• Average
    469
    Christ taught his disciples to love their enemies and to do good to those who sinned against them but believers in the Bible are also taught about an angel named Micheal. Micheal is depicted as a warrior and he embodies the idea of a just war. Christian theory and practice seems to have revolved around the persecution they faced in the world for their loyalty to an otherworldly master but they didn't embrace the idea of a Jihad like the muslims. I know of no documented cases where christians waged war against the roman emperors who so viciously attacked them. Was this a proof of their cowardice or their wisdom? Perhaps it is strange to say that men and women who willingly faced death were cowards but perhaps someone like Nietzsche would say that this is proof of their rejection of life. Indeed Jesus says elsewhere in the Bible "whoever loves his life will lose it". Spartacus was not afraid of the roman legions and he lived only a few years before the Christians would burst onto the scene. How should christians understand this nonviolent reputation of Christ and his disciples who were tortured and murdered by tyrannical regimes? Is it the case that this nonviolence was practiced because of their faith in God's ability to punish the wicked and reward the righteous in the next world? In Matthew 26:53 christ says "Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?". If God is indeed a king with legions at his command why would he allow his son to be mistreated? Why would christ allow himself and his devoted followers to be tortured and murdered? It is a strange salvation that involves the obliteration of the flesh for the sake of something sacred like the soul.

    In John 18:36 Jesus is quoted as saying "My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence", here we are introduced to the idea of our heavenly father's fatherland. If God has armies of angels who have waged war for him then perhaps there is a time for war and a time for peace but what method should we use to determine when we should wage war or when we should pursue peace? Why was it acceptable for God to wage war against the wicked in heaven and somehow impermissible for his faithful son and servants here on earth? Is it a double standard or is it something deeper? Maybe Christ didn't have a dog in the fights that happen down here on earth but what are we to do? Should we fight when faced with an evil enemy like Micheal or should we do as christ did and lay down our lives for the ones we love because we are taught by him to love our enemies? What kind of mysterious wisdom would lead men to their deaths? Is it the idea that a man who has nothing to die for is already dead? Christians are taught to see heaven as their promised land but the Israelites had to carve out a place for themselves with conquest. Leaders like Joshua at Jericho and David with Goliath seem to suggest that God's people can use violent means to achieve their ends down here on earth. Indeed the Bible teaches that God gives victory in war to whoever he choses. Perhaps christians should remember when they recite the lords prayer and repeat the words "on earth as it is in heaven" that there was war in heaven once upon a time.
  • Tom Storm
    8.6k
    If God is indeed a king with legions at his command why would he allow his son to mistreated? Why would christ allow himself and his devoted followers to be tortured and murdered? it is a strange salvation that involves the obliteration of the flesh for the sake of the something sacred like the soul.Average

    Suffering is kind of the point of most forms of Christianity, isn't it?

    1 Peter 4:12-13 (NIV):

    Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.

    The Bible is an anthology, a series of allegories, dozens of separate books, written across a period of well over 1000 years, it is interpreted in multiple ways and there are thousands of Christian sects and denominations today, with their own preferred understanding of scripture. How could we narrow it down to something like the plot of a movie?
  • Average
    469
    Suffering is kind of the point of most forms of Christianity, isn't it?Tom Storm

    I know of no interpretation of christianity where suffering is the end and not the means. If this was the case then hell would be the goal and heaven would be avoided.
  • Tom Storm
    8.6k
    I'm referring to the only experience we can talk about with some authority - the mortal life.

    I don't think anyone knows what the allegory of heaven means exactly. Hence my latter point.
  • Paine
    2.1k
    I know of no documented cases where Christians waged war against the roman emperors who so viciously attacked them.Average

    They did that a lot of that sort of thing after they attained state power.

