Is your worldview a "religion of peace"? If so, what does it mean to be a "peacemaker"?

Atheist View

The Atheist Perspective

Without peace there can be no liberty, just as without justice there can be no peace, and liberty is the ideal state of man. On naturalism, there is only one goal worth seeking, universal human happiness, and only one means exists of reliably achieving it, universal human liberty. The pursuit of peace is therefore fundamental, but only when liberty and justice are thereby achieved.

Naturalists disagree on what, when, and whether force can be justified, but they all agree such disagreements can only be resolved by appeals to facts and reason. Following facts and reason, most naturalists do not endorse war for any other end than establishing peace, liberty, and justice where these will otherwise not exist. Only then is war necessary, and only when war is necessary is it just.

Therefore, naturalism is a philosophy of peace. But it does not endorse risking or compromising liberty and justice for the sake of peace, for without liberty and justice, peace has little value. Peacemakers sometimes just hold the line against greater evils (preventing war solely to protect their own nation's liberty and welfare from an uncompromising enemy), but at their best they achieve peace by persuading nations and societies to embrace greater justice and liberty.

In almost every case documented in history, no free democracy has ever gone to war with another. The spread of democracy is therefore the key to world peace. But democracy cannot be spread by war, at least rarely at any acceptable cost. For a society must want and embrace democracy of its own free will, its people must understand the values democracy requires, enough in fact to fight for them, and take up arms in defense of them. And one of those requisite values is a deep and unwavering respect for religious freedom and tolerance.

Democratic Peace Theory

Atheist view Christian view

Christian View

The Christian Perspective

Christians worship the "Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6), Jesus the Christ.

Christ taught that peacemakers are blessed (Matthew 5:9).

The apostle Paul, author of many of the books of the New Testament, begins his letters by saying things like "Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:3; 2 Corinthians 1:2; Galatians 1:3; Ephesians 1:2, etc).

So it seems as though Christianity certainly values peace and promotes peace and even rewards peacemaking.

But then we have these troublesome verses like Matthew 10:34 and Luke 12:51, where Christ says:

"Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword."

Not to mention all that "fire and brimstone" stuff like:

Genesis 6:17
"Behold, I, even I am bringing the flood of water upon the earth, to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life, from under heaven; everything that is on the earth shall perish."

Exodus 12:29
Now it came about at midnight that the LORD struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of cattle.

Revelation 16:3
The second angel poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became blood like that of a dead man; and every living thing in the sea died.

If Christianity is a religion of peace, why does its God promulgate so much violence?

It's a good question, and the answer is quite simply that the kind of peace being referred to in the scriptures is probably not the kind of peace we initially think of.

When Christ says that peacemakers are blessed, He certainly does not mean those who try to be at peace with the enemies of God are blessed, but rather, that we will be blessed when we promote PEACE WITH GOD throughout all of His creation.

Take a look at some other scriptures that I think make this principle clear:

James 4:4
Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

So, according to James, if we are at peace with the world, we are at war with God. The peace of Christianity is thus a peace regarding our relationship with God, which will automatically make us enemies of the world, because the world, through sin, is at odds with its Creator.

John 16:33
"These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world."

So, according to Christ, our peace is IN HIM. This means that if we have a saving faith in Jesus Christ, we are at peace with God, and that is the only kind of peace that really matters.

John 14:27
"Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful."

Here, Christ makes it clear that these two types of peace, peace with the world and peace with God, are in fact different. The kind of peace He gives us, the kind of peace He promotes and rewards, is a peace with our sovereign Creator, not necessarily a peace with other people.

Christianity is dedicated to peace, but it is PEACE WITH GOD rather than PEACE WITH EVIL.

Christ Himself is indeed the only way to attain this peace (John 14:6).

If you recognize that you are a sinner, and therefore an enemy of God, and you would like to fix this problem, the first thing to recognize is that you can't (Romans 3:23; Ephesians 2:9).

However, God can (Psalm 115:3).

He has offered freedom and forgiveness through His Son, Jesus (John 6:40).

The Bible teaches that if you confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9).

God bless.

Atheist view Christian view