Thursday, October 19, 2006

"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." George Orwell


lisa d said...


Steve said...

Yet still true. Sometimes reality is horrible. That's why they call it "reality," and not "happy fun time fairyland paradise - now with chocolate rainbows!"

BarefootKangaroo said...

Absolute pacificism, although noble in intention, is overly simplistic, naive, and ultimately it will make the bearer of such a conviction complicit in the acts of evil men.

"If at all possible, as far as it depends on you, be at peace with everyone."

"If at all possible..."

Is it possible to be at peace with the Islamofascists?

Yes, if we surrender. Yes, if we allow ourselves to be killed in sufficient numbers. Yes, if we stop being critics of what is evil. Yes, if we adopt their ideologies and culture or stop promoting our own.

These are the tools and options available to the absolute pacifist.

As a nation, our back is to the wall on this issue, and they have made the decision for us.

...but there are those elements of our society, which suffer from moral confusion. I would say that absolute pacifists belong in that group.

lisa d said...

i do not want to have this fight. i've done this enough with my brothers. so, lawyer boys, to satisfy this "hippie", can you please just direct me to a passage in scripture in which Jesus, during his perfect life which serves as our example for which to strive, laid a finger on anyone in defense, anger, or retaliation?

thanks. signing out from super-happy-fantastic-peace-and-love-land.

Rocket Surgeon, Phd said...

I think the money-changers may have felt a little bullied...

Steve said...

Your question is unfair and, of course, has no satisfying answer. Jesus Christ, who possessed and possesses ultimate power and authority, and knew at all times the entire arc of history, did not need to lay a finger on anyone for any reason. Had he done so, it would have interfered with his mission.

Our mission is similar to his. It is not the same.

A complete pacifist, handed a gun and faced with a suicide bomber on her way to eviscerate a crowd of 2,000 seven-year-olds, would be compelled to make an objectively evil choice, one that would make him complicit in - and responsible for - the death of those children.

That is why total pacifism is not just morally confused. It is evil.

lisa d said...

job, you throw over as many tables as you want with my blessing.

steve, you are right. that answer does not satisfy me.

Rocket Surgeon, Phd said...

But the act of over-throwing those tables - and the making of a whip to drive the cattle and their handlers from his temple was violent.

It cannot possibly be construed as anything but.

He was angry, as am I, about an ideology that was poisoning his home terf.

And I am not opposed to violence to drive them from this place.

Steve said...

But don't you see that doesn't matter? Christ had power we do not, and so we are compelled to take actions he need not!

My answer may not satisfy you, but 2,000 splattered seven-year-olds satisfies no one.

BarefootKangaroo said...

Absolute pacificism, in both its personal and national application, is an effective surrender to the worst elements of humanity.

lisa d said...

i said that i do not want to have this fight, and i don't. it is clear to me that you three do not want to consider what i am saying. steve wants me to say that i wouldn't save the fictitious seven year olds so that he can call me evil again, but really mean it this time. you are correct when you say that peace is an ideal. the trouble is: it is not an ideal which i fabricated. it has been put on my heart in a real way along with love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self control. the cure for this injustice is Christ's blood, not plutonium. i guess when it comes to being fishers of men, i believe in catch and release, what you'd rather mount on your wall.

Steve said...

I'll respect your desire not to continue the discussion, but know that I have considered what you are saying and simply find it less than compelling.

But I don't believe for a second that YOU are evil. I believe you would do what was necessary to save innocent life. And I would also say the risk of performing evil is high on the non-pacifist side as well.

sarah said...

a rational argument cannot hold up against the Word.

faith is always veiwed as irrational and wrong in a world that is alien to Christ.

and Steve, really? We aren't called to the same mission as Christ? that's just secular.

to accept violence and death is to ignore both the great commandment and the great commision.

sarah said...

and Job, Christ was angry that "his turf" also known as the Temple, or God's house, was being filled with evil. He did not seek to drive out the Romans from his"home turf" of Jerusalem, and because of that, many of his "people" were killed...

Hal said...

I understand your perspective, perspective. But is it possible that you are not considering the entirety of who Christ is?

