The Aim of Terrorism

The Aim of Terrorism January 9, 2015

The aim of terrorism

Dan McClellan drew the cartoon above and shared it on Twitter. It illustrates the reason why it is important to not respond to intolerance with intolerance. It is self-defeating. If we hate all those who fit into a category with terrorists, then the claim of the terrorists that we are against their people becomes true, even if it wasn’t before, and serves to foster their aim of recruiting more people to their cause.

Martin Luther King Day is next Monday. And so let’s recall these insightful words of his:

The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy.

Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.
Through violence you may murder the liar,
but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth.
Through violence you may murder the hater,
but you do not murder hate.
In fact, violence merely increases hate.
So it goes.
Returning violence for violence multiplies violence,
adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness:
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, pp. 62–63..

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  • Thanks for this, Dr. McGrath.

  • Pacifists get conquered.

    • Non-pacifists get conquered too.

      When India was conquered, it didn’t for the most part espouse pacifism. A pacifist approach had a positive effect on accomplishing a more positive free future than violence might have.

      • Gandhi was no pacifist. His “non-violent” techniques were a necessity of being disarmed.

        Among the many misdeeds of British rule in India, history will look upon the Act depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest.
        Mohandas Gandhi, an Autobiography, p. 446.

        I have been repeating over and over again that he who cannot protect himself or his nearest and dearest or their honour by non-violently facing death may and ought to do so by violently dealing with the oppressor.
        mkgandhi.org/nonviolence/phil8.htm

        I do believe that where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence I would advise violence. Thus when my eldest son asked me what he should have done, had he been present when I was almost fatally assaulted in 1908, whether he should have run away and seen me killed or whether he should have used his physical force which he could and wanted to use, and defended me, I told him that it was his duty to defend me even by using violence. Hence it was that I took part in the Boer War, the so called Zulu rebellion and the late war. Hence also do I advocate training in arms for those who believe in the method of violence. I would rather have India resort to arms in order to defend her honor than that she should in a cowardly manner become or remain a helpless witness to her own dishonor.
        mkgandhi.org/nonviolence/D_sword.htm

        • Are you claiming that Gandhi was lying when he wrote this part that you omitted?

          But I believe that nonviolence is infinitely superior to violence, forgiveness is more manly than punishment. Forgiveness adorns a soldier…But abstinence is forgiveness only when there is the power to punish; it is meaningless when it pretends to proceed from a helpless creature….
          But I do not believe India to be helpless….I do not believe myself to be a helpless creature….Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.

          • “Are you claiming Gandhi was lying?” That’s a rather immature reaction, and rather typical, of pacifists, when they realize he was no pacifist like them. Sure, he thought nonviolence superior, but he despised pacifist cowards, as he called them. Read what he said, and try to understand it, instead of flying off the handle.

          • You are jumping to conclusions, and making accusations, for no apparent good reason. I am not a pacifist, except in the sense that I share Gandhi’s preference for non-violent action. No flying off the handle here – just trying to address your selective quotation and inaccurate portrayal of Gandhi’s stance of principle and not mere pragmatism.

          • You’ve accused me of “lying” and “innaccurate portrayal” for simply quoting Gandhi accurately. If you can point out where I misquoted him, I’d be most glad to know.

          • You claimed that Gandhi’s non-violent activism was merely because of necessity and not a matter of principle.

          • Read what he said.

          • Read more of what he said.