Christians as “Soft Targets”

The gun lobby and their sympathizers (and some cartoonists) have recently been bringing public attention to the fact that “gun-free” signs on the entrances of museums, schools, churches, shopping malls, etc. can be an unintended invitation to homicidal maniacs or suicidal nihilists who want to take as many possible souls with them in exiting the world.

Christianity is in a sense a “gun-free” zone. The Christian religion is so devoted to peace that it could incite similar agressive responses in malevolent persons or systems.

There are, of course, violent Christians and Christian leaders. But in all of the New Testament, there is not one sentence that could reasonably incite a Christian to violence or to forced conversions.

Quakers and other Christian pacifists are in part justified for interpreting Christianity as going even further than Buddhism in avoiding all types of violence. They focus on Jesus’ messages to “turn the other cheek” (Mt. 5:39), “go the extra mile” (Mt. 5:41), “forgive seventy times seven times” (Mt. 18:22), “lend without expecting repayment” (Lk. 6:35), “give them your coat also” (Lk. 6:29), and “put away the sword (Mt. 26:52).” Ethicists now would call such rules “supererogatory” – going far beyond the basic requirements of duty and justice.

There is nothing in the New Testament about the basic rights of self-defense. St. Augustine and other theologians thus needed to wrestle with questions about the justification of wars. They came up with the strict criteria of “just war theory,” requiring multiple conditions for declaring wars and multiple restrictions of conduct when engaging in wars.

Just war theory is rational. The New Testament goes beyond, but does not abrogate, the natural law of self-preservation and its corollaries. An individual may go over and above duty in certain cases to “turn the other cheek,” but social and political duties of those in authority may call for use of force to preserve lives and sustenance.


There is, however, a special problem for a “soft-target” religion: it could be a proverbial “sitting duck” – not only for unscrupulous cultures and governments, but also for a militant political religious cult. As I mentioned in a previous column, the Islam we are dealing with in the contemporary world harbors no supererogatory exhortations to non-violence. The fact that Islam is constantly referred to as a “religion of peace” is an anomaly, a species of Orwellian “new-speak” – in the same way that murdering the unborn is called a “reproductive right,” institutionalized sodomy is called “marriage,” and sex has been replaced with “gender.”

The stark difference between the concept of martyrdom in Christianity and Islam helps to bring out the dangers for “soft targets.” For Christianity, the martyr deserving of eternal bliss through the vision of God is one willing to suffer and die as a witness for his faith. For Islam, the martyr deserving of an eternal bliss of sensual pleasure is one who is killed while killing “unbelievers” (Quran 9:111) – even unknown crowds of men, women, and children – thus advancing the jihadist movement in the world.

New Testament apocalyptic passages in the Book of Revelation about final battles between the powers of good and evil are hard to interpret, but Christians may be faced with the possibility of a strange “Armageddon.” Instead of (as usually depicted) two massive armies facing each other in a final decisive battle, another scenario in which billions of sincere Christians, the greatest “soft target” ever produced in the world, are abandoned to the devices of billions of Muslims. Indeed, Muslim eschatology involves the destruction and subjugation of all “unbelievers” in a final battle in which the rather far-fetched Muslim version of Jesus (Isa, the son of Maryam, the sister of Moses’ brother, Aaron [Quran 19:27-28]) would come and break all Christian crosses, exterminate pigs as the supply of pork, and grant the laurels of victory to Islam.

But events during the last hundred years make such a lopsided Armageddon scenario less fantastic – millions of Christians massacred in Armenia, Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere; a million killed in just the first thirteen years of the 21st century; more martyrdoms than in all previous centuries – not to mention the pillaging and destruction of hundreds of churches in Iraq, Egypt, and Nigeria in the last few years; in formerly tolerant Indonesia, according to a report of the Gatestone Institute, more than 1,000 Christian churches have been shut down, torn down or burned down since 2006. (If you follow only the mainstream media, you may be excused for not knowing about such things.)

