Tuesday, March 20, 2007

On Pacficism

I am struck again and again by the necessity of struggle in our daily lives. Struggle suggests an opponent, and I believe this story of conflict is woven through every facet of our lives. Again and again, the absurdity of pacifism strikes me.

As I have said in the past, I am not condemning the inclination to peace. I am condemning those who would mandate peace. I believe in peace-making. But I believe that the concious effort to enforce peace upon unwilling parties is inhuman. In fact, (and I say this with whatever possible respect due to my pacifist friends) I believe pacifism to be cowardly.

Saying that pacifism is cowardly does not make any less praiseworthy the interior spiritual struggle. At its heart, even the struggle to not react violently to injustice is an act of resistance, of struggle. It is a fight.

I can hardly think of anything more important to say on this subject than to call absolute pacifism an act of cowardice. It almost takes away from that statement to write anything else. But I would like to frame the statement with the following observation. Our Lord's sacrifice was nothing more than a mano a mano with Satan. It was spiritual Judo. The most important act that He performed was an altercation with the spirits of Darkness.

The thing that concerns me so much about pacifism is that it seems to forget this tenet. It is more admirable to turn the other cheek in the face of injustice. But as a Christian, we should never, ever lay down our arms. To surrender the fight is to lose. And make no mistake; it is a fight.

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