ialterman at nyc.rr.com
Sat Sep 4 18:51:00 PDT 2004
A letter sent in response to a recent Times article.
----- Original Message -----
To: letters at nytimes.com
Sent: Saturday, September 04, 2004 9:50 PM
As a minister, I find it stunning that at no point during his piece on "just-war theory" does Peter Steinfels ever note what the Scripture actually says about war ("Beliefs," Sept. 4). Indeed, he should have been stopped in his tracks when just-war theorist Michael Walzer used the phrase "the moral character of the war" - a self-contradictory statement, since, according to Scripture, "war" and "moral" are virtually polar opposites.
How is it that so many people call themselves "Christians" - which means "followers of Christ" - yet fail to follow Him, or even to consider what He actually did and said? Jesus' ministry was about love, peace, humility, compassion, forgiveness, patience, charity, selflessness and service. I challenge any "Christian" to read the New Testament and find me a single phrase which supports "war" - much less discusses the relative "morality" of different wars. It simply isn't there.
Christians are called to live "Christ-like" lives; i.e., to follow the example of Christ, and to live the above-listed virtues to the best of their mortal ability. Jesus would never have condoned violence of any type, much less war. (He even rebuked Peter for cutting off the ear of one of the soldiers who came to arrest Him - and He restored the soldier's ear.)
In this regard, any person who calls themselves a "Christian" should be emulating Christ, and condemning all violence and war. Anything else is apostasy.
Rev. Ian Alterman
New York City
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