Is It Appropriate for Believers to Use Violence to Advance Justice?

I don’t talk about partisan politics on this blog, and I am not part of any political party. However, sometimes I do mention that the kingdom of God, by its very nature, is somewhat subversive to any government because it speaks to power, greed, and injustice. This is why Jesus was executed; he challenged the power, greed, and injustice of the Jerusalem establishment and did so in God’s name.

Recently, a regular reader suggested that I open a discussion in light of current political tensions as a reflection on how believers should respond to events.

The Suggestion

The reader wrote:

Let me urge you to take up a really hot button topic in one of your upcoming posts: the increasingly open warfare between alt-right groups and Antifa groups, a simmering conflict recently brought to a tragic and bloody head in Charlottesville.

I know you have addressed the violence/nonviolence issue on numerous occasions, but what about reopening the discussion with special emphases on the Jewish Prophetic Tradition, Jesus’ impassioned denunciation of the rich and powerful, and, of course, the cleansing of the temple?

I, myself, am struggling to re-examine my positions and beliefs in light of these escalating tensions, and there would be no better place than Jesus Without Baggage to engage with others who are similarly struggling with how Jesus’ words and actions relate to our current cultural wars.

I agree with the propriety of introducing this discussion. I had not heard of Antifa before the conflict at Charlottesville, but I have since learned that this decentralized left-wing movement is very opposed to Nazism and White Supremacy. Well, so am I. So how should I, as a believer, relate to this type of group? As a believer, I agree with a lot of the emphasis of Democrats on justice issues. I can coöperate with them in advocacy and in voting for certain initiatives, but there is a problem with cooperating with Antifa on the left.

Some Antifa groups openly embrace violence in their battle against white supremacists. As a believer, I cannot approve of that. I don’t think any group, right or left, should engage in violence, but this is totally true of followers of Jesus. I think Jesus teaches his followers that any kind of violence is wrong for us; I believe in protest and advocacy–but not violence, vandalism, or destruction of property.

Jesus, The Prophets, and the Cleansing of the Temple

A number of the Old Testament prophets, along with Jesus, did indeed denounce the rich and powerful, which I think we believers should do as well when needed.

Amos 2 says:

For three sins of Israel, even for four, I will not relent. They sell the innocent for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals. They trample on the heads of the poor as on the dust of the ground and deny justice to the oppressed.

In Isaiah 58:

Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe them?

And in chapter 1:

Your rulers are rebels, partners with thieves; they all love bribes and chase after gifts. They do not defend the cause of the fatherless; the widow’s case does not come before them.

And when Jesus announced his mission in Nazareth in Luke 4, he applied Isaiah 61 to himself:

The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free.

Later, of course, Jesus rebuked the rich and powerful over their treatment of the common people.

Jesus and the temple merchants

Jesus cleansing the Temple

It is here that many people bring up Jesus’ cleansing of the temple. Now I would not participate in a ‘cleansing of the temple’ event, but I am not Jesus. Notice that Jesus, himself, did not involve his followers in this demonstration. However, while some people point to that event as violent I disagree. Art often shows Jesus beating the merchants with the cords, but the Bible does not say he did that–it says he drove out the livestock, which is the proper use of cords. Jesus demonstrated against trade in the temple courts and disrupted business, but we need not assume that he injured anyone or destroyed their property.

I believe Jesus was unhappy with the commercial use of the Temple grounds which prevented people from participating in the Temple, but rather than a violent act I think it was a prophetic demonstration against the misuse of the Temple and the disregard for the common people by the Jerusalem establishment. I wrote more about this previously.

So What Are Our Political Options as Believers in Promoting Justice?

As citizens of a democracy believers have the right to vote on policies, issues, and political candidates. I think believers can speak out against power, greed, and injustice in the government and in society. I think we can organize, advocate, and protest. But I don’t think we have the right, as believers, to become violent.

