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Author Topic: Martial Arts and Orthodoxy?  (Read 10004 times) Average Rating: 0
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David Garner
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« Reply #90 on: May 03, 2011, 01:55:38 PM »

Or just realize the chance of being injured in America if you don't live in a crime trap is almost nil. And spending all that time and energy on probably ineffectively defending yourself against someone who has you by surprise and lives off violence ain't worth and that effort and anxiety.

This is a fantastic statement -- lots of good stuff in these two sentences.

I realized some time back that the physical and fitness benefits I received from martial arts training far outweighed the benefits to my personal safety and bodily integrity, for exactly the reason you mention.  I am trained in both fighting arts and defensive use of a pistol, but at some point I looked in the mirror and at around 215 pounds I realized my health was far more in danger from heart disease, diabetes and related illness than from being attacked by someone.  While I still see value in knowing basic self-defense, I also see greater value in just being fit and being in good health.

And even in the extremely unlikely event I do have to fight someone, I'll be in much better shape to weather that storm.  One thing I learned rather quickly in jiu jitsu is someone who was in really good shape and was strong was always a handful for someone (me) who was for a good period of time overweight and not strong.
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« Reply #91 on: May 03, 2011, 08:11:59 PM »

Good old Col. Cooper.  I was thinking of him today as I was loading some ammunition for my 10mm Glock.  Quite a cartridge.  I still do not trust it enough to replace the .45 ACP as my every day carry weapon (Glock 21SF, 230gr Hornady TAP +P).  Col. Cooper may not have liked the pistol, but the cartridge was near gospel to him.


I draw a line between self-defense in order to defend the faith and self-defense in order to protect the bodily integrity of my wife and kids from someone who just wants to harm others.  And as I said above, I'll walk away from a fight if possible, but when it comes to my family, I have a duty to protect them where they cannot protect themselves.  Martyrdom is one thing.  Just letting other people harm your family for no good reason is quite another, IMHO.  I tend to agree with Col. Jeff Cooper in this regard:

"One bleeding-heart type asked me in a recent interview if I did not agree that ‘violence begets violence.’ I told him that it is my earnest endeavor to see that it does. I would like very much to ensure—and in some cases I have—that any man who offers violence to his fellow citizen begets a whole lot more in return than he can enjoy." -- Col. Cooper
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« Reply #92 on: May 03, 2011, 08:40:00 PM »

I personally and professionally have always been on the side of self-defense, but I'm not sure Col. Cooper is the best source of Orthodox Christian guidance when it comes to violence.

We 're entitled to our opinions, but I'm just wondering how Christian they may be, and how much sophistry we use to make them fit. 
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« Reply #93 on: May 03, 2011, 09:30:13 PM »

I personally and professionally have always been on the side of self-defense, but I'm not sure Col. Cooper is the best source of Orthodox Christian guidance when it comes to violence.

We 're entitled to our opinions, but I'm just wondering how Christian they may be, and how much sophistry we use to make them fit.  

Having actually read most of Jeff Cooper's works, I have found nothing contained therein that contradicts any parts of my Faith.  Cooper is not a theologian, and he does not pretend to be one.  However, his writings are almost a "must read" for anyone who has already come to the conclusion that deadly force is sometimes warranted, and who chooses to carry a weapon for self defense.  As I read the Scriptures, all of them, not just the ones that I like, I find far more reason to use sophistry to justify pacifism than I do to find reason to arm myself in defense of my person and my family.  However, once that conclusion has been reached (and I admit not all will come to that conclusion), the Scriptures tend not to be the best references regarding the practical matter of tactics and pistolcraft.  For dogma in this area, I find Cooper, Jordan, Keith (although I do not approve of his Masonic affiliation), Fairbaine and Applegate to be good “Fathers” of the craft.  I apply the principles of Scripture to my life in order to live among people in a manner where harming another person would be a rare occurrence, and I arm myself for deterrence and not with the hope of an eventual confrontation.  However, living such a life is a matter of faith and hope, both of which I do not have in abundance.  This makes me often less than certain of what God wills.  However, I have knowledge of what happens when a 230 grain hollow point does when it hits a person on the bridge of his nose, and I have the skill developed over time to place one there if needed, so if I find myself in the unfortunate situation to where my faith and hope have failed me, I have some confidence in my knowledge and skill.  For this, I owe no small debt to the late Col. Jeff Cooper, of blessed memory.
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« Reply #94 on: May 03, 2011, 09:53:53 PM »

^ I appreciate your perspective and, as mentioned, I have been in a similar camp since my early adulthood.  Still, my concern is not with Col. Cooper's writings (or anyone else who writes on the subject).  This thread was intended to discuss martial arts/self-defense in relation with Orthodox Christianity, and I don't find his opinions particularly relevant to that specific subject (I could be wrong).

