Turn the Other Cheek: Islam


In Christianity we’re told to turn the other cheek. Our ‘neighbour’ is deemed to be anyone we might have an effect on; we are to show love to such.

Against this we have several ideologies that are not so lenient, such as Islam.

How does one tolerate intolerance?

We are not taught to despise others. Moslems are.

Al-Baqarah Ayah [113]
The Jews said that the Christians follow nothing (i.e. are not on the right religion); and the Christians said that the Jews follow nothing (i.e. are not on the right religion); though they both recite the Scripture. Like unto their word, said (the pagans) who know not. Allah will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection about that wherein they have been differing.


Although I am sure most here will disagree, should we not be like the apostles?

Literally turning the other cheek.

Proclaiming the gospel unto death.

I don’t think Peter called them together and said “Right lads, they want us dead, call up the infantry and we’ll war against them”


Without picking on Islam in particular, it is the crux of the OP, how does one deal with intolerance? Gandhi is said to have believed that non-violence could have defeated the Nazis, eventually, only it would have cost more lives, and been longer.


How does one deal with Intolerance?

Turn the other cheek


Then there won’t be many of us left


If this is the case then you will be a Martyr . I am sure the teaching of turning the other cheek is a non mythical teaching for christians.

On the other hand you dont have to turn the other cheek . But i guess you shouldnt preach others about it if they dont believe in it then. because you dont yourself.



If by ‘you’ you mean the people in general reading this, including me, then I agree.

If you mean me specifically, you would have to live too by your own advice


In Christianity we’re told to turn the other cheek

Heh. So many times over the centuries has that simple command been explained away and ignored. I don’t think we have any authority to talk to Muslims like you do when we don’t even follow our own rules.


Thanks for the ad hom


This is a difficult question.

Although the bible says to Turn the other cheek, we have the right to defend ourselves. Jesus, himself, did not fail to use some violence when chasing the money changers from the temple.

There is also the question of the greater good. If we had used passive resistance against the Nazi’s then more innocent lives would have been destroyed. Six million died during the Holocaust as it was. How many more innocents would have died if we had simply waited?

Although I have respect for Gandhi’s views I can’t agree with him on this point.


We have a right to defend ourselves. If someone chooses to go on the offensive against me or my family unprovoked then it’s open season on there little tushy. If there is any chance of peace at all I would pursue it. I can’t see God placing me in a protector role as husband and victim role as Catholic all at the same time. Each situation must be discerned, and in some cases it’s martydom I’m sure.

Lets say an Islamic army somehow actually invaded the US. People are being killed left and right. Should I lay down and die? I think in that case it’s lock and load. I think turn the other cheek applies to an open hand slap only. If it’s a machette, you won’t have a chance to turn the other cheek and the teaching will not apply. As far as I’m concerned, self defense is choosing life.



From the CCC

**2263 **The legitimate defense of persons and societies is not an exception to the prohibition against the murder of the innocent that constitutes intentional killing. “The act of self-defense can have a double effect: the preservation of one’s own life; and the killing of the aggressor. . . . The one is intended, the other is not.”

**2264 **Love toward oneself remains a fundamental principle of morality. Therefore it is legitimate to insist on respect for one’s own right to life. Someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow:

If a man in self-defense uses more than necessary violence, it will be unlawful: whereas if he repels force with moderation, his defense will be lawful. . . . Nor is it necessary for salvation that a man omit the act of moderate self-defense to avoid killing the other man, since one is bound to take more care of one’s own life than of another’s.

**2265 **Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others. The defense of the common good requires that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm. For this reason, those who legitimately hold authority also have the right to use arms to repel aggressors against the civil community entrusted to their responsibility.


I agree

Gandhi certainly lived by his ideals, but he wasn’t up against a system that wanted nothing but to kill him


But I think it raises an interesting question regarding God’s dynamics.

It remains a credible possibility, especially within Catholicism, that turning the other cheek and allowing one to be persecuted (only when necessesary – since we shouldn’t go out of our way to martyr ourselves for selfish reasons either) rouses the Lord’s wrath more against one’s enemies than when we bear arms to fight back with violence.

In other words, unlike Ghandi (who I often do agree with), I think that wars would be ended sooner by God’s intervention if we just learned to be content with whatever persecution comes our way. More to the point, by bringing our pain and suffering before the Lord in the Eucharist, I think that God can work more effectively through us when we are led by his Spirit toward compassion for our enemies.

Our Lord said that he was sending us out like sheep among wolves. As such, we need to be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.

More importantly, if our enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, we will heap burning coals onto the heads of our enemies and the LORD will reward us if we carry out his statutes in true agape love.

I know this is easier said than done. But that’s my thoughts on this. :slight_smile:


So Turning the other cheek is relative in Christianity?

From what you say above i understand that if the enemy or the persecution is not tough then its ok to turn the other cheek. If it is REAL persecution then we shouldnt turn the other cheek.

I am curious about getting to udnerstand the practicalities of the Turn the other cheek rule and how it is applied in every day christian life.

I would be grateful if the posters would shed some light.

Thank you



I have heard also that the phrase “turn the other cheek” does not necessarily mean “stand back, do not fight, let your enemy attack you, do not defend yourself” but it means “turn the other cheek and let them lift their arm to strike you again in the hope that the 2nd attempt will wake them up as to the violent way they are acting, and they will stop as they realise it is wrong”

Not sure if this is official teaching, but a priest once told me this interpretation.


so it is a diffirence in understanding but the act is the same?

Can you elaborate with an example ?

I am not here debating now i sincerely want to understand what is the pratcical interpretation .

best regards

thank you


No Problem,

“Turning the other cheek” is what happens if a person slaps me in the face. Persecution is far more then a slap in the face. If a person tries to kill me and or my family that is much more then a slap.

If I am placed in a situation where I have to defend my own life or the lives of my family members, I am allowed to kill the agressors if I am forced too. I also have a right to protect the innocent and my country by lethal means if needed.



How would you contend with Jesus’ not defending himself during the crucifixion, though? I know his reasons were special, but aren’t we called to imitate him as closely as possible? Look at how Christians in the Roman empire in the years following that dealt with all the persecution. They did their best to ensure their own safety, but I don’t think they actually fought back, did they?

It’s not that I’m passionately trying to argue this as a dogma or anything. I’m just struggling to figure it all out myself, but I wanted to bring up those points that really made me think…


Grace and Peace,

I believe what we are encountering is the after effect of St. Augustine’s City of God.

Christianity, in my humble opinion, was never ment to be a system to rule a secular society like ‘Rome’. It was a spiritual practice seeking the spiritual kingdom. With the merger of Rome with Christianity we find ourselves legitimizing violence for the sake of mundane survival. I honestly don’t believe such is ‘that’ important when one reflects on the ‘actual’ teachings of Jesus Christ.

Just my 2 cents.


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