To start, I'm Catholic, and I had always had the utmost respect for the military probably secondary only to clergymen But I had always ruled out military service not necessarily because I couldn't take it or didn't think about it from a patriotic/service stand point, but because I felt that the act of violence would be unjustified. Conversely, I have always looked up to the physical and mental discipline both the monastic life and military service require.
However, recently after reading through the Scriptures, Church documents, Catholic Encyclopedia's stance on things like patriotism/nationalism (that being that it is honorable to take pride in and to serve whatever country you belong to), St Augustine and St Thomas' stance on just war, as well as reading a substantial amount of material related to war both positive (Jerusalem Conquered, 33 Strategies of War, The Big Stick, Starship Troopers, etc.) and negative (All Quiet on the Western Front, The Things They Carried, The Forever War, etc) I came to the conclusion that outside of Priestly/Monastic life, this sort of self sacrifice is the best way I can serve my fellow countrymen outside of evangelism and charity Mind you I'm fully aware of the morally gray motivations for this conflict, but the way I see it ISIS and groups like them seek nothing less than the complete eradication of Christianity and western society in general, so I the way I see it I feel obligated both as an American and as a man of God to fight, if not for myself than for all other Christians in the world (especially after the stream of attacks carried out across the globe).True love is to lay down one's life for thy friends after all. It's something I feel called to do.
At the same time, I'm also in the process of becoming a Benedictine Oblate, and intend to pursue my faith continually and devoutly before, during, and after my term of service (however long that may be, I'm not sure atm). I fully intend on living my faith out to the fullest extent I can. My Mother needs some convincing on me entering a combat position since she's afraid of me getting PTSD and/or injured, but both of my parents say they would support me in joining at the very least, I was torn between the Army and the Marines, but I'm going into the Marines since that's what my Grandfather said he would join if he had been drafted but WWII ended before that happened. Currently working out so I can pass the physical exam next year. I have one more year of college before I get my B.A. in finance, and with that I can enter an officer position from the get-go.
I'm not really posting this to get advice as I'd been contemplating this for years, but more so just to start a conversation. I've been here on and off for several years, and I know war is a touchy and divisive topic here, and with my situation and views outlined I'm curious as to what other Christians think.