At present, with the “Islamic State” (ISIS), we have the advent of a new “caliph,” Caliph Ibrahim (Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi). For most Muslims, the caliph, if he manages to survive threats from alternative claimants, is not just a figurehead. His existence could dramatically change the eschatological views of obedient and traditional Muslims. While “defensive” war is always permitted to Muslims, only the Caliph has the authority to order an offensive war of conquest and destruction. This is being done now, with tens of thousands of young Muslims rushing to join ISIS in Syria and other strongholds.

Catholics call themselves the “Church Militant,” but this is just a metaphor, and meant spiritually. The days when a pope could order or bless a crusade are long gone, especially in view of the documents of the Second Vatican Council, which offer fulsome praises of Islam as an “Abrahamic” religion which adores the same God and submits to His hidden decrees. And it goes without saying, that no nation now would be willing to defend the Christians being murdered or exiled by Islamists, since for “enlightened” moderns this would be a “religious war,” repeating pre-Enlightenment mistakes of the past.

The combination of the surrender to modernism in the “developed world” and Christians’ helpless exposure to violence and subjugation in Muslim-dominated regions leads to a possible alternative vision of Armageddon and victory: a final martyrdom of the Church.

Howard Kainz

Howard Kainz

Howard Kainz, Emeritus Professor at Marquette University, is the author of twenty-five books on German philosophy, ethics, political philosophy, and religion, and over a hundred articles in scholarly journals, print magazines, online magazines, and op-eds. He was a recipient of an NEH fellowship for 1977-8, and Fulbright fellowships in Germany for 1980-1 and 1987-8. His website is at Marquette University.

  • Ana

    If there is nothing in the New Testament about self defense than how do you explain Jesus encouraging His disciples to purchase a sword? (Luke 22:36-38; cf. 2 Corinthians 11:26-27). According to the Scripture Ministries –

    Prior to His crucifixion, Jesus revealed to His disciples the future hostility they would face and encouraged them to sell their outer garments in order to buy a sword (Luke 22:36-38; cf. 2 Corinthians 11:26-27). Here the “sword” (Greek: maxairan) is a dagger or short sword that belonged to the Jewish traveler’s equipment as protection against robbers and wild animals. A plain reading of the passage indicates that Jesus approved of self-defense.

    Self-defense may actually result in one of the greatest examples of human love. Christ Himself said, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:14). When protecting one’s family or neighbor, a Christian is unselfishly risking his or her life for the sake of others.

    Theologians J. P. Moreland and Norman Geisler say that “to permit murder when one could have prevented it is morally wrong. To allow a rape when one could have hindered it is an evil. To watch an act of cruelty to children without trying to intervene is morally inexcusable. In brief, not resisting evil is an evil of omission, and an evil of omission can be just as evil as an evil of commission. Any man who refuses to protect his wife and children against a violent intruder fails them morally.”

    • Sheila

      Well said!

    • Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D.

      In support Ana the Catholic Catechism 2265: Legitimate defense can not only be a right but a grave duty for the lives of others.

      • Manfred

        This citation should have/could have obviated the need for both the article and therefore the comments.

    • Howard Kainz

      Jesus had no objection to possession of swords, but gives no recommendations about when and how to use it, except when He tells Peter to put it back in the scabbard. In your citation from 2 Cor., St. Paul just mentions dangers he endured from the sword, but does not indicate that he used a sword. This is not the way Paul made converts. St. Paul’s paradoxical rule about violence was “So far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God…. If your enemy is hungry, feed him, and he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in doing so you will heap burning coals upon his head.”
      Because of Jesus’ numerous injunctions about forgiveness and non-violence, we have to imagine an individual Christian with a sword (or a gun?) enduring insults, or slaps in the face, or recalcitant debtors who don’t pay their debts, without resorting to violence. I don’t believe that is a strain on the imagination.

      • mollysdad

        Jesus had no objection to possession of swords, but commanded His disciples to carry some as emblems of His power as King to take human life. He tolds Peter
        to put it back in the scabbard for one very simple reason.

        You never, EVER, draw a sword in the presence of a King. No one in His presence dies without a command from Him.

        But Jesus does have a mandate from God to wage war against Amalek, and against only him.

    • ROB

      What you say Ana is so self evidently true that you do not need a PhD or a university platform to understand it. Judging from the piece and some of the comments those things stand in the way of understanding. Christianity has never urged it’s adherents to abandon self defense. At times, notably the dispatch of the Union Army to subjugate the Confederacy and free the slaves it has urged the use of a terrible swift sword.

