The Instigator
OtakuJordan
Pro (for)
Winning
14 Points
The Contender
JonathanDJ
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Contingent Christian pacifism is theologically sound

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
OtakuJordan
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/8/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,212 times Debate No: 43093
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (19)
Votes (4)

 

OtakuJordan

Pro

The first round will be for acceptance. Trolling will result in a full seven-point loss.

Contingent Christian pacifism shall be defined as "a system of pacifistic thought based on the Bible in which it is acceptable to use force to defend others but not oneself."

It shall be understood that the Bible refers to the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testament and does not include apocryphal writings.

Best of luck.
JonathanDJ

Con

I accept my brothers challenge on this point.
Debate Round No. 1
OtakuJordan

Pro

Thank you for accepting, Con. I look forward to an edifying discussion.

My case
I shall be laying out a very broad overview of my beliefs in this opening round.

To begin with, I do not believe that God is diametrically opposed to violence. Any reader of the Bible knows that the pages of the Old Testament are rife with violence. Exodus even goes so far as to refer to God as "a man of war."[1] Why, then, would a follower of God reject violence?

That there are multiple facets of God's personality is not debated. It is referred to as the Trinity and is as orthodox a position as the divinity of Christ.[2] It should come as no surprise, then, that God may act differently at different points in history, immutable though he be. To call up just one example of this in the Old Testament, God spoke to Job through a whirlwind[3] and to Ezekiel in a whirlwind.[3]

Moving on, we see a radically different facet of God in Christ in the New Testament. It is this example that we are given to emulate. To quote 1 John, "Whoever says he abides in him [Christ] ought to walk in the same way in which he walked."[4] And how did he walk? "When they hurled their insults at him [Christ], he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly."[5]

Within the framework of covenantalism, this line of reasoning is bolstered by the many prophecies that speak of the Messiah changing the way that men shall handle conflict. This well-known Isaiah passage serves as an excellent example: "He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore."[6]

Round conclusion
I have now presented the basic tenets of my beliefs on this subject. I hope that everything was clear. If Con wishes me to expound on anything, he need only ask.

Sources
1. Exodus 15:3
2. http://www.theopedia.com...
3. Ezekiel 1:4
4. 1 John 2:6
5. 1 Peter 2:23
6. Isaiah 2:4
JonathanDJ

Con

This response is going be a little rough sorry. It's a rush job. Pacifism as an attitude is supported to a degree. But physical pacifism is never compelled. Jesus never told us or implied that we couldn't defend ourselves, only that we not retaliate. We are told to flee persecution. Our body is a temple we have the right and responsibility to protect it. We don't have the right to go beyond what is necessary to protect it. Protecting others is a matter of honor and duty. I'll try to do better on my next post.
Debate Round No. 2
OtakuJordan

Pro

Thank you, Con.

Introduction

Before I respond to Con's assertions, I would like to apologize for and clarify my rather confusing statement, "It should come as no surprise, then, that God may act differently at different points in history, immutable though he be. To call up just one example of this in the Old Testament, God spoke to Job through a whirlwind and to Ezekiel in a whirlwind."

What I had meant to say was, "God spoke to Job through a whirlwind and to Elijah in a still, small voice."

"Pacifism as an attitude is supported to a degree. But physical pacifism is never compelled."
Please explain how an attitude of pacifism can be supported while pacifistic actions are not.

"Jesus never told us or implied that we couldn't defend ourselves, only that we not retaliate."
Given that Christ was "led like a lamb to the slaughter,"[1] offering no resistance, and that we are to walk as he walked, this argument does not hold true.

"Our body is a temple we have the right and responsibility to protect it."
Con seems to have a misunderstanding of what it means to have one's body be the temple of Christ. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 reads, "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body."

Being a temple to Christ doesn't mean preventing bodily harm to yourself, but rather glorifying Christ in your actions. This leads perfectly into one of my favorite points on this topic: the glory of God. God can glorify himself through different means. In the Old Testament he did this by demonstrating his power over false gods through the conquests of his people. Today, he glorifies himself through the transformation of the saints.

To quote Origen,

We have come in accordance with the counsel of Jesus to cut down our arrogant swords of argument into plowshares, and we convert into sickles the spears we formerly used in fighting. For we no longer take swords against a nation, nor do we learn anymore to make war, having become sons of peace for the sake of Jesus, who is our Lord.[2]

"We are told to flee persecution."
Being told not to have some sort of masochistic penchant for running into the hands of those who would do Christians harm is not the same as being told that it is permissible to use self-defense.

