Mohandas Gandhi, Indian political and spiritual leader and major actor of the Indian independence movement against British occupation, was the first to theorize nonviolence in the 1920's. His pioneering and successful use of Satyagraha, promoting resistance to despotism through civil disobedience, found an echo in many civil rights and social reform movements that were to develop throughout the world from then on. Basically, their common initial observation is that society is flawed by injustice and unfairness, and while almost everyone agrees on the need for ending social violence (such as colonization, segregation, war, etc.) in order to establish a just and peaceful society, only nonviolent promoters also ban violence as a means. Despite their different priorities, partly due to their different social origins, Carroll, King and Owen have in common their strong commitment to nonviolence. Their respective conceptions of nonviolence were deeply related to their religious beliefs and faith: the Civil Rights movement, for example, was a "social, political, but also religious movement" (Lambert, p.161).
[...] But a fundamental similarity regarding their conception of nonviolence is its tight connection with the writers' deep religious commitment. Furthermore, nonviolence serves as a junction between religion and the Nation: King, for example, saw the Civil Rights movement as aimed to salvation of the Nation and of mankind” (Lambert, p.162). In other words, nonviolence seems to be related to civil religion, and it could be inferred from this that nonviolence is one of today's preeminent ways of entrenching religion into civil society. [...]
[...] Thus, throughout history nonviolence has often been associated with Communism. Martin Luther King, for example, was accused of being a Communist, on the grounds of his links with people such as Morris Childs and Stanley Levison (Carroll, p.125). Broadly speaking, “Hubert Humphrey said that the “international Communist movement” was behind the antiwar campaign” (Carroll, p.159). Yet, the nonviolent movement at least, King's conception of it) was very far from the Marxist-Leninist ideology: it rejects, in particular, its atheism, its ethical relativism and its tendency to favor totalitarianism. [...]
[...] All three come to the conclusion that violence must be banned since it can't establish a harmonious society. First, in a subjective point of view, violence isn't morally acceptable, since it goes against fundamental religious principles such as brotherhood, community spirit, and equality. Indeed, violence breaks the community and divides its members, thus denying the “Holy Spirit” and common principles that structure and cement society. Martin Luther King resents violence as a potential means of “eliminating social evil” (King, p.91), because it is intellectually and morally satisfactory” (King, p. [...]
[...] The Church's mistrust of nonviolence was even more obvious when it reacted to Daniel Berrigan's nonviolent actions by disciplining him (Carroll, p.173). Besides, Carroll left the Church in 1975, but remained a firm believer and kept faith in his own religious thoughts. The Church also disappointed Rebecca Owen, when it disapproved her nonviolent sit-in in Patterson's drugstore in 1960. Moreover, it appears that nonviolence directed against forces of evil rather than against persons who happen to be doing the evil” (King, p.102). [...]
[...] Therefore, the main problem with violence is that it denies Creation and goes against the essence of religious principles. Second, in an objective point of view, violence can't establish durable peace and justice. Its goal being to destroy the enemy, it therefore divides the community and breaks its unity, which undermines the possibility of establishing a harmonious society. In fact, violence doesn't seek to eradicate injustice as a whole, but only attacks its temporal consequences. In other words, violence can certainly destroy the manifestation of society's flaws (that is to say, for example, unjust people) but can't prevent injustice from existing. [...]
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