Saturday, April 15, 2006

Would Christ be Pacifist?

I've had a few people comment on the name of my blog. I know that I am here writing for myself and not necessarily for other people, but I wanted to clarify just a little.

I don't mean to say that by following Christ certain issues become less certain. If anything, it's just the opposite. Christ is pretty clear on a lot of issues. At the time, of course, the things he stood for went against the culture and society in many ways. The black and white that I am referring to are the things most Evangelical Christians are associated with that I don't think are always 100% correct. For example, Christians are known for bashing homosexuals. I wouldn't argue against the fact that God hates homosexuality. I just think if Christ were on earth he may go about a few things differently. I think Christ would be the one hanging out with homosexuals instead of blasting them, judging them, and distancing himself from them, like so many Christians do. This is the grey I'm referring to, the areas where I think we as Christians still have some work to do to figure out how to approach some of these topics.

In Philip Yancey's "What's So Amazing About Grace?," he opens the first chapter with a story about a prostitute who had rented out her two-year-old daughter for sex to support her own drug habit. Yancey asks the woman if she had ever thought of going to a church for help. And she replied:

Church! Why would I ever go there? I was already feeling terrible about myself. They'd just make me feel worse.

To me this story speaks volumes of how much work the Church has to be what we idealize it to be. In the Bible, prostitutes like this usually flocked to Jesus and today they are running from the Church, scared of being judged. That is not the type of Church I want to belong to. We need to change that.

A lot of Christians are very patriotic and thus also supportive of war, or just actions by the government. Our country was founded on Christian values supposedly and therefore many Christians support much of what our country does. (I say supposedly because I've studied the Founding Fathers enough to know that a lot of Christians quote the parts of history they want to. Not to say that many of the Founding Fathers didn't believe in God, but there's much more to being a Christian than just believing in God. A LOT of people believe in God, that doesn't mean they are Christians.)

I grew up surrounded by family members that are or have been part of the military in some form. I always have seen it as a noble choice to enter the military. As a history major I studied many different wars and appreciated the times soldiers were called upon to fight for their country. I know many brave people have died serving my country.

Attending a Quaker school began to open my eyes to the ideas of Pacifism. I remember one specific class where a couple students did a presentation on why they were pacifist. It was the first time I really understood, and I felt very drawn to their reasons. One piece that has stuck with me is that it made me wonder whether Christ would condone war, REGARDLESS of what the issue was over. I used to argue with pacifists that there are times in history when war was inevitable. The point that was hard for me to hear was that the only reason war is often seen as inevitable is because we see it that way. If we were to not even consider war, it would cease to be an option. The entire world throughout history has simply assumed war is the best way of solving issues. What if, in an ideal world, no fighting took place? We wouldn't jump to the conclusion that war was the answer all the time.

My point is, I don't believe Christ would support war, regardless of the reasons. This is true even if it means war would stop other people from killing. How much better are we if we go kill people who are doing the killing? Looking through history, I don't have any easy answer for alternates, but it doesn't mean that because there's no easy answer war is the best answer. I don't know if I classify myself as a "pacifist," but I wonder if Christ would be??

This may or may not clarify what I meant by "fade to grey," but that's ok, because it makes sense to me!

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