Violence begets violence
||This article improperly uses one or more religious texts as primary sources without referring to secondary sources that critically analyze them. (August 2012)|
The phrase "violence begets violence" (or "hate begets hate") means that violent behavior promotes other violent behavior, in return. The phrase has been used for over 50 years, as in speeches by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1958) or the news report "Study: TV Violence Begets Violence" by CBS News (March 2003).
Violence begets violence and evil begets evil are concepts described in the Gospel of Matthew, verse 26:52. The passage depicts a disciple (identified in the Gospel of John as Peter) drawing a sword to defend against the arrest of Jesus but being told to sheath his weapon:
Words by Dr. King
Hate begets hate; violence begets violence; toughness begets a greater toughness. We must meet the forces of hate with the power of love... Our aim must never be to defeat or humiliate the white man, but to win his friendship and understanding.
“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral
begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy, instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.
Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth.
Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate.
Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
- "Struggle for Equality: Quotes From Martin Luther King, Jr.", Scholastic Inc., January 2011, webpage: .
- "Study: TV Violence Begets Violence", CBS News, 10 March 2003, webpage: CBS-33.
- Tesh, S. Edward; Walter D. Zorn. Psalms, Volume 1. p. 291.
- Matthew 26:52, King James Version.
- Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story, Martin Luther King, Jr., Clayborne Carson, 2010 (256 pages), page 74, ISBN 0-8070-0069-8, web: Books-Google-YC.
- "Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Celebration - Quotes" WSU.edu, January 30, 2011, webpage: WSU-481.