Ng, Su Fang
ngsf at ou.edu
Thu Jul 7 22:52:04 EDT 2005
Jim Roviras question about what governments should do is an interesting and complex one. But what governments should do is one question. What Im responding to is the notion that responding with hate is a good thing. The angrier and the more full of hatred for the terrorist we become the more like them we become. I disagree with Carol Barton. When Jesus counseled turning the other cheek, he did mean precisely walking back into the line of fire. It was what he did after all. He allowed the Romans to crucify him, going deliberately back into Jerusalem when he knew that he was going to be killed. This is so unpalatable a principle that all kinds of extra-biblical exceptions have been made for it.
The dismaying thing is how easily a pacifist religion can turn to violence even with the example of Christ. Jim Rovira quoted Paul but Paul was talking about a pagan government. What happens when an embattled minority sect become the governors and the majority? What happens to their pacifist principles? Unfortunately, Christian governments have seized the sword as least as readily as the imperial Romans. Carol Barton assumes pacifism applied only to nice people, which the Romans werent. These are the ways Christians allowed violence despite the pacifism of Jesuss words. And so have Muslims, despite also accepting Jesus as a prophet.
If we want to know how terrorists think we should look inside ourselves to find that emotion within us that perceives some wrongs as so heinous that violence seems so necessary and all counsels of peace are rejected. It may be that we have to respond but we need to respond intelligently, not to see terrorists as insane but fundamentally and frighteningly human and very much like us. Instead of saying there are people who are intrinsicly terrorists and we must kill them, we must remember that there are people are not terrorists and we must encourage them not to be terrorists. And that involves restraining ourselves and not just restraining them.
Su Fang Ng
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