|OK, I might have used the word, but I don't think "pacifist" is the best description of my stance. I would much rather be described as holding to Christian Non-Violence. Anyways, my stance continues to change and grow. Here are some reasons why.
- Loss of faith in "Just - War". I have held to the "Just - War Theory", which says, (in a very simple way), that war is needed if the act of not going to war will cost more lives than the act of going to war. This sounds good in theory, but I agree with Stanley Hauerwas, that in theory is where it usually remains. In conflicts both sides tend to use this theory as ammunition against the other, claiming moral superiority and the right to fight. Also, there is no good way to truly know whether more lives will be saved by going to war than by not. A war is usually justified after it is over. If I was to only have this reason for not supporting "Just - War", than I admit that WWII is a problem for me, for it might be a war that fits the bill.
- Taking Seriously the Words of Jesus. Lets admit it. There are somethings that Jesus said that just aren't easy to hear. So much so, that there are those that say we aren't expected to adhere to these difficult challenges until Christ returns and all is well. Statements like, "Love your enemy", and "if someone hits you, turn your other cheek to him, or if someone takes your cloak, give them your tunic as well" we try to over spiritualize and misapply, attempting to elude the thing they are really telling us. To live in the Jesus way is to not respond to violence and violent people in the same way, with violence. It is a whole counter cultural view of how to live in a violent and many times abusive world.
- Looking at the Life of Jesus. One has to look no further than Jesus' life to see what his words on love of enemies and response to violence look like when lived out. Unlike the zealot movement of his time, Jesus didn't accept the idea that violence should be used in the name of God. Jesus had opportunity to sway his many followers in violent revolt against their Roman captors, yet, he displayed another way.
This is not an exhaustive list of reasons. Any thoughts?
Labels: enemies, Jesus, just war, non-violence, pacifism, zealots