One of the things I learned from my Christian indoctination, ironically, was pacifism.

Peace on Earth

Good Will to Men

I was not a fundamentalist. Therefore I was not taught about the apocalypse, the war that would bring the second coming, etc. My family is part of the "Reformed" Presbyterian faith. In other words, my old church took less focus on evangelism and "being a christian soldier" than on the life of Jesus, the example he set, and works of charity. A rather humorous reformed Presbyterian response to the question "Have you been saved?" would be, "Yes I have, 2,000 years ago."

I am no longer a Christian, nor am I a pacifist. Let me explain.

To the naive, pacifism may seem like a good idea, but it is not. It is a noble idea to be sure! But like the idea of "Utopia" it is not a reasonable position in practice. It just won't work! The fight for civil rights and justice for all can sometimes gain some ground on pacifist practices such as protest or civil disobedience... but it won't always bring change. Sometimes, unfortunate as it may be, change must be brought by blood. Sometimes, a people who strive for human rights will be forced to go to war for their cause. Granted, this should not be done unless absolutely necessary! I have certainly not lost my distaste for war! However, I have to concede that some battles for civil rights cannot be won without it. Case in point: Without the Civil War, the southern states would never have willingly given up slavery! For years abolitionists had tried to avoid the inevitable war with pacifist techniques: petitions [which were ignored or burned], books, letters, the Underground Railroad [which can be viewed as a form of civil disobedience], protests... etc. But in the end, none of this could rectify the true heart of the problem: the institution of slavery. The Southern slave holders had the congressional power in the US for years [due to the 3/5 clause] and would not budge an inch for the "radical" Yankee Abolitionists! In the end, it took the bloodiest war in American History to settle the problem once and for all.

Contrary to fairytales, good will not always triumph over evil, but we can only do our best. Sometimes it seems we have to be willing to die for and to kill for the cause of righteousness.

Probably the best quote on this I have ever heard came from the character Special Agent Ward in the 1988 film, Mississippi Burning.

"Some things are worth dying for."

The question now is... are YOU willing to die for the cause? This position may not be for everyone, but it is a position that provides intense strength to you and makes your enemies powerless to change your mind on what you know is right.

Pacifism doesn't work because it cannot convince those who only understand persuasion in blood to change.

Just some thoughts.

Views: 13

Tags: activism, cause, civil rights, pacifism, rights, war

Comment by Jon Heim on December 4, 2010 at 1:32pm
I think it all boils down to choosing you're battles and weighing the consequences.

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