War Continues Because Humans Do Not Make Peace With God

Before getting to the question of “just war,” which theologians and politicians have been arguing for centuries, what about the … Continued

Before getting to the question of “just war,” which theologians and politicians have been arguing for centuries, what about the concept of war, itself? Why have the greatest minds and best intentions of human beings failed to end war?

In the last century, the United Nations and its predecessor, the League of Nations, dramatically failed to bring an end to wars and conflicts, in spite of the efforts of their organizers.

The Bible teaches that humans war with each other because they refuse to make peace with God through his “peace offering” of Jesus Christ. The Apostle James asks, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” (James 4:1-3, NIV)

In the Summa Theologicae, Thomas Aquinas presents the general outline of what has become known as the just war theory. He discusses not only the justification of war, but also the kinds of activities that are permissible in war.

The American point of view has generally been that a war can be just if we are attacked first, or if it seeks to liberate other people from the type of oppressive government or organizing system that enslaves them to dictators who deprive their citizens of life, liberty and the right to select their own rulers and express themselves according to their own minds and consciences.

Not all oppressors can, or should, be ousted through war. But the fact that not all can be ousted does not mean that some can’t, especially when American security and other overwhelming interests are paramount. It is still being debated whether American security and national interests justified U.S. intervention in Iraq.

Also included in the definition of a just war would be the right to self defense. The debate is ongoing as to whether the Bush Administration’s policy of preemptive war fits this definition. I believe it does in the case of terrorism.

Cal Thomas
Written by

  • Mr Mark

    Bill writes:”Was there any war in history that was NOT, in some form another, the product of self-interest?”Good question. Here’s mine:Has there been a war in history where a “weaker” nation declared war against a nation that was clearly its superior in wealth, weaponry and manpower? Why is it that powerful nations are constantly making war on weaker nations with the stated causus belli that the weaker nation is “a threat” to the stronger nation?

  • FRIEND

    War is the instrument of the rich and powerful to obtain and/or control resources. There would be war with or without religion. It is human nature.We must recognize and then leave our animal past behind if we are to prevent war.

  • A Christian

    Are you really a Christian? Why should we retaliate when we were hit by terrorism? Jesus told us to turn the other cheek. So if we are really a Christian nation, we should let the terroists to keep attacking us. In the mean time, we talk with them. Eventually they will understand us and stop attacking. Isn’t the right thing to do if we are really Christians following Jesus’ teaching?

  • BGone

    Mr Mark, have you seen the Peter Sellers movie, “The Mouse That Roared?” Bush was using the premise of that film for his logic, in a manner.The plot of the film is simple, a sarcastic view of the “Marshal Plan.” The idea is that a tiny country declares war on us and then surrenders so they can be occupied and receive foreign aid.Bush expected us to be welcomed and the same thing the tiny, (can’t remember it’s name) country wanted. The green money would flow in and everyone is happy. He should have read, “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” instead of watching that movie.

  • Jon

    Hitler and Stalin shared atheism in common!!!Just goes to show that religion is not to blame for all of the wars fought in human history…

  • Jon

    Whenever evil strikes justice must be evoked to protect the innocent!

  • wm

    Which God? According to humans, there are thousands.I suggest that you may have picked the wrong one. Assuming that there is a right one, of which I am doubtful.

  • jon

    My beliefs come from the one who taught me to love and to forgive all people even those who wish to persecute me. 43″You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ 44But I tell you: Love your enemies[b] and pray for those who persecute you,

  • J.S.

    How comes the WP continues to print such garbage? This is not balance, this is pathetic.

  • Jon

    If that sounds immoral to you then God help us all…

  • Cecil Bothwell

    Thomas says, “The American point of view has generally been that a war can be just if we are attacked first, or if it seeks to liberate other people from the type of oppressive government or organizing system that enslaves them to dictators …”Well, that may or may not be the American point of view, but Amercian Constitutional law only permits the first. (And Thomas seems to love to quote the Constitution to suit his purposes.) The only basis for the latter is if the U.N. decides to act against a dictator. Our Constitutional endorsement of international treaties makes them the law of the land, and the law is: you cannot attack first. Period.As to the Faith Base of this discussion, my view is best summed up as “A man without religion is like a fish without pajamas.”

