This summer I’m leading a couple of seminars at New Horizon. One is on Jesus’ radical call to pacifism.
So, first up – any top recommendations on Christian pacifism / just war? Glad of suggestions for a bit of summer reading.
Second up – do you believe that to follow Jesus authentically means you must be a pacifist?
Third up – what do you think of these imagined typical questions / critical problems facing those who espouse a Christian pacifist position?
‘A non –violent response by Christians to aggression is perhaps required and maybe even possible at an individual level, but it is unrealistic and even unloving at a community level. Where there is a threat to life it is moral to use force to protect the innocent. To stand by and let evil triumph would be immoral.’
‘Pacifism is idealistic. It is rooted in an eschatological theology of redemption, where the future hope of the kingdom come is brought right into the here and now. But we don’t yet live in the future. Our theology and praxis needs to be realistic, taking into account a theology of creation, sin and the Fall.’
‘Pacifists aren’t the only ones who want peace. At times a just war is just as much a route to peace as non-violence.’
‘Pacifists are purists who, when push comes to shove, opt out of the harsh realities of a fallen world. War and violence are part of being human. Pretty well every nation that exists was created through some sort of violence. National security depends on having armies and police forces. Pacifists conveniently let others do the dirty work of fighting to overcome the horrors that violent men habitually resort to.’
Comments, as ever, welcome.