Daniel Berrigan and Thich Nhat Hahn‘s 1975 dialogue Communities of Resistance: A Conversation is the eighteenth chapter of The Power of Nonviolence: Writings by Advocates of Peace . This dialogue leads off the Post-Vietnam to the Present (1975- ) section of the book. Hahn and Berrigan’s hopes for communities of resistance springs from their own experience with religious communities in the Buddhist and Catholic faiths, respectively, and with the experiences of their late mutual friend Thomas Merton.
We have already discussed Merton’s essay The Root of War is Fear from a previous chapter in the same book. In it, Merton defines the calling of a Christian to “work for the total abolition of war.” Merton reminds us that the place to end war is within ourselves. My comments in the post about Merton’s essay could easily be applied to Berrigan and Hahn: Continue reading Daniel Berrigan & Thich Nhat Hahn discuss Communities of Resistance
The fourteenth chapter of The Power of Nonviolence: Writings by Advocates of Peace contains Thomas Merton‘s 1962 essay The Root of War is Fear. As we have seen in the essays by Muste, Day, Addams, Gandhi, and Penn, religious conviction can be a great motivator to speak out for pacifism. Adopting the contemplative life of a monk, seems to have propelled Merton outward into addressing war and violence.
The title of Merton’s essay remind me of what the Duchess always says, “That which is not love, is fear.” Like Fromm’s essay of the prior week, Merton diagnoses the especially American idea that the only way to peace is through nuclear war as being a form of mental illness.
Merton immediately questions what is a Christian to do in a world where violence is considered to be the only answer. He quickly turns aside the choices of resigning oneself to the inevitability of the situation, using it as a reason to preach Apocalypse, or celebrating a nuclear victory over Atheist Communism. Merton finds there is only one appropriate response for a Christian:
That task is to work for the total abolition of war.
Continue reading Merton: The Root of War is Fear