  • Christian Martyrdom is a mist powerful weapon. Just think what those Copic Egyptians accomplished against ISIS, just by dying.

  • Fr Kloster

    Thank you for the article Professor Kainz. I was very encouraged by your exposure of the word games being played out around us in modern society. It immediately reminded me of Allan Bloom’s “The Closing of the American Mind.” Catholicism definitely is the last acceptable prejudice. Some throw in conservative evangelicals, but the real target is squarely on the Vatican and her 1.3 billion faithful worldwide.

    There is no better way to conquer from within (progressive intelligentsia) than by controlling schools, government officials, and higher education. To control from without, you need infiltration. Islam has this in that they populate and Christians by and large use contraception. We are being attacked on two fronts by very subversive methods. Neither one of the tools of the underworld would stand a chance in the light of day. Satan nearly always give sucker punches.

  • givelifeachance2

    to kill first
    is the worst
    to stay confessed
    is the best

  • Manfred

    Catholicism has completely discredited itself on this subject and it should withdraw from the field. Brad recently reviewed the file SPOTLIGHT. Anyone knowing that story will never take the American Church seriously.
    Our Pope busies himself with subjects such as global warming while Catholics are being brutally murdered, raped, their children sold into slavery. Why? The effemimnates and homosexuals who lead the Church would not want to repeat the “errors” of the Crusades.(Bergoglio recently visited the Central African Republic where he KNELT in an Anglican church to pray for Saint Charles Lwanga and his wards who were martyred for their Catholic Faith. Bergoglio never mentioned that they were killed because they would not submit to the homosexual advances of their African king in 1885)
    I know priests and Catholic professionals who own and practice firing their weapons. A young FSSP priest was killed in the his rectory in AZ, by an intruder even though he attempted. to defend himself with his legal handgun. There have been legal fireams in my home for decades…

  • George Sim Johnston

    Christianity is a religion of peace–but peace is a regimen that demands both internal (“The Kingdom of heaven is taken by violence.”) and sometimes external warfare. Pacifism is endorsed in neither the Old or New Testament. God tells the Jews to slaughter the Canaanites. And in the Gospel of Luke we read: “And the soldiers asked [John the Baptist], saying, ‘And we–what are we to do?’ And he said to them, ‘Plunder no one, accuse no one falsely, and be content with your pay.'” One supposes the last injunction is a warning against pillage. But John does not tell them to put down their swords and find another occupation.

  • grump

    “There is nothing in the New Testament about the basic rights of self-defense.” Wrong, Howard. Quoting Jesus: “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe.” — Luke 11:21
    I’m with Ana on the right of self-defense. “Turning the other cheek” and “love your enemies” does not imply that you simply roll over when your or loved ones are threatened with bodily harm. And if you go back to the Old Testament, Yahweh, as Commander-in-Chief order the Jews into battle numerous times to slay enemies without mercy.

    In short, it’s a be-or-be-killed world. I trust Jesus, along with Smith and Wesson.

    • Howard Kainz

      I agree. I was speaking in terms of just-war theory, not personal self-defense. But your references to the Old Testament commands to Moses or Joshua are not relevant to Christians under the New Covenant.

      • grump

        Howard, point taken about the OT, but what do you suppose 2 Timothy means by “soldiers of Christ?” Don’t soldiers fight? Onward Christian Soldiers!

        • Howard Kainz

          When Paul exhorted Timothy, a bishop, to be a “soldier of Christ,” I think he probably meant the same thing my catechism teacher meant by that term.

    • MJ Warren

      But arms in those days were a staff or sword that my kill one man. Guns can kill dozens. I don’t think you can equate this to our day. It was basically one on one in Jesus’ time. I don’t have a gun and I live in the sticks one a mountain. I do, however, have a big Black Lab who keeps the beard, coyotes bobcats and other vermin away. He’s all I need.

  • Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D.

