How can military Chaplains live with themselves?
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31-10-2011, 03:37 PM
 
How can military Chaplains live with themselves?
I have been watching M*A*S*H (all 11 seasons) for some time and just got to one episode in which Father Mulcahy is trying to convince an AWOL private to go back to the front line and continue doing his ‘duty’.

The padre is not supposed to be a hypocrite and an idiot, he is a decent guy, deeply believing in his god, yet urging a human being to return to killing other human beings.

How was the Sixth Commandment, exactly?

Something about “You shall not kill”.

Apart from all being crazy, can anyone explain this to me?

Huh
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31-10-2011, 03:41 PM
RE: How can military Chaplains live with themselves?
It seems hypocritical to do that plus he may well have sent the man to his death. So he may have indirectly killed another human being.

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31-10-2011, 05:12 PM
RE: How can military Chaplains live with themselves?
That commandment is contextual. It only refers to non enemies of the church. All others are fodder. Also if that's the only reason you have for religious people to have concerns then I've got news for you, they are all functionally insane. That's how.
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31-10-2011, 05:40 PM
RE: How can military Chaplains live with themselves?
(31-10-2011 03:37 PM)Zatamon Wrote:  How was the Sixth Commandment, exactly?

Something about “You shall not kill”.

It's my theory that each of the Christian Commandments has an understood "unless" after it. Each "unless" covers every conceivable reason why the Commandment can be disobeyed. A bit like the bible, really, you interpret it to suit yourself.

This then covers the Christian's backside in the event of breaking the Commandment.

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31-10-2011, 07:40 PM
 
RE: How can military Chaplains live with themselves?
OK, let me try to approach it from a different direction.

Suppose, for argument's sake, that an honest and intelligent christian clergyman finds himself in the situation of the OP (never mind how it happened and don't tell me that no honest and intelligent clergymen exist -- I have known several -- you can be both intelligent AND deluded at the same time).

Also, suppose that the war is between 2 equally christian countries (like France and Germany).

What would his religion tell him to tell the AWOL soldier?

A. Go back and continue the killing and maybe get killed?
B. Apply for conscientious objector status?
C. Tell him to pray to god for guidance?
D. Hide him and try to smuggle him out of the war zone?
E. Quit the clergy because he thinks he is in a no-win situation?
F. Anything else I could not think of?

Have fun guys with this one! Big Grin
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01-11-2011, 01:45 AM
RE: How can military Chaplains live with themselves?
(31-10-2011 07:40 PM)Zatamon Wrote:  OK, let me try to approach it from a different direction.

Suppose, for argument's sake, that an honest and intelligent christian clergyman finds himself in the situation of the OP (never mind how it happened and don't tell me that no honest and intelligent clergymen exist -- I have known several -- you can be both intelligent AND deluded at the same time).

Also, suppose that the war is between 2 equally christian countries (like France and Germany).

What would his religion tell him to tell the AWOL soldier?

A. Go back and continue the killing and maybe get killed?
B. Apply for conscientious objector status?
C. Tell him to pray to god for guidance?
D. Hide him and try to smuggle him out of the war zone?
E. Quit the clergy because he thinks he is in a no-win situation?
F. Anything else I could not think of?

Have fun guys with this one! Big Grin

His religion would tell him whatever he wanted it to tell him. It would be down to conscience. It would all depend on the individual clergyman.

Christianity is so idiotic that it leaves itself open to so many interpretations.

But then again....it may be so wonderfully designed.... Who knows?

"To think of what the world has suffered from superstition, from religion, from the worship of beast and stone and god, is
almost enough to make one insane."

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01-11-2011, 08:52 AM
RE: How can military Chaplains live with themselves?
You forget of course that Christians can't agree with themselves, hence so many fucking denominations. They are very adept at in house bickering and problem causing. I'm sure that they would find some issue with the other side so they could say that they were untrue Christians or heretics. Religion is all about aiming your aggression to dominate a common enemy so that power is gained. It uses brainwashing and guilt like you might use a hammer and nails.

