Tuesday, January 12, 2016

A strong myth

Redemptive violence is tough-minded. It understands that the evil in the world must be confronted and controlled. The spirit of redemptive violence must be obeyed because we have enemies who are out to destroy us. The cartoon character Pogo was famous for saying, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” Pogo’s more humble assessment and willingness to see the contradictions and evil in oneself, is a biblically sound approach to any conflict that might arise, whether in an individual or a national context. However, those who proclaim the values in redemptive violence are convinced that the evil in the world is because of our enemy’s purposes and plans. That is, “those people” who are not like us are out to destroy us. Redemptive violence stands or falls in its ability to blame others for our problems: the communists, the gays, the straights, the blacks, the whites, the liberals, the conservatives, the Republicans, the Democrats, the Hispanics, and the Muslims. For those who trust redemptive violence, the evil in the world is always someone else’s fault.

The blasphemy of redemptive violence is that we consider ourselves to be God’s chosen people and therefore responsible and entitled to bring violence upon others whose intentions and purposes are, or may be, contrary to ours. When we lead the world in military procurements, it is to maintain the highest of human ideals; when the Russians and Chinese manufacture their tools of violence, it is perceived as warmongering. When we place arms in our bedside tables, we are simply protecting our vulnerable families from “those people” whose values are so out of kilter that they want to do us harm.—America and Its Guns: A Theological Expose, page 65 (emphasis original)

<idle musing>
If you look around you, you see this myth operative everywhere. I would say it is the myth we live by—whether right or left, Christian or not. And that is scary!

As I said the other day, if violence is considered an option, it soon becomes the option of choice. And from there it becomes the only option.

Lord! Set us free from our idolatry!
</idle musing>

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