Pacifist Christianity and the Problem of Evil

A commenter at OneSTDV brought up this old news story about sexual abuse in the Amish community.

The sexual abuse scandals of the Catholic Church are well-known, but this story never got around much. But the situation was almost the same. A child was abused sexually. The situation became known to the church leadership. The child was required to forgive, as Jesus requires at certain places in the Gospels. The offender made some sort of weak, pro forma apology and promised not to do it again. But since child molesters don’t stop, it continued.

The difference with the Amish was that the matter was more public, and the offender wasn’t moved to another community. But theologically and socially the situations are the same.

Christianity demands all trespasses be forgiven. The offender isn’t required to repent, stop, or ask for forgiveness. The offense really isn’t of any importance- God forgives everything, so the moral drama shifts to the victim. Will he forgive? He must, because the one sin God does not forgive is the failure to forgive.

This results in a complete inability to cope with evil. It can be responded to with love- but nothing else. It can’t really be responded to with judgement, criticism, or punishment. Society may do these things, but they are un-Christian, so a society controlled by liberal or pacifist Christians will not do them vigorously. It’s not that liberal and pacifist Christians aren’t themselves chock full of judgment and criticism, for those who support or engage in any kind of military activity or a strong criminal justice system.

People of this sort are free riders on the protection provided by others who are willing to engage in violence. And yet they have a very high and influential place within society. This is somewhat understandable, it is nominally Christian in most regards. Personal pacifism is a personal choice. Forcing pacifism on others through public policy subjects them to harm for the moral gratification of others. A society that can’t protect itself, and can’t protect those too weak to protect themselves, isn’t legitimate.

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About thrasymachus33308

I like fast cars, fast women and southern-fried rock. I have an ongoing beef with George Orwell. I take my name from a character in Plato's "Republic" who was exasperated with the kind of turgid BS that passed for deep thought and political discourse in that time and place, just as I am today. The character, whose name means "fierce fighter" was based on a real person but nobody knows for sure what his actual political beliefs were. I take my pseudonym from a character in an Adam Sandler song who was a obnoxious jerk who pissed off everybody.
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4 Responses to Pacifist Christianity and the Problem of Evil

  1. zhai2nan2 says:

    ‘Christianity demands all trespasses be forgiven. The offender isn’t required to repent, stop, or ask for forgiveness. The offense really isn’t of any importance- God forgives everything, so the moral drama shifts to the victim. Will he forgive? He must, because the one sin God does not forgive is the failure to forgive.’

    You don’t really understand the Gospels. It is necessary to forgive – that doesn’t mean violence is ruled out. Christ himself made a whip of three cords and used violence in at least one situation. Further, some Christians have converted heathens and then immediately killed the new converts – to prevent them from being tempted to sin again.

    The Gospels also say, “If thine eye offend thee, gouge it out.”

  2. Justin says:

    It says all over in the Bible, Old, New, Psalms, everywhere: Love Good, Hate Evil. Sounds to me more like inner-organizational politics and psychology.

  3. eib says:

    To forgive is not to surrender.
    To forgive is not to rule out fighting your enemy.
    To love is not to surrender or submit.

  4. John D'Arcy says:

    To forgive means that you are not imprinted with the trauma of anothers violation against you. True forgiveness takes understanding and insight ,so as you can see the unconscuious motives of your adversary and thereby defeat sin with love.

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