Author Topic: Christian Ethics and the Martial Arts  (Read 10782 times)

Offline Sifu Sin Bin

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Christian Ethics and the Martial Arts
« on: September 29, 2005, 05:36:54 PM »
The Question came up in a different thread about Jesus' saying on turning the other cheek and also casting the first stone and I copied the post to here so as to open a dialogue on this topic if it be that it intresst others.

 The question comes from the "sermon on the mount" in Matthew 5:38-39  "You have heard that it has been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That you resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also."
   This was an issue I had to deal with when coming to faith but after much study on the matter here is what the passage means with proper exegetical insight.
  Adam Clarke's commentary states the opinion on the matter as such"Our Lord's meaning is, "Do not repel one outrage by another." He that does so makes himself precisely what the other is, a wicked person.

 That is, rather than avenge thyself, be ready to suffer patiently a repetition of the same injury. But these exhortations belong to those principally who are persecuted for righteousness' sake. Let such leave the judgment of their cause to Him for whose sake they suffer. The Jews always thought that every outrage should be resented; and thus the spirit of hatred and strife was fostered.
   The old testament even taught these principles along with the mosaic law. Some scriptures that support this are -Proverbs 20:22  Say not, I will repay evil; but wait on the LORD, and he shall save you.
Proverbs 24:29  Say not, I will do so to him as he has done to me: I will render to the man according to his work.
   The passage here is talking of retaliatory behavior, not passivism. Another passage in the new testament to help us understand this is in Romans 12:17-19  "Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lies in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, says the Lord."
  Do you notice Paul said  "if possible" Someone trying to cause you physical harm would make it not possible to live peaceably with them.
   Now for scripture to show it is okay for you to keep yourself from harm we go back to the example Jesus left for us when people were trying to physically harm him or as the Bible calls it "laying hand on him" When Jesus had finished speaking in the temple, he had stirred quite a few people up and they wanted to killl him, but he did not allow  it. The verse says in  John 7:30  Then they sought to take him: but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come.
   Jesus did not allow physical harm to come to himself except for when it was the predestined time for him to take the full burden of man's sin.
 He also did not put away the principals that were laid down in the old testament such as  Exodus 22:2-3  If a thief be found breaking in, and be smitten that he dies, there shall no blood be shed for him. If the sun be risen upon him, there shall be blood shed for him; for he should make full restitution; if he has nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft. 
In other words if a a thief got caught in your house at night and was killed by you at that time, you were not guilty of murder, however if you went out and killed him the next day you were a murderer. Same principal survives to this day in our laws as far as protecting yourself.
   Again to summarize, Jesus did not teach passivism, what he was doing in that passage in Matthew was correcting the Jews on the hatefulness that was in their hearts.
Professor Rob Peladeau
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TimothyVargas

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Re: Christian Ethics and the Martial Arts
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2005, 09:08:31 PM »
Sifu Rob,

Intersting subject no doubt, but would have to respectfully DISAGREE with your "proper exegetical insight".

Remember, that all Christians agree that the Bible is important, unfortunately they do not all AGREE with what the meaning is, hence the THOUSANDS of denominations which are the result of "private interpretation".

It is my personal opinion that the "proper exegetical insight" (interpretation) only comes through the Church that produced and canonized the Scripures we have today.

Timothy Vargas

Offline Rob Poelking

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Re: Christian Ethics and the Martial Arts
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2005, 09:10:52 PM »
Thank you for that excellent exegetical thesis. My only comment is on the Old Testament teaching of an "eye for an eye" was not that in individual MUST exact such recompense for injury but rather that was the extent to which one COULD requite justice. It was to prevent taking someone's head for an eye. More importantly, however, was that it was no less honorable to forgive an individual for injury.

Cities of refuge were erected for the protection of individuals who, by accident, took the life of another. Even if by accident, it was the right of the next of kin to avenge death. But the guilty party could flee to a refuge and there be protected from the avenger. This was only in the case of an accident. Blatant murderers would not be accepted.

