Mao and Jesus – Part V
In the third last paragraph of Mao and Jesus, Part IV, I was somewhat imprecise when I wrote about “Christians who refuse to see the Mount Everest size dilemma that arises from the universally verifiable fact that all governments are structured to be intrinsically violent operations.” It reads as if I am saying all Christians are faced with this “Mount Everest size dilemma.” However, most Christians, maybe 98%, are not, because most Christians are some variety of a just warist Christian.
Since such Christians believe that they can be faithful followers of Jesus and still engage in the mass killing and maiming of the state’s enemies, there is no moral, spiritual or logical problem for them to engage in any other lesser form or degree of governmental violence, including homicidal violence directed towards individuals. The morality of the greater act implies the morality of the lesser act of the same kind and quality. If a Christian can morally kill thousands of human beings when he or she goes to war for the state, he or she can certainly morally kill one human being in the electric chair whom the state deems must be punished by death. Indeed, such a Christian can employ whatever form of violence that is less than homicidal violence that the state orders him or her to use against other human beings.
Just warist Christians have no moral problem entering into a government
structure that is intrinsically and unalterably a violent operation. The “Mount Everest size” moral problem arises only for Christians who believe that in the Gospels Jesus by word and deed teaches, and commands His Apostles to teach and obey (Mt 28:19-20), a Way of Nonviolent Love of all under all circumstances. These Christians and these Christian alone cannot participate in any group or in any organization where doing violence to human beings and killing human beings are integrally part of its modus operandi. Two examples of such organizations are the Mafia and the state. No Christian who believes in the Nonviolent Jesus of the Gospels and His Way of Nonviolent Love should have the slightest thought about or interest in becoming a member of these groupings of people.
Since the days of Constantine down to this second, however, Christians have rushed to get their hands on the levers of violent state power faster than the demonically possessed swine rushed away from Jesus and into the sea (Mk 5:13; Mt 8:32; Lk 8:33). As said, for just warist Christians this presents no moral issue. But, for those who believe like Peter, “Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (Jn 6:68) and who believe that Jesus is Nonviolent and teaches a Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies, seeking to utilize the apparatuses of state violence to do good and avoid evil is “exchanging the truth of God for a lie” (Rm 1;25). Good cannot be done by the gun nor evil avoided, if Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of the Living God, Lord, God and Savior of the world.
Death, not life, comes from the barrel of a gun. For the Christian who believes in Jesus and teaching of Nonviolent Love of all under all circumstances is the truth, salvation via violence is absurd. Doing good and avoiding evil by means other than Christlike love is fantasy. As the Catholic Biblical scholar, Rev. John L. McKenzie expresses it:
“Jesus in no way accepts violence as a means of controlling violence. Jesus taught that violence belongs to the Reign of Satan, and that men must expel violence if they wish to liberate themselves from the Reign of Satan. The power, which destroys all other powers, is the power of love, the love of God revealed and active in Jesus Christ. Jesus presents in His words and life not only a good way of doing things, not only an ideal to be executed whenever it is convenient, but the only way of doing what He did. God reveals in Jesus that He loves man and will deliver him through love and through nothing else.”
Since violence is of the Reign of Satan, violence will not drive out violence, evil will not drive out evil, Satan will not drive out Satan. So why have the overwhelming majority of Christians since the days of Constantine been either lusting to get their mitts on the instrument of the state’s violence or lining up like lemmings to work for, to support, to spiritually validate conservative, liberal or radical politicians who are trying to get their mitts on the instruments of the state’s violence?
-Emmanuel Charles McCarthy
(To be continued)