Pacifism: Nonviolence and Br

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Pacifism is the belief that violence is not the way to resolve differences. They believe that war can be avoided and that there are better and longer lasting solutions to disputes.
There are, however, various categories of ‘pacifist'. A ‘total pacifist' is someone who completely avoids violence and believes it can never be justified, not even in self-defence or to protect others – this they see as the only morally correct view of war. A relative pacifist is someone who may use violence in certain situations but who supports disarmament. They are discriminating about WW1 but agree that WW2 had to be fought. Nuclear pacifists believe that conventional weapons are acceptable as a last resort if war is inevitable, as it is, but nuclear weapons should never be used. A nuclear deterrence pacifist, on the other hand, believes that one can only achieve peace through a position of strength and nuclear deterrence provides this peace.

Many Christians are pacifists and many pacifists are Christian. They believe that, as stated in Mathew 5, "happy are those who work for peace; God will call them His children". They claim that Christ's teachings are very clear on the matter. "Do not take revenge on someone who wrongs you", "love your enemies".

Non violence and pacifism must not be confused with cowardice and inaction. Many of history's greatest heroes have been pacifists, eg Jesus Christ, Martin Luther King, Gandhi. These people refused to resort to violence even when their lives were in great danger, and their reputation and influence are long lasting, as they did use other methods of trying to right wrongs. Martin Luther King and Gandhi deliberately broke laws that were about dividing people according to their race. These actions are ‘non-violent direct action' meaning to act against something you believe to be wrong, but without resorting to violence. These are peaceful demonstrations such as labour strikes.

Most pacifists are...
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