Ethic of pre-emptive strike on North Korea

Recently, President Kim fired a missile past Japan into the Pacific Ocean.  We certainly have more reason to fear an apocalyptic end-of-the-world scenario with the likes of Kim Jung Un of North Korea.

These days, political and military operatives are seriously considering the options of a pre-emptive strike by taking out Kim Jung Un. See Washington Posts article here.  Many of us would feel safer without Emperor Kim.  He is an unstable person who just might launch a missile.

What are the ethics of taking out a political leader to create a safer situation?  If we can and it’s convenient to do so, then why not?  I’m sure many have considered committing the deed, then repent later for our consequences.  We’ve done it before so it’s nothing too serious, right (e.g., Saddam Hussein)?

As a Christian, I wish Scripture were more clear about violent commitments of war but there isn’t.  What are the ethics of pre-emptive strikes?  Sure, there are many examples of war and battle in the Old Testament/Hebrew scripture, but are there clear biblical rules and statutes about this issue?

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Is war a path to peace?

APTOPIX_Germany_Franc_Jana_t630The news of terrorism in Paris, France, this past week, has taken many people on an emotional roller coaster.  What do we make of all this violence and killing in Paris? All sorts of questions have been rolling through my mind. Will it happen in other free cities in the world?

In our feelings of sadness and anger, we might have feelings and thoughts like, “Should we blow up ISIS/ISIL  till kingdom come?”… or would that just create more hurt in the world?  Back when the Twin Towers came down in NYC, I remember having similar feelings–that if we should cower and absorb the blow of the enemy, we’d be weak and cowardly.

In the midst of our turmoil, yes, we need to “do something,” but yet, I feel that we also need to take a step back.  I, for one, feel the pain of the innocent 129 people in Paris who were murdered  (…and yes, it’s easy for me to say this because I was not personally affected.)  I also feel the shame for my non-Christian friends (including Muslims) who hate what happened in France. Moreover, what confuses and shakes me up is when I hear that a few of these young terrorists were homegrown in the west. That really makes me wonder “Why?!”

Nevertheless, the threat of ISIL is very real. These ideologically-driven terrorists are actually out to wipe out and decimate western (and Christian) civilization.  We do need to defend ourselves with diligence.  We do need to raise our shields in self-defence against the forces out to hurt and kill innocent people.

As people who are in Christ Jesus, we can recall what our Lord and Saviour said:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’  But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.  And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.  And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.  Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.  “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,  so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. (Gospel of Matthew, ch. 5, verses 38-45, Holy Bible)

This passage has always irked me, especially when I feel personally hurt by enemies. Now when we are collectively feeling the pain of death, Jesus’ statement above is never easy to accept.

I don’t believe in pacifism; but nor do I believe that revenge-based, eye-for-eye retaliation can solve the world’s problems of terrorism.

Who is the enemy behind the enemy here?  I would point to the evil one, the devil. The Spirit of evil One in the world wants all people to continue living in ignorance, confusion, hate, and division.

We can pray on several fronts: 1) for ourselves, that we will not be driven by fear and anger; and, 2) for our enemies who seek to hurt innocent people, that they may come to experience the love of God in their own lives.  People who seek power and control will mis-believe that controlling others through war and violence is the way to peace and unity. It is not!  Humanity has done this for ages in the name of religion and world peace (including Roman emperors, the Crusaders, dictators like Hitler and Pol Pot, and now, radical Islamic terrorists).

Ultimately, only the Spirit of God, and forgiveness through Christ Jesus, can bring true peace, unity and love into the lives of people in the world.

The glory of God in creation… or modified creation?

crops_fieldPsalm 19:1 says: “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.”

Thomas Merton, a Catholic contemplative said:

“A tree gives glory to God by being a tree.  For in being what God means it to be it is obeying Him.  It “consents,” so to speak, to His creative love.  It is expressing an idea which is in God and which is not distinct from the essence of God, and therefore imitates God by being a tree.  The more a tree is like itself, the more it is like Him.  If it tries to be like something else which it was never intended to be, it would be less like God and therefore it would give Him less glory.”  Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation (1961), ch.5.

In our new age of science and genetic re-engineering of GMO foods, chimera and cyborg technologies, there is always the possibility that these bio-technologies can go sideways.  If human beings try to re-create something into what it was never intended to be,  I wonder if it would then be glorifying to God?

