• alan1000
    192
    There is a tendency to think of Islam as a religion which promotes violence and intolerance, as opposed to Christianity, which is thought to be more meek, mild, and benign.

    This misconception rests upon a failure of historical perspective. If Christianity today appears to be a benign and peaceful religion, it is because modern secularism and the rule of law have drawn its fangs. In earlier, less accountable times, Christianity had the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the burning of witches, the medieval massacres of the Jews, and the massacres of South American native innocents.

    Think of the advances which secular society has made towards the improvement of the human condition, in Western society, over the last 500 years; we are speaking of the transition from a feudal, religiously-intolerant society to a society governed by the rule of law and freedom of religious belief.

    Now try to name one step along this road which was not bitterly opposed by the Christian religion. The emancipation of women; birth control; the abolition of slavery; universal free education; inoculation against diseases which cripple children; the universal franchise. Every modern development which has tended to reduce the sum total of human misery, and increase the general balance of health, happiness and prosperity, has been fought on the beaches and in the streets by one section or another of the Christian church.

    If we wish to understand the thought processes of the Islamic State or the Taliban, we need only read the Old Testament.
  • ToothyMaw
    1.2k
    Bartolomé de las Casas fought against slavery.javi2541997

    Yes, one random Christian guy fought against slavery a long time ago.

    I know you know, and you know everyone else who knows anything about this knows, that the bible defends slavery and that certain scriptures were, for instance, used to justify slavery in the southern United States at large before the confederates were defeated.

    You can claim that we have to delineate exactly which Christians we are criticizing, but they all take inspiration from the same scriptures from the same damn book - even if they don't all share the exact same interpretations.
  • javi2541997
    5.2k
    I don't know where my answer to Alan1000 went, so I guess a moderator deleted it. Thankfully, you quoted me before it got deleted.

    Well, yes, it is true that some interpretations of the Bible were twisted. But who is really responsible because of this? Christianity itself or the people who are violent by nature? It is interesting how a single text allowed different interpretations. My criticism against alan1000 was based on how he accused Christianity generally.

    He claims that Christianity and its branches are related to slavery (and other negative actions). But for example and paradoxically, the heroes of Ireland, were inspired by the Christianity-Catholic belief to get independence from England, for instance.

    Look what Irish republicanism is about:
    Discrimination against Catholics and Protestant nonconformists, attempts by the British administration to suppress Irish culture, and the belief that Ireland was economically disadvantaged as a result of the Acts of Union were among the specific factors leading to such opposition
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_republicanism

    Not all Christianity is about the Spanish Inquisition. And in Spain, not all were Inquisitors, etc.
  • ToothyMaw
    1.2k


    No, the slavery scripture is not twisted. It literally says that slaves ought to obey their masters. You are also committing the no true Scotsman fallacy. Just because some specific Christians might have been opposed to slavery doesn't mean that Christianity at large has not defended or condoned slavery.
  • Jamal
    9.2k
    I don't know where my answer to Alan1000 went, so I guess a moderator deleted it. Thankfully, you quoted me before it got deleted.javi2541997

    I deleted it because it was extremely low quality. Please calm down and approach this topic in a rational, thoughtful, philosophical manner, or risk having more of your posts deleted.
  • javi2541997
    5.2k
    I know it is literally written by the Gospels. But, again, the concept was twisted by some groups of Christians. While the Bible does not specifically condemn the practice of slavery, it does give instructions on how slaves should be treated during those times. For example: Scripture also mentions that humans can be slaves to sin itself, consumed by their passions.

    1 Peter 2:16
    16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves

    18 Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh

    Colossians 3:22
    22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.

