Friday, November 18, 2005

When We Disagree

We've been discussing different views on war, and how people come to their convictions. To review, there are three different views: (1) Realists believe that pre-emptive strikes are acceptable because all is fair in love and war; (2) Just War Advocates believe the force is sometimes appropriate but should only be used as a last resort for a good cause; (3) Pacifists believe that violence always begets violence and followers of Christ should be the ones who break the cycle.

Those are gross over-generalizations, but they're helpful for review.

It is also helpful to see these as three areas on a continuum rather than three fixed positions. There are degrees within each position, and someone might find themself (like I do) in the Just War Advocacy -- but more towards the Pacifist side than the Realist side.

Yesterday, we talked about how our convictions are formed. We all received input at important times of our lives from parents, friends, communities to which we belong(ed) and teachers. As Christians, these various sources are important, but not the most important factors. We are to take all that input and filter it through what we find in the Bible and what the inner witness of God's Spirit communicates to us. Then we are to form our convictions.

Now, if you do all that and find yourself in identifying with the Just War Advocates, and there's a rally downtown to show support for our troops and the war effort, go downtown and get involved in that rally. Carry the signs, vote your conscience. Do all that. If you end up in the Pacifist camp, act on your conscience as well. If there's a peace rally, go carry those signs for peace.

Here's the rub: these two things often happen at the same time in the same place. And there are oftentimes Christians on both sides.

That shouldn't be a problem if people have thought and prayed through the issues -- and they express themselves in God-honoring ways. But this isn't often the case.

So, how are we to behave when we disagree over things like war?