    Should we fight when faced with an evil enemy like Micheal or should we do as Christ did and lay down our lives for the ones we love because we are taught by him to love our enemies?Average

    As reported by Paul, the world was about to change so dramatically that the reason to fight (which was generally considered a natural response) was less important than the impending change. The Sermon on the Mount begins with pointing to the end of days as changing the criteria of what was important due to the immediate circumstances.
  • Average
    469
    They did that a lot of that sort of thing after they attained state power.Paine

    As far as I know they never attained state power.
  • Paine
    2.1k

    The Catholic and Orthodox churches. Having an Emperor crawl for forgiveness in order to rule.
    The Crusades.
    The elimination of 'heresies' wiping out entire communities.
    The agreements to have states be designated as having their religion be determined by what the rulers believed.
    That sort of thing.
  • RogueAI
    2.6k
    Should we fight when faced with an evil enemy like Micheal or should we do as christ did and lay down our lives for the ones we love because we are taught by him to love our enemies?Average

    Jesus is pretty clear on that. Put your trust in God. Let your enemies do what they will. Don't resist them. Forgive them, no matter what they do. This existence on Earth is nothing compared to what lies ahead in Heaven.

    That's my reading of it anyway.
  • NotAristotle
    252
    I'm a Catholic Christian and here are my views. Christ is unique; Christ is unlike anyone. His mission was to save, no matter what the cost, even at the cost of His own life. I am not sure I can fully explain salvation, but I do believe that salvation is through Jesus.

    I also believe it is right and just to defend yourself or another from an attacker, and a war may be justly waged. I think Saint Thomas Aquinas commented on what constitutes a just war. The ability to wage a just war is not beyond the scope of what tradition has revealed.

    I see no problem between Christ's mission and self-defense. Does that answer?
  • RogueAI
    2.6k
    I also believe it is right and just to defend yourself or another from an attacker, and a war may be justly waged.NotAristotle

    How does that square with the following:
    "Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword."


    "But I tell you, do not resist an evil person."


    “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them."

    It seems obvious to me that Jesus has anticipated the self-defense/just-war question:
    What if someone attacks me?
    Do not resist evil
    What if they attack my kids?
    Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you
    What if my country is at war?
    All who draw the sword will die by the sword

    I don't know how you can read Jesus's teachings as anything other than total pacifism. He couldn't have been any clearer on the subject.
  • 180 Proof
    14.5k
    It seems clear to me that Jesus has anticipated the self-defense/just-war question: What if someone attacks me? Do not resist evil ... I don't know how you can read Jesus's teachings as anything other than total pacifism.RogueAI
    :100: :mask:
  • RogueAI
    2.6k
    Given the oceans of blood the Romans spilled after they adopted Christianity, I'm surprised that non-violent stuff even made it in the Bible. Maybe by then it was too late to take it out.
  • NotAristotle
    252
    "Do not resist an evil person" is an assertion that is made in the context of discussing "an eye for an eye." I think it is important to properly interpret scripture. According to Wikipedia, the original text may have legal connotations.

    Here's a question: does anyone nowadays actually believe in "an eye for an eye?"
  • RogueAI
    2.6k
    "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you."

    Is it possible to interpret that in some way that allows you to kill someone attacking you? It seems pretty straightforward to me, especially combined with other pacifist passages.
  • NotAristotle
    252
    I agree with everything you quoted. I admit it is a high bar. But no, I do not think it is advocating for pacifism.
  • RogueAI
    2.6k
    So when is violence justified? What exceptions did Jesus give to "turn the other cheek"? Where did Jesus say, "I want you to be nice...until it's time to not be nice."

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8aNfg0LBgQ&ab_channel=MGM
  • Leontiskos
    1.7k
    Perhaps christians should remember when they recite the lords prayer and repeat the words "on earth as it is in heaven" that there was war in heaven once upon a time.Average

    The book of Revelation involves the idea that the fight will eventually be brought to Earth. If you are thinking in terms of the traditional Christian canon then that book will be a helpful key, but also the other eschatological writings in the New Testament (and Old).

