Embracing a Theology of a Nonviolent God

“Because the Christian message exhorts us to imitate God, our view of God and God’s actions very often forms the structure for our own ethics and actions. If we believe that God acts violently, then we can justify our own violence toward others. If we see God’s justice as retributive and punitive (concerned with punishing the offender), we could very well justify our own acts of retribution toward those who have harmed us. But if we view God’s justice as merciful and restorative (seeking to restore the offender), we may treat others with mercy and seek to restore broken relationships. Knowing God begins with our words that form concepts that influence our behaviour.” [Baker Putt, Sharon L. A Nonviolent Theology of Love (p. 60). Fortress Press. Kindle Edition.]

As I am embracing, to the best of my ability, a nonviolent theology of God that is based on a combination of a reasoned interpretation of scripture, tradition, and experience, my attitudes about, and actions towards, others is changing: (1) more filled with curiosity and grace, than judgment and condemnation; (2) more characterized by dialogue and discussion than debate and divisiveness; and, (3) resulting in breaking down of boundaries and barriers than the building of walls. I have a long way to go, that’s for sure, but a theology of a nonviolent Creator, where God does not contemplate, consider, commit, command or condone violence–in any form–is bringing me a vastly different life experience, one that is open to all creatures.

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