J. Punt argued that religions are notoriously implicated in violence. He says, Christianity is often seen as a particularly good example of the close links between (organized) religion and violence. Furthermore, Punt explained the problem of violence ...
J. Punt argued that religions are notoriously implicated in violence. He says, Christianity is often seen as a particularly good example of the close links between (organized) religion and violence. Furthermore, Punt explained the problem of violence in the New Testament under the influence of the Roman Empire. That is, the scope and nature of the Messianic peace may have been different from the Roman Pax (Peace) in certain ways, but linking peace and violence, making them twin sides of the same coin, put the Roman and New Testament authors' versions of peace on par. Rather than the antithesis of violence, peace is the basis of violence, using violence to create peace. The two are inseparable.
However, the peace of the Roman Empire differs from Christian ‘God’ Peace'. The Roman Empire sought after a war of conquest on the basis of military power on the pretence of so called ‘Pax Romana (Peace for Rome)’, whereas the peace in the Bible was not so much grounded on a social organization of power, as the ‘God’s Word’ and the civic group of ‘church’. Thus, violence in the New Testament is differentiated from the limitless conquest in a aiming ideology as well as the foundation of social organization. Then, even in the New Testament for love and forgiveness, violence is embraced and God exerts extreme violence. Thus, it is recommended to discuss the the social function of violence.
Often, alternatives to violence are understood as nonviolence, peace, or love and forgiveness. However, the dichotomy between violence and nonviolence is not a sufficient condition to solve the problem of reality. In my opinion, the concept of violence has to be classified into physical, biological violence and social violence, and the discourse has to be concerned with the latter rather than the former.
On the other hand, it is essential to understand that the legitimacy of violence is not in accordance with the degree of intensity, but according to its purpose, that is, to protect one's own rights. At the same time, by establishing the right standards for the use of force and having a sense of reflection, we will be able to respect the rights of others and seek ways of coexistence without falling into languidness. In this respect, we see that the violence of the Roman Empire is in a different context from the advocacy of violence in the New Testament or the Greek classics. The peace of the Roman Empire was based on violence, and its violence headed for boundless imperialism, but the peace of the New Testament, even if exploiting extreme violence for self-defence or self-identity, basically does not alienate. exclude, or shows hostility against others. Or, I do not think that it is tyranny, exclusion, or hostility. In the Greek classics, there was also a warning against the social proliferation of violence.
However, it is not easy to distinguish between the exercise of legitimate violence for self-defence and the aggressive behavior beyond reasonable scope. Here we need to refer to individual reflection suggested by J. Harold Ellens. Ellens emphasizes that two Bibles include both tendencies, constructive and destructive. He emphasizes that psychology can explain how violence occurs, but can not eliminate it, so that through the efforts of readers alone, the metaphor of violence can be eliminated and replaced with a constructive metaphor. In my opinion, however, her concept of constructive tendency does not exclude the role of violence and it should be replaced with ‘positive’ violence.
It is noteworthy that the Roman Empire itself took advantage of the concept of defence-war for its allies. In my opinion, however, Roman Peace (Pax Romana) or slaughter resulting from defense war has to be discriminated from the God’s peace or terrible punishment inflicted by the God, which refers to the extent of organized military power. Fundamental organization of the Christianity is the assembly of Christians, which is not necessarily military. God’s peace is based on the words of the God, wheras the peace of the Roman Empire on the weapons and the power of military system. As Tacitus reports in his <Historiae> military are raised by money, and the money provided with taxation. Organized military as the base of the latter is guaranteed by exploiting and avarice. Moreover, it actually could mor degenerate future situation as being eficient of device for reflection or restraining.