Again, I will defer to your knowledge on the Holy Scriptures, but not necessarily your take from them.  Just because you are personally comfortable with violence/self-defense and Orthodox Christianity, does not mean that the Church is.

My point: Perhaps it would be more persuasive if posters provided quotes from Church Fathers, Elders, leaders, etc., rather than citing self-defense/firearms instructors. 

[I'm not trying to be "snarky" but I'm not sure how to make the internet show that]

 
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« Reply #95 on: May 03, 2011, 09:56:15 PM »

There's room for point shooting, modified Weaver (Cooper), and isosceles.

Different circumstances, different uses.

I would pass on Cooper's "system" and "philosophy", for practicing all three of the above.

Frankly, in most surprise situations you'll probably end up point shooting. And seems the easiest IME to get people up and going on.

LEOs and Military have of course reasons for the other two methods and their invariable hybrids.

In home defense, safe room with a shotgun and a 911 call.

Of course as many words can be spilled over this as the filioque. But whatever route you go, it's always in the practice.
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« Reply #96 on: May 03, 2011, 09:57:52 PM »

^ I appreciate your perspective and, as mentioned, I have been in a similar camp since my early adulthood.  Still, my concern is not with Col. Cooper's writings (or anyone else who writes on the subject).  This thread was intended to discuss martial arts/self-defense in relation with Orthodox Christianity, and I don't find his opinions particularly relevant to that specific subject (I could be wrong).

Again, I will defer to your knowledge on the Holy Scriptures, but not necessarily your take from them.  Just because you are personally comfortable with violence/self-defense and Orthodox Christianity, does not mean that the Church is.

My point: Perhaps it would be more persuasive if posters provided quotes from Church Fathers, Elders, leaders, etc., rather than citing self-defense/firearms instructors. 

[I'm not trying to be "snarky" but I'm not sure how to make the internet show that]

 

You are not coming off snarky at all. And really people need to get over that assumption in general on the internet and give the benefit of the doubt.

You point is well taken, but once a thread starts, who knows where it will go.
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« Reply #97 on: May 03, 2011, 10:02:52 PM »

Punch,

How do you carry?
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« Reply #98 on: May 03, 2011, 10:12:08 PM »

You are not coming off snarky at all. And really people need to get over that assumption in general on the internet and give the benefit of the doubt.
You point is well taken, but once a thread starts, who knows where it will go.

Good, and agreed on all points.
[Edit: I also agree with your point from an earlier post that many people spend an inordinate amount of time "preparing" for these situations.  There is a line between being proficient/prepared and being obsessed.  I'm not implying anyone from this thread has crossed that line, but there is plenty of $ to be made and time to be wasted on becoming the ultimate tactical... whatever.]

Figured I might as well answer the below for good measure:
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How do you carry?
Deep concealed? Minotaur IWB at roughly 4:30.
Not (professional or otherwise)? Primary sidearm in a Blackhawk Paddle at 3:00-3:30.
All on a proper gun belt, usually extra mag(s) on opposite side or in ankle holster.
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« Reply #99 on: May 04, 2011, 01:00:05 AM »

Punch,

How do you carry?

Glock 21SF at 4:00 in a Galco Summer Comfort IWB.  Depending on the situation, I usually have either a S&W Model 438 in my left coat or pants pocket.  Recently, thanks to my youngest son, I have been carrying a Glock 30SF at 10:00 in a Kydex IWB as a backup.  I may eventually start carrying the Glock 20SF in 10mm.  I just put a Lone Wolf barrel in it and am still testing it to see if I can keep the gun from blowing up.  So far, so good.

I am a proponent of point shooting at close range.  Not a lot of time to aim when you have less than three seconds to live.  However, my overriding philosophy is that the best way to win a gunfight is to not show up.

