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Monday, June 08, 2009

The Strive For Peace in Christianity, Part 1

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This is a speech I wrote for my studies of religion subject, any questions or comments are appreciated.


Peace can not be looked at as a single idea, but rather, a multifaceted concept, that encompasses peace with oneself, peace with God, peace with family, and peace with others and between nations. It can be observed that peace, as represented in the Bible is the absence of conflict, and the presence of love. The concept and act of forgiveness is inextricably linked with the striving for peace in both the Old and New Testaments.

 

The two testaments often place different emphasis on concepts of peace. Peace in the New Testament is often represented as “The absence of chaos” or simply “security” as written in Luke 11:21 and 1st Corinthians 14:33 .The New Testament places a greater degree of emphasis on personal peace, peace with God, and Love as an overarching concept. The teachings of Jesus imply peace as being optimal, notably in Luke 10 Jesus tells the story of the good Samaritan, and how anyone in need is thy neighbour, and that we must show love to all. Peace is also used in other instances with different meanings. In the Old Testament, the word “Shalom” is generally used as synonymous with peace, and is often thought of as protection from enemies by God. In the Old Testament peace in association with material wealth is discussed in relation to prophecy. Material wealth as peace is associated with the false prophet 1st Kings 22:5 whereas the true prophet was above the desire for material gain Micah 3:5.

A similar idea is repeated in the New Testament, Jesus is quoted as saying, in Matthew 19:24, Mark 10:25 and Luke 18:25, “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God”. There is an intimate relationship between the concepts of peace and love as presented in Biblical texts.

 

In all instances, peace is seen as desirable, a good outcome, and something to strive for.

 

We can examine the concept of striving for peace in Christianity in reference to,

  • Ancient traditions and sacred texts
  • History of and historical events associated with Christianity
  • And Current Practice associated with Christianity

 

 

Within the ancient traditions and sacred texts of Christianity, peace is viewed with great importance, with the biblical texts promoting the many facets of peace, including, peace with God, this is presented in the covenant with God, both that made with Abraham and that mediated by Jesus.

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