  • Saul2006

    I remember when you said Falwell would never put PTL into bankruptcy- which is what he wanted to do.

  • Anonymous

    Jon,Here’s a couple of quotes from Hitler:”I believe to-day that my conduct is in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator. In standing guard against the Jew I am defending the handiwork of the Lord.””When He [Jesus] found it necessary He drove those enemies of the human race out of the Temple of God; because then, as always, they used religion as a means of advancing their commercial interests. But at that time Christ was nailed to the Cross for his attitude towards the Jews; whereas our modern Christians enter into party politics and when elections are being held they debase themselves to beg for Jewish votes. They even enter into political intrigues with the atheistic Jewish parties against the interests of their own Christian nation.”Sorry to threaten your beliefs with some actual information, but how exactly was Hitler an atheist?

  • nek

    GOOD GOD, CALVIN: Wars will never stop until humans learn to make peace with each other, and this can never happen until they finally realize that they must accept the differences between their Gods. Hold your breath, Cal, old boy.

  • Colorado Kool-Aid

    Cecil Bothwell writes:Thomas says, “The American point of view has generally been that a war can be just if we are attacked first, or if it seeks to liberate other people from the type of oppressive government or organizing system that enslaves them to dictators …”Well, that may or may not be the American point of view, but Amercian Constitutional law only permits the first. That is a lie. Stop your b.s. arguments fella.

  • Colorado Kool-Aid

    Cecil Bothwell writes:Thomas says, “The American point of view has generally been that a war can be just if we are attacked first, or if it seeks to liberate other people from the type of oppressive government or organizing system that enslaves them to dictators …”Well, that may or may not be the American point of view, but Amercian Constitutional law only permits the first. That is a lie. Stop your b.s. arguments fella.

  • Jeff Wismer

    Jon is just pathetic for bringing up Stalin and Hitler…It is an often heard refrain among less well informed Christians that Hitler and Stalin (those slightly more knowledgeable sometimes add Pol Pot and Mao Zedong) were atheists and that their atheism led them to commit atrocities resulting in the deaths of millions of people. These claims are demonstrably false.Hitler was never an atheist. The available evidence points to the fact that he remained a theist throughout his whole life. Or at the very least worshiped old gods from the Saxons…(the SS on the uniforms was an old mystical symbol)It is true that Stalin, Mao Zedong and Pol Pot, were all atheists. But the primary influences that led to their atrocities were not atheism per se but their dogmatic Marxism and communist ideas.We see that in none of these cases could atheism be made to “take the blame” for the atrocities committed by these men.=========================Cal Thomas is doing a great job, and I hope more Christians like him become their mouth piece…In fact I would encourage people like Cal Thomas to be appointed Pope, ArchBishop of Cantebary, and President of the United States…OH yeah, that already happened! Like I said keep up the great work Xians!

  • Jeff Wismer

    Nek said:”this can never happen until they finally realize that they must accept the differences between their Gods”Now there’s a grand idealist for you all. Tell me Nek, which authoritarian, infallible, so-called “supremely” appointed body of MEN (mostly)…will just simply say to the other (for instance Muslim vs. Christians) oh you’re right and I’m wrong. Or better yet, we’re all right, and forget the fact that I’m taught think I’m better than you based on my god. LOL!

  • Norrie Hoyt

    There are no just wars for those who suffer in them. All wars are like lightning strikes that randomly strike and kill. No justice there.

  • Anonymous

    To Saul 2006:Jesus perfects the dietary law, so important in Jewish daily life, by revealing its pedagogical meaning through a divine interpretation: “Whatever goes into a man from outside cannot defile him. . . (Thus he declared all foods clean.). . . What comes out of a man is what defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts. . Jesus did not abolish the Law but fulfilled it by giving its ultimate interpretation in a divine way: “You have heard that it was said to the men of old. . . But I say to you. . .”344 With this same divine authority, he disavowed certain human traditions of the Pharisees that were “making void the word of God”.345Sorry for the lengthy message but it was necessary of fuller understanding with your erroneous comments and lack of understanding of the revealed revelations of the Old and New Testament.

  • plunge

    Who’s to blame for war? Surprise! It’s everyone who isn’t a Christian!Next on On Faith: why Jews and atheists are to blame for cancer.

