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Some Aquinas to consider ...

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  • Jason Fisher
    But first: ... Jesus is pictured in the Old Testament? That s news to me! However, I definitely agree with you that there s no simple, black-and-white answer.
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 11 8:39 AM
      But first:

      Lynn Maudlin wrote:
      > And considering that Jesus Himself is pictured in violent
      > and military terms frequently throughout scripture (both
      > Hebrew and NT), I just don't think it's a 'one-size-fits- all'
      > equation, you know?

      Jesus is pictured in the Old Testament? That's news to me! However, I definitely agree with you that there's no simple, black-and-white answer. And I liked your anecdote. Of course the preacher would be an Irishman! ;)

      And now:

      John D Rateliff wrote:
      > I've also not read Aquinas, and don't know where within
      > his voluminous works he discusses this topic, nor the
      > details of how he reaches his conclusion.

      I don't really feel qualified to weigh in on the religious debate myself, but here's a little raw material which I hope might help. I could have offered more, but the following should provide ample raw material for salvos in both directions. Does this make me an enabler? ;)

      "While natural and voluntary activities are spontaneous and from an intrinsic principle, violent and forced motions are from an extrinsic principle. As violence makes an action unnatural in things lacking consciousness, so it makes an action non-voluntary in things with consciousness." (Summa Theologica, 1a-2ae. vi. 5)

      "The term necessity has various usages. One is necessity from force, imposed by an efficient cause [...]. Now necessity from force is entirely against the character of willing, for a violent action is induced against the natural inclination of the thing concerned. The motion of the will is spontaneous. A motion cannot be simultaneously violent and natural, nor similarly simultaneously coerced and voluntary." (Summa Theological, 1a. lxxxii. 1)

      "Man has a natural urge towards complete goodness." (Disputations, XXII de Veritate, 7)

      "An action may be morally neutral when considered in itself; nevertheless, it may happen to be *right or wrong* when placed in its individual context. This is because a moral act derives its rightness or wrongness, not only from the specific stamp of its object, but also from its circumstances [...]." (Summa Theologica, 1a-2ae. xviii. 9, emphasis mine)

      "Morality depends on intention." (III Contra Gentes, 9)

      "There are three conditions for a just war. First, the authority of the sovereign by whose command the war is to be waged. [...] The second condition is that hostilities should begin because of some crime on the part of the enemy. Wherefore Augustine observes that a just war is wont to be described as one that avenges wrongs, when a nation or state has to be punished for refusing to make amends for the injuries done by its people or to restore what has been seized unjustly. The third condition is a rightful intention, the advancement of good or the avoidance of evil." (Summa Theologica, 2a-2ae. xl. 1)

      All quoted from St. Thomas Aquinas. Philosophical Texts. Sel. and trans. by Thomas Gilby. London: Oxford University Press, 1951. And I promise that the excisions I've made do not affect the readings in any substantial ways. So .... have at it!

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