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War must cease
By: Robert Berendt (published December 18, 2014)

One would think that every person on earth who reads and understands history would come to the conclusion that war is a horrendous evil that has brought continual suffering since Cain killed Abel. The history of the world is cluttered with wars that were caused by national or tribal loyalty, religious differences, search for power or wealth and people following ideologies that vary a great deal. There seem to have been individuals who have tried to find a solution to ending the insane destruction of other humans and the takeover of what belongs to others by peaceful means. Some think that all religions should be abolished, some think that all boundaries between nations should be erased and some think that owning private property is an evil that should be changed.

One famous musician who seems to have been sincere wrote a well known piece of music a number of years ago with the title "Imagine." His name was John Lennon. He was known to favour communism, Hare Krishnah, the mixing of all races and nations and he was also a user of various mind-changing drugs. Many were saddened when he was murdered, that is something we all decry. We cannot be sure how sincere he was or if his beliefs changed after the popularity of the music of the Beatles grew. John Lennon was one of this famous musical group.

From the song with the title " Imagine" there are several clear themes or items that he addresses whose removal would make the world a better place. He used words like -- no heaven and therefore no hell and living for today or the here and now would result. No countries or nations and nothing to kill or die for along with no religion, would result in living in peace in his song. No possessions and therefore no greed or hunger as the "brotherhood of man" would be sharing all the world. He admits he was a dreamer, but he was not alone and hoped others would join him "and the world will live as one. The direction John Lennon was looking toward was the removal of all the things he believed that caused hatred, suspicion, greed and therefore the seeds for war. History is filled with the details of the religious wars and wars for national preservation or expansion. Nobody would deny that. The philosophies of people like Karl Marx and Lenin provided the seeds for communism to grow in Russia where there was fertile ground for discontent.

Communism has claimed that religion was the "opiate" of the people and the movement of communism was what John Lennon followed. There was the attempt to blend the nationalities and focus everyone's attention and efforts toward one society where peasants were valued, no religion was present and the hard workers were revered. Parents would leave their children in the care of others and cheerfully work to better the state. It was from this philosophical thought that the USSR grew and that the concept of communism was passed on to nations like China, Cuba and others. When the second world war was finished, the attempt was made to incorporate all of Europe under the umbrella of that thought pattern.

The attempt to bring peace to the world under the umbrella of communism as reflected in the song "Imagine" failed badly. Under communist rule, millions of people were brutally killed or forced to uproot. New thought patterns were forced on people and a re-education of the masses was attempted. All the while there were promises that this was the Paradise that people could love and support. Large collective farms were told what they could grow. The attempt to prove the greatness of the system to the whole world made the Olympics a showpiece for the athletes until it was found that the USSR would go to any lengths to win. Athletes were developed using performance enhancing drugs and pressures were placed upon judges of events. Politics reared its ugly head and the sport that was to be a source or drawing respect for other nations became just another blow to world peace and cooperation. Rather than admiration and respect, distrust, winning by any means and a general tension resulted. It seemed that there were no moral rules to go by - win at any cost was the norm. Sadly enough that attitude moved over to many other nations and the Olympics lost much of their lustre. History has shown that politics and national pride have always been present, so this is not new.

The results that we see today of erasing the borders in Europe and in the USSR, plus the degrading of religion, may be hard to trace back to any one movement or event because the world has become terribly complicated. The union of communist states developed by Russia has collapsed and religion has not been erased. National boundaries are once again being developed. People are not cheerful and happy workers, they have lost the strong sense of right and wrong, good and evil. Wars and unrest have increased rather than ceased within the land where these ideas have flourished. Many of the member states of the former USSR sought independence or more autonomy and force was used to promote loyalty to the state. Severe repercussions were handed out to those who were dissenters and a well known spy service within the nation monitored the mind of the people. There is great unrest that has taken place. When the government was in complete control, the average person was like a pawn. Whole areas of the country were involved in the migration of people from one area to another at the whim or the plan of the state. Huge farms that belonged to the state became communities in which the industrious workers lived and worked - for the state. Private ownership drew strong rebuke and often the ire of the leadership. Strong military forces were developed and control was enforced. People were not allowed to live in peace, happiness did not result, and the dreams John Lennon thought about turned out to be shallow at best. The virtues and moral standards that were to bring peace have resulted in great tragedy and sorrow.

Some people have set high ideals for themselves and for their fellow man. Some see the misery caused by politics, religion and greed and have tried to improve the world. We can grow weary of well doing as the Scripture points out (Gal. 6:9, 2 Thess. 3:13). When we struggle to find a solution that is not based on the full support and direction of the Creator, we are prone to find the influence of Satan. Our thoughts turn inwards to ourselves and that which is ours. We seek that which pleases us and do not look toward what affects our neighbors. Paul told Timothy that the world will turn to godlessness in the last days (2 Tim. 3:1-5). Anyone who remains in a situation where they are surrounded by thieves or evildoers is influenced by that in time. It is not only possible, but probable.

When there is no hope of anything beyond this life and no pride of ownership, people tend to pack as much "joy" into today as possible. They eat and drink and carouse - because life is short and a person thinks they need to get as much excitement and joy in as possible (I Cor. 15:32). In doing so, they often lose the values that they cherished. Paul wrote that we are not to deceive ourselves, but bad company does corrupt good manners or character (I Cor. 15:32,33). A person may be terribly sincere, but if they are also wrong, then discouragement results. The only way we can imagine a world of peace is if it is ruled by the strong hand of the King of kings - and when the good standards of God which benefit everyone are enforced. When the source of evil is removed and good is understood, there is hope for peace. God's kingdom is the kingdom of peace. When many join that right and good way, then there will be peace. Christ will cause all war to cease.

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