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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.This is the paradox of war and the problem it presents cannot be ignored by peace advocates without serious harm to their cause.
But another reason for our incredulity and our desperate hope was our belief that the sin and the injustice of war was so evident to the majority of civilized men that the moral conscience of the nations would revolt against the impending struggle.
It was because of this widely held opinion that men were so quick to place the blame for the war upon the respective rulers of the belligerent nations.
The heroism and sacrifices of national conflicts have always been among the favorite topics of the poets and among the ideals which men worship the virtues of the battle have taken the highest rank.
We do violence to history therefore if we ignore this problem.
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 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.
That an immense number of people are still blind to the iniquity of war, is of course not surprising.
The important thing is that the moral leaders of the nations did not rebel.