    Did you refer to the latter, right? Look how many interpretations we can get about that passage:

    Paul has addressed immediate family members in the prior verses, including specific instructions for husbands, wives, and children. Here, Paul begins a set of instructions for a "bondservant." This is from the Greek term duolos, meaning a person under the command or obligation of another. The word can be fairly translated as "slave," although what modern people think of when they see the term "slave" is not quite how it was practiced in Paul's day
    https://www.bibleref.com/Colossians/3/Colossians-3-22.html
  • ToothyMaw
    1.2k


    Should I even continue with this?
  • javi2541997
    5.2k
    OK, sorry Jamal. I will answer more rational than I did the first time, and I will calm myself. :up:
  • Vera Mont
    3.7k
    Now try to name one step along this road which was not bitterly opposed by the Christian religion.alan1000

    I think it's a mistake to identify the entire Christian spectrum of religions with the individual religious institutions. Like all large-scale organizations, religious institutions, especially those with political and economic power (e.g. The Roman Catholic Church) tend to be extremely conservative. They resist change of any kind, because it threatens the hold they already have on their constituency. This is why there are so many Christian cults: any large enough group of people who opposed the status quo had to break off and form their church in order to implement the changes they wanted. Individuals or small groups who dissented were harshly disposed-of. (Except that one arrogant English king... but generations of his people suffered in the subsequent civil strife.)

    When you say Christians, or Christianity, it sounds as if Quakers think just like Catholic bishops and televangelists are interchangeable with the Amish elders. They don't and they're not. They all hold up a Bible when preaching (so does Trump, when shilling) but it's not necessarily the same version, and they each read (if they do read) it quite differently. I used to have Jehovah's Witnesses come around
    and quote me carefully underlined verses and become quite flustered if I asked how their passage compared to another one in the same book.

    Yes, the war, personal violence and vengeance, oppression, duplicity and animal sacrifice are all in there. So are the compassion, humility, generosity and forgiveness. You can find passages to support any claim you make about a god, sin, accountability and human nature. It's a book of stories - biographies, historical accounts from a single POV, legends, predictions, census surveys, admonitions, miracles, geneologies, love songs, religious codes of conduct, anecdotes, morality tales, hymns of praise and supplication, lectures and one longish drug-induced hallucination. Oddly, the passages I hear most often quoted are from the letters of Paul, who got there fifty years too late and made himself boss.
  • Fooloso4
    5.7k
    The answer to the title question is - yes ... and no.

    If we wish to understand the thought processes of the Islamic State or the Taliban, we need only read the Old Testament.alan1000

    If we wish to understand how the Hebrew Bible ("Old Testament" is itself of a misconception) answers the question, we should look at the duel aspects of the tree of knowledge (good and bad) and God's blessings which are also curses (child birth, for example).

    Here is an informative article from The New Statesman that overturns some common notions about Christianity. As to whether its influence has been good: on plus side the article sites the origin of the idea of equal dignity. On the negative, the destruction of Rome.
  • BitconnectCarlos
    2k
    If we wish to understand the thought processes of the Islamic State or the Taliban, we need only read the Old Testament.alan1000

    In which man stealing is unequivocally prohibited which should have been enough to shut down the institution of American slavery, yet somehow I notice the pro-slavery crowd seems to have an affinity for the writings of Paul, in the New Testament. :chin:
  • javi2541997
    5.2k
    When you say Christians, or Christianity, it sounds as if Quakers think just like Catholic bishops and televangelists are interchangeable with the Amish elders. They don't and they're not. They all hold up a Bible when preaching (so does Trump, when shilling) but it's not necessarily the same version, and they each read (if they do read) it quite differently.Vera Mont

    I agree, Vera. Well written, yes. I forgot about the Quakers when they are an important group among Christians. Even Quakers tend to have different groups among themselves. There is even 'Nontheist Quakers'. Those who engage in Quaker practices and processes, but who do not necessarily believe in a theistic God, when this group can sound contradictory about the main cause of Quakers, etc. It is amazing how many branches have split inside Christianity.
  • Fire Ologist
    350
    The inquisition, the crusades, the child abuse and pedophilia - these aren't Christianity. These are the perhaps the gravest sins ever committed because not only were they murderous and tortuous and just evil, but they were done as if Christ would condone them or just distorting any chance of someone getting to know what Christ really said and did. Jesus did not crusade or raise a sword. Jesus did not torture anyone, but was a victim of torture and murder. He turned the evils we do into hope through the resurrection we celebrate tomorrow.

