Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Violent Tendency of Western Christianity

Part 1: Augustine as Conduit to the Inquisition
Part 2: How Confession became a Divinely Instituted Sacrament
Part 3: The Origins of Payment for Penance
Part 4: Crusading and Other Indulgences
Part 5: The Great Schism of the Fifth Century

More from Paul Johnson and others:

What must strike the historian as Curious is that neither western nor eastern Christianity developed missionary orders. Until the sixteenth century, Christian enthusiasm, which took so many other forms, was never institutionally directed into this channel. Christianity remained a universalist religion. But its proselytizing spirit expressed itself throughout the Middle Ages in various forms of violence. The crusades were not missionary ventures but wars of conquest and primitive experiments in colonization; and the only specific Christian institutions they produced, three knightly orders, were military.

This stress on violence was particularly marked in the West. Eastern Christians tended to follow the teachings of St Basil, who regarded war as shameful. This was in the original Christian tradition: violence was abhorrent to the early Christians, who preferred death to resistance; and Paul, attempting to interpret Christ, did not even try to construct a case for the legitimate use of force. Again, it was St Augustine who gave Western Christianity the fatal twist in this direction [though violence seemed to be part of the fabric of “the Western tradition” – see
here and here.]

As always, in his deep pessimism, he was concerned to take society as he found it and attempt to reconcile its vices with Christian endeavour. Men fought; had always fought; therefore war had a place in the Christian pattern of behavior, to be determined by the moral theologians. In Augustine’s view, war might always be waged, provided it was done so by the command of God. This formulation of the problem was doubly dangerous …
What made the Augustinian teaching even more corrupting was the association in his mind between “war by divine command” and the related effort to convert the heathen and destroy the heretic – his “compel them to come in” syndrome. Not only could violence be justified: it was particularly meritorious when directed against those who held other religious beliefs (or none).

The Dark Age church merely developed Augustine’s teaching. Leo IV said that anyone dying in battle for the defence of the Church would receive a heavenly reward; John VIII thought that such a person would even rank as a martyr. Nicholas I added that even those under sentence of excommunication, or other church punishment, could bear arms if they did so against the infidel.
There was, it is true, a pacifist movement in the Church as well. But this, paradoxically, was canalized to reinforce the idea of sanctified violence. The motive behind it was to protect innocent peasants from the aimless brutality of competing lords. … but the popes eventually surrendered to the temptation to divert what they regarded as the incorrigible bellicosity of western society into crusades against the infidel.

The idea of Catholic Christians exercising mass-violence against the infidel hardly squared with scripture. Nor did it make much sense in practical terms. The success of Islam sprang essentially from the failure of Christian theologians to solve the problem of the Trinity and Christ’s nature [“Christology”]. In Arab territories, Christianity had penetrated heathenism, but usually in Monophysite form – and neither eastern nor western Catholicism could find a compromise with the Monophysites in the sixth and seventh centuries. The Arabs, driven by drought, would almost certainly have used force to expand anyway.

As it was, Mohammed, a Monophysite, conflated the theological and economic problems to evolve a form of Monophysite religion which was simple, remarkably impervious to heresy, and included the doctrine of the sword to accommodate the Arab’s practical needs. It appealed strongly to a huge element within the Christian community. The first big Islamic victory, at the River Yarmuk in 636, was achieved because 12,000 Christian Arabs went over to the enemy. The Christian Monophysites – Copts, Jacobites and so forth – nearly always preferred Moslems to Catholics. Five centuries after the Islamic conquest, the Jacobite Patriarch of Antioch, Michael the Syrian, faithfully produced the tradition of his people when he wrote: “The God of Vengeance, who alone is the Almighty … raised from the south the children of Ishmael to deliver us by them from the hands of the Romans. And at the time, a Nestorian chronicler wrote: “The hearts of Christians rejoiced at the domination of the Arabs – may God strengthen it and prosper it.”

Paul Johnson, History of Christianity, © 1976 Athenium, pgs. 241-243.

* * *

Before everyone gets in an uproar over Johnson’s characterization of Mohammed having been a Monophysite, And Islam being “a form of Monophysite religion,” I want to note that, whatever sources led Johnson to write this, whether he is mistaken or not, (a) it seems clear that the young Mohammed did fall under some type of Monphysite Christian influence, and (b) the important facts of violence by Roman Christians at this time should not be in doubt.

