Jump to content
ElvishDNP ElvishDNP (New Member) New Member

Pacifism

Lounge   (8,362 Views 61 Comments)
article_pluralized; 65,747 Visitors; 10,975 Posts
If you find this topic helpful leave a comment.

Started with inspiration in another thread....

What is pacifism to you? Are you one? If so, why, and if not, why not?

Me, I am a pacifist, because I believe the words of Jesus are pretty clear on how we're to behave with our fellow man. I don't believe there were any qualifications, such as that His commands apply to individuals but not between nations. I believe the example He set was one of nonviolence; he did not fight back, though He could have, when people nailed Him to a cross. Even Peter, when he cut off the Malchus' ear with his sword - in defense of an innocent (Jesus) - got a reprimand from Jesus for using violence to retaliate.

I believe that use of violence by Christians is a roundabout way of saying that Jesus' ideas were nice but don't really apply in the 'real world'. Never mind that He gave these commands to people who would be crucified upside down, skinned alive, beheaded, and boiled alive for their faith. Pansies they were not, if the stories are to be believed.

We pacifists have heard all the questions: what would you do if someone were attacking your [insert relation here]? What about Hitler? What about the wars in the OT? Trust me, the position we pacifists take is not one of blitheness nor naivete', nor one that we haven't thought through, or one that we hold because we just haven't lived long enough or seen enough bad things.

This is not meant to come across as self-righteous. I am not perfect and do not always respond the way I'd like to in situations meant to test one's character. But pacifism is the ideal I aspire to.

Looking forward to discussion!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe that use of violence by Christians is a roundabout way of saying that Jesus' ideas were nice but don't really apply in the 'real world'. Never mind that He gave these commands to people who would be crucified upside down, skinned alive, beheaded, and boiled alive for their faith. Pansies they were not, if the stories are to be believed.

I think you hit the nail on the head! Christians wage in a spiritual war against our own carnality, not against people. We are supposed to turn the other cheek with people who hurt us. That's why I always find stories from the persecuted church to be so encouraging about this matter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You pretty much said what I wanted to say. I believe Jesus taught and practiced non-violence against our brothers, spiritual warfare is another thing entirely. Im still trying to articulate how I feel about this and what this means in our society today. I'd like to believe that violence is never the answer, and there is always a third way. What can this third way be today, with all the war and injustice in our society?

I dont understand the evangelical movement which seems to praise war, violence and the military. I have to say I do not support military efforts in any way, which I have gotten a lot of flack for. I definitely do not discredit the men and women who have given their lives in the military, and I completely respect them and their efforts...I cant imagine how hard it must be for a family to lose someone in this way. So I hope no offence is taken, its just not something I personally support.

What a sad and sick world we live in today, that these things seem like they are the only option. What is the third way?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The "what abouts" ---- you mentioned are the very things that to me are an insurmountable obstacle. Once you've thought that through, what do you conclude about Hitler, trucks full of armed militia moving down innocent people, and all other omnipresent horror aggressors mete out? This isn't about rancor but genuine curiosity.

Just as I believe Jesus would not send gay people to hell I don't believe Jesus thinks we should stand there and watch while children are tortured.

Christians also believe abortion is murder but think murder is OK if the fetus didn't get there in a socially acceptable way, even though the potential victim had no say in the matter.

Edited by nursel56
add something

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm all over the place.

My perspective isn't "Christian" as I'm not a Christian, but Jesus was pretty clear and pretty much negated much of the Old Testament, but I won't participate in a discussion of the Bible.

I didn't grow up with WWII parents, but am the child of a Vietnam Vet. I never really felt that my dad "went to fight for our country and keep us free".

I'm proud of my dad, and proud that we have men and women willing to fight for a principle.

The bombs on Japan are disturbing. Many innocents were killed....hundreds of thousands of them. On the other hand, they attacked us, they were a brutal nation killing hundreds of thousands of innocents themselves, and the impending attack on Japan would have costs tens and thousands of American lives, and the bombs brought a swift end to Japans reign of terror and the war.

Mainly I just ponder such things without deciding what's right and wrong about it because what was done 60 years ago is done. The lesson for me today is that I hope that no one around the world ever has to endure such tragedy and destruction and that war is wrong.

As far as the present, I think we should immediately come home from Afghanistan and close the overwhelming majority of military bases around the world. Protect our borders strongly and have a strong national defense, but don't go to war in other countries.

I a country declares war on us and attacks us, then we must defend ourselves. We currently have treaties to defend other countries such as Japan and Korea and Europe and we need to take a look at that. It's a great big world and I'm not sure we can stand alone, but we certainly don't need to be in Afghanistan.

Russia is looking to expand naval bases around the world. Does that concern us? Is that our business?

Edited by Tweety

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

very interesting thread!....I believe in very much the same philosophy that you write about.....you have courage to be so open, I am impressed and inspired by such heart felt honesty....Peace to you my friend!....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

God often ordered the Israelites to go to war with other nations (1 Samuel 15:3;Joshua 4:13). God ordered the death penalty for numerous crimes (Exodus 21:12, 15;22:19; Leviticus 20:11). So, God is not against killing in all circumstances, but only murder. War is never a good thing, but sometimes it is a necessary thing. In a world filled with sinful people (Romans 3:10-18), war is inevitable. Sometimes the only way to keep sinful people from doing great harm to the innocent is by going to war.

