Monday, September 15, 2008

PACIFISM.

this is one of the hardest topics for me to discuss, so im going to keep a running tab on thoughts here till i come to my own conclusion.

tolstoy, ghandi, martin luther king jr., gk chesterton. and the list of pacifist's grow. this should seem like such an easy and logical decision.
war= not good. death. killing.
peace= contentment, stability, life.

but when you have grown up in a country where the church, state, and weaponry have all blurred into the same entity it is a much harder decision to come to.

there are SO MANY INTELLIGENT PEOPLE on this blog, just read through the comments! my LORD! you guys are brillant.

ang said "There is a time and a place for everything, it depends on the situation." but i would like to hear the situations in which violence is necessary. defend yourself? your family? but what about war, when do we have to kill?
'one murder made a villain, millions a hero'. your right ang this is hard because i would defend my family to the death which is clearly not pacifist of me! but i KNOW i would never go to war over colonialism.

'chris said...
maybe I should get my dad's opinion on this who's 88 today (today's his birthday!) who is a WWII vet.' please do chris, ww2 being that america (and i) feel it was a 'just war' because it was fighting off hitler and the nazi's.

on the other hand promptedbylove said...
'Pacifism is a hard subject. Wars are fought for so many different reasons, and it's hard to tell what to fight for. To use a very cliche war with the topic of Pacifism, in the Vietnam War, it was hard to see the point of the war. If, at any point, a country finds itself saying "What are we fighting for?" that country should not be involved in the war.'

As cliché as it sounds,I think that people should just love each other. If power and capitalism did not exist, neither would war. I do not understand why one country has to be better than other countries. God created all humans as equal. I realize that I'm fantasizing when I say this but, if people could learn how to talk out their differences and understand their common goals, the world would be so much better off. Unfortunately, peace doesn't occur naturally. We have to push for it.
Mark 12:31 says "Love your neighbor as yourself". As difficult as it is, we need to love other people no matter what they do to us or say about us. This includes terrorists and war generals. I believe that if God tells us to love our neighbors, than that is what we should do. Yes, I would label myself as a pacifist. There is absolutely no justification for violence. -anonymous.

true but read ang's comment. is there a time and a place? what about capital punishment against someone who has done something atrocious and then killed their victim.

i am with lauren when she writes lauren said...
'Pacifism as an excuse for inaction is wrong. However, pacifism as an ideal, a working concept for a better world, is absolutely a worthwhile belief.
Personally, it's a selective issue for me. I don't believe that war is the solution to anything, but I wouldn't necessarily support the complete abolition of the military, for instance. Human nature indicates that regardless of whether the majority are peaceful or not, there will always be the few that take advantage of that.
As a practical, day to day belief...again, I don't think that violence is the way to solve personal issues. However, if I were in a situation where I believed that I or my loved ones would come to harm unless I acted violently, I would certainly take it into consideration.'

alessio said...
'And I don't believe in pacifism. It's an ideal, like communism.
Communism looks wonderful on paper, but destructive, or at the very least, stagnant in practice, leaving no room for growth.
pacifism looks wonderful on paper, but that's all it is. I feel like any book on pacifism should be put in the "Fantasy" section of any book store, it can never become a global practice.'

my thoughts exactly on communism, but pacifism seems much more practical on an individual level. communism, not so much.

a former liberal eve said that her neighbor (klayton south) signed up for the marines and 'He came home, but with a bullet to the face and a shattered ankle. Many weeks were spent with him in the hospital clinging to life. He has many years of re constructive surgeries to go and most likely permanent trauma to his well being in general.

If you ask him what he wishes for, he answers to go back to Iraq and finish the job. He says we could never understand the hate in the eyes of the man who shot him at point blank range. He wants to make sure his baby sister keeps the American dream alive and well and all of us keep our freedom to pursue our dreams.'

so the realities of war changed her from a pacifist 'to a realist'

'ashley n. said...
I think pacifism in someways is actually oxymoronic. Fighting for peace, destruction of property in the name of peace, that honestly doesn't seem non-violent to me. And using inaction to achieve peace is just as bad as using violence to obtain it. It gets nobody nowhere; like having your foot caught in a bear trap. You can't just sit around doing nothing and think the trap is just going to go away, you have to do something about it (that was the best analogy i could think up).'

i am not sure i understand your position, i believe that the story of ghandi clearly shows signs that pacifism does in deed work, it ended the oppression of the british colonialism in india forever. care to elaborate?

escalus said...
'I think it all comes down to this, or at least, the line is split down two sides. If you are a Christian, then war is not justifiable. I've seen a lot of people spin it this way or that, but there's no way that when Jesus said "Love your enemies", he possibly meant killing them. There's no way that when he said "When someone slaps your cheek, offer the other" he possibly meant shooting them. He said it in the broadest terms, there was no certain situation in which these apply. War and violence are not justifiable through Christianity.'

i see what your saying and feel the lament of trying to put it into action in my faith. i did a blog for relevant magazine earlier today called 'War & Pieces.' where i tried to connect the dot's.

mark duarte said...
'unrealistic in this world, unless you want to be a door mat.'
YES! that has been my perception for years, but how do you explain the civil rights movement? martin luther king jr. died for what he believed and now look, not even 50 years later and look around at the overwhelming positive change in our society alone!

i am sorry if it sounds like i contradict myself its because well... i contradict myself because i have not come to a non-relative moral decision, its one thing to say i am a pacifist but another to live like one. i long to be a pacifist but i feel at moments i am to human and let my emotions get the best of me. i need to rid myself of outside influence (politics, american philosophy on war, religious policy (st. thomas 'just war' theory) and simply start over. i am learning right along side of you.
-esteban

135 comments:

Ang said...

There is a time and a place for everything, it depends on the situation.

keeks said...

Pacifism is active, working peace. Too many consider peace to sitting around and doing nothing; simply not disturbing the waters. Pacifism is what the peace-makers do, the ones who will be called the children of God.

Chris said...

maybe I should get my dad's opinion on this who's 88 today (today's his birthday!) who is a WWII vet.

Anonymous said...

I decided to look it up in the dictionary, not because I didn't know what it meant before; I wanted to see a couple different takes on the word.
The one that I liked the most was "the principle or policy that all differences among nations should be adjusted without recourse to war."
As cliché as it sounds,I think that people should just love each other. If power and capitalism did not exist, neither would war. I do not understand why one country has to be better than other countries. God created all humans as equal. I realize that I'm fantasizing when I say this but, if people could learn how to talk out their differences and understand their common goals, the world would be so much better off. Unfortunately, peace doesn't occur naturally. We have to push for it.
Mark 12:31 says "Love your neighbor as yourself". As difficult as it is, we need to love other people no matter what they do to us or say about us. This includes terrorists and war generals. I believe that if God tells us to love our neighbors, than that is what we should do. Yes, I would label myself as a pacifist. There is absolutely no justification for violence.

This is the story of a girl said...

Just the other day I heard a pastor speak about this briefly. He stated that he was unclear on his position on war because in the old testament God sent His people to war but then in the New Testament we are called to be peace makers.

I personally believe that there's no reason why countries shouldn't make the effort to be civilized and discuss and compromise about issues. They should be able to help and serve one another. But i think that's not reality and that it never will be. It's just what many would hope for.

Lauren said...

Pacifism as an excuse for inaction is wrong. However, pacifism as an ideal, a working concept for a better world, is absolutely a worthwhile belief.
Personally, it's a selective issue for me. I don't believe that war is the solution to anything, but I wouldn't necessarily support the complete abolition of the military, for instance. Human nature indicates that regardless of whether the majority are peaceful or not, there will always be the few that take advantage of that.
As a practical, day to day belief...again, I don't think that violence is the way to solve personal issues. However, if I were in a situation where I believed that I or my loved ones would come to harm unless I acted violently, I would certainly take it into consideration.

Hudson said...

Paul tells us about a more excellent way, and that is love (1Corinthians) However, this is a fallen world. And due to that, we lack the capacity to love another human being in the way they were created to be loved. Love from another human will not win out no matter how close we come to perfecting it.

That said, there is also a time for everything (Ecclesiastes). Our God is not a pacifist. He and His people have always fought, wars even, for what's right.

How do you discern when a war is worth fighting for? And how do you measure the cost? That's something that only the Spirit of God could reveal. And I am confident He would reveal it if it were asked.

I'm interested in your thoughts.

Drew said...

Pacifism must be understood as a belief of action towards negotiating peace without the threat of violence. However that being said as said already certain times adhere to certain measures that transcend negotiations and non violence..(take Hitler and his actions in WWII)

A brilliant essay on this subject is written by prominent philosopher Elizabeth Anscombe (some may know her as the secretary/publisher of modern genius Wittgenstein)

brad said...

Ecclesiastes clearly lays out that there is a time and place for all things--- as has already been mentioned--- I believe True Peace is a very real desire of my heart (and of all of humanity for that matter) -- The real question is how does one go about obtaining that capital "P" Peace...

That Peace only exist on the other side of capital "J" Justice-- which, if we're honest (not saying that happens a lot), we also have inside of us... Each one of us sees injustice and responds "Somebody has to pay for that!"... Sept 11th is a perfect example--- not that we responded correctly... but everyone can objectively agree that "Somebody was responsible, and somebody needs to pay..."

All of that to say- The image of Christ in Revelation 19:11 is not defined as "Pacifism: the belief that any violence, including war, is unjustifiable under any circumstances, and that all disputes should be settled by peaceful means." -- So Pacifism has it's time and place...

-There is a Peace... that i desire. I want that Peace for myself and all those around me... but that Peace cannot exist until all Injustice has been quenched and Justice reigns... There will be some really incredibly War in our future b/c "somebody has to pay..."

Conclusively--- Who's Paying??? Who's paying for the injustice that we have all committed-- Who is Jesus (as described in Rev 19:11) coming to battle-- because here's what i know... "vengeance is mine, thus say the Lord"--- He is the creator of Peace... he is the creator of Justice... and He will have Both-

Patricia M. said...