As Samuel Hugh Moffett, “A History of Christianity in Asia” explains:

The earliest and most trustworthy of the Muslim biographers of the Prophet, the eight-century writer ibn-Ishaq, relates that at the age of twelve, on a caravan trip to Syria with his uncle, the young Muhammad met a Christian monk named Bahira at Bostra, which was the seat of the Monophysite bishop of the desert Arabs. The old monk recognized signs of greatness in the boy and protected him from some who would have harmed him. The same biographer names another Christian, Jabr, who was perhaps an Ethiopian, as exerting great influence on the Prophet:

According to my information the apostle used often to sit at al-Marwa [a hill overlooking Mecca] at the booth of a young Christian called Jabr, a slave of the B. al-Hadrami [tribe], and they used to say, “The old one who teaches Muhammed most of what he brings is Jabr the Christian. (Moffett, pg 326, citing ibn-Ishaq (707-773), Sirat Rasul Allah (as edited in the ninth century by ibn-Hisham), trans. Guillaume as The Life of Muhammed,, 79-81.
(Of this source, Moffett continues, “This is the first and best of the early biographies of the Prophet, well documented for the period after the hegira (hijrah) of 622 but uncritical about the years before. Muslim historians used the legend to indicate recognition of Muhammad’s holiness by a Christian, while Christians referred to it a sproof that Christian teaching was the source of the Prophet’s inspiration.” (Footnote 5, pg 362)

Moffett also characterizes the period:

It was a time of social unrest in the Arabian peninsula. Rome and Persia had been slowly but effectively destroying each other in a hundred years of almost incessant war (540-629). As the war continued into the seventh century the exhausted empires were less and less able to protect their Arab client-states on the desert borders, the Ghassanid kings in the northwest who owed allegiance to Rome, and Lakhmid and Yemen in the east and south who looked to Persia. In those kingdoms Christian Arab communities had been planted by Monophysites on Rome’s southern border and by Nestorians nearer Persia.

Hugh Kennedy, in his preface to “The Great Arab Conquests” notes, “At the time of the Muslim conquests, there were five major churches or sects in the Middle East, each one claiming to be ‘orthodox.’ In North Africa and Spain the church was Latin-speaking and looked to Rome rather than Constantinople for leadership and doctrinal authority. There was no schism between this church and the Greek Orthodox, that would come later, but there was a different ecclesiastical culture. Then there was the Melkite (meaning ‘royal’) Greek Orthodox church supported (usually) by the imperial government in Constantinople. This was also known as the Chalcedonian [Diophysite] church … With in the eastern Empire the main opposition to this established church came from the Jacobite Monophysite communities in Syria and the Monophysite Copts in Egypt, all of whom believed in the single and indivisible nature of Christ … The Nestorian Church … was opposed to both the Monophysites and the Diophysites. Persecution had largely eliminated the Nestorian Church from Byzantine territory … Finally, there was the Monothelite sect supported by the emperor Heraclius and his government.” (pgs 8-9)

Bear in mind that the "Nestorians" now have been cleared of having been guilty of "the Nestorian heresy." But, hey, they are mostly exterminated now, so who cares, right? The "unified," "one true church" of that era got to maintain that facade for another couple of centuries, its "infallible teaching" intact.

21 comments:

Tim Enloe said...

Not a challenge, John, but just a question. What are you trying to show with these posts?

It seems that all societies, if they are to have order, are in an important sense compulsory ones. Even modern Western liberal democracies have significant compulsory powers - as may be seen in the simple fact that the modern State is precisely defined as the centralized control of the means of coercion within a given geographical territory.

We living today, heirs of the Peace of Westphalia and the so-called "Enlightenment" seem to believe the lie that politics can be truly separated from religion, that religion has no real bearing on the life of a society.

Yet all that has happened is that the religions have been swapped out. Instead of Christianity at the center of the culture, the cult of Reason is at the center. Instead of Christ as King, we have Caesar as King - and unlike Medieval Christendom, our Caesar has no interest whatsoever in listening to the claims of Christ.

Is the total cultural marginalization of Christianity and the dominance instead of an insipid, materialistic, relativistic secularism where all religions are just more "products" being hawked in a supposedly religiously neutral center square a better thing in your view than Augustine's persecuting Christendom?

John Bugay said...

