Over at the Forgotten Ways I recently made the observation that just war theology is heavily intertwined with Constantinianism. I prefer a more subversive path. If I could indulge in rephrasing a popular saying, Christ calls us to be in the state but not of the state; to be a contrast community, not a co-dependant community. Am I being too provocative? Consider just when and how just war theology arose. Missional ecclesiology for me necessarily involves a rejection of the way of the sword in favour of the way of the cross.

17 thoughts on “Just War Theology as Constantinian Hangover

  1. What do you mean by “contrast community” in this regard?
    I found your “codependent community” label interesting. I haven’t heard that in regard to the church, though I think it is often exactly that.

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  2. COMPREHENSIVE VIEW OF SCIENCE OF RELIGION (THEOLOGY)
    I have written following two papers which may lead to the realization for a higher theory of everything:
    (i) Gravitation Force is the Ultimate Creator,
    (1st Int. Conf. on Revival of Traditional Yoga, Lonavla Yoga Institute, Lonavla, January, 2006)
    (ii) In Scientific Terminology, Source of Gravitational Wave is God
    (2nd World Congress on Vedic Science, BHU, Varanasi, Feb 2007)
    I have presented these two papers at the two different International Conferences. I am now submitting some views for being considered for Unified Field Theory
    From Scriptures:
    The Current which manifested in the beginning of the creation is the Current of Sabda (Sound) and of Chaitanya (Consciousness). From whom that Current issued forth is known as Soami (Supreme Being). This Current, by turning back can merge again in the Holy Feet of Supreme Being. The entire creation manifested from this current and is sustained with its energy and when the Current of the Holy Feet is withdrawn, the creation ceases to exist.This Current of the Holy Feet is the Reservoir of all energy, tastes and pleasures, knowledge, skill, shapes, forces and light etc. etc. and of the entire creation, is also the Creator of all of them.
    From Science:
    Gravitation Force is the cause of manifestation of the creation (birth of planets, stars), its sustenance and when it is withdrawn towards centre or source the entire creation ceases to exist. Photons have originated from gravitons. In black holes photons merge into gravitons. In Black Holes, Gravitational Force is so high that it does not allow even light to escape. What does it mean then? It simply means that the gravitational force at black-holes attracts light towards it with much greater velocity than the speed of light. In fact, all forces including electromagnetic force, material force (strong and weak nuclear force) all merge into gravitational force in black-holes and becomes one force there and when the creational process starts again from a Black-Hole all the forces appear (manifest) again and descends downwards to create billions of stars, planets, satellite, asteroids and various life forms.
    Hence it can be assumed that the Current of Chaitanya (Consciousness) and Gravitational Wave are the two names of the same Supreme Essence (Seed) which has brought forth the entire creation.
    All cosmological researches should be conducted keeping in view of the following philosophical facts:
    It has been stated in Bible (John I-1) “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,”
    The Radhasoami Religion also tells that, the ‘Word’ mentioned above is in fact Current of Sound or Current of Consciousness or Prime Current of Spirituality which was issued forth from its Source, or Creator or God. This Current has later on produced light and other forces. The scientists are discussing these days about dark energy which constitute about 96% of the entire universe which is not known to us. Only 4% part of the universe is known to us by all scientific means. In fact this 96% invisible portion of the universe is the vast expanse of spirituality which can be designated as field of gravitational waves in scientific terms. Visible portion of the universe (4%) consists of consciousness (gravitational force), mental force (electromagnetic waves) and material force (strong and weak nuclear force).
    Body = Nuclear Force (weak as well as strong)
    Mind = Electromagnetic Force.
    Consciousness = Gravitation Force.
    According to Radhasoami Religion the whole Universe can be sub-divided into three grand divisions viz.
    1. Region of Pure Spirituality
    2. Region of Subtle Maya
    3. Region of Gross Maya
    Nuclear forces dominate Region of Gross Maya (Gross Material Region), Electro-magnetic forces dominate Region of Subtle Maya (Subtle Material Region) and Gravitational Force dominates Pure Spiritual Region.
    This is the only Truth which can be verified scientifically and can be termed as ‘higher theory for everything’. This also supports the statement of Sir Sahabji Maharaj the goal of science – Truth; the goal of philosophy – Ultimate Reality; and the goal of religion – God are the three names of same supreme essence.
    1. Many things are common between Current of Consciousness and Gravitational Wave.
    1. Current of consciousness can not be seen by any means and gravitational wave can also not be seen.
    2. Current of consciousness is the weakest force on earth. Its strength goes on increasing on higher regions. Gravitational force is also very weak on earth and strong on Sun and even more stronger on black holes.
    3 Tendency of both current of consciousness and gravitational waves are towards their source or centre.
    4. Current of consciousness and gravitational force are both regarded as the creater of all the celestial and terrestrial bodies of the whole universe. They are also sustainer of these and when they turn back towards their source or centre the whole universe will collapse.
    Hence it can be assumed that the source of current of consciousness and gravitational wave is the same i.e. God or ultimate creator.
    This theory is based on scientific deduction. All other theories appear to be work of imaginative thinking and sometimes do not satisfy the criteria of scientific verification. In scientific terms it can be said that the ‘gravitons’ are the elementary
    particle which was issued forth in the beginning of the creation accompanying with sound ‘Radha’
    =====================================
    Mind and brain are two distinct things. Brain is anatomical entity whereas mind is functional entity. Mind can be defined as the function of autonomic nervous system (ANS). It is claimed that mind can be brought under conscious control through the practice of meditation. But how? ANS is largely under hypothalamic control which is situated very close to optic chiasma (sixth chakra or ajna chakra). Protracted practice of concentration to meditate at this region brings functions of ANS say mind under one’s conscious control.
    ANS is further divided into parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS) and sympathetic nervous system (SNS). On the basis of these facts I have discovered a mathematical relationship for spiritual quotient (S.Q.). Spiritual Quotient can be expressed mathematically as the ratio of Parasympathetic dominance to Sympathetic dominance. PSNS dominates during meditative calm and SNS dominates during stress. In this formula we assign numerical values to the physiological parameters activated or suppressed during autonomic mobilization and put in the formula to describe the state of mind of an individual and also infer his/her level of consciousness.
    Protracted practice of meditation under qualified guidance will help to manage all sort of psychological problems.
    Emotional Quotient can also be expressed mathematically as the product of I.Q. and Wisdom Factor.
    Anirudh Kumar Satsangi

