More Facebook Conversation on Pacifism

Continued from here.

Maul Panata  You respond: "No pacifist I've ever met would say "take em all." No pacifist outright *encourages* theft or violence."  
I agree with you that, plausibly no pacifist would say that. I agree that, plausibly, no pacifist "outright" encourages theft or violence. I wonder if Gene had something like Matt 5:41 in mind. Or perhaps he was saying in a loose way that the *effect* of fully worked out, consistent pacifism would be the same *as if* people just said "Go ahead and take 'em all." On both accounts, and on the assumption that some form of violent resistance is needed to protect the merchandise, Best Buy goes out of business. As a pacifist, I believe thieves should not be killed, but should make restitution. I think this is such an OBVIOUS Biblical point that I have to believe that anti-pacifists are just engaging in good-natured but insincere "tough talk" about killing everybody who threatens them in any detectable way. You don't kill a thief. This is Biblical Ethics 101. In fact, doesn't the Bible say that if you kill a thief, you must be executed?

If a thief is killed while breaking into a house ... the one who killed him ... is guilty of murder. The thief shall surely make restitution; if he owns nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft.
Ex 22:1-4
cf. Romans 13:12-13

Do not kill a human being created in the Image of God just to keep him from (temporarily) stealing your TV. I don't understand why we're arguing about this, except that we live in a Culture of Machismo and Death.

There are ways a Christian society can incentivize a thief to make restitution. The model is excommunication, not execution.

Nevertheless, I'll let Gene expand or explain his comment if he wishes. I do know he's a universalist, so he won't have the problem of sending anyone off to hell for eternity.  Anyway, I'm more interested in some of the other things you said in response. You wrote, "I would say, 'If you don't pay for it, you're guilty of theft. What is Jesus going to say about that when you stand before him as Judge?' In other words, I'm going to 'witness.'"  
So I grant that you would do this in some cases. In others, however, you'd do nothing, right? I'm thinking of a case like this: A disgruntled worker walks into your office building. He grabs the boss and puts a gun to her head. He says, "I'm going to shoot her, and if anyone opens their mouth, I'll shoot another person after I shoot her." I assume you wouldn't "witness," right? Now, suppose further that your company makes remote control cross bows. You happen to have the small remote control in your hand, as it happens, the crossbow in the warehouse is aimed directly at the disgruntled man's chest. You can press the button on the remote control and the arrow will release and strike the man dead, obviously saving the life of your boss. What do you do? What good would it do for me to send an arrow through the hostage-taker's back and strike him dead? I don't think it's "obvious" that this would save the woman's life.

These hypotheticals are worthless, in my opinion. We can spend all our time re-crafting the "facts" in our made-up world to favor our own position, and ignore the moral imperatives in the Bible.

Here's what seems obvious to me: I am commanded not to kill, and to be a "witness." I am not commanded to be the Judge and the Executioner. I am not morally obligated to intentionally kill anyone.

Let me add some other details. You wrote: "I can't see how a faithful Christian would say, 'I refuse to be a martyr like Jesus'... and instead kills the unbeliever (sending him off to hell for all eternity) to save himself for a few more brief moments of his short, flower-like life ... over a TV set."  
Now in the case I presented above, it's not *you* who's life is at stake, it's your boss'. Let's add these further details: your boss is a non-Christian, so if she dies, then, as you say, she'll be "sent off to hell for eternity." Let me add this other hitch, you have excellent evidence to believe your ex-co-worker, call him Bob, is saved. Bob has been a faithful church member for two decades, raised his family well, led a life of overcoming sin, etc., etc., etc. However, a couple months ago Bob started messing up at work, putting crossbows together backwards, and making other errors. The boss had no choice but to fire him. Normally a good worker, the situation became clearer when it was revealed that Bob had a brain tumor. The brain tumor caused Bob's quality of work to suffer, and now it has caused a psychotic episode. Bob suffers from hallucinations, and he's really "not the same person" anymore. We know that, given his condition, God will not hold this against Bob, If he dies, he will go to heaven.  
Okay, that's the set up. If you witness, Bob shoots the boss and another worker, and another, ..., until you stop witnessing. If you stand silently and do nothing, Bob shoots the boss and she "goes to hell for all eternity." There's nothing else you can do to stop Bob, *except* press that button. In that case, you save your boss' life (and perhaps she professes faith after coming so close to her death!), and Bob's misery ends and he goes to be with the Lord. What do you do? If you do nothing, I fail to see how you love your neighbor. If you witness and two die, I fail to see how you love your neighbor. If you love your boss, as commanded, don't you protect her? Don't you save her from her death? Or do you violently resist Bob? I'm just trying to get a picture of how you understand your pacifism. You say "If X, then Y" with metaphysical certitude, but I don't believe you. There are zillions of cases of attempted crimes where the threats are bluster and not carried out. I already posted one video. You don't know with certainty what the future holds. You are not God. A guy who takes someone hostage -- when you were in the room and could have prevented it (if you knew his intentions) -- has already shown himself to be unpredictable. So I predict that if I witness, the Spirit will convict his conscience and he will drop the gun and repent.

What does the Bible command me to do: witness or kill?

What does the Bible suggest I can expect?

Proverbs 16:7
When a man's ways please the LORD,
He maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.

I trust God. I am not God.

Maul Panata  Kevin, I said Bob kills another person if you open your mouth, not you. So now you've allowed two innocent people to get murdered. Moreover, Bob is a Christian, and you have excellent evidence that he is saved. So why are you witnessing to him? Finally, due to his tumor, your witnessing is pointless. Witnessing is never "pointless." The Word of God is sharper than a brain tumor.

