Kirby Page (1890–1957) was an author, minister and peace activist who argued in favor of democratic socialism as integral to the Social Gospel.
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Even after proper discount is made for false propaganda, the evidence is indisputable that every invading army perpetrates atrocity, so much so that war may correctly be defined as atrocity. Reference to various standard dictionaries reveals the following definition of atrocity: "A deed of violence or savagery; great cruelty or reckless wickedness; extreme cruelty; enormous wickedness."
There may be occasions when "to do unto others as you would have them do unto you" requires coercion.
Those persons who were responsible for his tragic death had only the faintest understanding of what he was seeking to accomplish. Even his own disciples so completely misinterpreted his teaching that at the very end they argued among themselves as to who should have the chief places. ...they still visualized twelve thrones of solid gold and quarreled among themselves over the seats of honor on the right and left of the king. How much less able to fathom the meaning of his words and deeds were the ecclesiastical leaders.
The consolidation of financial and industrial power in the hands of a small section of the people leads inevitably to more and more intense congestion of money.
Society always issues an ultimatum to the innovator; conform to this world or expect the reward of a heretic or a traitor. Every generation metes out substantially the same punishment to those who fall far below and those who rise high above its standards. Thieves and prophets of a new day rot in the same foul dungeon; murderers and the Savior of mankind agonize on adjacent crosses.
In three ways unemployment would be reduced. First... by greater equalization of purchasing power and consequent stimulus in the form of effective demand. Second, by utilizing the national credit and socialized industries for the creation of new industries and the extension of existing ones. ...Social ownership and operation of the basic industries, and especially socialized banking and credit, would greatly facilitate the task of shifting the masses of unemployed into productive channels. Third, if necessary, by '''shortening working hours and dividing the available work among all the people. '''
The very name of Jesus means, "He shall save his people from their sins." He came to seek and save the lost, those who are enslaved by sin.
Once war consisted of individual combats between armed men. Later it was waged between lines of men in opposing trenches. Now it is organized slaughter of whole populations.
As long as ministers and laymen labor under the delusion that contemporary Christianity is the same religion that Jesus practiced they will remain immunized against his way of life and will lack the vision.
If individuals exercise the freedom to seek their own gain through competitive struggle and to acquire unlimited wealth and property, the result for most of the population will be bondage to destitution and insecurity.
In the Baruch proposal our government suggested the creation of the International Authority by the United Nations to which would be given a complete monopoly of all atomic installations, materials and stockpiles. This authority should be given power of inspection and power to call for the punishment of violators.
A social order in which the maximum legal income is not more than tenfold the minimum... and in which competition for private profit has been eliminated, and in which social motivations are more dominant, is certain to be a more harmonious community than can ever be created by economic individualism.
The actual participants in industry under individualism are prompted to action by the following combination of incentives: desire for an income, desire for a higher income, desire for security, satisfaction received from shouldering responsibility or from wielding power, the joy of participation in creative activity, and the desire for applause and prestige. ...And all these motivations may be conserved and strengthened under socialism.
To the degree that a man possesses a vivid ideal of the good life, submerges himself in the sea of human misery and endeavors to alleviate suffering, kindles imagination in hours of silence and by visions of beauty, and follows the noblest personality into the presence of a loving, suffering Father—to the extent that he lives meaningfully, he will be convinced of sin and cry aloud for deliverance.
Faith in armed might paralyzes international action.
Verily, civilized patriots strain gnats and swallow camels!
The case against defensive killing is cumulative and overwhelming.
War is atrocity; war is a method of savage violence.
Strife in industry is increasingly becoming a struggle between groups or classes.
Courageous and sacrificial men may use wrong methods or pursue unworthy ends.
Self-centeredness is death. Centeredness in God and in his people brings life.
Continued adherence to the doctrine of military necessity will lead to mutual suicide.
The race of armaments is nothing less than a race to mutual suicide.
No man has yet appreciated all that is involved in Jesus' teaching regarding God.
Non-conformity has always been dangerous, and men were subjected to all manner of persecution
The totalitarian nature of modern war renders invalid the distinction between combatants and non-combatants.
Predictions of failure have been made every time an extension of governmental jurisdiction has been suggested.
The war method includes falsehood as an integral part. Truth is indeed a casualty of war.
Shall we use the weapons of violence and bloodshed or is there a more effective weapon available?
In the early days of our Federal Government, skeptics concerning its usefulness were found in high places.
The bareness and cruelty and misery of this generation now cry aloud for God-saturated and Jesus-challenged deliverers.
Socialized industries should be governed by boards of directors composed of representatives of engineers, workers, and consumers.
Cooperation and mutuality produce goodwill and harmony, whereas competition for special privilege divides men into warring camps.
The collectivism of fascism subordinates the individual to the totalitarian state and subjects him to ruthless dictatorship.
A deep fog of obscurity is thrown about war by the use of misleading and confusing terms.
To depend upon mutual aid is right. It is better to run the risks of doing right.
It is possible to deal with criminal rulers or officials by strengthening the liberal forces within that country.
Prominent American jurists have long advocated the granting of compulsory jurisdiction over justiciable questions to an international court.
Non-warlike revolutionists fall into a tragic blunder when they enter into a united front with communists or near-communists.
It is no longer possible to place a halo around war and speak of it in idealistic terms.
We must take the time to be alone with God, to enjoy his companionship, to listen to his voice.
If we insist upon being a law unto ourselves, we make it easier for other nations to do likewise.
Modern warfare is ghastly beyond exaggeration and civil war among industrial populations is the most diabolical form of conflict.
If a considerable proportion of the present generation is to achieve individuality it must travel the road of collectivism.
Countless numbers of people have justified war on grounds of the end in view and the spirit of the combatants.
Plato and Aristotle were both convinced that democratic government could not function successfully in an area larger than a city-state.
War is not high ideals. War is not noble objectives. War is not gallant heroism. War is not sacrificial devotion.
This race of armaments made Europe an armed camp and laid the foundations for the most colossal slaughter in human history.
There is a far higher degree of probability of success through non-warlike means than through the Communist strategy of civil war.
If the race of armaments continues it will lead to the third world war and to the destruction of our civilization.
The truth must be driven home that it is sinful to prepare to annihilate millions of God's children in other lands.
Communists have nothing but contempt for religion and for pacifism. They use the united front as a means of boring from within.
Preparedness to use the weapons of war creates the tempers, the quarrels and the crises which lead to the outbreak of war.
In former days the struggle for existence was chiefly a struggle against nature, today it is primarily a struggle against other human beings.
One of the most dangerous phases of self-interest in industry has been the part it has played in bringing about wars between nations.