    Howard I agree with the basic premise of your article [mirabile dictu] that Christ calls us to peaceful resistance to evil through prayer and example. I do however believe the right for self defense and the initial intent of the Crusades to protect Christians and Christian sites. Armageddon in the Apostle John’s Apocalypse likely refers more to a spiritual battle between the armies of God and those of Satan. I’ll end by affirming what I like about Quackers. I recently watched the old movie with Gary Cooper and Dorothy McGuire Friendly Persuasion. The setting of the Quacker homestead and music by Dmitri Tiomkin gave a strong and lovely message.

    • mollysdad

      The original meaning of Armageddon is that it was the battle in which King Josiah was killed, marking the beginning of the 70 years for Babylon.

      It is second nature for a Jew to understand that the Kings of the House of David are enabled by divine law to wage holy war of extermination against Amalek. That’s what we see at Revelation 19, and it arguably indicates the divine will that the nations unleash mass destruction against the Muslim world.

  • DougH

    Ana already nicely covered Jesus’s instruction to his followers to buy swords, so I’ll just add a different quibble: according “Reliance of the Traveler,” Muslims are forbidden to wage offensive Jihad without the Caliph’s permission ONLY if the Caliph actually exists. When there is no Caliph, no permission is required. Not that Islamists pay that much attention to the restrictions in Shari’a on the waging of Jihad.

  • Veritas

    I don’t think the eastern Christians hold the same pacifist, non-defense views as western Christians. Certainly not the Russian Orthodox Church. It may be the leader in this fight, I doubt it will go quietly

  • Elijah fan

    The beginning paragraphs were interesting. It’s the final two paragraphs that are awful leading to the Church being martyred in the end. Here’s what the final book of the Bible says ( no martyrdom ) in chapter 20….keep in mind that Augustine said 1000 means complete…the complete length of the post Christ era:
    ” 7 When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—and to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. 9 They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. 10 And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”
    The professor is a great asset but not in his version of the ending confrontation. God says the opposite: while martyrdom previously was a great calling, the final end is not that at all.

    • Howard Kainz

      As Fr. Morello mentions below, those scenes from Revelation have to do with a spiritual battle between the angelic armies of God and Satan.

      • Elijah fan

        And I think that’s incorrect. You do know Christ will return in power with the clouds…?? another purely spiritual metaphor? I think not.

        • Howard Kainz

          Spiritual power is greater than any physical power that Christ’s enemies can muster. And He has promised His followers a final victory.

          • Harry

            As Augustine pointed out, “The New Testament lies hidden in the Old and the Old is unveiled in the New.” The true nature of the end times and the second coming of Christ lies hidden in entire Bible, much of it in the Book of Revelation.

            After it is has taken place we will be able to look back and see clearly how it was all there. Hindsight is always better than foresight. But until then, our necessarily speculative interpretations will probably miss the mark.

            Who read the Old Testament before Christ’s first coming and said to himself, “Obviously, God is going to take on human nature and walk among us, teaching and healing and performing stupendous miracles to prove He is Who He claims to be. Then we will kill Him. But God will bring good from that horrendous evil — the salvation of humanity, i.e., the possibility, for those who accept it, to be restored to the eternal destiny God had in mind for us when He first created humanity. Maybe even a better destiny, that will cause us to exclaim regarding the fall, ‘O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam, which gained for us so great a Redeemer!'”?

            Who said anything like that? Nobody. What God had in mind was all there in the Old Testament, but who had any idea just how awesome what God was going to do would be?

            I can’t help but think that whatever happens in the end, it will be as far beyond what we are expecting as Christ’s first coming was for even the best students of the Hebrew Scriptures. Personally, I think the glory of Mary, tainted nature’s solitary boast, will be much more significant in all of it than most imagine.

