Christianity and War: Do they go together?

christianity and war

Yes, I know that there are some churches and individual Christians who don’t approve of war, but a huge wing of Christianity in the US has put itself in service to a warfare state. Listening to them, you’d think that Christianity and war were natural bedfellows. If you’ve spent time in Red State America, you know what I mean.

Please understand that I am not endorsing the Blue State line of crap either (I reject both wings of the Party), but that’s not my subject today.

Red State Protestants have given themselves over to “the virtues of defense,” seemingly without limit. They endlessly laud cops, firemen, and especially soldiers: anyone authorized by the state to use force. State force has become unquestionably righteous – especially if it is overseas. To these people, the US military can do no wrong.

This involves killing strangers, you understand… by Christians… people whose Holy Book say that they should love the outsider, turn the other cheek, and that every government belongs to the Devil.

Red State Religion as a Mix of Christianity and War Philosophy

Red State Christianity has become a State Religion, a Warfare Religion. So, since “judgment begins at the house of God,” let’s be harsh:

These churches are sucking up to the state for tax breaks, to follow a popular course, and to get lots and lots of members. It’s the new successful pattern, and they are following it without hesitation… to the point where they invent reasons to justify the killing of children. (“Collateral damage,” that is, not “killing.”)

A huge number of Red State churches have become whores to the US military culture, paying endless obeisance to uniformed state agents. According to them, all agents of the state are noble, are to be respected, and are most definitely to be obeyed without question. (Tell that to Sam Adams or Tom Jefferson!) All opinions to the contrary are discarded, condemned or ridiculed, without serious consideration.

This War Christianity is definitely at odds with the New Testament, which treats both war and state as barbaric relics.

I am not, by the way, opposed to stopping actual killers. What I am opposed to is telling someone to kill another person that he knows nothing about, guided by a superstition that “we’re automatically the good guys.”

And yes, I know that no one, in the midst of fire and confusion, has enough skill to avoid accidentally shooting an innocent. My complaint is with worshiping a government that places 18 year old boys in that position. These kids are being told to kill strangers, without any real evidence that the people they kill deserve it.

Is “because a politician said so” really sufficient?

These boys are coming home in pieces, or with pieces missing – and committing suicide in droves – for what? To magically turn Afghanistan into a western state? Does anyone seriously think that will happen?

And as someone who cares about history and theology, I am especially opposed to Jesus’ name being abused – yet again – by credentialed shepherds who are devoted – first and foremost – to gathering the largest flock possible, while not giving a damn that distant brown people die.

At this point in American history we are being treated to a continuing and twisted spectacle: Defenders of indiscriminate death pretending that they care about “love.”

They lie. So says me and so says John the Apostle.

Let me be clear about this: Christianity is an anti-state religion. It always was. So was the Judaism that came before it. All arguments to the contrary are fallacious, at least if we are to take the Bible as a serious reference.

But it will change…

Sooner or later, some American Christians will remember that theirs is an anti-state religion. It will doubtless begin with meetings in living rooms, barns and job sites, and will include a lot of good and talented young people. But they will make themselves despised outsiders, opposed by the current generation of Christian leaders, who have dedicated themselves to the state and haven’t any inclination to admit their errors.

In other words, the new, honest Christians will become the next link in a long and proud chain of heretics. They will be brave and committed people who are right, while all the institutions are wrong.

Are we really to believe that there is virtue in sending machines to rain indiscriminate death upon foreign people… at funerals? (Look it up!)

Must we really defend repetitive torture as being righteous?

Now, to be honest, the Red State Christians don’t say these things. Actually, they avoid facing them altogether. And that is the problem. Many of them have become, as Jesus’ friend Simon Peter said, “willingly ignorant.”

The US war machine is killing and torturing, and American preachers are straining their every muscle to thank them for it, in the name of Christ.

I’ve read Jesus’ words too many times to be suckered by this game, and I don’t think Jesus is pleased with it either.

Let’s hope that some young Christians can pull their act together and do better than the generation that preceded them. War and Christianity don’t belong together. They never have and they never will.

Paul Rosenberg
Christianity and War: Do they go together?

9 thoughts on “Christianity and War: Do they go together?”

