Screwing for Virginity

Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Peace and Profanity

I recently came under fire from a couple of students at the school I attend for using the title I have chosen for my post. I was told that it was not an appropriate title for something at a Christian university. These same students, however, have been staunch supporters of Bush and his "war on terror." This is an anecdotal example of a widespread hypocrisy among Christians who are offended by mild obscenity yet accept the large-scale slaughter of innocents as a necessary fact of life.

When I pointed this out, I was met with the statement, "Christians should be more offended by foul language than [by] violence."

What? Why? Because Jesus used violence but refrained from foul language? Hardly! Jesus is the Prince of Peace, not the Prince of Polite Discourse.

Jesus had no problem using offensive language to make his point heard. One of his favorite terms for the Pharisees was "brood of vipers." Brood means offspring. Vipers are unsavory creatures. The contemporary equivalent of this phrase should not be difficult to determine.

But Jesus never resorted to violence. In fact, he submitted to worse tortures than most American Christians can even imagine (even with Mel Gibson's help) without striking back. Yet his nominal followers are willing to resort to killing thousands simply to defend our "divine right" to plutonium.

But, my detractors say, Jesus told his followers to get swords! True. In order to fulfill a prophecy that hardly supports the use of violence. But when they used them, he made them put them away. This marks Jesus as unique among the Messiahs of his day. Every other Jew claiming to be the annointed one who would free Israel did so by the sword. Jesus said that violence was not an acceptable tool in building his kingdom. And his followers held to that for hundreds of years, until Constantine married the government and religion and convinced Christians that destroying the enemies of the Empire was God's will. And thus the Republican party was born. Just kidding.

If we claim to follow the Prince of Peace, then we must do so, recognizing that (excepting an entirely new revelation from God's own mouth) violence has no place in his kingdom. If we find oursleves more upset by profanity than genocide, then we need to ask ourselves what our standard for truth really is.

14 Comments:

  • At 8:18 PM, August 04, 2004, Blogger Liliepad said…

    Your entry is so insightful. It amazes me how some christians can accept violence in the media etc. so easily but are so outraged by offensive language and sexuality.

     
  • At 10:42 PM, August 04, 2004, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What part of your title do they consider profanity? How are they defining profanity?

    I think that the comparison you make and your question about what the basis for this truth is, speaks volumes. Defining profanity myself- culture and context for use are the main things that make a word profane. Sadly, I believe cultural influence is also what people are using as their standard for thoughts on violence.(and so much more as seems to continually come up in our discussions)

    My next question is why? The first thing that comes to my mind is control.
    One surely can't do much of anything to stop large scale violence, BUT one can guilt someone into speaking in a certain way around them.

    This is only a guess. However, I think that if this or anything near it is the truth, it's very sad that a thought process as lame as this could gain enough power to influence the thoughts and actions of multiple people.

    However, after reading about theories that have effected law making in our country in the past (representative of thought processes that have gained huge amounts of power)- I can't imagine a similar scenario outside of the realm of possibility.

    - Megan

     
  • At 11:18 AM, August 05, 2004, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    There absolutely is a double standard in todays Americana Christianity in regards to profanity, violence, business practices and many many other subjuects.

    However, thinking in regards to Biblical violence, the Bible is full of violence. It is even full of God ordained violence. Jesus did not come to rule with an iron fist, He came to free us. He was our sacrificial lamb. It just wouldn't have been the same if He fought back or talked back to Pilot or anyone else. He was fullfilling prophecy.

    The war on terror is helping set the stage for the anti-christ so don't knock it. It's part of God's plan.

    I look at violence this way. If I break into your house to rape and murder your wife - are you just gonna stand there and watch? Are you gonna say, "hold on a minute while I call the police." Or are you gonna grab a solid blunt object and bash my head in?

    I think we should be able to defend ourselves and our family - after all you and I aren't dying for the sins of the world like Jesus did. I would die for my wife and son. I would be violent to save them from serious harm.

    Nothing's really wrong with the name of your blog, it's a bit offensive to a lot of people that might stick around to read it if it was named something else.

    Keep writing.

     
  • At 3:54 PM, August 05, 2004, Blogger Buddy said…

    I agree with much of what you say, and I appreciate your comments. But I also disagree with a couple of points.

    I agree that Jesus was fulfilling prophecy. But if Jesus is the full revelation of God's word, then he is the model we are to follow, non-violence and all.