          • Harry

            Another indication from the Scriptures that Mary was likely taught the meaning of the Scriptures by the Son of God:

            And when he was twelve years old, they going up into Jerusalem, according to the custom of the feast, And having fulfilled the days, when they returned, the child Jesus remained in Jerusalem; and his parents knew it not. And thinking that he was in the company, they came a day’s journey, and sought him among their kinsfolks and acquaintance. And not finding him, they returned into Jerusalem, seeking him. And it came to pass, that, after three days, they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his wisdom and his answers. And seeing him, they wondered. And his mother said to him: Son, why hast thou done so to us? behold thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And he said to them: How is it that you sought me? did you not know, that I must be about my father’s business? And they understood not the word that he spoke unto them. And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them. And his mother kept all these words in her heart. And Jesus advanced in wisdom, and age, and grace with God and men.
            — Luke 2:42-52

            Jesus, at the age of twelve, astonished the doctors with “his wisdom and his answers.” How could He not have been having discussions with Mary and Joseph about the meaning of the Scriptures? And why would those discussions not have continued all through His adult life? By the time He began his public life, Mary probably knew more about the Word of God than any human being who had lived or ever would live on this planet — the Word in both its human and written form.

  • Evangeline1031

    Well. So this is how we would go out, not with a bang but with a whimper. We are facing a truly existential threat, now is the time thanks to the man in the White House, clearly a muslim, and so ISIS and Islam has selected this as the time. Now we see a pope and a church that has disengaged itself from reality, completely abandoned itself to destruction, seems even to want it, and so we are alone.
    I do not believe God has brought us this far to allow us to be slaughtered by barbarians. There will be a remnant who will fight to the bitter end. Let the cowards go out to meet them if they wish, but there are millions who are not cowards. I read yesterday that applications for arms has skyrocketed to the highest level yet, 186,000 in one month recently.

    • LawProf61

      In one day, actually. Black Friday

      • MJ Warren

        Realy? I wonder what was spent on guns could do for the poor and homeless? It’s a sad commentary on our species. I suppose I would fight if I was face to face with death at the hands of another.

        • LawProf61

          Billions of dollars are already spent on the poor and homeless. It’s a straw man to suggest that one has to choose between philanthropy and self-defense.

    • samton909

      it is so very odd that Obama’s insistence that no one should have a gun has led to hundreds of thousands of people buying more guns. Apparently, people realize that Obama will not use the force of the state to defend them and their families. They realize that under Obama, they are on their own, and so they take things into their own hands. The exact opposite of what Obama wanted. I suppose this speaks of a basic misunderstanding of human beings on his part.

  • Howard Kainz

    Some have mentioned Jesus’ comment about “bringing not peace but the sword.” This is not a mandate to use the sword, but a warning about persecution. After exhorting his disciples to preach from the housetops and publicly confess faith in Him (Matt: 10: 27, 32), Jesus warns them that they should expect division and the sword, even from those who are closest to them (10:35-36).
    When Peter tries to defend Jesus in the Garden, Jesus admonishes, “Put up again thy sword into its place: for all that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” This is fairly clear. There is not one passage in the New Testament inciting Christians to spread their faith with the sword.
    My comment about “self-defense” was in the context of Augustine and just-war theory, not personal self-defense. Did St. Paul and the Apostles carry swords in evangelizing?

    • MJ Warren

      Thanks for the clarification. I could never convince myself Catholics should be packing a gun. They are only for killing. That’s what they were made for and that’s all they do. None of this guff about a gun not killing anyone but the human does. Well a man can make a finger gun for hours and hurt no one. Put a gun in his hand and you have dead people.

      • srlucado

        “[Guns] are only for killing.”

        No, they’re not. A gun can prevent violence.
        I used a handgun to prevent a crime, and I didn’t hurt anybody in the process.

    • Dave Fladlien

      “Did St. Paul and the Apostles carry swords in evangelizing?” If they didn’t, they must have had a very hard time with attacks from wolves and other predators when traveling. That’s the point, I think. Now that Jesus is not here in bodily form, we have to use the normal means of living in the world, including the two He mentioned at the Last Supper: money and weapons.

    • Paul Vander Voort

      Yes Jesus admonishes Peter but in John 18: 36 He seems to take a different position. Perhaps the difference is Peter was trying to prevent the unfolding of God’s will.

      • Howard Kainz

        Jesus seems to be emphasizing the same thing in both cases: his kingdom is not “of this world.”

        • mollysdad

          It’s the first principle of public law that a public authority can do only what the law enables it to do.

          Peter hadn’t got around to that topic yet. When you attend the King carrying a sword, remember the etiquette that no one kills, dies or draws a sword in His presence.

