The Myth of Redemptive Violence

Today’s news seemed to be filled with justification for the continuing war on terror. Pundits like Bill O’Reilly were even calling for a limited draft. There’s humor in that Bill himself dodged the draft during Vietnam, but I’m digressing from the more important point of the false promise of war. Fighting for peace is readily accepted in the USA if not the world, but the sobering pictures emerging from Iraq, Lebanon and Israel provide quiet testimony to the overall ineffectiveness of violence to beget anything more than violence.

“The myth of redemptive violence, writes (Walter) Wink in The Powers That Be: Theology for a New Millennium, “speaks for God; it does not listen for God to speak. It invokes the sovereignty of God as its own; it does not entertain the prophetic possibility of radical judgment by God. It misappropriates the language, symbols and scriptures of Christianity. It does not seek God in order to change; it embraces God in order to prevent change. Its God is not the impartial ruler of all nations but a tribal god worshiped as an idol. Its metaphor is not the journey but the fortress; its symbol is not the cross but the crosshairs of a gun. Its offer is not forgiveness but victory. … It is blasphemous. It is idolatrous.

“And it is immensely popular.”

It is difficult to be the shining city on the hill when so much of our effort and treasury and youth is mired in blood-soaked sand.

Read the entire article at the National Catholic Reporter today.

I’m indebted to my friend Br. Joe Kotula, OFM for sending me this link.

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redemptive violence, walter wink

2 Replies to “The Myth of Redemptive Violence”

  1. I remember the sadness in my Muslim uncle’s voice, the utter bone-weariness when he asked me if my marrying a Jew meant we would have to be enemies. I replied that we are family, not enemies. I know that the same Spirit speaks in both our hearts, though we may call it different names. Perhaps it is not too late, perhaps that spirit of unity can still move in all our hearts and lead us away from the worship of Mars.

  2. Amen. Whether Shalom or Salaam there can be peace in our hearts. There will never be peace in the streets until there is peace in our hearts.

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