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Just War And Progressive Christianity


GeorgeW
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It seems that the primary focus of Progressive Christianity is in following the moral teachings of Jesus. Although there is not a comprehensive argument in the Gospels of Jesus’ position on war, it is clear to me that he was a pacifist.

 

A read a book not long ago about just-war theory (Just and Unjust Wars: A Moral Argument by Michael Walzer). The author makes a secular, philosophical argument for war under very limited circumstances; essentially self-defense and humanitarian intervention. I personally found his arguments persuasive and think that we have a moral obligation to use force under very limited circumstances such as genocide.

 

I have read that the Christian idea of just war goes back to St. Augustine, but I have not read his arguments. Perhaps some of the forum members have and can summarize them. And, it doesn't seem that pacifism has had much traction in Christianity even from the outset.

 

Regarding this subject, I have several questions:

 

1. Was Jesus, in fact, a total pacifist as I think?

 

2. If not, what is the evidence?

 

3.If he was a complete pacifist, would it be consistent with Progressive Christianity to disagree and argue that Jesus was wrong on this issue?

 

4. Is just-war theory consistent with Progressive Christianity?

 

I am not talking about the spirit of his teachings, but the practical application in our lives.

 

George

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Good topic, George. My input on this is only from my views and doesn't represent PC or progressive Christians in general.

 

1. Was Jesus, in fact, a total pacifist as I think?

 

Difficult to say. Jesus did not seem to be much of a pacifist when he "cleansed" the Temple, which, if taken together, the gospels say he did twice. Plus there are a couple of scriptures attributed to Jesus where he says that he did not come to bring peace, but a sword and that he came to divide. Then there is his parable of, if I remember it rightly, the wicked servants where the king says to slay the servants in from of him. And the biggy for me, from the Christianity of my youth, is that Jesus and God supposedly torture people forevermore in hell, a doctrine that I wouldn't link up with any kind of pacifism. Hell, in orthodox Christianity, is God's wrath continually making people suffer.

 

2. If not, what is the evidence?

 

See above. On the other hand, he told Peter to put away his sword and said that those who lived by the sword would die by the sword. I also think that the general thrust of Jesus' message was not to fight against the Romans (the Jewish enemy) but to forgive and even love them. I have never, ever been able, in my life, to reconcile Jesus' view of God as a forgiving, loving Entity with his teachings on hell. I might be able to see some forms of war as "just," but hell has never seemed just to me. Then again, on the third hand, it does seem that the early church was very much pacifistic. I doubt that they would have exhibited this tendency unless they felt that Jesus himself leaned heavily in this direction.

 

3.If he was a complete pacifist, would it be consistent with Progressive Christianity to disagree and argue that Jesus was wrong on this issue?

 

Just as Jesus was not monolithic on the subject of violence being done in the name of greater good, progressive Christians will probably also have a wide range of opinions. I'm interested in others' inputs on this subject.

 

4. Is just-war theory consistent with Progressive Christianity?

 

I don't know, so I'll let others chime in on this.

 

For me, I don't follow *all* of Jesus' teachings, only the ones that seem to me to be compassionate and to make me a better person. My faith, such as it is, doesn't require me to see Jesus as infallible and inerrant or as the final revelation of all truth. In other words, God is still speaking. :) So I would hope that "just war theory" stays on the table for humanity and that is takes precendence over much of the religious or economic war that seems to plague modernity.

 

One other further thought: The Jesus of Revelation is certainly no pacifist. He kills anyone in his way and is totally in favor of war.

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For me, I don't follow *all* of Jesus' teachings, only the ones that seem to me to be compassionate and to make me a better person. My faith, such as it is, doesn't require me to see Jesus as infallible and inerrant or as the final revelation of all truth. In other words, God is still speaking. :) So I would hope that "just war theory" stays on the table for humanity and that is takes precendence over much of the religious or economic war that seems to plague modernity.

 

Thanks for your comments.

 

Yes, I guess that one can mine the NT to find evidence of violence condoned. But, as you point out, there are passages that do suggest pacifism. I think it would be hard to read the Sermon on the Mount and come away with the conclusion that force is sometimes justified. And, as you point out, he lived in a time of foreign oppression and never (I think) advocated violent resistance.