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01-11-2011, 08:56 AM
RE: How can military Chaplains live with themselves?
(31-10-2011 07:40 PM)Zatamon Wrote:  What would his religion tell him to tell the AWOL soldier?

A. Go back and continue the killing and maybe get killed?
B. Apply for conscientious objector status?
C. Tell him to pray to god for guidance?
D. Hide him and try to smuggle him out of the war zone?
E. Quit the clergy because he thinks he is in a no-win situation?
F. Anything else I could not think of?

Have fun guys with this one! Big Grin

Organon is right.
But also, different churches have different rules for the same situation: very few kinds of situations have never happened before. In the case of war, there is so much precedent, i'm pretty sure they've all got it covered in the chaplain's manual.
Neither Judaism nor its two offspring have any problem with killing on the grand scale: genocide, armed conflict, crowd control and state retribution. They only object to killing on the personal level, and even that has conditions and exceptions.

The most common answer is A - that's what soldiers are for
B is automatically out of bounds once you are in the army: conscientious objectors have to register and be accepted before their service begins. BTW Catholics, Baptists and Anglicans are ineligible, since their canon does not include pacifism.
C is standard advice in any case
D has been known
E is not unheard-of
F would be to intercede for the soldier with his commanding officer, ask for a transfer to different duties, ask for compassionate leave or disability leave, consult a secular authority, such as a psychiatrist; a chaplain may do all those things.
Mostly, what he does is listen and then try to reconcile the parishioner with the prevailing earthly reality of his circumstances and hold forth the prospect of a better future - just as he would in a civilian placement.

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01-11-2011, 10:26 AM
RE: How can military Chaplains live with themselves?
(31-10-2011 03:37 PM)Zatamon Wrote:  How was the Sixth Commandment, exactly?

Something about “You shall not kill”.

It would be a different world if the Sixth Commandment (Exodus 20:13) actually said "You shall not kill." But in the very next chapter, God orders killing all over the place for various "crimes." So, the KJV and RSV notwithstanding, the Sixth Commandment couldn't mean that.

Comparing 16 English translations, I found 7 that used "kill" and 8 that used "murder," which is a more accurate rendering of the Hebrew. (The remaining "Basic English" version has: "Do not put anyone to death without cause.") Murder is the intentional and unlawful killing of another person. This implies there are situations, e.g. capital punishment and warfare, where killing a person is justified, legal, and proper.

Unfortunately this turns the Sixth Commandment into a tautology: You should not kill people that you should not kill.

Tautologies are not particularly useful guides to behavior.

Religious disputes are like arguments in a madhouse over which inmate really is Napoleon.
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01-11-2011, 11:59 AM
 
RE: How can military Chaplains live with themselves?
OK, Here is another angle.

Nobody needs to convince me that the religious hierarchy, at the top, is thoroughly corrupt and have no interest in what Jesus said or, for that matter, what their god (in which many of them don’t even believe) may wish them to do.

That being said, they have to pay lip-service to christianity, just like the communist rulers in the old USSR and Eastern Europe had to keep the slogans alive to motivate their lower echelon drones (the true believers) to keep on sacrificing for the cause.

They must have an official policy, and have to provide orientation training for their lowest rank military chaplains, to instruct them how to deal with situations similar to what I described in the OP.

They can’t just tell them to urge the soldiers to go on killing blindly – they have to have some justification that makes even killing a christian act, pleasing the all-loving god.

I wonder if anyone on this forum knows what these justification are, as an official policy of the church (as opposed to our cynical assumption of the worst). I really would like to know what euphemisms they use that convince the lowest-rank chaplains (some of them true believers, as well as decent human beings and even intelligent) that he is doing god’s work when sending a soldier back to the mayhem.

I hope I managed to describe what I am after because I am running out of angles.

Big Grin
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