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Author Topic: Justifiable violence?  (Read 2514 times) Average Rating: 0
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deusveritasest
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« Reply #45 on: July 11, 2010, 06:53:32 PM »

As for the scenario put forth in the OP: I would try to forcefully wrest the gun away from the individual intent on killing everyone present. I would use as much force as I needed to try and stop it, but I would not kill. That's why I don't own a gun, because I don't want to kill. But not owning a gun and wedding myself to nonviolence does not mean that I am content to sit back and allow others to be brutalized or murdered in my presence.

Gebre,

This section of your post actually helped me realize something significant to this debate.

You are not a pacifist.

What you are is a non-lethalist.

You were just essentially talking about using violence to stop the murderer. Non-lethal violence, yes. But violence none the less.

But I am always astounded by how people can simultaneously rationalize the necessity of violence to stop the murder of innocent people while they also condmn those who kill abortionists. If violence is ever necessary and justifiable, then there is no cause more worthy of its use than in defense of innocent babies.

I think you might have noticed this, but I am not among that crowd. And it makes me very unpopular. Somehow it is highly less politically correct. I think the same principle could be applied. And if ultimately one were to find that the only reasonable way to stop an abortion doctor from killing more fetuses, I think that lethal force has to be likewise justified.

Yes, there are various degrees of pacifism. Some pacifists assert that it is immoral to spank your children. I am not of that persuasion. However, I am not merely a "non-lethalist" either. I do believe that when He says, "turn the other cheek," we are to interpret Our Words literally.

The most difficult question for the pacifist is how to defend the innocent others. Certainly, inherent in the command to love our neighbor as ourselves is the responsibility to intervene on their behalf when we see them being victimized and oppressed. So, how do we do this? My answer is that we fight non-violently, with prayer, protests, personal sacrifice, placing ourselves in harms way in order to shield the vicitms we are trying to help, etc. But never, ever kill or seek to do bodily harm to the oppressors. Now, this approach may not meet with earthy and temporal success, but it will always be eternally victorious.

I just read a passage tonight from An Unbroken Circle that I found very powerful:

"True meekness is the attribute of one who fully trusts in God and His providence. The person who fully trusts in God is not fighting his own battles. He doesn't take attacks against him personally. God is his advocate, his judge, his jury, and his avenger. The truly meek person knows, like Moses, that if he lives his life in meek submission to God's will, those who fight against him are not fighting him, but God, and He will avenge Himself. Although the oppressor may have waved something in the face of African slaves and their descendents that was labeled 'the Christian duty of meekness,'; true meekness is not a value of the oppressor - it is his worst enemy. It was Pharaoh's worst enemy because the vengeance was the Lord's. Meekness is all-powerful, but it comes at a price, that of living according to the fourfold precepts that Moses demonstrated- not relying on oneself in anything, all-daring trust in God, unceasing prayer, and untiring striving for good."
[An Unbroken Circle: Linking Ancient African Christianity to the African American Experience "The Challenge of Meekness" by Nun Catherine Weston of St. Xenia Metochion Orthodox Church]


Selam

Why then does the section I bolded sound like you are talking about using non-lethal violence to disarm the gunman?

Perhaps a distinction can be made between force and violence. But I imagine that wresting a gun away from a madman would probably involve some violent force. As I said, I am not merely a "non-lethalist," but neither would I sit idly by in such a circumstance. But by making the personal choice not to own a gun, and not to actively participate in the military or police force, I am preparing NOT to kill. Preparing NOT to kill is not the same thing as preparing to remain passive in the face of evil. Pacifism is not passive-ism.


Selam

I'm pretty sure that your willingness to use some form of violence, though not a lethal form, technically means that you're not a strict pacifist.
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« Reply #46 on: July 11, 2010, 07:21:22 PM »

As for the scenario put forth in the OP: I would try to forcefully wrest the gun away from the individual intent on killing everyone present. I would use as much force as I needed to try and stop it, but I would not kill. That's why I don't own a gun, because I don't want to kill. But not owning a gun and wedding myself to nonviolence does not mean that I am content to sit back and allow others to be brutalized or murdered in my presence.

Gebre,

This section of your post actually helped me realize something significant to this debate.

You are not a pacifist.

What you are is a non-lethalist.

You were just essentially talking about using violence to stop the murderer. Non-lethal violence, yes. But violence none the less.

But I am always astounded by how people can simultaneously rationalize the necessity of violence to stop the murder of innocent people while they also condmn those who kill abortionists. If violence is ever necessary and justifiable, then there is no cause more worthy of its use than in defense of innocent babies.

I think you might have noticed this, but I am not among that crowd. And it makes me very unpopular. Somehow it is highly less politically correct. I think the same principle could be applied. And if ultimately one were to find that the only reasonable way to stop an abortion doctor from killing more fetuses, I think that lethal force has to be likewise justified.

