Saturday, December 5, 2015

Being the change for peace you which to see in the world

In a 1931 sermon, Joseph Fort Newton said that war "destroys not only human lives, but human ideas, emotions, attachments, spiritual values, taste, culture, almost everything that unites individuals into a unity more important than themselves; war is the suicide of civilization."

Some believe that our "true nature" is peaceful, and that war is a kind of mistake resulting from illusions. Daniel Condron: "At the source of all creation is peace and love. It is only here in the physical experience that we experience discord, strife, confusion, and refusal to remember where you came from."

It is commonly said that violence and hate cannot defeat themselves; the only way out is through their opposites. Buddha said, "Hatred never ceases through hatred in this world; through nonviolence it comes to an end.
" A. J. Muste said, "There is no way to peace – peace is the way."

If one takes this strong position, then it may seem unnecessary and counterproductive to spend time in debate acknowledging dissenting opinions. Umberto Eco wrote of the first U.S. war in the Persian Gulf:

"...if someone puts forth an opinion contrary to the expectations of someone else, he or she is promptly labeled an intellectual traitor, a capitalist warmonger or a pro-Arab pacifist. ... In a form of ritual exorcism, those who supported the conflict were obliged to begin by stating how cruel war is, while those who were against it had to begin by stating how cruel Saddam is. In each of these cases we have certainly witnessed a debate between professional intellectuals, but what we have not seen is the practice of the intellectual function.
"

Whether or not one spends time acknowledging another opinion, talking is often time-consuming and difficult. One approach often advocated is to talk less and model more. Frank Schaeffer:

"The wisdom and mercy of our headmaster was what I followed, not a theory. He did not try to convert me to a better way. He was the better way. His teaching me didn't depend on my believing what he believed. It depended on his setting an example for me to follow – an example that cost him a night's sleep. Mr. Parke spoke no grand words. He traveled with two scared little boys a few steps down a path to greater kindness, to empathy, to learning to walk in another's shoes. That is the purpose driven life."

Sources

Dr. Joseph Fort Newton, "What Can I Do for World Peace," delivered 1931. In Kleiser, Grenville. Vital Sermons: Model Addresses for Study. New York: Funk and Wagnalls Company, 1935. p 234.

Daniel Condron, Superconscious Meditation: Kundalini and the Understanding of the Whole Mind. Windyville, Missouri: SOM Publishing, 1998. p 130.

Umberto Eco, "Reflections on War" (1991). In Five Moral Pieces, translated by Alastair McEwen. Harcourt, Inc: 2002. p 2.

Frank Schaeffer. Patience with God: Faith for People Who Don't Like Religion (or Atheism). Cambridge: Da Capo Press, 2009. p. 142.

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