[asa] Was Jesus wrong? (Resist evil?)

From: Dehler, Bernie <bernie.dehler@intel.com>
Date: Tue Jun 30 2009 - 13:07:27 EDT

I wrote previously about something that Jesus taught that I thought was wrong (imminent return of Christ... let's not debate that again). I thought of another, and would like feedback.

Jesus taught that we should "turn the other cheek;" walk 2 miles if asked to walk 1 mile by an enemy; and give whatever a thief asks for, plus give them even more.

Scripture reference:

Matthew 5:38-41

An Eye for an Eye

 38"You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.'[a] 39But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.

When my oldest child was in school as a first grader, and getting picked-on, I tried to apply this advice to her. Also teaching "don't repay evil for evil." Instead- I told her to inform the teacher. But I think the teachers want the kids to learn how to get along, so they don't interfere much.

So it seems the best advice is this:

1. If a person is hurting you, ask them to stop.

2. If they don't stop, try to get away.

3. If you can't get away, you can hurt them to show self-defense.

It seems like this advice works, whereas Jesus' advice fails.

I also remember one time I was a kid and bullied someone else. They hit me in the eye, and it shocked (and surprised) me, and also wised me up. If they would have 'turned the other cheek' I wouldn't have learned to stop bullying, and would have likely been a bigger bully.


Yes- the other idea about forgiving others instead of getting revenge is great advice, but I have an issue with how we should treat bullies.

BTW- This also applies to the community level of the behavior of nations (dealing with Israelis/Palestinians, Iran, and North Korea). Also- this topic relates to the social sciences of psychology and philosophy (I know someone would ask what this has to do with ASA).

I know that famous atheist Christopher Hitchens always rails against this passage (Hitchens loves the idea of killing your enemies). I'm more middle-ground, seeing some good applications in the passage but also seeing a part that doesn't work. The main thing I think Jesus got wrong was this part "Do not resist an evil person." In fact- there's another non-biblical saying which I think is better "All that's necessary for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing." They are opposite teachings. Apply it to Hitler- Jesus, if living on Earth while Hitler ruled, would seemingly suggest not opposing Hitler.

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Received on Tue Jun 30 13:08:39 2009

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