As to Orthodox sources, I like St. Alexander Nevsky and Jesus.  After all, Jesus is the one who said to sell my coat and buy a sword if I don't already have one.  I have read a lot of sophistry trying to get around that one.  Seems plainly worded to me.  Now, where I run a little bit afoul is when he said that two were enough.  I blew by that number a long time ago.
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« Reply #100 on: May 04, 2011, 01:07:53 AM »

Most of my time spent "preparing" is not to become overly tactical.  We have names for those, but I will refrain from printing them since someone will find some porn to associate with them or they may come off as vulgar in Polish.  In any case, the time I spend training and practicing has to do with other people's rights.  Just like I have the right to defend myself, those not involved in my problem have the right not to catch a bullet that I sent the wrong direction.  I just love these police shootouts (not!) where 30 rounds are fired and three hit the target.  Where the heck did the other 27 go?!?  I want the criminal to be afraid to go out at night, not the citizen.  If the citizen IS afraid, it should be of the criminal and not me.  THAT is why I spend so much time practicing my pistolcraft.


You are not coming off snarky at all. And really people need to get over that assumption in general on the internet and give the benefit of the doubt.
You point is well taken, but once a thread starts, who knows where it will go.

Good, and agreed on all points.
[Edit: I also agree with your point from an earlier post that many people spend an inordinate amount of time "preparing" for these situations.  There is a line between being proficient/prepared and being obsessed.  I'm not implying anyone from this thread has crossed that line, but there is plenty of $ to be made and time to be wasted on becoming the ultimate tactical... whatever.]

Figured I might as well answer the below for good measure:
Quote
Punch, Cognomen
How do you carry?
Deep concealed? Minotaur IWB at roughly 4:30.
Not (professional or otherwise)? Primary sidearm in a Blackhawk Paddle at 3:00-3:30.
All on a proper gun belt, usually extra mag(s) on opposite side or in ankle holster.
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« Reply #101 on: May 05, 2011, 01:18:53 AM »

Sorry Cognomen but this reply is going to go further off your intent for the thread. And perhaps too graphic for posting, MODs delete as needed.

One of the most practical adjuncts to learning how to properly use a firearm for real defense in place where danger actually exists, is how to use it when grabbed or being surprised before you get can the firearm barely out of the holster.

I am a lefty. When I boxed, I boxed unorthodox. But on the street always lead with your dominant hand (speed and accuracy trumps power and helps not to totally shatter your fingers, which I have done too often). So I would carry with use with my non-dominate hand.

At the gym I used to box at, I connected with some Filipinos and was invited to do some serious live escrima with them. The beauty of that experience is that you can pretty much scale the "stick" used to any size. And small object grappling is practiced.

So subbing out a knife with a firearm . . .

Dominate hand for dealing with the grappling and then using the non-dominate hand for the hand gun. In close, very close, quarters, when tangled up, forget head and chest targets and simply aim and load into the femoral, the way knife fighting was taught when grabbed by surprise.

Bleeding out from the femoral is rather quick.

But really, for immediately killing your opponent nothing beats a good whack with a blunt object to their head. Knife wounds and gunshots can take too long to cause death.

And keep a good lawyer on retainer.

But I don't carry anymore and live in what appears as the most dangerous neighborhood in America at least every third year. And I am pretty involved with the area. Just doesn't seem Christian to tote a firearm around FOR ME. Plus, I know that having that option is going to make other possible less violent options more likely to be used.

Christ is Risen . . . ?

 
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« Reply #102 on: May 05, 2011, 02:39:09 AM »

Sorry Cognomen but this reply is going to go further off your intent for the thread.
No worries at all.  As you mentioned, threads get going in their own way.  I was just excited at the prospect of the thread better answering some lingering questions I had.

Quote
One of the most practical adjuncts to learning how to properly use a firearm for real defense in place where danger actually exists, is how to use it when grabbed or being surprised before you get can the firearm barely out of the holster.
I can't agree more.  Trouble comes at you quick, sometimes before you can properly disengage.

Quote
I am a lefty. When I boxed, I boxed unorthodox. But on the street always lead with your dominant hand (speed and accuracy trumps power and helps not to totally shatter your fingers, which I have done too often).
Interesting, as I originally boxed "heterodox."  I changed after having to realign to keep my weapon side away from the "threat."