The physical basis for international cooperation is being more firmly established each decade. Space is being bridged and time eliminated by modern inventions.
Before a just society can be established the property system and the penal code of such a social order must be radically transformed.
If the principle is accepted that killing in defense of property and life is valid and mandatory, armed preparedness for war follows automatically.
Exceptions to the rule do not invalidate the general principle that restraint by capital punishment and warfare is grossly ineffective and highly perilous.
An infant crying in the crib can better appreciate the character of its mother than we can fathom the full nature of God.
Perhaps the greatest delicacy on the table of many primitive men consisted of certain choice morsels from the roasted body of a slain enemy.
Mussolini and Hitler and Stalin all take it for granted that the faithful will if necessary lay down life itself in the holy cause.
A powerful consumers cooperative movement helps to maintain an equitable balance between prices and profits, and thereby decreases the power of owners and investors.
The earliest authority was the word of the strongest warrior, the head of the family or the tribe, the medicine man or the witch doctor.
No more thrilling challenge confronts the people of this generation than that inherent in the crusade to abolish war and to create adequate international organization.
'''''If adequate motivations could be assured'', a far higher degree of efficiency could be maintained in socialized industries''' than in industries operated for private gain.
That graft and corruption are found in governmental enterprises is a fact, but that they are more prevalent there than in business cannot be demonstrated.
War is planned devastation and organized slaughter. ...War is continued devastation and slaughter until the enemy yields or until a nation's own defeat is acknowledged.
These mighty weapons of explosion and fire are already obsolete, and the improved weapons of today will be dwarfed by the monstrous weapons of tomorrow.
Jesus assumes the wisdom, power, love, and accessibility of God. Without attempting to prove these attributes, he simply acts as if their truth were beyond dispute.
Jesus Christ is personally unknown to the vast masses of men on all continents. His influence is limited by the failure and indifference of his professed followers.
If an international treaty outlawing war is negotiated, there is every reason to believe that the United States would join the League of Nations without further delay.
The war method substitutes the doctrine of necessity for ethical ideals. ...That is right which contributes to victory; that is wrong which magnifies the threat of defeat.
Enemies are at work day and night in the material realm. Chief among these are ignorance, carelessness, and greed. Operating independently or together, they have wrought enormous destruction.
Men must be reminded that as civilization becomes more industrial and urban, relationships become more impersonal, and that much of our sinning is done as members of groups.
The ideals and aspirations of the American people with regard to world peace can never be fully realized until the United States is a full-fledged member of the League.
Then came the political campaign of 1920 with its bitter personal feuds, as a result of which the real underlying issues were obscured by passion, misrepresentation and downright falsehood.
Religious people must be brought to a vivid realization of their awful guilt in sanctioning and supporting an economic system that is the direct antithesis of their religious ideals.
The troubles are much more deep-rooted because of the inherent difficulties confronting a man who seeks to conduct his business on an ideal basis within an unjust social order.
Taxation must be used as an instrument of social policy, but if carried too far under the profit system, it may be an instrument of destruction rather than construction.
War is method. War is atrocity. War is wholesale falsehood. War is the practice of military necessity. War is the utter denial of the spirit and example of Jesus.
The worshiping of other things, the showing of disrespect by thought, word, or deed, and the refusal to acknowledge our obligation to him—these things shut God out from our lives.
We gain illumination as to the immensity of Jesus' contribution in setting before us a vision of the new society, and indicating ways and means of bringing it to pass.
There is no inherent irreconcilability between love and coercion, but rather the reverse; under some circumstances love ceases to be love if it fails to use moral means of restraint.
If Christians give their consent and support to preparedness to wage war with atomic bombs and other weapons of annihilation and devastation, they will thereby repudiate the way of Jesus.
The profit motive and the competitive struggle are more productive and less destructive on the frontier than in the city. Maldistribution of income becomes more devastating with increasing complexity and interdependence.
We can take Jesus seriously and strive earnestly to follow him, or we can prepare to wage atomic war, but it is utterly impossible to do both at the same time.
Of all the founders of great religions, Jesus alone proclaimed one God, immanent and powerful, holy and righteous, a loving and seeking Father, concerned about the welfare of each of his children.
The economic and political power—and therefore police and military force—at the disposal of the owning class is almost illimitable, and is wielded with a ruthless determination to maintain privilege, prestige, and power.
Religious groups should exert themselves in behalf of the unemployed and should be zealous in defense of civil liberties, but they merely weaken their efforts when they enter into combinations with communists.
Jesus teaches the kinship and equality of all children of God. No division of race or color, class or caste, rich or poor, male or female, is found in the teaching of Jesus.
A Christian is never justified in following a course of action that is utterly opposed to the principles of the Kingdom, not even to serve the temporal well being of family or nation.
If various races and nationalities can live together peaceably in the United States, why is it not within the bounds of possibility that they can learn to live this way throughout the earth?
The menace inherent in any form of coercion is greatly reduced if those who act in behalf of victims of oppression voluntarily submit to suffering. Mahatma Gandhi... furnishes the most illuminating contemporary example...
Repudiation of the principle of defensive killing and the reliance upon ethical means of resistance are imperative if the vicious circle of taking life in order to save life is to be broken.
Mutual aid is the way to prevent the third world war. Mutual aid is also the way to stop the internal growth of Communism by providing our people with plenty, security and freedom.
Through every legitimate educational procedure the truth must be driven home to the masses of people that the race of armaments is not a means of defense but a race to mutual suicide.
All of our boasted wealth, wonderful inventions and incalculable mechanical power will prove to be an unstable foundation if we continue to dwell together in strife—individual against individual, class against class, nation against nation.
In spite of vast numbers of people and the different races involved and the great distances separating the various parts, the British Commonwealth is functioning sufficiently well to offer hope for effective international agencies.
Every person is a child of God and a brother of man. Therefore personality is the supreme value, and should be regarded as an end and not merely as a means to an end.
To the extent that a political party bent upon socialization is supported by a substantial majority of voters, it will be able to utilize the powers of government in diminishing the power of ownership.
If we trust organized and aggressive goodwill we will transform the present war-producing system into a peace system which removes the causes of war and maintains the agencies of pacific settlement of international dispute.
The Bible is a progressive revelation of God, and war must be judged by the higher revelation of Jesus and the New Testament, rather than by the former conception of David and the Old Testament.
If reverence for personality, the principle of mutuality, active goodwill, and love toward God and man constitute the essence of high religion, then in many situations, in an imperfect world, compulsion becomes a religious obligation.
The most significant change in a man is not the change in his bodily strength or mental capacity. The most marvelous and far-reaching change which man ever undergoes is in his moral character and spiritual nature.
