Religion: Love, Violence or Terrorism?

Posted: August 14, 2007 in anti-Semitism, God, Israel, Jerusalem, Middle East, News & Views, Politically Incorrect News & Views, Politics, Religion, U.S., War crimes, World News

“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.

These are not the words found in the Islamic holy book. These are the words of Jesus as stated in Matthew 10:34-36

To those who ponder… read before you judge!

Early Christianity

It’s rather ironic that a religion which so publicly proclaims Absolute Love as its basis should, over the course of history, spawn so much unmitigated hatred and violence.

Is Christianity only a religion of Peace and Love? I do not think that anyone can honestly and objectively examine American or European history and answer “yes” to that question. Christianity can encourage Peace and Love – but it certainly need not, and it quite often has done just the opposite. Although the people responsible for violence might have found a way to express their hatred without Christianity, it cannot be ignored that Christianity offers a convenient divine mandate for hatred and violent acts against a wide range of people.

In each of the following, religion has served as a principle catalyst for the violence or has, at the very least, assisted in justifying and perpetuating that violence.

Violent inclinations in Christianity are apparent right from the beginning. Jesus is traditionally portrayed as a kind and loving teacher, such that even non-Christians often have an idealized image of him. However, not all of what he reportedly said or did fits within such a characterization – and some of what he did certainly doesn’t reflect the better teachings he is supposed to have promoted. For example, he was quite explicit in his condemnation of those who would not follow his teachings, saying to his disciples:

“And if any one will not receive you in your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. Truly, I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.” (Matt. 10:14-15).

If Jesus and God have so little regard for nonbelievers, why should any of their followers? If Jesus can relegate nonbelievers to an eternity of torment, why should they expect higher standards from his followers here? In fact, nonbelievers did not fare any better after Christianity gained official support from the Roman Empire. Despite having been on the receiving end of persecution for many years, Christians refused to take any moral high ground and quickly proceeded to treat pagans with as much contempt and violence as they previously experienced.

Despite the fact that forgiveness is supposed to be a central aspect of Christian theology, Jesus was clear that not everyone could be forgiven:

“…whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness and is guilty of an eternal sin.” (Mark 3:29)

If someone considers another person to have committed such an act, they would not need to take their feelings very far into account – after all, if Jesus will not forgive that person, why should anyone else? As we will see, Christians certainly did not act in a forgiving manner to the pagans whom they had in their control.


Crusades

One of the most famous examples of religious violence in the Middle Ages is of course the Crusades – attempts by European Christians to impose their vision of religion upon Jews, Orthodox Christians, heretics, Muslims, and just about anyone else who happened to get in the way. Traditionally the term “Crusades” are limited to describing massive military expeditions by Christians to the Middle East, but it is more accurate to acknowledge that there also existed “crusades” internal to Europe and directed at local minority groups.

crusades.jpg

Two systems which emerged in the church deserve special mention has having contributed greatly: penance and indulgences. Penance was a type of worldly punishment, and a common form was a pilgrimage to the Holy Lands. Pilgrims resented the fact that sites holy to Christianity were not controlled by Christians, and they were easily whipped into a state of agitation and hatred towards Muslims. Later on, crusading itself was regarded as a holy pilgrimage – thus, people paid penance for their sins by going off and slaughtering adherents of another religion. Indulgences, or waivers of temporal punishment, were granted by the church to anyone who contributed monetarily to the bloody campaigns.

Early on, crusades were more likely to be unorganized mass movements of “the people” than organized movements of traditional armies. More than that, the leaders seemed be chosen based on just how in-credible their claims were. Tens of thousands of peasants followed Peter the Hermit who displayed a letter he claimed was written by God and delivered to him personally by Jesus. This letter was supposed to be his credentials as a Christian leader, and perhaps he was indeed qualified – in more ways than one.

Not to be outdone, throngs of crusaders in the Rhine valley followed a goose believed to be enchanted by God to be their guide. I’m not sure that they got very far, although they did manage to join other armies following Emich of Leisingen who asserted that a cross miraculously appeared on his chest, certifying him for leadership. Showing a level of rationality consistent with their choice of leaders, Emich’s followers decided that before they traveled across Europe to kill God’s enemies, it would be a good idea to eliminate the infidels in their midst. Thus suitably motivated, they proceeded to massacre the Jews in German cities like Mainz and Worms. Thousands of defenseless men, women and children were chopped, burned or otherwise slaughtered.

This sort of action was not an isolated event – indeed, it was repeated throughout Europe by all sorts of crusading hordes. The lucky Jews were given a last-minute chance to convert to Christianity in accord with Augustine’s doctrines. Even other Christians were not safe from the Christian crusaders. As they roamed the countryside, they spared no effort in pillaging towns and farms for food. When Peter the Hermit’s army entered Yugoslavia, 4,000 Christian residents of the city of Zemun were massacred before they moved on to burn Belgrade.

Fatal Heresy

Although members of other religions obviously suffered at the hands of good Christians throughout the Middle Ages, it should not be forgotten that other Christians suffered just as much. Augustine’s extortion to compel entry into the church was used with great zeal when church leaders dealt with Christians who dared to follow a different sort of religious path. This was not always the case – during the first millennium, death was a rare penalty. But in the 1200s, shortly after the beginning of the crusades against the Muslims, wholly European crusades against Christian dissidents were enacted.

