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Theological Understanding of War Essay example

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Nothing in the history of humankind has been more visibly destructive than war. From the fratricide of Cain and Abel to the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to the destructive acts of September 11th, humankind has managed to be an incredibly destructive force on this planet. As I will explain, the tools I learned in the Systematic Theology course has enlightened me on how I have formed a theological understanding on the issue of war. In my own case, experience has played a large role in my theological understanding on the issue of war. In college, I studied political science and US history, and while many tragedies have come through the nation’s wars, it seemed to me like much good had come from them also. Growing up in church, there was not much discussion about it. It seemed to be a given that military service is an honorable profession, and we treated soldiers like heroes. Upon graduation from college, I enlisted in the US Army. It seemed like a good career move, and there had not been much discussion on the suitability of military service for a follower of Jesus. One of the earliest experiences that made me question the suitability of a Christian in military service was the statement during a class at Basic Combat Training (BCT) that I am government property. They say this to justify punishment for seemingly innocuous things such as sunburn--it is, after all, destruction of government property. One thing I knew for certain, I am not the property of some government, not even the government I so cherished and committed to defend. I am the property of none other than my God. The second event, also during BCT, that affected my worldview was the bayonet training. The point of this training is not so much to make so...


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...oint where I could not be a part of it any longer. I was very afraid of doing this, but I went ahead and applied to be recognized as a conscientious objector. After nine long months of an arduous process, the military finally recognized my change of thought and honorably discharged me from my military service. This systematic theology class has shed some light on how I formed this theology throughout my time. Within Young Life and most of evangelicalism, I understand that this is a controversial stance. While it would be impossible for kids not to know my particular stance on the issue, my teaching style is never to push my views on secondary issues onto the kids with whom I am working. I believe that the primary thing that the kids should know is that Jesus loves them and wants to have a relationship with them. I would not let my views on war affect that fact.


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