Summary: About the concept of Christian pacifism and conscientious objection to military service, in the Bible and history.

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Daniel H. Shubin

He (the Messiah) will judge between the nations, and will decide for many people; and they will beat their swords into plows and their spears into pruning shears; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

Isaiah 2:4.

“My kingdom is not of this world.”

Jesus Christ to Pontius Pilate. John 18:36.


Jesus taught that his Kingdom was not of this world. His was the Kingdom of God or the heavenly kingdom. John 18:36.

The earthly or secular governments are the kingdoms of this world. These are America and the members of the United Nations, and other sovereign states that are politically independent. The power in each of these secular governments is held by a minority of the population, namely the political and military leadership, those who control the financial institutions of the state, and the industrial giants. There exists both a benefit and a detriment in the institution of secular government.

The detriment of secular government lies in the formation of a military along with the massive industrial complex required to support the military. A military is an important facet of the identity and political independence of the nation because, it symbolizes the establishment of a sovereign state and which will defend its existence as a corporate entity. The military is thus designed to serve in the best interests of the state as defined by the ruling party, and to violently defend the ideals that the state represents.

War readily and regularly occurs between the nations because it is a self-imposed judgement upon them for their inability to live in peaceful coexistence. Leaders sense power in devising and creating and employing war. A declaration of war is the product of the military regime to justify its development, its preparations, its manufacture of weapons. War benefits the political and military leadership and the industrial giants and financial institutions, while to the detriment of individuals, society and civilization. The development of industry to support the military as a means of boosting the national economy is artificial, because it is not genuinely productive for the material advancement of the population. The attitude of the state is that military production and recruits are expendable and renewable.


Military service is the most volatile of all topics in the dialogue between the relation of religion and state. Religions in America tend to agree with one another regarding secular legislation and do conform to the dictates of the state, but military service is volatile. The reason is ultimate allegiance: Is it to God as the highest authority, or to the state if the demand is at variance to God’s? Is payment of taxes, and civic and community service, sufficient compensation to the state for the privilege of living within the national borders and enjoying the rights and freedoms provided by it, or must a person sacrifice his life at the dictate of the state? This is the conflict of ages.

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