The Filipino methods and training I learned sounds very similar.

Quote
But I don't carry anymore and live in what appears as the most dangerous neighborhood in America at least every third year. And I am pretty involved with the area. Just doesn't seem Christian to tote a firearm around FOR ME. Plus, I know that having that option is going to make other possible less violent options more likely to be used.

Thanks for your perspective on this.



 
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« Reply #103 on: May 05, 2011, 03:31:39 PM »

Just curious, when Jesus said

"Turn the other cheek"
"Love your enemies"
"Pray for those who persecute you"
and
"do not resist an evil person"

I'm wondering how martial arts and preparing for physical defense works into the commands that God laid out? I think he was teaching non-resistance.
I don't want to go off on to hypothetical situations.  I believe he was addressing a group but individually speaking.

I'm not talking about "somebody about to kill your kids" etc.  I'm talking about YOU personally.
Just looking for thoughts.  Thanks!
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« Reply #104 on: May 05, 2011, 03:46:34 PM »

I am a lefty. When I boxed, I boxed unorthodox. But on the street always lead with your dominant hand (speed and accuracy trumps power and helps not to totally shatter your fingers, which I have done too often). So I would carry with use with my non-dominate hand.


I am right handed, and that is why I always have a weapon on me that can be reached with the left hand.  I carried crossdraw for many years until all of the training centers and competitions forbid it.  Now, my "backup" pistol is always on my left.  I put "backup" in quotes because in some scenarios, it is actually my primary and the first one that would be brought into action.

Probably one of the biggest weaknesses in CCW training is the emphasis on the use of the firearm without a lot of real training on hand to hand combat.  To make matters worse, this stupid State issues a "Concealed Handgun Permit" rather than a "Concealed Weapons Permit".  Remarkably, I can carry a handgun concealed, but not mace or pepper spray or a batton or other less leathal weaponry concealed.
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« Reply #105 on: May 05, 2011, 04:09:34 PM »

Well, since our bodies are a temple, and we are not to destroy that temple by doing things harmful to it, I don't see any problem with preventing other people from doing things to it.  Unlike Jesus, my death at the hands of evil people will not bring anyone salvation.  It will leave a wife and kids without a husband and father, and employer without a usefull employee, and a couple of welfare recipients without more than $20,000 per year of taxes that I pay.  It also cuts off some time that I have left to repent.  The way I see it, I will just have one more thing to repent over.  No, I am not being flippant about the matter.  I just have become tired of applying Christian ideals to a very non-Christian world. 

Just curious, when Jesus said

"Turn the other cheek"
"Love your enemies"
"Pray for those who persecute you"
and
"do not resist an evil person"

I'm wondering how martial arts and preparing for physical defense works into the commands that God laid out? I think he was teaching non-resistance.
I don't want to go off on to hypothetical situations.  I believe he was addressing a group but individually speaking.

I'm not talking about "somebody about to kill your kids" etc.  I'm talking about YOU personally.
Just looking for thoughts.  Thanks!
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« Reply #106 on: May 05, 2011, 04:14:18 PM »

I am a lefty. When I boxed, I boxed unorthodox. But on the street always lead with your dominant hand (speed and accuracy trumps power and helps not to totally shatter your fingers, which I have done too often). So I would carry with use with my non-dominate hand.


I am right handed, and that is why I always have a weapon on me that can be reached with the left hand.  I carried crossdraw for many years until all of the training centers and competitions forbid it.  Now, my "backup" pistol is always on my left.  I put "backup" in quotes because in some scenarios, it is actually my primary and the first one that would be brought into action.

Probably one of the biggest weaknesses in CCW training is the emphasis on the use of the firearm without a lot of real training on hand to hand combat.  To make matters worse, this stupid State issues a "Concealed Handgun Permit" rather than a "Concealed Weapons Permit".  Remarkably, I can carry a handgun concealed, but not mace or pepper spray or a batton or other less leathal weaponry concealed.

Truly bizarre indeed. Shows how far lobby money will go.

You have to careful anymore with anything that would be consider a "weapon", especially if you have training. The whole reasonable force and all that is nonsense. Not that I think this is Christian, but from secular civil perspective, if someone hits you, they have forfeited their life, if it so happens.

People get killed by a single punch. Heck, I am even for force in the face of "just threats". Society just needs to be more polite.

