Christians vs. Muslims

I think this author, like many others, gets it wrong by comparing Jesus and Mohammad to try to get at the roots of modern Islamic violence.  I don't think you can explain the (relative) non-violence of Christians today vs. the prevalence of violence among certain portions of the Islamic religion by looking at their scriptures.

The reason is that for hundreds of years ago, Christians were the world's crazed terrorists.  They would burn you to death for being a heretic, or being gay, or being suspected of witchcraft.  When the first Crusade was called by the Pope, hordes of Christians in the Rhine Valley headed north (rather than south and east) to forcibly convert or kill Jews in numerous German communities.   The Christian on Christian sectarian violence of the 30 years war was perhaps the worst cataclysm Europe ever endured until the 20th Century.

I am sure Christians would say that such violence is inconsistent with true Christianity, etc. but never-the-less history shows that Christians have no less inherent propensity to religious violence than Muslims.  Christians have moved on -- matured, maybe?  I am not sure what the word is.  Unfortunately, parts of Islam have not, which makes it dangerous today in a way that Christianity is not.

  • Peter Bickford

    Indeed Christianity did "move on" from its political-inspired violence in a way that Islam has not, but it can't be ignored that the Koran explicitly condones--indeed obliges--warfare, violence, and enslavement against "unbelievers" and apostates (those who would leave the religion) in a way that the Bible does not. Those acting barbarically in the name of Islam are doing it in full compliance with their religion's dictates; those who would do it as Christians are not. Indeed, it's the "bad Muslims" who are the ones content to live peacefully with their neighbors--the true believers are the ones waging active war (jihad).

  • Dan Wendlick

    I think the 30 Years War comparison is apt. You have two segments of a single religion that feels itself beset by hostiles on all sides in a region where political boundaries do not coincide with loyalties to governments or leadership. Like the Holy Roman Empire, the Caliphate and Ottoman empire that succeeded it were largely a set of fiefdoms that were at emnity with each other as much as they proclaimed loyalty to a single leader.
    What needs to happen,and Egypt's current leader seems to understand this, is for religion and citizenship in the Middle East to be divided in substance much as they were in the Peace of Westfalia, and rid the region of the idea that it is sacrelige for a practitioner of Shia to be loyal to a Sunni-led government, or vice versa. Whether such an accord similar to the modern "Two Kingdoms" view of Christianity can be accomodated by Islam is still a thing to be seen.

  • Bram

    Wow. I've never disagreed more with a post here.

    The Scriptures and biographies of the men who founded the two religions is absolutely at core of the problem. The most violent act by Jesus is turning over some tables and cracking a whip at money lenders in a temple. He refused to raise a hand in self-defense, much less use violence to spread his ideas.

    Mohammad couldn't be more opposite. He murdered to spread the faith, and often just eliminate those who annoyed him. The story of al-Ashraf is notable - a Jewish poet and satirist who got under Mohammad's skin - he was assassinated at Mohammad's command in an attack eerily similar to Charlie Hedbo. The Koran and Hadiths are full of commands for violence. Mohammad himself spent the second half of his life converting with the sword. A few samples:

    http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/Quran/023-violence.htm

    The Crusades were a reaction to Islamic aggression in Spain and southeast Europe. The Northern Crusades were called to clear out slavic pagans, not Jews.

    Religious violence in Christian Europe was usually sponsored by the politicized Roman Catholic Church, not Bible scholars. There were religious wars in response to the Protestant Reformation. Once they were over, the incidence of religious violence in Europe died down.

    In Islam, the amount of religious violence has been steadily increasing since fundamentalists such al-Wahhab began back-to-scripture movements a couple of centuries ago. Because the Muslim scriptures preach violence! You have nothing to fear from a devout fundamentalist Christian and much to fear from a similar Muslim.

  • Daublin

    This parallel is a big stretch. Wikipedia lists 100 separate military expeditions that were directly ordered by Muhammad.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_expeditions_of_Muhammad

    This is a religion that started violent and has never stopped being so.

    To contrast, the Crusades are an outlier in Christian history. There was nothing like that during Jesus' time, nor during the early church history a few hundred years later. There's also nothing like the Crusades in modern Christianity.

    A more accurate view is that Islam is the primary Arabic offshoot of Christianity. It extends the Christian dogma by adding the Koran and Muhhammad.