In the Old Testament, God ordered the Israelites to “take vengeance on the Midianites for the Israelites” (Numbers 31:2). Deuteronomy 20:16-17 declares, “However, in the cities of the nations the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. Completely destroy them…as the LORD your God has commanded you.” Also, 1 Samuel 15:18 says, “Go and completely destroy those wicked people, the Amalekites; make war on them until you have wiped them out.” Obviously God is not against all war.

War is a terrible thing. Some wars are more “just” than others, but war is always the result of sin (Romans 3:10-18). At the same time, Ecclesiastes 3:8 declares, “There is…a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.” In a world filled with sin, hatred, and evil (Romans 3:10-18), war is inevitable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All of the scripture you mention besides Romans is found in the Old Testament, which Jesus came to fulfill. Is not all killing of another human being murder? When is killing not murder? I don't believe war keeps sinful people from doing great harm to the innocent. Thousands of innocent lives have been unnecessarily lost in war. WWII did not stop the Nazis from torturing and killing thousands of Jewish people. What would have stopped them? I dont know the answer to that, but it wasn't the war that ensued.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The "what abouts" ---- you mentioned are the very things that to me are an insurmountable obstacle. Once you've thought that through, what do you conclude about Hitler, trucks full of armed militia moving down innocent people, and all other omnipresent horror aggressors mete out? This isn't about rancor but genuine curiosity.

Just as I believe Jesus would not send gay people to hell I don't believe Jesus thinks we should stand there and watch while children are tortured.

No rancor perceived. :) Thanks for your honesty.

I don't believe Jesus would want us to stand and watch while people do terrible things to each other either. Pacifism does not equal inaction. The example that Jesus set was not one of violence, but it was not one of weakness and passivity either. There is not one pat answer that works for every situation, but let's use your example of armed militia killing innocent people. What might a pacifist do? A pacifist might help them flee, if possible. A pacifist might try to create a diversion so they can get away, or might shelter them as they do. A pacifist might put him/herself between the people with guns and the innocents. A pacifist might carry people to a place of safety. Those things might surely be more difficult than pointing a weapon at the perps, and definitely less 'safe' in terms of physical safety. But Jesus didn't say that the greatest example of love is killing someone in their defense. He said it's laying down your own life for them.

Hitler probably deserves another post since it's a huge complicated subject.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
God often ordered the Israelites to go to war with other nations (1 Samuel 15:3;Joshua 4:13). God ordered the death penalty for numerous crimes (Exodus 21:12, 15;22:19; Leviticus 20:11). So, God is not against killing in all circumstances, but only murder. War is never a good thing, but sometimes it is a necessary thing. In a world filled with sinful people (Romans 3:10-18), war is inevitable. Sometimes the only way to keep sinful people from doing great harm to the innocent is by going to war.

In the Old Testament, God ordered the Israelites to “take vengeance on the Midianites for the Israelites” (Numbers 31:2). Deuteronomy 20:16-17 declares, “However, in the cities of the nations the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. Completely destroy them…as the LORD your God has commanded you.” Also, 1 Samuel 15:18 says, “Go and completely destroy those wicked people, the Amalekites; make war on them until you have wiped them out.” Obviously God is not against all war.

War is a terrible thing. Some wars are more “just” than others, but war is always the result of sin (Romans 3:10-18). At the same time, Ecclesiastes 3:8 declares, “There is…a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.” In a world filled with sin, hatred, and evil (Romans 3:10-18), war is inevitable.

The nation of Israel was a theocracy where God himself commanded people to go to war, if the stories are to be believed. We do not live in a theocracy, and God is not the one commanding people to go to war (and those who believe He does in the 21st century, especially if they are not American, we call them extremists, right?). When Christ said, "My kingdom is not of this world", it didn't mean His kingdom is not in this world. It meant that His kingdom does not operate the way the world operates....in which war is inevitable. War may be inevitable in a broken world, but that doesn't mean that Christians have to be participants therein. For the first 300 years after Christ, believers refused to be conscripted for service, at the risk of their own lives.

Edited by ElvishDNP

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
All of the scripture you mention besides Romans is found in the Old Testament, which Jesus came to fulfill. Is not all killing of another human being murder? When is killing not murder? I don't believe war keeps sinful people from doing great harm to the innocent. Thousands of innocent lives have been unnecessarily lost in war. WWII did not stop the Nazis from torturing and killing thousands of Jewish people. What would have stopped them? I dont know the answer to that, but it wasn't the war that ensued.

Old Testament or New Testament, does it really matter? It is the same God, unless you are saying he changed his mind after the Old.

This subject was discussed at great length recently in my Sociology class.

Many people make the mistake of reading what the Bible says in Exodus 20:13, “You shall not kill,” and then seeking to apply this command to war. However, the Hebrew word literally means “the intentional, premeditated killing of another person with malice; murder.” God often ordered the Israelites to go to war with other nations (1 Samuel 15:3;Joshua 4:13). God ordered the death penalty for numerous crimes (Exodus 21:12, 15;22:19; Leviticus 20:11). So, God is not against killing in all circumstances, but only murder. War is never a good thing, but sometimes it is a necessary thing. In a world filled with sinful people (Romans 3:10-18), war is inevitable. Sometimes the only way to keep sinful people from doing great harm to the innocent is by going to war.

Obviously a war cannot prevent what has already occurred, but WWII actually did stop the Nazi from killing even more Jews. They didn't stop because they ran out of them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
×