in the interest of peace

I am a pacifist. The threat or even the possibility of war worries me on end and I will be the first to concede that war has allowed some people who would have been unknown be recognized as heroes. And in America, it does seem joining the military used to be or may still is a sure way of upward mobility.

I am naive also. I know the only way peace would be possible and here I talk world peace, is to have all sides put down their weapons. We know this is not going to happen because humans are not rational actors as we would like to think.

What option is left for peace? I think only an uneasy peace is possible. There will always be threat of war. Nations will continue to build up their armies at the expense of other social services.

Or maybe, nations will fight and those who will be left will agree to a peace agreement till the next war breaks out.

who knew

that

[..]. Precious few God-deniers have so much as even attempted a rational evaluation of the question of God’s reality.

one would be tempted to ask why are apologists busy creating new silly arguments to defend their chimeras if it was not the challenge from the godless?

This post says nothing in so many words.

This however has me banging my head against bricks

You might have heard atheists talking more about achieving peace and unity among men instead of meditating upon the significance of our Lord’s incarnation. But how could they even properly speak of “peace and unity” if they believe that God does not exist? Peace and unity presuppose order and order presupposes God. Without God, there will be no principle or reason to which we shall unite or strive for peace. The only virtue that a materialistic worldview could provide is the survival of fittest. There is nothing more.

Where to begin? What has belief in god to do with peace? Somewhere in that christian book of tales, it’s written

  Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. (Mathew 10:34)

If the christian believes in an omni god, whence cometh disorder? Who has allowed disorder to reign and why has omni not prevented it from taking root? In Genesis 11:1-11, god is the author of confusion, not men.

We live in a society of men and with discord, that society cannot long survive.

In a society where survival for the fittest is a virtue, peacefulness would be preferred to war. So i don’t see how this post is an argument against survival for the fittest or was the author just looking for words to throw around?

If Christians took their belief seriously, I think very few if none would join an army to kill brothers and sisters with whom they have no reason to be at war with. Tolstoy’s the Kingdom of God is within you would be their to go to book. Or if not, the many tomes against war wouldn’t have to be written, especially in christian nations.

In Mark Twain’s war prayer, after one side has finished offering their prayers to the god of war, these fellow approaches the pulpit to make them aware of the prayer that was not said and they conclude he was a mad man.

Against war

by Desiderius Erasmus

Is a treatise that extols men to stop fighting and the writer is critical especially to religion of his age where Christian is killing Christian as it still happens in our time, where we have the same repeated for example in Rwanda, in Kenya after the botched election and so many other instances of religious wars.

This book was written between 1514-15 and can be classified as a treatise in favour of the humanist ideal, the ideal that many secular humanists represent today.

He pleads for peace among human beings. His cry is that it is better to have unjustified peace than a just war.

The author says he had to deal with three issues; war, pestilence and the theologians.

He believed war was at once a sin, a folly and a scandal. He writes

nothing is either more wicked or more wretched, nothing doth become a man than war

He raises a very curious point; if both sides in a war have invoked god and one side wins, they victors will begin to believe that god has endorsed their actions.

To this mind, war was impious, inhuman, ugly and it was in every sense barbarous.

He writes, and yours truly agrees, that

the majesty of man resides above in his capacity to behold the very pure strength and nature of things.

in essence, that man is no fallen creature but a piece of workmanship.

He believes and it is hard to disagree with him that strife and warfare are naturally repugnant to man. That our frames are tender and weak but that we are born to love and amity. He argues that our chief end is cooperant labour in pursuit of knowledge. He continues to say that war comes out of ignorance and to ignorance it leads and of it comes contempt of virtue and godly living.

He begins his wonderful treatise with a proverb, dulce bellum inexpertis, that is to say, war is sweet to them that know it not.

He writes

Then first of all if one would consider well but the behaviour and shape of man’s body shall he not forthwith perceive that Nature, or rather God, hath shaped this creature, not to war, but to friendship, not to destruction, but to health, not to wrong, but to kindness and benevolence? For whereas Nature hath armed all other beasts with their own armour, as the violence of the bulls she hath armed with horns, the ramping lion with claws; to the boar she hath given the gnashing tusks; she hath armed the elephant with a long trump snout, besides his great huge body and hardness of the skin; she hath fenced the crocodile with a skin as hard as a plate; to the dolphin fish she hath given fins instead of a dart; the porcupine she defendeth with thorns; the ray and thornback with sharp prickles; to the cock she hath given strong spurs; some she fenceth with a shell, some with a hard hide, as it were thick leather, or bark of a tree; some she provideth to save by swiftness of flight, as doves; and to some she hath given venom instead of a weapon; to some she hath given a much horrible and ugly look, she hath given terrible eyes and grunting voice; and she hath also set among some of them continual dissension and debate–man alone she hath brought forth all naked, weak, tender, and without any armour, with most soft flesh and smooth skin. There is nothing at all in all his members that may seem to be ordained to war, or to any violence.