Thanks for your comment Tim. Just wanted to let you know here that I've seen it and will get back to you.

Tim Enloe said...

No rush, and I don't want to distract you overmuch. However, I've been thinking about issues of dissent, coercion, and toleration a lot these last few years, and it remains a topic of great interest to me how Christians should construe Christ's kingship over the nations and to what extent within Christianity dissent should be restricted.

augustinefan said...

John,

How does this compare with the history of the United States of America?

John Bugay said...

Augustinefan - I'm sure you must be aware of some differences. Notable among them are the first amendment prohibition against any government interference on the free expression of religion, and prohibition against "cruel and unusual punishment."

Of course, I'm not finished with this series yet; more will become clear over the next couple of posts.

John Bugay said...

Hi Tim, I'm glad you're looking in on this. You wrote: Not a challenge, John, but just a question. What are you trying to show with these posts?

We have something today -- perspective -- that was wholly lacking in earlier times. We are able to look back, see what worked, what didn't work, and when things didn't work, what went wrong. Isn't this the purpose of studying history? Not to accept everything that they did as authoritative; but to use the gift of perspective, and sort things out.

To be honest, I had read Johnson many years ago, back when I knew a lot less than I know now. The notion of Augustine's "theology of persecution," for lack of a better word, was very striking to me. I would say from the outset that I find his exegesis of the passage "compel them to come in" to be sorely lacking, and in that respect, to the degree the rest of the western church followed him in that theology, things really went haywire.

Jesus's parable in Luke 14 is about a banquet, given at a certain time, and the initial guests do not show up. This same episode is related in the other synoptics; only Luke gives this third set of invitations, with the line, "compel them to come in." There are several places in Augustine, where he gets into trouble because he doesn't know Greek. This is one of them. Bock goes into great detail in his commentary to outline Luke's "program" as being a missionary one. The word "compel" does not mean "use force" but "use persuasion." "Urge" them to come in. It is clear that the Master "is not going to force anyone to come, as his response to the original invitees shows." Augustine missed that.

I know that it was a brutal and violent world. But early Christianity especially was about the Cross, turning the other cheek, obedience to the civil government, etc. It was to be an oasis from the brutality and violence of the world.

Augustine meant one thing, but lesser people than he was, ended up taking his words and going in whole directions that even he never intended.

John Bugay said...

Instead of Christianity at the center of the culture, the cult of Reason is at the center. Instead of Christ as King, we have Caesar as King - and unlike Medieval Christendom, our Caesar has no interest whatsoever in listening to the claims of Christ.

Is the total cultural marginalization of Christianity and the dominance instead of an insipid, materialistic, relativistic secularism where all religions are just more "products" being hawked in a supposedly religiously neutral center square a better thing in your view than Augustine's persecuting Christendom?


Tim, I think that you present a false dilemma here. I don't know how fair it is to say that "Christianity" was at the center of the culture. To be sure, "the Church" was at the center of culture, but I would not say that Christ was at the center of the culture.

So without trying to be too cliche in this, the Kingdom is not of this world. The Kingdom is already present, but not yet. Whether a largely secular Church is at the center of the culture, or "the cult of Reason," or something else, followers of Christ are going to be strangers in the world.

I've been thinking about issues of dissent, coercion, and toleration a lot these last few years, and it remains a topic of great interest to me how Christians should construe Christ's kingship over the nations and to what extent within Christianity dissent should be restricted.

This is not to say that we should be happy in a world of hostile governments. Somehow, and I don't know how, Christians do need to work together with the secular governments (as was demonstrated at the time of the Reformation). But the "Christian right" model of "rule by attempted majority" doesn't seem to have come off so well. I would much prefer to see some sort of "persuasion" model - and I think that it means Christians need not to withdraw from society, but instead, to be excellent in society -- in every field, from medicine, to law, to education, to technology, to business, and on and on. That's where Christian thinking will be diffused throughout society. Genuine Christianity, not the kind that you see on TV these days. But that's another story.

Lvka said...

Bahira was an Assyrian Nestorian monk. I've also never heard that Muhamad was a Monophysite..

Lvka said...

they are mostly exterminated now


..since their heresy lead the way to their ultimate and final absorbtion into Islam.. the same for the Arians and Gnostics who still inhabbited those Eastern regions in the 7th century.

John Bugay said...

