Peacemaking, part 1: The Need for Peacemakers
Animals: Tradition - Philosophy - Religion Article from


Stephen Kaufman, M.D., Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA)

Peacemaking, part 1: The Need for Peacemakers

Iíve heard it said, ďThe only thing you learn from history is that people donít learn from history.Ē Much to humanityís grief, people seem unable to avoid violence within families, within communities, and between communities. I think this is in large part because we often find that our desires conflict with those of others, and frequently violence seems the best or only way to resolve these conflicts.
Violence has several unfortunate consequences. First, of course, it results in harm to individuals. If we believe that God cares about Godís Creation, then this harm also has a spiritual dimension. Second, violence damages communities, and humans need communities for practical and psychological reasons. Communities have helped humans survive and have provided the company that humans, as social beings, crave. Third, violence is often associated with injustice. Christianity offers an eschatological (end of times) vision of peace and justice to which we should strive and which is undermined by violence. Finally, human ingenuity has permitted the development of powerful technologies that, when used violently, threaten human civilization. [Swords have proven just as effective as atomic bombs as tools of genocide, but atomic bombs threaten to destroy the remarkable physical, social, and intellectual infrastructure that humanity has built over the last centuries.]
In addressing our call to be peacemakers and to participate in the reconciliation of all Creation (Isaiah 11:6-9), should we be pacifists? I will consider this question next essay.

Go on to: Peacemaking, part 2: Peacemaking and Pacifism
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