  • Anonce

    Really disagree too - and i'm not a christian but an atheist.
    While christians in power at the time behaved like everyone else in power at the time (generally treating people they disagreed with like shit), muslims have always been incredibly violent. You just need to look through islams own recorded history - Muhammad their prophet himself asking his followers who would rid him of someone who ridiculed him, and then telling the guy who did the dirty deed (and everyone else in attendence) that he'd go to paradise for it etc (Charlie Hebdo already...). The guy was an absolutely psychopathic totalitarian villain, who left a koran containing the instruction to follow his every utterance and example, not just the statements of the koran, hence the obsession with all his confusing and contradictory "sayings", at the truly idiotic "defence" of muslim apologetics that murdering people mocking Muhammad is not justified in the koran.

    The first crusade btw was to protect peaceful pilgrimages to the holy land from islamic robbery and violence btw... even then islam had violent "first mover" advantage. Fortunately the islamic armies (full of followers who were told the only sure way to heaven was to die as a martyr fighting for islam) were finally stopped in France. Yes France.

  • Titan 28

    You can't explain Muslim violence by looking at the Koran? Which Koran are you referring to? Your grasp of history, most notably the history of Islam, and theology leaves much to be desired. The Koran, e.g., is the direct word of God. Consider what that means. The Old and New Testaments are, in effect, interpolations; they are not the word of God. I'm an atheist. I've got no use for Christianity (but I utterly despise Islam, which is a cancer that wants modernity dead and gone), and will agree it has some sorry episodes in its past. The Crusades, however, aren't one of them. You seem to be making a moral equivalence argument re Christianity and Islam, which is almost depressing for a man with your smarts. You say, at the close, that parts of Islam have not moved on. This is easy. Why don't you give us an example of any single part of that hideous and deranged religion that actually has moved on.

  • Nehemiah

    Good post. You nailed the difference. Christians who chose not to follow the example and teaching of Jesus and instead follow their corrupt hearts, versus Muslims who choose to follow the example and teachings of Mohammad. Many Muslims are violent because they are living their faith. Christians are mostly peaceful because they are living theirs.

  • Me too

    You can't separate the followers from the founders. As insane as the stories and beliefs of Christianity are at least the scripture does call for violence. Islam is nothing but violence. Any mention of peace is after conversion.

  • irandom419

    Dhimmi

  • Maddog

    I think the word Coyote was looking for was a phrase, "Protestant Reformation." Islam needs its protestant reformation now.

    The problem with christian violence in the past was well described by Eric Hoffer in his book The True Believer.

    In addition, christianity's problem was the centralized, authoritarian structure of the Church. While Islam is not quite as centralized it has a rigid structure which ends up acting similarily. This structure allows powerful men remote from war to direct others to engage in it. The religious belief allows these men to rationalize engaging in war.

    Our failure to either contain Islam or move it towards its own "protestant reformation," will result in a horrific war, with the Muslims taking that brunt of the West's ire. Victor Hansen's book Carnage and Culture describes the outcome well.

    Mark Sherman

  • HenryBowman419

    It seems to me that it really doesn't matter much whether Christians were as bad as modern-day jihadists, etc. Seriously, that's all in the past. Killing people for religious reasons is simply totally unacceptable in the modern world. People who wish to do such should be either jailed or killed—it's that simple. Whether such folks are Christians, Muslims, devout Atheists, or something else, it does not matter. It is serious criminal behavior, and should be treated as such.

  • marque2

    Hmm on the other hand when the catholic church paid Muslim mercenaries to take over Spain on the Christians behalf, the Jews were highly regarded as translaters of the Arabic texts that were left behind.

  • Roy

    "...the 30 years war was perhaps the worst cataclysm Europe ever endured until the 20th Century."

    Well, there was that little Black Death thing in the 14th century.

  • The reformation itself can't quite explain it- don't ignore the 30 years war, or all of the other Catholic-Peotestant wars (or oppressions, like in the case of England-Ireland) in Europe.

    The Reformation was a necessary but insufficient cause. I'm not sure why Christians decided to fundamentally lay down arms against one another, but it was well after the Reformation.

  • During the time of the reconquest, that's true. However, the last Muslims lost Gibraltar in 1492, and that was the same year the Jews were expelled from Spain.

  • marque2

    Koran, may be the true word of God, but if you have truly read it, you know it is a book of war and conquest. In the Bible's new Testament, Jesus, is mostly a man of peace, unless people happened to be defiling God, and God's temples (throwing the marketeers out of the Temple is an example).