Humans can be incredibly fragile. At one wrestling meet in HS, a guy died on the mat from a broken neck. It was terrible. I can't imagine how the guy who did it felt.

I am not for an all out Wild West world, but the measures and strictures placed upon citizens and LEOs when defending themselves obviously come from the minds of those who have never been in any serious altercations and have watched too many TV shows and movies.

People honestly think LEOs should shoot someone in the arm or in the hand holding the weapon. lulz.

Most LEOs are crap with a firearm and almost never have to draw upon someone and fire, thank God, but when it happens you are going to miss a ton and the SOP is to empty the firearm.

Most people can barely give a description of the assailant after being robbed at gun point. Thankfully, being that scared ain't second nature to most.

Oh well.
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« Reply #107 on: May 05, 2011, 06:06:29 PM »

Just curious, when Jesus said

"Turn the other cheek"
"Love your enemies"
"Pray for those who persecute you"
and
"do not resist an evil person"

I'm wondering how martial arts and preparing for physical defense works into the commands that God laid out? I think he was teaching non-resistance.
I don't want to go off on to hypothetical situations.  I believe he was addressing a group but individually speaking.

I'm not talking about "somebody about to kill your kids" etc.  I'm talking about YOU personally.
Just looking for thoughts.  Thanks!

I have in the past and probably will again in the future turn the other cheek when goaded or harassed.

For example, I have been the  victim of verbal and mildly physical assaults by Anti-Semitic people. I was not goaded into aggressive behavior nor did I strike back physically. I  took it and 'turned the other cheek'. If it happens again in my life I will not argue or explain how I converted to Christianity. I will just take it and pray for the assailant.

If they lay a hand on me I will break it and send them to the hospital...

The guiding principle is reasonableness. Only a few factions interpret Christianity as being wholly pacifist, the Quakers and Amish for example. The notion that you should take a complete beating without resistance is unreasonable. You may well do much more harm to your assailant's spiritual well being if you let him hurt you far more than if you had stopped him. If he kills you, you have participated in his falling to hell unnecessarily.
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« Reply #108 on: May 05, 2011, 06:13:16 PM »

I don't know, Marc. I think there is a place for that degree of nonresistance.
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« Reply #109 on: May 05, 2011, 06:31:25 PM »

I don't know, Marc. I think there is a place for that degree of nonresistance.

Clearly there is a place. I agree.

 It is by no means the norm nor should it be. If it were we would be speaking with a British accent and the British would be speaking German...

Which is the greater saying "Turn the other cheek" or "Love thy neighbor" ? If my neighbor is being held in slavery and I am called to the Army to help free him, I would go....  etc.   
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« Reply #110 on: May 06, 2011, 01:25:05 AM »

The guiding principle is reasonableness. Only a few factions interpret Christianity as being wholly pacifist, the Quakers and Amish for example. The notion that you should take a complete beating without resistance is unreasonable.

It was accepting certain unreasonable elements of Christianity that finally enabled me to convert.  The martyrs, holy fathers, and many spiritual warriors of Orthodoxy were far from what we would now deem as reasonable.  In my experience, reasonable is not always the same as Christian.

Quote
You may well do much more harm to your assailant's spiritual well being if you let him hurt you far more than if you had stopped him. If he kills you, you have participated in his falling to hell unnecessarily.

Perhaps, but this seems an attempt to justify your (and my) reaction and chosen engagement within the context of Christianity.

You have to admit that there seems something wrong when comparing these two quotes:
Quote
But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.
Quote
If they lay a hand on me I will break it and send them to the hospital...

I understand that not all statements of Christ's are intended to be interpreted literally, but the OSB note for Matt 5:39 reads:
Quote
"In contrast to the OT, Jesus warns us not to resist [OSB's bold] violence with more violence."
 I'm well aware that the OSB notes are not definitive commentary/positions, and I know that Punch has many issues with these notes.  Still, providing Orthodox sources and teachings (not your own take on things) that back your position would be beneficial to me.  

Additionally:
Well, since our bodies are a temple, and we are not to destroy that temple by doing things harmful to it, I don't see any problem with preventing other people from doing things to it.
 
The 'protect the temple' sort of argument reminds me more of an Underarmour advert slogan ("We must protect this house!") than the teachings/examples of the church.  Not a lot of 'protecting the temple' examples chronicled in the Prologue of Ohrid.

