involves murder and, in itself murder, is a grave sin. However, letting enemy armies destroy your country, your compatriots, your holy things is a worse sin. Saving other people, especially at the price of your own life is a virtuous deed.

I remember that Father Paisios Eznepidis in his young days fought as a soldier in World War II protecting Greece from aggressors. Before going to war he prayed that he would not have to kill anyone. He was given the functions of a signal man, so he really never killed anyone, but on some occasions saved other people from death and risked his own life. I like this approach, although, of course, someone has to kill enemies, sad as it may be.

It goes without saying, any unnecessary cruelty in war - like rape, killing or torturing helpless people, pillage, etc. is definitely a sin.

There is also the issue of just and unjust wars which is very complicated, especially nowadays, when the media manipulates the truth about any war beyond recognition.

To sum up, Orthodox Christianity has never been pacifist. But neither has it glorified war as such. War is a sad reality of this fallen world, a disastrous situation which tests people and shows what they are really worth - like any other tribulation. For some, it is an occasion to lose their souls, for others - to become saints.

#14 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 08:50 AM

Anton could have cited the example of St. Sergius blessing Dmitri Donskoi in his battle against the Tatars and sending two of his monks, Peresvet and Oslyabya, to fight in the Battle of Kulikovo in 1380.

There are the accounts of divine intervention in support of military commanders such as for St Constantine the Great before the Battle of the Milvian Bridge. There are stories of divine help for the Russian forces in WWII.




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