    The Word of God, vs the Bible being just an interpretation is bogus as well. The Koran was written by man, just the same, and has changed over the years, as newly found Korans from a 1000 years ago have shown.

    Anyway, I may be picking on you, in general I agree with your statements.

  • mesocyclone

    Your history and interpretation are way off. It's not worth my time to address the many myths that are cited as facts in this post.

  • jon49

    I would say certain segments of Christianity are just as violent today as they were in the past and they are just as violent now as some of the Muslims are. Look at how many churches support the troops and the violent escapades that the U.S. military/CIA/etc enact around the world in the name of who knows what...definitely not defending our freedoms.

    We have quotes from top leaders talking about killing 500,000 Iraqis and calling it good. We have drone strikes targeting "terrorists" which kill 80 innocents to every 1 "terrorist". The U.S. government does state sponsored terrorism, whereas the Muslim terrorists do ground up terrorism.

    I say all terrorism is bad whether state sponsored or not and it won't end until people grow up and decide to stop hating and viewing the world in an Us vs Them mentality and realize that we are all just human and all make bad decisions. When we realize that we all make bad decisions maybe we'll actually have more compassion for one another and not try to fix problems with the iron fist. Of course, by then, we will realize that government is the core source of contention and strife and we'll learn to abolish government all together.

  • markm

    Christianity has had many bloody eras, starting when Constantine used it to inspire his troops. But nearly every outbreak of "Christian" violence came from a partnership or merger of church and state - and that's as foreign to the gospels as violence is. Christ preached to the powerless, and for 2-1/2 centuries Christianity was a religion of the powerless. The entire New Testament was created by people whose best hope was to be ignored by the powers that be - who were the generals and governors of the Roman Empire, in a period when to challenge the Romans was suicide for anyone who couldn't retreat into the virtually endless deserts of the Parthians or forests of the Germans. So the early Christians stayed peaceful and tried to maintain a low profile, right up until Constantine offered them a slice of Imperial power, and then they grabbed at it. Then for over a thousand years, theological disputes generally ended when one side persuaded an emperor, king, or nobleman to execute the other side.

    But the Christian holy writings were and still are from that period when Christians were powerless, and non-violence was part of the low profile that gave them a chance of survival. The first expression of the separation of church and state is from the synoptic gospels: "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's." This hasn't always prevented the merger of church and state (e.g., the Byzantine Empire which Constantine created, and Henry VIII's assumption of the position of Head of the Church of England), but at least such arrangements are not directly supported by the New Testament.

    OTOH, Mohammad may have preached to the powerless, but he also formed his first followers into an army that could overcome the feeble secular authorities of Mecca and Medina, and then kept growing until the Caliphate was an empire as large as Rome at it's peak. Even though Mohammad failed to establish a clear line of succession, his empire only stopped growing when it reached so far (Spain and southern France) that control from Bagdad was impossible - and it was only then, generations after Mohammad, that the rivalry over the succession finally turned into an open split.

    So the Koran pretty much explicitly calls for a church-state, which uses its power to destroy nonbelievers. The Bible calls for keeping Caesar and God separate, and for nonviolence, not that the last part gets much more than lip service. Nations with Christian roots and secular governments wound up ruling the world - or as much of it as they care to take the trouble to rule. The Muslim nations are mostly theocracies that can't even rule themselves very well, and the Muslims are very, very pissed off!

  • jon49

    For some reason everyone forgets the old testament which has God telling his chosen people to commit genocide against whole groups of people. The bible is quite disgusting for modern sensibilities.

    People use the new testament for pro war sentiments also. So, its not just the old testament. That's the problem with scriptures. People take away from them whatever they want, whether it's to go around killing other people or not.

  • obloodyhell

    }}} You have nothing to fear from a devout fundamentalist Christian and much to fear from a similar Muslim

    I would not go QUiiiiite that far, but in principle, I concur. There are so-called Christians who commit violence where abortion is concerned, but at least there, you have the argument that violence is done to the "babies", as they consider the unborn fetus, arguing that violence in defense of them is acceptable.

    But that's a pretty narrow case easily limited to a narrow sub-range of Christians. While many consider abortion seriously wrong, few will get out the bat and the gun in opposition to it.

    Modern Islam, on the other hand, encourages violence at the drop of a hat, and their clergy will MAKE SHIT UP to foment it, as they did with the so-called "Mohammed cartoons" which Islamics got all hot and bothered about a decade ago. Most of them were never part of the publications of the European press, instead were added/created by the clergy because the actual ones weren't stirring up enough ire.