I am impressed by the history and success of non-violent protests as demonstrated by such leaders as Gandhi, King, and Mandela. We know this makes us vulnerable to the violence of those who oppose us, and we should be prepared for that; but we cannot fall back on violence ourselves.

Part of the suggestion for this post was to open a discussion on the issue—is it appropriate for believers to use violence to advance justice? I think it should be a good one; feel free to join in.

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53 Responses to Is It Appropriate for Believers to Use Violence to Advance Justice?

  1. CarolK says:

    I was just talking to a beloved family member who is very conservative and decrying the Antifa violence against conservatives. My mind immediately went to the violence of those they were protesting against, but I said a lot of ‘mmmhmmms’ and heard my loved one out. It’s so tempting in these situations to point the finger and say “What about them? Look what THEY did?!!”
    This morning in the wee hours I was thinking about all this: the polarization in our country, the rationalization of the concentration of wealth and power, the normalization of something I would call evil, the politicization of, well, just about everything. I was thinking about the past few presidents and how I was able to disagree with their policies without despising them as people, and the way many people I know may kind of dislike our current president, but are so happy with his policies that they turn a blind eye to his character as things escalate, the division becomes wider, we become a weaker nation. Where all that ruminating led me was to this: if I look askance at those who tolerate the president’s bullying, bragging, and power-grabbing for the rich and powerful because they approve of some or all of his policies, wouldn’t it be hypocritical for me as a Christ follower to overlook the violence of any group because their beliefs allied with mine? Maybe this is just a continuation of the old question ‘Does the end justify the means?’
    You wrote: “I am impressed by the history and success of non-violent protests as demonstrated by such leaders as Gandhi, King, and Mandela. We know this makes us vulnerable to the violence of those who oppose us, and we should be prepared for that; but we cannot fall back on violence ourselves.” I think this history and success should also remind us that violent protests are terribly vulnerable in the long-run because real strength is not found in physical violence.
    Just my humble opinion….

    Liked by 2 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Carol, I really like your comments. “I said a lot of ‘mmmhmmms’ and heard my loved one out. It’s so tempting in these situations to point the finger and say “What about them? Look what THEY did?!!”” I agree, ‘what about them?’ is not an excuse to act like THEM.

      I also loved, “I think this history and success should also remind us that violent protests are terribly vulnerable in the long-run because real strength is not found in physical violence.”

      I think your ‘humble opinion’ is a good opinion!

      Like

    • kertsen says:

      Did Gandhi really have the answer looking back with hindsight ? What would he have thought of the partition of India because Hindus could not live with Muslims? I suspect he would have been heartbroken, but to explain it we must look at the nature of Man and by that I don’t mean what we think it should be like, but what it is like in reality.
      We are tribal beings and we carry a huge evolutionary baggage, we are not blank slates as pointed out by Steven Pinker. We developed to survive and that meant violence , which is pretty obviously still with us although we have modern technology.

      Liked by 1 person

      • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

        Kertsen, Gandhi was there during the partition of India and his response to it is no mystery. He WAS heartbroken, as you say. He and his close supporters envisioned a cooperative state that would include both Hindus and Muslims, but instead came the partition, the violence, and the chaos as people resettled geographically in order to be on the right side of the partition.

        I agree with you that we are tribal, and this often leads to rejection–even hate–of those other than our own kind. This is what we must fight against in ourselves in order to accept others and have a better world. This is part of what Christianity should be all about.

        Like

        • kertsen says:

          Absolutely correct but tell me do you think multiculturalism is possible knowing the nature of Man? or should we accept our differences and lead separate lives in our respective groups? The great parable of the good Samaritan suggests everyone is our neighbor but is such thinking pie in the sky? Should those who cling to their own cultural and religious values give them up ? The Jews insist on their identity and have created their own homeland. Is nationalism acceptable ?

          Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Kersten, I believe that people can rise above tribalism–and I think people of every tribe are already doing that. But I am not sure it will catch on to the point that prejudice, strife, hate, and war willdisappear. Not everyone is willing to go beyond their own tribe.