So, you see by the Biblical account, it is the nature of God to show mercy yet it is also the nature of God to exact justice.
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Offline Rob Poelking

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Re: Christian Ethics and the Martial Arts
« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2005, 09:15:41 PM »
Sifu Rob,

Intersting subject no doubt, but would have to respectfully DISAGREE with your "proper exegetical insight".

Remember, that all Christians agree that the Bible is important, unfortunately they do not all AGREE with what the meaning is, hence the THOUSANDS of denominations which are the result of "private interpretation".

It is my personal opinion that the "proper exegetical insight" (interpretation) only comes through the Church that produced and canonized the Scripures we have today.

Timothy Vargas
Ah, church history, now that's a fun subject.

It's my observation that most mainline Christian churches are generally not pacifist. Now, that can vary from parish to parish depending on the minister's personal belief regardless of his/her denominational stance.
Rob Poelking, Black Belt, Original Method
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Offline Dean Goldade

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Re: Christian Ethics and the Martial Arts
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2005, 06:53:33 AM »
Kajukenbo is most certainly not a passive art.  I can't speak for all areas, but I know that in the branch that I study, we finish techniques with the attacker on the ground and in some cases the technique calls for a fatal blow.  From what I am reading from Sifu Rob, it is perfectly within the bounds of Christian ethics to defend oneself.  However, how would a Christian view the techniques that would most likely kill someone else - especially if there were a plethora of techniques that would accomplish a subdued attacker without the use of deadly force?

I will leave the biblical translations to those better read than I, like Sifu Rob and others. But I am a Christian, and also agree that we are not meant to just be passive and take a beating. With that being said, we also have a moral, leagal and ethical responsibility to only do as much as we need to do to protect ourselves and our loved ones. The response needs to be guaged upon the attack if possible.

In Kajukenbo we are trained, and have the ability to take our confrontation from "first contact to kill", but that doesn't mean we need to go to the extreme every time.

We need to deal with each situation as it comes, and use the force necessary to deal with the situation. Even though we know how to finish with a killing blow, we would not be justified in my opinion or belief ( and by law ) to use that force, unless the attack warranted it.

I know it sounds corny, but with great power comes great responsibility.. We need to have enough self control to respond appropriately to the attack.

If a idiot takes a shot at me, or pushes or tests me out, I will do only what I need to do to control the situation. I am not saying I won't deal him a few lumps, but it is my responsibility to stop the defense when the attack is nullified. If Hannibal Lechter comes after me to make me a skin suit, then I will put him out as quickly as I can and with as much overkill as I can muster.

I always think of the old saying "It is better to know how and not have to, than to have to and not know how".

We in Kajukenbo know how to, but we also need to know when to turn up and turn down the heat.

Keep up the hard training.

Dean.
Student of the arts
www.austinkaju.com

Offline GhoSSt

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Re: Christian Ethics and the Martial Arts
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2005, 08:21:23 AM »
*snicker*

If Zeus appears as a golden swan and impregnates Leda, daughter of Thestius, King of Aetolia thats a myth.

But if God descends and impregnates lil 'virgin' Mary, thats somehow more believeable?

Aren't we in the 21st century, past the stage of easter bunnies and sky gods yet?

Religion, is without a doubt one of the most appalling and backwards factors of modern soceity.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-1798944,00.html
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Re: Christian Ethics and the Martial Arts
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2005, 09:29:00 AM »
Good morning fellow Kajukenboists,

Regarding Biblical self defense and (if I may add to Sifu Rob's thread), the following quote from Luke 22:35-37 (in context is as follows):

"35 Then Jesus asked them, "When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?" "Nothing," they answered.
36 He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.
37 It is written: 'And he was numbered with the transgressors'; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment."

In this passage, and of course to correctly exegesis the passage, Jesus is telling His disciples buy a sword.  One should ask the question:  Why would Jesus tell them to do so... cut salami for lunch?

Also, in another passage, this is what the Apostle Paul writes to the Romans... Romans 13:4 (also in context):

"3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you.
4 For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.
5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience."