        • Paul Vander Voort

          Agreed, His Kingdom is not yet of this world.

          Jesus behaved as a lamb lead to the slaughter because that is why He took human form. Don’t forget, this Lamb is also a Lion.

    • mollysdad

      The significance of the incident where Peter tries to defend Jesus in the Garden is that Jesus had commanded His disciples to sell their cloak and buy a sword.

      He was seeking ceremonial sword-bearers, not a bodyguard. If a man who is a private citizen goes out accompanied by armed men, then he’s taken for a brigand.

      But if he’s a King, then that changes the map.

      Jesus is lawfully enabled for a war of extermination against Amalek, with whom He will have war from generation to generation (Exodus 17:16).

  • Thomas

    A theological version of the global warming.

  • Dave Fladlien

    I was going to sit this one out since so many of our best thinkers have said it all so well further down this page. But one remark below really compels me to try to reinforce it by repeating a comment attributed to one of the greatest military commanders of all time: George Patton. He supposedly told his new recruits something to the effect that “No dumb (expletive deleted) ever won a war by dying for his country; he won the war by making the other dumb (expletive deleted) die for *his* country.”

    So how do we reconcile this with the true glory of our genuine martyrs, who did exactly the opposite: won the war by dying themselves for Christ? I think the answer lies in the assignment at hand: the martyrs died in witness to Christ; the warriors killed in abatement of great evil (such as the holocaust or the spread of socialism). Which course is correct depends to a significant extent on which situation one is confronted with (though I recognize there are other factors in the choice as well).

    To me it will never work to approve of or condemn all fighting, all war. There is a place where it is called for, either in self defense or a just war for a just cause. But there is also a time to stand up in witness to Christ, and simply take the heat, not give it back. I think Jesus emphasized the second part — taking the heat without returning fire — just because it was a new concept to most people, whereas everyone accepted the idea of self defense and just war. I don’t think Jesus was trying to replace one concept with the other, I think He was trying to add one to the other.

    • Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D.

      You are right on the mark Dave not totally omitting just war and defense yet highlighting the focus of Christ’s teaching.

    • givelifeachance2

      It is one thing to take the heat and it is another thing to capitulate. The dhimmis capitulated to Islam, and Capitulate is what “we” (US) did to socialism (to Patton’s dismay), so now our country is socialist or more accurately Communist. So now that our country is Communist, not to mention Islamist, there is really not a legitimate “we” to fight foreign wars. It is every man (or family) for himself and people will differ according to their circumstances on self-defense. For myself I would rather take the heat than strike someone else down. In this day and age, one never knows the state of others souls that they may be dispatching for eternity. I am afraid I also feel very little backup from the Vatican for taking the heat. All I can do is look to the Church in history for backup, and to the example of the Redeemer.

  • Scott Pauline

    I think Armageddon should ultimately be understood as the chastisement, or chastisements, that arise between nations and societies themselves that have departed from God altogether. The beast and false prophet should image apostasy and the false prophet the lies of the fall.

    The frog was considered divine by the Egyptians. And a unique creature, in that it could live on land OR in the water.

    Now man there was projecting a higher nature that himself upon a brute animal. So too, does humanity, in the fall, project a higher nature than God upon itlself when it fully gives into the fall. (who is like the beast and who is able to wage war with it. I will above ascend above the most high).

    Now man can truly only survive and flourish upon the foundaiton of truth and grace, the Church, the EARTH, the FOUNDATION and GROUND of truth. In the sea, there is only drowning chaos and death. The sea can then image life without the foundaiton of God and the Church.

    Hence, the false prophet, speaking the lies of the fall, stands upon the earth, telling humanity, in subjective deception, that he can survive in the sea (worshipping the first beast in the sea) and presents such lies as upon the EARTH, as though they were foundational.(the false prophet comes out the earth)

    But in reality, the end of apostasy against the Gospel in totality is chaos tossing and death (the beast from the sea).

    Now we can interpret the frog. The frog emerges as the lies of the fall from the “mouths” of the beast, dragon, and false prophet. That is, the lies of the fall seduce humanity that it is above God, and can prosper without Him, without His truh, and grace. That is, like a frog, man is a god, above God, like the Egypticans, and man can SURVIVE in the water, without God.

