I think most readers here are aware that I believe that Jesus call to love our neighbor and even enemies imply an ideal of pacifism and non-violent resistance for Christians. It seems obvious to me from the gospels that even if non-violence is not always possible in this fallen world, that we still have to do everything to live and act out of love for every human being, and that the glorification of violence has no place in the life of Christ-followers. Not everyone does agree with this though. Even when ignoring weirdos like Mark Driscoll we can find a lot of Christians who don’t think pacifism realistic, or even feel threatened by it. One of the most common objections against it is that it is not realistic at all, and only a possible option for Western armchair philosophers who don’t have to face war and violence… Why can’t those hippies not just grow up and join the real world…
Speaking of hippies, I always found the story of Shane Claiborne in Iraq very impressing (he went there with a Christian peacemaker team while the land was bombarded by his fellow Americans) In also got the impression from his story that the traditional Christians from Iraq were a lot more serious about peace and non-violence than most Evangelicals. So I don’t see how the criticism that christian peace-loving and being realistic about violence even makes sense…
This piece is even more impressive, from Gregorios III, Melkite Catholic Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, of Alexandria and of Jerusalem (including a lot of places with brutal violence) about not arming Christians but calling for non-violence in Syria:
We call upon all our faithful, in all parishes, to refuse offers of arms. We remind them of the teachings of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, “All they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” (Matthew 26: 52) And also, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth… Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5: 5 and 9)
We remind them likewise of Saint Paul’s teaching, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” (Romans 12: 18)
Our role as Christians is one of mediation and reconciliation: of being bridge-builders between the children of the same homeland. That is the finest mission that we could carry out for our country, Syria, for our brother and sister fellow-citizens of all denominations, regardless of political party, tribe, region or persuasion.
Inspiring, isn’t it?
(Shalom means peace!)