The first victims were the Albigenses, sometimes called the Cathari, who were centered primarily in southern France. These poor freethinkers doubted the biblical story of Creation, thought that Jesus was an angel instead of God, rejected transubstantiation, and demanded strict celibacy. History has taught that celibate religious groups generally tend to die out sooner or later, but contemporary church leaders weren’t anxious to wait. The Cathari also took the dangerous step of translating the bible into the common language of the people, which only served to further enrage religious leaders.

In 1208, Pope Innocent III raised an army of over 20,000 knights and peasants eager to kill and pillage their way through France. When the city of Beziers fell to the besieging armies of Christendom, soldiers asked papal legate Arnald Amalric how to tell the faithful apart from the infidels. He uttered his famous words: “Kill them all. God will know His own.” Such depths of contempt and hatred are truly frightening, but they are only possible in the context of a religious doctrine of eternal punishment for unbelievers and eternal reward for believers.

Followers of Peter Waldo of Lyon, called Waldensians, also suffered the wrath of official Christendom. They promoted the role of lay street preachers despite official policy that only ordained ministers be allowed to preach. They rejecting things like oaths, war, relics, veneration of saints, indulgences, purgatory, and a great deal more which was promoted by religious leaders. The church needed to control the sort of information which the people heard, lest they be corrupted by the temptation to think for themselves. They were declared heretics at the Council of Verona in 1184 and then hounded and killed over the course of the following 500 years. In 1487, Pope Innocent VIII called for an armed crusade against populations of Waldensians in France. Some of them still apparently survive in the Alps and Piedmont.

Dozens of other heretical groups suffered the same fate – condemnation, excommunication, repression and eventually death. Christians did not shy away from killing their own religious brethren when even minor theological differences arose. For them, perhaps no differences were truly minor – all doctrines were a part of the True Path to heaven, and deviation on any point challenged the authority of the church and the community. It was a rare person who dared to stand up and make independent decisions about religious belief, made all the more rare by the fact that they were massacred as fast as possible.

Inquisition

Varying attempts to stamp out infidels and heretics often proved to be inadequate, so the Holy Inquisition was formed to make the efforts more organized and efficient (not to mention putting them all under more official church oversight). Pope Gregory IX established the Inquisition in 1231, and burning was quickly decided upon as the official punishment. Administrators and Inquisitors were all answerable directly to the Pope – which essentially made him directly responsible for their actions. In 1245, the Pope gave Inquisitors the right to absolve their assistants of any acts of violence which they might commit in the fulfillment of their duties.

Following church traditions, Inquisitor Franciso Pena declared in 1578 that:

We must remember that the main purpose of the trial and execution is not to save the soul of the accused but to achieve the public good and put fear into others.

Torture of suspects was authorized by Pope Innocent IV in 1252, and thus inquisition chambers were turned into places of abject horror. I don’t know what he was thinking when he signed the proclamation, but I am starting to suspect that “Innocent” was an inappropriate name for many of these church leaders to be choosing. Torture was not finally removed as a legal option for church officials until 1917 when the Codex Juris Canonici was put into effect.

Some inquisitors really excelled at their job. Robert le Bourge sent 183 people to the stake in a single week. Conrad of Marburg burned every single suspect who came before him and had the audacity to claim innocence. Bernard Fui convicted 930 people – confiscating all of their property for himself, of course. Inquisitors like him grew rich in their jobs with little or no oversight.

Even the dead could be accused of heresy, allowing Inquisitors to confiscate property from their heirs. It is ironic that the office of Inquisitor was usually filled by Dominican and Franciscan monks whose monastical orders were founded upon vows of poverty. Franciscans who actually attempted to uphold Francis’ ideal of poverty were in fact persecuted as heretics.

The Inquisition was not limited to Europe, as Spaniards brought it to the Americas and used it to punish the native inhabitants. Through the 1500s, 879 heresy trials were recorded in Mexico alone. Thus, other than people, the Inquisition was one of Europe’s first exports to the Americas. Church leaders supported the suppression, enslavement and murder of native inhabitants – a 1493 papal Bull justfied declaring war on all non-Christian natives in the Americas. Jurist Encisco wrote in 1509:

The king has every right to send his men to the Indies to demand their territory from these idolaters because he had received it from the pope. If the Indians refuse, he may quite legally fight them, kill them and enslave them, just as Joshua enlsaved the inhabitants of the country of Canaan.

One factor often ignored is the devastating impact which the Inquisition had on the basic economic life of Europe. The tragedy of seizing vast amounts of property is the most obvious but perhaps not even the worst part. Some occupations became suspect, like map-making. It is unquestionable that map-making was essential to navigation and trading of all sorts.

The effect upon how people lived their lives was clear to all people – the Inquisition was not a secret affair by any means. In the 1490s Juan de Mariana reported that people “…were deprived of the liberty to hear and talk freely, since in all cities, towns and villages there were persons placed to give information of what went on.” Some people regard this time period as the “Spanish Inquisition” and claim that it existed more under the secular authority of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella rather than the authority of the church.

But in fact, the Spanish Inquisition’s most influential leader was the Dominican Monk Tomas de Torquemada, appointed Inquisitor General by Pope Sixtus IV and not a secular ruler. The reason that the leaders of the Spanish Inquisition persecuted the Jews and eventually called for their expulsion was the fear that they would contaminate Christians.

