A Vision for Peace
“The day the power of love overrules the love of power, the world will know peace.” - Mohandas Gandhi
Jesus said "Blessed are the peace makers, for they shall be called the children of God". This vision, spoken from the heart during the Sermon on the Mount, is one of my favorites. Indeed, I have wished for it all my life. Unfortunately what I have seen instead is one war maker after another rewarded with power, usually by inciting fear and hatred. They slither into new wars, squeezing those they are supposedly defending to pay for ever more destruction. The end result is always more sorrow and suffering, the opposite of what is promised.
This does not need to be. There are millions of good Christians in the world, perhaps even hundreds of millions, who seek to live the words of Jesus. They live lives devoted to charity for the poor, help for the downtrodden and peace and good will for all. A dedicated number of them continue to this very day the difficult task of purging the world of human slavery, continuing work that first began to bear fruit in the early 1800's. In the UK it was devoted Christians, encouraged by enlightened humanists, who successfully pushed for the abolition of slavery throughout the British empire, ending the terrible institution without resorting to war and decades before the brutal and unnecessary US Civil War.
With regards to war, I have no doubt the Christians will play an important and perhaps even decisive role in ending that plague as well. As with abolition, it will no doubt require sustained and unyielding effort.
A Time for Action
The time has come to end the wars, and to end them now. On this there can be no compromise. Just as "Who will pick the cotton?" was not a valid argument to support slavery, "How can we protect ourselves without military interventions?" is not a rational argument to support US military involvement in at least seven openly festering wars (Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Libya, Syria and Yemen ) and perhaps others not fully reported, boiling just below the surface.
Ending the wars will require strength. Unfortunately there is weakness within the Christian community. In many places, and in many nations, it has been hijacked by the State. The most famous hijacking, of course, occurred many centuries ago when the Roman emperors decided to stop killing and persecuting Christians and instead co-opted the popularity of Christianity to its own ends during the waning days of that empire.
Jesus said that one cannot serve two masters. Unfortunately it seems that many churches have forgotten this lesson, allowing symbols of the State into houses of worship and even putting them in places of honor. It seems that some have even come to idolize the flags and symbols of the State, all the while applauding the endless military "interventions" and turning a blind eye to their global destruction and misery. Meanwhile, the State works tirelessly to push its war agenda while tens of millions are distracted by modern day gladiatorial games. The current emperor has certainly made it clear that the State's war anthem is not something to be opposed or criticized during these games.
It is time to recognize that the State is not our master. It is time for Christians and secularists, Jews and Gentiles, to break free of the State and join together to support peace, liberty and the end of all wars. We must stop being seen as willing participants or even promoters of the State's wars of death and destruction. I believe this is something we can and must agree on.
A more detailed discussion of these topics can be found in the Beginner's Guide to Peace referenced at the top of this page. An explanation of how the State hijacks religion can be found in the chapter called Losing the Way while a discussion of how to repair the damage to our culture can be found at Going Off Road.
Detail from "Sermon on the Mount" by Carl Bloch, c. 1877; Roman coins c. 225-212 BC, provided by Classical Numismatic Group and used under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license.