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Religion and Spirituality, Science and Philosophy Use this forum to discuss what you believe in. This is a place where everyone may share their views freely.

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Was Christ a Pacifist? - May 17th 2012, 08:40 PM

So, I am still developing my beliefs on this particular subject, but I will say I lean towards Christ being a pacifist. I cannot state for certain that He was, but I am personally against any Christian joining the military to presumably help kill other men, women, and children. Though, I do not force my belief or standards on others.

While I know the Old Testament is debatable, I ask that we stick to the New Testament, and what Christ commanded of His followers. You can reference Revelation, if you wish, but I will more than likely ignore your post, simply for the fact that Christ is coming to judge the world in His second coming, while in His first He came to give mercy, and commanded us to shed mercy upon others as well.

I have heard some convincing arguments that Christ was not a pacifist. However, to me, it boils down to questions like this: Would Christ have bombed Japan for justice? Would Christ have hung His enemies, like we Americans do? For me, I don't see Christ doing any of these things. Instead, I see Him asking us to return good when people do evil to us. He tells us to leave vengeance for G-D. He asks us not to judge, which then asks the question, is it REALLY up to us to judge "terrorists" and kill them? Or should we forgive them, and leave room for G-D's judgment.

While the most common argument against pacifism is, "What happens if someone held a gun up to your family?" Well, personally, I find fault with this argument. It is either/or fallacy. Not only this, it presumes a worst case scenario. Granted, this does happen. But, considering the question, it assumes that you only have two options: 1) Be a violent protector. 2) Be a nonviolent non-protector. The issue is that we have more options. For example, 1) A violent non-protector (what if violence fails?) 2) A nonviolent protector. That is, there are other options than violence.

Anyways, I want to hear your opinions. I will probably throw questions at you, whether you're a pacifist or not, to challenge your stance. Please don't get offended.

"For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love."
- Carl Sagan
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Re: Was Christ a Pacifist? - May 17th 2012, 10:10 PM

I think Matthew 5:38-39 speaks clearly enough on the matter.

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Re: Was Christ a Pacifist? - May 17th 2012, 10:38 PM

I think you need to experience what it is like to have somebody inflict violence upon you before you start questioning the religious convictions and motives of those who use force. Your example of somebody holding a gun to your family is an interesting one. Past experience tells me that there are actually very, very few non-violent options available. The vast majority of situations I have faced, as well as a number of high profile cases, have been allowed to happen because the victims believed that violence was not an option, and compliance was the best action. Several of those experiences included the victims being forcibly fed drain cleaner.

This is not so much a theological argument as it is a practical one. In theory, I can understand why a lot of religious individuals choose to be pacifist. In practice, it just doesn't work out that way. God said nothing about you letting yourself be pushed around. God said nothing about you having to watch an intruder rape your wife because you refused to use a weapon. God said nothing about you being peaceful when someone is feeding you Drainex.

I make the assumption that if presented with two options; 1) Have violence inflicted upon me for unmoral reasons or 2) Inflict violence on those who would seek to do harm upon the innocent, then God would rather I take the second option.

Trust in God, and press-check.

Stay safe.

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Re: Was Christ a Pacifist? - May 17th 2012, 10:56 PM

Originally Posted by Toz View Post
I think Matthew 5:38-39 speaks clearly enough on the matter.
I would have gone for Matthew 5:9 if it were me, but I guess it's six of one and half a dozen of the other really.

"The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." - Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

However bleak things seem, however insurmountable the darkness appears, remember that you have worth and nothing can take that away.

Originally Posted by OMFG!You'reActuallySmart! View Post
If you're referring to dr2005's response, it's not complex, however, he has a way with words .
RIP Nick
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Re: Was Christ a Pacifist? - May 18th 2012, 01:30 AM

Christ was pushed around. I've been held up at gun point with the gun against my skin. I responded in non-violence. Things worked out okay for me.

I'm not saying that things wouldn't be different if it was my family. They may be. But, Christ also said we must hate our family, and even our own lives, if we go to Him. While I understand the practicality of the matter, I don't know if that justifies violence. Sure, we might respond that way, but it doesn't justify it. You get in a accident, you might use the Lord's name in vain, it doesn't justify it. You get turned on, you lust, it doesn't justify it. We live in a world that is prideful, covetous, etc. it doesn't justify it for us. As you can see, my point is just because something seems natural to do, it doesn't justify it.

I think of the Roman guards who mocked Christ. They told Him to come down off the cross and to save Himself. Surely, that is what any rational human-being would do, if they had the capability to come off the cross. They probably would have killed those men and their family, after making their lives torturous. Christ didn't. Instead, He forgave them. Something we probably wouldn't do. Yet, He calls us to follow Him with our own cross, to be mocked, ridiculed, and to be as sheep headed for the slaughter, yet forgiving. What about the first martyr recorded in Acts?

In any of the Epistles, none of the Christians sought revenge or violence.

As far as non-pacifism goes, Christ overturned the tables in a quite violent scene. He never rebuked any military people for being in service, and He told His disciples to sell their cloaks and buy swords, He said He came not to bring peace, but a sword.

"For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love."
- Carl Sagan

Last edited by ThisWillDestroyYou; May 18th 2012 at 01:37 AM.
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