 

Modern Christianity

Although one might imagine that the violence of Christianity would be relegated to the distant past, that hasn’t been the case. The course of modernity has been one strewn with blood, bones, and bodies – much of which can be attributed to Christianity.

This isn’t simply a matter of attributing violence to individual Christians who may or may not have been following their own ideals. Attributing violence to Christianity itself means that the violence must somehow stem more-or-less directly from Christian doctrines and Christian ideas. That is exactly what we see happen during the religious wars of the Reformation, the treatment of witches, and even Northern Ireland.

Reformation

The Reformation was supposed to restore a more original and more pure form of Christianity. One of the results was the death of millions upon millions of Europeans during decades almost unprecedented religious violence.

Witches

Witches have long been feared and hated in Christian circles. Even today, pagans and Wiccans remain a target of Christian persecution and violence – even in America. It seems that they long ago took on an identity which reached far beyond their own existence and became a symbol for Christians – but a symbol of what?

Holocaust

To those who ponder… read before you justify your actions as Hitler did! Those who call for issuing special identifying “marks” for Muslims in Europe or the U.S., think about the new Nazi doctrine you are about to start.

Was the Nazi Holocaust religious or was it secular? A bit of both, actually. Nazi oppression and massacres against political opponents and gypsies were obviously secular in nature – but the determination to exterminate the Jews from the face of the earth cannot possibly be understood without the background of centuries of persistent and violent anti-Semitism, generally encouraged by religious authorities.

identifying-jews.gif

Throughout Christian European history, Jews were accused of “Host Nailing” – ritually nailing communion wafers to wood as a symbolic recreation of the killing of Jesus. Jews were accused of the infamous “Blood Libel” – killing young Christian children in bizarre, satanic rituals.

Jews were forcibly baptized, then treated as heretics under the Inquisition if they dared to return to Jewish ways. Jews were accused of poisoning wells in an attempt to exterminate Christians (oh, the irony!). Jews were forced into ghettos. Jews were prohibited from participating in a wide variety of occupations. Jews were ordered to wear identifying badges by religious authorities so that everyone would know who they were.

Christians were regularly told by their church leaders that the Jews killed Christ – killed God, in fact. Christians were told that Jews were greedy and untrustworthy. Passion plays – recreations of Jesus’ alleged sacrifice – depicted Jews as cruel mockers of Jesus. Cathedral paintings depicted Jews in a terrible manner. I remember from my stay in Germany a painting high up on the outside of a Lutheran church: a Jew with his arm pushed way up the nether-regions of a pig. This would be insulting enough even if we didn’t remember that pigs are considered unclean by Jews.

This is how Jews were portrayed day-in and day-out by both Catholic and Protestant churches for hundreds of years. No one can reasonably look at this situation and not realize how tremendous a role Christian churches had in tilling and fertilizing the ground of anti-Semitism and general hatred of others which ultimately led to the Holocaust. When Adolf Hitler needed a scapegoat, he needed look no further than the Jews which were regularly lambasted in his own Catholic churches.

Anyone who looks through Nazi propaganda of the time will quickly notice that religious – which is to say Christian – imagery appears very often. It’s not uncommon to see Jews draining blood from Christians and reports of plans to kill off the German race. Such vilification of Jews simply would not have been possible had not the churches already paved the way. Fortunately, some Christian leaders have recognized this and attempted to apologize. In the early 1960’s, Pope John XXIII wrote:

The mark of Cain is stamped upon our foreheads. Across the centuries, our brother Abel has lain in blood which we drew, and shed tears we caused by forgetting Thy love. Forgive us, Lord, for the curse we falsely attributed to their name as Jews.

Blood Libel

The Jews in Europe did not only suffer at the hands of Christians during spasms of crusading fever. Indeed, their lives were long on desperation and short of Christian love or tolerance. Most people are vaguely aware of the fact that Jews suffered through centuries of anti-Semitism, but too few are aware of the extent of human suffering – it’s too remote in history for most.

The basis, as many know, was the popular perception that Jews were all “Christ-killers” and directly responsible for the death of Jesus. The fact that none of the Jews they knew were alive at the time was irrelevant – the fact that they were Jews meant that they had inherited any sins – real or perceived – from earlier Jews, whether direct ancestors or not.

The Christian church did not hesitate to promote this perception and encourage persecution. Saint Gregory called Jews “slayers of the Lord, murderers of the prophets, adversaries of God.” And he was one of the nicer critics. Saint Ambrose wrote “Who cares if a synagogue – home of insanity and unbelief – is destroyed?” This sort of attitude among Christians was not limited to idle propaganda, but in the course of time boiled over into actual acts of violence.

Unfortunately, having killed God wasn’t quite enough to inspire massacres, so something else had to fill that void. In 1144 a 12-year-old boy was found dead near Norwich England, and for some reason rumors started that the Jews had killed him in some sort of demonic ritual.

Thus began the infamous “Blood Libel” – the story that Christian children were kidnapped and sacrificed by evil Jews as part of their plot to undermine Christianity and help Satan. Killing God wasn’t enough to inspire violence, but killing Christians was – and so Jews across Europe would be seized and executed en masse whenever blood libel hysteria arose.

Actual incidents are too numerous to fully list, so only a few can be briefly mentioned. Thirty-eight Jewish leaders in Blois, France, were burned alive after refusing to convert to Christianity in payment for the death of a boy whose body was never found and who in fact may never have existed. In England, 18 Jews were tortured and hung for having allegedly crucified a boy.