 

Your view that Jesus was a fallible person is interesting. This certainly allows one to take his teachings as an advisory opinion rather than authoritative principles. I suspect that this is the view of other PCs, but who may be reticent to state this explicitly.

 

George

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Your view that Jesus was a fallible person is interesting. This certainly allows one to take his teachings as an advisory opinion rather than authoritative principles.

 

That's probably a good way to put it, George. I was raised in a very authoritarian form of Christianity where one was expected to believe or to obey without question, without considering whether the beliefs or commands were actually good or not. Of course, many of them were, in fact, good. At the same time, I had problems with religion where "blind obedience" was required or where religious leaders essentially said, "Do as I say, not as I do."

 

Jesus is, for me, a great teacher not just because much of what he taught is, IMO, good teachings for everyone, but because he actually lived out what he taught. He didn't just tell people to take up their cross, he actually did it.

 

And this, to me, comes back to the notion of disagreement or power being settled by violence (war). In Jesus, we see, metaphorically, God suffering violence being done to him rather than inflicting violence. Process theology has a lot to contribute, IMO, to this notion - that God's power is not seen in causing suffering (inflicting punishment), but in partaking in suffering in order to transform it into good.

 

If pressed, I would probably agree with "just war." The problem is, IMO, our wars are becoming more and more pre-emptive. When we had a president who claimed to be a born-again Christian calling for us to go to war with little to no cause, it is indeed time to consider exactly what kind of Christianity that is.

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If pressed, I would probably agree with "just war." The problem is, IMO, our wars are becoming more and more pre-emptive. When we had a president who claimed to be a born-again Christian calling for us to go to war with little to no cause, it is indeed time to consider exactly what kind of Christianity that is.

 

Walzer ("Just and Unjust War") would not classify preemptive war as just unless it is clearly defensive (the bad guys are poised to strike). Although his book was written before our "born again" president began calling for war, I am certain Walzer would have found the Iraq War without just cause.

 

FWIW, the leaders of virtually all the main-line Christian churches opposed the war. In fact, I attended several anti-war rallies with the Pastor of our church (PCUSA). As I recall, the Southern Baptists were a notable exception. Of course, this would be consistent with their worldview.

 

As I said before, I personally subscribe to just war theory. However, I do not object to, and in fact admire, those who are pacifists.

 

George

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I like the way the theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer summed this up when he addressed this topic once. When one of the conspirators who was plotting to assassinate Hitler asked him if he thought it was immoral to assassinate Hitler, Bonhoeffer basically said, yes it's a sin to assassinate Hitler, but go ahead and do it but accept the guilt for it.

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I like the way the theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer summed this up when he addressed this topic once. When one of the conspirators who was plotting to assassinate Hitler asked him if he thought it was immoral to assassinate Hitler, Bonhoeffer basically said, yes it's a sin to assassinate Hitler, but go ahead and do it but accept the guilt for it.

 

That is interesting. He may be making a theological exception for humanitarian intervention similar to Walzer's secular position.

 

George

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That quote seems to suggest that it is on occasion impossible to avoid sin (killing vs. letting a mass-murdering dictator live).

 

Nick,

 

Or, was he suggesting that there are some sins that are excusable when committed to deter even greater sins?

 

George

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Nick,

 

Or, was he suggesting that there are some sins that are excusable when committed to deter even greater sins?

 

George

 

I apologize, I should have written another sentence or two.

 

He definitely is saying that certain actions are morally superior than others, even if both actions are sinful.

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This is the way I see things. I think all wars are sinful but sometimes it is necessary to commit the lesser of two evils to prevent a greater evil from happening. I also think that if Jesus really was a loving and forgiving pacifist, he would show compassion and understanding and forgive us for when we have to engage in necessary wars and give us a second chance, rather than sending us to hell for all eternity. So while just wars may sometimes be necessary, they should always be a last resort and be done with the understanding that war isn't something that should be glorified.

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This is the way I see things. I think all wars are sinful but sometimes it is necessary to commit the So while just wars may sometimes be necessary, they should always be a last resort and be done with the understanding that war isn't something that should be glorified.

 

This is one of the features of just war theory. Force should be used only when other means of resolving the situation have been exhausted.

