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

From: Dave Wallace <wmdavid.wallace@gmail.com>
Date: Tue Jun 30 2009 - 18:09:38 EDT

Bernie
This for me also is a very difficult question. Gandi and Martin Luther
King changed the world applying what Jesus taught. I had mennonite
friends for many years at boarding school and attended Mennonite
church's for about five years. When I specifically asked about say the
case of a sniper they did not seem to have a problem with the police
using a firearm to eliminate the individuals involved. On a personal
level I try very hard not to escalate conflict situations, unfortunately
I do not always manage to even do that much. My father in law spend from
1939 through 1945 in the Finish winter war fighting first Russians and
then Germans. On numerous occasions he threatened physical mayhem
against me or my grandchildren. Frequently I simply did not attend
family get togathers and weddings simply to avoid conflicts. Withdrawal
is not a happy approach but at times it works.

In terms of war including guerrilla war, I think that some times it is
justified and some times not. To my mind opposing Hitler was completely
justified although the fire bombing of Dresden and the 2nd atomic bomb
dropped on Japan were war crimes.

In terms of somewhere like Northern Ireland I think that both sides have
a great deal of blood on their hands, especially the Roman Catholics,
the Anglicans and the Presbyterians. My mothers family homesteaded in
Quebec and Ontario in the mid to late 1800s to escape the potato famine
and discrimination in Ireland. More or less unrestricted war on
civilians seems totally wrong to me.

In terms of bullying and unwanted teenage sexual advances, my son takes
both his children to karate once a week so they can defend themselves
without escalating the problem.

I hope someone has a more theological answer than I am able to come up with.

My experience with the recommendations from social science is to hit
back or absent oneself. Even Christian practitioners seem to give that
answer.

Dave W

Dehler, Bernie wrote:
>
> 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 18:14:45 2009

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