Peace, Now! COEXIST! Make love, not war!

I’ve seen many of these types of bumper stickers and signs, lately.  And I agree, we should work toward peace, now.  But what these stickers and the sentiments behind them fail to take into account is that, essentially, all of the war-mongers out there are thinking the same thing.

“There would be peace, if everybody shared the same worldview, (mine.)”

So the ones who aggressively push for peace and the reconciliation of the different worldviews are doing the same thing as the radical fundamentalists.  Pushing their worldview (that no worldview is more correct than another and that all of us need to pursue coexistence above all else) on others.

One problem is that the peace-mongers have the elevator music of worldviews.  Take out anything that could be potentially offensive, and ignore the fact that only a very small minority of people like what you are left with.

The other (more fundamental) problem is that the peace-mongers have something to lose.  If people don’t reconcile, and come to their way of thinking, they have failed.  Their personal peace (especially in the primarily-agnostic worldview in which they live) is inextricably tied into the proliferation of their philosophy.

Jesus came with a worldview that, though unpopular, actually works toward bringing about real—no strings attached—peace.  His worldview?  That God is King (not president) of all kings, and that all of us have actively and passively rebelled against his kingdom and authority.  Instead of executing justice (something along the lines of a universal flood, minus the ark) he sent his Son, the second person of the eternal trinity, to substitute himself for the rebels, and take our penalty, by dying a gruesome death, and raising from the dead. As Christians we call the content of this paragraph the “gospel” or good news of what Jesus has done.

Now, instead of having to earn God’s favor (and therefore ultimate peace with Him), we are gifted it.  And therefore we no longer have to fight to be right, or to protect our cause (though many well-meaning “Christians” have fought and continue to—because they don’t understand the gospel I just shared above).  One of the things that marked early Christianity was the care for the poor, and not just the Christian poor, but all of the poor.  Pagan kings were flabbergasted that the Christians would even take care of the pagan poor and hungry.

Only in the gospel do we find a true reason to not be selfish (the beginning of peace).  In the gospel we see that we are the rebel, the outcast, who was brought into the family, by grace.  We have all the acceptance, hope, love, and joy that we’ll ever need—in Christ.  That means that we can truly work toward peace, with nothing in it for us.

Christian Pacifism, a Second Look.

A while back I talked a bit about my frustration with folks who plaster peace-loving bumper stickers all over their cars but fail to see that they are doing the same thing as the ones they rail against.

I got a great response from a friend asking clarification about what I think of Christian pacifists.  Here’s a bit from her reply that I found particularly good.

I can say that I am acquainted with many deeply spiritual and Christian people-authors, activists, and people I know directly-who are highly motivated for peace, with their ideologies directly informed and shaped by the Gospel of Christ.

In my response to her, I (hopefully) clarified that I have nothing against pacifism as an ideology, but that it can never be based on anything other than a peaceful relationship with God.  I think that only pacifism that is based in a Christian worldview of having achieved (by virtue of the cross) peace with God has any real power in bringing about real peace in our world.  All other brands of pacifism (and especially the agnostic, New Age, hyper-environmentalist, humanist version so prevalent here in Asheville) are impotent, precisely because they are simply another in a long line of worldviews that ignore our most fundamental problem both as a society and as individuals–our enmity with God.  And they are an attempt (just like radical Islam is an attempt) to force others to their way of seeing the world.  The bigoted response of these “pacifists” against what they see as bigotry is astounding.

Though I’m not sure where I stand on pacifism as an ideology (I’d most likely fight someone that was trying to hurt my wife or children), I do think that apart from Christianity, there can be no peace.  What about you?  What do you think?  Comment Below.