Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Why do the faithful rage?

When I was growing up in Georgia, a religious group ran a regular ad in the newspaper with the headline "Why Do the Heathen Rage?" The phrase begins Psalm 2 in the King James Version of the Bible (later translations usually use "nations" rather than "heathen"), and the psalmist's answer is that nonbelievers rage because they do not serve God. The ad seemed intended to provoke fear and trembling, but it usually made me laugh as I pictured angry natives jumping up and down, shaking their fists in fury.


The more important question, to me, is "Why Do the Faithful Rage?" What is it about religious belief that stirs up war and persecution? Look deeply into the history of any of the major religions and you will find atrocities against those who believe differently. Extremism didn't start on 9-11, and it certainly isn't confined to Islam.


Often, quarrels that are labled religious are really political or territorial, but not all. Far too much violence is committed in the name of God. Why?


Part of the answer, of course, is that it's easy to use "God told me to do it" as an excuse for whatever you want to do, especially if you are in a position of power. But what of the sincere zealots who would fight to the death -- yours, that is -- to prove that your beliefs are wrong?


The paradox is that connection to God is so important to human beings that they are willing to violate one of God's most basic commandments -- Thou shalt not kill -- if they fear that connection is in danger.


It's the very power and potential of religion that leads to its worst distortions.


CNN.com has an interesting interview with Madeleine Albright, former secretary of state and the author of "The Mighty and the Almighty," on the influence of religion on world affairs. I thought this quote speaks to the same point:

"I found the first time I went to Jerusalem, my initial reaction was, people are arguing over all this all the time, it made me think, well, there can’t be a God, why would God put up with this? And then I had the total opposite reaction. One that stays with me, which is that there are so many holy places and symbols there, and all anybody talks about is their relationship to those symbols and to God, and therefore the power of God must be so strong there. I just think that it would be much better if people could figure out ... how to agree about it."

Amen to that. Is it possible to agree that everyone's relationship to God is important, even if those relationships take very different forms? What can religions and their followers do to make that happen?

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Answer is simple. Once you are ready to accept things without evidence (that is exactly what faith is) then there is really no end to it. Reason is out and someone else (church leaders, cult leaders etc... - difference between it is just in numbers really) has control over you.

Careful critical reading of the holy writ should give you enough reason to stay away from their teachings forever (god depicted in any Abrahamic religion is VERY violent and pestilential) but since one is already preconditioned to only see few chosen good things in it (they are usually few and far apart) most don't see it.

From this to burning witches, stoning adulterers, car bombing, and hijacking the planes and run them int the buildings is just a small step in already irrational mind.

Issue is in the mere definition of faith (believe without evidence). Once you do have faith then all bets are off. Once you are preconditioned that martyrdom is a good thing and will lead you to heaven (again another belief without evidence) the doors to creativity of (self)destruction are open.

Why? Once you've been fed (without evidence again!) that there is heaven and you better do what you are told (by your god through your holy writ or religious leaders and prophets) or you will not only not go to heaven but end up in hell... that is a strong motivator. (I honestly believe that threatening kids with hell is form of child abuse.)

Faith (even in moderation) can be very dangerous thing. We should really be promoting reason as a virtue opposed to faith.

Sincerely,
Iztok

D.J. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
D.J. said...

Thanks, Jane, for another thought-provoking post.

Why do the faithful rage? The answer is simple, it is the ramifications that are difficult to come to terms with. The answer is sin. Believer and unbeliever alike share in human imperfection. We serve a holy and righteous God, yet all of us have turned aside in so many ways and followed the selfish desires that exist within us. Scripture puts it this way in Romans 3 - "None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” Certainly we are all created with a desire for good, that comes from being created in the image of God. However, sin has so tainted all of us that our perfect God can look at us and declare, "no one does good."

Our hope and joy as believers is not that we suddenly become self-righteous super-people, ready to mow down the evildoers with Bible-verse-loaded six-shooters (though sickeningly that characterizes much of evangelical Christianity in the western world). Our hope lies in the fact that God has freely taken our sin on himself in the person of Christ and paid for it. We need bear it's guilt and consequences no more. However, that is not to say that we no longer deal with its lingering presence in our lives. We still miss the mark - I still miss the mark - and we pray that God would shape us to better reflect the savior we serve.

