Pacifism challenges personal beliefs

The last three years at Malone I have been encouraged to think, question and learn. Many new ideas have been presented to me. One of these new ideas was pacifism. For a while I thought I could be a pacifist. I do not want to solve our problems using violence. But realistically, I do not think pacifism will ever work.

A bumper sticker relates perspective on war. (Photo by Christina Graw).

This past summer my brother enlisted in the Marine Corps. Because of this, I’ve had the privilege to meet and get to know many Marines over the past couple of months. They have completely changed my thinking on many things. One of the biggest things I have changed my mind about has been war.

As a naturally inquisitive person, I began to research war and its necessity to a society. There are a wide variety of opinions on the matter. Through my research I learned the term “crisis war.” By definition, a crisis war is where most of the people feel that their country’s existence is at stake or their certain way of living is being challenged.

The last crisis war that occurred in America was World War II. Americans watched Hitler’s armies take over France and bomb England. These actions paralyzed Americans with fear. American citizens realized the need to become involved in this war.

Since World War II, there have been many other wars. The main ones including the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the 1991 Gulf War, the Iraq War and now, the ongoing battle in Afghanistan. These wars have not terrorized American citizens the way World War II did. In fact, these wars have lacked large public support that WW II did.

Learning about “crisis war” led me to the belief that Americans should not engage in war unless our homeland is threatened. I do not support the shedding of blood, but there are times when a nation must do so to preserve its sovereignty. Diplomacy should always be the first option. Violence must come as an absolute last resort.

After spending an entire summer with members of our current Marine Corps, I came to realize that our military is made of men and women just like us. They do not have the innate desire to kill another human being. They just love our country and have a desire to defend it at all costs.

I would make the argument that the American military does not have the desire to kill; instead its desire is to protect its citizens. Unfortunately, sometimes this involves bloodshed.

I wish there was a way to avoid war altogether, but we live in a fallen world. It sounds like a great idea to refuse to succumb to violence, unfortunately, that idea can only work if everyone buys into pacifist ideals. We can see evidence of unwarranted violence in every era of history from Cain and Abel to the Battle at Jericho, to the Holocaust.

A utopian society free of violence seems ideal. However, I still wonder how we are to preserve a peaceful society without the use of violence to contain those who wish to harm us.

Christina Graw is managing editor and contributing writer to The Aviso.

Categories: Opinion

4 replies »

  1. I would encourage you to heavily study the politics of these wars that you refer to as “crisis” wars. You may find evidence that supports your theory, but you will also find evidence that the wars are based on a myriad of factors that exclude the personal safety of Americans.

    There are many men and women in the American military who believe there are other ways to solve our problems besides using a weapon, but we have to take the first step. In an age where the entire globe in connected, we remain disconnected from the events and plights of our global community, in favor of our own pleasures. The root causes of war escape the average man. War does not determine who is right, only who is left. We must strive to not lose faith that we can realize a pacifist society.

    It is easy to say, someone will fight, so we must too, but thinking like this has led to the bloodshed we see around the world. Take the first step, set the example. We are Americans, and we are better than a hungry brood of killers lusting for oil, justice, and respect. We, as we always have, seek truth, democracy, and freedom.


  2. I think the Bible is clear that war is a part of life here in the fallen world. Ecclesiastes 3:8 I believe makes that clear. In fact I can think of no verse in the Bible that forbids war. Sometimes God himself requires his creation to go to war and/or kill other humans. A few examples:

    Deuteronomy 20
    1 Samuel 15
    Joshua 8

    That list is by no means exhaustive mind you. In the case of 1 Samuel 15 King Saul is punished because he didn’t kill everyone and destroy everything in the battle.

    Sometimes God chooses war as a discipline for the people of Israel to convince them to return to him. This is the God of Love we are talking about using war to strike those that he loves. References:

    Amos 4
    Jeremiah 5

    While I agree that there are many commands to put others first and turn the other cheek, scripture is clear that there are times when the Lord either is OK with war or requires war to fulfill His will on the Earth.


  3. I think we need to see the difference between God’s purposes and roles for “kingdoms of this world” like america or brazil or wherever and the role of citizens in the kingdom of God.

    Matthew 5 and Romans 12 & 13 create clear distinctions for God’s people. Jesus even said, “you heard it said eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth…” Those were things God said, but Jesus goes on to say, “but now I tell you…”

    That for me is the difference. As a citizen of the kingdom of God I am called to a life of peace and non-violence as part of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. Just my 2 cents.

    Good thoughts everyone.


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