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Lecture 14

Lecture 14 Nonviolence in Christian History Nov 4.docx

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McMaster University
Religious Studies
Ann Pearson

Nonviolence in Christian History/ Practice  Christian groups who saw in Jesus’teachings a radical call to renounce violence and warfare, e g.:  Waldensians [12th cent.; founder Peter Waldo], considered shedding human blood a crime  Cathars [12th Cent.]; vegetarians; avoid killing animals too  Franciscans [13th Cent.]; St. Francis ofAssisi (Italy); voluntary poverty, simplicity, service to the poor, kindness to animals  Lollards [14th Cent. England] – precursors of the Protestant Reformation Christian Peace Churches:  Mennonites (Menno Simons 1496-1691);As one of the historic peace churches, Mennonites are committed to nonviolence & nonviolent resistance/ reconciliation, and pacifism.  Quakers/ Religious Society of Friends (George Fox, 1624-1691); a second historic peace church, as above  Declaration issued in 1661 to English King Charles II by Quakers:  “We utterly deny all outward wars and strife and fightings with outward weapons, for any end or under any pretense whatsoever.And this is our testimony to the whole world. The spirit of Christ, by which we are guided, is not changeable, so as once to command us from a thing as evil and again to move unto it; and we do certainly know, and so testify to the world, that the spirit of Christ, which leads us into all Truth, will never move us to fight and war against any man with outward weapons, neither for the kingdom of Christ, nor for the kingdoms of this world.”  Jonathan Dymond (1798—1828)  a Quaker writer and leader who wrote about the evils of war, questioning its lawfulness, and arguing that its worst consequence is the erosion of morality.  His work is important because it defined and explained the traditional Quaker position on war. War goes against the general beliefs and teachings of Christianity and therefore the “chief horror” of war is not the death of individuals but rather the death of Christian principle leading to a kind of legalized moral depravity. War “is a system out of which almost all the virtues are exclud
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