It used to be that chimeras (part human–part animal) and cyborgs (part human–part machine) were a thing only from science fiction movies, comic books, and fantasy animations, but these are now a reality today.  Many of the products we eat today have been genetically modified. They’re able to implant animal DNA into the foods we eat in order to allow it to grow faster and be less prone to disease.  If you knew what science and technology can do, you may never look at your food the same way again. Science today can manipulate genes in plants, animals and human beings that might shock people to their core.

This week, our family was eating seedless watermelon and grapes; and homemade popcorn, possibly from GMO kernals.  Many people buy foods from the grocery stores, eat it, and never consider how it’s already been genetically modified.  Many might even be dangerous to human health.  Did God ever create edible fruits without seeds?  No, I doubt it was ever God’s intention.  According to the book of Genesis, you would think that God intended for all living things to reproduce itself and multiply.  Is this type of human re-creation (or manipulation) glorifying to God or distorting God’s creation?

•    Thousands of sheep, buffalo, and goats in India died after grazing on Bt cotton plants
•    Mice eating GM corn for the long term had fewer, and smaller, babies
•    More than half the babies of mother rats fed GM soy died within three weeks, and were smaller
•    Testicle cells of mice and rats on a GM soy change significantly
•    By the third generation, most GM soy-fed hamsters lost the ability to have babies
•    Rodents fed GM corn and soy showed immune system responses and signs of toxicity
•    Cooked GM soy contains as much as 7-times the amount of a known soy allergen
•    Soy allergies skyrocketed by 50% in the UK, soon after GM soy was introduced
•    The stomach lining of rats fed GM potatoes showed excessive cell growth, a condition that may lead to cancer.
•    Studies showed organ lesions, altered liver and pancreas cells, changed enzyme levels, etc. (Source: website here; see here)

We like to play God, and as a result, we do things that God likely never intended.  Some things may bring better health and advancement to society, but some things can just be plain frightening.  No wonder why cancer and autism rates have skyrocketed and infertility has increased.  What’s been killing the bee and butterfly populations around the world?  The end of the birds and the bees may spell an end to the human race as we know it.  We might never fully know the harms done to us as human beings until 50 years down the road when it’s all too late…and it’s irreversibly damaged our health and human genetics.

If we move into an age of Iron Man and Planet of the Apes, we will need strong morals and ethics to keep us from re-creating some really weird things before they’re introduced into our world.

Anti-terror legislation and our citizens’ privacy

Paris unity march
1 million people unite in Paris after the supermarket terrorist seige by I.S.

Due to increased radical, jihadist terrorism via Islamic State (IS) and Al-Queda, our world today is now on a much higher alert: e.g., two recent attacks in Canada, and most recently, the Charlie Hebdo-related terror attack in France that killed 14 people, and the beheading of two Japanese hostages.

It is no longer a secret that in the United States, the National Security Agency (NSA) has been setting itself up to grab much more personal/private information from U.S. residents and citizens. Today, the NSA is building a huge complex in the state of Utah to collect unfathomable amount of personal information.  This will intrude upon the privacy of not only American citizens, but of people around the world. (Thanks to Edward Snowden’s uncovering the government’s covert plans). Snowden has sought exile in Russia in order to evade American authorities who want to press charges against him. He recently spoke to 1,000 students at Upper Canada College via video.

Canada has just unveiled its new security legislation.  The risk is that it would include sweeping new powers to CSIS that will allow the government to collect private information from people without our consent or knowledge.  Canada has set itself up for a similar move toward more intrusion upon our privacy in the attempt of increasing national security.

Our private information like photos, addresses, etc. on Facebook, Gmail, Hotmail, and other social media are no longer private. Neither is surfing the web on Bell and Rogers wifi.  Intrusion of privacy will be the new price we pay for using social media.  Governments obviously appreciate the greater ease of collecting private information.  Facebook has given the government agencies a huge boost in greater information.  If this intrusion upon our privacy becomes more widely known by the public, more people will be leaving social media.  People will be choosing to close their Facebook accounts.  As people, we love and value our privacy even though we have nothing to hide.