    I don't blame anyone for looking at "Christianity" as a force for bad given how few good Christians there are. I am no good example, and I love Christ. But the crusades, the inquisition, just like the hospitals and universities, that the "Church" built - these are what men and women do - these are good and bad, success and failure. They are not Christian. They are not the Church. And the worst of all, to wear a cross as you murder and torture as if you could presume to know anything about what God and Jesus would want you to do to others, as if the example you set was Christlike - the worst of evils.

    All of the evils we do to each other are what we do. Christianity and Islam, and Judaism - these bring hope for salvation, and it is salvation from ourselves we need.

    I just had to post something because it is Easter. Jesus, simply speaking his mind, was condemned by us, tortured and murdered, on a cross for all to see who we are - what we do. Not what Christ does. Not who a Christian is. And then he rose from his grave for all of us to see there is more in store for us. There is way to hope and joy, recompense for all of the torture and evil we've built.

    I doubt this has any impact on those who, seeing the evils done in the name of Christ, are finding their own way. Ultimately, every saint had to find his or her own way, so we're all off to a good start here on this forum. But please just know that some Christians, that is, some people who love Christ like a brother, are just as crushed by the evils done in his name, over and over again.

    There are so few Christians worthy of the name.
  • Vera Mont
    3.7k
    There are so few Christians worthy of the name.Fire Ologist

    I have found this too. The few I have met didn't object to my atheism, but welcomed any help in their efforts to relieve the suffering of others.
    Good people behave well; bad people behave badly, whatever they profess to believe.
  • Lionino
    1.8k
    Christianity had the Crusadesalan1000

    The Crusaders were exactly the defence against the Muslims invaders, Ummayad in Iberia and Seljuks in Anatolia. The Crusades were self-defense against Muslim aggressors.

    Inb4: "but they sacked Constantinople after!"

    Not the point.

    the Spanish Inquisitionalan1000

    That lasted several centuries, and didn't reduce to the stereotype of randomly burning people at stakes like you see in Hollywood movies with a mushed grey filter on. I am not going to lecture on its history because I am not able to do so, all I recommend to remediate the stereotype is to read a book on the subject, not by someone whose name is John, Billy, or Levin, but Pedro, Manuel or Martin. Not only that, but my greatest recommendation of all is to put your hands against your ears when protestants start lecturing on what is and is not Christianity.

    and the massacres of South American native innocentsalan1000

    So starting from modern Panama there weren't any massacres? Strange. I recommend figuring out how many continents there are in the world, then we can move on to whether the indigenous (natives were often white) were indeed always innocent.

    All in all, more of the same when it comes to this topic. The difference between Muhammad's message and Jesus' message is clear and evident. That variations on each exist does not change that each has a very distinct core from the other.
  • RogueAI
    2.6k
    A couple points: religions like Christianity give the masses a reason to behave: be good, and go to heaven; be bad and got to hell. I think there are a lot of people out there who would get up to a lot of mischief without the threat of hell looming over them.

    Also, people don't need religion to be horrible to each other. Khmer Rouge, Stalinist Russia, North Korea, Mao's Cultural Revolution, etc. If the Abrahamic religions never existed, things probably wouldn't be all that different.
  • Vera Mont
    3.7k
    That variations on each exist does not change that each has a very distinct core from the other.Lionino

    Neither influences leaders to formulate benevolent policies, nor their people to stop following aggressive and avaricious leaders.
  • BC
    13.3k
    Like the police chief, you are comically shocked--SHOCKED!--to find contradictions, inconsistencies, and hypocrisy in the institutions and practice of religion.



    In what context are humans NOT contradictory, inconsistent, and hypocritical?

    Now try to name one step along this road which was not bitterly opposed by the Christian religion. The emancipation of women; birth control; the abolition of slavery; universal free education; inoculation against diseases which cripple children; the universal franchise. Every modern development which has tended to reduce the sum total of human misery, and increase the general balance of health, happiness and prosperity, has been fought on the beaches and in the streets by one section or another of the Christian church.alan1000

    Sometimes liberation was sponsored by Christians, sometimes Christians were opposed to liberation movements at different times and in different places. Your blanket condemnation of Christianity overlooks a hell of a lot of historical complexity.

    Which Christians opposed Jenner's smallpox vaccination in 1791, or the polio vaccination in the 1950s? Are you proposing that anti vaxxers are all Christians? (Some of them are.).

