It is extremely clear that “just war” theory is a major supporter of the nuclear threat. For instance, a recent viewing of The Fog of War reminded me how someone like former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara could, at one and the same time, be making an urgent call for the total elimination of nuclear weapons, and yet also falling back on “just war” excuses for the US slaughter of Japanese civilians via fire-bombing and atomic bombing in 1945.
Subscribe or “Follow” us on RiseUpTimes.org. Rise Up Times is also on Facebook! Check the Rise Up Times page for posts from this blog and more! “Like” our page today. Rise Up Times is also on Pinterest, Google+ and Tumblr. Find us on Twitter at Rise Up Times (@touchpeace). Click here to help Rise Up Times continue to bring you essential news you won’t find in the mainstream corporate media.
So, again, I think “just war” is part of the problem, but not the central problem.
This awareness has stimulated me to try to learn more about pre-millenial thinking, and I have been finding two books very helpful: American Apocalypse: A History of Modern Evangelicalism by Matthew Avery Sutton, and The Rapture Exposed: The Message of Hope in the Book of Revelation by Barbara Rossing. Before, I suppose, I thought of the biblical Book of Revelation as something that could be written off as irrelevant, and those who put stock in the images and ideas in it as marginal. Now I am realizing that both the writing and the people who find it compelling must be understood.Through an article by my sister (“Extreme Injury”by Elaine Scarry in the Boston Review), I became aware of the degree to which people who are involved in the mechanics of the nuclear threat (missileers, production workers, officers) are buttressed by a resignation to a coming divine Apocalypse.
And yet . . .
While I think we need to understand the role of apocalypse theology in buttressing the nuclear threat, I think there is something even more important.
God’s promise to humanity
I wonder if our very best theology — the theology that teaches that God loves us, that there is nothing that God will not forgive, and that God is supreme — hasn’t led us astray.
Are there some things that won’t be forgiven?
I think particularly of the story of Noah: doesn’t that teach us that, no matter how bad things get, God won’t abandon (wo)mankind?
Or is there a difference between “forgiving” and “saving the day”? Is it necessary for us to recognize a distinction between the idea that God can “forgive” us if we destroy our world, but that that isn’t the same as giving us a re-do.
I’m feeling that we have some really difficult theological questions to ask ourselves about a Creation in which God goes on, but people and the Earth have come to an end. Is that outside the bounds of what our theology imagines? Why?
Is it possible that we will only truly understand God’s promise to humanity once we understand that there are some outcomes that would make a mockery of God’s forgiveness, and that God has empowered us to prevent those outcomes, and that it’s now up to us to do so?