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The ethics of Merton: Non-violence and its connection with the sacred

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  1. Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander.
  2. The duty of a righteous man.
  3. Emptiness makes us the vehicle of a greater understanding.
  4. Religion is bound up in the dogmas which can be used as tools of power and division.
  5. How do you enforce nonviolence?
  6. Merton seems to embrace disharmony.
  7. Nailed to the Cross with Christ.

Nonviolence is both a form of theory and the commitment to a lifestyle which adheres to this theory. Although there are different perceptions of the importance of direct action, nonviolence is mostly defined by its attitude of understanding and humility. The nonviolent tradition believes strongly that the ends and the means are to be consistent, meaning that nonviolence cannot be achieved through the use of violence. Merton says that this act of ?fighting for peace? that starts all wars . This is just one of the many paradoxes which Merton explores through his intimate discussion. At times, the reader can feel all of the hopes of the ages being channeled in merely a couple of lines of social commentary by Merton: ?A personal crisis comes when one becomes aware of nearly irreconcilable opposites within oneself.?

[...] Without too much discussion of governmental ethics, and the ethics of warfare, we must first realize that these ideas are an oxymoron. This is different from paradox because there is no figurative basis for this idea. In other words, war has no need for peace, and peace cannot be defined by war. A person is born with tendencies for both love and violence, but he or she only needs one of these. Merton's constructs our rational need for kindness towards one another, but also showing the life-giving force of this idea in nature. [...]


[...] He relates this to the entire history of human society: history of the world, with the material destruction of cities, nations, and people expressed the interior division that tyrannizes the soul of all Merton's ability to connect ideas from different sides, such as the eastern and western cultures, are what allows him to engage in the conversation of unification. We can see his ability to apply his notion of interconnectedness to the conversation of ideas as a spiritual as well as a physical act. [...]


[...] Christian ethics were eventually integrated with some these Greek conceptions of ethics, as Merton outlines: ?What Aristotle gave to Christian thought was its ?turning to the world,' its respect for nature and the physical, for the concrete reality of the universe.?[5] The demystification of the French Enlightenment period sought to rationally observe the truth of these moral statements which had been accepted for thousands of years as having divine and ontological truth. From these rationalist and empirical criticisms of Christian ethics, there came the evolution of systematical ethical studies such as Kant's categorical imperative and Locke's idea of a social contract. [...]

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