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  2. newtonfinn says:

    Thank you, Tim, for following up on this suggested topic. And I largely agree with your take on Jesus’ message of nonviolent resistance. Teachings and examples of refusing to engage in violence, even for a righteous cause (or self-defense, for that matter) are clearly evident in the gospel tradition. To further induce discussion, let me raise two issues related to those you’ve put on the table. First, what about the defense of others? Had the good Samaritan come across the robbers while they were beating their victim, what should he have done? There was no 911 at the time. Second, is there anything wrong or disrespectful in imagining that Jesus “lost it” on occasion, like we all do–got mad or frustrated and spoke or acted out of a burst of emotion. Does such an image of Jesus detract from his character and/or divinity, or does it make him more deeply human and fully incarnate, or does it open or close any other theological/christological doors? After some additional thought and consideration of the comments of others who wade into these loaded subjects, I’ll put in my own two cents. I hope that readers will not shy away from these difficult and potentially disturbing issues but will, as usual, offer the best of their hearts and minds as we grapple together to gain a clearer vision of the life and teachings of Jesus.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Newton, thanks for suggesting this discussion. I only wish I had been available to participate when it was first posted.

      You raise some good points, and this is a sticky one: “What about the defense of others?” When I was in college, I learned King Fu in order to defend myself and others, if needed, without actual damaging the attacker (some other pacifists gave me super grief for doing so–it was not pacifist. But I don’t necessarily equate ‘pacifism’ with ‘passivism’.

      However, even this is not always enough. Would I stand by and watch someone hurt or killed when I could have intervened? No, but I would still do as little damage as possible. Of course, this puts us on a slippery slope; if we are willing to intervene with some level of violence in such a case, what about being more violent in another case? I don’t have an answer for that. I can only say that my default is non-violence and anything beyond that is based on the situation (but still based in minimal violence).

      Secondly, did Jesus sometimes ‘lose it’ in frustration of the injustice he saw? I am sure he did; I think you can sometimes see it in his interaction with the Pharisees: ‘You lay on them burdens and will not lift a finger to help.’ He also called Herod that ‘Fox’, apparently in frustration. Jesus had emotion, but I don’t think he was controlled by raw emotions as many people are.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Chas says:

        Tim, the degree of violence portrayed in the ‘clearing of the Temple’ incident is dependent on the version chosen. The three Synoptic Gospels give fairly similar versions, that can be summarised as: Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it ‘a den of robbers,’” Here there is no violence other than against inanimate objects: table of money changers and benches of those selling the doves. It even avoids overturning of the tables of those selling doves, which would cause distress and probably injury to the doves. John’s gospel stands aside because it seems to portray violence, although this could be construed as only frightening the cattle and sheep by cracking a whip, because it does not say that he hit anything with it: ‘Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts, he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords and drove all the sheep and cattle from the temple area, and he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market!”’ (It could be suggested that the significant differences between John’s Gospel and the Synoptic versions shows that John added more things in trying to emphasise the message that he wished to give).

        Liked by 1 person

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Chas, you are right; the details are a bit different in the two accounts. And they are also brief and not very detailed. It is very possible that Jesus didn’t hit anybody or anything.