Throughout history people have done horrible things in the name of Christ. As Jane has mentioned, the most notable (Crusades) have come when faith was co-opted for political purposes. However, many sincere "believers" do awful things today. I immediately think of the desperately sad and hate-filled individuals who picket and yell at the funerals of dead homosexuals (and let me be clear - I believe that homosexual practice is condemned by Scripture as sinful). Yet in each case, it is the sin of the human heart that drives us to evil, not the teachings of Scripture. The Bible may be used to justify evil things, but the problem lies with us, not with God.

BTW: I understand that the very notion of "sin" is going to be unpopular and outdated with many people. I make no apologies for what the Bible teaches, which I cling to as truth. However, I do hope to communicate that sin is not the exculsive domain of "unbelievers," but that Christians should be first and foremost in understanding the depths of our fallenness.

To address the concerns Iztok raised...

You would have us believe, friend, that hate and violence happens because of faith and the abandon of reason. However, I would posit that human sin is an explaination that much better refelcts reality, a reality in which atrocities have been committed by secular humanists as much as they have by those donned in holy garb. Look at Hitler, Stalin, Mussolinni. Ironically, it was Nietzsche who predicted that since God had died in the 19th century, the 20th century would be the bloodiest in history. The 20th ended up being bloodier than the previous 19 combined.

You say that the God of Scripture is too violent. To understand God from Scripture is to see all his attributes, not just pick out one (in your case, his wrath). To understand God's wrath, you must understand human sin in conjunction with God's infinite holiness. Thus, even what we see as "small" sin is glaring when put up against a being who is infinite in his perfection. God is also perfect in his justice, and he will punish sin. To call him violent in this is akin to saying a courtroom judge is cruel for handing down sentences. You may not accept this presentation of God, but I hope to help you understand it.

As to your criticisms of the very nature of faith, I do not throw reason and logic out the window in my belief. One of my main goals in conversing in this blog is to demonstrate the intellectual integrity of the historic Christian faith. I hope my posts have reflected that careful thought process. Yet ultimately, I do believe in a God who (by definition of being God) is bigger than my brain. Am I a crazy man for clinging with all my being to that which I admittedly can never fully understand? To you, I likely am. Yet I would close with a quote from the great Christian philosopher Blaise Pascal (who one could scarcely call a man devoid of reason), who said concering faith, "The heart has its reasons which reason cannot know." I pray you may find those reasons, friend.

Soli Deo Gloria

Anonymous said...

dj,

Hitler was a Christian, Musollini as well. Stalin was indeed an atheist. However if you inherit a whole country that was servile because of its religion one wouldn't be in dictatorship business if it wouldn't be able to use this. So can we at least drop the Hitler and such arguments aside, because truly honestly if you've read Mein Kampf you would know that he was doing Lord's work (it was clearly stated in his work as such). Thus selling Hitler for something else then Christian is absurd.

The issue at hand is that religious people do their wrong doings BECAUSE they are religious not just in the name of the religion. You really can't say that people who did 9/11 had lack of faith, can you? It is exactly that faith that led them to commit such terrorist acts.

Church is trying to hide the atrocities in its own ranks when they are revealed. It seems that Roman Catholic Church is leading the perversion of "No child left behind" into "No child's behind left".

So yes faith based initiatives are dangerous.

Yes you do throw reason and logic out of the window, if you wouldn't you would have figured out that allpresent, allknowing, allgood God can't exist when we observe the facts around us.

We can also easily observe that our universe is way older then 6000 years as claimed in the Bible. We also know that our planet is not flat as claimed in the Bible. Yet no rational can drive you away from showing how false the Bible is?

See this is faith, discarding evidence because it contradicts what you've been conditioned to believe. If facts don't fit your book, to bad for the facts mentality.

I just have something to ask you... when you guys (religious people) are done killing each other and your rapture comes, can the rest of us have our planet back? We would appreciate if you guys wouldn't destroy it in the process as we kinda cherish this life we have and know it is only one we have. Thanks!

