The Importance of Nonviolence

I’m amazed that we don’t have a Martin Luther King of our generation yet. Why hasn’t anyone stepped up to point out that nonviolence is the only way to protest the war.

When you resort to the tactics of your enemy you’re bound to fail.

Readers of this blog will remember the name Joshua Sparling. In December 2005, the Iraq war veteran received a disgusting, anti-war death wish card while being treated at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, D.C. for injuries from a bomb explosion in Ramadi. Last month, his right leg was amputated.

All the positive voices in Washington were drowned by a few bad apples.

Some proponents of nonviolence advocate respect or love for opponents. It is this principle which is most closely associated with spiritual or religious justifications of nonviolence, as may be seen in the Sermon on the Mount when Jesus urges his followers to “love thine enemy,” in the Taoist concept of wu-wei, or effortless action, in the philosophy of the martial art Aikido, in the Buddhist principle of metta, or loving-kindness towards all beings, and in the principle of ahimsa, or non-violence toward any being, shared by Buddhism, Jainism and some forms of Hinduism. Respect or love for opponents also has a pragmatic justification, in that the technique of separating the deeds from the doers allows for the possibility of the doers changing their behaviour, and perhaps their beliefs. As Martin Luther King said, “Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.” The Christian focus on both non-violence and forgiveness of sin may have found their way into the story of Abel in the Qur’an. Liberal movements within Islam have consequently used this story to promote Islamic ideals of non-violence.



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