Thread: Kill the Christians Board: Oblivion / Ship of Fools.


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Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
Did anyone else see this programme by Jane Corbin on BBC2 last night? If so, what do you think? If not, watch it on iPlayer. I'd like to say, that's an order, not an option.

I thought it was excellent. From what one's been able to pick up hitherto, I suspect it was also fairly objective. It even caught something of the dilemma faced by Christians as a minority in Syria.

I'm not given to complimenting journalists, but it must also have taken quite a lot of courage to make. At one point she was interviewing Peshmerga soldiers in what appeared to be the front line with ISIS trenches in front of them.
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
I watched it and found it very sad, particularly the interviews with Fr Douglas. It made me angry too, not just at the persecution that the poor blighters have undergone and are still going through but also at those Christians in the west who whinge about being 'persecuted'.
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
Haven't yet watched the programme, so cannot comment directly. But ISIS target anyone who does not agree with their interpretation of Islam. Given that it is a fairly extreme version, this casts a very wide net which even catches many, many other Muslims.
 
Posted by The Midge (# 2398) on :
 
It seems that many Muslims are victims of Isis. But ethnic or theocratic cleansing is wrong who ever does it and to whoever it is done to.

I pray that all the anti immigration rhetoric doesn't lead to the same thing here in the long run.

Perhaps it is no accident that the documentary was based in the Nineveh Plain, the same place where God sent Jonah to extend grace to the other.
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
That is true. The programme endorsed that. However, everyone knows that and it wasn't the piece of news that it was trying to get across, which is something far less well known and largely unappreciated in Britain.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Why should I watch it? IS' main victims by a couple of orders of magnitude aren't Christians. I'm beginning to cease to know what that means.
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Haven't yet watched the programme, so cannot comment directly. But ISIS target anyone who does not agree with their interpretation of Islam. Given that it is a fairly extreme version, this casts a very wide net which even catches many, many other Muslims.

Agreed. But it is not Muslims who are on the verge of extinction in those parts of the Middle East, but Christians and Yazidis.
 
Posted by Jengie jon (# 273) on :
 
What of the Jews?

There have been Jews in the area since the time of the exile.

Jengie
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
Not good news but the decline has been ongoing for decades and attributable to other factors such as the establishment of Israel, not just persecution in Iraq.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
Not good news but the decline has been ongoing for decades and attributable to other factors such as the establishment of Israel, not just persecution in Iraq.

I'm not sure this comment really is relevant with respect to Christians in Iraq. It is true that Palestinian Christians feel a close association with Iraqi Christians, but I don't think there is any evidence that the decline (of Christianity in Iraq) is due to Israel - either directly or indirectly.

It is certainly true that there are large numbers of displaced Palestinians in "refugee" camps in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan who have been there for a long time in essentially poorly built cities. Many Palestinians inside the West Bank and Gaza also live in deplorable conditions.

But even this does not explain why, in particular, there is a loss of Christians. In Gaza there have been some very well known and high profile incidents of anti-Christian abuse, but then the population there of Christians was always very small. The West Bank, which had a long-term population of Christians, has been haemorrhaging people from the Christian minority for many years.

When I visited and spoke to people in the Christian community in the West Bank, I got the impression that they were relatively well integrated, but that Christians seem to have more contacts outside of the Middle East than the average Muslim. Hence it is easier for them to move to family or friends, particularly in South America. I did not hear anything to support the wild accusations of anti-Christian abuse in the West Bank.

In Iraq, we only tend to hear about Christians from people with a very idealogical position, such as Andrew White (described to me by a diplomat recently as the "loose Canon"). Anglicans are a tiny minority of Christians in the Middle East and AW by no means speaks for all Christians in Iraq or elsewhere in the region. In fact there is a long-standing problem of inter-denominational rivalry amongst the evangelical community (of which the Anglican church is generally a part) throughout the region, and Anglicans in particular find it hard to shake off the colonial British connection.

Sadly it seems that much of the rest of the Christian world likes to use Middle Eastern Christians as a political football - either despising them as pro-Palestinian zealots, pumping them with funds as an outpost of denominational values or dismissing them as nominal Christians without any real faith to speak of. And then, occasionally, they're portrayed as passive victims, oppressed by everyone.

The Middle East is a big and complex place. Christians and other religious minorities do not face the same situation in all countries, and there is no way to make a general statement about them all which does not in some way apply to other minorities.

But neither, I don't think, is there any particular reason to highlight those terrible circumstances where they have been massacred as examples of general persecution in the region. This just plays into a narrative that some are repeating for their own political motives. As has been said, IS are equal opportunity haters of those who disagree with them.
 
Posted by Laurelin (# 17211) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Why should I watch it? IS' main victims by a couple of orders of magnitude aren't Christians. I'm beginning to cease to know what that means.

So the Christians and their ancient churches in the Middle East don't matter?

I think you should watch it.

And so will I.
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
Not good news but the decline has been ongoing for decades and attributable to other factors such as the establishment of Israel, not just persecution in Iraq.

I'm not sure this comment really is relevant with respect to Christians in Iraq. It is true that Palestinian Christians feel a close association with Iraqi Christians, but I don't think there is any evidence that the decline (of Christianity in Iraq) is due to Israel - either directly or indirectly.

The comment was to do with the decline of Jews in Iraq, not Christians, in response to Jengie's question; the establishment of Israel then is quite germane to the decline of the Jewish population in Iraq, since it acts as a 'pull' factor in addition to the 'push' of persecution.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
The comment was to do with the decline of Jews in Iraq, not Christians, in response to Jengie's question; the establishment of Israel then is quite germane to the decline of the Jewish population in Iraq, since it acts as a 'pull' factor in addition to the 'push' of persecution.

Doof, sorry.
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
[Biased]
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Everything matters Laurelin. Let me know why it does. What a difference we can make. Carpet bomb Raqqa?
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
Martin60

"Bless those who persecute you".

Take your pick from Matthew 5, Luke 6, Romans 12, 1 Cor 4, 1 Peter 3.

And recognise (in accordance with John Donne) that "No man is an island ..". What leaps out of that well known poem is this.

[quote] ..any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind

Neither vengeance nor indifference are options. At least I can't see that they are.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Aye B. What makes the suffering of these significant? Different?
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
Because we are Christians and they are our brothers and sisters.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Aye B. What makes the suffering of these significant? Different?

The John Donne poem emphasises both the OT and NT truths; that any human suffering is significant, and indifference to it is a sin.

Is there a difference? Good question. It is easy for familial associations to descend into tribal prejudices and I guess we all have to watch that.

Several of the Northumbria Community complines contain the line "My dear ones O God, bless Thou and keep in every place where they are". My wife and I find that an encouragement to pray specifically for those who are close to us by ties of family relationship and friendship. So that includes people who are Christians and those who aren't.

Prayer for those we know, and whose circumstances we know, enables us to be more specific I think. Prayer for those whose circumstances become known to us (e.g. by the news) but who are not known to us personally tends to be specific about the circumstances without any specific understanding of how they are personally affected. So they are less personal.

Since we are commanded to pray both for those who are persecuted and those who are persecuting, both those we know well and those we do not know well, I'm not sure there's a clear distinction.

But so far as actions are concerned, particularly donations of service and money, there is a clear distinction. We do not encourage wrongdoers in the continuation of their wrong acts. Both prayers and service on behalf of wrongdoers are directed towards changes of hearts and minds away from the wrong they are doing. Including persecution.

So I don't think the faith of the sinners or the victims informs our prayers and actions so much as the nature of the sin and the victimisation.

One can argue, perfectly reasonably, that the sinners who are victimising may have a desperate need to find Christ and be found in Him. And that would be a prayer to bless the sinner, for example. But I've lived a long time, long enough to have seen a number of folks who have found Christ do a fair bit of victimising and persecuting, so I think our prayers and actions are best directed on the basis of the baleful consequences of persecution, both to the persecutors and the persecuted.

Does that make sense, Martin60? As I say, you ask a good question.

[ 18. April 2015, 08:36: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I saw the programme on I-Player. I'd been away when it was aired on Wednesday.

I thought it was well balanced and thought-provoking.

I'm saddened to think that the Holy Land might become a museum for visiting pilgrims - that indigenous Christianity there is under so much pressure (economic as much as anything else).

I was even sadder when I heard the Iraqi RC priest say that the best thing the West could do would be to 'open the gates' and give more visas ...

As if the only hope for his people was migration.

Things have to become pretty desperate for that to be the case. And this poor chap had been tortured and abused for his faith.

I don't know what the answer is, although as we, the Western powers, effectively created the mess in the first place, then we ought to do something about it ...
 
Posted by Al Eluia (# 864) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
I watched it and found it very sad, particularly the interviews with Fr Douglas. It made me angry too, not just at the persecution that the poor blighters have undergone and are still going through but also at those Christians in the west who whinge about being 'persecuted'.

Yes! Especially here in the US, where we have people like the pizzeria owner in Indiana who's being "persecuted" because she won't cater a gay wedding. It trivializes the suffering of our fellow Christians (and people of other religions!) who are truly being persecuted elsewhere.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
I'm certainly not indifferent to my tribe persecuting others and whinging about being persecuted for it.
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
Because we are Christians and they are our brothers and sisters.

It is sectarian BS that is fueling the persecution. So, you are fine when it doesn't include Christians?
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
It is sectarian BS that is fueling the persecution. So, you are fine when it doesn't include Christians?

Since you're putting the question to me, I feel I ought to respond. But what does BS stand for in this context, and what do you mean by the question? i.e. What are you actually asking?
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
It is sectarian BS that is fueling the persecution. So, you are fine when it doesn't include Christians?

Since you're putting the question to me, I feel I ought to respond. But what does BS stand for in this context, and what do you mean by the question? i.e. What are you actually asking?
You responded to Martin that you should care because the persecuted are Christian. It is caring only about one's own that is part of the problem in that region.
IMO, we should care about everyone that is being persecuted there. It is my opinion that Jesus would.
 
Posted by molopata (# 9933) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Al Eluia:
Yes! Especially here in the US, where we have people like the pizzeria owner in Indiana who's being "persecuted" because she won't cater a gay wedding. It trivializes the suffering of our fellow Christians (and people of other religions!) who are truly being persecuted elsewhere.

It is absolutely trivial by comparison, but nevertheless: Why should someone be compelled to cater for anything they don't feel comfortable with? (I phrase this in general terms, as I do not wish to stray into DH-territory).
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
we, the Western powers, effectively created the mess in the first place

I have just finished reading a recent biography of T.E. Lawrence, with all its reminders of the way in which Western foreign policy in the Middle East (Sykes-Picot, Balfour, etc) was improvised on the run.

All imperial policy, including that of the Ottoman Empire, can be criticized in retrospect, but in practice Western colonialism policy receives all or most of the attention.

Western imperial policy was never uniquely exploitative or culpable.

And it is certainly no justification for the sort of atrocities perpetrated by Islamist extremists in the ME or elsewhere.

I have also been reading Heretic, the latest book by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who is as unpopular with some Western leftists as she is with Islamofascists, because she refuses to accept special pleading in extenuation of Islamist violence and intolerance.

She writes: “There are other people besides Muslims who have complaints about U.S.”imperialism”. Yet there is precious little evidence of an upsurge in terrorism, suicide bombings, sectarian warfare, mediaeval punishments and honour killings in the the non-Muslim world”.
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
we should care about everyone that is being persecuted there.

Or anywhere else for that matter.

At the same time, it is difficult to imagine Hindus, or Muslims, or Buddhists being condemned for expressing an all too understandable particular concern for the persecution of their own co-religionists.

Apologies if I have missed it, but I don't think there has been a single reference on the Ship to the 150 targetted Christians murdered recently in Kenya by al-Shabab, an omission which would be unthinkable had they been the members of any other religious group killed by Christians.

[ 19. April 2015, 04:45: Message edited by: Kaplan Corday ]
 
Posted by Dave W. (# 8765) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
Apologies if I have missed it, but I don't think there has been a single reference on the Ship to the 150 targetted Christians murdered recently in Kenya by al-Shabab, an omission which would be unthinkable had they been the members of any other religious group killed by Christians.

I didn't see any posts about it by you, so I suppose by that measure you didn't think it was all that important either.
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dave W.:
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
Apologies if I have missed it, but I don't think there has been a single reference on the Ship to the 150 targetted Christians murdered recently in Kenya by al-Shabab, an omission which would be unthinkable had they been the members of any other religious group killed by Christians.

I didn't see any posts about it by you, so I suppose by that measure you didn't think it was all that important either.
You have now.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
At the same time, it is difficult to imagine Hindus, or Muslims, or Buddhists being condemned for expressing an all too understandable particular concern for the persecution of their own co-religionists.

Apologies if I have missed it, but I don't think there has been a single reference on the Ship to the 150 targetted Christians murdered recently in Kenya by al-Shabab, an omission which would be unthinkable had they been the members of any other religious group killed by Christians.

If a particular concern for one's own co-religionists is understandable, so is a particular outrage at the actions of one's own co-religionists.

That said, nobody on the Ship has complained recently about the actions of the Lord's Resistance Army or any of the other nominally Christian militia groups operating in central Africa.
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
nobody on the Ship has complained recently about the actions of the Lord's Resistance Army

Yes, that's really strange, because you'd expect that we would just naturally identify with a group like the LRA which is so smack bang in the centre of the Christian tradition.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Where was I justifying the actions of extreme jihadist groups like IS, Kaplan?

[Confused]

To identify Imperial British/French machinations as among the root causes of the current problems goes no way towards justifying the atrocities of evil groups like IS.

That would like saying that because the roots of the Troubles in Ulster went back to the 17th century Plantations and beyond that to centuries of Anglo-Norman interference in Ireland we are somehow justifying IRA and INLA violence from the 1970s onwards ...

I can see what you are getting at and agree that there has been a lamentable lack of comment on the Ship about the 150 Kenyans murdered by radical Islamists just a few weeks ago.

But please don't lump me into your knee-jerk reaction against the 'lefties' and liberals you take to be so selective in their judgements.

The issue is, how do we go about resolving these problems?

Steve Langton's solution would be for all to become Anabaptist-like in our approach, thereby giving off signals to IS and other radical jihadists that we have nothing to do with the legacy of Western imperialism.

Nice idea, but I don't see it cutting much ice even if it were feasible.

What's your solution?
 
Posted by quetzalcoatl (# 16740) on :
 
The problem with solutions offered by the West is that they may make things worse. Another problem is that the Middle East is going through a perfect storm - yes, the long unravelling of colonialism, but also the after-shocks of the highly corrupt and vicious secular regimes, of which Assad is the survivor, and the machinations of the Saudis and Iran, the effects of the invasion of Iraq, and no doubt other factors. Solutions easily turn into further problems.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Yes, the problems are intricate and probably intractable - but there has to be something that the international community as a whole can do.

Offering more visas to Iraqi Christians is one thing, but surely there must be some way to help Yazidis, Christians and other religious minorities to remain in their own ancestral homelands?

I don't have much time for the Maronite Christians of the Lebanon, I'm afraid, they were just as vicious as the Druze and other militia during the Lebanese civil war ... but it was interesting, and quite startling, to hear a prominent member of the Druze saying that it was vital for the Druze to defend the Christians and other minorities in the interests of maintaining a diverse society.

It's in nobody's interests - but the extreme jihadists - to tolerate the actions of IS.

I agree with Kaplan to some extent, that radical Islam can be an embarrassment to western liberalism as the more leftward leaning tendency is to disparage Israel and western intervention in the region. This can, of course, play into the hands of the Islamo-fascists and jihadists.

There must be another way.

The Peshmerga seem committed to defending the Christian and other minorities, as they see a religiously and ethnically diverse Kurdistan as a desirable state of affairs. But then, the Turks and others are equally as wary of the Peshmerga ... the whole thing is highly complex and not reducible to knee-jerk solutions from either left or right.

Whilst the Saudis and other repressive, Sunni regions continue to bank-roll radical jihadists then the problems will continue and will escalate.

I'm not a great fan of Western intervention - and I was opposed to the invasion of Iraq. However, we are already embroiled. I'd like to see some action taken to curb the monster that is Saudi Arabia - not military action, but some kind of moral or economic pressure - but that's not going to happen as we've all got our noses pressed firmly into the Saudi oil trough.
 
Posted by quetzalcoatl (# 16740) on :
 
I think actually it has been in the interests of some of the Sunni tribes to tolerate IS; this is part of the very difficult political situation, where large chunks of the Sunni triangle are using IS as a kind of blackmail against Baghdad. No doubt, negotiations are ongoing about this; whether or not the West can help here is unclear. It might make things worse; on the other hand, the US did help in the anti-AQ alliances (Awakening). But also military action may well reduce IS, but perhaps they are one head of the hydra.

[ 19. April 2015, 11:30: Message edited by: quetzalcoatl ]
 
Posted by Dave W. (# 8765) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
quote:
Originally posted by Dave W.:
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
Apologies if I have missed it, but I don't think there has been a single reference on the Ship to the 150 targetted Christians murdered recently in Kenya by al-Shabab, an omission which would be unthinkable had they been the members of any other religious group killed by Christians.

I didn't see any posts about it by you, so I suppose by that measure you didn't think it was all that important either.
You have now.
No, I think I still haven't. This comes two weeks after the attack, and only in the context of complaining about how other people don't seem to be sufficiently outraged. With a side helping of imagining their reactions to a counterfactual in which the identities of killers and victims were switched. The actual Kenyan attack seems only incidental to your criticism of the attitudes of your fellow posters on Ship of Fools.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Sure, quetzatcoatl, the situation is very complicated and the Sunnis in Iraq had been on the receiving end of some flak from the Shia's.

I don't think military action is the solution, although to some extent I'd favour limited military action in order to contain IS and protect minorities from their ravages until such time as some kind of equilibrium can be found - or at least something approaching that kind of 'steady state'. I make no bones about that, although I am aware of the difficulties.

Something has to be done to contain IS, although I would agree that they are just one head of a hydra.

The way things are at the moment, it looks like they have been effectively contained in Kurdistan by the Peshmerga, with some US air-strike support - and possibly in the Lebanon, where they have made some incursions.

Combating IS on the ground in Syria and Northern Iraq is just part of it, though, they obviously have the capacity to spring up elsewhere as they did in Libya - and as Kaplan has reminded us, be fair, they aren't the only group of this kind - there's Boko Haram in Nigeria and Al-Shabab in Somalia and goodness knows how many others in the offing ...

So, what is the solution?

It has to come from within the Islamic communities themselves. They aren't all suddenly going to become Anabaptists or nice, godly, peaceful evangelical Christians - which is what some here seem to believe to be the only viable solution.

There are instances of radical Muslims becoming more moderate in their approach. For the longer haul, there has to be adjustment, education and some kind of dialogue.

The trouble is, it's as hard to negotiate with fanatics as it is to 'reduce' them by bumping them off ... which only creates more martyrs and exacerbates the problem.

How do you even begin to start reasoning with these people?

I have no idea.

Containing them to some extent has to be one of the options, but longer term ... I don't know. What with global warming, water-wars and renewed tension between East and West we seem to be heading for a bumpy ride ...
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
You responded to Martin that you should care because the persecuted are Christian. It is caring only about one's own that is part of the problem in that region.
IMO, we should care about everyone that is being persecuted there. It is my opinion that Jesus would.

Yes, we should, but I tend to be a bit suspicious of those who imply that we should not care especially about our own because we should care for everyone. We don't take that line with our own families. We would, rightly, abhor somebody who did. And saying we ought to care about everyone or humanity in the abstract, is alas all too often an excuse for not really caring about anyone at all in the concrete.

As a Buddhist, I'd imagine your sympathies would go out particularly to fellow Buddhists who were suffering. You would feel 'this could be happening to me'. That is right, not in some inchoate way vaguely reprehensible.


I agree also, that it's a pity, if this is the case, if no one on the Ship has expressed any fellow feeling hitherto for the Christians martyred in Kenya. But not putting down on electronic paper ones feelings about one outrage is not a valid reason for complaining when somebody does say something about another.
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
Enoch,

Yes, it is natural to feel special sympathy for those we consider like us. And I am in no way amongst those who would say all or none.
But this does not mean it is not valid to remind people what the true scope of concern should be.
 
Posted by Lamb Chopped (# 5528) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:

Apologies if I have missed it, but I don't think there has been a single reference on the Ship to the 150 targetted Christians murdered recently in Kenya by al-Shabab, an omission which would be unthinkable had they been the members of any other religious group killed by Christians.

