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One explanation for the existence of Christian violence - violence committed in the name of and/or with the support of Christianity - is the development of a militarized Christianity in which violence has acquired a sacred role or character.

Read Article: Christian Militarism & Sacred Violence

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January 28, 2011 at 6:54 am
(1) Matteo Masiello says:

Interested article. However, you fail to mention that Bonhoeffer opposed what was occurring in Germany at the time. This eventually led him to become part of the plot to assassinate Hitler, which led to his arrest and execution less than a month before Hitler’s suicide and the end of the Third Reich. While I cannot deny that Christianity has done it’s share to perpetuate unChristian behavior and “sacred violence” it should be noted that while condemning the practice is absolutely right, you should also realize that their actions were wrong. Christianity does not endorse violence. Sure, Christians will use examples from the Old Testament, but they are still wrong. Let’s shift focus. Are the Mennonites not Christian because they are pacifists? I suggest that you check out the following website: http://www.plowcreek.org/ and look at the long list of writings about Christian pacifism. I would also suggest “The Bible, Violence, and the Sacred” by James G. Williams. The subtitle is “Liberation from the Myth of Sanctioned Violence” One problem that atheists have a rather facile view of God and the Bible. They look at the most extreme adherents of the religions and say that this extremism is the norm – or should be. They are as superficial as religious fundamentalists in this sense. Just because war is described in the Bible, doesn’t mean that it is okay for it to happen today. Williams makes an interesting argument which suggests this. For myself, I do not think it’s the inerrant word of God. Personally, I do not believe in the just war theory, though it seems that some atheists and religious fundamentalists find common ground on this subject. I think some atheists are civil in their opinions and that their opinions should be heeded by those who practice a religion. The atheistic viewpoint of religion is essential for weeding out what is wrong with religion. Belief is a matter of opinion that should be respected. I agree with atheists who feel that they should not be forced to listen to religious people. This is another point of agreement between some atheists and religious fundamentalists. Both have the American tendency to be winers – thinking they are being persecuted by the other. If there was a sense of civility in the dialogue this feeling would not exist. On the topic of science and evolution, there are those like Stephen Gould who find that evolution and religion are not incompatible. I suggest you read books which also deal with the anthropic principle and also the writings of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a Jesuit priest, paleontologist and geologist – particularly The Phenomena of Man.

January 28, 2011 at 7:09 am
(2) Austin Cline says:

Interested article. However, you fail to mention that Bonhoeffer opposed what was occurring in Germany at the time.

Which just goes to show how deeply ingrained violent imagery and ideas of sacred violence are in Christianity.

While I cannot deny that Christianity has done it’s share to perpetuate unChristian behavior and “sacred violence” it should be noted that while condemning the practice is absolutely right, you should also realize that their actions were wrong.

Of course their actions were wrong. But you seem to assume that “wrong” means “not Christian,” which is itself wrong. That sort of assumption entails the inference that “right” is the same as “Christian” which ironically is one of the ingredients of religious violence — the assumption that one’s religion is always right.

Christianity does not endorse violence.

Of course it does. Don’t fall victim to the No True Scotsman fallacy.

Let’s shift focus. Are the Mennonites not Christian because they are pacifists?

Of course they are. The fact that there are endorsements of violence in Christianity doesn’t mean that there aren’t also endorsements of pacifism. It’s not an absolute either/or situation.

I suggest that you check out the following website: http://www.plowcreek.org/ and look at the long list of writings about Christian pacifism.

You seem to assume that I’m unfamiliar with the history of Christian pacifism. That’s pretty arrogant.

One problem that atheists have a rather facile view of God and the Bible.

No, that would be the people who assume that there is only one correct way of reading the text instead of multiple ways – including ways that they don’t personally approve of.

They look at the most extreme adherents of the religions and say that this extremism is the norm – or should be.

Cite someone who says that.

Just because war is described in the Bible, doesn’t mean that it is okay for it to happen today.

Of course, the same is true of anything described in the Bible – which forces the question of why treat it as authoritative in anything.

For myself, I do not think it’s the inerrant word of God.

Once you start down that road, it’s hard to defend it as any sort of word of any sort of god.

The atheistic viewpoint of religion is essential for weeding out what is wrong with religion.

It would be begging the question to assume from the outset that there is anything necessarily right in a religion.

Belief is a matter of opinion that should be respected.

Oh? Why? Is it your position that all opinions should be “respected”? If so, why? If not, then why just religious opinions?

You don’t seem to respect the “facile” view of fundamentalists.

I agree with atheists who feel that they should not be forced to listen to religious people. This is another point of agreement between some atheists and religious fundamentalists. Both have the American tendency to be winers – thinking they are being persecuted by the other.

You do know, don’t you, that surveys show that atheists are the most despised and distrusted group in America? Or are you too busy making arrogant assumptions about others to ask questions and do any research?

On the topic of science and evolution, there are those like Stephen Gould who find that evolution and religion are not incompatible. I suggest you read books which also deal with the anthropic principle and also the writings of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a Jesuit priest, paleontologist and geologist – particularly The Phenomena of Man.

Once again, you arrogantly assume that I’m unfamiliar with any of this. I suppose this relieves you of the need to make a case for why you think this position is correct.

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