Games Without Frontiers

War and faith – where should we stand regarding this? I just watched a program which talked about this idea and was in favor of the idea of participating in war (even used the Luke scripture as back-up). I have to ask the obvious – where is the proof this is true? The word ‘sword’ (a weapon of war) is used 8 times in the gospels – so here they are.

Matt 10:34 – “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”

Matt 26:51-52 – “And behold, one of those who were with Jesus reached and drew out his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword.”

Mark 14:47 – “But one of those who stood by drew his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his ear.”

Luke 2:35 – “and a sword will pierce even your own soul–to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”

Luke 21:24 – “and they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”

Luke 22:36 – “And He said to them, “But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one.”

Luke 22:49 – “When those who were around Him saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?”

John 18:10-11: “Simon Peter then, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear; and the slave’s name was Malchus. So Jesus said to Peter, “Put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?”

My Conclusion

(1) The 4 gospels all tell the same story about Peter cutting off a Roman guards ear with the sword. Not once in any of those gospel chapters (Matt 26, Mark 14, Luke 22, John 18) does Jesus admonish Peter for his action (ie: bravery or courage). Rather Matthew seems to sum up the idea very well ‘for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword“. This seems to be the point of those 4 stories concerning the involvement of the ‘sword’. Also, from a theological standpoint, Jesus does heal the person immediately who was attacked by the disciple – so I am not sure Jesus wants his disciples to participate in violence whatsoever nor does he condone its outcomes.

(2) Matthew 10:34 is not troubling and talks about ‘sword’ in regards to how family and community units will be ‘divided’ over the Jesus issue. Luke 2:35 is used in a very similar way concerning sword meaning ‘dividing’.

(3) Luke 21:24 seems to be a prophecy about a certain time in which war will break-out – likely concerning 70 AD? Again no admonition to fight in the battle – but more or less flee for your lives – vs.21 “Then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those who are in the midst of the city must leave, and those who are in the country must not enter the city“.

I am not sure we will find a place in the gospels where war is a sanctioned idea for a Christian person – since what land are we fighting for first off? America? Israel? Canada? Britain? Australia? Just where is this elusive Christian land base? Seems to me there is none.

Also Jesus appears very much on the side of this dialogue (regarding violence) as something not for the disciple nor does he/she need to train in it. I find it hard to define when war would be acceptable within Jesus’ teachings – since it actually shows up nowhere – even when his life is on the line.

The best justification a Christian can use is the Tanakh references to war and that is about it. But Israel is a nation (and it appears so in those books) and like every other nation/country will have to fight wars now and then. Christianity is not a nation/country – and never has been – it is a faith system (and appears that way in the gospels and letters). I have to say ‘no’ to war – it’s a barbaric idea based on power of one people’s over another.  

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22 thoughts on “Games Without Frontiers

  1. The analysis of the sword texts are good but I do think there is more we can look at. I think we must analyze how all texts that deal with relational conflict and resolution. I think if we weigh all the texts we would find an overwhelming amount of text that promotes tolerance and peace. Yet I do think we are expected to defend the weak and vulnerable. If so, we must decide whether that is what is going on. My opinion is that the major conflicts going on today (and there are a lot of them) are not based on defending people but protecting the power base, so I would not participate.

    But then there is the question on whether or not Christians should protest the wars. I don’t think we should, for the same reason I don’t think we should protest same sex marrige and abortion. Many things are condoned and approved by secular governments that conflict with biblical morals and standards. The question is, do we have the right to expect others to live by what we have accepted? Personally, I don’t believe so.

    We must also decide on whether we should be respectful of the men and women doing the fighting. Many are fighting because they believe it is their duty. We may not agree, but if we protest are we showing disrespect to people with noble (in the secular sense) motives.

  2. I would protest abortion on the grounds that the forcepts used to tear the child apart are a sword. I wouldn’t protest same-sex marriage although I will always vote against it.

    That said, Jesus is anti-war, and so am I.

  3. “Yet I do think we are expected to defend the weak and vulnerable. If so, we must decide whether that is what is going on” (Ken)

    I agree – we should care about the oppressed in society – but this is so not the Christian track record that I wonder how they see their roles in accordance with the gospel teachings? Cause if your sentence is true Aboriginal people could use the help of the church in programming and many other aspects. I would also say for Americans the ghetto’s/hoods in America need some serious intervention also – and could use program building and financing in their neighborhoods. I would say have fun promoting this idea in any church – they don’t believe it – to them the oppressed cannot exist in ‘their country’.

