I think I was about 10 years old when this became my favourite carol. It is full of reality and yet hope. Phrases like “Two thousand years of wrong” and “Men at war with man” deeply affected me – and still do. The writer tells it like it is and writes of “life’s crushing load” and “the weary road” and yet speaks about “peace on the whole earth ” and “the love song which they (the angels) bring”.
Once again we hear of kids being massacred at a school by a man with a gun. Most people I know who live in Britain rather than America are horrified and puzzled by the American obsession with gun ownership. The statistics clearly point to drastically reduced gun related deaths when there is strong gun ownership control. But strong government control is anathema to many citizens in the ‘land of the free”.
Viewed the situation from the outside, I and many others, can be judgemental of our American cousins. We are actually in danger of being hypocritical, bearing in mind how much money Britain makes by selling weapons around the world. Continue reading “Guns, Kids and the Arms Trade”
I believe that the world is standing at the crossroads. Are we moving to a more united world where the problems of war, extreme poverty and disease are reduced or even eliminated? Or are we are moving towards a world divided by nationalism and racism resulting in war, economic disaster, deprivation and misery? Continue reading “Optimistic or Pessimistic future”
Is war ever justifiable? I contend that there is no such thing as a ‘just war’. We must ask the question: “What does Jesus say about fighting for King, country, empire, freedom or democracy?” Can violence overcome evil, even if it is the lesser of the two evils, and is it morally acceptable?
We live in a society in which the law intervenes if we injure, hurt emotionally or physically, or kill another human being. Yet in war, our soldiers are encouraged to kill soldiers and civilians, all in the name of patriotism! What sort of logic says that if I go to another country and kill people I would be jailed or executed, but if our politicians declare war I can put on a uniform and be encouraged to kill.
The ‘just war’ theory was invented when the emperor Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire. It has been used throughout history by the ‘Church’ to legitimise killing, suffering and devastation. During the middle ages the priesthood would tell their Kings that their evil plans were justified because the other side were even more evil. Continue reading “Just war theory, non-violence and Jesus”
The terrorist group known as ISIS, ISIL, IS or DAESH is obviously a major threat to peace in the Middle East and to a lesser extent to Western nations who oppose its aims. They have executed (murdered) at least 10,000 men, women and children between June 2014 and September 2015 — in Iraq (7,000 plus) and Syria (about 3,000). Continue reading “Should we bomb in Syria”
It’s all about compassion. As I write this, the news media is full of information about the “refugee crisis” or “migrant crisis”. Hot spots are Calais in France, Southern Italy and Libya, Budapest in Hungary, and the island of Cos in Greece and Turkey. Who cannot be moved by the photograph of a young boy’s body, washed up on the beach. Politicians can rationalise and talk about the underlying causes but I sense a change in ordinary people’s attitudes as they feel sympathy, empathy and compassion towards people they see as fellow human beings. Continue reading “Compassion for Refugees”
Pessimists and scare-mongerers like to say that the world is getting worse and worse. The opposite is true. Television news and newspapers make us more aware of problems throughout the world but statistics paint a very different picture. As Harold Macmillan said back in 1957, “Most of our people have never had it so good”. Extreme poverty is reducing, diseases are being eliminated, fewer people are dying because of war and life expectancy is improving. If you want a fuller picture, read on. Continue reading “You’ve never had it so good”
There is a cost to being opposed to violence. The cross stands out as the ultimate price of non-violence. Jesus allowed men of violence to nail him to that cross and apparently triumph over him. But the resurrection of Jesus from the dead was the ultimate triumph of love over violence.
Violence is the actions of men or women against other men and women, involving physical or psychological force, in an attempt to gain power over other people.
- In children it results in bullying
- In evil men it results in criminality
- In despots it results in oppression
- In nations it results in war.