Jesus’ act of self-sacrifice would ultimately have been meaningless – yes, meaningless – if he had not inflicted a mortal wound on the enemy while giving up his own life.
The significance of the cross is not just that Jesus laid down his life for us, but that he defeated the enemy of our souls in the process. It was on the cross that he crushed the head of the serpent. It was on the cross that “he disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:15).
The cross represented a cosmic showdown between the forces of light and the forces of darkness, and our commanding general claimed the ultimate prize by defeating our unseen enemy and liberating an entire planet from his bondage.
We rightly honor those who give up their lives to save their comrades. It’s about time we started also honoring those who kill bad guys.
Via Andrew Sullivan this is an interesting sermon about how Christ’s teachings are at core non-violent and got corrupted by money and power – i.e. the very things Jesus saw as corrupting followers of the Old Testament in his day. I’m not sure what he means by the church becoming “paganized” – “pagan” can be a catch-all term for “bad,” but it would seem more accurate that the Christian church became de-paganized during the time of Constantine.
Also from Greg Boyd in Myth of a Christian Nation regarding “An eye for an eye”:
The whole point of Jesus’ teaching is to tell disciples that their attitude toward “enemies” should be radically different. “If you do good to those who do good to you,” Jesus added, “what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same” (Luke 6:33). Everybody instinctively hates those who hate them and believes they are justified killing people who might kill them or their loved ones. Jesus is saying “be radically different.” This is why Jesus (and Paul) didn’t qualify the “enemies” or “evildoers” he taught us to love and not violently oppose. Jesus didn’t say, “Love your enemies until they threaten you, until it seems justified to resort to violence, or until it seems impractical to do so.” Enemies are enemies precisely because they threaten us on some level, and it always seems justified and practically expedient to resist them, if not harm them when necessary. Jesus simply said, “Love your enemies” and “Don’t resist evildoers.” Note that some of the people he was speaking to would before long confront “enemies” who would feed them and their families to lions for amusement.
Points out how corrupt it was for Bush to refer to terrorists as evildoers – and also not entirely an accident. Nor was “crusade.” That said, total non-violent resistance to a terrorist armed with 1000 nuclear bombs, for example, doesn’t entirely make sense either. Unless…the afterlife exists, we’ll all move on regardless, so Godly non-violence always makes sense. But when you match this up with Jesus saying things like, “Don’t marry a divorced lady,” he’s as full of weird laws as anyone.
One thing is clear – anyone who holds up Jesus as the front for any kind of righteous army resides in the Dark Ages. And it makes a very compelling case that the far right’s vision of religion parallels the Roman view of religion before it fell. Note to America: the far right just won the most recent election.