"Protecting others is a matter of honor and duty."
This has not been questioned. Please recall the definition of contingent Christian pacifism presented in R1: "a system of pacifistic thought based on the Bible in which it is acceptable to use force to defend others but not oneself."

Sources
1. Isaiah 53:7
2. http://rogueminister.wordpress.com...
JonathanDJ

Con

Your body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit. How can we argue that we should be careful to care for our body and yet call it holy to allow others to destroy it except for some specific purpose (Such as Jesus' sacrifice). Jesus didn't permit people to put their hands on Him until it was His time. Brother, you are taking the passages you mentioned out of context. They are discussing Jesus sacrifice on our behalf, not a standard we live by. People ask "Aren't we supposed to act like Jesus?". I answer that by saying it depends on what you mean by that. If we mean in his character and attitude then yes but if we mean his specific acts then no. If you say yes then I'm going to have to insist that you make the blind see and raise the dead.
I pointed out that it says "Flee persecution". The main goal in self defense training is escape not beating the heck out of an attacker. We do what we must to free ourselves from the persons control and no more. I would say this scripture clearly supports that action.
I find myself very uncomfortable with the suggestion that it is commanded that we cannot defend ourselves. The scripture nowhere teaches that. It is legalistic and abusive to teach that it is a commandment. I also consider it blasphemous. It is putting words in God's mouth.
The Bible also says: Ephesians 5:29
"for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it,..."
We have the right to care for ourselves in a reasonable manner. Letting someone beat us unless it is our appointed time is failing to do that. The Bible no where teaches that we have to take a beating. It only teaches we are not to take revenge. Jesus tells His disciples that He'll be leaving them. That now they would be facing hard times and have to care for themselves more than they did when He was walking physically with them. He warned them by saying in: Luke 22:36
" He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don"t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one."
Some have attempted to escape the plain meaning of the text here by saying that the word sword doesn't really mean sword but is a reference to a utensil used for everyday things like eating. This interpretation fails for anyone who cares to take the time to study the Greek. The same Greek word for sword is used in this passage: Luke 22:52
"Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders, who had come for him, "Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs?"
Clearly it cannot be argued that the Greek word for sword used at the Last Supper can only mean a utensil. The passage seems to indicate that Jesus had more than a utensil for practical uses in mind because a persons cloak would be more important to his survival than a utensil for eating and cutting things. Arid environments can be very cold at night and a cloak was used as a blanket.
Finally let's think about the practicalities of what you are saying Brother. If a woman is being raped does she have the right to defend herself? If yes then why does she enjoy more rights than a man as a human being. The Bible certainly doesn't support that view. If no, how do you explain that to rape victims? How do you justify that view to any human being who asks about such a teaching. That you believe that a person has the ability to violate another person in such an extreme way, but that person isn't allowed to fight back in order to stop that person. If you think that's OK to fight back, then why are mens bodies any less valuable?Why do we have to accept abuse and violence and aren't allowed to stop it but women are?
Debate Round No. 3
OtakuJordan

Pro

Thank you, Con.

"Your body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit. How can we argue that we should be careful to care for our body and yet call it holy to allow others to destroy it except for some specific purpose (Such as Jesus' sacrifice). Jesus didn't permit people to put their hands on Him until it was His time."


I have already stated that there is a specific purpose in the non-violence of the church. Violence in response to violence is the established order of the world. To break this established order draws attention and questioning. Books like Foxe's Book of Martyrs and the more recent Jesus Freaks are filled with examples of the persecutors of Christians who became Christians themselves because they were so deeply impressed with the patience and humility that Christians endure their tortures with.

There is a clearly defined purpose to contingent pacifism: to glorify God.

"Brother, you are taking the passages you mentioned out of context. They are discussing Jesus sacrifice on our behalf, not a standard we live by. People ask "Aren't we supposed to act like Jesus?". I answer that by saying it depends on what you mean by that. If we mean in his character and attitude then yes but if we mean his specific acts then no. If you say yes then I'm going to have to insist that you make the blind see and raise the dead."

Completely ignoring the fact that the New Testament does indeed teach that Christians are to heal the sick, this argument is a straw man. To not be able to imitate Jesus in every detail of his life does not mean that we should not imitate him in those areas that we can. Also, since it was his "character and attitude" that prompted his actions, we can assume that even Con's highly dubious standards for the imitation of Christ would require us to be pacifists as he was.

"I pointed out that it says 'Flee persecution'. The main goal in self defense training is escape not beating the heck out of an attacker. We do what we must to free ourselves from the persons control and no more. I would say this scripture clearly supports that action."

Saying that you think it supports that action and not explaining how or why is not a valid argument.

