What Does The NT Say About Use Of Force?

Discussion in 'Christianity' started by Lux, Jan 22, 2015.

  1. Lux

    Lux Active Member

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    As some of you may have taken a look at my other thread, I've been pondering the issue of self-defense. I'd like to think I'm a peace-loving guy, but I don't think I can be a complete pacifist.

    This issue didn't seem murky when I wasn't a believer. I always thought using force in self-defense, if that was the only way to prevent an aggressor from physically harming me, is perfectly morally justified.

    However ...

    I had a talk about it with a new friend of mine, a devout Christian and a skilled hunter. To my surprise, he said he would not shoot even a deranged man who barged into his house and started shooting at his family. - Wow, right?

    His rationale is that he believes all of his family will go to heaven if they die, so nothing to worry about there. If he kills anyone even in self-defense, he stains his hands with blood which violates the teaching of the love of Christ; "turn the other cheek", "love your enemies" ...

    Initially, I actually thought he had a good point, because when I think about "What would Jesus do?", I can't picture him picking up a deadly weapon against anyone.

    But I know I'd do anything to stop an aggressor including shooting him even tho that may possibly kill him.

    BigJoe posted something recently that I agree 100%.
    What is the Christian perspective on the issue? I realize the Amish are against any use of violence even in self-defense (Well I know they're a minority).

    And this question popped up in my head. "Does Allah condemn the Amish for being themselves killed or letting others be killed if they didn't fight?" ... I can't imagine Jesus condemning them tho.

    Also, another question popped up. Would the Amish call the police? I believe they're allowed to use telephones in an emergency situation.

    I asked my pacifist Christian friend (but not Amish) and he said 'course he'd call 911 if he can get to a phone. OK ... then even tho you don't use deadly force yourself, you'd request someone to come who does use deadly force, right? Even 'you' may not kill the guy yourself, 'your action' of calling the police could quite possibly cause the guy to be killed. So it's not so much about being compassionate to the guy, is it?

    Also what I realized was that you actually are putting police officers unnecessarily in harm's way (although that's the job they've chosen) when you could've stopped the guy yourself. So, is renouncing a use of force in any situation really a morally good thing?

    I think the below verse is thought to be where Jesus taught the renunciation of a use of force even in self-defense (Correct me if I'm wrong) ...

    For all who take the sword will perish by the sword.(Mt. 26:52)

    But it doesn't say if you perish by the sword, you won't receive God's grace, or is that what Jesus meant?

    One Christian friend of mine says the reason Jesus reprimanded Peter was because he was interfering with God's plan. Jesus was going to be arrested and sacrificed, that was the plan. Peter shouldn't have tried to interfere with the process. That's why Jesus reproved Peter, not because he resorted to violence in self-defense.

    Another Christian friend of mine says it was because Peter overreacted. They weren't trying to kill Jesus at Gethsemane, but to arrest him in order to try him (tho the disciples knew that his death may follow after the trial). Since they weren't yet attacking Jesus with a sword, it was excessive force on Peter's part and Jesus was concerned about the impulsive nature of Peter.

    Both Christian friends cite this verse as Jesus allowing a use of force.
    Prior to heading to the Mount of Olives, Jesus said:

    And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one.(Lk. 22:36)

    He urged his disciples to get a weapon. One would wonder ... did he mean it only as a deterrent, so bandits will stay away while they're traveling, but did not mean the sword be actually used?


    =====

    I understand a use of force in self-defense is justified from the secular perspective, so what I'm asking here is a religious point of view.

    I'm also interested in the perspective from Buddhism, Hinduism or any other religions. (I got the Islamic perspective, thanks Joe.)

    If any religion pledges 'no force' even in self-defense, those believers of the religion also have to object to having a military, and a police force, don't they? "I won't use force because of my religious belief, but if someone does that to protect me and my family, I welcome it." ... This really doesn't make much sense to me.

