It was Thanksgiving yesterday and we had a quiet dinner at home, just the four of us.Our two older children are on their own nowadays and so things are less rambunctious than a decade ago.
Somehow our conversation got around to talking about God, which isn’t a surprise in our Christian family, especially since I have a passionate interest in the truly deep questions.
And so I started talking about the Judgement Day.You stand alone before your Maker and give account for your life.Pretty scary stuff — at least is for me when I think of my own mortality and shortcomings.I think it is natural to focus on that.
The Judgement Day really isn’tmysterious. No one will show up and say “gee whiz, God, I wished someone would have told me what I was going to be judged on.”
Everyone knows what they are supposed to do in life.
I’ve been meditating on violence for couple of weeks now, and I observe that violence is like a dance. It has beginning, a middle, and an end.There is a ceremony to it. It requires two parties, at least. More for line dancing.It can be beautiful to behold and also ugly.
Now I’m not talking about the personal application of kinetic force; I don’t know anything about that.That’s not what this series is about. Sure, I can shoot a gun —everyone should have some basics on that just for safety’s sake, just like they should know how to tie a knot, swim, drive a car, and slice a turkey at Thanksgiving.
I’m thinking about violence as a part of the world we live in.Violence is a regular and steady component of every civilization that I am familiar with.I mean, the United States is “that” nation that is constantly at war — we have been at war for more of our history than we have been at peace.Inside the US, there is constant violence ( I’m not just talking street crimes — those hold no interest to me).Armed government workers (policemen) and prisons are fundamental parts of our society; America would not be America without our own domestic standing army of “policemen” and the largest prison system, per capita, on the planet.Those are institutions of violence.We now have more armed federal civilian government workers than the entire U.S. Marine Corps.And this does not include state, county and local law enforcement.
It perturbs the secular mind to have a ideology (besides their own) that can justify violence. Their view of “religion” is that is ought remain passive and open to the advances of secular influence. As in, “religion is a private matter,” a “matter of faith and conscience.”Unless a Christian conscience opposes something like homosexuality or abortion and then the Christian is told “not to impose” their “religious” beliefs on others. So much for toleration — it has always been a one way street.
But the subject is violence. When might a Christian kill?
Of course a man ought resort to violence in order to defend his wife and children (and himself) from death or severe bodily harm.Those men who have abnegated this role to the police are very trusting — sometimes it works out.But mostly the murders take the initiative and by the time the police are called the crime is done, a child or wife destroyed, and an “investigation” may be started.Once in while they actually catch a criminal, assuming he is fairly low on the social pecking order.
Who is not low on the social order?Armies, police, cartels, gangs, and hired guns.These folks almost never see judicial repercussions for killing — it is a “protected” sort of killing for police and the military.And an unacknowledged practice for other professional practitioners of violence. Itcould “businessmen” who compete by killing those who get in their way.And woe to a policeman who dares challenge their power.
In Mexico most killings are not even investigated.Do you think communities there have an interest in protecting themselves?In one town the police were disbanded because they all worked for the Cartel.So calling 911 is never and option for them. Imagine that poor trusting Mormon family that was slaughtered.No one was going to come to their aid.They trusted and died.
Ragnar Redbeard wrote a book called “Might Is Right” and I could not agree more with that idea. He who is strongest makes the rules.And of course that Strong Man is the Lord I serve. One of Jesus’ names is the Captains of the Lord’s Hosts (Armies).
I have written elsewhere that God is not God because God is good, but rather God is good because God is God.Might Makes Right is simply a corollary of that. And this ties directly into the legitimacy of violence.God does not meet some external standard of “goodness,” God sheds goodness and rightness like we shed hair and dry skin.What is good is a byproduct of Him — Goodness and Rightnessare derivatives of Him, not some universal external (to God) standard.
I wonder at those who interest themselves in asking Christians whether or not they eschew violence.Because (they imply), a Christian would never impose his will by force. (As if God would not impose His will by force — of course He will!)
Governments and politicians with police, soldiers, and an industrial scale prison system rule by, with, and through violence.For them to ask a somone — “do you eschew violence?” is the cougar asking the bunny if it promises to never defend itself.
Politicians covet armed guards as symbols of rankand the might to remain in power.No President or Congressman that I know of has ever asked theirbody-guardsto disarm and stand down.When they ask citizens to disarm, they seek subjects to rule, not citizens to represent.
Those politicians are not against violence —they seek their own monopoly of violence — their goal is absolute power throughwhich they alone define what is “right.”