When the Lord's Prayer is prayed with insight it becomes a petition for the abolition of capitalism and the supplanting of the existing economic order with a society which is consistent with the religion of Jesus.
'''''If adequate incentives could be assured'', public ownership and scientific operation of banking,sources of electric energy, basic natural resources, chief means of transportation and communication, and steel, would increase productivity enormously''' by national planning and correlating.
The competitive struggle forces men and women to spend an excessive amount of time in the kitchen of life and thereby denies them maximum opportunity of appropriating the values of library, conservatory, chapel and living room.
The way of disarmament and of mutual aid and of international cooperation is a highly dangerous way. It is not safe. But it is safer, safer than the race of armaments and the third world war.
The supreme task before the people of the United States today is the Americanizing and, above all, the Christianizing of the great cities of the country. ...It calls for consecrated leadership and prayer of the intensest sort.
Sufficient private property in users' commodities is dependent upon the abolition of private property in primary means of production and distribution. With less private property, we may have more private property and make available plenty for everyone.
Feebleness of confidence in the power of international goodwill operating through appropriate agencies of international justice and friendship is at present paralyzing efforts to take the steps which must be taken if war is to be averted.
The tragedy of tragedies is that man continues to live in poverty when he might have riches, in weakness when he might have strength, in sorrow when he might have joy, in despair when he might have hope.
If rugged individualists would throw away the right to fight for special privilege and would cooperate in a collective endeavor to secure plenty for everybody, they would have time, energy, and desire to explore higher pathways of living.
Preparedness to use atomic bombs against men and women and children is a proclamation of faith, a confession of confidence in the rightness and effectiveness of human slaughter as a means of seeking safety and of maintaining justice.
Surely, with so much at stake for the entire human race, the only place for the United States is in the vanguard of the movement to substitute international law for international violence, international agencies of justice for international anarchy.
War is waged by governmental action and war can be prevented only by actions of governments. This means that individuals must act as citizens and influence the behavior of governments if they are to be effective in preventing war.
By what name shall we call this animating principle of the universe, this source of all phenomana? Some call it Force or Energy or Mind, others call it God. Some call this idea a working hypothesis, others call it Faith.
For a powerful nation like the United States to continue its insistence upon absolute sovereignty and to refuse to cooperate in creating effective international agencies of justice, is to obstruct the pathway that leads away from international chaos and destruction.
When Indian nationalists in their non-violent resistance to Britain rule permit themselves to be beaten prostrate to the ground without retaliatory acts on their part, they are exhibiting coercion and suffering in a form that is not provocative but redemptive.
God is Father of all mankind and is seeking to create a community in which His children will dwell together harmoniously and cooperatively as beloved kinsmen. Therefore attitudes and practices which debase personality or embitter human relations must be avoided.
You cannot always tell what a man is by looking at him. What he appears to be and what he really is may be radically different. The appearance of a man today does not always reveal what he will be tomorrow.
Shall we resort to violence, on the ground that the end justifies the mean? The answer of Jesus seems conclusive. There is no place in the home for violence—as distinguished from less extreme forms of coercion—and the killing of beloved kinsmen.
The police take action against the criminal himself; not against his family and friends. War does not deal merely with the guilty men but destroys multitudes of innocent people; indeed, it does far more damage to the innocent than to the guilty.
Jesus can aid us at three points: by helping us to avoid hatred, to repudiate violence, and to increase our willingness to accept whatever suffering comes from this combination of refusing to submit to evil and of refraining from hatred and violence.
The wastage from economic conflict is so titanic under individualism that even if gross productivity should be reduced somewhat under socialization of the basic industries, the mass of people would nevertheless be better off because of the diminished conflict and resultant devastation.
Plenty for everyone can be provided in the United States if the anarchistic economic freedom of the frontier is renounced and replaced by the higher freedom of collectivism, through the socialization of the basic industries and the approximate equalization of economic privilege.
Dwight L. Moody was changed from a shoe salesman into an evangelist whose influence has reached around the world. In all parts of the earth are men and women whose characters were transformed as a direct result of contact with the changed Moody.
'''Not even when the political freedom of a nation is at stake should the Christian militant make use of an unchristian weapon. ''The following of Jesus Christ is infinitely more important than the maintenance of political liberty at the expense of his principles.'''''
Supporters of the American plan of outlawry and advocates of the League are alike agreed... that new international law should be enacted and that a constantly recurring series of international conferences will be required if codification is to be kept up to date.
If the superior advantages enjoyed by devotees of the status quo are to paralyze us into impotence, then, of course, no strategy of revolution can succeed. All the significant reforms and revolutions in history have been wrought in the face of terrific opposition.
Physical life is thrust upon us, we have no choice in the matter. Not so with the spiritual life. The possession of spiritual life involves a conscious choice on our part; we may or may not possess it, depending upon the choice we make.
Hatred is an essential part of war. During the conflict it is regarded as treason to "love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you." In war, the enemy are regarded as targets, not as sons of God.
Unless effective non-violent means of coercion can be devised and utilized, the victims of injustice will, in blindness and desperation, take up weapons of violence. In our kind of world, to rely upon anarchy and inaction, is to turn the reigns over to violence.
While it must be admitted that the class of rich absentee owners or investors would doubtless be far less interested in industry if the profit motive were eliminated or subordinated, they represent the group that makes the smallest actual contribution to efficiency in industry.
There is something more in life... No man has reached the maximum capacity for self-preservation and growth, no man has attained the full measure of conscious spiritual existence, no man has entered into the deepest communion with God or is entirely devoted to his service.
We must not expect too much from legislation, social service with the masses, or even preaching of the Gospel to large congregations. All of these have their advantages, but they also have their limitations. Nothing can adequately take the place of personal effort with individuals.
Non-resistance in the sense of rejecting all forms of coercion is not always a legitimate expression of love toward man and love toward God. ...the refusal under some circumstances to exercise forcible restraint is a betrayal of love and therefore a betrayal of higher religion.
If certain types and degrees of compulsion represent true expressions of brotherly affection, coercion may ennoble personality. If the killing of a brother is an act which in its very essence is alien to and destructive of the family bond, then it is ethically unjustifiable.
National unions embracing a considerable portion of the workers in a given industry are able to exert terrific power in the determination of the relative levels of wages, dividends and interest. To the degree that organized labor is strong, the power of owners is decreased.
The present generation believes that it knows more about Jesus Christ than any preceding generation knew. Yet we are equally confident that our grandchildren's children will understand Jesus far better than we do. There is something more in him than we have been able to fathom.