    I hope I'm not painting myself, with this thread and the other one, as an easily excitable Rambo wannabe. I have a few police officers in my family and one of my nephews is thinking of joining the military. So we talk about this nature of things often. I sincerely want to know about the morality in a use of force and how God would see it, now that I became a believer.
     
  2. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Watch Selma....a good depiction of Christian use of non violence movement by MLK...

    The NT, the bible? Those that wish to use lethal force in various situations will find their passages...most of our soldiers are Christian as are most in our jails for murder. Christianity doesn't come close to hold the corner on morality and non violence (in the US at least)

    I honor your friends beliefs, but don't believe them.

    I 'think' I would protect my family...I've said before how much I dislike whatif questions, as I don't and don't think anyone knows whatif until they are actually confronted.
     
  3. BigJoeNobody

    BigJoeNobody Professional Argument Attractor

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    I've heard this quote from several speakers, but since I first heard it from this guy, I'll cite him. "Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face" - Mike Tyson

    All kidding aside. While the NT promotes non-violence, loving thy enemy, etc. I don't believe it fully negates self defense. I say this on the grounds that Jesus stated several times that the Law would be maintained (obviously we are talking about Mosaic Law) which also dictates Eye for an Eye and self preservation. IMO what Jesus (PBUH) did was offer another option that is greater, forgiveness. If someone steals from you you can forgive them and not seek out to have their hand chopped off. I am not sure there is a scriptural reference (If there is I'm sure Thomas or another Christian here can give us some insight) to a situation where Jesus (PBUH) discussed self preservation. IMO if you do not attempt to preserve yourself, you are also in a way committing suicide, or openning yourself to great sins (for instance a woman not fighting back against a rapist, especially if it happens multiple times, and without the fighting she may learn to accept it as just something that happens and then enjoying it). Of course this is just my POV of when I WAS a Christian, so I don;t know how much weight it has to the discussion. I do know Christians that say what your friend said. And I know Christians who would like to have me on a firing range for going away from Christianity.
     
  4. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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  5. EdgyDolmen

    EdgyDolmen Active Member

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    Matthew 26:51-56, Luke 22:35-39 and 49-53, John 18:10-11. I think you will agree that these passages imply that the sword is not the only option but it is an option.
     
  6. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    an eye for an eye is not the law....but the Maximum penalty allowed by law.
     
  7. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Lux –
    So do I. I might change 'allowed' to 'obliged', but that's rather a semantic nit-pick, I think.

    "For all who take the sword will perish by the sword." Mt. 26:52.
    As ever, Our Lord speaks of the principle, His focus is on the intention, not the act, because it's the intention that defines the moral dimension of the act.

    No.

    Ah, Peter ... how I love him!

    Remember (Peter is prone to forget) "From that time Jesus began to shew to his disciples, that he must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things ... And Peter taking him, began to rebuke him, saying: Lord, be it far from thee, this shall not be unto thee. Who turning, said to Peter: Go behind me, Satan, thou art a scandal unto me: because thou savourest not the things that are of God, but the things that are of men." Matthew 16:21-23.

    Same thing again. Our Lord tells what must pass, and Peter says 'not on my watch', is thoroughly rebuked by Our Lord ... and then promptly forgets again, at the arrest in the garden!

    I have a sneaky suspicion that before meeting Jesus, Peter used to spend the odd evening bouncing rocks off Roman skulls ... just an opinion, mind, it's not gospel!

    Peter does tend to act before he thinks ... when you're a big, tough, sonnovabitch you can do that. Smaller guys tend to learn to think before they act, cos they're inclined to get clobbered!

    Here I disagree. Again, Our Lord always speaks from the principle (or Logos!). Two swords (v38) would not be enough. And, against the backdrop of the entire testimony of Luke, there's no way that Our Lord justifies the use of forces to attain one's end.

    The commentary of Tradition here is that whereas the 72 went out in Luke 10, and returned full of joy, now there is a change in the weather, and the missions will not find their passage so easy, or their words so welcome.

    So He is saying 'arm yourself' cos it's not gonna get any easier ... but He is not justifying the use of force.