    But the end of no peace with God is no peace between man. Hence, the end of throwing GOd away is humanity it total war against itself, the corruption, the collapse of peace, and the destruction and fall of such civs that embrace these lies: “Armageddon.”

  • Lancelot Blackeburne

    Interesting article.

    When one considers that the Middle East was once home to Christian churches, like the Nestorian and the Syriac which, at once time, were larger and more influential that the Roman Catholic church and that those Middle Eastern churches are now either gone completely or are a small remnant of what they once were, there is some validity in this argument.

    Those Middle Eastern churches disappeared, or were reduced in size, because of organized persecution by Muslims. Read Bat Ye’or, Philip Jenkins and other writers if you doubt this history.

    Since Islam has either wiped out Middle Eastern churches or reduced the Middle Eastern Christian churches to a small remnant of what they once were – with ISIS enthusiastically continuing the work – the last paragraph of this article is quite plausible based on historical precedent.

    On the other hand, forewarned is forearmed. Our churches really need to develop a doctrine of Christian self defense if they want to avoid the fate described in the last paragraph.

    • Chris in Maryland

      We already have a doctrine of just war and self-defense…unfortunately its given by tradition…so it has no standing in the anti-traditional “contemporary-Church.”

      • Lancelot Blackeburne

        As I understand the just war doctrine, it requires a government or legitimate secular power to pursue the war. Am I wrong in thinking that?

        If that’s true, then the church can’t take defensive military measures on its own; it has to rely on a secular power to do it.

        I don’t see many governments or secular powers lining up to defend Christians these days.

        • Chris in Maryland

          LB: Well I certainly agree that governments and secular powers aren’t.

          My main point is that the “contemporary-Church” isn’t lining up to urge governments to defend Christians. The “contemporary-Church” grooms its guilty conscience with “the prayer of the faithful” – to commend our fellow Christians…and all others being slaughtered and raped…to the care of the “United Nations.”

          That way – the “contemporary Church” can focus on the new sacraments of gender theory and the environment.

          • Lancelot Blackeburne

            I see your point there.

            I agree that Christian churches really need to take a far more assertive stance in defense of Christians and Christianity. It will probably come down to individual Christians to speak out and be very vocal about this.

          • absconde_me

            Agreed LB

      • mollysdad

        The Jews also have a doctrine of holy war against Amalek, a doctrine Our Lord never changed and which is the scriptural foundation of the crusading tradition.

        • Lancelot Blackeburne

          I’m not familiar with that Amalek doctrine. I’ll look it up.

          • mollysdad

            Exodus 17:16; Deuteronomy 25:17-19; 1 Samuel 15; Psalms 83.

          • Lancelot Blackeburne

            Thanks. I looked it up online so I’ve got the basic idea, but I’ll check out these specific citations.

  • Chris in Maryland

    To fight in a just war to defend victims and would-be victims from aggressors is an act of Love. – St. Thomas Aquinas

  • Tom Williams

    Great insight. Jesus died and rose again. Scripture says “unless we die with Him we cannot live with Him.” The Church as His Body has been on a 2000 year journey towards this end. Is now the time? I don’t know….just keep praying and living one day at a time. The show The Mission comes to mind of a final confrontation ….both priests die in the end one holding The Blessed Sacrament the other a rifle……I think they both ended up in the same place.

