By Jon Kauffman
One Christian wrote: “Pacifism is a satanic belief system designed to hurt innocent people and neuter male courage.”
When soldiers sitting in safe offices in the US “accidentally” kill innocent men, women and children in Pakistan with drones, are these soldiers demonstrating unneutered male courage? Does the US military drone system kill fewer innocent people than pacifism? Maybe the US military does people kill fewer innocent people than pacifism.
Thousands of Christians died as martyrs in 1st century Rome. It is more dangerous to be a Christian in many parts of the world today than it was to be a Christian in 1st century Rome. Christians in Rome did not die because the ran out of bullets or swords. They died because they refused to compromise with the Roman Government and they refused to use violence against their enemies.
Jesus did not say following him would be safe. Jesus laid down his life on the cross when he had the power to physically defeat the soldiers.
Recently I listened to a Youtube video by Jordan Peterson. Professor Peterson says in reference to Jesus dying on the cross without resistance, “Jesus did the impossible.” Peterson further says we need to face the malevolence in our hearts before we take out the speck in our neighbor’s eye. See Jordan Peterson video.
Facing evil without violence is dangerous. Innocent people die. Jesus faced Rome and allowed the soldiers to kill him when he had 10,000 angels at his disposal. A pacifist position is not any less safe. Pacifism does not defend a country or political system of this world. Pacifism does not protect innocent people from terrorism.
Jesus said take up your cross and follow me. Jesus asks us to do the impossible and face evil through non-violence. I think being a pacifist takes far more courage than taking up the sword.
After Constantine came to power in 306 AD the 300 Bishops in the Council of Nicaea (325 AD) called Christians to leave the military and this seems to be the official view of the Roman church at that time.
“Those who endured violence and were seen to have resisted, but who afterwards yielded to wickedness, and returned to the army, shall be excommunicated for ten years.”
Excerpt from Cannon 12 of the Council of Nicaea.
Why is it acceptable for Christians to change the teaching of Jesus and the early church? Does anyone have the authority to change the teaching of Jesus?
Christians in the US have the great strength of the US military at their disposal. What if Christians followed Jesus’ example in fighting terrorism instead? Perhaps like 1st century Rome, 21st century terrorists would eventually become Christian?
Many enemy soldiers in the Middle East believe they are fighting an invading US enemy force far stronger than their strength. If we are soldiers fighting people protecting their innocent families are we demonstrating unneutered male courage?
When the US bombed Japan killing 1.2 million civilians, innocent men, women and children, were the pilots demonstrating unneutered male courage?
In the blog post, “What about Hitler?” I argue that if Christians on both sides had refused to fight in World War I, perhaps Hitler would not have been elected in Germany and World War II would not have taken place. In this supposition, if a Christian soldier had refused to fight and had been shot for treason, would this soldier be neutered of male courage?
When we follow Jesus we are in for the long haul with eternal significance. If we follow Jesus we will draw the line at violence against our enemies, following the example of Jesus. We would make peace, reaching out to our enemies to negotiate. We will be willing to die before we kill because we have the resurrection in mind. We will refuse to kill for temporary power, money and safety.
We as Christians are citizens of the Kingdom of God. We may also be citizens of the USA or some other country. If we are serving Jesus, then serving the Kingdom of God must be a higher priority than serving our worldly kingdom. If we are fighting for the USA kingdom and kill citizens of the Kingdom of God who happen to also be citizens of a worldly kingdom that is at war against our worldly kingdom, how is that right? Perhaps Jesus would ask us to avoid killing citizens or potential citizens of the Kingdom of God even if it causes ourselves great pain?
Pacifism is dangerous. Should we expect those who are not Christians to be pacifists? We should not expect those who are not followers of Jesus to be pacifist anymore than we should expect them to follow Jesus teaching on caring for the poor or living a chaste lifestyle or forgiving those who have hurt them.
I John says we will know someone is a Christian if he loves his brother and sister(other followers of Jesus). Perhaps if someone refuses to kill Christians and innocent men, women and children in foreign lands even when his government commands him to do so, then he is a follower of Jesus?
Patrick Coffin says “If it’s true it can stand severe tire kickings.” The Patrick Coffin Show. Does this blog post’s opening quote stand severe tire kickings? I think not!
For an excellent essay on the Old Testament and peace see Old Testament Peace Vision by Ted Grimsrud
Reasons why other Christians participate in violence : Reasons Christians Give to Say Violence by Christians is Legitimate
Copyright © 2019 by Jon Kauffman. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given. Permission is gladly given to re-blog this post.