As we see, these two passages mean only one thing... exactly as they were written, nothing more & nothing less.  I totally agree with Sifu Rob Peladeau and the other Sifus regarding the true nature of the Christian view of self defense

-Thank you all, Paul

p.s.  The problem with denomonations is that people major in the minors... in other words when it comes to scripture, we have a tendence to eisegesis (the interpretation of the Bible by reading into it one's own ideas), thus the many denominations.  Some read something in the Bible they don't agree with so they attempt to "argue" that "it's not correctly translated", or "Jesus REALLY didn't say that"... some go as far as saying that the Bible has changed or has been corrupted over the past 2 thousand years... but without proof.  They build a straw man to knock him down.  As in evolution:  Where is the proof?

Offline rockatear

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Re: Christian Ethics and the Martial Arts
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2005, 11:06:16 AM »
*snicker*

If Zeus appears as a golden swan and impregnates Leda, daughter of Thestius, King of Aetolia thats a myth.

But if God descends and impregnates lil 'virgin' Mary, thats somehow more believeable?

Aren't we in the 21st century, past the stage of easter bunnies and sky gods yet?

Religion, is without a doubt one of the most appalling and backwards factors of modern soceity.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-1798944,00.html

Ah...appalling and backwards as religion may appear to be to you GhoSSt, it is one of the building blocks of any and every society.  How we use those teachings may be appalling and backwards.  Any belief system, but especially religion can be held up to ridicule for some of its teachings.  But as presented here on this thread, it is thought-provoking particularly to those who are believers of the religion under discussion.  Perhaps you might address how you think it is appalling and backwards in regards to our martial arts training as that's the way it was presented.

with respect,
Shirley Phelps, blue blelt, Hand to Hand Kajukenbo Self-Defense Center, Oakland, CA, www.handtohandkajukenbo.com, Gaylord Method, Chief Head Instructors:  Sifus Jen Resnick and Sonya Richardson

Offline dastars

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Re: Christian Ethics and the Martial Arts
« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2005, 12:31:49 PM »
The devil can quote Scriptures and so can his ministers and they can quote them in perfect King James English. –Gary Amirault


Religion + Friday + Internet Message Board = firestorm in my experience.

Although, since there seem to be some solid scholars here, perhaps you can answer a question I've wondered about for some time; if the Bible (New Testament, anyway) came after Jesus' life and death, from where did the requirement for a Christian to follow the Bible arise?  If the basic tenet is "live as Jesus did," wouldn't it be sufficient to have the portions relating to his bona fides (Old Testament prophecy), and the account(s) of his life?
« Last Edit: September 30, 2005, 12:34:52 PM by dastars »
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Offline SA_Kajukenbo

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Re: Christian Ethics and the Martial Arts
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2005, 01:54:10 PM »
As a Christian, I do not believe that the Bible or Jesus teach for us to be used as punching bags.  If it is necessary for us to defend ourselves or our family, we can do so to the degree of causing death.  If necessary, we should defend ourselves and our families.  However, we are warriors and carry ourselves differently from the rest.  We know what we are capable of doing.  Our posture, our presentation, eminates to the thugs and punks of the world.  Our capability and confidence greatly reduces the likelyhood that we will have to demonstrate our ability.  If  a punk is too stupid to realize this, then he pays the price.
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Offline Jason Goldsmith

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Re: Christian Ethics and the Martial Arts
« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2005, 01:54:43 PM »
Quote
Again to summarize, Jesus did not teach passivism, what he was doing in that passage in Matthew was correcting the Jews on the hatefulness that was in their hearts.

First, off, as I Jew I must say that this rather offensive.  Jews do indeed believe in the philosophy of "do unto others as others do unto you," but that applies to all deeds, positive or negative.  Thus one who is kind to you should be treated with kindness in return, while one who seeks to harm you can be harmed in return.  However, Judiasm does NOT support vengance, and it is not morally acceptable to come after someone who attacked you days later.  However, it acceptable to remember that the person in question did try to harm you, and thus you have a right to refuse to help that person should he ask you for it.  Furthermore, if you do provide assistance to the person, you are committing an additional Mitzvah (aka good deed) beyond that of helping him, by offering forgiveness.  In Judiasm, one cannot simply ask G-d for forgiveness whenever they wish.  Rather, annually on Yom Kippur (which is coming up very soon actually) observant Jews ask G-d for forgiveness, but in order to be heard, the person must also ask forgiveness from the person who he has sinned against--thus Jews do indeed "keep account" of those who have sinned against him, for it is a fundamental part of the forgiveness process, and of seeking justice, but it is not motivated by hate.  Hating another in Judiasm is not a sin if the emotions are not acted upon, but if you act on that hatred, then you have indeed committed a sin.  Thus if you defend yourself to save your life from an attacker, you are not sinning, but if you use excessive contact during the confrontation because you happen to dislike or hate the attacker (for attacking you or for any other reason) then you are indeed sinning.