Jesus was a radical on race questions. He treated men of every color and tongue as sons of a common Father and therefore brothers beloved. In His sight all men are of inherent and inestimable value. ...Jesus also disregarded the rigid class lines of his day.
When we are told that the record is scanty and unreliable, we can reply, with the support of the highest scholarship, that we know enough to be sure of his basic ideas and experiences, and that his personality looms up more brilliantly than the Morning Star.
Atrocity supplants compassion and mercy. Mutual forbearance and mutual forgiveness are suppressed as treason. The overcoming of evil by doing good is looked upon as impracticable and dangerous to national welfare. The war method has no place in it for the spirit and practices of Jesus.
It is impossible to use an atomic bomb here to defend the population of our own city. Likewise we cannot use our bacterial weapons here in our own country. These weapons of annihilation must be used offensively. And against their use no effective defense is possible.
Thou art—what? Let the still small voice of God help you to fill it in. Must the answer be, thou art—impure, intemperate, dishonest, untruthful, irreverent, blasphemous, selfish, covetous, careless, unkind, lukewarm, lazy, ungrateful, unforgiving, filled with hypocrisy, defeated, a slave? Thou art—. Be honest. Fill it in.
We must not only seek to change the moral characters of individuals, we must make an intelligent and strenuous effort to change the present social system. Thought and energy must be devoted to the eradicating of all elements of our present system that are anti-social and unchristian...
When we are reminded of his apocalyptic concepts and are told that an interim ethic possesses little validity for distant centuries, we are able to make rejoinder that his experience of God, his valuation of man, his call to love, forgiveness, and sacrifice are universal and eternal.
Is compulsion necessarily a violation of the law of love? To offer an affirmative answer is to deny the validity of all existing governments. This is the position of Tolstoy and other absolute non-resistants. Few readers of these words, however, will agree that anarchy alone is consistent with love.
Bombardment, air raid and blockade constitute the most revolting forms of atrocity because they are not deeds of violence committed under the momentary, blinding influence of fear or passion, but are deliberately premeditated processes of devastation, mutilation and slaughter of men, women and children without regard to guilt or responsibility.
Struggles between nations and struggles between classes we shall surely have during the coming decades. All indications point to further wars between nations. The struggle between capital and labor is daily growing in intensity. ...It may be that we shall witness scenes surpassing in horror even those of the recent war.
The police function as neutral third parties for the purpose of restraining criminals and bringing them before a judicial body for trial and judgement. In war, force is used by the belligerents themselves, no effort being made to bring evildoers before a judicial body, each army acting as judge, jury and executioner.
Imperialist powers are blinded by tradition, prestige and self-interest, and vainly imagine that it is for the good of humanity that they should perpetuate their rule and continue to bear "the white man's burden." Their assumption of superiority and the contemptuous way in which they often treat the "natives" is humiliating and degrading.
If the moral approval of religious people were withdrawn from the system of individualism, it could be quickly transformed. Just as the churches belatedly called slavery a sin, and later religious institutions pronounced war to be the world's colossal sin, religious institutions should now declare that sanctioning and supporting the profit system is sin.
Pacific revolution in America will not be wrought by men who are afraid of losing influence, position, and income. Building a new world is the most perilous form of pioneering, and the most glorious victories of religion have ever been won in hours of fiercest danger. And so it will be in our day.
Ideals as to what should be the attitude of different nations and different classes toward each other, Christian people already have. Surely it is high time that we should also have definite ideas as to the weapons we are justified in using in seeking to bring about conditions that seem to us to be desirable.
Jesus was face to face with a concrete situation similar in principle to that of Belgium in 1914. ...The issues at stake... were similar in principle, namely freedom versus bondage. ...Why not follow the warlike example of Joshua and David and Judas Maccabeus? Does not the end justify the means? These are questions that Jesus faced.
The use of force is non-moral, that is to say, it is good or bad depending on the motive behind its use and the effects of it application. To reason by analogy from the justification of the use of force to a justification of war is to endanger sound decisions and may lead to disastrous consequences.
The truth of the matter is that, even under individualism, '''''only a small fraction of the population is impelled chiefly by the profit motive''', and that vast multitudes of men and women are motivated by other incentives than by the desire for profit.'' ...nevertheless, they are strategic individuals whose activities are essential to efficiency in industry.
It seems incredible that a man with such a message and such nobility of character should have been killed as an enemy of society. But is it surprising? ...In a memorable passage Jesus refers to the fact that it is customary for one generation to stone the prophets and for another to erect monuments in their honor.
If we are to oppose evildoers, especially if we are to make use of non-violent methods of restraining wrongdoers, we must not only refrain from animosity, but we must reveal our devotion to mankind by exhibiting a willingness to endure suffering, rather than submit to the exploitation of our fellows or to retaliate with weapons of violence.
Prevailing customs and existing institutions are threatened by pioneers and prophets as well as by robbers and murderers, with the result that saints and sinners have often been thrust into adjoining cells. The crucifixion of Jesus between two thieves is the supreme illustration of a historic truth that nobility and depravity have often received the same punishment.
If men of our age will saturate themselves daily in the mind of Christ, will vividly recall the nobility of his manner of life, and will spend time in conscious communion with the God he so luminously reveals, life will take on richer meanings, and the task of building the new society will become more joyous and challenging.
The police actually do serve as a constructive and redemptive force in society, in spite of many miscarriages, in spite of many miscarriages of justice and occasional misuse of power. Modern war... in actual operation is not constructive but so enormously destructive as to menace the existence of our civilization. It neither protects the innocent nor redeems the guilty.
During wartime, no belligerent nation will admit any limitation of its supreme sovereignty. Each nation is a law unto itself Treaties and international laws are sometimes observed in war, if their observance does not stand in the way of winning. But tragic experience indicates that the most sacred obligations are utterly disregarded when their observance means losing the war.
That the navy is maintained at its present level for the purpose of protecting our sea-borne traffic and safeguarding our property in foreign lands, far more than for the purpose of keeping our shores from being invaded and our fellow citizens from being murdered, is an argument that runs like a crimson thread through the literature of armed preparedness.
We Christians should urge our government to destroy all its atomic bombs, stop making any additional ones, and stop all preparations to wage war with biological weapons. Such actions would... place our government in an advantageous position to plead with all other nations to join with us in an international treaty of disarmament by as rapid stages as possible.
Wherever in a home there is immaturity, lack of self-control, and anti-social stimuli, coercion may be necessary in order to safeguard the other members of the family, and to prevent remorse for irreparable wrongdoing. To say that restraint administered in love and with the welfare of all concerned vividly in mind is immoral, is to reduce society to anarchy and chaos.