    ---

    I don't know how you can read Jesus's teachings as anything other than total pacifism. He couldn't have been any clearer on the subject.RogueAI

    Serious question for you: have you ever read the New Testament in its entirety? I find that those who make such claims have almost invariably never read the New Testament.

    Our culture presents a very strange and lopsided version of Jesus, and it seems that such claims are more influenced by the culture than by the Bible or by historical Christianity.
  • Average
    469
    I see no problem between Christ's mission and self-defense.NotAristotle

    Christ didn't practice self defense when it was a matter of life and death.
  • RogueAI
    2.6k
    Serious question for you: have you ever read the New Testament in its entirety? I find that those who make such claims have almost invariably never read the New Testament.Leontiskos

    No, I only pay attention to Jesus's teachings. The rest is crap.
  • Leontiskos
    1.7k
    - Jesus' teachings according to which documents? Which documents are you purporting to be familiar with?
  • Average
    469
    They did that a lot of that sort of thing after they attained state power.Paine

    Spartacus fought the romans without state power.
  • RogueAI
    2.6k
    The four gospels.
  • RogueAI
    2.6k
    I find that those who make such claims have almost invariably never read the New Testament.Leontiskos

    Also: plenty of Christians who worship the Bible and read all of it religiously (no pun intended) have come to the same conclusion I have and preach pacifism.
  • javi2541997
    5.2k


    I think we should differentiate on Jesus who comes from the Gospel and Jesus of Nazareth.

    The role of Jesus and Christianity itself in the Bible is a metaphorical invention by Paul and John. There is not historical evidence that backs up the warrior character of this movement, but it is obvious that was a pacific revolt against Romans. Nonetheless, after Christianity is established as a rigid system it needs to be defended at all costs. I guess this is why we see some Gospels about this nature around the Bible.

    On the other hand, Jesus of Nazareth (the "real" Jesus, or at least his human form) was clearly a pacifist. Luke 23:34 "Then Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they're doing...'"

    That redemption came when Jesus was dying crucified on the cross. I personally believe that it was his real aim. Avoiding violence and showing the other cheek. But, it is evident that there is a controversial issue regarding what happened and then what appears in the Gospels. I guess this is why you find it contradictory.
  • Average
    469
    I don't think anyone knows what the allegory of heaven means exactlyTom Storm

    If this is the case then perhaps christians have failed in their missionary mission.
  • Leontiskos
    1.7k


    But if you are familiar with the four canonical gospels then you must be aware of when Jesus instructed his disciples to sell their cloaks to buy swords (Luke 22:36); or when Jesus made a whip out of cords to drive the money changers out of the Temple (John 2:15-17); or when Jesus foretold that, "the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour that he does not know, and will cut him in pieces, and put him with the unfaithful" (Luke 12:46, NRSV); or when Jesus, speaking about a grievous sinner, says, "it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung round his neck and he were thrown into the sea" (Mark 9:42).

    I could go on.
  • Average
    469
    if you are familiar with the four canonical gospels then you must be aware of when Jesus instructed his disciples to sell their cloaks to buy swordsLeontiskos

    He must've intended for them to turn them into plowshares because when Peter uses the sword he is told by Jesus that whoever lives by the sword will die by the sword.
  • Leontiskos
    1.7k
    He must've intended for them to turn them into plowshares because...Average

    If we disregard all of the evidence that contradicts a pacifistic interpretation then our self-fulfilling prophecy will indubitably be fulfilled.
  • Average
    469
    If we disregard all of the evidence that contradicts a pacifistic interpretation then our self-fulfilling prophecy will indubitably be fulfilled.Leontiskos

    Why are you speaking in riddles?
  • Average
    469


    I already acknowledged that the Bible has examples of warfare waged by the righteous against the wicked.
  • Leontiskos
    1.7k


    My point is that simple, ready-made interpretations of Jesus almost always fudge the evidence. It seems to me that at the very least Jesus was a deeply complex figure, and that simple interpretations therefore cannot stand.
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