Yes, there are various degrees of pacifism. Some pacifists assert that it is immoral to spank your children. I am not of that persuasion. However, I am not merely a "non-lethalist" either. I do believe that when He says, "turn the other cheek," we are to interpret Our Words literally.

The most difficult question for the pacifist is how to defend the innocent others. Certainly, inherent in the command to love our neighbor as ourselves is the responsibility to intervene on their behalf when we see them being victimized and oppressed. So, how do we do this? My answer is that we fight non-violently, with prayer, protests, personal sacrifice, placing ourselves in harms way in order to shield the vicitms we are trying to help, etc. But never, ever kill or seek to do bodily harm to the oppressors. Now, this approach may not meet with earthy and temporal success, but it will always be eternally victorious.

I just read a passage tonight from An Unbroken Circle that I found very powerful:

"True meekness is the attribute of one who fully trusts in God and His providence. The person who fully trusts in God is not fighting his own battles. He doesn't take attacks against him personally. God is his advocate, his judge, his jury, and his avenger. The truly meek person knows, like Moses, that if he lives his life in meek submission to God's will, those who fight against him are not fighting him, but God, and He will avenge Himself. Although the oppressor may have waved something in the face of African slaves and their descendents that was labeled 'the Christian duty of meekness,'; true meekness is not a value of the oppressor - it is his worst enemy. It was Pharaoh's worst enemy because the vengeance was the Lord's. Meekness is all-powerful, but it comes at a price, that of living according to the fourfold precepts that Moses demonstrated- not relying on oneself in anything, all-daring trust in God, unceasing prayer, and untiring striving for good."
[An Unbroken Circle: Linking Ancient African Christianity to the African American Experience "The Challenge of Meekness" by Nun Catherine Weston of St. Xenia Metochion Orthodox Church]


Selam

Why then does the section I bolded sound like you are talking about using non-lethal violence to disarm the gunman?

Perhaps a distinction can be made between force and violence. But I imagine that wresting a gun away from a madman would probably involve some violent force. As I said, I am not merely a "non-lethalist," but neither would I sit idly by in such a circumstance. But by making the personal choice not to own a gun, and not to actively participate in the military or police force, I am preparing NOT to kill. Preparing NOT to kill is not the same thing as preparing to remain passive in the face of evil. Pacifism is not passive-ism.


Selam

I'm pretty sure that your willingness to use some form of violence, though not a lethal form, technically means that you're not a strict pacifist.


Well, that's OK. I'm much less concerned about the label or the "ism" than I am with seeking Our Lord's will to unconditionally value, respect, honor, and preserve all human life in all of its forms.


Selam
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deusveritasest
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« Reply #47 on: July 11, 2010, 07:38:36 PM »

As for the scenario put forth in the OP: I would try to forcefully wrest the gun away from the individual intent on killing everyone present. I would use as much force as I needed to try and stop it, but I would not kill. That's why I don't own a gun, because I don't want to kill. But not owning a gun and wedding myself to nonviolence does not mean that I am content to sit back and allow others to be brutalized or murdered in my presence.

Gebre,

This section of your post actually helped me realize something significant to this debate.

You are not a pacifist.

What you are is a non-lethalist.

You were just essentially talking about using violence to stop the murderer. Non-lethal violence, yes. But violence none the less.

But I am always astounded by how people can simultaneously rationalize the necessity of violence to stop the murder of innocent people while they also condmn those who kill abortionists. If violence is ever necessary and justifiable, then there is no cause more worthy of its use than in defense of innocent babies.

I think you might have noticed this, but I am not among that crowd. And it makes me very unpopular. Somehow it is highly less politically correct. I think the same principle could be applied. And if ultimately one were to find that the only reasonable way to stop an abortion doctor from killing more fetuses, I think that lethal force has to be likewise justified.

Yes, there are various degrees of pacifism. Some pacifists assert that it is immoral to spank your children. I am not of that persuasion. However, I am not merely a "non-lethalist" either. I do believe that when He says, "turn the other cheek," we are to interpret Our Words literally.

The most difficult question for the pacifist is how to defend the innocent others. Certainly, inherent in the command to love our neighbor as ourselves is the responsibility to intervene on their behalf when we see them being victimized and oppressed. So, how do we do this? My answer is that we fight non-violently, with prayer, protests, personal sacrifice, placing ourselves in harms way in order to shield the vicitms we are trying to help, etc. But never, ever kill or seek to do bodily harm to the oppressors. Now, this approach may not meet with earthy and temporal success, but it will always be eternally victorious.