To quote from my previous speech, "Being told not to have some sort of masochistic penchant for running into the hands of those who would do Christians harm is not the same as being told that it is permissible to use self-defense."

"I find myself very uncomfortable with the suggestion that it is commanded that we cannot defend ourselves. The scripture nowhere teaches that. It is legalistic and abusive to teach that it is a commandment. I also consider it blasphemous. It is putting words in God's mouth."

This paragraph is both a ludicrous accusation and as fine an example of begging the question as I have ever seen. I could just as easily accuse you of blasphemy as you have me by saying that the Bible does promote limited pacifism and that you are detracting from God's word. Let's remember that there was theological dispute between the apostles and that they still managed to refrain from accusing each other of being blasphemers, shall we?

That aside, whether or not you are comfortable with a certain theology has nothing to do with it being correct or not. Also, to make the bare assertion that the Scriptures nowhere teach pacifism is ridiculous as that is the very topic we are debating.

"The Bible also says: Ephesians 5:29
'for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it,...'
We have the right to care for ourselves in a reasonable manner. Letting someone beat us unless it is our appointed time is failing to do that. The Bible no where teaches that we have to take a beating. It only teaches we are not to take revenge. Jesus tells His disciples that He'll be leaving them."

Con's vague accusation that I am taking verses out of context is rather ridiculous after reading this paragraph. I fail to see how the fragment of a sentence he pulled from a passage in which Paul is urging husbands to love their wives in an unselfish manner is a refutation of pacifism. Pacifism in the face of adversity is not a failure to properly care for oneself, but rather a sacrifice for spiritual reasons. One might as well say that fasting is unbiblical if this is their reason for rejecting pacifism.

Following this terrible example of eisegesis, Con goes on to make a few more bare assertions in this paragraph.

"That now they would be facing hard times and have to care for themselves more than they did when He was walking physically with them. He warned them by saying in: Luke 22:36
' He said to them, 'But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don"t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.'"

It is worth quoting Ben Witherington at length on this issue.

What about the famous text in Lk. 22.36-38 where Jesus seems to advise the disciples to go out and obtain a weapon? Again context is king here. Remember this is the same Jesus who: 1) advised that those who live by the sword will die by the sword and 2) who immediately put a stop to Peter’s violence against the high priest’s slave, and indeed reversed it’s effects by healing the man’s ear. So what is the meaning of this little story, taking into account the larger context of Jesus’ teaching? Vs. 37 is the key where Jesus quotes Is. 53.12—“he was numbered with the transgressors”. Jesus is saying to the disciples—you must fulfill your role as transgressors of what I have taught you!!! They must play the part of those who do exactly the opposite of what Jesus taught them in the Sermon on the Mount. The disciples become transgressors by seeking out weapons and then seeking to use them. This much is perfectly clear from the context for the disciples then go on to say “look Lord here is two swords”. They already have such weapons and Jesus responds in disgust to the fact that they are already transgressing his principles of non-violence by responding “that’s enough” (of this nonsense).

Clearly, Jesus knew that two swords would not be enough to hold off a Roman legion, so we must take his response as highly ironic not as straight forward. Either he says ironically “oh that will be plenty”, or more likely as I have suggested, he means “that will be enough” of this foolishness. Either way, there is absolutely no endorsement here by Jesus of his followers using weapons. Carrying weapons makes them fulfill the role of transgressors, as the citation of Is. 53.12 makes evident.[1]

I would like to question Con as to why he believes that two swords were "enough" for twelve men being sent out in pairs of two? Exactly how does that work? A much more believable interpretation of this passage is that Jesus is either commissioning the disciples to fulfill Isaiah 53:12 or that he is simply warning that hard times are coming in a fanciful way, which they take literally, prompting him to reply in annoyance with, "It is enough!"

"Finally let's think about the practicalities of what you are saying Brother. If a woman is being raped does she have the right to defend herself? If yes then why does she enjoy more rights than a man as a human being. The Bible certainly doesn't support that view. If no, how do you explain that to rape victims? [...]"

Ignoring your implied assertion that all victims of rape are women, I do actually believe that a woman has the right to defend herself from rape. To willingly submit to rape is to submit to a form of sexual immorality (Deuteronomy 22:24; after all, is it even rape if it is voluntary?). It falls outside the bounds of the question of self-defense.

Conclusion
Con has failed to properly respond to my contention that Christians are to emulate the Prince of Peace.

