May 27, 2015

Canadian theologian: "It is simply impossible to derive pacifism as a Christian doctrine from the Bible"

Marissa SemkiwArchive

On Monday, CBC spoke to Kathy Moorhead Thiessen of Christian Peacemaker Teams, who says Canada "could take a different approach" to fighting ISIS -- one that emphasizes diplomacy over military intervention.

Moorhead Thiessen told the CBC that her pacifism is linked to her faith as a Mennonite Christian.

But is pacifism really a biblical, Christian value?

I asked Rev. Dr. Joseph Boot. He's a theologian, the founding pastor of Westminster Chapel in Toronto and the founder of the Ezra Institute for Contemporary Christianity (EICC).

Here's our conversation:

How does Christian morality justify Canada’s war against ISIS?

There is no question that war and violence are a consequence of sin in history. If there were no evil and injustice in the heart of man, there would be no conflict and hence, no war. It is also true that war has been typically seen in Christian theology as a last resort, not the first recourse to conflict situations. Certainly diplomatic solutions should be pursued wherever possible to prevent bloodshed. 

Without getting into the details of the conflict raging in Iraq and Syria, those who believe ISIS are interested in compromise and diplomatic solutions manifest only their ignorance of the ideology, which motivates these fighters. 

As desirable as a cessation of conflict is, men who remove the heads of Christian children in front of their parents if they refuse to convert to Islam and slaughter their own people in the name of God, are not interested in sitting around a table with Christian “peacemakers” to drink coffee and discuss peaceful settlements... that is a fool’s errand.

True peacemaking in Christianity is not synonymous with peacekeeping.

A group of Christian peacemakers in Iraq are urging Canada’s federal government to take a pacifistic approach to the war – one that urges diplomatic solutions over the use of force.  Does Christianity teach pacifism?

That would depend on whether the Bible is considered the authority for defining Christianity or not. There have certainly been groups in the history of the church who have held to pacifistic ideals and Christian professing nations have usually respected conscientious objectors in the instances of military conscription. 

However, if the Bible is considered to be the benchmark of Christian belief it is simply impossible to get pacifism from scripture.  First, God is described in the Bible as a warrior and man of war (Ex 15:3)! Second, God appears in what theologians call a theophany to Joshua, as a military captain of a heavenly host with a drawn sword in his hand prior to the destruction of Jericho (Josh 5: 13-15). God repeatedly required Israel, as an act of his justice and judgment against a perverse and cruel nation, to use military force to defeat and drive out the Canaanites.  On route, through Moses, God destroyed the Egyptian Army in the Sea. Clearly, God used war and supported just wars throughout the history of Israel. 

Moreover, without getting into a detailed study, from Genesis 9 onwards, God required capital punishment for murderers in Scripture, and just war has been seen by Christians as the extension of the states right to defend citizens against violence and murder.  St Paul explicitly affirms the right of the state to bear the sword (Rom 13).  This helps us understand why some of God’s greatest servants were warriors. 

Our spiritual father Abraham, the friend of God, pursues with his “trained men” a confederacy of kings who have kidnapped his nephew Lot, and he makes war on them to rescue Lot and his family (Gen 14).  David, the greatest King of Israel, the man after God’s own heart and ancestor of Jesus, was one of the greatest warriors in history. 

Some will say that this is all in the Old Testament, and try to suggest that an unchanging God has changed his mind about war, but this is absurd. 

The character and nature of God does not change. He fights for justice against evil and indeed the Christian life is pictured as one of conflict against a spiritual foe. 

In all the interactions that Jesus, Peter, Paul and John the Baptist had with soldiers (especially centurions) in the Bible, not once are they told to repent of soldiering and to leave the military!  Jesus states explicitly that had his kingdom had been of the world (i.e. the source of its authority being merely human), his followers would have fought to prevent his arrest (John 18:36).  We do not spread the gospel by the sword, but earthly kingdoms will and do fight in a sin-ravaged world. 

In the gospel account of Jesus telling Peter to put away his sword when he cut off the servant’s ear when they came to arrest him, the pacifists fail to notice the obvious – Peter was armed!  Jesus knew the Father’s will that he suffer and be crucified, and so did not resist arrest. Yet Peter was armed and ready to use his weapon to defend Christ.  Jesus had clearly not banned the disciples carrying swords for self-defense. In fact at one point he tells them to buy swords (Luke 22:35-38). 

