Question from a Site Viewer
Is the peace sign bad?
You ask whether the peace sign is bad. For those of us who look to Scripture for answers to such questions, the answer is fairly straightforward.
First, Scripture never mentions the peace sign. However, Scripture gives us some instruction on matters not directly addressed in Scripture. Whatever we do in word or deed, we should do all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31) and in the name of the Lord Jesus (Colossians 3:17). Secondly, we are instructed not to do anything that would cause a brother to stumble (Romans 14:13; 1 Corinthians 8:9-13; 10:28-32). And finally, if we cannot in good conscience participate in something, then we should not participate in that activity (Romans 14:14, 23).
The Romans passage is particularly helpful to your question. Paul states in Romans 14:14 that there is nothing unclean of itself. But if someone considers it to be unclean, to that person it is unclean.
The peace symbol is just such a thing. It is only a symbol. Some would see it as linked to Satanism, the occult, Nazism, and various other evil matters. But it is only a symbol. It is nothing in itself. It only means something if people see it as meaning something. And for the vast majority of people, it only means “peace.” For such people, it is not evil.
Some people, however, see it as a symbol straight from the bowels of hell. They find it linked to an upside down and broken cross, a parody of Christ’s crucifixion. For such people, I think it would be evil, since they associate it with evil. And, if I was communicating with such persons, I probably would not use the symbol, as I would not want to be a cause of stumbling for them.
The modern usage of the symbol arose out of the anti-nuclear protests of the 1950s. It quickly moved from a symbol of protest against nuclear weapons to the broader protest for peace and against war.
For those who see it as an evil symbol, I simply point out that the most evil of all symbols has become the universal mark of Christianity. We have quickly forgotten that the cross was a sadistic, most horrendous, and evil thing. It was a curse to hang on a tree; even Scripture so stated (Deuteronomy 21:23; Galatians 3:13). It was a symbol of shame and of evil. The cross was never a symbol of good, at least not until Jesus came. When Jesus spoke of taking up our cross and following Him, the imagery would not have been seen as a good thing by the vast majority of people. It would be as if the syringe became the symbol of euthanasia and then we all started to take the syringe as the symbol of our new religion. The death of Christ transformed the symbol of death into a symbol of life.
The meaning of symbols can be changed, even as the meaning of the cross changed. For those who see the peace sign as evil, they should not use the symbol. For those who do not see it as evil, they should feel free to use the symbol, only keeping in mind that love towards others would compel them to consider their audience when using the symbol.
I tend to refrain from using the symbol simply because for me it represents protests against authority. I think that Scripture has given us an abundance of instruction on how we should relate to authority. In Romans, the Apostle Paul goes so far as to state that those who resist the authority resist the ordinance of God (Romans 13:2). In Titus 3:1-2, we are told to be subject to the authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility. These are great instructions. Peter says much the same thing in 1 Peter 2:13-17. Jeremiah sent a letter with instructions to the Jewish captives in Babylon about how they were to live as sojourners in a foreign land. In Jeremiah 29:7, he tells them to seek the peace of the city where they live and to pray to the LORD for it, because in its peace you will have peace. I think this is great instruction for how we as Christians are to live as sojourners in this land. Paul, I believe, had this very thing in mind when he instructed Timothy to pray for authorities so that we may lead a quiet and peaceful life (1 Timothy 2:1-2). Because I tend to associate the symbol with protests against the government, and because I believe that generally (although perhaps not always) such protests do not represent the Christ path, I do not find the peace symbol useful to me (see 1 Corinthians 10:23).
But whether one uses or does not use the peace symbol should never be a crucial matter for Christians. The focus of Christians should always be on Jesus, deepening our relationship with Him and seeking the good of the eternal kingdom through meditation on the words of Scripture, through prayer, and through the faithful practice of doing good for others.
I pray that the Lord Jesus will use you in His kingdom to represent Him well in this world.
A fellow servant,