Again, “We adore God Who is love, who in Jesus Christ gave Himself for us, Who offered Himself on the Cross to expiate our sins, and through the power of this love, rose from the dead and lives in His Church. We have no God other than Him” (Pope Francis, 6/21/14).
It is well pass the time for the proponents of justified violence to stop asserting that their choice of violence is “only reasonable.” It is equally pass time for the advocates of nonviolence to stop saying that bringing violence into the human situation is always unreasonable. Violence is unreasonable, but so is nonviolence. Both positions can be defended or repudiate with impeccable logic. There is no unassailable logical argument for the intrinsic immorality of employing violence, per se, in the human situation. But neither is there an unassailable logical argument for the use of violence within the mystery of human existence. Any reasonable argument forbidding the use of violence, per se, among humans can be countered by an equally reasonable argument for permitting the use of violence, per se, among humans. Reason alone cannot validate whether it is intrinsically good to introduce violence, pre se, against others human being into the human condition or whether it is always intrinsically evil.
(A parenthetical note may be appropriate here. Nonviolence means no violence. The person who maintains, “I am nonviolent but…” then presents a situation where he or she would use violence is not nonviolent, but is rather someone who believes it right to introduce violence into human situation.)
Since the decision to be an agent to introduce violence into the mystery of human existence can never be a decision based on incontestable reasonableness, what is the ultimate basis on which one thinks it is right to choose to be a channel for letting violence enter into the world of human relationships? Faith! The decision that it is right and proper to become an agent for the power of violence to become part of the human condition is not and cannot be a logical decision. In this area what logic propose as truth , logic can dispose of as truth. The mystery of a single human existence, let alone the mystery of the existence of all humanity—past, present and future— and the mystery of existence itself, is too immense to logically calculate with any integrity whether violence should be part of the atmosphere between and among human beings or not.
One’s position on whether human violence against other humans is good, right and proper or whether it is never good, right and proper is not a position within the purview of determination by reason. So it is imperative to stop the talk that violence is reasonable or that non-violence is reasonable. Neither can be a reasonable choice. Both are faith choices. After the basic faith choice is made, then implementation of it is a matter that is within the domain of determination by logic and reasonableness. For example, determining whether a person can carry ten or thirty stones to defend himself or can have 50 or 2000 nuclear weapons to defend herself, these are issues open to logical determination after the faith decision is made that violence belongs in the human situation. And, such is also precisely the necessary case with nonviolence.
After the faith decision has been made that violence is not to be part of the human situation and I therefore must not be its agent into humanity, I still have to figure out how to implement that faith stance, and it will be by logic and reason that I will figure that out. But, the primal decision of whether to bring violence or never to bring violence into the state of being human beings is beyond reason’s capacities to decide. It is and always has been a faith decision. The search for truth necessitates that we name violence and nonviolence what they are—faith choices—and get on with discerning truthfully what the faith is that we really hold and hold tight to.
-Emmanuel Charles McCarthy (To be continued)