‘The Karate Kid’ and Turning the Other Cheek

Josh Larsen

June 18, 2010

I'm not sure I agree 100%. Yes, turning the other cheek is one of the hardest commandments to obey. In agreement with you there. But taking the Karate Kid as a symptom of how we (as a culture) glorify revenge and sin is a bit of a stretch IMO.<br><br>I haven't seen the remake, but I recall in the original that Mr. Miyagi was trying to teach Daniel self-defense first and foremost. Mr. Miyagi even tried to work something out with the bullies' sensei to where they wouldn't bother Daniel anymore. When that wasn't going to work, then the arrangement to settle things in the tournament was arranged. A ridiculous, could only happen in the movies, arrangement, but I don't see anything wrong with it. I think if the Karate Kid was celebrating vengeance, then it would happen outside the confines of a tournament. It would be in a back alley or someplace else where there are no rules and the results would be devastating. The tournament was there to provide a way for the victim of bullying to stand up for himself in a (somewhat) controlled environment. I think the tournament serves as a device to teach the victim about himself more than anything else. Can he do it? Can he control his temper in that setting when faced with his bullies and fight by the rules? Or is he just like the bullies, out for revenge and the humiliation of others? <br><br>I think we've swung the pendulum too far on how we handle bullying. These days, my third grade son brings home papers on a weekly basis dealing with bullying. Good information, but over saturated with suggestions that often don't lead to less bullying, only less chances that the victim comes back with a weapon for retaliation. Sometimes, you need to stand up to the bully. Is this dangerous? Sure, and so is riding in a car on a busy highway. Is standing up to the bully Biblical? It depends. Lashing out in anger for revenge is not Biblical, but what about self-defense? And when does self-defense cross the line and turn into vengeance? That's what I mean by "it depends".

J. Jones
June 18, 2010

I don't think that "turn the other cheek" applies outside a personal insult. <br><br>It's okay to defend yourself. Besides, at least in the Karate Kid movies they take the fight to a tournament, or at least most of it.

June 18, 2010

<i>I don't think that "turn the other cheek" applies outside a personal insult. </i><br><br>Where in Scripture are you getting that?<br><br>It's pretty clear to me from the Gospel that resistance through sacrificial love isn't just a requirement when we're "personally insulted," but also when we're subject to oppression - the most violent and systematic of sins against one's fellow-humans. We aren't commanded just to turn the other cheek when we're struck; we're also commanded to go another mile when forced to go a mile by a soldier (i.e., when brought face to face with the concreteness of imperial oppression), and give our coat as well as our cloak when we owe money (i.e., when brought face to face with the concreteness of economic oppression). <br><br>Through a Christian's acts of self-sacrifice, the other person is forced to confront the cruelty and violence of the systems in which they are eager participant/oppressors, and forced to see the person they are oppressing as a fellow-human rather than an Other.<br><br>Would that more of us would take such scriptures to heart rather than embrace the politics of redemptive violence and revenge on a personal and national level.

