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Mankind’s inclination toward war


The following account relates to the use of flame-throwers in China. It refers to a naval battle fought on the Yangtze River in A.D. 975 as related in Shih Hsu-Pai’s Talks at Fisherman’s Rock.


Chu Ling-Pin as Admiral was attacked by the Sung Emperor’s forces in strength. Chu was in command of a large warship more than ten decks high with flags flying and drums beating. The Imperial ships were smaller but they came down the river attacking fiercely and the arrows flew so fast that the ships under Admiral Chu were like porcupines. Chu hardly knew what to do. So he quickly projected petrol from flame-throwers to destroy the enemy. The Sung forces could not have withstood this, but all of a sudden a north wind sprang up and swept the smoke and flames over the sky towards his own ships and men. As many as 150,000 soldiers and sailors were caught in this and overwhelmed, whereupon Chu, being overcome with grief, flung himself into the flames and died.   Quoted from: Ancient Inventions. Peter James and Nick Thorpe. Ballantine Books. 1961.


Mankind’s inclination toward war. Whether we are talking about East or West, now or five thousand years ago, what is more distinctive of man than his inclination toward fighting, toward war, toward killing huge numbers of others of his own kind? Big wars, little wars, but continually wars. The Old Testament of the Bible is just filled with accounts of all the wars that occurred in the Middle East in the ancient world. Ugly wars in which huge numbers of people were killed. Often the losers were massacred, man, woman and child. And we are all familiar with all the many modern-day wars, wars such as World War I and World War II. Millions of people perishing at the hand of their fellow man by war. Does that make sense? If man is so intelligent, is that intelligent?


I ask a question: What creature on earth, other than man, enters into big wars against others of their own kind? Do dogs, wolves, foxes or any animal of the dog family go to war against others of their own kind? Think about it. Do lions, tigers or any animal of the cat family do this? Do cows, sheep, or goats do this? Do rats, mice, beavers or any of the rodent family do this? Do hawks, owls, robins or any kind of bird engage in wars against their own kind. Does any kind of insect do this? Does any kind of fish do this? In the animal world predators do kill other creatures (not usually of their own kind) because they have to eat, because they must kill to survive, but not for other reasons. If man is the only creature that kills massive numbers of his own kind in war, what is it about him that causes him to do it? Man is obviously unique among the creatures of the earth in many ways. What is it about him that causes him to fight against others of his own kind and kill them in large numbers? Does it have anything to do with pride and arrogance? Does any other creature on earth, other than man, become possessed with pride and arrogance? Does it have anything to do with man’s tendency to use and abuse his fellow man? Do any other creatures, other than man, use and abuse others of their own kind?


What did Jesus have to say about argument, strife, and the treatment of one’s fellow man?


   Luke 6:27-38 "But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies,

   do good to those who hate you, {28} "bless those who curse you,

   and pray for those who spitefully use you. {29} "To him who

   strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from

   him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic

   either. {30} "Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him

   who takes away your goods do not ask them back. {31} "And just

   as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.

   {32} "But if you love those who love you, what credit is that

   to you? For even sinners love those who love them. {33} "And if

   you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to

   you? For even sinners do the same. {34} "And if you lend to

   those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that

   to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much

   back. {35} "But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping

   for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you

   will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful

   and evil. {36} "Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also

   is merciful. {37} "Judge not, and you shall not be judged.

   Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you

   will be forgiven. {38} "Give, and it will be given to you: good

   measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will

   be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you

   mete, it will be meted back to you."             Words of Jesus.


   Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus said to him, " 'You shall love the

   LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with

   all your mind.' {38} "This is the first and great commandment.

   {39} "And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor

   as yourself.' {40} "On these two commandments hang all the Law

   and the Prophets."



Jesus taught us that we should love our neighbor. In fact, mankind is much more disposed to use and abuse his neighbor than to love him. Whether we are talking about behavior such as theft, covetousness, greed, adultery, fornication, homosexuality, pride, lasciviousness, lust, envy, jealousy, pride, etc. it is all about selfishness, self-gratification, self-indulgence. It is all about self. The focus is not on the other person, it is on self. Man is not inclined toward loving his neighbor. He is inclined toward getting, not giving.


What underlies man’s inclination towards war? What is the cause? Isn’t it that man himself, by nature, is bad? That man cannot be trusted? That man, if you do not stand up to him, will take advantage of you; take your land, possessions, wife and children; or enslave or kill you? That he will lie, deceive, rob and murder to get what he wants? What was behind the marauding of the Vikings on the coasts of Europe? Wasn’t it desire for lands and plunder? What was behind the invasions of the Mongols? What is behind most wars? Can we name some typical things that cause men to go to war? How about: Desire for power. Desire to plunder. Ambition. Competition. Rivalry. Argument. Bickering. Hatred. Anger. Malice. High ego. Pride. Envy. Jealousy. Greed.


To what extent are wars caused by political leaders and the masses drawn or forced in as innocent victims i.e. the political leaders of a country wish to go to war and the masses under them are forced to fight? To what extent are the masses simply duped, manipulated, and used by their leaders?


What motivates people to go into military service? Patriotism certainly plays a role for many people. To what extent is the main reason simply that an individual considers military service to be his best option for a life career given his particular education level and skills i.e. an individual needs a job and, if he can qualify for military service, it provides him with an interesting job?



June 2017



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