Moral Outrage
Whew! God help us!

Christianity was a religion of pacifists

The earliest followers of Jesus rejected violence, tried to return good for evil, and tried to make friends out of their enemies (by caring for them, feeding them, praying for them and certainly refusing to kill them).

This original form of Christianity, the church of the first generation after its founder Jesus and even most of the first three centuries, was a religion of pacifists, oppressed women, orphans, those forced into prostitution, despised people of all stripes and others of those called “the least.”

It wasn’t until the late Fourth Century that St. Augustine wrote the first Christian Just War Theory (CJWT), making legitimate, in certain rare circumstances, killing by Christians in wartime, which had been long forbidden to the followers of Jesus.

Soon thereafter, Christianity became a religion of justified violence, contrary to the teachings and modeling of Jesus, and it remains that way until this very hour.

Critics of Christianity should start challenging the churches to go back to their roots where evil was not allowed to run rampant, but rather was aggressively and courageously resisted using the nonviolent methods of Jesus and his inspired disciples like Tolstoy, Gandhi, Dorothy Day, A. J. Muste, Martin Luther King, the Berrigan brothers, John Dear, Kathy Kelly and a multitude of other courageous prophetic voices.

The major motivation for the legendary civil disobedience of those modern-day prophets was their commitment to Jesus and the way he lived his life as pacifist (not passive) active resistor to evil.

The followers of that very real Jesus should be courageously “going to the streets” and saying “NO” wherever and whenever fear and hatred raise their ugly heads and try to provoke violence — no matter if it is coming from the US Congress or the Parliament in London, the Oval Office or #10 Downing Street, in the Knesset or in the headquarters of Hamas, whether in Tehran or in Baghdad or in the Vatican or in Colorado Springs or in the bowels of the 700 Club – or from within the local parish.

[Excerpt of an article by Gary G. Kohls, MD]


2 Responses to “Christianity was a religion of pacifists”

  1. Hmmm…. The Bible also mentions that after the Exodus period, when the Israelites were about to enter into the Promised Land they were specifically instructed by God to wipe certain groups that had lived there previously… So it’ll be contradictory to summarise Christianity as above without understanding it in it’s full context….

    • While the Biblical fact you cite is true, I don’t follow your logic in applying this bloody, war-like example from the Old Testament to the pacifistic teachings of Jesus of the New Testament? The point being that the teachings of Jesus (New Testament) represents a day-and-night difference to much of what went down in the Old Testament.

      For more on the topic, check out another post on this site:

      While still on the subject, unfortunately today, even many evangelical Christians IMO are far too hung up on the Old Testament. As a result, they generally tend to be inclined toward an affection for war and violence, citing Old Testament references such as the one you mention.

      Continuing with this Old Testament-leaning train of thought, a Pew survey of mostly white evangelical Protestants revealed that more than six in 10 believe that torture is often or sometimes justified.

      Whereas Christians, who really base their lives on what the New Testament promotes not only believe that torture can never be justified, but also that war and killing should be avoided.

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