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Sam Norton

I'm really glad you're exploring these questions, and I have the utmost sympathy for your view. I wondered if you'd seen a couple of old posts that I've written on it? One>here, and one a bit more autobiographical>here. (There's a whole sequence linked on the sidebar, but those are the key ones).


Thanks, Sam, for pointing out your earlier posts. No, I hadn't seen them. I will link to them in the future.


I think that the 60's motto, "make love not war" well reflects another pacifist attitude: That self-indulgence is the number one priority which should come before sorting out someone else's mess in another country. Why pay for a military when the government can supply free medical marijuana instead?

I believe that there are genuine, altruistically motivated pacifists. There are also deadbeat pacifists at the exact opposite extreme of the moral spectrum.


I agree with your not-so-looney comments, Looney.

It might also be worth pointing out that like all cultural shifts, the 60s brought good as well as bad. But I'm not referring to the availability of marijuana. I still prefer getting high on reading ancient texts in the original languages.

Praying With Lior 10

I think peaceful responses are completely necessary a good majority of the time when dealing with violent situations. However, when do you draw the line? To me, it would make sense to draw of the line of attempted peacefulness when the person themselves is in real danger. It’s so easy for people who are not personally threatened by violent actions to relay their opinions and make judgments on people who take violent action responses. The fact of the matter is, unless you personally are in a situation that compromises your health, it’s difficult to make a decision on whether or not a situation calls for a peaceful rebuttal. I know several people who are active police officers and military personnel. I can’t imagine the dilemmas they face on a daily basis. Especially that one of the people I know (who happens to be in the Marine Corps) is a very strong Christian.

Breaker Morant 2

I think Praying With Lior 10 makes a wonderful point. It is hard for us to judge a person’s reaction to violence unless we are that person. This post did however make me question the death penalty. Even though it is not violent, it is still killing someone so I think that sort of counts as violence. Even though the person who is receiving the penalty it is hard for us to know exactly that they did something wrong. So should we really be following the “eye for an eye” policy?

Nell 3

I agree with Praying With Lior 10. There is the saying “It’s easier said then done.” I think this applies in violent situations. It quite easy to say that you shouldn’t respond to violence with violence, but its much more difficult if you were actually in the situation where you have to make that type of decision. Personally I believe a peaceful response is the best answer to violence, but if I am in a situation where my own safety, or someone I love safety is in danger I would respond in what ever way would protect us whether it is violent or not.

Mission 2

I agree that it is very difficult to respond to violence with peace. I think that is why it is a virtue. It is difficult, yet morally correct, to do so. Sometimes, it is necessary to avoid our natural reactions and respond with a morally though out response, I think.

True Grit 3

It is such a cliché, but “violence is not the answer”, it is so true though. The famous Gandhi quote, “an eye for an eye leaves the world blind”, is also very true. When you react to violence with more violence, it becomes a never ending cycle and it doesn’t solve anything. However I do believe in the death penalty, even though one of the ten commandments is though shall not kill, I believe that if you take someone else’s life, you shouldn’t get to live and possibly kill more people.

Pulp Fiction 4

I agree with a couple of the posts above. Violence is not the answer for dealing with any kind of problem. I feel that if you lash out at someone who has lashed out at you, you are only sinking to their level. Yes of course, it is easier to say that we should talk everything out and not use violence, but like Praying With Lior 10 said, its easier for us to put our own feelings toward non-violent acts when we are not the one personally going through the conflict. This also makes me think about the death penalty. I feel that the death penalty should be an exception to the rule. As True Grit 3 said, one of the ten commandments is shall not kill, if someone has the least respect to take someone's life, then they don't deserve to continue to live their own life on this earth.

Shawshank Redemption 4

I agree with Praying with Lior in the sens that we can not judge someone unless we are in their shoes. No one can understand why someone does what they do because they aren't that person. With that said, I agree with this blog post 100% that violence should try and be dealt with in a non-violent way. Violence isn't the answer to anything. It would make the world a happier place for the most part. But also with that said we have to think about a recent blog post about a world without war, and the fact that that is just not possible. War is part of the world and there is not much we can do about it. Very confusing, almost sounds like I am contradicting myself.

