Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.


Jobs counter to the faith?

Tonight in our ethics discussion, we will consider Just War Theory, which is used to determine how a nation may defend itself. It may also be applied to more personal ethics, such as the morality of acting on Florida's expanded self-defense law which allows would-be victims of life-threatening assaults to use deadly force on their assailants without fear of prosecution or civil litigation.

soldiers in prayerFor the early Christians, pacifism seemed to be the norm. So much so, that while soldiers could convert to Christianity, it became common place to insist that they abandon their job, though this was because their job entailed sacrificing to the emperor as a God as well as killing others. Soldiers were not singled out as the only ones with jobs incompatible with with Christian faith, also looked down on were actors (because of the debased nature of plays at the time), painters (because they created idols), and teachers (as they taught worldy knowledge, rather than the faith). Here is a lengthy quote from Apostolic Tradition written by Hippolytus in 215 A.D. passing on Christian traditions about whether it was proper to baptize people who held certain jobs
They will inquire concerning the works and occupations of those are who are brought forward for instruction. If someone is a pimp who supports prostitutes, he shall cease or shall be rejected. If someone is a sculptor or a painter, let them be taught not to make idols. Either let them cease or let them be rejected. If someone is an actor or does shows in the theater, either he shall cease or he shall be rejected. If someone teaches children (worldly knowledge), it is good that he cease. But if he has no (other) trade, let him be permitted. A charioteer, likewise, or one who takes part in the games, or one who goes to the games, he shall cease or he shall be rejected. If someone is a gladiator, or one who teaches those among the gladiators how to fight, or a hunter who is in the wild beast shows in the arena, or a public official who is concerned with gladiator shows, either he shall cease, or he shall be rejected. If someone is a priest of idols, or an attendant of idols, he shall cease or he shall be rejected. A military man in authority must not execute men. If he is ordered, he must not carry it out. Nor must he take military oath. If he refuses, he shall be rejected. If someone is a military governor, or the ruler of a city who wears the purple, he shall cease or he shall be rejected. The catechumen or faithful who wants to become a soldier is to be rejected, for he has despised God.
We now have a longer tradition of Christian soldiers, painters and teachers. We even find it appropriate to support our troops with our prayers. Are there any jobs today which Christians would consider incompatible with the faith?


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