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mererdog

Enemies

33 posts in this topic

My opinions on this subject are inextricably linked to my pacifism, so I suppose I should start there...

 
First, it is important to understand that I did not decide to become a pacifist. I was not persuaded to the position by evidence or argument. I simply came to a point where I had to acknowledge a truth about myself, namely that whenever I intentionally try to harm someone I end up feeling guilty about it. Unraveling the is/ought knot in the back of my head, I realized that, regardless of what reason might tell me I should believe, I was handicapping myself if I failed to be honest about what I actually believed. And my reactions make it clear that I believe violence to be unjustifiable.
 
On the one hand, my pacifism prevents me from being anyone's enemy, because there is no one I really wish to harm. On the other hand, my pacifism limits my problem-solving options when dealing with those who would act as my enemy. It isn't that I love my enemy, just that I want to keep my commitment to do only right, even if everyone else seems to be doing wrong.
 
So that's basically where I am on the subject. I have no scripture that I fall back on and no authority I look to for guidance. I'm just trying to use my conscience as a guide. But we all do things differently, which brings me to some questions for everyone....
 
How do you handle enemies? Why do you do that? Do you think it is the right way to do it? Have you given it much thought?
Edited by mererdog

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13 hours ago, mererdog said:

my pacifism prevents me from being anyone's enemy,

But your pacifism doesn't prevent you from being anyone's victim... 

I'm a pacifist in the sense that I don't look to create enemies, but my pacifism ends when their fist meets my face, then my temper takes over (self-defense). 

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6 hours ago, Dan56 said:

But your pacifism doesn't prevent you from being anyone's victim... 

Actually, it does, and in more than one way.

At the most basic level, it prevents others from stealing my sovereignty by changing me from a decision-maker into someone who reacts to the decisions of others. I won't be fooled into thinking I have no other choice, so my hand will never be forced. My personal freedom is valuable enough that I believe I am willing to suffer and die for it. Not that I look forward to my next opportunity to test the strength of those convictions, of course. 

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6 hours ago, Dan56 said:

I'm a pacifist in the sense that I don't look to create enemies, but my pacifism ends when their fist meets my face, then my temper takes over (self-defense). 

I have always considered my temper to be a character flaw. My personal history shows it helping me very little and harming me quite a lot. I take it your experience differs? 

Edited by mererdog

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2 hours ago, mererdog said:

Actually, it does, and in more than one way.

At the most basic level, it prevents others from stealing my sovereignty by changing me from a decision-maker into someone who reacts to the decisions of others. I won't be fooled into thinking I have no other choice, so my hand will never be forced. My personal freedom is valuable enough that I believe I am willing to suffer and die for it. Not that I look forward to my next opportunity to test the strength of those convictions, of course. 

Being a slave to those who would dominate or abuse you is not freedom. When you raise a white flag to your enemies, your personal sovereignty goes out the window. When you willingly becoming a victim, your no longer a decision-maker, your choices are eliminated and your forced to yield to those who tell you how its going to be. There may be certain situations when its better to walk away and endure some hardship, but generally, yielding to bullies just encourages more abuse and dominance.    

1 hour ago, mererdog said:

I have always considered my temper to be a character flaw. My personal history shows it helping me very little and harming me quite a lot. I take it your experience differs? 

I agree to the extent that an out-of-control temper is a character flaw. But submission to those who would cause you harm is also a character flaw.. If its masochism verses temper, I prefer temper.. I don't think there's any honor in pacifism, pacifist often come off to me as people who just don't care, they just don't find anything is worth fighting for. Freedom and liberty are not the fruits of pacifism.   

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On 2/8/2017 at 9:14 AM, Dan56 said:

Being a slave to those who would dominate or abuse you is not freedom. 

That's what I'm saying. Consider a simple scenario- You want to fight me and I don't want to fight you. So, if I fight you, I am not doing what I want to do and I am instead doing what you want me to do. If I let violence or threats of violence from you prompt me to be violent, I am allowing you to control my actions rather than acting according to my own judgment. By having thought out the morality in advance and adopted a clear philosophy, I am more readily able to maintain self-control when people are trying to manipulate me in that way.

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On 2/8/2017 at 9:14 AM, Dan56 said:

 I don't think there's any honor in pacifism, pacifist often come off to me as people who just don't care, they just don't find anything is worth fighting for.

I am speaking only on a personal level. Your earlier comment referenced my pacifism, so that is what I spoke to. I won't speak to the pacifism of others, beyond pointing out that anyone can call themself a pacifist, just as anyone can call themself a Christian. If we judge others based on the actions of complete strangers who share a label with them, we are not going to come to a fair judgment.

