Much is made of religious warfare, so much that many today blame religion as the major cause of war. I think this belief shows great naivete. Before we accept such a proposition, we should evaluate the conditions required for warfare.
Because warfare is such an unpleasant and unprofitable activity for most of the participants, we do not go to war easily. First we must organize into groups of us and them. Then at least one these groups has to be persuaded to force another group to do something it does not want to do. Thus at least one side in any conflict has to “benefit” from the services of skillful organizers and agitators.
War organizers and agitators do at least two things:
- They fan the flames of hatred and proselytize for the “cause.”
- They organize people around the war effort.
The “cause” may or may not have anything to do with religion. Although in earlier centuries, wars were fought in the name in Christianity, the most warlike societies of the 20th Century promoted race and class warfare, not religious war. Since that time when most Christians could read the Bible for themselves, it has become ever more difficult to persuade Christians to war in Christ’s name.
Nonetheless, the soldiers of Christian nations have fought in war. Why did they fight? Since no living man can speak with authority for the dead, we cannot rightly say why they fought, but we can speak of their legacy. Because of their sacrifice, we govern ourselves as a republic. Each of us lives in a society where we can make our own choices. Most important, we can each determine for ourselves God’s message.
1 Corinthians 2: 6 – 9 Wisdom From the Spirit
We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written:
“No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love him”— but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.
It is the Friday just before a three-day weekend. Most of us look forward to nice weather, barbecue, games, family, and friends. Remember this is Memorial Day Weekend. So that we might retain the right to make our own choices, take a moment to remember those who fell for us in battle.