FAST FOOD (AD 2019): Thirty-Eighth Helping
Any presentation of moral rules cannot contain rules that contradict one another. Any moral system must adhere to the principle of noncontradiction. X and not-X cannot both be true. “Without the principle of no-contradiction, morality is impossible,” says Benedict XVI. Moreover, the rules must be related in such a way that following one of them doesn’t automatically commit one to breaking another. So, for any two rules to be part of the same system, they must not only be logically consistent, they must be compatible in the sense that observing one is compatible with not violating the other.
The justification of war as just and therefore morally permissible exists with many philosophies and non-Christian theologies. To the best of my awareness none of these philosophies or theologies violate the principle of non-contradiction by justifying war within the context of their system of morality.
Irrationality, indeed madness in reason’s mask, enters in when the attempt is made to put a just war theory into the understanding of right and wrong, that is, into what is God’s will and what is not God’s will as revealed by the person and teaching of Jesus, the Incarnate Word of God. Not only can a Christian just war theory (CJWT) not be constructed without violating the logical principle of non-contradiction, but it also cannot be implemented without breaking an untold number of moral truths that Jesus teaches as the will of God in the Gospels, e.g., “Love your enemies” vs burn your enemy to death, “Love as I have loved you” vs love as General ‘Blood and Guts’ Patton loved, “I was hungry and you gave me to eat,” vs blockade these people until 400,000 of their children under twelve years of age are dead, Blessed are the merciful,” vs be-medal, be-ribbon, heroize and honor the merciless.
Christian just war theory was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be a phony morality and absurdist Christian morality.
Jesus does not need any of His chosen disciples to participate in any war for any reason in order for Him or them to accomplish all that has to be accomplished to fulfill completely His and their mission in this world. So, on top of all else, there is absolutely no need for a Christian just war theory because neither Jesus nor His disciples need it to do anything they have been commissioned by their Lord, God and savior to do in this life.
So why is there this commitment to misunderstanding and/or ignorance with respect to the Nonviolence Jesus of the Gospels and His way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies among the ruling class of the various Churches? And why is there simultaneously this unctuous, vigorous commitment to this bizarro Christian just war theory that in theory and practice does not have a leg to stand on?
The answer is that hell has no fury like a vested interest masquerading as a moral principle. CJWT theory does not exist for the moral and spiritual benefit of the individual Christian. The proof of this is that it is very rarely taught in Christian institutions and when taught is taught shoddily. CJWT exists primarily to protect and enhance the political and economic interests of the Churches who espouse it in some form or another. It exists to give Christian moral cover to the local political and economic bosses when they want to kill people for some reason and to assure them that there will be no problem in recruiting an endless supply of Christian cannon fodder. CJWT exists so that the Churches and those who rule them will have earthly power and have access to power and wealth of this world by assuring power and wealth that it will be there to supply the powerful and wealthy gunners and enforcer to protector and/or enhance their interest.
So, the bishops and rulers of the just warist Churches nurture and brainwash—by employing every Christian word, symbol and structure available to them—their flocks from childhood onward, diocese by diocese, into the morally cockamamie and unworkable CJWT. They all do this so thoroughly that the individual Christian has CJWT so deeply embedded in his or her brain that most Christians cannot even consider calling CJWT into question; and most cannot even conceive that following a Nonviolent Jesus who teaches a Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies is realistic or even sane.
So, the question I have for my reader is this: Are you going to tell your bishop, your pastor, the person to the left and right of you in the pew that the CJWT is a bogus Christian moral position? Are you going to inform them that CJWT is as much fake Good News as Christian Just Witch Burning Theory or Christian Just Jew and Heretic Burning Theories? If not why not? If not you who? You certainly have enough material to rationally support what you are saying. Consider the pertinence of a thought from Charles Darwin to your situation: “To kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes even better than, establishing a new truth or fact.” Error cannot be eliminated by being silent about it—especially being silent in relations to those who propagate it and those who believe it to be true.
Perhaps a more urgent reason not to be silent about the nuttiness, the absurdity of the Christian Just War Theory can be seen through the words of Voltaire (1694-1778): “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” So those that can make you believe the absurdity of a Christian Just War Theory—the absurdity that a Baptized Christians can follow Jesus and His Way and His teaching by going into the military and killing and maiming enemies, the absurdity that CJWT is logically and operationally compatible with the person and message of Jesus—can make you commit atrocities. Christian history since the time of Constantine is blanketed with layer upon layer of corpses that incontrovertibly attest that to the fact that the absurdity of Christian Just War Theory has ceaselessly led to Christians committing atrocities against humanity and against each other on a grand scale.
So, the question for each Christian is am I going to publicly name an absurdity an absurdity, or am I going to permit this absurdity to propagate freely and thereby continually propagate ever new Christian atrocities? Silence serves the status quo and gives consent to the status quo—and its consequences.
-Emmanuel Charles McCarthy