Back to Index

Religion and violence

WAISers cover the ideological spectrum, from realists, who see solutions in the resolute use of force, to idealists. Ross Wilcock of Canada is on the Christian pacifist wing of the latter. His views coincide with those of the Quakers, who were once very active in the US (President Hoover was one), but of whom I hear little these days. Ross says: "Tolstoy is uniquely interesting on the problem of violence and murder (as he also classifies war)". Ross develops this theme at some length, but I was especially interested in his comments on the Chechens, about which I know little:

"The Chechen conflict as a revealing conflict of our time shows something revealing for a society with cultural roots at least 5000 years old. Complaints are made to Kremlin warmongers not to use indiscriminate violence, WMDs, (no discussion here about what is really happening) Political leaders of our time seem to have no better solution than to recommend proportionate violence = the law of eye for an eye Yet some notable political leaders of our time have used the name of Christ when seeking election, only to betray His principles or even employ anti-Christian methods to acquire power. This is dishonest. Non-violence can work. The terms mercy, kindness and suffering in a good cause mean the same as non-violence Killing is taboo in a civil society. Jesus taught, Do not kill no revenge, A genuinely Christian world would be more use to more people than all the pie in the sky of our time".

My comment: This dilemma has plagued Christendom since the earliest times, until the doctrine of just war was developed. Quakers reject that doctrine. A "genuinely Christian world" in unfortunately not an immediate possibility. The US is in a dilemma because it once urged the Kremlin to use less force against the Chechens, but now...

Ronald Hilton - 3/9/02