One more thing on the rational: Can you provide ANY positive evidence of existence of your God?

Sincerely,
Iztok

D.J. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
D.J. said...

Iztok...

Per Hitler and Mussolini - evidence of their faith? The use of religious propaganda does not a Christian make. As for Stalin - are you really attempting to argue that RELIGION was responsible for Stalin's atrocities? If you are, you've got a lot of explaining to do.

Do some religous people do wrong because of their religous beliefs? Sure they do. Yet to argue that this makes all religion bad is a huge logical fallacy. Here is your argument...

1. Religion causes some people to kill.

2. Killing is bad.

3. Thus, all religion is bad.

Let's use the same logical argument on another topic.

1. Some airplanes crash.

2. Plane crashes are bad

3. Thus, all airplanes are bad.

To take instances where religion was used for evil and say all religion is evil is akin to me saying you are a bad person because Stalin was, and you are both athiests.

You proclaim as proof of my abandon of logic and reason that an ever-present, all-powerful, loving God cannot exist "when we observe the facts around us." (Note: You are making an argument from experience. That will come into play later). Care to share these facts that trump God's existence?

I don't believe the earth is 6000 years old because I don't believe the Bible teaches that. I have explained this in great detail in my comments on Jane's post "Are atheists moral?" if you are interested.

To claim the Bible teaches that the world is flat is bordering on the silly. I can only assume you refer to passages that make reference to something extending to "the four corners of the earth." This is a figure of speech used to describe the whole world (one that is still used today, I might add). It doesn't mean the Bible is making any claims about the world literally having four corners. Let me illustrate - have you ever used the term "sunrise?" Of course you have. Ah ha! So you believe that the sun actually moves, that it revolves around the earth! What a silly thing to believe! Is that a fair accusation? Of course not. Yet it is the same one you levy at the Bible.

Far from discarding facts, I think I have at the very least dealt with each criticism you and others have presented in a reasonable and thoughful manner. You do not have to agree with my conclusions, but you cannot accuse me of putting on my blinders and refusing to interact with reality.

Your comment about getting your planet back hardly seems constructive. Can't we have a discussion without slamming the validity of the other party's existence?

Finally, you ask for positive evidence for the existence of the God of the Bible. As I have stated in previous posts, my greatest evidence for God's existence is evidence from experience - I have experienced a relationship with God, I know him to exist because I have interacted with him. I have seen the Scripture's description of him prove true in my own life. This is an argument from experience that I cannot empirically prove to you, and I'm fine with that. As I have stated before, its God's job to change your heart, not mine. Before you bash arguments from experience, keep in mind, as I noted earlier, that you have used an argument from experience yourself.

I could offer other supporting reasons for my faith (evidence for the bodily resurrection of Christ, developments in modern cosmology that describe an origin of the universe that seems eerily similar to the Biblical account), but that would be a waste of time. You have already decided that the supernatural does not exist. Thus, any evidence I provide you will dismiss, because you have already made up your mind that the Genesis account of creation and the bodily resurrection of Christ are impossible. If anyone is interested in those topics, I have no problem discussing them, but let's be honest, Iztok. Its not going to matter to you anyway.

Soli Deo Gloria

rebecca said...

People committ war and other atrocities in the name of religion out of fear -- fear that God is not real, that God does not love them, that their faith cannot sustain them. And so, to paraphrase the great theologian Yoda: Fear leads to anger, Anger leads to hatred, and hatred leads to the dark side.

D.J. said...

Rebecca...

Great comment offer you.

Soli Deo Gloria

TheFriendlyNeighborhoodAtheist said...

DJ

Though we probably disagree on most things, you sure are good at explaning your points rationally. I particularly liked the analogy to the logical fallacy with airplanes being bad - nice one. I also think the morality debate on the other post is going nowhere, hence my absence.

sans wax,
FNA

Anonymous said...

DJ,

I don't think you've really read my statement about why religion is bad correctly. I never said that some religious people are bad thus religion is bad. I said that religion enables people to do bad things thus it is bad.