It was in the prayer thread ASAP.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Where has anyone been martyred for righteousness' sake (for the sake of sacrificial social justice, kindness, mercy, charity, peace making)? Where has anyone been reviled and persecuted and had all kinds of evil said against them falsely for His sake in any way beyond tribal markings?

I worry about those who worry about those worrying about ... worrying.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
Their deaths don't matter because they weren't technically martyrs for their faith? Not sure how you can justify that attitude.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Not sure how you can justify beating your wife.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
I would like to suggest that resorting to tribal loyalties in response to beheadings and other atrocities committed by IS and al-Shabab is falling into the narrative that is exactly what they want. In their black-white world, they want all Muslims to be on the side of their extremism and all Christians to respond with hate and war. It seems to be that the obvious end result is that they want a regional clash of dogma and civilisation.

Complaining that Christian brethren have been forgotten on these boards is a) probably not true but b) even if it is true proves nothing. Loads of things are going on in the world all the time, is there really an argument to be made that everything always has to be discussed here that impacts on any Christian?

I don't believe that there is any particular bias towards discussing violence committed by Christians over that committed by Muslims - in fact I'd say like everywhere else the tendency is always to equate terrorism with Islam.

The Copts who have been massacred by IS in recent days should be remembered, of course they should. But not for narrow tribal reasons (and, let's not forget that the Copts (sometimes) take a very narrow view about other Christian's salvation. The whole business of associating ourselves with massacred religious brethren is complicated and messy.)
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
... The whole business of associating ourselves with massacred religious brethren is complicated and messy. ...

Is it? Persuade me.

In my experience, a lot of the cases where people have argued that the morality of an issue is complicated, it actually isn't. It just happens to point in the way they don't want it to go. That has certainly been the case with many issues of personal morality where people have alleged this.

Under what circumstance is massacring people OK?
 
Posted by mdijon (# 8520) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
Apologies if I have missed it, but I don't think there has been a single reference on the Ship to the 150 targetted Christians murdered recently in Kenya by al-Shabab, an omission which would be unthinkable had they been the members of any other religious group killed by Christians.

quote:
Originally posted by Dave W.:
I didn't see any posts about it by you, so I suppose by that measure you didn't think it was all that important either.

quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
You have now.

I was personally very affected by the Garissa attack for reasons I won't go into here. I've been in deep despair about it frankly. I just didn't feel moved to post about it on an internet board. So fuck that metric for demonstrating how much I might care about those murders.
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
I was personally very affected by the Garissa attack for reasons I won't go into here. I've been in deep despair about it frankly. I just didn't feel moved to post about it on an internet board. So fuck that metric for demonstrating how much I might care about those murders.

Well said. Thank you. Why does it have to be assumed that we have to emote publicly about everything or that unless we do, we don't care?
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Yow too our Enoch! Beating your wife I see.

I'm sorry for your distress mdijon.

[ 19. April 2015, 17:10: Message edited by: Martin60 ]
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:


Under what circumstance is massacring people OK?

Excuse me?
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
Ease off, people. The personal temperature is rising. We appreciate it is an emotive subject.

Barnabas62
Purgatory Host
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Acknowledged B. And your as ever thoughtful reply invoking the sublime John Donne. Persecuting is the vilest thing we do. I have no idea how prayer works any more. And I can and do pray that. I can bring the ghastly evil of meaningless persecution like all other horrors before God. And ask Him what? And I do. I did today in church when we were told the lie that the second Christian city in Iraq had just fallen to IS.

It's just recycling of the horrors of Qaraqosh, the fear crazed ecstasy in the blood of teenage Christian martyrs of last August. Propagated by Andrew White with the plea for military intervention. Echoed by the Pope. Because that's what Jesus would do, WILL DO! HAVEN'T YOU READ REVELATION!!! Boy do they get theirs!

That's what Jesus wants. Child martyrs (good job too, because if they'd DENIED Him, HOO boy!) AND carpet bombing. Says so in Matthew 5.

I used to ask Him 'How long Oh Lord?'. Then I started to hear Him echo it back. Why do we keep Him waiting? Why do we extend it, the best of us, asking for MORE war?
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
I was personally very affected by the Garissa attack for reasons I won't go into here. I've been in deep despair about it frankly. I just didn't feel moved to post about it on an internet board. So fuck that metric for demonstrating how much I might care about those murders.

Well said. Thank you. Why does it have to be assumed that we have to emote publicly about everything or that unless we do, we don't care?
I’m sorry for inadvertently upsetting mdijon, but none of us is psychic, and much of what we post carries the risk of being personally applicable to some other Shipmate – it goes with the territory.

I’m also happy to admit that I should probably have posted earlier on the issue.

That being said, it remains valid to ask why WE didn’t raise or discuss (not “publicly emote”) such a genuinely momentous global event on a site which routinely deals with all imaginable minutiae of Christianity; particularly on a thread headed Killing The Christians; and especially when just about all other Christian print or online media that I am aware of did so.
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
OK, well, to reverse what seems to have been a trend of not mentioning such things,

Ethiopian Christians this time [Frown]
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
It's a deliberate tactic to outrage, then play on misplaced loyalties if there is retaliation. And it works. It is also evil, vile, poisonous to those who do it.

I think it also sees "turning the other cheek" as a sign of weakness.

ISTM that IS has policies which demonstrate a calculated psychopathology, and sufficient idealists who have been turned into psychopaths in order to carry the policies out. (Or maybe folks who are attracted to the movement because it will give them scope for their inherently violent and vengeful instincts.)

Religious analysis doesn't really get to the root of the problem. This is more about bad people using mad people, or making them mad so they can do really bad things. With a kind of self-righteous religious top dressing. And it is, and will continue to be, hard to combat.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Yes, I agree with that ... it draws in idealists and turns them into psychos ...

Comparisons are invidious and we are not always comparing like-with-like ... but there are analogies with extreme 'Christian' or quasi-Christian cults ... although in most of those the worst you can expect is 'love-bombing' and people harassing everyone else with tracts on street corners ...

I don't want to get into the tired old chestnut about whether Christianity, Islam or Judaism ... or anything else - are potentially more deadly.

I think Kaplan is right to point out that groups like the Lord's Resistance Army don't represent mainstream Christian thought.

I'm not convinced that IS represent mainstream Muslim thought - but they do appear to indicate the result when radical jihadism of a particularly fundamentalist and toxic form is taken to its hideous conclusion.

Without indulging in the kind of Islamophobia that some posters seem to demonstrate - such as one recently called to Hell - I do have some sympathy with the view that it is more difficult for Islam to distance itself from some elements of 'Caliphate' thinking - even if most Muslims wouldn't want to equate that with the kind of atrocities that IS are carrying out against anyone and everything they disapprove of - whether Christian, Yazidi, other forms of Islam or ancient sculptures on show in public museums ...
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Yes, I agree with that ... it draws in idealists and turns them into psychos ...

Nor is not the first ideology to have done that. 1930s Russia, the Khmer Rouge, Münster, the Committee of Public Safety ... the list goes on. Nor is it the first group of people to have used terror as a weapon. Those did. So, though they didn't have an ideology, did the Mongol invasions.

Idealism is a very dangerous thing, in whatever cause. I know of no cause, including our own, which is not capable of tapping into it. It is one of the most seductive temptations there is, especially for the good and the well intentioned. But it is anti-human.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Yes, indeed. Anything can be drawn into the inhuman category. As the late, great missiologist Lesslie Newbiggin used to say, 'Any attempt to bring heaven down from above invariably brings hell up from below ...'
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
I do have some sympathy with the view that it is more difficult for Islam to distance itself from some elements of 'Caliphate' thinking - even if most Muslims wouldn't want to equate that with the kind of atrocities that IS are carrying out against anyone and everything they disapprove of.

The problem for moderates everywhere. Approving of the end but not the means can sound so half-hearted, so lukewarm, so wishy-washy. And somehow we've failed to develop a culture that prizes those things...

Best wishes,

Russ
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
There are times when I wonder whether the means aren't more important than the ends.
 
Posted by Mudfrog (# 8116) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:


I think it also sees "turning the other cheek" as a sign of weakness.

Turning the other cheek was not meant as a basis for foreign policy or formulating the defence budget.

And I don't believe Jesus meant it to be.

Love your enemies does not mean be nice to them even though they are murderous butchers.

Love means justice for the victims.

[ 20. April 2015, 16:12: Message edited by: Mudfrog ]
 
Posted by Beeswax Altar (# 11644) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
I'm certainly not indifferent to my tribe persecuting others and whinging about being persecuted for it.

But, they aren't really your tribe are they, Martin?

I can tolerate anything except the outgroup
 
Posted by Callan (# 525) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
I was personally very affected by the Garissa attack for reasons I won't go into here. I've been in deep despair about it frankly. I just didn't feel moved to post about it on an internet board. So fuck that metric for demonstrating how much I might care about those murders.

Well said. Thank you. Why does it have to be assumed that we have to emote publicly about everything or that unless we do, we don't care?
I’m sorry for inadvertently upsetting mdijon, but none of us is psychic, and much of what we post carries the risk of being personally applicable to some other Shipmate – it goes with the territory.

I’m also happy to admit that I should probably have posted earlier on the issue.

That being said, it remains valid to ask why WE didn’t raise or discuss (not “publicly emote”) such a genuinely momentous global event on a site which routinely deals with all imaginable minutiae of Christianity; particularly on a thread headed Killing The Christians; and especially when just about all other Christian print or online media that I am aware of did so.

It's a bit like asking if supporters of the Ordination of Women are whorephobic, because I am pretty sure that some of us were being a bit snitty about Forward in Faith whilst Mr Steve Wright was murdering women in Ipswich, without condemning him. The thing is that Forward in Faith are controversial whereas Mr Wright's activities, obviously, were not. People on these boards believe all sorts of weird and wonderful things about the condition of women question, but I think that we can take it as read that none of us thinks that murdering prostitutes is a good thing. Hence not much discussion. I submit that the same is true of the recent atrocities by Islamists in Kenya. They were indefensible and the people who committed them are utter swine. I think the only contentious bit in that last sentence is that it might be unfair to pigs. Now on a discussion board that may make the Kenyan atrocities a bit barren because what's to discuss? Particularly, asking Christians whether they approve of the brutal murder of Christians qua Christians is a bit like asking a discussion board for turkeys whether they feel a vegetarian alternative to Christmas dinner has any validity. You'd get more mileage asking people what they think about the Filoque. I'm struggling to see why this is bad, unless you think that 'murdering people is bad' is as mysterious as the Procession of the Holy Ghost. IMV it ain't mysterious, hence no discussion.

Hope that helps.

[ 20. April 2015, 17:12: Message edited by: Callan ]
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:


I think it also sees "turning the other cheek" as a sign of weakness.

Turning the other cheek was not meant as a basis for foreign policy or formulating the defence budget.

And I don't believe Jesus meant it to be.

Love your enemies does not mean be nice to them even though they are murderous butchers.

Love means justice for the victims.

And it also means not standing by and watching someone being kicked to death in front of you when you have it in your power to stop it: doing nothing to protect the victim when you have the power to is arguably as culpable as sticking the boot in yourself.

"Am I my brother's keeper" is a very, very old and very, very poor cop out.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
A metaphor for a response aimed at restoring or making peace, Mudfrog. I understand about foreign policy and defence issues. Sorry I didn't make that clear, but that was the reason for the quotes.
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:

Love your enemies does not mean be nice to them even though they are murderous butchers.

This is utter bullshit because it hides the factors which cause there to be murderous butchers in the first place. WWII being a prime example.
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:

Love means justice for the victims.

Love means doing one's best for there to be fewer victims in the first place.

[ 20. April 2015, 18:43: Message edited by: lilBuddha ]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Yes, it does mean that - but what happens when, for all the ins and outs and blame for whose fault it is - you have cold-blooded killers bearing down on comparatively defenceless civilians - be they Yazidis, Christians or Shia Muslims - or any other form of Muslim?

Arguing about whose fault it is for the conditions that create an ISIS doesn't do much for those families sheltering in monasteries close to the front-line in Kurdistan nor for groups of migrant workers from Egypt or Ethiopia seized and butchered in Libya.

It'd be like bewailing, in hindsight, the severity of the reparations levied after the Treaty of Versailles when Panzer divisions were rolling into Poland or into Belgium.

Western foreign policy hasn't been very smart.

I'm glad Milliband saw off Cameron's sabre-rattling over Syria and that this seems to have sent a message to Obama. Assad is a callous dictator but bombing him and his regime isn't going to stop ISIS or any other jihadist group.

Should there be some kind of military action against ISIS? Well, yes, I think it would be justified if proportionate to the threat and if conducted to prevent the slaughter of any civilians of whatever creed.
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:

Arguing about whose fault it is for the conditions that create an ISIS doesn't do much for those families sheltering in monasteries close to the front-line in Kurdistan nor for groups of migrant workers from Egypt or Ethiopia seized and butchered in Libya.

That is not the point. My point is that as long as we see our current reactions as justified, we will continue to create situations in which such actions will occur.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
There are those who would argue that had we bombed Assad back at the beginning of the uprising we would have helped the moderate rebels rather than allowing the situation to spiral to the extent that groups like ISIS could emerge ...

I don't buy that argument.

But whatever the West does now is going to be 'wrong' ...

However, something has to be done to stop ISIS. The question is, what?
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Well yes, I can see that - somewhere or other the spiral of violence has to be broken - and once started, a spiral of violence is difficult to stop.

Take Northern Ireland, we're not seeing the same level of violence as there was when the Troubles were at their height - but the threat is still there and incidents still take place.

Much as we might like to, we can't turn back the clock. We can't go back to a time before the invasion of Iraq. What we do about that and how we handle the consequences of what's happened over the last few decades, I don't know.

What do you propose?
 
Posted by quetzalcoatl (# 16740) on :
 
Something is being done; the Kurds and various Iraqui militias are driving IS back to an extent. Within Syria, I don't think anybody has a clue, except hope for general exhaustion. Western intervention on the ground would be very risky.
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
I don't know. My response was mainly to the idea of "justified" violence.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I don't know either and justifying violence doesn't sit easily with me ...

Meanwhile, yes, the Peshmerga seem to be holding ISIS back ... but how does anyone deal with the ISIS units that appear to be operating elsewhere - beyond the war zones in Syria?

The massacres of Copts and Ethiopian Christians in Libya are a case in point.

I'm not sure that Western military intervention on the ground could help there - unless there were limited commando-raid style strikes at particular targets - but those are difficult to put off and could easily go badly wrong or exacerbate things further.
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
Yes, 'something must be done' is a moving argument. I would have thought it is arguable that all the just war conditions that would justify anyone attacking IS are met except one, but in this context, that one is an overwhelming against any argument for any group from outside the Middle East wading in.

That clincher argument, is that in addition to all the other more high minded criteria, for a war to be just, it must be fought with a reasonable prospect of success. 'Something must be done', however moving, on its own is no justification unless one can pinpoint exactly,
a. What one can do, and
b. How to make sure it will succeed, i.e. work.

"Fighting soldiers from the sky
Fearless men who jump and die"
isn't enough.

A lot of the mess in the Middle East at the moment derives directly from people - two of them in particular - who meddled without asking that question properly. We're now faced with a situation where, because of their actions, not only has something dreadful happened, but the scope for the rest of the world's being able to do much about it is so much less. And as usual, it is the innocent who suffer. One of the features of wickedness is that it does not do justice. It is outside God's kingdom. Its fruits fall on the wrong people.

As so often Gamaliel talks a lot of sense.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
What Beeswax Altar, because I'm no longer a homophobic, sexist, racist bigot, a half-Christian warmonger, I can't belong to the Church?

Fine.

And Gamaliel. We'll NEVER know until we try.
 
Posted by Beeswax Altar (# 11644) on :
 
Well, to paraphrase Woody Allen, I guess being a Pharisee for the Left is OK.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Beeswax Altar:
Well, to paraphrase Woody Allen, I guess being a Pharisee for the Left is OK.

"Pharisee for the left" is an oxymoron.
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Beeswax Altar:
Well, to paraphrase Woody Allen, I guess being a Pharisee for the Left is OK.

"Pharisee for the left" is an oxymoron.
You obviously haven't met some of the left-wingers I have - or read much modern history.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Of course the Left has Pharisees, the Far Left particularly.

I'm wary of identifying any political or theological position with Pharisaisism - it seems able to thrive anywhere and everywhere. We've all met left, right and centrist Pharisees, Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant ones ...

We are all capable of it ourselves.
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
Once again Gamaliel hits the spot.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Pharisees, Hypocrites for Jesus! That's what I say.

Don't worry Beeswax Altar, I'm struggling to love myselves, to embrace and forgive myselves and all like myselves. I don't condemn myselves. As I curse, abuse myself for having been abusive. Therefore I cannot condemn let alone carpet bomb IS. Or you. Much as I'd like to ...

Which if we had ANY conviction at all bar being Islamic to the Beatitudes we would. Counter-abuse, counter-terrorize, annihilate IS thus win hearts and minds with their balls in our twisting hands.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Therefore I cannot condemn let alone carpet bomb IS. Or you. Much as I'd like to ... (Italics, mine - B62)

Back off Martin. You've had enough warnings from H&A about wrapping personal abuse in ambiguous or obscure parcels. Take this as a final reminder re benefit of the doubt.

If you have any desire to verbally "carpet bomb" Beeswax Altar or anyone else, don't even hint at it in Purgatory. You can call them to Hell or leave it out.

Barnabas62
Purgatory Host
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
So....what? We cross the road and walk on by on the other side?
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
So the only possible alternatives are either bombing or 'walking by on the other side'? No, actually.
 
Posted by Laurelin (# 17211) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Of course the Left has Pharisees, the Far Left particularly.

I'm wary of identifying any political or theological position with Pharisaisism - it seems able to thrive anywhere and everywhere. We've all met left, right and centrist Pharisees, Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant ones ...

We are all capable of it ourselves.

Exactly. Pharisaism knows no political or theological boundaries, and thinking that one is not capable of it might be an indicator that one can be. Self-awareness is not a strong point with potential Pharisees.

quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Which if we had ANY conviction at all bar being Islamic to the Beatitudes we would. Counter-abuse, counter-terrorize, annihilate IS thus win hearts and minds with their balls in our twisting hands.

Not a lot of people mourned the end of the Third Reich. I won't be mourning IS when - and if - their much-deserved demise comes about.

But 'if' is the question. I think IS are going to be here for quite some time yet. Gamaliel, Enoch and others have highlighted very well the moral quagmire the West has landed itself in, due in no small part to our militaristic meddling.

Jesus told us to pray for our enemies. That doesn't stop me grimly hoping for an evil regime to meet its end.
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
So the only possible alternatives are either bombing or 'walking by on the other side'? No, actually.

I didn't say they were the only two alternatives. I would be interested though to hear your suggestion as to how to protect our brothers and sisters.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
I didn't say they were the only two alternatives. I would be interested though to hear your suggestion as to how to protect our brothers and sisters.

I don't think there is any way to protect them. We have, in our own sinfulness, created a system whereby we sit in comfort when others experience everything at the sharp end: climate change, terrorism, environmental degredation, poverty, food insecurity.

And the only solution we have is to use advanced weaponry on our enemies. That's just sick.
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
Boots on the ground would be mine. Short term, yes. May cause more problems in the long term if we fuck it up again, yes (so we'd better make bloody sure we don't this time). Lack political will to do it, unfortunately.

Doing nothing is not an option for me; it sucks us into culpability.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
Boots on the ground would be mine. Short term, yes. May cause more problems in the long term if we fuck it up again, yes (so we'd better make bloody sure we don't this time). Lack political will to do it, unfortunately.

Dumbest idea in the history of dumb ideas. Getting sucked into a conflict across North Africa is not a winnable strategy.

quote:
Doing nothing is not an option for me; it sucks us into culpability.
The binary choice between doing nothing and doing something really stupid is not one I'm prepared to make.
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
I didn't see any alternative put forward by you so you are subscribing as much to the 'binary' view as I am. You're just choosing the option that I find morally unacceptable.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
I didn't see any alternative put forward by you so you are subscribing as much to the 'binary' view as I am. You're just choosing the option that I find morally unacceptable.

OK, here's a solution: how about we don't live in wealth whilst others in N Africa live in poverty. How about we don't prop up dictators across the region. How about we don't fund jihadist groups when it suits our purposes. How about we don't crowd around the phosphate mines of Morocco, the oilfields of Nigeria and the diamond mines of god-knows-where to pay for our expensive post-retirement lives. How about we don't treat the rest of the world as our plaything and the bank of resources upon which we can build our lives whilst others die. How about we don't look to North Africa to supply us with cheap labour and then punish them when they do.