    +++

    As ever in these things, there is the human margin.

    So Our Lord says turn the other cheek, but if someone else is being abused, do we 'turn the other cheek' to that, too? No. We must fight injustice wherever we find it, but that does not necessarily mean force.

    Interestingly, I went to a Catholic secondary school, and our Head Teacher was quite happy for his pupils to declare to join the armed forces, until he heard the Air Force had nuclear-weapon equipped bombers flying on the edge of Russian airspace 24x7 ... he saw that as excessive, dangerous, provocative ... and for him it was unacceptable.

    I'm not saying yea or nay, we had subs prowling too, but he didn't know that, so he was OK with the Navy ...

    Or to put the question again: Does the Bible provide the definitive answer? No. But does it point in the direction we should be headed? Yes.

    Can you be a good soldier and a good Christian? Yes.

    Remember when the centurion came to ask Our Lord to heal his daughter? (Matthew 8) Christ didn't say "OK ... but only if you join Greenpeace first ... "
     
  8. BigJoeNobody

    BigJoeNobody Professional Argument Attractor

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    wait, I said
    I said encouraged... and it is your Duty... semantic shemantics I got that one right! :D
     
  9. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Quite right! There was no nit there at all! Must be something in my eye ... :D
     
  10. Lux

    Lux Active Member

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    Yup it's on my list. Along with American Sniper.

    Ha-ha, good one. But somehow I don't wanna follow his philosophy for I may accidentally bite someone's ear. :D (But I heard he's changed now.)


    Yeah, I heard about this and was wanting to check what it's about.
    I saw Fr. Jonathan Morris (I like this guy) explaining how it was a slip of the tongue and the pope really didn't mean it that way tho.

    Sorry but I don't fully get what you mean by this. Can you elaborate?


    Thanks again Thomas for your insightful reply. I agree with you on the intention part 100%. I have further questions for you but don't have time now. I'll try to post my reply in a week or so.
     
  11. EdgyDolmen

    EdgyDolmen Active Member

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    Lux - I am only qualified to interpret scripture for myself. That is why I simply gave reference to the specific books, to the chapter and to the verse. I do feel those particular passages speak to your thread.

    The World Christian Encyclopedia has identified in excess of 34000 separate Christian groups. If that is correct that tells me we need to interpret scripture for ourselves. We can only receive guidance and motivation from others.
     
  12. Lux

    Lux Active Member

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    OK ... so you're saying Jesus meant this as a metaphor? He is not really talking about obtaining actual swords ...

    - Two swords (v38) would not be enough.
    Are you saying it was rather a satirical remark when Jesus said "It is enough"...?

    My initial interpretation was Jesus wanted to ensure that he and his disciples arrive at Gethsemane safely, because "this Scripture must be fulfilled in me" (v37) - which is not gonna happen if he gets killed by bandits on the way to the garden. (I imagine there were bandits prowling about in the area especially at night to rob travelers.)


    I thought maybe Jesus wanted to show bandits that they're armed, so they'll think twice about attacking them (deterrent). But what I can't figure out is, would Jesus have sanctioned the use of swords, if a bandit had actually attacked them with a sword first.

    It seems you interpret what Jesus meant as "Arm your mind and spirit. Be strong while I fulfill the will of my Father" ... Is this a fair assessment of your interpretation?

    But if Jesus doesn't allow the use of force to attain one's end, why did he allow some of his disciples to carry swords? Do you think those two swords had been hidden from him until that night? Then some disciples were secretly disobeying Jesus by concealing that they carried swords, were they not?

    Agree. The use of force must always be 'the last resort'. You try every other method you could possibly think of first. But if a crazed gunman is on a shooting rampage, we don't have time to be trying other methods, but to take him down immediately by force, do we?

    This is good to hear. Thanks Thomas.

    I hear now and then some people say that if you're a good Christian, you must renounce the use of force. Or some would put it more bluntly that soldiers or even gun owners can't be a good Christian ... This bothers me a lot.


