The Religious Left and Hiroshima

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Shane Claiborne, a popular pacifist evangelical, recalled the 67th anniversary of Hiroshima by quoting the pacifist remarks of a Catholic priest who, having served as a chaplain in the Pacific during World War II, 40 years later regretted his military service.

“I never preached a single sermon against killing civilians to the men who were doing it… It never entered my mind to protest publicly the consequences of these massive air raids,” the priest remembered.  “I was told it was necessary – told openly by the military and told implicitly by my Church’s leadership.”

The priest concluded:  “For the last 1700 years the Church has not only been making war respectable: it has been inducing people to believe it is an honorable profession, an honorable Christian profession. This is not true. We have been brainwashed. This is a lie.”

So this priest essentially joined the Anabaptist perspective and rejected Roman Catholic teaching, as well as the teaching of nearly universal Christianity, about the state’s vocation to exert force.  This stance is Shane Claiborne’s, and he insists, amid a growing chorus of neo-Anabaptist evangelical elites, especially in academia, that Christians must reject all force.  Their position essentially makes all government impossible.   It also asserts a very narrow definition of Jesus and His teachings that separate Him from the wider apostolic witness and from the Old Testament.

Jim Wallis’ Sojourners largely shares Claiborne’s neo-Anabaptist insistence on complete rejection of all force.  But in recalling the Hiroshima anniversary, Sojourners published an old interview with leftist historian Gar Alperovitz, author of several books about the Atomic Bomb, the first published in 1965.   His latest book is Beyond Capitalism, appropriately blurbed by Noam Chomsky

Alperovitz didn’t make pacifist arguments. Instead, he claimed the “use of the atomic bomb, most experts now believe, was totally unnecessary” because the Japanese would have surrendered any way, even before a U.S. land invasion scheduled to begin in November 1945.  In other words, Japan would have surrendered eventually thanks to continued massive U.S. conventional bombing, plus the slaughter of Japanese troops in Manchuria by attacking Soviets, not to mention the ongoing starvation of its population.

That the bomb was needed to avoid massive casualties is only “popular myth,” though the alternative scenario Alperovitz preferred would have entailed massive casualties and human suffering. He cited “liberal Protestant theologians for the Federal Council of Churches” who criticized the bomb shortly have the war.  And he suggested a joint American-Japanese apology for Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima.

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  • mlcblog

    Doesn't line up with the Bible. Jesus was all about force. Read it for yourself. This is a battle.

    • intrcptr2

      We do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.–NIV

      The Anabaptists were right. But arguing, as both Tooley and Clairborne do, that this renders government toothless and inconsequential is false, and not at all a biblical argument. If anything, the fact that government is given the power of the sword confirms the pacifism of Christians.

    • Edward Robertson

      The Bible says we are in a spiritual battle. 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
      4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
      5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 2 Corinthians 10

      • mlcblog

        Exactly! a spiritual battle where we win.

  • mlcblog

    Nothing less than two terrible bombs could extinguish the unquenchable blood thirst of Japanese militarism.

    well said

    • ebonystone

      Yes. As one of the scientists at Los Alamos said: "It will take two." The Japanese leadership had to be shown that we could do it again (and by implication again and again and …)
      But in a way the U.S. was running a bluff: we only had the material for four bombs; the third could have been dropped in early September, and the fourth late in the month. After that, there would have been none ready until early 1946.
      As for the idea that the Japanese would have surrendered anyway, nobody at the time expected it. The U.S. military, in anticipation of the casualties expected from the two planned invasions of the home islands, ordered so many Purple Hearts that we've never needed to order any more since. Even after Korea, Vietnam, Iraq-1 and -2, and Afghanistan, we're still drawing on the stockpile ordered in 1945.

      • mlcblog

        Read our glorious early history. We ran many a bluff, namely little boats against the entire English navy at our inception and later on during the War of 1812, when God ? again mysteriously provided fog and cover for our troops, as he did for George Washington around the Trenton battle. (See Peter Marshall's excellent history of our country in two volumes).


  • MikeWood

    The religious left finds it very difficult to imagine mentalities and worldviews that do not mirror its own. It assumes that all people will respond in much the same way to a given circumstance. But as with Japanese militarism in WWII, so with Islam today, people can have totally different ways of looking at the world and their place and role within it. The (religious) left constantly fails to see this. This fault does not only lie with the left though; Bush made similar false assumptions in his democracy in the Middle East campaign. Not everyone aspires to democracy, individualism and freedom. They have other value systems which emphasise belonging, transcendence, submission and obedience; where things are held to be sacred that we would consider vile.

    • EthanP

      Well said Mike. But I'm not sure they don't see this. They're left before religious. And in the lefts world, truth never gets in the was of spin.

      • Therese

        Excellent. The left in general think that others think just like them. That's why they're so surprised at things like the ChickFilA response (cheerful overflowing crowds), they assumed those people are full of hate and anger but can't see the happy faces and calm confidence of their position.

    • Edward Robertson

      yes drop an atomic bomb on them. that is a good way to settle things… in the mind of a deranged lunatic that is

      • iconstitcher

        Worked, didn't it?

