Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Voice of a Martyr

Tom Fox, the Quaker who was recently murdered by terrorist in Iraq, maintained a blog. (Parts of his writings are also available here.) The quote below is intriguing. Although I have never adopted a pacifist philosophy, perferring a more "realist" approach, as a follower of Jesus, I stuggle with pacifism and often feel guilty and a bit of a coward for not embracing it. My thanks to the Chronicles of an Indestructible Life for this link. Here's Tom Fox's quote:

"When I allow myself to become angry I disconnect from God and connect with the evil force that empowers fighting. When I allow myself to become fearful I disconnect from God and connect with the evil force that encourages flight. I take Gandhi and Jesus at their word - if I am not one with God then I am one with Satan. I don't think Gandhi would use that word but Jesus certainly did, on numerous occasions. The French theologian Rene Girard has a very powerful vision of Satan that speaks to me: 'Satan sustains himself as a parasite on what God creates by imitating God in a manner that is jealous, grotesque, perverse and as contrary as possible to the loving and obedient imitation of Jesus.' "If I am not to fight or flee in the face of armed aggression, be it the overt aggression of the army or the subversive aggression of the terrorist, then what am I to do? ... Here in Iraq I struggle with that second form of aggression ... how do you stand firm against a car-bomber or a kidnapper?" -Tom Fox, 1952-2006


  1. I think if we all lived in Jesus's time, world peace could have been a reality. But unfortunately, our world is much smaller do to technology and I think that decreases the likelihood of ever being at peace as a world.

    As an anecdote, I live among the Maharishi who believe that world peace can be obtained with enough people meditating at one time. I think the have reduced it down to the sqaure root of 1 percent of the population as the magic number.

  2. Okay Ed, as an engineer, just what is the square root of 1% of the population? And to maintain peace, will they have to keep up with population growth?

  3. Profound questions indeed with no easy answers but definitely something to ponder.

  4. Hey Sage,
    I'm not particularly religious (therefore not qualified to comment on Fox's perspectives) but I deeply respect & admire the work of Fox et al. It is a thought provoking post.

  5. I was beginning to think my joke was lost. Yes the square root of 1 is 1. But seriously, they have said that the key to world harmony is the square root of a certain percentage of the population meditating at the same time. The exact figure alludes me at the moment.

  6. actually Ed, your joke did pass me by. I wasn't thinking the square root of 1, I was thinking the square root of 6-something million or whatever 1% of the world's population might be.

  7. I am not a religious person but I still embrace pacifism to the nth degree. I believe in it whole-heartedly.

    I think peace is achievable. I think it starts from within and we eminate it outwardly...each of us. It's a grassroots feeling that we can pass on.

    That person who made you angry because they cut you off, make peace with it. The clerk who scowled, give them some joy back.

    one at at a time, we can make peace happen. If it starts at a small level,it can reach epic proportions and can become a global reality.

    I believe this.

  8. How unbelievably sad. Sometimes I wonder if Iraq will ever recover, if its fractured people have the ability, or even the will, to improve their lot in life.

    As time goes on, I fear the answer is no.

  9. Thanks for this find of a link. I plan to pass it on.