15 February 2008

a brain for peace

More wisdom from the font of Jürgen Moltmann's autobiography. (I seem to be drinking deeply from it lately!) Here's something from the Gesellschaft für Evangelische Theologie (Society for Protestant Theology), in which he was an integral member. In August 1981, they published a declaration called "Spreading Peace." (This was Ronald Reagan's first year as US president; peace, at home or abroad, wasn't one of his top priorities.)

On learning to love our enemies: "Friend-foe thinking prepares the ground for wars. Artficially built up pictures of the enemy exploit fears and evoke aggressions...Once fear of the enemy is made the counsellor of politics, peace is endangered, not only outwardly but inwardly as well. The loyalty of a country's people to the government they have chosen will then no longer be assured through the fulfilment of the mandate to rule, but through the spread of fear, whether it be fear of the state's enemies, or whether it be fear of being considered such an enemy" (p. 259).

Politicians are good at whipping up fear, whether it is by claiming that the Soviet Union was the focus of all evil in the world (the "evil empire") or by declaring that "they hate us for our freedom." Citizens are good at whipping up fear by swallowing such nonsense without bothering to think for themselves. Jesus asks a good question in Luke 12:57. "Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?"

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