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  • I'm a retired professional man, living in the Midwestern United States. This blog is a personal blog and is not directly connected with my former professional practice (although I may draw upon my professional experiences, as well as my personal experiences, in writing my blog posts). This is a place for personal, not professional, opinions.

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Kyle Cupp

"That said, it seems to me that this is an issue (the use of violence to oppose evil in this world) on which a person should not err. It seems to me that deciding incorrectly has eternal consequences. It seems to me that the pacifist stands as much chance of burning in hell if he or she is wrong as does the soldier who raises the rifle and fires a round that hits home."

Error can certainly lead to sin - ask Boromir - but there mere incorrect decision to use or not use violence in this world doesn't, in my opinion, direct the soul one way or another. Perhaps I say this because I frankly don't know the answer to this problem, and while I lean toward the pacifist position on philosophically technical grounds, I can't deny the heroism and virtue of the soldier. Hell, my favorite literary archetype is the saintly badass.

One of the spiritual dangers of both positions is the same: a failure to take responsibility. Both killing and the refusal to kill have temporal consequences (at least), and both he who kills and he who refuses to kill bear responsibility for what they do or don't do and, to an extent, for the consequences. Neither the pacifist nor the soldier should be dead to the lives lost from their actions. They should both live with what they've done. And remember. Seems to me that is exactly what the soldier you quote is doing.

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