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Old 07-12-2004, 07:37 PM   #1
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The case of Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun is very interesting. I recall reading that the “cut off a head for Allah” gang may have spared him if he agreed to renounce his position in the US military. I thought back to the discussions following the killing of Cassie Bernall (who, according to some sources, was killed after she said she believed in God) and whether a Christian should/should not deny their faith to save their life.

This got me thinking about our own word. If we say something, do we mean it? When will we break our word? Is there something that we would never say, even if our life were on the line?
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Old 07-12-2004, 07:54 PM   #2
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so, are you asking me to scream "uncle?"
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Old 07-12-2004, 07:54 PM   #3
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Peter knew what to do.
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Old 07-12-2004, 08:13 PM   #4
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I don't know how to answer that. I do remember hearing about a hostage (I believe during the Vietnam era, but I'm not sure. I think he went to stanford though. The prof who told the story had the same alma mater as the dude. Has anyone else heard of this?) who was coerced into saying things like "Bad US, blah blah blah!" or something, but he was blinking his eyes in Morse Code the entire time, letting viewers know that they were trying to brainwash him but it wasn't working. I don't know what ended up happening to him though. But his actions allowed his captors to think that an ineffective torture device was working, giving them a false sense of power/control, and allowed him to communicate with the US, which he wouldn't have been able to do if he'd been killed right away. So, did he sacrifice his personal honor or no?

I went to a Catholic high school and on the issue of denying one's faith to save one's life, I remember religion teachers being absolutely split. The teacher with young children said absolutely not, if it'd save your life to deny God once without meaning it and allow you to raise your kids, you'd be stupid not to and your death would be pointless. The other one felt it was absolutely wrong, and that if you did that what kind of a mother are you anyway, and so on. I don't know, I think they both made good points and I can't say one's absolutely right.

Anyway, there's a novel called One Day of Life by Manlio Argueta which discusses the repression of native peoples in...crap, I forget the country, but it's in Central America, (honduras I think) and it discusses the way the Guard targeted religious figures, union leaders and others, and how the people reacted when they were stopped and harassed for going to Church or wherever. It very much deals with your question, I think.

edited for too many parentheses
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Old 07-12-2004, 08:29 PM   #5
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Okay, I think I was wrong with the POW and that this is what I was talking about: http://www.aiipowmia.com/inter22/in081602endure.html
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Old 07-12-2004, 08:32 PM   #6
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i would hope that in such a terrifying time, i would be strong enough to tell the truth about myself.
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Old 07-12-2004, 08:35 PM   #7
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If it were me I think I'd falsely claim I didn't believe to not get killed.
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Old 07-12-2004, 08:38 PM   #8
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it's nearly impossible to know how one would react in such a situation. it's interesting to think about, though.
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Old 07-12-2004, 08:38 PM   #9
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I think there is absolutely NO way you can predict how you would act in such extenuating circumstances. Those are things for people who have lived through this type of hell to contemplate.

I do know that the instinct to survive is incredibly powerful. I know people who lay in mass grave pits for hours, one even for nearly two days among corpses just to survive. It's not necessarily a matter of upholding who you are and what you believe at that point, it is a basic human instict to survive to see another day.
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Old 07-12-2004, 09:03 PM   #10
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I would lie to save someone else's life. Would I lie to save my own, I would hope I could face death. But then again, does the audience matter? Would God feel my life is worth keeping by saying an empty lie to a room of terrorists. My principals say I wouldn't lie, but if I had kids or a wife, I think I would have to rethink.
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Old 07-12-2004, 10:12 PM   #11
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I am not good enough for martyrdom. My beliefs are not so important and significant to the outside world that it outweighs my actual life. I have total and complete assurance in my beliefs that words will never threaten that. A lie versus my life is not an option. I will always take what I view as my right to my life and do whatever I need to preserve that. My life is as much a gift as anyone else's and I dont see it as compromising anything I believe in if I'm forced into a situation which is out of my control.

In short, I would like to think I would not die for someone else's crusade as I would expect none to die for mine.
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Old 07-13-2004, 01:00 AM   #12
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If you are taken hostage by Muslim terrorists and you are not Arab or Muslim then you are going to be exectuted, how you face that is up to you. It is different if you are a POW such as in Vietnam or the Gulf War because there you have at least some chance of survival, when your in a no win situation nothing matters so you may as well go out with a bang.

I like Fabrizio Quattrocchi, the Italian hostage who resisted the terrorists and shouted 'Now I'm going to show you how and Italian dies", by resisting and showing the terrorists that westerners have more balls and courage than they ever will that tape wasn't used by the terrorist scum.
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Old 07-13-2004, 01:16 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bbug
I went to a Catholic high school and on the issue of denying one's faith to save one's life, I remember religion teachers being absolutely split. The teacher with young children said absolutely not, if it'd save your life to deny God once without meaning it and allow you to raise your kids, you'd be stupid not to and your death would be pointless. The other one felt it was absolutely wrong, and that if you did that what kind of a mother are you anyway, and so on. I don't know, I think they both made good points and I can't say one's absolutely right.
Catholic high schools really like to pose this question, although the variation I got was whether or not you'd deny your faith if it could save a room full of people who would be killed if you didn't. I think it is meant to be a question like "if a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, would it make a sound?"

(And yes...it would make a sound; sound waves are emitted regardless of whether or not someone is there to hear it, so, yes, a sound is made.)

I think that one's answer to it, though, probably depends on their approach to religion. Essentialists would likely find denying one's faith to be gravely wrong, while personalists would not. An essentialist generally interprets the world according to a fixed set of rules with no room for nuance. In other words, to pose and answer another question, an essentialist would indeed say it is a sin for a poor man to steal a loaf of bread for his family, because, rich or poor, it is stealing, and a violation of the Ten Commandments. Thus, to deny one's faith falsely to save one's life would be lying, and, thus a sin.

A personalist would approach the issue differently, perhaps arguing that God would realize their true intentions--to not deny God, but to save lives. God would know the difference, and, thus, would understand why the false denial would have been made. Thus, the personalist approach would also argue that a poor man stealing a loaf of bread for his family is justified, as the action was not intended to anger God, but, rather, a desperate act to feed one's family.

I guess, really, the question is meant to be unanswerable, as the essentialist / personalist debate has been raging for centuries.

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Old 07-13-2004, 05:03 AM   #14
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Interesting points there Melon. Does Jesus love private property more than he loves life? Who's to say?

I know, minefield etc...

For me, forget it. I will live until living becomes intolerable, and to hell what anyone thinks about my choices along the way.
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