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Thread: Does God Cause War?

  1. #1
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    Does God Cause War?

    I would like to make the distinction that religion causes war, not God or the bible;

    When nations go to war and military forces clash on the battlefield, where does God stand? Brazen assertions by political and religious leaders have raised grave doubts in the minds of many; yes, some wonder if God is even interested in the affairs of men. In point is the statement in the Muncie, Indiana, Star, of March, 1952, which said: “Bishop sees God using U. S. to win world back to freedom.” While we consider that claim, it is also interesting to note that during the second world war while prayers for a victorious peace arose from the churches in the United States, equally fervent prayers for the success of the Axis powers were offered up by the leaders of some of those same religious organizations in Germany and her allies. Surely God is not on both sides. What is God’s position in time of war?

    God’s dealings with his creatures are governed by his outstanding attributes o wisdom, justice, love and power. (Deut. 32:4; Ps. 104:24; 62:11; 1#John 4:8) Such have certainly been manifest in the deliverances he has brought about for his people. In the sixteenth century before Christ God heard the anguished cry of the children of Israel under totalitarian bondage in Egypt and in defiance of Egypt’s pagan gods and its military power he manifested his power by delivering them. They had no claim on God, but he justly was their Owner, their Redeemer. As he reminded them when they gathered at the foot of Mount Sinai in the third month after their exodus from Egypt: “You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, that I might carry you on wings of eagles and bring you to myself. And now if you will strictly obey my voice and will indeed keep my covenant, then you will certainly become my special property out of all other peoples, because the whole earth belongs to me. And you yourselves will become to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” And he further counseled them: “You must never have any other gods against my face.”—Ex. 19:4-6; 20:3, NW.

    With those principles to guide them, they became known as the nation God fought for. He thus showed his love for them by favoring them, and the wisdom of his actions was manifest in that it all worked for the furtherance of his purpose. As he had declared to Pharaoh through his spokesman Moses a short time before: “In fact, for this cause I have kept you in existence, for the sake of showing you my power and in order to have my name declared in all the earth.” And surely God’s miraculous deliverance of his people Israel through the Red Sea and his destruction of the Egyptian hosts did demonstrate his power and caused him to be talked about and his name to be known far and wide.—Ex. 9:16; Josh. 2:10, 11, NW.

    But can we say that one deliverance on behalf of the nation proved that God would continue to deliver each individual in the nation? No; because three thousand men of those saved through the Red Sea were later destroyed for engaging in rebellious idolatry while Moses was away in the mountain. (Ex. 32:1-4, 27, 28) Nor can we say that God’s fighting for the nation once, or often, meant that he would always do so. He delivered the nation of Israel from Egypt, he saved them from the Philistine forces when David was a lad, he fought for them against Midian, and again against the combined forces of Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir; but in 607 B.C. when the Babylonian forces of Nebuchadnezzar wheeled into position against Jerusalem their prayers for deliverance availed them nothing. Why? Because they were not acting consistent with their prayers. They were not keeping the covenant God had made with them; they did not ‘obey his voice.’—Ex. 14:30; 1#Sam. 17:46; Judg. 7:19-23; 2#Chron. 20:22, 23; Jer. 9:12-16.

    Yet God had previously delivered them when they were actually provoking him. When in the wilderness on their way out of Egypt, after having witnessed the glorious power of Jehovah in executing the ten plagues, “the sons of Israel got quite afraid and began to cry out to Jehovah. And they began to say to Moses: ‘Is it because there are no burial places at all in Egypt that you have taken us here to die in the wilderness? What is this that you have done to us in leading us out of Egypt? Is this not the word we spoke to you in Egypt, saying, “Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians”? For it is better for us to serve the Egyptians than for us to die in the wilderness.’” As the psalmist later recounted the event: “Our fathers understood not thy wonders in Egypt; they remembered not the multitude of thy loving-kindnesses, but were rebellious at the sea, even at the Red Sea. Nevertheless he saved them for his name’s sake, that he might make his mighty power to be known.”—Ex. 14:10-12, NW; Ps. 106:7, 8, AS.

