Which Christianity? Part II
0 comment Wednesday, May 21, 2014 |
In light of some of the recent discussions on Christianity and its purported role in the decline of the West, I realize that the subject is too complex to be dealt with in one blog entry or one discussion thread. Several good questions arose in recent discussions, and I felt the need to offer a few links wherein the subject is discussed more in depth. I make no claim to being an authority on the Bible or on Christianity; I read my Bible daily and take my faith seriously, but I don't pretend to be a scholar of the Bible. However, James Arlandson has a five-part series at American Thinker, the first being Christians, Pacifism, and the Sword. The Q and A on pacifism and the sword are here, and at the bottom of the page are links to the other parts of the series.
The last part is Should a state turn the other cheek? which, although it deals with warfare, has some bearing on other aspects of national self-defense, including, by extension, the issue of defending borders against invasion.
This page, The Problem With Pacifism, written by Steven Dutch, Professor at the University of Wisconsin Green Bay, is a well-written argument against Christian pacifism.
Professor Dutch in addition addresses the idea of 'non-violent' protest in this piece, and he does so very convincingly. He shows the dishonesty of the claims to 'non-violence' by the leftist types. He mentions the provocative and manipulative methods of so-called 'non-violent' protesters, and says that the tactics are designed to cause others to use violence. I know from my own experience in the anti-war protests of the past that the idea was often to provoke the use of force by authorities. If people were handled roughly or clubbed by the authorities, it was considered a propaganda victory for the protesters, and Professor Dutch is correct to condemn this.
Neither Gandhi, nor Martin Luther King, nor the anti-war protestors of the 1960's were non-violent. They were skilled orchestrators of violence by others. The fact that their opponents were usually stupid enough to oblige them doesn't make the tactics any less manipulative or deceptive; in fact, often the response to an initially restrained opposition was an escalation of confrontation in order to cross the threshold into violence.''
Oftentimes the same people who participate in this kind of activity are claiming to do so in the name of Christianity and 'peace' but there is obvious hypocrisy in that. And in no case did Jesus or his disciples partake in that kind of activity. One cannot imagine Jesus or his followers engaging in manipulative and provocative actions designed to cause others to use force.
"The search for the historical Jesus" is generally a search for ways to make Jesus say the things we think he ought to have said if he'd possessed our wisdom. The historical reality is that Jesus lived in a society under military occupation by a foreign empire, and one swarming with insurgent groups at that. If Jesus had ever meant to condemn imperialism or endorse "liberation theology" or "wars of national liberation," he had one of the most perfect settings in all history to do so. Not only did he not do so, but Roman soldiers are just about the only group in the New Testament who are given complimentary treatment. When a group of soldiers came to John the Baptist asking what they needed to do to be saved, he told them not to abuse their power. He didn't even remotely suggest they should quit the army.
It gets worse. Jesus was put to death on trumped up charges. What a perfect opportunity to condemn capital punishment. Yet, while he and two criminals were dying, one of the criminals chided the other one, saying that they were only getting what they deserved. What a perfect place to say that nobody deserves to die at the hands of the state, that the criminals are really victims of unequal wealth, lack of empowerment, and poor self esteem. Jesus, apparently failing completely to understand what was at stake, said nothing. And his followers, while they condemned the execution of Jesus and some of his followers, always did so on the sophistic grounds that they were innocent and morally in the right. Not once did they challenge the right of the state to take the life of genuine criminals.
Attempts to equate Christianity and pacifism simply don't stand scrutiny. Christianity does not teach that life is sacred. Jesus and his followers ate animal products. Christianity doesn't even teach that human life is sacred. Christ told his followers not to fear those who merely destroyed the body, and said that he who loved his life would lose it.''
These are arguments which are seldom made, and they need to be heard.
These days we hear so many arguments against Christianity, such as from the 'proselytizing atheists' like Dawkins and Hitchens, and then we hear the arguments from the secular right which attack Christianity for being too pacifistic. The atheists claim that Christianity fomented violence, and that it is as militant and bloodthirsty as Islam, or in fact worse, and on the other side, we hear that Christianity is a religion of slaves, which weakens and emasculates the West. So Christianity gets it from both sides; it's too militant, it causes wars and persecutions, and at the same time, it's a religion that turns men into milquetoast pacifists. Does this make any sense?
Christianity contains elements of both militancy and pacifism, but it is not one or the other; the Book of Ecclesiastes, with its contrasting pairs, illustrates this. Most of us know Ecclesiastes Chapter 3, verses 2 and 3:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up [that which is] planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
then, verses 7 and 8:
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.''
And then there are passages like Psalm 18:34: He teacheth my hands to war...'
and Psalm 144:1 : Blessed [be] the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, [and] my fingers to fight:
Exodus 15:3 tells us that 'the Lord is a man of war.'
Everyone who is familiar with the Bible knows passages which express these ideas. Those who cite only the passages which seem to support pacifism, such as the part about turning swords into ploughshares, are focusing only on the parts which agree with their leftist philosophies, and ignoring the other parts.
And as for the swords into ploughshares, and the lion lying down with the lamb, those are descriptions of the Millennial Kingdom, in which evil will be defeated, during Christ's reign.
But again, the liberals and leftists think that we humans can declare heaven on earth and have it be so.
We know that our forefathers did not believe Christianity commanded them to be pacifists, or to erase borders and nations. To assert that they, for centuries, were wrong and that we are the first generation to really understand Christianity and the Bible is arrogant in the extreme. If anything, we today, on the average, are far more ignorant than our ancestors where the Bible and the faith are concerned. If anybody is wrongly handling the word of God, it is likely to be us, not our forefathers. Their brains were at least not addled by nonsense and Political Correctness, and I trust the consensus of our forefathers through the centuries rather than the consensus among today's compromised generation.

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