A Farewell to Mars by Brian Zahnd (Book Review)

A Farewell to Mars

There was a time when Brian Zahnd prayed war prayers, asking God to bless America’s militarism. He, like so many other American Evangelicals, had a picture of God that was much more akin to Mars, the god of war, than to Jesus, “that preacher of peace.” But Brian has repented of his nationalistic idolatry, and he invites us to do the same.

This book was of interest to me, as I too have recently become convinced that Jesus taught a gospel of peace and nonviolence. We simply cannot fulfill his command to love our enemies if we kill them. A Farewell to Mars promises to chronicle Brian’s “own journey from war crier to peacemaker” as he “reintroduces us to the gospel of Peace.”

Having now read it, I’m simultaneously delighted and disappointed. Delighted because I enjoyed every page—and disappointed because the book failed to do what it promised. This is a fantastic book; it simply is not the book that was advertised.

What Did Jesus Think of the Revolution?

Revolution

More than two centuries ago, the founding fathers of this country signed a statement known as the Declaration of Independence. This document officialized the American colonies’ break from Great Britain. The colonists believed they were justified in this action—along with the bloody conflict itself—due to an increase in taxes without sufficient representation. In fact, many of them were convinced that God was on their side in the war for independence from their oppressors. Let the revolution begin!

A similar situation existed two millennia ago. Much like the colonists under British rule, the Jews were under the oppressive rule of Rome. However, Israel was not a rightful colony of Rome; their land had been taken by force. Like the colonists, the Jews faced heavy taxation, but they also faced constant abuse, and their whole way of life was being destroyed. They couldn’t do anything without the interference of Rome. Caesar even considered himself to be god—the ultimate blasphemy against Yahweh.

Surely, they were justified in their desire to break from Rome. Surely, God was on their side.

[I’ve moved this post to my new blog. Continue reading at HippieHeretic.com.]