    Because those who say things like that, if they ever encounter an armed aggressor, they'll most likely be glad if someone armed came and took down the aggressor. I find their mentality highly hypocritical.

    There always will be a debate over what is legitimate self-defense and what is excessive provocative action. It's an important debate that we should keep having.

    Yeah, Jesus never expressed an opinion critical of centurions, come to think of it ... (again, correct me if I'm wrong). Even the first gentile ever baptized was Cornelius the centurion! And Peter didn't tell Cornelius to give up his occupation.

    Greenpeace!? Thomas, didn't you know, some of them resort to force! There're some that are described as eco-terrorists! :eek:

    =====

    And here comes 'the other me' ...
    (This 'the other me' didn't exist before I became a believer.)

    I don't really know what the Amish faith teaches ... but if some of them are so strong in their belief in total pacifism and say to an armed robber: "Take whatever you need. I will not fight you. I will not call the police either because I don't want any harm coming to you. I just pray for you that you'd give up your wrong ways and learn to follow God."

    Then I have no objection to his belief. Rather, I'd stand in awe of him.

    I know, no-one is naive enough to think if you say things like this, every aggressor will be moved to tears and repent. The aggressor may not believe you or just scoff at you and shoot you in the head anyway.

    But, if you believe in God so strongly and you know where you'll be if you die, this pacifism actually makes sense. It's you that should die rather than the aggressor, because you know God and you're already saved. The aggressor is your stray brother who needs to be saved, therefore you need to help him live so that he may have a chance to change his ways and come to God someday ...

    As I agree with what Joe said 100%, I have no hesitation using force if necessary to save my family, my friends, or innocent anyone. But when it comes to myself, should I give up my life for the possibility of saving one lost soul? But don't I have an obligation to live for my family, to take care of my aging parents? Should my belief be strong enough to trust that God will look after my family?

    Now, I'm in a real quandary. What say ye?
     
  13. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm saying when one gets 'stuck' on a text like this, it's worth stepping back and reminding ourselves of the 'big picture' before stepping in again. So the first step is to use Scripture to explain Scripture.

    I see the Gospels as texts aligned to certain revealed/mystical/metaphysical realities, and this was what the author had in mind. So that reading may well be right, but I don't think that is what the scribe is alluding to.

    Quite possibly.

    Most people read 'turn the other cheek' (Matthew 5:39) as establishing a dogma of passivism, whereas that's not what the text is saying. What it is speaking against is retaliation, the 'you hurt me so I'll hurt you' mindset:
    "You have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you not to resist evil... " (5:38-9)

    Two things: Every time He mentions the Hebrew Scriptures, He says 'you have heard that', not 'it is written'. He's not rewriting the Scripture, He's rewriting the commentary, so He is not saying an eye for an eye is wrong – that justice is wrong – but that the intention id wrong if it's not justice you seek, but revenge. Again, it's the intention that determines the morality of the act. End do not justify means ...

    Well also the 'be strong' because it's not going to get any easier for anyone.

    Jesus knew you can't get people to convert at the point of the blade. It's something historically Christendom got badly wrong ... so I would say no, force is never justified for its own sake.

    Do I think Jesus would allow the disciples to defend themselves if attacked ... yes I do.

    Take the parable of the Good Samaritan. What would have happened, I wonder, if the Samaritan had come along not after the event, but while the event is in progress. Would he have intervened, I think so.

    Possibly.

    Tragically, no, we don't.

    As ever, it's the 'why' of it ... but I Have to admit, the American attitude to guns bothers me a lot, but that's something else ...

    Well that's a question we have to answer for ourselves.

    Usually the moral issue is decided on 'the greater good'.

    The 'model' for me is Carlo Urbani (1956-2003). An Italian doctor who was a consultant to the World Health organization and in 1996 joined Médecins Sans Frontières. He is the doctor who identified the SARS outbreak in 2003.

    When the nature of the outbreak became known, his wife telephoned him and asked him, the father of three children, to come home. Urbani replied, "If I can't work in such situations, what am I here for? Answering e-mails, going to cocktail parties and pushing paper?"

