Runcible Blog

Timeout on War

Recent polls say that Americans overwhelmingly do not support unilateral action against Iraq. But what concerns me is the number of people who would support a war in Iraq as long as it is a coalition effort with the support of several European countries. That stance, to me, is weak. It says that Americans are more comfortable killing people when we have a few friends on our side. That is crazy thinking. It is plain to see that war is not the answer to our problems (seen or unseen). Marvin Gaye said, "Only love can conquer hate." But let's dig a little deeper than that.

As far as I know, Moses brought the Ten Commandments to Judaism, and the fifth commandment is "Thou shalt not kill." I'm sure there are other laws and rules in Judaism that reinforce this rule as well. Christianity shares those commandments, and Jesus told his followers to "turn the other cheek" and "love your neighbor as you love yourself". He made a speech called the Beatitudes in which he said (among other things):

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.
So clearly there is a tradition of compassion in the words of Christianity and Judaism (actions are another matter).

Islam is interesting in that it doesn't prohibit killing:

"Do not kill or take human life which God has declared to be sacred", (Qur'an chapter 6: verse 151). There are two exceptions to this general rule. Firstly, a punishment in accordance with Islamic law or, secondly, in the case of a just war.
Unfortunately, that opens a loophole for those who believe their cause is justified. But the thread of prohibiting murder seems to flow through each of those religions.

If you follow Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, the teaching is also very clear. In addition to the "vow not to kill" as a precept in Buddhism, the very first Bodhisattva Vow is:

Sentient beings are numberless; I vow to save them all.
Compassion is a huge part of Buddhism and other Eastern religions, and a lot of it comes down to common sense.

My point in making these comparisons isn't to persuade someone into believing one thing or another. Rather, since this country consists of a majority of people (including the president) who ascribe to a religion, why don't they think about the laws in which they believe before signing on to war? I'm sure it's been repeated numerous times, but many people aren't listening.

I'm not Christian, Jewish, or Muslim, and since Buddhism isn't really a religion, I can be counted out of that too. But if you understand that the word "buddha" comes from "waking up", then you can see that everyone is already "sleeping Buddhists". It's simple. Even though the words may fall on deaf ears, whether we pray to a god or chant sutras, our duty is to look at the bigger picture and help this world. Killing others will not help this world in the long run.

The sky is blue. The grass is green. Right?