war and the human life

Yesterday I watched the first half of the documentary entitled “Soldiers of Conscience.” This short film documents the experiences of Iraqi soldiers and their reflections on killing.

One particular soldier (who actually has never taken another life) had a very interesting viewpoint. “War,” he said, “is necessary if we want to live human lives.” This was juxtaposed with other soldiers (who actually had killed others) who said that the experience of warfare had taken away their humanity.

So, I find myself in a Christian conundrum. What exactly is the natural state of humanity? Is it one of requisite killing (an enforced peace, or pax) or is it one of intentional peace (shalom)?

Or, and perhaps this is the disturbing question to all of us, can I only ask such questions because I can sleep safely in my warm bed at night? What does that say about Christianity, warfare, and the United States?

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