    Apparently you think that Christendom has been an entirely religious playground for the last 2000 years? Are you not aware that there were other powerful institutions operating along side the church from St. Peter on down to 2024? Food for thought: Christianity was as strongly influenced by the Roman Empire as the Empire was influenced by the church -- maybe more so. It was corrupted from the get go.

    Anyone familiar with the history of Christianity is aware of both its egregious failures and its shining successes. The church is a human institution and as Kant said, "nothing straight was ever built with the crooked timber of mankind."
  • javi2541997
    5.2k
    Not only that, but my greatest recommendation of all is to put your hands against your ears when protestants start lecturing on what is and is not Christianity.Lionino

    Good point, Lionino. The mass propaganda of Protestants against Catholics is well known. Not only to Spanish Inquisition but other recent crises in Europe. I understand there is a lot of debate regarding The Troubles in Northern Ireland, but one of the specific reasons was the critical differences between Catholics and Protestants. They couldn't live together.

    A good example:

    Coupled with Protestant immigration to "unplanted" areas of Ulster, particularly Antrim and Down, this resulted in conflict between the native Catholics and the "planters", leading in turn to two bloody religious conflicts known as the Irish Confederate Wars (1641–1653) and the Williamite war (1689–1691), both of which resulted in Protestant victories.
    Anglican dominance in Ireland was ensured by the passage of the Penal Laws that curtailed the religious, legal, and political rights of anyone (including both Catholics and Protestant Dissenters, such as Presbyterians) who did not conform to the state church, the Anglican Church of Ireland. As the Penal Laws started to be phased out in the latter part of the 18th century, there was more competition for land, as restrictions were lifted on the Irish Catholic ability to rent...

    **

    More recently:

    In the mid-1960s, a non-violent civil rights campaign began in Northern Ireland. It comprised groups such as the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA), the Campaign for Social Justice, the Derry Citizens' Action Committee, and People's Democracy, whose stated goals were:

    An end to job discrimination – it showed evidence that Catholics/nationalists were less likely to be given certain jobs, especially government jobs.
    An end to discrimination in housing allocation – it showed evidence that unionist-controlled local councils allocated housing to Protestants ahead of Catholics/nationalists...
    https://cain.ulster.ac.uk/othelem/chron/ch1800-1967.htm

    And many more examples... Which proves that inside Christianity, the groups can be toxic to each other.

    @alan1000 pointed out that the violence of Christianity is extrinsic and not intrinsic, which is a fallacy, obviously.
  • Vera Mont
    3.7k
    I understand there is a lot of debate regarding The Troubles in Northern Ireland, but one of the specific reasons was the critical differences between Catholics and Protestants. They couldn't live together.javi2541997

    And it's all the Protestants' fault. Obviously, since they made up all those terrible lies about Catholic church... Fake news!
  • 180 Proof
    14.5k
    If we wish to understand the thought processes of the Islamic State or the Taliban [or Christian Fundamentalisms], we need only read the Old Testament [& NT Pauline Letters].alan1000
    As Freddy Zarathustra says
    In truth, there was only one christian and he died on the cross.

    The Abrahamic doctrine of 'vicarious redemption via human sacrifice' (i.e. martyrdom, scapegoat violence) is evil .. à la "theodicy" (e.g. otherworldly ends justify all suffering means in this world). IMO, even a casual reading of the last fifteen or so centuries of history shows that 'Western Civilization' has developed inspite of Christianity and not because of it.
  • javi2541997
    5.2k
    I don't know who's the fault. What I am certainly aware is that Christianity can be dangerous among its members, and not only when it is reflected into society or third parties. This is what I tried to explain, or approach.
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    2.1k


    It's a little strange to make an appeal for historical nuance and then launch into a simplistic dichotomy of secular/good/progress and Christianity/evil/regression like:

    Think of the advances which secular society has made towards the improvement of the human condition, in Western society, over the last 500 years; we are speaking of the transition from a feudal, religiously-intolerant society to a society governed by the rule of law and freedom of religious belief.