You're looking specifically at His ministry on the earth and how He reacted to those who attacked Him personally. To those people He did turn the other cheek in as much as that led Him to the cross for the redemption of my sins and yours. Perhaps the key is in that when attacks were made against Him personally, he did not respond in like manner, but instead rested upon the knowledge that His Father had authority over His life and was protecting Him from harm. (Of course he did mount verbal attacks upon the religious leaders of the time who where 'white-washed-graves'.)

Likewise as adults, we recognize that our Father has authority over us and protects us, and so know in faith that He will not allow any harm upon us that will undo His will for us. Though I will admit some days my faith wavers as I'm still sadly trapped in this sinful flesh. Indeed, Christ calls us to act in the same way He does when we are attacked personally. The caveat is that we must make sure we are in God's will at those times. Like Christ, we must be submitted in all things to the Father. If one gets into a situation like this, one can be sure that God is in control and we must be aware of His direction on our actions. Let's not forget the times when Christ was attacked physically when they sought to stone Him or capture Him and He escaped through the power of God. It wasn't His time then to face physical persecution and likewise there may be times when we too are not called for such a thing but must escape.

That authority structure I mentioned carries over though in how we are to model God's love in protecting those He has called us to protect and care for.

In Job's example, we see that when someone was taking advantage of and even damaging the souls of His children by turning His temple into a den of thieves He took to a physical action of driving them out with a whip. That is not pacifistic in nature. Was He not showing love then? One might even suggest that His action was an offensive attack upon the religious leaders over the temple that would move them to action against Him.

Steve's example is apt as well. Who among us would not at least throw ourselves upon the bomber to stop him from reaching and destroying those children though it cost us our life?

Perhaps closer to home would be a violent man breaking into the house of a family with the intent of rape and murder upon those inside. As the head of that family the father is called by God to care for his wife and children. If he does nothing and leaves them in the hands of such a violent man without doing his all with the tools that God has given him to protect them, he does not carry out his duty of being the protector of that family. And yes, that may mean shooting to kill.

The subject reminds me of the real life event where a woman was raped in the street one night almost twenty years ago. She cried out for help yet everyone that heard ignored her cry. Was it Christian to ignore her plea? Would it be Christian to stand by and not intervene in our society where we recognize that all are equal creations of God and that there are laws governing such acts?

Too, it is of value to consider not just Christ's 33 years on the earth but also what we know of Him in the future when He will return with a sword according to Revelation 19. And let's not forget the Old Testament either when God directed Israel to wipe from the planet nations completely sold out to evil. I'm not saying we have such a directive today.

Anyway, sorry for rambling on, but the conversations spurred me to thinking. I don't know you, Lisa, and intend to fight with you over the subject. I certainly don't mean to offend.

I think that we must be careful to not confuse pacisfism with meekness. From what I have learned of the Lord, they are not the same thing scripturally.

Hal said...

Opps, meant to start, "I understand your perspective, Lisa." Guess I can now add Sarah there too. ;-)

BarefootKangaroo said...

Well put Cousin Hal.

Hal said...

Yikes! To clarify my mistyping. (bad writer, bad!)

I didn't mean, "I don't know you, Lisa, and intend to fight with you over the subject."

I meant, "I don't know you, Lisa, and don't intend to fight with you over the subject."

Hopefully the spirit of what I intended is understood if not the letter.

lisa d said...

when the money changers were driven out of the temple, they left without being harmed. how is protection an offensive (not defensive) action?

Rocket Surgeon, Phd said...

So if we stripped Islamofacists of their livlihood but spared their lives you'd be cool with that, Lisa?

Killing Americans is their vocation just as changing money was theirs.
We do seek, I believe, to "overturn their tables" by doing away with the means and desire to attack us.

When they retort with violence and murderous intent, is at that point we put down our "whip" and start turning our cheek?

There are imperatives in a world governed by the societal rules.
One rule being that those of one tribe look after the well-being of those in their own tribe.

No one may threaten my family and friends like that.

I've only got two cheeks.
They've all been turned.

Steve said...

Sarah, like it or not, your mission was not, and will never be, to live a sinless life to redeem mankind and make the propitiation for all sin.

Sorry to spoil any misconception.

