The biblical vision of the peaceable kingdom is far from our thoughts except perhaps on Christmas cards where a lion is depicted sitting next to a lamb. What does that image mean to us? There is a vast transformation of consciousness necessary if we are to translate our words and symbols into action. The money spent on weapons could eradicate most causes of social conflict if put to peaceable use. There is a deep personal conversion needed in leaders and peoples if we are to learn to live in peace.
Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.
Read texts within the sacred writings of your own particular religious tradition that urge people to live in peace. Research some of the statistics that compare the costs of maintaining the military with the costs of feeding the hungry, educating children, providing sanitation projects and clean water. Does this matter to you? Is there a way to work for a responsible balance?
Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God.
The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.
He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.
May we stop the production and trade of weapons, since we need bread, not guns!
The arms race can kill, though the weapons themselves may never be used…by their cost alone, armaments kill the poor by causing them to starve.
Vatican statement to the U.N.
Returning violence for violence multiples violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Just a fraction of what is extended so obscenely on defense budgets would make a real difference in enabling God’s children to fill their stomachs, be educated, and be given the chance to lead fulfilled and happy lives.
Every gun that’s made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms…is spending the genius of its scientists, the sweat of its laborer.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.
But peace does not rest in the charters and covenants alone. It lies in the hearts and minds of all people. So let us not rest all our hopes on parchment and on paper, let us strive to build peace, a desire for peace, a willingness to work for peace in the hearts and minds of all of our people. I believe that we can. I believe the problems of human destiny are not beyond the reach of human beings.
John F. Kennedy
Conflict is inevitable, but combat is optional.