 

The world is facing the situation today in Libya. I am ambivalent as to whether it is politically wise to intervene. But, from a moral point of view, I think humanitarian intervention can be justified and other means of stopping the killing have been unsuccessful.

 

George

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  • 3 weeks later...

This is the way I see things. I think all wars are sinful but sometimes it is necessary to commit the lesser of two evils to prevent a greater evil from happening. I also think that if Jesus really was a loving and forgiving pacifist, he would show compassion and understanding and forgive us for when we have to engage in necessary wars and give us a second chance, rather than sending us to hell for all eternity. So while just wars may sometimes be necessary, they should always be a last resort and be done with the understanding that war isn't something that should be glorified.

 

Or maybe sin can be defined as that which separates us from God. Kind of a spectrum, instead of black-and-white rules. Maybe it's okay to let our carnal, violent side take over sometimes, but not for longer than necessary.

 

Sorry, I'm having a massive attack of theological metacognition and thought I'd get back on the forums for insight.

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It seems that the primary focus of Progressive Christianity is in following the moral teachings of Jesus. Although there is not a comprehensive argument in the Gospels of Jesus' position on war, it is clear to me that he was a pacifist.

 

A read a book not long ago about just-war theory (Just and Unjust Wars: A Moral Argument by Michael Walzer). The author makes a secular, philosophical argument for war under very limited circumstances; essentially self-defense and humanitarian intervention. I personally found his arguments persuasive and think that we have a moral obligation to use force under very limited circumstances such as genocide.

 

I have read that the Christian idea of just war goes back to St. Augustine, but I have not read his arguments. Perhaps some of the forum members have and can summarize them. And, it doesn't seem that pacifism has had much traction in Christianity even from the outset.

 

Regarding this subject, I have several questions:

 

1. Was Jesus, in fact, a total pacifist as I think?

 

2. If not, what is the evidence?

 

3.If he was a complete pacifist, would it be consistent with Progressive Christianity to disagree and argue that Jesus was wrong on this issue?

 

4. Is just-war theory consistent with Progressive Christianity?

 

I am not talking about the spirit of his teachings, but the practical application in our lives.

 

George

 

First, I would like to formally acknowledge the irony of a thread on "just war" being started by someone with the user name George W.

 

As to the subject of war: I am opposed to preemptive war, such as the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Preemptive War, sometimes nicknamed the Bush Doctrine, states that

 

a potential or perceived threat to the security of the United States, even if that threat is not immediate, is justification for military intervention. -from National Security Council Resolution (September 2002)

 

Even before 9/11, neoconservatives were pushing for this military strategy in an effort to help stabilize the oil-rich Middle East to maintain the flow of cheap fuel. In a letter to then President Bill Clinton, the neocom group Project for the New American Century (PNAC) lobbied for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein on the grounds that he was manufacturing weapons of mass destruction. Hussein was at that time trying to convince OPEC to move from the US Dollar standard for the trading of oil to the Euro:

 

As a result, in the not-too-distant future we will be unable to determine with any reasonable level of confidence whether Iraq does or does not possess such weapons. Such uncertainty will, by itself, have a seriously destabilizing effect on the entire Middle East. It hardly needs to be added that if Saddam does acquire the capability to deliver weapons of mass destruction, as he is almost certain to do if we continue along the present course, the safety of American troops in the region, of our friends and allies like Israel and the moderate Arab states, and a significant portion of the world's supply of oil will all be put at hazard. As you have rightly declared, Mr. President, the security of the world in the first part of the 21st century will be determined largely by how we handle this threat. - January 26, 1998, PNAC letter to then-President Bill Clinton

 

It is interesting to note the signatories to that letter: Dan Quayle (then Vice President under George H. W. Bush), Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and Jeb Bush.

 

I don't really intend to open the argument up to the whole "blood for oil" thing, but it is necessary to understand where our current trend of preemptive war comes from which even the current President seems willing to embrace.

 

As far as Jesus' teaching on war, I guess it depends on which Jesus you choose to follow. There appear to be two contained within the New Testament.

 

The first is what I call the Peaceable Kingdom Jesus. This Jesus is the one who gave the Sermon on the Mount (or Plain) and asked us to turn the other cheek when an enemy strikes the first. This is the Jesus who intervened when the disciples took up arms against the Roman soldiers who were attempting to arrest Jesus. This is the Jesus who spoke parables against hypocrites and religious bigots. This is the Jesus who said "...do not hinder [children] from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."