The question is: will this prevent or stop the “would-be” terrorists from their heinous crimes, probably not.  They will probably figure out new ways to hide their communications, while the privacy of innocent civilians are tampered with.  The argument might be analogous to the gun-control debate: Would registering legal firearms prevent criminals from using illegal guns. Personally, I think…Not.  Criminals are not dummies.  Would-be criminals will find ways to evade detection of their covert criminal activities.  The danger I fear is that innocent people would be hurt, framed, or caught in the cross-fire.

Like most law-abiding citizens, we want the plans of terrorists thwarted, but we also wish to have our privacy respected.  Either way, we might have no choice. We are entering a less private world, and a less safer world. But if we want a society with more privacy, then we need to fight for our beloved freedoms. What kind of world do we prefer to live in?

America – the movie

I just watched a great eye-opening documentary called America: Imagine the World Without Her (2014).  It’s a story that questions the shaming of the United States through revisionist history, lies and omissions by educational institutions, political organizations, Alinsky, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and other progressives that may be unwittingly undermining America.

For those who have been educated by the left-leaning educators in our public school systems and universities, this lesser-told story would add an interesting perspective and facts that would shed new light and add balance. If you feel like a liberal but don’t know why, watch this movie. If you’re a conservative, this doesn’t paint a perfect and glorious picture of America either.  Seems balanced. A good watch.  Thanks, Dinesh D’Souza.

Is charging interest right or wrong?

The Old Testament in the bible has taught that we should not charge interest, but we are charged interest and are bound to pay it, otherwise, we lose our house or car. We are enslaved and in bondage to interest. How to we get out? When I watched this video I came across, I received a revelation of truth that I hope everyone may also have.

19 “You shall not charge interest on loans to your brother, interest on money, interest on food, interest on anything that is lent for interest. 20 You may charge a foreigner interest, but you may not charge your brother interest, that the Lord your God may bless you in all that you undertake in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. (Deuteronomy 23:19-20, English Standard Version)

Self-evident Inalienable Rights and Genesis 1:26

bill-of-rights-e-discoveryThe U.S. Bill of Rights amendments to the original Constitution contained very important statements that recognized some of the most basic human rights. The American Declaration of Independence, dated July 4,1776, states:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

“Self-evident truths” indicates that the framers drew from natural law.  Moreover, the preamble of the Declaration states explicitly of “the laws of nature and of nature’s God”. This can be derived from our understanding of natural law and through scripture that all people are created in God’s image (Imago Dei).  Genesis 1:26 states: “Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness…”, which would imply that since all human beings have been created equal in God’s image, we have been given basic inalienable human rights.  These inalienable rights, given by God, cannot be given by the State; neither can they be taken away, nor given away.

As poeple around the world, we must continue to defend our inalienable rights as human beings and not allow the state or others to minimize or reduce what we have already been endowed by God at creation.

First use of “wall of separation” between Church and State

Roger-Williams-Edward-Coke-2
Depiction of Roger Williams while he was still a member of the Puritan clergy (his pre-Baptist days).

The first Baptist in America, Roger Williams, was actually the first to use the phrase “wall of separation”.  In his quote below, Williams compared the true church as a sort of garden of Eden, and he referred to this world’s secular realm as the “wilderness”.  He stated:

“[W]hen they have opened a gap in the hedge or wall of Separation between the Garden of the Church and the Wildernes of the world, God hathe ever broke down the wall it selfe, removed the Candlestick, and made his Garden a Wildernesse.”

Roger-Williams-illustration-631
Depiction of Roger Williams after he was banished from the colonies by the State.

Williams was later to be banished from the colonies for his seemingly liberal and heretical views of a division between Church and State. Previous, such a secular approach to government had never existed because the Crown’s Head of State was ordained and was to dutifully and responsibly act as “Defender of the Faith”.  Williams realized that a state-run religion would create a spiritually void culture of Christendom (in borrowing a term from Soren Kierkegaard), rather than, encourage true and genuine faith that would save one’s soul.  Therefore, a joint State and Church was seen as an enemy of true and genuine faith. He believed  to mix religion with politics would result in politics; and that to mix church and state would corrupt the church.

To this day, Baptists and Evangelicals believe that true religion must be voluntary and arise from a free conscience (thus, the Baptist doctrine of “Soul Liberty”).