Choosing a side requires consent, and consent has consequences
DEC 1, 2023
NOTE: This is a guest post by my assistant Olivia, who shares her perspective on justice, morality, ethics and free will.
In a society rife with violence and conflict (even if some of it is orchestrated) the choice between escalating violence or pursuing peace represents a crucial crossroad for humanity.
The idea of solving conflicts through armed aggression is a flawed approach. The human and economic toll, the destruction of communities, and the long-lasting scars on societies make war a solution that perpetuates suffering rather than resolving issues. Beyond the immediate consequences and collateral damage to innocent lives, war often breeds resentment and fuels cycles of violence that endures for generations.
The Bible is very clear that you cannot fight evil with evil.
I also want to be clear that I believe in an individual’s right to defend themselves and a nation’s right to defend its borders and civilians, but only in response to an active threat within that nation’s borders or within the boundaries of your personal property. Those of you who have been through firearm training know that in order to use lethal force to stop a threat, you must be in immediate danger.
For example, it’s very rare that shooting a criminal in the back as they flee the scene of a crime is ever justified. Once the threat is over there is no longer an imminent threat of death, serious bodily injury, or other harm. If you shoot someone in the back as they are fleeing, the argument can be made (unless he had turned around and began slinging bullets in your general direction) that the threat to you was over and that you should not have shot the person. Once that argument is made, it’s not very hard to get to the next argument, which is that you just wanted to kill someone.
The same reasoning holds true when extrapolated to the magnitude of war. If your country is under attack or invasion, it has the right to defend itself. When an enemy is expelled from your country or forced to retreat, they are no longer an immediate threat. A country takes the offensive position when it invades another country’s land and escalates the struggle against them. Whether you believe the subsequent action is justified by the preceding actions or not, going on the offensive is retaliation and no longer self-defense.
And as I mentioned, the idea of solving conflicts through armed aggression is a flawed approach. Wars don’t solve problems; they rather perpetuate suffering by destroying lives and livelihoods, upending communities, and leaving permanent scars on society. Besides the obvious direct effects and the suffering of innocent civilians, war also tends to sow the seeds of anger and perpetuate cycles of violence that can last for decades. Compound that with the fact that most of these conflicts are contrived, encompassing concealed objectives, complex histories, and likely nefarious goals that are unrelated to our interests.
As we are faced with pressures from politicians, social media, and others who are attempting to sell humanity on the next conflict and garner worldwide consent for war, I just want to entertain the concept of consent-based consequences and why this is important to consider when we live in a world that is constantly presenting us with moral and ethical challenges.
What is consent?
1: to give assent or approval : AGREE
2 archaic : to be in concord in opinion or sentiment
1: compliance in or approval of what is done or proposed by another : ACQUIESCENCE
he shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties—U.S. Constitution
2: agreement as to action or opinion
specifically : voluntary agreement by a people to organize a civil society and give authority to the government
The concepts of free will, consent, ethics, and morality are intricately linked together. From a Biblical standpoint, God created humanity with free will. This emphasizes the importance of individual autonomy and includes the right to provide consent for certain activities, behaviors, and actions. Consent, in essence, is the conscious exercise of free will. It is the affirmative agreement to participate in or support a particular action, idea, or system. The profound connection between free will and consent lies in the recognition that our choices have consequences, and these consequences are deeply intertwined with the ethical fabric of our decisions.
While consent is a right, it also brings with it the weighty responsibility of ensuring that our choices align with principles of justice, morality, and human decency. Additionally, for people of faith, these principles are often derived from God.
Consenting to evil is akin to relinquishing our moral compass. It involves becoming complicit in actions that undermine the well-being of others and contribute to the perpetuation of harm. The refusal to be complicit in wrongdoing is an acknowledgment of the moral responsibility that accompanies the exercise of free will.
By consenting to evil, we inadvertently become a part of a system that perpetuates injustice and suffering. It is a choice that reverberates not only in our individual lives but also throughout society. Everyday choices, no matter how seemingly inconsequential, contribute to the broader ethical landscape. From the products we purchase to the organizations we support, each decision reflects our consent or dissent to certain values and practices.
I do believe that choosing a side is consent and consenting to more bloodshed has consequences whether it directly affects you or not.
In the complicated fabric of human existence, the connection between free will, consent, and ethical decision-making is clear. Understand that our consent has far-reaching effects and consequences if not rooted in morality and ethics.
This is important to bear in mind as we continue to be bombarded by the forces of evil that use deception, confusion, and fear to manipulate us into consenting to things with far-reaching consequences that might lead our souls down the wide path to destruction.
If you made it to the end, thanks for reading.
With prayers for brighter days,