explain war

can someone explain to me war? why is it needed, and what value does it have? no war in history has every produced peace; let me repeat that for those who might have missed it, no war has ever produced peace. when we look at war stats we are quick to say how many "soldiers" died, but slow to explain the civilian population that dies - in many cases the numbers of innocent civilians that die outnumber the soldiers 100 to 1 - for every soldier that dies, over 100 non-military people are killed; most of them are old men, women of all ages and children - how is that good? how is wiping out a village a good thing? how is taking the life of people who are "just there" a good and right thing?

i was recently speaking with a person who thinks that those numbers and the fact that innocent die are "acceptable." as he said, "if they would not be in the battle field they would not be killed. sometimes during a war the innocent die." WHAT? that just does not connect with me. the battle field is their home, their streets, their neighborhoods. how can "they" move? how can "they" not be in the middle of the battle, when the battle is in their homes?

i think it is easy for us to watch the war on tv and play monday morning quaterback. we then head over to starbucks for a mocha and to talk about how good we are doing, or how bad things are going. but if the war was outside our homes, and there was no starbucks to go too would we have a different point of view? as christians, i believe we must be a voice for peace, for grace, for love. we must be a voice that stand against war, for any reason, and speak for peace. i know that to stand at the pulpit in an american church and say that war is wrong, is seen as "anit-american." but that is ok, we are suppose to be "anti-american" because we are to be for christ and if we are for christ, we stand for peace, love, grace and forgiveness. i am not interested in politics, and i have no interest in the "american christian" church - my walk is with christ, with peace and with love - i operate under peace, and i stand for forgiveness.

i still have not found one scripture in the new testament that supports war, nor one word of jesus that tells us to do violence on another, nor one teaching of the early church that allowed for the taking of human life. if we are to truly see the early church as a role model of our faith, then we should be willing to die for our faith, but not kill for it - it has hurt my heart to know that many of the "christian" leaders claim this to be some kind of "holy war." i believe, and others will disagree, that a christian will not take another life - but would willing go to the lions to stand firm on the teachings of love, grace, peace and forgiveness.



lydia said...

"that a christian will not take another life - but would willing go to the lions to stand firm on the teachings of love, grace, peace and forgiveness."

i strongly agree.

did you grow up with anabaptist roots by any chance?

john o'keefe said...


thanks for the comments :) nope, i do not come from "anabaptist" roots :)

Stephen G said...

I struggle with the idea that the killing of civilians (and war) etc. isn't a "moral issue" for some people. That economics or patriotism isn't a "moral issue". Morality gets reduced to personal choice for a narrow set of issues. I can't read stuff like Amos without it seeming blindingly clear that morality is tied to justice and righteousness and it is all embracing.

fatwrath said...

"if the war was outside our homes"? That is a good way to look at it.

If it was, would we be unChristian to fight and defend our lives, our family's lives, and our land/freedom (our Starbuck's)? Is pacifism a requirement of Holiness?

I think pacifism and Starbuck's are luxuries.

john o'keefe said...

that is where we differ - i see it as a requirement of the faith, and an expression of love. if we think we can not have the heart of peace, then we need to have the knees of a sinner :)

fatwrath said...

Wow! Pacifism is a requirement for Holiness?

So if someone tries to hurt or kill me or my family, or just comes into my home and refuses to leave, and takes a bedroom away from one of my kids, and drives off with my car ... do I just ... talk to him about it ... or pray to God (and hope He isn't also a pacifist)? Or do I call the cops or go to the courts and have them do what I won't?

I am not sure that the "turn the other cheek" admonishment is a blanket indorsement of pacifism.