A view from the trenches

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wgusapukc's picture
A view from the trenches

A view from the trenches

I just got a hit of Moses in a meme and it brought up a funny situation I thought I would share.
When I was in the army I had this priest stand before us. I was raised in the big 'c', and though I had fire and brimstone priests, most had been "Jesus the hippy" leaning.
I'd spat out the 'body and blood' long before this, so I was simply happy not to be doing pushups.
This guy, a 'man of god', told us very matter-of-factly that 'yes 'big 10, number 5' say no killing, but that doing so in 'god's' name is not just acceptable, but just and will be lauded'. That we were doing 'gods work' with bombs and bayonets.
Further he stated that the way to make it in 'god's' name was post extermination/wholesale slaughter, you just gotta bend the priests ear, spew a couple prayers, and all is right as rain.
'Washed away'.
To kill the next question he informed us he or someone like him will be giving last rights right there in the trenches. So 'kill, not just with impunity, but the 'holy blessing', get killed we got your back, salvation is assured'.
The song we ended the 'good word' with was 'god is love'. Then back to the PT.
A different guy with a collar blessed our M-16s later.
"The love of god will protect you with this instrument of his power" then a splash of 'holy H2O' and all was right in the World.
God is love.

Good luck out there

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Sheldon's picture
For all I despise religions

For all I despise religions and religious belief, you have to admit they're pragmatic.

If they can justify endemic child abuse after all, slavery, genocide, the Inquisition, what's a few dead during war time.

Pragmatic see...

That's the whole point of having strict "objective" moral codes. So you can break them with impunity and a shrug of the shoulders, adopt faux humility, and a sneering piety when you explain to the idiot atheists that "god works in mysterious ways" and free will is more important to him than stopping suffering. Even the rape of a child has to be put in perspective see.

Cognostic's picture
Makes perfect sense to me....

Makes perfect sense to me.... I have read the Old Testament. Butcher, maim, destroy, Kill, murder, rape, slaughter animals, kill children, cut open the stomachs of pregnant women and do it all for the LOVE OF GOD. It's the CHRISTIAN WAY.

Grinseed's picture
I thought it was for real

I thought it was for real estate.

Sky Pilot's picture


"This guy, a 'man of god', told us very matter-of-factly that 'yes 'big 10, number 5' say no killing, but that doing so in 'god's' name is not just acceptable, but just and will be lauded'. That we were doing 'gods work' with bombs and bayonets"

Your priest didn't know his ass from a hole in the ground when it came to the Ten Commandments. The real Ten Commandments do not say anything about not killing. The Fifth Commandment is actually about working for six days and sitting on your ass on the seventh day (Exodus 34:21) The rule about not killing is just another law. No one in the Old Testament ever paid it any attention, including nutty Moses.

arakish's picture
Actually, the 5th commandment

Actually, the 5th commandment about having to give up the firstborn of your herds.

The True Ten Commandments of the Bible

Exodus 34:14-26 [27-28]

[1st] {14} “For you shall worship no other god; for Yahweh, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.

[2nd] {15} “Don’t make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, lest they play the prostitute after their gods, and sacrifice to their gods, and one call you and you eat of his sacrifice; {16} and you take of their daughters to your sons, and their daughters play the prostitute after their gods, and make your sons play the prostitute after their gods.

[3rd] {17} “You shall make no molten idols for yourselves.

[4th] {18} “You shall keep the feast of unleavened bread. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month Abib; for in the month Abib you came out of Egypt.

[5th] {19} “All that opens the womb is mine; and all your livestock that is male, the firstborn of cow and sheep. {20} You shall redeem the firstborn of a donkey with a lamb. If you will not redeem it, then you shall break its neck. You shall redeem all the firstborn of your sons. No one shall appear before me empty.

[6th] {21} “Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest: in plowing time and in harvest you shall rest.

[7th] {22} “You shall observe the feast of weeks with the first fruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of harvest at the year’s end. {23} Three times in the year all your males shall appear before the Lord Yahweh, the God of Israel. {24} For I will drive out nations before you and enlarge your borders; neither shall any man desire your land when you go up to appear before Yahweh, your God, three times in the year.

