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Are soldiers who kill guilty of breaking the commandment 'thou shalt not kill'?

Isn't killing your enemy during war murder or are there excpetions to that commandment?


Asked by IhartU at 9:42 AM on Jul. 18, 2010 in Religious Debate

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Answers (35)
  • I do not think there are any exceptions to the commandment.

    Answer by older at 9:43 AM on Jul. 18, 2010

  • 1. Jesus healed the Centurion's daughter - a military man who, to obtain that rank, had served for many years, and therefore, had, presumably killed people. There was no reprimand by Christ for the man's military service (and, as we know through other scriptures, if Jesus felt that the man's job made him more of a sinner than any of us mortals, then He would have said so). Instead, He said that the girl was healed by the man's faith.

    2. David - much beloved by God, was a warrior. As was Saul, until he turned his back on what God wanted.

    3. GIdeon was also a military person - he won the battle at the direction of God.

    4. John 15:13 13 -- Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.


    Answer by sailorwifenmom at 10:01 AM on Jul. 18, 2010

  • Ihartu... you have to understand the context that it is written.... and why!
    Those were commandments handed to Moses because in those days murder was happening. There is a difference between killing an innocent person in cold blood and defending your country. a HUGE DIFFERENCE! The heart motive is what God is after here. When soldiers enlist they do not enlist to kill but to defend a country... when a murderer decides to kill he does so with an evil motive of the heart. God looks at a man's heart and judges there of.

    Answer by Shaneagle777 at 1:08 PM on Jul. 18, 2010

  • When the Christian bible was translated, the commandment was changed to say "Thou shalt not kill", but in the original text it says "Thou shalt not commit murder". There is a HUGE difference between those words. A soldier who kills in the line of duty is not committing murder, therefore he is not breaking the commandment. At least not in the eyes of those who follow the original text.

    Answer by mom2aspclboy at 9:51 AM on Jul. 18, 2010

  • IhartU, there is a difference between murdering some one and defending yourself when someone is shooting at you. To answer the rest of your question, here is a website that has info about how killing your enemy during warfare is different than going into someone's home and murdering them for no reason.


    Answer by JeremysMom at 9:53 AM on Jul. 18, 2010

  • So, obviously, based on scripture, God Himself does not have a problem with military members. So, who are we to judge their hearts / souls? Not to mention that God says that sin is sin - and we are all sinners. (I believe that the military members are sinners - they're human - therefore they sin - but I do not believe they are murderers.)

    Oh, and for that matter, what about the military members that fought, and yes, killed, and yes, did it knowingly, to free the millions of Jews and others that were being held in concentration camps? Or, for that matter, George Washington? Or the people who fought to free the slaves during the Civil War? Were they murderers, or were they heroes? Or does the distance of time and political correctness make their actions so much better?

    Answer by sailorwifenmom at 10:05 AM on Jul. 18, 2010

  • A soldier's job is not to go in and just start shooting (with the exception of some missions). My husband did a lot of humanitarian work while he was in Iraq. They did patrols not to go around and shoot people but to protect the neighborhood. If they were shot at or they found people who were doing illegal things and those people did not surrender then, yes, he had to shoot. Just like with police officers. Under the Tennessee vs. Gardner, police officer are able to shoot suspects under certain conditions. Also, you really need to look at the definition of Murder again. Murder is the UNLAWFUL act of killing someone with intent. For soldiers- there are laws that say when and when not to shoot. There have been a few soldiers who have stood trial for unlawfully killing someone and they have been sentenced accordingly.


    Answer by JeremysMom at 10:06 AM on Jul. 18, 2010

  • You're failing to see the point that there is a difference between killing and murder.

    It also says that thou shalt not commit adultery, but that doesn't mean that you can't / shouldn't feel lust / desire for your spouse.

    Just as the one is a wanton sexual act that is a sin, but the other is not, one is the wanton taking of a life, and the other is not.

    You asked where it says that it's ok - I gave you several examples. There is much more to the bible than the 10 commandments - David, much beloved and blessed by God (and instructed to wage war). Saul - same thing. Joshua - he was given blessings that Moses was denied, because Moses didn't go into the Promised Land (and wage war to take it) when God ordered them to.

    The bible is full of examples of people who fought wars, and yes, killed people, and were blessed by God - and not "in spite of it" - often BECAUSE of it.


    Answer by sailorwifenmom at 10:24 AM on Jul. 18, 2010

  • You know me and my husband wonder that too. Just like if you kill someone in self defense is it a sin in Gods eyes? I think God would forgive if you really asked for forgiveness with a true heart. He forgave the murderer on the cross next to him. Very good question though.

    Answer by cleo2582 at 9:46 AM on Jul. 18, 2010

  • I didn't say that every soldier follows the rules. I even stated that some who have not have had to face trials and are being punished for what they did. I am also not naive enough to know that not every soldier who doesn't follow the rules are caught. Just out of curiosity, why is a former Vet who is an atheist even concerned with a soldier killing someone during warfare justified or not through the eyes of God?


    Answer by JeremysMom at 10:27 AM on Jul. 18, 2010