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

From: <mrb22667@kansas.net>
Date: Tue Jun 30 2009 - 13:59:41 EDT

I struggle with these questions too, Bernie, and I'm a Mennonite! --we're
supposedly supposed to have some of this figured out at least within our
denomination & others tolerate or don't tolerate our anti-militarism as the
case may be.

I don't think even "peace-loving" people advise their children to passively
accept bullying from other children, or certainly in an uglier example, to they
wouldn't teach any children to give in to abuse from adults or strangers. It
seems to me like Jesus' advice is most powerful in a context of spiritual power
and personal or Spirit-given courage. I.e. It is precisely when I could
strike back successfully and am being provoked by a bully who is trying to get
me to do just that that my decision to not do so shows the greatest power.
Jesus' teachings to give in and even give more were not just passive
submissions to evil forces. It was/is an active way to confront and expose the
evil of those who live by force and oppression.

I put "peace-loving" in quotes above, not to denigrate the traditions of which
I am a part, but to emphasize that just because you strive towards pacifistic
inclinations or religious denominations does not make you peace-loving. In
fact, I personally am a rather violent person in my thoughts and can be easily
provoked (in fantasy anyway) towards a desire for violence. I don't have a gun
in my house, not because I would refuse to use one, but precisely because I so
easily WOULD use one. I.e. I NEED Jesus' teachings on peace more than perhaps
most people. In contrast, some of the most peaceful people I have ever met
were members of the armed forces who detest the use of force and seem to have
all the inclinations and temperments that I wish I had as a Mennonite. I
suppose you could say nobody hates war more than those who feel forced,
compelled, or honor-bound to participate in it.

Regarding Jesus' teaching, it is echoed by Peter in passages that slave owners
could use in detestable ways towards their slaves. I'm sure this is an abuse
of his teaching. But if I was a slave to a cruel master, and I became a
Christian, then my submission to that master would in no manner be passively
directed with motivation that he continues in his cruelty. In short, I think
there is a huge difference between we, deciding for ourselves, to submit to
injustice, and we advising someone else to do it. Jesus did that and showed
how, but I'm pretty sure it would go against everything that Jesus is to
advise, for example, an abused housewife to just continue to submit to her
husband's beatings. I wish I could give you a better answer for the playground
bully situation, and I will be interested as to how others may respond here.

--Merv

Quoting "Dehler, Bernie" <bernie.dehler@intel.com>:

> 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.
>
>
>
> Thoughts?
>
>
>
> 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 14:00:40 2009

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