    But I would ask how does Christianity view wars and stuff of that nature? I think they gleefully condone it and have a bad track record on the subject. Not like churches were draft dodgers in Vietnam or Korea (wars I am not sure what anyone was fighting for except the concept of America vs Communism). The overwhelming sense I got about this war in Iraq was American Christians supported it. But I guess I can hold out hope the church will dummy up.

    “The question is, do we have the right to expect others to live by what we have accepted?” (Ken)

    This is interesting because I agree with you here – I heard someone say the other day we should ‘stand for something and not always against something’. I like that idea. I think the ‘anti’ stand makes some Christians do strange things (ie: blow up an Abortion clinic or threaten a teacher for teaching evolution). That kind of stuff is just as bad or worse then what the other people do (and these people are supposed to be representing God? Yeah right). But I do like a good protest – it does show we mean what we think.

    “We may not agree, but if we protest are we showing disrespect” (Ken)

    Good point actually. But then I would say – what should the church do in times of war? What is a good response?

  4. I think it depends what kind of sword. Part of the difficulty in overcoming the bad and unearthing the good is that either individually or collectively, we don’t always want to let go of the bad. It could be because we feel that we can’t live without the bad or we prefer the bad, or something along those lines. But the seperation can often be incredibly violent, even on an internal scale. Jesus didn’t come to bring peace in the sense that it was an “anything goes” attitude. If you are doing something that is unhealthy, you can have peace in the end when the “unhealth” is gone, but the process leading up to that can involve a sword.

    The concept of the sword seems to be relative, for it depends on how its used. It also depends on the type of war. If it’s a war against evil, then God is not against that. He’s all about the eradication of evil, and good prevailing. But a “selfish sword,” then no, God is not for that.

    This is conjecture on my part, but if the NT is read from the perspective that the writers expected the second coming within either their generation, or a few generations after, then they would’ve been anti-war, because Jesus would come back and there’d be universal peace, and God would exact justice against the wicked.

    However, as the second coming was delayed, I do think Christianity would run into a problem. It’s all well and good to say that one should be a pacistist, and not fight in wars. But if the enemy is willing to engage in warfare, and that warfare could lead to the eradication of your faith system, then what do you do? If you want Christianity to survive long enough to reach those it can, you would need to create a “just war” theory.

  5. “I think it depends what kind of sword” (OSS)

    I agree that’s why I determined the literal uses of the word ‘sword’ from the more metaphorical uses (like Luke 2:35).

    “But if the enemy is willing to engage in warfare, and that warfare could lead to the eradication of your faith system, then what do you do?” (OSS)

    That’s interesting because I would ask the obvious – even after the NT writers all died – for how many years after did a non-violent movement continue under the Roman imperialship? I think around 312 AD when Constantine came in this changed – but until then I see no proof Christians fought huge scale wars in face of persecution. So if this is a trend in the faith and is backed by the actual texts themselves – I am not sure a ‘just war’ theory needs to exist – there is no call for it – basically we are not to be in war.

    ““just war” theory” (OSS)

    I can think of a few ‘just wars’ that could still exist for reperation reasons within the America’s but does that make that the answer? And how would we go about defining those lines when we are given little to nothing to work with in the gospels? This is where my problem begins and ends actually…how do we determine what is ‘just’? What’s ‘just’ to me and my people may not be to you and yours? What if this allowance of a ‘just theory’ becomes a mainstay and is used to excuse violent acts for little to no reason? The problem is defining ‘just’.

  6. Society,

    **I think around 312 AD when Constantine came in this changed – but until then I see no proof Christians fought huge scale wars in face of persecution. So if this is a trend in the faith and is backed by the actual texts themselves – I am not sure a ‘just war’ theory needs to exist – there is no call for it – basically we are not to be in war. **

    I know that Augustine coined the idea of a just war and the principles behind it, and I believe he existed after Christianity was granted Imperial support, which is the time period I was considering, in terms of using wars to ensure that Christianity survived. I’m unfamiliar with that area of history, but part of why Christians might not have fought wars is because they simply lacked the capability. They had no army, and while a large group of people can cause damage, there was already a lot of public hostility against them. Would they have wanted to make it worse? But I was thinking of Augustine on, in terms of using war to help Christianity survive.

