Christian Ethics - Lesson 20

War and Peace

You will gain knowledge of the three approaches to war and peace: pacifism, the just war tradition, and the effect of nuclear weapons on these two positions. The lesson distinguishes between principled pacifists and hypocritical, unprincipled pacifists, with the former being unswayable by just war advocates and the latter being members of the political left who denounce military actions by America but support revolutionary organizations that use violence.

Ronald Nash
Christian Ethics
Lesson 20
Watching Now
War and Peace

Contemporary Moral Issues

Part 6

VII. War and Peace

A. Pacifism

1. Hypocritical pacifism

a. Political left

b. Anti-American bias

2. Principled pacifism

a. Literal interpretation of the Sermon on the Mount

b. Dangers of this interpretation

c. Treatment of Old Testament holy wars

d. Arguments against pacifism

i. Just wars in the Old Testament

ii. Distinction between private and public duties

iii. No proscriptions in the New Testament against the Roman army

iv. Three responses

v. Consequences of pacifism

B. Just War

1. History of the just war theory

2. Criteria

a. Does not justify all wars

b. Objective must be peace

c. Defensive

d. Waged by legitimate civil authority with formal declaration

e. Just purpose

f. Last resort

g. Just motive

h. Reasonable hope of success

i. Good consequences should outweigh evils

j. Violence only against armed combatants

k. Minimum force

3. Distinction

a. Just war

b. Just conduct in war

C. Nuclear Pacifism

1. Definition

2. Proponents

3. Hiroshima and Nagasaki

4. Consequences

5. Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD)

6. Just nuclear war

  • Gain insights into philosophical ethics and Christian responses, and the Christian role in society regarding the state, justice, economics, and education.
  • In this lesson, Dr. Nash introduces you to the concept of hedonism, which is an example of a consequentialist ethic. He reviews non-hedonistic consequentialist philosophies, psychological hedonism, and ethical hedonism.
  • This lesson introduces you to the theory of deontological ethics and Emmanuel Conte. You will learn that the deontological ethic judges morality by examining the nature of actions and the will of agents rather than goals achieved.
  • In this lesson you will learn about the system of ethics that focuses on virtue and introduces the Four Cardinal Virtues, which are temperance, wisdom, justice, and courage, and emphasizes the importance of being the right kind of person who possesses the traits of character, and C.S. Lewis's book "Christianity" provides an informative treatment of the Four Cardinal Virtues and the Three Theological Virtues.
  • You will gain insight into C.S. Lewis's views on Christian ethics and the morality analogy he presents, where morality is like a fleet of ships that must fulfill three conditions to succeed: every ship must run properly, the relations between ships must be proper and orderly, and the fleet must head to the right destination.
  • You will learn about the importance of distinguishing between society and the state. Society is a voluntary organization of people, while the state is the group of people who claim a monopoly on the use of coercive force within a geographic boundary. By understanding this difference, you can prevent the government from interfering with your voluntary associations.
  • You will gain an understanding of how the professor's theory of the state in Social Justice in the Christian Church aligns with the New Testament. He explains that the state is a God-ordained institution to check against sin, and he is a moderate anti-statist who recognizes the need for government but also the inherent evil in any concentration of human power. The New Testament recognizes constraints upon governmental power, and Revelation 13 is an example of how the state can symbolize anti-Christian government. The lesson also discusses the concept of justice and how it is often invoked without a clear understanding, suggesting that Christians should study ancient Greece for a better comprehension of the term.
  • In this lesson, you will gain insight into the evangelical civil war that happened 20 years ago, learn about its early stages recorded by Clark Penick, understand the harmful effects of left-wing evangelicalism, and see how many evangelicals on the left became enamored with their own self-virtue in what they thought was a crusade to help the poor.
  • By studying this lesson, you will gain insight into the major differences between capitalism, socialism, and interventionism. You will learn that interventionism is often responsible for economic crises that are attributed to capitalism. You will also learn about the overlapping and continuum nature of economic systems and the gray area where an economic system may be viewed as socialism or interventionism.
  • This lesson discusses the decline of old liberation theology and how some of its proponents are now advocating for capitalism and democracy as being what the poor of the third world need, and presents shocking quotations from individuals characterized as evangelical, such as Jose Marquez Bonino, who promotes Marxism and praises tyrants like Castro and Mao Tse tung, as well as material about the three major kinds of Marxism that have existed in the world.
  • This lesson will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of interventionism and its role in the Great Depression, including the fact that blaming capitalism for the depression is based on four myths, and that interventionism actually deepens recessions by disguising the information produced by a market economy.
  • Through this lesson, you will gain an understanding of the crisis facing American education, as highlighted by Alan Blum's book The Closing of the American Heart and the author's complementary book. The focus is on the importance of values, standards, and morality in education, and the need to reopen the American heart to reopen the American mind. The lesson introduces the three kinds of illiteracy currently affecting Americans at every level of the educational process, with a particular emphasis on functional illiteracy, which refers to the inability to read, write, or use numbers well enough to get along in society.
  • In this lesson, you will learn about the incompetency of public school teachers in America, caused by academically weak students being attracted to the profession, lack of content courses in their college curriculum, unimpressive and radical left-winged professional educationists, and the National Education Association being an enemy of America's young people, with four essential steps to improve education, including getting a clear focus on the educational role of the family, increasing local control of education, changing the curriculum to prepare students for life after school, and changing teacher education programs.
  • Gain knowledge of the difference between the biblical ethic and other philosophical systems. Though it may seem simple, it is an underlying system that can lead to complex issues. The divinely revealed scriptures are the starting point for moral reflection, but not a ready-made answer. Some New Testament commandments are archaic or obsolete, and many modern moral problems are not discussed in the Bible.
  • You will gain insight into the pro-life stance and be equipped to inform others. Christians need not be timid about talking about these issues.
  • This lesson explores the arguments and counterarguments surrounding abortion, arguing for caution and conservatism in ending any life, emphasizing the need to balance the right of the mother with the rights of the infant, and briefly touching on the issue of rape and how it complicates the matter.
  • As you go through the lesson, you will learn about infanticide and euthanasia, and how the disrespect for unborn human life has led to an increase in cases of infanticide, along with some suggestions for what Christians should do in the case of children born with life-threatening handicaps.
  • In this lesson, you will explore the five major passages of Scripture related to homosexuality, including different interpretations of the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, and concludes that the Bible clearly condemns homosexual activity.
  • This lesson explores the topic of capital punishment in the context of Christian beliefs, arguing for consistency and emphasizing the need to view Old Testament laws in the context of specific situations that are no longer applicable.
  • This lesson discusses the three approaches to war and peace and distinguishes between principled pacifists and hypocritical, unprincipled pacifists, who are members of the political left and denounce American military actions but support violent revolutionary organizations.
  • You will gain an understanding of the growing issue of divorce and remarriage within the church, the responsibilities of Christian leaders in addressing it, and the need for Christians to think through what the Scripture teaches on these matters and formulate principles that will guide their thinking and conduct.
  • This lesson provides insight into how responsible Christians can make ethical decisions about birth control, considering the importance of intention, distinguishing between ethically acceptable and unacceptable forms of birth control, and emphasizing the importance of wise and careful means in achieving family planning goals.

