Chances Are . . . Not Enough

Whenever I read a bumper sticker that reads “Just Give Peace a Chance” or “War is Not the Answer” I am reminded of all the times that peace had no chance and war was the answer. One can wish with all the desire of one’s heart for the end of war–but that will not remove the the root cause of war from the human heart–dissatisfaction, or unrequited desire for that which one does not have (James 4:1 “From whence come wars and fightings . . .” comes to mind).

Mr French provides some perspective:

Several years ago, I had an interesting conversation with a pastor friend of mine. My friend explained that — despite a personal interest in military history — he was becoming increasingly pacifist. I eventually challenged his pacifism with the ultimate trump card: “What about Hitler? Wouldn’t pacifism have doomed even millions more? Wasn’t misguided European pacifism that inspired appeasement largely responsible for the millions of deaths that did result?”

Interestingly, he didn’t respond with a defense of American or English pacifism in the face of the German threat, he responded with the statement that Brits and Americans had to fight because German pacifism failed. Had German pacifists had the courage of their convictions — or had they existed in sufficient numbers — Hitler would never have been able to initiate wars of conquest or implement the “Final Solution.”

So, if a great enough mass of people were pacifists, war would not be the answer? What type of force would these non-forceful people be able to bring to bear against their opposition to make them also non-forceful?

He goes on, with his own thoughts this time:

We should never fight simply for “national greatness.”  Yet how many times can we see genocide coming and do nothing to stop it? Rwanda. Bosnia. Kosovo. Sudan.  Can there be any doubt that the hearts of men can be very dark indeed? Can there be any doubt that some cultures learned the wrong lessons from Stalin’s purges, Hitler’s gas chambers, Mao’s famines and Pol Pot’s killing fields? In the words of Hitler, as he planned the Final Solution: “After all, who remembers the Armenians?” [emphasis mine]

Indeed. There are many, from the bully in 6th grade to the dictator of North Africanistan who believe that might makes right–or at least that might is right for them.

War will be with us as long as we are with us. That’s not anything other than reality. Pacifism seeks an idealized state (or states) in defiance of the human condition.

Go and read the entire article.

6 thoughts on “Chances Are . . . Not Enough

  1. In my neck of the woods, a common bumper reads “God bless the whole world, no exceptions!

    While not specifically mentioning war or peace, that is the context, since the predominant religious group in my area is a pacifist denomination.

    While it may be idealist, I don’t think that the sentiment of the sticker is a possible or likely scenario, given the depravity of man’s condition.

    Therefore, defensive and sometimes preemptive use of force is to be allowed.

    1. I believe God has blessed the whole world–in ways large and small. However, there are far too many ways in which we can reject the blessing.

      Wars which arise out of depraved hearts are a good way to prevent the blessing from being realized. Defending oneself against such aggression, or forestalling it when threatened is, as you note, allowed.

    2. That bumper sticker is a reaction to the typical close of, for instance, the State of the Union address, when the president will say, “God bless the United States of America”.

      These folks think that’s too provincial and there is something wrong with asking God to bless the community or nation of which one is a part. It seems they understand that brief prayer to mean “God, don’t bless anyone else”. They’re wrong. More than once we are specifically tasked in Scripture to seek God’s favor on our nation, government, and community. This is never meant to stop people in other nations from making the same prayer, but it does acknowledge that God put me here, in this nation, and there are limits to my scope of action and responsibility. Such patriotism, however, offends them.

      In effect that inane sticker is a bit of self-righteous anti-Americanism and I personally find it rather repugnant.

      1. I think that thou must not be a Quaker.

        Inane is well used in your description–blessings (a type of wealth, one might say) are not part of a zero sum game.

  2. As my son (now at the Naval Academy) says, “There are evil people in the world, Dad, and somebody has to kill them.”

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