Letters to the Editor

Just war

August 2, 2007


To the editor:

I would like to make a partial reply to Charles Gruber's answer in Faith Forum on Saturday, July 28, to the question: Should people of faith believe in "just war"?

Mr. Gruber cited examples from four of his faiths, including Judaism, and emphatically answers: no. I can't speak to the other faiths, but I do wish to discuss his position as far as what the Jewish faith states. He bases this on the admonition "Thou shalt not kill." Unfortunately, for Mr. Gruber's otherwise eloquent argument, no such admonition or commandment exists within the Jewish religion.

The sixth commandment (fifth in some Christian traditions) found in the book of Exodus was originally mistranslated as "Thou shalt not kill" in the King James Version. However, the correct translation, agreed to by virtually every biblical and Hebraic scholar is "You shall not commit murder." Moreover, the translation "Thou shalt not kill" makes no sense due to the fact that shortly afterward, in the book of Exodus, is a list of offenses, the punishment for which is death.

The Jewish religion teaches that peace is God's most precious gift. The pursuit of peace is given the highest of priorities but it is not absolute. Unfortunately, there comes a time when one must fight and even kill. Judaism answers the question in the faith forum as yes, there is such a thing as a just war.

David Berkowitz,



just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 5 months ago

Does the littering of vast stretches of civilian areas in a neighboring country with millions of cluster bomblets, and then refusing to aid in locating and removing them constitute a just war?

Ragingbear 10 years, 5 months ago

But David. We don't read the Bible. We just listen to what the preacher tells us. Good thing too. Ever try to read Isiah?

ive_got_my_ascot_n_my_dickie 10 years, 5 months ago

True Christians don't support war. Can you imagine Jesus picking up a rifle and shooting someone?

craigers 10 years, 5 months ago

The Christian faith will never disappear. I believe the Pharisees made that mistake long ago believing that it would.

SettingTheRecordStraight 10 years, 5 months ago


Religion is doing anything but disappearing.

You just feel emboldened because a few fadish books on atheism are in bookstores recently.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 5 months ago

"Religion is doing anything but disappearing."

Sadly, you may be right, and the rest of us will have to just helplessly watch while all you fundies (christian, muslim, insert other flavor) kill each other (and the rest of us) off because God told you to.

Frederic Gutknecht IV 10 years, 5 months ago

Don't y'all make me call you a bunch of dismissive prigs, now. Yoy know you wouldn't like it.

I do think anxiousatheist is a bit off, regarding the disappearance of religions. It's going to stick around for as long as there is money in the corporation then hang on for the tax incentives, but the congregation will be reduced to a choir.

Kidding! No reason to be a naysayer, eh?~)

jonas 10 years, 5 months ago

logic: That was my first real laugh of the new posting day! Props! Props!

I must admit, however, that I think the idea of a world without war to be a truly endearing, wonderful, enjoyable. . . . fantasy. There are times, I believe, when it becomes necessary to fight and, ultimately, kill to create a better or safer world, and I think that to say otherwise is to allow emotions, albeit positive ones, to cloud sense and reason.

However, I can't say that I believe that the war that's in the background of this question really fits that profile. At least, not in the way it was sold to the public and congress, and ultimately executed.

Frederic Gutknecht IV 10 years, 5 months ago

One notion of war is mass, justifiable homicide...with massive societal debt, environmental catastrophes, geological scale structural demolition, profiteering, social upheaval, friendly fire, atrocities, murder, etcetera tossed in for bad measure.

I'm not sure if you should get involved in war...on the other side of the planet, with vengeance worn on your sleeve, preemptive destruction as a goal and little consensus as to the validity of your presumptions and accusations. Of course, in a world where there is usually more up the sleeve of our govs than on their sleeves, I guess we all are relegated to operating on the faith of our respective beliefs. Sad.

Kodiac 10 years, 5 months ago

Great post Logic. That made me laugh at loud.... Logic has my vote for post of the day!

Ragingbear 10 years, 5 months ago


So stupid, a caveman could do it.