Secondly,

Quote
As in evolution:  Where is the proof?

As a scientist, I feel I must speak up on this comment.  Evolution is not seriously disputed among scientists.  A few people, considered to be out of whack by the general scientific community, may argue against evolution, but it is a well developed theory (just like relativity or quantum mechanics) with lots of experimental evidence (aka proof).  Fossil records have established a large amount of evolutionary evidence.  Furthermore, DNA has gone a long way to proving evolution.  The mitochondrial units of our cells (which produce energy for the cells) have DNA almost identical to that of bacteria-type DNA (procaryotic DNA), which is strong evidence to suggest that early eucaryotic cells (the same cell type we are) adsorbed these cells to create mitochondria.  Similarly, we can track the evolutionary process of many enzymes in the body (enzymes are what make chemical reactions in the body go at speeds that are useful to biological organisms, and they make up most of the protein in our body) are the result of subsequent small changes (mutations) that change parts of their activities.  Between and within species, experiments have been done where random mutations (ala evolution) were introduced, and to no one's surprise, some of these mutations caused the enzyme to function in a new way, similar to that of other enzymes in it's family--thus we can recreate enzymatic evolution in the body.  Additionally, lots of other biological evidence supports evolution.  The DNA similarity between species that decreases as you move further and further away from biological similar organisms is one example.  A more startling example is that in uertero, whales have legs (as do dolphins) .  Whales and dolphins are curious because they are mammals that live in the ocean.  These legs, which disappear in later fetus development but still have remnant structures in the adult whales and dolphins suggest strongly, along with DNA evidence, that whales and dolphins were once land-dwelling animals that EVOLVED into water-based animals.  There are many more examples like this out there, so it is very hard for anyone who has actually done their research to dispute evolution on scientific grounds with any validity.
Sifu Jason Goldsmith
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Offline SA_Kajukenbo

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Re: Christian Ethics and the Martial Arts
« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2005, 02:52:20 PM »
Quote
Again to summarize, Jesus did not teach passivism, what he was doing in that passage in Matthew was correcting the Jews on the hatefulness that was in their hearts.

First, off, as I Jew I must say that this rather offensive.  Jews do indeed believe in the philosophy of "do unto others as others do unto you," but that applies to all deeds, positive or negative.  Thus one who is kind to you should be treated with kindness in return, while one who seeks to harm you can be harmed in return.  However, Judiasm does NOT support vengance, and it is not morally acceptable to come after someone who attacked you days later.  However, it acceptable to remember that the person in question did try to harm you, and thus you have a right to refuse to help that person should he ask you for it.  Furthermore, if you do provide assistance to the person, you are committing an additional Mitzvah (aka good deed) beyond that of helping him, by offering forgiveness.  In Judiasm, one cannot simply ask G-d for forgiveness whenever they wish.  Rather, annually on Yom Kippur (which is coming up very soon actually) observant Jews ask G-d for forgiveness, but in order to be heard, the person must also ask forgiveness from the person who he has sinned against--thus Jews do indeed "keep account" of those who have sinned against him, for it is a fundamental part of the forgiveness process, and of seeking justice, but it is not motivated by hate.  Hating another in Judiasm is not a sin if the emotions are not acted upon, but if you act on that hatred, then you have indeed committed a sin.  Thus if you defend yourself to save your life from an attacker, you are not sinning, but if you use excessive contact during the confrontation because you happen to dislike or hate the attacker (for attacking you or for any other reason) then you are indeed sinning.

Secondly,

Quote
As in evolution:  Where is the proof?

