Atheism & the Army

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Mombasa, Jun 24, 2011.

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  1. Hi.

    There was a time when spirituality, more specifically, Christianity, strengthened the psyche of military endeavour.

    Most pertinently the British Army, which facilitated the last colonial empire in history, and its campaign of annexation of uncultured lands. There was a time when military commanders felt that they were charged with God's backing, and soldiers felt supervised by the supernatural order.

    The British Empire was morally justified as 'Divine Providence' by commanders and politicians of the time. The Anglo-Saxon protestants were headstrong, courageous and proven to be skilled at empire destroying and building.

    A few important milestones have occured since this type of thought: 1859 being the major one; the publication of Darwin's The Origin of Species, among later analyses of fossil records, carbon dating, tectonic plates, DNA, etc.

    It is difficult to hold 'faith' nowadays in view of this evidence, especially when most foibles are based on primitevly written texts and anecdotes.

    I believe the British Army is the best in the world. Do you as soldiers, officers, etc, feel a sense of celestial 'supervision', spirutally, morally, whatever, from where ever, now?

    Or is it not so much faith in scriptue, but faith in 'something'?. The British Army is rightfully though of as pragmatic, evolved, professional and comparatively well-educated to non-professional armies. With this in mind, is it rational to believe it has a kind of spiritual mission that others are bereft?

    Just thought I'd come and join in the forums and pose some (what I think are..) interesting philosophical questions.
  2. There is very little spiritual faith in the armed forces. Faith in your unit, commanders and muckers as well as those outside agencies there to provide fire and logistic support is much more important. Anyway, anyone who believes in any type of god is mental.
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  3. The occasional church parade was a pain in the arse and most of the army padres I met were on a profoundly different wavelength to their 'flock'. I heard stories about good padres but never met one. We categorically resented being forced to attend church services and I met almost no squaddies who had the slightest interest in God or religion.

    Soldiers like beer, sex, food, sleep, skiving and guns (and more beer and sex). The metaphysical generally doesn't enter into it.
  4. Ive heard a few mumble oh ****ing GOD when Ive walked in the room so think my lads are quite Religious.
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    FORMER_FYRDMAN LE Book Reviewer

    Until this thread is moved to the NAAFI it's hard to apply the intellectual rigour it clearly deserves. That said, the British Soldier is motivated by many things but, if in doubt, the promise of copious beer and gash is generally considered by those privileged to command them to be the most reliable means of astonishing the world with our military prowess. Hope that helps.

    P.S. Read the multiple 'No atheists in foxholes' type threads and try a couple of posts first. If you're genuine I apologise, but somehow I don't think so.
  6. the thing is are these troop saying they don, t believe in god, because they have never been in battle, easy to say, difficult under fire. when you are on here miles from contact. bravado prevals, in contact maby if i believe god will save me. go on think about it. what have got to lose?
  7. Oh dear. Is this still going on?
  8. I don’t ever remember coming across any religious types when I was in the army (apart from the padre). No doubt there were a few but they must have had the good sense to keep schtum about it. Anyone who believes in a god can never, under any circumstances, be taken completley seriously.
  9. There is a massive thread on religion, do we need a new one?
  10. That threads about religion?

    I thought it was an internet opportunity for higgs buffoon and excognative to flirt?
  11. I don't eat fish they can have my five and I'll drink some wine.
  12. The British Army may well have been closely linked to religion years ago but not now. The break probably came when God died. I didn't see it happen, but I was in the vicinity. I think Frank saw it, though.

    Frank was a big bloke who joined our unit in about 1990. Quietly spoken, never swore, drank in moderation, faithful to his wife, loving father of five. Practising Catholic. Attended mass every Sunday without fail.

    A couple of years later, while in Germany, we were in the field. A "wet" exercise accompanied by glorious weather. One Saturday night, Frank and the lads went to the local hostelry. I'd stayed in the bivvy area for some reason. Just after midnight, I heard Frank calling for someone. Curious, I headed toward him. He was in the hessian-screened DTL area. As I got nearer, I could make out his words. "Oh, God! Oh, God!" Naturally, I assumed that he was saying his prayers in what passed for privacy in the large open expanse of Sennelager, prior to tucking himself up in his maggot.

    But Frank didn't stop. And his calls "Oh, God! Oh, God!" became more frantic. I rushed over and found Frank with his head over the side of the DTL. Not wanting him to fall in, I pulled him back and escorted him to his pit.

    Only later did it occur to me that God must have fallen into the DTL and drowned. This must have been the case as Frank stopped attending mass, began using foul language, drank copiously and womanised. The natural progression, of course, was that he achieved WO2 within a further 5 years.

    I've kept quiet about this until now, not wanting to disappoint those who maintain the faith. It's a bit like not telling your kids that there isn't really a Santa, it's something they have to work out for themselves. Still, Frank must have been on close terms with God, first name terms in fact. Because I overheard Frank calling God by his first name.

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  13. Grumblegrunt

    Grumblegrunt LE Book Reviewer

    Didnt stop them forcing me to fcuking church parade - I dont think the csm understood what agnostic meant. still I like the padres on the whole and enjoyed winding them up with a bit of heather banter :)
  14. Of course he undertood. An agnostic is an atheist lacking moral fibre. That's why you get to peel spuds while the rest of your mates are mumbling "Onward Christian Soldiers".
  15. Grumblegrunt

    Grumblegrunt LE Book Reviewer

    nope an agnostic has faith unlike an athiest but doesnt believe in the fakery of the religions or politically inspired words of wisdom. we believe in something even though we arent sure exactly what. gaia for all I know :)

    as a warrior though I still expect to be throwing axes at pigtailed maidens in the drinking halls of odin. I'm shit at music and have no patience so harp lessons while sat on a cloud would suit me.

    if I want top practise for life in hell then I watch the xfactor.