War is a terrible thing. It’s not glamorous or exciting or fun. But at times it’s necessary.
Not everyone believes this. In fact, some Christians speak out against the current war in Iraq based on the idea that war is never permissible, and that Christians therefore can’t have anything to do with it. These people usually point out that Christianity does not advance by the sword and point to some of Christ’s ethical teachings, especially in the Sermon on the Mount.
Now, of course I agree that Christianity does not advance by the sword, and I know of no legitimate Christian group anywhere in the world that is trying to make that happen. I also agree that all the ethical teachings of the NT, including those about not taking revenge on our enemies, are binding on Christians. But I believe pacifism is a seriously flawed philosophy. It is unbiblical in that it’s based on lousy hermeneutics. It’s also foolish if it’s consistently practiced (which it never is). Finally, it’s self-defeating and self-contradictory on a number of levels.
Obviously the most important thing is whether or not pacifism is required by Scripture. I don’t believe it is, but I’m going to save that for another post (even though I know it’s the ultimate question). The point I want to make first is that pacifism is a non-solution. It’s something that is easy to proclaim and say dramatic things about, but not something that actually gets us anywhere. Think about the irony of an American arguing that war is always wrong, that it is not God’s will for anyone to serve in the military. This person is free to have that conviction because people fought and died to free this country from British oppression, to defend it from British invasion, to preserve it as a unified nation, to defend it from the threat of two world wars, to stave off the spread of communism, and to cripple terrorist organizations who would like to cause the downfall of Western civilization.
In other words, the pacifist, to be consistent, has to believe that the Revolutionary War should never have been fought, that America should not have defended herself in the War of 1812, that the country should have split in 1861, and that we should have ignored Pearl Harbor and September 11. They are using the freedom and protection purchased in all these conflicts to say they should never have happened. They are like a child climbing up into her daddy’s lap so she can slap him in the face.
In probably 2 more posts I’ll point out a few other reasons I think pacifism is an easy non-solution to the presence of evil in the world.