I can't put it any better than Hal and Job just have. Goodness knows we've tried. Alas, a rational argument cannot hold up against a misinterpretation of the Word.

sarah said...

the great commission? steve, did you miss that?

because we can't live a sinless life, we shouldn't even try?

to live as Christ is what we should strive for, to love what He loves, to act as He would have us to act.
We have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer we who live, but Christ lives in us...
not misrepresentation, sorry.

and to be honest, the misrepresentation comes in when you add on a call to arms after Christ tells us to live at peace with one another.

there is a certain amount of patriotism that is good, and an amount over that which takes the place of God in our hearts...

lisa d said...

a lot "cooler" job, than if you tortured or killed them. murder is never justifiable. it saddens me that prayer and evangelism aren't your first line of defense.

Rocket Surgeon, Phd said...

And Sarah, as a further rejoinder:

He didn't seek to drive the Romans out of his "terf" and away from his "people" because as we would find later the Romans were his "people" as are we.

sarah said...

turning the other cheek is not something that Christ commanded us to do because we won't get hurt if we do that, or someone we love won't.

He knew what would happen when we refuse to return evil for evil, and in this lifetime, it will not be good.
The argument for war is a war for who will polish the brass on the titanic. it's all going down, and the ship does not matter.

We take pride in our own strength, and we forget how easily we are overcome.

Steve said...

Sarah! The Great Commission is SIMILAR to Christ's mission, NOT THE SAME! (His included a great deal more, for instance making the Great Commission possible and effective.) So we agree. I'm glad.

I agree with everything else you wrote, including the last paragraph -- except the one before it where you again forget to quote the parts of that verse Josh pointed out -- "if possible" and "as much as it depends on you."

If you really think no use of physical force is consistent with Christianity, I don't know that discussing this issue further will profit anyone. So this is the time in the discussion when your husband bangs on the table and reminds us that fruitless arguments are not welcome. This is not an indictment on either side, merely an assessment of the likelihood that talking about this is useful anymore.

Rocket Surgeon, Phd said...

I may not have had the privilege of growing up around the bloods and the crips...

But I do think I have a more robust, astute idea of what exactly constitutes "murder."

We can cease this volley, if you'd rather, because I think it's begun to lose its profit...

When our armed forces can be called murderers with a straight face and under the guise of being a plucker of the fruits of the spirit...

something has truly come unhinged.

Steve said...

The argument for war IS ABSOLUTELY NOT a doomed proposition. You're making me angry. Tell that to the people who died on the beach at Normandy so you could fricking live in freedom. Tell that to the Jews who died in Poland because no one stood up to Hitler. Give me a bleeping break.

Steve said...

And way to ignore all that Hal wrote.

Rocket Surgeon, Phd said...

let's rumble!

sarah said...

josh, i hate this quote.
is this even a man you like or agree with?

sarah said...

i didn't ignore anything that hal wrote. he wrote things that i agreed with in part, but really, he's saying a lot of what you are saying.

family is less important than living a righteous life. basic fact.

and i am grateful for what i have, where i am. but to kill for it? not a chance.

killing is wrong. it is sin. no matter who does it.

and steve, your argument about the thousands seven-year-olds? what if it was pregnant women and their children? what if the people you are fighting have only married the wrong man? or have a different idea than you? where is it acceptable.

even if everything else you said didn't go against the Word, then how could you justify the killing of innocent civilians? does this become a race issue?

and i ask again, can we love our enemy if we kill him? or her?

Steve said...

So you're saying you'd let the seven-year-olds die.

lisa d said...

murder:the crime of unlawfully killing a person esp. with malice aforethought.

Do not commit murder. Ex. 20:13, Deut. 5:17

putting on a uniform changes nothing.

can you read luke 6: 27-36 and 'read between the lines' for me. I'd love to hear your take.

sarah said...

and i will stop when i feel like you need to, but i am not tiring, and i am not below arguing the same points over if they are right.

and steve, don't lets fight. don't get angry. you argue better with a cool head.

sarah said...

i'm saying that there are seven year olds on both sides.

Steve said...

Not in my hypothetical there aren't. No one here is saying that war should be engaged in thoughtlessly, or that it should ever be a light thing to take a life.