    It does make me wonder how different things would be if Christianity hadn’t gotten swallowed by the Empire.

    However, once Christianity’s way of life does include political power and a huge army at one’s disposal, then what? There would already be seeds of being at war with the world, and if you have a belief that everyone who doesn’t follow your belief structure follows Satan, it would be easy to go on the offensive.

    **What’s ‘just’ to me and my people may not be to you and yours? What if this allowance of a ‘just theory’ becomes a mainstay and is used to excuse violent acts for little to no reason? The problem is defining ‘just’.**

    I read somewhere that the turn the other cheek principle works fine in theory, but not always in the real world, which is why it was used — it goes along the lines of the second coming. If Jesus is returning in 20 years or so, you can turn all the cheeks you want, as you’ll be vindicated by God. But when there isn’t a second coming, a society can’t survive on that principle. Some people will be more than happy to hit you again anyway, because they don’t see you as human, or worth loving/saving/so forth.

    For justice, I think we could start with equality. If we see one nation subjugating another, are we required to step in? The Bible does make it plain that we are to pursue justice. We are required to turn the other cheek, but what if that causes more suffering than if we went to war and stopped the agressor?

  7. I am not so sure that one statement Jesus made (turn the other cheek) is enough to prevent me from protecting someone who is vulnerable. I think it is more meant for those who are strong in faith. I would quite possibly let someone attack my person or steal my possesions without striking back, but if I see a little old lady being attacked on the street I could not stand by. That is the kind of thinking that makes me wonder if Christians shouldn’t at least support their military, without which we could be under attack. But of course, when that military is used for other than defensive purposes we have a problem. Confusing? Yes. That is why I have decided to promote that we should voice our opinion but not be on the all out protest.

    Jason, I totally agree that the church is seriously lacking in their assistance to the less fortunate. If they were to just do this one thing as a priority they might see more support.

    And yes we should stand for something not always against something. Many would read my blog and say that I am far too negative, but am I? Fro example; when I stand against the church making people feel obligated to give money, I am also standing for those who would like to go to church but don’t because they feel guilty about not being able to give.

  8. ** am not so sure that one statement Jesus made (turn the other cheek) is enough to prevent me from protecting someone who is vulnerable**

    Now, now, Ken. You also have two whole other statements to choose from: give your undershirt if someone takes your cloak, and go a second mile if someone makes you go one mile. 😉

    There’s a fine balance between not defending one’s self and not defending others, which is why I’m not sure statements like turn the other cheek work on a grand scale at all times. If we, as a nation, did turn the other cheek to terrorists, then they’d simply continue to hurt more people, which would make us indirectly responsible. While the US has its faults, it’s a much better system that Islamic fundamentalism, and by turning the other cheek, we could very well let that fundamentalism have the upper hand. Having a military is simply recognizing that not everyone lives by those ethical principles. Not that I’m ignoring how its been abused in the past. Like I said, it’s a balance.

  9. Interesting post. One passage that comes to mind (and not as a justification for war, but to illuminate the difference between a country going to war and an individual using violence) would be Romans 13:1-7.

    The context of Peter attacking Malchus is one of retribution for Jesus being arrested. If Jesus had not been arrested, he would not have gone to the cross which is why He came in the first place. Right before that Jesus is praying to His Father and said (my paraphrase) – if it is your will, please take this from me (he knew he was going to the cross), but in the end Jesus said, not My will, but Yours be done.

    Jesus didn’t admonish Peter for his actions, because He needed no defense. So I’m not so sure you can point to that account in the Gospels and take it mean Jesus is anti-war (I’m not saying, by the way, that He is pro-war).

  10. “and by turning the other cheek, we could very well let that fundamentalism have the upper hand” (OSS)

    Or maybe the principle is in fact genuine. Think about what the terrorists are basically asking – for the USA to leave them and ‘their lands’ alone – to be governed on the premise of their systems. Now we may not like those systems but has the USA caused the terrorism we see today via years of exclusionary tactics in that area of the world? Is it remotely possible peace is the only answer – diplomacy – and not war.

