Virtue ethics

The Mennonite theologian John Howard Yoder used to frequently get asked about his pacifism. He used such opportunities to talk about virtue ethics. Here is how the conversations would often go: “You can’t be serious about being nonviolent. I mean, what if you were in your kitchen with your wife, and someone came in and tried to rape her, and you had a gun right there on the counter top, easily within reach… you mean to say you wouldn’t use it to stop him?” And Yoder would say “That wouldn’t happen. The question is wrong… you don’t understand. I wouldn’t have a gun.” By virtue of who he was, the ethic of living came forth… Thus it is with our responses in all things: to God and to each other.

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