Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The un-realism of just war

This has got to be the best thing I've read in a long time... The Criswell Theological Review this past October features an essay by Stanley Hauerwas titled, "Why War is a Moral Necessity for America or How Realistic Is Realism?". I urge you to read its entirety.

Hauerwas spells out how absurd the theory of just war is much better than I have ever been able to (probably because he's done a lot more research - and he's smarter). He explores the arguments of "realists" who support just war, pointing out their arguments are entirely unrealistic using their own arguments contrasted with reality. He then explores the reality of the mythical nature of America's worship of war. Hauerwas goes through a brief history of the Civil War explaining exactly how war itself has become an idol American families are asked to sacrifice their sons, brothers, and fathers on the altar of, and how the Civil War is the touchstone every war since has compared to in order to further more sacrifice.

He finally contrasts the sacrifice of men to the god of war with the Christian perspective, explaining "that is why we do not trust those who would have us make sacrifices in the name of preserving a world at war. We believe a 'sacrifice' has already been made that has brought an end to the sacrifice of war." Because when we worship war, we continue warring to justify the deaths of the warriors who came before us.

The essay ends with this powerful statement:
If the Civil War teaches us anything it makes clear what happens when Christians no longer believe that Christ's sacrifice is sufficient for the salvation of the world. As a result, Christians confuse the sacrifice of war with the sacrifice of Christ.

But don't take my word for it, read the whole essay yourself. It is packed full of historical information regarding the allegiance of our souls.


Seumas Macdonald said...

Took me ages to get around to reading this, but it was well worth it.

Steven Kippel said...