Forcible coercion is not necessarily a violation of the law of love, but I find it impossible to reconcile the intentional slaughter of any human being with the religious principle of reverence for personality, that is, respect for the personality of the dead man. Nor does active goodwill or the principle of mutuality justify the willful taking of a human life.
Should a patriot, in an endeavor to defend his country and to preserve high values, be willing to perpetrate atrocities upon women and children of other lands, accept the doctrine that the end justifies the means, follow the practice of military necessity, inflame passions through distortion and falsehood, bow down before a god of war, and forsake the way of Jesus?
Can the use of physical force ever be reconciled with the family spirit? ...On one occasion he appears to have resorted to force himself... It sheds no light upon the question as to whether the taking of life, capital punishment, or war are ever justifiable. The criterion by which Jesus judges every method is this; Can it be used appropriately in the home?
Mightier than divisions of infantry and cavalry, more powerful than dynamite and ammonal, more irresistible than poison gas and boiling oil, is the spirit of the cross. It is the one thing in the world that cannot be frightened, discouraged or conquered. It is the one sure way of overcoming personal, industrial, and political oppression. Truly it is the greatest thing in the world.
We would enter the League not because we believe in a perfect instrument—on the contrary, its weakness and grave imperfections are fully recognized—but because the place for a powerful nation like the United States is on the inside, where it may aid in determining the character of its activities and the scope of its jurisdiction, rather than on the outside, indulging in harshest criticism.
Professor Toynbee reminds us that sixteen civilizations have already been destroyed and that nine others are mortally sick and destined to go the way of the preceding sixteen. This just leaves one, our own civilization. And it is highly vulnerable because it is a machine civilization, it is a city civilization, and this generation has power to smash the machine and demolish the city.
The supreme need of the world today is for a true conception and a deeper knowledge of God. The Hindu mother tosses her baby to the crocodiles, the devout pilgrim mutilates his body, the pious monk retires to the wilderness, the martial Moslem massacres the unbelieving, the consecrated missionary lays down his life for his enemy—all of these deeds are founded on varying conceptions of God.
To increase the number of men and women in all lands who will refuse absolutely to sanction the use of any unchristian weapon, who will follow without compromise the teaching and example of Jesus Christ, and who will seek diligently by every possible means to spread abroad in the lives of individuals and of nations the spirit of Jesus, this is the only sure way to abolish war.
The foreign policy of the United States in the decades ahead may prove to be the deciding factor in determining whether or not militant nationalism, aggressive imperialism and international anarchy, are to lead to further wars, or whether an era of international peace shall be ushered in by outlawing war and by creating effective social machinery through which a new and higher conception of nationalism may find expression.
It is utterly unthinkable that Jesus would himself condemn a wrongdoer to everlasting torture. Like any other Oriental teacher he spoke in parables and figurative language. Allowance must also be made for misinterpretations by the persons who recorded their impressions of his words. Jesus frequently pointed out the inevitable consequences of human conduct. It would be easy for his hearers to assume that he was uttering threats of punishment...
By his own experience of God and his estimate of man, by his emphasis upon and practice of brotherhood, by his repudiation of hatred and violence, while attacking with audacity deeply entrenched inequities, and by his vicarious suffering on the cross, Jesus awakens, challenges and inspires us to take up the cross and follow in his sacrificially redemptive steps. Thus we are saved and thus society must be redeemed.
Imperialist war arises not merely because of bitter economic competition among industrialists and financiers of various nations, but because of the dominance of government by powerful vested interests who use the armed forces of the nation to increase their private gains in other lands. To the degree that the power of these groups is broken by socialization and equalization of economic privilege, the likelihood of war is thereby reduced.
One of the most significant results of the industrial struggle during the past fifty years has been the creation of a condition of a vast inequality of wealth and income. This inequality is so extreme that it now constitutes one of the chief sources of bitterness and strife in modern life. ...not that the poor have been getting poorer but that the number and sizes of great fortunes have increased enormously.
Asceticism may offer a way of escape from the temptations that come from association with one's fellows and bring a sense of release and contentment. But the universal family can never be built by hermits. Contact may lead to contamination, but it is essential to redemption. Love never flees from the object of its affection. Where pain is most severe and sorrow most bitter, there love is most solicitous and untiring.
The most tragic waste... is in the spiritual lives of men. Men who have the capacity for sonship and brotherhood are living as aliens and enemies, men who have the capacity for companionship are living as hermits, men who have the capacity for mighty victories are living as helpless slaves, men who have the capacity for service are living as parasites. Man is only a small fraction of what he might be.
Followers of Jesus in our day will, by their compassionate concern for the victims of greed and blindness, be stimulated to search more diligently for means of increased persuasiveness of wrongdoers, on the one hand, and for ethical means of restraint, on the other. They will be prepared also to rely exclusively upon means which are consistent with the worthy ends sought, and to take consequences of following Jesus' way of life.
None of the three ways of dealing with social injustice can entirely prevent or remove human suffering. Resistance by violence tends to increase and intensify suffering; inaction or failure to exert effective restraint perpetuates the misery of the victims of crime or exploitation; non-violent coercion likewise often results in suffering. The policy of wisdom is to use that method which involves a minimum of suffering, and which offers a maximum of redemption.
The prevailing anarchy in production could quickly be replaced by scientific utilization of national equipment if the basic industries were transferred from private to public ownership and if all other industries were subjected to drastic public regulation. And this procedure offers the only possible escape from the industrial chaos of the competitive struggle, on the one hand, and from the calamitous exploitation of the people by semi-monopolistic private industry, on the other.
Distinguish between the outlawry of war and the abolition of war. The former is only a step in the direction of the latter. An international treaty declaring war to be a public crime will no more abolish international violence than laws against murder have abolished all killing of one individual by another. There is general agreement, however, that the negotiation of an international treaty outlawing war would constitute an enormous stride toward peace.
Jesus had little to say about political freedom, he had much to say about moral and spiritual freedom. When confronted with the question of human freedom, he saw that unless men's hearts were changed, freedom from Rome would simply mean an exchange of masters. To destroy the oppressors of a nation is not Jesus' way of bringing freedom to its citizens. Real freedom is not a racial, national or international problem; it is personal.
The victims of greed and exploitation will never get justice solely by relying upon the vision and generosity of those who hold power and seek their own gain. Power is blinding and corrupting and causes the slave-owner to imagine that it is his duty to perpetuate slavery. The victims of imperialism, in a world where national egotism and greed are rampant, must resort to coercive action if they are to secure freedom and justice.
At every stage Jesus was confronted with the necessity of choosing. More and more clearly he saw the vast gulf between his ideal and the practices of those about him. In moments of exaltation he caught a vision of life as it ought to be and might be. ...From each succeeding experience of communion with God the conviction became more intense that love alone can bring reconciliation between man and man, and between man and God.
