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Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Soldiers of Christ / Allah / Israel

But the Soldiers of [Christ / Allah / Israel] may safely fight their battles …, fearing neither sin if they smite the enemy, nor danger at their own death; since to inflict death or to die for [Chris / Allah / Israel] it is no sin, but rather, an abundant claim to glory. In the first case one gains for [Christ / Allah / Israel], and in the second one gains [Christ / Allah / Israel] himself. …

The soldier of [Christ / Allah /Israel], I say, may strike with confidence and die yet more confidently, for he serves [Christ / Allah / Israel] when he strikes, and serves himself when he falls. Neither does he bear the sword in vain, for he is God's minister, for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of the good. If he kills an evildoer it is not homicide, but, if I may so put it, malicide. He is evidently the avenger of [Christ / Allah / Israel] towards evildoers and he is rightly considered a defender of [Christians / Muslims / Israel]. Should he be killed himself, we know that he has not perished, but has come safely into port. When he inflicts death it is to [Christ's / Allah’s / Israel’s] profit, and when he suffers death, it is for his own gain. The [Christian / Muslim / Israeli] glories in the death of the pagan, because [Christ / Allah / Israel] is glorified; while the death of the [Christian / Muslim / Israeli] gives occasion for the King to show his liberality in the rewarding of his soldier. In the one case the just shall rejoice when he sees justice done, and in the other man shall say, truly there is a reward for the just; truly it is God who judges the earth.

If you find any one of these more acceptable – or more loathsome than the other two variations, you are a hypocrite.

The words come from Bernard of Clairveaux’s work Liber ad Milites Templi: De Laude Novae Militae (Book to the Knights of the Temple: In Praise of the New Knighthood) written sometime between 1120 and 1136 CE in defense of the newly formed Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon (the Knights Templar). I added the variations for comparison You can read most of the original (in English translation) here.

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