What if Christians agreed to not Kill Each Other?

The whole just war/pacifist debate has been raging, even if under the radar, for centuries. I don’t really know where I stand in great detail at this point. I do think, however, the world is quick to go to war. As a follower of Christ, this is unsettling. As a follower of Christ, I read a lot about peace from the life and ministry of Jesus. When it comes to questions of when war is justifiable and what role Christians should have in military, I’m not prepared necessarily to address just yet.

But what I can say with confidence, and with all seriousness, is in the form of a ‘what if.’ What if, at the very least, Christians agreed we wouldn’t kill each other?

Professor and author (and pacifist) Stanley Hauerwas has a poster on his office door (perhaps similar to the one pictured) that reads as follows: “A modest proposal for peace: let the Christians of the world resolve not to kill each other.”

Now this may sound like a given, like an unnecessary message. But is it? If one says, “Of course we won’t kill each other!” How does one know if the other is a Christian?

You’re smart enough to see the far-reaching implications of this proposal. I won’t spend time fleshing these out.

But I’ll leave you with the ‘what if’…what if Christians agreed to not kill each other? Would that make a dent in the violence we see all around us? Would it make a dent in the violence we see within ourselves?


  1. Tom Van Dyke · September 22, 2011

    Islam already has this explicit rule, I believe. People being people, I’m not sure it holds up very well, whatever the religion.

  2. patricklmitchell · September 22, 2011

    Tom, I’m unfamiliar with Islamic law in great detail so I can’t speak to the application there, but I maintain that if Christians would agree not to kill one another, the world would be more peaceful–or at the very least, Christians would be more Christian. For instance, if I’m a Christian in the military, what if I decided to not kill anyone unless I knew they weren’t Christian. Every example has its flaws, but the premise is there would be less killing if I’m unwilling to kill unless knowing one’s status. Thanks for the response.

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