And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” Mark 7:18-23
While clearly referring specifically to food in this instance, Jesus teaches us that it is not what goes into us that makes us unclean or defiled, but what is in our hearts that comes out of us which makes us unclean, or defiles us.
What does that teach us about Mars (Ares)?
Mars was the god of war and battle (he had also been the god of vegetation, but eventually became known solely for his warrior qualities). Often, in literature, we find him associated with the evils of war. He was a god that didn’t necessarily fight for the right side at all times. That may be more true of Athena, as the case may be. Depending upon your view of the Iliad, you might argue he fought for the wrong side in that battle, for instance.
Is Mars–not his mythological personification and caricature, but in his virtues–fallen and incapable of choosing between good and evil, right and wrong, as he influences the warrior spirit of those in battle? Or, as C.S. Lewis would argue, does Mars indiscriminately influence all warriors in battle, and it is their own righteousness or wickedness that leads to them fighting rightly or wrongly, respectively?
In other words, is it the fallen influences of Mars that inspire men to fight wicked battles? Or is it the fallenness in man, the wickedness of his own heart, that perverts the warrior influences of Mars and uses them for evil?
Whether it be Mars or no, there is a “spirit” (for lack of a better term) that inspires men to fight for their women, their homes, their land, and their people. When we fight unjustly, is it this “spirit” that we are to blame, or our own sinfulness?