is it a necessary weapon of war?
by the Rev. J. F. T. Prince
HE tide of hatred, which necessarily increases as war becomes more bitter, has risen considerably of late. It is well to remind ourselves of what this means on the eve of the feast of love and peace, the feast of Christmas.
William Barkley (writing in the Daily Express) informs us, on the strength of one or two anecdotes which be claims are but samples of a dozen he could give, that " the Germans deserve to be hated" Then John Gordon, writing in the noiday Express, declares that " we need as well the most intense hatred in our hearts of everything Hitler stands for and has done . . . you cannot win a war like this without hating your enemy
Meanwhile, the Bolsheviks have moved Irons the strategic position, held long by us,. of blaming only Hitler and the " Nazi Gang " to placing the guilt on the whole German people.
Here is the crucial question.
Is hatred a necessary weapon to war? That It is a handy stimulus to a scared and hungry people we well know, and Its expediency cannot be denied; hut what of the Gospel? The ease with which many Christians are capable of dismissing the emphatic teaching of Christ is nothing
short of marvellous. " But I say unto you who _hear, Love your enemies, do good to them who hate you, bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use Hatred—Mightiest Divider
Milton remarked how hatred is of all things the mightiest divider, nay, division
itself. To couple hatred, though wedlock herself try all hegolden links, and borrow to her and all the iron miracles and fetters of law, is but to seek to twist a rope of sand.
it is a sentiment at remarkable relevance to the parlous economy of twentieth-century Europe. That civilization, we have recently been told, is wider in extent, far more com plex and closely knit than any known to history. Its ramifications are so far-reaching and the interdependence of its parts so complete, that its dissolution would mean utter and barbaric chaos. And yet it is doubtful whether it has enough moral strength to hold together. At least its cohesion is in grave peril.
The war, the Pope has reminded us, has shown that a civilization based on materialism and selfishness must, in the end, bring about its own destruction.
It May be Fun—But . . .
Calling Hitler g guttersnipe may be good fun—hut can scuicely be regarded as leadership out of the morass into which the disharmonies of international life have led us. Every evil and disharmony which caused this war can but be extended and strengthened by hatred.
Hatred will stimulate the process of social disintegration which has been in progress since 1912. The evils which flourished in the sovereign State and which produced the Great War. the Versailles Treaty, the Great Slump of the early thirties, the Ottawa Policy, the rise of Hitler and Nazism and the phenomenal and cohesive aggression of the former Have-Not Powers will be resuscitated by hatred.
It was a Puritan, writing a hundred years after Milton's time, and quoting almost word for Word the Pope of His day, who said that in estimating the worth of nations, justice requires that, wrille their vices are put into one scale, their virtues would as conscientiously be poised in the other. Individuals and nations are equally stung with a sense of wrong when their crimes are acrimoniously recapitulated, and their great and good actions are all forgotten.
This fatal forgetfulness is the origin of that rancour which has so long desolated the earth. It distracts private families, confounds public principles and turns even patriotism itself into poison.
Can't Have It Both Ways Let those who have but the smallest love for the happiness of mankind beware how they Indulge this pernicious propensity. He who in every man wishes to meet a brother will rarely encounter an enemy.
The teaching of Jesus Christ, we have been reminded by a Professor of Harvard University, is not something that wails until the question of aggression and war is answered; it must be communicated through the process of civilization, not after or before it. It is impossible for a nation to present itself to the aggressive infidel as a giant of hatred, and later as an ambassador of the mercy and grace of Christ.
We have been told that is the making of money it is the getting at wealth with clean hands, and not the generous spending of illgotten wealth which marks the Christian business man.
The same thing may be said in the matter of victory. It is the moral quality of the conquest itself, and not that which may happen after the conquest. which represents the Christian motive (if there be one) of the conquering nation It is the motives which prompt and direct the original approach to the godless which are likely either to bring him to Christ or repel him from Him. That these are truths is proven for us as much by past history as by the ethical standard to which we claim to adhere.
I repeat. by history—unless we are going to blue-pencil the facts ot the past and
adopt instead the writings of the war-time
historian who sees in the enemy the total
source of evil—who will use of Hitler and
the Germans the identically same terms of condemnation that were used a century ago of Napoleon and the French.