          Like

  3. Chas says:

    Tim, since I believe that God does not destroy and moves to minimise suffering, it is my view that I must not use violence against any animal, including humans, or incite anyone else to use violence against humans. This, of course, leaves me vulnerable to accusations of hypocrisy in regard to the use of violence by humans against animals in taking their lives for the purpose of providing me with food. However, since this is controlled by regulations to minimise the suffering of the animal, as for example by stunning the animal before killing it and raising these animals in conditions that do not cause them to suffer. (Now wait for an attack on me from vegetarians and vegans).
    In regard to groups who resort to violence to intimidate others and frighten them off from opposing them, it is my view that we should protest peacefully against them using visual and audible means (e.g. flags, placards, posters, loud hailers, TV, radio and social media) that are consistent with our right to free speech, but not to respond by using violence against them. We might also use means to protect ourselves, such as shields and helmets. However, since we expect the police to protect us against these acts of violence, we should also wish the police to use minimal levels of violence to do that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Chas, I totally agree with your statement: “We should protest peacefully against them using visual and audible means (e.g. flags, placards, posters, loud hailers, TV, radio and social media) that are consistent with our right to free speech, but not to respond by using violence against them.” And I also agree that we should wish police to use as little violence as possible in protecting people.

      I was a vegetarian, myself, for a number of years when I was younger; I stopped because I did not know how to provide proper nutrition to my infant son. But I am still supportive of vegetarianism. I think a lot about the animals I eat, and I feel sad. But it is the way things are in the world. I like the things you said about being humane to our food supply; there is no need for unnecessary pain and suffering to them.

      Sometimes when eating meat, instead of thanking God for the food I thank the food for its sacrifice and its contribution to my good health.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Chas says:

    Tim, the above comment that I made is specific to the examples given. Since I wrote that, another example has come to mind: what would I do if a child, a woman or someone vulnerable was being attacked physically by somebody? It might be necessary to restrain them by use of physical force, but again it is possible to invoke the concept of using minimum force/violence, which is as required under UK law for self-protection and for police who need to restrain someone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      YES! That is my position as well–minimal force/violence. But too many people are not restrained by minimal force. Instead they use excessive, or even maximum, force. I can’t imagine a believer who genuinely follows Jesus doing that.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. johannamm says:

    I, too, have grappled with this. Cornel West and some of the clergy at Charlottesville say that Antifa saved them from the violence of the Unite-the-Right protesters. However, I believe that ML King, Jr., and not Malcolm X, made the greater progress toward civil rights, and the non-violent approach suits my beliefs about God and Jesus better. Being prepared to deal with the violence of others may involve armor and helmets, but not masks and shields, and it certainly involves spiritual preparation. In the situation of a vulnerable person being attacked, I pray that I might be able to put myself between the attacker and the attacked person, or at the very least to call for help and record the situation.

    I *do* think the cleansing of the temple shows Jesus having human emotions, but about a spiritual injustice. He harmed the money-changers financially, but not physically. There should be no barriers to access to God nor to the rituals one uses to connect to God (e.g., going to the Temple).

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Johannamm, I agree. Throughout the entire leadership of MLK he had to deal with those who wanted to shorten the struggle be turning to violence. I don’t think the violence ever worked; it just gave opportunity for the racist to discredit the entire civil rights movement.

      And I think you are on target in saying that we must be spiritually prepared to be non-violent. If we don’t give issue serious consideration and then resolve, as humans our ‘natural’ response tends to be violent and uncontrolled. Non-violence requires commitment, and the teaching and example of Jesus helps us with that.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. John Messimer says:

    How do we reconcile the complicity of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Martin Niemoller for the attempted assination of Adolf Hitler? Bonhoeffer said “If you see a train running into a building full of people, wouldn’t you try to stop it?” In this instance Bonhoeffer condoned violence to save lives.

    Liked by 2 people

    • johannamm says:

      I honestly don’t know. This is, I suppose, what makes ethics so difficult. Often one has to choose between maximizing competing goods or minimizing competing evils.

      Liked by 2 people

      • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

        John, I agree with Johannamm’s response. I am sure that Bonhoeffer was not a violent person, but felt that he must make an exception in an extreme situation. I cannot, and do not fault him, and I cannot say what I might do in his situation. But it was an extreme situation; some turn to violence at the slightest provocation.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Chas says:

          There seems to be a strong argument in favour of the attempt to assassinate Hitler, but it is not clear that it would have ended WWII immediately, since certain others held similarly extreme beliefs about the supremacy of Arians/Germanic peoples and on the inferiority of Jews, Slavs and Africans. Also history has frequently shown us that we have no means of knowing the possible outcomes of deposing, or assassinating a despot (Saddam Hussain and Col. Gaddafi come immediately to mind). Similarly violent revolution has rarely lead to an immediate stable government. Usually other violent exchanges have occurred before a lasting stable situation has been reached. (e.g. the French Revolution and its aftermath).