The premise is debatable that the perpetration of atrocities is sometimes a patriot's duty; that the poisoning of the public mind with distortion and falsehood designed to inflame passions is sometimes a patriot's duty; that the banishment of a loving Father of all men and the bowing down before a god of war is sometimes a patriot's duty. But if these be obligations resting upon patriots, let them be claimed as such in plain unvarnished language.
The loyal follower of Jesus will stand in opposition to war as a means of settling differences between nations. He will be unalterably opposed to the ruthless competition and merciless rivalry of our present autocratic and capitalistic system. He will condemn vigorously the enslaving of the poor by the rich, the oppression of the weak by the strong. He will seek to replace the present Kingdom of Competition and Profits by the ideal Kingdom of Cooperation and Service.
It is utterly impossible to measure the influence of Jesus upon the moral and spiritual progress of the world. The greater value put on human life, the more honored place of womanhood, the nobler attitude toward childhood, the abolition of many giant evils, are founded upon the spirit and teaching of Jesus. Our new world-ideal of democracy and human brotherhood is a direct outgrowth of his example and teaching. Much has been accomplished. Much more is still to be done.
Our difficulty comes, of course, in deciding where ethical coercion ends and unethical violence begins. The only person who is able to escape from this dilemma is the complete anarchist who repudiates every form of restraint and compassion—and such a man has no solution to offer for the imminently menacing problems of the hour. All other persons are obliged to draw the line somewhere, and orderly progress depends upon intellectual keenness and ethical sensitiveness with which the situation is confronted.
The belief that the gods delighted especially in the gift of human blood was responsible for the widespread custom of offering up captured enemies, and sometimes even friends and relatives, upon the alter. A vast chasm separates this conception from the present belief in God as an ethical person, holy and righteous beyond comparison, who has boundless affection for his children, who seeks in every way possible to help them, and who longs to enter into a deeper companionship with them.
The United States not only helped to encircle Germany with a strangle-hold but continued to maintain that starvation blockade for more than seven months after the Armistice, on the ground that if the blockade were lifted Germany might refuse to accept the peace treaty. No sane American desired to prolong the process of starving German women and children; this atrocity was continued because it was considered necessary. No idea is more inextricably interwoven into war than the doctrine of military necessity.
Every basic doctrine of Christianity is nullified to the degree that we accept the ideas and practices of atomic war: the fatherhood of God, the brotherhood of man, the inestimable value of human life, the kinship of all peoples, the duty and privilege of of sympathy and compassion and affection, the responsibility of the strong to bear the burdens of the weak, the overcoming of evil with goodness, the redemptive power of self-giving love, the supremacy of spiritual forces over material might.
The political horizon would be greatly clarified if the voters were offered the choice of three parties representing three strategies: A conservative party committed to the preservation of individualism, perhaps in a highly modified form; a communist party bent upon revolutionary changes through violent seizure of power, confiscation, and a proletarian dictatorship; and a radical party seeking to socialize the basic industries and to move toward an equalization of economic privilege through purchase, taxation, and drastic regulation, without resorting to confiscation or armed seizure of power.
Was Tolstoy justified in interpreting the Sermon on the Mount in anarchistic terms? The answer cannot be found in isolated texts or combinations thereof, but rather in consideration of the basic elements which together constitute the religion of Jesus. ...The Golden Rule of conduct was phrased in terms of mutuality: "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." The true criterion of every thought and deed must, therefore, be found in its effects upon human personality, human relations, and communion between man and God.
Ethically and morally, man has also made progress. From the earliest dawn of recorded history strong men made slaves of the weak. Primitive man regarded woman much as he did a slave or an animal, an instrument through which his comfort and pleasure might be increased. Contrast the former custom of exposing infants, the aged, and the helpless to the elements or to wild beasts, when their presence became a burden, with the present practice of erecting orphans' homes, homes for the aged, and asylums for the helpless.
Another serious charge against Jesus was that of treason to his country. His admonition to refrain from hatred and retaliation and instead to love the Romans seemed to the patriots of the day nothing less than disloyalty and treachery to his native land... There is little doubt as to what would have happened to an American citizen early in 1918 if he had arisen in a Liberty Loan mass meeting and pleaded for the immediate cessation of hostilities and protested against the hatred being manifested toward the Germans.
Instead of spending our money on preparedness to fight, we should pour out billions in a common effort to solve common problems around the earth... on the scale of present preparations for total war. ...This vast sum should be spent on food, clothing, shelter, medicine, seed, fertilizer, livestock, machinery, tools and other requirements of efficient production and distribution. ...Instead of spending billions on preparedness to wage war with pestilence, vast sums should be spent on health measures and the eradication of plague from the face of the earth.
Anything that deprives a man of real life is an enemy to that man. If real life is relationship, the dwelling on friendly and affectionate terms with God and man, then anything that separates us from God, from our better selves, and from our fellows, is an enemy. Another name for this enemy is sin. It is sin that wrecks the characters of men and deprives them of their spiritual heritage. Sin is the most subtle, treacherous, and deadly of all foes. It is the destroyer of real life.
When we are reminded that modern men find it difficult to believe in the divinity of Jesus, we urge a search for realities that are far greater than words. If Jesus gives us our clearest vision of the nature of God; if he reveals the godlike qualities in man; if he secures penitence, restitution, joyous allegiance, and heroic sacrifice; if he leads to deliverance for individuals and groups—he becomes a symbol for all that is noblest in the universe, whatever may be the title by which he is characterized.
It seems... wholly out of the question to assemble a genuinely international police at this time. Before that can be accomplished it will be necessary to reduce to a minimum or disband altogether the various national armies and navies, and to create an effective world government with power over matters that are international in character which transcends the power of single nations. In the meantime, any armed force that went by the name "international police" would not be impartial but would be dominated by one or two large military powers.
The Christian in Belgium or in England in 1914 should not have gone to war, in my opinion, since war is violently unchristian. He should have been Christian, that is, he should have lived in the spirit of Jesus Christ, returning good for evil, love for hatred, mercy for cruelty, kindness for atrocity. Even if his country had been conquered by Germany, he would have confronted the same situation which Jesus faced, and like Jesus he should have sought to get rid of the oppressor by other means than the sword.
So great has been man's progress that today all civilized nations have their great universities, with highly trained specialists, who devote a lifetime to the study of some minute detail of a particular department. His ideas have become so extended and complex that hundreds of thousands of words are necessary to give expression to his thoughts, and libraries with millions of volumes contain only a fraction of his written convictions. ...the knowledge of the average man on the street is incomparably higher than that of the eminent scholar of a few centuries ago.
