“Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?” Matthew 26:52-54 (ESV)
Violence is physical force applied for unethical reasons such as aggression, abuse or exploitation. Its ethical opposite is self-defense or defense of another, or other actions that are morally permissible because they have been sanctioned by God. For example, if your home or business is threatened by rioters, it is not violence to defend your property against the potential harm to it caused by the rioters or those who might encourage or support them.
Virtually all moral codes forbid violence.
Most countries have laws against violence, although some governments habitually employ violence against their own citizenry. International legislation on human rights is meant to prevent this, but has proved difficult to enforce in practice.
Violence as a Sin
In Christian thought, violence can include any sin that is malicious, but does not use the human intellect. As well as direct physical violence, Dante's Inferno categorizes tyranny, suicide, self-harm, blasphemy, usury and homosexuality as forms of violence. The last three are considered the most serious forms, as the violence is directed against God or nature.
Speech as violence
In recent years, left wing polemicists have expanded the above definition to include saying words that the listener does not want to hear. Some people call this "safetyism." So, if a Wake Forest law professor reads aloud a Supreme Court decision that contains a racial slur, students will contact the Dean to complain that the law professor committed "an act of violence" against them.
In August 2020, a business USC professor who is fluent in Mandarin explained to his class that native-speakers say the word "nèi ge" repeatedly just as English speakers say um or er. Some members of the class complained to the Dean that he was using a racial slur causing them great pain. He was suspended from teaching.
Threatening to harm or kill the President or the Vice President of the United States is considered violent speech, punishable by up to five years imprisonment.
Self defense is legally defined in the United States as "the use of reasonable force to protect oneself or members of the family from bodily harm from the attack of an aggressor, if the defender has reason to believe he/she/they is/are in danger". If one is required to use violence in order to defend him or herself, he or she cannot morally or legally use any greater degree of violence than is required to stop the threat. Under these conditions, murder is very rarely allowed, and as such shooting to stop rather than to kill is emphasized when undergoing the training necessary to carry a firearm legally.
Atheism and violence:
- John McWhorter is right about the chilling effect of Title IX campus safetyism (September 11, 2020). Retrieved on September 11, 2020.
- "Wake Forest Reprimands Law Prof for Reading Racial Slur in Famous Supreme Court Opinion", Brietbart, March 31, 2020. Retrieved on 2020-09-09.
- "Controversy over USC professor’s use of Chinese word that sounds like racial slur in English", Los Angeles Times, September 5, 2020. Retrieved on 2020-09-09.
- Letter from USC Marshall School of Business Alumni About the "Neige" / Prof. Greg Patton Controversy (Sept. 7, 2020). Retrieved on 2020-09-09.