It may make sense for a sick man to pray for health and then take medicine, but I fail to see any sense at all in his praying for health and then drinking poison. When I pray for peace I pray not only for [ISIS] and the [Koreans] but above all my own nation and myself. When I pray for peace I pray to be protected not only from the [terrorists] but also from the folly and blindness of my own country. When I p
ray for peace I pray not only that the enemies of my country may cease to want war but above all that my own country will cease to do the things that make war inevitable. – Thomas Merton

This is a slightly edited quote from over fifty years ago at the height of the cold war. Change the straw men to fit our times and it rings just as true today.


3 thoughts on “Peace.

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  1. Since you have a closer view of that part of the world than we here in the USA, who only get a second-hand picture, what [stupid thing] do you think the US is doing currently to make war inevitable?


    1. In context to the larger article from which this quote was pulled, Thomas Merton was speaking of military spending (specifically nuclear armament) as a means of ensuring peace. He uses the metaphor of drinking poison while praying for healing.
      How much money does the US spend annually on it’s military infrastructure and R&D? Once the current weapons go obsolete, where do you think they end up? How do you think groups like Boko Haran and ISIS got the weapons by which they make war?


      1. You make a very good point. It would be foolish not to arm ourselves so that we can defend our country against attack. But we (all) do not have to compete for supremacy in the ability to destroy each other, making our older weapons obsolete, but still deadly, and rendering them tools for political bartering. Ever since rifles defeated bows and arrows, spears, and swords, the race has been on to make ourselves invulnerable, with the result that no one is safe. There is no trust–only fear, envy, and revenge. We have tried voluntarily destroying an excess of arms, since they were becoming dangerous due to corrosion, but it has not stopped the major powers from maintaining a stockpile for “defense.” And now we have electronic hacking, which does not need a stockpile of arms to bring a society to its knees. There is no peace in men’s hearts; they believe it can only come by military might.


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