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I find your logic impeccable. The conclusion seems solid. It is, however, a tough path. How are you defining violence? 

 

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7 hours ago, kokigami said:

How are you defining violence? 

 

Intentionally harming another.

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harm can mean a lot of things. Do you know the principals of Aikido? Specifically, Seidokan. Aikido technique can be violent action, but, it can also be non harmful. Or, at worst, it can be argued that the aggressor has harmed themselves, when harm happens. Is this kind of thing ruled out by your pacifism?

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Posted (edited)

On 3/14/2017 at 2:07 AM, kokigami said:

harm can mean a lot of things.

Yes. I was being flippant. A more honest answer is that I don't really define violence so much as recognize it. Remember, I'm going by feelings as much as anything else.

The Aikido knowledge question, I will dodge. This is at least the third time, so it is becoming fun.

Has everyone Googled kokigami's name yet? Good. I'm tired of being the only one with that in his head.

As for what is ruled out, it's really more about motive than action or outcome. Motive forms the fundamental difference between an accident and an attack, and between a surgery and a stabbing. Important stuff. But stuff that is inherently subjective.

Edited by mererdog

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Philosophy is all fine and good until you're actually IN a violent encounter ...

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On 2/9/2017 at 2:58 PM, mererdog said:

That's what I'm saying. Consider a simple scenario- You want to fight me and I don't want to fight you. So, if I fight you, I am not doing what I want to do and I am instead doing what you want me to do. If I let violence or threats of violence from you prompt me to be violent, I am allowing you to control my actions rather than acting according to my own judgment. By having thought out the morality in advance and adopted a clear philosophy, I am more readily able to maintain self-control when people are trying to manipulate me in that way.

I can respect a pacifist who doesn't want to fight because they deplore violence. But I never met a pacifist who enjoyed laying in a ditch with 2 black eyes and a bloody lip.. Its at that point, that a pacifist is no longer avoiding violence, but have willingly become a victim. Being beat to a pulp is not controlling anything imo.

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3 hours ago, Dan56 said:

But I never met a pacifist who enjoyed laying in a ditch with 2 black eyes and a bloody lip.. Its at that point, that a pacifist is no longer avoiding violence, but have willingly become a victim. 

Which Jesus said we should never do, and which the example of Christ clearly shows is the wrong thing to do? I know it's a cheap shot, but seriously....

Yes, it is about being willing to be a victim. The motivation is to protect the other from the self, even at the expense of the self. Firemen don't normally go into flaming buildings hoping to get burned. They risk their own lives trying to keep others safe. At its best, pacifism is similar, except that it involves protecting others from yourself.

 

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16 hours ago, Phillipe said:

Philosophy is all fine and good until you're actually IN a violent encounter ...

At which point it is awesome. Hi Sifu.

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5 hours ago, mererdog said:

At its best, pacifism is similar, except that it involves protecting others from yourself.

I guess that's why I'm not a pacifist, I don't believe that absorbing the anger of others protects anyone, but instead, propagates violence.. Let a bully have his way, and your just inspiring his further abuse of others. Avoiding conflict whenever possible, and walking away from an altercation, I agree with.

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Posted (edited)

3 hours ago, Dan56 said:

Let a bully have his way, and your just inspiring his further abuse of others.

Or you are inspiring others to stand up and voice their objection to the bullying, creating social pressure that causes the bullying to stop. The devil is in the details. Ever looked into how nonviolent revolutions happen? It's fascinating stuff.

Still, my goal is not to protect everyone from everything. The other guy's sins are his own burden to bear, if you don't mind me stealing a little lingo. 

Edited by mererdog

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15 hours ago, mererdog said:

At which point it is awesome. Hi Sifu.

Hi, doggie! :)

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On 3/15/2017 at 2:27 PM, mererdog said:

Yes. I was being flippant. A more honest answer is that I don't really define violence so much as recognize it. Remember, I'm going by feelings as much as anything else.

The Aikido knowledge question, I will dodge. This is at least the third time, so it is becoming fun.

Has everyone Googled kokigami's name yet? Good. I'm tired of being the only one with that in his head.

As for what is ruled out, it's really more about motive than action or outcome. Motive forms the fundamental difference between an accident and an attack, and between a surgery and a stabbing. Important stuff. But stuff that is inherently subjective.

well played. And you were never the only one. I have that in my head as well. 

It seems to me that one can prepare for violent encounters without preparing to become violent. Part of that is preparing to be injured, but also preparing strategies for avoiding injury. I wouldn't call myself a pacifist, because I am not to the level that I feel I could stick to that philosophy, in a crunch. However, it is generally my goal. 