  • IranAware

    I dont listen to opinions by those who never wash their hair or take a bath..

  • tagalog

    The Japanese, says Gar Alperovitz, would have "surrendered eventually" even if the bomb hadn't been used. Well, most experts (whose consensus on the lack of necessity for the atomic bomb -an alleged consensus which I doubt exists- is highly arguable) agree that the number of people dying in the countries occupied by Japan (Southeast Asia, Korea, Manchuria, etc.) came to 100,000 a month. So, if the Japanese would have "surrendered eventually," how many deaths does Mr. Alperovitz consider acceptable, given that the people who died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki number perhaps 300,000? Would Alperovitz draw the line at 3 months, or would longer be acceptable? How long is "eventually" and how long could it be before Alperovitz would start complaining?

    • EthanP

      Does Gar A. not know of the attempted coup by Army officers to seize the Emperor to prevent the surrender. These fanatics were prepared to see Japan wiped out rather than surrender. Children as young as 5 were being trained to be suicide bombers. And you thought Hezbellah invented the Idea. And the Soviets were preparing their own invasion of the northen island. They might still be there today. Of course the left wishes they were.

      • tagalog

        Well yes, and of course the attempted coup was to overcome Suzuki and his peace contingent of the Big 9 "cabinet" group surrounding the Emperor. So no one knows for sure what would have transpired if the coup hadn't been overcome, or if it had renewed its attempt to keep Japan on its war course. But assuming we didn't use the bomb, and Japan had continued the war and not surrendered, the same constellation of forces would be in effect: POWs being whittled away, occupied nations losing large numbers of their populations, the Soviets and the Japanese slaughtering each other wholesale in Manchuria, and the naval blockade starving untold thousands of Japanese each day. The bomb stopped all that. Even for those revisionists who think the Soviet invasion of Manchuria was the cause of the war's end, it was the bomb that gave Hirohito the hook upon which he could hang the surrender hat (after all, Hirohito mentioned the bomb and not the Soviet invasion in his speech to the Japanese people).

    • intrcptr2

      He wouldn't be complaining; such liberals would be the first ones beheaded under martial law.

  • tagalog


    If Alperovitz thinks it was the naval blockade of food to Japan that would have been the decisive factor, at least one respected Japanese historian says that by the date of the Allied invasion of the home islands, November 1, 1945, approximately 10,000,000 Japanese would have starved to death; historian Daikichi Irokawa has stated, “… some estimated that 10 million people were likely to starve to death.” I wonder, if that is what had actually happened, what Mr. Alperovitz and his ilk would be saying today about the United States and all those starved Japanese. Also, firebombing had killed well over 100,000 people in Japan since February of 1945.

    And of course, the most quoted estimate of Allied casualtiies in the invasion of Japan (not the total for the entire fight for the home islands), not counting the Japanese casualties, was one million. The invasion plan called for six atomic bombs to be used to clear the way off the beaches, by the way.

    Gar Alperovitz' historical estimate on the use of the atomic bomb to end the war against Japan keeps on coming up, again and again. Alperovitz has been discredited, but somehow some people continue to consider him some sort of authoritiy on the subject. Maybe we should have stood off and let the Japanese and the Soviets bleed each other. I wonder what the USSR as a Pacific power with its war conquests would have been able to do in the Cold War.

  • Tychicus

    Exactly! The Left never thinks of the deaths that occur as a result of their cowardly actions. Vietnam is another good example. One could even argue that the length of the WW2 was a result of lefty policies reducing our military and disarming us. The fauning and love affair of the left with tyrants, dictators, and communists, is what has created these monsters. The left just washes their hands of any responsibility for feeding and defending these monsters, but is ready to criticize and moralize about how they are defeated. The loss of human life is hardly considered. Just look at their double speak about abortion, oh, I mean "parental planning" oh, I meant to say "women's reproductive freedoms", oh, I meant to say "women's healthcare', oh, I meant to say "contraceptive rights".
    Courage and Godspeed.

  • tagalog

    By the way, the Soviet invasion of Manchuria in August-September 1945 resulted in about 20,000 to 26,000 Japanese military forces killed (NOT counting WIA and MIA), and about 40,000 – 45,000 civilian deaths for a total in the neighborhood of 60,000 to 70,000 Japanese killed, the rough equivalent of the number killed by the Hiroshima bombing. I don't know how many Soviets were killed, but the Japanese being the kind of fighters they were, the numbers are probably nearly equal. The forces were 1.2 million Japanese troops against 1.5 million Red Army troops. How many would have been killed, wounded, and missing if the campaign had gone on to a conclusion is of course unknown. The Red Army was notorious for its viciousness in conquest. The Japanese considered the defeat they suffered at the hands of the Soviets their worst defeat in their entire history.

    • EthanP

      tagalog; No one knows the casualties in Manchuria. Yes the total forces were about what you quote. In point of fact, the Red Army was well equipped with tanks, artillery and aircraft. The Japanese Army had almost non of these. The battles in Manchuria was more of a slaughter than a battle. After the "Surrender", the Japanese survivors were sent to Siberia were most died in slave labor camps. Few ever returned to Japan.

