Sunday, May 20, 2007

faith and violence

"For some “faithful” – and for unbelievers too – “faith” seems to be a kind of drunkenness, an anesthetic, that keeps you from realizing and believing that anything can ever go wrong. Such faith can be immersed in a world of violence and make no objection: the violence is perfectly all right. It is quite normal – unless of course it happens to be exercised by Negroes. Then it must be put down instantly by superior force. The drunkenness of this kind of faith – whether in a religious message or merely in a political ideology – enables us to go through life without seeing that our own violence is a disaster and that overwhelming force by which we seek to assert ourselves and our own self interest may well be our ruin.

Is faith a narcotic dream in a world of heavily-armed robbers, or is it an awakening?

Is faith a convenient nightmare in which we are attacked and obliged to destroy our attackers?

What if we awaken to discover that we are the robbers, and our destruction comes from the root of hate in ourselves?"

Abbey of Gethsemani
Advent
1967


- from the preface to a series of essays: “Faith and Violence”, pp. ix-x

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