Pacifism – What about…

Peace on Earth | Illustration by Jonathan Blundell
Peace on Earth | Illustration by Jonathan Blundell

Last night on Power Talk, we brought up the issue of ISIS and pacifism.

You can listen to the audio here:

The idea of pacifism has been on my mind a lot lately, even more so when thinking about ISIS and reading Farewell to Mars.

I don’t have all the answers to ISIS. I don’t have all the answers to Syria, Uganda, Ukraine and other hot spots around the world. I don’t know what will ultimately happen. But I also believe we as followers of Jesus should provide shelter from the storm rather than adding to it with a never-ending cycle of violence.

With this in mind, I was doing a little late night reading and researching and I came across two great ideas from Bruxy Cavey.

The first asks one of the most common questions I’ve heard when people ask me about pacifism, “What about Hitler?”

And I’ve never really had a solid answer. I usually refer to the story of theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who wrestled with that very question and was allegedly involved in the assassination attempt on Hitler. The assassination didn’t go as planned and Hitler survived. Hitler then viewed his survival as a divine moment that assured him he was on the right path, following God’s will.

I also tend to talk about the priest and community in Bulgaria who stood up to the German soldiers and simply told them there would be no Jews leaving their city on a train. They stood together as a church and as a community, as one with the suffering and the Germans backed down.

But while these can be used as a powerful story against action, it doesn’t fully soothe the soul.

Perhaps Bruxy’s thoughts will add more:

And the other question I get asked constantly when talking about pacifism and gun control is, “What if someone breaks into your house and tries to attack you family?”

Again, I don’t have a solid answer, I just know that I would hope to lay down my life for my family if it comes to that vs killing for it.

Bruxy shares another story that pulled on every heart string tonight as I thought about this question again.

“What if a bad person broke into your house and threatened to kill your family – then in a moment of confusion left his gun right in front of you. Would you take the gun and shoot him?” There were various responses to this question. Finally one older gentleman replied, “no, I would not pick up the gun. I would fall to my knees and pray – because I believe that I would be tapping into a greater power on my knees than with the gun.”

Oh that I could have that kind of faith.

I serve a God who destroyed an entire Egyptian army with the parting of a sea. He destroyed a city with trumpets and clay pots. He made the sun stand still. He destroyed the cycle of violence by sending his son, Jesus to make foolish the ways of the world by laying down his life on a cross.

And he tells me, “Do not be afraid.”

Oh that I could have that kind of faith.

2nd Amendment Do’s and Don’ts

In case you weren’t sure about the manners associated with the 2nd Amendment and Open Carry Laws, The Daily Show offers some good Do’s and Don’ts…

Gun ownership and firearm deaths go together

A new study that was published online in the American Journal of Medicine reports that gun ownership is a bigger factor than mental illness when it comes to firearms deaths. But the data suggest that both play roles.

NPR writes:

In the study, doctors in New York looked at data on gun ownership, crime rate, firearms-related deaths and depression from 27 developed countries, including the United States, Japan, Great Britain and South Africa.

The United States had the highest rate of civilian gun ownership, at almost 90 guns per 100 people. The next two countries on the list were Switzerland and Finland, with about 45 guns per 100 people. Japan, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom had the lowest gun numbers, ranging from less than 1 gun per 100 in Japan to 6 in the U.K.

The countries with more civilian guns also had the highest rates of firearms deaths, with the United States leading the list at 10 deaths per 100,000, based on an international mortality database.

Jon Stewart on the NRA Convention


So much to appreciate here…

  • Pointing out both sides use fear to promote their agenda — one of my BIGGEST complaints with our political system.
  • Showing the irony in calling the government the evil tyrant that we must protect ourselves from and then applauding the government for being the good guys.
  • Pointing out that there’s no way to always know who the good guys are and who the bad guys are — and if they’ll always stay that way.
  • And pointing out that if a good guy becomes a bad guy (as sometimes happens) in the NRA’s mindset, you’ve already given them a gun.

A co-worker pointed out last week that if the real reason we need guns is to protect us from the evil tyrant of a government – he wants an F-16. Because an AR-15 isn’t going to protect him from the largest military in the world.

I agree.

Seems we’re going to either really have to up our own personal weapons arsenal – or drastically downgrade the U.S. military.

Also – for some additional fun, The Daily Show came to Dallas this past week to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

The clincher line – “They do the jobs we don’t want to do, staying sober and staying politically engaged.”

Defense Distributed claims working 3D printed handgun

What does it say about handguns in our country when the ability to print your own handgun using a 3D printer isn’t a game changer?

And although this is a fascinating provocation, it is not (yet) a game-changer, especially in America where traditional guns (capable of firing thousands of rounds without melting down) are cheap and easy to get. You can even "3D print" a gun by asking different CNC shops to cut and overnight you all the parts to make up a working gun, breaking the job down into small pieces that are unlikely to arouse suspicion.

via Defense Distributed claims working 3D printed handgun – Boing Boing.