The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Fighting For God's Nonviolence: Richard Murray's approach


I’m referring to the unhealthy fear like anxiety. While I don’t think we are completely free all the time there are times when I have no fear. Like now. I’m not worried or anxious about anything. And if anybody can relate to fear and anxiety, believe me, I can. Remember also, that it was by the joy set before Him that Christ endured the cross and that love casts out fear. But it’s not always perfect. But I’m a whole lot better today and I no longer take medication for being bipolar. They misdiagnosed me or something.

I remember hearing a minister friend of mine (Calvinist, none the less) enlightening me when it comes to faith. While we tend to think in terms of how much faith someone has, it, in my opinion, is not about the amount of faith, but the object of the faith. He gave me a great example. There are two passengers on a plane and one of them is fretting fearfully and the other passenger had so much faith that he took a nap. He knew the plane would be fine. Well, the plane landed safely. Did the amount of faith change the result? Nope… That is why I believe Jesus said ‘mustard size faith can move mountains’ I think it illustrates that it is the object of the faith that has power, not the person possessing the faith. Though, I must admit the person possessing the faith is ‘at peace with God and himself’ through the trial, while the one with little or no faith is miserable. But, even faith is a gift from God. We cannot ‘will it’, but I think we can exercise it.

Yes, I have major anxiety and fear. I can identify with you. As I am typing on this forum, I also, have no anxiety and fear and am at complete peace with myself and God. However, when I go to work or am put into a situation not familiar to me, I get some hyper tension and anxiety at times. But I still maintain that we cannot ‘will it’ away. At some point God gives us the grace to overcome. This is a tricky subject, because I know much harm has been done to people when you tell them 'You just need more faith to overcome this" and that is difficult, because, as we know, Faith is a gift from God. So we ask God, and receive not immediately and then begin to despair… I know all about this. I admire what you say that Faith heals this, the issue I have is that this faith must be given. We can ask (as Jesus compels us to continually ask the Father for things) but for whatever reason (God knows) we are either not a position to receive the gift, or we have some more perseverance to develop…


I don’t think we will or exercise faith. It’s more like a letting go and trusting. A gift indeed.

I agree Gabe. It can take awhile. But it gets easier with time.

Agreed :slight_smile:

HI Gabe

I’d agree there. And I’d agree that we never enter fully into a state of fearless faith in this life. We should not be downhearted if and when ‘faith’ seems weak :smiley: And faith is important as a guide part of the way - but love is far more important. :slight_smile:

Thanks for the phoenix Jason :slight_smile:

Jason let me ponder your reply to me above for a bit. It’s gracious to the heterodox - there are bits I agree with you on; other bits I disagree on. Let’s have a proper chat about it soon on site. I’ll use your post as my entre.

I was just looking for something I had wrote and noticed this post. As an incredibly indebted enthusiast of Adin Ballou, I feel obliged to ask how your comments follow. Adin Ballou does not remotely suggest that one should not interfere. “Kill, maim, or otherwise absolutely injure” ≠ “interfere”. I hope you continued reading this work (and indeed made use of his other writings).

[size=115]Richard Murray provides a wonderful biblical defense of the truly NONviolent nature of God, --in the very face of Scriptures that indicate otherwise.

Along these same lines, Professor C.S. Cowles also recognizes that the Scriptures are only part of a never-ending, progressive revelation of God’s goodness:

(The complete Cowles article, titled “Scriptural Inerrancy?” can be received as a .pdf file at … nt-way.pdf[/size])


In the face of violent Islam, Christians and Jews will continue to be accused of hypocrisy for defending “divinely ordained violence” in their own scriptures, yet condemning it in others. Please consider a short essay titled “Is God Violent, Or Nonviolent?” --which serves as a pointer to Richard Murray’s “Satan: Old Testament Servant Angel or New Testament Cosmic Rebel?” —as does this post.


Gabe, it’s been a long time since you
posted the following, but I now want to address it.

I think possibly you don’t understand it fully. As far as I have read, he nowhere said that non-resistance was tantamount to inaction. I don’t think he said that you should not interfere, but that you should not kill, maim, or otherwise injure anyone in doing so. I think Adin Ballou would have considered verbal persuasion to be compatible with non-resistance.

However, I do not fully agree with him concerning the non-use of physical prevention of injury to one’s family. I think that a Christian should avoid killing the aggressor, but that it is okay to use physical techniques such as the martial arts, or if necessary maiming the aggressor with a weapon.

No, I don’t think this is a lack of understanding, although I did notice upon reading my post that there is one point I missed and that was ‘consistently’. On a personal level, I agree for the most part that we should not consistently do those things. I see it very similar to you in the end. Violence is not a good thing, but sometimes necessary.

That said, sometimes I think people put too much emphasis on physical pain and torture. There are worse things than maiming people and skinning them alive and the like. Psychological torture can be far worse. Words can do more harm than a blow to the head. In the case of physical torture (something I find disgusting) it rarely lasts more than a day or two before the person dies and the pain is no more. But in the case of psychological torture, that can cause life-long torture in the mind of the individual. Some words can hurt for a life-time. Usually a physical strike is only temporary… That isn’t to say either is right, but if a physical strike could save someone from a psychological strike, it may be worth it.

Honestly, no one besides God has the correct answer on this topic. Each much be convinced in their own mind. This isn’t something I would personally fret about it. That said, I have a lot of respect for people who can live up to the ideal of Richard Murray. But my respect doesn’t necessarily mean I think they are totally correct on the matter.

