A bad argument against pacifism

Sorry for the theme here, but I’ve got it on the brain…

One common argument against pacifism is: “If we actually took that position, much more evil would be perpetrated against innocents than if we didn’t.”

An example often is WWII: what would have happened to the Jews if the Allies hadn’t fought the Nazis?

The problem with this is that classical Christian theology, expressed perhaps most strongly in Calvin, teaches that all human actions are concurrently caused by God, as well as being caused by human agents. This means that while we can look at history as (containing) a series of human actions, we can also look at it as the outworking of divine providence.

This means that the Allied defeat of the Nazis is not just a human act, but a divine act. And this means that, at least in some sense, God did step in to stop the Nazis.

The basic point of this reply to the argument is to point out that a) the consequences of being a pacifist are not necessarily worse than not being a pacifist, and that b) one can condemn human actions (violence) while simultaneously seeing them as being used by God to prevent worse evils (as, e.g., a pacifist would perhaps see the Allied defeat of the Nazis in WWII).

This means, I think, that one cannot mount a consequentialist argument against a biblical pacifism; one will have to show that there is no good reason to believe God wants us to be pacifists, and to do that one would at minimum have to refute biblical arguments that God does want us to be pacifists.