It'd work if everyone subscribed to it, but unfortunately, too few people see non-violence as a sensible solution. As a result, pacifists are often lumped together with apathetics simply because the rash majority don't think they're "doing anything".

On a national scale, pacifism becomes a lot more complicated. I don't know as much as I'd like to about the politics of pacifism, but they're certainly something I'd like to learn more about. Any reading you can suggest on the subject?

Eve said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
OSUBucks49 said...

As a Christian, I think pacifism is always the only option, as Jesus instructed us to love our enemies and turn the other cheek unconditionally. We are to bless those who persecute us. that is pretty radical. All the Old Testament stuff if part of the covenant God had with Israel. We are under the new covenant, and Jesus laid it out. violence begets more violence, it is cyclical. Jesus provides the hope of humanity. of course this cannot be played out at a national level, because a pacifist nation would cease to be a nation. which is kinda why a nation could never be christian, but I think that's another story. but to those who believe in Augustine's Just War Theory, think about how dangerous that is. How many millions have been slaughtered in the name of Jesus due to this doctrine? The whole God told me to do it argument is scary because you opponent believes just as much as you do... Jesus came to proclaim a revolution, not to perpetuate the tradition of killing people you don't like (or pose a personal threat to you) Just look what Jesus did- his actions speak.

Eve said...

Struggles will exist until the the end of this world as we know it. Whether it is a war between my God and Lucifer, my and flesh and my spirit, or my brother and myself, or my country and another, it is a cold hard fact.

To hope for peace is noble, but it's simply not in the last chapter of the book I believe in. I peeked at the ending...it's not peaceful...{a little apocalyptic humor}.

We have had no reason to believe our very lives were at stake if we have lived inside the borders of the USA most of our lives. No threat has shaped this generation. We have no loss to speak of. I know so many people who do not believe September 11 was all that big of a deal. This generation has no heroes to cling to. We do not understand what we have the privilege of inheriting from the generations before us. We are spoiled and lazy.

My handsome neighbor signed up for the Marines following September 11th and was happy to go to Iraq to defend all of us. I actually watched his attack on Fox News. I have never felt more helpless. Several men died that hour from sniper fire.

He came home, but with a bullet to the face and a shattered ankle. Many weeks were spent with him in the hospital clinging to life. He has many years of re constructive surgeries to go and most likely permanent trauma to his well being in general.

If you ask him what he wishes for, he answers to go back to Iraq and finish the job. He says we could never understand the hate in the eyes of the man who shot him at point blank range. He wants to make sure his baby sister keeps the American dream alive and well and all of us keep our freedom to pursue our dreams.

He has changed me from a pacifist to a realist I suppose.

He went code blue right on the sidewalk in Faluja, he was Medivacced to Germany, woke up with a shattered face and a shattered life. Yet I am telling you he is even more passionate for our country now than before. No regret. He has seen the threat and understand how very real it is. He says we live in a happy little unrealistic bubble.

What is he doing now? He has two non-profit organizations for soldiers and a movie was already made about the men of his company.

I would never invite a war, but I now believe in the right to defend our lives with only the force necessary to restore balance and regain harmony.

Hope for the best but prepare for the worst. God help us if we turn away from him!

A former liberal...

Eve said...

I want to add: if this story above interested you at all, google my neighbor's name, Klayton South and you will see plenty to be proud of in choosing non-pacifism in my opinion. Let me know what you think.

Victoria said...

Pacifism, in its entirety, is absolutely integral and necessary to a Christian life. Pacifism means working toward peace in all its forms, without exception.
We humans may not be able to achieve true pacifism, just as we cannot achieve knowledge of the truth, but we must always be working toward that goal.
In regards to a previous comment, even if my loved ones were in danger, and I were required to commit a violent act in order to save them, I hope that I would be strong enough to remain a pacifist. We should love God, and therefore love love itself, more than ANYTHING.

Eve said...

Hmmm....


Several of us have separated what is deemed necessary for our country to do as different from what we should do personally. I have to lump myself in that group. I want a trained armed force to protect us as citizens, yet when faced with violence in my day to day life I chose to be a pacifist.

This past year I was held up at a Target store in broad daylight in my sweet little sleepy suburb. I found myself face to face with a large "urban dweller" and his gun. He entered my car and began to make demands. He wanted my ATM card. We were clearly going to go on a ride until he had all he wanted, including the brand new SUV I had worked so hard for and had picked up the previous evening. A string of such crimes had been reported about 30 miles from me in recent weeks. They had all ended in rape.

What to do! I had no weapons, I was very scared. I was not particularly angry though. I just kept wondering how this man came to be sitting in my car, holding a gun to my stomach. Don't you have something better to do with your life? Who gave up on you?

I looked him right in the eye and told him I did not believe he wanted to do this. My exact word, "this is not happening today".
I prayed for my own safety, then leaned against the driver's side door. I grabbed that handle so hard and bailed out of the car. The car was running but I had parked. I was still a distance from the store's front entrance. I slammed the door behind me and expected to hear the gun go off. It did not.

The next thing I know police, search dogs, the paper, you name it were all there and I was a hero.

Whatever! I just wanted my assailant to rethink his life. I have to say, he IS pretty lousy at what he does. I still had my money, my car, and my faith in humanity.

The story ended up on the front page of the local paper. So many people offered to buy me a gun or some other form of protection. I told them all the same thing. I would have NEVER used it against him even if I did have it. There is no way. I used my best weapon, my faith.

On dusty days, his hands eerily reappear on the passenger side of my car. It was "crime lab-ed" to death that day and it is just impossible to get the residue out of the leather. When those ghostly hand prints show themselves, I remember just whose hands I am in. Thank you Father..for keeping me safe that day!

WHAT WOULD YOU DO DIFFERENTLY? P.S. He got away. I hope I haunt him....I hope he is doing something better with his life.

guard my dreams said...

hmm.. lets see. i think that pacifism is an incredible idea that is impossible to reach. i think that we can all agree that war is an absolutely evil and unbelievably life-shattering thing. you would think that we would have realized this by now and learned to just put aside our differences in culture and beliefs and be able to simply get along without killing each other, but that has not, and probably will not, ever happen. we should, however, still try to work toward pacifism. this shouldnt be be confused with not supporting our troops though. they are risking their lives every day to protect us, and whether we are happy with the war or not we should always show support to our troops. i see pacifism as an ideal that we should always be working toward, but realize that it can never fully be reached. theoretically, absolute peace between all nations would be amazing, but i think we should realize that as long as humans are sinning (and something tells me that isnt going to change anytime soon), there will be conflict and war and greed. we shouldnt stay out of a war simply to make a stand for pacifism when other lives are at stake (who would argue that we shouldnt have gone to war to stop hitler?) i guess im just saying that pacifism should be a goal that we work towards, knowing that we can never reach it, but also knowing that the closer we get the better this world will become.

phlp314 said...

God's method of allowing us to share in the Divine involved him shedding blood -- the blood of his Son.

This method happened to be a method of love.

I suppose, in very rare circumstances, war could be truly in the name of love.
Best example i can think of is fighting the Nazis because of the amount of blood they were shedding without any sign of ever wanting to cease.

in argumentative form, the Christian's argument FOR pacifism looks like this:
Christ calls us to love.
Love means not bringing harm to another.
War brings harm to others.
Therefore, war is wrong.

There are many holes in this logic. God allows suffering, even death, to happen to his people in order to purify them for their entry into Heaven.

So i'd say that war, when done justly and carefully (avoiding casualties as much as possible), is acceptable and possibly necessary.

greg.

phlp314 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
justin said...

I think of it as choosing a course of action/inaction with "peace" as its goal, and a blanket rejection of the notion of using violence in any form to get there.
The term that comes to my mind, especially when referring to it being the only option for Christians, is "spiritual doormat." Sorry. Don't know if that's right or wrong, but that's what I think of.

Ashley N. said...

I think pacifism in someways is actually oxymoronic. Fighting for peace, destruction of property in the name of peace, that honestly doesn't seem non-violent to me. And using inaction to achieve peace is just as bad as using violence to obtain it. It gets nobody nowhere; like having your foot caught in a bear trap. You can't just sit around doing nothing and think the trap is just going to go away, you have to do something about it (that was the best analogy i could think up).
I honestly don't think pacifism (in most forms)is of much use nowadays, but violence is certainly not getting us anywhere either. An anonymous person on here commented "If power and capitalism did not exist, neither would war" I'd just like to add to that by saying that if there were no religion there would be no war either. Look at most of the conflicts over the course of history. The cause of many of them was religion.(And no I'm not trying to bash religion, though I have none myself at the moment).
Anyway, if people could just see that they're really very much alike then there wouldn't be war. But in order for that to happen, you'd have to change people's insides, and that's a hard thing to do. And, I don't think there's a way to eliminate war from the world. But I really hope I'm wrong...

Anonymous said...

A correspondent from the Middle East was blogging about the problems and the dilemmas of the conflict between Israel and the philistines. About the Israelis strategy to kill as many terrorist as possible he said something like that one of problems was that they thought that if they were to kill four terrorist there would be four less terrorists of the equation and then one bright day the will eliminate terrorism. I think pacifism is a counter discourse as to perceive violence and terrorism not as something that is the product of 'evildoers' but a product of corrupted all human behavior. We're all evil and while I don't think pacifism will ever succeed in making 'a better world' (that project is reserved for God). I do think it's beautiful when someone refuse to answer violence with violence, it's against nature.

Anonymous said...

Pacifism, like war, I believe, is a tool that should only be used by the most qualified. On a basic level, war is hard enough to justify, but I think it's needed to defend those who cannot defend themselves. Just the same, pacifism needs just as much justification.
Not saying that both are equal opposites (I'm sure there's a better term than war; perhaps you can take the liberty of finding it), but I do believe it is one end of a spectrum.
Knowing the complexities of politics today, there is no happy medium.

Anonymous said...

I'm torn, because as they will tell you, not everyone responds to love. love 'em, they still try to kill you. then what?

Chris[Miss] said...

