original posted: 11-1-2016
Currently, the academic literature on moral injury recognizes two causes of moral injury. I think that it’s largely overlooking a third cause, one that involves religious belief and the mystery of evil.
I think the evidence shows that combat-related moral injury is caused not only (1) by feeling betrayed by an authority figure and (2) by doing (or failing to prevent) actions that violate your own moral beliefs, but also (3) by encountering large-scale, senseless violence and suffering.
Comparing Three Causes of Moral Injury Level of violation Personal Organizational Divine The perceived violator of moral goodness Soldier him/her-self Leader who wielded authority over the soldier (e.g., section leader, commander, POTUS) Whoever is responsible for the world, aka, God. Victim’s response “I did something terrible. I’m a bad person.” “I was screwed by ‘higher.’ I trusted them literally with my life but was used and abused. I risked my l…