  • plunge

    “Jesus did not abolish the Law but fulfilled it by giving its ultimate interpretation”Suffice to say that there is a reason very few knowledgeable Jews found such bizarre stretches of logic convincing. The idea that God’s law is imperfect and in need of perfecting is perverse. But of course, the joke is on Christians, because religions like Islam and Mormanism basically came along and did the same thing. Oh, you thought THAT was what was moral? Surprise! No: it’s this other thing over here!And believers claim that non-believers have no stable basis for morality? Sheesh.

  • BW Scott

    How is terrorism different tahn attack by an Government? Mr. Thomas seems to be confused. First he triew to blame all wars on the evil of all men. There is generally true, but we are asking about this war. He then explains the just war theory. He also invents an American theory of war for the liberation of the oppressed. When did this American theory define a just war? It does not define a just war because oppression is subjective. Truly all American wars against oppression (any fought during slavery and Jim Crow) were fought while America was oppressing others. The Iraq war was justified not be freedom for Iraqis, but removal of WMD. Iraq was not harborring terrorist that attacked the USA. Brother Thomas is stuck in the GOP and can not separate himself, even as tries to follow Christ.”Love thy neighbor as thyself” Who is thy neighbor?

  • Anonymous

    A practical guide to getting around Christianity, perhaps?A mother was preparing pancakes for her sons, Kevin, five, and Ryan, three. The boys began to argue over who would get the first pancake.Their mother saw the opportunity for a moral lesson. “If Jesus were sitting here, He would say, “Let my brother have the first pancake. I can wait.”Kevin turned to his younger brother and said, “Ryan, you be Jesus.”——————————————————

  • Frozen1

    Dear Sir, it has been a long time. I hope that time finds you comfortable, healthy and at peace. I agree with your major premise, but not with some of your conclusions. Namely “It is still being debated whether American security and national interests justified U.S. intervention in Iraq.” Not in honest debate Sir, and if it is not honest, what is the point? That is correct, to sway public opinion in support of a position that can not stand up under the glare of the light of day.”Also included in the definition of a just war would be the right to self defense. The debate is ongoing as to whether the Bush Administration’s policy of preemptive war fits this definition. I believe it does in the case of terrorism.” You can not fight an asymetric threat with State sponsored acts of terrorism against the nebulous enemy. You only add fuel to the Insurgency’s fire.Hopefully, all man will turn towards God before God turns away from all remaining men. May God Bless you, and Keep you always my old friend.

  • Frozen1

    Quite right, “man” and “men” should read “human” as it was intended to. I stand corrected kind Sir. Again, God Bless you and yours.

  • Anonymous

    …”Bush expected us to be welcomed and the same thing the tiny, (can’t remember it’s name) country wanted. The green money would flow in and everyone is happy. He should have read, “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” instead of watching that movie.”That would be the Dutchy of Grand Fenwick

  • Jive Dadson

    Cal, I may disagree with everything you say, but I respect your ability to get the Washington Post to publish your blather.

  • Tom McGoff

    Right on, Cal. There’s a lot wrong with this war but justification is not one of them.Our President has a perfect right to lay the blame for the mess in Iraq at the door of the U.S. Military Chaplains.Specifically, all Christian military clergy have failed the President. The God of the Islamic martyrs has 22 reconstituting virgins, a palace and much more good stuff awaiting them in paradise, no questions asked. This is very significant among young men who are not known for their looks or intelligence. Our stingy-God Christian Chaplains have offered our troops nothing but vague promises and big words spoken with great authority.Furthermore, it is shameful to consider Iraq anything but a just war. President Bush’s Higher Father includes big money interests, especially big oil. It was to secure money-gushing oil contracts and to protect the oil assets in Iraq that the U.S. became an invading and occupying power. For we patriots, no further justification is necessary for this conflict. Our troops will leave when the actual mission is accomplished. The next two generations of working people will be honored to pick up the tab.As with all wars, the formal justification for the conflict is provided by the various religious organizations and God-fearing people such as yourself. Having let our troops down with a no-virgin policy, the President should consider any Christian designation other than Just War an act of treason, or at least the support of terrorism.God Bless George Bush our President. And, let’s end the separation of Church and State as the new government of Iraq has done. Our President will never cut and run, unless things get much worse or another message is delivered from his Higher Father.And, God Bless you too, Cal. You’re the bomb.

