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Author Topic: Feeling pretty angry...  (Read 24133 times)
RoseRed
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« Reply #165: August 10, 2010, 10:53:33 pm »

It sort of strikes me as careless generalizing to say "Oh, these people did this, and these people did that, and everyone does something bad." It seems to ignore the fact that we are talking about religion.


I actually think that was the general response to the OP. "Yes, Christians did bad things, but so did other people". I don't think the response was an attempt to assert that Christianity wasn't that bad. I think it was more of an attempt to say "Christians are not the only religion capable of atrocities, they didn't invent wiping out cultures". (I'm going to add here that the problems created or enabled by Christianity are terrible and should be remedied.)

I think many of us have seen people treat one religion as the big bad wolf and act as if all the other religions are just as lovely and peaceful as can be. We've seen a lot of this lately with Islam. I hear a lot of "well, it's a violent religion and blah blah blah". My stance is usually, "actually, your religion or any religion can be made to seem quite violent, for example, how many sacrifices and stonings are in your version of the bible?"

I think it is valid to point out that people do atrocities for non religious reason as well as religious reasons. It shows that other people do the same things for different reasons (religious or not). It shows that religion is but one reason an atrocity might happen. It also shows that religion may not be the deciding factor. I don't think that one reason is any better than another. I also think many people rationalize a behavior by hiding behind religion. And let's for a moment talk about just religion. There are plenty of people who did atrocities for the sake of religion. Christianity just happens to be a big one (today). And since few religions today are as popular and far reaching in the west as Christianity, does that mean the OP is right? Is Christianity alone to blame for all the evils? I actually think money had a bigger part in colonialism. For example, many were against slavery for moral reasons, but the economy of the south depended on it. I think many people had a monetary reason and used a religious reason to back it up.

I think I'm saying the same thing over and over again. But I'll say it again, I guess. Yes, Christians did many bad things. Other people did, as well. I don't say this to let Christianity off the hook or spread the blame around. I say this to help prevent one religion from being vilified as the root of all problems when other cultures and religions and governments do the same things. I think many people are saying the same thing. I think many people do or are capable of doing what Christians did. I think I'll repeat that the problems created by Christianity are awful and should be remedied. Just because other people do the same things, it doesn't mean the problems created or enabled by Christianity are any less terrible.
   
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RoseRed
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« Reply #166: August 10, 2010, 10:56:05 pm »


 Just because other people do the same things, it doesn't mean the problems created or enabled by Christianity are any less terrible.
   

One more thing. For me, it's either many religions, cultures, philosophies or belief systems have done or are capable of colonialism or wiping out a culture, or it's a Christian thing. I don't think any of us are saying it's a Christian thing. Maybe it enabled or was used as a convenient reason do to what was going to be done. Maybe it helped. But I really don't think it caused. I also don't think Christianity is the only religion to do that. If Christianity caused special Christian-only problems that were infinitely worse than, and beyond the capabilities of any other belief system, and all the atrocities perpetrated by Christians were directly related to religion and nothing else, then the OP is right. Christianity is a big meanie. It hurt all those other peaceful and kind belief systems, ones who would never ever hurt anybody.

(Once again, the problems enabled by Christianity are terrible. It doesn't matter how many belief systems have done or are capable of doing the same things. More people suffering does not make the suffering of one any less atrocious.)
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stephyjh
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« Reply #167: August 11, 2010, 12:58:03 am »

One more thing. For me, it's either many religions, cultures, philosophies or belief systems have done or are capable of colonialism or wiping out a culture, or it's a Christian thing. I don't think any of us are saying it's a Christian thing. Maybe it enabled or was used as a convenient reason do to what was going to be done. Maybe it helped. But I really don't think it caused. I also don't think Christianity is the only religion to do that. If Christianity caused special Christian-only problems that were infinitely worse than, and beyond the capabilities of any other belief system, and all the atrocities perpetrated by Christians were directly related to religion and nothing else, then the OP is right. Christianity is a big meanie. It hurt all those other peaceful and kind belief systems, ones who would never ever hurt anybody.

(Once again, the problems enabled by Christianity are terrible. It doesn't matter how many belief systems have done or are capable of doing the same things. More people suffering does not make the suffering of one any less atrocious.)

My feeling is that it's completely pointless to lay blame for the atrocities that are in the past,  whether it's the way my dad's Cherokee ancestors  were displaced or the brutality of the Crusades or the horrors of slavery in the Americas. The people who did it are long dead, and their descendants aren't responsible for their predecessors' mistakes. I feel that it's wrong to blame people for things that happened before their time. Christianity may have been at the root of the atrocities committed, but modern Christians, for the most part, weren't. It's just as wrong for us to condemn them for being Christians as it is for them to condemn us for not being.
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BGMarc
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« Reply #168: August 11, 2010, 05:50:18 am »

One more thing. For me, it's either many religions, cultures, philosophies or belief systems have done or are capable of colonialism or wiping out a culture, or it's a Christian thing. I don't think any of us are saying it's a Christian thing. Maybe it enabled or was used as a convenient reason do to what was going to be done. Maybe it helped. But I really don't think it caused. I also don't think Christianity is the only religion to do that. If Christianity caused special Christian-only problems that were infinitely worse than, and beyond the capabilities of any other belief system, and all the atrocities perpetrated by Christians were directly related to religion and nothing else, then the OP is right. Christianity is a big meanie. It hurt all those other peaceful and kind belief systems, ones who would never ever hurt anybody.

