Tag Archives: power

Power and War….

Again not my words but that of a very good friend of mine

This week the conflict in Georgia got us talking about war and violence.
The question was raised, in the pub, “Is violence ever the right way to settle a conflict?”
As an educated and socially aware bunch of guys we all decided that no, ideally violence isn’t the right way to settle a conflict. However, life is never that simple.
The First World War, for example, was totally avoidable; two sides building up the biggest armies ever seen to defend themselves from each other. This military capability turned into a self fulfilling prophesy, much like the issue of knife crime; if you choose to arm yourself, even for your own protection, you’re more likely to get involved in violence. Accepting aggression as an option opens you up to some dangerous situations. This is an argument often made against building up our nuclear capability.
Looking at the Second World War, I’m sure most people can see the moral justification for Britain going to war with Germany but was war the only answer in that situation? This is a big question. I think most people would say it’s better to try and resolve conflict without violence but what happens when this looks impossible – is war ok if diplomacy has failed? Or should we carry on trying to find a peaceful solution?
Jesus tells us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us, to offer the other cheek to anyone who strikes us and to forgive those who sin against us but can we fight to protect others? Jesus didn’t raise a hand against those who beat and crucified him although he did throw the money lenders from the temple. But the message of the gospel is one of love not hostility and God doesn’t need us to fight on his behalf. However, we are in a privileged position, living in a relatively rich and peaceful country. Isn’t it our duty, therefore, to come to the aid of others who are less fortunate? Don’t we have the right and the responsibility to protect our family?
There are no simple answers to questions like these but one thing is for sure war is like marriage – not to be entered into lightly or selfishly.