I am reading a book on Pacifism written by Leo Tolstoy. While reading it, Paris was attacked by ISIS.
Reading some of the discussions about how America should respond to terrorism, I saw someone propose being really nice to ISIS. Several folks disagreed that this approach would work. The pacifist insisted it would.
Our pal Madonna said, “Only love will change the world, but it’s very hard to love unconditionally, and it’s very hard to love that which we do not understand or that which is different than we are, but we have to or this will go on and on forever.”
Hate to break it to this philosopher, but evil will go on “forever” regardless of what we do.
I would classify myself as a Pacifist. I don’t think violence should be my response to a personal attack (which doesn’t mean I’d do that at the time, but, you know, in theory. . .). As for America, I don’t know.
Some people are weirded out by that distinction. How can you be a personal Pacifist and not think America should be?
The Bible was not written as a guide for political governance of nations. In fact, Romans 13 says the government has the power to wield the sword.
The Bible was written to instruct the follower of Christ. Individual followers of Christ are to love their enemies and pray for those who despitefully use you. I don’t see anything about nations loving their enemies.
At the same time, I do think America’s military power does cause terrorists and others to hate us. We are so entangled in the affairs of other nations, and history has shown us to be on the wrong side from time to time (some theorize ISIS was created by America). I do not see how we could pull out now without causing mass confusion and chaos.
Best case scenario is that our military removes a threat. Guess what happens next? A new threat fills the void. Then we take that one out, to be filled by another. But what if we don’t take a threat out? It seems that threat will just get stronger, which seems worse than having a new, fledgling threat.
I would tend to lean toward isolationism for our nation. Perhaps we could back off the military responses a tad. We may have gotten carried away. On the other side, America already leads the world in charitable giving and foreign aid.
So, would being nicer cause our enemies to stop being violent? Does Pacifism make enemies into friends?
Very rarely. More than likely, if America announced to the world they were now Pacifist and had destroyed all their weapons, America would not see an increase of friends! America would be overrun within minutes.
The same thing is true for the believer! If you truly are Pacifist, and people find this out, more than likely they will take advantage of you. When Jesus says to give the shirt along with the coat, to turn the other cheek, to go two miles, to lend and not ask for anything back, He is inviting us into impractical living!
The Bible does not recommend Pacifism because it works (if “works” means your enemies will be your friends), it recommends it because it’s the right thing to do in God’s eyes. God’s Son came to sacrifice Himself while keeping His mouth shut, as a lamb to the slaughter. Let this mind be in you. Christianity is based on God’s wisdom, which is foreign to man’s wisdom.
Christianity is life lived for the next world, not this one. We aren’t supposed to entangle ourselves with the affairs of this world. We’re supposed to be separate. I would not kill a member of ISIS. If others can, I guess that’s up to them. If America does, I guess that’s their call.
I don’t see how “thou shalt not kill” carries exceptions.”Love your enemies” is hard to do while killing them. Blessed are the peacemakers. The Bible seems pretty clear on the issue. Whether we will obey the clear is another matter.
When Christianity is tried, it is found to be impractical and painful, which is why few do it. Pacifism will not lead to peace. I am a Pessimist, Pacifist, Isolationist who thinks his stance and all others are pointless in ending evil. Nothing on this earth will lead to world-wide peace, until the Prince of Peace reigns.
Even so, come quickly.