In 1285, 180 Munich Jews were burned for having allegedly bled a Christian boy to death. In 1475, nearly all the Jews in Trent, Italy, were tortured and killed after rumors circulated that a boy had been sacrificed. Even as late as 1801, 128 Jews had their throats slit by Orthodox priests after being accused to drinking blood.

Host Nailing

A particularly odd form of persecution resulted from the decision of Christian leaders to accept the doctrine of transubstantiation: in other words, that the host wafer in holy communion miraculously changes into the actual body of Jesus. For some reason, superstitious Christians started believing that Jews would take the communion wafer and ritually nail it up in a grisly re-enactment of the crucifixion. The result was hundreds of massacres all across Europe. It seems like Christians would seize upon any excuse to kill off a few Jews.

In 1298, 628 Jews were killed in Nuremberg after host-nailing rumors spread. That same year, Bavarian knight Rindfleisch exterminated 146 Jewish communities in just six months. In 1337, the entire Jewish population of Deggendorf, Bavaria, was burned after stories of host-nailing became popular. In 1370, nearly all Belgian Jews were killed after someone in Brussels reported seeing a Jew break a communion wafer. Even as late as 1761, Jews were executed in Nancy, France, based upon similar allegations. I could go on and on with similar reports, but I am honestly sickened by having to spend so much time on these examples of how Christianity relates to violence.

Northern Ireland

The terrible combination of nationalism, politics and religion has had deadly consequences for the people living in Northern Ireland. Catholics and Protestants have been vilifying, attacking, torturing and killing each other in a seemingly endless cycle which has only recently begun to show hopeful signs of finally ending. Ulster, the focal point of most of the violence, is an amazingly beautiful province.

But it’s also a city where Catholics and Protestant live in walled-off, self-created ghettos for mutual protection. The sniper bullets are usually blocked, but stones and bottles make it over the top.

The origins of Ireland’s “troubles” lie in the distant past of English imperialism. The creation of an Anglican Protestant church also created a fundamental religious conflict with an Irish population having little interest in converting with their neighbors. It wasn’t until the reign of Elizabeth I that Ireland was finally “conquered,” but she was never able to halt regular Catholic uprisings

Ulster was drawn forever into the conflict when James I seized Catholic lands in and around the city in order to give them to loyal Protestants from England and Scotland. Evicted Catholics starved in the surrounding hills until a few crawled back and begged for menial jobs on their former farms. Unsurprisingly, revolts among Catholics continued across Ireland. When Puritan Oliver Cromwell took control of England, his reprisals against Catholics were amazing in their brutality.

Under 1700’s Penal Laws, Catholicism was outlawed and priests were banished. Catholics who tried to continue their faith in secret were hunted with dogs and regularly killed outright. Although Catholicism regained legal status in the 1800’s, Catholics had to pay tithes to the Anglican church. When this led to the “Tithe War,” both sides perpetrated cruelties in the name of the same God

Finally, in this century, the southern counties of Ireland were finally liberated from English rule – and became a 90% Catholic country where even today divorce is outlawed and women have to travel to England to obtain abortions. But the descendants of King James’ colonists voted to remain united with England – they feared how they would be treated in a predominantly Catholic nation.

Later events indicate that such a fear may have been justified. In the 1950’s, the Irish Republican Army was formed and began a terrorist campaign in and around Ulster to force reunification with the south. Protestants formed their own paramilitary organizations to retaliate. When British troops arrived to enforce peace, their heavy-handed and inexperienced tactics ended up alienating both sides, making British soldiers targets for both Catholic and Protestant terrorists.

Violence was perhaps worst during the 1970’s when hundreds of terrorist acts were recorded year after year. Eventually, things settled down to the intensity of a small scale war. As James A. Haught has reported:

…in 1985, a relatively quiet year, authorities recorded fifty-four assassinations, 148 bombings, 237 shootings, 916 woundings, 522 arrests on terrorism charges, 31 kneecappings (shooting out a person’s kneecaps) and 3.3 tons of explosives and weapons seized. All this in a tiny country with a population of 1.5 million people.

August 15, 2002, will be the fourth anniversary of the worst terrorist attack in over 30 years. In Omagh, 500 pounds of explosives shattered the downtown, killing 29 people and injuring over 100, including children and tourists. Even today, no one has been arrested. The anniversary was marked by riots in Londonderry as Catholic protestors hurled Molotov cocktails at police to express anger at the fact that Protestants had been granted permission to march in memorial of some ancient and forgettable battle.

Modern America

America in the 20th century has suffered from many violent incidents which can be traced back to Christianity. Some have been organized, others not so organized, but all the result of specifically violent or dangerous doctrines promoted in Christian churches. Often the hatred and violence circles around particular issues, like homosexuality or abortion

Although the people responsible for violence might have found a way to express their hatred without Christianity, it cannot be ignored that Christianity offers a convenient divine mandate for hatred and violent acts against a wide range of people in our diverse country. Christians are going to have to seriously rethink and revamp their faith if they are going to join in building a prosperous, pluralistic America of the future.


Bible Wars

One sad bit of American and Christian history which few (if any) manage to learn about are the “Bible Wars” between Catholics and Protestants in the latter half of the 19th century. This is especially unfortunate because is remarkably resembles some of the issues which face us today with regards to having religion in public school. If it could lead to violence and death then, we should be wary today.

