Tuesday, February 24, 2009

becoming a pacifist

“But wait!” cries out the inevitable voice of rational dissent. “What about war that is necessary to prevent greater evil? What about the need to stop Hitler sixty years ago, and wasn’t it good for NATO to intervene to stop the slaughter of Bosnian Muslims at the hands of Christian Serbia? Shouldn’t someone have sent troops to stand between the Hutus and the Tutsis and between innocent Sudanese civilians and the Janjaweed?”

It is a good and reasonable question, and my embrace of pacifism is not naive. Sometimes war seems unavoidable. I know this, but it doesn’t mean I have to like the violence of war or to proclaim allegiance to a system of thought that is anything but profoundly opposed to war. Historically, it seems that starvation is just as inevitable as warfare. That doesn’t mean I should be “pro-famine” or try to work out a theologically-and philosophically-sound “just-hunger” theory.

When human disagreements deteriorate into bloodshed, it is a failure of human imagination to find peaceable solutions to conflict. It is a demonstration of our inability, as a species, to set aside greed and prejudice, anger and bloodlust. I want no part of that inability. I think we can do better. As a Christian I believe we are created in the image of a God who at times is known as the Prince of Peace, a God who had called us blessed who work for peace. The time has come for me to serve that God as a pacifist.

Ben Daniel, "Why I Am a Pacifist." http://bendaniel.org/?p=222


ms said...

with everything else we never do that we ought, the laziness of man and the ambivalence, it seems ironic that yet we find the time, the energy, the money and the emotion to engage in war and the countless other smaller multitudes of violence that diminish us all ... but not one finger lifted for peace, for health, for freedom, for childhood. Of course this is only true for most people so far as it pertains to you ... and them, but never me.

Nathan First said...

Bro Tom: I'll certainly be referring back to this down the road, when those nagging "rational" impulses to justify bloodshed seep into civil conversation, or worse, into me. Thanks for posting this.