On December 14, 2012, a very wonderful thing happened in my life – my son, Ranon Corban Munoz, was born. Unfortunately, on the very same day that my wife and I were blessed with a healthy child several other parents lost theirs in the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting. It struck me as intriguing that leading up to the birth of my son, I wondered if having a child would change my stance on non-violence. You see, for the past few years I have strongly believed that Christians should never use violence. I had even come to the conclusion that if my family were ever threatened by an attacker I would do everything in my power to avoid using violence as my go-to means of protecting them. Now that I have a son, this scenario has become a possibility. And when the nightmare in Newtown, Ct. happened we as a nation were once again reminded of how real this possibility is. So where am I now with the philosophy of non-violence?
Honestly, I’m still where I was a month ago. I still don’t think there is any room for violence in the lives of Christians … even so-called “justified violence.” This is why I’ve been greatly surprised by the number of Christians who have now become so vocal about the need for MORE guns in society as a deterrent to those who might commit violent crimes. One of my friends recently wrote an article on RedState.com entitled “To Arms … Teachers?” In this article, he proposed protecting school children from future shootings (while also protecting 2nd amendment rights) by (1) mandating weapons safety training for students and teachers, (2) rehearsing school shooting drills, (3) training all teachers to handle firearms, and (4) equipping a minimum number of teachers with firearms.
Now, I have nothing personal against Josh. This is not an attack on him or Christians who think like him. I consider Josh a friend and a beloved brother in Christ. Where I disagree with him, however, is in the underlying notion that violence (or even the threat of violence) is a good long-term solution for stopping violence. And this is what I’d like to deal with over the next several blog posts. I won’t be spending much (if any) time talking about Josh’s article or the tragedy in Newtown. Instead, I’d like to take some time to present a basic theology of non-violence. I’ve had a number of people ask me why I adopted a non-violence approach (because I certainly didn’t always think like this), so I’ll try to answer that. And since I think that good theology makes a solid use of the Wesleyan Quadrilateral – Scripture, reason, history, and experience – I’ll try to center each of the following posts on these things.