Internet Goosing the Antithesis

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Question of the Day #37: "Turn The Other Cheek"

Whoops... Sorry about that, Franc. Absent minded of late. Alrighty then! Here's one that struck me recently.

Jesus is constantly portrayed by Christian as the ultimate figure of peace and love. Wow, he loved us so much. What a great guy. He teaches us to love our neighbors, judge not let ye be judged, and to turn the other cheek.

Now, that last one is rather intriguiging. While I think most of you guys could easily find contradictions to "turn the other cheek" all over the Bible, I was kind of wondering about the virtue of the principle in itself. Jesus says to "love your enemies" and "do good to them which hate you". (Hmm, maybe the US President should be reading this stuff.)

But is this actually virtuous? If we are attacked, should we not defend ourselves? It seems ludicrous to me. If some guy went to strike me in the face, I wouldn't turn either cheek. I would simply step out of the way!

Oh darn, there I go answering my own question again!

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At 4/12/2006 7:57 AM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...

You're right, Neil. This principle is ludicrous, and I can only hope that it's based on the belief that in practice, the aggressor would be ashamed to actually hit someone who presents himself as a willing punching bag.

This kind of mentality derives from either a masochistic or a martyr ideal, both of which are self-destructive, and therefore immoral.

At 4/12/2006 10:30 AM, Blogger Stilter declaimed...

'Turn the other cheek' is actually an insult. Back in the day, you would never defile yourself by touching ones enemy - especially with your right hand (food hand). To keep from getting the enemy's 'kooties' you would backhand the individual with your left hand. The left hand was only used for bathroom tasks. You would not want the palm of your left hand defiled because you would eventually use it to touch your ass and that would get their kooties up your ass. Who know what might happen then. So if someone backhands you and you taunt them by 'turning the other cheek', they would either have to hit you with their left palm or right backhand. Either situation would defile your enemy in their eyes, so it would be an insult to them. Jesus wasn't being nice, he was teaching how to be passively-agressively insulting.

At 4/12/2006 11:26 AM, Blogger Hellbound Alleee declaimed...

If it's true that Jesus wants his people to do good to those who hate you, then the christians owe me bigtime. They also owe sexual favours to homosexuals (or straight people, depending on the situation).

At 4/12/2006 5:17 PM, Blogger The Atheist Messiah declaimed...

Turning the other cheek is taught in order to condition sheep to follow their abusive sheppards' commands.

Everything done by your idiot priest is for your own good whether you like it or not, whether it harms you or not.

The virtue of turning the other cheek was a defensive measure, not an attempt to mindfuck the attacker.

All of Christianity's rules are supposed to be for the advancement of Christianity. Whether or not they are now effective or have backfired is beside the point.

The shit-stained neanderthals that stole most of the tennets of their religion from other shit-stained idiots weren't smart enough to understand why their child psychology wouldn't hold up. Sadly, far too many people still have no clue.

At 4/12/2006 5:23 PM, Blogger The ArtDude declaimed...

Stilter is correct. Turning the cheek is a kind of civil disobedience Jesus was teaching to the underclass. (Please note, we're referring to the story as it's told. It's a reader response to the text with an informed culture perspective.) However, this "third way" as peace activist John Howard Yoder put it, is not a mainstream interpretation.

At 4/12/2006 10:48 PM, Blogger TheJollyNihilist declaimed...

It's definitely a wrongheaded principle. I think "turn the other cheek" is predicated on the assumption that there will be an afterlife, in which the righteous will be rewarded and the wicked punished. Since there is no afterlife, the wicked will only be punished if it's done right here on earth. Hence, turning the other cheek impedes justice, and so should be opposed.

At 4/13/2006 9:21 PM, Blogger breakerslion declaimed...

From Matthew, KJV:

538Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:5:39But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. 5:40And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. 5:41And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. 5:42Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. 5:43Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 5:44But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 5:45That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 5:46For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 5:47And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 5:48Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

The insult theory is not supported. If I backhand you with my left hand, I strike your left cheek, not your right. Since most people are right-handed, most people are taught to fight right-handed. The left becomes the shield arm and the defensive hand. If I backhand you with my right hand, I have struck your right cheek. The implied insult then, is that I must strike you with an open hand on the left cheek. I'm pretty sure the fist had been invented before this episode.

Then as now, I expect that brawling might get both combatants thrown in the jug or beaten by the local authorities. This might have been nothing more than a shrewd way to avoid blame in an inflamatory situation.

Is it a virtue to make another man look like a jerk after provoking him to violence? If a man sues you for your coat, he might have had a good reason, and the law that found in his favor agreed (or was bribed). Do you not make the man look greedy and unkind when you say in essence, "Here! Take it all!"?

As for the "give to those who ask" portion of the speech, I think the Atheist Messiah is closer to the mark. There might also be an ingrained response in the aggressor, similar to the response of the alpha ape when one of the betas goes "belly up" and acknowledges supremacy.

At 11/23/2011 5:26 AM, Blogger MangyCheshire declaimed...

First of all, I'm pretty sure Jesus never mentioned using a fist in this passage so adding new information to an argument is kind of misdirecting. To say that the insult argument is not supported when you basically backed up the rest of the speech as being a passive-aggressive form of teaching.. let's be honest here. The form of insult he's showing is to instill guilt in the guilty, a form of teaching that would be pretty effective. Why not teach it to the common man to bring sense back into the world a bit?

At 4/09/2015 10:30 AM, Blogger ImTheNana declaimed...

Of course it's an insult. Take a moment and think about how offended you'd be if you struck someone across the cheek, and they looked at you and simply 'turned the other cheek' to be slapped. It's be a complete insult to your manhood (or womanhood), as if your slap was inconsequential.



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