    American Christians have always claimed that wars with the East were "approaching hoofbeats" of the four horsemen, but most (all) have proven not to be. I won't knock your eschatological commitments, but save yourself the embarrassment of committing to false prophets such as Hal Lindsey and Tim LaHay by stating such assertions less conclusively and more humbly.

    Your argument against non-violence is an argument against bladder control. I claim bladder retention is a good thing, but if you show up in my house with a gun, I may just wet 'em. Also, I don't believe in developing a normative ethic for life based on my behavior under extreme duress.

    That said, if someone is offended by the word "screwing," they will likely prove more offended by my unorthodox beliefs. Thanks for sticking around and sharing your thoughts.

     
  • At 10:27 PM, August 05, 2004, Blogger Pete said…

    "Christians should be more offended by foul language than [by] violence."

    This just seems to prove how concerned we are about shallow responses like our language without first being concerned about where our hearts our. There obviously is a deeper issue going on here.

    Good thoughts Buddy. Keep them coming!

     
  • At 12:44 AM, August 08, 2004, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    i'm too lazy to sign up for yet another account . . .

    But When asking the question: what would Jesus do? one must remember that the answer is sometimes: Freak out and trash the place. (Jesus did in fact, use violence)

    yes, Jesus is the prince of peace. but he was not a pacifist. I think sometimes people take the fact that he was of peace a little too far. just as people tend to take the other extreme as well.

    I see nothing wrong with any of the words I use. They are just words to me, nothing more.

    All it takes for evil to prosper is for good men to do nothing. well, if you want to sit on your ass an proclaim pacifism and peace, that's fine. I'll take my guns, and shoot the evil to proctect both my ass and yours.

    - Reverend Andrew B.

     
  • At 8:13 AM, August 08, 2004, Blogger Buddy said…

    I understand your point about Jesus in the temple, but violence against a table is much different from violence against a person.

    I never said Jesus was a pacifist. To do so would be anachronistic. I said he was non-violent, and his followers need to follow that example, even if it means we have to think hard to come up with non-violent alternatives to war.

    Evil prospers much faster when followers of good men promote evil actions.

    I have never advocated doing nothing. I have only eliminated one course of action as a possibility. Even if that were what I was doing, how is it any different from your sitting on your ass and proclaiming violence? Should I take your last statement to mean that you will be enlisting?

    This online ordination thing is getting out of control...

     
  • At 11:30 PM, August 08, 2004, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    unfortunately, I am unable to enlist due to my weight-height ratio. However, I am working on changing that, and will likely enlist in atleast local law enforcement. I also am now pursueing a job as a prison guard while still going to college for a degree in psychology.

    Other possibilities include enlisting in the state militia. So no, I'm not sitting on my ass and proclaiming violence.

     
  • At 5:47 PM, August 16, 2004, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hey Buddy, this is Ryan. I think a good movie for everybody to watch would be "the Mission." it's a great example of when the question of violence or submission seems to be more gray than what we have in our modern-day slaughter gropes. I honestly agree with what you're saying here, it's just not always that easy to say "Jesus was never violent towards anyone, so we should eliminate that possibility in our lives." What we have to look at is this... is violence something that God hates on principle, or is it the motive behind certain violence?
    God exercised violence as judgment by the hand of the Israelites for so long, it's hard to say that violence is something that God hates in all circumstances. Now obviously, Jesus' coming changed that form of judgment, since He was the ultimate sacrifice, there didn't need to be bloodshed everytime a nation disobeyed God. But... if you want to look at God being outside of time, He never changes His mind or His attributes. So if He condoned it at one point in time, it can't be said that He never would approve of violence. Our situation is far different, and I'm not saying that the hearts and attitudes of American Christians are anywhere near justification... I'm also saying that there has to be more to it, unfortunately. I'd love to start eliminating options and get down to hard solutions to live by, and I'm much much more in your boat than outside of it. I just realize that there are other boats on the sea that could also belong to God, and I need to know what's in them before I sink them. ;)

     
  • At 10:22 AM, August 19, 2004, Blogger Buddy said…

    Hey, Ryan! Thanks for posting. I really appreciate your comments.

    I've heard that The Mission is a very challenging movie. A group of students and faculty watched on campus a couple years ago and raised some really good questions. I'll have to check it out.

    I agree that God often commanded violence, and I have no place to stand and say that those who carried it out were wrong. I believe that Joshua was a godly man, but we follow a different Yeshua now, and he seems to say that violence is no longer an appropriate tool for building his kingdom.