    Dr Urbani became infected with the virus and died 18 days later.

    He's a saint, obviously, although I doubt he's ever be beatified, but that doesn't matter, really.
     
  14. Lux

    Lux Active Member

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    Thomas, your theological input gives me points to ponder. Thank you.
    A couple more questions if I may ...
    Forced conversion is totally pointless. I remember Joe (once again) expressing my exact sentiment in my other thread.

    . . . there is nothing I could do to force someone into a belief. Even if I stuck a gun to your head 3/4 trigger pull, you might say you believe, but there is no truth to it.

    About Christendom getting it badly wrong in the past such as the crusades, what is the stance of the Church on it now? Do they admit the guilt of then-popes completely or are there any cases that were justifiable, as there were many crusades and I'd imagine each one must've had a different background to it. (I'm ignorant of the detail of each crusade.)

    I am not faulting the current Church or Catholics of course; I just want to know if modern-day popes have ever denounced some popes of the Middle Ages ...
    So Jesus would allow us to defend ourselves and anyone being savaged ... I'm glad to reconfirm my view with you.

    Now the ultimate question... would Jesus ever pick up a sword himself? Say, if someone was about to be struck by a sword of a bandit right in front of him?

    This is one godly person. People like him have my greatest admiration. I remember Dr. Kent Brantly - who got infected with Ebola and survived - saying something memorable. After his release from the hospital, he praised God for his life. He said:

    "I prayed that God would help me to be faithful even in my illness, and I prayed that in my life or in my death, He would be glorified".

    ... in my life or in my death ... What struck me was that he didn't ask God to spare his life; he prayed that he would live or die in the way God will be glorified ... What a man!

    I know that if I decided I believe in God, I must believe all the way. I must trust God to look after my family if something should happen to me. And even if my family struggles due to my absence, God will guide them to live a just life and we'll be reunited sooner or later.

    One last question ...

    When I asked if I should give up my life for the possibility of saving one lost soul, I meant, if I shouldn't use lethal force and let the aggressor live (if there were no others around me to protect). Because I know where I'm going if I die (Well, I mustn't be too sure, I can only hope!), but if the aggressor dies in the midst of his wrongdoing, he most likely won't go to heaven. So this creates a religious conundrum; it's better me dying than him??
     
  15. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Oh dear ... that's a big question, Lux, and I fear my responses will invite a storm of criticism, but I would like, before answering, to highlight two points:

    1: Christendom has made mistakes, and when it does, it tends to go quiet on the matter, and hope it might pass without too much comment (much as any bureaucracy does).

    2: There is a list of topics that always come up when this question is raised: The Crusades, the Inquisition, Galileo, the Burning of Witches ... and the most vociferous were (historically) the Protestant commentaries that had an agenda to blacken the reputation of Catholicism, so there is an element of exaggeration and one-sided polemic ... and that sets the tone of thew accusations today.

    Take the Crusades:
    Islam began a period of expansion into Christian territories shortly after Mohammed's death, and they were extremely successful. Palestine, Syria, and Egypt – once the most populous Christian lands in the Holy Roman Empire – quickly succumbed. By the eighth century, Muslim armies had conquered all of Christian North Africa, Sicily and Spain. In the eleventh century, Asia Minor (modern Turkey) was taken, which had been Christian since the time of St. Paul. Of the old Roman Empire in the East, the Byzantine Empire as we view it today, little more than Greece remained Christian.

    In desperation, the emperor in Constantinople sent word to the Christians of western Europe asking them to aid their brothers and sisters in the East. That is what gave birth to the Crusades.

    They were not the brainchild of an ambitious pope or rapacious knights but a response to more than four centuries of conquests in which Muslims had already captured two-thirds of the old Christian world. At some point, Christianity as a faith and a culture had to defend itself or be subsumed by Islam. The Crusades were that defence.

