Pacifism is Morally Indefensible

by cofty 78 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • slimboyfat

    JWs belive you can defend yourself or loved ones if their life is threatened. Where did you get the idea this was forbidden? I'm surprised no one else pointed this out.

  • cofty
    JWs belive you can defend yourself or loved ones if their life is threatened

    Wilfully taking a life is forbidden. Owning a firearm and shooting a burglar would get you in front of a JC. So would joining the army. So would being an armed policeman.

    That is morally infantile.

  • Brokeback Watchtower
    Brokeback Watchtower

    I think under many circumstances it is morally justifiable to the morals that the particular person has after all moral are not universal.

    Your title seems like you are just blowing off a little steam, the joys of the internet and benefits I might add.

    Because you of all persons must know the wide brush you are painting with when you make a sweeping statement like that.

  • jamesmahon

    What is morally inexcusable is failing to take a stand against what your own conscience tells you is wrong. How you choose to take that stand - be it enlisting to physically fight or with passive resistance - is merely then a question of what will prove to be most effective for you to try to stop what you see as wrong. I have always thought I would have fought in the first and second wars but in no others. On reflection that would probably be the case still, but I am left with a couple of doubts.

    What exactly would I be fighting for in either war? It is clear I suppose what I am fighting against. A fascist regime (really in both wars). But the idea that Germany was a direct threat to my family in either war at the start is just revisionist. They had no war aims at the start of the 1st war. If they had got to Paris quickly in 1914 then the outcome would probably have been the same as the Franco Prussian war 50 years before. France pays some money, Germany takes a bit of land. That was there stated aim a few months in and pretty much the peace deal signed with Russia in 1917.

    Now the second war. They did not want to fight the UK. Why did we fight? It was not to stop Hitler killing Jews and anyone who pretends that is the case needs to read their books a bit better. Rather it was about empire - as indeed it had been in the first war.

    And here in lies the dilemma. The only two wars I can see that a pacifist response may have been morally indefensible is with the benefit of hindsight. At the time and probably for the people fighting them they were about defending the empire - a system that was as morally as reprehensible as the systems in the first and second wars we were fighting against. And who knows - if we had not have fought in the first war and Germany had a quick win over the French and Russians there may have been no Stalin and no Hitler and the world a very different place for the ensuing 100 years. We will never know what it would have looked like but we all want to believe it would have looked worse to justify the brave actions of our ancestors.

    So I would say pacifism is always morally defensible if that is the action that an individual believes at the time is their own best response to a wrong that they perceive occurring. That it is sometimes (if not always) only after the event that we can look back and try to understand what the best course of action could or should have been. I would say in almost every war in history joining and fighting with the military on either side of the war was the morally indefensible choice at the time and with hindsight.

  • slimboyfat

    JWs teach that lethal force can be used to protect themselves and their families. That they seek to avoid doing so unless absolutely necessary may be a fine distinction, but one many could understand.

    I think most pacifists defend that position on moral grounds. So I don't think it makes sense to say you can't defend it on moral grounds. If it's not defended on moral grounds, then how?

    Kant suggested that a key test for any ethical action is the question: what if everyone did the same? If we apply that test to pacifism, then the result is clear. If everyone acted as pacifists do, there would be no war. Would that be a good outcome? Realistically not everyone opposes war. Fascist intellectuals, such as they were, taught that wars are good for nations, and many businesses make good money from war. So not everyone would be pleased if there was no more war. But many ordinary people, the sort called on to fight, or their families, probably a majority of people, would consider the end of war to be a moral good.

  • shadow

    In addition to personal self-defense, jw’s do not oppose Armageddon or wars sanctioned by jehovah recorded in bible so pacifist is a misnomer.

  • Ruby456

    this is a complex argument that you are making cofty and the support you offer seems intuitively and logically true so I won't enter into any arguments against you especially as you have 14 likes!!! Having just finished week 5 of self organisation and complexity with Lex Hoodguin and the university of Groningen in the Netherlands on Futurelearn I will have to think carefully on how to respond. meanwhile please have fun and I think that others here have come with some strong counter arguments too

  • smiddy3

    What kind of a world today would we be living in if the USA , GB,and Australia were truly pacifists during the second world war. ?

    I shudder to think

    Jehovah God was never a pacifist in actual fact he was a warmonger no wonder humans created in his image like to fight wars.

    Jesus Christ never came to bring peace but a sword to cause divisions in a family so by extension you divide a community and then a nation ,and then you have global conflicts.

  • Ruby456

    Smiddy most people envisage a simpler way of life, very similar to what jws portray for the future. Witnesses are proclaiming a way of life that is most likely to be the only viable option we have left if we do not bring ourselves to extinction first.

    hunter gathers and simple agricultural farming and such like is what I mean

  • cofty
    pacifist is a misnomer - Shadow

    It never fail to disappoint how so many people can't be bothered to read a concise OP before commenting.

    Technically the Watchtower are not pacifists; they just refuse to take life. - O.P.

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