But I did just save a bunch of money on my car insurance by switching to Geico.

gogoplata 10 years, 5 months ago

Yes there is such thing as a just war. The war in Iraq is not one of them. Does that make our leaders murderers? What about the soldiers doing the actual killing?

Confrontation 10 years, 5 months ago

"True Christians don't support war. Can you imagine Jesus picking up a rifle and shooting someone?"

I suppose that if you can imagine Jesus, then you can imagine just about anything.

Kam_Fong_as_Chin_Ho 10 years, 5 months ago

I suppose that if you can imagine Jesus, then you can imagine just about anything.

Tee-hee-hee!! I get it, that's a joke, right? That's very original and funny!! Tee-hee-hee!!!

Gee, I guess you're right. A person named Jesus never existed...despite numerous eyewitness accounts.

Ragingbear 10 years, 5 months ago

~~"True Christians don't support war. Can you imagine Jesus picking up a rifle and shooting someone?"~~

Hmm. Seems to me that he does...

Matthew 21;12- Jesus walks into the temple, overturns tables and forces everyone there to leave.

Mark 11;15: Another account of him assaulting the temple.

Matthew 21;19:A fig tree that failed to produce fruit out of season is cursed and killed by Jesus,

Mark: 11; 11-14: Another account of the fig tree.

Luke 22:35-38: Jesus tells his disciples that if at all possible, buy a sword. Even if they have to sell the clothing on their backs.

Matthew 26:52-53: Peter cuts off the ear of a soldier in Jesus' presence. He told Peter to sheath the sword, nothing about how he should not have had it, or to toss it away.

Revelation 19:21: Jesus returns and kills everyone that stands against him.


Let's not forget the Old testament instructions to the Hebrews to war against all sorts of people. But most Christians try to dismiss the entire OT by claiming that the line "It is finished" that Jesus uttered on the Cross makes everything in the OT obsolete.

Confrontation 10 years, 5 months ago

"Gee, I guess you're right. A person named Jesus never existed:despite numerous eyewitness accounts."

Same things with aliens, right?

Emily Hadley 10 years, 5 months ago

People try hard over thousands of years to mold religions to normal human life in order to attract more followers, and after you buy into one, you nitpick the others apart on their weak arguments. Amazing.

Kam_Fong_as_Chin_Ho 10 years, 5 months ago

Hmm. Seems to me that he does:

He turned over tables and killed a diseased tree. That's slightly different than shooting people.

mick 10 years, 5 months ago

To the letter writer- "You call yourself a Jew but you are of the synagogue of satan."

mick 10 years, 5 months ago

Most of these people who call themselves"Jews" are descended from Khazars who converted to the Talmud in 740 AD. They have nothing to do with the Biblical ISRAEL. By the way, the Talmud is the most hateful anti-Christian tradition you will ever see.

Richard Heckler 10 years, 5 months ago

Then you roll out the dollars and say screw faith not to mention killing millions upon millions of innocent human beings. How can anyone believe in the church when so many politicians wear religion on their sleeves then proceed to lie,steal,cheat,distort,stonewall and kill.

Iraq Black Hole :The $2-Trillion War http://www.harvardmagazine.com/on-line/050682.html


Report: Iraq war costs could top $2 trillion New study takes into account long-term costs of healthcare for wounded soldiers.

By Tom Regan | csmonitor.com

A new study by Columbia University economist Joseph E. Stiglitz, who won the Nobel Prize in economics in 2001, and Harvard lecturer Linda Bilmes concludes that the total costs of the Iraq war could top the $2 trillion mark. Reuters reports this total, which is far above the US administration's prewar projections, takes into account the long term healthcare costs for the 16,000 US soldiers injured in Iraq so far. "Even taking a conservative approach, we have been surprised at how large they are," the study said, referring to total war costs. "We can state, with some degree of confidence, that they exceed a trillion dollars."

further details: http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0110/dailyUpdate.html ===== Published on Tuesday, June 7, 2005 by Reuters World Military Spending Topped $1 Trillion in 2004 by Peter Starck http://www.commondreams.org/headlines05/0607-03.htm

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