Monday, October 09, 2006

Two wars

As I was walking down the hall this morning, I suddenly realized: During the first four years of the Bush presidency, the United States invaded not one, but two sovereign nations and initiated two wars.

Two wars in four years.

And instead of ousting the people responsible, we voted to give them another four years. More than 40,000 civilians have been killed in Iraq alone.

I think I'll go be sick now.


crystal said...

And instead of ousting the people responsible, we voted to give them another four years.

Not me! :-)

Matthew said...

Well, that was the "American We". I didn't vote for 'em either.

connor said...

"The voice of the people has been said to be the voice of God; and, however generally this maxim has been quoted and believed, it is not true to fact. The people are turbulent and changing, they seldom judge or determine right."

-Alexander Hamilton

ConccernedEngineer said...


That is the problem with Democracy. There is nothing but the wisdom and virtue of the people to keep a Democracy from becoming a situation where two wolves and a lamb vote on what to eat for dinner. Nothing - but God Himself.

Matthew, were you against the war in Afghanastan? Do you think it was bad to get rid of Saddam? Do you think we should get out now? What will happen in the Middle East if we leave now?

I hear liberals often criticize the President's policies - and sometimes justly. But I don't hear liberals coming up with any plan. We have a situation in the Middle East. What do you propose we do about it?

Matthew said...

Frankly, I don't know enough about the situation on the ground to propose an explicit course of action. That doesn't change the fact that this administration screwed Iraq up in the first place. I think this cartoon says it well:


However, if you're wanting to look at some iraq exit strategies, you might try this site:

exit plans

ConcernedEngineer said...

The cartoon was funny; however, I don't think we would be in a very good situation if we had not gone into Iraq. Let's see. Saddam would still be in power. His sons would still be alive committing all kinds of injustice. Al-Zarqawi would probably be alive, and continuing to carry out his terrorist plots. Iraq would still be funding Palestinians homicide/suicide bombers who live and die to kill Israeli civilians.

So, yeah.... W and Co. certainly stirred up the hornet's nest. And it is a mess. But it is a mess that we were going to have to deal with at some point.

And that is far as I will go in defending the Bush Administration. I do think that W. seriously misjudged what would happen in Iraq.

And we can sit around and whine and complain about all the mistakes made by this administration all day. Certainly, we should learn from their mistakes. But, all I see the libs doing is complaining.

The vase is broken. So, now what do we do? Cartoons about the vase being broken are great - very funny. I got a good laugh. (Well, a smile came across my face anyway). Now, we have to move forward. I am concerned that the Democrats are just going to get our troops out of there. That would embolden the terrorists and strengthen Iran and Hezbollah. We need to find a way to stabilize the region.

How do we do that?

We need Jesus. Recall that Jesus came to Earth in Palestine - a region that was very tumulturus. A brief study of the 400 years in between the Old Testament and the New Testament can give you an idea of what it was like then. It was bad then. It's bad now.


Well, before you go hippy on me, I encourage you to recognize that Jesus is Jehovah. Jesus is the God of the Old Testament as well as the New Testament. Same God. Full of holiness and justice and wrath and holy anger. Full of compassion and mercy and kindness and love.

I say we would all do well to do a careful study of the entire Bible. In particular, I think we should study Joshua, Psalms, Proverbs, and Romans. And we ought to be begging God for wisdom and courage.

One thing is for sure: Jesus doesn't care about world opinion.

Matthew said...

concernedengineer said...
We need to find a way to stabilize the region.

How do we do that?

We need Jesus.

I agree with you to a degree: I think we need to act like Jesus (not Solomon, or Joshua, but Jesus) if we hope to encourage peace in the middle east.

ConcernedEngineer said...

Excuse that hippy comment. I really don't know you yet. It is just that most hippy liberals appeal to Jesus when making their arguments. That doesn't mean that all liberals who appeal to Jesus are necessarily hippies.

Matthew said...

That's OK, I don't take offense at being called a "hippie", although I can't see how that label is useful.

(I might take offense to being called "hippy", though, because my hips are a perfectly normal size.)

ConcernedEngineer said...

Was not Joshua doing God's will when conquering the Promised Land? Was Joshua not God's servant? Do you realize that Jesus' real name is Yeshua and that Joshua's Hebrew name is Yeshua?

Would we not do well to gain the wisdom of Solomon? Would we not do well to read Proverbs and beg God for wisdom?