But one side of this argument is equating every killing -- conquest commanded by God in the Old Testament, a police officer protecting himself from a drug-addled gunman, a soldier fighting for his country's freedom -- with cold-blooded murder.

While at the same time apparently claiming it's okay to allow a terrible injustice to occur if its prevention would require any act of violence.

That position is morally indefensible.

We can both selectively quote Bible verses, in and out of context, and it won't solve anything. Our disagreement is not in the Word we both accept.

I'm done for tonight.

Rocket Surgeon, Phd said...


Did you really just canonize Webster?

lisa d said...

i was just letting you into the privileged club of those of us who have been around gang wars. you were confused about murder, remember?

Rocket Surgeon, Phd said...

Ah, I see...

It's like my intellectual sinuses just cleared.

And when David pre-meditated (with 4 superfluous stones none-the-less) Goliath's poor, unfortunate death - I can see now that it was murder.

That dirty whore - who went on to become King of Israel and ancestor to the Messiah.
A man after God's own heart...

What is this world (and the one to come) coming too!!


lisa d said...

any luck on that ol'luke passage buddy? i really don't want this to come down to an old covenant, new covenant thing, but the rules did kinda change a little.

i will stop being jerky. the reason i ask for an interpretation on this passage other than my own is this: to me, do good to those who hate and curse you seems pretty clear cut. honestly, and without malice, i ask- where do you get that not bombing is being a doormat? and when did prayer and evangelism become 'sitting' idly by?

Rocket Surgeon, Phd said...

In answer to your Luke query:

A blow to the cheek - while obviously carrying broader context - still does not constitute a person trying to kill me or a family member.

A blow to my cheek, a borrowing of my cloak or an impressment to walk a mile does not quite equal out a party of thinkers declaring that every American should be slain for no other reason than that they are American.

I think we've given them ample leeway. I think I've tried to find a truce...but to quote the apparent South Hall man, Jean-luc Picard:

"They advance and we fall back. They advance and we fall back.
Still more, they advance and we fall back.


Resistence is not futile.
I will not be assimilated.

And I can guarantee that when evil beams down to my planet's surface with phasers set to kill, I will go Klingon in a heartbeat.

Hal said...

Oh, mercy. Father Abraham... what have I stumbled into. See what you unleashed Abe, with that handmaiden union!

It's all Adam's fault.

Should've never signed the donor card.

lisa d said...

you can't deal with a little webster, and you're going star trek on me? perdon??

you cannot out-hate or out-kill. there are no clauses reading "unless they really, really hate you, then go ahead and join in the evil". i will continue my prayers for peace. i do not fear those who can harm my body. if push ever comes to shove- i'm saved, i'm not too worried about this shell.

Hal said...

Okay. Let me back up here briefly.

Lisa="how is protection an offensive (not defensive) action?"

Good question. Extreme Example: when God told Israel to wipe out a complete nation of people to protect His chosen people from their influence down the road. And yeah. He was also passing judgment on those people for their complete sinfulness.

Not so extreme an example: We have killer bees here in Florida. Terribly aggressive insects. One sting isn't going to hurt you. Not even two or three. But the trouble is these things don't fight nice. They set up shop on our home turf as they are in fact the invaders, but they don't care. And frankly, why would they. They're just doing what comes natural. But they don't fight nice. You make a noise they see as a threat, even though it might be a baby rattle in Jr.'s hand, and they swarm all over Jr. But they just don't swarm all over Jr. They seek every body cavity like suicide bombers stinging throat and lungs. Till the noise stops. [Note: I'm not intentionally equating insects to people. it's just an example.]

Now. In this instance protection should be offensive. Because there is no defense once the attack starts. If dad sees a nest in his neighbors yard going up, he had better take an offensive stance and take that nest out before it grows unmanageable. Which is going to require violence.

Steve: Sarah, like it or not, your mission was not, and will never be, to live a sinless life to redeem mankind and make the propitiation for all sin.

Um... Yes we can never be the propitiation. Not sure I agree with the sinless part, though that may splitting your idea incorrectly on my part when you weren't making two points. Sinlessness is the goal, though reality is something else it seems, but if Christ could do it, and He's alive in us.... I will admit that the scripture about doing what Christ has done and even greater things has often inspired the romantic in me to dream wild dreams.