As a scientist, I feel I must speak up on this comment.  Evolution is not seriously disputed among scientists.  A few people, considered to be out of whack by the general scientific community, may argue against evolution, but it is a well developed theory (just like relativity or quantum mechanics) with lots of experimental evidence (aka proof).  Fossil records have established a large amount of evolutionary evidence.  Furthermore, DNA has gone a long way to proving evolution.  The mitochondrial units of our cells (which produce energy for the cells) have DNA almost identical to that of bacteria-type DNA (procaryotic DNA), which is strong evidence to suggest that early eucaryotic cells (the same cell type we are) adsorbed these cells to create mitochondria.  Similarly, we can track the evolutionary process of many enzymes in the body (enzymes are what make chemical reactions in the body go at speeds that are useful to biological organisms, and they make up most of the protein in our body) are the result of subsequent small changes (mutations) that change parts of their activities.  Between and within species, experiments have been done where random mutations (ala evolution) were introduced, and to no one's surprise, some of these mutations caused the enzyme to function in a new way, similar to that of other enzymes in it's family--thus we can recreate enzymatic evolution in the body.  Additionally, lots of other biological evidence supports evolution.  The DNA similarity between species that decreases as you move further and further away from biological similar organisms is one example.  A more startling example is that in uertero, whales have legs (as do dolphins) .  Whales and dolphins are curious because they are mammals that live in the ocean.  These legs, which disappear in later fetus development but still have remnant structures in the adult whales and dolphins suggest strongly, along with DNA evidence, that whales and dolphins were once land-dwelling animals that EVOLVED into water-based animals.  There are many more examples like this out there, so it is very hard for anyone who has actually done their research to dispute evolution on scientific grounds with any validity.

First, I think we are getting side tracked.  The topic is "Christian ethics and the martial arts".  This is not a discussion on religions or on the viability of "theories".  Second.  Nope.  I'll stop there.  May I humbly suggest another forum if we want to discuss religions.  Otherwise, I think we should stick to how those who consider themselves to be in the Christian community (Catholic, protstant, etc) reconcile their beliefs/understanding with the martial arts.  In another forum I'd be happy to discuss all of the proofs and evidence against evolution.  Which, is itself, a religion.
Sifu John Hood KSDI#4001
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Offline Jason Goldsmith

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Re: Christian Ethics and the Martial Arts
« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2005, 03:20:05 PM »
That is fine, we can discuss evolution elsewhere-feel free to post your "proof" and I will reply.  However, I feel my point on Judiasm is appropriate to this discussion, as the comment made was rather offensive.
Sifu Jason Goldsmith
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Under GM Al Dacascos
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Durham NC and Philadelphia PA
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Offline SA_Kajukenbo

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Re: Christian Ethics and the Martial Arts
« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2005, 03:52:30 PM »
That is fine, we can discuss evolution elsewhere-feel free to post your "proof" and I will reply.  However, I feel my point on Judiasm is appropriate to this discussion, as the comment made was rather offensive.

As you wish.  May I lastly add that I am confident the poster meant no offense to the Jewish community.  I also think that people in general are WAY TOO quick to be offended and get angry today.  Life is fun.  Don't sweat the small stuff.
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Offline Jess

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Re: Christian Ethics and the Martial Arts
« Reply #14 on: September 30, 2005, 03:53:41 PM »
People of any faith that teaches a tolerance towards others may, at one time or another, find it necessary to balance training in an art that teaches the potential to harm or even kill, with the beliefs of their faith.

Since this was asked from a Christian viewpoint, as should be the bible is used as a source of reference.

Where “I see” the problem is which bible? There are over 50 different versions in the English language alone. Adding to the process the translations from Hebrew, to Latin, to Greek, to German, to old English, to King James and to Modern English.

Through out history the bible has been interpreted in ways to “Fit” the moment. Hence one of the reasons you have so many faiths that are considered Christian.

I feel (and keep in mind this is just my belief) is that if the bible is going to be used as a literal translation with no room for personnel interpretation then the entire bible must be used to come up with this answer, not just bits and pieces used to fit the needs of the individual.

What it will come down to is for each individual to decide on they’re own. Guided by they’re own experiences and personal beliefs.
Sifu Lauren Jessup,

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Under GM Jay Burkey