Christianity & Homosexuality

The first thing to look at is the nature of the rhetoric and propaganda which is disseminated by “good Christians” in America when addressing this and similar issues. Senator Trent Lott has openly compared homosexuals with thieves, expressing the fundamental assumption that homosexuality is essentially criminal in nature and deserving of similar treatment.

Christianity & Abortion

Government officials in both Canada and the United States have issued warnings to abortion doctors to take extra precautions. Anti-abortion extremists in Britain have warned the public that there “will be casualties” in the coming war, and that they did not intend to “turn the other cheek.” As the anti-abortion rhetoric has increased over the years, so has the anti-abortion violence – property is destroyed, people are killed, and women are denied access to medical care.

Christianity & Wiccans

Do prejudice and discrimination against Wiccans exist in America? Absolutely – although those who engage in it are among the last to be willing to admit it. Wicca, in case you weren’t aware, comes from the Old English word for “witch” and is a religion which celebrates seasonal- and life-cycles using rituals dating from pre-Christian Europe.

Christian Cults

No account of Christian violence in America would be complete without including some of the acts perpetrated by small groups usually known as “cults.” I deplore stereotyping of cults – something which is perhaps most common among Christian apologists. But although “cults” are no more likely to be violent or neurotic than traditional religions, the fact remains that some very famous and very public incidents of violence have occurred with so-called cults.

Sources

  • Helen Ellerbe, The Dark Side of Christian History.
  • James A. Haught, Holy Horrors.
  • J.N. Hillgarth, Christianity and Paganism, 350-750.
  • Malcolm Lambert, Medieval Heresy.
  • Edward Peters, Heresy and Authority in Medieval Europe.
  • R. Dean Peterson, A Concise History of Christianity.
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Comments
  1. […] you have wars over those powers, all in the name of a loving God.  Ain’t that swell?  Anti-Christians (or anti-Muslims, anti-Jews, etc.) like to point out thehorrible history of the world caused in the […]

  2. fourthreichisrael says:

    Semitism is the direct cause of Anti-Semitism.
    Inherent in Judaism is the “chosen people”, racist, supremacist doctrine that views “Gentiles” as inferior to Jews who are wrongly seen (by themselves) as “God’s chosen people”. There are no favorites when it comes to the Divine.
    It is a loving, kind, compassionate heart that is closest to the Divine, not race, creed, religion, culture, nor color of skin.
    It is love for All and love for the beauty of Creation that the Divine is moved by, not delusions of superiority; in fact, it is humility that is closest to God.

  3. Ah.. .VH.. your hate and ignorance become more apparent everytime you open your mouth to spew venom, hate and lies.

    First Tabuk: You obviously take what you want from historic events and present as “facts” because many propagandists do exactly that.

    The Muslim army of 30,000 was going to Tabuk in response to the claims that the Byzantine Empire is planning a decisive attack against Muslims as they were gaining fame and power in the region. Even if this was not the case, non Muslim historians have written that no battle or war actually took place. The Muslims assumed the Byzantines withdrew and therefore that was a victory in itself. The Byzantines in other accounts came to “somewhere” but necessarily Tabuk. Waiting for days or weeks and not facing this little army of 30,000 (as compared to Roman’s) they too assumed that the Muslims were “defeated” by not showing up and withdrew to Syria.

    So Mr. VH, get your facts straight. Your lies and “militant” attitude, again, remind me of pre Holocaust events that led to the Holocaust. In other words, you are evil.

    Second: I’ll just post these verses (since you don’t read – and that has been proven) and let’s hear your “educated” explanation:

    2 Kings 2

    23 From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some youths came out of the town and jeered at him. “Go on up, you bald head!” they said. “Go on up, you bald head!”
    24 He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the LORD . Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths. (What do we call this, VH?)

    Numbers 31:17-18/ 31:35-40

    “Now kill all the boys [innocent kids]. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.”

    According to the historical elaborations about Numbers 31:17-18 Biblical Verses in the Jewish Talmud, the girls in “every girl who has never slept with a man” were AS YOUNG AS 3 YEARS OLD, and were forced into SEX!

    Said Rabbi Joseph, “Come and take note: A girl three years and one day old is betrothed by intercourse. And if a Levir has had intercourse with her, he has acquired her. And one can be liable on her account because of the law prohibiting intercourse with a married woman. And she imparts uncleanness to him who has intercourse with her when she is menstruating, to convey uncleanness to the lower as to the upper layer [of what lies beneath]. If she was married to a priest, she may eat food in the status of priestly rations. If one of those who are unfit for marriage with her had intercourse with her, he has rendered her unfit to marry into the priesthood. If any of those who are forbidden in the Torah to have intercourse with her had intercourse with her, he is put to death on her account, but she is free of responsibility [M.Nid. 5:4].
    Sanhedrin 7/55B

    17
    Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that has known a man by sleeping with him.
    18
    But all the young girls who have not known a man by sleeping with him, keep alive for yourselves.

    I will not even attempt to comment on the above verses as it’s quite obvious that if you were a person of knowledge, you would not throw stones when your house is made of glass! 🙂

    Now do us all a favor. Please get lost and disappear. You’re not worthy of further time and response.

    ATW

  4. velvethammer says:

    Aren’t you cute, “very hateful” hahaha
    Thanks God one can not take your nick literally. You should switch to ‘appeasingtheislamicworld’.