Thank you for this post. I have been following (and I think understanding) you reasoning throughout the thread and broadly agree with you. I found it much easier to clearly see that when you set your key arguments out this way (but then again, I'm an analyst...I would Wink - it's just how my head works). I also find it makes it easier for me to see where we differ in either the substance of an argument, or in our differing take on whether it pertains or not. In that spirit, Im going to try and set my thoughts down in the same sort of format. We'll see how it works for me Smiley

While many religions or belief systems could or did establish colonies in occupied territory, Christianity (in several forms) and the secular cultures of nominally-Christian colonisers were the ones that actually did in the Americas and (to a lesser degree) Oceania. In this Christianity is seperate from the other contenders in a way that makes their capacity to achieve similar outcomes interesting and related - but not relevant. Those particular colonisations were a Christian thing. It's not just that Christians happened to do it. They had a propensity to do it because they were Christians. This doesn't make Christianity 'a big meanie' (I love that phrase Smiley ), because all systems have their fail states (and they all seem to be particularly crappy one way or another from the perspective of people who live through the failure). Christianity didn't hurt anyone; individual people making their own decisions for their own reasons did that. Mostly those individuals were Christian and it matters. Mostly it matters because it helps to fix/avoid it, but it also matters a little bit because it sucks to see it get glossed over all the time.
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RoseRed
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« Reply #169: August 11, 2010, 05:47:32 pm »

Thank you for this post. I have been following (and I think understanding) you reasoning throughout the thread and broadly agree with you. I found it much easier to clearly see that when you set your key arguments out this way (but then again, I'm an analyst...I would Wink - it's just how my head works). I also find it makes it easier for me to see where we differ in either the substance of an argument, or in our differing take on whether it pertains or not. In that spirit, Im going to try and set my thoughts down in the same sort of format. We'll see how it works for me Smiley

While many religions or belief systems could or did establish colonies in occupied territory, Christianity (in several forms) and the secular cultures of nominally-Christian colonisers were the ones that actually did in the Americas and (to a lesser degree) Oceania. In this Christianity is seperate from the other contenders in a way that makes their capacity to achieve similar outcomes interesting and related - but not relevant. Those particular colonisations were a Christian thing. It's not just that Christians happened to do it. They had a propensity to do it because they were Christians. This doesn't make Christianity 'a big meanie' (I love that phrase Smiley ), because all systems have their fail states (and they all seem to be particularly crappy one way or another from the perspective of people who live through the failure). Christianity didn't hurt anyone; individual people making their own decisions for their own reasons did that. Mostly those individuals were Christian and it matters. Mostly it matters because it helps to fix/avoid it, but it also matters a little bit because it sucks to see it get glossed over all the time.

Yeah, I do think that Christians are unique in that they actually did do the things. But my argument was attempting  Cheesy to show that just because they did, that doesn't mean, given the opportunity, no one else would have ever done such a thing.  It's not like everyone had a turn to do it and Christians were just the worst. But because Christians did it, it's much easier to see the effects. I hope I was able to get that across.  Tongue

Do you mean that since Christians did it, it was a Christian thing and if Muslims (or whoever) did it, it would be a Muslim thing? (Because it could paint how they did it?) I agree that if their religious teachings, governmental stance, cultural tendencies etc. valued colonialism or gaining new territories, then colonialism would be easier to rationalize in those societies/groups.   

All in all, I think everyone is saying basically the same thing: Bad things are carried out by all kinds of people, not just Christians. 
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RoseRed
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« Reply #170: August 11, 2010, 06:14:56 pm »

My feeling is that it's completely pointless to lay blame for the atrocities that are in the past,  whether it's the way my dad's Cherokee ancestors  were displaced or the brutality of the Crusades or the horrors of slavery in the Americas. The people who did it are long dead, and their descendants aren't responsible for their predecessors' mistakes. I feel that it's wrong to blame people for things that happened before their time. Christianity may have been at the root of the atrocities committed, but modern Christians, for the most part, weren't. It's just as wrong for us to condemn them for being Christians as it is for them to condemn us for not being.

I see where you are coming from, but these things are not over and done with. The effects can still be felt today. I don't think modern Christians are to blame, but I do think they benefit from what their ancestors did and some continue to relive the mistakes of their forebears. I think it's worth talking about. That's how we remember. We can forgive and try to work together, but I think it does no good to forget. Even when (if we ever) get to a place of complete egalitarianism and peace, it's helpful to remember how things were, to prevent them from happening again. (This includes discussing: What happened, Who did what, Why they did, Who didn't step in, Could it happen again, How we can prevent it, etc.) Smiley

I think history is like a puzzle, and every year we find new pieces. Putting the pieces together helps us better understand how and why we are the way we are. I don't think saying "They did this and there were negative outcomes" is wrong. It's telling what happened, it's history. (Until the new textbooks in Texas arrive  Tongue)

 
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