How about we live within our means.
How about we pay people properly.
How about we pay to clean up the messes we've made.
How about we support democracy everywhere, not just when it suits us.
How about we stop funding brutal military regimes.

The sad fucking problem is that we don't seem to realise that the brutality these little shits are displaying in their poxy youtube videos is just a reflection of the brutality we're perpetrating on almost every African every day of the year. The only difference here is that depriving someone of any form of safe sanitation is a slow lingering death whereas cutting someone's head off happens in a moment.

If they're sick fuckers, we're no better.

[ 21. April 2015, 11:11: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
Some good points, agreed. Unfortunately, the bits about supporting democracy and not supporting brutal dictators seems to have been partly to blame for the mess the region is in.
 
Posted by Komensky (# 8675) on :
 
I don't think we have only few choices here, but rather many. Blowing people to Kingdom Come is seldom the best solution—even when they really deserve it.

First and foremost, before we get around to talking about issues of poverty and disenfranchisement (which are real issue for sure), IS are simply doing what their religion says on the tin. These are religiously motivated behaviours—and they make that clear. The source of their venom is not a mystery.

K.
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
Is this a version of the 'no true Scotsman' fallacy I smell here?

Some hope, possibly.
 
Posted by Komensky (# 8675) on :
 
"You talkin' to me?"

K.
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
Well, yes: you seem to be suggesting that their psychopathic behaviour is due to their Muslim religion rather than them being....er...psychopaths. I shall be delighted to be disabused of that suggestion, however...
 
Posted by Komensky (# 8675) on :
 
Sort of. We are not talking about a mystery here. IS are perfectly clear on why they do what they do—because of their religion. It would be possible (or rather, easy) to find some particularly barbaric passages in the Bible and argue that Christianity is, by the book, just as violent a religion. However, most Muslims do not take the Koran by the letter. Most Jews and Christians do not take the Bible literally either—ideas external to the Bible have taught us that killing everyone who is not a believer is a bad way to live. That kind of philosophical renaissance has yet to happy to Islam in the same way.

K.

PS. I don't see at all how that is the Casual Fallacy.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Onward Christian Soldiers, eh Matt? The XIth Crusade.

[ 21. April 2015, 12:10: Message edited by: Martin60 ]
 
Posted by Beeswax Altar (# 11644) on :
 
So far, UK shipmates have called for commando raids. Baptism is not part of SAS initiation. So, the soldiers will not be exclusively Christian. Besides, I don't know why you are so concerned about the possible suffering of ISIS. What would be so special about that?
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
Well, indeed. I'm not advocating a crusade, Martin; I'm just not prepared to sit by idly and watch innocent people being massacred before my eyes.
 
Posted by Stetson (# 9597) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Beeswax Altar:
Well, to paraphrase Woody Allen, I guess being a Pharisee for the Left is OK.

"Pharisee for the left" is an oxymoron.
Your use of the phrase "oxymoron" clearly situates your comments within a hegemonic narrative of so-called "intelligence rankings", which serve the purpose of stigmatizing and marginalizing women, POCs, and numerous other non-priviilged identities. All decent people avoid this phrase, and I myself have never used it once. It says a lot about you that you would drop it so casually into a discussion.

[ 21. April 2015, 15:12: Message edited by: Stetson ]
 
Posted by Stetson (# 9597) on :
 
(^ Just in case you wondering what a "Pharisee Of The Left" would sound like. That was barely a parody.)
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
by Kosmensky;
quote:
Sort of. We are not talking about a mystery here. IS are perfectly clear on why they do what they do—because of their religion. It would be possible (or rather, easy) to find some particularly barbaric passages in the Bible and argue that Christianity is, by the book, just as violent a religion. However, most Muslims do not take the Koran by the letter. Most Jews and Christians do not take the Bible literally either—ideas external to the Bible have taught us that killing everyone who is not a believer is a bad way to live. That kind of philosophical renaissance has yet to happen to Islam in the same way. 
I don't see it quite like that. Yes, IS are as they are because of their religion; I suspect they're often going further than Muhammad would have liked, but they are following a principle Muhammad clearly set down and which the Quran appears to support, that is the idea that there should be an 'Islamic state' with Sharia law etc. If that idea is accepted, the idea of spreading and defending the religion by force and having Inquisitions/Crusades/Jihads/etc is more or less inevitable and also not easy to limit.

In Christianity we aren't looking at a holy book written in the lifetime of a single prophet, but at a history going back some 2000 years+ before Jesus and clearly developing during that time. As I read it that history starts with God taking the ancestors of the people of Israel and gradually teaching them – a process which culminates in Jesus fulfilling the teaching by his life, death and resurrection and the formation of the 'Church' of his followers throughout the world.

Much of the OT is indeed violent precisely because it takes a long time to build up the teaching among sinful and reluctant people even when they are God's chosen people, and they've got to be kept alive and fairly coherent till the thing is complete. So yes, you can find some rough passages in the OT. And yes, there's some rough stuff in Revelation as well – a really caring God is not going to let evil win but for some of the really determined bad guys playing nice may just not stop them; though having said that it's also clear that a lot in Revelation is symbolic, and for example despite the wishes of some Americans the 'weapon of mass destruction' at Armageddon is not nukes but the 'sword' out of Jesus' mouth, ie., the Word of God....

But the way the Church is set up it is clearly not meant to be a 'kingdom of the world'. Peter in his first epistle clearly expects Christians to be far from domineering over everybody in worldly terms, Paul talks of how our warfare is not with physical weapons, and so forth. Crucially being a Christian is not about being born in a 'Christian country' but about being 'born again' spiritually through faith. A government may try to say, as the Roman Emperor Theodosius did, that everyone in their territory is a Christian (or else....), but that's not God's way! Instead the Church is all the people who are born again throughout the world and whose primary allegiance is to Jesus as Lord, not to some petty local king/emperor/prime minister/etc.

On that basis we Christians only spread our message by peaceful persuasion, we don't kill or otherwise persecute people for disagreeing with us, and if it comes to it we risk a martyr's death rather than even defending ourselves – as per the example of early Christians such as St George, who was far from the military saint we commonly portray; on the contrary he was a soldier who gave up violence to join, instead of persecuting, a then pacifist movement.

It is not therefore 'ideas external to the Bible ' that have taught us that ' killing everyone who is not a believer is a bad way to live '. On the contrary, that actually IS the teaching of the NT, the teaching the OT leads up to. It was only centuries later that well-meaning but misguided people like the afore-mentioned Theodosius sought to have 'Christian countries' in which violence would be used on behalf of the faith; and nowadays we're gradually getting back to the original idea.

I'd love to believe in your 'philosophical renaissance' in Islam; but I don't see how it is to happen when Muhammad realistically went deliberately backwards from the Christian teaching in the NT....

(taking the Bible literally or not is a different issue – and if I'm right on how to read the history, doesn't actually affect the point that Christianity was from the start intended to be peaceable)
 
Posted by Beeswax Altar (# 11644) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Stetson:
(^ Just in case you wondering what a "Pharisee Of The Left" would sound like. That was barely a parody.)

Here is a real life example.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:

On that basis we Christians only spread our message by peaceful persuasion, we don't kill or otherwise persecute people for disagreeing with us, and if it comes to it we risk a martyr's death rather than even defending ourselves – as per the example of early Christians such as St George, who was far from the military saint we commonly portray; on the contrary he was a soldier who gave up violence to join, instead of persecuting, a then pacifist movement.

It is not therefore 'ideas external to the Bible ' that have taught us that ' killing everyone who is not a believer is a bad way to live '. On the contrary, that actually IS the teaching of the NT, the teaching the OT leads up to. It was only centuries later that well-meaning but misguided people like the afore-mentioned Theodosius sought to have 'Christian countries' in which violence would be used on behalf of the faith; and nowadays we're gradually getting back to the original idea.

Yabber yabber yabber. There you go again, asserting that your interpretation is right and everyone else is wrong.

Of course, the corollary is that plenty of sensible and earnest Christians have searched the scriptures and concluded you are wrong. Why should anyone listen to you?
 
Posted by Gwai (# 11076) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
Yabber yabber yabber. There you go again, asserting that your interpretation is right and everyone else is wrong.

When you start saying someone else is yabbering, you might want to ask yourself whether you are getting anything out of the discussion or should perhaps step away from it. Presuming you do want to continue arguing, please find a less insulting way to disagree.

Gwai,
Purgatory Host
 
Posted by Stetson (# 9597) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Beeswax Altar:
quote:
Originally posted by Stetson:
(^ Just in case you wondering what a "Pharisee Of The Left" would sound like. That was barely a parody.)

Here is a real life example.
I can see the writer's point, if "indie" is being applied in such a way that always(even if not systemically) excludes non-whites.

It would be pretty pharisaic, though, to automatically jump down the throat of anyone using the word however innocently in intent, especially if the subtext is publically congratulating your own self on never using it.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
So what are YOU prepared to do Matt Black? About innocent people being massacred right in front of you? And Beeswax Altar, I'd like to hear of your plan for using the SAS against IS, the biggest, most powerful, richest terrorist organization on Earth. Two man snatch squads or 8 man patrols? Against at least 50,000. Many of the SAS are of course Christians. And how does that serve British national interests? Let alone Jesus'?
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
by mr cheesy;
quote:
Of course, the corollary is that plenty of sensible and earnest Christians have searched the scriptures and concluded you are wrong. Why should anyone listen to you?
Still waiting for them to actually DEMONSTRATE that I'm wrong - and I've been waiting a long time now..... The 'conclusion' tends to be not that I'm wrong but that they don't like what my interpretation implies so they just rubbish it. Not so much that the Bible says I'm wrong, more that the critics want to say "Oh but surely God can't really want that, surely he must want our version...."

Look for instance at Alan Cresswell pleading that surely it's better to have Christians wielding 'the sword' rather than the godless - regardless of what the scriptures actually say, regardless even of Jesus the Son of God himself saying that phrase about those who take the sword perishing by it. Not an actual scripture interpretation in sight from Alan, just human (self-serving) rationalising.

Stop yabbering about the 'plenty of people' who've just blindly followed what 'plenty of people' say - YOU do some scripture interpretation to prove me wrong.

And BTW have you considered the implications if I'm wrong? The implication that the NT actually teaches a Christianity all too much like IS and that it's not the word of God but the later ideas of us wonderful modern humans who have come up with a better idea...?
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
As per the sensible suggestion by Gwai, I'm cooling off, Steve. If you wish to discuss it further, I'd be happy to continue the conversation in another place.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
What are you going to do Matt Black about the massacre of trafficked refugees in the Mediterranean? Indeed what are you doing? Because you can't be sitting idly by. As that's happening right in front of you, you must be doing something about it. Surely? More than sitting idly by. What is it that you're doing that I might follow?
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
Yes, sorry, I got a little heated as well. I feel strongly about this because of the thread topic, that my fellow-Christians are getting killed and otherwise persecuted and if Kosmensky were right in suggesting that early Christianity was warlike similarly to IS, then IS have the excuse/rationale of their persecution and we just have to hope that they will follow Christians in eventually changing.

Whereas if the view I'm upholding (and it's not just mine, even if it's uncommon on the Ship!) is correct then Christianity was initially peaceable and the warlikeness of Christians a later aberration, which has considerable implications for how we sort this out. Yes, it means that we owe Muslims something like an apology that Christians in the centuries just before Muhammad were not setting a good example. But it also means that we have the possibility of going to Muslims with the message that Jesus - their prophet 'Isa' - had, and he and his disciples taught, a way to be a peaceable people of God in the world rather than becoming a coercive militarist faith like Muhammad's Islam. Not a later revisionism that doesn't take our scriptures seriously, and therefore would not be taken seriously by Muslims, but a way actually taught in our scriptures even if some later Christians have tragically seen fit to ignore it.

I've recently watched an appearance by that Mr Cameron at a Christian event of some kind, where he said very insistently that Britain is 'a Christian country'. That is, a 'Christian country', so proclaimed by its elected head of government, with armies currently in some Muslim lands. A 'Christian country' with a monarch simultaneously head of its military forces AND of its national established Christian church. Is it any wonder that groups like IS and Al Quaeda interpret British actions as a continuation of the Crusades? And in turn, treat native-born middle-eastern Christians as a 'fifth column' to be rooted out as supporters of the 'Crusaders'?
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:

If they're sick fuckers, we're no better.

Ah, the old moral equivalence fallacy.

Today, it's "we're just as bad as the Islamofascists".

During the Cold War, it was "we're just as bad as the communists".

During WWII, it was "we're just as bad as the Nazis" (see C.S. Lewis's The Dangers Of National Repentance).

Plus ca change....

It is not pharisaical to conclude that there are lesser and greater evils, and it is far less likely to produce moral passivity, indifference and inactivity.

Pre-war Poland's pervasive anti-Semitism was never a reason to conclude that the struggle against Nazi Germany, with its far worse anti-Semitism, was somehow unjustified.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
What, you cannot think how fighting fire with much more might not be justified? Or that turning the other cheek might be?
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
Ah, the old moral equivalence fallacy.

It is not a fallacy. And I don't like the way you brazenly suggest a whole bunch of things about me that I don't believe here.

quote:
Today, it's "we're just as bad as the Islamofascists".
Explain to me, for a start, how flying drones into innocent homes is not morally equivalent to cutting people's heads off on a beach. Go on, name some differences which makes them worse than us.

quote:
During the Cold War, it was "we're just as bad as the communists".
See, there were a whole load of people who called themselves Communists. Who is the 'we' and the 'Communinist' in this example?

If you are talking about the Eastern bloc, clearly there was a lack of freedom which was not experienced in the West. But it is hard to show that the West was somehow less blood-thirsty than the Eastern bloc given all the conflicts, regime changes, war-making, dictator-supporting shit we've been doing.

Maybe we were not as bad. But that doesn't let us off the hook, we did a lot of bad stuff.

quote:
During WWII, it was "we're just as bad as the Nazis" (see C.S. Lewis's The Dangers Of National Repentance).

Plus ca change....

In the early 20 century, the Nazi regime and their sympathisers perpectuated genocide. Clearly the Allies did not. 'We' were therefore not as bad.

However, we did a lot of bad shit, during the war and elsewhere in the world where we tended to treat other people as pawns in our geopolitical war machine. If you take into account the stuff we got involved in from the Transatlantic Slave Trade period until the end of the British Empire, it is a hard thing to argue that there is much difference between our behaviour and that of the Nazis other than geography and scale.

quote:
It is not pharisaical to conclude that there are lesser and greater evils, and it is far less likely to produce moral passivity, indifference and inactivity.
I never said it was.

quote:
Pre-war Poland's pervasive anti-Semitism was never a reason to conclude that the struggle against Nazi Germany, with its far worse anti-Semitism, was somehow unjustified.
I never claimed that either.

Although it is worth repeating that WW2 was never about anti-Semitism, protecting the Jews and other European minorities or preventing the holocaust. In fact, the way treat those fleeing persecution now is horribly reminiscent of the way we turned away fleeing Jews to their certain death in the 1930s.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
Steve Langton

Not "Kosmensky". "Komensky". It's inadvertent, on your part, of course. But we generally treat Shipname misuse as a discourtesy. Purg Guideline 5.

Also, please, please, avoid re-opening Constantinianism and its distortions of "true" Christianity on this thread - and therefore making it more about your opinions than the topic under discussion. You can be sure that the regular participants (and Hosts) know what you think and why.

I just don't want to see another thread derailed.

Barnabas62
Purgatory Host
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
So what are YOU prepared to do Matt Black? About innocent people being massacred right in front of you?

I've already indicated what I want to see happen - ground troops in Iraq plus support for the Peshmerga. I've also said not ideal and will cause its own problems and unintended consequences. But this is a humanitarian emergency so desperate times call for desperate measures.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
First, Sorry Komensky; it was inadvertent but I should have been more careful.

Barnabas62;
Sorry in a slightly different sense but I don't see how it can be 'derailing' this thread to point out that 'killing the Christians' is both an expression of Islam's own version of 'Constantinianism', which is a great deal more 'built into' Islam than the Christian version, and also a reaction by Muslims to horrendous past and too much still present-day 'Constantinianism' in so-called 'Christian countries'. Useful discussion of this topic requires people to face up to that aspect.
 
Posted by quetzalcoatl (# 16740) on :
 
Ground troops in Iraq? OMG. Does this mean that similar should happen, say in Congo, where approx. 4 million have died in various militia attacks?
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
In an ideal world, yes. As should have been done in Rwanda.
 
Posted by Komensky (# 8675) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
[snip]
Much of the OT is indeed violent precisely because it takes a long time to build up the teaching among sinful and reluctant people even when they are God's chosen people, and they've got to be kept alive and fairly coherent till the thing is complete. So yes, you can find some rough passages in the OT. And yes, there's some rough stuff in Revelation as well – a really caring God is not going to let evil win but for some of the really determined bad guys playing nice may just not stop them; though having said that it's also clear that a lot in Revelation is symbolic, and for example despite the wishes of some Americans the 'weapon of mass destruction' at Armageddon is not nukes but the 'sword' out of Jesus' mouth, ie., the Word of God....


I see. So God's efforts to 'build up the teaching' for these poor souls that he made in his image is to offer great advice like: kill disobedient children, if you find a village that worships another god, kill all of them; if you find that your bride is not a virgin on your wedding night, kill her; if you conquer a people as commanded by God, kill the survivors—including children—and take the young virgins as sex slaves; and on and on.

quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
But the way the Church is set up it is clearly not meant to be a 'kingdom of the world'. Peter in his first epistle clearly expects Christians to be far from domineering over everybody in worldly terms, Paul talks of how our warfare is not with physical weapons, and so forth. Crucially being a Christian is not about being born in a 'Christian country' but about being 'born again' spiritually through faith.


'As surely as I live,' says the Lord, 'every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.' If that is not about domination, then I don't know what is.

But we digress… 

K.

[ 22. April 2015, 10:09: Message edited by: Komensky ]
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
by Komensky;
quote:
'As surely as I live,' says the Lord, 'every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.' If that is not about domination, then I don't know what is.
Absolutely! In the end every knee will indeed bow before God, every tongue acknowledge him. After all God is the ultimate truth of the universe and rejecting him is living harmfully against the grain of the universe.

Indeed Philippians 2v10-11 tells us that

quote:
...at the name of Jesus every knee should bend,...and that every tongue should confess to the glory of God that Jesus Christ is Lord
Which makes it all the more striking, I suggest, that Jesus and the apostles following him advocate a peaceable way of advancing his kingdom on earth, in absolute contrast to Muhammad's gathering of armies to establish his Islamic state. And that peaceable way involves clear separation from the state by an international/transnational/something-like-that church body which, again unlike Islam, is supposed to use only spiritual weapons.

I agree that going into the OT situation on this thread would be a considerable digression; though I do see your point and understand that it needs more answer than I'm giving here - but as I see it, the NT situation is very relevant to Christians in dealing with the present state of the world.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Of course the NT is very relevant to the way Christians respond and interact with the contemporary world.

The problem is, and I don't wish to raise issues from already derailed threads, you haven't so far demonstrated how we were to do this - other than disestablishing the CofE and distancing ourselves in some way from Western culture - as perceived by Muslims and others - and the Western geopolitical construct ...

I have some sympathy - I don't like Cameron making the claims you've cited nor do I like an overt connection between Christianity and Western foreign policy and all that it entails - drones and regime-change and so on and so forth.

That's not to play the 'moral equivalence' card - I think there is a case to answer in all of those respects.

I don't think anyone here would claim that Christianity was initially 'war-like' - and, to be honest, I don't think that Christianity is particularly war-like today - except, perhaps, when it is at its most Erastian.

As for apologising to Muslims for mistakes and excesses in the past - well, that's been done plenty of times. I believe I'm right in thinking that various Popes have apologised for the Crusades, for instance.

I agree it doesn't help that Islamists and others perceive the West as some kind of infidel Christian enemy ... and, yes, I'm happy to acknowledge that Western foreign policy has been a major contributory factor towards that. However, I also believe it's naive to suggest that by disentangling church/state ties and opting out of the military or other aspects of government and so on that we would somehow create a platform for a change of hearts and minds.

Look at it this way, suppose a bunch of jihadists or some other extreme group seized control of a peaceful Mennonite community in the US, say - and said that they would start killing the inhabitants one by one until the US met its demands.

