Tag Archives: Violence

Violence, Christianity, & a local paper

For my own interest, here’s a small interaction of letters in my local paper, The Border Mail. Make of the exchange what you will. Yet we see that there’s easy opportunity to speak up and contribute. I was tempted to just dismiss the initial letter, but decided to spend a few minutes putting together a short response. I am glad for the openness to be printed, and I am glad that I said something.

And remember, someone will certainly get to speak – even if their arguments are laughably wrong.

May 18, 2015

Religion sows seeds of violence
DESPITE all the political facades and double talk, there is no legislation dealing with domestic violence.

In reality, the perpetrators of violent acts within the home are protected through a lack of law.

Let the point be clear, our politicians, our legal system has failed to take domestic violence seriously enough to legislate against it!

Why? Our Christian belief system says God is a male and white, man was made in the image of God, woman was extracted from the rib of man and must be subservient to him.

The apostles were all male and women have until recently been banned from higher order positions in the church; the Pope is male and always will be.

A man had the right to control his wife and even beat her up.

Surely this is where the seeds of domestic violence are sown.

For our politicians to legislate against domestic violence is virtually a breach of God’s words and orders of things as laid down through the Bible.

All contemporary religious institutions in effect support domestic violence through practised ideals that man is superior and in charge of woman.

In reality women are often treated badly in law when they speak out against domestic violence.

Boorhaman North

May 21, 2015

Some in church still in denial
ALAN Lappin (The Border Mail, May 18) is right. Religion, including Christianity, contributes to the scourge of domestic violence.

The teaching of female submission to males, the promotion of male headship in church, home and society, has contributed to violence against women.

The church, finally, is starting to acknowledge this issue.

Many men who uphold this traditional teaching are as appalled as any that it is misused to justify violence, but it is indisputable that views which disempower women and elevate male authority contribute to this problem.

Yet, Mr Lappin demonstrates a simplistic understanding of the Bible’s teaching on male-female relationships.

The Genesis creation story affirms that humanity was created in God’s image, stating “male and female he (God) created them”.

This establishes the unity and equality of men and women as image-bearers of God. Jesus’ remarkable acceptance of women and even St Paul’s writings, where he exhorts husbands to love their wives self-sacrificially, and his missionary partnership with various women, sowed the seeds for women’s full participation and equal status in both church and home.

Sadly, the seeds have taken too long to sprout and many church traditionalists continual in denial and discrimination. Male headship and female subordination make no sense in contemporary society.

They are outmoded, oppressive and harmful.

Anglican parish, Northern Albury

May 21, 2015

Alan, you are so far off track
ALAN Lappin’s letter (The Border Mail, May 18) on domestic violence is disturbingly wrong.

He first claims that there is no legislation for domestic violence. Please don’t believe him. Though we should improve laws, there is legal protection.

Then Alan goes on a bizarre tirade against Christianity.

In all the fine social groups I have been part of — education, sport, service, and church — churches are where I have heard greatest efforts to address domestic violence.

Christians follow Jesus, who gave his life to serve the lost and powerless. So protection of those in danger is natural topic to raise.

East Albury

May 23, 2015

Christ preached love for women
I AM writing in response to the letter of Alan J Lappin (The Border Mail, May 18) who laid the blame for domestic violence on the Christian belief system.

Christ was compassionate and respectful to the women he met and changed their lives for the better like no one else could.

Jesus accepted women when his society had cast them out.

Christianity does not teach that a man has the “right to control his wife and even beat her up” but, instead, a man is commanded to “love his wife as he loves himself” (Ephesians 5:33).

Christianity aims to uphold the rights of a woman and family relationships.

Domestic violence is a corruption of this and is condemned by Christians and Christianity.

West Wodonga


Should Christians watch violence?

Is there any effect on individuals, or society, when people watch lots of violent media? Or if they play gore-filled computer games? Or sexualised content on the internet?

You and I can easily find arguments for freedom to watch anything, as well as arguments in favour of tightly restricted access. And such arguments will have social science studies to back them up. Perhaps I’m too cynical, but I tend to see that groups who commission social science studies get results that reinforce their initial beliefs. Science isn’t as ‘objective’ as we assume.

Instead of Professor Suchandsuch, I am turning to an unqualified Jewish carpenter. He happens also to be Lord and Saviour of the world. How does following Jesus guide media consumers like us?

All foods are clean, all people are not
Jesus did not follow the empty human traditions of his day. Special hand washing techniques, he knew, do not place people nearer to God. Yet Jesus went further: he also taught that even the God-given food laws of the Old Testament do nothing for godliness. “There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him” (see Mark 7:14-22). The problem is the human heart – yours and mine – from which arises every evil.

This tells us that no media can create a murderer, or adulterer. Advertising does not create greed. None of us can blame another for defiled thoughts, behaviour, and conscience. Defilement is all our own work! In a real sense the murderer who copies a gruesome movie scene has merely found a media image that fits the already-existing violence their own heart. Perhaps the movie helped uncover it – but it was already there.

Jesus did, however, warn us about what enters the body. This time he spoke of light: “When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is bad your body is full of darkness. Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness” (see Luke 11:33-36). What we watch counts, for the eye is the lamp of the body. We are to watch and watch and watch Jesus – the one who is greater than Solomon, greater than Jonah, greater than all. In other words, our eye obeys our faith. We watch what we trust.

So, it’s worth asking, why do we watch any media? What is it we seek, what is it we see? As Jesus said, be careful.

Heart and eye in practice
What Christians watch comes down to heart and eye. We take responsibility for our own heart: no one else is to blame. We are careful with our eye: we choose what will illuminate our soul, not darken it. My summary of the two principles is this:

  1. If what you watch stirs the evil already within your heart, stop watching
  2. Choose to watch that which gives light, not dark

What that looks like in real-life will vary enormously. Here are some examples:

  • If you can watch without stirring up evil, you could be part of the classification board for media. I’d hate to do it, but am thankful for the national system to review and classify
  • If you find yourself copying the unhelpful language or thought process of a popular show, you happily give up watching
  • You might watch something you don’t like, just because people you care for are watching it. You want to know what ‘light’ these friends are attracted to
  • Christians won’t make simplistic protests that blame media for all social evils. We know the problem is the human heart
  • Christians won’t blithely ignore what’s happening in media. We want to give every eye light to watch, not darkness

No doubt there are many more examples. Can you think of any? Please share them in the comments below. Or perhaps you know of a knotty media problem you’d like to share. Again, please comment. The media are so prevalent that we need to talk about media consumption more often.