He continues to write

And for this cause Nature would, that a man should not so much thank her, for the gift of life, which she hath given unto him, as he should thank kindness and benevolence, whereby he might evidently understand himself, that he was altogether dedicate and bounden to the gods of graces, that is to say, to kindness, benevolence, and amity. And besides this Nature hath given unto man a countenance not terrible and loathly, as unto other brute beasts; but meek and demure, representing the very tokens of love and benevolence. She hath given him amiable eyes, and in them assured marks of the inward mind. She hath ordained him arms to clip and embrace. She hath given him the wit and understanding to kiss: whereby the very minds and hearts of men should be coupled together, even as though they touched each other. Unto man alone she hath given laughing, a token of good cheer and gladness. To man alone she hath given weeping tears, as it were a pledge or token of meekness and mercy.

He makes a strong argument for peace. He writes

Peace is the mother and nurse of all good things.

In his arguments against war he writes

There is no part of the world, that is not subject to peril and danger of man’s life, which life of itself also is most fugitive. So manifold mischances and evils assail man on every side that not without cause Homer did say: Man was the most wretched of all creatures living.

and wonders why to these sufferings that nature has in store for us, why add war to it?

Go read it.

On the riots in the Arab world

Allow me, my friends to digress from our bible study and add my two cents to the tensions in the Arab world following the screening and distribution on YouTube of a low-budget, badly acted clip of a badly done movie that has resulted as of last count the death of the American ambassador to Libya,

A protester reacts as the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, is seen in flames. I need convincing that this in any way portrays peace!

embassy staff and at least 12 or more people from around the globe. In most places the embers have stopped but in others there are still war cries from all over the place. Most Muslims and non-Muslims have been quick to assert that these are actions of only a minority of the Muslims and thereby do not represent Islam, but other than the denouncing of these acts by the supreme leader from Saudi Arabia, most of the Muslim leaders have remained conspicuously quiet on the issue that can only be construed to mean one thing; they are complicit!

The verse below is an extract from the Qur’an, where the Muslim faithful is told explicitly that there is no greater sin than stopping people from believing in Allah, and there is no problem with doing anything abhorrent as long as it serves the course of Islam. It establishes here that if anything serves Islam it is good and if it doesn’t it is evil. This verse is written after the Muslims raiders had violated a sacred principle in the period of antagonism between idols in Ka’ba and Quraysh trading centres and the incessant raids muslims claim were led by their prophet and on being questioned about the violation of the sacred practice this is his response,

They ask you about the sacred month – about fighting therein. Say, “Fighting therein is great [sin], but averting [people] from the way of Allah and disbelief in Him and [preventing access to] al-Masjid al-Haram and the expulsion of its people therefrom are greater [evil] in the sight of Allah . And fitnah is greater than killing.” And they will continue to fight you until they turn you back from your religion if they are able. And whoever of you reverts from his religion [to disbelief] and dies while he is a disbeliever – for those, their deeds have become worthless in this world and the Hereafter, and those are the companions of the Fire, they will abide therein eternally.

Surat Al Baqarah 2:217

no wonder the muslims in Egypt, Libya, Sudan and elsewhere find no qualms with taking lives. If this is what religion teaches, then by all means we must remove it from the public sphere!

Many more qualified commentators on the issue of the apparent propensity of Muslims to go on rampage whenever an image of the prophet they don’t like appears somewhere, have opined that we must continue to offend them till such a time that they will come to the realization that violence is not a solution. The muslim must realize, his faith prohibits him/her from depicting Mohammed in any form, but that prohibition does not apply to those who do not subscribe to their faith. When Dan Brown wrote the Da Vinci Code, which was later adapted to a movie, I have no recollection of anyone being killed for it except the book and movie being banned in several places [though am not sure it stopped anyone interested from watching or reading the book]. Am not giving anyone a license to go out of their way to look for disaster, but that Islam must be ridiculed and criticized just as other world religions are or else we suffer the risk of being gagged on what we can say, draw or think about their faith and this is fundamentally a suppression of freedom of speech which most of u cherish.

The Muslim has an option if faced with such depictions about Islam to walk away from it. Nobody forces them to watch the movie or see the cartoon, why can’t they just roll their eyes and move on? Is that too much to ask of them?

Am going to need a lot of convincing that Islam is a religion of peace!

The end of my rant!