      • tagalog

        The point is that there is no alternative to the atomic bombing of Japan that would have been a better alternative.

        The revulsion to the atomic bombing is only because of the type of weapon used, and ONLY that. Firebombing was far nastier, and slaughter in combat is not noticeably better, either. Starving to death is surely worse than instantaneous annihilation.

        The U.S. Army Leavenworth Study of the Soviet campaign in August-September 1945 in Manchuria cites both Soviet and Japanese casualty reports, and says as follows, in footnote 1 to Chapter 11:

        "Japanese losses Soviet losses Estimates Killed Wounded Prisoners Killed Wounded Total Soviet 84,000 594,000 8,000 24,000 32,000 Japanese 21,000* ——- ———— 10,000 *1st Demobilization Bureau figures, Unit battle accounts show heavier casualties. This figure ignores the large number of missing Japanese soldiers and does not include Manchukuoan and Inner Mongolian casualties, mobilized Japanese reservists, or Japanese civilians caught up in the fighting, The Soviet estimates fall short of the total strength Japan claimed in Manchuria and Northern Korea (713,000). Soviet figures include Manchukuoan casualties, which accounted for a significant portion of the losses in some regions (Tuchuan, Chiamussu, Solon). They also include an indeterminate number of Japanese reservists and civilians who joined the garrisons of fortified regions to fight alongside Japanese soldiers, as well as missing Japanese who continued resistance long after Japan's formal surrender- Japanese official accounts are limited to regular soldiers and cannot include large numbers of Japanese missing or casualties among Manchukuoan and Inner Mongolian auxiliaries- Even at that, those who wrote battle accounts of individual Japanese divisions tended to describe higher casualties- In light of this, the Soviet figures are probably valid and may even be conservative- Soviet casualties are also disputed- The Japanese estimate is low, as Soviet figures show-"

        Wikipedia (for what it's worth) also reports on Japanese and Soviet casualties, and reports the Japanese dead for that campaign at 83,737 KIA, a figure that is closely consistent with the U.S. Army Study whose casualty figures are cited above.

  • EthanP

    What these "lefties" never consider, assuming they even care, is that the Japanese High Command had issued orders that upon the first report of invasion of the Home Islands, all, repeat, ALL allied POWs were to be executed. Further, considering the condition of most of these POWs, had the war continued for as little as 6-8 weeks, how many more would have died. I'm sure that no one in authority in the US Command would have traded those POWs to save Japanese. My uncles, lefties all, always said "when I heard about Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I knew I was going to live. They never changed on that. Not any of the three.

    • tagalog

      Gavin Daws, in his book, Prisoners of the Japanese, supports your claim by stating that had the war lasted for another year, there would have been NO prisoners of war in the hands of the Japanese, all of them having died of starvation, disease, or mistreatment. I don't know off the top of my head how many prisoners of war the Japanese held, but I think that there were about 40,000 or 50,000 of them still alive in the summer of 1945. That figure comes to mind for some reason.

      • Tychicus

        There are even reports of Japanese soldiers eating some of the body parts of the prisoners. They were starving because Japan was losing the war and so they ate severed and ate the limbs of the prisoners.

        • tagalog

          One web site reports that by March 1945, there were 35,000 American POWs held by the Japanese out of a total of approximately 140,000 taken or surrendered during the war, a death rate of 75%. I'm not sure I believe that; another more respectable source (historical work, a couple of books, one I think is Retribution) says that the death rate for POWs of the Japanese was something like 25% as compared with something like 5% or 6% under the Germans during the same war.

          Interestingly, this website,

          apparently maintained by the U.S. Department of the Navy, says "Dr. Stenger lists 27,465 (U.S.) POWs in the Pacific, of whom 11,107 died while in detention (my interjection: that's a 40% death rate). He estimates that 4,477 of the survivors are alive as of January 1, 2003."

          A POW website says that all Allied POWs, not just Americans, totaled 130,000, so you can see there's some room for confusion. Adding to my confusion on the number of Allied POWs is my understanding that about 50,000 British troops were taken prisoner by the Japanese in the Malayan Campaign while 80,000 Brits surrendered at Singapore. That's 130,000 right there.

          On the other hand, I thought that something like 70,000 American soldiers surrendered to the Japanese on Bataan, but maybe I'm wrong. Oh wait, 75,000 surrendered but only 15,000 of them were Americans; 60,000 were Filipinos. I wonder if the U.S. Navy counts the survivors among the Filipinos who fought alongside us. There probably weren't any.

  • Western Spirit

    These people don't care about religion. They just want to use religion to further their agendas. period end of story.

  • Western Spirit

    Also Stalin wanted to get into the war, and did, to further the Soviet empire in the far East. The allies were on to this and wanted to speed the end of the war to prevent this from happening.

  • κατεργάζομαι

    "RELIGIOUS LEFT" – – – is an oxymoron!

    There is only ONE Constitutional TRUTH, as well as ONE Biblical TRUTH!

