In November, I was really forced to consider my views on war, as a Christian, but also just as a resident on planet earth… this is the what I wrote, but didn’t publish because of Remembrance Day and also because I didn’t want to offend people. I still don’t want to offend people, but hopefully by now they will have forgotten we had any conversations on the topic.
I vaguely remember the Gulf War. I had no real sense of how big the world was, and I thought perhaps it would come to our small Canadian town. My parents assured me “no”, and that was enough, because I was very dismayed I had missed the week we did pottery in art class as my dad had taken us to Nashville. By the time I was twelve, I had fully romanticized war in my mind. I thought one day I would be brave enough to enlist if I had too, but I knew that would never really happen. War was brutal and you might die, but fighting for freedom and all kinds of glorious ideals, what was more heroic than that? Remembrance Day just passed this week, and I wear a poppy proudly. I am not so naïve to believe that World War II could have been prevent in a non-violent way. I am not glorifying war, I am promoting peace, the very thing that I am convinced all those men and women who really saw the horrors of war, would want me to do. When we say we can’t glorify their heroics because war is evil, we are denying that we only even really know how evil war is, because they went through it. Historically, people have used violence to solve their problems. It’s only been since World War II that we’ve really even had enough peace in parts of the world to have the option to be anti-war. We can look back on all the brutally, and gore, and horror, and see clearly we don’t want to repeat that. Except that, a lot of people still justify war.
This is not any judgement on soldiers enlisted now. They have their convictions, and they are willing to stand up for their beliefs. It may even just be a job or a means for paying for education. My issue is with the larger society that condones war, without considering motives, and furthermore, justifies their inaction to stand for peace, with Christian rhetoric.
Matthew 25:6 says, “You will hear of wars and rumours of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen”. According to the circulating justification, the Bible says we have wars, so that’s that. The Old Testament is full of wars. Jesus is to lead Christians into one final battle with the devil in the end times. Wars are fought for religious freedom. We’re supposed to “defend the weak”. All of this, makes war sound okay, like God says, “yep, that’s the way life is, I’m saying okay to war when your intentions are good”.
Here’s me saying I completely, entirely disagree. I’m not even saying this based on my conviction Canada has no right to be in Afghanistan. Americans gave the Taliban money and weapons to fight the Soviets. They constantly finance the very dictators that are hurting “the weak”. If they feel they messed up (which definitely isn’t what they are saying), then they can have their war with the Taliban. Canada needs to stay faraway from that mess, but then again, I also don’t feel Christians should vote Conservative just because they’re conservative, so what do I know?
Anyway, here’s what I read in the Bible.
2 Corinthians 10:3 “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.”
Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called sons of God.”
James 3:18 “Peacemakers, who sow in peace, raise a harvest of righteousness.
Psalm 34:14 “Seek peace and pursue it.”
Psalm 122: 6 “Pray for the PEACE of Jerusalem”… wait? God instructs us to PRAY FOR PEACE even though He said wars would happen? We aren’t supposed to just complacently accept war as a fact of life?
As to defending the weak…
Proverbs 31:8,9 “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights all of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
The passage very clearly says to defend the weak, but with our words, even our prayers, not our guns.
I also really like 1 Peter 3:8 “Live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble… whoever would love life and see good days… He must turn from evil and do good; he MUST SEEK PEACE and PURSUE IT.”
Why is God telling people to pursue peace, if He’s so okay with war? If we’re just suppose to accept war as a fact of life? The thing is, bad things happen. War happens. Famine and plague and natural disasters happen. Do you really believe that God is such a cold hearted God war doesn’t break His heart? Do you really believe that He condones it? God, who see the sparrow fall, and knows the number of hairs on our heads, is really not upset by us killing each other and more than that, killing innocent people because that’s just a product of our bloody, greedy, awful murder of a large scale? Our hearts are made with God’s heart as the template. Is your heart so cold that war doesn’t break it? Pray for peace, pursue peace, stand against war and violence and all those things that hurt people, that steal lives, that rob people of the opportunity to enjoy all the gifts God has given them even here on earth.
I am more than willing to hear every argument for why war is necessary, I will not deny that there is some evidence that supports this on occasion. If you use the Bible to support your arguments though, you better be certain you’re right and not just using repeated rhetoric, because I will defend God’s word, even though He’s more than capable of doing that Himself. God is love. War is not. And that my friends, is the truth.