The Theology Of War


Eric Cohen reviews War and the American Difference: Theological Reflections on Violence and National Identity by Stanley Hauerwas:

For Hauerwas, there is no such thing as a just war, since Christ is the embodiment of justice, and the revelation of Christ is that men should not and need not kill the other we are called to love. He believes the tragic necessity of war is an illusion. It is the denial of Christ’s redemptive sacrifice, which we have replaced with the blood sacrifices of modern war. The only answer—for him, the only Christian answer—is to "sacrifice the sacrifices of war" and to see the truth that the new reign of peace has already come. 

Cohen disagrees:

[W]hile it may be that, in the end, only God can save us from ourselves, we should bear the burdens of trying to protect history—and the sweetness of life that can exist within it—from those who would make it a graveyard of the innocent. 

(Photo: U.S. military personnel bow their heads in prayer during a casing ceremony where the United States Forces- Iraq flag was retired signifying the departure of United States troops from Iraq at the former Sather Air Base on December 15, 2011 in Baghdad, Iraq. By Mario Tama/Getty Images)