[8th] {25} “You shall not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leavened bread. The sacrifice of the feast of the Passover shall not be left to the morning.

[9th] {26} “You shall bring the first of the first fruits of your ground to the house of Yahweh your God.

[10th] “You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.”

And this where they ARE actually called The Ten Commandments in the Bible...

{27} Yahweh said to Moses, “Write these words; for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.”

{28} He was there with Yahweh forty days and forty nights; he neither ate bread, nor drank water. He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, The Ten Commandments.


Sky Pilot's picture


"Actually, the 5th commandment about having to give up the firstborn of your herds."

Sorry but it is off to Sunday school for you. The 5th Commandment is Exodus 34:21 which says to work 6 days and to sit on your ass on the 7th day. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36g3auOm9HA == go to 32:32 timeline.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkCJ8rb8Grw == go to 7:42 timeline

It is easy to get confused when reading Exodus 34:11-28 because of the format. The Commandments are not listed in the same format that the laws are listed in Exodus 20:1-17. For instance, the 9th & 10th Commandments are both written in Exodus 34:26. That is the fault of the writer who formatted the story into numbered verses.

So review the videos and read the verses again.

arakish's picture


You are wrong. Look again at how I have them formatted.


Sky Pilot's picture


Your format is wrong.

The First Commandment starts with the prelude in verse 11 and ends with verse 16. Most of the biblical stories revolve around the First Commanment. The First Commandment says to invade other people's land and to destroy their religious artifacts so that the Israelites won't intermix with the indigenous people they are doing genocides against.

The Second Commandment is verse 17. No molded gods.

The Third Commandment is the ethnocentric one in verse 18 about the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

The Fourth Commandment includes verses 19 & 20 about the male firstborn, redeeming them (like paying a tax) and bringing cash or loot when appearing before God (the chief priest).

The Fifth Commandment is verse 21, which says to work 6 days and to sit on your ass on the 7th day. Violation of that will get you killed.

The Sixth Commandment is the ethnocentric ones about the Feast of Weeks and the Feast of Ingathering in verse 22.

The Seventh Commandment is in verses 23 & 24, about the Israelite men making a mandatory appearance three times a year before God. If no one has seen God how would they have known that they were before him?

The Eight Commandment is another ethnocentric commandment involving the Feast of the Passover in verse 25.

The Ninth Commandment in verse 26 is an extortion one making the people turn over the firstfruits of their labor to the non-working priests.

The Tenth Commandment, which is also included in verse 26 due to sloppy formatting, says not to boil a young goat in its mothers milk.

The easy way to identify the Commandments in the jumble of those verses is to find the word "shall" or "shalt" used in the KJV & NKJV and other versions. You will find that there is more than 10 "shalls" in the verbiage but some of them are subsets of the first "shall" sentence. When the sentence contains the word "shall" (or "shalt") it is a mandatory commandment and not optional.

Other Bible versions use words like "must" and "don't" in place of "shall" and "shalt". Some even throw in the word "should" which suggests a suggestion instead of a commandment. The result is the same.

Grinseed's picture
Mark Twain's War Prayer seems

Mark Twain's War Prayer seems appropriate just about now.

“Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth into battle — be Thou near them! With them — in spirit — we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander unfriended in the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames in summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it —

For our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet!

We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen."

Taken from a short story of the same name: Mark Twain's War Prayer

David Killens's picture
Before each battle you will

Before each battle you will find the sky pilots exhorting everyone to prevail, and after, telling everyone it was a good cause. Death and religion have made themselves bed mates.


LogicFTW's picture
@orignal post by wgusapukc

@orignal post by wgusapukc

At least by my opinion, you have hit upon one of the core reasons and true purposes of religion.

In war's past, you won wars: sure, by superior tactics and tech, but a core component of wars past, especially country versus country, army versus army, is morale and more importantly the morale/willingness of a "disposable" front line of the army.

How do you convince a small particular group of people to stand in front? To be the ones that if anyone dies or gets grievously injured, it will most assuredly be them? How do you make this line of disposable people not break rank and run and leave a gaping hole for your more important and expensive ranged army, cavalry, or dare say general/leader actually get exposed? Especially in a scenario where these people in front are attacking another country, on another land? How many people without the promise of heaven going to risk almost certain life long injury/death to go fight on some battlefield in some land they never been to?

