Unavoidable Tensions

Alex tackles a tough issue in this post. His post reminds me of a question I had to answer when I applied for AFROTC. “Would I have been willing to pilot one those bombers that dropped bombs on Germany and Japan during WWII?”

Why that question? It was 1970. Overindulged flower children and a self-proclaimed morally pure news media had denounced war. Why? What principles did they adhere to? None that could be discerned. The pictures of the Vietnam War shown on TV were just ugly. War, as some have observed, is Hell.

Do principles weaken us? That is the question Alex tackles in his post, and there is no simple answer. I think Jesus addressed this issue in this passage.

Matthew 7:1-6 New King James Version (NKJV)
Do Not Judge
7 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

6 “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.

Why do some demand that “we” not judge them? Sometimes we render judgement inappropriately, but consider verse 6. Are we suppose to trust dogs and swine? If dogs and swine drop bombs and weapons of mass destruction upon our family and friends, how should we respond, by tying our hands behind our backs? Of course not.

What is the purpose of the law? The law exists to provide justice. Just laws separate those people who are willing to live by the principles the law upholds from those who will not. Just government punishes the dogs and the swine.

If a law allows dogs and swine to trample upon pearls of love and tear the innocent to pieces, then that law is unjust.

Amatopia

“All life must be protected at all costs/the individual is the most important” vs. “Do the maximum amount of good when the opportunity presents itself.”

Thales at The Declination articulates a point I’ve been making for some time now: the tension between principles and self-defense:

When it comes to principles, I can really only speak for myself, but I suspect what I’m about to discuss is something that holds true for most people. We naturally hold having principles to be higher, that is to say morally superior, to not having principles, or to violating them arbitrarily. However, this can lead to absurdities such as guilt-ridden, suicidal cultures (see: most of the West right now).

Most people, I imagine, would agree that non-aggression is generally a good principle. Indeed, Libertarians and Anarcho-Capitalists have this enshrined as a core principle. Violence can only be used on someone who, in turn…

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7 thoughts on “Unavoidable Tensions

  1. I’ve not yet read Alex’s post but intend to later because I find this topic fascinating. Real life events really the only way for a person to find out whether they stay true to their principles in morally hazy situations. I would hope I would, but who knows.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Alex often asks some good questions. I enjoy moral conundrums, in theory, philosophically. Don’t enjoy them much in real life. Pacifism is an interesting one, because sticking to your pacifist principles would force you to let your loved ones die, to not defend the least of these, something I see as immoral. Pride in our ideology I think, can lead us to immorality. In faith we have been given the Holy Spirit to lead us and guide us. The very fact that we need Him suggests to me that life and situations have too many variables so morality cannot be contained in simple principles and laws. We need wisdom, Divine intervention, because our brains cannot compute all the cause and effect, the myriad of potential outcomes and it’s impact on others down the line.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Interesting post on judging principals. However, before anyone can answer or judge the answers to these three questions, he or she must first consider “something else,” in my opinion.

    Questions Presented
    1 Is the tactic in question evil or wrong?
    2 Will you using it induce your enemy to stop attacking you or your loved ones?
    3 Will you be able to limit your use of said tactic?

    The “something else” question is will my answer be wise or foolish?

    Without first considering this something else question based on understanding the Biblical meanings of wisdom and love, how can anyone judge any issue?

    When you joined the AFROTC and took an oath to obey orders, you placed your faith and trust in your commanders.

    When you place your faith and trust in God and the Bible, you reduce your risks of making foolish decisions, in my opinion.

    However, first, a person needs instructions to obtain an understanding of God and the Bible messages of wisdom and love.

    In other words, without a key, you cannot unlock the door to wisdom and love to enter into your choices on any issues in life,

    As for your AFROTC commanders being wise or foolish, sometimes we have to keep in mind they are human, same as every human, and can make mistakes when they give foolish commands that are not based on wisdom and love.

    Regards and good will blogging..

    Like

    1. @Scatterwisdom

      You have pinpointed an important problem. Did I place my faith and trust in my commanders? To some extent we cannot avoid that. That is why we must hold our leaders accountable to just laws.

      What makes a law just? Without forcing our religious beliefs upon each other, we should do our best to base our laws upon Biblical wisdom and obedience to God’s commands.

      Liked by 1 person

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