The Three Levels of Nonviolence

In Perspectives on Nonviolence, my father described three levels of nonviolence.

  • First Level is Technique such as tactics and strategies that hold out more promise than violence or retaliation.
  • The Second Level is Policy, that one can and must find a way without using violence or brute force.
  • But the Third Level is A Spiritual discipline in the Hands of God.

Walker explained, “There are times when no way other than violence seems open, when nonviolence gives promise of nothing but utter defeat. At such times, one must walk by faith and not by sight. At the third level, nonviolence is an act of trust in God and obedience to His will. He can bless this act of faithfulness beyond human calculation. In this dimension is revealed the truth that ‘... God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong.’” (1 Cor. 1:27).