I'm genuinely not trying to have a go and engage in argument for argument's sake.  This is a very relevant issue to me and, as of now, I remain unconvinced that my position is the Christian one.
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« Reply #111 on: May 06, 2011, 01:54:51 AM »

In general Cognomen, I am pretty much inclined to agree with everything you have to say on the matter, not that matters much.

But I can say one thing, "turning the other cheek" don't mean a lot, if that is your only option.

A lot of Christian pacifism I fear stems from people who couldn't mangage to survive a food fight. It's not for nothing when Ghandi started gathering folks for non-violent resistance he really wanted as many former military as possible.

It's one thing to walk away from an altercation or take a beating when you have no other choice out of fear, it is another when you pretty much know you could devour the human in front of you and you choose to do so. Or you are a Saint and truly stand without resistance out of love for your enemy.
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« Reply #112 on: May 06, 2011, 02:03:13 AM »

Interesting, as I originally boxed "heterodox."  I changed after having to realign to keep my weapon side away from the "threat."

lulz. I didn't even get the wordplay when I wrote what I did. You can I am a true non-Orthodox, when I associate "orthodox" more with boxing than Christianity.

Although this stuff is sorta behind me, it is interesting to hear from Punch and you how when it comes to really taking violence seriously, the evolution of firearm usage develops pretty much along the same line when it comes to realistic personal protection.



 
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« Reply #113 on: May 06, 2011, 02:06:23 AM »

The guiding principle is reasonableness. Only a few factions interpret Christianity as being wholly pacifist, the Quakers and Amish for example. The notion that you should take a complete beating without resistance is unreasonable.

It was accepting certain unreasonable elements of Christianity that finally enabled me to convert.  The martyrs, holy fathers, and many spiritual warriors of Orthodoxy were far from what we would now deem as reasonable.  In my experience, reasonable is not always the same as Christian.

Your response here resonates with me. It's a weird paradox. What I find not to be "attractive" so to speak, but feel in my gut as truth in Christianity is what is hardest to do.

Thanks for you patience throughout this thread and sharing your own experience with struggling with the issue.
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« Reply #114 on: May 06, 2011, 02:06:48 AM »

I am pretty much inclined to agree with everything you have to say on the matter, not that matters much.
And right back at you, sir.

You touched on some very serious concerns that I had with the concept of turning the other cheek, as I always believed it was done out of weakness and cowardice.  As you mentioned, sometimes it still is. 

Quote
But I can say one thing, "turning the other cheek" don't mean a lot, if that is your only option.
Exactly.  It reminds me of a line from The Ladder (I'll have to look it up later) about how it doesn't mean a lot if you are already a nice, passive, passionless person.
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« Reply #115 on: May 06, 2011, 02:23:56 AM »

It's a weird paradox. What I find not to be "attractive" so to speak, but feel in my gut as truth in Christianity is what is hardest to do.
All of this agreeing is wearing me out, but this is what I found as well.  In some ways, my extraordinarily powerful aversion towards tenets of Christianity helped show me that it is the path.  When initially inquiring into the faith, as soon as I learned how crucial the 2nd of the Great Commandments was, I wanted out! 

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Thanks for you patience throughout this thread and sharing your own experience with struggling with the issue.
Absolutely, and thanks very much for your contribution.  This is a really complex and challenging subject for some of us.  Others struggle with other issues, e.g. standing up for the faith to others, being overly cautious about alienating people, etc.  That doesn't seem to be our bag.
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« Reply #116 on: May 06, 2011, 02:29:22 AM »

All of this agreeing is wearing me out

lulz. Just doesn't seem right.

Quote from: Cognomen
being overly cautious about alienating people, etc.  That doesn't seem to be our bag.

lulz with understatement.
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« Reply #117 on: May 06, 2011, 09:35:13 AM »

The guiding principle is reasonableness. Only a few factions interpret Christianity as being wholly pacifist, the Quakers and Amish for example. The notion that you should take a complete beating without resistance is unreasonable.

It was accepting certain unreasonable elements of Christianity that finally enabled me to convert.  The martyrs, holy fathers, and many spiritual warriors of Orthodoxy were far from what we would now deem as reasonable.  In my experience, reasonable is not always the same as Christian.