St Paul likewise had no scruples about appealing to civil authority and accepting armed escort when his life was threatened (Acts 23: 12-25).  Moreover, scripture is clear that Christ will return as the faithful and righteous judge and makes war on his enemies (Rev 19:11). 

In other words, it is simply impossible to derive pacifism as a Christian doctrine from the Bible.  In fact the failure to resist the murder and abuse of our fellow man can be a great evil.

A commonly quoted passage in scripture is to “turn the other cheek,” when describing violent interaction between human beings.  What does this passage say about the morality of engaging in war?

This passage in the Sermon on the Mount says nothing about the morality of engaging in war. 

At the beginning of this great Sermon Jesus makes it emphatically clear that he has not come to abolish the law of Moses but to “fulfill” it, which in the Greek language means to complete or ‘put into force.’  He is clear that until heaven and earth pass away, not one punctuation mark from the law will disappear (Matt 5: 17-20). 

Thus, whatever Jesus teaches here is not in contradiction to what God has already taught his people. Rather, Jesus sets about correcting the misinterpretations of the law that have proliferated among the Scribes and Pharisees.  These were usually ‘fences’ for the law to excuse people’s disobedience. 

One major issue in people’s relationships Jesus was addressing was lawless retaliation.  People were taking the law into their own hands and getting each other back for wrongs done to them. In Matt 5: 38-39, Jesus does not reject the foundation stone of justice, “the law of the talons" or just retribution (the requirement for exact justice in a court of law), rather he condemns the practice of God’s people taking personal vengeance on each other. 

Moreover, the illustration of being slapped across the cheek as something to overlook and not seek personal vengeance for by taking it upon yourself is hardly akin to marauding invaders overrunning your town, murdering your family and raping your wife.

In Matt 5: 41, Jesus also gives further practical guidance as to how to deal with someone forcing you to go a mile with them. In Roman Judea, soldiers were permitted to press people into military service to carry their packs for a mile.  Jesus says, carry it for two miles! But wouldn’t that be assisting a soldier in his work?

In short, the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount is Christ’s teaching with regard to our interpersonal relationships.  It is not a treatise on the obligations of the father to protect his children, or the state to give justice in court and defend the citizenry in war. In fact Jesus was quite ready to heal the centurions servant because of his faith and he makes no call for him to leave the Roman military.


How do you respond to Jesus’s command to “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” What does “loving your enemies” look like in the context of war?

The confusion of the pacifist here is in their understanding of the meaning of love and the purpose of prayer. 

It is clear that the Christian is to pray for those that persecute them and to love our enemies – but what do these things mean in a context of violent hostility and aggression against our person or nation? 

Prayer is appealing to God on behalf of our enemies.  That may be for their redemption; for their conversion; for a change in their hearts and actions; or even for God’s justice to be realized in their lives. 

The imprecatory Psalms (which have Jesus full stamp of authority) pray for God’s vengeance on his enemies.  Second, loving our enemies is not about our feelings. 

The fact is, we cannot work up emotional feelings of affection for our enemies and that is not what it means to love them. Don’t forget, in this Sermon Jesus is interpreting the law, which already required love for enemies (Ex 23:4-5; Lev 19: 17; Deut 10: 19; Prov 24:17; 25:21). 

But as these passages make clear, love for enemies has nothing to do with how we feel, but our obedience to God.  Thus to love your enemy is to obey God’s law with respect to them.  So, we do not steal from, murder, commit adultery with, or lie, even about our enemies.  St Paul is clear in Rom 13: 10 that love is the fulfillment of the law. 

God’s law does not forbid just war.  In fact it requires exact justice and the execution of murderers and rapists and kidnappers by legitimate authority to realize justice and restore peace.


‘Just War’ Theory has its origins in Christian theology, beginning with Saint Augustine.  Can you elaborate?

Because of the Christian emphasis on peace, kindness, justice, reconciliation etc. war has usually been seen by Christians as something to avoid as far as is humanly possible. 

Christian ‘Just War’ theories (including Augustine’s) are not attempts to find ways of sanctioning war as far as possible, but to limit it as far as humanly possible.  God does not make war in scripture accept on the basis of bringing about his perfect justice and vengeance against evildoers. 

