Different kinds of non-resistance

posted by Adin Ballou on September 2nd, 2008

From the first chapter of Christian Non-Resistance by Adin Ballou (1846).

What is Christian Non-Resistance? It is that original peculiar kind of non-resistance, which was enjoined and exemplified by Jesus Christ, according to the Scriptures of the New Testament. Are there other kinds of non-resistance? Yes.

  1. Philosophical non-resistance of various hue, which sets at nought divine revelation, disregards the authority of Jesus Christ as a divine teacher, excludes all strictly religious considerations, and deduces its conclusions from the light of nature, the supposed fitness of things and the expediency of consequences.
  2. Sentimental non-resistance, also of various hue; which is held to be the spontaneous dictate of man’s higher sentiments in the advanced stages of their development, transcending all special divine revelations, positive instructions, ratiocination and considerations of expediency.
  3. Necessitous non-resistance, commonly expressed in the phrase “passive obedience and non-resistance,” imperiously preached by despots to their subjects, as their indispensable duty and highest virtue; also recommended by worldly prudence to the victims of oppression when unable to offer successful resistance to their injurers.

With this last mentioned kind Christian Non-Resistance has nothing in common. With philosophical and sentimental non-resistance it holds much in common; being, in fact the divine original of which they are human adulterations, and embracing all the good of both without the evils of either. This treatise is an illustration and defense of Christian Non-Violence, properly so designated.

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