Tuesday, August 23, 2005


Hauerwas on Sept. 11:

Christian willingness to kill other Christians in the name of national loyalty is surely one of the assumptions many Christians assume is not to be questioned. Yet no assumption has contributed more to the accommodation of Christianity to secular ways of life than the presumption that Christians have no problem with war. For Christians to be nonviolent is not just another political position, but rather at the very heart of what it means to be Christian, of what it means to be human. I believe God created all that is with the desire to be nonviolent. We are not meant to be killers. That is why we have to be trained to kill. God wants us to be in love with God and with one another in a manner that our differences challenge our self-imposed desires. Christians in America have difficulty responding to September 11 as Christians because we are more American than we are Christian.


gavin richardson said...

i think stan needs to do a battle of violent/nonviolent theologies with pat robertson, especially now since he's advocating assasinating the president of venezuela. hat tip to josh.

Zoomdaddy said...

"Christian willingness to kill other Christians in the name of national loyalty is surely one of the assumptions many Christians assume is not to be questioned."

Not sure what that means, exactly--missing some context for this comment.

"We are not meant to be killers...."

Granted based on original intent in creation, but...

"That is why we have to be trained to kill."

Cain didn't exactly have to work too hard at taking out Abel.

(From previous day Jonathan's comment)
"we'd simply be so [nonviolent] because Jesus was ultimately nonviolent."

Still thinking of those references Jesus made to the kingdom forcefully advancing, about those references to Him as the righteous judge who doesn't take no doo-doo, and the undeniably scary images of Jesus with a sword popping out of his mouth and Armageddon in Revelation. Given, Jesus modeled sacrificial restraint during the Incarnation (he was scheduled to die for us, much to the chagrin of Zealots looking for the overthrow of Roman oppression), but that isn't the only picture of Jesus in Scripture. He still has a whip in the temple. Obviously, getting back to my previous argument, violence has a place in redemption. The question is, what do we do about that now?

St.Phransus said...

I dont think though that you can seperate Jesus, and his life as a social ethic. The fact of the matter is Jesus taught love, love of enemies, turning your cheek, love God and love of neighbor.

When we get into the apocolyptic language of Armageddon and spiritual warfare- its a little blurry how this is interpreted, since it is written in a literary style of alagory, metaphor and symbolism in contrast to the gospels which although very narrative in nature are taken to be historical accounts of the life of Jesus.

Historic Christianity has held that the teachings and life of Jesus, told through the gospels gives us a clear representation of the nature of God. I still believe that with our model of the life and teachings of Jesus, we can safely assume that our understanding of God is that God intends for Gods creation to live in peace.

If that is the case and we as Christians are Gods people- the incarnation of Jesus here and now- how can we not live together peacefully so that the world might realize how violent it is?

thanks for the conversation, now i must sleep.


Kevin Rector said...

I know I've brought this up before Jonathon, but I have to say I get so frustrated with theological speaking that does not provide any understanding of how to practice the ideas presented.

For instance, as Christians who want to live peacibly with the rest of the world (hopefully all Christians) should all of the Christian police officers resign since they may have to do violence in their line of work? Should Christians be advocating the abolition of police forces and militaries? Or should we abdicate any responsibility to helping to keep the peace to the civil governments and stay out of it all together?

It's so very easy to say the things that Hawerwas says about peace and violence. It is especially easy to say them when you live in a free country with good policing and a solid rule of law that is protected by the world's best military. But when the surface is scratched just a little bit on what Hawerwas says you find that it doesn't actually mean much of anything.

For instance when Hawerwas says, "Christian willingness to kill other Christians in the name of national loyalty..." he is making an assumption that it is patriotism that leads people to serve in the military and to fight wars. Hawerwas is guilty of an oversimplification here that any thinking person should see through. Perhaps some of the Christians who serve in the military actually believe that in doing so they help to preserve peace much the same way that police officers do and not for the sake of "national loyalty". He also is presumably speaking about Christians in free land where there is not military conscription. Or does he assert that a Christian in other lands should take a bullet to the head rather than serve in the military?

Or how about when he says, "Yet no assumption has contributed more to the accommodation of Christianity to secular ways of life than the presumption that Christians have no problem with war." While there are many Christians that may not have too much of a problem with war, there are millions of Christians (not all of them pacifists) who think that war is an absolute horror and have a big problem with it. This is just to large of a brush that he is painting Christians with to actually mean much of anything.

Zoomdaddy said...


I agree that the brushstrokes seem to be large, but we are not dealing with the entire context of Hauerwas' argument. Jonathan has given us snippets to consider, discuss, and debate.

I didn't make the link of the first comment to patriotism (I wasn't sure what was being mentioned there without more context). Thanks for the help in reading that (assuming that's what Hauerwas was saying).


On personal note. For me emotionally it would be comforting if I could be pacifist intellectually (based on what I read in Scripture), especially since it makes a stronger case for "right to life" across the board: no death penalty, no war, no abortion, no euthanasia, etc. However, due to the issues I mentioned previously, I can't go down the pacifist road and be honest with myself or with God. So I remain sympathetic, but unconvinced at this time.

St.Phransus said...

i think that the truthfulness of stating where you stand and why, along with your willingness to hear different sides shows a lot of character. i can tell that you are a really compassionate person. thanks for your responses and dialog.


Stephen said...

I will grant that Stan has remained consistant through the years. And his position is taking off a little. I found an article from a professor at Wheaton College that advocated not voting in the election last year because of an interest of breaking from the state. So what are we today?
Are we citizens of the U.S.A.?
Or are we Christians?

Secondly, and probably most important for Hauerwasians is are those two things compatable?