    Today the dialectic is active in every political issue that encourages taking sides.

    We can see it in environmentalists instigating conflicts against private property owners,

    in democrats against republicans,
    in greens against libertarians,
    in communists against socialists,
    in neo-cons against traditional conservatives,
    in community activists against individuals,
    in pro-choice versus pro-life,
    in Christians against Muslims,
    in isolationists versus interventionists,
    in peace activists against war hawks.

    No matter what the issue, the invisible dialectic aims to control both the conflict and the resolution of differences, and leads everyone involved into a new cycle of conflicts.

    We're definitely not in Kansas anymore.

    • HoR_Emperor

      A private website by definition cannot be guilty of "censorship." Grow up.

  • White Hunter

    It would be interesting to know how many of these "pacifists" have ever visited China to commemorate the Rape of Nanking (300,000 Chinese civilians murdered by the Imperial Army, including every woman in the city gang-raped and then bayonetted to death). Or the Philippines, to re-enact the Bataan Death March. How many have ever met an American Marine who survived Guadalcanal, or Iwo Jima, or Okinawa, and asked him how willing the enemy was to surrender, even in the face of certain defeat? How many admit that Hirohito was nearly assassinated by his own fanatical officers, to prevent him from broadcasting his surrender speech to the people? Without The Bomb, few of these "pacifists" would even have been born–their fathers' bones would lie bleaching on the beaches of Honshu, or in the gutters of Tokyo.

  • texasron

    Has anyone totalled the number of Chinese killed by the Japanese? Or the American and Australien soldiers killed on the Bataan march?
    The use of the bombs saved millions of lives but leftists only want to discredit the US for its actions. That allows Obama to go on another tour to apologize.

    • tagalog

      When Bataan fell, the American and Filipino forces surrendered to the Japanese. They were marched approximately 80 miles to Camp O'Donnell. About 75,000 surrendered. Of that 75,000, about 60,000 were Filipinos and about 15,000 were Americans. During the march to Camp O'Donnell, approximately 2,500–10,000 Filipino and 300–650 American prisoners of war died before they could reach Camp O'Donnell. That makes the death rate: Low End: Filipino – 4%, American – 2%; High End: Filipino – 17%, American – 4%.

      I'm not aware of any Australians who were on the Bataan Death March. But Australians certainly took their share of casualties on the Kokoda Trail. The number of Chinese killed by the Japanese – who knows? Gotta be millions.

  • Tychicus

    Like the Nazi's the Japanese also conducted medical experiments on the Chinese Unit 731

    • tagalog

      There are even rumors that American POWs were used in the biological warfare program in Unit 731. It was a Japanese unit. I don't believe they used American POWs, but it hasn't been disproved. Another thing I don't believe is the claim that the Allies decided not to prosecute the Japanese commanders of Unit 731 for war crimes in exchange for them giving us their data, but that hasn't been completely disproved either, although the evidence is VERY ambiguous – I think it's pretty skimpy, but that's just me – others believe it.


    Remind the leftists you run into of this…

    The Socialist Hitler and Socialist Stalin Non-Aggression Pact of 1939

    Treaty of Non-Aggression between Germany and the Soviet Union

    Cartoons lampooning the Hitler/Stalin “marriage”

  • Iratus Vulgas

    The fact of the matter is that many "conventional" aerial bombing raids throughout WW II caused as much if not more death and destruction as did the 2 atom bombs. Tokyo was being pummeled by B-29 raids on a weekly basis. It's really not about Hiroshima and Nagasaki as the Left so stubbornly claim. The essential truth is nothing more than the same old song: the anti-war Left is against anything that blows up and kills people. The A-Bomb is merely a convenient showcase facade to dress up their peacenik parade.

    • tagalog

      After the turn of the year in 1945, General LeMay took over the 20th Air Force on Tinian. He ordered his crews to fly their B-29s at 5,000 feet, down from 35,000 feet (the USAF crews in that unit discovered the jet stream by flying that high), in order to hit their targets with precision accuracy. The crews swore that LeMay was going to murder them. He also ordered that they stop using conventional bombs and switch to incendiary bombs. When they hit Tokyo, at 5,000 feet, with incendiaries, they put 2/3 of Tokyo to the torch. A later incendiary attack burned part of the Emperor's palace. The Japanese were horrified by this turn of events

      It turned out, by the way, that flying at 5,000 feet made it possible to avoid lots of anti-aircraft fire due to the inability of the defenders to aim their cannon on the bombers quickly enough to be as effective.

    • tagalog

      In Europe, they also used conventional bombs but because of the type of building materials (bricks or stone and mortar as opposed to wood and paper), they mixed the incendiaries with conventional bombs. The drill was for the first couple of waves of bombers to drop conventional bombs in order to open up the roofs, then the following planes would drop the incendiaries into the gaping holes in order to start fires among the wood and other interior flammables. In Dresden and Hamburg, it worked really well.