  • sphinya

    “Calthomasanity”. Isnt that clever or what? I prefer to see it as insaty though. I think it was Buddha who said that there will never be peace on earth. all we can do is generate the peace that lies within us through meditation, not prayer.

  • Damian

    “If you to hear what an idiot thinks, ask an idiot” There is no other rationale for soliciting comment from Cal Thomas on this or any other issue.

  • Ba’al

    Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11. Saddam had no WMD and given the number of observers running around and flying over his country, was no threat to the US or his neighbors. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis are dead, and thousands of American soldiers are dead or seriously disabled.The war in Iraq is not an issue of “self defense”.The bible teaches “love your enemy”. It is clear and uncompromising. I am an atheist, so I do not rely on this as any sort of authority. I am only pointing out the profound and almost stupefying hypocrisy of anyone who tries to use New Testament theology as a support for the Colossal Disaster that is the Iraq war — a war supported in full throat from the start by Mr. Thomas — a war that so far only benefits Iran.

  • John Bob

    You guys are all idiots- your theories suck, your solutions suck even more, and your reasons for expelling all this crap out of your mouths really sucks. It is as if the Avatar of Suck has come to Earth to bless us all with his magical words exploding forth from the rectums that are your mouths!

  • steven hunziker

    What part of mission accomplished doesn’t Bush understand?May 1, aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln President Bush stood in front of a giant banner that read “Mission Accomplished.” And it was!What was that mission? To remove a despot and his gas rich thugocracy from power and end that nation’s ability to inflict it’s will on our regional interests in oil and Israel.That mission was accomplished in 3 weeks. With the added bonus of reminding the world that the USA was not to be triiffled with. What remained to be accomplished post 2003? To keep the British creation of “Iraq” with it’s Sunnie controled Capitol in Bagdad intact ? No. – Three Iraqs is three times less a threat. To establish a military foothold in the middle east from which we can easily strike out against our enemies in the area? OK. New mission! No problem.- The kurdish North on the border with Turkey, as a trip wire, is where our- Lets make Dahuk the Capital of Iraq. Put in some Universities, Ministry of Oil, InternationalSteven Hunziker

  • SAMMER MUHAMMAD

    I have watched Thomas’s comments and editorials for awhile. If this editorial is a sign of more things to come from this guy, send his editorials to a right wing newspaper. How the Iraq war can ever be justified as a just war is the most idiotic question i have heard this year. On no basis was this war ever justified. A just war, in my opinion, is when you are attacked and must defend yourself. No Iraqi took part in 9-11. No Iraqi attacked America. The only Iraqi who attacked American interests was the guy who tried to take out Bushes family when they went to Kuwait a few years back. That doesnt justify a preemptive war on a soveriegn nation.

  • Jeff Wismer

    Sammer Muhammed said:I am moslem, i think my religion is peaceful. I also respect my Jewish and Christian friends religions. I do not make fun of their religions.====================================In other words…don’t make fun of any religion b/c that is wrong. I think we learned from the violent reaction to both Mohammed cartoons, and to Jesus cartoons, that people who call themselves religious…take Religion WAY TOO Seriously and won’t even joke about their religion or any other religion.Why do you take religion so seriously? Is something 2000 years old really that necessary today? Isn’t it rather arrogant of humans to think that we could have figured out “god” or “creator” during a tiny period of existence when compared to the time it took for the universe to evolve?

  • chuck

    People of your ilk lost the war…. See November 2006

  • Bob

    We truly will be better off when religion, in all its many versions, finally becomes a thing of the past. Ideally, thrown upon the same junkpile as the Greek gods, witches and all the other ridiculous beliefs that have plaqued mankind.

  • E. Favorite

    Jon, you say:”Hitler and Stalin shared atheism in common!!!”They didn’t go to war in the name of atheism, they went to war in the name of fascism and communism.

