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Last Updated:
Sunday, June 04, 2006 12:18:04 PM



Sunday, May 21, 2006

Couldn't War Be a Noble Quest?
by Wes Penre, May 21, 2006

Last Updated: Sunday, June 04, 2006 12:18:04 PM


Wes Penre, 2005


n occasion, I receive e-mails from visitors who claim that the Iraq war is justified, and if the U.S. attacks Iran, that would be justified as well. How come? Because, according to those people, the Iraqi and Iranian regimes are extremely threatening to world peace and some people tell me that the best thing to do is to wipe those countries out from the world map all together. Other people say that some wars can be justified due to protecting religious beliefs.


Obviously, those persons talk out of fear. They are terrified that they and their families and  friends will be the next targets of terrorism and violent death. This is quite understandable, until you can see the whole picture.

But...could those people be right? Couldn't war sometimes be a noble quest?

Years ago, I read a book called "The Gods of Eden", by William Bramley (Avon Books 1989). He had the following viewpoints on war and violence, and why war is not a noble or a good thing. I strongly agree with what he is saying, with one addition. I will come to that after the quote. Here is William Bramley:

"What is war, then, if not a noble quest?

Analyzed down to its most basic components, warfare is nothing more than the act of causing solid objects to destructively collide with other solid objects. That might sometimes be fun, but there is not much spiritual benefit to be derives from constantly engaging in it. Although it is true that war has many elements of a game, the destructive nature of war causes it to be little more than a series of criminal acts: primarily arson, battery, and murder. This reveals something of great significance:

War is the institutionalization of criminality. War can never bring about spiritual improvement because criminality is one of the main causes of mental and spiritual deterioration.

Societies which exalt criminal actions as a noble quest will suffer a rapid deterioration in the mental and spiritual condition of their inhabitants. 'Spiritual' doctrines which exalt combat are doctrines which degrade the human race.

Is not warfare in pursuit of a just cause a good thing?

The biggest problem with using violent force to fight for a cause is that the rules of force operate on competely [sic] different principles than do the principles of right and wrong. The victorious use of violent force depends upon skills that have nothing to do with whether or not one's cause is a just one. The man who can draw his six-shooter the fastest is not necessarily the man with the best ideals. We like our heroes when they can outshoot or physically overpower the bad guys, and there is nothing wrong with their being able to do so, but not all of our heroes can. Those who have a legitimate cause should therefore be wary of the temptation to assert the rightness of their beliefs in the arena of violent force since their cause may undeservedly lose. There are many effective methods to promote good causes and make them win, but those methods are seldom used in a world educated to use violence as the ultimate court of appeal[1].

In addition to this, I think killing another human being can never be justified, except under one condition - self defense.

Someone may say that this is a contradiction, because there are always people who kill in self defense when there is a war going on. This is true, and I am not saying that a nation who is attacked should just have their citizens stand there and be slaughtered, but what I mean is that war as a concept is not a solution to anything. Even if the "good side" wins, the blood this nation or group has on their hands will degrade them and set them back when it comes to their spiritual growth. Wars and violent conflicts are major reasons why we still are spiritually ignorant.


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[1] Bramley: "The Gods of Eden" p. 166-167.

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