Moreover, God has rules of war to prevent the abuse of people and creation (i.e. Deut 20: 19-20; 20:10; 21:14). Christian theologians then, in a world plagued by conflict, have sought to argue that war should only be countenanced when self-defense and justice demands it, and other routes to realizing that defense and justice are either exhausted or impossible to pursue. 

Wars pursued for the purpose of profit, aggressive unprovoked warfare for seizures of land and property from other nations, are nowhere sanctioned in Just War theory. 

In Augustine’s world, just war was easier to define because it was clear when the enemy was at the gates of the city and had no desire for peace.

Today however, when nuclear missiles can be fired from submarines and inter-continental missiles can reach nations from vast distances, defining what constitutes defensive action can be more difficult.  Moreover, in a world where global news reaches everyone, can we turn a blind eye to genocide, and the horrendous abuse of other human beings?


How has this theory been used throughout history to justify going to war?

What is a war of illegal interference, and what is a war for the protection of the innocent?  These lines are harder to draw in the modern world. 

World War II is perhaps a good illustration of a just war in modern history.  The aggression of the Nazi’s was unprovoked, ideological hatred that spilled over into total war with no regard for treaties, peace agreements or human life. 

The holocaust is one of the worst evils perpetrated in history.  Would it have been more “loving” for the British not to have declared war on Nazi Germany and to have allowed the Nazi’s to rule much of the world elimination the worlds Jews?  Or was the military defeat of Nazism by the allies ultimately a work of justice?

I don’t think there is more than one rational, moral and biblical answer to that.


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commented 2015-07-30 13:13:49 -0400
This article seems like the usual cafeteria Christian propaganda where they cherry pick certain parts of the scripture that promotes their agenda while ignoring the rest. However, that’s the problem with the bible and other religious texts, they are so vague and open to different interpretations that any nutjob could quote scripture to justify their beliefs and actions.
commented 2015-07-30 01:02:05 -0400
The confusion comes for nearly 500 years of the Mennonite Pacifist movement. Non Mennonite Christianity seemed to think that pacifism was Christian when in fact being spineless wasn’t Christian at all. A Christian nation can only be peaceful if it has a capable army to enforce peace, There has never been a Nation of Pacifist that could survive nor can there ever be.

Mennonite pacifism was exposed as a canard in the lead up to and during the Hitler years where Mennonites were the first to swear allegiance and bargain with their Hitler who they saw as world leader. That made them appeaser to evil not pacifists) They later fled what they term “persecution” in Russia. This was because they had willfully assisted in the Nazi advance – they just received retribution for for treachery, it wasn’t persecution. Today the MCC Mennonite Central Committee (also Pacifists) has taken sides with Islamic Extremism and are funding and helping organize the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS) against Israel to appease Islam. Hopefully We can look forward to Canada making such “Pacifist” activity illegal.
Over the years Pacifism seems more one of those Marxist words that ends up meaning exactly the opposite.
commented 2015-07-08 13:14:04 -0400
Great stuff.
Perfect pacifism is impossible in a world full of corruption, unless the would-be pacifist is willing to simply abandon all personal responsibility for life and well-being, lay down and die silently.
If the West and Europe had not become so deeply infested with virulent liberalism (secular humanist religion), there were still be some backbone, guts and honor left here. Our politicians sit by and watch the rest of the world get raped repeatedly with nothing more than a girly slap on the hand given to the evil bastards that do as they please.
commented 2015-07-08 13:07:36 -0400
@patrick Burgomaster
If using make-believer as an arg isn’t convincing then why do you do it all the time?
commented 2015-07-01 10:49:27 -0400
Using make-believe as an argument isn’t very convincing
commented 2015-06-30 22:45:31 -0400
Yawn …….
commented 2015-06-29 14:31:08 -0400
Two points. One, diplomatic solutions to conflict are only possible if both sides are seriously interested in (a) solving the problem and (b) solving the problem by diplomacy. With ISIS that is clearly not the case just as it was not the case with Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, Fascist Italy and the Soviet Union. Chamberlain “gave peace a chance” – and thereby set the stage for the greatest war humanity has ever seen. His willful naivite cost about 60 million lives between 1939 and 1945. Some peacemaker! Two: pacificism is immoral. In reality it means letting other people do your dirty work for you protecting your life and your rights while you feel smugly superior and pass judgments on your defenders. It is the ultimate form of hypocrisy. It uses the disguise of piety to hide a position that boils down to the shameless use of other people’s lives for your advantage.
commented 2015-06-11 16:10:21 -0400
People seem to be confused by what the phrase, turn the other cheek means.
Turning the other check was an old phraseology for ignoring an insult. It did not refer to someone literally slapping you in the face.
It’s so easy being a pacifist when someone else is dying to protect you.

