Pacifism appeals to all who seek to follow Christ. Jesus said turn the other cheek and to treat your enemies the same as you do your friends. Because Jesus followers grow to love others as they love God, they do not want to hurt others, even the ones who want to hurt them.
Applying Jesus’ personal ethic to global affairs becomes another matter. Many, if not most, Christian commentators through the centuries have affirmed that, at times, wars are just.
C.S. Lewis has an interesting essay on this subject — “Why I am Not a Pacifist,” in The Weight of Glory. And remember, Lewis experienced war personally in the trenches of World War I, which claimed the life of his best friend.
I summarize some of Lewis’ points because some of you may not desire to read the entire essay.
Lewis said you cannot factually say that war accomplishes nothing good because one can never know how history would have turned if the war had not been fought. “That wars do no good is then so far from being a fact that it hardly ranks as a historical opinion” (Kindle location 691).
On the test of fact, then, I find the Pacifist position weak. It seems to me that history is full of useful wars as well as of useless wars (699).
The doctrine that war is always a greater evil seems to imply a materialist ethic, a belief that death and pain are the greatest evils. But I do not think they are (725).
And of course war is a very great evil. But that is not the question. The question is whether war is the greatest evil in the world, so that any state of affairs which might result from submission is certainly preferable. And I do not see any really cogent arguments for that view (731).