Pacifism And Christianity Jesus spoke of it, Kahlil Gibran wrote about it, Mahatma Ghandi demonstrated about it, The Beatles sang about it and most importantly is has been shown through the ages by humble deeds – Peace that is. The way to peace is through love. Love cannot be forced and it cannot be found through sloth therefore for peace to flourish it must be wanted and acted upon accordingly by the people who will grow under it. However to have peace there must be only peace, it cannot be interrupted by acts of violence or aggression and it especially cannot exist when those who are supposedly working for it also engage in violent acts on the side. In other words pacifism is the only way to achieve peace. Catholicism supports pacifism but it also supports the Just-War Theory which is a set of rules that must be followed to make a war just. It includes: a just cause- war must confront a real and certain danger, competent authority- war must be declared by those responsible for public order, there must be right intentions and it must be a last resort. It is unclear how anyone could call themselves a Christian and fight in wars at the same time when in the Ten Commandments it clearly states “Thou shalt not kill”.
That phrase is alone, it is not followed by a list of exceptions and loop holes to the commandment. Next, Jesus, the founder of Christianity, said to “do unto others as you would have then do unto you”. If a person is of sane mind that person does not wish to die therefore killing deliberately breaks Jesus rule. Not only does being a Christian and fighting wars break simple rules of the faith but if you are a true believer in Christianity it is also absurd. What is the purpose of a so-called just war? To stop an immediate danger that threatens safety and peace and to protect but what do Christians have to protect and guard against when they believe that their kingdom is not of this Earth? If the Christian kingdom is with their god in the afterlife what kingdom that resides only on Earth could they possibly justify killing to protect? Or perhaps it is protecting their own and other lives.
Although did Jesus protect his own life when Judas came to betray him? No, infact according to the Bible when an apostle drew a sword to protect Jesus life Jesus stopped him and healed the wounded soldier. Furthermore what would be protected here on Earth when it is the Christian belief that the soul is the most important part. Should Christians act in a way that would hurt souls and save minds and bodies or act in a way that saves souls but leaves minds and bodies to die? Perhaps waging war to stop a threat such as Nazis from overtaking the world because in doing so they would destroy peace and love along with Christianity. The only argument that can be made for pacifism here is that if you are a Christian you are to have faith that your god will protect you especially if you are following your faith in spite of the fact that is might get you and many others killed. In the end war is not peace and the two cannot both exist at the same time.
It is one or the other. John Lennon made the statement “All you need is love” which is so simple yet so hard to follow and see. Peace and love have become almost interchangeable with each other because they are so very much alike. With peace there is inner contentment and with love there is benevolence, kindness and fraternity toward all life. The two forms compliment each other in such a way that it is either not possible to have one without the other or it is just foolish to have only one.
This being said it is true that pacifism is the only way to have peace because peace and love are so close yet war is the opposite of peace so it cannot logically be reasoned that war is close to peace. John Lennons statement could just have easily been “All you need is peace”. Peace brings with it prosperity, knowledge and opportunity. War brings death and the wasting of resources however it can be used to energize a nations economy and patriotism but the result of war outweighs the good side of war. Pacifism can bring change to the world as has been shown to us by the actions of many including Socrates, Jesus, Luther, Ghandi, King and many, many others but the greatest example of this is not these men but the one who lives humbly for the cause of peace in pacifism.