 

The second Jesus I call the Vengeful Jesus. This Jesus told the disciples that he came to sow dissension among sons and fathers, condemned sinners to "a lake of fire where there will be weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth." This Jesus is the one who would cut down the unrighteous as a farmer winnows the chaff from the wheat and calls unbelievers goats deserving the sword. And yes, this is the Jesus who sits at the right hand of the Father judging the souls of the unbelievers and condemning them to an eternity of unspeakable torment.

 

Anyone who has traveled to Europe can see visible representations of these two Jesus' by examining the pediment sculptures of Jesus above the doorways to various churches. Some depict the Peaceable Kingdom Jesus with arms opened wide accepting all who enter. The others depict an angry Jesus casting sinners into Hell.

 

Since I believe the Bible is a loose compilation of many sometimes divergent theological interests, I choose to follow the lead of the Peaceable Kingdom Jesus. This philosophy more closely resembles the supposed Judaic origins of Christianity.

 

As such, I believe that we ought to refrain from war at all costs and to enter into it only for defense of our shores and outrageous attacks of our innocent neighbors in the world - and then only with "fear and trembling." I am also for mandatory conscription that includes the sons and daughters of the politicians who vote for war.

 

As for the practical application of Jesus' teachings (whichever Jesus one chooses) on government policy, I would hearken to Nancy Reagan's advice: just say no.

 

NORM

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....Or maybe....

 

We should just stop trying to over think all of this and just listen to our own heart and souls of today.

 

Maybe we should just deal with what exists and apply our own conciousness to the situation.

 

I really don't understand why people have to keep looking back to any teachings in order to justify or understand our understandings of what is right or wrong today.

 

It's not that difficult, is it? Why do we need to have a reference in order to know what is right in our own hearts?

 

Kath

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This is the way I see things. I think all wars are sinful but sometimes it is necessary to commit the lesser of two evils to prevent a greater evil from happening. I also think that if Jesus really was a loving and forgiving pacifist, he would show compassion and understanding and forgive us for when we have to engage in necessary wars and give us a second chance, rather than sending us to hell for all eternity. So while just wars may sometimes be necessary, they should always be a last resort and be done with the understanding that war isn't something that should be glorified.

 

I just love how people tweak the Jesus message in order to justify their agenda.

 

What happened to "turn the other cheek"?

 

Jesus would forgive us in engaging wars? Wow. I'd love to invite jesus to tea to discuss this.

 

When did we begin to think for Jesus anyway?

 

I think Jesus would not approve of tweaking. I think Jesus would scorn tweaking. I think Jesus would say you should have the balls to stand up for what I originally said and that is no violence and no harm done unto others.

 

But Jesus is a human construct and we all have to live by our own definitions of what is right or wrong and what is justified in the name of whomever you choose to name in order to justify your own philosophies.

 

Either you believe that Jesus was a complete pacifist or you use him to justify your own thinking on a subject is up to you.

 

I choose to see Jesus as a complete pacifist and that is not compromisable to me. If there was a Jesus, you either accept him as pure of heart or look elsewhere for your ambiguity.

 

Is it okay to fight in the name of Jesus in order to eradicate evil? I dunno...let's ask Jesus.

 

It seems to me that we tweak what we can in order to justify what we think.

 

This is just plain wrong.

 

You don't even know what you're talking about! You are all supposing to know based on your own understanding and interpretation, and sorry, you really all don't have it down any more than anyone else.

 

My thinking is that we should all just relax and focus on doing good in our own immediate environment and hope it's contagious.

 

When you start taking thing into your own hands and interpreting the Jesus message based on your own agenda, you have to realize that you are in fact, dismissing your faith in said Jesus.

 

Jesus is not here for your own particular agenda.

 

Kath

 

Warning issued on this post 03/27/2011 JM

Edited by JosephM
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First, I would like to formally acknowledge the irony of a thread on "just war" being started by someone with the user name George W.

