Oh, did I shock you?
I’m so sorry to have treaded on your delicate sensitivities.
But war is popular these days, and I’m going to tell you why I think it is.
We glorify it. We worship it. Because it’s exactly what we think we want.
Since long before 9/11, we’ve made and gobbled up the movies and television shows and books and video games where might makes right and good guys blow bad guys away and heroes are people who have at least one gun in each hand and a missile launcher in their backpack and a couple of ammo belts crossed over their chests.
What a bunch of crap.
But we buy it and we love to buy it because we believe the world is full of evil and it has nicked us once or twice and we want our revenge and we want to believe that the best way to deal with it is to blow it away.
What incredible bullpuckey.
That’s the easy way to deal with evil. You don’t like something; it’s evil: blow it away. You were right and righteous to do so. Good must always triumph over evil, and you must be the agent of good, so if you blew something away, you must be good to do so and it must be evil.
What a heap of fewmets.
When you gulp them down like they were steak, you don’t have a clue or care to guess how many dollars you are pouring into the coffers of the very, very rich people who fund that propaganda in order to make themselves very, very much richer at the cost of sanity, limbs and lives.
When you buy into that philosophy — when you spend those bucks to see that movie or buy that video game or purchase that gun or gullibly swallow everything that website has to say about your God-given American right to own and use a gun at your discretion so you can blow away the bad guys — you’ve bought shit.
The problem is not that I’m willing to call your closely-held sacred beliefs a bunch of excrement; the problem is, there’s hardly anyone left who’s willing to say so and give you the reasons why. American Christianity is almost totally sold out to might-makes-right religion and God-is-on-our-side theology.
And the secular voices that have been willing to try to stem the tide have been almost totally flooded over as well.
There are no popular movies like Bridge on the River Kwai or television series like M*A*S*H or the original Star Trek around to show episodes that show and tell or even just imply how absolutely devastating, barbaric, and unconscionable the acts of war can be. No documentaries are ever made anymore that hint at criticism of anything that our government and armed forces might be doing that’s questionable.
In fact, journalists and photographers are literally not allowed to even show us what it’s like to prosecute a war or to exterminate entire towns and villages of men, women and children or even photograph the flag-draped caskets of the young men and women we sent to wage those battles as our proxies. No, that might jeopardize the ongoing operation — even if the coverage is years old when it is shown.
Plus, I don’t know of any current high school teachers or even fully-tenured college professors who would, career-wise at the very least, long survive teaching works like Johnny Got His Gun or Mark Twain’s The War Prayer.
There’s no thrill to the seemingly endless talks of a peace table, so you won’t find any video games that feature them. Instead, they feature the virtual unreality of getting to blow away someone that you want to hate — even when you don’t have a clue or care who they might be, or might be working for or toward, or protecting. They just have a uniform of a different color. Or skin of a different color. Or a religion of a different color. So they’re the bad guys, and even though you’re in their territory close to their homes and their families, you go there and blow them away. Glorious. Rah-rah for our side. And if you miss and get blown away yourself, hey — you get a re-do!
I don’t have to tell you that the people we send to do our battles for us do not get a re-do. Just because you don’t see their caskets doesn’t mean some don’t come back in them. Or that others don’t come back severely scarred — physically, mentally, emotionally, socially — because of what they’ve seen and sometimes what they’ve had to do.
And practically no one is willing to say a word against it.
No, we’ll just let our returning patriots burn out and fail at life and go quietly mad and continue to cut funding for their care and rehabilitation.
Utter, unChristian, inhuman insanity.
Well, dammitall, I will say a word against it from time to time. War is hell. It maims people. It poisons people. It drives people insane. It kills people. It kills our people. It kills their people. It kills Gods’ people.
“Thou shalt not kill.”
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.”
“Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.”
So you are free to disagree with me and my interpretations of the above scriptures (plus many, many, many more) and embrace your closely-held sacred beliefs that this is exactly the way Jesus would handle things in defense of God’s chosen people, Americans — with a machine-gun in each hand and missile launcher on his back and two ammo belts across his chest.
You can defend every one of those beliefs with whatever twist of scripture you wish to quote from your favorite pulpit or website, in absolutely clear conscience because that’s what you’ve heard and read and — by God, literally — that’s what you want to believe and Jesus died so you could believe it. In fact, you are free to take your sacredly-acquired gun and ammo and just shoot me dead for disagreeing with you because you are right and therefore have the right to exterminate me. I’m your bad guy. Shoot away. I won’t stop you. I don’t have a gun.
But I will tell you, while I still live and breathe, that the way things are in the world right now was never what God intended or wanted for us.
Folks, if you think you can make it better by supporting the culture of blow-it-away, you’re not just fooling yourself but you’re bequeathing future generations a heritage of bloodshed and death and madness and conscience-less violence.
That future is a sewer.
If you’re not standing against it for the sake of your kids and their kids, you are just going with the flow and adding to it.