Pulp Fiction 3

Praying with Lior makes a very good point. I agree that violence should try and be dealt with in a non-violent way but like everyone has stated, that is easier said than done. Personally, if someone ever did anything to harm me or my family my instinct would tell me to go find them and take things into my own hands. Obviously, as a world that is not what we want people to do but the pain that is felt by a person whose family is harmed cannot be matched by anyone else. I do not believe that the retaliation needs to be any physical harm or taking someones life but making sure they know the pain you are going through.

The Truman Show 5

I like most of the people who have posted above agree with the statement that violence should be dealt with peace or in a non-violent way. But again, how easily is that accomplished? It's not! It's just hard to react that way a normal human being. If only people that consider themselves christians or jew or even muslims acted as their gods and prophets did. If we all acted in a holy manner, it would be easy to respond to violence with peace, but very few people live their lives like that. To get to that point people should adapt holier lifestyles, and when that happens violence should no longer be a problem.

Chariots of Fire 2

I do agree that violence isn't always the answer, but just like most of the other posts stated, it’s easier said than done. I think that in certain situation it is hard to solve a conflict in a peaceful way. People always say "make love, not war," but what those people don't think about is that just because one side wants to be non-violent doesn't mean the other side does too. I don't always agree with war, but sometimes it is necessary. I’m sure most people wouldn't agree but sometimes I look at it as self defense for our country, not fighting violence with violence. I guess maybe the reason I look at it that way is because it makes war and violence easier to understand.

Shawshank 2

Jesus and his death is a perfect example of using non-violence against violence. Luke 6:27-31 is a very clear on what Jesus felt about violence. When Jesus was crucified on the cross, the whole process leading up to that he could have fought back and made the lives of those people pretty horrible, but he didn’t. Jesus died for us and forgave our sins. He even stated before he died in Luke 23:34 “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” Reading passages like these gives me peace, it makes me feel pretty bad though about the times I wanted to hurt someone or raise some trouble. It’s easy to forget these passages though, especially in times of complete chaos. It’s also easy to wish that everyone lived by these words, but if we as people (religious or not) could live by this philosophy, the world we know would be a less violent place.

True Grit 2

I agree with Daniel 3:16-18 because “non-resistance is the appropriate response.” I believe this because nothing good comes from violence. Events happen according to God’s will and using violence will not change that. Hitler, for example, used violence by killing thousands of people. The allies tried to stop him using violence of their own. It was very noble of the allies to try to help but their method only hurt more people. Hitler committed suicide on his own terms, which proves God’s will triumphs, not the violence of the allies. In Dan 3:16-18 it did not matter what the King said. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were willing to die for what they believed in. They believed in God over everything else and they followed his commandments.

Praying with Lior 3

These passages of dealing with violence in a non-violent way reminded me of my dealings with my abusive husband. My faith in God definitely carried me through by teaching me through passages such as these that to react with violence solves nothing but creates more violence. If we are saying that we do not want to be violent or that we do not condone violence then we have to do what we say and not throw gas on an already blazing fire. My faith carried me through some very tough times and taught me to handle myself with grace to be a role model for my son as to how to deal with people who are trying to provoke you to do wrong like them. Much like Shadrach, Meshack, and Abed-Nego stood up for what they knew was right in God’s eyes and were ready to take whatever repercussions were to follow. I knew God had my back as long as I handled myself with grace and do what in His eyes would be the right thing.

Breaker Morant 1

I completely agree with the thought in this blog about the fact that "violence often appears to be nothing more than unmitigated evil." It is hard to sympathize evil and to agree with it when it give us the impression that violence is completely wrong. There is not a good outcome to violence.

