Thursday, 3 December 2009

Theology FAIL: Christians enjoy killing

OK, the world is filled with bad theology. But you'll seldom come across anything as bad as this – in a 2005 essay entitled "Onward Christian Soldiers", Gene Edward Veith asks the question: "Should a Christian soldier take pleasure in killing people?"

He replies that war is "fun" since we have a "primal love of war". There is "a pleasure in battle", an "excitement, exhilaration, and a fierce joy that go along with combat". We should "appreciate our troops' facility in fulfilling their purpose, namely, killing the enemy." Christians with a military vocation should thus "go forward with joy"; quoting Luther, Veith counsels Christian soldiers to "smite [their enemies] with a confident and untroubled spirit." And so his remarkable theological conclusion: "As in other vocations, so in the military, there is nothing wrong with enjoying one's work."

A friend came by my office today and read me this passage aloud. I burst out laughing, thinking for a moment that it was a parody. But alas, I was mistaken. Which just goes to show that the test of Very Bad Theology is whether it's beyond parody.


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