On the Luke passage. Again. Christ speaks about me personally. What is done to me. Not what is done to my brother, sister, child.

A few thoughts to throw on the floor before I crawl onto my bed. Not all violence is destructive. God used violence to be redemptive as well, of course I maybe in error for equating violence and chastisement. There is a difference between murder and killing. If killing is a sin, then God would be guilty of sin. Worth thinking about, and I don't know that I have a good grasp of it is Matthew 11:12. "And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force."

Oh, and the centurion that came to Christ. Why didn't Christ tell him to quit his job?

Hal said...

Love the Picard quote!

BarefootKangaroo said...

Wow, 46 comments! That's a new record for my blog.

A tough topic to be sure.

"Search me, O God,
and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxieties;
And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting."
Psalm 139: 23-24 (A Psalm of David)

That is a bold prayer to make to God. As I have thought this issue through, especially in light of my brother possibly donning a uniform in a time of war and uncertainty, I have uttered the same prayer, and all I can say is that I feel no qualm- no troubled conscience.

Lord, if I am wrong about this issue than please convict my spirit, and give me the courage and humility to eat crow and admit it. I don't want to be guilty of, in any way, encouraging my brother (in blood and by faith) into anything outside of your will.

I do think that the position of the absolute pacifist is indefensible. There are times when the use of force and violence is justified (though undesireable)- even to the point of taking a life. I had to come to grips with this in a very serious way when I was a police officer. I was shot at once and there was at least one time when my finger went to the trigger and I was certain I was going to have to take a man's life. My cheeks do not go crimson with shame and embarassment at the memory of those events, because I did nothing wrong. I was on the side of protecting the innocent from harm at the hands of violent men. Such men can not be allowed to rampage unchecked, and to call those who step up to the unpleasant task of safeguarding public and national safety, sinners and murderers for doing so is a serious error in judgement, and betrays a lack of gratitude and appreciation for their sacrifice. ...and no, you do not appreciate their sacrifice. You've made it clear that, to you, their conduct is shameful and sinful. Such thoughts are the luxury of the secure. How ironic.

Someone would be very wrong in going to war in the name of Christ, or to defend or promote Christianity by means of armed conflict, but I see a difference in defending an innocent from harm or bringing someone who has done something heinous to justice. These things seem right, wholesome, and in keeping with scripture. I have prayed the prayer of David, and either my conscience is numbed or I am OK on this one.

BarefootKangaroo said...

P.S. I think ti is better to have these conversations via the blogosphere than in person. Less argumentative and all.

Rocket Surgeon, Phd said...

Valuable, noble thinking Lisa but ultimately just cerebral.
Your line of thinking does not translate to a real-life scenario.

I would hope you'd never find yourself in a situation where you would need to employ violence to save the life of an innocent because

A.) You couldn't be counted on to stop it


B.) You'd end up being a hypocrite for stopping it

but mostly because C.) I wouldn't wish such things on you.

I mentioned David in my previous post and his killing of Goliath.
I did not mention his killing of Uriah which was undeniably murder and of the cruelest kind.

Perhaps you could dwell on these differences, and dwell on the true nuance of the Luke passage...

I never get the impression in the stated hypotheticals that the person turning his or her cheek's life is in danger.

We're talking something finite here. A set group of people have vowed to end my life, Allah willing.
They would very much like to decapitate me.

I've only one.
I cannot turn to them my other neck.

Life and death is totally separate from the Luke passage.
No greater love...then to lay down one's life for his friend.

Set course for the neutral zone.
There's been recent romulan activity.
Ensign, Josh: Jolly good on the 49 comments.


Kate Robinson said...


we used to have this quote hanging on the wall in my office when i was in the military.

i love this quote. and i will not go into the many many many reasons why. that would be silly.

good thing Jesus knows how to deal with us each on an individual level, yeah?

Kate Robinson said...

however for the sake of accuracy i should point out that it is a George Orwell quote, NOT g.k. chesterton.

