Monday, August 27, 2012

A critique of Lewis's "Why I am not a Pacifist"

Although Lewis was not a pacifist, Stanley Hauerwas thinks he should have been.

HT: Bob Prokop


MikeSnow said...

An excellent article. It gave new appreciation for Lewis with his humble assessments of WWI.

I would be interested to know whether Lewis had much familiarity with the early Christian aversion to blood shed, e.g. Cyprian: “The world is wet with mutual blood(shed): and homicide is a crime when individuals commit it, (but) it is called a virtue, when it is carried on publicly.”

Victor Reppert said...

You know, I don't know this, but a lot of people should know how reluctant Christians in the early church were to participate in war. Christians are to render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, but that didn't seem to include military service in the first three centuries.

B. Prokop said...

There are powerful, indeed unanswerable, arguments in favor of pacifism. But Lewis's argument from the mass consensus of Humanity is also very strong.

I personally have never managed to intellectually refute, for instance, the writings of Daniel Berrigan. But in the end, I really don't want to put myself in the position of saying "I'm right, and everyone else is wrong".

By the way, I was amused to learn that Medieval knights took Jesus's words, "He that lives by the sword will die by the sword", not as a threat, but rather a promise! (They thought that any death other than one in battle was dishonorable.)

Gregory said...

If one wants to maintain a consistently "pro-life" position, then it seems that pacifism, at the very least, ought be considered.

One observation about the early Church:

Christians joyfully partook of martyrdom, rather than throw their lot in with war-mongers.

One of the great tragedies of Christendom was the rise of Caesaropapism and the emergence of Christianity as a political force in government. This, in turn, led to the fracture of the Eastern and Western sectors of the Roman Empire....which eventually split the Church in two around 1054. And, unfortunately, there is very little hope of reuniting the Church now.

Of course, we have a civic duty to vote. But when I see the GOP use "faith" as a means to a political end, I want to vomit. It was precisely this kind of vying for political power which led to the Great Schism.

Christians nowadays forget the words of our Lord:

"My Kingdom is not of this world"

Of course, that is precisely why we pray:

"Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven"

It is because there is no salvation in the human political sphere that we even bother to pray this at all. Until Christ comes again in glory, there will be no hope found in politics.

Ironically, the "faith" of the GOP is not in Christ but, rather, in the very humanism which is opposed to Christianity. Wake up, foolish Christians!!! The icon of the GOP is Ayn Rand.

Syllabus said...

"but a lot of people should know how reluctant Christians in the early church were to participate in war."

They weren't just reluctant, they pretty much categorically forbade it for centuries.