My own conviction is that if the transfer cannot be made without civil war, it cannot be made at all, and that there is a reasonable probability that, if the government is supported by a considerable majority of citizens and if it is re-enforced by a powerful labor movement and cooperative movement, the change may be brought about without armed resistance from the owning class. The program that I have outlined is, of course, that of the Socialist Party of America, although not all Socialists will agree with everything that I have written.
Restless under this tyranny, the Jewish people were eagerly awaiting the coming of the Messiah, who should overthrow the conqueror and bring about freedom. ...It was into this atmosphere that Jesus came. His country was in disgraceful bondage to imperialistic and militaristic Rome. His countrymen were waiting with intense eagerness for the Messiah, who should lead them to victory and freedom and glory. ...Yes, Jesus faced the question of war. ...One of the great temptations of his life came at this point. ...He loathes and detests the odious oppression which is wearing out the life of his people.
World government must progressively be established, common problems must be solved by common action, economic and racial justice and fellowship must be achieved... empires must be transformed into commonwealths, the race of armaments must be stopped and the system of balance-of-armed-power must be brought to an end, the churches must take Jesus seriously by trusting goodwill and pacific means and by disentangling themselves from the war system, a mighty movement of peoples must be created so that governments will maintain friendly and cooperative relations and will refrain from hostile and provocative actions. ...Now is the time to prevent a third world war.
Thou shalt be—what? You cannot fill it in. You cannot tear asunder the cloud that separates you from tomorrow. You do not know what is in store for you. Thou shalt be—let him fill it in for you. Thou shalt be—pure, honest, true, reverent, unselfish, loving, loyal, victorious, filled with divine discontent with mere material and physical pleasures, eager to be of service to thy fellows, willing to deny thyself, take up the cross and follow me. ...Thou art—yes. ...You shall be—but only as you turn to Jesus Christ. ...And when you find him you will discover that he is the key to vaults of hidden treasures in your own life.
In the first century and in the twentieth, the individual Christian must determine his own course of action in the light of the spirit and teaching of Jesus. He gave Peter, James and John no definite program or mechanism by which they could overcome slavery, idolatry, licentiousness, and militarism, and he gives the Christian of today no scheme of overcoming militarism and oppression. It is by lives lived in the spirit of human brotherhood and worship toward God that he seeks to overcome slavery and idolatry, and it is by lives of aggressive good-will and love at all times and under all circumstances that he seeks to overcome militarism and oppression.
The Christian militant is challenged to follow his convictions and to refuse all compromise with means and weapons that are unchristian. If he believes firmly that war is always an unchristian way of seeking to achieve a righteous end, he should be loyal to that conviction in the face of any pressure or danger, and be no less courageous than the soldier in battle. He should be loyal to his conviction even in the face of aroused public opinion and popular clamor. He should refuse to be swayed by frenzied passion or surface patriotism, but should remember that the truest patriotism is shown only by loyalty to one's highest moral convictions.
If we acquiesce in the presence of injustice and misery, we not only fail to remove exploitation and poverty, but we abdicate in favor of those who seek deliverance by violence. On the other hand, if we offer effective non-violent resistance, we may bring suffering upon both evildoers and victims. If we are able to keep ourselves free from bitterness and vindictiveness, our procedure in every situation will be determined by our judgement as to which type of persuasiveness and which method of non-violent restraint are under the circumstances most ethical and most effective. We will than go forward, even if the journey leads to the cross. Without suffering, there can be no redemption.
When we pray, "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth," we are praying for the abolition of individualism and the coming of the higher individuality through collective action as members of God's Home on earth. "If the Son shall make you free, you will be free indeed. ...For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, and whoever, for My sake and for the sake of the Good News, will lose his life shall save it." "Make me a captive, Lord, then shall I be free!" Truly, freedom can be preserved only by throwing it away! And individuality can reach its highest level only through the collectivism of the beloved community!
Many solutions are offered as to how to gain the something more in life. ...Wealth, strength, and keenness of intellect, taken separately of together, do not constitute the essence of real life. ...At its best, life consists of these things, plus something more. ...In Jesus Christ we see perfection in life. ...From an imperfect understanding of Jesus Christ, it would appear that real life depends upon the fulfilling of three conditions—the dwelling on friendly and affectionate terms with God, with ourselves, and with our fellowmen. ...If we fulfill to any degree these three conditions of being in friendly relations with God, ourselves, and our fellows, we shall discover something more of the meaning of life.
The imminence of the threat hovering over civilization requires Christians to disentangle themselves from the war system as completely and as rapidly as they can. ...Every Christian has the power to support or to oppose preparedness to wage atomic war. ...He can support or oppose the delegating of wider jurisdiction and greater authority to the United Nations Organization through limitations upon national sovereignty. He can support or oppose the policy of settling every conceivable controversy with another nation by pacific means only. He can support or oppose the effort to create the international mind and heart in place of extreme nationalism and narrow patriotism. ...He can choose between the way of war and the way of Jesus.
As was the case with him [Jesus], the Christian militant should lose sight of temporary suffering and persecution in seeking to advance the ultimate well-being of mankind. He should recognize that it was this long distance view of time that compelled Jesus to refuse the sword and to make no military effort to bring about the immediate political freedom of his people, and that it was this same vision that caused him to choose the way of the cross and to go down in defeat, as the world measures success. And if the Christian militant is to be true to the Master, he must also choose the way of the cross and must follow Jesus even though the path lead to seeming defeat.
It is significant that the Great Teacher does not draw up a code of laws or list or sins. Nowhere does Jesus say explicitly that human slavery is a sin, or that the employment of little children for fourteen hours a day in a factory is a sin. He deals in general principles concerning the great fundamentals of life. So clear is his teaching, however, that there can be no doubt as to what he thinks of human slavery or the oppression of little children. In the teaching of Jesus, life is relationship, dwelling on friendly and affectionate terms with God, with ourselves, and with our fellowmen. Anything which destroys this relationship is sin. By this standard any thought or act may safely be judged.
In our own inner selves, we find operating the same trio—ignorance, indifference, and carelessness. We are ignorant of our own latent capacities, of the degree of our likeness to God, of the possibilities of our lives. We are indifferent to the higher values and are content to the lower level of physical appetites and pleasures. Even when we recognize to some extent our possibilities and when we seek after a fashion to realize them, we grow careless, become swamped by the temporary, and lose sight of the eternal. ...A lack of appreciation of the intrinsic worth and latent possibilities of every man we meet, indifference to his welfare, and carelessness as to his rights and privileges, prevent us from living on friendly terms with him.
