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Ronald Sider, in his new book If Jesus is Lord makes the case for pacifism. Today I want to post his simple, clear opening introduction about the Three Options (not Two):
C.S. Lewis makes the point vividly: “Does anyone suppose that our Lord’s hearers understood Him to mean that if a homicidal maniac, attempting to murder a third party, tried to knock me out of the way, I must stand aside and let him get his victim?” Just war Christians regularly charge that pacifists fail to love their neighbors who are threatened. Pacifists, they allege, take no responsibility for history. In fact they prefer tyranny to justice.
War - Christians - Options - Nothing - Neighbors
I think just war Christians are correct that if there are only two options (to kill or do nothing to defend neighbors), then faithful Christians should kill. Lewis is surely right: Jesus would not want us to step aside and passively watch while an aggressor brutalized others.
The problem with this critique of pacifism is that there are never only two options (to kill or do nothing). There is always a third possibility: to intervene nonviolently to oppose and seek to restrain the aggressor. Nor is nonviolent resistance to evil a Utopian, ineffective approach. In the past one hundred years (and especially the past fifty years) nonviolent resistance to injustice, tyranny, and brutal dictatorship has again and again proved astonishingly successful....
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