    Maybe we have give to give up ‘two coats’ per se before we find an answer to the problem? Maybe the problem was always inequity and inequality…maybe Jesus is addressing this problem? Pointing out the fact you have and you can give – and that should not hold you back from going that ‘extra mile’ in effort to solve things (since you have the ability and resources to do so). I look at Jesus in that regards and think he is onto something here – showing that violence (which is usually a precursor to show a problem does exist) can be dealt with – without force (but perhaps respect and equality).

    But we are dealing with inequalities here when we try compare the USA and the West with the Middle East – and this trust has been abused. I don’t expect people in the Middle East to trust us unless we can make the wrongs we committ as a nation – not make excuses for those wrongs. Not saying the attacks on the World trade towers were good (they were evil in nature) – but we are also talking about things we don’t see which are behind closed doors concerning policy. All we get is the media stream explaining how bad they are and how justified we are. Something simple has to be said – how many more Middle Easterns have to die in order for America to be vindicated?

    So war is never the answer – not even in this scenario. I can’t imagine if the West had dealt on more fair terms with the Middle East (like they do with Israel) – how things might be different relations wise. As for now – both sides quit going the extra mile in doing anything productive – they would rather ‘slap the sh*t out of each other’ and call it progress.

  11. “but in the end Jesus said, not My will, but Yours be done” (Shane)

    Oddly enough, as I recall it, from that same time frame Jesus does make an interesting claim about kingdoms…his was not ‘from this world and needed no defending’. Which makes sense – cause the kingdoms of the world vie for the bigger position all the time – and this was one of the temptations Jesus is also seen ‘casting aside’ to say ‘serve he’d God alone’. Interesting when you add them apples up.

    I also have further thought to the ‘turn the other cheek’ idea and I have to say it makes a lot of sense to see this as non-violence. I think the idea behind it is to show that things don’t get solved by striking back but by going ‘out of your way’ to try rectify the situation – peacefully. Which hearkens back to one of the beatitudes (which I see as the index to Matthew) – that ‘blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God’. Later on we see persecution for being righteous being blessed in those same beatitudes. Nowhere do we see any call to arms because Jesus must have been intuitive enough to know this ain’t a solution.

    I can only speak from experience on this idea but ever since I learned it I tried to live by it. I must have broken up around 30 fights in my 14 years of this, helped resolve conflict when it was happening, and basically ‘sacrificed’ myself for another’s good. Guess what the outcome has been? Not only am I still friends with all the people involved but I am able to be a credible part of their lives (for some odd reason they trust me for their best interests – go figure). But being a peacemaker in those times of turmoil I have only seen reward and not payback with a twist. I can see 100% firmly from trying and testing the idea as taught by Jesus in those gospels (peace, non-violence, and sacrifice) that they are fruitful (in restoring relationships or from letting others destroy theirs).

    But that’s the big thing isn’t it – the big idea – SACRIFICE. Isn’t that the gospels in a nutshell? I mean they all end that way. So I am taking a shot in the dark here that all things Jesus taught might add up to just that – being sacrifical more than being interested in my interests alone. Non-violence doesn’t mean conformity or that kindness is a weakness – it means things can be resolved without serious damage – that there is more value to a person than their killer instinct. I come from a community that deals in violence and has a serious problems with gangs – and for me to take a stand a ‘just war’ is ok – then in some sense I let people mired in violent actions win (it’s how they handle situations anyways). I don’t think it’s okay at all. I have seen the result of those violent actions and none of it is ever ‘blessed’. No, war is wrong for all the right reasons.

  12. Also if you get a chance – listen to ‘Games Without Frontiers’ by Peter Gabriel – great song about this whole thing (internationally).

  13. I don’t have much time to reply, but wanted to say that I do not disagree with you in essence in that war is never good. In Matthew 5 peacemakers is not just referring to between enmity between two persons, but also enmity between God and man. You see this also in 2 Corinithians 5:11-6:13.

    Also, the reference to “turning the other cheek” – the context of that (context is king when it comes to Biblical interpretation) is one of an insult, like being backhanded, not a full-blown assult. So it doesn’t mean to lie down and take a beating.

  14. Society,

    Or maybe the principle is in fact genuine. Think about what the terrorists are basically asking – for the USA to leave them and ‘their lands’ alone – to be governed on the premise of their systems.

