Violence in christianity, and a correction

First, a correction to a previous post I made, Sociopolitical islam vs sociopolitical christanity, the story of Mohammed marrying a six year old is NOT in the quran (thanks to Abdullah Sameer for pointing this out). I apologize for this error (I originally noted that it might not be in there).

I also realized, in re-reading the article, that I failed to note some examples of modern christian violence. Perhaps this failure was in part due to my own past as having held several different forms of christian faith before becoming an atheist. This, and my apologetics, along with my study of christian theology and history, gives me a good view of the religion in some ways, but it is also tempting to take the different forms of the faith which I held as more representative than they really are. In an effort to rectify this, here are three ways in which christianity is still liable to cause violence today.

First, there are those who commit terrorism in the name of christianity. The largest group that I know of is the Lord’s Resistance Army, although this is no longer listed as an active terrorist group. This group could be very comparable to ISIS, in terms of the activities in which it engaged. On a smaller scale, christians in the US will attack Planned Parenthood, sometimes with fatal result, and fairly clearly motivated by their religious beliefs.

Second, there are christians who wish to impose a ‘christian sharia,’ or at least a partial christian sharia, through law. My sister-in-law went to college with numerous christians who wanted to have gays executed, for example. During the 2016 GOP primaries, Ted Cruz (who is possibly a blobfish) was called out for associating with a pastor who calls for killing all gay people (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michelangelo-signorile/post_10496_b_8544540.html). Uganda has a large movement calling for criminal penalties for gays. And it is worth noting that many western nations criminalized homosexuality as recently as within the past six decades to a century.

Third, although the vast majority of christians maintain that the Jewish law does not apply to them, it is very common to divide said law into ‘ceremonial’ and ‘moral’ components, and to take the moral components as applying today. Fortunately, most do not take seriously the fact that this would mean accepting that slavery is acceptable, that stoning is an appropriate punishment for… pretty much anything for which you could be killed, and the like. And if christians tried to impose even just the moral components of the Jewish law, the results would be disastrous.

Oddly, the bible never does condemn slavery, at most telling masters not to be mean to their slaves. The closest it comes is when Paul asks Philemon not to have his escaped slave, who was apparently returning to his master willingly after converting to christianity, executed, and to accept him as a brother in christ. But at no point does he suggest that the slave be freed.

Also, oddly, although Jesus declared that it was wrong to get divorced unless there was infidelity, he noted that the Jewish law permitted divorce under other circumstances, and chalked this up to god making an exception because the Jews were hard-hearted. So apparently god was fine with making the Jewish law encourage people to sin. One might argue that the same applied to slavery, except that the new testament refuses to condemn it, either.

This, of course, does not deal with the potential dangers of people following later church councils and their approval of violence.

So, while I maintain the conclusion of my earlier blog, I hope this helps to provide some balance in perspective about potential dangers from sociopolitical christianity today.

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