By Jacques. Ellul
On a subject matter that has created massive uncertainty and uneasiness between many Christians, Jacques Ellul brings to endure the daring research and the bright readability of argument which are linked to his individual experiences on modern social questions. After surveying traditionally some of the methods of Christians to violence, Ellul examines intensive present statements through Christians condoning or accepting violence. He then contrasts, with penetrating perception, the dynamics of violence and the transparent calls for of the Gospel. In a concluding bankruptcy he eloquently units forth the actually distinct nature of Christian radicalism and the violence of affection. Of convenience to neither correct nor Left as such, this Gospel-centered research of the complicated factor of violence today-deftly translated through Cecilia Gaul Kings-is a forceful, unique contribution to the continuing dialogue of the difficulty in church and society.
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Extra resources for Violence: Reflections from a Christian Perspective
These various affirmations are matters of belief, based on misinterpretation of facts, misunderstanding of psychological and sociological discoveries, and, finally, on popular, commonly held notions. Now it is certainly one of the characteristics of an ideology that it presents as scientific truth what in reality is simply irrational belief. The second characteristic of an ideology is that its real aims are quite different from those it announces. Some subject, a theological idea, is elucidated in the most serious way, not by any means in order to start a theological debate, but in order to confirm the feeling that a Christian must be active in the world.
Thus every encounter with a poor person is also an encounter with Jesus Christ and God. But "God" is a meaningless term. However, it is clear that the revolutionary stance and its various theological consequences are of a piece. Now let me go further and show that the theology of violence both implies and derives from the theology of the death of God. A theology of violence calls for discrimination for or against certain men or groups of men; therefore it must deny the Father who loves all men equally.
The system of free competition is a form of violence that must be absolutely condemned. But it would be foolish to suppose that planning will do away with violence; for then the state will implacably impose its rules on the enterprisers. We need only look about, even in France, to see to how great a degree planning involves calculations as to what must be sacrificed. This group of producers, that kind of exploitation are swept away, in accordance with economic estimates. And the Plan that requires these holocausts to the God of Economics is no less violent for being voted by a parliament and being made a law.