How peaceful does the world feel right now? My guess is most of you would answer, ‘not very’ and with good reason. Russia has invaded and annexed a part of another country for the second time in 6 years and tensions are at their highest since the end of the Cold War. Elsewhere civil war continues to destroy Syria and the battle against ISIS rages on. Tensions are high in South Sudan and Yemen, Libya is in chaos, peace in Israel and Palestine is as far off as ever and no one would call either Afghanistan or Iraq ‘safe.’ It would be unwise to forget the nuclear ambitions of Iran and the unpredictable basket case of North Korea either when considering global security.
On the other hand, it would appear that as this video makes out, the world has never been more peaceful.
However despite the reduction of war, war between nations hasn’t gone away and humans average at least two major wars each century and in the last century those wars were global and cost millions of lives. The danger since then is that the next war will be a nuclear one and as The Economist points out even though there are fewer nuclear weapons the risks are higher than at any time in the last 30 years.
War and peace remains a crucial issue for Christians to give some thought to. Right now it probably isn’t the highest issue of discipleship for young Christians in Western Europe but what if you were living in East Ukraine? What then? In the UK it’s a general election year and Christians should rightly care about social policy but also foreign policy.
As a pastor I am against nuclear weapons while being realistic enough to know that power and human nature being what they are, they’re unlikely to be disposed of any time soon.
We need Christians to engage with these issues so it was helpful to listen (to the occasionally rambling) discussion on Mere Fidelity on war and non-violence. You can find a good series of articles at Think Theology. Sadly, I expect to continue to write about this issue.