Taking a Stand on Violence
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Peter: You know that when I was younger I actually considered serving in the military just like you did. John: And what made you consider serving? Peter: I wanted to defend this country, to protect the rights of those who were being oppressed, and to do my part to end the injustice.
John: So why didn't you serve? Peter: Because I would not be comfortable in that situation. The violence and nature of war conflicts with my values and beliefs. John: Sometimes war is unavoidable. Peaceful and nonviolent means, although preferable, are not always effective. Sometimes war is necessary to end injustice.
Peter: I could never imagine causing harm to others regardless of how evil that person may be. I was taught not to kill and never to retaliate. John: You were taught not to kill those who are innocent. The people we fight have lost their innocence. They are looking to cause harm to others, and we have an opportunity to stop them.
John: We have the moral right and obligation to defend ourselves or someone in need when their human rights are being violated by an aggressor, as long as we do so in a just way. The destructive nature of war must be limited as much as possible. Participating in war is not evil; it is actually a means of protecting one's dignity.
Peter: I still believe that there has to be another way. Violence will only lead to more violence and unpredictable consequences that could have everlasting effects. I prefer to fulfill my responsibility to defend the rights of others through the use of peaceful, nonviolent means. This method shows real strength and demonstrates the true power that the oppressed possess.
John: I believe that there is value in what we both are saying. There are advantages to justly using force to stand up to an aggressor and there are advantages to enacting pacifism and seeking a nonviolent approach to resolving conflicts. Peter: War/violence is not for everyone, just like pacifism is not for everyone. However, maybe a combination of the two provides us with the best opportunity to obtain justice for all people.
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