          Liked by 3 people

          • newtonfinn says:

            I have heard an argument made that the attempted assassination of Hitler had the opposite of the intended effect: that it made him even more hateful and violent and impatient for the “immanent victory” of the Third Reich. Yet who can fault Bonhoeffer and his fellow conspirators for attempting to do what they felt they had to do in this horrible moment in history? God will surely sort all of this out in his infinite wisdom and mercy.

            Liked by 2 people

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Chas and Newton, this is a question I have pondered long and hard and I still have no advice for Bonhoeffer one way or the other. But I do agree, Chas, that bringing improvement is not always as simple as by taking out the tyrant. I think the United States should carefully consider choosing sides in countries in civil war or in state-building for OUR interest and benefit.

            Liked by 1 person

      • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

        Well said, Johannamm!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Paz says:

    It certainly is a very complex question with even more difficult (if even possible) to find the right answers!? Not sure if this helps as an attempt to begin with…
    Romans 12:9 ” Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good.”
    Some key words which might be a bit helpful here are:
    genuine love hates evil, holds to what is good.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Paz, it is indeed a very complex question and not a simple one. I like your approach: “genuine love hates evil, holds to what is good.” This is a good guide.

      Like

  8. I don’t see how using violence to combat injustice isn’t an injustice itself. To me, it merely seems like an attempt to transfer power from one group to another. If a group of people see violence as a means to an end, what is to stop this group of people once they have succeeded in ripping power from the powerful and taken it for themselves?

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Luther, thanks for bringing up the connection between violence and power. This probably holds true from nations and people groups right down to individual conflicts. I think the role of power, along with greed and fear, is the source of a large percentage of violent acts.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. newtonfinn says:

    Does everything we do have to be either in accord with God’s will and purposes or against them? Are there times when our actions occur purely in a human dimension–a grey area–unrelated in any significant way to the values and guidance that God gives us? Over the years, I have come to see things more in this way and to reject trying to squeeze everything we do or think or feel into the either/or categories of God blessed or God condemned. There is little doubt that Jesus urges us to avoid violence to the maximum extent we possibly can. Thus we are to turn the cheek, go the extra mile, put down the sword, even love our enemies. But, contrary to Tim’s credible interpretation of the temple cleansing as prophetic theater, my take on the incident is that Jesus acted impulsively, got angry about crass commerce in the holiest of places, saw it as a defilement and barrier to genuine religious experience, and took it upon himself to put at least a temporary stop to it. Tim is right that there is scant evidence that he physically hurt any human being in the process, but he certainly committed property damage and disturbed the peace. In this incident, Jesus acted criminally according to the standards of this world. And even if Tim is right and I am wrong about the theatrical nature of the temple cleansing, Roman law (and American law) would render the same verdict on Jesus’ actions.

    So, what does all of this have to do with antifa violence against racists or white supremacists or Nazi sympathizers? I suggest it has at least two implications. First, it may well be that God is not directly involved pro or con in such events, that they take place on a purely human level, in a grey area, where we are pretty much on our own. My idea is that God neither blanketly condones nor condemns antifa violence against obvious manifestations of evil, especially when that violence is directed toward property or is in defense of peaceful protestors. In the latter case, of course, defensive violence on some level against persons would be involved, as is the case, much more extreme, of a defensive war against an evil aggressor; i.e., the allied forces fighting to defeat Hitler et al. in WWII. Surely such violence sorrows God, as does the fall of every sparrow, but perhaps He merely suffers with us in these situations, having, in wisdom or by necessity, called forth a separate creation somewhat out of His hands in certain ways. As Jesus observes: “The kingdom of heaven is subject to violence, and men try to seize it by force.”