I agree that we need to act like Jesus. We should imitate Him. But I am concerned that your idea of Jesus might not be accurate. In the book of John, Jesus claimed to be "I AM!" That is, YHWH. So, ya know that OT warrior God? That's Jesus.

I'm not advocating mindless violence. But I'm also not a pacifist. And if you are suggesting that we should embrace pacifism, well, I respect you and I have some respect for that opinion, but I don't think that it is the wise way to go.

In our individual lives, we should embrace humility and show love to our enemies, etc. But the purpose of the government (which is you and me by the way in this Democratic Republic) is to establish justice. Romans 13 says that the government does not bear the sword for nothing; they are agents of God's wrath.

Micah says to love mercy, but to do justly.

So, I guess I'm not quite sure what you are suggesting, but I hope that it is not pacifism.

ConcernedEngineer said...

I wanted to respect Drunken Tune, so I didn't want to continue our side debate on his blog. So, here is my last response to your last post over there:


Do you hold that the Bible, in its original manuscripts, is the inspired, infallible, authoritative Word of God?

I know about Calvinism and Arminianism. There is definately some biblical tension on the subject. But there aren't any contradictions.

What, specifically, do you find objectionable about my argument? And where does the Bible teach anything any differently?

As for books of other religions, I may at some point read them, but what is so imperative about reading them? Do you hold the Koran to be holy? Or the Bhagavad Gita? I have read the entire Bible. Galatians, in particular, makes my point very well. If anyone is preaching a gospel other than the one Paul preached, Paul said to let them be eternally condemned. Then, he repeat himself.

Bottom line is this: Why did Jesus die on the cross? Is there any way to be saved other than through the blood of Jesus? (Hint: Take another look at Galatians before you answer this one).

Matthew said...

engineer said...
Was not Joshua doing God's will when conquering the Promised Land?

No, he was not. If Josuha actually did everything attributed to him in the book of Joshua (which was probably written long after the ... um .. fact), he was attempting to commit genocide.

"So, ya know that OT warrior God? That's Jesus."

No, it's not.

Jesus was Jesus, and was not Joshua, or Solomon, or "the old testament God". Jesus was the clearest revelation of the divine character: more clear and beautiful than any old testament passage suggesting that God ordered the Israelites to commit genocide. If the Old testament says God orders genocide, and Jesus contradicts that, then we must believe Jesus.

Matthew said...

engineer said...
"Do you hold that the Bible, in its original manuscripts, is the inspired, infallible, authoritative Word of God?"

Not infallible, no. The Bible was written by people, and so it contains the same problems as any other book written by people.

As for books of other religions, I may at some point read them, but what is so imperative about reading them?

Nothing imperative. I think you would learn something, that's all.

Bottom line is this: Why did Jesus die on the cross?

I'm not really sure about that one. But I think some explanations and metaphors are more helpful than others ... for example, any metaphor that encourages us to cite divine justice as an excuse to kill people is probably not a helpful metaphor.

ConcernedEngineer said...

You can not consistently hold Jesus in a high regard while holding the OT in a low regard. For Jesus Himself endorsed the OT. He also claimed to be Jehovah.

I point you to the famous conflict between Jesus and the Jews in John 8. Clearly, both Jesus and the Jews claimed to hold Abraham in high regard. Furthermore, Jesus declared in verse 58, "'I tell you the truth,' Jesus answered, 'before Abraham was born, I am!'" And in verse 59, "At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds."

Note that God (Jehovah) said to Moses, "I AM!" back in the book of Exodus. The Jews knew this. That's why they wanted to stone Jesus. Jesus was equating Himself with the God who had revealed Himself to Moses at the burning bush. To the Jews, this was blasphemy.

Furthermore, Matthew 5:17-18 says, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of the pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished."

So, Jesus was endorsing the Law and the Prophets. Furthermore, when he was tempted in the desert, He quoted three obscure Scriptures from Deuteronomy. He appealed to the authority of Scripture, saying, "It is written...."

And there are many other examples of Jesus endorsing the OT. You can not hold to a high view of Jesus and a low view of the OT. Not consistently.

God had commanded Joshua to bring judgment on the people of Canaan. if you look at the history of the people of Canaan - tracing it all the way back to Genesis - you can see the sins they committed. God was using Israel to bring judgment to these people. Certainly that was Jesus' view, or else, surely He would have pointed out how wrong the OT is. But He never did.

ConcernedEngineer said...