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You may well do much more harm to your assailant's spiritual well being if you let him hurt you far more than if you had stopped him. If he kills you, you have participated in his falling to hell unnecessarily.

Perhaps, but this seems an attempt to justify your (and my) reaction and chosen engagement within the context of Christianity.

You have to admit that there seems something wrong when comparing these two quotes:
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But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.
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If they lay a hand on me I will break it and send them to the hospital...

I understand that not all statements of Christ's are intended to be interpreted literally, but the OSB note for Matt 5:39 reads:
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"In contrast to the OT, Jesus warns us not to resist [OSB's bold] violence with more violence."
 I'm well aware that the OSB notes are not definitive commentary/positions, and I know that Punch has many issues with these notes.  Still, providing Orthodox sources and teachings (not your own take on things) that back your position would be beneficial to me.  

Additionally:
Well, since our bodies are a temple, and we are not to destroy that temple by doing things harmful to it, I don't see any problem with preventing other people from doing things to it.
 
The 'protect the temple' sort of argument reminds me more of an Underarmour advert slogan ("We must protect this house!") than the teachings/examples of the church.  Not a lot of 'protecting the temple' examples chronicled in the Prologue of Ohrid.

I'm genuinely not trying to have a go and engage in argument for argument's sake.  This is a very relevant issue to me and, as of now, I remain unconvinced that my position is the Christian one.

Yes, you can pick and choose what inspires you. We all do that. The fact is that the notion of a "Just War" has been debated and settled by the Church over a long period of time. Those conclusions apply here as well. The Church does not advocate total pacifism. Your mileage may vary.
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« Reply #118 on: May 06, 2011, 01:22:08 PM »


I'm genuinely not trying to have a go and engage in argument for argument's sake.  This is a very relevant issue to me and, as of now, I remain unconvinced that my position is the Christian one.

Putting matter in such a simple statement allows me to answer in a uncomplicated manner.  I an not simply "unconvinced", I am certain that my position is not a Christian one.  However, I do not live in a Christian world. 

In addition, while I do not consider "natural law" to be over the Law of God, to some extent I believe they are compatible.  After all, it was God who created nature.  Self preservation is a strong drive in EVERY living organism.  As is reproduction.  Freud once was attributed to saying that you can boil most human drives down to two main things: sex and death.  I do not agree with Freud on all matter (or even most), however, he may have a point here.  Self preservation and the desire to reproduce are two of the strongest drives in any living thing.  It has been stated on this thread that many of my views on self defense are a justification rather than actually the teachings of Christ.  That is not wholly incorrect.  They are a justification, based on my way of seeing the order of things.  Like with sex, the desire to reproduce is strong, so in my view celibacy is NOT a natural state for man.  I read all scripture regarding sex in this context.  To me, the Scriptures do not forbid sex, they give limits to where and how it should occur.  I see killing in self defense in the same manner.  Given the strong drive toward self preservation, passiveness is NOT natural.  I read the scripture in this context.  This leads me to derive the following from reading scripture:

1. Life is precious, and every attempt should be made to preserve it.
2. We should live our lives with forgiveness being the default point of view, not vengeance.
3. God did not bring death into the world, man did.  Killing is never a sinless act since killing is NOT perfection.
4. We should not kill out of passion or covetousness.  We should not kill in anger.
5. If a situation can be handled with non-lethal means, it should be.  Taking another person's life is not a trivial matter.  In doing so, you remove any chance of that person's repentance.  What is worse, you are taking his life at a time that he is probably committing a sin, and he will not have a chance to repent of that sin if lethal force is used.  As such, if you can survive the assault, you would do best to "turn the other cheek".
6. In a case where it is apparent that another person means to take my life or the life of one that I have a duty to protect, it is permitted for me to use the means at my disposal to prevent him from doing so.  If this results in his death, so be it.  I will have sinned, and the canons prescribe a penalty for that sin.  However, unlike the attacker, I will have time to repent.
7. My beliefs above also lead me to be against aggression.  My actions should be strictly defensive, and I should strive to do nothing that would bring aggression upon me.

I believe that a complete reading of the Scriptures, the Canons, and the writings of the Fathers - as well as the civil laws of our society, would show my views above to be compatible with Christianity in a non-perfect world.  My views, however, are NOT perfection and are fallen along with the rest of me.
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