BUDDHIST AND CHRISTIAN VIEWS OF ECONOMICS John B. Cobb Jr. Claremont School of Theology I When we think of violence, what first comes to mind are violent acts by individuals or groups against other individuals. We think of rapes and murders, lynchings and muggings, beatings and armed robberies. We want the police to protect us from this violence. Unfortunately, we know that police are tempted, in turn, to employ their power in violent ways, chiefly against those guilty of crimes, but sometimes against the innocent. The cycle of violence on the part of individuals and groups goes on. Bad as this violence is, it is worse when the state, instead of restricting it, supports and requires it. Political authorities have always exercised violence against their own people, especially those they suspected of being threats to their power. But in the twentieth century, state violence reached previously unheard of levels. For the sake of building a communist society, Stalin killed millions and imprisoned millions more. The Nazis undertook to purify Germany of Jews, gypsies, and other undesirables through extermination undertaken through bureaucratic processes. We Americans do not think of ourselves as having employed state power in any such way.
Buddhist-Christian Studies – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Nov 8, 2002
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