What would be an appropriate response?

Of course, negotiation would be the favoured one - an attempt to end the siege without bloodshed.

But what if the jihadists started murdering people, innocent people, women and children ...

Would the authorities be acting responsibly if they sat by and watched the massacre take place. 'Oh, it's all right, these Mennonites are pacifists and don't approve of violence. They were all born-again and going to heaven anyway so it doesn't matter that they were killed ...'

[Confused]
 
Posted by Tubbs (# 440) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
First, Sorry Komensky; it was inadvertent but I should have been more careful.

Barnabas62;
Sorry in a slightly different sense but I don't see how it can be 'derailing' this thread to point out that 'killing the Christians' is both an expression of Islam's own version of 'Constantinianism', which is a great deal more 'built into' Islam than the Christian version, and also a reaction by Muslims to horrendous past and too much still present-day 'Constantinianism' in so-called 'Christian countries'. Useful discussion of this topic requires people to face up to that aspect.

Admin Tiara On
If you want to argue about a hosting ruling, then you do it in the Styx, not on the thread.

As far as I can see any issue, according to you, requires us to face up to Constantinianism. It appears to be your stock answer to any question.

There's a fine line between having a specialist subject and being a crusader. Don't cross it.
Admin Tiara Off

Tubbs
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Granted that there are certainly grave issues with Erastianism and what Steve calls 'Constantinianism', does he seriously believe, though, that extremists like IS would desist from their ravages and rampages if Christianity as a whole were to divest itself of every last vestige of 'Constantinianism'?

Christendom is crumbling, we are entering a post-Christendom, post-Christian future. Yet, for all that, there are still vestiges of Christendom in our culture and we way we approach things. I'm not talking about government here, necessarily - but things like values, cultural mores, the influence of Christian thought on the arts, literature, etc etc.

Sure, these things are becoming diluted, but they're still there and will be for some considerable time to come, I suspect.

I think that's a positive thing.

What are we supposed to do? White-wash all the frescoes in medieval Italian churches? Put all the Annunciations, the Adorations of the Magi, the images of crucifixion and resurrection from all the art galleries in Western Europe and the US into storage somewhere so as to give the impression that we aren't into 'Christendom' any more?

[Roll Eyes]

I'm not saying that the concept of Christendom is holding back radical jihadis and the like. Far from it. But all ISIS would do if confronted with nice, peaceful Anabaptist-style Christians is behead them, cut their throats or take their daughters into sex slavery - same as they have done with the Yazidis who - as as far as I'm aware - don't have any connection to Christendom whatsoever.

Anyhow, that's going over old ground ...
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
I'm not sure it is entirely fair to Steve to continue talking about something we've been asked to stop talking about.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
How many British ground troops are you prepared to watch be burned alive Matt Black?
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
Fewer than Christians you're prepared to watch being beheaded, I suspect, Martin.
 
Posted by Gwai (# 11076) on :
 
I'm going to give it the benefit of the doubt and presume Gamaliel cross-posted with Tubbs.

One assumes it will be left alone now by all parties.

Gwai,
Purgatory Host
 
Posted by quetzalcoatl (# 16740) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
How many British ground troops are you prepared to watch be burned alive Matt Black?

Also, how many people are we prepared to see killed by British troops? In some areas, IS seem to be embedded into local tribes, so a general attack on those areas could be very bloody, and could also spark a Sunni uprising.

This is the trouble with 'one more time', it often produces blowback. I believe the various intelligence services which carried out the coup, which installed the Shah in Iran, thought that they had found a lasting solution. Well, in one sense yes.
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
So, to turn the questionm back around, how many Christians and Yazidis are you and Martin prepared to see beheaded?
 
Posted by Stetson (# 9597) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
So, to turn the questionm back around, how many Christians and Yazidis are you and Martin prepared to see beheaded?

For myself...

Let X = the number of Christians and Yazidis who will be beheaded in the absence of western intervention.

I am prepared to see X, whatever it may turn out to be. But that's because I believe that further western intervention will only make things worse, and will not result in a net preservation of human life in the long run.

[ 22. April 2015, 14:44: Message edited by: Stetson ]
 
Posted by Augustine the Aleut (# 1472) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
How many British ground troops are you prepared to watch be burned alive Matt Black?

Also, how many people are we prepared to see killed by British troops? In some areas, IS seem to be embedded into local tribes, so a general attack on those areas could be very bloody, and could also spark a Sunni uprising.

This is the trouble with 'one more time', it often produces blowback. I believe the various intelligence services which carried out the coup, which installed the Shah in Iran, thought that they had found a lasting solution. Well, in one sense yes.

I thought that the coup was more to do with reducing Nazi influence than it had to do with any long-term plan.
 
Posted by Stetson (# 9597) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Augustine the Aleut:
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
How many British ground troops are you prepared to watch be burned alive Matt Black?

Also, how many people are we prepared to see killed by British troops? In some areas, IS seem to be embedded into local tribes, so a general attack on those areas could be very bloody, and could also spark a Sunni uprising.

This is the trouble with 'one more time', it often produces blowback. I believe the various intelligence services which carried out the coup, which installed the Shah in Iran, thought that they had found a lasting solution. Well, in one sense yes.

I thought that the coup was more to do with reducing Nazi influence than it had to do with any long-term plan.
I assumed Qu. was talking about the 1953 coup. Obviously, Nazis in the Iranian government would not have been a big concern by then.
 
Posted by quetzalcoatl (# 16740) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
So, to turn the questionm back around, how many Christians and Yazidis are you and Martin prepared to see beheaded?

That seems to argue that military intervention will reduce that number. I am not convinced, since arguably the first invasion of Iraq led to both AQ and then IS, and however many deaths, is it 200, 000? I would have thought that current strategy militarily, i.e. helping the Kurds and others against IS, and helping with political negotiations, for example, with the tribes siding with IS, will be less bloody.
 
Posted by Callan (# 525) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
So what are YOU prepared to do Matt Black? About innocent people being massacred right in front of you?

I've already indicated what I want to see happen - ground troops in Iraq plus support for the Peshmerga. I've also said not ideal and will cause its own problems and unintended consequences. But this is a humanitarian emergency so desperate times call for desperate measures.
That was pretty much our strategy in Afghanistan in 2001. Remind me how that worked out?

At the moment our position seems to be that we support Sunni fundamentalists against the Shia in Yemen and Shia fundamentalists against the Sunni in Iraq. As a strategy of divide and rule that has some merit. as a strategy for humanitarian outcomes or the development of civil society in the Middle East it would appear to have some obvious flaws.

Boots on the ground questions:


If someone offers a salient answer to that little lot, I may dial down my objections to a long standing commitment to intervene militarily in the Middle East, but failing that keeping out sounds like a good idea. Oh one more question:


 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
I've only ever seen one beheading, and that was Ken Biggley's thrust in front of me by a traumatized colleague at work after it had just happened.

I'm not prepared to see any more. Ken Biggley died for war I approved of at the time. As did the Assyrian baby who was cooked and served on a bed of rice to its parents. As were the Christians murdered on live TV as an American armoured unit looked down. While the women screamed for help in English. In full eye contact.

NEVER in my name EVER again.

Let alone Jesus'
 
Posted by Augustine the Aleut (# 1472) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Stetson:
quote:
Originally posted by Augustine the Aleut:
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
How many British ground troops are you prepared to watch be burned alive Matt Black?

Also, how many people are we prepared to see killed by British troops? In some areas, IS seem to be embedded into local tribes, so a general attack on those areas could be very bloody, and could also spark a Sunni uprising.

This is the trouble with 'one more time', it often produces blowback. I believe the various intelligence services which carried out the coup, which installed the Shah in Iran, thought that they had found a lasting solution. Well, in one sense yes.

I thought that the coup was more to do with reducing Nazi influence than it had to do with any long-term plan.
I assumed Qu. was talking about the 1953 coup. Obviously, Nazis in the Iranian government would not have been a big concern by then.
He made reference to the coup which installed Mohammed Reza Shah, which happened in 1941 with Reza Shah's forced/encouraged abdication after the UK and USSR incursions into Iran, and which involved several intelligence agencies. The 1953 coup against Mossadegh was a CIA special.
 
Posted by Stetson (# 9597) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Augustine the Aleut:
quote:
Originally posted by Stetson:
quote:
Originally posted by Augustine the Aleut:
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
How many British ground troops are you prepared to watch be burned alive Matt Black?

Also, how many people are we prepared to see killed by British troops? In some areas, IS seem to be embedded into local tribes, so a general attack on those areas could be very bloody, and could also spark a Sunni uprising.

This is the trouble with 'one more time', it often produces blowback. I believe the various intelligence services which carried out the coup, which installed the Shah in Iran, thought that they had found a lasting solution. Well, in one sense yes.

I thought that the coup was more to do with reducing Nazi influence than it had to do with any long-term plan.
I assumed Qu. was talking about the 1953 coup. Obviously, Nazis in the Iranian government would not have been a big concern by then.
He made reference to the coup which installed Mohammed Reza Shah, which happened in 1941 with Reza Shah's forced/encouraged abdication after the UK and USSR incursions into Iran, and which involved several intelligence agencies. The 1953 coup against Mossadegh was a CIA special.
I stand corrected. Thanks.

For the record, though, was the 1953 coup really a "CIA special"? My understanding has always been that the British were up to their necks in that, even if, on paper, Operation Ajax was strictly CIA.
 
Posted by quetzalcoatl (# 16740) on :
 
Yes, I meant 1953, and I also thought that the Brits were well involved. I was also being ironic about a long term plan - it guaranteed anti-Americanism for a couple of generations.

[ 22. April 2015, 19:32: Message edited by: quetzalcoatl ]
 
Posted by Stetson (# 9597) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
Yes, I meant 1953, and I also thought that the Brits were well involved. I was also being ironic about a long term plan - it guaranteed anti-Americanism for a couple of generations.

I think the confusion might have come about because you said that the coup had "installed the Shah", whereas(if I understand wiki correctly) Mohammed Reza Shah was installed in the 1941 coup. The 1953 coup strengthened his powers, after deposing the prime minister.
 
Posted by quetzalcoatl (# 16740) on :
 
Good points, Stetson, cheers.
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
While a wily Shah would have wanted to make sure the CIA wouldn't oppose him, I'm sure that by 1953 he was quite capable of staging a coup in his own favour on his own.

After that, he remained in power for a further 25 years. So it's hardly reasonable to hold the CIA responsible for each and every failing he may have exhibited. And compared with what happened after he'd gone, there will have been a lot of people then and since who would regard him as the lesser evil.
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
Second post

quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
I've already indicated what I want to see happen - ground troops in Iraq plus support for the Peshmerga. I've also said not ideal and will cause its own problems and unintended consequences. But this is a humanitarian emergency so desperate times call for desperate measures.

Are you sure? I think I agree with you about supporting the Peshmerga, even though the Turks may not like it. But western ground troops strikes me as something-must-be-done-ism in spades.

As I've already said, it doesn't meet the 'serious prospects of success' test. A lot of the present ghastliness in the Middle East traces directly back to the last time western governments put ground troops into Iraq.

It's become another example of the maxim that no politician, whether British, Russian or American has any excuse for claiming not to know,
"Don't go to war against the Afghans, because the Afghans alway win".
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
So what's the calculus Matt Black? How many Christians and Yazidis must die before I should add my voice to yours, Andrew White's, Justin Welby's and Jorge Bergoglio's for more of our good-guys just war? It's our good-guys just war that got them in to this for a hundred years and it's more of our good-guys just war that will save them? We just don't do war right? Justly enough. We don't do it early enough and enough enough? We're not good-guys enough. Do I need to overcompensate for having been not in to good-guys just war any more? To catch up? Just one more good-guys just war. Is that all that's needed? To stop bad war? Just one more little total good-guys just war? I mustn't let roast toddlers stop me?

Do I need to repent of repenting of warmongering? Repent of peace? Of standing idly by? Of appeasement? Of supine cowardice? Of walking on by on the other side when women are being raped in the street?

I'll add my voice when Jesus does. When He turns His back on peace. When He gives up on that. Let me know.

[ 22. April 2015, 22:01: Message edited by: Martin60 ]
 
Posted by Augustine the Aleut (# 1472) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
Yes, I meant 1953, and I also thought that the Brits were well involved. I was also being ironic about a long term plan - it guaranteed anti-Americanism for a couple of generations.

I must rely on memory on the CIA/UK split on this, as it was about ten years ago when I read up on this--- I may have been overly influenced by the bio of the Roosevelt family member who was one of the principals. However, Quetzalcoatl and others are quite correct in that the 1953 coup certainly fed a very strong strain of anti-American sentiments, even among my Persian monarchist acquaintances.

[ 22. April 2015, 22:34: Message edited by: Augustine the Aleut ]
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:


I'll add my voice when Jesus does. When He turns His back on peace. When He gives up on that. Let me know.

Martin, this is a horrible point to make in debate. I mean, really, this is the best you've got?
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
Seconded. I think I'm about done here.
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:


I'll add my voice when Jesus does. When He turns His back on peace. When He gives up on that. Let me know.

Martin, this is a horrible point to make in debate. I mean, really, this is the best you've got?
I imagine it probably is his best. And you know what? If it makes one sabre-rattler think twice about pretending that sending young men and women with guns and bombs into an already bloody situation is going to make it better, it's a point well worth making.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
I imagine it probably is his best. And you know what? If it makes one sabre-rattler think twice about pretending that sending young men and women with guns and bombs into an already bloody situation is going to make it better, it's a point well worth making.

I agree with you and Martin that war is ridiculous. See my contributions above.

But if we're going to end up with arguments which appeal to whether or not Jesus would change his mind, then we've got nowhere lower to go.
 
Posted by Komensky (# 8675) on :
 
We're coming back to that are we? That Christianity is an inherently peaceful religion? It's way more peaceful than Islam, I'll grant you that.

K.
 
Posted by quetzalcoatl (# 16740) on :
 
I wonder if all those burned by Christians, over, what, a 1000 years, might disagree? I guess it was for their own good, though.
 
Posted by Komensky (# 8675) on :
 
Again, a fundamental difference is that Christianity—despite many efforts to the contrary—has done a better job of listening to advice and following practices from outside the Bible. Most Christians (in Europe, anyway) have abandoned genital mutilation, death sentences for apostates, alduterers, people of different religions and mouthy children. Christians also accepted heliocentricity. The list could go on and on. That renaissance has yet to happen to Islam—and we don't have 500 years to wait for it to happen.

K.
 
Posted by quetzalcoatl (# 16740) on :
 
Yes, the Christian West has reached such dizzy heights of civilization as to be able to use 'shock and awe', including incendiary bombs, drones, water-boarding.

Of course, the reply is usually, but they are not Christian attacks. Funny how countries are labelled Christian or not, depending on the context. An admirable degree of moral slipperiness!
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Komensky:
That renaissance has yet to happen to Islam—and we don't have 500 years to wait for it to happen.

While this holds a lot of truth, we also need to remember where the renaissance came from: not just Arabic and Persian translations of Greek scientist-philosophers, but from Arab and Persian scientists who were simply streets ahead of their European counterparts. The scientific method is widely credited to Francis Bacon, but Al-hazen was there a couple of hundred years beforehand.

A combination of religious, political and geopolitical events ended, and ossified Islamic thought in the 14th-16th centuries, just as the European renaissance was taking off. It's one of those tipping points in history. If only...
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
Personally, I don't label any country as Christian. Where is the sense in that? Countries don't believe, people do.

This isn't a trivial point. The most that can ever be claimed is that a majority of people share the same kind of outlook (moral, spiritual etc) and vision. So far as Christianity is concerned, good luck with that claim so far as e.g. either the US or the UK are concerned. These boards provide interesting evidence that in those countries Christians differ over both outlook and vision.

IME the phrase "I thought this was supposed to be a Christian country" contains the same sort of fallacy as "I thought this was supposed to be a Christian website". In other words, it is a protest from an individual that other people don't share their outlook and vision - and they ought to.

A kind of hardening of the oughteries, but not much connected to the realities of variation in beliefs, outlook and vision which are actually "out there".

[ 23. April 2015, 12:20: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Sorry to disappoint you mr cheesy. That my tone isn't dialectical enough. I trust it's self righteous enough?

Matt Black, shame. No answer for the faith that's in you?

K. If we quantify it, i.e. never mind the theory, then Christianity is still orders of magnitude more violent. Bush was told by God to go to war. And Christian Blair was the most bellicose prime minister since Churchill. And as for theory only a tiny minority of Christians are cheek turners. MLK was. Anyone else of ANY significance?
 
Posted by quetzalcoatl (# 16740) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
Personally, I don't label any country as Christian. Where is the sense in that? Countries don't believe, people do.

This isn't a trivial point. The most that can ever be claimed is that a majority of people share the same kind of outlook (moral, spiritual etc) and vision. So far as Christianity is concerned, good luck with that claim so far as e.g. either the US or the UK are concerned. These boards provide interesting evidence that in those countries Christians differ over both outlook and vision.

IME the phrase "I thought this was supposed to be a Christian country" contains the same sort of fallacy as "I thought this was supposed to be a Christian website". In other words, it is a protest from an individual that other people don't share their outlook and vision - and they ought to.

A kind of hardening of the oughteries, but not much connected to the realities of variation in beliefs, outlook and vision which are actually "out there".

Good answer. I suppose you could also argue that Christianity simply became irrelevant, as secularism advanced. Violence was outsourced to secular authorities; whether this is progress, I don't know.

There is the Bush/Blair argument, I mean that they are Christian warriors, a bit thin, though. They are secular politicians with a varnish of optional faith. But I suppose the people killed by them are not going to argue the toss, although others may want revenge.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
quetzcoatl

I think the concept of a "marketplace of ideas" might have something to say. Perhaps some of us need to get used to the fact that our ideas and our ideals are no longer in any kind of majority; rather they are part of an often quite bewildering cultural "smorgasbord".

Personally, I quite like the smorgasbord, find it an interesting, intriguing and sometimes challenging aspect of current UK society. Provided there is space for the particular "open sandwich" I prefer, I don't feel threatened by "other sandwiches". There is something to be said for making the best presentation of "our" particular type of open sandwich, rather than trying to sweep the others off the table because "we" are sure they won't do people any good.
 
Posted by quetzalcoatl (# 16740) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
quetzcoatl

I think the concept of a "marketplace of ideas" might have something to say. Perhaps some of us need to get used to the fact that our ideas and our ideals are no longer in any kind of majority; rather they are part of an often quite bewildering cultural "smorgasbord".

Personally, I quite like the smorgasbord, find it an interesting, intriguing and sometimes challenging aspect of current UK society. Provided there is space for the particular "open sandwich" I prefer, I don't feel threatened by "other sandwiches". There is something to be said for making the best presentation of "our" particular type of open sandwich, rather than trying to sweep the others off the table because "we" are sure they won't do people any good.

Another good answer, you're on a roll, geezer.

One of the intriguing aspects of watching Wolf Hall was seeing the sheer power of the church, obviously in Wolsey and More, but also our 'Enery wrestling with political/religious issues. One of his wives wrote a couple of books on devotion, maybe the last one.

Something magnificent about it in a way, although cruel. Now where is my copy of Dover Beach?
 
Posted by Baptist Trainfan (# 15128) on :
 
Washed out to sea by the retreating tide, perhaps?
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
Apologies for taking so long to respond.

I've had a couple of busy days.

quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
It is not a fallacy.

Oh yes it is.

No sane person thinks that the Western liberal democracies are perfect, but no sane person thinks they are as bad as IS, either.

And no honest person could claim with a straight face that they didn't care whether they lived in a Western liberal democracy or under IS because "there's no difference between them".

quote:
And I don't like the way you brazenly suggest a whole bunch of things about me that I don't believe here.
I'm no particular fan of Rick Warren, but his famous statement seems apposite here: "It's not about you".

But I do appreciate the retro charm of "brazenly"!

quote:
Explain to me, for a start, how flying drones into innocent homes is not morally equivalent to cutting people's heads off on a beach. Go on, name some differences which makes them worse than us.
Explain to me how killing 70,000 innocent French people in the bombing campaign which preceded the D-Day landings was not morally equivalent to casually shooting Polish, Russian and other East Europeans. Go on, name some differences which made them worse than us.

Sorry, but I simply do not believe that you are incapable of grasping the difference between the deliberate killing of people by tyrannies like IS or Nazism, and the accidental deaths and unofficial atrocities which inevitably accompany opposing them.