Sources
1. http://benwitherington.blogspot.com...
JonathanDJ

Con

I would like to point something out at this time. I am guessing you consider your self a passivist. The more we discuss this the more hostile you become. The growing tension is palpable. I've seen this same thing with other passivists. You won't smack somebody but you'll tear them to shreds with your mouths. You know, Jesus never once said a man couldn't defend himself but he did say we needed to watch our mouths. Ben Frankliin could be vicious as I understand it. What's the point in saying peace, peace, and I would do thee no harm sir, when you destroy people with your mouths. Just sayin'
The cold hard facts of scripture are this: there isn't a single precept or passage in the Bible that teaches passivism as you are teaching it. God never said it was wrong for a man to defend him self. We just need to keep it to a minimum. Anything more and it becomes revenge and that is a problem.
When Jesus said "Sell your cloak and buy a sword" he wasn't talking about that night. He was telling them that they would be facing very dangerous times,so dangerous that they would be better of without their cloak, the most important thing a man owned, than without a sword. That was Jesus' main point. He would not have said it if it was a sin to use one to stay alive.
And as for the "Enough of this sword talk!" that is an opinion not a fact. That passage is not well understood and there is more than one interpretation of it.
The only way you can find passivism other than in mindset (non-agression, non-retaliation) in the Scripture is to read it into the passage.
I am deeply concerned about you answer to my rape example. You said she was justified in fighting back because it was sexual immorality. That means necessarily that you think if she's scared and doesn't fight back that's she's a fornicator or an adulterous. I doubt that's what you intended but you need to think of the consequences of your ideas. She has a right to fight back because it's her body and she has the right to not be hurt. And God supports that. The same is true of any human being. We only need to avoid revenge. We only do what we have to do not what we would like to do.

You accuse me of not emulating the Prince of Peace.

Revelation 19:11-16

11 Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had[a] a name written that no one knew except Himself. 13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean,[b] followed Him on white horses. 15 Now out of His mouth goes a sharp[c] sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:

KING OF KINGS AND
LORD OF LORDS.

Perhaps I understand our Prince a bit differently than you do. You have to win the peace. It isn't free.
Debate Round No. 4
19 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by JonathanDJ 3 years ago
JonathanDJ
No OtakuJordan, I don't have any feelings of aggression toward people with your beliefs. I get grouchy when people make up commandments. It's been my experience that people with your beliefs frequently have very little real life experience with the things they make such dogmatic assertions about.
Posted by GodChoosesLife 3 years ago
GodChoosesLife
I thoroughly read through this debate and it was very interesting... I have never heard of "contingent christian pacifism" before.. So this was rather interesting to read.. Good job in all for this great debate!
Posted by OtakuJordan 3 years ago
OtakuJordan
Pointing out flaws in your arguments is not the same as attacking you.

"In a reasonably affluent environment. You live in a safe neighborhood. You go to a high buck university you parents bought you a Prius for your birthday and so on..."

Clearly, you have some sort of aggression towards people with my beliefs. None of this is remotely accurate and I don't know why you assumed it is without any evidence.
Posted by JonathanDJ 3 years ago
JonathanDJ
In a reasonably affluent environment. You live in a safe neighborhood. You go to a high buck university you parents bought you a Prius for your birthday and so on... Me.. I live in the inner city. I live in public housing. I have a disability so I don't have much of a choice in the matter. I take the city bus. I had my teeth knocked out because the guy was drunk and was pissed off and decided to take it out on me. Passivism is a great idea IN THEORY. You learn that the reason God let's us "Buy a sword" is because if you don't do what you've gotta do where I live, you'll be crushed by the sadistic parasites who live around you. When someone comes along and starts calling that a sin yeah I get a bit grouchy.
Posted by JonathanDJ 3 years ago
JonathanDJ
Well, likewise about debating you as you are apparently incapable of being a man, meaning that you have the thinnest skin I have ever seen and further you dish it out but you get pissed when someone says anything back. Let's see who started with the ugliness first: "Con's highly dubious standards" well that's brotherly, "Con's vague accusation that I am taking verses out of context is rather ridiculous after reading this paragraph" another snarky comment, "Following this terrible example of exegesis, Con goes on to make a few more bare assertions" another backhanded comment. So, I make one comment that you don't like. You return some 3 nasty little shots for that one. You proved my point about the hypocrisy of passivists. With what I've seen in my life of the arrogance, self righteousness, and self importance of passivists I'll stick to my left hook. It does less damage. BTW, telling someone smoking and drinking is a sin is defensible. Furthermore it doesn't hurt the person if they buy into it. Threatening someone with God's judgement by saying that they are sinning by trying to keep them selves safe from violent people is cruel and will get that person hurt. And it is completely indefensible. BTW, the only thing I said was that inventing a commandment of God was blaspheme. You have insulted me by calling me irrational, incapable, and insulting. When God said a women would be found sexually immoral if she didn't call out, had nothing to do with submitting to rape. It meant that she obviously wasn't being raped in the first place. That's why she would be condemned for not calling out for help. And as for an Apostle calling someone a blasphemer, he did worse than that and so did Jesus. When Paul or Jesus caught some inventing a commandment and then saying "Thus saith the Lord"(so to speak, not literally) they would get very rough with that person. I'm angry about your crap, because people like you almost always live..... continued
Posted by OtakuJordan 3 years ago
OtakuJordan
I am not anxious to find offense with anything you said. And I have no attacked you for anything.

