The Peace Sign and the Swastika

peace sign 

Don't settle for a broken cross.

I was first introduced to the backstory of the swastika when reading Hitler's Cross by Erwin Lutzer. Not only was it not invented by the Nazis, the symbol itself had actually existed around the world for thousands of years. (1)

Additionally, the word "swastika" is originally Sanskrit, the liturgical language of Hinduism. The etymology "comes [from] the Sanskrit word 'svasti' (sv = well; asti = is), meaning good fortune, luck and well-being." (2)

Funny place to pick up a symbol for Nazi Germany.

But not really.

In a mere 700 words, Pastor Lutzer begins his third chapter explaining the importance of the Christian Cross in German History.

"In 1834, one hundred years before Hitler, a poet named Heinrich Heine asses the mood in Germany and concluded that only the cross of Christ was holding back the Germans' 'lust for war.'"

". . . Heine was a Jew."

Pastor Lutzer concludes his introduction by emphasizing Hitler's purpose in choosing the swastika:

"Though the cross of Christ was later embedded within the swastikas that adorned German churches, Hitler was not satisfied. His stated plan was to have the swastika replace the cross of Christ altogether."

For the record, the entirety of that last sentence is italicized.

Why.

Why do I bring up something as terribly depressing as Nazi Germany and how on earth does this relate to the peace sign?

Both are a broken cross. 

"The peace sign Megan? Really?"

Yep.

According to Wikipedia, the Peace Sign originated in 1958 as a symbol for nuclear disarmament.

The symbol is a combination of the semaphore signals for the letters "N" and "D," standing for "nuclear disarmament". In semaphore the letter "N" is formed by a person holding two flags in an inverted "V," and the letter "D" is formed by holding one flag pointed straight up and the other pointed straight down. Superimposing these two signs forms the shape of the centre of the peace symbol.

The images you see are embedded from an article on Yahoo.

"Nuclear Disarmament? Well that's a safe origin Megan ... so why do you have so much against the peace sign?"

Why do you think I have something against the peace sign? Did I say that? Let me ask a more important question ...

How effective is man-made peace?

Just because mom tells you to be quiet and stop fighting doesn't mean you do ... you just suppress the disagreement.

As much as I love the movie Mean Girls for all its truthfulness, there is no greater piece of fantasy than the gym scene where the girls talk out their disagreements. And how about the wounds humans inflict on each other that go deeper than a few socially stubbed toes?

That sort of interpersonal reconciliation cannot exist without the grace and goodness of Jesus Christ. 

And to anyone who has experienced genuine forgiveness and restoration separate from Jesus, I would submit that the ability of each individual to participate was still the unknown grace of God moving in human hearts.

We forgive because He first forgave us. 

Do not settle for fake peace.

Do not accept the false comfort of a broken cross.

Choose the forgiveness of Jesus Christ.

By His wounds, we are healed. By His blood, we are freed from our sin and rebellion.

He died on a tree to give us Life. And He rose again to prove it.

The one and only Prince of Peace.

 

 

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  • DoGoodOrDoNaught

    Thank you for this informative post full of thought-provoking truths. A very worthy read.

    I’m reminded of a passage (which you may well know) from C.S. Lewis’ “Mere Christianity,” the last two lines being most well known:

    “What Satan put into the heads of our remote ancestors was the idea that they could ‘be like gods’ — could set up on their own as if they had created themselves — be their own masters — invent some sort of happiness for themselves outside God, apart from God. And out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history — money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery — the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.

    God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.”

    • An excellent quote! CS Lewis sums it up well!