Friday, February 25, 2005

Just War

gotta keep up with this thing i'm falling behind on my weekly entry. perhaps i should try twice a week so if i forget i'll be aok. no crazy links this week about random stuff, just some thoughts on the origin of just war theory and the role of religion. this goes back to St. Augustine:

"73.According to the eternal law, which requires the preservation of natural order, and forbids the transgression of it, some actions have an indifferent [that is, nuetral] character, so that men are blamed for presumtion if they do them without being called upon, while they are deservedly praised for doing them when required. The act, the agent, and the authority for action are all of great importance in the order of nature. For Abraham to sacrifice his son of his own accord is shocking madness. His doing so at the command of God proves him faithful and submissive...
74. ...[The] account of the wars of Moses will not excite surprise or abhorance, for in wars carried on by divine command, he showed not ferocity but obedience; and God, in giving the command, acted not in cruelty, but in righteous retribution, giving to all what they deserved, and warning those who needed warning. What is the evil in war? Is it the death of some who will soon die in any case, that others may live peaceful subjection? This is mere cowardly dislike, not any religious feeling. The real evils in war are love of violence, revengeful cruelty, fierce and implacable enmity, wild resistance, and the lust of power, and such like..."

(Source: trans. R Stothert, in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, Vol 4. Augustin:The Writings against the Manichaeans, and against the Donatists, ed. P. Schaff (Buffalo: The Christian Literature Company, 1897), pp. 300-03; revised).

In regards to Abraham check out this passage from the book of Genesis for the account of Abraham and Isaac that Augustine is referring to. Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard has much to say about faith and the implications of Abraham's action. Check out his book Fear and Trembling, its one of my favorites. I'll try and pull some qutoes from that when I get a chance.

also here's a link to a page on ConscientiousObjection.

1 comment:

Keith Paul said...

I think I would enjoy teaching or learning in a class solely based on this post...