I’ve not seen The 300 and have no idea if John Mark Reynold’s take on the film is correct. I did, however, like what he had to say about war and peace in The 300: Must We Celebrate War to Fight?
Here’s a sample:
While a Christian soldier may do God’s work in a fallen world, his job is not an eternal one. Like Saint Michael and all the hosts of Heaven, he longs for the day when swords will be beaten into plowshares. . . .
There are worse things than death for a Christian. One is to stand idly by while the innocent in our charge are threatened and made to live in a manner unworthy of creatures created in the image of God.
Almost all Christians at all times have scorned the easy virtue of pacifism which too often allows the dead letter of a principle to over ride real world compassion. Like the ignoble Pharisees of old, the pacifist puts his own personal purity over the hard work of doing justice in a fallen world.
But war is not a good thing for any Christian, we long for peace. Our paradise is no haven for warriors to feast and recount their bloody deeds. The Prince of Peace, our Savior, himself takes up His heavenly sword, but only after giving His own blood to try to make peace with His foes.
We hate war, but we are willing to fight if we must in a just cause. The pagan Spartans loved War and were happy to fight. The parasitic pacifist hates War and is too short sighted to wage justice.
I honor our brave men and women who are fighting for my freedom over seas. I pray for them by name every night . . . Much as I honor those doing the great work of liberation, I cannot hate those who oppose them. Their foes are not Tolkien’s orcs or the cartoon Persians of the 300, but real men and women created in God’s image. We cannot hate them and we long for the day when we can embrace them as friends and brothers.
Fortunately, Americans have a better cultural symbol for this War of Liberation than the old pagan myth of the 300. Like that great American Julia Ward Howe, I see His truth in the camps of the Coalition armies, but like Mr. Lincoln know that His children are on both sides of the great conflict.
I am not allowed to hate the wicked men they fight. I must love their enemies and pray that as they bring justice by the sword to the Middle East that the young men of Baghdad and of Afghanistan will give up their folly and turn to the right.
Read the whole thing here.
While I would agree with what Reynolds says above, I would add that even Christian Soldiers are imbued with a warrior spirit that civilians probably can never understand. Survival and success on the battlefield require it. Christian Soldiers may be reluctant warriors but they cannot take a spirit of reluctance or hesitancy onto the field of battle. Someday, we may shake hands with the people we are fighting today. Old veterans have returned to Europe, the Pacific islands, and Vietnam to walk old battlefields with former foes. Right now, however, our enemies are our enemies. Right now, the Soldier’s job is victory, and he must approach that task as nothing less than a warrior.