Some things are worth fighting for....but at what cost? Many things can be resolved peacefully...but they aren't because we as people choose not to take that path. I'm not God. I'm not omniscient. Perhaps though we're not peaceful enough...maybe we don't fight for things enough either. We've single-handedly let ourselves go down the tubes in some areas without even attempting to fight it...and yet we always wage war. There is no black or white answer here. All I see is gray.

chris said...

its so hard to say...
maybe instead of being anti- things we should be for- things.

war is horrible. there is a lack of trust across every border and thats why we have armies. the fear of invasion prepares us to fight.

so because a few men are greedy, millions of people must suffer. i dont know how that can be justified, these people go to war knowing that they may not come back.

i am against conscription, definitely. but is it really avoidable? i like to think it is...i mean, i dont find in any situation, never have and never will...but its so very hard to say that we will live without it one day.

ill remain optimistic though.

Addie said...

I think peace could exist if people could face their fear...fear of weakness, pride, rejection, acceptance, fear itself. It all stems from fear.

malinna said...

I believe there are many forms of pacifism, as there are religions. However, one of my favorite quotes comes from blueskyzen.com...

"A man of peace is not a pacifist, a man of peace is simply a pool of silence. He pulsates a new kind of energy into the world, he sings a new song. He lives in a totally new way his very way of life is that of grace, that of prayer, that of compassion. Whomsoever he touches, he creates more love-energy. The man of peace is creative. He is not against war, because to be against anything is to be at war. He is not against war, he simply understands why war exists. And out of that understanding he becomes peaceful. Only when there are many people who are pools of peace, silence, understanding, will wars disappear."

Osho Zen: The Path of Paradox, vol II

mark duarte said...

unrealistic in this world, unless you want to be a door mat.

Jenny said...

Difficult. I feel war is a terrible waste of valuable human lives but it will always be there. Until the elimination of free will people will always disagree & because of this, wars will undoubtedly be fought. I don't like violence for solving issues & disputes & I don't ever feel violence is justified but it will always happen. Sheep cannot be goats. That's about it really. Know why you want to gather your thoughts about this topic!

Jpxxx

rachel said...

at the end of ecclesiastes 3:8 it says, "there is a time for war and a time for peace." it all depends on the situation, like ang said.

Anonymous said...

In layman’s terms pacifism means, “I am opposed to using acts of violence to justify a means to an end”. North American involvement in both Iraq and Afghanistan come to mind when I think of the role this ideology plays in our society. Despite the scrutiny that our governments have received on the subject there are a few underlying issues we can’t ignore.

At the end of the day it boils down to this…The citizens of Iraq are unhappy with their current state of government – we can point fingers and argue about the intentions George Bush and his advisors- but it doesn’t take away from the fact that the citizens of Iraq are oppressed. They have little to no fundamental rights. In Canada and The United States most of us have to turn on the tv and watch the news to witness oppression or read about it in the papers. The difference is that at least here we have the right to talk about problems publicly and take action to make things better. We can fight for ourselves – get education and dig ourselves out of trouble. We have social assistance programs. People have the right to speak their minds, ask questions and dig themselves out of poverty. It is there choice to not seek help - we have the power to dig ourselves out. WE have a freedom to live our lives the way we want to live them. The people in Iraq don’t.

I feel that us not providing assistance on a global scale is the equivalent to witnessing someone getting hit by a car on a city street and walking by without calling for help.

I am not sure if war is the answer – but I do recall the United States trying to negotiate with Iraq in 2003. I wish we lived in a perfect world were everything could be solved through communication – but we don’t.

We can protest-make catchy signs – chain ourselves to fences and debate all day but it’s not going to make a difference over there. In fact, they most likely won’t even have the opportunity to witness our efforts.

Christopher said...

I sincerely believe in pacifism, and while i try to consider myself one, if someone is talking smack or trying to fight me, i'm not going to just go down you know? other than that, i'm a firm believer in using my words and trying to work stuff out. i would NEVER start a fist fight and never have.

promptedbylove said...

Pacifism is a hard subject. Wars are fought for so many different reasons, and it's hard to tell what to fight for. To use a very cliche war with the topic of Pacifism, in the Vietnam War, it was hard to see the point of the war. If, at any point, a country finds itself saying "What are we fighting for?" that country should not be involved in the war. However, there are obvious causes that need fighting for, and situations that will not end unless something drastic is done. In the end, if the situation ends up better than it was before, even if there were troops lost, fighting could be considered something positive. Yet, the thing is, the US couldn't be pacifist. We've already created too much of a name for ourselves in the wars that we've been in, and if we said that we weren't going to fight, everyone else would just attack us. Switzerland is neutral, and it works out extremely well for them because they've never really been into the wars. When possible, pacifism is great! But there are most definitely situations where pacifism just can't be employed.

switchkosterice said...

I honestly do not have a huge opinion on this. For most things, I'll look at the situation from an unbiased point of view and sometimes that leads to my pacifism. Most times, I'll come up with a strong opinion but in the end I rarely find myself actually going and doing what I set out to do. Sometimes I find myself quite hypocritical, actually...

Mada said...

It's hard to say, but here are my two-cents worth.

Peace is always preferable to conflict, but there are often occasions where inaction can result in atrocities and injustices against others. You can't just sit back and let other people suffer when you could help them.

However, when pride is the only thing at stake, then pacifism is indeed the best course of action. Think of all the kings and nobles who took to the battlefield in the Dark Ages just to protect their pride and "honour". If they had only settled their differences, lives would not have been senselessly thrown away.

marshall said...

two things:
I'd suggest reading John Howard Yoder for insight on this issue

Second, while inaction does occasionally lead to more violence, consider that when Bonhoeffer and others attempted to bomb Hitler their attempt to use violence to prevent more death and injustice greatly backfired because Hitler having survived the attempted assassination was all the more brutal and confident believe he was providentially saved.

Willy Walker said...

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Anonymous said...

I think pacifism is, like others have said, desirable but not realistic. In our world, we can't just sit down and negotiate all the time because not everyone is a pacifist. Of course, both sides would undoubtedly look for a way to avoid some bloody conflict. However, if a lot of people were pacifists, wouldn't they just get trampled on by those who aren't that want some selfish gain? That would mean the pacifists would either let their lives be dictated by someone other than God or that they would have to cease being pacifists and actually fight for freedom. It's a lose-lose situation because not everyone uses peace to reach an end.

Taking a look at an independent pacifist, their cause and what they stand up for seems great. They are making a difference in a peaceful way through protest. Though people may look on it as weak, I think pacifists are strong mentally and brave standing up for what they believe in without being aggressive. After all, the Bible talks about patience and that's what pacifists have.

Like I said, it's only the fact that there are people out there seeking wealth and personal gain that make universal pacifism impossible.

[Cr*] said...

is givin the others the 2nd chance that (maybe) they have never thought about giving to others before

pd: i hope my English is good enough to be understandable

[Cr*] said...

** i was talking about not actin with the same violence that someone could have acted with you, not payin with the same coin

Andrea said...

I'm learning alot of from the responses on here, thanks Stephen and everyone for giving me things to think about.

Especially Eve's story, very interesting. I'll have to read more about it. I agree about us being spoiled and lazy. we think we're so safe that we don't even have to care about the rest of the world.
but that's another subject...

Alessio said...

Hey Stephen, I don't know how often you read these, but I'm a student at Franklin College in Switzerland, and I write for the newspaper.

I was wondering if maybe I can do an over the phone/messaging service interview with you for my school's paper.

I would really be appreciative of this and even if you don't want to be interviewed for the paper, I'd still love to really talk to you.

E-mail me if possible, at SalvatoreTummolillo@gmail.com


Thank you so much for your time.

And I don't believe in pacifism. It's an ideal, like communism.

Communism looks wonderful on paper, but destructive, or at the very least, stagnant in practice, leaving no room for growth.

Pacifism looks wonderful on paper, but that's all it is. I feel like any book on pacifism should be put in the "Fantasy" section of any book store, it can never become a global practice.

Aimee said...

I think that pacifism is a good thing, but also a very difficult choice to make. There are times when all you want to do is pay back that person that hurt you or hurt someone you love. But Jesus tells us that violence is never the answer. He didn't fight back against his own people when they crucified them, because he understood that it was God's will that he die at their hands. He died for us and allowed us to torture him because he loved us...so I think that if you are a true pacifist that means you love mankind enough that you will never resort to violence because you understand that two wrongs will never make a right. Pacifism is the greatest indicator of strength and love for fellow humans, and should be a goal that all of us work toward.

burnthesun said...
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burnthesun said...

i too dabbled in pacifism once...not in 'Nam of course.

i believe in pacifism, because i believe there are many different ways to resolve issues than with violence. war is extremely unnecessary, but unfortunately it seems to be the easiest way to get power

indivisible identity said...

Well I think nowadays a lot of political leaders practice Might=right. Meaning just because they have the sufficient power of army they can overtake any country or person they want.
I am against war, however, I'm quite aware that not everyone seeks to be like that. There are countries who would like to fight but are not able to or don't have the means to. I think there's far too much to take into consideration when one "decides" to fight. One can be a pacifist and still fight with words, with meaning, with congruence.

I think I'm just rambling but I think there's a lot of situations that would require someone to not be a pacifist. i.e. a wife who is being beaten by her husband.

On a different subject, can I suggest a book?
Blue Like Jazz by Donal Miller, I really enjoyed it.

Nathan said...

it is our responsibility as representatives of a democratic republic to use all possible means of diplomacy BEFORE aggression. but it is also our responsibility as defenders of democracy and peace, to take care of the threat if need be. i believe the war in Iraq was completely justified. Saddam Hussein was a threat to democracy and the western world. we would fail our constitution if we did not take care of the threat. Diplomacy first, War second. come check out my blog at Myspace.com/countingcorners. i've posted several blogs about various political issues. note: some are written from my perspective. not all are neutral.

dlemert said...

