Total Posts:  5
Joined  23-01-2008
08 February 2008 17:33

There seems to be a contradiction b/w Sam’s two books. In the End of Faith he denounces pacifism as “flagrantly immoral.”  In Letter to a Christian Nation, he praises the Jains for their advocacy of complete nonviolence. How can you be utterly nonviolent without being pacifistic? Any thoughts?

Total Posts:  951
Joined  23-06-2007
10 February 2008 01:27
jackdav - 08 February 2008 10:33 PM

Any thoughts?

I think in LCN Sam was simply using Jainism as a comparative object lesson.

i.e. “Christians claim their scripture provides the best (and possibly only) basis for non-violence” v. “Oh really? Seems the Jains did it more directly and effectively”.

He’s not necessarily saying anything about the desirability of a philosophy of total non-violence.

Hey, sometimes ya gotta kick a little ass.

Total Posts:  3255
Joined  24-12-2004
10 February 2008 06:22

When he talks about pacifism he’s talking about social responsibilities—pacifists would allow harm to themselves and others at the hands of a predator in order not to directly harm the predator. It’s a pretty bankrupt ethical position. When he talks about the Jains he’s talking about the given religious ideologies in terms of social cooperation—what kinds of neighbors are their practitioners, the fact that pacifists make incomparably better neighbors than aspiring martyrs.