The international policy of our country is one of the few political issues to which I am attentive. Every election cycle, I analyze the candidates’ positions toward other countries and look for the one who seems to be most peaceful. The options usually leave me wanting as I listen to candidates argue about their own ability to outspend the others on military expenditures and warfare. It is quite disturbing.
Yet, I am not a pacifist. While in my 20’s, I was one, but I could not hold that position after becoming Orthodox and learning more about Christian thought and beliefs over the past 2,000 years.
THE CASE FOR CHRISTIAN PACIFISM
Not all pacifists are Christians, so I will not be addressing the various philosophical arguments that other forms of pacifism make. Instead, this will be written from a Christian perspective.
Defining our terms is always useful when entering into any kind of discussion that can become difficult. I have chosen Ted Grimsrud’s definition of pacifism, which comes from the book A Pacifist Way of Knowing: John Howard Yoder’s Nonviolent Epistemology:
Hence, “pacifism” is more than simply approving of peace, which everyone in some sense would do, it is the conviction that the commitment to peace stands higher than any other commitment.