Whoever Michael Danner is, he sure knows his stuff when it comes to a Christian stand for peace. Check out the debate at the Emergent Village (start from the beginning, it gets a little confused as it wears on...).
And that was sent to me by my friend Chris Nickols, who just dipped his toe in the blogging pool. He has lots of opinions and jaw-dropping ways of expressing them, so go check him out.
Update: Reading more. I mean this guy is just really good. Well-reasoned arguments, and avoids the temptation to get drawn into the usual sarcastic, condescending back and forth. I gotta quote just some:
I would not jump too quickly to use the OT in support of the current possible war in Iraq. There are key differences that should be considered.
1. We are a secular government, not a Theocracy. I know, we are a "Christian" nation, founded on Christian principles. I know our President is, by his testimony, a Christian. That is not the point. In the OT, God ruled Israel. God was in charge and directed the nation. There is no one-to-one correspondance between OT Israel and current America. In the NT, Jesus rules, directly, the Church. Government - in general - is instituted by God to provide order (Rom. 13), but nowhere in the NT does God rule directly any government, but only the church. 2. In the OT, God used armies to administer judgement. He used Israel, but he also used Babylon to destroy Israel. When Israel sought to use war for their own purpose or personal gain, God judged them (i.e. allowed the Ark to be carried off because the army used it as a "secret weapon".) 3. Israel often fought from a deliberate position of weakness - using trumpets and scaling back troop size to a point of weakness. Israel relied on God alone to provide victory. From a human perspective, if God had not shown up, they would have been defeated. In the OT, God was not pleased with nations and rulers who put their faith in "chariots and horses."
In order for OT history to support current war, we would have to conclude that we are God's Nation - a theocracy opperating under the direct rule of God. We would have to conclude that God specifically and clearly directed American armies to war in order to bring judgement on Iraq. We would then have to trust in God alone, fighting in such a way that we would lose if God did not directly intervene.
Comments like [If there isn't a place for just war, why read the old testament?]implies that the only reason to read the OT is to justify war. It is much deeper than that. So is OT war history.
First of all, s, I believe it is incorrect to say we don't have the direct interventional power we need. As Christians, indwelt with the power of the Spirit of God, we have all the power we need. I would not have much respect for a God who calls us to be stewards over all creation, as you suggest, but then does not give us the power needed to fulfill the role, as you also suggest. If we are having any crises in this conversation it is not a crises of power, but a crises of faith. non-violent resistance is an excercise of faith. We have faith that God is present and active in the world. I believe that, although I do not fully understand it, this is how God has called followers of Christ to live. When you say it is not wise or feasible, you are not challenging my perspective, but what Jesus taught and Paul reinforced! Your battle is not with christian pacifists who are trying to faithfully live what Jesus taught. It seems to me that Peter tried to convince Jesus that non-violence was not the way to go as well. He was rebuked.
"Sit-ins" and "candle light"vigils may not stop a "psycho", but again you show little or no understanding of non-violent resistance. To participate in non-violent resistance in the civil rights movement meant getting beat, attacked by dogs, assaulted with firehoses, or thrown in jail. Participating in non-violent resistance in Tienimen square meant getting run over by tanks. When a seemingly powerless majority realize the power they have in numbers, non-violent resistance can be extremely effective in bringing about change.
I don't find the statement killing the bad guys to be "too crass", but too arrogant. s, you are very confident in your ability to decide who is good and who is bad. So much so that your judgement becomes the standard by which other people live and die. I, personally, am not that confident in my ability to do so. I certainly don't want to make decisions about the lives of others based on my perspective.
The problem with most justification for war is simply that it ignores the clear teaching of Jesus. It also ignores the model of Jesus. Jesus didn't say it would be easy and make perfect sense to follow Him in this life. We are to follow none-the-less. At the same time, I would certainly challenge the notion that violence and war are proactive and effective means for achieving peace. They are not. They only fuel cycles of violence, they do not end them. Cycles of violence always favor those with the most guns, not the good guys or the bad guys.