The only route out of this dilemma is the intellectual self-indulgence of absolute, doctrinaire pacifism.

quote:
dictator-supporting shit
I've noticed that opponents of the "he's a sonofabitch but he's our sonofabitch"-style "dictator-supporting shit" always go very quiet when the subject of our support for Stalin during WWII is raised.

quote:
Maybe we were not as bad. But that doesn't let us off the hook, we did a lot of bad stuff.
fair enough, but I would add that when it came to those actually affected by communism (as opposed to safe, comfortable middle-class inhabitants of Western countries like ourselves, who enjoy the luxury of merely discussing it), an awful lot voted with their feet and risked their lives to escape communism, while precious few tried to escape the West to reach communist countries.

quote:
]In the early 20 century, the Nazi regime and their sympathisers perpectuated genocide. Clearly the Allies did not. 'We' were therefore not as bad.

If you take into account the stuff we got involved in from the Transatlantic Slave Trade period until the end of the British Empire, it is a hard thing to argue that there is much difference between our behaviour and that of the Nazis other than geography and scale.

Make up your mind.

The West was either as bad as the Nazis because it once engaged in the slave trade, or it was not because it did not engage in genocide.

I think you're starting to grasp at straws.

(And "perpectuated"?)
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
I never supported Stalin (nor would I if I had been alive at the time) and the bombing of innocents is always a war crime.

Drones kill thousands of innocents. On the level of who has killed more random innocents, those launching the drones or IS, there is very little difference.
 
Posted by balaam (# 4543) on :
 
There is little difference until you raise the question of how many IS would have killed if the drones had not been launched.Decisions like whether to send in drones are always very difficult to make but easy to criticise.
 
Posted by quetzalcoatl (# 16740) on :
 
Didn't IS burn that Jordanian pilot, because they said he had been dropping incendiaries? It's revolting logic, but once war begins, it seems inevitable.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by balaam:
There is little difference until you raise the question of how many IS would have killed if the drones had not been launched.Decisions like whether to send in drones are always very difficult to make but easy to criticise.

Random killing of innocents is easy to criticise because it is immoral. Whoever does it.
 
Posted by Komensky (# 8675) on :
 
Martin, I don't think we are in broad disagreement here. I don't recall Blair citing god as his reason for taking the country into war—though Bush clearly did. Blair, by the way, was very quickly taken up right-wing Christians in the UK. Nicky Gumbel, the leading light of the UK Christian Right, invited him to his 'Leadership Conference' at the Royal Albert Hall—an event that has turned into a parade of right-wing evangelicals and like-minded Catholics. Also note how Nicky Gumbel has promoted David Cameron (a fellow Etonian, of course). Evangelicals in the UK used to be more on the Left, but 'leaders' like Nicky Gumbel and many other influential right-wingers are playing no small part in changing that. Ah, let us not forget Justin Welby in that group too.

Now that I've said all that, I don't think we can compare even the most misguided Jesus-inspired campaign of violence from the likes of Bush (and possibly Blair?) with the activities of IS. We can condemn both, but it is foolishness to suggest that the two are even in the same league.

K.
 
Posted by Callan (# 525) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
I imagine it probably is his best. And you know what? If it makes one sabre-rattler think twice about pretending that sending young men and women with guns and bombs into an already bloody situation is going to make it better, it's a point well worth making.

I agree with you and Martin that war is ridiculous. See my contributions above.

But if we're going to end up with arguments which appeal to whether or not Jesus would change his mind, then we've got nowhere lower to go.

The thing is it's a trolley decision. There are no good outcomes. Whatever happens people will die. As a good ethical Martin thinks that violence is always bad (you should refuse to divert the trolley, even though there may be a less bad outcome because it would constitute a wilful decision to kill someone) where as Matt, in this instance has come down on the consequentialist side (you should divert the trolley because that will save some lives even though it will kill others).

The difference being that in the original trolley dilemma the outcomes of both courses of action were known, knowns. (The trolley kills several people if not diverted but only one if diverted). Military intervention in the Middle East (or refusal to intervene) is based on a series of known and unknown, unknowns. So there are consequentialist arguments for staying out as well as for going in.

As to what Jesus would have done, I think it is certainly arguable that he was a pacifist and meant for his followers to be in which case, of course, Martin is right. If you think (as I do) that he left open the possibility of violence in extremis, then clearly stopping a political movement based on psychotic levels of violence passes the test but there is still the question whether military intervention will actually achieve the intended aims.
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
I don't think anyone is arguing otherwise than that the transatlantic slave trade, Stalin's terror, the Holocaust etc were thoroughly bad things. But do they have any bearing on the topic in hand, which is oppression of Christians in the Middle East?

And while on the subject of the transatlantic slave trade. we all now accept that slavery is wrong, and that neither a person nor a company can own a human being. Most of us also think that a state shouldn't. But until Wilberforce and other campaigners in the late eighteenth century, it seems to have occurred rather few groups in history that there was anything fundamentally wrong with this idea.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:

And while on the subject of the transatlantic slave trade. we all now accept that slavery is wrong, and that neither a person nor a company can own a human being. Most of us also think that a state shouldn't. But until Wilberforce and other campaigners in the late eighteenth century, it seems to have occurred rather few groups in history that there was anything fundamentally wrong with this idea.

Utter rubbish. But as you say, we're some way from the topic at hand.
 
Posted by Komensky (# 8675) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Callan:
As to what Jesus would have done, I think it is certainly arguable that he was a pacifist …

Oh yeah?

Matthew 10:34, "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword."

Luke 12:49 (NIV) “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!"

Also, if you believe that Jesus is a co-person of the Trinity then I suggest you have a little flip through the pages of Exodus, Deuteronomy and Leviticus—just for starters.

K.
 
Posted by quetzalcoatl (# 16740) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Komensky:
Martin, I don't think we are in broad disagreement here. I don't recall Blair citing god as his reason for taking the country into war—though Bush clearly did. Blair, by the way, was very quickly taken up right-wing Christians in the UK. Nicky Gumbel, the leading light of the UK Christian Right, invited him to his 'Leadership Conference' at the Royal Albert Hall—an event that has turned into a parade of right-wing evangelicals and like-minded Catholics. Also note how Nicky Gumbel has promoted David Cameron (a fellow Etonian, of course). Evangelicals in the UK used to be more on the Left, but 'leaders' like Nicky Gumbel and many other influential right-wingers are playing no small part in changing that. Ah, let us not forget Justin Welby in that group too.

Now that I've said all that, I don't think we can compare even the most misguided Jesus-inspired campaign of violence from the likes of Bush (and possibly Blair?) with the activities of IS. We can condemn both, but it is foolishness to suggest that the two are even in the same league.

K.

You can argue that they are mirror-images, in the form of a warped idealism allied with enormous violence. Shock and awe meets jihad; they use different weapons, of course, and we tend to prefer our own violence, and see it as morally superior, but then who doesn't?
 
Posted by Callan (# 525) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Komensky:
quote:
Originally posted by Callan:
As to what Jesus would have done, I think it is certainly arguable that he was a pacifist …

Oh yeah?

Matthew 10:34, "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword."

Luke 12:49 (NIV) “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!"

Also, if you believe that Jesus is a co-person of the Trinity then I suggest you have a little flip through the pages of Exodus, Deuteronomy and Leviticus—just for starters.

K.

Yeah. Arguable, not certain. The Sermon on the Mount would point to such a view (and dispenses, I think, of a Christian ethno-nationalist reading of the OT) as does his conduct in the Garden of Gethsemane. It's not my view but it's not self-evidently absurd and I think that it's quite telling that some Christians get really upset when the subject comes up, almost as if they had pangs of conscience on the matter.
 
Posted by quetzalcoatl (# 16740) on :
 
I think that one interesting historical point is that the West have been invading and occupying the Middle East for about 200 years, not exactly sure of the dates, but I think that the French moved into Algeria in the early 19th century.

Of course, you might say that this is irrelevant, and it's notoriously difficult to make historical links of this kind. But there was a recent film of militants erasing the Sykes-Picot line with a bull-dozer, and they seemed to be shouting appropriate slogans. Well, I commend their history teachers.

But maybe finding blame or apportioning moral weight in the scales, is pointless, in any case. 'You started it' generally marks another degeneration in an argument.
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
Algeria doesn't really count as ME IMO, but otherwise, yes: Britain has invaded Iraq four times in the last 100 years (five if you count Winston's gassing of the Kurds in 1920-21). I'm reminded of I think ++Desmond Tutu some 30 years ago who, when asked by a BBC journo why the British government should give a fig about apartheid in South Africa, replied, "Because it is the British government which is responsible for all this crap, my friend."
 
Posted by quetzalcoatl (# 16740) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
Algeria doesn't really count as ME IMO, but otherwise, yes: Britain has invaded Iraq four times in the last 100 years (five if you count Winston's gassing of the Kurds in 1920-21). I'm reminded of I think ++Desmond Tutu some 30 years ago who, when asked by a BBC journo why the British government should give a fig about apartheid in South Africa, replied, "Because it is the British government which is responsible for all this crap, my friend."

Yes, I suppose at some point the responsibility ends, but it's not easy to determine when. I don't really know how much moderate Muslims blame the West, I guess that it varies. Do Egypytians still curse Antony Eden? No idea.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
And while on the subject of the transatlantic slave trade. we all now accept that slavery is wrong, and that neither a person nor a company can own a human being. Most of us also think that a state shouldn't. But until Wilberforce and other campaigners in the late eighteenth century, it seems to have occurred rather few groups in history that there was anything fundamentally wrong with this idea.

Wilberforce is the end of a historical process. Already within medieval Europe slavery was thought to be an evil that needed justification. It may not be an accident that unlike earlier mediterranean societies, the medieval European economy was not based on slave labour (whether serfs thought this was an improvement is another matter). Throughout the eighteenth century there was a growing consensus that slavery ought to be abolished, led to some extent by the Quakers I think. Well before slave trading was abolished, it was illegal to hold slaves on the British mainlands: any slave that set foot on the island of Britain was automatically freed. The same goes for France. The French Revolution abolished slavery within French colonies before the British did, though they un-abolished it shortly afterwards.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I'm not sure it's the case that UK evangelicalism has lurched to the right under the influence of Nicky Gumbel or Justin Welby.

If anything, there's always been a range of views within UK evangelicalism when it comes to politics.

When I were a lad, many, but no means all, of the independent evangelicals and charismatics were vaguely to the right - although there were significant voices pushing towards a more left-leaning position.

I was always mildly left of centre during my full-on evangelical days. I wasn't that unusual to be on the left politically but then there were quite a lot of evangelicals who were Tory too.

Our constituency MP is an evangelical Christian but she doesn't attract the votes of all the evangelical Christians hereabouts any more than she would attract 'liberal Christian' votes if she came from the liberal end of the theological spectrum.

I'm not sure that it's the case at all that evangelicalism in the UK is moving right-wards.

If anything, it seems to be liberalising in its views to certain DH issues - although that's not the case right across the board - and those who are involved with Food Banks and so on are deeply critical of Conservative social policies.
 
Posted by Baptist Trainfan (# 15128) on :
 
I agree. And, of course, social class came into t too. For instance "Bash Camp" public-school-educated evangelical Anglicans may well have tended towards Conservatism, while working-class Methodists must surely have been Liberal or Labour. (Or not).

I do wonder though if the modern "prosperity" charismatics - insofar as they engage with politics - might lean towards the right? I don't know.

[ 24. April 2015, 16:07: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
The latter are I think becoming a spent force in the UK. At least I hope so...
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
Gumbel and Welby (and also Andrew White, incidentally) come from a very similar space in the quasi-Charismatic Evangelical Anglican spectrum. And I think Welby and Gumbel both went to Eton. I'm not sure where White went to school, but he was once a Tory councillor, FWIW.

All of that said, it is a massive over-generalisation to claim that these are somehow representatives of the Christian Right - using terms borrowed from the USA.

As Gamiliel has indicated, I think there is very little truth in that statement.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
Yes, I suppose at some point the responsibility ends, but it's not easy to determine when. I don't really know how much moderate Muslims blame the West, I guess that it varies. Do Egypytians still curse Antony Eden? No idea.

Not spent so much time with Egyptians, but in general Arabs from around the region regularly blame the British for things that we've totally forgotten about - because we made such a mess.

One would do well to read up on the Balfour declaration if planning to spend much time in Palestine, for example, because you will certainly be asked about it.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
Erm, I mean if you are British travelling in the region. I'm not sure whether they'd have the same conversation with other nationalities.
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
White .. he was once a Tory councillor, FWIW..


In Wandsworth, though I cannot find out on the web if he was a Tory.
 
Posted by Callan (# 525) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
White .. he was once a Tory councillor, FWIW..


In Wandsworth, though I cannot find out on the web if he was a Tory.
According to wikipedia the by-election after his resignation was a 'Tory hold', so yes. That said, it doesn't follow that evangelicals automatically equate to Tory politics (or indeed, that Christians who vote Tory aren't making a contribution to the Kingdom. One of my heroes is my former PCC secretary who was resolutely low church and whose politics are generally indistinguishable from the leading articles in the Daily Telegraph.) Pete173 of this parish was elected to the local authority in the Labour interest and the sadly missed ken would doubtless come back and haunt us if we didn't acknowledge that it's quite possible to be a socialist and an evangelical. Welby may be a Tory, but judging from the sledging he got from the right wing press for the C of E's pre-election "here are some issues you may want to consider" document he's clearly deeply parteigenossen, as far as the Cult of Thatch* are concerned. Personally, I regard devotion to Our Lord And His Blessed Mother, the Sensible Wing of Anglo-Catholicism and the Workers Cause as indivisible but among those strange and idiosyncratic group that sociologists describe as "other people", things are not quite that straight forward.

*The Actually Existing Thatch would have been deeply parteigenossen to the cultists. A competent, female, pro-European leader who won wars and elections would have been deeply anathema to the votaries of Iain Duncan Smith and Nigel Farage. Some of my best friends are on the right of centre, but it's really quite embarrassing to see the political heirs of Peel, Disraeli, Churchill and Thatcher reduced to touting Dave the Rave or The Pound Shop Enoch Powell as the nations salvation.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Komensky:
quote:
Originally posted by Callan:
As to what Jesus would have done, I think it is certainly arguable that he was a pacifist …

Oh yeah?

Matthew 10:34, "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword."

Luke 12:49 (NIV) “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!"

Also, if you believe that Jesus is a co-person of the Trinity then I suggest you have a little flip through the pages of Exodus, Deuteronomy and Leviticus—just for starters.

K.

Komensky, you aren't a Christian fundamentalist and you aren't an atheist are you? So why do you sound like an atheist of the only God of wooden literalism?

It isn't arguable. Jesus was a pacifist. There is no doubt of that. None. No 'debate' is possible. It isn't possible to construct a Jesus in the flesh who wasn't. A Jesus who is the only pure example of the Divine in action we have, of how God behaves through humanity. Everything else is mere culturally mediated words which His actions spoke volumes larger than.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
And Callan. YOU are amusing. A bit too even handed, but amusing.

Kaplan Corday. WE are the world's WORST fucking nightmare. We really, REALLY believe that we are the good guys. So anything we HAVE to do to the deluded, like nuking them for the 'greater good', is regrettable but righteous. Our hands are tied. Babies must burn to prevent ... worse?

IS should fear us. We will force them to be worse and worse so that we can make them beg for peace unconditionally. Those tiny few who survive. We're just waiting. The Beast has one hooded eye watching. Watching the Libya it casually, righteously, insanely (the way Tony Blair made himself - and me - insane over besieged Iraq: that wasn't good enough, there HAD to be regime change to stop Saddam killing babies which we forced him to do) created. The pendulum will swing for another 'good' war. It ALWAYS does. It takes less than a generation. Far less. It's swinging now. We will stop the flight of the desperate. One way and another. We will not allow half a million a year, every year to threaten our privilege. Our marginal, racist citizens won't allow us to allow it.

Too much Elliot and Yeats? Hmmm. John the Divine has a lot to answer for.

Lord deliver us from WORDS, from the insane beliefs we talk ourselves in to. To peace at ANY price.
 
Posted by Komensky (# 8675) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
[snip]

I do wonder though if the modern "prosperity" charismatics - insofar as they engage with politics - might lean towards the right? I don't know.

They most certainly do. Which is part of my complaint about UK charismania moving to the right. If you don't think that HTB is attempting to lead a move to the Right, you are not paying close enough attention. I'll have to add more on that later. In short, Nicky has gone to very considerable lengths at great expense to get involved (and get on TV) of the US right-wing evangelicals. Just have a look at the speakers of his so-called 'leadership' conference for the part few years.

K.
 
Posted by Baptist Trainfan (# 15128) on :
 
Please do elaborate, as I guess that many of us on the Ship are not too familiar with this particular part of the Church. [Smile]

I wonder if British charismatics move to the right because their theological approach leads them to think that way, and so end up linking with the Americans? Or is it that their theology itself (and their "management" approach to church life) naturally leads them to associate with the Americans, whose political ideology then comes back to influence the Brits? In other words, which is "cause" and which is "effect"?

[ 25. April 2015, 08:31: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
hosting/

If either of you wish to discuss this tangent further, I suggest starting a new thread.

/hosting
 
Posted by Baptist Trainfan (# 15128) on :
 
We hear you!
 
Posted by Komensky (# 8675) on :
 
Agreed. Thanks for keep things on topic.

K.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
(declaration of interest: I'll be at the forthcoming Alpha leaders' conference, although not as a delegate, and this declaration is not an endorsement of it!)

[ 25. April 2015, 08:43: Message edited by: Eutychus ]
 
Posted by Komensky (# 8675) on :
 
You'll have a chance to hear at least one speaker who was on the business end of a federal (US) investigation by the US government. Another of the speakers is merely a preacher at another church under investigation—at the notorious barn of crackpots around Joel Osteen.

I wonder if Joyce Meyers will fly there in her own jet?

Enjoy!

K.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Rewind. Ah Callan, there you are. Yeah. Of course Jesus allowed for extremis in the relational, the personal, the communal. Would you have wanted to harm a hair on His mother's head with Him, as fit as a butcher's cat from being a hard walking chippie, around? I'm not off me trolley after all. Neither was He. He took the Mafia on single handed in the temple after all.

Caesar will do what Caesar does. We have to work with that. But when we work with it seamlessly, then Steve Langton's right.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
hosting/

quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Caesar will do what Caesar does. We have to work with that. But when we work with it seamlessly, then Steve Langton's right.

Martin60, you are stepping perilously close to defying a hostly injunction that came soon after an Admin warning.

Constantinianism and its perceived evils are off limits for this thread, as is anything perceived as tempting Steve Langton to return to the subject on it.

/hosting

[ 25. April 2015, 18:37: Message edited by: Eutychus ]
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Dear me, I'm sorry. I beg your and the other hosts' pardon.

[ 25. April 2015, 23:13: Message edited by: Martin60 ]
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
This couldn't be said of Jesus: You're a Warmonger.

It CAN be said of White, Welby and Bergoglio.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
UNLESS, of course, they are being faithful pragmatists, like Paul, invoking their 'rights' as citizens of Rome to a military response. Are they saying, 'Our hands are clean of 2000 years of Roman interference in the region in which Christianity arose, please interfere some more for the right reason: the defense of Christians that your wrong interference has jeopardized.'? I.e. 'Please clean up YOUR mess hurting our voters, using YOUR means.'.?

[ 03. May 2015, 09:45: Message edited by: Martin60 ]
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
This couldn't be said of Jesus: You're a Warmonger.

It CAN be said of White, Welby and Bergoglio.

Wow! That's quite a blanket accusation. I'm not sure I can see what it has to do with the OP, or upon what basis it is being made. Nor, for that matter what the link has to do with any of them, though whoever that chap is, he clearly hates his country.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Their response to 'Kill the Christians' is kill.

That's a FACT. Not an accusation. What's to accuse?

But it won't be their response, indeed it isn't, to Kill the Yazidi or Kill the Sunni or Kill the (other, non-Yazidi) Kurds or Kill the Shia.

It's a funny business Christianity. We were reminded today how Philip evangelized Ethiopia through the Eunuch. And after 2000 years of Christianity there we are needed to stop the evil oppression, the enslavement, the forced marriage and rape of literally poor, low status girls and women by giving them cattle and money.

This just added to my store of utter mouth gaping, mind spinning existential horror about this particular Christian society from Ryszard Kapuściński's The Shadow of the Sun and The Emperor.