  1. God did exercise his perfect judgement on very specific pagan peoples by ordering the Children of Israel to make war on them–those who practiced child sacrifice for instance. Permission was required for each and every battle. Without God’s approval there was only defeat. In the absence of a specific order by God, Christians have no permission to make war on anyone, leaving only self defense–that is protecting their own home and family.

  2. Hi, Paul Rosenberg. I come to similar conclusions to you regarding Christianity in my following articles. The first article concerns physicist and mathematician Prof. Frank J. Tipler’s Omega Point cosmology, which is a proof (i.e., mathematical theorem) of God’s existence per the known laws of physics (viz., the Second Law of Thermodynamics, General Relativity, and Quantum Mechanics), and the Feynman-DeWitt-Weinberg quantum gravity/Standard Model Theory of Everything (TOE), which is also required by said known physical laws.

    James Redford, “The Physics of God and the Quantum Gravity Theory of Everything”, Social Science Research Network (SSRN), Sept. 10, 2012 (orig. pub. Dec. 19, 2011), 186 pp., doi:10.2139/ssrn.1974708.

    James Redford, “Jesus Is an Anarchist”, Social Science Research Network (SSRN), Dec. 4, 2011 (orig. pub. Dec. 19, 2001), 60 pp., doi:10.2139/ssrn.1337761.

    1. Hey James, just read your article earlier this week and it completely changed my perspective on War and being a Christian.

      You should put that in pamphlets so people can hand them out to friends, neighbors, church members, etc.

  3. The Sermon on the Mount and every chapter of the Gospels make violence outside of Christ’s teachings. I don’t know how you read the Sermon on the Mount and can consider violence in any way. Jesus brought us a radical life to follow. Until the 4th century, Christians followed that radical life. Why the change…? Perhaps becoming the Roman Empire’s state religion had something to do with it. Empires look poorly on non-violence.

    1. I’m also a Christian and within the past few weeks I have been learning more about Christian Anarchy and what Jesus really taught about the State and war… I feel like I’m in the same situation you were in, working for an aerospace company who almost exclusively produces weapons of war… Thanks for the article Stan, just more things for me to think about in my life…

  4. Indeed, up until the 16th century, the Church was the defender of the people against the excesses of the state, admonishing monarchs or prodding them to defend the people. Not so ever since the Reformation, when the state co-opted the new denominations. Especially in England, never was the faith used to the service of the state by identifying them and whose fruits are clearly seen in Anglo-Saxon countries, where the logical consequence was that the state would take over the place that the Church had in society, defining right and wrong. IOW, the institutionalization of the Fall of Man.

    What is curious to me is that this worship of the state is not clearly articulated theologically by churchmen, but seems to be a consensual assumption, when it uncritically permeates the discourse among them and hides it from reflection.

    While on one hand it’s apparent that a few are at least aware that the state belongs to this world and its prince, some try to tame it and “baptize” it to build up the kingdom and others try to co-opt it by electing the “right” government leader. Of course, history demonstrates that both are wrong, for the state is the beast’s own belly and most men are captured by its empty promises, the same ones now as when Jesus was tempted in the desert.

    Lord, have mercy on us!

  5. Thank you for your article – It is an important start of a discussion that Christians should be having.

    I think there are historical reasons for the patriotic christian “hawk”. I was at the funeral of my 94 year old grandpa a few years ago. He was an honest, hardworking, humble christian man – who had been drafted into WWII. He fought with honor and saw first hand the horror of unrestrained states like Germany and Japan. I would have been hard-pressed to tell him that he should have been a “conscientious objector.” I probably would have been sat down and had a good talking to – Bible included.

    If we only consider the wars within our recent memory, then it is easy to make broad pronouncements without any messy complications. The Bible is full of warnings, and my own state is not immune from the same unrestrained evils that it has fought against in the past (protestations of “never again” not-withstanding).

    But an honest analysis needs to consider the nuances of history in order for us to be right thinking and firm in our final convictions.

  6. Wow! I am so happy to hear someone say it how it is! Most of this I already knew, but I definitely learned some things that I can use to reveal the truth to others.

    And it’s quite the coincidence that you said “Let’s hope that some young Christians can pull their act together and do better than the generation that preceded them”. Have you ever looked into The International Bible Students? I think you will be happily surprised to learn about them. =)

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