Breaker Morant 6

Martyrdom, the non-violent response to violence, has been the "seed of the church" in the first few centuries of Christianity. But when Christianity was legalized, martyrdom was a drop dead and the church became lax in her morals. The early church took literally when Jesus said, " love your enemies", " turn the other cheek". They followed his word to the literal sense, and since the greatest example was shown by Jesus, the early church followed his example of non-violent resistance. There were martyr everywhere in the first few centuries. It did not stop, but grew more and more. They did not go to war, and if they found anyone who was in the military service, they would not allowed him or her to be baptized. I think, that if pacifism is to abound in this world, then we have to gave up our ways of selfishness and anger. For anger leads to murder and war, but there are other causes. The early christian were able to do it, cause they believed in the next world, the eternal life and they did not lived for this present world. They did not loved the world as their master, Jesus did not. Pacifism can only be achieved if everyone have a desire to, when only one person is doing it then that is only a fantasy. But looking at modern example like Gandhi, and Martin Luther king, it is possible when one believes.

Chariots of Fire 4

Unprovoked violence is never the answer to anything. Even if your angry, scared or hurting you should never use violence as a way to solve your problems. I agree that it should be used to defend yourself and get away but it should never be used for revenge or to harm others. It's like the Yoda saying, "fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering. Suffering is the path to the dark side." If your violent and hateful, you're only going to rub off on others and create more fear and hate in the world.


I do like the idea of non-violent responses to violence. In theory it sounds great but those who are violent aren't going to be deterred from committing more acts of violence by just peace alone. But still, reacting with violence is completely wrong because it almost always produces more hate and anger. There is no such thing as justice when another human being is forced to suffer whether it be directly or indirectly, by losing a friend or relative. In my mind, the best way to avoid it is to just stay out of it. Let the violent be violent with each other. And while the peaceful may have disputes over right and wrong, they will at least never turn violent.

Nell 2

I agree with Shawshank 2’s example of “Jesus and his death is a perfect example of using non-violence against violence.” As Jesus had been tempted many times throughout his life, one may think that he would in fact respond with violence of some sort. Jesus not responding with violence at all is just another minor miracle within the Bible. I am forever grateful for Jesus dying for me to be saved. The amount of grief and trouble he had gone through within his life is unimaginable; especially to respond without violence. This is just another lesson we can try to incorporate into our lives from the Bible. Today as we stand we always seem to be involved in some sort of violence, either as a country or in our personal lives. If we took from this and all lived in the image of Christ, believers or not, we would all live in a more peaceful place and time.

Shawshank 1

To Christians, understanding what a martyr is takes nothing more than looking to their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who became the ultimate martyr. It is in this knowledge that Christianity attempts to understand their own purpose here on earth, with the knowledge that by following Christ they might be required to lay down their lives like he did. In the New Testament, it states that Jesus said that there is no greater gift than to lay your life down for someone else. To many, they can read this and look at it as an important way to look at how they should treat others without actually accepting the fact that He might have meant it literally, and they might be called on to do it. Either way to see or hear about a person laying down their life in a peaceful manner in order to accomplish something greater than him/her is amazing to me.

True Grit 12

I find the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to be a wonderful example of pacifism. Standing up to someone who is going to kill you and saying,
"God may save me, and he may not, but I refuse to follow you" is one of the most impressive stands I have ever heard of. Growing up, I heard that Bible story in a way that assumed that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego knew that God would save them, so they had no reason to be scared. Hearing the story from the perspective that these men faced death on principle alone, and not on some secret spiritual knowledge, is amazing to me.

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    by Justin Anthony Knapp, a fearless Wikipedian (archive)
  • Writing in the Dust
    A collection of quotes by Wesley Hill, a doctoral student in New Testament studies at Durham University (UK), and a Christian who seeks the charism of chastity
  • גֵּר־וְתוֹשָׁב
    by David Miller, Associate Professor of New Testament and Early Judaism, Briercrest College & Seminary, Caronport, Saskatchewan, Canada
  • ואל-תמכר
    Buy truth and do not sell: wisdom, instruction, and understanding - a blog by Mitchell Powell, student of life at the intersection of Christ, Christianity, and Christendom
  • משלי אדם
    exploring wisdom literature, religion, and other academic pursuits, by Adam Couturier, M.A. in Old Testament/Hebrew Bible (graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary)

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  • Ancient Hebrew Poetry is a weblog of John F. Hobbins. Opinions expressed herein do not reflect those of his professional affiliations. Unless otherwise indicated, the contents of Ancient Hebrew Poetry, including all text, images, and other media, are original and licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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