I mean God knows how bad it would have been if this WEREN'T a Christian culture, hadn't been one for two thousand years.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
If Andrew, Justin and George (did you see that?) weren't Christian warmongers FIRST, they'd put their money where their mouth is and ransom and buy visas and agitate and civilly disobey for Syriac Christians and Yazidis. They'd just put them on planes and fly them in to Rome and Gatwick and DEMAND that WE put our money and our homes where our mouth is.

But no. They'd rather get Caesar to kill for them. And so would we.

No wonder we make God PUKE.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
Are you seriously suggesting that Andrew White and Justin Welby individually have the funds to fly thousands of people out of their desperate conditions? Last time I looked, they were both living on a low income due to a considerable amount of time working for the church.

Really, I think this whole diatribe is wrong-headed. Personally I think Andrew White is totally wrong in much of his analysis, but the idea that he is single-handedly responsible for the bloodshed - or somehow in a position to physically remove his parishioners from the conflict - is utter nonsense.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
I'm seriously suggesting the vast wealth at the Church's command be put to that use.

Er, how am I blaming White for the bloodshed by IS?

I'm blaming him, Welby and Bergoglio for demanding that IS blood be spilled.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
Neither Andrew White or Justin Welby have access to the 'vast' wealth of the church - in the Anglican church the job of the investments of the church is devolved to the Church Commissioners.
 
Posted by Eirenist (# 13343) on :
 
I'm probably asking for trouble, but just WHEN have Andrew White, Justin Welby or the Pope 'demanded that IS blood be spilled'? I'm not arguing, just asking for some evidence.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
mr cheesy. Of course they have. In their leadership. In their moral authority. Which they'd RATHER use, like the Pope, to call for war.

For warmongering.

Just like Jesus did.

Eirenist. In your search engine type in:

welby calls for military action
pope calls for military action
andrew white calls for military action

and go to the first link of each for a start.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
mr cheesy. Of course they have. In their leadership. In their moral authority. Which they'd RATHER use, like the Pope, to call for war.

OK. That's a vast oversimplification of their influence and opinions.

But anyway, it is fairly obvious that trying to discuss this with you is an impossible task.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
If you say so mr cheesy.

[ 04. May 2015, 20:51: Message edited by: Martin60 ]
 
Posted by Eirenist (# 13343) on :
 
Thank you, Martin. The words seem slightly more nuanced than 'demanding blood' but I take the point.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Indeed Eirenist. I'm not known for nuance. Although how we can follow Christ and demand military action, at the same time as proof to the world that we love our co-religionists, even from Him, is now a total mystery to me from which I can't go back.

Part of me viscerally wants to. With high altitude, overlapping, one megaton hydrogen bomb air-bursts. 19 would cover ten thousand square miles.

As I said, subtlety isn't my strong suit.
 
Posted by Eirenist (# 13343) on :
 
I had noticed, Martin. But do you think these people would be calling for action against IS, if IS weren't killing Christians? Really?
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
No I certainly don't. If it were just the Yazidis for example. It's just worldly sectarianism therefore. This is a genuine question, when have Christian leaders ever demanded military action solely on behalf of non-Christians?
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:

I'm blaming him, Welby and Bergoglio for demanding that IS blood be spilled.

I think the argument against pacifism goes something like this:

If you see your friend or your brother beating up a helpless old lady, would you intervene, or would you just shrug your shoulders and walk by on the other side ? And if all the third options (reasoned argument, emotional persuasion etc) prove ineffective, would you (with or without help from others) use force to overpower your friend/brother to prevent him from harming an innocent person ? In that situation, giving up and walking away so that evil deeds against others continue unchecked seems to be the wrong thing to do. And the sayings of Jesus don't seem to support either giving up or persisting in being utterly ineffective.

So if you see such a crime in progress, a moral imperative in favour of universal brotherhood does not prevent you from using force to protect the innocent.

If we escalate the example, so that instead of beating up little old ladies your friend/brother is gunning them down with an assault rifle, then overpowering him may involve applying lethal force. But that doesn't change the argument - the lesser evil that you're choosing (all third options having failed) has increased in proportion to the greater evil you're preventing.

Whilst the judgment that military action against IS is the lesser evil may be a mistaken judgment, it's not a barking mad or necessarily-unChristian judgment.

Seems to me that the question you should be asking is why these so-called Christian countries have multi-billion dollar industries producing lethal weapons, and such a pathetically small R&D effort into non-lethal weapons. If the policy option is humanitarian war, why aren't we equipped to fight it ?

If any friend of mine goes off his trolley and starts killing people, I want him taken alive and carted off to the psychiatric hospital...

Best wishes,

Russ
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
[Overused]
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
What's evil about immediately coming to the aid of the victim of an on-going attack? Using whatever force is appropriate? It's evil not to.

In a world where my brother, my son, my mother starts waving an AK around, all but impossible in the UK, more likely a bread knife, my duty to all concerned is to notify the police in the full knowledge that they may well have to use lethal force. Or bear-grade pepper spray or Taser up against a bread knife. Where is the moral failure - evil - in that? Or in my picking up a chair until they come?

And superglue, net, baton or superlube rounds up against full metal jackets ... don't win. Superior firepower is the ONLY way.

I can't think of a civil situation requiring an armed police response where a Christian pacifist couldn't be part of that response. Including a necessarily lethal part. Trained for that. Or in posse comitatus, deputized.

So how much further do I have to go to persuade myself that war is appropriate for a Christian? Total war? For Jesus? As in WWJD? When I can't think of a single historical example where it was?

Should I be saying what I said about civil situations including civil war? Northern Ireland during The Troubles?

And these are genuinely open questions.

Please challenge everything.

Is my pacifism unravelling? Meaningless? Am I a double minded man? Unstable in all my ways?

This is keeping me up nights!

As is the obscene, insanely disproportionate suffering of the innocent.

Believe it or not I'm vulnerable in this.

So do your worst.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
I can't think of a civil situation requiring an armed police response where a Christian pacifist couldn't be part of that response. Including a necessarily lethal part. Trained for that. Or in posse comitatus, deputized.

So how much further do I have to go to persuade myself that war is appropriate for a Christian? Total war? For Jesus? As in WWJD? When I can't think of a single historical example where it was?

You and I are lucky enough to live in countries where we can call in the police in the expectation of a response that is timely and proportionate and accountable.

If we did not have that option, if disarming the breadknife-wielding maniac was something that we had to do ourselves, rather than pay through our taxes for a trained and professional service provider to do, would you still be OK with that ? Is there any moral difference ? If the application of minimal-necessary-but-up-to-and-including-lethal force iis done by a group of the neighbours rather than by the State acting for them ?

And when that situation is scaled up to us as the trying-to-be-good-guy nations counter-invading Nazi-occupied France or Iraqi-occupied Kuwait for the sake of the French or Kuwaiti people, how does that difference of scale change the morality of the action ?

Not that I'm wanting you to lose sleep...

Best wishes,

Russ
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Thanks Russ. See the Ferguson thread.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
To continue here then: no I have no problem dealing with a nutter with a knife: in effect I've done it and would do it again.

I don't see how it scales up beyond domestic counter-terror, lawlessness. And even to that beyond narrow examples. Northern Ireland, yes. Irish home rule, no. And they are both in the grey mid-spectrum.

WWI & II. No. All modern period wars. What was the first? The American Civil War? Being me now then, I'd HAVE to be a 'conshy'.

But is a crusade against IS, even with Muslim allies, a scaled up neighbourhood duty?

If Bosnia was, one that we initially failed in multiple ways ... and it was ... I feel myself arguing now as then for MORE vigorous, MORE rapid ... military intervention. That results in LESS suffering overall. Utilitarian. By those who have the power, no matter how they came by it, no matter that they, we are complicit in history's bloody chaos.

When we look back in history, which wars were just in hindsight?

WWII is trumpeted as THE just war, In hindsight. How was it just at the time? From a British, Commonwealth ..., US POV? Russia doesn't count. No moral leg to stand on. How was it justified from a Christian POV?

I'm watching VE Day coverage and I'm blown away, my voice catches in my throat. The heroism of Dunkirk is too much, by the Guards who fought to the last man and the English civilians who came over in dinghies to save the men the Guards died to give time for.

Eeeeee, I don't know. The evolution of just war theory from Augustine, predicated on Paul, to our humanist, utilitarian time is ... worthy, coherent.

But was it from the RIGHT starting point?

How did Paul get to defending state violence from Jesus? The way I have by reducing it to police action? So did Paul prophetically sanction the genocide of a million people in the Roman-Jewish Wars?

Of course not.

So total war by unenlightened power is bad but total war by enlightened power is good?

How do we get to that from the Sermons on the Mount and Plain, from the life of Christ?

And if that's naïve, why do we get so legalistic about His other so-called hard sayings?

Ah well.

In that case there is ... no hope but the even more extremely flattened trajectory of the arc of the moral universe.

We'll continue to fail to prevent suffering and then overreact in having done so and cause even more.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
To continue here then: no I have no problem dealing with a nutter with a knife: in effect I've done it and would do it again.

I don't see how it scales up beyond domestic counter-terror, lawlessness...

...But is a crusade against IS, even with Muslim allies, a scaled up neighbourhood duty?...

...So total war by unenlightened power is bad but total war by enlightened power is good?

How do we get to that from the Sermons on the Mount and Plain, from the life of Christ?

...We'll continue to fail to prevent suffering and then overreact in having done so and cause even more.

Hi Martin.

Sounds like your heart is telling you to get off the train somewhere in between the neighbourhood scale and the international scale, but your head can't quite work out where the line is that you shouldn't cross.

Don't think I can tell you.

The way I learned history, WW1 was a pointless unnecessary war where we mobilised beacause they mobilised, and they mobilised because they could see that we were going to mobilise... And WW2 was a just war, a struggle against real evil.

You're right that there's hindsight in play there. But that's one of the challenges - to be able to see through the heat of the moment to how hindsight will view what you're contemplating doing. At all scales of human endeavour.

Best wishes,

Russ
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Thanks Russ. I suppose I'm wondering whether and how to backslide from a position at least one step removed from absolute pacifism. With hindsight I still cannot see how WW2 was a just war, or the American Civil War. I can't think of any other candidates. Therefore war is always wrong.

So what are Christians to do in, about, Ukraine? Let alone IS? Where warmongering is NOT an option, let alone warfare. Or any of the instruments open to pacifists within nonviolent opposition.
 
Posted by Albertus (# 13356) on :
 
I've come late to this debate, but why don't you think that the Second World War was a just war, at least from a british/ Commonwealth POV and in respect of the war against Germany? Because we acted too late? Because we enlisted some dodgy allies (USSR, though don't forget that after the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact in August 1939 a lot of people thought we might end up fighting them too and if the aid that we were preparing for Finland had got there we might well have done)? Because we then did some dodgy things militarily (e.g. lots of not all of the strategic bombing campaign) and diplomatically (e.g. declaring war on finland to please Stalin, not that we actually did anything more about it AIUI)? Or because you think that the classic 'just war' tests were not met (although AIUI you are sceptical about that).
What about the Falklands? nasty military dictatorship with horrific human rights record takes over peaceful British settlement without provocation. Admittedly Thatch's government hadn't exactly been hostile to Argentina until then and had been trying to shuffle the Falklands offf onto them quietly, and there's a good argument that the invasion could have been deterred before it started if they had really been as patriotically attached to defending British interests as they claimed to be, but once it had happened, what were we supposed to do to resolve and even redeem the situation?
 
Posted by Moo (# 107) on :
 
The war against Japan was also just. The Japanese mistreated the people in the countries they occupied. Those people did not like their European colonizers, but they thought the Japanese were much worse.

Very near the end of the war, people in those countries were starving to death at an estimated rate of one hundred thousand per month. The Japanese refused to surrender this territory so that the people could be fed.

Moo
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
I couldn't agree more Albertus. If WE're not going to love OUR enemies, then pre-empt, be worse than them first, which should hardly prove necessary with a truly vigorous enough defence. Look hard, be hard. But WE end up being worse than them last. WE are the retaliatory powers. Beware the nice guy, the good guy when he goes to war. How long before we solve IS in one night?

That's if WE identify with Caesar.

At least the Germans get their retaliation in early.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Such clear hindsight Moo. Which is why WE starved 3 million of OUR 'subjects'. And, in total war, it is in OUR interests that the enemy be forced to starve and brutalize the occupied. It shows they're losing.
 
Posted by Moo (# 107) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Which is why WE starved 3 million of OUR 'subjects'.

When and where?

Moo
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
1943, Bengal
 
Posted by Moo (# 107) on :
 
AFAIK the Japanese did not offer to feed the people of Bengal. The Allies did offer to feed the starving in the Japanese-occupied countries with the stipulation that neutral observers were allowed to make sure the food went to the people in the occupied countries, rather than to Japan. The Japanese refused.

Moo
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
I'm sure they did Moo. So we nuked them.
 
Posted by Moo (# 107) on :
 
The death tolls for Hiroshima and Nagasaki were less than 400,000, and they shortened the war by more than four months. That's four months in which 400,000 people in the occupied countries did not starve to death, not to mention the Japanese and Allied soldiers who were not killed.

Moreover, Japan was ruled by military fanatics who said that even if every Japanese died, that was better than surrender. Thank God the emperor disagreed with that.

Moo
 
Posted by no prophet's flag is set so... (# 15560) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Moo:
The war against Japan was also just. The Japanese mistreated the people in the countries they occupied. Those people did not like their European colonizers, but they thought the Japanese were much worse.

Very near the end of the war, people in those countries were starving to death at an estimated rate of one hundred thousand per month. The Japanese refused to surrender this territory so that the people could be fed.

Moo

It's a little more nuanced than that. The Americans had been steadily expanding into the Pacific since their conquest of the Philippines and annexing Hawaii. This mattered to Japan. But more important for the Japanese, had been strangling the oil and steel supplies, among other things. The complete oil embargo of 01 Aug 1941 when the USA totally cutoff 80% of Japanese oil they were getting from the Americans supply seems pretty key. From the Japanese perspective, obviously America was provoking war by economically strangling it. The two countries, USA and Japan were in heavy competition, and the USA was determined to win.

I know the Americans said that Japanese aggression in China was a problem, but the Japanese didn't see it far different from America in the Philippines and Hawaii. The time frame being almost half a century earlier merely reinforced the idea of America's long term plans for domination. Something that present-day apologists would see as continuing.

It has been facile and over-simplified to simply label the Japanese as bad. I get the idea that killing two cities, mostly non-military, was a good thing in American eyes. When you do total war, it means you do want to kill everyone you can, whether soldiers or not. If America had lost, these may well been considered war crimes.
 
Posted by Moo (# 107) on :
 
To me the crucial point is that the Japanese generals, who had complete power at that time, thought that the preservation of kokutai, which was considered the essence of Japan, was more important than the lives of all the Japanese.

Moo
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
We can use utilitarianism half way through the movie of our compromised, complicit ... evil foreign policy till Kingdom come ... and we probably will.

How US genocide in the Philippines (next south of Japan) a century ago is a least bad option, a lesser of evils, I CANNOT imagine.
 
Posted by no prophet's flag is set so... (# 15560) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Moo:
To me the crucial point is that the Japanese generals, who had complete power at that time, thought that the preservation of kokutai, which was considered the essence of Japan, was more important than the lives of all the Japanese.

Moo

I have trouble considering that as much other than cultural. The equivalent and still underway for America is mercantilism, i.e., augmenting a nation's power at the expense of rival national powers. I think it's so embedded culturally it's hardly even noticed.

[ 28. May 2015, 14:55: Message edited by: no prophet's flag is set so... ]
 
Posted by Stetson (# 9597) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
quote:
Originally posted by Moo:
The war against Japan was also just. The Japanese mistreated the people in the countries they occupied. Those people did not like their European colonizers, but they thought the Japanese were much worse.

Very near the end of the war, people in those countries were starving to death at an estimated rate of one hundred thousand per month. The Japanese refused to surrender this territory so that the people could be fed.

Moo

It's a little more nuanced than that. The Americans had been steadily expanding into the Pacific since their conquest of the Philippines and annexing Hawaii. This mattered to Japan. But more important for the Japanese, had been strangling the oil and steel supplies, among other things. The complete oil embargo of 01 Aug 1941 when the USA totally cutoff 80% of Japanese oil they were getting from the Americans supply seems pretty key. From the Japanese perspective, obviously America was provoking war by economically strangling it. The two countries, USA and Japan were in heavy competition, and the USA was determined to win.

I know the Americans said that Japanese aggression in China was a problem, but the Japanese didn't see it far different from America in the Philippines and Hawaii. The time frame being almost half a century earlier merely reinforced the idea of America's long term plans for domination. Something that present-day apologists would see as continuing.

It has been facile and over-simplified to simply label the Japanese as bad. I get the idea that killing two cities, mostly non-military, was a good thing in American eyes. When you do total war, it means you do want to kill everyone you can, whether soldiers or not. If America had lost, these may well been considered war crimes.

The thing with this kind of nuance, which I've heard numerous times before, is that it almost never gets applied to the European theatre of World War II. People rarely say things like "Well, you gotta understand, the Nazis did have some legitimate concerns about what the Russians or the British were doing" or "Sure, Dachau was bad, but Dresden would likely be viewed as a war crime had the Axis won."

Basically, analysis of the Nazis rarely gets much beyond stating that they were just evil guys who wanted to force their will upon the world, and bearing no redeeming qualities at all. Which may be true, but I can assue you that there are millions of people in Korea, north and south, who think the same way about the NAZI-ALLIED Japanese militarists.

[ 28. May 2015, 16:59: Message edited by: Stetson ]
 
Posted by no prophet's flag is set so... (# 15560) on :
 
Actually that kind of discussion has occurred many times about Germany. The economic ruin of the country by the settlement imposed on them post-WW1. The main reason that the argument is not forthcoming is as you say, the basic simplified understanding that Germany=Nazis. There's a conflation also of the Kaiser and German gov't being as equally evil as the Nazis.

The history is that Britain wanted to keep control, and Germany had the economic potential pre-WW1 to overtake it. I can't find myself choosing either side in WW1. And here we are 75 years after WW2, and we have Germany rising and UK sinking. With Russia doing what exactly? I think that's another topic though.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
We can wash our hands of forcing our enemies to be even worse bastards than they would have been if we hadn't declared and waged total war on them? How do we do that?
 
Posted by Moo (# 107) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
quote:
Originally posted by Moo:
To me the crucial point is that the Japanese generals, who had complete power at that time, thought that the preservation of kokutai, which was considered the essence of Japan, was more important than the lives of all the Japanese.

Moo

I have trouble considering that as much other than cultural. The equivalent and still underway for America is mercantilism, i.e., augmenting a nation's power at the expense of rival national powers. I think it's so embedded culturally it's hardly even noticed.
After the two atomic bombs had been dropped, the emperor decided to make a speech to the Japanese people, who had never heard his voice. He had, in fact, decided to surrender; this was supposed to be a secret, but a lot of the higher-ups knew it. A group of army men decided to prevent this speech from taking place. Here is a quote by one of the conspirators. about the subject. (The phrase 'national policy' is a translation of kokutai
quote:
*
It would be useless for people to survive the war if the structure of the State itself were to be destroyed.....
Although a coup d'etat would mean temporary disobedience to the present Emperor... to act in compliance with the wishes of his Imperial Ancestors would constitute a wider and truer loyalty to the throne in the final analysis....
We did not believe the entire people would be completely annihilated through fighting to the finish. Even if a crucial battle were fought in the homeland and the Imperial Forces were confined to the mountainous regions, the number of Japanese killed by the enemy forces would be small....
Even if the whole Japanese race were all but wiped out, its determination to preserve the national policy would be forever recorded in the annals of history...
We decided that the peace faction should be overruled and a coup d'etat staged in order to prevail upon the Emperor to revoke his decision. The purpose of the projected coup d'etat was to separate the Emperor from his peace-seeking advisers and persuade him to change his mind and continue the war...All we wanted was a military government with all political power concentrated in the hands of the war minister....

I shudder to think what would have happened if that coup had been successful.

This is something far more fanatical than mercantilism.

*Edwin P. Hoyt: The Kamikazes New York 1983 pp.269-270

Moo
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
So what Moo?

Churchill's plans for the Nazi invasion of Britain were no less implacably inimical. He'd have used every chemical and biological agent in our arsenal. If that had failed, he had his secret army.

And that would have been worth it? God forgive me for 40 years of yes.
 