    Not all of them. I understand what you’re saying, in the sense that everything is connection, and our previous actions in the Middle East do bear some responsibility for present events. But this is also a culture that sees no response as a sign of weakness, and thus leaving us open to more attacks.

    But in reference to their system, it is grossly unfair to women, and breeds suicide fighters. Say we did leave them alone to rule themselves. What happens to the women? If their terrorists actions were in part a result of our earlier interference, don’t we then bear some responsbility for those oppressed under this system? I know that this leaves us with the responsibility of dictating the lives of others, and one of the reasons I’m against the Iraq War is that you can’t force a country to be a democracy. They have to be ready for it, and it’s a slow process. Just look at how long it took in the Western World.

    But at some point, we do have to say, “You are wrong and need to stop.” And sometimes, we need to step in and stop it. Like a country that wants to invade others, such as the Nazis? Europe tried leaving them alone, and it was interpreted as though Europe was too scared or too weak to stop them. Reason and diplomacy didn’t work. In fact, reason was partially what lead to the appeasement, because they kept figuring Germany would be satisfied with the countries it had. What do we do with countries that firmly believe their oppressive ways are the only way to live, and so intend to invade everyone? Say we know that if we use violence to stop someone, we’ll save 10,000 people. But we’re non-violent, and so don’t, and those 10,000 people die, because we turned the other cheek.

    Most of the time, I do agree that violence isn’t the answer, and people are too quick to jump to it.. It just continues a cycle. But sometimes, it is required. If someone is drunk, or too enraged to listen to reason and so is about to kill his wife, what do we do then? We can’t simply stand by, and we know that reason won’t work in his emotional state.

    Jesus did preach non-violence. I am for non-violence, but not at the cost of the lives of others. That’s why I say that turn the other cheek doesn’t always work for a society, because other societies can want to overrun the “good” society.

  15. “So it doesn’t mean to lie down and take a beating” (Shane)

    If that is so, the backhand is merely an insult…at what point do we insult back? When do we start taking ‘eye for an eye’?

  16. “That’s why I say that turn the other cheek doesn’t always work for a society, because other societies can want to overrun the “good” society.” (OSS)

    If this is so, like Dagoods would say, provide me with a methodology that will work with regards to when and when not to use violence? I mean, is there one? This world is so used to violence I can see why it is impossible to see any other thing as an answer. Ever think these nations are proud (they can’t say they were sorry/wrong for some reason)?

    As for regimes, I can’t speak for them – countries are countries and wars are part of their forte – does it have to be this way? I can see why John Lennon would write ‘imagine’ because once you look at all of this in depth – none of this violence/division/property/land makes any damn sense. What are these countries actually fighting for and over? I think Jesus says there will be ‘wars and rumors of wars’ because this is how it is for countries and control (but neither in that is an endorsement for any Christian to join in). I would say as a Christian person what do I have to lose? I already took up the cross (which is an instrument signifying my sacrifice/death). What do I fight for that makes sense? Land? Power? People Groups? Oil? Money systems? Property? Religion? Freedom? Ideas? I am part of a faith system – which either usurps or bows down to the country’s version of ethics.

    I think you make a good point about standing up for what is right in those other countries but we ain’t gonna do that by allowing for the bombing of their schools, churches, and homes. That’s called destruction not enlightenment. I find it funny America’s media talks about the evils in that end of the world (like beating of women and what not) and mentions how they are saviours for Iraq (bringing freedom/democracy) – when they ain’t saving sh*t – they’re only making it worse and increasing the tension and need for more terrorists (cause they don’t to be Westernized). If you ask me, violence is having a backwards effect in that end of the world. Nothing is being changed – the same atrocities you mention about the Middle East aren’t disappearing – why? Because they aren’t enlightened, they’re frightened.

    “it is grossly unfair to women, and breeds suicide fighters.” (OSS)

    True, but war ain’t gonna make that disappear – actually might help fuel the flames of the suicide bombers and pull nations closer to fundamentalism than to liberalism to protect their own (kinda like what helped keep Bush in office a 2nd time – fear and protecting the country via a string stand in that war).

    “But this is also a culture that sees no response as a sign of weakness, and thus leaving us open to more attacks” (OSS)

    How sure are you of this assertion?

