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The Sinfulness of Anti-Pacifistic Abstractions

After thorough study of the Scriptures and deliberating on the views of both sides, I became a pacifist. I have written a defense of pacifism here. I interacted with an anti-pacifist web page here.

On this page I want to elaborate on my response to one paragraph from that anti-pacifist page. Here is that paragraph, with my original response:

The Christians at the Elim Mission Station in Rhodesia were such convinced pacifists that, even within a few kilometres of Marxist Mozambique during a vicious war they refused to be armed. They had neither a fence nor dogs to protect them. They refused to allow the security forces to station some guards for their protection. When terrorists visited Elim the missionaries provided them with food and medical supplies. One fateful night ZANLA guerillas herded the 9 missionaries and 4 children onto one of the fields. Then in front of the parents they hacked the children to death. Then in front of the husbands they raped and tortured the women to death. Finally they brutally murdered the men. Yet so effectively had their pacifist doctrine neutralised them that there was no attempt at resistance. The men stood by and watched ruthless terrorists butcher their loved ones.
Peter Hammond, SECURITY AND SURVIVAL IN UNSTABLE TIMES; Claremont RSA, United Christian Action; p.12

[From a page entitled,
"What authority has the Christian freeman to keep and bear arms?" ]

Jesus says we are to give food and drink (and, by extension, medical supplies) to our enemies. It doesn't sound like Mr. Hammond agrees with Jesus.

Anyone who thinks 9 missionaries and 4 children can ultimately defend themselves against an army is a fool. This kind of thinking was seen in Waco, Texas. I would rather die like Christ -- not "defending myself," but giving my life for my enemies' -- than die trying to kill others. Hundreds of thousands of Christians have been murdered in the pagan outposts of Africa. If a Marxist army wants to kill you and your fellow missionaries, you are dead meat unless God miraculously intervenes. Why bother killing a few Marxists on your way out?

There may have been "no attempt at resistance" using iron swords or M-16's, but obviously there had been intense spiritual resistance, or the Marxists would have allowed the missionaries to live. Marxists were confronted with the image of Christ, and they treated the missionaries as they would have treated Christ, and the missionaries followed Christ's example. "Neutralized?" I don't think so.

Who knows what seeds were planted by the deaths of those pacifist missionaries?

I think more needs to be said about this kind of argument, and how it fits in the overall strategy of anti-pacifists against what I call "anarcho-pacifism." I call it anarcho-pacifism because I believe consistent opposition to violence would logically lead to dedicated, non-violent opposition to the State, which is institutionalized violence. Anarcho-pacifists are vocal opponents of the theft, kidnapping, and genocide committed by every State. The anti-pacifists are almost always very patriotic, and their attack against pacifism is particularly emphatic when pacifists begin to question the legitimacy of the State's wars and police.

What makes the anti-pacifists so wrong is that they use such pathetic, improbable anecdotes -- abstractions -- in order to defend wide-scale concrete acts of theft and murder committed by organized "government."

The anecdote above is a typical example. The situation, though very real, is utterly atypical, and to that extent very unrealistic. In a nation of 270 million Americans, how many have been invaded by armed Marxist guerillas? But this contingency is urged as a basis for preparing and training for lethal self-defense.

  • By "preparing" I mean buying or stockpiling weapons.
  • By "training" I mean mentally disciplining ourselves to respond to threats against our persons or property with armed violence, rather than love for our enemy and Christ-like witness; filling our heads with visions of armed intruders and visualizing our violent reaction so that in that statistically unlikely event we may instantly, instinctively, habitually, thoughtlessly, without hesitation respond with rapid deployment of terminal force.

Further, anti-pacifists put an obstacle in the path of those who would train themselves to react to violence as spontaneous peacemakers, with creative acts and prophetic utterances which disarm anger and are used by God to bring about conversion in the life of the attacker. "What would you do if . . . " is the question always posed to pacifists, using grandmothers, wives, and daughters as the hypothetical victims of random, impersonal, unpredictable violence (a statistical abnormality compared to violence resulting from a known, if not related, attacker, following years of less-than Christlike interpersonal relationships).

That brings us to the most important issue of all.

Pacifists are accused of being "unrealistic" and "impractical," and their strategies of non-violent witnessing on the road to the Cross are said to lack understanding of "the real world." For proof, the anti-pacifist offers a scenario which never happens in the lives of the overwhelming majority of people, and in cases where it does occur, can often be resolved peacefully without destroying a human life with lethal violence.

Moving from the personal realm to the social realm, the patriotic anti-pacifist then urges all of human society to be organized around death and violence, rather than a peaceful, decentralized, Christian anarcho-pacifistic society.

Our lives are regimented
and our wallets emptied
to support the institutionalization of anti-pacifism.

And on what basis? We are offered the statistical improbability of "the government" being able to defend us against an attack by another [anti-pacifist] government which (we are assured) has become a threat to us without our own anti-pacifist government in any way aiding them through technology transfers, weapons sales, foreign aid packages, or low-interest IMF loans at our expense. (Really, now; can we trust anti-pacifists [people who place their faith in lethal violence to selfishly protect themselves] NOT to sell arms to "most favored nations" full of good [but Communist] "businessmen??" Every single person in government is ipso facto committed to violence and socialism to some degree. [That is the inescapable, inherent nature of "the government."])

In exchange for this "protection" is a cost -- a reality --   from which the anti-pacifist seeks to divert our attention, using historical and political smoke and mirrors: the improbable events of unknown/unpredictable attacker and/or spontaneously-arising socialist military . Here is the short list of these costly realities:

  1. Total warfare against innocent non-combatant civilians;
  2. Over 1 million innocent Iraqi peasants murdered;
  3. Racism, genocide, and sexual deviancy which result from government rejection of Christian pacifism;
  4. "Crisis" as an excuse for the rise of Leviathan;
  5. 10,000 murders of innocent people by anti-pacifist governments per day in the 20th century;
  6. Proposals to exterminate 15,000 more "useless eaters" per hour in the 21st century (until the standard of living of our anti-pacifist "protectors" is assured);
  7. the myth of prevention: the threatened destruction of hundreds of millions of "enemy" civilians AFTER millions of Americans have ALREADY been nuked ("Mutual Assured Destruction").

The first six are present realities.

The toll in tax-supported human suffering and destruction
-- trillions of dollars and hundreds of millions of lives --
caused by the institution created by anti-pacifists
must be weighed against 9 missionaries and 4 children.

This is the real battle between pacifists and patriots.

Time for a "paradigm shift."

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