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August 18, 2005

God of War, Prince of Peace

By carol wolman, MD

Does the Bible justify Bush's wars? It depends on which Testament you read.


Bush likes to think of himself as "the war president". Rumor has it that he is preparing another war, against Iran, even though American troops are stretched too thin in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Jerry Falwell, one of the "Christian Coalition" preachers who is a close advisor to Bush, wrote an article in January 2004 entitled "God is pro-war" http://worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?article_id=36859 Using quotes entirely from the Old Testament, Falwell presents the tribal God of the Hebrews, who helped them escape from Egypt, and then to conquer Canaan in a series of bloody battles.

The book of Joshua, wherein the Hebrews invaded Canaan, is a record of one of the cruelest campaigns ever undertaken. Thirty-one tribes were conquered, their cities burned, their kings murdered, and their people either exterminated or enslaved. The god of that time insisted on genocide, of every man, woman and child.

This is the god invoked by Bush to justify the slaughter of 100,000 Iraqis, and presumably, the nuking of Iran, which is in preparation.

The deity of the Old Testament evolved over time. King David was a warrior who slew Goliath singlehandedly, using only a slingshot, yet he hated war. He fought his enemy Saul reluctantly, only because he was hunted, and refrained from killing him when he had the opportunity. David's son Absalom joined with his enemies to oust him from the throne, yet when Absalom was killed, David did not rejoice, but went into deep mourning. Many of David's psalms yearn for peace.

Psalm 85: 8I will hear what God the LORD will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people.

The New Testament is all about making peace.

The angels announced the birth of Jesus by saying:

Luke 2:14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

The prophets foresaw His reign as the establishment of peace.

Zechariah 9:10 And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and He shall speak peace unto the heathen: and His dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth.

Jesus was a warrior, but a spiritual warrior. The following quote is sometimes used to say He advocated war:

Matthew 10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

The sword He is talking about is the tongue.

Revelation 2:16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

Jesus used his tongue as a weapon, insisting on the truth and denouncing the hypocritical rulers, the Pharisees, every chance He got. He pioneered
the use of nonviolent direct action, healing on the Sabbath in defiance of custom, consorting with prostitutes and tax gatherers, overturning the tables of the money changers in the Temple.

We are now engaged in spiritual warfare against the Pharisees of our day, the warmongers, who would lead us to World War III. They invoke the God of the Bible to justify their policies. We, the peacemakers, use our words to denounce them, and use nonviolent direct action to show up their hypocrisy. Cindy Sheehan's vigil is a shining example.

Let us be clear that the bloody god of the Book of Joshua has evolved, and sent His Son, the Prince of Peace, to establish a new covenant, the law of loving one's neighbors, and one's enemies. Godly physical warfare is no more, it has been superseded by spiritual warfare.

Let us continue to use the "sword coming out of the mouth" to overthrow the warmongers and establish peace on earth.

In the name of the Prince of Peace, Carol Wolman http://groups.yahoo.com/group/peacemakersbiblestudy/

Submitters Website: http://www.paracove.com

Submitters Bio:

Carol S. Wolman, MD is a psychiatrist in Northern California. A lifelong peace activist, she is helping to distribute a Peace Plan for the Holy Land- email her for a copy. She also a film producer with Paradise Cove Productions.