Since the topic of the debate was whether or not Christian pacifism is theologically sound, calling it blasphemy was begging the question and discouraged healthy discussion. "Making up commandments" and having a different theological persuasion from you are two very different things. I do not believe that it is a sin to drink alcohol or smoke tobacco, but I don't accuse those who do of blasphemy.

I will have to remember not to debate you again as you are apparently incapable of holding a rational discussion without becoming insulting.
Posted by JonathanDJ 3 years ago
JonathanDJ
Actually if you weren't so anxious to find offense in something I said so you could attack me for something yet again you would understand that what I said was provisional and not at all a personal attack.

"I find myself very uncomfortable with the suggestion that it is commanded that we cannot defend ourselves. The scripture nowhere teaches that. It is legalistic and abusive to teach that it is a commandment. I also consider it blasphemous. It is putting words in God's mouth."

All you had to do was show that God commands us that we may not protect ourselves from harm. All you had to do was show that Scripture actually does teach that. (It doesn't as anyone can see by reading the debate, all you can do is read your own political religious presuppositions into narrative passages. In exegesis that is completely unacceptable.) All you had to do was demonstrate that you weren't putting words in God's mouth. And my charge would fall flat.
Are you saying making up commandments and then declaring "Thus saith the Lord" is anything less than blaspheme?
Posted by OtakuJordan 3 years ago
OtakuJordan
He said I committed blasphemy in one round and then went on to say "I would like to point something out at this time. I am guessing you consider your self a passivist. The more we discuss this the more hostile you become. The growing tension is palpable. I've seen this same thing with other passivists. You won't smack somebody but you'll tear them to shreds with your mouths. You know, Jesus never once said a man couldn't defend himself but he did say we needed to watch our mouths. Ben Frankliin could be vicious as I understand it. What's the point in saying peace, peace, and I would do thee no harm sir, when you destroy people with your mouths. Just sayin'" in another.
Posted by TheAntidoter 3 years ago
TheAntidoter
I don't see an Ad Hom.
Posted by OtakuJordan 3 years ago
OtakuJordan
Would you like to debate it?
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by Jay-D 3 years ago
Jay-D
OtakuJordanJonathanDJTied
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro had more (and reliable) sources, and gets conduct since Con insulted him by referring to him as blasphemous. Arguments also go to Pro, since he backed up his statements well, and also because of Con's shabby response in rd 2, and that he seemed to get a bit unsettled towards the end. S&G is pretty much even.
Vote Placed by GodChoosesLife 3 years ago
GodChoosesLife
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Reasons for voting decision: Neither get's conduct points for the reason of accusations towards each other. Pro used a good variety of reliable sources and kept to his bargain of shares s he gets the points for sources. Con to me seemed a bit more convincing in his arguments so he gets the points for more convincing arguments.
Vote Placed by GarretKadeDupre 3 years ago
GarretKadeDupre
OtakuJordanJonathanDJTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con insulted pro and called his argument blasphemous, which is silly because if you are afraid of blasphemy, you shouldn't have gotten into a debate about a position that you believe is heresy. The only s&g mistakes I saw were committed by Con, e.g. Frankliin. Pro used more reliable sources, both from the bible and from a commentator well-versed in the Bible. Pro's arguments were more convincing and consisted less of strawmen and ad hominems, as also had appropriate evidence to back them up, unlike most of Con's.
Vote Placed by Tophatdoc 3 years ago
Tophatdoc
OtakuJordanJonathanDJTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Both sides had points that were valid. Con pointed to Luke 22:36 which did give him a lead to some extent. But it seemed that Pro had more stronger and valid arguments overall. I will abstain my vote entirely because it was too close for me to call. It also seems that Con started to get irritated near the end as well. He called his opponent "blasphemous" so he loses conduct. It end didn't end too badly. No one receives the source point because both sides quoted the Bible. Good luck to you both in future debates.