Nonviolence as the Essence of Christianity

The orientation to death which is sin shows itself in systemic (religious, nationalistic, tribal) sadistic or masochistic violence.  The violence of war, the violence of sacrificial religions, the genocidal violence of tribalism, the violence of nationalism, or suicidal or murderous violence, are all manifestations of a singular structure – sin – the diagnosis of which is given to us in Christ.  This is a claim which requires substantiation (only initiated and not fully developed below) and which is posed over and against theological systems which presume violence is a necessary part of redemption. Such systems cannot equate sin and violence (though they might picture an overlap between the two) but, I would claim, they are inherently incapacitated in recognizing the root problem.  Should this argument prove to have any value, the implication is that certain theologies and forms of Christianity, in incorporating violence, are in danger of practicing sin under the guise of righteousness and of perverting the image of God by projecting evil onto God.  Continue reading “Nonviolence as the Essence of Christianity”

Deny Christ and Make America Great Again

Twenty years in Japan provided me an alternative perspective on the fusion of religion and nationalism as it occurs in this country and as it must have felt in the first century.   Hirohito was once regarded as a living deity, directly descended from the Sun Goddess, and all citizens were required to acknowledge this, though, given their acquiescence this need not interfere with their own private religion.  As in Rome, private cults were allowed so long as they did not interfere with public acknowledgment of the power of the State in the form of the Emperor.  Christian worship was allowed, in the period leading up to the Second World War, with the proviso that all the Christians, at the beginning of any worship service, first acknowledge the Emperor by bowing to his photograph (which every church was required to display).  Continue reading “Deny Christ and Make America Great Again”