Turning the Other Cheek Fallacy

Prompted by a discussion of soyboys on SFCTon’s blog. There’s a longstanding misperception that Christ’s famous “turn the other cheek” (TOC) teaching in the Sermon On the Mount is a call for nonviolence and nonresistance. There’s also a newer, growing misperception that Christianity is a religion that values victory as an end in itself.

Matt. 5:38-44 You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. and if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,”

TOC is presented as an alternative to “eye for eye” thinking that Israel and most other early civilizations practiced. That means it’s a civil concept, not a criminal concept. The Christian is to be patient with the wicked midwits around him and genuinely concerned for them; he is not forbidden to defend himself when backed into a corner.

Let’s be honest here: most such midwits are unable to distinguish between kindness and weakness. Therefore, the ability and willingness to go medieval on them is a much more loving act than any feminine emoting.

fezzik

Christ proceeds to discuss going two miles when you’re forced to go one. This is a reference to the Roman occupation of Israel. Roman soldiers had the authority to force any civilian to carry his pack for one mile as a way to relieve the burden of long marches. The debate among Jews at the time was whether they should cooperate–while murderous, Roman soldiers couldn’t really break formation to chase down objectors so it was a way to disrespect the occupiers. Christ’s advice was to be kind towards them instead.

This blows the other misperception, that Christianity is a religion of victory/conquest. Nationalists seek to weaponize Christianity yet the teaching here is one of cooperation with a literal occupying army. That isn’t to say the Jews had to approve of the Roman occupation; it is to say they weren’t to hate the ordinary Roman for Caesar’s policies.

Christ finishes by teaching to not hate one’s enemies, which is the proper end goal of TOC. We are simply not to hate people. From the Roman Empire to the neighborhood fool, don’t keep score on them. Don’t measure their every harm intending to pay them back and don’t despise the grunts earning their food for the crimes of their officers.

Three closing thoughts.

Punishing crime is a kindness to the criminal. Allowing them to go unpunished will only enable their souls to death-spiral into the blackest of evil. That home invasion robber is objectively better off bleeding out on your carpet in pain than reaching Judgment Day fat, happy and unrepentant.

Respect police. Yes, they’re the enforcers of VAWA, social justice and more legal atrocities every day. No, they are not to be hated for it. The situation is directly analogous to those Roman legionnaires occupying Israel. This doesn’t mean unquestioning cooperation, only that you don’t hate them on a personal level for what their duty requires of them and don’t make their lives difficult just because you can.

TOC is mostly irrelevant to modern immigration troubles. It is in the parasites’ best interests to go back and start earning their food but at the same time, those who came here to be Americans should have the chance to be Americans. I doubt there are many. I’ve heard several entertaining stories of Churchians who helped open the border floodgates and successfully upped their headcount by getting Magic Dirters to attend church, only to be horrified when they actually converted to Christianity and self-deported for the sake of justice. “No, no! You must stay! We must be diverse! We didn’t mean what we said about God being colorblind!”

Christ wants us to love such traitors by exposing their lies, crimes and hypocrisy in hope they’ll stop. If they repent, we forgive. If they double down, we defend ourselves and look forward to the day we can punish them appropriately. That is what Christ meant with TOC.

 

4 thoughts on “Turning the Other Cheek Fallacy

  1. Not sure if you are familiar with Fulton Sheen…but he made a comment which explains this well.

    “Tolerance applies only to persons, but never to truth. Intolerance applies only to truth, but never to persons. Tolerance applies to the erring; intolerance to the error.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Welcome, savingeveblog!

    I checked the links on psychological warfare and it isn’t consistent with Christ’s goals. At Gethsemane, Christ said directly that He wasn’t leading a rebellion. In John 6:15, He actually fled from a crowd that was determined to make Him king by force. In John 18:36, He said His kingdom is not a mortal one. Christ dealt respectfully with a Roman centurion. The only time He took up a weapon was to clean out the temple. To judge from Christ’s words and actions, He simply didn’t care that Rome had occupied Israel.

    A couple specific points:

    “This means the saying presupposes a setting in which a superior is beating a peasant. What should the peasant do? “Turn the other cheek.” What would be the effect? The only way the superior could continue the beating would be with an overhand blow with the fist–which would have meant treating the peasant as an equal.”

    Ancient Israel didn’t have that custom, nor did it have a dueling culture that such customs are usually associated with. Jews never had much of an aristocracy; the histories contained in Kings and Chronicles describe their kings and families being purged too quickly for a ruling class to form. There was rich vs poor as usual but not much beyond that.

    “Roman law permitted soldiers to force civilians to carry their gear for one mile, but because of abuses stringently prohibited more than one mile.

    If they ask you to do that, Jesus says, go ahead; but then carry their gear a second mile. Put them in a disconcerting situation: either they risk getting in trouble, or they will have to wrestle their gear back from you.”

    Roman soldiers would not have thought twice about seizing their gear back from a Jew trying to cause trouble. Israel was a notoriously rebellious province of the Empire and Rome considered human life cheap at the best of times.

    The success of Gandhi’s nonviolent protest was a credit to the British Empire, not Gandhi. Nonviolence doesn’t work against those who don’t consider human life sacred.

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