Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Turn the other cheek

With all that is going on in the world I’m posting something on nonviolence that we all can understand. This is from Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia.

Turn the other cheek is a famous phrase taken from the Sermon on the Mount in the Christian New Testament. In Jesus' Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says:
"You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.' But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you." (Matthew 5:38-42, NIV)
A parallel version is offered in the Sermon on the Plain in the Gospel of Luke:
"But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,"
"Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also. Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise." (Luke 6:28-31. King James Version)

Some interpret this as promoting nonresistance, pacifism or nonviolence.

Historical origins

Some hold that Jesus, while rejecting "eye for an eye," built upon previous Jewish ethical teachings in the Hebrew Bible, "You will not exact vengeance on, or bear any sort of grudge against, the members of your race, but will love your neighbor as yourself." (Leviticus 19:18).
It is also thought to be possible that Jesus was influenced by the teachings of the Pharisee Hillel the Elder who is famously quoted as describing the Golden Rule to be an effective summation of the Torah, and also "If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?" (Pirkei Avot 1:14) In this way, personal dignity is both to be given to your brother and demanded for yourself. (see non literal interpretations below for turn the other cheek as a act of defiance )

An analogous sentiment is spoken by Socrates in his conversation with Crito in 399 BC before his execution in Athens. “One should never do wrong in return, nor mistreat any man, no matter how one has been mistreated by him.” This moral guides Socrates in his argument to a conclusion that he should not attempt to escape from punishment despite being wrongfully imprisoned. From the Grube translation of Crito found in Plato's Five Dialogues revised by Cooper

I have always though of my self a follower of Christ, but I am also a follower of Gandhi, The Buddha, and the Dalai Lama. Their core massage has always been one of peace and nonviolence. I thing we some times forget that message or miss it all together.
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