Reading Brian Zahnd’s book, Beauty Will Save the World, last night and was really drawn to his point that when God told Noah his plan to destroy the earth – his charge against humanity was that they were the cause of an earth filled with violence.
“I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth.” (Gen. 6:13)
A few things not mentioned — adultery, lying, theft and perversion. That doesn’t mean they weren’t happening but what we have recorded in Genesis as the charge against humanity is violence. And yet that seems to be one area we have just come to accept “as the way things are.”
Zahnd makes the point that so often we (even followers of Jesus) will plan to see a PG-13 or R-rated movie and make comments like “Well it’s only rated R because of violence” as if it’s really no big deal.
human civilization is founded around an axis of power established by murder and enforced by violence. The dark specter behind the history of human civilization is that it is almost always founded on acts of violence. We hide this dark specter behind façades of glory and patriotism, but the specter remains and from time to time the ghost comes out to haunt us…
We overlook violence because it is the very foundation of the city Cain built east of Eden. We fear that to take a stand against violence would undermine the very foundation of our civilization. This is our fear, so we cling to our violence.
These thoughts makes Matthew 5:9 come alive for even more reasons.
“Blessed are the peacemakers – for they will be called children of God.”
What do you think? Have we come to accept violence as “the way things are” and as something that can’t be changed? Or can a people truly rise up and say they will reject the norms and history of violence and find a new way of living as children of God?