    Now try to name one step along this road which was not bitterly opposed by the Christian religion. The emancipation of women; birth control; the abolition of slavery; universal free education; inoculation against diseases which cripple children; the universal franchise. Every modern development which has tended to reduce the sum total of human misery, and increase the general balance of health, happiness and prosperity, has been fought on the beaches and in the streets by one section or another of the Christian church.

    The historical events you are talking about, with the exception of birth control, took place in societies where the overwhelming majority of people were Christians and attending religious services regularly. The issue of slavery in the British Empire and the US, or of serfdom's extremely late end in Russia, occured in contexts where almost everyone on both sides of the issue was a practicing Christian. Certainly, it was not the case that progressive policy in mid-1800s America/Russia/the UK was driven largely by explicitly secular movements. The "Battle Hymn of the Republic," is, of course, a hymn, John Brown was an Evangelical puritan, etc.

    Free education is a particularly bad example because it was started and advocated for on religious grounds.

    Nor does the dichotomy work going in the other direction, with secularism always being a force for progress and good. The Soviet Union was aggressively atheist and suppressed the Orthodox Church, dynamiting a great cathedral to make the world's largest swimming pool. But Stalin essentially recreated serfdom in all but name, made massive use of slave labor, and carried out a number of genocides against ethnic minorities. You could consider the abuses of Mao, the French Terror, etc. as well.

    This seems like a weird application of current "culture war" categories to periods in history when they make little sense — e.g. look at the documents produced by either side of the US Civil War and there will be allusions to religion everywhere.
  • Vera Mont
    3.7k
    I don't know who's the fault.javi2541997
    Nobody. People are crazy; when they fall into the sway of religious and nationalist leaders, they act crazier than usual. It's fine to acknowledge that Christian sects are no saner than Muslim ones, and that they have been at one another's throats since long before Martin Luther protested the selling of indulgences https://www.worldhistory.org/article/1414/six-great-heresies-of-the-middle-ages/#google_vignette It's a history site, not a Protestant one.
    Paulicians, Bogomils, Cathars, Waldensians, Lollards, Hussites
    All six of these were suppressed by the Church, often resulting in the slaughter of populations which had nothing to do with the heresy, as the Church continued to insist on its spiritual authority as the representative of God on earth.
    But that's no excuse for a smear.
    The mass propaganda of Protestants against Catholics is well known.javi2541997
    Is it? By whom? Which particular Protestants are waging what propaganda campaigns? If you accuse someone, you're expected to provide evidence. If you accuse millions of anonymous people, we should just let it slide?
    Not only to Spanish Inquisition but other recent crises in Europe.javi2541997
    How does the Inquisition suddenly segue into "other crises in Europe"? The persecution of heretics, Jews and Muslims was practiced by all Catholic countries, though it may have been done with more zeal in Spain - possibly due to the legacy of Muslim occupation. That's entirely separate from English, Flemish and German royal families fighting over thrones, or modern nationalists of predominantly Catholic and Protestant countries objecting to Arab immigrants. And it's nothing at all to do with the British occupation of Ireland.
  • Lionino
    1.8k
    If you accuse someone, you're expected to provide evidenceVera Mont

    If evidence is given, you will go "but it is just one person!". And I am not predicting the future more than I am describing the past:
    one random Christian guy fought against slavery a long time ago.ToothyMaw
    Then we will be required to provide a literature-review of a topic that does not even exist academically.

    Unfortunately, there is no meta-analysis of the gym being full Tuesdays and Mondays. But whenever I go Mondays and Tuesdays, it is full. I know that, so I go other days, and I am not worried about proving it to people who don't even go to the gym but want facts and logic about my claims.

    Not even that, but the ones who protected the indians in America, especially Brazil, against European slavery were jesuits and other Catholic orders. Many jesuits in fact run away into the rainforests with indians. Later, the Portuguese crown, to grant peace between colonisers and clergymen, established that indians could be enslaved only under conditions of guerra justa. The search for indian slaves was de facto forbidden.
    Humanitarianism does not start ex nihilo in England demanding other countries to abolish slavery, like it is professed in mainstream "history", but with the Catholic Church.
    But then one would protest that the jesuits protected the indians to convert them to Catholicism away from human sacrifice and cannibilism — how could they?! —, though I wager that is a more noble motive than trying to increase the number of consumers for your industrial economy — both of them end up with an increased quality of life for the targets anyway.
  • Vera Mont
    3.7k
    If evidence is given, you will go "but it is just one person!".Lionino
    What I said was: If you accuse one person, you are expected to show evidence against that one particular person. If you accuse and entire religion, you should be expected to produce evidence that either the doctrine of the religion or the majority of it practitioners are guilty of the transgression. And since I am one person, and you accuse me of doing something in the future, I'd like to see some some evidence that I ever went "but it is just one person!" in whatever context.

