You see it everywhere this time of year: “Peace on Earth, Good Will to All People.”

Meanwhile, according to the British newspaper The Independent, only eleven countries on earth are free from violent conflict.   There are more than twenty-five full-on wars happening right now and 169 violent militia and rebel conflicts.

 It’s time we followed the example of recovery programs such as A.A. and resolve to, FIRST, stop killing each other and then we can work on our differences.

Peace on Earth—when will it happen? It’s time to adopt an Alcoholics Anonymous approach to world peace.

 It’s time we followed the example of recovery programs such as A.A. and resolve to, FIRST, stop killing each other and then we can work on our differences.

According to scientists, for as long as there have been intoxicants, a portion of human beings has struggled with addiction. For millennia, various disciplines including medicine, psychiatry and religion attempted, unsuccessfully, to help people suffering from an addiction to booze.  All of the approaches stemmed from the same common approach: Let’s resolve your problems so you’ll stop drinking.

Alcoholics Anonymous reversed this.  A.A. has succeeded because it was the first to say, “Stop drinking FIRST and then we’ll work on your problems.”  Thanks to this subtle shift, countless jobs, marriages, and even lives have been saved.

Heretofore, humanity’s approach to peace has been like outdated approaches to alcoholism. Attempts at peace have centered on, “Let’s resolve our differences so we can stop killing each other.” This has only lead to the discovery of more differences and more killing.  It’s time we followed the example of recovery programs such as A.A. and resolve to, FIRST, stop killing each other and then we can work on our differences.

War is used as a tool of international policy because people accept it. All we have to do is change our minds—to cease to believe that war is an acceptable necessary evil and to begin to believe that no disagreement is worth killing each other’s children. Countries have been trying to resolve their differences so that there will no longer be war. We need to declare peace first and then spend eternity working out our differences.  The option of war is simply removed from the table.

This is why I am declaring enduring world peace beginning September 21, 2056.

Seriously.

September 21st is the United Nations World Day of Peace—so there is already momentum there. We just need to turn those national celebrations into a countdown to world peace.

2056 is far enough in the future that it gives us time for enough people to make the requisite shift in belief such that peace will, indeed, reign on planet Earth.

Who am I to make such a proclamation? I’m just a writer and an ordained minister and there are crazy preachers who, every decade or so, declare the end of the world is coming on this or that date.  So why can't I say when world peace will begin?

Incidentally, this is not a new idea.  The Kellogg Briand Pact of 1927, sponsored by the United States and signed by 62 countries declared that war may not be used to resolve "disputes or conflicts of whatever nature or of whatever origin they may be, which may arise.”

Every major religion shares a common belief in the sanctity of human life and yet war has endured.  If enough people believe—just believe, that as of September 21, 2056 war will end on planet earth—it must happen!

If eleven, only eleven out of 196 countries are at peace, it still means that right now, in at least eleven countries there is peace. We simply need to build on this over the next forty-two years.

This year, when you say, “Peace on Earth,” give peace a beginning date.