    The issue at hand is really obedience. Joshua was a godly man because he obeyed God (for the most part) in destroying Canaan. Nonviolence seems to be Christ's plan for normative Christian ethics, but obedience preceeds morality, so if God commands violence now, we who follow him must obey. But without this new revelation, we have to follow the example of Christ.

    As you can probably tell from that, I do not consider God to be outside of time, and in scripture he seems to change his mind if not his attributes. So the fact that God condoned violence in the past does not mean that he does so now.

    I like your metaphor of the boats; it's very challenging. I have considered that often myself, and it has served to strengthen my nonviolent stand. When we destroy life, we eliminate the possibility of reconciliation and grace. So I do not believe in sinking boats. I don't think that Christian just-war theorists are hell-bound (though some of them have told me that I am). But because we are all part of the same family, I will exhort them to do what I believe to be right, just as pro-life, environmentally conscious, and just-war Christians do.

    Please post again. I'm always glad to hear from you. By the way, I picked up some chess books from the library. We'll have to get together soon.

     
  • At 3:25 PM, August 19, 2004, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hey Buddy, Ryan again. Before I say anything, I have to tell you that Mandy worked me down to a stale mate last night, so you should probably pick up a book or 2 for Christine as well. :)
    Well, see this stuff is so interesting, I'm not even sure that I'll stand up and say that I believe God is outside of time. What I will say is this... it's possible. That being said, I will totally agree w/ you on the fact that it comes down to obedience. We have the Bible telling us that God commanded violence, so we believe it (even though it's difficult to understand at times). But if somebody today would stand up and say "God came to me in a dream and told me that we have to use violence against this nation," what would you do? we're so individualistic about God's revelations these days, meaning if I don't get the revelation, it's not a revelation (or what's right for you might not be for me). The Israelites didn't live that way, they followed the leadership and trusted that God was talking w/ them.
    My point is, if it's something that you have difficulty getting behind (like violence), but God was telling somebody in leadership over you (President Bush?) that violence was necessary... would you or I be disobedient in going against that revelation? I'm not saying that's what's going on today, I'm just posing that scenario. i know that all things must come down to prayer, and no answer could be given unless we were in the situation. I just think it's interesting that we think about it when God's chosen people were never given that luxury.
    we miss you guys, and in a few weeks we'll be looking to get a trip up there and see you guys again. When will you be in Illinois next?

     
  • At 7:36 PM, August 24, 2004, Blogger Buddy said…

    All right, Mandy! Congratulations!

    I think a significant difference needs to be recognized between Israel's leadership and the leadership of the US. Israel's kings were the leaders of all of God's people. The president is not. If (big if) Bush does receive a specific call, then he is responsible for following it. My responsibility is to follow God's word as I understand it within a faith community.

    I think that the issue you're addressing and with which I agree is that of condemnation. We need to be able to address ethical behavioral issues without damning those who disagree. So I do not believe that Bush is hellbound for instigating war, although I do believe that war is a violation of Christian ethics.

    I'm loving this conversation, let's keep going. I don't think we'll be able to make it to Illinois until Thanksgiving. Will you guys be around?

     
  • At 9:59 AM, September 01, 2004, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm gonna have to get an account soon, i hate always having to announce that I'm Ryan. :) Well, we aren't going to be able to make it there this coming weekend, we were hoping to. But we will be here for Thanksgiving and we think that it would be awesome to get something together w/ you guys while you're visiting the area.
    I'd kind of like to change gears for a second, and try to discuss an earlier point. When you said that God's attributes change (meaning God is not constant) where do you find that in scripture? Because the more I think about that as a possibility, the more I find that I can't find that God in scripture, and also that I would never want to. At times it's the only source of comfort that God doesn't change (even His mind, though it appears that He does). If God changes, there has to be something out there that's capable of changing God, or bigger than Him. That's more than unsettling. And if you want to say that He changes Himself, alright... but that would make His attributes just arbitrary and not core values that God holds tight to and actually make Him God.
    anyway, thoughts? :)

     
  • At 9:13 AM, September 02, 2004, Blogger Buddy said…

    Hey, sorry we won’t get to see you this weekend, but we’re looking forward to seeing you in November.

    I began responding to your questions here, but it brought up so many issues that I made it into a new post so we could invite some other thoughts on the issue as well.

    If you're interested in writing new posts, let me know and I'll send you an invitation to be a team member. Then you wouldn't be limited to comments. Let me know.

     

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