Non-violence

The last year or so, I’ve been trying to articulate my beliefs and values when it comes to Non-violence. If you believe the Crucifixion/Resurrection story, then Jesus achieved arguably the greatest victory in history through non-violent means. In a time where certain world leaders tout the beliefs of Christianity as a reason to go to war, this is an interesting point to consider.

With Jesus as my main role-model, and plenty of heroes following suit (New Zealand’s own Te Whiti o Rongomai III, Ghandi, MLK), it’s been a fantastic journey, but also a difficult one. I’ve had to come to terms with the baser and more raw elements of my human nature – the elements that seek to solve issues in the easiest and most immediately satisfying way possible. I’ve had to ask myself some hard questions. What would I do if..? (Insert hypothetical situation here). How would I feel if the safety of my nation or my loved ones was at stake. Do I have the courage and conviction to stick by my ‘Big Picture’ beliefs? Would these change under pressure?

I’m still answering a lot of these kind of questions, but the strong attraction to Jesus and his principles of enemy-love and non-retaliation are undeniable. As I begin more and more to identify with Christ and the leaders that followed in his path, I only hope God will grant me the strength and wisdom to follow this path also.

In the meantime, if you are curious about the principles of non-violent resistance as an alternative to war, check out the quotes below, and then do your own research. For kiwi’s you might be especially interested for find out that our very own Te Whiti o Rongomai, a Maori leader, led an effective non-violent movement against the British 100 years before Ghandi’s efforts in India!

“No good thing has ever been wrought by force … there is no reason why force should continue to have power over us.”

– Te Whiti o Rongomai III

“He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would fully suffice. This disgrace to civilization should be done away with at once. Heroism at command, senseless brutality, and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism, how violently I hate all this, how despicable and ignoble war is; I would rather be torn to shreds than be part of so base an action! It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder.”
— Albert Einstein

“I never intend to adjust myself to the madness of militarism”

Dr Martin Luther King

“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it… Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate…. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; Only love can do that.”

— Dr Martin Luther King

“An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind”

– Gandhi

“When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it–always.”

Gandhi

“Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages.
– Thomas A. Edison

“You have learnt how it was said: ‘Eye for eye and tooth for tooth.’ But I say to you, Offer the wicked man no resistance. If anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; if a man takes you to law and would have your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone orders you to go one mile, go two miles with him.”

– Jesus Christ

“Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who treat you badly.”

– Jesus Christ

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~ by humblemonkey on April 24, 2008.

2 Responses to “Non-violence”

  1. I see you’ve spotted Greg Boyd’s post already. Interesting point how we try to justify non-violence whent he Christian God (in the OT at least) is a very violent figure indeed. .. .

  2. It’s an interesting conundrum, especially when we realise that the ‘Bible’ Jesus read was in fact simply the old testament, full of war and death and all sorts of nasty crap.

    The Bible does say that the wages of sin are death.. and God himself doesn’t seem to have any problems just striking people on the spot when their up to no good, like touching the ark etc.

    My stance on non-violence is not based on the idea of ‘killing is always wrong’, which you can’t really hope to justify from a complete read of the Bible. Rather than showing us ‘the right way’, I think Jesus showed us a better way, a way that didn’t simply feed the cycle of hate and violence. After all, he achieved the single greatest feat of any man, and He did it through peaceful means. I only hope that if it came to the crunch, I’d have the courage to do the same.

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