Non-Violence as a Standard

Comment taken from NP’s blog ‘the torture memo’s & Int’l accountability’

Non violence is the notion of the NT – it is the path taught by Jesus beyond question. Steve’s one scripture he pulls out from Luke is a single passage in 27 books and letters – and I think FIF is right about it -why? If this was the standard Jesus left them (take up the sword and defend those around u) how come in Acts they don’t follow such a path? Paul should of been meting out punishment – not evangelism to Roman guards. Then we have Peter and others being killed – with no scripture to back up the idea of ‘justice by the sword’ – thye preferred to be martyrs over murderers.

However, I know this is a complex issue – defending yourself. This is my take:

(a) The standard set is non-violence – this is the path of Jesus – this is also his teachings to his desciples.

(b) Even with that teaching – we know the best basis to follow is non-violence – however – at times – we need to defend people for the sake of their safety – although this is not the standard – we admit this is our deviation from the standard for justifiable reasons (of the which we must present for each time we do this). Is that wrong? Depends on one’s motive.

(c) Can a Christian support torture? No. If so, scripture to back that point would help – as it stands – no one has presented a single piece of proof from within the life of Jesus (or Paul) that could so much as defend that position…so it won’t neccesarily hold water in God’s court (if he goes by judicial decisions like that – and I look at God’s court as a court).

(d) The gov’t can do whatever it wants – regardless of how we view it – we are not of that kingdom anyways – we are of God’s kingdom and not ‘of this world’. Should we loosen our morals for the sake of support of our gov’t? No. I see no reason to support ideas on torture we cannot find one iota of proof to support from a NT standpoint. A deviation from that standard is in ‘us’ – not in the scriptures.

(e) It is true the world contains a lot of ‘evil’ – but to think more ‘repayment for that evil’ will solve the situation is not measuring the situation very well. Evil for evil will not end any cycles of violence anytime soon – what ends scenarios like that is actually the path of non-violence – including measures of forgiveness, mercy, understanding, diplomacy, and peace. Violence is a result of anger – we need to be addressing the real issue which are just that – anger being fueld over and over…and gitmo did not make that sitaution any smoother.

The problem it seems to me is the disconnect between action and consequence going on in many of the convo’s. People acting as if non-violence is not an answer – but I am not saying we don’t get involved – let’s not pass into the idea of how much violence we will use – because that’s dangerous ‘evil’ territory – allow a little in and soon we are talking about how much gunshots fired into a person is ‘normal’? The standard for the use of violence is quite vague don’t ya think? As compared to non-violence as the standard – we are sure what is being asked of us (no amount of violence is neccesarily the starting point).

I know for a fact the way of Jesus does work – I use it all the time – a standard of peacemaking and not violence. I have broken up around 30 fights in the last 8 years – in some fairly intense situations – including weapons…what should be a good Christian ethic in scenario of violence. Always should start with peace – making things right – stepping in to break up violent acts and pursuing ways to not see people hurt. Does it always work – 30 of 30 times I stepped in to stop or prevent something – it worked. Now maybe the next time I get stabbed or something – I don’t know – but at least I know I hold a standard that does work – tried, tested, and results.

I hear talk of killing home invaders – why is this the only answer? Some shots into the villian as the just response? Why is the worst level of violence going to be the obvious answer to an attack on your family? I almost have to think some of you have never been in these situations or don’t know people that have perpetrated them. I keep a bat by my bed in case of such scenarios (to protect my wife and I) – but is my thought of killing the perp? No. Hurt him, stop him, scare him, or whatever – but death is far from my idea of ‘keeping my family safe’…because I would consider the death of the home invader as murder – but that’s my standard…I don’t seek death for that person – just boundaries be set.

I think the convo has delved into Christian people sitting too close to violence and too far from their personal admission they would do something if pressured to ‘help someone’. Always seek peace – set a standard becoming of a Christian – be the change that is not there. Know that violence may happen – but ‘admit’ it is our personal deviation of our known standard – and in the end – we will find we are non-violent almost 10 times out of 10.

***Some of my ideas on non-violence as a path to live by