I believe Jesus was a promoter of pacifism, but I also think God put us here to take responsibility and defend ourselves and other countries if need be. We can't sit back and do nothing and just think that God will take care of things. We are God's tools for bringing justice into the world. Unfortunately, sometimes this means warfare is the best and most necessary option.

D.R said...

a saw a definition saying that pacifism in Active Non Violence.

michael said...

ecclesiastes 3: 1-15

"There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens. A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant. A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to tear down, and a time to build. A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance. A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather them; a time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces. A time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away. A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to be silent, and a time to speak. A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. What advantage has the worker from his toil? I have considered the task which God has appointed for men to be busied about. He has made everything appropriate to its time, and has put the timeless into their hearts, without men's ever discovering, from beginning to end, the work which God has done. I recognized that there is nothing better than to be glad and to do well during life. For every man, moreover, to eat and drink and enjoy the fruit of all his labor is a gift of God. I recognized that whatever God does will endure forever; there is no adding to it, or taking from it. Thus has God done that he may be revered. What now is has already been; what is to be, already is; and God restores what would otherwise be displaced."

enough said.

malinna said...

listen to IMAGINE by john lennon. there are times i wish people would stop, with their eyes closed - and listen to what is being said (or not said.) this election for example, listen to not only what is being said, the differences of opinion, but the tone, volume and pitch of the voice. it speaks magnitudes.

we need to calm ourselves and those around us. perhaps this is pacifism.

malinna said...

Read the words of Mother Teresa...

http://www.ewtn.com/MotherTeresa/words.htm

and Ghandi... "We must become the change we seek in the world."

we all have a bit of violence/non-violence in each of us. the more we see violence, hear of violence, or act violent, the more violent we become and even though we are nothing more than a grain of sand on a beach... it adds to more violence in the world. however, on the opposite side of the coin... if we become more peacelike, observe more peaceful situations - the world will become more peaceful, one person at a time. It is up to each of us to "be the change..." it is possible through faith and constant awareness.

malinna said...
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Escalus said...

Hi all,

I think it all comes down to this, or at least, the line is split down two sides. If you are a Christian, then war is not justifiable. I've seen a lot of people spin it this way or that, but there's no way that when Jesus said "Love your enemies", he possibly meant killing them. There's no way that when he said "When someone slaps your cheek, offer the other" he possibly meant shooting them. He said it in the broadest terms, there was no certain situation in which these apply. War and violence are not justifiable through Christianity.

Now we have our own "real" world. If someone attacked me, would I fight back? Almost certainly yes, because I am not strong enough to perfectly live out Christ's ideals. But would I pretend I am justified through Christianity if I did? No. Do I want America to adopt a policy of loving our enemies and not fighting back? No. But do I pretend we are justified through Christianity when we do? No.

I guess it's not right. We call ourselves Christians yet then say that our beliefs "aren't realistic" and toss them aside easily. We pick and choose what parts of Christianity we want to believe and uphold and "rationalize" the rest.

So you have people like me, a Christian, but compromising Christ's teachings. Because when it comes down to it, I'm happy that religion and politics are so separate, so that I can talk about pacifism and say I support it, happily knowing how glad I honestly am that we have the world's strongest military. It's a predicament, and I don't know how to solve it. But I know this much. Christ taught complete pacifism, and defeating our enemies by converting them to friends through that Love. Violence is never justified, and if we resort to it, we must accept that we are outside of Christianity when we do.

Thanks guy, and if you ever feel like talking more, shoot me an email at phillip.dupree@gmail.com. Peace,

-Phillip

Victoria said...

thank you, escalus. Christianity is not conducive to any form of violence.

Lea said...

I'm thinking Pacifism is kinda like when two really cliquey junior high girls pretend to be friends but really talk about each other behind their backs really bad-it's just a really abused term...

amanda lynn said...

Pacifism is an ideal. In a perfect world, there wouldn't be any war and pacifism would be the norm. I think we need to strive for pacifism, but be realist enough to know that in this fallen world people will fight.

Ben said...

War will never be completely eradicated in this world. Humanity is too broken for that, violence is an integral part of our identity right now. I am as much of a problem as Stalin, he followed a path that any of us could walk down, he just happened to have the power and resources to act on it.

Jesus did call us to a radically different life, and promised us the ability to live it. We are meant to turn the other cheek, to pray for our enemies. This runs contrary to our very nature and none will ever be able to live it perfectly. But if one truly chooses to live this way, they can make a difference. While we can never eradicate war, we can help break the cycle of violence.

Is it wrong for Christians to participate in war? That to me is a very difficult question. My answer was yes, until I read C.S. Lewis's "Why I Am Not a Pacifist." Now I am not sure. It does depend on the situation, but putting the command of God behind any war is a dangerous dangerous prospect. Whenever the will of God is nominally put behind the motives of men, great evil comes into the world. Any thoughts?

Anonymous said...

John 2:12-25

samberlin said...

just a thought, if it wasnt for war, we wouldnt appreciate peace. we see and learn from the mistakes made and so we live in memory of those. We live to teach ourselves and others by reminding them the consequences of war and we influence them that it is indeed NEVER the solution for anything.

Anonymous said...

Pacifism is great when the countries that you have a problem with also are taking the pacifist stance. But when they aren't, as in this day and age, pacifism just doesn't make sense. Not when they don't want peace. War is terrible. I do not prefer war over other peace-making methods, but I also believe it is necessary. I don't believe the world could have talked Hitler off the perch of his kingdom. War was necessary. I don't think its always necessary, but nonetheless, sometimes it is. Hope that makes sense.

Eve said...

If the country you are a citizen of becomes engaged in a war what ARE we to do according to scripture?

Romans 13:1 (NKJV)
Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.


So what are we to say about this? God is not unaware of who is pointing what at whom. He has not turned His back on the players on deck at this time.


When John the Baptist was asked by two Roman soldiers what to do in order to be right with the Lord he answered this:

Luke 3:14 (NKJV) Likewise the soldiers asked him, saying, "And what shall we do?" So he said to them, "Do not intimidate anyone or accuse falsely, and be content with your wages."

He did not ask them to lay down their weapons and leave the army. If ever a moment to clarify this question presented itself..this is it!

I think two commandments come in to play. Turn the other cheek as a citizen. but nations are to act according the rulers placed there by God. HE knows what is lining up.

Now go read Revelations 13:1-18....Now there is a line up!!!!! Hmmm didn't I hear a song about this somewhere.....oh ya....You will have to get the New Surrender..then you can hear it too .. hint.... hint track twelve.

Rover Fox said...

I believe that God's end result is always peace, but sometimes war can be an means to that. The only way I would kill another man is if God needed me to, if anybody deserves to kill us, it should be God, our creator. Just some thoughts.

Viviana said...

After organizing my thoughts and questions on paper this is what I came up with:

I don't know much about pacifism or pacifist but I recently read a book by a famous author who used the word "Patriotic" as the opposite of Pacifism. I don't know if I quite agree with that, but I do agree that extreme's on etheir side can only have negative results. I admire one's willingness to fight for what they beleive in but I much perfer someone who can negotiate without "fighting". Many people beleive that a pacifist is someone who wants peace at all cost. But I never found a dictionary definition for the word, "pacifism" that refered to peace, only the opposition of violence and war.
But one must think, would you still be considered a pacifist is you fought for being opposed to war? Probably not. I don't think I would ever want to be labeled a pacifist because it seems like it is the same as watching a football game, you can wear the colors of your team but you can only watch from the sidelines, nothing you do is going to change what happens in the game, no matter how hard you cheer.(Not that there's anything wrong with football)
If you fight, there will eventually be peace and isn't that what a pacifist ultimately wants?

This is my current beleif on the matter but I am not afraid to be proven wrong...

the aurorean legend said...
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Chris[Miss] said...

I can't say that all violence is evil. Why? In the Bible it was used by God Himself. For His glory, of course......but used nontheless. perhaps He did this in keeping with the culture of the time. for example,he had them build a tabernacle that was layed out like the house of pharaoh because it's what they were used to. he meets people where they're at spiritually. so, since God used war for His glory, idk that all of it is completely bad. this is just one roadblock i ran into on my path to forming an opinion on this topic.

Drew said...

I understand what your saying Chris[Miss] but the wars you speak of in God's name were Old Testament wars before the coming of Christ...before Grace entered the equation...I really don't believe that God would have told us to "Love our neighbours" if he was a promoter of war...now I seem to be contradicting myself from an earlier post...it's tough to envision a positive solution for peace that is effective without destroying lives (be that emotionally or physically)

One has to ask can you take critical action with pacifism as a means for a non violent resolution? There must be a way that is successful...or God wouldn't have preached Love to the world

Anonymous said...

No, I don't think that there is a time or a place for it. If it is unacceptable for that person to murder someone, why would it be okay to kill the murderer? Isn't that a double wrong?

I'm against capital punishment. Yes, it takes murderers off the streets but Death is not a punishment.

Amanda Grace Leo said...

I see you dilemna. But I think the best person we could look to is Jesus as he came.
Jesus came down to save us, yes? And Jesus said no to violence, even when Peter cut off the ear of a servant when they were gonna capture him.

I think Jesus died on the cross, Jesus took all that violence (the way to the cross), almost as if he were all the people who would ever be victims of violence of war, his blood being spilled.

I believe he did that so we won't have to spill anyone's blood. I mean, isn't it enough that his blood was spilled?

Having said that though, if anyone ever came to attack my family or such, I don't know if I wouldn't fight back. Its a hard say.

guard my dreams said...

I think that pacifism is something that is impossible to be fully reached, at least right now. but its something that we need to work towards because if we dont it will always be impossible. ultimately, humans are flawed and peace is a hard thing to reach. a history teacher once told me that in the recorded history of the world, there has been less than a year of complete world peace. its hard,and not always popular to support peace, so i applaud your stance on this issue. if more people would consider pacifism an option, the world would be a better place.

swirl said...

