there’s a time for peace, there is a time for war…

Okay: This basically sums up how I feel about war. There’s a time and place for it, yes, and if you’re a soldier, do your job well and justly. Christians have been parts of wars since the beginning, and I don’t think they’re any less Christians if they are. (Heck, half the men in my family have fought in wars. What can I say?)

What I mean when I say that I’m striving for nonviolence is that in my personal life, I want to live in accordance with what Paul says in Romans 12:18: “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” That means not fighting for my own causes, not fighting in such a way that destroys the dignity of other people. I don’t have to be right; I don’t have to intentionally hurt them, either physically or emotionally.

And, in a way, this applies to war as well. I don’t necessarily believe it destroys another soldier’s dignity to shoot at him–you’re doing what your government requires you to, and so is he–but I do believe it destroys his dignity to rejoice in his death, or to torture him, or to use unjust fighting techniques (like, say, suicide bombing, or atomic bombing), or to treat him as an entity instead of a person, or to not also do something to help the widows and orphans that are left behind. And I believe it destroys the dignity of human life to war against another nation for unjust reasons.

Obviously, a perfectly just war will never happen as long as imperfect humans are fighting them. But both the individual Christian and the Church corporate can work towards that, up until the day when all things are made right, and wars will cease.

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