As I said, if I had my phaser with me, set to "stun," I would certainly give the hostage-taker a nap. I will not kill.

It does not appear that you or Christ (on your interpretation) value life as much as you say. Your understanding of "thou shalt not kill" isn't really meant to protect life and show its sacredness. You'd let the whole world burn so long as you "do your duty." Moreover, you appear to make the 6th commandment conflict with neighbor loving, and "thou shalt not kill" *hangs* on fiercely loving God and neighbor, as Christ says. What does it profit a man if he keeps the whole world from burning and loses his soul, by putting the world ahead of the commands of God?

You cannot "love" your neighbor if you kill him.

Patrick Chan "Kevin Craig I don't have a 'death wish.' I don't understand why anti-pacifists can't be more charitable."  
My apologies. No offense meant. My sarcasm can get carried away!  So can mine.
"The Bible says 'Thou shalt not kill.' I choose to obey that command."  
The problem is it's not simply "killing" as a general concept. The Hebrew explicitly says you shall not "murder."  This is an internet urban legend. The Hebrew word is used for killings other than strict "murder." See here.
"I don't see any qualification of that command that says it's OK for me intentionally to kill. So I will not intentionally kill someone."  
What makes you think we're arguing you should intentionally kill (if by kill you mean murder in cold blood) another human being? Maul said I should "strike the killer dead." Intentionally.
"I agree I should intervene to try to deter or prevent violence (after all, I'm an anti-violence pacifist). But there are many other things a person can do to deter or prevent an attack besides killing, and I would choose one of them. I have a duty to try to prevent violence, but if I can't, I can't."  
That's why I explicitly said in my scenario that you'd have no other choice than to kill to prevent violence. It is never the case that there is "no other choice" than to sin (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Besides, it's not even a point of contention. Generally speaking, the non-pacifist would prefer not to kill someone if the same objective can be accomplished.   
Also, you'll have to flesh out exactly what you mean by your brand of pacifism, because it seems there's considerable tension in your position (at the very least).  
"I don't have the right to decide who will live and who will die."  
Sorry, but this is so vague. What do you mean? What's this in reference to? You (meaning "anti-pacifists) say I have to choose whether to kill an attacker or let an attacker kill someone else. I agree I should do something, if I can, to deter or prevent the attacker from carrying out his theat, or at least witness against it, but killing is not an option. "Thou shalt not kill."
Why is "who will live and who will die" even a "right" in the first place? Why frame the debate in terms of "rights"?  
Obviously only God has "the right to decide who will live and who will die" in terms of eternal life vs. eternal death. But that's quite different than attempting to stop a violent criminal from raping and murdering your loved ones. Why shouldn't you stop them? Again, I would use my phaser set on stun, but I would not set my phaser to kill.
"Your hypothesis is that there is NOTHING ELSE I can do but violate a command of God."  
No, because I don't assume this violates a command of God. That's the very point of contention. Does it indeed "violate a command of God"? You may think so, I may think not, but what are the arguments for each position?  
"I will not accept that resignation, even if others do. There will always be a way of avoiding sin (1 Corinthians 10:13)."  
This assumes "killing" is always a sin. Yes, I guess it does. "Thou shalt not kill" is the basis for my assumption. What is the basis for your contradicting this verse?
In addition, what if the "way of avoiding sin" is to kill the perpetrator?   
"You also assume that I just happen to possess some kind of lethal weapon, which I don't own."  
No, I don't. That's why I said this is a scenario (or hypothetical if you wish). If you don't want to be in the scenario, then I could just as easily substitute you with another person. Say John Doe.   
Also, everyone possesses "some kind of lethal weapon" if they have hands or legs or other parts of their body that can kill (e.g. strangling someone). I am not a "passive-ist." I believe in locking the door, or hiding, or other measures of "self-defense." But the Bible says "Thou shalt not kill." Why would I strangle someone to death instead of stopping at unconsciousness?
"On MaulPanata's cross-bow hypothetical, if someone orders me to NOT speak about Jesus, I "must obey God rather than man" (Acts 5:29) If that puts me in danger of death, I'm commanded to ignore the threat to my own life and preach anyway (Matthew 10:19,28), otherwise I'm putting my own life ahead of the Command of Christ. I cannot put someone else's life ahead of Christ either. We're all going to die eventually. Faithfulness is more important than self-preservation."  
This totally misses Maul's whole point. Help me see the point
Steve Hays  Kevin has a death wish, not for himself, but for all the people he refuses to protect. That's so much better   
Patrick Chan Kevin is a libertarian political candidate. But is pacifism consistent with libertarianism, at least with popular libertarianism? As far as I can tell, popular libertarianism allows for the use of force in defense of self, loved ones, certain properties. I, as a voting American, would be interested to hear Kevin's position. Yes, many libertarians allow for violence in "self-defense." Many libertarians also allow for "some" or "limited" taxation. I think those libertarians are inconsistent.

The fundamental libertarian principle is the "Non-Aggression Principle," or "Zero Aggression Principle." No initiation of force. Some libertarians say that if someone initiates force against you, you may retaliate with force against the aggressor. I disagree. That seems contrary to the command not to return evil for evil.

If I administered Rohypnol ("Date-Rape Drug") to your daughter, you could sue me, and possibly bring criminal charges against me, because it would be legally presumed to be an act of violence, even if no sexual aggression occurred. But if I tranquilize an attacker, it is a de-escalation of violence, and would not be considered an act of aggression.

I don't believe escalating violence or matching violence is morally permissible for a Christian. "Love worketh no ill to his neighbour" (Romans 13:9-10).