      In Europe, Americans really tried to focus on "precision bombing" of industrial targets, but the RAF followed a policy of "area bombing." In Japan, American tactics followed the belief that Japanese cities didn't really have much in the way of industrial centers, but instead dispersed its industrial production into citizens' homes, and therefore, the Americans engaged in carpet bombing (our name for area bombing) of residential areas as well as industrial centers.

      The bombing experience of World War II taught the humane nations that it would be better to have cruise missiles, "smart bombs," and drones in order that airborne explosives be guided to their targets, not just dropped willy-nilly. Pacifists and idiots don't understand this; it is, indeed, their revulsion to anything that blows up and kills people that drives them. They are unable to acknowledge the humanity of people who actually devote some thought to the conduct of war, and if it were left to them, they wouldn't succeed in eliminating war, they'd just insure that war would be conducted in the most thoughtless and barbarian manner conceivable. To see how humane people conduct even the most ordinary fire missions, just watch some of the videos on to see how careful and precise munitions and their deployment have become, compared with World War II.

    • intrcptr2

      Part of it is their irrationality, and their ignorance. They "know" about atom bombs, but ask of them about Hamburg or Dresden, or Kyoto or Kobe, and their eyes will glaze over.

      One big bomb is so much worse than thousands of little ones…

      • Tychicus

        Or Coventry England.
        Courage and Godspeed.

        • intrcptr2

          Thank you, T., for reminding me that both sides are "guilty" of such barbarism.

          It would seem we Yanks get punished for simply perfecting the art. I can only imagine the destruction of rained on London, Manila, Shanghai, or Guernica and Addis Abbaba if the Axis had had the tools we later developed. Of course, concerning the breadth of strategic bombing, and its widespread acceptance at the time, I stand by my appreciation of their sheer ignorance of the art of war, and geography to boot.

  • κατεργάζομαι

    The phrase, " popular pacifist evangelical" is utter confused nonsense and Biblical gymnastical disorder!

    • Tychicus

      Your user name makes me think you are a Greek NT student. But is the preposition intensive or descensive. Maybe you have a verse in mind?
      Courage and Godspeed

      • κατεργάζομαι

        Replying to Tychicus who said, QUOTE "Your user name makes me think you are a Greek NT student. But is the preposition intensive or descensive. Maybe you have a verse in mind?
        Courage and Godspeed "

        Tychicus, my Ephesian friend, – is "a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord." Colossians.

        Strongs 2716
        Philippians 2:12 is the passage "to continue to work out your salvation" – κατεργάζομαι is incorrectly rendered "work out". It is used to support the fallacy of Arminianism. The object of κατεργάζομαι is the end result of the particular action, it actually means to evidence on the outside that which has been placed on the inside (Holy Spirit) in the regenerate Christian.

        I am a Berean. Thank you for the encouragement. Godspeed.

        • Tychicus

          Blessed to read your response.
          I adhere to the Baptist Confession of 1689, but incline more to supralapsarian & active reprobation. I agree with your understanding of Phil 2:12. κατεργάζομαι is not Paul saying that they can "work out" for themselves (middle voice) their salvation, when the whole context is that it is God who works in you both to will and to do according to his good pleasure" and "And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith".
          Arminianism finds ways to turn the gospel of grace into Jesus+sinner=salvation. No such thing exists in the NT teachings.
          Owen's work on Justification is excellent in this regard.
          Courage and Godspeed.

          • κατεργάζομαι

            Thank you for the book suggestions. They are always welcome from those I respect. I am familiar with it. ~ Were you once Onesimus a decade ago, m-m?

            I was once a “Reformed Baptist” & Westminster Confession, – today I couldn’t pretend to cite the differences between the 1689 Confession, the Westminster Confession and Savoy Declaration, and am now unaffiliated. I would be loosely in line with the theology of Lewis Sperry Chafer, Ryrie, and Spurgeon.

            My recent alarm over some of the Geneva Bible proponents is their slide towards Replacement Theology and the insidious creep into the hideous teaching that Jesus was a Palestinian and not Jewish. The false teaching is making great strides even among what we would have once thought of as “Evangelical” and “conservative” churches. It is even pervasive among Dallas Seminary from which those I respect hailed.

            Some of the Westminster Confession churches have recently fallen into the aberrant teaching that Jesus was not a Jew.
            Courage and Godspeed.

          • Tychicus

            Good to read you.
            I gave the Baptist Confession as a place marker generally speaking.
            I am Reformed, but currently at a Bible Baptist Church.
            I hear what you are saying about Replacement Theology, and I also have seen the slide at Westminster and Dallas towards more liberal theological positions. I reject these.
            I was dispensational, but then after much study, I think any real theology must have the cross at the center as a nexus. Thus, I think the distinction made between the Church and Israel may be historical and according to the biblical narrative, but God's plan of salvation is for the children of the promise, not the children of the flesh. Jesus came to save his people from their sins, being all those that have believed on him before and after the cross from Genesis to Revelation. Their are dispensations, but there is only one way of salvation, one plan of salvation, and one saved people from all tribes and nations.
            I hope this is clear. I do favor the English Particular Baptists confessions and writings with some qualifications.
            No church is perfect and no confession is perfect.
            Courage and Godspeed.