Like the Americans say, Freedom is not Free.
commented 2015-06-10 18:42:56 -0400
Thank you Marissa for this article. I have heard Rev. Dr. Joseph Boot before and have tremendous respect for him and his views. I’m thinking of Pope John Paul 2, when he was growing up in Poland and the communists took over, he did not take up arms but fought them just the same up to and after he became Pope. However when it comes to the military defending our country from invaders, I believe in the combination of the power of prayer, also in defending ourselves much as europeans did in the second world war with the underground. After all, how can you negotiate with an insane madman? Now we are faced once again with the same kind of insanity. After all, it was the chief Mufti of the Muslims who went to (I believe) Goering to admonish him that they weren’t killing more jews fast enough! We need the help of God to help politicians make the right decisions to help us be protected without going to war unless absolutely necessary, only if it be justified. (Actually, I thought 9/11 was enough provocation to declare war). Also, I find it disturbing that Obama has ruled out Christian Chaplains and priests in the military where they are needed the most. It’s even worse today because it’s like guerilla fighting. The terrorists don’t have uniforms, they steal weapons and hijack planes. It costs them nothing but human lives which they are only too eager and willing to give up. Not only that but it’s not just one enemy, it’s enemies, plural, who are fighting each other as well for the real purpose, power. We need prayer warriors today not just military warriors. Storm the heavens with prayers. Not every Muslim is a terrorist but every terrorist is a Muslim.
commented 2015-05-31 21:07:25 -0400
Ron, I think most Canadians don’t know what real pacifism means. I suspect most don’t believe we’ll ever need to physically defend our homes and families. I think we are sitting ducks.
commented 2015-05-31 21:04:55 -0400
What I recall of the summer of 2001 was that it was clear that something was going on but not clear what. I left my home one day and saw a man standing across the street. He saw me, crossed over, came right up to me, spat on my face hitting my mouth and cheek, and yelled, “filthy Jew” then ran away. Another day, I began to walk downtown to the local farmer’s market in Hamilton but turned back when I saw four lanes deep of bikers surrounding the John Sopinka courthouse and guards outside with what looked like automatic weapons. It felt like the earth was pulsating.

A friend with police connections said the tensions were due to terrorism. I thought he had lost it but …

The current time, since spring, reminds me of that. There is a feel of unknown danger in the air.
commented 2015-05-31 15:29:19 -0400
Terry thanks for referring me to Anthony Summers’ “The Eleventh Day”. It is in kindle format so I will give at read. I have just finished Bill Clinton’s memoirs and am just into George W’s so this should fit right in.
commented 2015-05-30 16:53:36 -0400
Pacifists either flee, get driven off, or get killed when faced with real oppression such as that being perpetrated by the idiots in the Islamic State. I for one will not flee or be driven off. Freedom comes at a cost which is sadly death at times. The benefits of freedom belong to those willing to fight and die for it.
commented 2015-05-30 10:00:36 -0400
Jacob I would like to comment on what you said. Christians can be pacifists and also serve. I like to see what Jesus said plus examples from the NT on the topic. He told Peter to put away his sword and also when Roman soldiers became Christians it seems as if they continued in the military. It is a choice I believe. Pacifists can serve as medics or in the back office. That is what they did where I was. Some did not want to go at all when called and didn’t. However the guys in uniform looked out for the pacifist and their families.
commented 2015-05-30 09:38:45 -0400
Ron/Joan: I found Anthony Summers’ “The Eleventh Day” an excellent, meticulously researched analysis of what was known and what was suspected. It brings home the idea that there were, indeed, many leads and clues; there were also many, many MORE leads and clues pointing in other, and opposite, directions.
commented 2015-05-30 09:34:12 -0400
Jacob: beautifully put.
commented 2015-05-29 15:19:13 -0400
Ugh. This article, and the line quoted in the title, reveal the sheer poverty of fundamentalist hermeneutics. Boot is unable to imagine a legitimate Christian interpretation that reaches pacifist conclusions since to do so would require ignoring parts of the Bible, even though he does exactly the same thing.

