In the pages above, we criticize the U.S. military machine and the murder of millions of people.
In response, we are usually asked, "what about self-defense?"
The implication of this question is that our "pacifist" position is completely unreasonable, because it would allow evil to triumph.
The concept of "Self-Defense" is always used to justify the existence of "The State," which kills hundreds of millions of people.
Is "self-defense" ever justified? By "self-defense," of course, we do not mean "defense of self," which might include radar around the perimeter of your house, locking your doors, video cameras, electrified fences, tranquilizer darts, a phaser set on "stun," or ordering Scotty to "beam-up" an intruder to the brig of the U.S.S. Enterprise. All of these actions would defend the self and his property, but without killing the intruder. By "self-defense" we mean killing someone who threatens harm to you. By "self-defense" we mean "lethal force."
- A robber says "give me your wallet." Is "deadly force" justified?
- No. Human life is more important than your wallet.
- You honestly and sincerely believe he MIGHT try to kill you. Is deadly force justified?
- No. Not Biblically.
- The power you are using is equivalent to that of capital punishment. Is the death penalty the rightful penalty for attempted murder? But that's the penalty that you, as judge, would impose on someone you think might try to kill you.
- You are absolutely convinced that the bad guy IS DEFINITELY going to try to kill you. Is deadly force justified?
- No, same reason as above.
- With clairvoyant accuracy, you KNOW the robber is IS GOING TO SUCCEED in killing you. Is it better to take his life or let him take yours?
- What did Christ say?
- Wouldn't it be better if you used an incapacitating, non-lethal force? A tranquilizer gun to put the assailant to sleep? A "phaser" set on stun? Something which would immobilize but not kill? Why not?
This shows that intentional use of lethal force is not necessary nor justified. You can stop an evil act from taking place without killing the evil-doer. I've never met a pacifist who said we should not try to stop evil or defend others; pacifists only oppose using lethal force.
The Christian position is that it is better to be killed than to kill. You should not take someone else's life just to preserve your own.
If someone threatens to kill you, you "witness" to him, announcing the good news of the Gospel. "Witness" here includes the demand for repentance from violations of God's Law, including, obviously, the harm being threatened. The Holy Sprit promises that God's Word will not return void.
"When a manís ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him" (Proverbs 16:7).
If the Lord does not do this, then you may become a "martyr," which comes from the Greek word for "witness." There is no evidence in the New Testament that any faithful Christian chose to kill someone in "self-defense" rather than be a martyr. They followed the example of Jesus.
But it is the act of killing -- the power of death -- which is used to attempt to justify "the State."
Even if there were not other ways to prevent theft or attempted homicide (and there are), how would the concept of "self-defense" justify the concept of "national defense?"
"National defense" does not arise when a nation threatens another nation, but only after an attack has already been made. Here is the analogy: While on the beach at Waikiki, a burglar breaks into your hotel room and steals your valuables. The hotel video camera identifies the intruder as a resident of the island of Kauai. You bomb Kauai and all its residents. Of course it goes without saying that you didn't "intend" to kill the innocent neighbors of the burglar. This is merely unfortunate "collateral damage."
Of course, if a nation engages in a "first-strike" of the island before the burglar has actually done anything wrong, the offense of "the State" becomes particularly egregious.
"National Defense" usually means "defense of the State" or defense of "the government," Not defense of YOU. YOU are expendable. Since the State is an unlawful entity, killing someone created in the Image of God in order to protect systematic vengeance and rebellion against God is not an ethical option. Christ clearly taught it was better to be occupied and put under tribute than to engage in violent revolution against "the powers that be," or "national defense" against the
powers that wanna be.
The movement from "self-defense" to a justification of "the State" is never a logical one.