Analogy would be with drugs (illegal ones not RX ones) for example, not with airplanes.

Your positive evidence is really something. If I would claim there is Invisible Pink Unicorn and and i have personal experience with it but I can't provide you with any evidence, what would you think of me? That I am right or am I delusional? If later you would be right. Now how is that different from your "experience with God"?

Bodily resurrection? Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, don't you think? I've been to Jerusalem and Bethlehem and I didn't see it there either. There is no evidence of 40 years stroll of 200 or so miles through the desert of Sinai as described in the Bible either.

What cosmology supports the Bible? We see no evidence of the great flood (just calculate how fast the water would have to fall to drown Mt. Everest in the alloted time frame) do we? Speaking of which, does it look like act of loving God to you?

I didn't say that religion is to blame for what Stalin did I said it enabled it as he inherited bunch of servile religious folks (well he did have religious upbringing and training to help him out exploiting such fact). As far as Hitler is concerned? He was a practicing Catholic what else do you need? Did you read Mein Kampf? Perhaps you should if you didn't have a chance yet.

As far as for the Bible and flat Earth: Daniel 4:10-11 is clear. Do you know the requirement for something to be seen to the end of the Earth? It does require the Earth to be flat, doesn't it?

Sincerely,
Iztok

Anonymous said...

County Commissioner meeting yesterday:

"I was undecided six months ago. I'm now very much for repeal," Bishop said. Bishop said government leaders are using the transit plan to push people into high-rises instead of "houses with lawns."
"The government wants to control how you live,"

Commissioner Dan Bishop


"My constituents won't ride the buses or trains they've been paying for.
"The only rail they're going to ride is the one that goes around Disney World,"

Commissioner Bill James (AKA - Jesus)


"The light rail planners want to get away from cul-de-sacs."

Commissioner Karen Bentley

By the way, all Republicans and likely religious.

Jane Pope said...

anonymous, I do not see what your post about the county commissioners has to do with this discussion. Everyone, please stick to the topic -- and discuss it with respect for differing views. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Jane said: "Is it possible to agree that everyone's relationship to God is important, even if those relationships take very different forms"

Absolutely. While I have argued that religion is in the mind of the beholder previously, I will argue here that it is necessary. Since many people have a psychological 'need' for those things which religion offers, including life everlasting, moral codes, higher powers, reasons for existence and other such, and are often unable to find their way through life very well without them, then they should seek them out.

As this is a common need of mankind, and it is obvious everyone will not follow the same 'god', then everyone should accept those who believe in god, and encourage those who wish to, to do so and atheists, among which I count myself, should not proselytize or seek to stop others from their religion.

So I support religious practices in public functions, prayers in class or football games, etc, because it is a way for we, the people, to find our way.

Being an atheist is not for everyone, and it too is a religion of a type.

So I accept the beliefs of others, and support them in their seeking. So should everyone, without seeking their religion be the only true religion or that anything government might do in such is a violation of amendment one to the US Constitution, which has been totally distorted in its application.

WM

D.J. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
D.J. said...

FriendlyNeighborhoodAthiest...

Thanks for the kind words. Gives me hope that I am serving Christ well. And you're right - we may not agree on many things, but I can also say that your avatar describes you quite well.

Iztok...

I'll address a few of your concerns here, but I fear we are beginning to stray off the topic of the post, which is unfair to the others wanting to comment on the topic at hand.

"I said that religion enables people to do bad things thus it is bad."

Don't see how this changes things. You still make the same logical fallacy. Airplanes also enable bad things to happen (crashes) that wouldn't happen if they didn't exist. That doesn't make all airplanes bad.

Even were I to concede that Hitler and Mussolini were "Christians" (which I contend is very shaky ground, a concept even many secular historians would deny), we can at least agree that Stalin was an athiest who committed evil acts. Does that make all athiests evil? Of course not. Yet you would have us believe that the inverse is true with religion.