    Remember that in the sixteenth century, the Muslim Empire under the Ottoman Turks laid siege to Vienna (1529) and inaugurated 150 years of warfare in the East, culminating in the Battle of Vienna (1683) a defeat of the Turks which some see as a turning point in European history ...

    +++

    The Inquisition:
    When people shudder with horror at the mention of 'The Inquisition', they're usually thinking of The Spanish Inquisition (if you ever saw Monty Python's Flying Circus on tv, they at least saw the difference).

    In Spain, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabel established the Spanish Inquisition as separate from the Roman Inquisition, around 1480. They were embarked on a policy, after defeating the Moors in 1492, of 'cleansing' Spain of the taint of Judaism and Islam. The Spanish Inquisition became notorious throughout Europe. Unlike the Roman Inquisition, death sentences in the Spanish Inquisition were more than common, although recent history tends to view the numbers cited, sometimes as many as 40,000, as gross exaggerations, these claims being made by Protestants during the Reformation.

    Spain aside, while I am not defending the Office in Europe, it is acknowledged by scholars that the alternative, trial by secular authority, often led to harsher treatment and more severe penalties. Death was invariably the punishment for the most menial of crimes, and usually a given in the case of blasphemy or heresy, even though the secular judges had but a minimal, if any grasp at all, of theology. There is ample evidence to show that many elected for trial by the Holy Office rather than the secular authorities, because the chance of a fair hearing and survival was significantly better.

    Witches? A Protestant phenomena. Catholic countries were not so troubled. (I can explain why, it's to do with the removal of all sacred art from the sacred space under Protestantism.)

    Galileo? Yes, we were wrong, but it has to be admitted that the penalty – house arrest in a luxury villa on the Italian coast – was, as one philosopher said, 'positively enlightened', compared to the norms of the day. And Galileo brought much of his troubles down upon himself.

    It's also worth remembering that the Catholic Church welcomed the theories of Copernicus on heliocentrism, whilst Luther and Calvin raged against the idea ...

    As ever, these things are a matter of perspective.

    Suffice to say I learnt more about 'bad popes' when I did my Catholic theology degree! :D

    But the 'problem' is never as simple as the critics like to make out. I have been following recent scholarship on the Borgias, and now it's beginning to emerge that the Borgias might not have been so bad as history (their political opponents) painted them. Lucretia Borgia, for example, that infamous poisoner, was in fact not only not a poisoner, but quite probably a virtuous woman by the standards of her day – the problem was, she was a woman, and the worst kind of woman, a woman with power and intelligence ...

    So the Church tends not to follow public opinion, fads and fancies of the moment ...

    Or put another way, I could probably inflict far more damage on the reputation of the Church than those who feel the need to do so here, because I know her in greater depth and detail, but I'm not doing their work for them! :D

    Yes we have.

    Good question. I think He would have resolved the problem in a way none of us could have imagined! ;)

    Ooh, dangerous question! I can see the Adversary whispering on one's ear 'it's better for him to die' as well as 'it's better that I die' and for the same reason ... spiritual pride. So I think that question cannot be answered as you put it. It depends on the whole life.
     
  16. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    I believe all .... crusades, inquisition, witch trials, Galileo are all examples of the same thing... the issue when religion gets infused with political might....

    fanaticism, gets stirred...holier than thou gets unleashed... Going to war on conquering armies is one thing...obliterating another religion as a goal...and practicing on Jews along the way another thing...

    We are going through it again (still?) now.
     
  17. Lux

    Lux Active Member

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    Thomas, thank you again for such a detailed reply to my questions.

    I'm happy to hear your honest admission of the Church's dark past, that there were 'bad popes'. As long as the Church recognizes its wrongdoings in the past and pledges not to ever repeat that part of history, I have no further criticism. We don't blame today's Germans for what the Nazis did. The same thing.

    As for the Protestants trying to vilify the Catholics, they'd better check their own backyard first. I read that the Protestants under Zwingli were the first to persecute the Anabaptists burning them at the stake. For them to point fingers at you guys is simply the pot calling the kettle black.