 

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13 hours ago, kokigami said:

I wouldn't call myself a pacifist, because I am not to the level that I feel I could stick to that philosophy, in a crunch.

Pacifism is about what you should do, rather than what you will do. So the true test is not whether you engage in violence, but whether you justify violence. If you resort to violence in the heat of the moment, can you convince yourself that you did nothing wrong? If so, you aren't a pacifist. If you can't, acknowledging that is helpful in avoiding future guilt.

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From the Christian standpoint, God commands us to love our enemies:

Quote

Luke 6:27 - "But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you."

Exodus 23:5 - "If you see the donkey of one who hates you lying down under its burden, you shall refrain from leaving him with it; you shall rescue it with him"

Acts 7: 60 -" And (Stephen, while being stoned)  falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." And when he had said this, he fell asleep."

Ephesians 4:32 - "Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you."
 
Mark 11:25 - "And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses."
 

1 Corinthians 13 describes what the scriptures mean by "love". Love is not an emotion or sentiment we have for someone, rather it is the choice which governs our actions, particularly when we encounter some of the unpleasant realities of someone Else's humanity. However there is NOTHING loving about letting someone injure you over and over again, either.  The philosophy of pacifism lends towards turning into a state of passive-aggression that is not befitting of one's call to ministry.

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Posted (edited)

8 hours ago, ULCneo said:

However there is NOTHING loving about letting someone injure you over and over again, either.  The philosophy of pacifism lends towards turning into a state of passive-aggression that is not befitting of one's call to ministry.

First, pacifism does not require allowing others to harm you. It is a sign of poor problem-solving skills to believe the only way to avoid harm to yourself is to harm others. We have other options. So my basic position is to view use of violence as a personal failure to do right. People are all imperfect, however, so I am hesitant to treat someone else's personal failures as being worse than my own.

I would also just like to point out that passive-aggression is a very misunderstood cocept in popular culture. Also that when you speak of what befits a call to ministry you are suggesting that your conception of ministry is more "real" than someone else's. That is of course your right, and a perfectly natural position to take, but it runs counter to the philosophical underpinnings of the ULC. Religious freedom through religious equality - No hierarchy and no standards. Ordained for free and for life without question. See it?

Now, on a personal level, I do wonder why anyone would discourage me from following my conscience. If I should ignore the little voice telling me violence is wrong, why shouldn't I also ignore it when it tells me not to break my marriage vows?

Edited by mererdog

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7 hours ago, mererdog said:

I would also just like to point out that passive-aggression is a very misunderstood cocept in popular culture. Also that when you speak of what befits a call to ministry you are suggesting that your conception of ministry is more "real" than someone else's. That is of course your right, and a perfectly natural position to take, but it runs counter to the philosophical underpinnings of the ULC. Religious freedom through religious equality - No hierarchy and no standards. Ordained for free and for life without question. See it?

Now, on a personal level, I do wonder why anyone would discourage me from following my conscience. If I should ignore the little voice telling me violence is wrong, why shouldn't I also ignore it when it tells me not to break my marriage vows?

First understand that I DO NOT speak from the standpoint of religions other than Christianity. Not to say that I don't think that people shouldn't be free to practice that which doesn't cause harm to others, BUT I'm NOT going to support other religions in my teaching from the pulpit or elsewhere, because my own religion and faith defines that as being "NOT right" which then runs contrary to the ULC doctrine "to do that which IS right".

No, I'm not talking about "my conception" of ministry- Rather, I'm talking about ANY conception of ministry- as I'm sure that everyone agrees that "ministry" must be approached in a spirit of reference towards the religion the minister represents. The Christian scriptures make this clear, and I would be sure that the majority of other religions have a similar concept of sorts- One's ministry has a certain gravity that flows from it. Otherwise you invariably get the state of the blind leading the blind into the proverbial ditch.

Furthermore the notion that the ULC doesn't have "standards" is clearly erroneous. The ULC doctrine has a "standard" of a sort, albeit perhaps a very broad one - "To do that which IS right" Notice our doctrine does NOT say "Do that which we THINK is right" or similar- it says "...IS right". The virtue of that is that we have implemented a standard (however broad the standard might be). Within the Sense of Christianity "That which IS right " is that which does not run directly counter to the authority of Scripture". The SPIN is how one "interprets" Scripture, which is either inspired by God (or the powers that be) or it is NOT. If the interpretation is a reasonable one based upon the history and the ground rules of proper construction, and a person is convinced that the revelation came from God (or the powers that be) then so be it. It is NOT the Church's right of power to "DEFINE what is right/wrong", which rests on the following:

Quote

 

Romans 13:1 (KJV) "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God."

