Recently, we were asked what we meant by “Combat Theology”.
This is a brief (partial) explanation. A more in-depth exposition may be forthcoming.
There’s two elements to it – how we view what we do, and what it is that we actually do. The former part of it, I suppose, is a matter of perspective: the second, one of substance (and also style!)
Intrinsic to the concept of ‘Combat Theology’ is being aware of one’s place in the universe. There is a War going on all around us.
We are on the side of the Gods, Cosmic Order. The acts of piety, faith, sacrifice are small contributions to this Divine War Effort – in much the same manner that people back on the ‘Home Front’ [or should that be ‘Homa Front’ .. Sanskrit bilingual pun there] contribute to a conventional war effort by manufacturing bullets, buying war bonds, etc.
So – that is the ‘perceptional’ side of it. One chooses to view one’s actions, one’s place, one’s role as being part of this almighty (quite literally) war machine.
However, the other side of it, that of the substance – is where it goes further than these generalized notions of contribution to, I suppose, other people (well, Gods and other beings) on the front line or more actively engaged. And where one takes one’s place alongside Them.
There, rather than just doing the still important things like making regular sacral contribution through offerings or working to support priests and other such figures in one’s community … we start taking on some of the ‘heavier lifting’, sharing some of the more overt burden, ourselves.
There are various ways in which this is done; including in the literal sense of ‘Combat Theology’ – where theological elements are deployed in a combative manner.
I’ve covered a few examples of this in my prior work , because it’s a prominent (yet understated, and under-appreciated imo) element of the Vedic belief – which also tends to occur in more residual format in the other Indo-European mytho-religious understandings
(e.g. what’s found with Trita Aptya and Vak Saraswati alongside Indra against a certain Demon Dragon, where a warrior-priest armed with weaponized mantras and the sacred fire of pious conduct slays said Adversary … is recalled in the Greek mythology as Iolaus, Athena, and Herakles slaying the Hydra with a combination of conventional weaponry and setting things on fire)