I've also never heard that Muhamad was a Monophysite I explicated this at length in the post. It is also possible that you have not heard everything that is true.

since their heresy lead the way to their ultimate and final absorbtion into Islam

Your compassion is overwhelming. You obviously have also not heard that the "word on the street" is that neither Nestorius nor the Nestorians were guilty of "the Nestorian heresy."

See this link:

http://www.oltv.tv/id518.html

Lvka said...

Your source has a little obsession with Monophysites. (Which is OK, so do I). But what does poor little Mohamed have to do with it?

John Bugay said...

But what does poor little Mohamed have to do with it?

I think he brings Mohammed in for comparison purposes. After dealing both with Mohammad and dealing with the Romans, the folks of that part of the world were crying, "Deliver us from the hands of the Romans."

In case you don't get it, the clear implication is that it was bad living under Roman Catholic rule.

Tim Enloe said...

OK, I see your point about the problems of Augustine's exegesis of "compel them to come in" (though to be honest, I haven't read tons about the Donatist controversy).

Most of what you say about Christians in the world seems spot-on, particularly in light of Augustine's City of God, and I don't take issue with it. Basically what I wanted to know was if this series is another criticism of Catholicism, and if so, if your criticisms are allowing Catholicism to claim Western history prior to the Reformation. I suspect this is the case, since you distinguish between "Christianity" being at the center and "the Church" being at the center during these ages.

If that's your point, then that, I would say, is the real "false dilemma." It's always tempting for Modern Protestants to pretend that because we have the pure propositions of the Gospel, we can tell who really is and isn't a follower of Christ in their hearts. It's always tempting for us to pretend that we have superior insight into all these matters thanks to "sola Scriptura" and "grammatical-historical interpretation," and so we are in a privileged position to judge the deeds of the past by the "perspective" that we have. But it may be that I still don't understand what you're aiming at, so I'll wait for further clarification by you.

John Bugay said...

Tim -- Everything I write here is a criticism of Catholicism. I have purposely chosen to focus on that one overarching message in my writings, here at least. The Reformation WAS needed, and Christians need to remember that today.

My hope in this series is to show just one of the things that Catholics must take credit for if they want to continue to hold on to the "authority" of "the Church that Christ founded". These are things that they dismiss out-of-hand, saying that Christ left imperfect humans in charge, etc., all the while holding to some kind of infallible pristine "Church" and an infallible, pristine "Teaching Authority."

But if they are to push on us that Roman Catholic doctrine, as outlined in the current CCC, is "infallible" in the face of this kind of thing, the polemical Catholics have to admit that the Church's decisions in these matters were also "infallible."

These kinds of episodes are no less "teaching," and they are no less "faith and morals." To want to separate doctrine from life the way that Catholics do is totally contrary to what Christ taught, to what Paul taught. It is the most ridiculous thing at every level, and this is why I've compared it to "Hitler's Big Lie."

As for me "allowing" Catholicism to claim Western history, Rome's choke-hold on the political situation was pretty dominant. Protestants can point to continuities with theologians and specific theologies, but I don't think we would want to take credit for the Lateran council of 1215, for example. There is a lot we don't want to take credit for.

I started writing this in response to criticisms that were made of me regarding this chart, at a blog that must remain nameless here:

http://ockenga.gordonconwell.edu/ockenga/globalchristianity/gd/gd16.pdf

The criticism was that I somehow failed to justify the methodology for arriving at these numbers -- (the "Persecutors and their Victims" chart was something I posted at Green Baggins. I had pulled it from one of James White's blog posts. It turns out, this was from the "World Christian Encyclopedia -- now it's sponsored and maintained by Gordon Conwell seminary. Someone mentioned Protestant "witch hunts," or something like that, and my point was to offer some perspective on who was persecuting whom.)

But persecution was Rome's official policy. And not only was it the official policy, but it was enacted, in various situations. (And I have not yet gotten to the Cathars and the Inquisition yet). But all of this happened before the first Protestant. It was the world into which Protestantism was born.

Tim Enloe said...