          • κατεργάζομαι

            " Thus, I think the distinction made between the Church and Israel may be historical and according to the biblical narrative, but God's plan of salvation is for the children of the promise, not the children of the flesh.may be historical and according to the biblical narrative, but God's plan of salvation is for the children of the promise, not the children of the flesh."

            …you scare me.

          • Tychicus

            My position is no different than Paul expresses in Romans 9.
            6 Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:
            7 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.
            8 That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.
            We are the children of the promise by faith, the same faith as Abraham.
            Although they are our enemies for the gospel's sake, our hearts are for Israel of the flesh that they may be saved and our prayer is for the peace of Jerusalem.
            Courage and Godspeed.

          • κατεργάζομαι

            Were you once Onesimus a decade ago, m-m?

          • Tychicus

            I don't think I was ever under that user name.
            I have not used any names from Philemon.

          • Tychicus

            No, I only started reading this site this year (2012).
            I meant the letter to Philemon. I take names for the Scriptures for nicks.

          • κατεργάζομαι

            "I take names for the Scriptures for nicks. "

            What does that mean?

            sir, I thought that you were a former Michael Reagan poster of great sagacity.

            You are not he.

          • Tychicus

            No, I am not.
            Just a Christian who studies and researches issues related to application and confirmation of truth, justice, and the way of Christ.
            Courage and Godspeed.

  • Ghostwriter

    What those on the religious left don't seem to understand is that Japan was a different place in the 1930's and 40's than it is today. The military ruled Japan and it used the Samurai code as a cover for it's hatred and violence,particularly against ANY who dissented from it's rule. It had already assassinated a number of those who were considered pro-peace. What would make those on the religious left think that we were dealing with anything more than a bunch of fanatics who would have destroyed everyone and everything that wasn't like them?

  • Drakken

    What these goofy do gooder leftist don't understand about pacifism is that those who beat their swords into plowshares always plow for those who don't. I am too the point in believing these useful idiots aren't worth saving, let them take the high moral ground, history is filled with them, in mass graves.

  • geopeyton

    Evil people such as Claiborne and Alperovitz – and yes, they are evil – are always against the use of force by others. Yet when presented with the opportunity, they rarely avoid such usage themselves.

    Put them in power and they will prove the same bloodthirsty maniacs as their ideological forefathers. You don't kill 100 million people by accident.

  • sergemaster

    Nearly 20 years ago when serving on the local fire dept., I spoke with a WW2 veteran of the ETO about his experiences there. I later asked him what he had thought about the dropping of the atomic bomb on Japan shortly after the surrender of Germany and he said with tears in his eyes that he thanked and prayed for President Harry S. Trueman every night. You see, shortly after Germany's unconditional surrender, my friend found himself on a troopship headed for the Pacific theatre where they were expected to participate in the invasion of Japan. When making their way around the Cape of Good Horn, they recieved news that the bomb was dropped and that Japan had finally surrendered. He and his comerades began to cry for as he said, they knew at that point they were going to survive the war, since down to a man, nearly all were convinced that if "Operation Olympic", and the invasion of the Jpaanese home islands were to take place most if not all were going to be killed. My friend lived to 84 years old, thanks to the decision of Harry S. Trueman to drop the bomb that August day back in 1945.

  • mattogilvie55

    With all due respect to the writer, I grow increasingly irritated at the term "Christian left." There is no such thing. Liberals are not Christians, it is simply not possible for anyone to be both. Anyone who claims to be both a Christian AND a liberal is lying about the former.

  • Schlomotion

    So… Shane Claiborne returns to the teachings of Christ. Immediately a little red light goes off and The CIA and Opus Dei in the form of Mark Tooley activate and begin a character assassination of Shane Claiborne. Apparently, the teachings "vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord," and "for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword" is just not plain enough for the likes of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, which likes to blur the separation of church and state by acting as a Gladio to interfere with Christian teaching if it defies the aims of the fascist deep state. Mr. Tooley has crossed over from being in the CIA to being the President of this Gladio, IRD. His pronouncements are distinctly evil and contrary to Christian teaching.

  • cynthia curran

    Good point there.

  • Tychicus

    Despite all the great info by @tagalog and others here, I think a few things need to be said.
    Unconditional Surrender was necessary for both Germany under the Fuhrer and Japan under the Emperor because of the following:
    1. Japanese society was intensely following Shintoism worshiping the Emperor as a god.
    2. The Gov of both countries could not be trusted having followed an agenda of aggressive military domination and using diplomacy as a means to that end. Secret treaties and false assurances had been made many times only to buy time to accomplish this end. (Like Iran presently.)
    3. Defeat was not an option for these societies/governments. Anything less than total surrender would allow the current governments/societies to begin again their military build up, etc. The preference of suicide and destruction to peace and surrender was evident to all especially in the battle of Okinawa and the Kamikazes.
    Understanding what we were fighting and who we were fighting were reasons for the bomb. Germany was not an island in the Pacific and furthermore the Russians were more than willing to deal with the last man stand of the German Army.
    Courage and Godspeed.

