Peace & Nonviolence Quotations

nonviolenceHere are a few lines from a book I started recently, The Power of Nonviolence: Writings by Advocates of Peace.

“Let man overcome anger by love, let him overcome evil by good; let him overcome the greedy by liberality, the liar by truth. For hatred does not cease by hatred at any time; hatred ceases by love; this is an old rule.” –Buddha (p. 3)

~~This reminds me a bit of Paul, who came a few years later: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12:21).

“As Justice is a Preserver, so it is a better Procurer of Peace than War.” –William Penn (p. 5)

~~This reminds me of Pope Paul VI: “If you want peace, work for justice.

“There is another manifest Benefit which redounds to Christendom, by this Peaceable Expedient: the Reputation of Christianity will in some Degree be recovered in the Sight of Infidels; which, by the many Bloody and unjust Wars of Christians, not only with them, but one with another, hath greatly impaired. For, to the Scandal of that Holy Profession, Christians that glory in their Saviour’s Name have long devoted the Credit and Dignity of it, to their worldly Passions, as often as they have been excited by the Impulses of Ambition and Revenge. They have not always been in the Right: nor has Right been the Reason of War: and not only Christians against Christians but the same Sort of Christians embrewed their Hands in one another’s Blood: Invoking and Interesting, all they could, the Good and Merciful God to prosper their Arms to their Brethren’s Destruction: yet their Saviour has told them that he came to save, and not to destroy the Lives of Men…” –William Penn (p. 6)

~~The truth Penn gets at reminds me of Mark Twain’s “War Prayer“: “O Lord our God, help us tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander unfriended in the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames in summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it.

“They look only at the passive side of the friend of peace, only at his passivity; they quite omit to consider his activity. But no man, it may be presumed, ever embraced the cause of peace and philanthropy for the sole end and satisfaction of being plundered and slain. A man does not come the length of the spirit of martyrdom without some active purpose, some equal motive, some flaming love.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson (p. 11)

“Nor…is the peace principle to be carried into effect by fear. It can never be defended, it can never be executed, by cowards. Everything great must be done in the spirit of greatness. The manhood that has been in war must be transferred to the cause of peace, before war can lose its charm, and peace be venerable to men…. The cause of peace is not the cause of cowardice.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson (p. 13)

~~These remind me of a line on the Christian Peacemaker Teams’ website: “we believe that until Christians are willing to devote the same discipline and sacrifice to nonviolent peacemaking that soldiers dedicate to war-making, violence will always prevail.”


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