As I said, I have no problem with holding to evidence that God exists (personal experience) that cannot be empirically proven. The evidence that should separate me from the guy who believes in the invisible pink unicorn is my life. Do I speak like a crazy man? Do I live in such a way that lends what I say I believe credence? I will never convince anyone of the truth of who God is through any clever arguments or logical presentations. Only God can change the heart, which is necessary for belief.

As to your assertion that Daniel 4 is a trump card proving the Bible teaches a flat world - I don't see how that reference is any different than the "four corners" reference I already interacted with. Saying something reaches to the ends of the earth is a figure of speech (once again, one that is commonly used today even though we know full well the world has no "ends"). As I said before - to be consistent with that logic would mean that referring to a "sunrise" indicates one believes that the sun actually moves and revolves around the earth. Let's put this one to rest.

I would love to discuss in detail the cosmological and historical evidence that I believe supports many of Scripture's claims, but I feel that to explore those ideas in their neccesary depth would take this discussion away from its original topic, which is why religion is used as a vehicle for violence. To change the discussion in that way would be unfair to Jane and to the many others who are joining in the conversation. Perhaps a future post will give us a more appropriate forum to explore these ideas.

Your concerns about the flood could also be discussed in great detail at a later time, but I will address only one here. You ask if that sounds like a loving God - I say that sounds like a just God. I've posted previously on the post "Are athiests moral?" discussing the importance of understanding all God's attributes in context. Take a look if you like.

Here's to more great dialog in the future!

Soli Deo Gloria

TheFriendlyNeighborhoodAtheist said...

DJ,
I believe what Iztok is saying is that Hitler and Mussolini were christians and they committed there terrible acts against humanity in the name of religion. Just as the 9/11 hijackers killed the thousands of people in the name of islam. The difference between that and an atheistic Stalin lies in the fact that he committed his crimes not in the name of atheism but in his corrupt idea of communism/socialism/whatever set of rules he followed.

His atheism gave him no reason to do any of that. Looking at the root of the word and the definition of atheism - a.theism. The LACK of a god belief. Atheism has no doctrine or dogma to bind its "adherents." I may think abortion should be a woman's choice, and my atheist neighbor may think abortion is equivalent to murder, BUT in no way did either of us come to our conclusions because of our atheism.

Atheism can not be a defining characteristic as can religion. No one leads an "atheist life." Does that make any sense at all, I feel like I am just rambling?

Just something to think about.
Sans wax.

Karl Halvinthal said...

Jane,

I sure would like to know what you thinkof fellow charlotte.comblogger and Observer employeeTonyaJameson - who openly promulgatesand flaunts her homosexuality in a publicforum, not to mention advocating drinking alcohol for the sake of getting drunk.

So let's hear it

Anonymous said...

Atheism is a religion just as "bald" is a hair color.

Also DJ, there is a difference as mentioned people chose to do bad things because of religion, people don't do bad things because they are an atheist.

We did NOT get our morality from the holy writ.

So you are saying that we can take the Bible as a figure of speech? So we can say that God is just a figure of speech and what Bible really said was that God = Nature? Who decides what is real what is not if you can declare any part of the Bible as figure of speech? There is no end and seems just another good fiction book to me.

People chose religion (or is chose for them) while people don't chose being homosexual. Big difference. Don't discriminate those who didn't chose their way of life.

Sincerely,
Iztok

Jane Pope said...

Karl,
If you have a problem with Tonya's blog, I suggest you don't read it. I decline to comment on it, since that is not the purpose of this blog.
Jane

Karl Halvinthal said...

Typical non-response response Jane. How can someone who claims to have such strong religious convictions be such a gutless hypocrite who won't take a stand?

D.J. said...

To respond to the comments of FNA and Iztok...

Athiesm can indeed be just as much a defining characteristic as religion. No belief exists in a vacumn - what we believe affects the way we live, whether that belief is in Yahweh, Allah, the many gods of Hinduism, or no god at all. Just because there is no across-the-board "athiest way of life" does not mean that some people can be driven to evil by implications of their athiestic beliefs. For example, LNA, you say that athiesm has nothing to bind its adherents together. It is true that atheism produces a wide range of outlooks on life. Yet, so does "Christianity." (I use the quotes because I would contest that many of the people who claim to be Christians do not follow the teachings of Christ and his apostles in any meaningful way). Iztok, you put forth Hitler as "Christian." Yet what similarity is there between Hitler and, say, Dietrich Bonhoeffer? What dogma binds them together? Hitler, in fact, had Bonhoeffer executed! Yet, Iztok, you would claim that because Hitler's "Christianity" enabled him to do evil, Bonhoeffer's Christianity was thus evil. As has been pointed out earlier, this is a huge error in logic and simply doesn't hold up to reality.