A.J. Jacobs revealed the absurdity of fundamentalists who claim to follow every jot and tittle of the Bible quite well in “The Year of Living Biblically.” Unless Boot really still wears clothing made only of a single type of fabric and studiously avoids sitting on a chair that has been recently touched by a menstruating woman, he’s also guilty of falling into the Old Covenant/New Covenant binary that he complains about.

Really, how are you supposed to make sense of a Jesus who tells you both that you should “turn the other cheek” and “love your enemies” at the same time as he has “come not to bring peace, but a sword”? If you’re like any Christian living today, you pick and choose those parts of the Bible that make sense to you as a guiding rubric. Mennonites, Amish, and Hutterites do it when they decide that Christianity mandates pacifism. Boot and other pro-war Christians do it too when they focus on images of God as warrior and Jesus slaughtering his enemies in Revelation. Boot cannot claim any kind of moral or spiritual high ground, and his assertion that “it is simply impossible to derive pacifism as a Christian doctrine from the Bible” is sheer arrogant nonsense.

I’m a Mennonite by background as well as conviction, and therefore a Christian pacifist, but the main difference between me and Boot isn’t that I’m right and he’s wrong. The main difference is that I’m willing to acknowledge that the Christian Bible is a complex text open to multifarious interpretations, and that any attempt on my part to claim only one of them as truly “Christian” would be juvenile. Boot’s shortsighted claims to an exclusive definition of Christianity are naive and foolish. He’s not the voice of Christianity, although he may be the voice of a particular twig growing off of the large evangelical/fundamentalist branch growing out of its right side.
commented 2015-05-29 13:49:21 -0400
Joan I have gone straight into George Bush’s memoirs now. Maybe he will have something in there that I was unaware of. Looking back now I guess the US should not have sent troops to Afghanistan and Iraq as the whole area is aflame now. Perhaps some commando operations on specific targets would have been better.

I guess getting back to the whole idea of pacifism would you say most Canadians are pacifists or something in between that and being a hawk?
commented 2015-05-29 13:00:44 -0400
Ron Zager – I haven’t read Clinton’s memoirs but I had read that intelligence knew bin Laden posed a threat.

At about 4:30 pm on 9/11 I heard Jim Thistle, the editor of the COMER newsletter, blame the attack on bin Laden before any media ever made that conclusion. So there was lots of warning that even ordinary folks knew about.

I was a member of COMER for my job, but after 9/11 I quit all association with them. Thistle also screamed at the TV “Say it was the Americans’ fault”. He said the Americans deserved the attacks for how they treated Muslims. His hatred for Americans was apoplectic and shocking and it soon became clear just how pro-overthrowing democracy all the local COMER members were.

The next day, I heard it reported that Muslims died in the attack too so I confronted Thistle and asked him why bin Laden would kill Muslims to punish Americans for how they treated Muslims. His reply was chilling. He said that Muslims died was a mistake, that “they (the victims) were supposed to be all Jews”.
commented 2015-05-28 19:05:38 -0400
@ William Oosterman – “The New Covenant has replaced the old.”

No, it isn’t. It is the fulfillment of the Old Testament. There is a difference. Matthew 5:17
commented 2015-05-28 12:53:42 -0400
William, would you care to elaborate on the link between God and AIDS? I’ve always been curious.
commented 2015-05-28 12:50:57 -0400
Joan you probably know this already and I am late to find out. You mentioned 9/11 and I have just finished President Clinton’s memoirs. He devotes a few pages to how he tried to eliminate Bin Laden starting in 1998 as they knew he was planning something.
commented 2015-05-28 11:48:08 -0400
Willian O. – I find it an obscene idea to suggest God caused 9/11 to punish the USA for rejecting Christian morals.

A FN colleague of mine lost all the adult men in her family that day. They were part of the construction crew hired to fortify the foundation. They were Canadian. Why would God wipe out a whole family’s menfolk to punish another country?