  • Fides

    It is with some amazement I read your column and the attendant comments. I am somewhat disappointed in you all.
    The Christian warrior is and has been defined. Why can you not remember the definition? Why do you all insist on pretending there is no defined and pragmatic practice to the defense of life?
    Mr. Kainz, you have written a number of things that have great meaning and bear reading because they lead men to examine the truth.
    Be consistent, be persistent in your writing to lead others to recognize the the true nature of the Christian warrior. Many forget, Christs friend Peter, with great courage, stood his ground and pragmatically defended his friend. He placed his life on the line. He was prepared and pragmatic. He also took orders well when Christ asked him to follow — to be be a part of the Passion, for our salvation.
    Suffice it to say there are different levels in the warriors preparation — speak to that.
    The number of helpless victims I have stood in front of in their defense at the risk of my life — it is the morally right act. Who do you think you are to so cavalierly doubt the acts of bravery — both moral and physical that are taking place daily — do you ever stop to think, to witness, to help in those efforts—and the physical skill and practice that are so necessary? I always teach that the Good Samaritan did not just happen. The moral act of taking care of the fellow robbed was possible because he was prepared to do so.– morally and pragmatically.
    Re think this proposition. Speak the truth, speak to the elements of development and maintenance of physical and mental skills coupled with the moral practice.
    There will come a time when good men, after a great many battles, unhinge the gates that keeps people oppressed in this current crisis— ask the few left with tattoos on their arms — what we are witnessing in the world today is very similar — I for one will have the ability to say that I knew and did what i could to stop the horror — Patton had a lot of saying — the most basic was preparation. Christ had a lot of things to say — the most basic was to prepare. We have great examples of Christian warriors — St. Joan — we also have great examples of cowardice — who provided the match for her martyrdom? Rethink your comment in 2nd para.

    • Howard Kainz

      Fides, this column emphasized the all-pervasive emphasis on peace in Christianity, in contrast to a religion condoning violence and forced conversions. But your reference to St. Joan of Arc was appropriate. Soldiers, policemen, and other “Christian warriors” can be committed to peace by their vocation. My comment in the second paragraph was to bring out the fact that a religion’s commitment to peace can be exploited by malevolent forces.

      • Fides

        i enjoy your writing. My comment about St. Joan was to emphasize that her betrayers were on our team. The hallmark of Christian worldly controversy is steeped in betrayal.
        Obviously we all have that in common with our fallen nature — but in training as a Christian warrior we have the added problem of realizing that the Church, instituted by Christ, is run by the same — of fallen nature. it is in this realization, that we have an allegiance to a less than perfectly run Church that we need to prepare, train and practice.our allegiance. The informing of conscience, the availing of grace, the granting of wisdom and courage to cooperate with that grace is a method and practice that we have through the Church — the martyrdom of St. Joan is a worthy study for any warrior of the faith. ( Obviously we have many — ) I am not as readily capable to acquiesces to the enlightened view that Christianity is an ‘all-pervasive practice of peace’. Can’t see my way clear to that when I know for certain that to take up the cross puts me at odds with those that condone violence of action to oppress— sometimes those are on my own team. I will grant you that the Christian warrior will and ought to bow to men of goodwill — but that the warrior reserves the obligation to determine that—enough of this — back to work.

        Can’t encourage you enough to keep up the writing. The invitation to all to think and act upon those thoughts and convictions is the key to Christian evangilization.

  • mollysdad

    What this means is a rewrite of several scriptures and prophecies.

    First, it means that the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary has been called off.

    Second, it means that the gates of hell will prevail against the Church, in that ISIS will conquer the world and destroy the Jews and the Christians, and Islam will have a religious monopoly.

    Third, it means that the conversion of the Jews toward the end of the the will not happen.

    If this scenario is correct, the only hope for the defeat of the Islamic State is that the nations will unleash nuclear war against the Muslim world, not in defense of Christianity, but in defense of ordered government.

    This can be justified in terms of the ancient biblical law which the Jews receive as binding, which Jesus lived by and which he didn’t change: the mitzvah to exterminate the seed of Amalek, the genocidal enemy of the people of God.

    • Howard Kainz

      In Christian eschatology, the Antichrist will be defeated. But when, and how, is unclear — especially to the millions of Christians now facing death, exile and slavery at the hands of ISIS and kindred assailants who claim that they are “doing a service to God (Jn. 16:2)”.

      • mollysdad

        This isn’t quite the day of the Antichrist. When he’s at large, everyone on earth without exception will overtly follow Christ or the Antichrist – there will be no other religions. Before the end of history, Christ will wage war on earth against His human enemy Amalek (Revelation 19). That season is now.

  • Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D.

    I should have quoted the complete text of the Catholic Catechism in my response to Ana below. 2265 Legitimate defense can not only be a right but a grave duty for someone responsible for another’s life, the common good of the family or of the state. Although 2309 Avoiding War gives strict conditions the obligation to serve in the military 2239 clearly condones a just defensive war.