Posted by no prophet's flag is set so... (# 15560) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Moo:
I shudder to think what would have happened if that coup had been successful.

This is something far more fanatical than mercantilism.

*Edwin P. Hoyt: The Kamikazes New York 1983 pp.269-270

Moo

More fanatical than atomic bombs?

If the coup had been successful, then more of them.
 
Posted by Moo (# 107) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
If the coup had been successful, then more of them.

More than what?

Moo
 
Posted by Moo (# 107) on :
 
I should have said, "More of what?"

Moo
 
Posted by no prophet's flag is set so... (# 15560) on :
 
Atomic bombs. America was prepared to drop 7 more, but one wonders if they might have ramped up capacity. The link says one more by Aug 19, 3 in Sept and 3 more in Oct.

"Our entire much-praised technological progress, and civilization generally, could be compared to an axe in the hand of a pathological criminal." (Albert Einstein)

"There are many who do not know they are fascists but will find it out when the time comes.” (Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls)
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Yeah, but we're the good guys, so it would have been OK. That's what Jesus said.
 
Posted by Moo (# 107) on :
 
I am questioning what would have happened in Japan if the emperor had been kidnapped. He was in favor of ending the war, and the militarists were determined to continue it.

Getting back to your equating American mercantilism with Japanese kokutai, I couldn't disagree more. The quotation I gave said that even if most of the Japanese population were wiped out, that would be all right as long as kokutai survived. Do you really think that there are any Americans who feel that way about mercantilism?

Moo
 
Posted by no prophet's flag is set so... (# 15560) on :
 
You're comparing a little too tightly, and suggesting the likely differential results of over-arching, integrative philosophy mean they are not comparable. What I am saying is that America's founding principles are on being open for business, promoting it's economy, making money/profit, and it's general behaviour internationally is focused on that as a main guiding principle, if not "the" guiding principle. When something is ingrained in a culture, it is sometimes hard to name it.
 
Posted by Moo (# 107) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by no prophet
When something is ingrained in a culture, it is sometimes hard to name it.

But the Japanese had no trouble naming kokutai and talking about it.

Moo
 
Posted by Kelly Alves (# 2522) on :
 
I think a quick trip to Limbo-- or any welltrafficked American non-Fox affiliated news site, really-- will reveal many, many Americans who are quite aware of things like cultural imperialism, mercantileism, nationalistic capitalism, the wrongheadedness of various presidents' international relations policies, and so forth.To say we are not suceeding in combating these problems is one thing, to say the people with the most power are exacebating these problems is fair, but to say we are not aware of them seems like a simple lack of interest in researching the accuracy of that assumption.
 
Posted by Kelly Alves (# 2522) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
We can wash our hands of forcing our enemies to be even worse bastards than they would have been if we hadn't declared and waged total war on them? How do we do that?

Before that-- I was watching a documentary the other day which suggested Hitler's " Final Solution" may not have been cartied out if his first solution-- mass deportation of undesirables-- had worked. Meaning if Europe and America had accepted the Jewish refugees into our ports, the very reason we call WW2 a " just war" would never had happened.

The Allies entered the war for their own self interest-- even if that interest was reasonable, as in " This maniac has occupied France and we're next!" Or " The army responsible for basically raping China is now taking pokes at out outlying territories." Reasonable, yes. righteous? I don't believe justice and righteousness manifest themselves in war (except in terms of how individuals cope with it.). as Sam Fuller put it, war is organized chaos. War is what happens when civilization isn't functioning.


i believe the dropping of the atomic bomb is one of the worst thing the human race has ever done to the planet. But, I sort of see why it was bound to happen, given what people were afraid of. But understanding something and excusing it are two different things.

[ 30. May 2015, 01:40: Message edited by: Kelly Alves ]
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
I appreciate that I have posted this before re the dropping of the Atomic bombs.

Both my late father and my father in law fought as conscripts during WW2. In particular, my father saw many gruesome sights (including his involvement in the freeing and support of those in a concentration camp in Germany) which had long term traumatic effects. I've asked both of them what their reactions were to the dropping of the A-bombs, and both said the same. "Overwhelming relief", is the phrase they both used. It meant that, after all they had been through, they would not be sent to the far-east to fight Japan, whose "no surrender" and even kamiakze culture was well understood by that time.

And of course we can all call it self-interest. But we were not there. We were not the ones who experienced the horrors and survived. It does no harm to seek to understand the factors which produced that "overwhelming relief". To recognise the pressures on President Truman at the time.

With the passage of time, it is easy to review these events through the lens of "unctuous moral rectitude". Those who were around at that time did not have that luxury. At the very least, that fact needs to be respected, however well attuned our moral compasses may be.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Not for the first time either: In 1965, at the age of 10, I too was traumatized by Auschwitz and Hiroshima. I never recovered either. My Dad didn't realise that I read every book he did. He bought Miklós Nyiszli's 'Auschwitz: A Doctor’s Eyewitness Account'. He didn't know that I'd read it until years later. He told me that when he did he went outside and attacked our Volkswagen. He died looking like an Hiroshima victim. Much like images of a Polish engineer burned alive at Dachau I saw when I was there. A year earlier. And at 15 he was sick with fear at having to go and fight in Japan. That would have cost a million allied casualties and Japan would have ceased to exist as War Minister Korechika Anami thanatophilically desired. The bomb saved him, at least in his own mind. The campaign wouldn't have lasted that long.

So, for over 40 years, I lived somewhat conflictedly over how to stop Auschwitz: with Hiroshima.

This contains one of my favourite uses of the Eff-word:

Capt. Ramsey: ... If someone asked me if we should bomb Japan, a simple "Yes. By all means sir, drop that fucker, twice!" I don't mean to suggest that you're indecisive, Mr. Hunter. Not at all. Just, uh... complicated. 'course, that's the way the Navy wants you. Me, they wanted simple.

Hunter: Well, you certainly fooled them, sir.[the rest edited for copyright reasons]

From the awesomes Gene Hackman and Denzel Washington in the awesome Crimson Tide.

Says it all really. And not in a sycophantic, ingratiating, obsequious, fawning, servile, self-abasing, grovelling, subservient, wheedling, cajoling, crawling, cringing, Uriah Heepish, humble, toadying, hypocritical, insincere, flattering, adulatory, honey-tongued, silver-tongued, gushing, effusive, suave, urbane, glib, smooth, smooth-tongued, smooth-spoken, smooth-talking, slick, slippery, saccharine, oily, oleaginous, greasy, cloying, nauseating, sickening, smarmy, slimy, bootlicking, forelock-tugging, phoney, sucky, soapy, brown-nosing, apple-polishing, arse-licking, bum-sucking, ass-kissing, kiss-ass way.

[ 30. May 2015, 20:48: Message edited by: Eutychus ]
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
I appreciate that I have posted this before re the dropping of the Atomic bombs.

Both my late father and my father in law fought as conscripts during WW2. In particular, my father saw many gruesome sights (including his involvement in the freeing and support of those in a concentration camp in Germany) which had long term traumatic effects. I've asked both of them what their reactions were to the dropping of the A-bombs, and both said the same. "Overwhelming relief", is the phrase they both used. It meant that, after all they had been through, they would not be sent to the far-east to fight Japan, whose "no surrender" and even kamiakze culture was well understood by that time.

And of course we can all call it self-interest. But we were not there. We were not the ones who experienced the horrors and survived. It does no harm to seek to understand the factors which produced that "overwhelming relief". To recognise the pressures on President Truman at the time.

With the passage of time, it is easy to review these events through the lens of "unctuous moral rectitude". Those who were around at that time did not have that luxury. At the very least, that fact needs to be respected, however well attuned our moral compasses may be.

I agree. That gets
[Overused] [Overused] [Overused]
The third one is specially for,
quote:
it is easy to review these events through the lens of "unctuous moral rectitude"

 
Posted by Moo (# 107) on :
 
I am convinced that the atomic bombs saved many Japanese lives.

The military who were running things had no intention of surrendering, and they behaved as if they did not value Japanese lives, military or civilian.

Moo
 
Posted by Ad Orientem (# 17574) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Moo:
I am convinced that the atomic bombs saved many Japanese lives.

The military who were running things had no intention of surrendering, and they behaved as if they did not value Japanese lives, military or civilian.

Moo

That's just a rationalism.
 
Posted by itsarumdo (# 18174) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ad Orientem:
quote:
Originally posted by Moo:
I am convinced that the atomic bombs saved many Japanese lives.

The military who were running things had no intention of surrendering, and they behaved as if they did not value Japanese lives, military or civilian.

Moo

That's just a rationalism.
I read a strategic analysis of the final weeks of WW2 some years ago, and basically the bomb was not really necessary against Japan - it was a warning shot across the bows for Russia. It may have shortened the war slightly, but the Japanese were ready to surrender.

Interesting thought about the numbers eventually killed - which is really one of perception and the size of a single event. So, we tend to make a world crisis out of one airliner going down, but forget thousands of times as many people gradually dying of starvation or hundreds of times more people being killed in accidents one at a time.

Reminds me of Vikram Seth's poem about how the Chinese calendar got to have the Rat as first animal. The rat pleaded to be allowed to be just 5x his normal size - which of course is still a lot smaller than a horse or a cow. But when the judges decided, placing biggest animal first, they noted that the rat was "really big".
 
Posted by Kelly Alves (# 2522) on :
 
i think I should draw a line between those who were actually fighting the war and those who were sending people to do it.

And I don't think " self- interest " is a dirty word, it's just different than "justice". Truman didn't order the bomb strike to administer justice, he did it. ( as is said) in the hopes that it would force the end of the Axis agression. That is a rational decision.
It's just that war forces you to rational decisions that otherwise would be insane-- like using a weapon which they suspected had the potential not just to strike the enemy but to impact the rest of the world. They kind of knew what would happen then, but they really know it now-- despite occasional big talk, the reason nobody has dropped a bomb since WW2 is that it is tantamount to pissing in your own bed.
As for Japanese lives-- its my understanding the targets of the A -Bombs were munitions factories, so let's call those folk culpable. ( although under Hirohita, Supporting the war effort was hardly voluntary.) that gives us, say, a couple thousand doses of justice. The rest of the people were people who were in the region because they were not currently deployed-- again, the Japanese army was not voluntary, so that means besides the usual outposts those left were 4-Fs, women, children, Korean laborers, and older people.

I meant it when I said I do understand how Truman got to the point where he felt dropping the bombs was the only solution. i just draw the line at calling it justice. War is like a slopping over chamber pot of decisions people shouldn't have to make. It is an attempt to control something that is out of control. And invariably the people who make those decisions are not the ones tasked with carrying them out-- which is why I said it was individuals, not amorphous " armies" that have the opportunity to act in righteous ways during wartime. Because justice and righteousness isn't manifested in the abstract-- it is manifested by people to people.
 
Posted by no prophet's flag is set so... (# 15560) on :
 
If it is total war then killing everyone is okay. That's where we have come to. If atomic bombing of cities containing noncombatant children, the elderly, women and men okay, then where is the line.

Notwithstanding gibberish like killing people to save lives. Which is like screwing as a method of birth control.
 
Posted by Kelly Alves (# 2522) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kelly Alves:

I meant it when I said I do understand how Truman got to the point where he felt dropping the bombs was the only solution. i just draw the line at calling it justice. War is like a slopping over chamber pot of decisions people shouldn't have to make. It is an attempt to control something that is out of control. And invariably the people who make those decisions are not the ones tasked with carrying them out-- which is why I said it was individuals, not amorphous " armies" that have the opportunity to act in righteous ways during wartime. Because justice and righteousness isn't manifested in the abstract-- it is manifested by people to people.

i should expand on this-- Truman didn't cut the chains on Dachau's gates. Truman didn't walk around the rubble of Foy or attempt to keep peace during the rebuilding of Berlin. The people who did were in a position to show heroism, mercy, genorosity, diplomacy,brutality, vengance, and justice.

Truman was also not the guy who pressed the button that released Fat Man and Little Boy. The guy who did had to make his own peace with doing that. But he was an emotional wreck for decades after. That, also, is the chaos of war-- we inflict just as much damage on our own countrymen by waging it as we do the enemy, whether we deem it " justified" or not.
 
Posted by no prophet's flag is set so... (# 15560) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kelly Alves:
Truman was also not the guy who pressed the button that released Fat Man and Little Boy. The guy who did had to make his own peace with doing that. But he was an emotional wreck for decades after. That, also, is the chaos of war-- we inflict just as much damage on our own countrymen by waging it as we do the enemy, whether we deem it " justified" or not.

Shall we have empathy for the bomb dropper?

And, no, if the bombs are not falling on you, if the shots are not being fired in your streets, there is not 'just as much damage'. The Sept 11 attacks were a small taste I think. But just a small one. Consider 100 times more than that for a comparison.
 
Posted by Kelly Alves (# 2522) on :
 
I am talking about the kind of emotional and psychological toll taken on people we send to war. While the damage there is not as final as actual casualties, yes, it damn well does come back to my streets, and yes, the fallout is damn well as far reaching as actual fallout. If not more.

And yes, I have empathy for the guy who pressed the button.

[ 30. May 2015, 20:29: Message edited by: Kelly Alves ]
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
hosting/

Martin60, that movie quote is certainly copyrighted and as such far too long to survive here per Commandment 7.

/hosting
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by itsarumdo:
I read a strategic analysis of the final weeks of WW2 some years ago, and basically the bomb was not really necessary against Japan - it was a warning shot across the bows for Russia. It may have shortened the war slightly, but the Japanese were ready to surrender.

Have you a source for that analysis? The evidence of continuing Japanese intransigence is pretty impressive. Some of it has been quoted in this thread. And that was after the bombs were dropped.

It is easy to reassess probabilities after the event; different risk factors may apply. It is also true that there was significant US code-breaking work which gave access to the contemporary thinking and plans of the Japanese military. Did the analysis you read make any reference to that contemporary evidence?
 
Posted by Moo (# 107) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ad Orientem:
quote:
Originally posted by Moo:
I am convinced that the atomic bombs saved many Japanese lives.

The military who were running things had no intention of surrendering, and they behaved as if they did not value Japanese lives, military or civilian.

Moo

That's just a rationalism.
Do you believe that the quote I gave in this post is a fake? The man who said this was in prison for his part in the conspiracy.

Moo
 
Posted by Kelly Alves (# 2522) on :
 
i am fully prepared to believe that the leaders of the Japanese militia were fully batshit. The way they treated both Japanese soldiers and their own civilians settles the matter for me.

I, too, have heard about rumors of surrender before Hiroshima. Perhaps, as with the German army, specific high ranking officers were becoming aware of the batshittiness of their leaders and were making plans of their own to surrender?
 
Posted by Kelly Alves (# 2522) on :
 
Sorry, Moo, that's what I get for reading backwards. So Hirohito brought up peace talks as early as June 1945, and his batshit generals forced him down. What a shitty time in history to be a Japanese national
 
Posted by no prophet's flag is set so... (# 15560) on :
 
The batshit is war. Leaders are perfectly rational people decide that killing others in organized, efficient ways to further mostly economic ends.

I've read a series of psychological studies of defeated WW2 leaders and senior personnel. At the times of the studies, 1945 in to the 1950s, those examining them were motivated to find that they were crazy or had defective personalities. They also hoped that their characteristics were unique, and that the risks of development of same within the victors' countries was low. They didn't succeed.

Not a comprehensive understanding, but the Californai F(ascist) Scale is interesting. Link.
 
Posted by Kelly Alves (# 2522) on :
 
(Woohoo, I'm a liberal airhead.)

I have no doubt that the Japanese militia, the German militia, and the US militia would have passed that particular test with flying colors-- and by militia, I am referring to high level commanders who dictated overall war policy. How about the average infantryman, though, in any of those armies?

ETA: I went back and took the test again, imagining I was answering as my 15 year old, Missouri Synod Lutheran self. My score shot up.

[ 30. May 2015, 22:27: Message edited by: Kelly Alves ]
 
Posted by Moo (# 107) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
I've read a series of psychological studies of defeated WW2 leaders and senior personnel. At the times of the studies, 1945 in to the 1950s, those examining them were motivated to find that they were crazy or had defective personalities.

Do you think that the author of the quote that I gave was a reasonable human being?

Moo
 
Posted by Kelly Alves (# 2522) on :
 
One of the reasons I took the test again, Moo, is to see how responding with what I had been taught were integral Christian values would effect my placement. The point being, fascists tendacies did not originate in and were not quarantined to Axis countries. I am afraid that NP's point is that a career in war either attracts people with fascist leanings or (worse) cultivates those leanings.

I still am holding out hope for the common dogface, though. Living through the Reagan era taught me that the right wing doctrine I accepted and parroted in my teens did not hold up in the face of deeper values I had about human worth. The more "right" the rhetoric grew, the more my integrity resisted. Soldiers don't have the right to disobey orders, but hopefully when they were faced with those individual choices I keep talking about, their more human selves reigned.
 
Posted by no prophet's flag is set so... (# 15560) on :
 
Not sure which quote. I found the one about the Japanese philosophy.
 
Posted by Moo (# 107) on :
 
Kelly, the problem was that it was the high-up Japanese military that were prepared to kidnap the emperor to prevent surrender.

During the 1930s, the Japanese military used to conduct political assassinations. They killed prime minister and at least one cabinet officer.

It's not so much right versus left as military versus civilian. As that quote I posted said, the military believed it had the right to run the country as it saw fit. They considered themselves the true Japan.

Moo
 
Posted by Moo (# 107) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
Not sure which quote. I found the one about the Japanese philosophy.

I don't see this...
quote:
The purpose of the projected coup d'etat was to separate the Emperor from his peace-seeking advisers and persuade him to change his mind and continue the war...All we wanted was a military government with all political power concentrated in the hands of the war minister....
..as a statement of philosphy. It's a political statement, justifying an attempted political kidnapping.

Moo
 
Posted by Kelly Alves (# 2522) on :
 
Yes, I referred to those ideas above. i am talking about NP's assertion that war itself is batshit, and hence my reference to the average Japanese/ American / German soldier. And my own young self. What turns someone from a simple patriot into a fascist?
(Crosspost)

[ 30. May 2015, 23:15: Message edited by: Kelly Alves ]
 
Posted by Moo (# 107) on :
 
My impression is that the Japanese, and many of the German soldiers had had it drilled into them that obedience to authority was the highest virtue.

There is one story from the war that really flabbergasts me. A group of several hundred Japanese soldiers were camped on the bank of a river near a bridge. They heard enemy soldiers on the other side of the bridge, so they grabbed their guns and started across; they didn't know that the enemy had put explosives under the bridge which they detonated when the soldiers started across. The bridge didn't collapse, but there was a huge hole in it.

The enemy soldiers opened fire, and the Japanese soldiers were all hit; it was hard to miss under the circumstances. Some of the bodies fell into the river and others piled up on the bridge. The Japanese kept coming and kept dying. It should have been obvious that this wasn't going to work but they didn't stop to think. The bodies piled up on the bridge and the soldiers started climbing over them; the pile got higher and higher. They had been indoctrinated with the idea that they should stay on the offensive, and the fact that they were accomplishing nothing was irrelevant.

Moo
 
Posted by no prophet's flag is set so... (# 15560) on :
 
I saw this on Would you die for your country? on Deutsche Welle. Seemed relevant.

The young German boys and Japanese boys were like young people anywhere. No more fanatical than any other group of young people, who are prepared to see the other side's boys as less than human. You can convince young people, unsure of themselves and, in late adolescence or early adulthood, that war will be fun and give them a band of brothers, closer than family. They will think about women and glasses of some other intoxicant, and they will readily kill.

The 'going over the top' of WW1, which totally changed the demographics of western Canada from British descent to eastern Europe descent tells me that any nation's kids will die stupidly. The English, Scottish and Irish boys enlisted and didn't return. Their sisters married Ukrainians and other Galacians.
 
Posted by Kelly Alves (# 2522) on :
 
Based on my scanty readings of how soldiers fared in the Japanese army in WW2, I am willing to bet those boys had their commanding officer and a line of his helpers right behind them, promising if they didn't get shot in one direction, they'd get shot the other.
 
Posted by Kelly Alves (# 2522) on :
 
I know this is just Wikipedia, but holy crap. Scroll down and read the section on the treatment of soldiers by Imperial Japanese Army officers in WW2.

[ 31. May 2015, 01:15: Message edited by: Kelly Alves ]
 
Posted by no prophet's flag is set so... (# 15560) on :
 
All armies do that to a degree, when the troops don't fight or do what's ordered, they shoot them.

