…without a system of judgment we would have no way of struggling against oppression and deception because we could not distinguish between the Butcher of Lyon and Mother Teresa….The attempt to transcend judgment—whether it be judgment of reason or of religion—does not eliminate but enthrones violence….
A nonindignant God would be an accomplice in injustice, deception and violence….If God were not angry at injustice and deception and did not make the final end to violence, God would not be worthy of worship.
My thesis that the practice of nonviolence requires a belief in divine vengeance will be unpopular with many Christians, especially theologians in the West. To the person who is inclined to dismiss it, I suggest imagining that you are delivering a lecture in a war zone (which is where a paper that underlies this chapter was originally delivered). Among your listeners are people whose cities and villages have been first plundered, then burned and leveled to the ground, whose daughters and sisters have been raped, whose fathers and brothers have had their throats slit. The topic of the lecture: A Christian attitude toward violence. The thesis: we should not retaliate since God is perfect noncoercive love. Soon you would discover that it takes the quiet of a suburban home for the birth of the thesis that human nonviolence corresponds to God’s refusal to judge. In a scorched land, soaked in the blood of the innocent, it will invariably die. And as one watches it die, one will do well to reflect about many other pleasant captivities of the liberal mind.
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