At the core of the pacifism issue seems to be the fundamental view of humanity. I just finished reading Rob Bell's latest book, "Jesus wants to save christians." The implications of his thoughts are wide-ranging, but the perspective on violence is obvious. A person who affirms the inherant value of life does not take another life in defense of his own. Protecting oneself at another's expense does not elevate humanity, it diminishes it. I will take it one step further: in order to place value on another's life (to love), we must count ourselves as less than, not equal to. I think then, only then, can we turn this thing around.

Joe said...

prompted by love - I completely and utterly agree with you on the fact that the United States cannot just become a pacifist now because of the grounds that we would be attacked. However, you use the poitn that Switzerland is nuetral, but there is also a downside to this... you could argue that since Switzerland is always a nuetral country, they would be the simplest to attack. The Nazi's had huge plans to overrun the Swiss, but never took place because they opened up the second front and we invaded. Therefore, if it wasn't for our non-pacifism, the pacifistic Swiss would have been under German rule. Also, during WW2, their trade was blocked by both Alies and Axis powers, and their GDP took a huge downturn during this time.

Also, if we took into the acocunt of pacifism into the United States financial markets right now, the situation would be far worse than it is now. One could argue that our root desires (money, power, and fame) will never go away. So, if we were completely pacifistic, then we would all have the same amount of money, and people would still strive to make their lives better... we wouldn't have a Warren Buffett to bail a mortgage company out with his $5 billion dollars he just injected into our financial structure. Pacifism leaves more options for corruption and greed... No matter how pacifist our world becomes, I feel there will always be those few people who will cheat others to get what they want.

laura said...

i dont know if its been mentioned or not but i just wanted to point out that there were times in the bible where God specifically told his people to go into a city and destroy it completely. thats just my two cents.

amsa said...

personally...I think pacifism is really just a form of tact. Arguments, battles, disagreements and war is all about the right tactic to "win". What worked in one situation won't necessarily work in a situation very similar. For example...in the United States, abolishing slavery took a little more force versus the Civil Rights Movement. (Although I think it's very interesting to point out that the civil war was started by the Confederacy and during the Civil Rights Movement it was the law that got violent more often then not.) Both points in history had one man that sticks out as great orators of their time. Frederick Douglas and Martin Luther King Jr. had very similar tactics, but the time period and situations called for different outcomes...although both men were not fighters.

I think to be a pacifist makes you a doormat. But to be overly combative makes you a hothead. There needs to be a balance.

emily said...

I think of it as this, when we were created by the Master, and during the fall we were left with a void that we can not fill with out God. People have tried in so many ways to fill this void, the ways that come to mind are useless relationships, alcohol, drugs, work and the list goes on. I see seemingly pointless wars about land and governments to be one on the list too, quite often conflicts are started because one country can say to the other, I am bigger than you so I will take you over. It is in our nature to seek out the best, discern right from wrong and think for our selves. We have been blessed with our own thoughts, choice of our action and emotions, a curious mind.
We have the need to voice out opinions, especially in the cultures we live in. people are discovering and using (or abusing) their rights more and more. Think about this blog, no one that has commented on this issue 100% believes in passivism because we have seen the need to voice your opinion and fight for what we believe to be right. (just for the record I am not saying the blog is a bad thing, I love it and there should be more out there.)My school debating topic at the moment is about passivism, and I think the main point out team has is the debate it’s self. If the other team doesn’t like conflict, then why did they join the debating team? I don’t think it is right to be a pacifist, God has given us the drive to voice what we believe to be right, the issue is how far we decide to take it.
King David became brilliant because he killed Goliath and saved the Israelites. He killed Goliath because he was mad, ‘Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?"’ he was mad because the giant was defying his God and God’s people, not because the giant had copious amounts of oil, or wealth. God used our fist clenching passion, to do good. War has to happen, if it didn’t in that case then the Israelites may have been taken captive or worse. Proverbs 31:8-9 says “Speak up for those who can not speak up for themselves, for the rights of ALL who are destitute. Speak up and JUDGE FARYLY, DEFEND the rights of the poor and needy.” Defiantly not a verse about passivism, it doesn’t say, ‘go and kill slave drivers’, but it also doesn’t say to sit on our behinds and tut as we witness the horrors of slavery or other crimes of humanity. There is fine and fairly sharp line. If you fall on either side you are bound to be cut. I haven’t managed to stay on the line for long, and I am sure I am not alone when I say that I have bled from loosing my temper about something pointless or not speaking up when I should have.

CeleryFriend said...

Here are my thoughts on pacifism...

I think that it's basically caring so much you are doing nothing, but attempting to do something at the same time- make a point.

It's like you're trying to say "hey I am not going to do anything, but you can hurt me if you'd like." It attempts at a very brave thing, peacefulness towards hatred.
If stuck to pacifism will probably work, such as Martin Luther King Jr. He was a pacifist, now look where we are- Obama could possibly be president, it's mind-blowing really how far we've come.

I personally wish that wars would only be fought on Halo or Call of Duty or whatever the choice shoot-em-up game is at the time. I wish war was only a virtual reality game, where nobody got killed in real life, you just chose a time with your opponent to begin the battle and shot each other in the game instead of actually killing people. I wish that would be the solution. But it probably won't ever be. Nobody deserves to die.

Pacifism reminds me of that song "Imagine" by John Lennon.

mark duarte said...

"i need to rid myself of outside influence (politics, american philosophy on war, religious policy (st. thomas 'just war' theory) and simply start over. i am learning right along side of you."

i have an insanely hard time ridding myself of these same ideals. i am right along side you in that pacifism would be an awesome thing..but i simply cannot wrap my head around it..

lost in argentina said...

quote = Mark 12:31 says "Love your neighbor as yourself".
i think the point of this scripture is not about other people, but more about ourselves... it says love your neighbour as you love YOURSELF. so if you want to love your neighbour, you must first learn to love yourself. right? just a thought. a very tough one though!!

lost in argentina said...

ok another comment but someone said that war is not justafiable in christianity... i'm sorry but have you read the old testament?? that book is full of war! i know it is quite a confusing issue and i myself dont know where i stand on the issue but all i know is that the bible says "there is a time and place for everything" maybe were not supposed to be able to explain it. i mean we are only human. our understanding is limited.

guard my dreams said...

someone in another comment said that they wished that the only wars would be fought only on video games where no one got hurt. btu i think that that is part of the problem. we had become so numb to the terrors of war by these games that we give our children to play. im afraid that the next generation will be so accustomed to "killing", even if it is only in a game, that they will be even more open to the idea of war. reminds me of a great novel titled Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. they give children in a military school video games to help build up their skills in leading armies. i wont give away the ending for those who havent read it, but if you have, you know what eventually happens.

danube412 said...

"Live, I wanna live inspired
Die, I wanna die for something higher than myself"- Burn Out Brighter. Sounds familiar huh? This is a lyric I can use to help me maybe for lack of a better word "prove" something. This is a great example of where violence unfortunately comes into play...Let's say you have one person living and inspired so much by well say a religion where its ok to kill people or perform harm to exert your soul in the later life. They are so inspired to where they WILL die for something higher than themselves. Now you have another person so inspired and so caught up in defending the weaker man and defending there definition of honor, that they are will to die for that honor which is higher than themselves. This conflict is where war/violence unfortunately takes place. I believe certain things can/should be shrugged off but there are times when you have to do what you have to do based on your belief/inspiration. As a medic were taught if your not ok no one will be ok so we must defend ourselves so we can go back home to our families and help the helpless. I'm personally not for war...or I would be over in Iraq with our country's bravest. But in certain situations I believe you do what you have to do to protect your beliefs and your love...

Larissa M. Locke said...

Buddha once said, "Believe nothing no matter where you read it or who has said it, not even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense" I think that is something which you should keep in mind in your search for an answer. Further, I agree with the idea of working peace. Ghandi made action out of his inaction. He was promoting people to stand up for their beliefs, but not violently. Personally I think you can look to the people you've mentioned as guides, but in the end, it is what you feel is right that matters. Also, perhaps look up Taoism. There is a charming little book called the Tao of Pooh that explains it though examples of Winnie the Pooh.

londontrees said...

I think that the interesting thing about pacifism is that the main thing (in my personal opinion) that prevents it from being a reality is the perpetuation of violence and hatred that is passed down through generations... How many battles in the world today started because of wrongs committed in the last five years? It seems that the men who fight each other today fight because they want revenge for wrongdoings that happened to their ancestors years ago... I saw an interview with a young boy living in a refugee camp because of civil war, and when he was asked what he wanted for his future, he said "revenge". who will break the cycle?

Dids said...

I saw the original post and wasn't going to post because I didn't know what to say. But now I have a VERY miniscule amount of input...

Basically, the world can't handle extremes. Ideals, yes. But extreme actions, no. It needs balance. Because if you don't have the "negative", then there's nothing to highlight the "positive". And vice versa.

God's sacrifice of Christ for our lives wouldn't mean as much, if anything, if we didn't see our sin and realize how badly we need His Gift and His Son's Death.

Until the New World comes, balance is part of God's Plan. And being a complete pacifist is a great thing to strive for, but it shows wisdom when one admits that peace can't always be had.

So yeah. Pacifism is a magnanimous ideal, but an unrealistic reality...

Rover Fox said...

I don't think you contradict yourself, its just a very hard to understand subject. In the bible it seems their are just as many examples of God using men to go to war, as there is of peace being the answer. I don't think Jesus was opposed to war so much as it wasn't his focus, his focus was to save humanity, but if you read revelations, he's coming back and he's coming back ready to fight.

I think the true question were asking is this, surely there's murder in war, but is all war murder?

V said...
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V said...

