I really wanted to title this post “Pacifism does not equal Puss-ifism.” However, that would be derogatory and demeaning to women everywhere (especially the ones that are much stronger than men [if you don’t get it ask me later]).
But seriously, pacifism is not about being a toked up, long-haired naturalist that walks around in bare feet (although it may include that). Pacifism – by definition – simply means to be opposed to war and violence.
Did you see that?
“OPPOSED to war and violence.”
Most people would see pacifism as inaction; or refusing to participate or take action. That view completely neglects the definition.
Being opposed to war and violence would mean that you are the enemy of war and violence.
Fellow pacifists, correct me if I’m wrong, but do you all agree that you are opposed to war and violence because you see them as an evil? The destruction of people, cultures, and societies is not something I want to be a part of; they are things I see as evil.
One of the underlying themes of the Bible and written plainly by Paul in Romans 12:21 is to, “…not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good…(!)” May I take the liberty of adding an exclamation point there?
So if you are following my logic – war and violence are evil and pacifism is the opposition of that evil – Paul tells us to overcome that evil with good.
Correct me again if I’m wrong, but inaction and apathy are not good deeds are they? Was it not MLK Jr. that said, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” Having the ideals of a pacifist, does not a pacifist make you.
So what do we do to properly oppose evil? Read the rest of Romans 12. It is thick with ideas but I will offer this appetizer as food for thought… “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.”
Has any government actually ever practiced that wisdom written by Solomon (a king marked by the peace he brought Israel)?
I can name a few anti-violence protests; some are well known, some maybe not, feel free to share more below…
1) Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey
2) MLK Jr.’s Marches
3) Gandhi’s hunger strike
4) KKK protesters “clowning” around
5) A peace mission by civilians to Iraqi Christians before the bombing began in 2003
Opposing violence is not just about being against war. Opposing violence is about the practice of something better; it is the action that renders violence unnecessary.
According to Rich Stearns’ book The Hole in our Gospel universal primary education (elementary school for everyone in the WORLD) would cost $6 billion. Clean water to almost everyone? $9 billion. Basic health and nutrition for everyone in the world? $13 billion.
For comparison, the U.S. military budget for 2011 was $698 billion. That’s $579 billion more than the next closest country (China at $119 billion). Don’t you think we could spare the $28 billion to provide education, water, and health care to the ENTIRE WORLD? A better question would be, who would our enemies be if we provided EVERYONE with those three essentials? Would we NEED a military if the world admired our compassion rather than feared our strength?
Let your ideas run wild! That’s what pacifism can do.