I was having a discussion with my medieval history professor about the Early Christian perspective on violence. When I brought up the Desert Fathers and martyrs, he claimed a.) That the Desert Fathers upon their arrival in Egypt went around hitting people with what he called "clubs of Christ" and b.) The Early Christians actually encouraged violence because they so fervently wanted to become martyrs. I was dumbfounded at both of these comments but kept it to myself out of respect for the guy (although I kind of wish I hadn't). Any thoughts?
P.S. Mods- if I didn't post this in the appropriate forum please move it to wherever you feel is best.
A.) Certainly not the Desert Fathers. Of course, there's always some rag-tag group claiming to be something they're not, especially in Church history. He should judge us by our saints, not our heretics.
B.) Some martyrs sought out violence for themselves to become martyrs, that is true. However, they never condoned
what society was doing to them (actually, the opposite...they condemned them!), they simply wanted to give their lives for Christ.
Interestingly, he also apparently rejects rationalism, citing its roots as a theological (Scholastic) movement as well as Nietzschean arguments. I'm pretty sure he's one of those rare genuine nihilists. Or not, because he still views violence as wrong.
I reject rationalism. It is a theological, scholastic movement...and a bad one. Nietzsche is a good philosopher. Obviously I disagree with a lot of points he arrives at personally (and definitely religiously) but I'd say the same of Hobbs, Hume and a host of others. They're still great philosophers.