Wars always involve lots of people lining up to die for lies.
I’ve always wanted to understand how that could happen. Now, as I look at the people who are saying they’ll die to keep Trump in office where he rightfully belongs, I understand. This is what men, especially the most manly man’s men, are into. They want to display their strength and nobility so badly that, if no one offers them the option, they’ll line up behind whatever huckster tells them they have something noble for them to die for.
I think that rather than criticize the underlying willingness to die for something noble, the transformative thing is to introduce these men to the non-violent cross. To say that Jesus is Lord means that there’s only one truly noble type of death that suits a manly man’s man, if it comes to that, and it is a non-violent one in which we say of our killers, “God forgive them. They don’t know what they’re doing.”
Or at least that’s what the Bible teaches, and it is what the community of people who authored and canonized these texts thought it taught. (I can share the relevant patristic sources if anyone wants). Why did so many Christians stop teaching this? It wasn’t that it didn’t work: it was by teaching and doing this that they built a movement that overthrew an Empire. It was that it worked so well that they got the chance to trade it for Empire, and so some (but not all) did. This is the background context for those who want to understand the rise of monasticism, which involved a renunciation of this transition by manly men’s men.
I think we need to water the seeds of what those monks preserved, the record of what Christianity teaches, and nourish it into a movement to defeat Empires again. Not the special preserve of a few manly men’s men, but the common human inheritance of effective non-violent resistance.