    There are times when I think Warren trolls us intentionally. It's crap like this that make me suspect that.

  • obloodyhell

    }}} We have quotes from top leaders talking about killing 500,000 Iraqis and calling it good.

    Who the f*** said this and what was the context? By all means, ENLIGHTEN US.

    A LINK, please: no, not taking your word for it.

    Or STFU and stop MAKING SHIT UP.

    Asshole.

    FEH -- As though anyone could GET AWAY with making such a comment in the last TWO DECADES and keep their jobs for a week longer...

    }}} We have drone strikes targeting "terrorists" which kill 80 innocents to every 1 "terrorist".

    You got that statistic from The LANCET, right?

    }}} Of course, by then, we will realize that government is the core source of contention and strife and we'll learn to abolish government all together.

    While I am hardly a proponent of government power by any means, this is just an utterly ephtarded claim.

    LOOK AT ALL THE INTERNATIONAL CLASHES in the world. With FEW exceptions, the vast majority are "Nation X" with "Islamic State Y". If you gave Islam a kindergarten report card, the main check box would be "doesn't play well with others".

    The ideology is one of the most xenophobic memes ever created by mankind.

  • obloodyhell

    }}} For some reason everyone forgets the old testament which has God telling his chosen people to commit genocide against whole groups of people.

    Again, can ya quote the verse for us, so we can see if we agree with your interpretation, or if you're just another Islamic Apologist ASSHOLE trying to claim that instructions from 2000 years ago, which no one has paid too much attention to in the last 500 years are considerably different from instructions which, only 13 years ago, led a dozen people to commit ritual suicide to destroy a building and its occupants. And many, many more to do equally horrific things, like kill someone, clean out his body cavity, fill it with explosives, and dump it on the street, and set the explosives off when first responders arrived.

    Yeah, you're right. Christians and Jews do that kind of thing ALL THE TIME >>>> These Days <<<<

  • obloodyhell

    Thinking that, myself.... 😛

  • obloodyhell

    The main point is that the Bible, while INSPIRED by God, has clear internal differences, such as the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John -- which show, inherently -- that there are different viewpoints of the same events. And it is meant to inspire your internal discussions with God. It does not lay claim to the kind of infallible, do this or die die die die you heretic bastard attitude inherent in Islam. After all, it's been a pretty long time since Catholics and Protestants seriously set out to kill one another en masse.

    When was the last fatal Shiite vs. Sunni clash? Last Week?...

  • Cas

    I agree that there are similarities between the Thirty Years War between Catholic and Protestant RULERS, and the Sunni-Shia divide. But consider, the "split" between Shia and Sunni occurred because of the succession of Mohammed's grandson, and was based upon succession of the ruler of the ummah; it happens within less than 100 years of his death. It took Christians much longer, perhaps 400 years, to even break up into Catholic (western European) and Orthodox (eastern Mediterranean), who then didn't really butcher each other, but just refused to obey. The split between Catholics and their protesters took another 1000 years to break out. Shia and Sunni have ALWAYS been at war with one another, as well as every other religious group they came across.

    Muslims have always had the attitude that they need to conquer in the name of their prophet and god, and give the victims very little choice; "convert or die." Only "people of the book" i.e., Christians and Jews, are supposed to have a third choice, to become dhimmis, be treated as 2nd class citizens, basically serfs, always subject to their muslim masters, and having to pay for the privilege.

    Check out the attached map to show how quickly Europe and the Mediterranean world fell victim to the spread of Islam. Some scholars even theorize that the "Dark Ages" did not occur until islam created a state of perpetual warfare throughout the Mediterranean...

  • Geologist Down the Pub

    The critical point that seems to be missed by most commentators here is that Islam is still stuck in the 13th Century, while the West, for better or worse, has moved on. Yes, Islam must reform itself from inside, perhaps as an analogy to the Reformation, but it is going to be a bloody reconfiguration, and one from which we must defend Civilization. We need a National leadership which understands that we are involved in a war that is not of our making, nor our wish, but one which if we do not defend ourselves we are committing societal suicide.

  • Zachriel

    Peter Bickford: Indeed Christianity did "move on" from its political-inspired violence in a way that Islam has not, but it can't be ignored that the Koran explicitly condones--indeed obliges--warfare, violence, and enslavement against "unbelievers" and apostates (those who would leave the religion) in a way that the Bible does not.