June 18, 2010

I loathe getting into internet discussion with which I disagree, but eh it's a slow news day.<br><br>Yes you are right. If Hitler attacks us we should just walk away....If someone is going to kill a little kid and the only way we can stop it is to shoot the guy walk away...(sarcasm for the uninitiated)<br><br>It's so silly what you are saying, that the Karate Kid Movies are "Anti Christian" message. Defense of yourself or others is Paramount to being Christian.<br><br>From C.S. Lewis - <br><br>Discussing our Lord's words "turn the other cheek [Matthew 5:39]"<br><br> "[There are] three ways of of taking the command...One is the Pacifist interpretation; it means what it says and imposes a duty of nonresistance on all men in all circumstances...<br><br> Two...the minimising interpretation; it does not mean what it says but is merely an orientially hyperbolical way of saying that you should put up with a lot and be placable. Both you and I agree in rejecting this view [This view would deny the authority of Scripture!]...<br><br> Three the text means exactly what it says, but with an understood reservation in favour of those obviously exceptional cases which every hearer would naturally assume to be exceptions without being told...that is, insofar as the only relevant factors in the case are an injury to me and my neighbour and a desire on my part to retaliate, then I hold that Christianity commands no absolute mortification of that desire (pp. 49).<br><br> ...if a homicidal maniac, attempting to murder a third party, tried to knock me out of the way, I must stand aside and let him get his victim?<br><br> ...the best way of bringing up a child was to let it hit its parents whenever it was in a temper, or, when it had grabbed at the jam, to give it the honey also.<br><br> ...I think the meaning of the words was perfectly clear - 'insofar as you are simply an angry man who has been hurt, mortify your anger and do not hit back.'<br><br> Indeed, as the audience were private people in a disarmed nation, it seems unlikely that they would have ever supposed Our Lord to be referring to war. War was not what they would have been thinking of. The frictions of daily life among villagers were more likely to be in their minds. (pp. 50)"<br><br> "St. Paul approves of the magistrates use of the sword (Romans 13:4) and so does St. Peter (1 Peter 2:14). (pp. 50-51)"<br><br>Me: - I think with Scripture you have to interpret it in light of Scripture. Jesus didn't turn the other cheek when he whipped moneylenders out of the house of God though that was "insulting" to him. As Solomon says "There is a time for peace and a time for War". God has asked people to fight, kill, and die for a great many things. Christ himself will return to wage war.<br><br>When he was giving this little nugget of Gold he was also giving a plethora of others such as being angry with someone endangers you to hell (who hasn't been angry with someone), looking at a girl lustfully is the same as committing adultery (so guys whenever you see a pretty girl WATCH OUT!), so you should cut out your own eye (how many of us would be blind by now?)...Jesus was OBVIOUSLY using hyperbole to illustrate that we as humans have fallen short, and more specifically to explain to those he was teaching that the LAW is unattainable. We can't meet those guidelines, and nor are we supposed to, that's why Christ came to give us grace in all these things.<br><br>The fundamental truth behind the Karate Kid is that these kids had lives that are ruled by FEAR. They are then taught to NOT be afraid, and instead of pulling a gun out, or hitting someone with a pipe they fight it out in a sports tournament, with rules, which more often than not gain them the mutual respect of the Bully. Now you can say that Boxing, MMA, Wrestling, Football, any physical sport where there is confrontation is wrong, but that is a whole other ball of wax that I think is untrue.<br><br>A couple of other scriptures - Psalm 82:3, Isaiah 1:17, <br><br>"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." (Edmund Burke)

June 19, 2010

Is this 'kids flic' just copying the prevalent culture in our countries? Lets face it there are not many calls for lighter sentences for criminals - murderers etc. Even here in New Zealand where we don't have the death penalty there are calls for life to mean life for killers. Here in N.Z. we have an increasingly violent society - including in the school yard - &amp; yet corporal punishment has been banned for years &amp; anti- bullying programs instituted. Could it be that the very thing we think is immitating life - is really teaching society that any violence is o.k.if in self defence even pre-emptive strike ! I read long ago that surveys of conscript soldiers from the 1st world war showed that most if they fired their guns at all would not fire to hit a man! The Vietnam war soldiers showed a very different story! - of course t.v. was not in use till after the 2nd world war. Turning the other cheek does not make good film or t.v.( the story's over too quick) What makes the Gospel story so thrilling is that just when you thought it was all over for the humblest man who ever lived -- UP He popped - Alive &amp; Well and the Lord of Lords &amp; King of Kings !

June 21, 2010

C.S. Lewis is one person. He is not authoritative about Christian beliefs in the way that the Bible itself is. Despite the current trends in Christendom that would suggest otherwise, believing in Mr. Lewis is not necessary to be a follower of Jesus.

October 2, 2010

Jesus gave a hard command to turn the other cheek martial teaches you to defend yourself Jesus says to deny yourself. No Christian should take martial arts. Jesus nor his followers ever took martial arts.<br>All of his followers except for John died as martyrs.<br>I struggle with this concept everyday. I am also glad at times to separated and soon to be divorced as well as give up my parental rights. After all what good am I as a father if i cant protect my own God will watch over them right? LOL

October 20, 2010

C.S. Lewis didn't always "turn the other cheek", neither did Jesus. In debates with eggheads, he constanly stood up verbally and called them out! And, with eggheads, those were "Fighting Words!" Not a "very nice guy" at times, neither was Jesus. Jesus' admonishment to "turn the other cheek" does not mean to accept abuse; it means to not return evil for evil. Jesus did not follow our church's current teaching about becoming a doormat and laying down personal rights. Protecting yourself verbally or physically is simply that, self-protection. Jesus stood up for himself and others, and called Herod, a mighty authority figure.. "that fox", which in today's language means scumbag, sly and underhanded. Jesus didn't follow protocol when he stood up to the high priest in John 18, "Why do you question me?" To his attacker Jesus responded "If I have said anything wrong, tell everyone here what it was, but if I am right in what I have said, why do you hit me?" Jesus' warrior and rugged, masculine spirit (so much a part of Him, which is rarely recognized today) was attacked then, and is still today. He will not be defeated and attempt to feminize and emasculate the church should not continue! A good start would be to stop underlining just the mild, meek scriptures about Jesus (even though they are just as accurate) and underline the the more powerful, strength, rugged, scriptures of Him, expressing His warrior image. There are still alot of those in there!!

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