There are only three logically consistent options when choosing an ethical framework for understanding matters of war and peace. At one end of the spectrum is pacifism, an ethic that wishes to achieve peace by refusing to take up arms. I reject pacifism as a form of idealism, unsuited for the real world. At the [ Read More ]
In Book 19 of City of God, the great theologian Augustine (354-430 A.D.) argues that all human beings desire peace. Even war is fought to achieve peace. Augustine writes: For even they who make war desire nothing but victory—desire, that is to say, to attain to peace with glory. For what else is victory than [ Read More ]
No Christian—and for that matter, “no soldier worth his salt” (as General Schwarzkopf put it)—should be “pro-war.” We should desire peace. And yet there is disagreement on how to define the peace for which we aim and how to achieve the peace we envision. On one end of the spectrum are pacifists, who wish to [ Read More ]
Moral accountability is absolutely vital for individuals and societies. For an individual or society to flourish, it must have the integrity and humility examine itself morally. War is no exception. In a democratic republic such as ours, not only our military and political leaders but also the general public must participate actively and intelligently in [ Read More ]
With the start of a new year, and with the newly passed U.S. Senate resolutions ending U.S. support for the war in Yemen, American Christians should pause to reflect upon a genuinely Christian approach to war and peace. No Christian—and for that matter, no “soldier worth his salt” (as General Schwarzkopf put it)—should be “pro-war.” We [ Read More ]
Last week, President Trump appointed John Bolton as his third national security adviser in 14 months, continuing a shake-up that underscores the President’s recent about-face on national security. Having campaigned as a non-interventionist, he now has one of the most hawkish security teams in generations. Who is John Bolton, and will he excel as national [ Read More ]
The United States’ war footprint is growing in the Middle East, a shift that began during the Obama administration and is continuing under President Trump. As Ben Hubbard and Michael R. Gordon noted yesterday, the United States has increased its local forces in Syria, supported an urban offensive in Mosul, and is increasing the number [ Read More ]
No Christian—and for that matter, no “soldier worth his salt” (as General Schwarzkopf put it)—will proclaim himself to be “pro-war.” We desire peace. And yet we disagree on how to achieve the peace we desire.
At one end of the spectrum, pacifists refuse to participate in wars of any kind, for any reason. At the other end of the spectrum, crusaders seek final peace by waging war on behalf of an ideal. In the middle of the two views are just war proponents. Unlike pacifists, they are willing to wage war, but unlike crusaders, they are not willing to do so to achieve ideological perfection.
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