    People, including leaders such as Martin Luther, had no problem finding Biblical justification for violence.

    I shall give you my sincere advice:

    First to set fire to their synagogues or schools and to bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn, so that no man will ever again see a stone or cinder of them. This is to be done in honor of our Lord and of Christendom, so that God might see that we are Christians, and do not condone or knowingly tolerate such public lying, cursing, and blaspheming of his Son and of his Christians.

    Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed.

    Third, I advise that all their prayer books and Talmudic writings, in which such idolatry, lies, cursing and blasphemy are taught, be taken from them.

    Fourth, I advise that their rabbis be forbidden to teach henceforth on pain of loss of life and limb.

    Fifth, I advise that safe­conduct on the highways be abolished completely for the Jews. For they have no business in the countryside, since they are not lords, officials, tradesmen, or the like. Let they stay at home.

    The second and fifth are rather interesting in juxtaposition.

  • HenryBowman419

    In the view of some who have studied Islam, the Wahhabis and the similar folks who comprise ISIS represent the Islamic Reformation. If correct, this is a really serious problem: if such a reformation continues, Islam simply becomes more dangerous as time marches on.

  • btf

    I think he makes a good point. If a religions founding document really has a significant impact on the behaviors of modern day believers then shouldn't you expect modern Jews to be massively more violent than modern Christians?

  • Bram

    Careful what you wish for.

    The Protestant Reformation was started by Martin Luther who was guided by scripture. The Islamic Reformation was started about 250 years ago by people such as Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab. It was also inspired by scripture and a return to original principles. The difference is in the scriptures.

    The Wahhabis and their like spawned the most violent Islamic terrorist groups in the world. Like the original Muhammad, they spread the faith with the sword (and bomb and AK).

  • Peter Bickford

    That's not a Biblical justification--it does not quote either the words of G*d, Jesus, --or any of the various prophets to demand violence. It's just a man (in this case, Luther), advocating violence and using his religious feeling to justify it. The problem is, there's no advocacy he could have pointed to in the actual text to justify the action.

    There's a long and storied history of people being awful and using everything from love to wealth to religion to "the good of our people" to justify any reprehensible act they want to commit. This is entirely different than saying that the core tenets and foundational documents of that religion actually call for the act in question.

  • jon49

    Here's a couple politicians/bureaucrats saying it was good to kill 500,000 Iraqi children. Whether or not that is how many children actually died or not is doesn't matter it is that they think it is OK is what is important.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOrrOu8uV8o

  • Zachriel

    We just quoted the conclusions. Luther provides chapter and verse in "The Jews and their Lies".

  • obloodyhell

    }}} As insane as the stories and beliefs of Christianity are at least the scripture does call for violence.

    Huh?

  • obloodyhell

    This pretty much depends on the scriptures, doesn't it? The idea that anyone is listening to The Sermon On The Mount and coming away with violent ideas requires misunderstanding of the kind usually diagnosed as true psychosis.

    }}} People use the new testament for pro war sentiments also.

    Except this really DOESN'T happen, except amongst seriously extreme zealots, which neither Christianity not Judaism inspire in the manner that Islam does, which is pretty much the entire point.

    Islam is one of those cancerous memes that display the inherent flaw in Multiculturalism.

    Sorry, NO, Virginia, all creeds are NOT equal. Some are evil and wrong, inherently.

  • obloodyhell

    }}}} Here's a couple politicians/bureaucrats saying it was good to kill 500,000 Iraqi children.

    Oh, JEEZ. Lets just put words in their mouths, and claim they said things they clearly did not say.

    Are you capable of rubbing two ideas together to form a clue?

    Inherent in YOUR claim is that they AGREED that that WAS what happened.

    Which was almost certainly NOT true, and yes, anyone hearing that number -- anyone with a brain, at least -- knows it's just a propaganda figure thrown out by the lunatic fringe. So when they say "the price was worth it", they're saying THE PRICE ACTUALLY PAID was worth it, not "This made up price which you just cited." And, unlike you or me, they probably have a much, much clearer picture of the price actually paid. And who paid it. And WHY IT WAS PAID. The actual fact is, it was not sanctions which caused any harm to children. It was Saddam's redirecting aid -- designed to PREVENT that suffering -- into his war machine in order to bypass those sanctions, which was at the heart of any suffering of Iraqi children.