 

As to the subject of war: I am opposed to preemptive war, such as the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Preemptive War, sometimes nicknamed the Bush Doctrine, states that

 

 

 

Even before 9/11, neoconservatives were pushing for this military strategy in an effort to help stabilize the oil-rich Middle East to maintain the flow of cheap fuel. In a letter to then President Bill Clinton, the neocom group Project for the New American Century (PNAC) lobbied for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein on the grounds that he was manufacturing weapons of mass destruction. Hussein was at that time trying to convince OPEC to move from the US Dollar standard for the trading of oil to the Euro:

 

 

 

It is interesting to note the signatories to that letter: Dan Quayle (then Vice President under George H. W. Bush), Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and Jeb Bush.

 

I don't really intend to open the argument up to the whole "blood for oil" thing, but it is necessary to understand where our current trend of preemptive war comes from which even the current President seems willing to embrace.

 

As far as Jesus' teaching on war, I guess it depends on which Jesus you choose to follow. There appear to be two contained within the New Testament.

 

The first is what I call the Peaceable Kingdom Jesus. This Jesus is the one who gave the Sermon on the Mount (or Plain) and asked us to turn the other cheek when an enemy strikes the first. This is the Jesus who intervened when the disciples took up arms against the Roman soldiers who were attempting to arrest Jesus. This is the Jesus who spoke parables against hypocrites and religious bigots. This is the Jesus who said "...do not hinder [children] from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."

 

The second Jesus I call the Vengeful Jesus. This Jesus told the disciples that he came to sow dissension among sons and fathers, condemned sinners to "a lake of fire where there will be weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth." This Jesus is the one who would cut down the unrighteous as a farmer winnows the chaff from the wheat and calls unbelievers goats deserving the sword. And yes, this is the Jesus who sits at the right hand of the Father judging the souls of the unbelievers and condemning them to an eternity of unspeakable torment.

 

Anyone who has traveled to Europe can see visible representations of these two Jesus' by examining the pediment sculptures of Jesus above the doorways to various churches. Some depict the Peaceable Kingdom Jesus with arms opened wide accepting all who enter. The others depict an angry Jesus casting sinners into Hell.

 

Since I believe the Bible is a loose compilation of many sometimes divergent theological interests, I choose to follow the lead of the Peaceable Kingdom Jesus. This philosophy more closely resembles the supposed Judaic origins of Christianity.

 

As such, I believe that we ought to refrain from war at all costs and to enter into it only for defense of our shores and outrageous attacks of our innocent neighbors in the world - and then only with "fear and trembling." I am also for mandatory conscription that includes the sons and daughters of the politicians who vote for war.

 

As for the practical application of Jesus' teachings (whichever Jesus one chooses) on government policy, I would hearken to Nancy Reagan's advice: just say no.

 

NORM

 

Norm, you are absolutely brilliant and I hang on your every word.

 

Have you considered running for president?

 

xoxoxoxo

 

Kath

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Norm,

 

"As to the subject of war: I am opposed to preemptive war, such as the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Preemptive War, sometimes nicknamed the Bush Doctrine"

 

The Iraq War clearly violated just-war theory. Afghanistan was problematic.

 

 

"As far as Jesus' teaching on war, I guess it depends on which Jesus you choose to follow. There appear to be two contained within the New Testament."

 

I think there is a clear theme in Jesus' teachings and it is what you call the "Peaceable Kingdom Jesus." I think it takes some serious cherry picking to find another one.

 

 

"Since I believe the Bible is a loose compilation of many sometimes divergent theological interests, I choose to follow the lead of the Peaceable Kingdom Jesus. This philosophy more closely resembles the supposed Judaic origins of Christianity."

 

Yes, the Bible does have "divergent theological interests." However, the "Judaic origins" (see Joshua as an example) have some less than peaceable themes.

 

 

"As such, I believe that we ought to refrain from war at all costs and to enter into it only for defense of our shores and outrageous attacks of our innocent neighbors in the world - and then only with "fear and trembling."

 

Just-war theory also includes humanitarian intervention and defense of other nations who are victims of aggressive war.

 

George (not the George W you refer to)

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This is the way I see things. I think all wars are sinful but sometimes it is necessary to commit the lesser of two evils to prevent a greater evil from happening.

 

I think you state it well. In the real world, we don't always face situations which are neatly binary (good or evil). The alternatives are often selecting the greater good or the lesser evil.

