Why Christianity demands pacifism

Prideful self-regard is woven into the very fabric of our fallen world. In particular cases, an individual can act out of authentic self-abnegating love for another. But as a group? That is nearly always impossible, at least in this vale of tears.

Which is why Christ taught non-violence — and Christianity should preach pacifism and the renunciation of political rule.

Let me be very clear: I harbor no illusions about the likelihood of establishing peace on earth. On the contrary, like so much of his teaching, Christ’s commitment to non-violence defies the innermost logic of the world, cuts against the grain of human nature, and subverts the self-interested order that governs collective life. (A “Christian nation,” strictly speaking, is an oxymoron.)

But Christians should be honest enough to admit that in continuing to exercise political rule, and in fighting, using force, and killing, they are falling far short of the otherworldly purity to which they have been called by the God they profess to worship and revere.

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