For a disciple of Jesus, in each case the decision hinges upon the answer to the question, Is it Christian? Is it a thing that Jesus could do without sin? Is it in harmony with his teaching and desires? Can it be followed without violating his way of life? Is it such that he can use it, sanction it and bless it? If the devout monk had decided the question solely upon these grounds, he should not have used torture to conquer the heretic, the judge should not have used the stake to silence witches, the politician should not adopt the evil practices of his opponent, and if the Christian citizen uses this same test, he should not, in my opinion, use the sword in resisting the military despot.
The incident in the temple when Jesus used the scourge of small cords (John 2:13-17) is often cited as indicating Jesus sanction of war. The very most that can be said in this regard is that Jesus' sanctions the use of force. To say this is not proof that Jesus sanctions war War. ...If Jesus had used force in such a way as to give supremacy to military necessity, to destroy human life, to break down reverence for personality, to retaliate with evil for evil, to compel the surrender of his moral freedom, we might then well believe that he sanctions war. The use of force is one problem, the morality of war as a means to an end involves so many additional factors as to be quite a different problem. Each should be judged on its own merits.
None of us believes that rulers are infallible or that their commands should constitute our highest standard of right and wrong. Quite apart from the belief of the ruler, the method of war is either Christian or un-Christian, and his command does not determine whether our participation in it is moral or immoral. Therefore, the Christian citizen must come to his decision on a basis of the spirit and teaching of Jesus, quite independently of the command of the ruler. To say that Jesus and St. Paul recognize the function of the state is not to say that they command the Christian to participate in war when ordered to do so by the ruler of the nation; any more than their recognition of the state meant that they sanctioned human slavery, polygamy, extortion and the other evil practices which were approved by the [Roman] state.
Even if the days of 1928 and early 1929 could be brought back again, the economic situation would be utterly indefensible on moral grounds. The greedy scramble for private gain and special privilege, the gambling spirit and the ruthless determination to gain wealth by means fair and foul, the callous indifference to how the other half lived or at most the throwing of a few crumbs of philanthropy, the bitter exploitation of the weak and the brutal suppression of the workers as they attempted to organize in defense of their minimum rights, the cruel assumption that there must always be a wide gulf between the rich and the poor, the willingness to send unnumbered victims to their doom on the battlefield in defense of vested interests—all these and countless other evils are inherent in the economic order which held sway in 1929. God forbid that we should have any desire to return to that living hell!
Western man has progressively accepted the use of violence during the years since the outbreak of the First World War. In that war the Germans began the practice of indiscriminate bombing of civilian populations of British cities. ...The peoples of the Allied world and of neutral countries were shocked and outraged by this evidence of German inhumanity and bestiality... the dropping of bombs on men, women and children sleeping peacefully in their beds in great cities. ...By the year 1945 most people of the United Nations were rejoicing over the winning of the war through the destruction from the air of numerous German and Japanese cities, and were revealing scarcely a qualm of conscience over this unequaled devastation and annihilation. The practice from which they had recoiled in horror less than three decades previously, they were now using with cold premeditation and concentrated skill. And nothing like the havoc they wrought had ever before been seen on this earth.
Why should men and women work efficiently under socialization? First, because they receive... a minimum income as high as the prevailing level of productivity permits. Second, because faithfulness, efficiency and special ability are rewarded with higher income. ...Third, because security is provided through a minimum or differential income or through social insurance. Fourth, because higher capabilities and deeper loyalties to the social good are rewarded with wider opportunities to administer responsibility and to wield power. ...Fifth, because increased economic security affords added opportunities for creative expression along numerous lines. Sixth, because social approval and applause are bestowed upon those members of the community who are carrying the heaviest burdens for the social welfare. Seventh, because social disapproval and social penalties are imposed upon members of the community who are chronically unwilling to carry a fair share of the cooperate load. Eighth, because a sense of duty and patriotic duty increases zest for socially useful activities. Ninth, because among truly religious people passionate concern for the common good transcends less worthy incentives, and diminishes the significance of other motivations.
The third reference is to Matthew 22:21 and to the 13th chapter of Romans. It is said that Jesus and St. Paul accepted the authority of the state, and since the state rests upon force and war, the Christian must likewise accept these. It is quite true that Jesus recognized the sphere of the state, in the statement, "Give Caesar what belongs to Caesar." He paid taxes and never renounced the authority of the state. But this is only a half-truth. He likewise said, "Give God what belongs to God," and "Seek ye first the kingdom of God." St. Paul also upholds the state, especially in the thirteenth chapter of Romans. Upon close inspection of the teaching of St. Paul, however, the most that can be said in this connection is that the authority of the state is to be recognized and obeyed in so far as it does not conflict with the higher law of God. ...The New Testament is filled with instances where the disciples refused to obey the government authorities, and many times they were imprisoned for disobedience. When commanded by the officials to cease their Christian activity, they replied, "We must obey God rather than man."
We find the verses, "I came not to send peace, but a sword" (Matt. 10:34), and "Let him sell his cloak and buy a sword" (Luke 22:36), which are used as proof that Jesus wanted his disciples to be prepared for war. ...in Matthew, we find that the very next verse reads: "For I came to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. ...If one means that Jesus came to bring a literal sword then the next means that he came as a great home-wrecker, setting the members thereof one against the other. Such a literal interpretation prevents any clear understanding of the words of Jesus. Surely his words, "I came not to send peace but a sword," mean that he came to bring about a sharp division between those who do right and those who do wrong. In Kent's translation of the New Testament, these words read: "I did not come to bring peace, but a struggle. For I came to make a man disagree with his father, a daughter with her mother, and a daughter-in-law with her mother-in-law. It is to be doubted if a single reputable Biblical scholar can be found who will interpret these words to mean that Jesus had reference to a literal sword as a means of accomplishing a desired end. With reference to the passage in Luke, one has only to read the verses that follow to see that Jesus could not have meant these words as a sanction of war. It was the last evening of Jesus life... He himself was about to be reckoned with transgressors and surely his disciples would have to encounter bitter opposition. They must therefore be prepared must be armed must have swords. ...the disciples, promptly misunderstanding Jesus' reference to a sword, reminded him that they had two, and he replied, "It is enough" or according to Moffatt's translation, "Enough! Enough!"). But obviously, two swords were not enough to defend his life from his strong and determined foes; two swords were not enough for war. They were, however, enough and even one was enough, to convey his thought of being prepared for the time of stress that was approaching. Professor Hastings Rashdall, the eminent theologian and philosopher, says in this connection: "More probably the words were 'a piece of ironical foreboding,' which the disciples took literally. The 'it is enough' will then mean, 'Drop that idea: my words were not meant seriously."