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Title: What can be done to quell violence...
Description: ...in an increasingly violent world?


NRAS - July 28, 2009 04:43 AM (GMT)
Can violence ever be justified? Can there ever truly be a "just war"? Can anything be done to protect innocent lives when diplomacy or reason fail? How can we peacefully defend ourselves against the mindless hatred and rage of those whose sole purpose seems to be destruction?

These questions continue to linger in my mind, and I imagine you ask these questions occasionally as well. Have any of you come to conclusions? I would really like to see your opinions.

I want to live and thrive and watch others do the same.

Lewanuva2003 - July 28, 2009 05:32 PM (GMT)
The only real justification for war is if someone is invading you. We live in a fallen world so that means that unless the whole world turns toward God and allows Him to transform their hearts then war and conflict will happen.

However, when talking individual cases like muggings or burglaries, if you can fight them off then fight them off. If not, use words and hopefully a conversation will bring you to understanding of why said person is trying to get money or valuables off of you. Remember this though, if it's you or stuff, you being killed trying to stop someone from taking your stuff just shows that your heart is with your stuff and not so much with God. If it's just a matter of stuff, you can always get it back. You can't get it back if you're dead. Nor can you be sympathetic towards them (like many Christians might be) if your mind is just on if you'll survive or not. Either way, if someone approaches you and threatens you, you have every right to fight back. It's how you handle that comeback that might make a difference in their life. I've never had a problem with it so that's really all that I can say about it.

I don't know if that helps at all.

Darth Vader - July 28, 2009 07:19 PM (GMT)
I disagree almost entirely with Daniel.

There may be justifications for nations going to war with one another, but there is never justification for God's Church to participate in them. Wars are a sign of man's inability to love man, man's quest for power, and misguided aspects of patriotism. Whether being invaded or not, lives are worth more, on both sides, than what flag flies above.

Remember that Jesus lived when Israel was occupied by what the Jews saw as the most evil empire of all time. Jesus did not advocate rebellion or a violent overthrowing of Rome. Jesus instead exerted his efforts elsewhere. His Kingdom is not of this world, if it were, we would fight for it (Jesus to Pilate). Jesus in fact told his followers to obey the current rulers, and Paul tells us the same in Romans. This is the exact opposite mentality of so much of Christiandom's history.

Christians are called to be Peacemakers and to love our enemies, praying for the well-being and blessing of those who persecute and hate us. These crucial aspects of the Christian life cannot be accomplished through warfare or violence.

QUOTE
We live in a fallen world so that means that unless the whole world turns toward God and allows Him to transform their hearts then war and conflict will happen.

Let's input other sins into this paragraph, and see what happens.

We live in a fallen world so that means that unless the whole world turns toward God and allows Him to transform their hearts then sex and rape will happen.

We live in a fallen world so that means that unless the whole world turns toward God and allows Him to transform their hearts then injustice and starvation will happen.

We live in a fallen world so that means that unless the whole world turns toward God and allows Him to transform their hearts then teenage pregnancy and lust will happen.

All of these are true. That does not mean that they are things we are to participate in. They are all apart of this crooked world, and we belong to a different Kingdom.

There is nothing noble in losing your life, and taking other lives, so that your flag my fly over other territories, other resources, etc.

There is also no justification for the Christian in fighting against a mugger or burgular. Give to them what they ask, they are just possessions. As Daniel said, you can always get more.

And before it comes up, with the whole "What if someone was attacking your family or your self? It would be wrong not to kill them before they killed you."

Please read this book.

That book is available used for less than five dollars. We can all afford that. And if you're really interested, but can't afford it, let me know, and I'll buy it for you.

And for a very simple and light 'summation' of Yoder's book, a great blog entry can be found here:

The Folly of the Cross

Now, with that said, this gets to the point of the OP, now doesn't it? If we suppose these things to be true, and violence in all aspects is wrong, what do we do about it? How do we change or survive these ordeals?

The best thing you can do, yourself, is simply to live differently. To pray in earnest for your enemies, to give to those that ask, even when it leaves you cold. To provide for those in need, and to exhibit the crazy love of Christ in all interactions. It's not easy, violence can be found in more than just physical altercations. It is hard to love your enemies, and it is hard to part with things we have purchased or are attached to.

And sometimes, our commitment to the Cross leads to our deaths at the hands of evil. This is a risk we must be willing to take, when we live the life of Christ.

If you're really interested in doing more than this, there are numerous humanitarian organizations that deal with these issues. Peace is often related to resource availability, and there are so many organizations out there providing for those who do not have. These are great ways to show, on an international level, what the message of the Cross says. There are peace organizations that work toward righting injustices, helping fix human rights violations, and live lives of example in places where there is so much violence.