    • tagalog

      Also, the Japanese were proud of their national history of never having been defeated in war; they were (and continue to be) intensely racist. They saw themselves as liberating all of Asia from Western imperialists and instituting what they termed the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, with Japan at the helm of all Asian countries after driving out the colonial powers and the United States.

      Given such attitudes, together with the fanaticism of the war leaders such as Tojo, it seems inevitable that the Japanese would never surrender until utterly beaten. The atomic bomb must have been the greatest of the convincers; the Japanese were not awed by military defeat – they saw military defeat as something that happens in wartime, with plenty of opportunity for the "divine wind" to give them the final victory, so the USSR invading Manchuria was bad, but not the messenger of doom that the bomb was.

  • Tychicus

    I have also experienced the foolish and mistaken idea that we dropped the bomb on civilians rather than military targets. That is false.
    In the first place, the Japanese society was to a man pledged to support the Emperor with their lives whether in the military or not. In the second place both Hiroshima and Nagasaki were military targets.
    Hiroshima was the communications center for the islands.
    Nagasaki was the main military industrial city for the Japanese Army.
    Only the voice of the Emperor could persuade the Japanese people to lay down their arms and surrender. And only unconditional surrender could bring about that end.
    The bomb was not dropped on civilian targets. Stop the lies and stop the leftist misinformation about what, why and how the US and her allies ended WW2.
    Remember the Democrates were running the Gov througout WW2 and they realized as well that there was no other way to end the war without many many more allied and Japanese deaths if the bomb was not used.
    Courage and Godspeed.

    • tagalog

      In support of your contention that there were no true civilians in Japan, remember that the Japanese civil defense authorities were training something like 40 million Japanese, men, women, and children to do things like attack battle-hardened Marines and GIs with bamboo spears, and the kids strapping anti-tank mines to their chests and rolling themselves under the treads of the armored vehicles.

      Even if only one in a thousand of these spear-wielding militia types had wounded or killed an Allied trooper, that would have meant an additional 40,000 dead or wounded.

  • Tychicus

    I also have read that after the Japanese military leaders determined that the Hiroshima was destroyed by an Atom Bomb, they immediately wanted to place the Japanese scientists into safe place with as much resources as possible to be able to produce a similar weapon. The military leaders were not concerned with more loss of lives, but rather avoiding surrender at all costs.
    Courage and Godspeed.

  • JGre

    Anyone know why USA didn't simply give a demo of th bomb to the population, say, 10 miles offshore from Tokyo and see if surrender could be induced before dropping the bomb on major population areas?

    • tagalog

      Truman considered it, but Oppenheimer and some of the Los Alamos scientists informed him that there was a chance that the demonstration might end with a fizzle, the bomb carrying some risk that it would be a dud. This would have stiffened Japanese resistance instead of leading to surrender.

    • Sprinklerman

      They dropped the first bomb on Hiroshima and that didn't make them surrender, what makes you think that dropping the bomb in the ocean would have made any difference? How about engaging mind before engaging fingers?

      • JGre

        Hey arrogant "genious". Duh. What makes you think I've never thought of your response before? Maybe they would've had to drop two. Or three. Or four. The point is I was trying to hear some more intelligent thoughts than your own as to why this did not happen so when the topic comes up in my conversations I can address it. A much better argument would be that even if you dropped four nuclear bombs in the ocean the shintoist Japanese still would not have surrendered until a bomb actually forced them to by literally falling on them. Of course we will never know because it is simply speculation but it is interesting to theorize. As to the worry about the first bomb being a dud, they could have dropped the bomb without telling the Japanese they were going to do it and if it did not explode the Japanese would've been none the wiser. On the other hand, if it had been a dud when dropped over Hiroshima the Japanese would have known for sure.

        • Jgre

          By the way I agree that many many thousands of lives were saved by dropping the bomb. I am only posing the question as to whether or not those same lives could have been saved had a different approach been taken.

        • tagalog

          The problem is that, as of the end of July 1945, there were only 3 atomic bombs that had been built, one of which had been used up in the Trinity test. So there were two atomic bombs left. I don't see how they could have dropped more than two, since there weren't any more than that. If the one had been a dud, and the other exploded in the demonstration, there would have been no bomb to drop on Japan, had they decided we were bluffing.

          We had delivered the two remaining atomic bombs to LeMay on Tinian via the U.S.S. Indianapolis, and there was a fourth bomb being manufactured with no completion date or date of delivery to Tinian known.

          Just for your information, when an atomic bomb is a dud it may explode the conventional initiation material but the fissionable material simply fails to reach critical mass for one reason or another and the big bang doesn't happen, or it just fails to go off, but dropped from 25,000 or 35,000 feet it would be smashed up, so there wouldn't have been any way to rebuild the bomb into a workable weapon. Or, if the demonstration bomb was to be dropped near Japan, it would be dropped into the sea. Plus, being radioactive, no one would be able to get near the wreckage anyway no matter where it landed. They could have put it on a ship, I suppose, but the Japanese still had the capability to sink ships. Plus the Japanese would have called us on the ability to deliver the weapon.

