Love your enemies

Sorry, I promise this is the last one… for tonight…

One response to the pacifist reading of the Sermon on the Mount in the history of Christian ethics, especially the command to love our enemies, has been to argue that doing violence to our enemy can actually be a form of love.

But I have to be honest; I don’t think anyone would honestly believe this if it were not for the need to shore up a justification for war. Consider: what is the Christian argument against wife-beating? There’s no verse that explicitly says: “And thus saith the Lord: ‘Thou shalt not beat thy wife’.” Rather, the best and strongest argument against spousal abuse is that it is not loving to beat one’s wife. In fact it is exactly the opposite of love to beat one’s wife.

But the instinct that opposes love to wife-beating a fortiriori opposes love to killing.