I actually have a group of friends who are now living in the contested land between Israel and the Palestinians. They have chosen a dangerous life. They have joined local churches, and are attempting to be a witness to both sides of the conflict. Lives will be changed, but that doesn't mean the warring will end, because as Daniel said, until all are Christ's, that won't happen. But a small handful of people can start a movement, and a movement, as all in America know so well, can change everything.


NRAS - July 29, 2009 04:01 PM (GMT)
QUOTE
And before it comes up, with the whole "What if someone was attacking your family or your self? It would be wrong not to kill them before they killed you."


In your mind, what are some acceptable alternatives to deadly force, if one was actually faced with a similar situation?
Pepper Spray? Tasers? There are forms of martial arts that deal specifically with incapacitating, while not killing, an assailant. Would vioence be wrong in a situation like this, if it wasn't necessarily meant to be deadly?

I know it is quite cliched, but this remains my greatest inhibition for devoting to a wholly pacifist mindset.

Also, what should be our reaction to Christians who do or did participate in war? Some of the greatest Christian men and women I've met have at one time been soldiers. Is it an attitude of forgiveness that I should be taking on when I'm around these people? Is it wrong for us thank those who have been in the military in the past, or to commemmorate the dead?

Thanks very much everyone.

Darth Vader - July 29, 2009 11:39 PM (GMT)
QUOTE (NRAS @ Jul 29 2009, 10:01 AM)
QUOTE
And before it comes up, with the whole "What if someone was attacking your family or your self? It would be wrong not to kill them before they killed you."


In your mind, what are some acceptable alternatives to deadly force, if one was actually faced with a similar situation?
Pepper Spray? Tasers? There are forms of martial arts that deal specifically with incapacitating, while not killing, an assailant. Would vioence be wrong in a situation like this, if it wasn't necessarily meant to be deadly?

I know it is quite cliched, but this remains my greatest inhibition for devoting to a wholly pacifist mindset.

Also, what should be our reaction to Christians who do or did participate in war? Some of the greatest Christian men and women I've met have at one time been soldiers. Is it an attitude of forgiveness that I should be taking on when I'm around these people? Is it wrong for us thank those who have been in the military in the past, or to commemmorate the dead?

Thanks very much everyone.

I'm not entirely sure how I feel about the use of non-lethal force on an intruder. There's a big part of me that says it could be okay. But especially with an armed intruder, I feel that there is a far bigger risk involved.

I'm a big fan of creative alternatives. In the book I recommended (which has, in its last half, personal testimonies from those who have experienced this scenario, and not pursued violence), a woman asks an intruder for the time. Her question throws the man off, and connects the two at a commonality, and begin talking about why he was there (he was armed and intended to kill her). She then lets the man spend the night on the couch (!), and makes him breakfast (!) before he leaves.

Or the woman who is a apart of a missions organization in a hostile region, and allows herself to be taken hostage to allow the rest of the women on her team to go free (the men had all been taken a few weeks before). She eventually is able to even persuade the man in charge of the military unit who take her to come to her church and speak. The people inside the church forgave the man, and welcomed him in love. He became a Brother.

There is the man who simply tells the intruder "I love you. Care for some coffee?" The two talk over coffee, and the intruder leaves, embarrassed.

I find many powerful moments in these testimonies. I don't know how I would handle the situation if it happened to me. But I do know that by forbidding myself to use violence, even as a last resort, I am opening myself up to creative alternatives, and the use of the Holy Spirit.

And yes, sometimes that means death and martyrdom.

As for those who do participate in war. Forgiveness and mercy, absolutely. I am certain we engage in behaviour that is contrary to the Cross as well, there is no need nor use for pride and hubris. There also must be at least a little slack in the line here- obviously not everyone agrees that pacifism is the justified Christian position, and we must pray (as Paul suggested) that if it is so, that God would bring them to His knowledge eventually. And if He doesn't, we must be willing to live in this divine tension between two opposing views, and recognize that each one is held by a person who is attempting to, in their best view, participate in the Kingdom.

It's not easy. It's really not. And when you hold this view, and your best friend enlists? It's hard not to feel betrayed. But we must remember to forgive others as our Father forgives us. And to have mercy, as He has shown mercy. Ultimately, it is our love for one another that defines us as His Church (John 13:35).

Punks Still Pray - August 19, 2009 04:48 PM (GMT)
I've not bothered to read this entire discussion, but I did some scanning and I just have to say...

Anyone read Joshua lately?

Lewanuva2003 - August 19, 2009 04:56 PM (GMT)
Or Leviticus...




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