    “Just look at how long it took in the Western World.” (OSS)

    True but if you look closely at history some people groups were shoved aside in the democracy process – namely First Nations Groups and African peoples – and they wre both used and robbed from so democracy could be fulfilled. Seems to me – with democracy also comes this conquest idea. So who’s actually trying to establish a democracy in Iraq – the Iraqians or the Americans?

    I heard this same arguement you talk about ‘changing a society to save it’ – it was called the conquest of Canada via the British and French cultures – and that line of reasoning resulted in the near extermination of my people (in North America). I think they called us ‘savages’, ‘heathens’, ‘pagans’ with many cultural problems (like how we treat women and harm ourselves in our religious circles) – similar to ‘evil doers’, ‘backwards people’, or demeaning another’s culture via comparison. Are we sure this war we see is not ethnocentric in nature? To me, it smacks of colonialism all over again.

    “If someone is drunk, or too enraged to listen to reason and so is about to kill his wife, what do we do then?” (OSS)

    No one’s asking anyone to stand around – break it up – you’d be amazed at what someone who hates another won’t do to you. Been there, done that, no worse for the wear.

    But I am actually wondering if the history that came from Europe and landed here has within it some ‘power-monger’ mode that is hard to extinguish. That’s a history with blood shed after blood shed event and start more wars (on bigger scales) than any other people group on earth…is manifest destiny still in existence or something? The list of wars that have existed in their midst is staggering:

    – Slavery and the robbery of the African nations (British idea)
    – Colonization of Australia, South and North America, India, and South Africa (British Commonwealth)
    – War between British/French/USA over nation building and borders
    – Civil War (North and South in USA)
    – Indian Wars in America and the Wild West
    – British land battles with Ireland and Scotland
    – World War 1 and World War 2
    – US Wars: Korea, Vietnam, Cuba, Latin America, Bosnia, Iran/Iraq dispute, the Cold War, Iraq (2 times), and Afghanistan.

    I know I missed some in there but that more than sums up like 400 and some odd years of where war was not very far from these borders we exist in (or influenced them). Something is actually wrong with the system – it’a always at war – and these are the supposed Christian nations that made excuses for the idea of a ‘just war’. Of course when they mean ‘just’ they must mean they ‘just can’t get enough war’. These Western nations have allowed the idea in and now it’s a virus – they don’t know where to draw lines now (cause there is no line left they haven’t crossed).

    I am drawing a very firm line in the sand – I just think it is tough to defend the side of ‘war’ because there are so many options prior to it that can be worked on that ‘war’ should be a last to ‘no’ option. I think what works on a human level must work on a bigger level (political) since in the end we are just dealing with more diverse humans (nothing changes). All people really want is respect, equality, a fair share, a voice, and partnership – and if that happens war doesn’t.

  17. I hear ya Jason but is it all that easy. Let’s say that the Christian church had the power to call the shots for all poerful nations and they decided to dismantle all military forces. How long do you think it would take before the entire world was under military rule? There is something to be said for the freedoms we have. I know it has not all been fair and just in the past and there are certainly corruption and abuse today, but it could be worse.

    I agree that Christians should not be supporting war, but there doesn’t appear to be simple solutions. And like I said, the country is not run by the church (thank God!) so we really aren’t in the position to call the shots. Sometimes prayer is all we got.

  18. Society,

    **If this is so, like Dagoods would say, provide me with a methodology that will work with regards to when and when not to use violence? I mean, is there one? This world is so used to violence I can see why it is impossible to see any other thing as an answer. Ever think these nations are proud (they can’t say they were sorry/wrong for some reason)?**

    I think it’s relative, in the sense of its dependent on the situation. Say a fictional country — we’ll call it Klepto — invades the US with the intention of taking all the children in order to sacrifice them to the corn god. Is non-violence the answer here? If so, we’re letting all the children die. What is the right response in this case? That’s what I mean when I say that a society cannot follow the “turn the other cheek” mentality and always survive as-is. You will have nations that have the “my way or die” mentality see the country as available for exploitation, such as Klepto and the children, and then what? Your entire way of life no longer exists. Your freedoms no longer exist. You have turned the other cheek, but does that do any good if the result was that everything about you has changed?