What a thrill for you.
Why is war so popular these days?
Because it’s what we think we want.
And we are dead wrong.
12 thoughts on “Why War Is So Popular These Days”
Wow. Lots of anger there. Sounds kind of like…hate.
War also saves people. Innocent people. Sets them free from oppressors. I’m for that. Unashamedly. And I can say it w/o profanity.
It is anger. It is not hate. Read carefully. It is love for life that makes the anger burn here. It is hatred that pulls the trigger.
And of course, expressing yourself without offensive words makes your position morally right? Is that the best you can do?
You can be morally outraged at my use of the word “shit” (which, technically, is not profanity), but I should not be morally outraged at the glorification of wholesale slaughter?
I disagree. It is not hate that pulls the trigger. It is love for someone other than self. War is sacrificial.
My lens is very different from yours.
(I find profanity unnecessary, and unbecoming. It doesn’t outrage me, morally or otherwise.)
Pulling the trigger does not show love for the one who dies from the bullet.
And if war is sacrificial … shouldn’t Christians be the first to say that Christ ended the sacrificial age?
I used angry words to express anger. I don’t use them very often. You can search my blog to verify that.
But, yes, my lenses are very different from yours. And I reserve the right to be angry and to speak angrily about the lie that somehow evil can be defeated by more evil.
Like you, I do not carry or own a weapon. Like you, I have studied the passages that call Christians to make peace. I too have read passages that describe God’s anguish when no one steps forward to oppose injustice. Unlike you, I know how much most Soldiers enjoy time spent with their families rather than fighting far away from those families. Unlike you, I preached to American and coalition Soldiers in Afghanistan, have prayed with medics after we tried to identify charred remains of their friends. I have talked to people of that country about working for a future with less fighting. Our forces really do try to minimize loss of life among civilians. We pray for peace; we crave to return to combat zones as peace loving tourists and missionaries. There is a time for war. Let us pray there will be far fewer such times in the future.
Keith–I do know you aren’t often angry. I do. Is that your disclaimer for this rant? Still, the anger mixed with so much sarcasm comes across badly, hatefully.
You said pulling the trigger does not show love for the one who dies from the bullet. It might if it stops them from committing further heinous acts against humanity. Does it show love for the one being protected by the bullet? Yes! If we choose not to protect the innocents, are we not exhibiting hatred to them? That we don’t love them enough to protect, save, and set them free from evil that dominates their lives?
For clarity: this post is about the glorification of war and the paucity of voices willing to say it is something to be avoided.
War happens. I get that. We all get that.
Instead of defending the “necessity” of it, shouldn’t we – especially those who believe in Christ, the Prince of Peace – rather be advocates for effective alternatives?
Why do we begin by assuming that war is necessary? That it should be defended? What does that say about us?
Then you, Michael, of all people should understand first-hand why Christians should not be subsumed by a culture that celebrates war as something good and entertaining.
Keith I am sorry for your hurt I can see it in your words. Trust God. I continue to pray for you
To my mind, this lady is a hero:
And if I were to be in a similar situation, I would rather die doing what she did – communicating love and concern – than to die trading bullets with someone who had nothing left to live for.
When we get to the point where we think were expressing love by pumping bullets into someone just to prevent them from maybe at some point killing someone later, we’ve already become so contaminated by the culture of violence that we can’t think straight.
Is that what the Golden Rule calls for? Executing extreme prejudice and calling it – not law or justice – but LOVE? Because we would want someone to do that to us, judge in advance that we’re a potential threat in the future, so we should be blown away now?
Kudos, Keith. For being open to questioning the groupthink that passes for conventional wisdom in our upside-down world. For taking seriously the wisdom and teaching of scripture and especially for the courage to not only make sense of it but proclaim it. For the sincerity and forthrightness with which you’ve stated your convictions, including your use of graphic language to emphasize your points. You are in good company, as you know from your study of scripture. And further kudos for the courage and fortitude to stand firm against the backlash that was certain to come. More is likely.
I think you know already that I agree with your message. I won’t attempt to add to it here. You have spoken forcefully and well. I agree with your general assessment that the overwhelming majority of American Christians are a big part of the problem, and NOT part of the cure Jesus offers, as demonstrated in part by the push-back you’ve already received. But I will say that despite my similar disillusionment, there ARE a growing number of dissenters from this conventional wisdom. Not nearly enough, obviously, but also not that difficult to find if you look. I won’t attempt to identify or list them here, but I can provide you with some good CURRENT examples of thoughtful folks who share the convictions you’ve shared here.
Soldier on, brother. Diane wanted me to add her kudos to mine. PEACE and Love.
Do you mind if I quote a several of your articles as long as I provide credit and sources returning to your weblog: . I’ll aslo be sure to give you the appropriate anchor text hyperlink using your blog title: . Please be sure to let me know if this is acceptable with you. Thanks alot 🙂