Theoretical and theological basis for Christians  living an ethical life.

Dr. Ronald Nash

Christian Ethics


War and Peace

Lesson Transcript


[00:00:01] Today we're going to look at the matter of war and peace and look at the very important question of whether war is justified and what can. Under what conditions might war be justified. There is a very important way in which we should structure our approach to this business of war and peace. And just about everybody approaches it in these ways. The first thing we should talk about is pacifism. Then the second thing we should talk about is what is called the just war tradition. And then the third thing we should talk about is the way in which nuclear weapons seem to throw this whole. You see, up until 1945 and the detonation of the first nuclear the detonation of the first atom bomb, it wasn't difficult for reasonable people to lay out two competing positions here. There was the pacifist position, which was fairly straightforward, and there was the just war position, which was which was relatively straightforward. And of course, a lot of people would argue that if ever there was a just war, that is a war in the history of the world that was justified. It would have been World War Two in spite of clearly unjust events that occurred during the course of World War Two. But all of a sudden, the advent of nuclear weapons through this whole business is up for grabs. And so the third thing we'll have to look at is do just war criteria still make sense in a nuclear age? Do just war criteria still make sense in a nuclear age? Or must the advent of nuclear weapons force us to totally new positions on all of this? Now I turn first, then, to the issue of pacifism.


[00:02:45] And the first thing one must do when you talk about pacifism is to distinguish two kinds of pacifists there. First of all, are principled pacifists, principled pacifism. I do not want to say anything derogatory about principle pacifism. I disagree with this position. I will try to indicate why I disagree. But let me come let me say right here upfront that in any debate between a principled pacifist and a principled and knowledgeable advocate of the just war tradition, it is highly unlikely that either one is going to budge. The argument for the present for each position tend to immunize proponents of these two positions tends to isolate them into little pockets where they simply are not persuadable. I don't know of any principled pacifist who who could possibly be persuaded by anything that I'm going to say today. And I don't know any knowledgeable advocates of the just war tradition who are going to be swayed by the arguments of the principal pacifist. But before I identify or say more about principled pacifism, I want to make it clear that there is an entirely there is an entirely different group of pacifists running around the Western world these days. Now, my problem is, what am I going to call the second group of pacifists? I could call them, I suppose, unprincipled pacifists, which they are, but that wouldn't be very nice. I could call them hypocritical pacifists, which they are, but that wouldn't be very nice. But oh, shucks, what the heck. Let's call them hypocritical, unprincipled pacifists and be done with it. All right. Now, please realize I am not here making fun or being derogatory about principal pacifists. That's something else again. Now, who are these? Hypocrite. All right. The answer is they are members of the political left in the West who denounce anything to do with the military so long as it is American or supportive of America.