BarefootKangaroo said...

really? huh. My bad.

lisa d said...

so if someone hates or curses me, the non-violence thing is cool, but if someone hates or curses my family, smoke 'em?

lisa d said...

we have run the pacifism/killing machine thing into the ground, and there i will let it lie. this started out of the fact that i cannot for the life of me understand how one could choose becoming a soldier with all that it entails over becoming a missionary. to me, saving the islamofacists through winning them to the Lord makes much more sense than beating their bullets with ours, setting them apart from Christ forever. i am not stupid or naive enough not to realize that unspeakable acts of torture and murder are being carried out by this enemy. but they ARE NOT the only ones guilty. i also realize that world peace will not happen in this world ever. we are sinners. aren't we fortunate to be loved, nurtured and saved through the ultimate sacrifice by Jesus Christ the Prince of Peace? Wouldn't it be terrible not to share that gift?

BarefootKangaroo said...

I think we, who are not in agreement with Absolute Pacifism, have been too quick to surrender the Old Testament as a relevant authority on this topic. It certainly speaks more directly to the issues we are discussing, and it seems to me that the Israelites acted in national defense on numerous occasions with God's blessing. I don't see how the new covenant would have any bearing on the righteousness of an act of defense which goes unquestioned throughout the Old Testament.

Perhaps it is my lack of understanding, but why would everything that is said in the Old Testament (which is voluminous by the way) on this topic be made irrelevant by the new testament. I understand that much having to do with the law was cast out with Christ's sacrifice on the cross and the introduction of grace. It seems to me though that the straight forward narratives and biographies of the old testament do much to illuminate our immutable Lord's thinking on the topic of righteous acts of force. The scenarios, which play out on the pages of the Old testament are not far removed from what we read in the papers today. That a nation should defend itself from annihalation is unquestioned. That men should defend the innocent and bring evil doers to justice is also unquestioned.

I'm all for peace, and for sharing the good news of who Christ is and His love. I resent being accused, implicitly and explicitly, of rejecting the great commission by not agreeing with absolute pacifism. Anybody who knows me should also know that I find no joy in war or violence, but it would weary my soul to not act when a person of good conscience should.

Different people are called differently. Some to be missionaries, and yes, also to be soldiers and police officers. Would you say that being a police officer is an evil vocation? In fact you have said that in as many words.

lisa d said...

you are right about people being called differently.

sarah said...

i have been wrong on one point, and that is to allow this argument to make its way into my house and home, and cause strife. for this reason, i will not be commenting any longer on josh's blog. i need to love my husband and hear loving words from him, and this gets in the way. but i still have more to say....just not here.

BarefootKangaroo said...

Anger... I was hoping to make it to 60 comments. Don't stop the debate now!

Steve said...

Oh, trust me, you've been wrong on other points too.

I honestly cannot believe there are people in the world who believe that:
(a) police officers should not fire on those threatening their lives
(b) American soldiers in WWII liberating Europe were murderers opposed to God's Word
(c) it would be wrong to kill someone who is about to murder thousands of innocent people
(d) following the example of Jesus Christ means giving up all rights to self-defense and (more importantly) defense of others

These are indefensible positions taken separately. Taken together, they redefine the boundaries of credulity.

Hal said...

Okay. Looks like I can be comment 60 or there above cuz.

So Sarah, do you mean that you will never comment on the Blog again or just this particular post?

Because at this point it's the only way, along with your blog, that I can get to know you.

Rocket Surgeon, Phd said...

As a last caveat -

Perhaps I didn't make it clear that my decision to pursue this course was in concert with much prayer.

If so, I apologize.
That's an important distinction and one of my main catalysts is how void of salt and light our military seems to be.

You could always trust me to have a careful trigger finger.
I hope to honor the uniform of nation's military but not before honoring the armor of God.

You want me on that wall.
You NEED me on that wall.

Kate Robinson said...

amen Job

Maura Grunkelmeier said...


I spy a Jackism...

"The TRUTH? You want the TRUTH?
You can't HANDEL the TRUTH!!!"

Not totally certain I agree with his usage for your current debate...but in its original form it did make for compelling cinema.

Steve said...

That movie just isn't the same now that Tom Cruise has gone insane.

Maura Grunkelmeier said...

So true true.

Hal said...

Frankly, I never thought Cruise was sane.