I just read a passage tonight from An Unbroken Circle that I found very powerful:

"True meekness is the attribute of one who fully trusts in God and His providence. The person who fully trusts in God is not fighting his own battles. He doesn't take attacks against him personally. God is his advocate, his judge, his jury, and his avenger. The truly meek person knows, like Moses, that if he lives his life in meek submission to God's will, those who fight against him are not fighting him, but God, and He will avenge Himself. Although the oppressor may have waved something in the face of African slaves and their descendents that was labeled 'the Christian duty of meekness,'; true meekness is not a value of the oppressor - it is his worst enemy. It was Pharaoh's worst enemy because the vengeance was the Lord's. Meekness is all-powerful, but it comes at a price, that of living according to the fourfold precepts that Moses demonstrated- not relying on oneself in anything, all-daring trust in God, unceasing prayer, and untiring striving for good."
[An Unbroken Circle: Linking Ancient African Christianity to the African American Experience "The Challenge of Meekness" by Nun Catherine Weston of St. Xenia Metochion Orthodox Church]


Selam

Why then does the section I bolded sound like you are talking about using non-lethal violence to disarm the gunman?

Perhaps a distinction can be made between force and violence. But I imagine that wresting a gun away from a madman would probably involve some violent force. As I said, I am not merely a "non-lethalist," but neither would I sit idly by in such a circumstance. But by making the personal choice not to own a gun, and not to actively participate in the military or police force, I am preparing NOT to kill. Preparing NOT to kill is not the same thing as preparing to remain passive in the face of evil. Pacifism is not passive-ism.


Selam

I'm pretty sure that your willingness to use some form of violence, though not a lethal form, technically means that you're not a strict pacifist.


Well, that's OK. I'm much less concerned about the label or the "ism" than I am with seeking Our Lord's will to unconditionally value, respect, honor, and preserve all human life in all of its forms.


Selam

Gebre, I'm much more sympathetic to your view knowing this. Previously I had thought that you were a strict pacifist.
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chrevbel
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« Reply #48 on: July 12, 2010, 03:38:38 AM »

I'm much less concerned about the label or the "ism" than I am with seeking Our Lord's will to unconditionally value, respect, honor, and preserve all human life in all of its forms.
Gebre, I'm much more sympathetic to your view knowing this. Previously I had thought that you were a strict pacifist.
Agreed.  And the OP goes directly to this point.  Is it not in fact valuing, respecting, honoring, and preserving human life when we condone an armed security force that is willing to protect innocent life by using force?
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« Reply #49 on: July 12, 2010, 05:03:06 PM »

I'm much less concerned about the label or the "ism" than I am with seeking Our Lord's will to unconditionally value, respect, honor, and preserve all human life in all of its forms.
Gebre, I'm much more sympathetic to your view knowing this. Previously I had thought that you were a strict pacifist.
Agreed.  And the OP goes directly to this point.  Is it not in fact valuing, respecting, honoring, and preserving human life when we condone an armed security force that is willing to protect innocent life by using force?


Well, the words in bold are very important. See, I don't believe anyone has the authority to decide who should live and who should die. That is God's authority, not ours. Therefore I believe in unconditionally valuing all human life- even the life of the murderer or oppressor. By trying to protect innocent life through nonviolent force (i.e. not killing and not deliberately causing bodily, psychological, or spiritual injury; and ideally, literally turning the other cheek when we alone are attacked), we demonstrate that we value all human life equally. But once we decide that one life is more worthy of preserving than another, then we make the fundamental moral error that lies at the root of evils such as murder, war, abortion, euthanasia, etc. I believe it is a dangerous thing to presumptuously decide that the lives of some human beings are no longer worth preserving.


Selam
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« Reply #50 on: July 12, 2010, 11:31:08 PM »

Therefore I believe in unconditionally valuing all human life- even the life of the murderer or oppressor.
But by pursuing total pacifism in the situation in the OP, we have in fact accepted conditions to our valuing of human life.  Have we not accepted the conditions set by the murderer, and responded with the idea that however things work out is just fine?

Quote from: Gebre Menfes Kidus
See, I don't believe anyone has the authority to decide who should live and who should die. That is God's authority, not ours.
Agreed.  But by doing nothing are we not validating the authority of the shooter to make that choice?
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« Reply #51 on: July 13, 2010, 01:38:09 AM »

Therefore I believe in unconditionally valuing all human life- even the life of the murderer or oppressor.
But by pursuing total pacifism in the situation in the OP, we have in fact accepted conditions to our valuing of human life.  Have we not accepted the conditions set by the murderer, and responded with the idea that however things work out is just fine?

As Christians, we should never allow evil to dictate the conditions by which we value of human life. ALL human life is sacred and valuable, not by virtue of the human being, but because every human being remains the very image of God. The murderer has decided that some human life is not worthy of preserving; let us not adopt the philosophy of the murderer.

Quote from: Gebre Menfes Kidus
See, I don't believe anyone has the authority to decide who should live and who should die. That is God's authority, not ours.
Agreed.  But by doing nothing are we not validating the authority of the shooter to make that choice?

Again, not killing is not synonymous with doing nothing.


Selam
« Last Edit: July 13, 2010, 01:39:11 AM by Gebre Menfes Kidus » Logged

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