 

George

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I choose to see Jesus as a complete pacifist and that is not compromisable to me. If there was a Jesus, you either accept him as pure of heart or look elsewhere for your ambiguity.

If Jesus would send people to hell to burn for all eternity because they killed a murderer to save their life, then Jesus is not a pacifist; he's a hypocrite.

 

 

 

You don't even know what you're talking about! You are all supposing to know based on your own understanding and interpretation, and sorry, you really all don't have it down any more than anyone else.

 

My thinking is that we should all just relax and focus on doing good in our own immediate environment and hope it's contagious.

 

I wish you would stop insulting others when we've been trying to be courteous and respectful to you here. For someone who claims to be a pacifist, you seem very judgmental.
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I think there is a clear theme in Jesus' teachings and it is what you call the "Peaceable Kingdom Jesus." I think it takes some serious cherry picking to find another one.

 

Nevertheless, one can find a vengeful Jesus in the Bible. Look at I Thessalonians, Colossians, Ephesians, Romans and particularly Revelation. Those books describe a take no prisoners Jesus. This is the Jesus our church used to threaten us into submission as children. Even in the gospels, where you find the Peaceable Kingdom Jesus, you will also find the vengeful one:

 

"But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me." - Luke 19:27

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, the Bible does have "divergent theological interests." However, the "Judaic origins" (see Joshua as an example) have some less than peaceable themes.

 

Yes, I realized that mistake after I had already posted it. I should have specified that I meant the later iteration of Judaism as described in the Talmud, ca. 100 BCE. Specifically, the teachings of Hillel, who was a Jewish teacher who lived about 100 years before the time of Jesus. Since it is said that Hillel lived to be over 100 years old, it is entirely possible that Jesus learned some of his teachings. The famous quote of Jesus "Do unto others what you would have them do unto you" is actually something Hillel taught long before Jesus was born. Reformed Judaism follows the Hillel school of teaching, which is decidedly more pacifistic than Orthodox or the Hasidim.

 

 

Just-war theory also includes humanitarian intervention and defense of other nations who are victims of aggressive war.

 

George (not the George W you refer to)

 

Yes, this is a difficult thing to consider. At any given time, there are hundreds of despots terrorizing their citizens all over the world. Yet, we seem to only pick the parts of the world that contain vast quantities of decaying dinosaurs under their soil. Funny; that.

 

I wish that the United Nations was a little more serious about its mission in the world. Of course, we are the 80 lb. gorilla in the room there.

 

NORM

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The famous quote of Jesus "Do unto others what you would have them do unto you" is actually something Hillel taught long before Jesus was born. Reformed Judaism follows the Hillel school of teaching, which is decidedly more pacifistic than Orthodox or the Hasidim.

NORM

 

Hillel said, "That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow." In other words, refrain from doing harm (using one's own sensitivities as the test).

 

Jesus said, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." This raised the bar a notch as his charge was to affirmatively do good (again with one's sensitivities as a guide).

 

In any event, both worthwhile maxims.

 

George

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Hillel said, "That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow." In other words, refrain from doing harm (using one's own sensitivities as the test).

 

Jesus said, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." This raised the bar a notch as his charge was to affirmatively do good (again with one's sensitivities as a guide).

 

In any event, both worthwhile maxims.

 

George

 

 

And this is the word of the Lord!

 

Can I get an AMEN on that?

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And this is the word of the Lord!

 

Can I get an AMEN on that?

 

I have no idea what you mean by this, but it seems to be sarcastic. Neither Norm nor I made any claims about the "word of the Lord." We cited Hillel and Jesus. What one thinks they might represent is quite a different issue.

 

Or, if you have a problem with either maxim, perhaps you could explain.

 

George

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Hillel said, "That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow." In other words, refrain from doing harm (using one's own sensitivities as the test).

 

Jesus said, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." This raised the bar a notch as his charge was to affirmatively do good (again with one's sensitivities as a guide).

 

In any event, both worthwhile maxims.

 

George

 

I am glad you noticed the subtle difference! I see that as an example of social evolution on the part of the Jesus character. I actually have a theory that the Jesus story is a reworking of Hillel's philosophy.

 

NORM

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