    I may ask you more later about this subject that you guys hope it might pass without too much comment when I have the time to get my teeth into it. (I'll probably create a new thread.) I shall summon you to my inquisition! :D Don't worry I'll be reasonable and lenient.;)


    Oh man, Thomas, that's a cop-out! Yeah, yeah, Jesus would've driven the demons out of the bandit into lemmings that happen to be passing by and all going into the sea of Galilee and drown! And the bandit becomes sane again, thanks Jesus and becomes a follower! So no need for Jesus to pick up a sword ... but that's cheating!

    I had to mull this over for a day trying to understand what you're saying here ... "What the heck does he mean by spiritual pride?" ... I thought I was being compassionate toward the aggressor by worrying about his salvation. There is no greater love than this; to lay down one's life for one's friends ... That's what I thought I was trying to do ... To love my enemy, I have to consider him my friend/brother and die for him ... Isn't this an ultimate Christian thing to do?

    Then, it hit me ... Who the hell am I (pardon my French) to even cast a guess on who's going to heaven and who's not? I realized then I was on a spiritual high horse (yup, spiritual pride) looking down on the aggressor thinking, "Poor man, his soul is in trouble." ... That may be true for him for the moment, but I was arrogant to think my salvation was probably in the bag ...

    No-one can predict how someone else's relationship with God would turn out ... Even if I unfortunately kill him (because he was trying to kill me), in the last second of his life, he may think "Oh God I'm so sorry I tried to rob someone ..." not because it got him killed, but because he actually knew all along what he was doing was wrong tho he was overcome by his desperation for money. If he confesses his guilt to God even only in his head, he'll be saved ... Do you think this is a possibility?

    In any case, trying to assess who's gonna go to heaven and who's not is a bad idea.
    It's solely God's business. I was stepping way over the line. All I can do is to try protecting people's lives justly, including mine, the best I can. Another thought occurred to me after posting my last one; what if the aggressor continues on after he killed me and killed more people ... Then sacrificing myself for him produces a worse outcome ...

    Self-defense is a difficult issue ... I can only hope I'd never be put in this type of situation, but you never know ... I like to think it over ahead of time so I can prepare myself and hopefully do the right thing in whatever situation I find myself in.

    Anyway, thanks Thomas, you got me off of this conundrum!
    (Well ... hope I got what you meant right ... If it wasn't what you intended at all, by all means, correct me.)
     
  18. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    I don't think Thomas copt out....
    I know a preacher....rather I met a preacher..who when confronted by two young hoodlums with guns...they came up behind him and told him if he didn't give them his money they would shoot.... He slowly turned and looked at them and said, "But brother, I love you" He was going to go on and say what is mine is yours if you need it.... but didn't have to, they turned and left.

    That ain't anything for someone to use on a whim...I couldn't say it and believe it in that moment. And without conviction...or I guess the faith of a mustard seed...it could be trouble.
     
  19. BigJoeNobody

    BigJoeNobody Professional Argument Attractor

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    Just to allocate my view on it, Self defense and self sacrifice are 2 different things. I cannot see how self-sacrifice is any different than suicide (and as such a sin), not to be confused with dieing while trying to avoid conflict. You are right that if there is a way to stop the transgressor without harming or killing them, it is better. Wil's example, although probably not going to work 99% of the time, is an example of that. Would Jesus (PBUH) pick up a sword to defend others, I would say so (although it is purely speculation and has no basis that I know of). Or he would exert God's will (or as most Christians would say, His will) and stop the attack another way. Although, he did not fight back at his aggressors, he chose to run instead usually.
     
  20. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    According to the book when they came to arrest him and one of his proteges lopped an ear off a soldier he stopped them. (now interesting enough imagine today the police force turning out to make an arrest with a cabal of soldiers, and if someone slashed off an ear, that would have quickly escalated to a malay with many injuries) However Jesus told folks to hold off and he accepted arrest as he indicated if he wished he'd bring a legion of angels...

    Where is it written he ran? (not an issue with me just wondering)
     

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