Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Alma 44

My Views

There is not much to this chapter doctrinally (nor the rest of the war chapters for that matter), and so all I am left with is to either simply read the chapters and move on or I can try to scrounge up some similarities between these war chapters and the world in which we live. In the previous chapter, I was able to make some comparisons between marriage and the battle. Hopefully I can glean something from the remaining war chapters.

Why They Fought and Why We Fight

Indeed the Nephites fought to defend their religion and the Lamanites were fighting to conquer, but at the root of these two reasons is religion. The war between the Nephites and Lamanites has been and would always be about religion. Despite being outnumbered in many battles, the Nephites always seem to chalk up a win (when they are righteous). The Lamanites are frustrated by this fact and they think it is not because of their religion that the Nephites win, but because of their cunning. Of course the Nephites could respond by saying it was their God who gave them their cunning. But the main point I wanted to make was that even though the Nephites and Lamanites said they were defending nation and family and that the Lamanites said they wanted to conquer, the root of it all was religion.

Several years ago, I read Stephen Oates’ With Malice Toward None which is a biography on Lincoln. I remember reading that on the surface, the Civil War begun because the Southern states seceded from the Union and that that is what Lincoln was fighting for … to keep the Union together. It seemed that the war went back and forth for quite some time and that during this time Lincoln was constantly being pressured “strike at the institution” meaning slavery. But Lincoln feared if he emancipated the slaves “it would cause half the officers to throw down their arms and three more states to rebel.” (p. 307) Therefore, the North kept fighting for the purpose of restoring the Union and not to free the slaves. But gradually Lincoln warmed to the idea of freeing the slaves and decided to put the matter in God’s hands. Both sides felt that God was on their side. Lincoln knew this and so he wanted to know God’s will … to free the slaves or not. Before Antietam, Lincoln “made a vow, a covenant. If the general (McClellan) won a victory, Lincoln would consider it ‘an indication of Divine Will’ that God had ‘decided the question in favor of the slaves’ and that it was Lincoln’s duty to ‘move forward in the cause of emancipation’” (p. 317). Of course McClellan won, but not to Lincoln’s liking. Nevertheless, Lincoln kept his vow and issues the Emancipation Proclamation. Now the war was not about keeping the Union together, but about freeing the slaves … the real heart of the matter of the war. The impression I got while reading the book was that once this was established … that the Union was not only fighting to keep the Union together but also to free the slaves … then at least Lincoln had a clear vision about what needed to be done to win. He finally felt that the cause was just.

Now my next point may be somewhat controversial, but I think it falls into the category of “know what you’re fighting for.” For years, it seems that the world has been dealing with terrorists on a case by case basis. It wasn’t until after the September 11, 2001 attacks on our country that all-out war was declared on terrorism. I feel that what we are fighting is still too broadly defined. We are not simply trying to defeat these radical Islamic jihadists. I feel and think that the issue of terrorism will continue for years and years until there truly is an all-out war to stamp it out completely. For that to happen, either Islam as a whole religion needs to denounce the terrorists and work with us to eradicate them or we need to soundly defeat all those who sympathize with the Islamic terrorists to the point that it would take decades for them to return to any amount of power. Else, this issue will drag on until either the Judeo-Christian religion is destroyed or the Islamic religion is wiped out completely.

Here's an interesting article that somewhat pertains to the subject.

Moroni’s Offer

Moroni seemed know exactly what to do. He gave Zarahemnah two choices: 1 – give up your weapons and leave us alone or 2 – suffer complete destruction. There was not “middle ground.”

When Zarahemnah refused make an oath never to fight again, Moroni returned the sword and weapons and said, “we will end the conflict.” Zarahemnah then tried to kill Moroni, but one of Moroni’s men scalped him and persuaded many of the Lamanites to enter into an oath.

Zarahemnah stirred up the remainder to fight, which left Moroni no other option other than to wipe them out. Yet he was still merciful when Zarahemnah begged for mercy. He was finally convinced and entered into an oath.

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