Tuesday, April 06, 2004

reigning myth of redemptive violence

It seems to me that we haven't been given non-violent options in our search for solutions to problems in the world. In our history classes, did we ever explore non-violent options to the Revolutionary war? No. We simply celebrated our "freedom" won by war. And this pattern has continued in the American history classes around the country. In our high schools and universities we grow up "proud" of our "freedom." And since we are told that "freedom" has a cost, namely the lives of soldiers, we exalt violence in the name of liberty.

Have you discussed non-violent options to WWI or WWII? Have you even thought of a non-violent option instead of dropping the atom bomb on Japan? Did we ever learn that Japan was so close to surrender that an invasion of the island, which the bombs were supposed to save us from, was probably not going to be necessary anyway? Did we learn about how Philadelphia non-violently and peacefully rejected the East India tea company? Because we sure did hear plenty of stories about the "Boston tea party."

And I am not talking about pansy, indifferent, inactivity masking as peaceful, non-violent resistance. No, I am talking about active pacifism in the world. I am talking about people giving us options. Its amazing that in such a consumer culture full of options for the buyer we haven't been taught more non-violent ways in which to resolve problems. And not just playground problems, although that is a good start. I am talking about national and international issues.

Shouldn't it be the great Christian minds of our day who are providing these alternative ways to resolve problems peacefully in the world? Why have so many of us Christians bought into this "reigning myth of redemptive violence" (Must Christianity be Violent?, p.111) If anything, we should have learned from Jesus that violence isn't redemptive. Christ showed us that obedient suffering is redemptive. Love is redemptive. But violence? No, violence is not redemptive.

And we live in the midst of this "reigning myth" because we have no truth to set us free. We have bought into this lie because more powerfully creative, non-violent means have not been given a voice. Where are our prophets of peace? Where are our teachers of truth? Where is the Kingdom of God among the kingdoms of this world? I long for a voice of non-violence in the name of Christ to help guide our thoughts and actions in the future.


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