    Second, the temple cleansing, whether theatrical or impulsive, shows us that Jesus himself, God’s ultimate revelation of how we are to live, sometimes chose to act in what I have called the grey area, felt compelled, as a human being, to take physical action against evil, contrary to the sublime heights reached in his nonviolent ethical teaching. Yet even if I am right about this, even if God has created a world in which good people, the best people, sometimes feel impelled to act in exception to the general rule against retaliation and for loving the enemy, even if God does not directly involve Himself in such ambiguous situations but only watches them unfold in sorrow and compassion, there does seem to be a bright line, not to be crossed without consequences, when it comes to aggressive or gratuitous violence against others. An antifa person who burns a confederate flag or blocks or pushes a Neo-Nazi away from striking Cornel West is a different animal than one who walks up to a pro-Nazi demonstrator and lashes out at him with a fist or a weapon. For me, it’s sort of like what a judge once said about pornography: it’s difficult to define, but you know it when you see it. Anyway, that’s my two cents on this topic for now, and I hope that other readers of Jesus Without Baggage will share more of their ideas and opinions on this hot-button issue.

    Liked by 2 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Newton, you certainly could be right about Jesus and the cleansing of the Temple. I think Jesus’ humanity was real and he did have emotions (controlled by principles, of course). And it might have been spontaneous; but it seems to me that the gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke indicate that part of Jesus’ motivation in the Temple was to draw the attention of the leaders with the expectation that he would be apprehended and, most likely, executed–which is what in fact happened. In other words, Jesus knew his work was done and it was time for the next step–a meaningful public death followed by resurrection.

      If this is so, then his act would have been deliberate and intentionally provocative. For different reasons neither the Jewish establishment nor the Romans would want to tolerate such a demonstration. It was the last straw. However, this does not mean that Jesus was not truly upset by the commerce in the Temple.

      “An antifa person who burns a confederate flag or blocks or pushes a Neo-Nazi away from striking Cornel West is a different animal than one who walks up to a pro-Nazi demonstrator and lashes out at him with a fist or a weapon.” Agreed! A segment of a movement does not define the entire movement.

      I think you are right that God is not involved on either side of conflicts; God does not choose sides (this is a big problem with American believers in terms of international conflict–the assumption is that God is on OUR side). I like the way you put it: “perhaps He merely suffers with us in these situations, having, in wisdom or by necessity, called forth a separate creation somewhat out of His hands in certain ways.”

      Liked by 1 person

  10. newtonfinn says:

    A side of Gandhi that we rarely hear about. Food for thought here–hard to digest food, perhaps–no matter what one’s assessment of Gandhi’s remarks:

    http://www.mkgandhi.org/nonviolence/phil8.htm

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Thanks for the link on Gandhi; it was very interesting and quite nuanced. I think I understand what he is saying and see the significance of his perspective.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Paz says:

    In response to Jesus and his action in the “Cleansing of the Temple”…
    First, let’s consider the difference between Anger and Violence:
    Unlike violence, ANGER is one of a wide number of BIOLOGICAL emotions (in ours and Jesus’ human nature) and therefore it is a NATURAL, NORMAL, human emotion/feeling which has an evolutionary PURPOSE!
    On the other hand,uncontrollable anger can lead to violence which often results in negative consequences. When clear boundaries are set about how to express anger (assertive way) it can sometimes be turned into very productive ways such as a motivator for social change.
    Second, we cannot take the incident in the cleansing of the temple, assuming that Jesus damaged and destroyed property or that he injured people. Jesus was very ANGRY, but violent??? I personally don’t believe so and I don’t think the way he acted here is the most important message about this incident!?
    Third, to understand the message of the cleansing of the temple, I need to go back to the time and place when and where it happened and take into account the BIGGER PICTURE and that is, what I have learned about CHRIST’S CHARACTER, what he represents for humanity, in his example and teachings.
    And lastly, but not least, I think what is most relevant in this incident(s) is not so much how Christ acted but how he turned his anger (natural, normal) to power in a positive direction, to bring about a positive change with a focus on the message in the importance of how we use our priorities which in this case, was in placing our highest priority instead in trying to know God.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Paz, this is good stuff! I really like your distinctions between anger and violence and between normal anger and uncontrollable anger. And I think you summed it up very well:

