According to Will Durant: “there have only been twenty-nine years in all of human history during which a war was not underway somewhere.”
Why are we so enamored with War?
World wide spending on military 1.7 trillion dollars
USA 711,421 Billion
China 143 Billion
Russia 72 Billion
England 63 Billion
That calculates out to $2 billion dollars per day on military.
Just to put it in perspective, in 2011, the USA spend $23 billion on Foreign Aid
Is the world a safer place?
Some argue that the Bible is a violent book, how do you respond?
At the start of Chapter 19 McLaren uses the terms derangement and dislocation to describe our situation today. (p 151) Do you agree with him?
Sam Harris has written a couple of very provocative books (The End of Faith and Letter to a Christian Nation), in which he challenges the way religion aids and abets the violent side of human nature. Have you read either of those books? How do you respond to his arguments? (p 152f)
William Fulbright, in his book The Price of Empire writes:
Violence has become the nation’s leading industry. It is not an enthusiasm for war but simple economic self-interest that has drawn millions of workers, their labor unions, and the elected representatives into the military-industrial complex. To those who build them, weapons mean prosperity, not war. For the industrialist they mean profits; for the worker, new jobs and the prospect of higher wages. And for the politician, a new installation or defense order with which to ingratiate himself with his constituents. . . . Weapons are not reproductive; they are sheer nonproductive assets. They do not contribute to the welfare of the country in any positive way. On the contrary, they drain resources --- human as well as material --- that could be applied to making our consumer products competitive, or to restoring the infrastructure that has been so rapidly deteriorating. (p163-164)
Is Fulbright correct?
It happens that defense is a field which I have had varied experience over a lifetime, and if I have learned anything, it is that there is no way in which a country can satisfy the craving for absolute security --- but it can easily bankrupt itself, morally and economically in attempting to reach that illusory goal through arms alone.
Is the USA threatened with moral bankruptcy in our search for security?
At the end of Chapter 20 McLaren makes illusion to trying to get on God’s side, rather than trying to get God on our side.
What does he mean?
How can we tell which side we are on?
In chapter 21 McLaren uses very strong language (suicidal, idiotic) when he describes our culture’s love affair with war.
Is his language appropriate or excessive?
Desmond Tuto is quoted (p172) saying: “no longer should the peace business be undermined by the arms business.”
What do you think?
In Chapter 22 McLaren talks about developing a “craving for justice”, what would that look like in your life?
In the life of our church?
In our nation?
Donald Rumsfeld said:
We have a choice, either to change the way we live, which is unacceptable, or to change the way that they live, and we choose the later.
McLaren believes Jesus might have said it a little differently:
We have a choice, either to change the unacceptable way we live, or to change the unacceptable way that they live, which is impossible to do against their will --- without stooping to ethnic cleansing so they don’t love at all. So, we choose the former, in the confidence that a voluntary change in our behavior will precipitate an unexpected change in their behavior.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. . . . Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction. . . . The chain reaction of evil --- hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars ---- must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.
. . . Violence merely increases hate.... Returning violence for violence multiples violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.