Atheist Soldier Highlights Need for Spiritual Fitness
As previously noted, the US Army uses the now-controversial Global Assessment Tool to help Soldiers self-assess their emotional, social, family, and spiritual fitness. The spiritual fitness portion is intended to measure meaning, purpose, and connectedness.
In his complaints, an atheist Soldier may have identified the very need for such efforts he is trying to dismiss:
Not all of the spiritual questions are offensive, he said. He didn’t mind being asked whether he has a purpose in life. But he balked at the idea of being closely tied to all of humanity and all of the world when part of a soldier’s job may be to kill another human.
Exactly! That “moral conflict” is something each Soldier needs to address. The US Army doesn’t want its hundreds of thousands of Soldiers disconnecting from humanity or de-humanizing their adversaries. Even in America’s short history, such attitudes have led to untold atrocities. This Soldier’s response?
[This question] reeks of theological woo…
If I am closely connected to all humanity, then how do I reconcile the fact that is potentially my job to kill some of them? This is disturbing, illogical, and I want it to go away.
“That question to me sounds like ‘Me and my closest six billion friends are hanging out playing Nintendo,’” [he] said with a laugh.
This question is impossible to answer anything but 1 out of 5 in an intellectually honest way, no matter what your religious preference is.
Because its “disturbing” he wants it to “go away?” War is “disturbing” and we may all wish it would “go away,” but that doesn’t change the need for Soldiers to understand their moral place in war.
Is it a moral dichotomy to kill another human being while feeling connected to humanity and valuing human life? Absolutely! That disconnect — that spiritual conflict — is what makes us human, and restrains us from unnecessary violence and wanton destruction. The Army doesn’t want its Soldiers’ understandings of humanity to “go away” – they want them to be understood.
The atheist Soldier intended to mockingly highlight the “contradiction” of the Army’s questionnaire in order to dismiss it.
Instead, he has highlighted the very useful and effective reason for which it is intended.