Friday, June 5, 2009

Peace and War

Here is the bottom line of this entry: Peace is more than the absence of war.

It's a mixed up world. We call guns and soldiers peace-keepers. We defend the right to keep guns as a measure to ensure peace. There are places where humans have built fences and walls as a way to "keep peace." I have a problem with all of these.

I have been thinking a lot about peace lately. I have been thinking about the need for peace in my own life, in my family, in the world. There isn't a lot of peace anywhere. We are raised in conflict and taught to be contentious. We look out for ourselves and compete in every facet of our lives. It is no wonder that we are filled with jealousy, bitterness, envy, strife, hatred.

Our nature is to be selfish and that leads us, without a consistent check, to lift ourselves up, usually by pushing others down. And in the midst of all this ill-feeling, we are convinced that if there is no war, then there is peace. Hogwash!
  • There is peace when there is an absence of fear. Fear leads us to anxiety, which lead us to paranoia. When we are afraid we arm ourselves. We think about the best ways to defend ourselves. And we are only a couple of steps from war and death. This is not peace.
  • There is peace when there is serenity. Calm and quiet are hallmarks of peace. We should seek to settle our hearts, our thoughts, our minds for the good of those around us.
  • There is peace when people listen to one another and attempt to understand positions different from their own. This is dangerous because it may make you change your mind, but it is vitally important to peace in the world.
  • There is peace when people consider the needs of others as just as valid and important as their own needs. Everything changes when we realize the humanity of "enemies." It is hard for me to hate someone who is hurting or hungry.

Our world is filled with conflict. There are wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan, Congo, Uganda and Sri Lanka among other places. I believe that war is never good. I also believe that peace is more than an absence of war.

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