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Christianity and the Friend Enemy distinction

Discussion in 'Christian Philosophy & Ethics' started by Ignatius the Kiwi, May 19, 2022.

Do Christians have enemies?

  1. Yes

    6 vote(s)
    85.7%
  2. No

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. Christians shouldn't operate on this way of thinking

    1 vote(s)
    14.3%
  1. Ignatius the Kiwi

    Ignatius the Kiwi Dissident

    +3,263
    New Zealand
    Eastern Orthodox
    Single
    I've been thinking about the "friend Enemy distinction," as something which relates not only to politics but human interaction on the whole. I believe it applies to even the religious life and would like some input.

    Many Christians seem to believe or at least presume without thinking, that they operate in a world where they are enemies of no one and no one is their enemy on a scale that matters. It's an application of Jesus' words to love thy enemy. Yet Jesus himself doesn't say 'Don't have enemies,' rather 'love thy enemy.' Implicit in the statement is the understanding that Christians will have enemies but they are to treat them with love.

    Historically, before liberalism and the enlightenment I would say it was fairly obvious for Christians to think in an 'us vs them' mentality. To recognize friend from enemy. You could think of the wars between Muslims and Christians. Christians understood the Muslims to be their enemy who must be repelled. They did not surrender to Muslims out of a loving concern for them. The most faithful Christians did not willingly assimilate Islamic society and understood themselves to be different, instituting where they could control over their communities to distinguish themselves from Muslims. That's just one example. It's all over the history of Christianity, which is something we can discuss if anyone questions that.

    In modernity I think many Christians have abandoned this outlook in favour of a more liberal outlook. So the question is, for any Christian, regardless of what side of the theological spectrum you fall into, do Christians have enemies and is it better to be conscious of one's enemies? If so, who do you consider an enemy? Or if you believe Christians don't have enemies why do you believe that to be the case?

    I will note, that the friend enemy distinction doesn't necessarily involve hatred or emotional responses to certain peoples or groups. It's simply a recognition of who is one's friend or who is one's enemy. It asserts there isn't a state of neutrality between peoples.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2022
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  2. prodromos

    prodromos Senior Veteran Supporter

    +9,925
    Australia
    Eastern Orthodox
    Married
    Yes. The demons are our enemy. Those people who might otherwise be considered the enemies of Christians are actually misled by the demons and deserve our compassion.
     
  3. Ignatius the Kiwi

    Ignatius the Kiwi Dissident

    +3,263
    New Zealand
    Eastern Orthodox
    Single
    While I don't deny the influence the demonic has (especially on culture and purveyors of certain evils which are rampant today), there is the element of free will and that people choose to embrace said demonic influences can only ultimately have blame rest on themselves. They are not wholly innocent or mere subjects of demonic influence. God will hold them accountable as he will hold all of us accountable for the sins and evil we gave into through our lives.

    In saying they deserve compassion I don't disagree, but how much compassion does one give their enemy? If you give too much compassion to your enemy you might regard them as your friend when in reality they are an enemy. There is a lot of danger in taking the proposition too far.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2022
  4. bèlla

    bèlla ❤️ Supporter

    +16,592
    United States
    Non-Denom
    In Relationship
    Christians disarmed through subtly. It isn’t an overt attack against the faith. They chip away at its principles bit by bit and place wolves in our midst. And we fall for it.

    Now they’re getting bolder. The light is dimming and as it lessens they’ll be able to speak more forwardly. True believers have enemies. We stand with God no matter what. We’re the ones they’re afraid of.
     
  5. Michael Collum

    Michael Collum Everything began with a voice, use yours Supporter

    +6,683
    Canada
    Christian Seeker
    Married
    our enemies are not flesh and blood.

    it is not the person speaking against us who is the enemy.

    it is the thoughts that course through their minds.

    thoughts cultivated for centuries and millennia to stand against the knowledge of God.

    in the church one experiences a sense of naivete thinking, this is a safe place to worship God.

    Yet as it is written of old, it applies today as well, your feasts are like dung - and you shall be carried away with it.

    our enemies are not flesh and blood, it is the high places that were once places of worship, that now serve the occult in the name of Jesus.

    and so it ends.
     
  6. com7fy8

    com7fy8 Well-Known Member Supporter

    +5,668
    United States
    Christian
    Single
    Yes, we Christians have enemies. And Jesus has us loving them. But we need to always be prayerful so we do what He wants us to do with each enemy. We be their best friends by being their example, in order to try to help them to trust in Jesus and turn from their evil and find out how to love with us.

    Of course, there are church leaders and members who can have wrong ways, and we need to not give in to those wrong ways. Do not go along with worry, for example, because worry is very cruel and a pathological lier so very abusive. And in case a leader or other is trying to dominate and control us, we are told how to relate with each other >

    "nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock." (1 Peter 5:3)

    So, anything in ourselves that would have us trying to lord ourselves over others is an enemy feeling or emotion or way of reacting. Do not give in to unforgiveness, then, or trying to charm or pressure another person, and do not abuse anyone by arguing. Arguing often is abuse!

    "Do all things without complaining and disputing," (Philippians 2:14)

    "So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God." (James 1:19-20)

    So, right inside ourselves there can be enemy things which can cause more hurt and trouble, than any enemies can. And we love our enemies, by being their example of how to be and how to relate in love.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2022
  7. JimR-OCDS

    JimR-OCDS God Cannot Be Grasped, Except Through Love

    +2,552
    United States
    Catholic
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    From the Catechism of the Catholic Church;

    2303 Deliberate hatred is contrary to charity. Hatred of the neighbor is a sin when one deliberately wishes him evil. Hatred of the neighbor is a grave sin when one deliberately desires him grave harm. "But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven."
     
  8. Ignatius the Kiwi

    Ignatius the Kiwi Dissident

    +3,263
    New Zealand
    Eastern Orthodox
    Single
    Does the Catechism or a prominent Catholic voice teach anything more about enemies? Hatred need not be a factor in recognizing an enemy and given Catholic history the Church has had numerous enemies to it. I'm interested in Catholic sources which recognize that there are indeed enemies one can identify.
     
  9. JimR-OCDS

    JimR-OCDS God Cannot Be Grasped, Except Through Love

    +2,552
    United States
    Catholic
    Married
    Go to the Catechism, the section I copied from has entire statements and definitions
    on enemies, war and such.

    Catechism of the Catholic Church - PART 3 SECTION 2 CHAPTER 2 ARTICLE 5 (scborromeo.org)
     
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