I think I would have been better off not reading the responses of others before I attempted this, but I shall try anyway. And before I start, even though I may reference the bible, God and Jesus, I have not yet sorted my thoughts on those aspects of life yet and as thus do not classify myself a a Christian, therefore all beliefs I display in this are from a non-Christian standpoint.
It seems that all dictionaries say that pacifism means something different, and most all leave out what I believe pacifism to actually be. To me, pacifism is on a truly personal level, and not on a national level as most meanings set out.
In the Old Testament, God sent people to war to fight for what is right and just. I myself would never participate in a war. But in the same respect I would not condemn those participating in war because they are (one would assume) fighting for what they believe is right and just, and me condemning them for fighting for their beliefs is not something I believe to be right. Just because they take a different approach to me on this particular subject does not warrant me to take a position that is somehow more righteous than theirs simply because I don't believe that going out and actively fighting/killing for something on a national level is going to solve anything.
In relation to that, I would never go out and actively fight/kill for anything. I don't see this in the same regard as defending however. In the face of a violent threat, I would defend myself and my family to the death. I would kill to save someone I love from the same fate, even though Jesus taught about love and turning the other cheek unconditionally to your enemies. I perceive a person willing to kill myself or my family an enemy, but I would not actively attack them unless they attacked me first, thus in defense.
I am a pacifist. I would never threaten anyone with violence, I would never go to war. I would defend myself and my family but only in the face of violent action towards us.
I may not be the perfect pacifist, but I believe in the good in everyone and in peaceful resolution on a personal level. And I believe that everyone has a right to fight for what they believe in, even if it isn't the action I would take.

Byron said...

With non-violent revolt you are appealing to the conscience of humanity. Gandhi did not expect the British to open fire into a large group of unarmed civilians who were illegally seated in the middle of a road. But the British did just that.

Gandhi flinched at first but ultimately decided that no matter how many were killed, it was worth the price of freedom.

A pacifist says "I am willing to die for what I believe in, but I am not ready to kill for it"

Eventually the conscience of the world (and the rank and file British soldier) could not stomach the slaughter of those who's only crime was to say "No".

Rover Fox said...

very well stated bryon

Bruce Merlin said...
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Janelle said...

I feel like I contradict myself a lot, too, on this subject, but I think it's really just because there's so much to it that it's hard to pick one way of thinking about it & stick to it. It's all very complicated.

Like Chris, I'm thinking of getting my dad's opinion on this. He was injured in Iraq going on three years ago, I think.

Lau said...

The strongest pacifist is still human, and the most violent of non pacifists can still have compassion.

I think most violence stems from retaliation, which is like sticking a band aid over a gaping hole in your head. It might help feign the appearance of life, but underneath you're still bleeding to death.

I hope I am a pacifist (not sure if I'm a good judge of myself) but I can't know what situations I will face.

Chris[Miss] said...

Hmmm. I understand what Drew is saying. That makes sense. *Sigh* It's SO DIFFICULT to even BEGIN to resolve this. I'm learning a lot thanks to many brilliant minds on here! :)

Brian Hammons said...

from an interview with aaron weiss of mewithoutyou from cornerstone '02:

"Any sort of the rhetoric the Bush administration used to justify the Iraqi war is sickening. Bush using Christianity to justify war is idolatry and nationalism. Committing violence and brutality and theft in the name of Jesus is the worst of anything. If you’re a Christian you have to lay that stuff down – love your enemies turn, the other cheek. When faith and power mix together, the results are troubling. When people say, ‘when you reject the Republican Party you’re rejecting God’, well, that just has to be one of the biggest tricks the Devil has pulled. The people who might be reading this interview, I don’t know where they’re coming from, but we just need to walk in the path of Jesus and there are going to be toes we’re going to step on. God is forever, the Republican Party is not. The people who say God is a Republican, well, you’ve got a very, very strange Christian. He’s not a Democrat either, but he’s definitely not a Republican. Jesus did not come to build up a political party, he came to bring Truth."

Grant said...

This can be a very, very touchy subject. I would love for there to be peace as much, if not more, than anyone. But the truth of the matter is that we live in a fallen world predominately ruled by evil in one way or the other. And because of this, good will always have to fight evil until the day of Christ's return. But at the same time, I believe there are times when violence is justified. For example, when Satan led the revolt against God in heaven, there was a battle and Satan and his followers were kicked out. When the Philistines opposed Israel and Goliath mocked God, David killed him with a sling shot and stone by the power of God. In fact, most of David's life was spent fighting and defending Israel, yet God calls him "a man after God's own heart." So clearly, one cannot state that the matter of if war is justifiable cannot be answered just if you're a Christian. God killed millions during the flood saving only Noah and his family in order to rid the world of sin. Yet, God is a just God.
I think pacifism can often be turned into tolerance of evil, and that shouldn't be the case. I never like to resort to violence for anything, but as long as we live in a fallen world, there will e evil, and good must fight it. Yet at the same time, violence does not have to be the only way.
War is the most undesirable thing in the world. But if God even saw it as just in certain cases, then maybe it solely depends on the cause and situation, when all peaceful alternatives have been exhausted.

Renny said...

Stephen,
What are things that you fight for everyday? Pacifism itself is never without violence ( think of all the violent acts done against those in the civil rights movement or Gandhi.)
We are here to fight a good fight, but I think we walk a fine line everyday to understand how to "holding faith, and a good conscience." (Timothy).
Thanks for always thinking, I feel like you're probably on the right track.

Anonymous said...

i think there's some great discussion on here, but i was wondering what Christians who believe in pacifism thought about the passage matthew 10:37 "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword."

if you read the whole thing in context, Christ seems to be telling us that the message of Christ will be a devisive one--and some violent analogies are used sometimes. i was just curious as to what your thoughts were.

julie said...

(It's a strange and rough start, but I promise I have a point to this, just keep reading...)

"The organs (the "viscera") of our body, such as the heart, stomach and intestines, are regulated by a part of the nervous system called the autonomic nervous system (ANS). The ANS is part of the peripheral nervous system and it controls many organs and muscles within the body. In most situations, we are unaware of the workings of the ANS because it functions in an involuntary, reflexive manner. For example, we do not notice when blood vessels change size or when our heart beats faster. However, some people can be trained to control some functions of the ANS such as heart rate or blood pressure.

Example A...
It is a nice, sunny day...you are taking a nice walk in the park. Suddenly, an angry bear appears in your path. Do you stay and fight OR do you turn and run away? These are "Fight or Flight" responses. In these types of situations, your sympathetic nervous system is called into action - it uses energy - your blood pressure increases, your heart beats faster, and digestion slows down."

Okay, now to my point:
I year ago I took a class on a program designed for helping teachers called conscious discipline. In one of the first classes I found one subject utterly fascinating, it was basically an entire 2 hour class about the above paragraphs. And the woman leading the class put us into discussions about situations which cause children to enter into the choice of "fight or flight".
What I found most interesting was when the woman told us that because of the brain development process, up until as late as 4 years old some children cannot react in any way EXCEPT to fight. For others they learn much earlier, and some with mental problems either take much longer or never learn at all.

I am amazed at what we as humans are created to become capable of.
Sometimes I hear people using the popular excuse, "I'm only human."
To me, that is the exact reason why we should not allow those inhuman, animal instincts of thoughtless actions and often violence to occur.
God did tell us things like, "Love your neighbor as yourself", and "When someone slaps your cheek, offer the other". Then He created us as the only complex beings on earth who actually have the choice between "fight or flight".

To me, Pacifism isn't doing nothing. Pacifism is doing what isn't the easy way out, the "obvious" way, or following the traditions of the past.
It's living for something bigger than yourself which takes more out of you than death ever could.
It makes sense to me that if you want to make a difference, you wouldn't walk around doing the same as everyone else.

julie said...

also, to Anonymous directly above me:

I'm not arguing, just throwing out some things to consider along with the passage from Matthew...

Ephesians 2:14a says, "For Christ himself has brought peace to us."
Then verses 17 and 18 say, "He brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from him, and peace to the Jews who were hear. (18)Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us."
Of course the message of Christ will be a divisive one, He tore open the legal system of His time with a union like that between two groups of people who were previously out for each other's lives. They were as hostile towards each other as you can get, and Christ created a way for that separation to be completely dissolved into nothing, if they chose to follow in His path of love.

Also if you look into the passage of Ephesians 6:10-17 about the Armor of God, you can clearly read that any battle God may speak of is not even close to the context we use for the term.
So maybe when Christ said, "I did not come to bring peace, but a sword." He was speaking of "The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." (Eph. 6:17 b)

keep discussing if you like, because I can't think all on my own about something like this...

Anonymous said...

i appreciate your response to what i brought up julie--and i'm not trying to even argue another side, i just think it's a big issue and i think that there's only so much finite beings can understand about the peace that Jesus brings along with the justice that God stands for. I just think that there's such a huge contrast between Jesus saying "love your enemies" and "i've come to turn a mother against her daughter"--he sends out a complex message to say the least.

[Cr*] said...

MMM A LOT TO THINK IN THIS ENTRY !! BUT IF YOU CONTRADICT YOURSELF ITS BECAUSE YOU ARE A HUMAN. WE ARE NOT GOOD OR BAD, WE ARE BOTH OF THEM AT THE SAME TIME. IT DEPENDS ON THE SITUATIONS. SOOO MAYBE GENERALS ARE NOT BAD, JUST THINK THEY HAVE THE TRUE 8AS WE DO) BUT WHO REALLY HAVE IT? THEY ARE FIGHTIN FOR WHAT THEY BELIEVE IN AND I DONT UNDERSTAND IT BUT IM NOT SURE WHAT I'D DO IF SOMEONE TRY TO HURT SOMEONE I LOVE.

Rover Fox said...

I found the answer, at least for myself in this verse.

Ephesians 6:12 (New International Version)

"12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."

Yes we are at war but not a physical one. This verse makes clear all that Jesus was talking about.

The media attacks our values, people are commiting suicide everyday, crime and murder flood our streets, people go for days without food, my generation is lost and confused, sounds like war to me.

Jesus wasn't a pacifist, he just fought the real fight. Hope this helps! :)

Phillipians 1 21 said...

stephen, post another writing. i need to hear from you.

justin said...

Good luck on the "starting over" thing, brother. If you can somehow purge all the junk you've let filter in over the years, and then as you continue in the pursuit of knowledge, evaluate everything else you come across and discard what's not worth keeping, then you're a much better man than I. No doubt, it's a noble pusuit, but seems quite unattainable and almost laughable. Of course, you can do all things through Christ, so I wish you the best. Some friendly advice: don't watch COPS, man. It'll make you mad...

