Unclear Nuclear


I have never been on an anti-nuclear march. I have never been on a protest march of any kind, for that matter, and expect I never will. Not that the issues don’t concern me. They do. But I have never felt, for me, joining a protest march or sit-in, was either a relevant or effective way of making a point and of influencing opinions and decisions. The issue of Nuclear Weapons, a big thing in many people’s mind with the possibility of an independent Scotland, presents a particularly vexing dilemma

You don’t need to have much imagination to grasp the unspeakable horror that would be unleashed in the event of a nuclear conflict. I have read the books and watched films. One of my closest friends comes from Nagasaki. I have a very vivid imagination and these images and records have been indelibly printed in my mind so that they won’t go away.  Because of the scale, the might, the inevitable indiscriminate nature of the beast, no cause could ever be important enough to justify their use. And if you have no intention of using them how can you ever justify having them?  That the other side have similar weapons is, for me, no argument either. I would accept facing a major nuclear assault on my own nation, my own people, my own family, with all the horror that that would entail and still refuse to respond in kind. But then, nothing is ever that simple. Or is it?

When you look at the issue dispassionately, (if you can) a curios but relevant fact comes into play. While millions of people (2-3 million) have been killed in wars since 1945 with bombs, missiles, rockets, shells, kalashnikovs and machetes not one single person has died as a result of a nuclear weapon being used in anger. This is an astonishing statistic and despite current East/West jumpiness and the possibility of a terrorist group laying hands on the goods there is nothing to suggest that these weapons are ever likely to be used. Many would even suggest that the presence of these weapons has, in fact, kept us from all-out war over this period.  If that is so, and it is a big if, then the argument shifts from morality to money. Maintaining a nuclear arsenal, or being covered by a nuclear umbrella, when there is never the intention of using either, does seem quite insane.  It can only be regarded as a foolish and obscene waste of money, time and expertise, resources that would much better be employed in more worthy causes.

But to the dismay, no doubt, of many of my friends and family, I am still not convinced that the campaign for nuclear disarmament is a necessary element in the pursuit of world peace. At the end of the day, a nuclear missile is an inanimate object and of itself has no moral character. It is certainly a weapon and the vilest kind. (Although I expect evil minds can and will produce even worse). The person behind the weapon is, on the other hand, a moral being, capable of distinguishing between right and wrong. In a way it doesn’t matter if they are pushing a button, or firing a shell, dropping a bomb or wielding a machete, the end result is the same. The difference is only in method and scale.

So the campaign that I want to be involved and committed to is for the changing of hearts and the resistance of evil. This is essentially a work of God and of His Holy Spirit but I believe that Jesus has called his followers to be part of and instruments of, that work. This, for me, is the most relevant and most effective way of engaging in this struggle.  The struggle: the campaign, the fight and the battle, which is not against people, or governments, or political parties or societies, or nations, but against the spiritual powers of darkness.

Crawford Mackenzie




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