sexta-feira, 27 de fevereiro de 2015

THE NON-VIOLENCE OF JESUS


Jesus said,
“My kingdom is not of this world.
If it were, my servants would fight
to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders…

…the reason I was born
and came into the world
is to testify to the truth.
Everyone on the side of truth
listens to me.”

John 18:36,37 (read 18.33-37) - NIV

 

Even while being attacked, Jesus never appealed to violence. He would have had every reason to react with force. His life was at stake. But he prohibited his followers from taking up arms to defend him! This became clear when he was questioned by Pilate. The kingdom of Pilate was supported by the violence of political and military power, while the Kingdom of Jesus was supported by truth that leads to peace. Pilate could not understand truth and never experienced peace. He followed the way of violence and handed Jesus over to be crucified.

The world continues to ignore truth and therefore lacks peace! Even the great monotheistic religions do not know the truth and are great fomenters of violence. To the shame of the world’s major monotheistic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) who profess to believe in the one and only God, Buddhism, which does not bother to define God, is the only major faith that has never promoted armed conflict. It seems that this non-god Buddhist faith is nearer to the practice of Jesus than the “godly” ones!

What is the truth of Jesus? To live love to its ultimate consequences! Jesus would rather die than take the life of another. The goal of Jesus was to live love, not to survive.

Love and truth are synonymous. They are twins. To use force to defend or enforce truth is contradictory, just like using "rape" to promote virginity.

By replacing the experience of love with dogma and rules of conduct Christianity walks the paths of violence. Love needs no arguments. It speaks for itself. Dogmas and laws need to be defended. They generate conflicts, divisions and rivalries. We inherit a fragmented Christianity where it is difficult for peace to reign even among brothers and sisters.

Our culture is violent and based on the lie that glorifies the good guy killing the bad guys (The American Sniper). Television networks and movies daily emphasize violence as a means of eliminating evil. In films, dozens of people die by being shot, stabbed, beaten, burned, crushed and bombed. Blood flows freely. Video games teach children to kill their opponents with efficiency. Sex is connected to violence. People who question this trend are seen as being abnormal.

On the Internet, I saw a satire of religious militancy that tries to impose justice. It was a script about Jesus and the Terminator. The terminator was born at the same time as Jesus and had the mission to protect Jesus from danger. He invaded the Last Supper to try to kill Judas before he betrayed Jesus and shot the soldiers who came to arrest Jesus. He ignored the Jesus’ protests that he was messing up the Divine Plan. To fulfill his mission Jesus had to cause the terminator’s gun hand to wither.

To what extent we are able to hear the voice of Jesus in the midst of deafening widespread violence? Our competitive culture promotes survival instead of justice and equality. It is more and more difficult to hear the Master’s message of love and solidarity which is so contrary to the predominate values of our age. Can we hear the voice of Jesus in the midst of turmoil and achieve peace grounded on truth?

 

John 18:33-37 – New International Version (NIV)

Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

“Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”

“Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?”

Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

“You are a king, then!” said Pilate.

Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

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