Tuesday, August 7, 2007
Pray for Peace
This is a great initiative by the International Salvation Army - let's get creative on how this day could help highlight the desperate need we have for peace in our world... ideas welcome.
Speaking about peace there has been a great conversation going on in the comment section of the Hokey Pokey blogpost: it's such great quality that I think it deserves a wider readership so here is a segment from Aaron White offering some deep and wide thoughts on non-violence. The debate was on whether there is such a thing as a 'just war' and Aaron tells us why he doesn't think so:
"It is better to fight than do nothing. But is there not anything better than fighting? A third way where you still engage but don't kill? Are there never any other options?
When Gandhi was asked about World War Two, and whether his soul force non-violence would have worked there, he basically said he didn't know. But he also said that nobody knew if violence was going to work either, but the whole world put it's resoures and muscle behind it. So he suggested that if non-violent actions were to be used against Nazi Germany, the same amount of resolve, resources, money and dedication would have been required.
People often don't think this out. The alternative to killing in the name of justice and peace isn't sitting on our butts and lecturing our soldiers about peace. That is a straw man. Gandhi showed an alternative that actually worked. People died, to be sure, but one can assume the deaths were way less than if a violent revolution had occurred. The Solidarity movement in Poland showed an alternative. South Africa demonstrated something radically different. There are options, many hige changes have happened, especially recently, throuh non-violent means, but violent force always seems to be the default.
But with violent force good is always destroyed with the bad (seems like something I read from the Bible). It is a very good thing that Hitler was defeated. It is a very bad thing that this war sparked the Cold War and the age of nuclear holocaust. Violence begets violence. Again, better to have fought him than to do nothing, but what may have resulted from world-wide non-violent action? We'll never know now, but the only way off the treadmill of violence is to try. Remember that WW2 was a direct result of WW1 and the inhumane treatment of the Germans afterwards.
When we use violent means to achieve even noble ends, we reinforce the dictum that might = right. And so we lose any moral authority to say stop fighting. The Romans were able to enforce Pax Romana because they were strong enough to kill anyone or any group that started wars. God is stronger than the Roman army, but he sent Jesus, not to kill, but to die. I think there may be something instructive there.
It is interesting how Jesus' teaching on non-violence is considered adequate for personal use, but as soon as you try to apply it to world situations the teaching is considered naive, or even traitorous."