Of the three logical categories in the ethics of warfare—pacifism, jihadism/crusaderism/militarism, and just war—the just war tradition alone is properly realistic. It is anthropologically realist, in that it alone recognizes the limits to what can be achieved in a world populated with finite and fallen humans. Evil cannot be eradicated, neither by laying down our [ Read More ]
Some readers may be surprised to learn that pacifism is not a monolithic ideology. In fact, in Nevertheless: The Varieties of Religious Pacifism, Christian pacifist John Howard Yoder lists twenty-nine varieties of pacifism. Yoder’s list, which is confined to religious forms of pacifism, serves to illustrate the mind-boggling panoply of pacifisms on offer. For 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 ]
The current news cycle has witnessed a flurry of activity surrounding the latest round of peace talks between the Afghan Taliban and the United States. Many are hopeful that these could bring an end to America’s longest war. Seventeen long years have passed since U.S. troops first deployed to Afghanistan. We’re at the point now [ 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 early years of the twenty-first century have been rife with war and threats of war. Jihadist-related deaths have increased from an average of roughly 2,500 innocents per year from 2001 to 2006 to an average of more than 28,000 per year in 2014-2015. ISIS continues its deadly attacks and genocidal missions across Africa, Asia, [ 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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