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It's Hard to Believe that War and Lies Will Prevail

by John K. Stoner  (December 29, 2017)

On the cusp of year 2018 it is hard to believe that peace will prevail.

And yet, think about it—it’s even harder to believe that war and lies will prevail.

Put yourself in their shoes.  First of all, they have to start by agreeing with us that peace is better than war.  That’s big.  They have to agree with us on the ultimate goal—the goal is peace.  That’s at least half of the whole discussion, isn’t it?  Is it better to have peace or to have war?  Why, of course, it’s better to have peace.  Ask the world’s millions of refugees and displaced persons—which is better, peace or war?  Ask the world’s millions of injured, maimed and starving—which is better, peace or war?   Ask  the world’s millions of veterans—which is better, peace or war?  I’d tell you to ask the world’s tens of millions of dead from war, if we could get them to speak: which would you have, peace or war?  

So at least in talk, in public posture, in theory at least, they agree with us that peace is where we all want to be.  They have to position and posture every plan and preparation and program of war as if it were serving our cause and our goal, which is peace.  Or maybe, attributing less deceit to them,  they believe that superior violence is more likely than risk-taking love and compassion to, not achieve peace, but mitigate evil and violence.  

We on the other hand, do not start by granting them half of the ground which is in dispute.  We do not have to say, well, yes, peace is good, but we’ll give that up for now, we’ll accept war as good enough until we get to peace, where we really want to be. 

Humanity, at this point in its brief history, is poised on a platform in a big dug well, or silo, with a ladder extending up to air and life, and a ladder extending down to water and drowning.  Some people are saying we have to go up to get up, and others are saying we have to go down to get up. 

It is our choice, and the time we have to make it is not forever.

How hard is it to believe that the way to overcome evil and violence is with superior evil and violence?

Right after 9/11 George Bush the Lesser announced a war on evil in the world.  And a war on violent terror.   Look around at the nations destroyed since then—if you have any empathy beyond your own skin, you can see that it has not gone well.

There’s a familiar Bible story about this, the Great Flood and Noah (Genesis 6-8). It is usually badly interpreted, but here is its central message.  The writer turns loose his imagination and depicts God looking down on the world, and God is deeply disappointed in humanity.  God sees much evil and violence, “And God said to Noah, ‘I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence because of them; now I am going to destroy them along with the earth.”

So, comes the flood, everyone and everything destroyed except a handful of survivors on the ark.  Afterward,  “the Lord said in his heart, ‘I will never again curse the ground because of humankind, for the inclination of the human heart is evil from youth; nor will I ever again destroy every living creature as I have done.”

So, we are told, as a result of the flood God had a change of mind about what to do about evil and violence in the world.  God tried there to overcome evil and violence by killing all the bad ones, and apparently, by the writer’s interpretation, decided that it had not worked and another way of dealing with evil and violence would have to be found.

You can read the whole Bible as a report on the search for an alternative to   superior violence as a method of dealing with evil.

Bottom line: if you put yourself on the side of superior violence to deal with evil you disagree with that writer and his God—you refuse that ancient, basic learning, and you are back on the Dark Side, the Other Side, of that Flood, always trying to rerun it with success instead of failure.  Not an easy project.  

A different approach is that marked by Jesus, and all of those before and since him, who choose the methods of peace to pursue the goal of peace.  More on that in future blogs. 

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