John, I totally agree that the Reformation was necessary, and I am no defender of Rome's authority claims. Few things are clearer to me, in fact, that the papacy is just a man-made form of government destined, like all such things, to perish with time and circumstance. It is possible, on a certain reading of Daniel 2, that Rome might endure until the stone cut out without hands comes and knocks the whole statue of earthly government down, and in that sense one can at least understand the terrific attachment people can have to a system that, in our time-bound perspective, seems really to be "semper eadem." But even on that reading of Daniel 2, the papacy shows itself as a purely human contrivance that will one day go the way of all purely human contrivances. I have no problem with this at all - I'm as Protestant as they come on my vigorous denial of the divine foundation and authority of the papacy.

I also agree that the categories "teaching" and "faith and morals" are broader than most Catholics imply that they are, and that such things as the scandalous lives of popes and persecutions that actually were unjust and evil tell very strongly against any notion of "infallible" teaching authority in the papacy. There were some significant Medieval canon lawyers, including I believe the one who taught Pope Innocent III, who argued strongly that if a pope lived a wicked life, he actually lost his authority as pope and became "less than any catholic," subject to being judged a heretic, deposed, and punished the same as any other heretic.

I think that basically ,we're just approaching these issues from different angles. The question of the relationship of the spiritual realm to the civil realm has been debated amongst Christians for 2,000 years, and the dominant principle that has emerged is that the two orders are supposed to be independent, yet coordinate. Christ's Kingship is not merely invisible, in the hearts of believers - such a notion does not square with, say, Acts 17:5-8, where the proclamation that "Jesus is Lord" very plainly has political implications. Roman society reacted to the Christian Gospel precisely because the Romans understood that the Gospel taught another allegiance than that given to Caesar - an allegiance that could actually override the one given to Caesar! - and the State (in that form) clearly could not tolerate such a thing without losing its identity.

Perhaps what you're getting at on a larger scale is a criticism of the Constantinian synthesis, in which religion became allied with the political system in such a way that political power could be brought to bear in the religious sphere. That's a nice "democratic" thing to do, but as I said earlier, all that's happened in Modernity is that the religion at the heart of the culture has been swapped out. It isn't true that we have a religiously "neutral" society today, and that we therefore have a moral high ground against those who had an openly religious society. America is fast losing its veneer of religious toleration because the more Americans pursue an ostensibly "God-less" mode of existence, the less able our culture will be to tolerate open expressions of an alternative kingship, that of Jesus Christ. This is the same principle that animated Medieval persecution of heretics - we're all in the same boat on this one.

[cont]

Tim Enloe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tim Enloe said...

[cont.]

So, apparently in contrast to you, I don't see suppression of dissent PER SE as an evil thing, for any organized body of any kind whatever has to have boundaries and limits to what it can tolerate. The notion that a society could - or really, SHOULD - tolerate anything in the name of "free speech" or "freedom of conscience" is properly called anarchy, and is not in accord with Christian principles about civil government.

There have certainly been unjust suppressions, and Rome certainly has been guilty of a number of them. But not all suppressions Rome performed were inherently evil. The standard of good and evil is not WHETHER someone was suppressed, but WHAT was suppressed, and HOW. And these questions are much larger, and much more difficult to grapple with than just damning "Romanists" for a supposed long history of creating a "Trail of Blood" out of some merely satanic desire to destroy "Truth." History - and in fact, Truth itself- just isn't that simple.

All I'm saying is that we shouldn't confuse a proper critique of unjust suppression with an improper critique of the larger principle of maintaining law and order via suppression, which all societies of whatever kind must follow. Even churches which pride themselves on having been formed by passionate dissenters from some "persecution" by other Christians have mechanisms in place to suppress certain kinds of dissent within their own ranks. No one can get away from this; societies are like bodies - they must fight off "disease," and fighting off "disease" sometimes involves the forcible shutting down of the agents of the "disease."

That said, I hope you're not planning on defending groups such as the Cathars. That would be a severe tactical mistake given your goal of defending biblical Christian orthodoxy against the errors of Catholicism.

John Bugay said...

Tim -- I just have time now for a few quick comments, but I'd love to talk about all of this in more detail with you. You can email me at "johnbugay" (without the quotes) and it's a gmail address.

Few things are clearer to me, in fact, that the papacy is just a man-made form of government destined, like all such things, to perish with time and circumstance.

Without getting into too many of the details, I'd go a lot farther than this. I think that we have an opportunity now, given what we've learned about ancient Rome, and the fact that Rome itself has backpedalled on its story, that with some publicity and some real pushing, the world is in a position to see further concessions yet.

