Letter Inspires Responses: God’s Role in Combat

A letter to the editor at the Stars and Stripes complained of offense when the paper quoted a soldier apparently expressing a belief in God (discussed here). The “non-believer’s” letter spawned a spate of responses.

Three responses directly addressed the original letter writer’s question.  The first attempted to explain the sovereignty of God by pitting free will versus God’s will, a complicated subject at best for the opinion section of a newspaper.  A second letter also taught a theological lesson, as well as bluntly communicating a Christian message.

The third addressed a more basic concept in the original letter, noting that God has allowed many to die–and live–when man cannot comprehend why.  The first sergeant makes an astute observation about the self-contradiction of the initial complaint: 

So many people blame God for death, sadness and their failures, yet they don’t even know him…If people would read the Bible, they would see the believer often suffers and is killed (yes, God lets believers die, too). Everyone will die at some point. But nonbelievers expect us to think that, if there was a God, he would not allow anyone to die in a war.

So when is God supposed to allow us to die? Are we all supposed to die in our sleep after a long life for there to be proof of God?

The final writer noted the irony of an atheist (or someone who “chooses not to believe”) being offended by what someone else believes (as was also noted here):

It seems to me that, as a nonbeliever or unbeliever, one’s concern for another’s belief in “fairy tales,” “mythology” or what have you, would rattle your ire no more than one’s ardent belief that chocolate is better than vanilla.

As with the culture it represents, religion is also a “hot topic” in the military, as the readership-sensitive Stars and Stripes certainly appreciates.