Yes, the Geneva Convention is supposed to govern the treatment of prisoners. But a country has to follow it. Japanese, Germans and Russians didn't. America doesn't re prisoners in their Cuban base, Guantanimo (however that's spelled).
 
Posted by Kelly Alves (# 2522) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:


The young German boys and Japanese boys were like young people anywhere. No more fanatical than any other group of young people, who are prepared to see the other side's boys as less than human. You can convince young people, unsure of themselves and, in late adolescence or early adulthood, that war will be fun and give them a band of brothers, closer than family. They will think about women and glasses of some other intoxicant, and they will readily kill.

.

So, combine this with the spirit crushing training procedures described in the wiki article, and the impossibility of refusing an order...
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
Well, so far, I am somewhat underwhelmed by the evidence and arguments in support of the thesis that a Japanese surrender was both likely and imminent in the run-up to the dropping of the bombs.

I suppose it would confirm prejudice against US military leadership of the time to argue that the whole thing was some kind of a stitch up by them of the available information; basically to give a warning to the Russians. And I guess if you believe that dropping the bombs was a monumental act of evil, and that military leadership is never to be trusted to deliver the straight truth, then the story might have some appeal. But that's not the way to do history.

Of course there is still a danger that history is written by the winners, with all that entails. All the more reason to examine the evidence very carefully which might give some credence to the stitch up theory. So where is it? I'm more than prepared to look at it with an open mind.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kelly Alves:
if Europe and America had accepted the Jewish refugees into our ports, the very reason we call WW2 a "just war" would never had happened.

The Allies entered the war for their own self interest-- even if that interest was reasonable, as in " This maniac has occupied France and we're next!"...

Reasonable, yes. righteous? I don't believe justice and righteousness manifest themselves in war (except in terms of how individuals cope with it.)

It is not Nazi Germany's treatment of Jews that makes WW2 a just war. Any more than it is Imperial Japan's treatment of prisoners of war. These things didn't emerge into popular consciousness until after the war was ended (even though during and before the war there were people whose job it was to know).

Most but not all wars are wars of territorial expansion. Someone decides "we will make our nation greater by grabbing some territory off somebody else".

The options for the other nations are then
a) to accept the outcome
b) to go to war to prevent it
c) to make ineffective protest.

You're right that it is in the long-term interest of the other nations to prevent it.

If the good guys of the world got together to prevent it every time, we might actually be able to build a world order in which everyone knows that no-one gets away with grabbing territory.

While I don't like the word "righteous", I find it hard to resist the conclusion that such a world order would be a Good Thing.

And that therefore a war in defence of the victims of territorial aggression is - other things being equal - a just war.

Finding out after the event just how nasty the aggressor regime was and how relieved the liberated people are is just the icing on the cake. That's not the reason for making war.

As Christians we should be wanting our governments to go the extra mile to secure the desired outcome peacefully. But when that milestone has been passed, when those solutions have failed...

Best wishes,

Russ
 
Posted by Ad Orientem (# 17574) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Moo:
quote:
Originally posted by Ad Orientem:
quote:
Originally posted by Moo:
I am convinced that the atomic bombs saved many Japanese lives.

The military who were running things had no intention of surrendering, and they behaved as if they did not value Japanese lives, military or civilian.

Moo

That's just a rationalism.
Do you believe that the quote I gave in this post is a fake? The man who said this was in prison for his part in the conspiracy.

Moo

Why would I think it fake? It's still a rationalism though.
 
Posted by Moo (# 107) on :
 
In an earlier post I said that I shuddered to think what might have happened if the emperor had been kidnapped. He was the only person who could command obedience from the military and civilian populations. A catastrophe would have happened if Japan had been invaded.

The military authorities had decided that if an invasion took place, no civilians would be evacuated from anywhere, not even hospital patients or babies. To understand how that might have worked out, you need to know about the fighting for Manila.

The Japanese refused to allow any civilians to leave the city. The Americans attacked it, and fought for it building-by-building. The fighting lasted for a month. At the end of that time, 100,000 civilians were dead. I suspect that many of them suffered horribly before they died.

I don't know what the population of Manila was, or how it compared with the population of various Japanese cities. I am convinced that many Japanese cities would have had very high civilian death tolls if an invasion had taken place. Obviously, large numbers of Japanese and Allied soldiers would have been killed also.

The only person who could have stopped this was the emperor, and if he were held by the military, he wouldn't have been in a position to stop it.

quote:
Originally posted by no prophet
The young German boys and Japanese boys were like young people anywhere. No more fanatical than any other group of young people...

The problem is that the young Japanese were not making the decisions. The military high-ups were.

Moo

.
 
Posted by Moo (# 107) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kelly Alves:
I know this is just Wikipedia, but holy crap. Scroll down and read the section on the treatment of soldiers by Imperial Japanese Army officers in WW2.

The training of the Japanese officers was not designed to produce thoughtful compassionate men. Boys joined the army at the age of eleven; most of them came from poor peasant families, which means that they had had no exposure to culture at home. In the military academy, they were brutally treated, deprived of sleep, and seriously underfed. The Japanese army was the only one in the world where the officers were conspicuously shorter than the men they commanded. This was the result of malnutrition during adolescence.

Moo
 
Posted by no prophet's flag is set so... (# 15560) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kelly Alves:
quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:


The young German boys and Japanese boys were like young people anywhere. No more fanatical than any other group of young people, who are prepared to see the other side's boys as less than human. You can convince young people, unsure of themselves and, in late adolescence or early adulthood, that war will be fun and give them a band of brothers, closer than family. They will think about women and glasses of some other intoxicant, and they will readily kill.

.

So, combine this with the spirit crushing training procedures described in the wiki article, and the impossibility of refusing an order...
Yes.

Here's a link to the National Film Board of Canada's series on war. The first episode "Anyone's Son Will Do" has helped shape and form my thinking for 30 years.

I recall specifically the discussion of training of soldiers for Vietnam who marched while shouting "kill" with every left footfall, the lecture for marines of sending the enemy boys home in a doggie bag to their mommies and girl friends, and the various forms of behavioural conditioning.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
The Battle for Manila (America killed far more Philippinos half a century before of course) was NOTHING compared with Okinawa: nearly a million casualties. Again Moo. So what? How high does any of that infinitely justifiable pragmatism AND moral high ground AGAINST unctuous armchair pacifists stand up against loving our enemies?

What advice would Jesus have given Truman? Keep Kyoto at the top of the May 10-11 Target Committee list?
 
Posted by Moo (# 107) on :
 
I discussed Manila because it was very likely that the same kind of slaughter would have happened in many Japanese cities if the Allies has invaded. The refusal of the Japanese to evacuate civilians would have led to many deaths.

I am saying this to emphasize the fact that it was a great blessing that the attempt to kidnap the emperor failed

Moo
 
Posted by no prophet's flag is set so... (# 15560) on :
 
Where you have them send the civilians? When the bombs are carpetting the land, and there is no safe place, generally people remain with their homes, what things they have, and hope for the best.

In the area of the Rhineland where the one family of cousins I still have live (all my French, and all my Dutch relatives were war killed in the two 20th century European wars). my cousin (born during WW2) toured me through the area when first I visited. Two things stick out. First, that he pointed out which houses had survived: . It was about 1 in 6, all the rest, "kaput" mostly with the families in them, well, older women and young children. The younger women were working the fields or small factories along with the older children. The grandmas and pre-8 years were in the houses. The little factories were also in the houses. Being in a field makes you a target. The second is all the perfectly round little ponds, which are bomb craters marking the lands between the villages in the area.

I have great trouble finding any form of high ground with war. People have to kill other people in war, and they do with whatever improved weapons they can get.
 
Posted by Kelly Alves (# 2522) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Moo:
I discussed Manila because it was very likely that the same kind of slaughter would have happened in many Japanese cities if the Allies has invaded. The refusal of the Japanese to evacuate civilians would have led to many deaths.

I am saying this to emphasize the fact that it was a great blessing that the attempt to kidnap the emperor failed

Moo

Of course it is. But the coup attempt happened after the bomb. It was Hirohito's decision to aggressively wage peace that saved his country,
 
Posted by Moo (# 107) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
Where you have them send the civilians? When the bombs are carpetting the land, and there is no safe place, generally people remain with their homes, what things they have, and hope for the best.

The Japanese would not allow the residents of Manila to leave. It is likely that many would have wanted to stay, and that some of those who would have left would have been killed in the refuge they went to. I suspect, however, that many deaths in the city were caused by lack of food and safe drinking water. Remember, the fighting lasted for a month. I assume the infrastructure was pretty well destroyed by the fighting.

Moo
 
Posted by no prophet's flag is set so... (# 15560) on :
 
The water in Manilla wasn't safe to drink before the war. Nor in most nearby countries. One task for household help was to boil the water and cool it. ASAIK water is still not particularly safe there.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Moo, I agree, the atomic bombings saved a hundred times as many casualties, no question. It was by far a utilitarian exercise as well as everything else (a warning to the Russians, science field work). Truman would have been wrong, INSANE, inhuman, INHUMANE not to do them. Even to annihilate the heart of Christian Japan.

That's not the point.
 
Posted by Moo (# 107) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
That's not the point.

It's not your point. It is mine.

Moo
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
You can have it Moo. It's a point that was MINE for decades. Made here more than anyone for more than one.

So WHAT?

The reason why the casualties would have been a hundred times worse is because WE would have made them so. We, the good guys. The modern, progressive, liberal, Christian, democratic, humane, plural, humanitarian, open, utilitarian, rational West.

And we ALWAYS will won't we? We will ALWAYS delay His coming.
 
Posted by Moo (# 107) on :
 
The Japanese military refused to release control of the occupied countries, where people were dying of starvation at the rate of 100,000 a month.

The Japanese were responsible for that.

Moo
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
We MADE them. The way we MADE Saddam Hussein kill ONE MILLION of his country's children by besieging it for 10 years. No wonder Tony Blair went mad.
 
Posted by Moo (# 107) on :
 
The devil made me do it.

Moo
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
LOL (true). You ole charmer Moo. Completely unmanned me.
 
Posted by Laud-able (# 9896) on :
 
I have been down this path at least once before on the Ship, but ...

I was four-and-a-half years old when the Second World War began. My parish has supported what was then the Church of England Mission to Papua New Guinea since its inception in 1891: our Sunday School pennies went to ‘our’ medical missionary.

When the Japanese invaded Papua New Guinea in 1942 among the many that they killed were more than three hundred Christian missionaries of all denominations – they did not spare even their German allies.

Sister May Hayman and Miss Mavis Parkinson, teacher, from our Mission and Hospital at Gona were captured, caged, and bayonetted.

Sister Margery Brenchley, and Miss Lilla Lashmar, teacher, the Reverend Henry Holland and Mr John Duffill, builder, were beheaded on the beach at Buna.

These are among the twelve whom we remember on 2 September each year as the New Guinea Martyrs. (2 September is also the date of the Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay.)

We knew of their deaths almost immediately: ten of the twelve died in August 1942, and Canon Farnham Maynard delivered a sermon in their honour at St Peter’s, Eastern Hill, Melbourne, on 11 September 1942.

One could go on and on: the Alexandra Hospital Massacre in Singapore; the Banka Island Massacre; the sinking of the Australian Hospital Ship Centaur by a Japanese submarine off the coat of Queensland in 1944; the list is too sickening to elaborate.

Martin60 has referred to the Allies – I imagine sarcastically – as ‘the good guys’. Well, I don’t know about that – after all, ‘none is good, save one, that is, God’ – but I believe that we were the not-so-bad guys.

After the Japanese bombed Darwin, my grandfather, my father, his brother, and their five brothers-in-law all volunteered. My grandfather, who had served in the Boer War with the Royal Field Artillery, was posted to one of the prisoner of war camps at Murchison, about 160 kms (100 miles) north of Melbourne. His camp held the survivors of the German auxiliary cruiser Kormoran which sank the Australian light cruiser HMAS Sydney - with the loss of all 645 men- off the coast of Western Australia in 1941. The Japanese often killed captured Allied servicemen taken in the heat of battle – particularly pilots. These German prisoners of war, who had caused the greatest single loss that the Royal Australian Navy has ever suffered, were treated as conscientiously as any others. They were even allowed to build a memorial to Unseren gefallenen Kameraden [Our fallen Comrades] which still stands when almost all else of the camps has vanished.

When Italy capitulated in 1943 we were given the novelty of a half holiday: I remember walking home in the spring sunshine, delighted with the new word capitulation more than the Italian surrender.

We celebrated VE day wholeheartedly, but on VJ Day the celebrations were ecstatic: I still recall the roaring crowds in Melbourne that night.

I am grateful that President Truman chose to use the two atomic bombs. I regret that he did not see fit to use one of them to incinerate Hirohito and his top brass – all of whom should have been hanged.

And if they wanted an epitaph, I would suggest: For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Thank you and God bless you Laud-able.

You have seen 20 years of horror more than I and closer.

You prove my non-flesh-tearing point that we see ourselves as the good guys. That we are redeemed in, by our violence against the violent that we are complicit with. We created modern Japan. By force. On July 8, 1853. WE sowed the wind. WE reaped the whirlwind.

Christianity conquered the Roman empire with 300 years of non-violent subversion. And lost the next 1700.
 
Posted by Laud-able (# 9896) on :
 
Martin60,

I did not claim that we were the ‘good’ guys: I wrote that we were the ‘not-so-bad’ guys.

I do not know what you mean by redemptive violence. And in the battle to defeat Japan there was no time for ‘non-violent subversion’. I shared then – and still share – the view that if the life of only one Allied man or woman might be saved by devastating the enemy, that devastation was necessary.

I do not believe that the vile behaviour of the Japanese can be attributed to Commodore Perry’s ending of the isolation of Japan. One of Perry’s remits was to secure decent treatment of US castaways, a requirement written into the treaty that Perry effected in 1854. The Japanese fear/hatred/abuse of foreigners was at least as old as the 1590s and the Nagasaki Martyrs.

In August 1944 more than 1,100 Japanese prisoners of war attempted to escape from a POW camp near Cowra, about 300 kms (190 miles) west of Sydney in New South Wales. It was the largest prison escape of the Second World War. They killed four Australian soldiers, two of whom - Private Ben Hardy and Private Ralph Jones - were posthumously awarded the George Cross. 231 Japanese died: the rest were recaptured. Many of the dead Japanese had killed themselves or had been killed by fellow prisoners. The whole affair was suicidal madness: they weren’t going anywhere – they were marooned on the smallest continent (or the largest island) in the world.

I don’t know – or indeed much care to know – why the Japanese chose to behave as they did throughout the war. But they did what they did, and we loathed them for it, and we rejoiced in their destruction.
 
Posted by Moo (# 107) on :
 
I have read a book, Yokohama Burning, which argues that the extreme social disruption caused by the 1923 earthquake gave the military the opportunity to greatly enhance its power.

After the quake, martial law was declared in the affected areas, and the military enjoyed the power they were given at that time.

Japan's interest in conquest and its ruthless treatment of the local people were clear before 1900. Here is a *passage from Yokohama Burning which illustrates this.
quote:
At the time of the earthquake, two hundred thousand Koreans lived in Japan, including about twelve thousand in the Tokyo-Yokohama area. Almost all of them were young men, and they were the most despised--and the most vulnerable--members of Japanese society. The Japanese had occupied Korea in 1895, after destroying the rival Chinese naval-fleet at the Yalu River dividing China from the Korean peninsula.... In the years since then Japan, the expanding empire, had tightened its stranglehold on the weak and undeveloped country, deposing the emperor, declaring Korea a protectorate in 1907, and annexing the peninsula three years later. The Japanese occupiers had forced Korean schools to teach Japanese, shut down all newspapers, seized private property, banned political activity, and jailed thousands of dissidents. Ferryboats overloaded with desperate Korean men crossed the Straits of Japan daily....Deprived of economic opportunity in their own country, the Koreans were willing to work cheap, which made them popular among contractors, but hated by Japanese laborers.
Of the twelve thousand Koreans in the earthquake area, four thousand were taken into protective custody. Most of the rest were massacred. The book gives the details of some massacres.

The Japanese conviction of their own ethnic superiority gave them the idea that they could treat people of other ethnicity with extreme savagery.

*Joshua Hammer:Yokohama Burning Free Press New York 2006. p.154

Moo

Moo
 
Posted by quetzalcoatl (# 16740) on :
 
Going back to the Middle East, some journos are reporting that heavy weapons are being sent to some rebel groups in Syria, provoking US anxiety that radical groups might advance, e.g. the Nusra Front. Turkey is also involved, reflecting their impatience with US indecision.

However, stories like this crop up every few months, and may be propaganda, or anti-Iranian rhetoric. I guess that many Christians still feel safer with Assad, those that have survived.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Laud-able:
Martin60,

I did not claim that we were the ‘good’ guys: I wrote that we were the ‘not-so-bad’ guys.


Never said you did mate. Indeed you did.

I do not know what you mean by redemptive violence.

It's out there. Try Wikipedia. Especially the section on Triumph.

And in the battle to defeat Japan there was no time for ‘non-violent subversion’.

Aye, you can't have your cake and eat it.

I shared then – and still share – the view that if the life of only one Allied man or woman might be saved by devastating the enemy, that devastation was necessary.

So the nearly three million Japanese dead were worth the thirty million allied dead? Who was saved? Apart from all in Christ?

I do not believe that the vile behaviour of the Japanese can be attributed to Commodore Perry’s ending of the isolation of Japan. One of Perry’s remits was to secure decent treatment of US castaways, a requirement written into the treaty that Perry effected in 1854. The Japanese fear/hatred/abuse of foreigners was at least as old as the 1590s and the Nagasaki Martyrs.

Aye, just a piece of the redemptive violence jigsaw of western imperialism. Like the American genocide in the Philippines.

In August 1944 more than 1,100 Japanese prisoners of war attempted to escape from a POW camp near Cowra, about 300 kms (190 miles) west of Sydney in New South Wales. It was the largest prison escape of the Second World War. They killed four Australian soldiers, two of whom - Private Ben Hardy and Private Ralph Jones - were posthumously awarded the George Cross. 231 Japanese died: the rest were recaptured. Many of the dead Japanese had killed themselves or had been killed by fellow prisoners. The whole affair was suicidal madness: they weren’t going anywhere – they were marooned on the smallest continent (or the largest island) in the world.

Aye, that's redemptive violence for you.

I don’t know – or indeed much care to know – why the Japanese chose to behave as they did throughout the war. But they did what they did, and we loathed them for it, and we rejoiced in their destruction.

Two sides of the same redemptive violence coin.
 
Posted by Laud-able (# 9896) on :
 
Martin60:
Thank you for the pointer to Professor Walter Wink.

I read his paper Facing the Myth of Redemptive Violence in which he begins with the ‘psychodynamics’ [his word] of Popeye, Olive Oyl, and Bluto, and invokes the Babylonian creation stories as an element in his pronouncement that ‘What appears so innocuous in cartoons is, in fact, the mythic underpinnings of our violent society.’

Professor Wink appears to be among those who suffer from the curse of a literal mind. I am reminded of the 1936 Punch cartoon in which an elderly woman in a cinema, watching Disney’s Donald Duck and Pluto, says to her companion ‘I’m so afraid there’s cruelty in their training.’

Professor Wink also writes in The Powers That Be:
‘By turning the cheek, the servant makes it impossible for the master to use the backhand: his nose is in the way… The left cheek now offers a perfect target for a blow with the right fist; but only equals fought with fists, as we know from Jewish sources, and the last thing the master wishes to do is to establish this underling’s equality. This act of defiance renders the master incapable of asserting his dominance in this relationship … By turning the cheek, then, the “inferior” is saying, “I’m a human being, just like you. I refuse to be humiliated any longer. I am your equal. I won’t take it anymore.”’

If these words are meant as practical advice to be applied in all confrontations they are twaddle. Individual people may choose such a course of action, but at a national level it is sometimes necessary to destroy aggressors. Of course not all wars are just wars, but the implication that the Allies should have submitted to the Axis powers in the Second World War is not to be considered.

You and I shall never see eye-to-eye on this matter, but I thank you at least for making me aware of another -ism/-ist.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
You're welcome Laud-able. Nice rhetoric. The curse of the literal mind is a subtle one isn't it?

I agree - how can one not? - that in a system (I wonder what the Biblical metaphor for that is?) that creates Axis powers it is inevitable that the system will be compelled to destroy them. In its fear it knows nothing else. Like its apologists.

Come out of her my people.
 


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