Consumption & Violence

To the ideal of high consumption and the downgrading of spiritual values corresponds a conception of injustice that centers exclusively on the problem of consumption; and equality in consumption cannot be achieved except by violence. (37)

Jacques Ellul | Violence: Reflections from a Christian Perspective


No Accord

Thus, we see, differences of temperament have an important bearing on those three positions [regarding Christians and the use of violence].  But, on the other hand, all three are alike in one basic respect.  All are what one might call “monist.”  By that I mean that we are dealing with Christians who think there must be a Christian “solution,” a valid way of organizing society or the world.  Those who seek a Christian solution try to formulate a compromise between the demands of Christ and the necessities of the world, to work out a quantitative determination, a balance of factors that will bring in a viable social order.  Those who seek a plan for reorganizing society on Christian lines make a judgment of society and a demand on the world — the judgment that the world ought not to be as it is, and the demand that society so change that there will be no more war, no more poverty, no more exploitation of man; so change that a Christian finds it satisfactory.

Both these groups, implicitly or explicitly, cherish the hope that the various elements involved can be brought into accord.  They forget that this is the world that has absolutely rejected Jesus Christ; that there can be no accord between the values, the bases, the stoikeia of the world and those of revelation. (24-25)

Jacques Ellul | Violence: Reflections from a Christian Perspective