Friday, December 02, 2005

Richard Hays on Violence, pt 1

Richard Hays in The Moral Vision of the New Testament...

“One reason that the world finds the New Testament’s message of peacemaking and love of enemies incredible is that the church is so massively faithless. On the question of violence, the church is deeply compromised and committed to nationalism, violence, and idolatry. (By comparison, our problems with sexual sin are trivial.) This indictment applies alike to liberation theologies that justify violence against oppressors and to establishment Christianity that continues to play chaplain to the military-industrial complex, citing just war theory and advocating the defense of a particular nation as though that were somehow a Christian value."


mycotn said...

I'm more inclined to wonder if the world really even cares about the massive faithlessness of the church. Maybe it does. When I think of the "confessional on the college quad" thing, it seems like real healing can happen to real hurt (that happened because of real caring). Then again, I think that the main reason the world finds the New Testament's message of peacemaking and love of enemies incredible, is that it just seems so "unnatural." A world of natural selection in which the strong survive seems to make sense, and within this framework there is a LOT of violence.

Rick said...

sadly I would agree with you about the world caring very little about what we do or what we don't do.

It is amazing when we are truly counter cultural as peacemakers that is has so much power. It is as if the world knows (intuitively) that this is the right way to live and that is why it reacts in rebellion or embrace.

They seem to actually know this is who Jesus was, as opposed to so many churches and Christians that embrace a violent Christ.

Kevin said...


I'm excited to be in Dr. Hays' New Testament class next semester. I hope that Hays speaks to this in class, it is something that a majority of my fellow first year students do not feel that peace, peacemaking are something that is practical for us to remain faithful to. (and yet the impracticality of protestant soteriology is something to be faithful to?)

I fear that the large number of actual military chaplain students will be evidenced in Hays' reticence to speak to peace making issues.

-Pkj (Kevin)