          Not telling the Japanese about the demonstration would have been pretty stupid, don't you think? They'd have no idea what we were doing. They didn't have detection equipment to find out about such a detonation. If our planes had dropped it close to Japan and it was a dud, the end result would still be either a second demonstration and no bombs left, or a one-bomb atomic bombing of Japan. Now we know what happened after one bomb, don't we? If we'd told them there was to be a demonstration and it was a dud, they'd have told Truman he was lying about "prompt and utter destruction."

          So if the Japanese decided to treat a successful second demonstration with "silent contempt," as they did the Potsdam Declaration of July 26, we would have had no bomb left to drop on Japan until sometime later.

  • Sprinklerman

    I have never served in combat but everyone who I have met that has, says that war is hell and they hope that no one has to serve in combat ever again. However, world peace is like fire prevention. It's nice to hope and work towards, but it's a goal that will never be attainable. Evil exists. If we fail to understand that (and most "Christian Liberals" don't understand this) we will repeat our past mistakes.
    Regarding the dropping of the atomic bombs, my father served in the Navy in WWII. He was assigned as in instructor to RADAR repair school in Galveston, TX for the duration. However after Germany surrendered, he and many others that had not served in combat were assigned to combat units for the eventual invation of the Japanese Islands. While enroute to the West Coast they heard of the attack on Hiroshima. He said that to a man everyone on that train in uniform, cried knowing that they wouldn't have to attack the Japanese Islands and that their chances now of surviving the war were good. Attempting to make the argument against the dropping of the atomic bombs doesn't hold up to true historical accuracy and logic.

  • MHichborn

    The focus of this debate is entirely on the wrong matter. Leftists argue that the war was winding down and Japan would have surrendered anyway, while neo-conservatives claim that the bombs were some sort of necessary evil that saved more lives than it took.

    ALL moral theology begins with this simple premise: The ends CANNOT justify the means, no matter how great the perceived ends or how minor the the evil of the means. Once you employ evil means to achieve some greater good, you have disqualified the morality of your position.

    And the arguments in favor of and in opposition to the dropping of the bomb on two civilian populations rests squarely on this matter. The fact is, bombing civilian populations (means) in order to end a war is just as unjust as deliberately killing a preborn baby in order to end the mother's suffering.

    • tagalog

      Good point. For arguments on this point, please let me recommend Among The Dead Cities by a moral philosopher named A.C. Grayling. It's relatively new – a couple of years old, and is interesting on the point you raise. Another interesting discussion of the point you raise can be found in a book entitled Fire and Fury: The Allied Bombing of Germany, 1942-1945 by Randall Hansen. I've read both, and they are quite good. I guess Among the Dead Cities is my favorite.

      The counter-argument is that one can be forced into making a choice between two, three, or more moral wrongs, so the final issue is which moral wrong is the least bad. That's obviously a utilitarian analysis and of course isn't the only one – a duty-based approach, a la Kant, would say that one must always choose a moral course and not allow himself to be drawn into a choice of evils.

      Another, less valid, argument is that war creates a moral atmosphere that is different from any other, and the decisions that have to be made must be morally evaluated within that perspective. Of course, the "just war" doctrine of Saint Thomas Aquinas is valuable too. Just war theory calls for means that do not do harm to the innocent, so the central question regarding the morality of the atomic bombing of the Japanese (and other tactics such as carpet bombing) is whether or not the Japanese qualify as innocent people. Of course, there must have been Japanese who did not agree with the Japanese war policies, and to bomb them collectively with other Japanese who were arguably not "innocent" is a collective approach which we righties should, prima facie, recoil at.

      • tagalog

        For a point of view that differs from Grayling's rather insistent moral judgment, read Moral Combat by Michael Burleigh. He maintains that there was no moral issue on the bombing campaign question, either about area/carpet bombing or the atomic bombing of Japan.

  • Fr. Peter

    While I agree that the religious left blames America in excess and pushes a too pacifist understanding of things the real criticism of the atomic bombings is the same criticism we can make of strategic bombing in general, when the intent is the destruction of civilian life on a mass scale the act is immoral whether it is the Blitz on London, the firebombing of Dresden or Tokyo or the atomic attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. While it can be legitimately discussed whether those working in arms factories are combatants and whether the bombing of such factories in cities is legitimate the discussion turns on whether there is principle of double effect going on or if the intention was what the CCC calls an immoral act – the purposeful destruction of civilians. Furthermore we can understand the stress of the situation of the time and admit the moral challenges facing Truman and his subordinates down to the last private that may in some way mitigate the knowledge and liberty of their actions. That must not prevent us from candid, objective and honest moral judgments about the actions past and potentially future.

  • Tychicus

    I have also read how the Japanese sent bombs and other EDI to American shores. I remember that one of these fire balloons interferred with the Los Almos experiment.
    All this to simply say that the idea the Japanese had no intention of attacking the West coast was wishful thinking and part of the misinformation campaign of the left portraying the US and its Allies as aggressors.
    Courage and Godspeed