“yet the doctrine of sin states the need for war if all nonviolent means fail. “turn the other cheek” doesn’t mean hit me again.” (Luke)
Sin pretty much entails there will be problems…but at what point is violence okay and not okay…this is the problem with allowing even the thought of violent retribution a chance (a little leaven can ruin the whole lump of dough).
I was thinking about non-violence last night – and what Jesus may or may not have taught on this issue. I think Jesus falls solidly on the side of non-violence – peace by any means. It’s not just that ‘turn the other cheek scripture’ that makes the case. His core ideas are about the treatment of others – as you would like to be treated…I think we all hate being ‘hit’? Jesus also allows the rule of law of the land to take place…and not become a violent aggressor, even though he was falsely tried and put to ‘death’.
In ommission, Jesus never teaches about how to use one’s violence as a means for the kingdom of God. Jesus never hits anyone (the healer likely shouldnt). In the case of the ‘turn the other cheek’ teaching – there is nothing stating any violent means at all (if pushed too far). Jesus never backed war – even if there were factions amongst his own group that did (zealots and in one incidence James and John wanted to call fire down on people – killing them).
I find it hard to use this man, Jesus, to back anything ‘war like’ or ‘violent’. Sin or no sin.
Luke on April 28, 2010
Jesus was nonviolent, but was NOT peace by any means. He was about humanitarianism; a recognition of the shared humanity, not dehumanizing and “othering” the opponent.
while Jesus wasn’t a zealot, he did have their sympathies as he was engaged in a creative, nonviolent resistance movement. he was not about war physically, but spiritually yes. he was fighting, we can’t mistake that. his means however, are what we should focus on. however, there is always the Temple scene, the Legion and pigs incident, and the withering of the fig tree.
Just War is not about using violence as a means of the kingdom. war goes away once the kingdom arrives. however, when faced with an aggressor that will not back down and will not negotiate and will not recognize your humanity, that is where the tradition (save for the Brethren and Quakers) goes defensive. Reinhold Neihbur is my man here. i really enjoy his writing. Moral Man and Immoral Society is a great read and really covers it. this has morphed into the “Just Peace” movement found in my denom. here is a link to the website.
What do you think, Can Christians be ‘violent’?