    Was the rebelliousness of some unappreciative men to be permitted to change the purpose of God? Certainly not. He had promised in Eden that he would raise up a Seed or deliverer; to Abraham he had foretold that the promised One would be one of his descendants; and the family head Judah was prophetically assured that that one would come through his line. (Gen. 3:15; 22:15-18; 49:10) This arrangement of God to extend blessings to all the nations of the earth was not to be turned back. “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” (Isa. 55:11, AS) So the psalmist points to God’s wisdom when he says: “Nevertheless he saved them for his name’s sake.” This underscores the vindication of God’s name and purpose as being of far greater importance than the destiny of any men or nations of earth. That generation of Israelites was destroyed and did not enter the Promised Land, because of continued disobedience, but God’s purpose had not failed.

    THIS WORLD IS NOT GOD’S

    Keeping in mind our brief review of God’s dealings with his people in times past, we shall find that a few more statements from his Word make his position in relation to the factions of this world very plain. Christ Jesus in prayer to his Father said: “I came out as your representative.” And when he spoke, it was ‘not of his own originality,’ but he talked of the things he had seen and heard from his Father in heaven. He said of the Kingdom, which is given him by God, “My kingdom is no part of this world. .#.#. my kingdom is not from this source.” However, the apostle Paul identified the one controlling this world when he pointed to Satan the Devil as the “god of this system of things.” And Jesus himself said: “The ruler of the world is coming. And yet he has no hold on me.” Surely if the god or ruler of this world has no hold on Jesus, neither do any of the divided factions of his world organization. He is not on their side, and neither is his Father, for Jesus clearly said, “I and the Father are one.”—John 17:8; 14:10; 18:36; 2#Cor. 4:4; John 14:30; 10:30, NW; Dan. 7:13, 14.

    Oblivious to these Scriptural facts, Dr.#Billington of the Akron, Ohio, Baptist Temple, when speaking of the war in Korea, said: “Drop the A-bomb and stop it. God gave it to us. Let’s use it to protect our Bibles, churches, schools and America’s way of life.” But if God gave it to the United States, who gave it to Russia? Would it not be more reasonable, and Scriptural, to say that the “ruler of the world” made it accessible to both sides, because both, as part of his world, are part of his divided and confused organization? Adding further to the religious confusion on the subject, Monsignor W. T. Green, speaking in St.#Patrick’s Cathedral in New York city, said: ‘War is part of God’s plan to populate the kingdom of heaven.’ If that is so, then why pray for the return of loved ones from the front? Indeed, why pray for peace at all? Obviously, the whole effort to drag God into the conflict is based on specious reasoning.

    After all, are any of the nations really Christian, so they can claim that God is with them? Since nearly all claim theirs as the way to security and prosperity, do they conform to the requirements set out at 2#Chronicles 20:20 (AS): “Believe in Jehovah your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper”? The pagan world admittedly and openly does not believe God or his prophets, but what of a lot of Christians today? Not only do they fail to believe in God, but they try to keep others from learning of him. Why, in the new Revised Standard Version of the Bible the translators have tried to make him a nameless “God” or “Lord” by taking his name out of his own Book, and then the religious world persecutes those who bear that name. They have fallen into the class “having a form of godly devotion but proving false to its power,” as they espouse the evolution theory and teach that “man was not a special creation but has been developed from the ape.” (2#Tim. 3:5, NW) Jesus said: “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.” (Matt. 7:13, 14, NW) But most modern-day Christians, together with its political leaders, has embraced the line of interfaith and thereby accepts in religious brotherhood all who practice religion, no matter how degrading its form, in all the world.

    “But to the wicked God says: ‘What right have you to recount my statutes, and to take my covenant upon your lips? For you hate instruction, and you cast my words behind you! If you see a thief, you are friendly with him; and you make common cause with adulterers. You charge your mouth with evil, and your tongue frames up deceit. You sit down and speak against your brother, against the son of your mother you utter slander. These things you have done and am I to be silent? You thought that I was just like yourself! I will correct you and set it forth in your sight.’” (Ps. 50:16-21, AT) In his own Word God plainly tells them that he is not in league with them and that he has no part in their wicked practices.