    Because, you know, your citing this 500,000 lives statistic will cost billions of lives. Does that mean you will continue to cite this statistic? Or are you going to repudiate it right this moment?

    Remember, continuing to agree with the statistic will cost billions of lives. If you don't IMMEDIATELY refute it, then clearly, you don't care about the deaths of billions. Do you have anything more to say?

    What? My claim is clearly ABSOLUTE BULL SHIT and not worthy of even refuting?

    Well, I guess you've made it perfectly, crystal clear: that the deaths of billions of people
    *just*
    *don't*
    *matter*

    to you.... Huh. Pretty sad.

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Yes, your claim is ridiculous and stupid. Which is the point I'm making by looping its insipid "reasoning" process -- a wonderful case-example of absolute GIGO in operation -- back at you.

    I'm all in favor of calling out Dems on lies, half truths, and various calumnies, but I draw the line at making shit up no matter the politics of the people involved.

    ================
    P.S., let's call attention to WHY the stat is blatant Bovine Excreta:
    Iraq population in 2002: 24,000,000 (estimated)

    24,000,000/500,000 = 48

    So person in FIFTY died, is the claim. TWO PERCENT.

    WHERE ARE THE GRAVES?

    Saddam gassed the Kurds, killing as many as 300,000.

    This was discovered pretty quickly once his government fell.

    But that's only 3/5ths of the number claimed -- and there would have been no effort to HIDE this fact, which means there'd be grave sites all over the freaking place.

    So, yeah, the above two people both blew past the claim because it was unworthy of any attention, only a dunderheaded idiot incapable of doing simple math with their shoes on would think it accurate for a moment.

  • Me too

    Thank you for your well thought out and detailed response. Your skill with the english language is awe inspiring.

  • Zachriel

    obloodyhell: WHERE ARE THE GRAVES?

    The statistic is called excess deaths, not murders. The graves are in graveyards with everyone else.

  • Daublin

    A great example, but it sort of proves the general point that these religions are not the same.

    Luther was a heretic that mainline Christians worked very hard to try and suppress. Modern Lutherans have repudiated Luther on his anti-semitism:

    http://www.elca.org/Faith/Ecumenical-and-Inter-Religious-Relations/Inter-Religious-Relations/Jewish-Relations

    Muhammad, on the other hand, was not exactly a fringe component of Islam. Moreover, modern Muslims have not exactly disowned Muhammad. Indeed, in Pakistan, it is punishable by death to even speak badly about the guy.

  • morganovich

    oh, come on guys. you seem to be in DEEP denial about how unbelievably violent, oppressive, and barbarous christian history is from the mainstream church.

    from the crusades to carribean and latin american genocides, the church sent holy warriors to torture, maim, and convert by fire and sword. at home, you were killed for heresey and your lands stolen by the church. it was JUST like islam today, maybe worse.

    all religious works tend to be a contradictory mishmash of anecdotes and ideas. you can find text in them to support damn near anything. arguing over it may be the great joy of Talmudic scholars, but in terms of making a claim about whether a religion is warlike, it's irrelevant. watch what i do, not what i say. that is the test.

    when it comes down to it, the teachings do no matter a whit. every religion acts the same.

    the bhuddists were exactly the same. in tibet, the current daali lama who jets around today spouting halmark platitudes was a slave owner. his parents and peers were slave owners, serial rapists, and torturers .they ran one of the most repressive regimes in global history.

    the book/dogma/doctrine on which is is based DOES NOT MATTER.

    quote scripture all you like, but the evidence here is very clear. if the book says "religion of peace" but the church is the government? burn the heretics! on with the inquisition! fire up the holy war!

    anyone saying different is deluded, and believe me, if let the church run spain again, and you'd have auto de fe 2.0 in a generation.

    when religion becomes government, that's it. it's over. you get incredible repression and violence.

    the problem is THEOCRACY. put government in the same cart with ANY god, and you get brutal, viscous repression every time from the pharos to the aztecs to the chistians, bhuddists, hindus, muslins, or summerians.

    what saved chistianity and ended a millennium plus of horrible repression was the rise of secular government.

  • morganovich

    "The guy was an absolutely psychopathic totalitarian villain" as were many popes and religious leaders of all stripes.

    you are missing the point here which is this: it was the FACT that they were in power that led to the outrages. this happens EVERY time a religion becomes government. it stopped because nations became secular in Christendom.

    before they did, it was endless war of christian beliefs both between christian ad others and christian sect against sect.