Hebrews 10:14-17 (KJV) (14) For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.(15) Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before,(16) This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; (17) And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.

 

These two verses establish two things- The verse in Romans tells the church to let every person ("soul") be subject to the powers of God. It therefore flows that it is NOT the ministry's JOB to coerce one to do anything- rather it is the function of the ministry to "Teach, Counsel, and Advise". The verses in Hebrews make clear that it is GOD (not man) that instills the sense of Right and Wrong in the individual- The catch is that God USES man to accomplish that which he would accomplish. However, God DOES NOT use those whom will say that THEY were the ones that did a thing (as most ministers WILL these days, to some extent or another.- They talk about whom *They* won for God as if their doing God some sort of favor- which Scripture calls the Sin of Pride). Therefore the majority of mainline Christianity is far from God, and the ULC doctrine is quite a bit closer to what Scripture actually teaches-- the notion of relationship with God Vs. a Religion that speaks death into the people. (Which most religions do out of some form of legalism.)

The ULC draws its theology concerning ordination from the Christian Scriptures where it justifies the "ordination of all" on the basis of the fact that it is NOT man's job to discern the "calling" of another to ministry, among other things. The reliance of the "Priesthood" of all believers however, does NOT filter into the Christian ministry because of the fact that where the Christian Scriptures use the word "Priest" it very clearly means in the sense of the Old-Testament theology- where man had to go THROUGH the priest to have contact or dealings with God-- as opposed to the protestant doctrine that only Christ mediates between man and God, where we have the concept of Christ being "God in the incarnate". Hence in the NT dispensation, the notion then becomes that the minister acts as both the prophet (speaking on behalf of God in the pulpit) AND acts as nothing more than a "teacher and advisor". The minister however is NOT synonymous with the OT doctrine of the Priesthood, within the meaning of Christian doctrine, apart from the sense used within the doctrine  Catholicism.

Where you say "Now, on a personal level, I do wonder why anyone would discourage me from following my conscience" - Christian scriptures TELL US NOT to rest upon our own consciences- because one's conscience rests upon one's own "understanding" of the world.

Quote

 

Proverbs 3:5 (KJV) -"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding."
 

This hence demonstrates that Man's Conscience can be come seared. Indeed some people don't even have one at all (what we refer to as a Psychopath.)  Therefore, one's conscience isn't really an accurate measure of anything- Hitler thought what he was doing was RIGHT in his own conscience, after all. So NO I wouldn't teach you to follow your own conscience, necessarily, because it's neither here nor there in what IS right or wrong.

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Posted (edited)

16 hours ago, ULCneo said:

"No, I'm not talking about "my conception" of ministry- Rather, I'm talking about ANY conception of ministry- as I'm sure that everyone agrees that "ministry" must be approached in a spirit of reference towards the religion the minister represents.

You would he wrong. Not everyone agrees. There are, in fact, ministers who represent no religion.  Now, I suspect the reflexive response will be to say that those people are not really ministers. I will point out that such a response simply reinterates the notion that their conception of a minister is not "real," while yours is.

As an example, I do not represent any religion, but I am a minister. I speak only for myself. My ordination came without question of faith, which also means it came with no obligation to represent a faith. Otherwise a person like myself, who has no religious beliefs, would be unable to be a minister. Once again, that would run counter to the ULC's commitment to religious freedom through religious equality.

Edited by mererdog

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16 hours ago, ULCneo said:

 Therefore, one's conscience isn't really an accurate measure of anything- Hitler thought what he was doing was RIGHT in his own conscience, after all. 

I get what you are saying. The thing is, my conscience is what I have. God does not talk to me, possibly only because I do not believe in Him and therefore don't talk to Him. But, either way, to talk me out of listening to my conscience leaves me with no replacement. 

If I am talked into accepting the proposition that there are exceptions to the rule against violence, would I not also be talked into believing there are exceptions to the rules against theft and adultery? How can I both believe morality matters, and that I should ignore the only way I have for determining morality?

As for Hitler, I said earlier that I believe all healthy adults have a conscience that is based on empathy. I also believe, however, that this conscience can become damaged by psychological trauma. In Biblical terms, the heart can become hardened. This perspective causes me to see Hitler as a tragic figure, as well as a villain. Not only did his actions harm others, but they made his own life so much shorter and less enjoyable than it otherwise could have been. If only he had been able to see himself in the other...

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