    POSITION OF WORLD’S RELIGION

    No matter what the faction, someone seems to be ready to proclaim that God is with it. But do these public proclamations and prayers gain the friendship and favor of God? Do they assure that he is on their side? Rather, his Word tells us at James 4:4 (NW): “Do you not know that the friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever, therefore, wants to be a friend of the world is constituting himself an enemy of God.” So instead of making friends with God, they are making friends with the world by lauding and supporting its schemes, and that makes them enemies of God.

    Instead of being eager to proclaim that they have God on their side or desiring to get him on their side, it would be far better for men to work to get themselves on God’s side by studying his Word and conforming to its righteous precepts. Instead of praying for God to bless their political, military or religious systems, they should learn to pray with sincerity as Jesus instructed: “Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified. Let your kingdom come. Let your will come to pass, as in heaven, also upon earth.” (Matt. 6:9, 10, NW) They would do well to fix their attention, not on a new world-order supported by military might, but on the “new heavens and new earth” that God creates and that will last forever.

    CAUSE OF DISTRESS

    In addition to showing us the way of God’s approval, the Bible does not leave us without an adequate explanation of the present world conditions. The twelfth chapter of Revelation clearly shows that since the establishment of the long-prayed-for kingdom A.D. 1914 Satan has been hurled out of heaven and down to the earth. “On this account be glad, you heavens and you who reside in them! Woe for the earth and for the sea, because the Devil has come down to you, having great anger, knowing he has a short period of time.” (Rev. 12:12, NW) And he has brought great woe, both in increased war and distress to afflicted mankind and in confusion in the minds of those who do not know the truth as to the purpose of God.

    We cannot say that the outcome of the world’s modern-day wars is governed by God, when they are powered by greedy commercial and political elements. Love and justice are not factors in their execution, when God-fearing persons as well as wicked ones are destroyed. Surely it is not a demonstration of God’s power or wisdom when high-powered explosives rip open and make uninhabitable large sections of the earth, which God ‘created not a waste, but formed to be inhabited.’ (Isa. 45:18) Nor do these wars serve to ‘make his name known’ because he has delivered his people or vindicated his purpose by fighting for the side of righteousness in them. No, because none of the factions in these wars are his people. He makes clear his rejection of their professions of devotion, saying: “When ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.”—Isa. 1:15.

    Instead of their demonstrating his divine attributes and purpose, man’s selfish wars are a negation of them all. But the time is now near, at Armageddon, when God will fight for righteousness and “bring to ruin those ruining the earth.” (Rev. 11:18, NW) Then will come a peaceful new world in which “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of God, as the waters cover the sea.”—Isa. 11:9, AS.

  2. #2
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    Religion doesn't kill people. People kill people.

    And people mostly kill people for material gain or power, though religion may often provide a public excuse for such acts, or be used to bolster its popularity, so may any other ideology.
    He or she who supports a State organized in a military way – whether directly or indirectly – participates in sin. Each man takes part in the sin by contributing to the maintenance of the State by paying taxes.

    ~ Gandhi

  3. #3
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    Yeah, but they use religion TO kill people. Religion should be issued by permit only.
    Brother, you can believe in stones as long as you do not hurl them at me. Wafa Sultan

    “War is an American way to teach geography,” British soldier

    War is sweet to those who have not tasted it, but the experienced man trembles exceedingly at heart on its approach. – Pindar

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by simone View Post
    Yeah, but they use religion TO kill people. Religion should be issued by permit only.
    LOL I agree here.

    Sample religion induction questionaire:

    1. Do you have psycotic issues?

    2. Do you have a desire to kill people?

    3. Can you tollerate other religions?

    Blah blah blah...

  5. #5
    huckleberry Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Symbiote View Post
    Religion doesn't kill people. People kill people.

    And people mostly kill people for material gain or power, though religion may often provide a public excuse for such acts, or be used to bolster its popularity, so may any other ideology.

    I agree with this item. I have problems with:

    Quote Originally Posted by Simone
    Yeah, but they use religion TO kill people. Religion should be issued by permit only.

    Religion would hardly kill someone. I know of no one in all of history who's execution by religion was ordered. Behaeding, hanging, shooting, burning, frying, crucifying, etc. All of these have been used to kill people. Religion is simply not the method as simone describes.