[00:05:36] But when it comes to violence and bloodshed on the part of their preferred revolutionary organizations, they are highly supportive of them. These are the people who denounced America's actions in Grenada but supported the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. Those are people who are hypocritical pacifists. These cronies don't deserve any serious attention because they are they take off their pacifist mask when it comes to violence that is perpetrated by their favorite revolutionaries. Now, forgetting the hypocrites, what about principled pacifists? Now, these are people that we should treat with respect. These are people whose willingness to suffer for their position is something that we should admire. Now, Davis, I think, lays out the basis for their positions fairly carefully. He points out that a major ground for the position of principle pacifist pacifism is a literal interpretation of the Sermon on the Mount. Turn the other cheek. Of course, as Davis points out, when Jesus was physically abused in the Garden of Gethsemane, he did not literally turn the other cheek. He challenged the soldier who had who had smitten him and asked him what just cause he possibly had for that action. People who disagree with the principle pacifists point out that Jesus teaching in context like this is heavy, heavily laden, over with hyperbole overstatement. Just as we don't take Jesus statement about cutting off our hand, that offends us or plucking out our eye, that offends us. So indeed, the message of turning the other cheek and some of those other statements in the Sermon on the Mount perhaps should not be taken literally. There is a lot, but of course, we can disagree over that. That's a hermeneutical issue. And we may find ourselves totally at odds and unable to reach an understanding or agreement on that.


[00:08:11] More serious, I think, in the case of the principal pacifist and Davis gives you good detail here, and I hope you will go back and pay close attention to this. There is the very serious danger of a shallow of a shallow treatment of the death of Christ by some representatives of principle pacifism. Clearly, if if we see nothing more in the crop of Jesus than a nonviolent acquiescence to violence, if that's all we see in the death of Jesus, we're going to be in bad shape interpreting the atonement and understanding the ground and justification for for human salvation. There's a very shallow, David suggests, and I tend to agree with him. If we see nothing more in the death of Jesus, then his passive acceptance of violence, we see nothing more there than a model as to how pacifists should respond to violence. Then clearly we are missing the mark about a lot of important biblical truth. But then, of course, there's also the additional issue. What does one do? What does one do about the just wars and the holy wars that we find described in the Old Testament? Now, what the principal pacifist says, there is simply this those Old Testament wars, which are described in such glowing terms in the Old Testament, should be regarded as God's concession to human, hard, hard heartedness. Human beings are sinners, and God made certain concessions to those barbaric people in that time. But now that we have the personal revelation of Jesus Christ, there no longer is any justification of support for that. Well, a lot of people think that's treating the Old Testament a little bit too casually, that that's overlooking a great deal of important material. Now, again, I'm I'm I'm willing. I have gone on record as saying, I don't know how you can how you can resolve this disagreement among a principle pacifist, a principle proponent of the, let's say, the just war tradition.


[00:10:52] But let's let's review. Let's review some of the arguments that an opponent, opponent of principle pacifism might raise. He would certainly draw attention to the just wars or the holy war, as in the Old Testament. I mean, when you look at some of those combats, they were not I mean, they are described in the Old Testament not simply as God making a concession to human hard heartedness, but they are examples of God telling Israel to go to battle, to go to battle. You got it. All right. Now, you may set up a dichotomy then between the Old Testament God and the New Testament God, but then that's going to raise some problems about your view of scripture. And let's also be honest here that there are some principal pacifists who seek to be faithful to Scripture. Many Godly Mennonite and other anabaptists. And there are some there are some principal pacifists who have walked away from a responsible view of scripture. We end up with this ironic situation that Scripture is trusted and accepted when it support the pacifist views of this particular tradition. But Scripture is readily ignored when it doesn't support the theological liberalism of this particular Anabaptist tradition. Now, there are a couple of other points we want to make here. It is important to distinguish, I suggest, between our private duties and our public duties. It may very well be the case that as private citizens, it may it may be our responsibility to turn the other cheek as private citizens. It may be our responsibility to support. But sometimes, in a public role, we are obliged to support an action which we would not engage in privately. As a private citizen, I do not have the right to execute a criminal, but I might very well find myself as a Christian occupying the position of a warden or a member of a parole panel or a judge who has to render a decision about an appeal from a person sentenced to death, for example.