    Christianity is not a good or bad influence on people.
    People are a good or bad influence on Christianity.
  • wonderer1
    1.8k
    The mass propaganda of Protestants against Catholics is well known.
    — javi2541997
    Is it? By whom? Which particular Protestants are waging what propaganda campaigns? If you accuse someone, you're expected to provide evidence. If you accuse millions of anonymous people, we should just let it slide?
    Vera Mont

    I'm not going to put a lot of effort into presenting evidence, but if you read enough old Chick tracts, and observe enough of the people who pass them out, you will have your answer.

    We are members of a species inherently wired for tribalism. Surely if systemic racism and sexism are worthwhile concepts, (and I'm inclined to think they are) then systemic anti-Catholicism doesn't sound implausible. In the US today there is not as much anti-Catholicism as their used to be. The Protestant tribe is feeling surrounded and feels the need for allies. (Not to mention the Supreme Court is packed with Catholics.) US Protestans see tribes other than Catholics as being of much greater concern for the time being.

    As a preachers kid I've seen 'how the sausage is made'. I have first hand experience with having a pumped up oxytocin and/or vasopressin level at church camp. To see myself as at 'one with' and deeply loving and loved by those around me. To see such a mind altering experience as surely an experience with God, because how else could I explain such a dramatically altered state of mind? In that state of mind, we could see that it is clearly US that are on the right track.

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/brain-reboot/202307/the-neuroscience-of-tribalism
  • ToothyMaw
    1.2k
    We are members of a species inherently wired for tribalism. Surely if systemic racism and sexism are worthwhile concepts, (and I'm inclined to think they are) then systemic anti-Catholicism doesn't sound implausible.wonderer1

    Yes, but anti-Catholicism, or any discrimination due to tribalism, is not the same as the kind of criticism in the OP. This is because, if you think tribalism is unavoidable because it is wired into humans, but that it also is what leads to discrimination against a group you are arguing shouldn't be discriminated against, your argument is against tribalism, not random anti-Catholic people on the internet who probably belong to no recognizable tribe. So, most of your post has nothing to do with the discussion started by the OP. I know that's obvious, but I still felt the need to say it.

    Christianity is not a good or bad influence on people.
    People are a good or bad influence on Christianity.
    Vera Mont

    Christianity is made up of a bunch of different people with beliefs that exist on a spectrum, but they are all derived from the same scriptures from the same book. So, there is a reason why certain beliefs are more ubiquitous than others - such as the maligning of homosexuals.

    I mean, do you think most Christian anti-homosexual bigots would be as fervently horrible if Christianity instead taught that homosexuals have as much inherent value as a straight person? If people just bring their own preconceptions and pre-formed beliefs to their religion, then why do Muslims hold different beliefs from Christians? Surely Arab people are not so different from white, blue-collar Christians in the rust belt by virtue of their race?
  • wonderer1
    1.8k
    So, most of your post has nothing to do with the discussion started by the OP. I know that's obvious, but I still felt the need to say it.ToothyMaw

    Correct. My response was to .
  • ToothyMaw
    1.2k


    I get that, I'm just pointing out that this thread has been thoroughly de-railed and that we should try to at least engage with the OP in some way. I get that every discussion evolves, but this one appears to have devolved into a bunch of really tired, insipid arguments.
  • wonderer1
    1.8k
    I get that, I'm just pointing out that this thread has been thoroughly de-railed and that we should try to at least engage with the OP in some way.ToothyMaw

    Ok.

    If we wish to understand the thought processes of the Islamic State or the Taliban, we need only read the Old Testament.alan1000

    No that is not all we need. We need to understand as well, the neuroscience of tribalism, along with other things.
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