Reports on the American Soldier Studies, with data gathered immediately following World War II, indicate Soldiers relied on prayer more — and other ideals less — as battles got tough. The study is entitled “Are There Atheists in Foxholes? Combat Intensity and Religious Behavior:”
The American Soldier studies were conducted by the Army’s Information and Education Division. An upcoming analysis of that data, to be published in the Journal of Religion and Health, finds when soldiers reported that battles became “more frightening,” as many as 72 percent of them turned to prayer as their primary source of motivation. When battles were Read more
For the second year in a row, the biography of a military Christian has made the Chief of Staff of the Air Force’s official “Reading List.” Last year, it was Unbroken, the story of Louis Zamperini, the Olympic athlete turned bombardier turned POW — a man who eventually became a Christian and returned to meet his former torturers.
This year, General Mark Welsh’s first list contains Lee Ellis’ Leading with Honor, previously reviewed here. The Air Force write up says
How did American military leaders in the brutal POW camps Read more
Matthew Hutson at the Huffington Post has an interesting article on the research conducted by the University of Otago in New Zealand which attempted to quantify the effect of the threat of death on supernatural belief. In other words, is it true there are no atheists in foxholes?
The researchers used a “supernatural belief scale” to try to quantify the spiritual beliefs of test subjects:
In their first study, they asked subjects to write about what will happen to them when they die, or what happens when they watch TV. Then Read more
Leading with Honor, Leadership Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton, is a unique and outstanding book by former prisoner of war Lee Ellis, an F-4 pilot who spent nearly six years in POW camps in Vietnam. Its stated intent is to pass on “leadership” lessons from the “crucible of captivity.” In truth, it is much more than that: It teaches lessons that are applicable to all of life.
Ellis, who was a 1st Lt at the time, was on his 53rd mission over North Vietnam Read more
Capt Barry Crawford was recently awarded the Air Force cross by US Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz for his actions in Afghanistan in May 2010. The Air Force cross is second only to the Medal of Honor, and Crawford became only the third living recipient of the award since September 11, 2001. The Air Force special tactics officer and his small team fought a pitched 14-hour battle with more than 100 Taliban insurgents — with Crawford exposing himself to fire to assist in the evacuation of wounded.
Crawford credited “someone higher Read more
The National Catholic Register ran a piece on military chaplains entitled “Profiles in Courage: Military Chaplains,” documenting the roles and experiences of Catholic chaplains in the US military. While it noted the typical shortage, it also highlighted a surge of new volunteers:
The Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA reported a sharp jump this year in the number of seminarians interested in serving as military chaplains. As the 2011-2012 academic year begins, there are 31 military-affiliated seminarians nationwide, up from three just three years ago.
The article also profiled four military chaplains Read more
US Army Sergeant Justin Griffith has recently been named the “military director” of American Atheists, the group founded by Madalyn Murray O’Hair (the famous atheist who tried to take on NASA).
He proudly announced that his “first act” was to arm his “fellow foxhole atheists” with “humor” to fight the “condescending theist” statement “there are no atheists in foxholes.” To wit (formatting original):
Technically, there really are no Chaplains in foxholes (in the US military.) They are designated ‘non combatants’, are not assigned a weapon, and are not supposed to be on the front lines of a battlefield. If they somehow stumbled into a foxhole, it would cease being a fighting position. It would simply be a hole…
In the hopes of this becoming a meme that eventually kills the offensive statement altogether, I pass it on to you. I encourage all of my fellow service members to use it. Use it respectfully, but fearlessly. You are right. They are wrong.
Unfortunately, Griffith is wrong, and his attempt at wit falls flat. A foxhole is not defined by whether or not a Chaplain is in it any more than a war is defined by the location of its front lines. (Ask the Soldiers in Humvees and MRAPs with Chaplains onboard if they think their vehicle is still for “fighting.”) He ignores the fact the US military does “[assign] a weapon” to Chaplains — it’s in the hands of the Chaplain’s assistant, standing right next to him, charged with protecting the Chaplain with lethal force.
Griffith also grossly misstates facts when he says Read more
Putting a new twist on an old cliché, NASA astronaut Michael Good (Col, USAF, Ret) recently spoke on the awe-inspiring experience of space flight:
“They say there’s no atheists in foxholes, but there’s probably no atheists in rockets,” said Catholic astronaut Col. Mike Good, who believes his faith in God was solidified by the awe-inspiring views he saw from space.
The article notes the infusion of faith in the local community and NASA:
NASA employees fill pews in churches surrounding Johnson Space Center, including Webster Presbyterian Church, called the “church of the astronauts” when John Glenn, Buzz Aldrin, Jerry Carr, Charlie Bassett and Roger Chaffee were active members of the congregation. Later this month, the church will honor the anniversary of Aldrin’s Holy Communion on the moon, the first meal ever eaten on its surface.
Nearby, the Catholic Church St. Paul the Apostle in Nassau Bay depicts Hubble images in its stained glass windows, a design collaboration with space-loving parishioners.
Two years ago Col Good hoped to bring “glory to the Lord of all creation” on a mission to work on the Hubble.
Some atheists apparently took umbrage at Good’s use Read more