Religion of course! Tell them it is their god given mission and a shortcut to an unproven paradise idea. Much easier to convince people almost certain grievous injury and lost of life if you can convince it is simply a shortcut to paradise and morally right? And that they will one day see their families and friends again.

Of course in modern times war does not really work like that anymore. Certainly in the age of US military total dominance that can strike anywhere in the world inside 24 hours, you are not going to see "lines" and army vs army. The last time the US faced an actual organized army, (that I know of) Desert Storm, it was not a battle at all, the Iraqi army surrendered and fled as soon as US troops crossed the border, with almost zero fight put up at all. And ofcourse why would they, the fight would of been about as one sided as they come, with the Iraqi army being close to a "bug on the windshield." And they knew they could still keep their religion ideas.

So now we see guerrilla warfare tactics instead, and religion has evolved and changed with it. Now it is "terrorism" and using religion as a tool to "resist" against an overwhelming opponent and engage in suicidal tactics by making it morally okay to followers to use churches, hospitals, holy/historic sites, and women/children as "human shields."

Just another reason why religion needs to go away. Without it, we would see a lot less war and death as people's own self preservation instincts would be given a chance to kick in.


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Sky Pilot's picture


Humans love to die for their favorite causes. It is an integral part of human behavior. It works great during wartimewhen a lot of people are needed to further the goals of the 1%'ers but it is also useful in regular criminal gangs. Anytime you watch a crime story you see it in action. The dumb gang members readily put themselves at risk just because the boss tells them to while he sits back giving them orders.

No religion is required to explain that behavior. It is elemental human behavior that is part of our daily lives.

LogicFTW's picture
True, there are plenty of

True, there are plenty of cases, like your gang example, but I imagine you would find very few cases in war's past where the guys on the front line were not at least in part religiously motivated or felt protected by various religious ideas.

I don't think it is anywhere in human nature to be standing in the front lines of an army, to charge in to very likely major pain and suffering and likely horrible death and to be "fodder" that protects the more valuable military units on pure human nature alone they need either the carrot idea of god and morality on their side or the stick of enslavement, pay, starvation etc. Or quite frequently both carrot and stick. (Takes a lot to get people to charge headlong to their imminent demise especially if they are given time to "think about it." And likely never even met the person that gave the ultimate order to fight.



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▮   Please include @LogicFTW in responses directed to me.    ▮
▮        Useful list on forum usage. A.R. Member since 2016.      ▮

algebe's picture
The catholic chaplain who

The catholic chaplain who blessed the Enola Gay went back to Hiroshima in the 1980s, presumably in search of forgiveness. I don't think he found it there. People might be able to forgive their former enemies for acts done in the heat of war, but a priest blessing weapons of mass destruction is a different thing.

Sky Pilot's picture


If you were going to kill 100,000 people would you do it in hand-to-hand combat or get efficient and use a weapon of mass destruction? Which way is less risky to you? In wars the aim is generally to kill the dummies instead of the leaders because you want the leaders to be alive and kicking so that they can surrender. If we had concentrated on killing the leaders then the dummies wouldn't have anyone in authority to surrender on their behalf. The leaders could have protected the dummies but they were too arrogant to do it and were willing to let then continue to bear the price of war. So blame their leaders instead of the bomb.

algebe's picture
@Diotrephes: If you were

@Diotrephes: If you were going to kill 100,000 people would you do it in hand-to-hand combat or get efficient and use a weapon of mass destruction?

In purely numerical terms, I'd agree that the nukes were the least costly way of ending the war. They also had the added benefit of frightening the Soviets away from trying to invade all or part of Japan. And it's thanks to nuclear weapons that I wasn't called up to fight in World War III and my son in World War IV. Of course, that's little comfort for those injured or bereaved by the A-bombs.

But the blessing of weapons by a priest seems like the perfect illustration of the hyprocrisy of Christianity. While some priests were blessing bombers for the USA, others were celebrating Adolf Hitler's birthday from their pulpits.

Sky Pilot's picture


The Germans were Christians so why wouldn't they claim that God was on their side?

From WWI =


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