Anonymous said...

i kind of feel like the teaching about "loving your enemy" and "turning the other cheek" was meant as Christ's command to his followers in how they conduct every day lives. Don't be vengeful and jealous, petty or violent. But I don't believe he was speaking against military action in the name of jusice or freeing an oppressed people. i don't believe there's any strong evidence in the teachings of Christ to imply that's what he was speaking about. i still think the government and the military need to be able to enforce laws and sometimes, in the midst of conflicts, this will include violence and war. in the same sense, i don't believe that Christ would condemn someone for using violence to protect their family. It's a tough principle to wrap our minds around for sure, but I do believe our personal vendettas and veangeful hearts towards our enemies is what he was addressing. and in the same sense, war for the sake of any other reason other than adminstering justice or to bring eventual peace, i believe, is unjust and contrary to his teachings.

Mike said...

Pacifism on a day to day basis is a great ideal to work by, because it enhances your ability to get along with things and people around you. But when pacifism becomes weakness due to the others around you taking a step inside your circle, and they keep progressing, there comes a point where, however contradictory it may be, you must stand and push back for what you want to keep. At times, you must fight for peace. When peace turns the other cheek, it becomes the doormat for countries with intrusion on their minds. Like, even if that means not physically fighting, you need to be strong, whether that's in numbers, will power, or pure belief. Gandhi and his 'pacifists', to define with the term, simply walked up to the violence opposing them, and received it. Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat, and was arrested. Yes, harm befell them, but that's where the strength comes in, resisting primal instinct to do what has been done unto. This is a true form of pacifism, in my head. And seeing the strength of others inspires like actions among the majority. In my mind, it's the strong action/expression pacifism that turns the high-up-heads. Christ didn't fight His cause into view, He died for it. This is not to say death comes with pacifism, but when standing for it, we must be prepared for any eventuality of opposition. I'm sorry for the length of this.

cristen said...

honestly i think war is a terrible thing. no one likes seeing people murdered in cold blood. especially when it involves a loved one.
but unfortunately we as humans are flawed. we have a sinful nature and because of that not everyone is devoted to bringing peace to the world and war is sometimes unavoidable.
they do not believe in "love your neighbor as yourself."
their only motivation is their own personal goals and desires.
even though i believe in being peacemakers as Christ commanded i honestly feel that war is sometimes a necessary step that we must take to protect humanity.
look at hitler and the nazi's. should we have used a pacifist action against him? would that of stopped him from brutally and senselessly murdering 11 million people? i honestly don't think it would of.
if we stood by and did nothing he probably would of controlled the world.
look in the Bible. in the Old Testament God told the Israelites to wage war against their enemies because they were a threat to the nation. they were deemed a threat and needed to be taken care of.
i feel that we should not go around and start senselessly killing people because of one reason or another. but we need to be smart and protect ourselves against people or groups that wish to harm us.

[[pheonix]] said...

i don't think its possible to be completely pacifist in the world today. [im talking about right here, right now, not the past or the future]. in highschool i see so many kids who look like they are completely content and happy with who they are all the time. i came to realize that every single one was searching for something more, or looking to be accepted. and what i saw was not who they are exactly. the same thing can be applied to most anyone else, looking to be accepted or searching for something is the farthest thing from contentment [to me atleast]. and then stability. who knows what is going to happen.
i feel that i handle difficult situations pretty well, i don't stress out. i don't take out anger on others. i don't "check out" from life or anything. i just deal. my mom got cancer. and i thought, okay i can handle this. i mean i was fine when my grandpa was dying right?
well no. i stopped talking to everyone i knew, i "checked out" and my anger was such i problem. i didn't know what happened. i prayed, and tried to work through it, but no matter how hard i tried I myself wasn't stable. and i realized neither is life. God never promised tomorrow. and i don't know how someone can say they live a life of stability not knowing what is going to happen next [the definition of stable is firm dependable, subject to little fluctuation.] what if your diagnosed with cancer? what if the world ended today? how could you say, i am living a life of stability when the future is a powerful, mysterious and very UNstable fact of life.
but then on the other hand aren't we supposed to find who we are? transform ourselves into who we want to be? learn from those around us and mold ourselves to someone that we are all happy with? and what is life without the unknown? if we knew what was going to happen the next time we took a leap of fatih, it wouldn't be a leap of faith. we wouldn't grow as a person. we wouldn't learna nything from it, in turn, inhibiting us from transformation because we know who we want to be and we are exactly that.

heck i hate death of any kind whether it be natural or killing. and i think war is the most moronic way to find peace. I am exactly who i want to be, i would change very few things in my life. and my faith in god is something i can rely on. i don't think i am a pacifist though. I do think people can acquire the traits to be pacifist. but not all at once.

i don't know what i am trying to say

danceswithpandas said...

1 Corinthians 10:31
"Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."

Book of James said...

Pacifism, like Global Warming, is but one part of a more complicated subject. To hold either one of them up as a stand alone concept is to miss the forest for the trees.

Considering either one alone does them both an injustice. Global warming is but one of many important aspects of Global Climate change. Likewise pacifism is but one aspect of human behavior.

For a person to identify themselves as a pacifist is to go against the nature of man. Humans operate based on the desire of their heart. “Will Power” can overcome desires of the heart for a short time but desires of the heart will always win in the end. Humans have many competing desires in their heart and only when these desires are in the right (coherent) order will a person be truly fulfilled.

Every educated society and religion has it’s list of virtues which may not include pacifism, but will include virtues that you would attribute to a “pacifist”. The problem with all of these lists of virtues, including the list of virtues from the bible, is they are often times at odds with the Human desires of the heart.

As an example; A man with much fame and adulation feels guilty about how he has taken advantage of those that adore him and determine that he is going to be a better person. “I will be more humble, more sincere, more compassionate, more patient, and more self disciplined” he says to himself. He sets his will on this but if he does not change the priorities, the desires of the heart, he will never fully succeed.

So if a person is to say “I will be a pacifist” and they do nothing to change the deepest root of their heart it means nothing. It is when you change the deepest roots of your heart that all of the virtues (Pacifism, etc…) will flow out. In the book of James we are told, (Man is not saved by faith alone. Faith without works is dead.) If a man has true faith, a “supernaturally changed heart”, then the works will flow out of that. It is a certainty. You cannot stop it. The virtues will flow.

I wonder if we are asking all the wrong questions for all the right reasons.

danceswithpanda – nice and simple.

We give glory to the father when we praise the son. How can a person not be humbled when they realize that God gave his son and Jesus gave his life because they loved us all. not just the Christians, all of us. Rearrange the priorities in your heart and be amazed at the limitless possibilities in your life.

danceswithpandas said...

.. I forgot to add some things to my last comment.
1 Corinthians 10:31
"Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."

I think that coming to a conclusion on more difficult subjects, including pacifism, is a process. I think that as we continue to seek out God's will it should be made more clear to us, even if we don't gain a complete understanding at one time. You are wonderful, Stephen :)

"... -ism's in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, "I don't believe in The Beatles, I just believe in me." Good point there. After all, he was the walrus. I could be the walrus. I'd still have to bum rides off people. "
-Ferris Bueller

danceswithpandas said...

Of course what God thinks is what really matters, not so much Ferris Bueller :)

Like Stephen said we are learning along side each other :)

amateuryouth said...

i wrote a blog on the aspects of this i got.
but it was like, way too long and scatterbrained to put on here.
ow my foots asleep.

Rover Fox said...

John 18 36 Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place."

Anonymous said...

I agree with this quote from EVE:


"Struggles will exist until the the end of this world as we know it. Whether it is a war between my God and Lucifer, my and flesh and my spirit, or my brother and myself, or my country and another, it is a cold hard fact.

To hope for peace is noble, but it's simply not in the last chapter of the book I believe in. I peeked at the ending...it's not peaceful...{a little apocalyptic humor}."

On that note Jesus tells us in Matthew 24:6


"You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come."


So we are not to be alarmed...


Oh how I wish I could teleport back to that moment and raise my hand and say, "Teacher, what are we supposed to do during this time?"

So I wonder, what if it is a choice to made on an individual basis. Some are called be soldiers some are not. I struggle....I long for a definitive answer here.

Jake said...

I haven't read all of the comments, so I might be repeating someone, but I often think of the Old Testament when I think about war and pacifism and what is right about each of those ideas. All throughout the Old Testament God uses war to help out the Israelites (or to punish them). David killed Goliath and David was "a man after God's own heart." The entire book of Judges is about God sending people to kill other people. I know we don't live by the Old Testament today, but a lot of Christianity's history has a lot of war, violence, and killing by those who followed God faithfully.

Anonymous said...

Psst, can you post a new blog so we don't miss out on an October blog from you?

Ashley N. said...

elaboration time! here goes...

at the time i wrote that first comment, i was putting things into a black-and-white perspective, either extreme action or none at all. i definitely know there is a balance in there, but all i really hear about is extremes. yes, pacifism can be effective, but sitting around saying "we need to stop fighting" or going out and blowing up those we can't make peace with are definitely not effective.

i hope that clears up any confusion...

Jeff Goins said...

just war doctrine - we studied this in college. i know all the in's and out's of it, and i still don't buy it. but, like you, i probably would die for or kill for my wife. is that wrong, or have we warped Jesus' message of "peace"? I don't want to justify myself, my country, or a broken church, but I think Thomas Aquinas brings the most wisdom to this subject. As idealistic as it may sound, he says that motive is what matters. If I kill to take away life, I sin. If I kill to protect it (and do everything I can to preserve life on both sides), then my motive is love. Of course, like I said, that may be tough to muster up that kind of humility and love when someone is threatening the lives of your loved ones. Yet, I believe the explanation makes sense.

JoshuaP said...

hello,
this is josh (used to sing in the beautiful mistake) just stopping by. love your post on war/pacifism etc...
it is a difficult topic to wrestle with...aquinas put out volumes on the "just war"...lots of differing views but an important thing to discuss.
hope you are well. the new album sounds great. God bless,
-josh

Derek Knight said...