      “I think what is most relevant in this incident(s) is not so much how Christ acted but how he turned his anger (natural, normal) to power in a positive direction, to bring about a positive change with a focus on the message in the importance of how we use our priorities which in this case, was in placing our highest priority instead in trying to know God.” Good stuff!

      Like

  12. jesuswithoutbaggage says:

    Hey guys! I can’t believe it happened again. I have been without my computer for seven days. Last time it was due to medical issues; I was in the hospital for 8 days (I am fully recovered now.). This time we lost power due to Hurricane Irma for seven days.

    I am so sorry this happened on this special post. I have not read comments yet but will do so as soon as possible. I am so sorry!

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  13. newtonfinn says:

    So glad to hear you’re OK, Tim. I, and I’m sure many others, were worried about our favorite blogger…and friend. Please deal with health and Irma, and let the blog ride until you’re ready and able to get back in the saddle. We thank God that He has brought you through these storms.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paz says:

      Totally agree with you newtonfinn!
      So glad to hear from you Tim and most important, that you are ok!!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Newton and Paz, thank you so much for your concerns. Both the health issues and Irma were quite rough, but I feel that everything is back to normal again on both counts. I certainly hope I am not taken away from the computer again!

      I am hoping to have a new post by Wednesday of this week. We will see.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. My thoughts. With apologies to H.G. Well’s The Time Machine: If only everyone in this fallen world acted like Eloi, everyone would get along. Unfortunately, some act like Morlocks and spoil things. So someone needs to protect the Eloi from the Morlocks and if the Eloi will not do it then a group of Morlocks need to be engaged by the Eloi to protect them from other Morlocks.

    I will decode this modern parable that is also quite old. The point of the parable is the only reason people can choose to be non-violent and survive with anything including their life is that others that are willing to be violent protect them from those that would do them violence, take their things, and kill them.

    In regards to what Jesus would think, my take is that Jesus was a practicing Jew that upheld Torah, see Mat 5:17-20. Torah sets conditions for punishment and Jesus would agree with those conditions, since this aspect of Torah was not in debate, it is not discussed in the gospels, it is just assumed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Donald, thanks for sharing. Your point makes good sense but I think Jesus does, indeed, teach believers to avoid using violence. And he does so with the full knowledge that they might be injured or killed in doing so. It is an extension to his teaching that we love our enemies.

      In another example, MLK and his movement did not use violence and were treated very violently as a result. The nation responded, not by defending them with violence against their attackers, but with changing opinions and defending them with laws and public sympathy.

      Like

      • Yes, of course, every believer should avoid violence as much as possible. MLK had a strategy of exposing the hypocrisy among his opponents, similar to Gandhi, since they both realized that directly opposing the power of their opponents was a losing proposition.

        Liked by 1 person

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Donald, I wish we had more leaders like Martin Luther King and Mohandas Gandhi to lead non-violent resistance in various parts of the world.

          Like

          • I think this non-violent strategy has the most chance of success where the people resisting change can be shamed. The British in India told their people back home that they were bringing the benefits of civilization to India, but their one-sided use of violence put the lie to that idea. In the case of the US, it was again the embarrassment that caused politicians like Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson to act. But there are other places where I do not see that possibility as much.

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Donald, good points on shame being an ingredient in non-violent resistance. I am glad non-violent resistance has become part of the conversation as a practical strategy. As a believer, though, I still cannot willingly participate in violence against others no matter what the situation.

