Morality of killing in war

Feelings of Guilt 

This is war. They want to kill you. “They” are the enemy and your job is to kill them. 

In war, it is kill or be killed. Yet although you had to do it, and you would do it again, down deep you have these guilt feelings. Should US soldiers feel guilty for killing the enemy? 

First, how did we get here? God created the human race with free will. There certainly would be no purpose for God to create beings that are programed: No free will. No good or evil. No joy. No sadness. No thinking. No anything. What would be the purpose of this existence? That would be like an animal.

Everyone has free will to do good or evil - and some people choose to do evil. While praying is good, outside of a miracle from God, it can’t force a person to go against their own free will. That’s why we need police and the 2nd amendment to the Constitution. This is where the US military comes in.

The claims by the political left that the US is an imperialistic power is not true. Without America, there is NO Free World. With a few exceptions - Spanish American War is one - the US has fought wars that are morally just.  As long as the US is fighting for a morally righteous cause, our conscience is clear.

There is no condemnation for justifiable killing in the Bible - either in the Old Testament or the New Testament. Christianity is a PEACEFUL religion, NOT a PACIFIST religion. All killing is not murder any more than all sexual intercourse is adultery. US troops have a MORAL OBLIGATION to defend themselves as best they can. It is the moral duty of US troops to kill the enemy and save their own life and their buddies lives. It is morally wrong to allow the enemy to get the edge on you because you don’t want to kill them. We should only feel quilt when we have done something morally wrong. Defending your life is not morally wrong. 

Jesus made statements that some have used to support a pacifist agenda, notably “turn the other cheek”, “do good to your enemies” and His teachings on forgiveness and judging others.  As with anything in the Bible, you need to put things in context.  For instance, if your child constantly hits you, does that mean you “turn the other cheek” and allow your child to keep hitting you?  Obviously not.  Does “do good to your enemy” mean a judge should release a murderer?  Obviously not.  Jesus says the sum of the Law is to do unto others as you would have them do to you.  Obviously you need to discipline your children. You do not do good to murderers - you put them in jail. 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, an anti-Nazi theologian who died in a concentration camp declared: “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” For pacifists to use “turn the other cheek” and other verses as a reason to refuse to confront evil in the world is NOT a Christian ideal. Refusing to confront evil is SUPPORTING evil. Supporting evil goes against every teaching of Christ. Actually, coming to the defense of others is a uniquely Christian concept - and the basis for the Just War Theory. 

In Luke 3:14 the Bible says: "Then some soldiers asked Him, "And what should we do?" He replied, "Don't extort money and don't accuse people falsely - be content with your pay." Jesus didn't tell the soldiers to put their weapons down. 

In WW1, Sergeant Alvin York, a fervent Christian and initially a pacifist, changed his mind and came to view the US as a defender against evil in the world. Sgt. York and seven men killed or captured more than 100 Germans in one battle. In his diary, York, an expert marksman said of the battle: “… As soon as the machine guns opened fire on me, I began to exchange shots with them. In order to sight me or to swing their machine guns on me, the Germans had to show their heads above the trench, and every time I saw a head I just touched it off. All the time I kept yelling at them to come down. I didn’t want to kill any more than I had to. But it was they or I. And I was giving them the best I had.”

Feelings of guilt is an issue throughout our country - whether you are a vet or not. The Peace of Jesus is the cure for feelings of guilt. We all need to accept Jesus into our heart and ask Jesus to forgive us of all sins so we can feel inner peace. US soldiers need to react quickly in combat, so you must be right with Jesus. When you lose your fear of death through Christ, it improves you chances of survival in combat as you will not freeze up.

Dec 2020