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Quote of the Day: The Impotence of Revolution

Revolutionary sanctions of death cannot overcome the social purpose of death in any status quo. In any revolution, the means of death cannot transcend death, much less defeat or destroy death. At the most, it can alter the guise of death or make death appear more attractive. This remains the reality even though a revolution is represented in the loftiest human idealism, or where the provocations to revolt have become humanly intolerable and revolution seems the only recourse, or where the cause is humanly just, informed by worthy intentions and sensible precautions against corruption, abuse, and scandal.

The issue here is the vitality of the moral power of death in the origins of revolution, and not merely one of distortion or abandonment or compromise of initial revolutionary aims, nor one of subsequent counterrevolutionary events undoing a splendid revolutionary charter.

William Stringfellow, An Ethic for Christians and Other Aliens in a Strange Land, 123.


  1. Skip Newby wrote:

    Or, more simply put, the only revolution that succeeds, is a transformation of hearts in Love.

    Friday, March 20, 2009 at 10:23 am | Permalink
  2. Halden wrote:

    Or what Yoder spoke of as “The Original Revolution”: “If anyone is in Christ, there’s a whole new world.”

    Friday, March 20, 2009 at 10:57 am | Permalink

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