That the clergy should be in times of war, as George Bernard Shaw not unjustly observes, "The most pugnacious of our citizens" is significant.There are so many phases of war that lend themselves most easily to a religious interpretation.That an immense number of people are still blind to the iniquity of war, is of course not surprising.
If it is our aim to prepare and educate men for permanent peace we must convince them that no moral values will be lost in the transition to a new state of civilization.
And we can do his only by proving either that the virtues developed in war are ultimately not indispensable or that they may be adequately conserved in a civilization of peace.
This is the paradox of war and the problem it presents cannot be ignored by peace advocates without serious harm to their cause.
That war has some element that has appealed to the best in the best of men is clearly proven by history.
In 1915-1916, the CPU turned its attention to peace education in the churches and Sunday Schools, a program praised for its innovation by trustee Charles S.
Mac Farland, who pointed out that peace had not been a significant thread in church-sponsored education before.This feeling of incredulity persisted in many quarters even after hostilities had actually begun.In part it was no doubt due to the natural inability of our minds to become reconciled to events that had not before entered into the range of possibilities for us.This aspect of war has played a most seductive part in the present war.This we must acknowledge if we but consider how the emphasis upon it on the part of the church and the ministry has made it possible for the greatest moral agency we know to sanction the undertaking.As a collective undertaking, war is primarily selfish and immoral without excuse.But for the individual it often means the highest expression of his altruism and the greatest opportunity for the development of his nobler passions.Perhaps the most general impression created in the hearts of American citizens by the rumors of war immediately preceding the present great conflict was a sense of incredulity.Prominent men everywhere expressed the opinion that the world war to which the rumors pointed would be such an anachronism that some means would surely be found to avert the seemingly inevitable catastrophe.Perhaps this was due to the fact that they overestimated the moral significance of their respective nation's positions.Scholars of both sides for instance interpreted the war as a defense of democracy or a defense of culture.