There were some significant Medieval canon lawyers, including I believe the one who taught Pope Innocent III, who argued strongly that if a pope lived a wicked life, he actually lost his authority as pope and became "less than any catholic," subject to being judged a heretic, deposed, and punished the same as any other heretic.

I would like to read more about this guy. I wonder, did he live through the experience?

... Acts 17:5-8 ...

I go back and forth with this -- I'm not quite 2K, but I would not be at all in favor of the church, or churches, becoming involved in politics. Definitely, Christians being more active at all levels of politics, but at the same time, not wearing their Christianity on their sleeves. Exhibiting sort of a quiet kind of strength.

John Bugay said...

It isn't true that we have a religiously "neutral" society today, and that we therefore have a moral high ground against those who had an openly religious society. America is fast losing its veneer of religious toleration because the more Americans pursue an ostensibly "God-less" mode of existence, the less able our culture will be to tolerate open expressions of an alternative kingship, that of Jesus Christ.

I understand that there is no such thing as a "neutral" state -- and Christians certainly don't seem to have any kind of "moral high ground". Bonheoffer worried about a "man come of age," and I do think that the right way to address that is to strengthen churches (theologically -- and I think that "remembrance of the Reformation" will be a great tool in our time, with the 500th anniversaries coming up), so that they can strengthen families, who, together, can teach kids (who mostly go to public schools), so the kids can grow up and be "excellent" as I was saying above, in places like law and medicine and politics and media and technology and construction and plumbing etc. Yes, our "world" is "godless," but I think a quiet, confident Christianity that, right now, needs to be built on a generational level, is the program that we all need to (a) buy into and (b) persuade others of.

So, apparently in contrast to you, I don't see suppression of dissent PER SE as an evil thing, for any organized body of any kind whatever has to have boundaries and limits to what it can tolerate. ... The standard of good and evil is not WHETHER someone was suppressed, but WHAT was suppressed, and HOW.

Again, I think that we won't get anywhere with a "Christian right" type of movement at this point. I think the backlash against George Bush's "righteous war" (and all the rest of his program) are a good example of what can and probably would again go wrong. I think that the "silent majority" must be silently built "the old-fashioned way," through what I'd call "a long obedience in the same direction." I would love to see this country be able to enact laws against abortion, for example, that don't get shouted down with the kind of misinformation that's out there today -- a media that's not afraid to ask the question, "just why don't you think a fetus has the rights of a human person," and while the media can't or won't ask that question today, that's not to say it can't happen at any time in the future.


That said, I hope you're not planning on defending groups such as the Cathars.


Absolutely not. But just as an example, how many of the readers of this blog alone know that the pope turned the returning crusaders on them? With similar kinds of indulgences as have been mentioned here? I think that a world that knows this one historical datum is going to be inclined to remember it.

delse03 said...

Mm I think both of you are making the mistake of not looking at this on the scriptural level. Like Tim mentioned, there are many instances in the NT where "Jesus is Lord" is believed to have political (militaristic?) implications. But it is never Jesus himself who claims this, nor are any of his followers praised for making statements like this. Jesus repeats over and over exhaustingly that his Kingdom is NOT of this world.

To ask the question of how our governments should take Christianity into consideration is to totally miss the point of Jesus' assertions about His Kingdom. Again humans think that it is our responsibility to bring Jesus' Kingdom about. We think that by enacting laws, leaders, etc. that more closely align with our religious beliefs that we can some how make the world a better place (Do I even need to explain how futile and funny a mission undertaken to make The World a better place is?).

There is no way for us to make Jesus' Kingdom come about. Tim -- to think that we (humans) somehow have an authority to weigh out and determine the interaction between the civil realm and the spiritual realm. That story has already been told, and we know the ending.

Hypothesizing that we could even have an earthly world pre-apocalypse where the situation of dealing with Christendom (as government) dissension would arise is usurping Christ's power in His second coming. This is a mistake you teeter on making and an appalling mistake that the Catholic Church undertook in giving itself the authority to fight the religious war that ONLY CHRIST is prophesied to fight.

delse03 said...

It is when we take the authority of Christ to establish His Kingdom on to our selves that we see the horrible violent tendencies of Western Christianity.

If we simply followed the instructions Christ gave of us of turning the other cheek, and countless other pacifist passages found in the NT, we would be carrying out our responsibilities, and allowing Christ to carry out His at the appointed time.