Saturday, August 11, 2007

Yoder's pacifism

I'm currently reading John Howard Yoder's The Original Revolution: Essays on Christian Pacifism. The most important part of the book is the general Christian ethic: he makes a convincing argument that pacifism or nonresistence is a key tenet of Christianity, and that Christian involvement in violence is an unbiblical, unJesuslike compromise with the state/world. He uses sound biblical and logical arguments not only to justify pacifism (he bases pacifism not on pragmatic utilitarianism but on the actions and words of Christ and on Christian eschatology), but to refute Christian justifications of violence.

Of secondary interest is this: if Yoder wrote these essays today (and I mean literally, today), they would work as direct critiques of various justifications made for America's war in Iraq. It's uncanny how directly his analysis can be applied to justifications for America's current war. One wonders whether 100 years from now, Yoder's critique would sound like a direct refutation of the justifications of whatever war is being perpetrated then. I only hope not.

No comments:

Post a Comment