            Like

          • Right, you are an Eloi that hires a Morlock to do any violence you need to be done. Most of us are, no shame in that.

            Like

    • Chas says:

      Donald, your comment about one group engaging another to protect them reminds me of the people of Venice in the middle ages engaging mercenaries, because they themselves were largely a maritime city. These mercenaries aimed to make money without hazarding themselves unduly, so their leaders had them carry out warlike manoeuvres, but avoided real warfare as far as possible and quickly retreated if they regarded themselves as being in too much danger.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Chas says:

      Since posting the above , I have thought more about these mercenaries, since they might have prevented some conflicts, just by their presence and hence a threat to opponents of the Venetians – a deterrent. This led me on to consider other aspects of deterrence, since we sometimes think of jail as a punishment, sometimes we might think of the threat of jail as a deterrent. However, if someone has suffered from a jail sentence, but again offends, then the deterrence angle has not worked. If the cycle repeats, then there might be a case for the jail sentence being necessary to protect the public from the offender. On the other hand, should we be regarding someone who becomes a serial offender as being deficient in some mental capacity and treat them as we would treat a mentally-ill person?

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Paz says:

    I suppose in the final analysis, it seems to me that what we have all shared here about influential leaders is as much about their strong body language, such as non-violent resistance, etc etc… as much as it is about the words they used.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. sheila0405 says:

    I’m never in favor of violence outside of self defense. Period.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Since posting the above , I accept opinion more about these mercenaries, since they might accept prevented some conflicts, just by their presence and hence a threat to opponents of the Venetians – a check. —
    PDRTJS_settings_6696897_comm_17546={“id”:6696897,”unique_id”:”wp-comment-17546″,”title”:”Since%20posting%20the%20above%20%2C%20I%20accept%20opinion%20more%20about%20these%20mercenaries%2C%20since%20they%20might%20accept%20prevented%20some%20conflicts%2C%20just%20by%20their%20presence%20and%20hence%20a%20threat%20to%20opponents%20of%20the%20Venetians%20-%20a%20&;&.”

    Like

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Aristob, I don’t understand you comment. It appears related to Chas’ comment on Venetians. Is it supposed to be a link to something? If so, I cannot get it to work.

      Like

  18. Tim, you will probably faint, but I’m going to agree for the most part. Violence has no part in determining outcomes in politics or in religion. I recognize that there is a time and a place for everything. Should government become corrupt and unconstitutional in actions there may need to be an overthrough, but I’m feeling that believers are not to participate in such actions apart from conscription. I do feel however that we as male believers do have an obligation to protect our family. My question in that regard is over do I or do I not involve myself in the protection of my/our property? Sometimes I think that that goes along with my provision for my family, but I’m not sure.
    Jerry Parks

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Jerry, let me check…No, I didn’t faint. Nor am I shocked; reasonable people sometimes disagree and sometimes they agree. I used to be somewhat of a doctrinal purist on pacifism and would refuse to do anything violent at all, but I have moderated. I would now defend my family, myself, and others in certain situations, but I would use the least force I reasonably could. Some people seem to want to hurt people as much as possible–and with little provocation.

      I like your inclusion of politics and religion together in: “Violence has no part in determining outcomes in politics or in religion.” I agree! I am happy we have this area of agreement. Perhaps I am not a monster and, of course, neither are you.

      Thanks for the comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Michael East says:

    Tim,
    This is the difference between Communism and Socialism.
    Right-wing Christians tend to lump these together as Satan
    because the Communists were anti-religion.
    But this is not so. Most Socialists are non-violent.
    I would agree that Jesus is non-violent.
    The cleansing of the Temple is not violence against people.
    More like occupying Wall Street.
    It is disruptive but not violent.
    I believe that Jesus was a Pacifist.
    THe core of his teachings is clearly non-violent.

    Liked by 1 person

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