Thursday, 11 November 2010

War On War

Here is my dilemma about war:

Clearly, war is never what God wants for us.

Equally clearly, God does not want us to stand by while innocent people are slaughtered. I can condemn so many wars that have happened in my lifetime, but over them all hangs the spectre of gas chambers, concentration camps. I condemn violence but I cannot endorse genocide.

Lord, have mercy.

Regardless of how we let the world get to the point where the Holocaust could happen, regardless of the undoubted economic incentives for wading in, I think we reached a point where the atrocities would not have stopped with anything short of a war. Regardless of the knowledge that history is written by the victors, I cannot say we should not have fought. I don't know that anything else would have worked. Maybe it would have -- but I don't know.

Christ, have mercy.

We? I wasn't even alive during WWII. I am much-removed from the danger of current wars, even while I am (along with anyone else who uses oil) complicit in creating the conditions where they can happen. And so my disgust with war and violence turns into a sort of self-loathing, a need to seek forgiveness for my part in all this. And that, in turn, isn't what Remembrance Day is "supposed to" be about at all, is it? I can hear the patriots protesting, "It isn't all about you and me, it's about those who gave their lives!"

Lord, have mercy.

What did they give their lives for if we continue to behave in ways that cause war?

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

What am I on about? What do I mean, "if we continue to behave in ways that cause war"?

Here's my understanding of what causes war: War is caused by the fear of death, and our constant striving to hold it off or delay it or make it more comfortable.

Lord, have mercy.

War is caused when we see what someone else has and want it for ourselves even if it means hurting them.

Christ, have mercy.

War is caused when we value our own comfort over the lives of someone else. That's what the Holocaust was about, and that's what Afghanistan is about, and that's what the Gulf wars are about, and every other war I can think of.

Lord, have mercy.


UKViewer said...


Thank you.

Remembrance for me is about remembering those whose sacrifice gave us the freedoms, which we enjoy today.

Remembrance started after WW1, which was called the war to end all wars - to remind us of the consequences of such wars.

Remembrance is about closure for some and marking anniversaries for others.

Remembrance is about the sheer, utter, stupidity of war, it is about mans greed, mans hatreds, mans prejudices and all of the causes used as justification for war.

Remembrance is for soldiers and their families, to remember fallen or injured friends and companions, lost for ever

Remembrance is about forgiveness and reconciliation between former enemies.

I led an act of Remembrance today, a great privilege - to share with people in their churchyard, where the names of the fallen, their ancestors are on the memorial.

Lest we forget!

Jan said...

Good thoughts to ponder. I wondered a little of this when I wrote about the USMC birthday, as my dad was a career Marine. We need the military, but it is sad that we do. Not exactly the gospel message, is it? It is good to remember.

Song in my Heart said...

UKViewer, Jan, thanks for your comments.

it's margaret said...