[00:13:35] There are times when we as citizens are carrying out a public responsibility, may be obliged to do things that we would not do in a private role. This is certainly true of people in the military. This is certainly true of people in all of the protection agency police, for example. What does the New Testament tell us about New Testament believers who were members of the Roman Army? What does the New Testament tell us about believers who were members of the military? Now, this is a point about which principal pacifists must. You know, they do remain silent. I'm not aware of any principle pacifist who speaks to this issue. But we have numerous examples of people like this in the New Testament, people who were centurions, for example. Nowhere in the New Testament is there any prescription that these people must, in response to their Christian obligation, abandon their military responsibility? Nowhere is that an obligation. Nowhere. Nowhere is that made clear. Nor is it even suggested that there was anything sub ethical, sub moral about their membership. There was clearly an indication that as believers, they were expected to behave in a Christian way. One one would certainly have a right to expect a Christian centurion, for example, to resist unjust order. That would be one thing. There's nothing wrong. There's no suggestion of anything wrong in Christians serving in the military. Now, I'm going to offer an argument that I believe I believe separates the sheep from the goats on this issue. It is totally persuasive to me. Here is the problem posed to our principal pacifist. This scenario his house is invaded by evil men bent on rape, pillage and murder. They break through the front door. The pacifists wife is there. They are bent on raping her and murdering her.


[00:16:14] His children are there. They are bent on raping the children and murdering the children. Now there are three and only three things. Three and only three things that anybody in that horrible situation can do. Response number one, you can resist, which probably will include violence. You can resist. Or number two, you can turn the other cheek. But the obvious consequence of your nonviolent response to these evil men is going to be enormous evil. The people that you love, you can stand there and passively want your family getting raped and murdered so you can resist yourself, which might be violent. You can stand passively by and watch this evil perpetrated upon people that you love and people for whom you are responsible for. You can pick up your phone and dial 911. Which is paramount. Get this to asking other people to do your dirty work for you. You can call on the police and say, get here as quick as you can. We now know this to be the puzzle that this creates for the principle pacifist by refusing to resist evil. He is responsible for greater evil occurring to those for whom he is responsible. But when he calls upon the police to come and defend him, he is violating his pacifist principles because he is really asking somebody else to do his dirty work for him. Now, I would suggest to you that if the position of Scripture regarding principal pacifism is unclear, and I do think it's pretty hard when you sort everything out, it's pretty hard to come up with a ringing, clear, all ambiguous defense of pacifism in every situation. And then when you couple that with the consequences of pacifism, and I'll say more about that before we're through it, it becomes obvious that pacifism is is is is a is a set of convictions, which in many instances will only advance the cause of evil and harm and suffering in the world.


[00:19:16] We live in a dirty world of fallen men and women who all allegiance to no God or no standard of rightness. And we need people in this world to hold back the hordes of evil. And that's going to mean that's going to mean violence. All right. And if anybody if you counsel people in the future with regard to military service and people want to be taken seriously in the courts, they had better be a principled pacifist against all war. I'm afraid the military can't allow people to pick and choose their wars on the left. See, unless, again, one argues that this is an unjust war, then. Then you may. Then you're going to be put in the position of civil disobedience, perhaps, at which point you'd better be prepared to pay the price for your civil disobedience. But what's clear is it's time to begin to talk about just wars. And in fact, I not only want to talk about just wars in general, I want to talk or talk about just war criteria. These are the the Middle East. Now, there's an interesting InterVarsity press book out there that deals with poor views of war. Barbara, who edited that book? Does anybody? Robert Clough. Okay. And the historic pacifist position is defended in there. And the Just War tour. Who defends the just war position? Know there are art homes in Oklahoma. And Harold, O.J. Brown defends the holy war concept. And that's that that always makes the hair on the back of my neck stick up a little bit. The Holy War. Why Harold would defend that. And there's a fourth tradition in there, and I can't recall what it is. And do not really something Christian non resistance and Christian pacifism. You can go way back in to ancient times and you can find a recognition, a distinction between just an unjust war.


[00:21:38] The distinction it first appears in the in the pagan Roman thinker Cicero Cicero article. And I won't go into the details of Cicero's position, but many of the principles of a just war tradition that I'll begin enumerating shortly are certainly suggested by Cicero. And then, of course, the idea of just war tradition is is picked up later by Saint Augustine and then Thomas Aquinas and then Luther and Calvin. All right. Now, here are here are ten points with regard to the just war tradition. Point number one, the just war tradition does not justify all wars. If there is a just war, which would be justified. By then, by implication, there are unjust wars that are not justifiable. So this tradition does not justify all wars. It only justifies so-called just wars. Point to what is the legitimate aim of any just war. Answer peace through the vindication of justice. The objective of any truly just war is the attainment of peace through the vindication of justice. The end of a just war is a just peace. Is there such a thing as an unjust peace? Yeah, there is. The state of Europe after World War One, I suggest, was an unjust peace that laid the foundations for World War Two. When Germany signed the armistice at the end of World War One, Germany was not a defeated foe. They had plenty of potential to cause enormous mischief and death for years to come. But once after the armistice, the Allied powers got Germany to disarm and surrender. They then made the serious mistake of dumping all kinds of unjust reparations upon the German people, which created enormous unrest and helped create a climate in which Adolf Hitler could come to power. Stupid. So we want the purpose of a just war is the attainment of a just peace.


