Bloodshed and the Gospel
This has been on my mind for months now, but I could not begin to articulate it until now. I heard another in the stream of heart-breaking stories about soldiers who died in Iraq yesterday afternoon on NPR. I am developing an increasingly pacifist (though not absolute) world view. I say this as a student, occupied essentially with the "life of the mind" and the gospel, and coming from a family with no real military involvement or commitment. But as I have thought about bloodshed recently, especially in war, imperialism, and genocide, the abomination of taking life has become more clear. This might sound extreme, but I feel that the only time it was surely requisite for human life to be taken was in the Atonement of Jesus Christ. When murder takes place because of passion, politics, prejudice or other reasons, I am beginning to see this act as a serious abomination--as if these lesser interests rise to the same level of importance as universal salvation, and therefore justify similar bloodshed. It seems that taking life in this way lacks what Paul Woodruff defines as reverence: the quality that keeps humans from acting as if they are gods.
I hope that I have made myself clear, and since this is a blog post and not a personal conversation I will insert the caveats and limitations I have thought of here: (1) religious law has called and perhaps should call for bloodshed in the light of some crimes--that is God's authority and I do not question it or argue against it, (2) this isn't an Iraq thing particularly, or else I would have tried to make a direct application, (3) "just war" (in the strict "divinely approved" sense that phrase should be used) doesn't fall under my topic either; I refer moreso to taking life along the lines of Cain, who said "Truly I am Mahan, the master of this great secret, that I may murder and get gain" (Moses 5:31).