My Bible, the New Testament, does not provide acceptable answers to the Ukraine Russia War.
Oxford bibliographies cite “publications explicitly on war in the New Testament itself are relatively scarce, tend to allegorize or spiritualize the topic, and/or focus on the battle scenes and eschatological warfare of the Book of Revelation.” The reason for this is Jesus Christ and his primary audience in the first and second centuries were more often the victims of war or aggression. They did not have armies or power.
The exception is the book of revelation which “revels” in apocalyptic violence at the end times.
Still, most scholars accept Christ’s teachings and the teachings of the early Christian fathers as more aligned with pacifism and non-aggression. One writer quoted Mark Twain that the early Christian community put the emphasis on the afterlife and not current action:
“Such violent images of final judgment owe to an increasing preoccupation with the afterlife, something of little concern in the Old Testament. This shift in focus between the Testaments once caused Mark Twain to observe that only after the Deity “became a Christian,” did he turn “a thousand billion times crueler,” by inventing and proclaiming hell.” (Shelly Matthews, Passages article)
If we want answers to war, we may have to turn to Judaism or Islam. However, I take no solace in these scriptures for guidance as they have misled man to kill in God’s name the same as the Christian Crusaders misused Christianity.
Intuitively and Spiritually we know in our soul aggression and war are wrong. What we don’t know is how to respond to it when our general acceptance of this moral position is not accepted as a social contract. Putin has basically thrown the gauntlet down and proclaimed Russia will take Ukraine and is doing so right now.
In spiritual terms, President Biden has taken the non-violent response by coalescing countries to condemn and sanction Russia. The GOP is purely reactionary and divided on foreign policy. They have lost their way and elected populists with shallow foreign policy understanding. The U.S. itself is morally weak and divided, in a state of disunity being driven by a hunger for political power rather than democracy and principles.
I am thinking the unpopular thought now. Perhaps the Ukrainian President should tell his troops and the citizens to lay their guns down and take the pacifist approach.
My internal sense of justice and inclination is defiance and like those 13 Ukrainian soldiers now dead on Snake Island, accept death before surrendering. However, to commit others to death and watch the country’s infrastructure get destroyed for the inevitable – is not surrendering an act of egotism or bravery?
Soberly and non-passionate thinking says this may be the smartest and most noble action? Zelensky gets on national TV and advises the nation to stand down in the name of life preservation and humanitarian concerns? This would be an example of selective pacifism – because his war is not winnable today?
The American Jesuit Magazine today encourages prayers for peace despite the feeling that prayer is useless. I advise letting your local politicians, community, and the international world know you are willing to sacrifice as well for world peace. Most of us only have money to donate, time to give, and a pen to alter the course of human misery.
I try to end posts with opportunities to take part in solving world suffering or supporting causes. Please consider these two options:
International Committee of the Red Cross: Responding to Humanitarian crisis across the world.
St. Judes Cancer Research Center: Personal fundraiser by the author for an international cancer treatment center. (Top rating by Charity Navigator).