1. Standard memberHalitose
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    22 Dec '05 14:33
    A religion of peace? A religion that inspires terrorism? A bit of both depending on which part of the Bible you emphasise?


    * Footnote – I’m certainly not, in any way, attempting to generalise Christians as terrorists; this is merely an attempt to understand what would inspire both deeds of greatness and at the same time, some of the most horrible atrocities (which might need to be substantiated at a later stage).
  2. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    22 Dec '05 14:362 edits
    A self-loathing person with pronounced sado-masochistic tendencies might read the Golden Rule as an incitement to harm other people.

    Otherwise, the really hard thing to explain is why adherents of an obviously non-violent religion have managed to be as beastly as the next bunch of heathens.

    Thinking of the British Empire and the White Man's burden--is there anything in Christianity to encourage imperialism in the guise of philanthropy, or was the religion used as a smoke-screen to gull the credulous?
  3. London
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    22 Dec '05 14:51
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    Otherwise, the really hard thing to explain is why adherents of an obviously non-violent religion have managed to be as beastly as the next bunch of heathens.

    Thinking of the British Empire and the White Man's burden--is there anything in Christianity to encourage imperialism in the guise of philanthropy, or was the religion used as a smoke-screen to gull the credulous?
    1. Maybe because human beings are a beastly bunch?

    In any case, you can't say Christianity does not have its plus points. There are few religions I can think of where adherents would be willing to pack up head off to distant lands to set up schools and hospitals (UNESCO and MSF notwithstanding).

    2. Religion can be used as an excuse by anyone who has imperialistic ambitions. Europe was Christian for almost a 1000 years before the colonial expansion began.

    Aside: On the "Islam" thread, rwingett spoke of Christianity without the "Enlightenment". Yet, it was only post-Enlightenment that the European powers started colonising other countries. Now isn't that interesting?
  4. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    22 Dec '05 14:55
    Originally posted by lucifershammer
    Aside: On the "Islam" thread, rwingett spoke of Christianity without the "Enlightenment". Yet, it was only post-Enlightenment that the European powers started colonising other countries. Now isn't that interesting?
    They didn't have the requisite power before that. The French, for example, were conquering & assimilating other countries for centuries before France was big enough to think about expanding to other countries. Remember the Albigensian Crusades? French territory was considerably expanded as a result, while the conquered people gradually lost their language & culture. In the UK--Wales, Scotland and Ireland were colonised well before the Enlightenment.
  5. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    22 Dec '05 15:02
    Originally posted by lucifershammer
    There are few religions I can think of where adherents would be willing to pack up head off to distant lands to set up schools and hospitals (UNESCO and MSF notwithstanding).
    At this time in history, I concur. The wheel spins, though--when Buddhism was expanding (notably under Ashoka), Buddhist missionaries both spread the word and built hospitals, helped the poor, and carried out the familiar forms of charitable work.

    Most aid workers I've met personally are not religious at all.
  6. Standard memberHalitose
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    22 Dec '05 15:12
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    At this time in history, I concur. The wheel spins, though--when Buddhism was expanding (notably under Ashoka), Buddhist missionaries both spread the word and built hospitals, helped the poor, and carried out the familiar forms of charitable work.

    Most aid workers I've met personally are not religious at all.
    Most aid workers I've met personally are not religious at all.

    With me it's directly the opposite -- most of the aid workers I've met are religious. A strange world we live in.
  7. London
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    22 Dec '05 15:261 edit
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    They didn't have the requisite power before that. The French, for example, were conquering & assimilating other countries for centuries before France was big enough to think about expanding to other countries. Remember the Albigensian Crusades? French territory was considerably expanded as a result, while the conquered people gradually lost their lang ...[text shortened]... & culture. In the UK--Wales, Scotland and Ireland were colonised well before the Enlightenment.
    1. Re: the French

    Besides the Languedoc, who else?

    2. Re: Wales, Scotland, Ireland

    Who colonised them? When?

    EDIT: Also, is there a difference between the policy of cultural assimilation followed by medieval conquerors and segregation followed by the "enlightened" ones?
  8. Hmmm . . .
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    22 Dec '05 18:04
    Originally posted by Halitose
    A religion of peace? A religion that inspires terrorism? A bit of both depending on which part of the Bible you emphasise?


    * Footnote – I’m certainly not, in any way, attempting to generalise Christians as terrorists; this is merely an attempt to understand what would inspire both deeds of greatness and at the same time, some of the most horrible atrocities (which might need to be substantiated at a later stage).
    Kudos, Hal, for setting this thread up in exactly the way you did the "Islam" thread! Recced for that.

