Editor’s note: Welcome to a new segment I’m calling ‘rations’.
Every Wednesday and Sunday I will be posting a small article about 500-1000 words. They’ll be anything from something I’m thinking about, to a small primer on a topic I will go into more detail about later on, or just a mini post covering something interesting that doesn’t require a thesis length post.
These will be designed to give you men something to chew on every few days to keep you going in between the main posts (hence the name) and designed to keep me motivated and to keep writing stuff regularly.
I hope you enjoy it, if you do make sure you share it with your mates.
Violence is Golden
In my fourth Crusades post, I briefly made the point that violence is considered almost completely intolerable in Western culture. I also made the point that in spite of this, violence is a part of the very nature of man. We are fascinated by it, both for its barbary and for its potential virtues. I also made the point that it was not Christians who initially championed pacifism, it was the modern world.
I read an excellent article today by Jack Donovan titled Violence is Golden. A man well known for writing extensively about manhood in the modern world, particularly in his book The way of men (haven’t read it yet, but will now).
Jack’s main thesis in this post is simply this:
“People are violent, and that’s OK” – Jack Donovan
He very clearly (and convincingly) demonstrates that violence is an inescapable component of any society and culture, given that order and peace are maintained both implicitly and explicitly through the use of violence, or the threat of violence of the state against law breakers. People obey the law because if they don’t they will be punished, through violence if the need arises.
In reality, those who advocate pacifism are doing so only because they are allowed to exercise their opinions freely under the protection of the state. Because we have the Government to impose the law on law breakers, violence becomes a mere abstraction to us.
Donovan further argues that pacifism at its core is helpless to defend itself. It takes only one individual to cut against the grain and argue “or else what?” and peace unravels. Ultimately, the logical end point to answering this question for Jack is Violence. Or else what? Or else you will get hurt.
I think he’s right.
“And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment” Hebrews 9:27
Violence and the Christian man
Violence is sometimes necessary, but it is never the ideal.
As Christians men we have to understand that violence, whilst it is in our nature, had no place in God’s original creation. Our God given conscience is constantly at war with our fallen state. As an act in itself, it has no moral value. Violence can be on either side, because wether we like it not, we live in a fallen world and violence is sometimes necessary. This will either come in the form of state protection against law breakers, or it may come in the form of direct conflict.
While the specifics vary from place to place, you are still allowed by the law to defend yourself using physical force if the situation warrants it. Why?
- The police cannot be everywhere at once, and if you find yourself in a dark alley at night, there is no guarantee of their coming to your rescue.
- You are an autonomous human being with inalienable rights. You have the right to life, and freedom, and the right to protect yourself from harm
And what about when the Government that we employ specifically to protect us and our rights to freedom, no longer affords us the freedom to practise our faith and share the Gospel as Christ commands? Francis Shaeffer the eminent Christian philosopher argued in his manifesto, that as Christians, if all other possible alternatives (including abandonment) have been exhausted, then we have the duty as Christians to embrace ‘civil disobedience’. This is precisely what many Christians do every single day, in countries where it is illegal to be a Christian.
So long as we are blessed to live in a powerful, civilised democracy, then it is true that we can be content to live peaceful, happy lives and leave the protection of our civil rights to the Government, and allow them to maintain order on our behalf (using our tax dollars don’t forget).
Everyone alive today, is alive because they have at least one ancestor who fought, and survived, to pass on their genes. Violence is one of the main reasons you exist, yes I’m talking to you. Violence is one reason you can sleep safe at night, it’s the reason your borders are safe, and it’s what keeps prisoners in prison.
I know from personal experience that passivity is a vulnerable worldview. Someday you may be faced with the dilemma “It is going to be them, or it’s going to be me”.
I think violence is something Christian men need to start thinking about more seriously. Time to start living on the whole Word of God, and not just the nice bits.
What do you think men? Leave a comment and let me know.
Chew on this:
“The basic acknowledgement that order demands violence is not a revelation, but to some it may seem like one. The very notion may make some people apoplectic, and some will furiously attempt to dispute it with all sorts of convoluted and hypothetical arguments, because it doesn’t sound very “nice.” But something doesn’t need to be “nice” in order for it to be true. Reality doesn’t bend over to accommodate fantasy or sentimentality.” – Jack Donovan
All Bible references were taken from the ESV version at biblegateway.com unless otherwise stated.