Nuclear weapon test Union (yield 6.9 Mt) on Bikini Atoll. The test was part of the Operation Castle. United States Department of Energy - www.cddc.vt.edu (Wikipedia. Public Domain.)
A quick read through the Old Testament may make you think that God is all for war and destruction. Just read Deuteronomy 20:10-18 and you would conclude that war is perfectly OK with God. A read through Genesis 19 about the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and you could conclude that even nuclear destruction is OK with God.
But is it?
One of my favourite quotes about war is by Albert Einstein:
I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.
Indeed, war may be inevitable (because of our proud fallen nature) and according to the Church's Just War Theory, even necessary, but a war that could annihilate millions of people? A war that could destroy a whole continent? A war that could destroy the whole planet?
War may sometimes be a necessary evil. But no matter how necessary, it is always an evil, never a good.
Maybe we need a little perspective.
The bomb that destroyed 90 percent of the city of Hiroshima was the equivalent of 15,000 tons of TNT. That immediate explosion killed 80,000 people. The bomb that was dropped over Nagasaki killed 40,000 people but that bomb produced a 22,000 ton blast. Today there is a bomb called the B83 that equals 1.2M tons of TNT and the Tsar Bomb which was set off by the Soviets in 1961, produced a 50 million ton blast – that’s over 3000 times more powerful than the ones used to end the war with Japan!
Granted, not all nuclear warheads are this powerful, but just think: The United States, has some 10,000 nuclear warheads. Russia owns about 12,000.
To give you an idea of what that sounds like, take a listen:
This is the sound of all the artillery in megatons used in World War II between 1939 and 1946:
The Sound of a 20-Megaton Atomic Bomb:
The Sound of the current U.S. Nuclear Arsenal:
I lied. That's only the sound of one 10th of the current U.S. Arsenal (give or take a few...)
Do we really need this many nuclear weapons? France has an estimated 300, China 240, Israel 80, Pakistan about 80, India about 70 and North Korea about 10.
One 20 Megaton Bomb would:
Create a crater 300ft. deep, and 1/2 mile wide
Ignite everything in a 3000-sq. mile area
Vaporise everyone in a 6-mile radius
Lethally injure everyone in a 20-mile radius and
Leave everyone in a 40-mile radius blind
If you survive the blast:
Your hair would fall out
Your skin would be covered with large ulcers
You would vomit and experience diarrhea
Your white blood cells and platelets would stop working
The way to win an atomic war is to make certain it never starts.
Omar Bradley (1893 - 1981)
Pope Francis said at that conference last week that “Weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons, create nothing but a false sense of security. They cannot constitute the basis for peaceful coexistence between members of the human family.”
With Pope Francis, let’s commit to work for a world without nuclear weapons and pray in hope for a world built on just relations and cooperation between people who wish to live in peaceful co-existence.
You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake.
Jeannette Rankin (1880 - 1973)
Every week, Deacon Pedro takes a particular topic apart, not so much to explore or explain the subject to its fullness, but rather to provide insights that will deepen our understanding of the subject. And don’t worry, at the end of the day he always puts the pieces back together. There are no limits to deaconstructing: Write to him and ask any questions about the faith or Church teaching:firstname.lastname@example.org@deaconpedrogm