  • BGone

    Jon, both Hitler and Stalin believed they were God. By some standards for God they both were. Hirohito was proclaimed by his people to be God. All the Caesars, Alex the great and most all emperors were given the title, son of god making them God.Your difficulty is Devil and thinking that worshipping, honoring, adoring and glorifying Devil while calling Him God makes Him God. It doesn’t.Got faith? In what?Interpretation 1,501

  • Anonymous

    “Also included in the definition of a just war would be the right to self defense. The debate is ongoing as to whether the Bush Administration’s policy of preemptive war fits this definition. I believe it does in the case of terrorism.”Bush’s invasion of Iraq is no more justified for the war on terrorism than Roosevelt would have been justified in invading Mexico in the war against fascism. We should have taken Mexico while we had the chance, right Cal? Can anyone cite a U.S. military action since WWII that was in defense of the lands of the United States of America? THAT would be “self defense”. Attacking Iraq, which was no more involved in terrorism than the United States was (likely less), was a opportunistic move which has nothing to do with “self defense”. Of course, Cal believes Iraq was an al Queda supporter, because his buddy Dick Cheney told him so.

  • Ashley

    Cal Thomas says, “The Bible teaches that humans war with each other because they refuse to make peace with God through his “peace offering” of Jesus Christ.”So war will end when everyone is converted to Christianity, presumably your personal brand of it? How many wars do you think will be necessary to forcibly convert the entire world to Calthomasanity and thus end war forever?

  • Gerry

    Have you heard of the story of a woman who sued a man because of rape? When it turned out that there never was even an attempt, the woman argued: Yes, but he has the equipment.That story, Mr. Thomas, comes to mind following your argument.

  • Mike

    This guy is off his rocker. If you believe the bible to be true then it goes to show that Yahweh created war, he is the biggest tyrant of them all, so making peace with this tyrant god will stop wars? Get a clue Cal.

  • BGone

    It’s perfectly clear Cal. Devil urges people to make war. Yes, theologians, Devil’s representatives and kings of all kinds including the temprorary monarch, (I hope) George have wrestled with justifying war. The “Higher Father” Lucifer always “errors on the side of life.”Now just where do these theologions, a better class of people no doubt get their authority? That wouldn’t be a hoax would it? Could that explain the unexplainable or did Moses make a deal with the most Devilish Devil of them all, Lucifer?Give it a try Cal,

  • Mr Mark

    Mr Thomas presents old wine in old bottles. Worse, he thinks he has a monopoly on both the wine and the bottles!How does “making peace with god” end war if that same god ORDERS you to war, as did the god of the Old Testament? What if god orders you to slaughter your/His enemies – every man, woman, child and animal in a city, for example? Wouldn’t you need to do that to make “peace with god” (see Numbers 31 for an example of god’s benevolence)?What if you’re a self-identified-born-again-Christian-modern-day president who tells the world that you consult “a higher father” when deciding whether or not to wage war? Is that making “peace with god?”Strangely, the slaughtered never find such a process very peaceful at all. Maybe the real solution is for the world to move beyond the ancient myths and to solve our problems – even war – with the intellect and compassion that we all have inside ourselves. Maybe we need to take responsibility for our actions, rather than making god the scapegoat for our folly…or the excuse for our doing what we knew was wrong to begin with.

  • BGone

    Mr Mark. Do you have the foggiest notion how much wine is required for one to make peace with Devil? Give’em a break. It’s so “God awful” hot in hell ya know.

  • victoria

    the stated intentions of going to war were found by bush’s own admission to be based on wrong intelligence-obviously 18 of the 19 were saudis and we havent declared war on arabia but continue an amicable relationshipI DONT SEE WHY THIS IS IN A FATH FORUM

  • AgentG

    “and other overwhelming interests” What does the author mean by this?In the case of Iraq, I respectfully submit that our overwhelming interest has been and remails oil — not democracy, terrorism, or the future of the Middle East. Iraqi oil is not just a by product, but the main geopolitical strategic purpose of the war, which is not being publicly stated. There is no other plausible explanation for the sacrifice of so many lives (both Christian and not). This is also consistent with the refusal to leave Iraq, but rather increase our entanglement in the region. It is also consistent with many statements made by our President and administration.Does God support war so that we may drive huge vehicles and waste energy like no other nation on earth?

  • White Eyes

    Calvin, please stop making the good news of Christ look so bad. Maybe just stop writing about anything religous.

  • Chris McCoy

    Google is the best search engine

  • Allan Adams

    Google is the best search engine