Let's go to an example from the athiestic camp. Implications of atheistic belief can cause some people to do horrible things. Look to athiestic scientists in Hitler's Germany. They viewed some people (i.e. the handicapped) as no more than useless and worthless casualties of natural selection, and thus justified to themselves horrible experimentation on them. They were, if you will, the "Hitlers" to your "Bonhoeffers" - no resemblance whatsoever in ideology to atheists like yourself, yet under the same ultimate banner. Iztok, if religion is inherently "dangerous" because of the Bin Ladens, then athiesm is inherently dangerous because of these guys. You may say that there are no similarities at all between you and them, but Bonhoeffer would say the same about Hitler.

Iztok...

"So you are saying that we can take the Bible as a figure of speech?"

I'm saying that we interpret Scripture according to the rules of literary genre. To say that the use of metaphors and other figures of speech makes the whole Bible incomprehensible and meaningless is to say that human communication as a whole is meaningless. We all use figures of speech, metaphor, symbolic language in our communication, and we have the good sense to know what is what.

Let's use the sunrise example again. Your claim against Scripture is akin to me telling you, "Because you use the term 'sunrise' when you know full well that the sun does not move, I can't trust that anything you have to say is any more than a figure of speech." Let's please, put this one to rest.

BTW: Don't recall saying anything about homosexuality here. Would be an interesting discussion, but not the topic of this post.

Hope this post was helpful, a lot of info that I hope I've organized in a semi-coherent fashion. Here's to the weekend!

Soli Deo Gloria

TheFriendlyNeighborhoodAtheist said...

DJ
But even using your example of Hitler's atheistic scientists does not mean people are driven to do terrible things in the name of their atheism. From what you have written, they simply believed the handicapped were somehow not worthy of living due to the idea of natural selection or survival of the fittest. Just because that was there reasoning doesnt say they did anything in the name of atheism. Atheism and evolution/natural selection are not tied together as one idea.

Religion isnt inherently evil but it can certainly cause people to do evil things. Atheism means nothing. It is the lack of something. No doctrine, dogma. It couldnt drive someone to do anything.

FNA

Mooms said...

FNA writes:

“But even using your example of Hitler's atheistic scientists does not mean people are driven to do terrible things in the name of their atheism. From what you have written, they simply believed the handicapped were somehow not worthy of living due to the idea of natural selection or survival of the fittest. Just because that was there reasoning doesnt say they did anything in the name of atheism. Atheism and evolution/natural selection are not tied together as one idea. Religion isnt inherently evil but it can certainly cause people to do evil things. Atheism means nothing. It is the lack of something. No doctrine, dogma. It couldnt drive someone to do anything.”

I think that you have the right of it, here. Although I’m sure DJ did not mean this, I have heard the canard that Darwinian-induced atheism was responsible for Hitler and the Holocaust. However, but the fact of the matter is that the Nazis, in all their writings and speeches, claimed to be Christian to their dying breath. The idea of cleansing the world of the “unfit” long predates Darwin – and NOTHING in Darwinian evolution can be read to justify taking Nature into your own hands, any more than the Bible should be read as an excuse to take god’s justice into your own hands.