There were some men who were conscientious objectors in WWII. They were able to contribute to the war in other ways. I respect that. Without their contribution, we would not have known much about starvation and rehabilitation for those who are malnourished. They did a respectable thing. We learned a great deal about human physiology from that Minnesota Starvation experiment.

Yes, it would be ideal if everyone in the world followed the spirit of God. But reality is such that there are those who choose to follow another nature, that of wild beasts. Evil does exist, and it must be dealt with. The question is, how do we deal with it? To say that in every instance we are to just let evil have it’s way with us, that this is the only option according to God, seems beyond reason. To me, Adin Ballou’s answer to protecting oneself against an aggressor is not grounded in reality. Every situation is different. How do we handle it? This is a very important matter. I think that somewhere, Jesus would have and did address it.

Gabe said,

Interesting you bring this up, I just read ‘In the Heart of the Sea’- The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex. In it the author talked about the Minnesota Starvation Experiment.

For those who don’t know, the story of the Essex was the story that inspired ‘Moby Dick’. Aside from having their ship sunk by a whale, it was a horrible, gruesome story of being on the sea for 93 days in a small boat. And the men in the Minnesota experiment really did a service to advance that particular science. Because of what was learned through that experiment, the author was able to give possible insight to why the men did some of the things they did after the Essex sank.

I guess we never know what effect our decisions (violence or nonviolence) may have on others.

Joseph and Michael Hofer, Hutterite brothers, two conscientious objectors from South Dakota, were put to death in the U.S. prison at Fort Leavenworth.

I first learned about this from Hutterites in a community where I had taught school for three years. I was told about an additional incident that doesn’t appear in the article.

The widows of these men came to the prison to get the bodies. When they received the bodies, they were shocked to see that they had been dressed in military uniforms. The official who released the bodies said, “They refused to wear military uniforms in life. Let them wear them in death!”

While I see Satan as a personal being, and mimetic theory does not, I nonetheless offer this mimetic analysis of Labyrinth in honor of David Bowie, for your enjoyment-

“You Have No Power Over Me: When David Bowie Was Satan (A Tribute Of Sorts)" by Lindsey Paris-Lopez at The Raven Foundation.


Regarding Mimetic Theory and the ontology of Satan, here are some quotes from a review by Brennan Hughes of Andre Rabe’s DESIRE FOUND ME:


Well, here is an ironic twist: a Satanist—who believes that the devil is indeed a real person—appreciating the Mimetic Theory of René Girard—who didn’t!

Diane Vera, a “theistic Satanist” (someone who considers Satan to be ‘an objectively existing supernatural being worthy of supplication and worship’), is the founder of the “NYC Satanists.”

In her essay titled, René Girard, ‘sacred violence,’ Christianity, and anthropology’: Dawn Perlmutter’s philosophical background, as best I can figure it out,” Vera takes on the beliefs of Dawn Perlmutter, a ritual violence expert.

Satanist Vera says of Perlmutter that *“When faced with allegations of ‘Satanic ritual abuse,’ the question Dawn Perlmutter conspicuously does not ask is, "Are the accusations true?” *

Vera goes on to say that Perlmutter’s writings exposing satanic ritual abuse “…Are an excellent example of what Girard would call ‘the falseness of mimetic contagion’ - not just succumbing to but eagerly embracing a popular scapegoating myth, apparently without having given any serious attention to questions about the validity of the alleged evidence.”

Vera concludes that in her view, there are two kinds of Christians:

From my own personal religious perspective as a theistic Satanist, those Christians who believe in an all-evil Devil as an actual supernatural entity are my deity’s avowed enemies, whereas those Christians without such a belief are not necessarily among Satan’s avowed enemies.


I’ve just (11-7-2018) finished reading Peter Enns’ book “The Bible Tells Me So”. A very good book on a number of levels.
Though he does not address the particular idea that in the OT the Hebrews mistook the voice of satan for the voice of the true God, his knowledge of what type of book the OT is throws some light, I think, on the question of ‘mistaking the voice’.
Long story short - they did not hear a voice at all. Enns points out that we are reading stories written by ancient tribal folk, who did not think of history as we do, nor did they have an idea of God that was radically different from the older cultures that surrounded them. So they did write as if God was a warrior lord, directing the slaughter of Israel’s ‘enemies’, men women kids and even animals, in order that they might inhabit the land, among other atrocities and weird happenings. When it came time to ‘write’ the OT - late in the monarchy or during or right after ‘the’ exile - the stories are written as history, as they conceived history - which amounted to a very small amount of verifiable detail, but was mostly a creative myth-making that shaped a narrative that tried to bring a sense of 'Who we are, how we got here, what time is it?" to the returning exiles who for sure were wondering what happened to the covenant, the promises, the faithfulness of God etc.
In short, Enns proposes among other things the following two points: 1. The OT is the product of creative re-imagining of oral history and a few written sources; produced and shaped by the needs of a community that was lost and without focus. Does this mean we are reading fiction? In the sense that they were trying to deceive others, no; in the sense that this story-creating was intentionally shaped and imaginatively composed, yes. But this is a liberating thing for us to know. And this is NOT to try and avoid unpleasant things about God, because we know what God really is like - Jesus. 2. The Jews were an ancient, tribal group. What was written was for them, in the only way they were able to understand. They were not us, so to speak.
There’s so much more to the book that the above is just a caricature. I recommend it not only for the light it sheds on the question in this thread (which is a HUGE step forward) but for increasing our understanding of what kind of book the Bible actually is - given to us by God, but not in the way we kind of naively assume.

We addressed this in a different post.