Pacifism

Is Pacifism a scary concept to you?
Do you embrace it wholeheartedly?
Does it makes sense to you?
How do you talk to your kids about peace?

How pacifism takes effect in my everyday life varies greatly. And I may loose some readership over this post, but hopefully not friendships.

It is difficult for me to identify myself as a pacifist, not because I’m embarrassed or afraid of what it means, but it terrifies me to discuss it with someone who has very opposing views to myself. But to choose pacifism as part of my belief structure and my life is to take a step into being an advocate for those without a heard voice. Being a pacifist, effects me in my daily life, parenting, understanding God and others, my political views, lifestyle and the people around me.  I choose peace.  In every area of my life, I choose peace.

A lot of you are reading and your views of me are changing, but I feel strongly about this… And I needed to share it.  So much of what I have been writing lately about has been so surface, and that’s okay too.  But I want to share what we have been talking a lot about in our family.  For us, we talk about peace and love and putting others before ourselves.  How we apply pacifism in our everyday lives and how to teach that to our three and four year old children.  We feel that striving for peace and love intertwine so much and as we teach our children how to love like Jesus loved, unconditionally, the two cannot be seperated.  From what I understand, what I have been taught, what I have read, Pacifism and following Jesus, just go hand in hand.  It makes sense.

How does this apply to teaching our children?  How to we approach this at a level for preschoolers and kindergardeners? Well, at this point at our children’s levels of understanding we are talking mostly about loving people, standing up for friends, taking care of others.  My kids’ aren’t at the intellectual level of understanding war.  That time will come, and when it does, we will have to be prepared to explain it all.  Right now, we are more concentrated on talking about why we don’t play with guns and swords, why we never hit or hurt each other.  We talk about what in means to protect without using our bodies to hurt someone else.  Even though many conversations will turn into talking about the Autobots, we try and wrap up the conversation and bring it back to the original topic of keeping the peace.

How do you talk to your kids about voilence and war, good and evil, love and peace?

For those who need more of an explanation and want a more precise definition, here is what pacifism means….

  • Pacifism is a commitment to peace and opposition to war. (From Standford Encylopedia of Philosophy)
  • Pacifism is opposition to war and violence, even to the point of allowing self-harm rather than a resort to violent resistance. (From Wikipedia)
  • Pacifism is a belief that violence, even in self-defence, is unjustifiable under any conditions and that negotiation is preferable to war as a means of solving disputes. Pacifists became known as conscientious objectors. (From Spartacus Educational)
  • Opposition to war or violence as a means of settling disputes; specifically : refusal to bear arms on moral or religious grounds
  • An attitude or policy of nonresistance (From Merriam Webster)
  • Pacifism is an outlook based upon religious or humanitarian belief that condemns war and social violence as inhuman and irrational, if not absolutely and always morally wrong, and therefore demands personal nonparticipation in war or violent revolution as well as a commitment to nonviolent methods of resolving conflicts. (From the Canadian Encyclopedia)
  • Pacifism is a term denoting a spectrum of strategies to minimize unjust conflict and war, including promotion of beliefs that international disputes can and should be peacefully resolved. (From WikiQuote)
  • Pacifism is a political or religious ideology that stresses peace over violence or war. Pacifist ideology assumes that violence is inherently bad and should be avoided. (From Urban Dictionary)
  • An absolute pacifist believes that it is never right to take part in war, even in self-defence. (From BBC Ethics)
  • Pacifism is the broad commitment to making peace. (From Standford Encylopedia of Philosophy)

What it all boils down to is this:

I think that the value of human life is worth so much, that nothing can justify killing a person.  No matter what the circumstance, killing another human is wrong.

Pacifism is uncomfortable.  As one who is active in nonviolence, a pacifist, this view that I hold boils down to my opinion that violence always leads to worse results than non-violence.  Love, compassion and grace wins over hate and violence.

What do you feel strongly about?
Poverty?  Human Rights?  Slavery?
What are the hot topics that get your fired up?

Quotes on Pacifism

“Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction…. The chain reaction of evil — hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars…”
~ Martin Luther King Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? (1967)

“There are causes worth dying for, but none worth killing for.”
~ Albert Camus

“The only way to abolish war is to make peace heroic.”
~ James Hinton, Philosophy and Religion: Selections from the Manuscripts of the Late James Hinton, ed. Caroline Haddon, (2nd ed., London: 1884), p. 267.

“My pacifism is an instinctive feeling, a feeling that possesses me because the murder of men is disgusting.”
~ Albert Einstein, statement in Berlin, 1920, as quoted in Einstein : His Life and Times (1947) by Philipp Frank

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