    Symbiote said it well. Religion may be the excuse but it is used to couch the more obvious human reasons for killing.

  6. #6
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    Symbiote I'm gonna argue with this one. Religion itself can be a motive for killing. Although it's true that religion can't kill (unless you believe that some people get smited by the Gods), religion can easily be used as a justification for killing without the other usual attachments.

    Case in point: Suicide attacks on the 7th of July (2006) in London. These attacks (ignoring conspiracy theories for the moment) were perpetrated in order to kill as many 'infidel' as possible. The bombers were not hoping or gain power, or anything material (at least I guess they weren't), and were instead striving for the religious promise of paradise after death. If that isn't religion killing people, I'm not sure what would be.

    Further examples include the Inquisition and the Crusades (as well as any historical Jihads, that to my shame I know next to nothing about)
    I cannot believe the same God who endowed us with logic and sense intended us to forgo thier use - Galileo Galilei

    A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject - Winston Stanley Churchill

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by simone View Post
    Yeah, but they use religion TO kill people. Religion should be issued by permit only.
    Funny, I've never seen anyone shot by religion bullets, or hit over the head with a "religion", or stabbed with one, either. Does your religion hold 8 rounds or 10?

    Religion isn't used to kill anyone. Religion is not a weapon, it's of the realm of ideas and views. True, some religion can be radical and fundamentalist and people may kill out of religious reasons (which I suspect is really what you were trying to say). But people are the ones to held responsible, and it's very irresponsible to say that "religion" (as a general term) is used to kill people. You can say BAD religion is, but not just "religion" as a blanket term. Well, you can say it, but you'd be wrong. It's sort of like people who say 'sex is dangerous'. No, unprotected sex is dangerous. Not sex.
    Last edited by jyoshu; 01-17-2007 at 09:24 PM.
    “We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.” - Reagan

    "A young man who wishes to remain a sound atheist cannot be too careful of his reading."
    - C. S. Lewis

    "I suffer more harassment as a former homosexual than I ever did as an out and proud homosexual." - Greg Quinlan, PFOX

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by huckleberry View Post
    I agree with this item. I have problems with:




    Religion would hardly kill someone. I know of no one in all of history who's execution by religion was ordered. Behaeding, hanging, shooting, burning, frying, crucifying, etc. All of these have been used to kill people. Religion is simply not the method as simone describes.

    Symbiote said it well. Religion may be the excuse but it is used to couch the more obvious human reasons for killing.
    On the other hand , there have been many people killed because they were not the 'proper' religion. THe autodefe, the progoms, Hitler's 'Final solution', are just some of them. I tend to be sensative to the Jewish ones, but there have been others where people have been killed because of them being Muslim, being Catholic, being Protestant, being Christian in general, being Hindu.. etc etc etc.

    Sometimes, the only motivation is that religions was the deciding factor in 'us vs them'.
    ‎"Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge." — Isaac Asimov

  9. #9
    James Guest
    People have been murdered throughout human history for countless reasons. Surely the question is why should a religious motive for murder be singled out as being especially wicked?

    James.

  10. #10
    peteratwar Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by James View Post
    People have been murdered throughout human history for countless reasons. Surely the question is why should a religious motive for murder be singled out as being especially wicked?

    James.
    True they have. If religious beliefs and teachings are basically true then breaching those teachings seems more basically wrong. However, most of these killings have their reasons as mere excuses given by people with evil in their hearts.

    Considering Christianity, Judaism and Islam all worship the same God I think he must be very fed up with the way his fractious children behave and would love them to grow up.

  11. #11
    James Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by peteratwar View Post
    True they have. If religious beliefs and teachings are basically true then breaching those teachings seems more basically wrong. However, most of these killings have their reasons as mere excuses given by people with evil in their hearts.
    Whether just one man is killed by another or whether thousands of people are killed in a war, I do not see that we can arrange the responsibility for these deaths in a hierarchy of wicked motives. From the point of view of the victims, it makes no difference whether they are murdered by robbers, soldiers, or religious fanatics; they're still dead.

    Why should my religious motive for killing an 'unbeliever' be more immoral than the reasoning of someone else who kills a man in order to rob him? Both outcomes, if premeditated, are acts of murder.

