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War and the American Difference Paperback – October 1, 2011
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From the Back Cover
In War and the American Difference, Stanley Hauerwas reflects theologically on war, church, justice, and nonviolence. He explores such issues as how America depends on war for its identity, how war affects the soul of a nation, the sacrifices that war entails, and why war is considered "necessary," especially in America. He also examines the views of nonviolence held by Martin Luther King Jr. and C. S. Lewis, how Jesus constitutes the justice of God, and the relationship between congregational ministry and Christian formation in America.
"Disenthralling Americans from war will require an authentic realism that displaces the illusions commonly passing for realism. In this luminous volume, Stanley Hauerwas continues the vital work of planting the signposts that show us the way."
--Andrew J. Bacevich, Boston University; author of Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War
"Beginning from the startling claim that war defines American political identity, these essays should interest both religious and secular readers. Hauerwas defends a Christian pacifism that allows no compromises with war, including that most common form of compromise--just war theory. Christians will be powerfully challenged by his claim that nonviolence is a necessary condition of a church that is a living witness to Christ. Secular readers will be forced to rethink the ground of their own commitment to a politics built on violent sacrifice. Hauerwas demands of all of us that we think through the character of our faith and the sources of ultimate meaning in our lives."
--Paul W. Kahn, Robert W. Winner Professor of Law and the Humanities, Yale Law School
About the Author
- Item Weight : 10.2 ounces
- Paperback : 208 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0801039290
- ISBN-13 : 978-0801039294
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.52 x 9 inches
- Publisher : Baker Academic (October 1, 2011)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,275,159 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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In part 3 Hauweras focuses the difference that body of Christ makes to the world and war. His discussion on Jesus as the justice of God was excellent, rooting the idea of justice not as an abstract or external concept to which Christianity is accountable but something that cannot be understood apart from Christian theological concepts and practices. The last few chapters in this section were a bit too technical and philosophical for me to follow.
I did have two main concerns with the book. Hauweras repeatedly said that the gift Christians can give the world is the refusal to kill each other. This conclusion, which Hauweras reached on multiple occasions, often came out of nowhere and was not a valid conclusion from the arguments he was advancing. Note that he says "each other" not others. The implication is that Christians are out there actively killing other Christians. Evidently Hauweras felt no need to substantiate this with statistics, citations or research. I had to wonder if there was some epidemic of Christians killing each other that we needed to oppose? Secondly, even if you agree with him in regards to pacifism he doesn't answer two crucial questions that everyone will eventually ask or be asked: (1) Can a Christian serve in the Military? (2) What about war that is truly in self defence? One thinks of Hitler invading Poland or North Korea invading the South. I find pacifism works fine for me and my own life. It's gets very difficult to take to a national level. I kept wanting these questions to be answered but they never were. To be fair I think these questions were not the central focus of his book. I got the impression that he was trying to do some big picture stuff, and shift the discussion beyond the tradition Pacifist, Just-War or Crusade categories. However a little bit on these questions would no doubt have helped greatly.
On the whole, even with my concerns, I found the book to be excellent food for thought, especially parts 1 and 2.
Honestly, after reading this book, it is impossible for me, as a pastor to defend our wars from the aspect of Christianity any longer.