1a) The views of a Christian pacifist regarding war will be that they should not go because as a Christian they should follow Jesus. And the things that Jesus did shows that he wasn’t at all violent. We know this from various stories such as the story of the woman caught in adultery. In this story a woman was about to be stoned to death because she had committed adultery, but Jesus said to the people who were about to stone the woman ‘If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her’.
This shows that Jesus was very forgiving and that he was against violence completely. Jesus also says things that reflect his attitude towards violence, thing such as ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God’ this shows that Jesus praised the people who brought peace. The views of a pacifist on war would be that it is completely wrong and there is no just cause and that war is utter violence. Biblical Views are ‘Because everyone will do what is right there will be peace and security forever.
God’s people peaceful and safe.’ This is a biblical view on peace. This is another view pacifists may have on war. Some Pacifists may believe in just war, which is when the war is of a just cause such as, war being the last resort. Mostly pacifists believe that there is no just cause and that war is completely wrong. Overall a pacifist will think that war is wrong because being a pacifist means that they think all violence is wrong. In the garden of Gethsemane Jesus shows us that violence is completely wrong even when Jesus was under threat, he told his companion to put his sword away, ‘for those who live by the sword, die by the sword.’
Pacifism started way back with a group called ‘The Society of Friends’ also known as the ‘Quakers’. The peace testimony of the Quakers starts like this ‘We utterly deny all outward wars and strife and fightings with outward weapons, for any end, or under any pretence whatever; this is our testimony to the whole world.’ This basically tells us that Christians should deny all aspects of violence because it is wrong.
1b) A Christian pacifist may do many things to show his/her opposition to war; for instance they might hold non-violent protests, marches and boycotts. Pacifism remained strong during ‘holy wars’ at this time not all pacifists were admitted into monasteries but preached about there beliefs whilst leading an ordinary life. Christian Pacifists may also follow the Society of Friends, the society refused to take up arms, but because of this they were prosecuted also they suffered being imprisoned.
Being a pacifist means you have to be vigilant, strong and most of all persistent, a pacifist must show there opposition to war strongly but never using violence, Martin Luther King gave speeches and said things to inform people about his beliefs. A pacifist may talk about the just war theory to make people understand about what is wrong with war. A lot of protesting has a lot to do with the degree of Christian pacifism – Quaker to International Christian e.g. Roman Catholic, Anglican and reformed, i.e. mainstream groups. It also depends on the type of war either, traditional war or nuclear war.
To object to a war you can refuse to take up arms such as the Quakers did or for a nuclear war, join the C.N.D (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament). Martin Luther King had views on violence, he once said. ‘ Violence as a way of achieving justice is both impractical and immoral. It is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all. The old law an eye for an eye leaves everyone blind. It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding; it seeks to annihilate rather than convert.
Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love. It destroys community and makes brotherhood impossible. It leaves society in monologue rather than dialogue. Violence ends by defeating itself. It creates bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers.’ During periods of warfare as a pacifist you may wish to join the N.C.C The Non Combatant core, this involves driving ambulances and working behind the scenes. Peace cannot be achieved through violence; it can only be achieved by understanding, Ralph Waldo Emerson. Many pacifists were conscientious objectors.
2) There are many reasons why a Christian may decide to fight in a war. One of the reasons is that they might feel it is right to fight for their country either because their parents fought in the war or they might want to do their part for the community and to protect their family. The another reason is because they feel that the war is of a just cause. For example, some Christians decided to fight in world war two because the thought it was wrong that Hitler was killing innocent people, and one of the just war conditions is that no civilians are killed. Jesus was violent at one point in the bible when he was in the temple he turned all the tables over; Christians might use this as an excuse to fight in a war.
Even if you were a pacifist you could fight in a war, you could join the non-combatant core, this means you could help with the medical care, joining the fire brigade or helping at home. People might fight I a war because of just war but also many things, they might want to because it might make them proud ‘ it is right and fitting to die for your country’. Ghandi said that ‘ In my opinion, non-violence as I understand it is not passivity (peacefulness) in any shape or form. Non-violence, as I understand it, is the most active force in the world’. Overall I think no Christian should fight in a war, there shouldn’t even be wars!