I do not trust in my bow; I do not count on my sword to save me. You are the one who gives us victory over our enemies; (Psalm 44:6-7)
Relate: Like pretty much every day this week, Wednesday’s paper had an article about the conflict between Russia, Ukraine and the separatists that are little more than Russia’s pawns. Unlike other recent articles, however, this one told of how Ukraine’s President was at a global “gun show” buying up weapons since the west is unwilling to sell to him directly. It is much more politically safe for the West to sell weapons to the UAE and let them turn around and sell them after a significant markup. Tempting as it is, I won’t follow the rabbit trails of on how many different levels this is just plain wrong.
Surprisingly, there was no news in that same paper on ISIS even though on Tuesday they abducted at least 90 Christians from northern Syria demonstrating that the 1.5 billion total (8.4 million a day) the US has spent trying to bomb them into oblivion is not working. We keep throwing money and guns at a problem that goes much, much deeper than any military show of strength can ever resolve. Even as Kobani has been cleared out, Islamic State seems to be popping up from Libya to Pakistan and places between. Our efforts to stamp out a regional problem seem to have caused it to go global.
React: Full disclosure, I’m a pacifist. To a degree, I am. I believe parents could and should discipline their children in a structured and loving environment. I believe that physical punishment would be a much more efficient and effective form of punishment then assigning felons multiple years in prison. That said, discipline is supposed to be redemptive. Its purpose is to correct and restore. I do not believe that there is anything, ever, corrective or restorative in the taking of another life.
That said, I know and respect many who have served in their nation’s militaries. I know and love a good number of people who believe in some form of John Calvin’s “just war” theory. I don’t agree, but I respect and understand the reasoning behind their arguments. I believe I am right and they wrong, but I do not believe my opinion makes me in any way “better” of “more godly”. This is a very complex issue, there is scriptural backing for both sides, and everyone’s voice has a right to be heard.
Respond: So I would love to hear your voice. A few questions I would love to hear your views on (with scripture if you feel so inclined, even if your scripture is something other than the Bible):
1) Do you agree with some form of the just war theory? Why or why not?
2) Is the conflict against Islamic State a just war? Why or why not?
3) What about the Russia/Ukraine/Donetsk conflict?
4) Is there a better way to respond in these situations?
5) If you are a pacifist, how would you respond to IS? Hitler? Pol Pot?
6) If Jesus were here entering this discussion with us, what do you think He would say?
7) Who is our neighbor? Who is the enemy?