But I don’t blame religion for the Holocaust. In point of fact, you can’t even blame Hitler and his small band of wing nuts for it either. It wasn’t Hitler or his goons who rounded up millions of people and shoved them into the boxcars, or dropped the gas into the chambers. It wasn’t Hitler who rounded up entire villages and machine-gunned them into mass graves. If you want to know who did these atrocities, read accounts like this one:

http://www.logtv.com/films/jedwabne/

Excerpt: “In the small town of Jedwabne in Northeast Poland, Jews lived side by side with local Poles for over two centuries; by the outbreak of the Second World War, they constituted more than half of the town’s 2,500 inhabitants. Relations were peaceful for the most part until July 10, 1941 when, just days after the Germans occupied Jedwabne, almost the entire Jewish population of the town was murdered. Beginning in the morning, Jews were chased, beaten and killed with clubs, knives and iron bars. Women were raped; a small girl’s head was cut off and kicked about. Jews were rounded up from their homes and brought to the market square where the town rabbi and others were forced to carry the statue of Lenin and to sing, "The war is because of us." At the end of the day, all remaining Jews were forced into a nearby barn that was then doused with gasoline and set on fire. Music was played to drown out their cries. No Jewish witnesses were meant to survive, but seven managed to escape.”

This atrocity was perpetrated, not by the Nazis, not even by the Germans, but by the Jews’ Christian neighbors. And Jebwabne was one of hundreds – thousands, if you count those in Russia and the Ukraine - of villages where this sort of thing occurred. Hey! They were “Christ killers”!

But if you blame religion for the depravity of Eastern European Christians, then you also have to credit religion for the heroism of Denmark’s Christians.

You really have to read this; it will restore your faith in humanity:

http://www.auschwitz.dk/Denmark.htm

If the little fishing boats of England, who rescued the British Expeditionary Force at Dunkirk, were heroes, what can we say of the little fishing boats who rescued virtually the entire Jewish population of Denmark by slipping them across the icy straits to Sweden, under the very noses of the Germans?

“From all strata of Danish society and in all parts of the country, clergymen, civil servants, doctors, store owners, farmers, fishermen and teachers protected the Jews. A united Lutheran Church openly and persistently challenged the German offensive. Many Torahs from Rabbi Melchior’s synagogue were hidden a few blocks away in the crypt of Trinity Church. Dr. Koster, who was in charge of Bispebjerg Hospital, was instrumental in arranging for hundreds of Jews to be hidden at the hospital before they made their escape to Sweden. The psychiatric building and the nurses’ quarters were filled with refugees, who were all fed from the hospital kitchen. Virtually the entire medical staff at the hospital cooperated to save Jewish lives. Once it became known among Danes what the hospital was doing, money was donated from all over the country.”

Humans are a complex social species, capable of great good, and great evil. Religion is just a tool humans in groups use to attain their ends, for good or ill.

Anonymous said...

DJ, yes sunrise is figure of speech because it comes from our history before people knew better. So what is your point? One would think that God would know better that our planet is a sphere (well close enough for this text) and no matter how high one goes you can't see the end of it. See you are actually proving my point that Bible was man made and not God inspired at all (and yes Hebrew knows the difference between a circle and a sphere so had it been known at that time it would be written as such).

As far as Hitler and Nazis, just look at all the documents and pictures. It was clear that this was identified as a "Christian army" and supported from the top of the Catholic Church as well. As far as "social Darwinism" they've practiced, this has really nothing to do (except name?) with true Darwinism in any way shape or form. It is not even wrong interpretation, it is completely different thing.

As far as homosexuality goes, you did say that you say it is sinful. Yet it comes from the OT where homosexuals have to be stoned to death. So what do you say? Should homosexuals be stoned to death as the Bible prescribes or we do have some leniency here? What about children that curse their parents? This part is only in the OT, and so is incest. So do we follow OT or not? If we do, should we kill cursing kids? If we don't is incest ok?

See, the whole thing is really ok if you do pick and choose, but there are plenty of those who think this is inerrant word of God and one can't interpret it by one own wishes.

All thing goes to faith really, you either believe this is ultimate word of God and have faith in your holy writ and slam planes in the buildings, car bomb your neighbors because they are different Christian sect then you are, roast them on an open fire or bur at the stake. You really can't deny the strong faith of those who committed 9/11!

Sincerely,
Iztok

Anonymous said...

dj, you said "Leveticus 20:13 was a law given for the OT theocratic nation of Israel, not for individuals today." yet this is where homosexuality is mentioned. So what is it?