[00:24:31] Point three There are circumstances in which the proper authority of the state may use force in defense of its people. The Just War doctrine recognizes that there are circumstances in which a proper authority, a legitimate legal authority, political authority may use force in defense of its people. Number four. War may only be waged by legitimate civil authority. War may only be waged by legitimate civil authority. In other words, you don't. You don't have a situation such as you have, let's say, in the in the surviving remnants of Hungary or the warlords of China, for example. There must also be and this is part of this is part of the same point. There must be a formal declaration of war. There must be a formal declaration of war. You know how Adolf Hitler invaded Poland? He set up some pretext. Fact. What he did was he dressed German soldiers and Polish uniforms, and they pretended to attack German installations. But they were German soldiers doing this. All right. The Poles have more sense. They wanted to attack the Germans. So Hitler set up this pretext, and then he declared war. A righteous war against the Poles. Well, Hitler declared war, but of course, the grounds leading up to that were were most unjust. This is now number five. The war must be fought for a just purpose. The purpose for which the war is fought must be just. The recourse to war must be the very last resort. All other means must have failed the record. The war must be the very last resort. Next point, The motive of the war must be just. The purpose of the war must be just the motive of the war must be just. What's the. What was? Let's take Desert Storm, for example.


[00:26:47] What was the purpose of that war? Well, to get Iraq out of Kuwait, we got you know, let's be honest, the there's a public relations issue here and there's everything else. Iraq was not had not only unjustly invaded an independent country, but it was the presence of Iraq's military was posing a serious threat to the economic lifeline of the free world. The irony is that if Saddam Hussein had not stopped in Kuwait, but had continued into Saudi Arabia, he could have captured all. Of Saudi Arabia, there would have been nothing we could have done. All right. So we were there to free an overrun sovereign power that had that was the unjust victim of a tyrannical and evil enemy. But we were also there to defend our own national interest. And, you know, there are some Christians who who act as though being concerned about America's national interest is somehow evil. I don't buy that somehow, because in spite of our problems, you see what behind that is, You know, there may be some legitimate biblical concerns there, but but that also plays into the hands of the of the of the political far left as well. When you look for the major force of stability and peace and justice in the world, and you can tell I'm not an anti-American. We better have a strong United States in the world. There are times there are times in the history of the world when Christians should care about national interests, because there are some countries in the world that are more just than other countries in spite of whatever internal problems they might have. Okay. There must be a reasonable hope of success. There must be a reasonable hope of success. The idea being that you don't go to war and you don't suffer all of the consequences of that unless there's a reasonable chance that this is going to work out well.


[00:29:22] The good consequences expected from going to war should outweigh the evils incurred in waging the war. A just war is one in which the expected outcome will produce more good than the evils that result from waging the war. Next point. Violence must only be directed towards armed combatants. Violence must only be directed towards armed combatants. Everything possible should be done to protect the lives and the safety of innocent noncombatants. You should observe and preserve the immunity of noncombatants. And number ten, the war must be waged in such a way that only the minimum force needed to achieve the ends of the war may be used. The war minimum force needed to achieve the ends. All right, Now, let me comment about some of these principles. All right. First of all, many people would argue, and I would agree with them, that however many unjust wars there have been in the history of the world, World War Two, from the allied perspective, was a just war. We were dealing with an evil force, evil powers who were perpetrating enormous injustice upon conquered peoples and who were threatening an expansion of their injustice worldwide and had the free world not stood up to Hitler and Japan. There would have been no free world. There would be no free world. Now, as we know, the Axis forces, the German and Italian and Japanese forces to just notice them. They clearly were not interested in the power and the and the pursuit of a just war. There was no difference in German strategy between combatants and noncombatants as the German army swept eastward towards Moscow. They slaughtered every one they could get their hands on. They butchered tens of thousands of innocent noncombatants. Of course, the Russians themselves hardly have bloodless, clean hands in this.