I think you are wrong about that one.
commented 2015-05-28 11:45:25 -0400
William I did like your first posting. Christianity is moving forward in Africa. That is a for sure.
commented 2015-05-28 09:52:51 -0400
Excellent article Marissa.

commented 2015-05-28 09:35:44 -0400
I should add I am all for Western nations bombing ISIS back into the stone age. And then after the war is won Christians are there to minister to those who need it. That has nothing to do with the church. God has always used one nation to punish another and he still does (think 9/11) as the result of the USA rejecting Christians morals on all fronts.
commented 2015-05-28 09:31:22 -0400
1. This “theologian” totally ignores the most basic truth stated in passages like Hebrews 8. The New Covenant has replaced the old. He is smuggling practices from the old into the new. The church has doing this for 1700 years since Constantine’s false conversion. You really need to come to terms with HEBREWS (8) and no Presbyterian ever has. THE OLD COV – Mt. Sinai – is rotten, decaying, gone! HEBREWS (8) destroys the whole reliance n the OT / OC. We have a new covenant – not a new version or admin of the old. We have a NC Scripture – the NT. It alone is has authority. What ever from the OT is needed for a NT Christian is brought over by God into the NT. What ever is supposed to be left behind God did not bring into the NT. When you do it, it is SMUGGLING – the source of MOST errors in church history – Here are examples:
holy buildings /temples “Shh…you are in God’s house” nonsense.
special robes for priests
holy wars – the RC church used to have ARMIES – “we do not fight against flesh and blood..the weapons of our warfare are not carnal” The “our” is the church. A wicked nation – and all are – can be used of God to punish another nation
Sabbath ( no – not transferred, the one command of the 10’C’s not repeated in the NT – in fact we are told to not judge – where as breaking the other 9 without repentance means you go to hell)
Infant Sprinkling ( Impossible to support using only NT – as SPROUL readily admits
Church & State in bed togther – state makes people go to their church
Involuntary membership – like Israel – OT – you are IN as a baby and that is that!
So all of the above are smuggled in from the OT.
Islam will be beaten. I have read the last chapter and I know who wins – Jesus Christ. But it will be martyrs, and missionaries, and the Bible that will beat Islam. In fact 6000 per day in Africa are converting to Christ. In the mean time the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.
commented 2015-05-28 08:11:44 -0400
Hi, Ron. Let me help you with a little basic instruction in logic.
a) The Mennonite faith is a Christian faith.
b) The Mennonite faith preaches pacifism.
(Take your time. Don’t strain yourself.)
commented 2015-05-27 22:15:05 -0400
Prince Knight – I was just trying to understand where you would draw the line. It’s a question that fascinates me. Some people are absolute pacifists but it seems you would self defend and maybe also defend others.

A really good, short read is “The Cellist of Sarajevo” based on a true story, that also deals with the question. It takes place during the Siege of Sarajevo and tells the story of a sniper who evolves from being a precision killer to being an absolute pacifist even though it meant letting forces even more evil than she felt her own had become to take her life.

It’s a very, very difficult dilemma, this whole killing thing.
commented 2015-05-27 19:42:53 -0400
Joan, you wrote: “Prince Knight, if a convicted sadistic child predator escapes, forces entry to your home and begins to systematically murder your children, and you have the means to stop him, is it justified then for you to murder him if you cannot stop him any other way? What about if he starts shooting and injuring you and you have the means to stop him with a shot to his brain; would you take the shot?”

These are unequal sides of the equation, Joan. Self-defense and protection of those you’re responsible for are not the same. And military duty/performance is in another category altogether. Maybe you think I’m splitting hairs, but as you have reasons for renouncing your pacifism, I have reasons for not taking life at all, if at all possible.

This theologian’s writing is trying to come up with an overall principle of acceptance of violence within Christianity. Very well. He may even be right. But the final decision is still mine, and I will cling to that decision.

That being said, the decision will absolutely be based on the circumstances of any potential confrontation/conflict. I have already stated that I value life (even my enemy’s) very highly, and will not take it, if at all possible. I have already stated that, to me, taking of that life is murder, and military service in combat would be mass murder — to me. No disrespect whatsoever to any and all military personnel.

However, in a comment to someone else, you summed up the entire situation most eloquently:
““When it all comes down to dust,
I will kill you if I must;
I will love you if I can”

(Leonard Cohen, Isaac’s Story)"

There’s no arguing with that.