February 16th 2004, 07:30 PM #1
Did Jesus Advocate the Violent Overthrow of the Roman Government?
Ok guys, I need your help. I have a debate coming up in my New Testament class on whether or not Jesus advocated the violent overthrow of the Roman government. I am arguing the affirmative (that he did.) This was not my choice and I don't believe he did but I have to do my best to prove it anyway. I've only found a few verses in the gospels that even seem to advocate that he advocated the violent overthrow of anything, let alone the government. Any help that you can offer would be greatly appreciated. Anything that Jesus said, anything he did, anything his followers said or did that could look like it advocated the violent overthrow of the Roman government would be great. Thanks in advance for your help."I'm cookie dough. I'm not done baking. I'm not finished becoming whoever it is that I'm gonna turn out to be. I make it through this, and the next thing, and the next thing, and maybe one day I turn around and realize I'm ready. I'm cookies."
February 16th 2004, 08:08 PM #2
Re: Did Jesus Advocate the Violent Overthrow of the Roman Government?Originally posted by The_Chosen
Jesus believed in the jujitsu method of political science, that is, He knew that the Roman state was too powerful for a frontal attack. therefore his idea was to channel the unbalanced roman power into situations where he could control and manipulate it. the point of particular weakness is the route of legitimatization of the roman state. violence and subjection via the power of the sword was the ultimate point of empire. therefore to overcome them you had to change people's hearts and minds to understand that violence was counterproductive and the real way to accomplish change was to do so internally. to require just outward compliance is shortsighted for as soon as people can they throw off your command and begin to build their own violent system patterned on yours, only with them at the center rather than you. so his position was to overturn the whole violence of the system itself, to threaten the very core of the system, its very heart, subjection of the bodies of its victims. and substitute the voluntary submission of people's hearts.
as proof i would offer the 'render to caesar' conversation. he had to ask his interlocuters for the coin, and on the coin was the image of caesar, a clear voilation of the 2nd command not to worship idols. in fact, there is a good case to be made that Jesus never touched a roman coin, for to do so was sin, and he never sinned. likewise the passage about peter fishing for the fish with the coin in its mouth for their temple tax. the point being that authority and legitimacy were given through the subservience to the state through instrumentalities like economics. therefore nothing belongs to caesar all belongs to God, rightfully.
so Jesus turned the roman state on its head, its own violence was used against itself, while all the time a butterfly was being created inside the shell of the old culture, slowly, step by step. building a new society. the ultimate violence from within, subverse to the max, for it subverted the old ideals. all the while avoiding the enemies strongest points, the legions. and working on the weakest point, the motivation of the soldiers to fight.
but remember this is just theoretical, and good debate tactics. the real truth is that the church became just like the roman state, adopting all the symbols and perogatives of empire. being the church of power, of imperial magisterial form, dominating the outer shell of everyone and everything. demanding worship just like the imperial roman state. leaving the church of piety with powerless monks and laypeople who for some odd reason preferred a simple life to an imperial lie. go figure. maybe it will take longer than the early christians figured.God does not subtract from man's allotted time on earth, the hours we spend reading.
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