    "heretics" were tortured, jailed, maimed, and killed for such egregious offesnses as believing that a man should read the bible himself and have a personal relationship with god as opposed to allowing a priest to tell him what to think.

    this is some seriously revisionist history you are pitching. it bears little resemblance to reality.

  • Peter Bickford

    That's not the question, and that people have done terrible things in the name of religion has already been stipulated.

    The question was whether the foundational documents of the religion demand violence. I.e., are the people who are _actually_ following the religion's beliefs acting in a murderous way? With Christianity (and indeed most of the world's religions), the answer is clearly "no!". Not so with Islam.

  • morganovich

    peter-

    is IS the question and the point is that IT DOES NOT MATTER. regardless of what your book/scroll/dogma/ziggarat inscription says, once a religion becomes a government, violence, repression, and brutality come right behind it. it happens EVERY time. the book is irrelevant. asking if the book condones violence is an irrelevant and meaningless exercise as, in practice, theocracies all act the same. they may use a different song and dance to justify it, but the all do the same things.

    read warren's first paragraph again. i think you have missed the whole point of his piece and of this discussion.

    your argument is akin to claiming that because you posted a speed limit, no one speeds.

    all you are really proving is that (assuming we accept that the bible is a book of peace, a highly questionable claim, especially the old testament) that christians are bigger hypocrites than muslims. the christian church has been one of the most genocidal and brutal forces in history. the fact that they do not do it anymore does not erase that, nor doe it mean that they have evolved. it just means they are no longer theocrats. make them god kings again, and they would be right back at it.

    you seem determined to misframe this issue and use revisionist history to push a dogmatic belief.

    those who claim the bible is a book of peace quote selectively. the bible says A LOT of things, many of them contradictory. which ones you chose to accept (as with the koran or any religious text) determines just how "peaceful" it becomes. you don't get to have it both ways and protest the koran's "sword verses" and then ignore the bible's.

    "You must destroy all the
    nations the LORD your God hands over to you. Show them no mercy and do not
    worship their gods. If you do, they will trap you. Perhaps you will think to
    yourselves, 'How can we ever conquer these nations that are so much more
    powerful than we are?' But don't be afraid of them! Just remember what the
    LORD your God did to Pharaoh and to all the land of Egypt. Remember the great
    terrors the LORD your God sent against them. You saw it all with your own eyes!
    And remember the miraculous signs and wonders, and the amazing power he used
    when he brought you out of Egypt. The LORD your God will use this same power
    against the people you fear. And then the LORD your God will send hornets to
    drive out the few survivors still hiding from you! "No, do not be afraid of
    those nations, for the LORD your God is among you, and he is a great and awesome
    God. The LORD your God will drive those nations out ahead of you little by
    little. You will not clear them away all at once, for if you did, the wild
    animals would multiply too quickly for you. But the LORD your God will hand
    them over to you. He will throw them into complete confusion until they are
    destroyed. He will put their kings in your power, and you will erase their
    names from the face of the earth. No one will be able to stand against you, and
    you will destroy them all.
    (Deuteronomy 7:16-24 NLT)"

  • Peter Bickford

    I think we've entered the "talking past each other" part of the discussion.

  • jon49

    I think the OP missed an important comparison and many comments here do too. Christians are STILL violent today. How many churches don't support the troops and tell their parishioners not to join the armed forces? Not many. Most, it seems to me, still say it is good to go to war against other countries. Show me religions that won't support the troops and then I'll start believing those church going members are peaceful, there are some like the Quakers, etc. I'm sure there are groups of Muslims that are like the Quakers too, it would be interesting to found out.

  • Tonestaple

    And, obloodyhell, when those who claim to oppose abortion on Christian grounds do become violent, they are universally condemned by Christians. Christians generally still believe the 10 Commandments are words to live by, including Thou Shalt Not Murder.

  • TruthisaPeskyThing

    In the past 30 years, I can remember two abortionists being attacked by anti-abortionists. I do not think that there is a huge issue of "Christians who commit violence where abortion is concerned."

  • Bwawahaha

    Nah, not really, since there are no more Jebusites or Amorites around. The Jewish Bible is very specific about who G-d instructs the Jews to rout. There's no general instructions that would lead to ongoing violence, it's all limited to time and place, like "Jews, go there and do this, as I am the Lord."