Well, the obvious reason why we disagree is due to the fact that I believe that the Bible is the inspired, infallible, authoritative Word of God. Peter asserted as much in one of his epistles - claiming that no prophet ever wrote down his own intepretation, but that they were borne along by the Holy Spirit. Jesus clearly held to the idea that the OT Scripture was the Word of God - as I just demonstrated.

He died on the cross for you and for me, because we are sinners deserving of His wrath. Romans 5:8 - "But God demonstrated his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

Without Christ, there is no salvation - only wrath and judgment.

Ask God about this. He rewards those who diligently seek Him. He loves you. You are a sinner. You deserve God's wrath. To reject that doctrine is to lie to yourself. But the good news is that you don't have to pay the penalty for your sin. It's been paid for by the precious blood of the Lamb of God.

ConcernedEngineer said...

I think you might suspect that I am attempting to get you to change your theology so that I can turn you into a warmonger. I hope that I can convince you that that is not the case. My purpose is first of all to honor and glorify God above all else, and with that commitment in mind, my purpose is to have an accurate understanding of God myself and to help others also have an accurate understanding of God. This is not just an intellectual understanding, but a deep understanding in the heart. I want to know Christ in all His power and glory and love and grace and mercy and justice. I want to be known by Him. And as He reveals His glory to us, we are taken into the Light. What we might have done in the darkness and what we have been ignorant of due to the darkness - those things are exposed in the Light. When that happens, I pray that God would give us the grace to confess those sins and be cleansed by the Spirit of God.

As this happens, in view of God's mercy, we are compelled to offer our bodies as living sacrifices to God. This is what worship is about. Worship is our response to God. When we behold the great mercy of God, we are compelled to worship. Then we are challenged not to conform to the ways of this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. This is the teaching of Romans 12:1-2.

As God reveals Himself to us, the way we see the world will no doubt change. This new outlook will affect every aspect of our lives - including how we analyze and engage in politics. Politics is, after all, a moral science, or at least, a moral art. Therefore, it is logically and necessarily a subset of theology.

You don't like war. No one does - as far as I know. Sure, there are some sick sadistic people that like war. But as far as I know, not many people like war. But, are you a pacifist? Do you think we should never go to war? Are there any circumstances in which we should fight?

I believe that in everything we do, we are to do it for the glory of God. We are to love God with every fiber of our being - all the time. Not just Sunday mornings. Therefore, if a war is ever justified, then it is only justified because it brings God glory and establishes justice. If we are not going to fight in the Name of God, then we shouldn't be fighting at all, for the Bible commands us to do everything for His glory. In fact, if we are not going to fight, then we should refrain from fighting in God's Name and for His glory. In all things, we should be seeking to bring glory to God. Surely, that's what Jesus was about.

It is easy - too easy - for religious fanatics to use the doctrines of God's justice as an excuse to kill people. That is wicked and evil. However, that does not mean that every soldier who has ever killed another man has sinned by doing so. But if you can't kill a man in God's Name, then you shouldn't at all.

The greatest commandments of the Bible are to love God and to love one another. I believe that love protects. So, when someone like Hitler starts gassing millions of innocents, the loving thing to do is to kill the one responsible. This is just. And by doing so, we are protecting the innocent.

If you think that the teaching of Christ should guide us in our war decisions, do you also think they should guide us in all our other political decisions? Education decisions? Sexual decisions? Life decisions? Is Jesus to be Lord of all? Or just Lord of part? Is Jesus Lord only on Sundays in church? Or is He also Lord on Wednesday morning in Washington?

Matthew said...

engineer said...
"But if you can't kill a man in God's Name, then you shouldn't at all."


ConcernedEngineer said...

Does "Hm" mean that we shouldn't kill at all - ever? Or does "Hm" mean that we ought to think long and hard and carefully and prayerfully before we decide to take another man's life?

Is there a time to kill, or are you a pacifist?

Perhaps, "Hm" means simply that I have provoked you to think about something a little deeper than you had previously.

I would be interested in how you rationalize holding to a high opinion of Jesus, while a relatively low opinion of the OT - considering the truth the Jesus endorsed the OT.

God bless you, sir.

May God give us the wisdom to see the right, the will to choose it, and the strength to make it endure.

ConcernedEngineer said...

Matthew, As long as you are talking about following the example of Christ, you might ask, "What would Jesus celebrate?"

Answer: The Jewish Holidays

Have you ever been to a Messianic Jewish service or talked with a Messianic Jew? You might find it fascinating. And I think that if you celebrated the Jewish Holidays for the reasons that Christ celebrated the Jewish holidays, you would be certainly going in the direction of following the example of Jesus of Nazareth.