Monday, July 6, 2009

Is There Anyone Alive Who Would Oppose Nuclear Reduction?

Today, United States President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev agreed to pursue a significant reduction in nuclear arms. America and Russia possess the largest nuclear stockpiles in the world by far, which is why Obama told reporters in Moscow, "We must lead by example, and that's what we're doing here today." The treaty includes "effective verification measures."

I have written before about the pressing need for multilateral, global, irreversible, verifiable nuclear disarmament. "The use of nuclear weapons can never be justified by Christian ethics," says David Neff, Editor in Chief of Christianity Today. "But that hasn’t stopped Christians from arguing that they are necessary. Such arguments betray a tendency to make national security into an ultimate value–something else that cannot be justified by Christian ethics."

As Neff indicates, some suppose that nuclear weapons are a necessary evil and, therefore, wouldn't support multilateral disarmament. These people can still support the President in his reduction effort because the treaty still allows both nations to keep over 1,000 nuclear weapons each. Even if you believe they are necessary, 1,000 nukes is more than we need.

This is a moral issue, and I am thankful for which has been recucitated by wonderful organizations like The Two Futures Project. The only question I have is, "How is this being received by everyday people?"


Anonymous said...

This everyday guy is, one hand, glad to hear Obama and Medvedev agree to reduce nukes. But on the other hand, I'm skeptical that they are actually going to do it. Hopefully I'm just being a cynic.

Brooke said...

this everyday gal agrees with the everyday guy above. but hey, it's a step in the right direction.
this is good. PS- I'm glad you posted the link to that website on nuke disarm't a few months ago. I went there and read about it. It was something I hadn't thought of before.

Anonymous said...

Something that changed my thinking on nuclear weapons was reading "Hiroshima" by John Hersey. To see the devastating effects of a nuclear bomb, even through a piece of literature, was enough for me. There was nothing "Christian" about Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and I'm glad to hear that more Christians are supporting disarmament from a biblical perspective instead of supporting national security from a nationalistic perspective.

Matt Emerson

Robert A Murphy said...

Jonathan - Thanks for your thoughts on this delicate topic. I think its interesting to explore this issue from a Christian perspective. It is difficult to apply a world view to ever changing environments and political landscapes, especially one that is religious in nature. A quick scan of the Bible would show multiple directions one could take. The Hebrew God was at times violent and angry, requiring the people to lash out at their neighbors and other nations in war. Jesus was, however, certainly an advocate of the common man and of loving kindness.

The danger is in applying these general themes to something so complicated as nuclear proliferation when the Bible is silent on such a topic. The topic can only be discussed by analogy. My question becomes, is nuclear proliferation a "christian" topic, or a human topic? Should we be looking to Jesus for ideas, or should we be looking at our survival from a human perspective and tackle it as such?

Nuclear weapons changed the landscape of confrontation like no other weapon since gunpowder rifles and cannons. Is it something we can actually destroy, or should we be using our minds to develop policies that would continue to eradicate the purposes of usage? They will not go away. Every nation wants them much like a poor child wants an iPod - it is the semiotic equivalent of entering the big boy club. We will never be able to destroy our own until we can move past our means of hiding behind the threat of protection and convince the world that they are better off without by example.

Christianity has become very political in the past 20+ years. In such has the purpose been changed and lost in the attempt to apply the words of Christ to general themes and then into modern political themes? As a former Liberty student I saw firsthand how strange the application of scripture to the Republican/Democratic debate could be – esp when the older conservatives would support war and admonish liberals for being “fluffy do-gooders”.  I just worry that the message of the Bible is being weakened by political lines in the sand.

Sorry for my rant!

Jonathan Merritt said...


Great insight. I definitely believe that the life of Jesus and the words of scripture be the #1 stop in any discovery of truth about life or ethics. At the same time, I have also seen how people have twisted the words of scripture to justify their own political and social agendas. That's a lesson to us all. We are imperfect people in pursuit of a perfect God. There is a lot of room for error.