There are three main versions of pacifism:

  1. Absolute or total pacifism: Taking the view that there should be no use of military force at all, regardless of whether it is just. A humans life is so valuable, there is never a reason to take it in war.
  2. Relative, selective, or conditional: These pacifists are against war and conflict, however they believe that there may be some situations in which war mas be the ‘lesser of two evils’ than any alternatives. Often associated with Utilitarian principles – the bad consequence of war may be outweighed by a good outcome.
  3. Selective/Nuclear pacifism: These pacifists accept war and violence to some degree but oppose the use of Weapons of Mass Destruction, based on the idea that such wars are unwinnable.

There are both examples in support of pacifism and violence in the Bible.

Jesus as a pacifist:

  • “Turn the other cheek” Matthew 5:39
  • “Love your neighbour as yourself” Mark 12:31
  • “Put your sword back in its place” Jesus said to him, “for all those who draw the sword will die by the sword.’ Matthew 26:52

Challenges to Pacifism, as shown in the Bible:

  • ‘he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables.” – Jesus clears the Temple Courts – John 2:13-22
  • “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace but the sword.’ Matthew 10:34