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Christian Pacifism Grows Over Time

Earlier today, John Lovell of the Warrior-Poet Society put out a short video on Instagram where he said:

If the mob silences you and you hide your morality from the mob, you’re not really moral. You’re fake.

I responded with a different perspective, and got this interesting reply:

To be clear, I am a huge fan of John Lovell and his work. Lovell is a former army ranger with multiple tours over-seas. His YouTube channel is phenomenal, and he is among the early heavy-lifters in creating alternative platforms for content creation in our corporate, post-free-speech age.

That said, I think he is wrong in his approach here… because John Lovell is a Christian.

There is nothing wrong with not wanting to slay your enemy–after all, even Sun Tzu said that the superior general subdues his enemy without ever needing to fight.

But there is something misguided about believing that the mob that is censoring and attacking you is composed of brothers and sisters, who are simply in need of rescue.

Lovell’s view is theological, and theologically he is 100% correct. But this perspective is neither effective at — nor does it care about — success in winning whatever battle may be going on in this political domain. It is derived from the theological injunction to act in accordance with the spirit of God, who turns the other cheek and permits himself to be executed on the assumption that death is not the end.

I make the full argument in Holy Nihilism: The Moral and Spiritual Case Against Christianity. But the short is this: Christianity naturally inclines over time towards pacifism because there is nothing to fight over on earth if your relationship with God is all that matters. And make no mistake: in the Christian view, your relationship with God is all that matters. Everything else is either an expression of that relationship, a mere tool to facilitate that relationship, or an invitation to idolatry and sin.

At its core, Christian sin is essentially just losing focus on God.

To care about earthly outcomes is to miss the mark.

Anyone who thinks Christianity is essential for “saving the West” or “restoring America” is fundamentally thinking of relationship with God as a utility for earthly means, rather than as an end in its own right. It is not the Christian attitude.

My prediction in Holy Nihilism is that over time, as men become more deeply intertwined with their faith, this theological truth becomes more clear. This is a general trend, not always true of particular individuals or even particular decades. But as a rule of thumb, it is predictive, and it is predictive because God is invincible, and one’s relationship with God is likewise invincible, even in the face of death.

There is no use fighting to protect what cannot die.

To do so might even threaten the very relationship with God one is hoping to preserve:

What is evil in War? Is it the death of some who will die in any case, that others may live in peaceful subjection? This is mere cowardly dislike, not any religious feeling. The real evils in war are the love of violence, revengeful cruelty, fierce and implacable enmity, wild resistance, and the lust of power…

Augustine of Hippo
“Contra Faustum”

As people grow in their Christian faith, as a rule their Christian pacifism grows with it, because Christianity is pacifistic at its heart. The proof is that even a seasoned army ranger, among the baddest of asses, can be made by faith to think of his enemy as countrymen, misguided brothers and sisters.

This may save your soul, but it is not a recipe to save your nation.

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