How do we explain the hate and violence that seems to sprout from the Christian religion? Are people who commit terrorist actions in the name of Christianity justified? What are we supposed to do during these times? Are we called to stand silent? Are we called to love those who hurt others? I desire direction in these times of unrest.
Welcome to our corner of the internet, it is great to have you.
I wonder if you’d mind clarifying a bit for me what you mean by violence sprouting from Christianity? Are you thinking of any particular historic/contemporary examples? If so, perhaps you could share a few? That would help me/others to have a better idea of how to answer your questions.
If you concerns overlap with the content of the Bible, you may it helpful to read Point 2 in the this article by Old Testament scholar, Tremper Longman:
On the subject of ‘are we called to love those who hurt others’, I would say, yes, we are called to love those who hurt/oppose us/others, as hard as that often is. The classic example of this teaching is in the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus says:
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? (Matthew 5:43-47, NIV2011)
Here Jesus says that loving our enemies is a distinct part of Christian ethical living, as it is an expression of what it means to be a child of the Father. To be a ‘child of the Father’ in this context I would suggest means more than simply being part of God’s family in a salvation sense. In the ancient world, sons nearly always grew up to ‘be like’ their fathers in terms of profession (Eg. Joseph was a carpenter so Jesus became a carpenter). So when we love our enemies we are in fact acting like our Father in heaven who loved his enemies so much he sent his son to rescue them and make them his friends (cf. Romans 5:6-8).
What do you think about that @draxx? Would loving our enemies (those who hurt us) mean we have to stay silent about the evil they commit?
Nope, never, ever.
Hi, Darcy - and welcome.
In John’s third, short epistle he puts it most succinctly: those who do good know God; those who do evil have not seen God.
And that seems to be a prominent theme throughout the gospels and epistles … that true believers will be know by their fruit (as will the children of the evil one). There is never any mention of claims of belief or claims of identity taking precedent over a person’s actions. It is always their actions that mark them as one or the other.
Humans are depraved and will use whatever tools they have at their disposal, including religion to acquire power and wield it over others for their own perceived advantages and benefit.
No. How could they possibly be when their actions are completely antithetical to everything Christ taught defined his kingdom?
Absolutely not. We are supposed to do the same things we are called to do any other time. We deny ourselves and follow Christ, who called us to lives of radical love and service, especially towards the poor, marginalized, powerless, and socially ostracized. If others who claim to follow Christ have lost their way and are chasing idols and disgracing Jesus name, we confront them with truth. It has definitely been exhausting lately.
We should call out the evil that anyone does and hope that it leads to repentance and rehabilitation.
Evil people do evil things even if the movement or faith itself does not encourage it. You have militant vegans that have blown up processing facilities. You had science based evil being done as eugenics and pharmaceutical human testing. You can even look at into ancient asian history and see where Buddhists have done evil things. You’ve had self professing muslims carrying out terrorist attacked. In America we’ve recently had far right domestic terrorists storming buildings and you’ve had far right movements burn down vehicles and buildings and take over parts of a city temporarily.
When someone who is a Christian does unchristian things, especially evil things, we should call them out until they repent.
If the legal system does not hold people responsible for breaking the law then sooner or later people will take it upon themselves to seek and dispense justice on their own. That is why it is important that the justice system do so. It begins the breakdown of civilization itself.
Thank you so much for this guidance. If you had not responded to this, I would have never thought it myself. This provides immense comfort for my concerns.
I think you bring up an interesting point. Calling out people is always good for a wake up call, but I think that it’s rather difficult in modern society. Anyone who doesn’t agree can be written off as a hater and there’s always someone in your corner. Do we give up if we are ignored? Do we pray for them to change their minds? What is the plan of action?
For me for the most part I just focus on those I actually know.
For example within scriptures there is the stipulations for disfellowship. When someone goes beyond simply having a different opinion on something, but steps into unrepentant mindsets on sin and heresy. Such as at my congregation there was a two married couples and the husband from one and the wife from the other had an affair with one another. They were still married but left their spouses and got a house together and lived together and started coming to church together. From the time we heard about the affairs until the time they were living together was about 2 weeks. It caught everyone including their spouses off guard. They were not even aware that the affair was happening. A week before everyone knew their spouses reached out to some disciples in the church who was their friends and those disciples approached them and told them they need to repent and stop being adulterous people. They refused. The church was then made aware of it and the following week they showed up together holding hands and sat together. So immediately the elders called them out and told them what they were doing was wrong, that they were committing sins and now they come to church together. He asked then would they repent and go back to their spouses and they said no. So he told them to leave. Then the entire congregation held a meeting and voted on disfellowshipping them. So we all ignored them. They were handed over to Satan. We would not talk with them, we would not permit them back, and we contacted all the local congregations about the couple.
When it comes to something like politics and something terrible that a specific party begins doing through laws that I disagree with , I basically call my representatives, or sign petitions on what I disagree with. I mention my thoughts once or twice socially and discuss it with my friends.
If it’s a singer or something that I listen too and they confess they are Christians and then start to go off the deep end I basically do nothing. It’s not important to me.
Loving others does it mean having them in your life. Disfellowship does not mean not loving them. I don’t know any of the protestors who went to the DC thing. I don’t even know the names of any of the ones that made News by storming it. If I did, and they were Christians I would tell them what I think they did that was wrong. If they continued in that sort of behavior and justified it through speech ultimately I would cut them out of my life. I would not hang out with them. I would not answer their calls. Same for people involved in BLM type domestic terrorists that supported burning down businesses and storming police stations.
But if these people simply went to the protests, and did not take part of the violence, and they did not justify it then I would not have anything negative to say at all. I also don’t attempt to cut brothers and sisters out of my life who hold different political views then me. Someone can support Trump, Sanders, or Clinton and vote for them and still not agree with everything that happens and be great disciples.
What do you think Jesus would say to your second question?
And your third. And fourth. Fifth.
Did Jesus ask Christians to commit terrorism?
Did He ever address killing your non-military enemy when they are defenceless?
Our sanctification is finished in heaven, meanwhile our saved souls live in unredeemed flesh, as the Apostle Paul says there is a battle going on, we have to renew our thinking daily, hence hatred and violence will always be present in believers who walk by the flesh and not by the Spirit. Perfection is heaven not here expect to see sin. Apostle John in his letters says Christians sin.
This topic was automatically closed 6 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.