When I was a teenager there was a lot of debate about the kind of movies that were appropriate for Christians. I remember hearing quite often that violence was okay (and sometimes even good) but nudity and bad language was not. I wonder why we have such an accepting attitude toward violence.
When we look at a wide swath of topics we see that Christians are often the greatest supporters of violence.
In the United States, who are the biggest proponents of war? Christians. Who are the ones who support aggressive action against Palestine, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan? Christians. Who continually supports expansion of American military? Christians. Who supports the assassination of people who oppose America? Christians. Who are often the most outspoken in support of torture and the denial of basic rights to those accused of war crimes? Christians. Who are the number one supporters of the death penalty? Christians. Who lobbies for the harshest punishments for crime? Christians. Who are the prime supporters of “peace through strength” (which actually means peace through violence)? Christians.
We even have a tendency to whitewash and glorify the terrible violence of our national ancestors. We often give the impression that slavery was not all that bad. We justify the unjust acts of violence that America perpetuated, such as war on Native Americans and Pacific Islanders. There are even higher rates of spouse and child abuse in more religious areas of the country, and Christians are more likely than others to put up with domestic violence.
While many Christians have well reasoned beliefs concerning violence, all of us need to consider if the general embrace of violence by Jesus followers displays the character to Jesus. Are we people who love our enemies, turn the other cheek, love unconditionally, and keep no record of wrong? Are we people who follow Jesus’ example of laying down our lives for others, or do we prefer to wield swords and guns?