    I was not justifying anything. My comment was in response to your statement “Hitler, was supposedly Catholic. Should Christianity be accused of the Holocaust?”

    “Oh and the Japanese (including Christian and Buddhist)? How come you didn’t include them?”

    Because foolish man/woman, I was addressing the topic of Islam

    If you even dare to think I am as hateful as Hitler you are kookier than I thought. 🙄

    Considering your hatred of Christianity. Should you be deemed a racist? Or does that only apply to those who speak out against Islam?

    History proves that Islam, Mohammad included waged their crusades against Christianity well before the Christian Crusades.
    Beginning in the year 630 – Two years before Muhammad’s death of a fever, he launches the Tabuk Crusades, in which he led 30,000 jihadists against the Byzantine Christians.

    And while we are at it lets compare Christianity and Islam in todays world. Would that not be more relevant?
    Christians in present times do not commit acts of:
    genocide,
    suicide bomb attacks (including the warped 72 virgin reward)
    [BTW Are you aware that when virgin Muslim females are put to death, they are raped by guards for their (supposed) criminal act that led to their sentence, which makes them not worthy do die a virgin.]
    church burning,
    stoning,
    rape in large numbers (ie: European females),
    hanging,
    lashing,
    imprisonment for crimes that should not exist. No freedom of speech in sharia land.
    female genitalia mutilation,
    violent riots:
    set fires (ie:cars etc. France)
    burn embassy’s,
    sell their children into marriage,
    force their children into marriage,
    kidnap – rape – marry ( In that order)
    force conversions,
    or honor kill.

  5. VH.. and it ain’t velvet… try Very Hateful..

    When you use a tyrant to justify your hatred towards Muslims, not much can be said to a moron like you. Oh and the Japanese (including Christian and Buddhist)? How come you didn’t include them?

    You’re not worth a response but I had to remind you that you too are just as hateful as Hitler.

  6. velvethammer says:

    Hitler described himself as “a complete pagan”.
    Quotes from Adolf Hitler, Hitler’s Secret Conversations: 1941-1944

    Night of 11th-12th July, 1941:

    National Socialism and religion cannot exist together…. The heaviest blow that ever struck humanity was the coming of Christianity. Bolshevism is Christianity’s illegitimate child. Both are inventions of the Jew. The deliberate lie in the matter of religion was introduced into the world by Christianity…. Let it not be said that Christianity brought man the life of the soul, for that evolution was in the natural order of things. (p 6 & 7)

    10th October, 1941, midday:

    Christianity is a rebellion against natural law, a protest against nature. Taken to its logical extreme, Christianity would mean the systematic cultivation of the human failure. (p 43)

    14th October, 1941, midday:

    The best thing is to let Christianity die a natural death…. When understanding of the universe has become widespread… Christian doctrine will be convicted of absurdity…. Christianity has reached the peak of absurdity…. And that’s why someday its structure will collapse…. …the only way to get rid of Christianity is to allow it to die little by little…. Christianity [is] the liar…. We’ll see to it that the Churches cannot spread abroad teachings in conflict with the interests of the State. (p 49-52)

    19th October, 1941, night:

    The reason why the ancient world was so pure, light and serene was that it knew nothing of the two great scourges: the pox and Christianity.

    Besides Hitler admired Islam.

    “Hitler usually concluded this historical speculation by remarking, ‘You see, it’s been our misfortune to have the wrong religion. Why didn’t we have the religion of the Japanese, who regard sacrifice for the Fatherland as the highest good? The Mohammedan religion too would have been much more compatible to us than Christianity. Why did it have to be Christianity with its meekness and flabbiness….”5 (A. Speer, Inside the Third Reich, pp. 142-143)

    Hitler and Muslim leaders of the time both shared a hatred for Jews.

  7. velvethammer says:

    “Nowadays it implies one who covers the Truth.”

    Then by all rights it is muslims who are true ‘kafirs’.

  8. Godefroi,

    The verses apply to any time: paraphrasing: “Thou Shalt Not Be The Aggressor..” so-to-speak.

    Bin Laden, Khomeini and others do not represent the Islamic faith. Hitler, was supposedly Catholic. Should Christianity be accused of the Holocaust?

    I am not sure where the word Infidel came from. Apparently these days it’s used differently. Wikipedia’s definition is interesting but also a bit inaccurate:

    [An infidel (literally “one without faith”) is an offensive English word meaning “one who doubts or rejects central tenets of a religion or has no religious beliefs”, especially in reference to Christianity or Islam. When used in an Islamic sense it serves as a translation of the Arabic word kafir (literally “one who denies the blessings of God”) referring to all non-Muslims..] – this part, referring to all non-Muslims is erroneous. It actually contradicts how it’s mentioned in the Quran. The word “Kafir” in the Quran referred to all Arab pagans at the time.

    The word infidel does not exist in the Arabic language. But the word Kafir does. The word “Cover” in English, is derived from the word “Kafir!” Arabs often use the term for peasants who plough fields: “he’s a kafir… ” as in he covers the seeds with the soil.

    And that is the true meaning of the word Kafir: one who covers. Nowadays it implies one who covers the Truth.

  9. Godefroi says:

    Interesting…you’ve apparently read different accounts of Middle East history than I have.