A lot of miss-communication occurs when there is no distinction drawn between the responsibilities of an individual person (a Christian for our purposes) and a government. The Christian's first priority is to love God and then to love all others. The government's first priority is the welfare of its people. A citizen can be a pacifist while a government cannot.

There will always be evil men and therefore we will always need policemen. Loving our neighbors includes protecting the innocent.

War is very complicated and is often not justifiable. I recommend re-reading the Declaration of Independence if you haven't in a while. Our founders made a strong case for what they did.

Derek Knight said...

I also recommend reading an essay by C.S. Lewis entitled "Why I Am Not a Pacifist." You can find it in his book 'The Weight of Glory.'

"Learning in Wartime",another essay from that book, is probably my favorite piece of non-fiction he's ever written.

Claire said...

i agree with what some people were saying about pacifism being too ideal, but on the other hand everything can't be solved with violence and war - it does no good.

i was reading a book where the author was discussing the passage where jesus encourages his followers to turn the other cheek, and he made a really profound point:

traditionally, it's interpreted that turning the other cheek is a passive, submissive action. but what the author pointed out was that the oppressor's first action was a slap, which in those times was a degrading thing. people slapped their slaves, their servants, people they considered unequal. and in turning the other cheek, the "victim", or one being hit, would have had to look their oppressor in the eyes. and now, with their cheek turned the abuser only has the option of punching them with their fist - as an equal.

so yeah, jesus is saying "don't fight back" in this instance, but he's not necessarily saying "just take the punch." it's more like "make sure you look the person in the eye. make sure they recognize that you're equals. and by then, it'll be harder for that person to continue hurting you."

so i think pacifism, is good. but it's important that we hold our own at the same time, and not just give in.

Anonymous said...

Being that I'm only 17, it's apparent that I could be naive. However, my take on this is: When is it EVER worth it to take someone else's life? I believe if you take someone's life, you are saying that they are beyond saving. Who is beyond saving?

jessiswar said...

I certainly have not read through all of the comments, but just have to add that non-violence is certainly possible to enact positive change and dont think it's a fantasy at all to believe we can at least increase its use in the world. We have seen over and over that violent means always come to violent ends, whereas the nonviolent road to change often sustains that change much more peacefully as in the case of the civil rights movement here. But I think the connotations of the word "pacifism" are that you do nothing. This cannot be farther from the truth. Ghandi and MLK and were creative geniuses and passionate about their cause, and found non-violent ways to RESIST the powers that be, and in a way shame them in front of the world into making the right decisions. I think what our world lacks is creativity. On the other hand when it comes to things like Genocide, and times (for example in Darfur and Serbia) where I believe we should respond with force to stop the massacre of hundreds of thousands or millions, the US does not respond or does not respond quickly enough. (which i think is interesting, because for example in the case of the Kurds and Iraq it has come back to, for lack of a better term, blow up in our faces as a country.

ok im sorry that was a lot, but I have been thinking about this a lot as of late.

Haikit said...

Pacifism... Never really thought about it, to be honest. But I guess it's more like perfection - you can dream of it, but you can't achieve it. You could always try, but there will be something, or in the case of pacifism, someone, who'll ruin it.

I think the only way, though, to give pacifism a better chance is to "change people's insides" as someone commented before. And then it all comes down to the whole nature vs. nurture debate. Personally, I think it's nurture. So to have any hope of achieving pacifism, every single person in the world would have to be raised perfectly - but again, not a reasonable idea.

But let's say one could be perfect. Then there might be pacifism. If every child in every school in every community in every country in every continent was taught to treat those around them with respect, and everyone was to some how love everyone else, then maybe there might be pacifism.

Yet in a world like ours, today?

Not a chance.

Cody said...

"Sic pacem para bellum."

Latin for:

"If you want peace, prepare for war."

Throughout history we see how the western culture and Christianity have effected the world. Look at the Hindu people for example. They have a proverb which states, "The tears of another are but water to me." Showing that if you don't share common ground with another person, you don't help. How often do you see natural disaster relief coming from India?

The methods of war are changing, we're no longer using military force. Modern warfare now consists of putting a country into an uncontrolable amount of debt, so they're forced to surrender.

Cody said...

Correction:
"Sic vis Pacem para Bellum"

Eric said...

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:...
a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 and 8

Clearly, Christianity does not outright support pacifism.
America is founded on the belief that all men are endowed by their creator with the rights of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." These rights are given up if you do something illegal. I think that war is a similar situation. We should strive for peace, but if someone is using the presence of peace as an excuse to violently impose their will upon another (see Hitler and the Holocaust), then war is necessary and justified.

Anonymous said...

i understand what you're saying Stephen, and i agree partially. If people just understood true, selfless love and did love each other, we would have no war.

The problem is, we unfortunately live in a sinful, evil, selfish, fallen world. I'm not ignoring the immense amount of good that people do and have in them, but anyone with eyes must admit that this is a cruel world.

And the reality is, in this world we have war. And there is a philosophy to war. Pacifists would generally say that all war is bad. But the fact is, that in a fallen world, sometimes war is necessary. Maybe a necessary evil, but necessary nonetheless.

And in this context, it's not bad to take sides in war. Usually, there is definitely a side with the moral high ground(take the current Israeli/Palestinian conflict for example). If there is a side who is simply fighting for their lives, or trying to eliminate a truly evil regime that poses a threat, that is not a bad thing.

Also, i'm wondering about your position on the American Revolution. Would you consider that an "unjust" or "unbiblical" war? Just curious.

And lastly, i think you may be confusing love with peace. What about the Bible's example of loving discipline...you could use that in the context of war, especially against terrorists. If they aren't living by the rules of civilized society, and have the capacity to make our society miserable, we have to take action. And no offense of course, but i think it is a bit "rosy-tinted" to think that love will stop the terrorists. Of course love is the best option, and the ideal. But at some point, the reality has to set in that some people simply to not respond to love. It's sad, but it's the truth.

Tsianna said...

I think it depends on your motivation for what you do, and I mean this in the broadest sense. I think everybody struggles with balance every day. While outright pacifism in every siutation can't possibly be right (the doormat theory), reacting with violence unprovoked cannot be the answer either. What you do or don't do must mean something.

On some level, we all have a need to understand things, each other. However, while the need is simple, the action isn't, there are so many questions without answers in this life.

I am not a violent person but I would use anything in my personal arsenal to defend or protect my family and those I love. That might mean it includes and comes across as violence, I suppose it's all perception. I mean it is legal in some cases to use self defense or protection of your home as a reason - if someone is trying to kill me, don't I have a right to prevent it? When you look at the meaningless reasons someone would go attack another person, then you begin to see why defense is warranted.

Countries and government (and certain groups of people) generally believe they know best and get power hungry, I would think the answer is not letting that dictate what your morality is. Just take care of yourself, live and let live. My personal feeling always goes back to 'leave each other alone' instead of 'let's all get along' because the first one allows people their own freedom while the second one probably CAUSES violence and war since people will argue over anything. Also, excess is bad, too much of one thing and not another always spells disaster.

XxbrokenXdreamerxX said...

I would love to say that pacifism is the best option. Beleive me, I would. But now...some people just won't react to love and peace. they beleive violence is the only way and no matter how you try, you can't get through to them.

although I know there are people out there who beleive in pacifism and jesus's word, "love thy neighbor,". I respect you, truly. But when nescessary, violence may be the only way out.

just remember that there's a time and place for everything. choose your actions wisely. the tiniest sparks can start a dangerous fire.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Derek Knight.

I do not believe in violence, but I belive in self-defense. Your beliefs are a part of you. Protect your beliefs with your life, but never respond to a threat with any more force than the threat was given with.

Example: If someone verbally abuses you, do not use physical violence. Try to realize that they do not recognize dignity in you and respnd with as much dignity as you can.
If you catch someone setting your house on fire in the dead of night, you will probably (rightly) tackle them to the ground.

NEVER fire the first shot.

I read a book called "Waking Rose", written by Regina Doman. There are some quotes in that book that I think can be applied to this topic well:
"Still, no offense, Ben, but the world hasn't stopped being evil just because you've decided to stop fighting it."
"-So you practice with all these weapons you never actually use?
-It's a preparedness thing, part of our code here, at Sacra Cor.
-I think of it as the way we look at manhood. Being prepared. To protect the innocent, defend the common good. It's not just weapons, you know. It's the skill needed to handle them. It's almost a mental attitude."

The only other thing I can think of to add is that protecting the innocent and defending the common good are tasks meant for men and women. And there are different ways to accomplish this, the most hideous being the destruction of another person.

Do everything with Love in the Truth.

peace,
angels

Mariale said...

I didn't finish read about pacifism. Peace is a word that is common said but never used. Being a pacific person makes you look undefendless. However, people choice to do something to prove they are not undefendless thats why there are many wars around the world. I am from another country, Mexico, where the history is different. We aren't be available as a country to fight against other country than US. We are living a war right now, but it's not about two countries against each other, it is about the government and drugtrafficking. I live in one of the most dangerous cities of mexico where you can see soldiers everywhere. Many people are killed everyday. The problem is the government because its rulled by drugdealers, and the people are afraid of them, and we don't do anything about it. Today my mom went to a place to fix the car, and suddlenly appeared a man with a submachinegun, my mom was so scared, but she couldnt go because whe was waiting for the car to be ready. The man say to her "dont worry Mrs, it is already loaded". My mom told me that the man was a good person, he started a conversation with her, and he showed her his otherx guns. My mom stills afraid by what happened today. However, we are getting used to this events. There are many shootouts in my city. Thanks god i'd never been part of one, but still this place is not save. And i guess i lost my point explaing that Culiacan is not a safe place to live, butit is my home, and i hope in a future the government can find the peace to bring to the citizens.
Im not living in Afganistan, Im just a person tired of see how the government just care about their pride, and of course money, and they dont care to stop this war.
I am another fearful person.