[00:32:00] By the time Hitler set his eyes on Moscow, Stalin had already murdered tens of millions of his own people. He wasn't about to be deterred from additional bloodshed in the pursuit of his own political power. Now it is clear that once World War Two started, events occurred during the pursuit of World War Two, which are clearly unjust, in fact. Let me write two words on the board. Use OD, bellum and use in Bello. Davis makes a distinction between these two Latin terms. You should know. You should know what these words mean. Use od bellum is a It is the criteria that identify whether a particular war is just to begin with. Is this a war of defense against hostile evil aggressors? Then it's a just war. Is this the pursuit of just goals? So use r bellum would be the criteria that identify whether this particular war is just use in Bello is an identification of the kinds of conduct within that war that would be just so that you can be involved in a just war and perpetrate actions which themselves are unjust. We can talk about just war and pacifism. Keep this in mind. The occurrence of unjust events in an otherwise just war does not make that war unjust. It can make us ashamed of those events. It can make us all wish that those events had never occurred. I am still ashamed. The My Lai massacre, that horrible event. And of course, there are people who want us to all go on a lengthy guilt trip because of the bad actions of a few people. But the advent of the nuclear age, we are told, changed everything. And it is very popular on a lot of Christian campuses these days, both college and seminary, to lead people into thinking that just wars are no longer possible in a nuclear age.


[00:34:49] And this has led to the rise of a new position called nuclear pacifism. A nuclear pacifist is a person who believes that while pacifism was not justified, while there just wars are possible and permitted and justified, the advent of nuclear weapons has changed all of that. And we are now living in a time in human history where we must all be nuclear pacifists. Now it is a little hard to pin down precisely what these people want. One way of explaining their position is to is can be summarized in the view that anybody who would start a nuclear war must be insane. I would suggest to you that's true. All right. But it also looks a little obvious. There was never as long as there were rational people in control of the button. There was never a time when the United States of America was going to start a nuclear holocaust. Now, I am terribly concerned that large numbers of Christians in the world are being led down a garden path here with regard to issues of military defense on the basis of questionable reasoning as to this whole business. Let me let me list some of the people who are nuclear pacifists. Billy Graham has described himself publicly as a nuclear pacifist. I understand Billy Graham carries a lot of weight in this world among Christians. John stopped, Perhaps the most influential Christian in England, has identified himself as a nuclear pacifist. I won't mention Ron Snyder here because Snyder is a pacifist par excellence. Snyder is a pacifist even because of the just war tradition. Needless to say, Snyder is a nuclear pacifist. Now, let's try and sort things out here. Let's try to attain a degree of illumination and light on this matter.


[00:37:20] And I guess one way we could start is by saying something about Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Well, it is easy in retrospect to condemn the immorality of dropping those bombs on those two Japanese cities. I don't believe that I if I had been Harry Truman, I don't believe that I would have made the same decision had I been in Harry Truman's position. And maybe some of you know more about the history of World War Two than I do. I'll tell you what I would have done. I would have said to our Air Force, you detonate those bombs in Tokyo Harbor and you show those Jap, and then we'll tell the Japanese that the next one, the next one will be over one of those cities. But let's detonate the first one over Tokyo Harbor and then give them 48 hours to surrender. That's what I would have done. But now let's go back, though, and look at the ambiguities of the situation in 1945. We have just waged a costly campaign for Okinawa. I don't know. I have an uncle who fought in Okinawa and my uncle fought. I think he he he he stormed ashore at every island campaign in the Pacific. Well, if you go back and you study your history of World War Two, what Okinawa taught us was the fact that the Japanese are not interested. They don't have a particular interest in surrendering. As I recall, there were less than 100 Japanese soldiers that finally surrendered at the end of the war. But the battle. Okinawa, those who who no longer could quite pull themselves either by committing Harry Carey or by jumping off cliffs. All right. So now we're ready to invade the islands of Japan. If we lost this many people.


[00:39:26] Both sides, Japanese and American. If we've lost this many people for this small piece of real estate called Okinawa. How many people are going to die fighting for Japan? We've got to end this war. We're not going to sign an armistice as long as Japan is still a viable military force. Estimates were that 10 million people would die in an invasion of Okinawa. The Japanese didn't know how many we had left. We only had two left. So Truman decided to explode the first one over Hiroshima. Was that right then? And you know what happened? The Japanese didn't. Didn't give in, in spite of everything that happened at Hiroshima. So I said a minute ago, I would have exploded the first one over Tokyo Harbor. We only had two. We were interested in defending American lives. Maybe your grandfather All right. Certainly my uncle. Several of my uncles. By this time, my father had been wounded. And he was. He was home as a as a wounded veteran. So we've only got two of these. We could waste one over Tokyo Bay. Know, that's probably what I would have done. But the Japanese army, the Japanese government still didn't surrender after what we did at Hiroshima. They forced us to explode another one over Nagasaki. And that's when finally they sued for peace terms. Now, what happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki is horrible, but as horrible as those and they were horrible. As horrible as those two events were, they probably saved 10 million people from from the invasion that would have occurred. I don't know whether this line of argument works or not. I guess it did. It does appear to be a little utilitarian, and I am not a utilitarian, but I do know that if in retrospect we had looked at our use of those weapons and of course nobody knew what was going to happen, I knew what was going to happen at Hiroshima and we stopped even when we the decision was made to send the second bomber out and explode that second weapon over Nagasaki.


