Friday, October 19, 2012

Athanasius on Christians' Turning Away From War as Proof of Christ's Divinity

"Who, then, is it that has done this, or who is he that has united in peace those who hated each other, if not the beloved Son of the Father, the common Savior of all, Jesus Christ, who in his love submitted to all things for our salvation? For even from of old it had been prophesied concerning the peace ushered in by him, the scriptures saying, 'They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into sickles, and nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither will they learn any more to wage war' (Isaiah 2:4). And such a thing is not unbelievable, inasmuch as even now the barbarians who have an innate savagery of manners, while they still sacrifice to their idols, rage against one another and cannot bear to remain without a sword for a single hour, but when they hear the teaching of Christ they immediately turn to farming instead of war, and instead of arming their hands with swords stretch them out in prayer, and, in a word, instead of fighting amongst themselves, henceforth they arm themselves against the devil and the demons, subduing them with sobriety and virtue of soul. This is, on the one hand, the proof of the Savior's divinity, that what human beings were unable to learn among idols, they have learned form him, and, on the other hand, no small refutation of the weakness and nothingness of the demons and idols. The demons, knowing their weakness, because of this formerly set human beings at war with each other, lest if they ceased from mutual strife, they should turn to battle against the demons. Indeed, those who become disciples of Christ, instead of fighting against each other, stand arrayed against the demons by their lives and deeds of virtue, putting them to flight and mocking their prince, the devil, so that, in their youth they are temperate, in temptations they endure, in toils they persevere, when insulted  they forbear, and deprivations they disregard, and, what is most wonderful is that they scorn even death and become martyrs for Christ."

-Athanasius of Alexandria, On the Incarnation, trans. John Behr (Yonkers, NY: St Vladimir's Seminary Press, 2011), 163, 165


  1. Christians turning away from war!
    You must be joking!

    How do you think that Christin-ism as a would be world conquering power-and-control-seeking ideology came to be the world-dominant religion?

    Christian-ism became intrinsically violent the very moment that the early Christian movement was co-opted by the Roman State, and thus became a leading/integral player in the Western drive to gain total power and control over everyone and everything.

    Have you ever heard about the Papal Bulls of 1453 and 1495?

    Never mind too that Christian Europe gave the entire world both of the World Wars - all the various competing sides had "God"-on-their-side. As indeed did ALL of the competing sides of ALL of the never-ending wars that were a feature of the history of Christian Europe.

    Never mind too that Christian Amerika, that supposedly most "religious" of modern European based countries, is easily the worlds largest maker, owner, seller and user of weapons of all kind, including of course WMD's.

    The truth about Christian warfare and violence 101:

  2. Thanks for this powerful quote, Brad.