But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
Jesus Christ, The Gospel of Matthew
Why has this seemingly sensible call from Christ to let go of the need for revenge never generated any noticeable response or understanding? Why is it, for example, that in response to a slap, any mentally and physically adequate man will not hesitate to throw a punch? Is it really possible to let go of the need for revenge?
It would not be quite correct to say that no-one at all has responded to Christ’s call. In different parts of the Christian world, groups and individuals have appeared at various times who have tried to follow Christ’s commandment.
Probably the most famous among them is the great Russian thinker and writer Leo Tolstoy, who coined the phrase, “nonresistance to evil”. The handful of groups called the “non-resistants” who followed Tolstoy quickly adopted a sectarian nature and lasted for less than a generation.
Why is it that in the vast majority of cases, people are unable to follow the commandments of Christ and do we have the right to judge them for it?
No! We don’t!
Human beings do not live their lives according to other people’s principles, even those set forth by the most brilliant of individuals.
According to the God-given (or Nature-given) Law of Gene Preservation, human beings are not only capable but have a duty to protect their own life and the lives of their family at all costs.
In order to combat evil, which will never cease of its own accord, particularly if it encounters no resistance, civilisation has introduced into the courts the law of retaliation which satisfies the majority of the population. Yet when evil comes from the State itself, when it subjugates the courts to its power, transforming them into a superficial formality, people will instigate revolution to protect their natural right to the living conditions necessary to guarantee Gene Preservation.
Why have all the other romantic and utopian teachings, like communism suffered historical defeat?
The problem is not that the Communist idea came to power in a solely bloody manner. When it came to power the idea of communism tried, at least in the initial period, to implement equal rights to Gene Preservation. This took the form of genuine, equal access to education and medical care, almost equal access to severely limited material wealth, and even equal opportunities to civil careers, as long as the career did not involve the field of governance, in which the Communists reigned alone and unchallenged. One has to admit though, that they even succeeded in the beginning.
So why did Communism go down with such a bang?
As always, the answer is simple. Having obtained more or less tolerable conditions to support the instinct of Gene Preservation (bread and shelter), the people instantly began to feel the no less urgent need for the Law of Freedom of Choice. More specifically, they felt the need for the constant expansion of Freedom of Choice: freedom of speech, freedom to elect and be elected, freedom of movement, freedom to choose one’s place of residence, freedom of enterprise, freedom of conscience, etc.
The Communists completely denied the people of all these rights, openly stating a contrived dictatorship of the proletariat! As a result of the denial of Freedom of Choice, the USSR saw an inevitable decline in the level of Gene Preservation (living standard).
By rejecting the Law of Freedom of Choice and creating a powerful punitive apparatus to suppress dissent, the Communist idea came into direct conflict with the law of nature (or God), namely, the Law of Humandynamics, according to which humanity’s Freedom of Choice steadily increases over time. And with that, the Communists condemned themselves to a rapid decline.
Nowhere in the world, whether in the USSR, China, Cambodia or anywhere else, has the communist idea ever managed to retain power without hard coercion, violence, suppression of Freedom of Choice and the destruction of millions of the country’s own population. In this regard, communism was no less an idea filled with hate for humanity than fascism or nazism.
It only remains to add that similar ideas such as Chuchheism, Chávism and Chegevarism, which demand the suppression of Freedom of Choice in order to preserve power, are all historically doomed.
This article began with a criticism of Christ’s commandment of “nonresistance to evil” because it is impossible to put into practice. However, is it not this commandment that made Christ great, and it is not on account of this commandment that Christ will remain forever in the hearts of mankind.
His other commandment: “love thy neighbour as thyself” or better “have compassion for your neighbour as for yourself” is just starting to gain momentum and understanding in the world and this call will continue to be heard for as long as mankind exists.
Karmak Bagisbayev, Professor of Mathematics, author of “The Last Faith: a book by an atheist believer”