[00:42:02] We didn't really know completely what horror we had wrought on the ground, but I think in retrospect, if if we can look at this through possible worlds, to reintroduce the possible worlds doctrine here, a possible world in which we did not use. Perhaps because we might not have had those atomic weapons and we had sent the Marines and the Army on to the mainland of Japan to try and secure the peace. The horrors of that event, which would have involved saturation bombing and firebombing of Japanese cities, and we would have leveled Japan to the ground through conventional weapons. That would not have been that would not have been an easy alternative to what happened. Now, let me say here that the consequences of a nuclear war are unthinkable. But I would argue that the consequences of nuclear pacifism are also unthinkable. Let us take the specific arguments that Ronald Sider issued in 1983. I think that was in his book called And Help Me Out here. Nuclear deterrence and whatever. Look at all the nuclear holocaust in and Christian hope. Ron Sider coauthored that with somebody else whose name I forgot doesn't matter. I would say I would point out to you that Ron Sider has acted in the last two years as though he never published that book. All right. He never refers to that book himself any more. It's a very interesting book. Ron Sider begins in the first chapter, presenting a peaceful scene in Moscow. And now I can identify with that some of innocent Russian children and innocent. Russian man combatants, suddenly seeing a bright light in the sky and then undergoing the horrors of the same nuclear holocaust that had befall only it would be far worse. Of course, this would be a much this would be a hydrogen bomb, of course.


[00:44:29] In setting up that scenario, Snyder suggests that that nuclear conflagration would have occurred as a result of our initiating it, saying God bless America, starting that as though the Russian, the Soviet military itself bore no culpability in the Cold War at all. But again, the political left wants us to believe that the Cold War always was a mirage, and the Cold War always was an innocent Russian reaction to American intransigence and militarism. The poor Russians were surrounded, you see, And that accounts for all of the Cold War that happened. What was one side? What was the outcome of Ron Snyder's recommended alternative to nuclear deterrence? Snyder denies that this is what he said, but it's in his book. He's I've heard him deny it over the radio. No Christian can possibly support war in a nuclear age. Therefore, the only Christian alternative is unilateral disarmament and unilateral surrender. We, as the God fearing combatants in this face to face shootout, simply throw down our weapons, raise our arms, and say to the Soviet military, to the Cuban military, to the Chinese military, we are we surrender. Now, the problem, of course, and inside of face is that to some extent in that book is what evils would have followed such a unilateral disarmament and a unilateral surrender. Snyder says things would have been pretty tough. There would have been I mean, we would have been inviting the evil empire to take us over and there would have been theft and rape and murder and mayhem on a scale unparalleled. But Snyder had an alternative for this. His art, his his way of meeting the evil of the invading armies that would have followed his recommended unilateral surrender. His alternative to this was nonviolent resistance on the part of Americans nonviolent resistance, which he suggests which which would engender such support and sympathy on the part of the rest of the world that the Russians would become a shell and of the butchery that they were they were perpetrating upon the American people.


[00:47:34] And in shame, they would then begin to treat us as their conquered enemies with far more justice. Now, Oh, great, great. You talk about a pipe dream. I'd like to see Oliver Stone do a movie. About. About what? About what would have happened there. Now, let's. Let's. Let's get rid of this Gandhi syndrome, all right? And again, of course, it's the left that makes a movie that idolizes Gandhi without telling us about the serious moral problems that existed in Gandhi's private life. I mean, this man was a moral pervert. But we don't we don't read about that. We don't hear about that. Gandhi, of course, and his nonviolent resistance did succeed in India. It did work with the British army. But here is the question Why did Gandhi's nonviolence work in India and what is the answer? Let me hear like Gandhi's nonviolence work, because there was a free world out there still that was concerned with justice and that rose up in opposition to the murder of innocent civilians by the British military. But would there have been a would the does the analogy between Gandhi's India and the situation that it would exist after siders recommended unilateral disarmament? Is there is there a significant difference there? Yes. There would be no free world that. The proper analogy is not between America post a Soviet takeover and Gandhi's India. The proper analogy is between US post-Soviet takeover of the free world and what the Nazis would have done in a similar circumstance. That's the proper analogy where you set up execution camps and murder people by the millions because their skin is the wrong color or their religious beliefs don't happen to satisfy the Nazi warlords. This idea of nonviolent resistance is undoubtedly the most embarrassing utopian pipe dream ever perpetrated upon the Amir upon American evangelicals.