    In any case, it appears that I could summarize your position and interpretation of the verses I cited as not relevant to current times unless a Muslim body (person, nation, facility, etc.) were actually attacked…that is, when people like Khomeini or BinLaden use them to incite aggressive fighting against infidels, they are misconstruing the text. Is that correct?

  10. Godefroi,

    I noticed that when I included many links in a response, even here in my own blog, that the message does not get posted. This is an issue to be raised with WordPress but I think it’s to prevent spammers and spam links.

    Regarding the verses, the way you shared them are different from my source. I refer to IslamiCity.com under Quran Search. And sorry to disappoint you, but like you I am no scholar on any religion. However, I read, analyze, ask, explain and try to learn.

    9:29 as stated, is taken out of context. This was my point when mentioning that Jesus stated he did not come in peace but with a sword: “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” So am I to believe that Jesus came to kill anyone who did not believe in his message? Or do I need to understand the circumstances for which he uttered those words and against whom?

    When one reads the Quran, one needs to understand the history of Arabia and earlier times of Roman and Persian empires. The pagans of Mecca, rejected the message of Islam and were initially tortured, terrorized, killed and expelled from Mecca. Later, God allowed the Muslims to fight ONLY when attacked and in self defense. The injunction to fight is relevant only in the event of aggression committed against the Muslim community (or state), or in the presence of an unmistakable threat to its security: a view which has been shared by that great Islamic thinker, Muhammad `Abduh. Commenting on this verse, he declared: “Fighting has been made obligatory in Islam only for the sake of defending the truth and its followers…. All the campaigns of the Prophet were defensive in character; and so were the wars undertaken by the Companions in the earliest period [of Islam]”

    So when people refer to Islam spreading by the Sword, they neglected to mention that it was the Romans from the North and Persians from the East attacking and threatening the Muslims. Why? They saw the influence of Muhammad growing and “assumed” that he was going to share the power. Not only that, but the message Muhammad brought was that of peace and no aggression, no compulsion in religion, forbidding adultery, alcohol, usury, corruption, tribal wars, etc. and giving people back their rights. Did you know any of this? The Romans and Persians did not like this as their infrastructure was based on stealing from people and ruling with an Iron Fist! They became the aggressors.

    Muslims then would send messages and messengers (as they did to Hercules then and the King of Persia) that they should accept Islam and Muslims and let them be, or they will face a war – in self defense. How? If, for the sake of simplifying an example, I sensed that you are being aggressive as a neighbor (throwing your trash in my backyard) and I were to approach you and request that you refrain from “attacking” my property or else I will report you (or even throw the trash back in your yard) then you begin to understand the concept. If you continue, you have giving me the rightful reason to throw the trash back in your backyard, sue for damages and get a monetary penalty imposed as a judgment. Assuming you do live in the States, then this last part is clear.

    Back to our discussion. The Muslim messengers in all of these cases were simple, poor but proud people (because of their Arabic traditions and now, Islam as their religion). They would not bow to another human as was the practice then. Some would be killed on the spot for daring to approach the king in such a manner. Some were jailed and some actually accepted the peace treaty. And when the messengers were killed, armies on both sides would be prepared and wars began. Incredibly, this small group of Muslims won almost every war. First against the pagans, then against the Romans and Persians. In the midst of this, if Muslims were also attacked by the people of the book (Jews and Christians), they were authorized to fight back. This happened with some Jewish tribes as they sided with either the pagans or Persians and even the Romans. Why you may ask? They too rejected the message of Islam and Muhammad, just like they rejected Jesus and his message.

    A long response but I hope this clarifies some of the historic parts. If you like to read, there are many books available that explain the above.

    In reference to the EARLIER verse 9:5, even when Muslims were allowed to fight in self defense, they were still forbidden from fighting, period, during the Holy months! According to a pre-Islamic custom prevalent in Arabia , the months of Muharram, Rajab, Dhu ‘l-Qa’dah and Dhu ‘l-Hiijah were considered “sacred” in the sense that all tribal warfare had to cease during those months. It was with a view to preserving these periods of truce and thus to promoting peace among the frequently warring tribes that the Qur’an did not revoke, but rather confirmed, this ancient custom. Regardless, the verse is part of the whole chapter and a continuation of the previous verses: that the verse relates to warfare already in progress with people who have become guilty of a breach of treaty obligations and of aggression.

    Regarding verse 8:39 –

    Again the previous verses must be taken into an account. One does not read the story from, say page 173 and argue that the author is not clear about that part! Likewise, one does not go to school and learn to be a doctor by “jumping” right into Sophomore and dismissing the earlier “years” as irrelevant.

    Here, One of the ordinances of the Quran is “There shall be no coercion in matters of faith” (2:256), lays down categorically that any attempt at a forcible conversion of unbelievers is prohibited – which precludes the possibility of the Muslims’ demanding or expecting that a defeated enemy should embrace Islam as the price of immunity. Secondly, the Qur’an ordains, “Fight in God’s cause against those who wage war against you; but do not commit aggression, for, verily, God does not love aggressors” (2:190); and, “if they do not let you be, and do not offer you peace, and do not stay their hands, seize them and slay them whenever you come upon them: and it is against these that We have clearly empowered you [to make war]” (4:91). Thus, war is permissible only in self-defence (see surah 2, notes 167 and 168), with the further proviso that “if they desist-behold, God is much-forgiving, a dispenser of grace” (2:192), and “if they desist, then all hostility shall cease” (2:193). Now the enemy’s conversion to Islam – expressed in the words, “if they repent, and take to prayer [lit., “establish prayer”] and render the purifying dues (zakah)”-is no more than one, and by no means the only, way of their “desisting from hostility”; and the reference to it in verses 5 and 11 of this surah certainly does not imply an alternative of “conversion or death”, as some unfriendly critics of Islam choose to assume. Verses 4 and 6 give a further elucidation of the attitude which the believers are enjoined to adopt towards such of the unbelievers as are not hostile to them.