    If we interpose the free will of human beings, neither God nor religion are the causes of war.

    James.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by James View Post
    Whether just one man is killed by another or whether thousands of people are killed in a war, I do not see that we can arrange the responsibility for these deaths in a hierarchy of wicked motives. From the point of view of the victims, it makes no difference whether they are murdered by robbers, soldiers, or religious fanatics; they're still dead.

    Why should my religious motive for killing an 'unbeliever' be more immoral than the reasoning of someone else who kills a man in order to rob him? Both outcomes, if premeditated, are acts of murder.

    If we interpose the free will of human beings, neither God nor religion are the causes of war.

    James.
    Excellent post. Very well stated.
    “We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.” - Reagan

    "A young man who wishes to remain a sound atheist cannot be too careful of his reading."
    - C. S. Lewis

    "I suffer more harassment as a former homosexual than I ever did as an out and proud homosexual." - Greg Quinlan, PFOX

  13. #13
    peteratwar Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by James View Post
    Whether just one man is killed by another or whether thousands of people are killed in a war, I do not see that we can arrange the responsibility for these deaths in a hierarchy of wicked motives. From the point of view of the victims, it makes no difference whether they are murdered by robbers, soldiers, or religious fanatics; they're still dead.

    Why should my religious motive for killing an 'unbeliever' be more immoral than the reasoning of someone else who kills a man in order to rob him? Both outcomes, if premeditated, are acts of murder.

    If we interpose the free will of human beings, neither God nor religion are the causes of war.

    James.

    I don't disagree with you at all, quite the opposite. Just trying to provide a reason why people think it should be worse when religious motives are brought up. I don't particularly think there is any difference. If there is it is usually one of scale.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by James View Post
    Why should my religious motive for killing an 'unbeliever' be more immoral than the reasoning of someone else who kills a man in order to rob him? Both outcomes, if premeditated, are acts of murder.

    If we interpose the free will of human beings, neither God nor religion are the causes of war.

    James.
    Because a religious motive for killing is no more immoral than doing it in the course of a robbery, that makes it what? OK to kill because of religion? Isn't the motive of any concern to you? I would be concerned that there even exists a "religious motive for killing."
    Man may have free will, but if that will is poisoned by years of indoctrination that gets him to think an "unbeliever" deserves death, the indoctrination is at least partly to blame.
    "Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge" - Charles Darwin

    "One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision" - Bertrand Russell

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by James View Post
    People have been murdered throughout human history for countless reasons. Surely the question is why should a religious motive for murder be singled out as being especially wicked?

    James.
    No, I would say the question is how likely is religion to motivate murder, or perhaps how easy is it to get someone to kill in the name of religion, as opposed to other motivations. A suicide bomber blowing himself up in a market is wicked regardless of motive, whether it be religion, politics, unrequited love, whatever. But how easy is it to get someone to kill in the name of God? History says, pretty easy. "For the state" and "for God" have been the two main rallying cries down through time, and the worst attrocities often have religious motivations. I think the fact that religion specifically divorces itself humanity may be the reason for that. When your government tells you to do something, you know that the primary source of the order is a human; falable as the rest of us. You're free to think the order is stupid, resist it, or ignore it. You also know that if you follow the order you're agreeing with a human, sharing in their decision, and so taking on some of the responsibility for that decision. With religion, on the other hand, the buck stops on God's desk. He's supposed to be infallible, no one can claim to understand his motives, no one can claim to know better than him. So when God, or his earthly representitives, says to do something, it's alot easier to simply do it, even if the order doesn't seem quite right to you. Questioning a human is normal, questioning God is sacrelidge. If someone earnestly believes in God, whichever God, then all you have to do is convince them that God wants to punish the non-believers and you're all set. You've got yourself a crusader, jihadist, torturer, murderer, suicide bomber, whatever you need. Ok, not quite that straightforward, but much easier than taking an otherwise average person and getting them to XXXX themselves up for purely secular reasons. The very fact that religious motivations are ineffable makes religious orders easier to follow when they seem questionable, since by definition they defy explanation. You're simply supposed to have faith that God knows what he's doing and follow his will.

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