    I thought within this context (and maybe the other thread as well), it might be relevant to raise the idea of a “Just War Doctrine.” This article from wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just_War, states that St. Augustine may have been the first to articulate a Christian just-war theory.

    Also, does the fact that a theory about how war may be morally conducted is promulgated within a religion mean that that religion is not “an obviously non-violent religion,” as BdN put it? Or does the promulgation of such a theory itself violate the basic tenets of Christianity? I think not, but a pacifist Christian might differ.
  9. London
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    22 Dec '05 18:131 edit
    Originally posted by vistesd
    Also, does the fact that a theory about how war may be morally conducted is promulgated within a religion mean that that religion is not “an obviously non-violent religion,” as BdN put it? Or does the promulgation of such a theory itself violate the basic tenets of Christianity?
    Neither.

    Christianity is a religion that advocates peace, but not peace at any cost. The Just War doctrine recognises the common sense observation that there are some instances when you simply have no choice but to stand and fight.

    Which basic tenet(s) of Christianity do you think the Just War doctrine violates?

    EDIT: I thought the JWD was St. Aquinas' contribution!
  10. Standard memberHalitose
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    22 Dec '05 18:311 edit
    Originally posted by vistesd
    Kudos, Hal, for setting this thread up in exactly the way you did the "Islam" thread! Recced for that.

    I thought within this context (and maybe the other thread as well), it might be relevant to raise the idea of a “Just War Doctrine.” This article from wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just_War, states that St. Augustine may have been t ...[text shortened]... f violate the basic tenets of Christianity? I think not, but a pacifist Christian might differ.
    This reminds of a friend of mine who lived in what was then called Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) during the border war with freedom fighters infiltrating down from Zambia. Strictly pacifistic in his Christianity, he was conscripted into the army. Fighting against the system, he used to get up to the funniest stuff, like walking onto parade with full-kit -- and a broomstick instead of his rifle. When he was forced to shoot at the range he was discovered to be a crack shot and drafted into the sniper corps. After basic training he still swore he'd never shoot at any living thing.

    One day, on a reconnaissance mission overlooking a border village when some of these so-called freedom fighters entered it and proceeded to herd all the villagers together. If you've seen "Tears of the Sun", he says it was quite similar to that, when they started mutilating some of the helpless villagers -- cutting off their ears with scissors etc.

    In horror, he called out to God to "do something!!". The only reply he got was what seemed like God asking him what that rifle in his hands was for. Needless to say, a couple minutes later there were 5 dead freedom fighters and the rest fleeing for their lives.
  11. Hmmm . . .
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    22 Dec '05 18:42
    Originally posted by lucifershammer
    Neither.

    Christianity is a religion that advocates peace, but not peace at any cost. The Just War doctrine recognises the common sense observation that there are some instances when you simply have no choice but to stand and fight.

    Which basic tenet(s) of Christianity do you think the Just War doctrine violates?

    EDIT: I thought the JWD was St. Aquinas' contribution!
    Neither.

    I agree.

    Which basic tenet(s) of Christianity do you think the Just War doctrine violates?

    Did you catch my "I think not"?
  12. Hmmm . . .
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    22 Dec '05 23:16
    Originally posted by Halitose
    This reminds of a friend of mine who lived in what was then called Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) during the border war with freedom fighters infiltrating down from Zambia. Strictly pacifistic in his Christianity, he was conscripted into the army. Fighting against the system, he used to get up to the funniest stuff, like walking onto parade with full-kit -- and a broo ...[text shortened]... a couple minutes later there were 5 dead freedom fighters and the rest fleeing for their lives.
    A moving story (and yes, I saw "Tears of the Sun" ). Any other decision made by your brave friend, I'm afraid I would be calling "self-righteous."
  13. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    23 Dec '05 07:22
    Originally posted by lucifershammer
    The Just War doctrine recognises the common sense observation that there are some instances when you simply have no choice but to stand and fight.
    It looks (to the best of my limited knowledge) like the Koran outlines these instances explicitly. (Sorry for the cross-reference but it's inevitable I think!)
  14. Cape Town
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    23 Dec '05 13:15
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    Otherwise, the really hard thing to explain is why adherents of an obviously non-violent religion have managed to be as beastly as the next bunch of heathens.
    Please explain the statement that Christianity is "an obviously non-violent religion". Judging from the behaviour and history of Christians this is far from obvious.
  15. Standard memberHalitose
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    25 Dec '05 13:04
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    Please explain the statement that Christianity is "an obviously non-violent religion". Judging from the behaviour and history of Christians this is far from obvious.
    If you would study some Christian doctrine instead of taking biased samples from history, you would perhaps understand.
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