    I think this was long enough but had to be shared.

    Peace.

  11. Godefroi says:

    Sir,

    My first 2 attempts were not immediately and automatically posted…I assume because they included links. Also, I noted in my first attempt that your Biblical references allude to God and/or Israel fighting an ancient enemy that is long gone, and that my Qur’an translation was apparently different than yours (or, perhaps, I misunderstand your point in referring to 2:96 and 2:109).

    Also, I assumed based on some of your other writings, that you had some in-depth knowledge of Qur’an, so I did not include the addresses of the above citations…again, assuming that you already knew them.

    The first is Qur’an 9:29

    The second is Qur’an 9:5

    The third is Qur’an 8:39

    These can be verified at http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/quran/

    I look forward to your reply. Peace also to you.

    ~GdB

  12. Godefroi,

    What are you referring to? Your message (above) was automatically posted. What’s disturbing though is that you post what you attempt to show as Quranic verses. If they are, why wouldn’t you refer the verses to the chapter and number? If you’ve read any of my posts, you would have seen that there’s nothing mentioned here without a reference.

    So provide your source/ reference and I will gladly respond.

    Peace.

  13. Godefroi says:

    It’s disappointing that you chose not to publish my earlier response…you “dared” me to publish yours, and I did.

    So, once again, please explain “the reasons, logic or conditions behind such statements” like these:

    “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.”

    and

    “Then when the Sacred Months (the 1st, 7th, 11th, and 12th months of the Islamic calendar) have passed, then kill the Mushrikun {unbelievers} wherever you find them, and capture them and besiege them, and prepare for them each and every ambush.”

    and

    “And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and polytheism: i.e. worshipping others besides Allah) and the religion (worship) will all be for Allah Alone [in the whole of the world].”

  14. Hi Lord Crimson (interesting name 🙂 )

    If one follows your logic, then Bin Laden will be justified in using your words as such:

    “You certainly have a clever way of discrediting Islam. I don’t why you are surprised that Islamic faith contains violence. Good has always used violence as a method to defeat evil.

    The actions of man good or evil is not the measure of the Islamic faith. The measure of Islamic Faith is God. Only if God fails does the Islamic faith fail. Since all men fail, your standard as you have presented it leads to a false premise.”

  15. Lord Crimson says:

    Hi ATW

    You certainly have a clever way of discrediting Christianity. I don’t why you are surprised that Christianity contains violence. Good has always used violence as a method to defeat evil.

    The actions of man good or evil is not the measure of Christianity. The measure of Christianity is Christ. Only if Christ fails does Christianity fail. Since all men fail, your standard as you have presented it leads to a false premise.

    Lord Crimson

  16. Godefroi says:

    One more thing: I don’t believe that Christianity is a religion of tolerance. No ideology that claims to be the only right way, Christianity, Islam, etc., can also be tolerant…it is absolutely exclusionary.

  17. GdB,

    The point is that we are quick to judge a few verses as violent without understanding the reasons, logic or conditions behind such statements. Likewise, some here, who claim to be “real” Christians, are more violent than the people they accuse – Muslims. These so-called Christians have “heard” that the Muslim faith is that of violence and therefore decided that all Muslims are terrorists – the blind leading the blind! Yet they would defend the Christian faith by such statements as “the acts of the few don’t reflect upon all…”

    The Bible is full of stories that imply violence and hatred as in Genesis 34:1-31 or Isaiah 13-18, Exodus 17:14-16, Leviticus 20:10-16; 26:7-8 and so on. Likewise, when the Quranic verses are taken out of context, one can translate to his/hers uneducated liking! See 2:96; 2:109.

    The conclusion is this: the horrific acts of the Crusaders, Hitler, the IRA, the KKK and present day Christianity do not reflect the Bible’s teachings. One cannot generalize and accuse Christianity of being a religion of terror because of such acts. If we refuse this for ourselves, then why are we quick to judge others? And then we say that Christianity is a religion of tolerance?

  18. Godefroi says:

    If those two sentences were all there was to know about what Jesus said and did, you might have a case that “Christianity offers a convenient divine mandate for hatred and violent acts against a wide range of people.” But even then it would be a stretch, since in this quote he said “I” bring a sword…not “YOU go get a sword and kill your enemies”. If anything, this quote would be promoting only intra-familial fighting (man against father, etc.).

    The fact remains that this is not the only example of his words and actions…nor those of his disciples and apostles, and there is nothing in their examples or the actual teachings and precepts of Christianity that can reasonably be used to justify violent acts and hatred.

    If you have further citations I’d be pleased to consider them.

    ~GdB

  19. […] Religion : Love, Violence or Terrorism ? […]

  20. ClapSo says:

    A brilliant post and a wonderful blog.

    Thanks for it!

    The scientifically impossible I do right away
    The spiritually miraculous takes a bit longer

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