[00:50:22] What I well, I guess what I'm getting at is this. We paid a price to remain a source of opposition against an empire that truly was perhaps the most evil empire in the history of the world. And we won. By golly, we won. And the reason we won was because it finally became clear to the sensible people who finally gained control of the Soviet Union that we weren't going to give up, that they had nothing to gain. They could not cow us or fear us into the kind of unilateral surrender that people like Ron Sider wanted to perpetrate. And the costs finally became more than the Soviet Union could bear. And Gorbachev began to make those changes, not because he was a good man, not because he knew what was going to result. He knew he had to make those changes before the Soviet Union collapsed from within. He looked at his own country and he said, We've got maybe one or two years before this thing falls apart. That's why so many Russian people find it absolutely incredible that Gorbachev got the Nobel Peace Prize. That guy didn't really care for peace. That was an indirect consequence of actions that he started to try and salvage as much Russian communism as he could. And that's why the man on the street in Moscow today believes that the guy who really should have gotten the Nobel Peace Prize was Ronald Reagan, who who who refused to weaken our defensive position, our defensive posture, who made it clear to the Soviets that every time they upped the ante, we will up the ante and we will meet their bet until they realized that they couldn't win. And then they began to give in. The ironic feature of the present situation is this If we had listened to the nuclear pacifists, Russia Today would still be controlled by the Communist Party.


[00:52:49] If we had really listened to the nuclear pacifists, we would not today be facing the greatest opportunity for peace in the history of the 20th century, in the history of the modern world, where these two great superpowers may finally come together and work together for peace and cooperate in putting down the small little dictator in countries like Iraq or Libya. The peace that that that that remains a prospect today is a peace that came about not through weakness, but through strength. However distasteful the use of that strength would have been had we been forced to use it. Now, that may still not provide that may. That's a utilitarian argument. We won. We won because we were strong. We won because we didn't listen to the left. And now we really do have a chance at peace. Now we really do have a chance to destroy many of these nuclear weapons. Now, I want to say a couple of other things about this. All right. First of all, I want to write the words mad on the board. Mutual assured destruction. During the 1960s, this seemed to be the prevailing policy on both sides. If you bomb us, we're going to obliterate you. We're going to bomb you back to the Stone Age. You send one nuclear weapon in our direction and we will obliterate your country. And that was the language that was being used on both sides. Now, what was the first side of this debate that began that that began to modify the mad policy? Answer It was the United States. We began to target our nuclear weapons, not on centers of population, but on military targets. The Soviets continued to target their nuclear weapons against our largest population centers. We, in effect, said to ourselves or to the Soviets, we don't want to we don't want to destroy millions of innocent noncombatants.


[00:55:24] We're going to go after your military. We're going to go after your army units. You're going to. We're going to go after your Air Force units. We're going to go after your. Your silos. So kids got angry at that. They did. And, you know, after once, once Russia began to open up, we can understand why the Soviets were angry at that. Had there been a nuclear war in which we had taken out their military, the Soviet citizens would have revolted against what survived. The Soviets during the sixties and seventies and early eighties would have been much happier with a situation in which we blew Moscow to pieces, then a situation in which we took their military out of the picture because the Soviets knew. The Soviet leaders knew that without their military to keep the people at home under control, the people would have rebelled against the Soviet leadership and the Soviet military. Now, so I'm saying if you're looking for just war, it is it is difficult, it is defeat, but it is not impossible to lay out a just war scenario in a nuclear age. The pieces of that puzzle would include would include targeting only military targets as much as possible, using low yield weapons instead of weapons of mass destruction, which spread radioactive waste over large areas of the country using low yield weapons, targeting non civilian populations, and of course doing everything possible to reduce the nuclear the size of the nuclear war weapon weakness. But also doing one other thing. And some people say for all of the static that this business created, this may have been the straw that broke the Soviet back. Reagan's refusal to give up on Star Wars. Now, once again, the political and the religious left went absolutely nuts over Star Wars.


[00:57:50] There were commercials, some of you may remember, during the 1988 presidential election, during the 84 presidential election that suggested that Reagan was an apocalyptic nut who was anxious to take nuclear weapons into outer space, when in truth, the whole Star Wars scheme was non nuclear. Nobody was advocating the movement of nuclear weapons to space. What we were looking at and Ron Snyder should have paid more attention to this. We were looking at a non nuclear defense against nuclear invasion. Now maybe the technology still may not work, but that was the kind of technology we were looking at a non-nuclear defense system against a first strike from the Soviets, from nuclear. Well, now we face a situation where we are beginning to reduce the nuclear stockpile. Isn't it ironic that we are reducing these nuclear weapons only because we maintained a posture of strength? Ironic, isn't it? For the first time in our life, the nuclear clock has been set back. Instead of it being 2 minutes to midnight, we can hope that it's 5 minutes to midnight, 6 minutes to midnight, and we can hope that further changes in the in the old Soviet Union will lead to greater cooperation on.