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  3. I think what Matt means by Constantinianism in the warfare context has to do with the unholy `marriage’ partnership of church & state. Leading to state-religion run religious wars involving Christendom.

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  4. Missed something last comment. A marriage of Church & State occurred during the reign of King Constantine, a (debatably) Christian Roman Emperor in the 4th century AD roughly. It effected how the Church interpreted war, just war, colonialism and so many other things besides.
    However, the invention of State-Religion and religious wars pre-dated Constantine, and also involved other religions as well throughout history.

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  5. Yes, what I mean by Constantinianism is Christianity that (con)fuses church and state; what I mean by Christendom is its practical realization. Though it is reasonable to describe ourselves as being in a post-Christendom era, Constantinian thinking lingers on.
    We see it whenever non-Christian couples bemoan churches for not accomodating their every whim for wedding services (as if they’re obliged to serve society) and whenever Christians bemoan governments for not supporting prayer in schools (as if they’re obliged to privilage Christianity).
    Constantinian assumptions effect how people view mission. Where national citizenship and church membership is confused, mission is directed primarily overseas, at lands beyond the bounds of empire. Constantinian assumptions effect how people see eschatology. Where national agendas are confused with church agendas the Kingdom of God tends to be neutered by either pushing it entirely into a different world (as in spiritualization) or pushing it entirely into a different era (as in dispensationalism). And of course Constantinian assumptions effect how people view war. Constantinianism insists Christians must do more than peacefully submit to the state, Christians must violently defend it’s agenda as a religious obligation. A hallmark of Constantinianism is political rhetoric of God being on “our side” with inadequate definition as to whether the church or the state is being referred to.
    Constantianism is church and state in codependant relationship. I read Christ as calling us to something different however, to bear witness to a new reality thru being a different sort of community.

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  6. Anirudh Kumar Satsangi,
    “Hence it can be assumed…” That’s an interesting phrase. I would never have thought of using “hence” (implying reasoned argument) and “it can be assumed” (implying something that is self evident with no reasoning required) in the same sentance.
    You’ve expanded my knowledge though. I had not heard of the Radha Soami religion before this. Was just looking it up on Google. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radhasoami
    Two million adherants! Mostly in India? You’ll have to explain more to me about your understanding of John 1:1. Are you aware of how a Christian might interpret that Christian scriptural passage?

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  7. “Missional ecclesiology for me necessarily involves a rejection of the way of the sword in favour of the way of the cross.”
    – I think you are exactly right Matt, and agree that the church should become a community- and co-dependent in the best sense upon God and one another. This will necessarily include us speaking against violence, enforced poverty and other forms of oppression…

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  8. Commenting further on the Forgotten Ways I also said, “Are we so sure just war theory will provide Australians and Americans with adequate theological resources when a home grown Hilter comes along?” That’s the crux of the matter for me, at least from the practical side. Because Ive seen no evidence for it.

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  9. Matt Stone
    All scriptures combined or alone belong to humanity at large and not to a single community. Every scripture communicate the same message which is eternal. We should understand it in spirit and content.
    Thank you for your querry and response

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  10. Anirudh, the Christian scriptures speak of the hope of resurrection, the Hindu scriptures speak of the curse of reincarnation. While I acknowledge convergences between different sciptures honesty requires me to equally acknowledge the divergences. As for the scriptures ‘belonging’ to a community or even humanity as a whole, I have to differ on both accounts. True scripture transcends human ownership wouldn’t you say?

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  11. Wish you a very Happy New Year Matt Stone. Hindu scriptures do not speak only about curse of reincarnation. They also speak for Efforts for Redemption (Moksha) or Liberation from bondage of all kinds. Please try to understand everything in totality

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  12. Matt.
    The following post will clear your doubts and you will be able to comprehend Hinduism in a better way, I hope:
    Excerpt from “The Yoga of Physics” by Fritjof Capra, his keynote address at the Los Angels symposium on Physics and Metaphysics, on October 29, 1977 is given below for reference.
    “What is the nature and origin of the universe? what is space? what is time? Throughout the ages men and women have been fascinated by these questions. Different approaches have been developed in different cultural contexts and at different times.”
    “We shall look at modern Western science, on the one hand , and Eastern mysticism – particularly the tradition of Yoga – on the other. We shall see that they lead to very similar views of the world.”
    “My field is Physics, a science which, in the 20th century, has led to a radical revision of many of our basic concepts of reality.”
    “In the Yoga tradition it is said that there are many paths, all leading to spiritual knowledge and Self-Realization. I believe that modern physics, to some extent, can be such a path. Its view of the universe is in harmony with those of the great yogis and sages. In that sense, I’m going to talk of the Yoga of Physics.”

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  13. Anirudh, I am conversant with the Hindu hope for moksha and “The Yoga of Physics” by Fritjof Capra. The fact remains, the Christian hope of resurrection is vastly different. Please try to understand everything I am trying to say in totality. Respect for different religions includes respecting the differences.

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