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War

First: I finished Moby-dick; it now stands up there with The Great Gatsby - my favorite novels (those are the only two in the worship-worthy category of 'absolute favorites). It's good. If you've not read it, read it. That's all I have to say about that.

I also finished Tracks. It was interesting, but not something I would necessarily recommend to a friend. The next novel we read in History of the Novel in English was Watchmen, the famous graphic novel. It was amazing. Especially exciting was the discussion regarding Veidt's decision at the end, which I will talk about in the body of this post.

Mountains Beyond Mountains was simply inspiring. I'd recommend it to anybody who feels a need to do something big in the world. It is an autobiography of Dr. Paul Farmer, a passionate advocate for the poor. Cry, the Beloved Country was not quite monumental as I expected, but it was still good. It highlights the plight that South Africa experienced leading up to and during Apartheid. The book makes me want to read more about this time period, a non-fiction book, perhaps.

Okay, now for the post proper:

After reading Watchmen, my Novel class discussed the morality of one of the major characters near the end of the book. I won't ruin it for you, but the idea is that by killing a rather large amount of people, the earth can be saved from nuclear destruction. Some argued that doing so is wrong, since it is only delaying the inevitable.

"What do you mean, 'delaying the inevitable'?" Said I.

"We are sinful. War will always exist," was the general consensus.

This is, of course, a very simplified account of the discussion. I've had this same argument with another classmate last semester. The idea is that nations will always dispatch troops or weapons to other nations in order to kill that nation's citizens: bloody war. Bloody war will always exist because people are inherently sinful, goes the argument.

What?

These same people would say that I personally am inherently sinful. Does that mean that inevitably, I will grow up to be a serial killer? Why does humanity's sinfulness automatically lead to bloody war? That's completely irrational.

Sure. Conflict of some sort will always exist. Does this have to be as barbaric as taking people's lives via guns, bombs, or whatever else we can muster up as weapons? Can conflicts never be solved by diplomacy? Or even trade sanctions? Can we never reach a point of perfect interdependency, where it would be against everybody's interests to engage in war? I think we can. I believe in human progress. Maybe peace is a luxury item. Maybe we must first solve the problem of poverty and illness first. Probably so. But those are achievable, aren't they? Or are these same students going to argue that, since we are sinful, poverty and unnecessary death (i.e. death by preventable diseases, lack of clean water, etc.) will always exist?

Absurd! If that's an official teaching of Christianity, count me out.

We can make progress on the problem of poverty, and we can make progress on international relations. Bloody war is not a necessary evil. It can be avoided, either by interdependency and/or by fixing the problem that lies at the root of wars.
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