    The whole concept of turning the other cheek was to shame the attacker — they struck you with their backhand, making you a lesser human, and by turning the cheek, you were making them treat you as an equal if they wanted to strike you again. This concept only works if the attacker has a sense of shame that can be awoken, and some people don’t. We see that in history, with the atrocities.

    I do think war should be a last resort, and carefully thought out before that decision is reached. Other options should always be explored first. But I don’t think we live in a world where war can simply vanish at this time. Not everyone is out of the “war-stage,” and if the US were to become a pacifist country, or the Western World were to announce that it would no longer fight, even defensively, how long would it realistically survive? Because other nations would not be at that level, where pacifism is an option or appealing.

    **“But this is also a culture that sees no response as a sign of weakness, and thus leaving us open to more attacks” (OSS)

    How sure are you of this assertion? **

    I’ve heard it in a few areas, from different points of view.

    **True but if you look closely at history some people groups were shoved aside in the democracy process **

    My point there was you can’t “make” a society develop a democracy. It has to happen from the inside, like it did in the US.

    **No one’s asking anyone to stand around – break it up – you’d be amazed at what someone who hates another won’t do to you. Been there, done that, no worse for the wear. **

    I think we have a different perspective on this — in my experience, the person who does the breaking up is just as likely to get attacked.

    **All people really want is respect, equality, a fair share, a voice, and partnership – and if that happens war doesn’t.**

    I disagree with you here, because I don’t think everyone wants this. Well, I should clarify. Some people only want their group to be equal at the expensive of everyone else. Everyone wants those qualities for themselves (and even that might be debatable. I’ve had one woman tell me that she thinks women shouldn’t have the right to vote — and she was serious). But not everyone wants those qualities for all other groups, and that’s where the conflict starts. It’s like they think the only way they can have a voice is if another group doesn’t have a voice.

  19. All in all I think this was a good convo – you all brought a lot to the table to ‘chew on’ – thanks! I know I don’t have the asnwers in this sphere – I can only add bits and pieces to the convo from what I have learned (on a very small and personal level). And I think as you all point out – that is limited and I see that as a good thing – it takes a community to think through these things and bring a variety to the mix. I know where I will continue to stand on the issue since I have seen it work – but I think in the bigger ‘nations’ picture – well – we enter into some interesting terrirtory. Either way – I think this is the deepest convo I have had on the subject – cool!

  20. Just so you know, I do firmly agree that physical conflict of all kind should be avoided wherever possible. A child died after being punched by an 11 year old girl this week and I know you have seen the ugly side of conflict also. The wars in Iraq and Afganistan are killing thousands of innocents and I weep. You do a good thing to bring this up and make us think. I went on to youtube and did a search on ‘war’. I found this video done to a Bob Dylan song ‘Masters of War’. It is not for the young or weak. It is highly one sided, but it is the side we do not see. May God stop this wickedness!

  21. “We don’t insult back. If you are defending yourself from death or serious bodily harm that is one thing. Its’ apples to oranges.” (Shane)

    So you’re saying we are not to insult someone back – yet in the same breath it is perfectly okay to do so…isn’t this a one or the other thing?

    So if someone is trying to stab me I should feel free – if I can get a knife also- to stab that person and let the blood spill where it may (for life or death)? Or if someone has a bat and they are trying to bludgeon me to death – if I can get a rock of adequate size to use – bash his face in or break his bones somehow? If someone is attacking me with punches and kickes that I should crack him/her back and hope that I don’t give them a concussion or cause a hemorrage in their brain.

    Sounds violent – it is – but none of those scenarios are all that far off of what I have experienced in life and the level of violence I can get sucked into. I have a friend with long scars down 2 sides of his back from being stabbed by a gang (he lived). Have another friend that took a golf club to the eye area – knocked him unconscious while he was still being beat (he couldn’t see for a week). I have broken up 30 fights I think I said earlier – one of them was a 5 on 1 fight and when I broke it up the guy down was about take a kick to face from a guy twice his size (and he was basically out of it). I have friends that brawled on the street – 3 against about 7 – and everyone involved has weapons (knives, beer bottles, fence sticks, rocks, etc)…and when the fight went down no one was seriously hurt – thanks for the police and mase.

    For me, the violence we want to take a stand against – I have – but I have not thrown one punch – nor had to use violence to get the job done. I have lived my convictions – I am not sure what you base what your saying on.

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