Judging from your posts(including this one), I'd say rather superficially.
Originally Posted by Kiddo
Well that can be said of almost anyother religion(including Buddhism, with the warrior monks of Japan, not to mention that the Ninjas were a secret Buddhist sect fighting against the Shoguns). Atheism probably has the bloodiest record, with nearly 100 million dead from the Communists.
It is a very bloody and violent tradition indeed.
Wars occur for various reasons, why is religion singled out?
Wars for land and between denominations
Although we could put another twist to this and say that religious wars introduced the concept that it's good to fight for one's deeply held ideals, rather than mere material gain.
The 18th century philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau(certainly no friend to Christianity) had this to say on the issue:
"Fanaticism, though sanguinary and cruel, is nevertheless a great and powerful passion, which exalts the heart of man, which inspires him with a contempt of death, which gives him prodigious energy, and which only requires to judiciously directed in order to produce the most sublime virtues. On the other hand, irreligion, and a reasoning and philosophic spirit in general, strengthens the attachment to life, debases the soul and renders it effeminate, concentrates all the passions in the meanness of private interest, in the abject motive of self, and thus silently saps the real foundations of society; for so trifling are the points in which private interests are united, that they will never counterbalance those in which they oppose one another."Moving on.
You maybe happy to know that recent historical research has shown that the number of witches burned and the frequency of such has been blown out of proportion. The infamous Spanish Inquisition itself has a grand total of burning 6 witches over a 300 year period.
But again, let's put another twist to the issue. Here's a chronology of several protests given against the burning of witches, and they reveal some interesting facts. Let's take a look, shall we?
Witch trials in Early Modern Europe - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- 672-754: Boniface of Mainz consistently denied the existence of witches, saying that to believe in them was unChristian
- 775-790: The First Synod of Saint Patrick declared that those who believed in witches are to be anathematized
- 785: Canon 6 of the Christian Council of Paderborn in Germany outlawed the belief in witches
- 9th century: French abbot Agobard of Lyons denied that any person could obtain or wield the power to fly, change shape, or cause bad weather, and argued that such claims were imagination and myth
- 906: In his work ‘A Warning To Bishops’, Abbot Regino of Prüm dismisses the popular beliefs in witches and witchcraft as complete fiction
- 936: Pope Leo VII wrote to Archbishop Gerhard of Lorch requiring him to instruct local authorities not to execute those accused of witchcraft
- The Canon Episcopi (10th century), denied the existence of witches, and considered the belief in witches to be heresy (it did not require any punishment of witches)
- 1020: Burchard, Bishop of Worms argued that witches had no power to fly, change people’s dispositions, control the weather, or transform themselves or anyone else, and denied the existence of incubi and succubi. He ruled that a belief in such things was a sin, and required priests to impose a strict penance on those who confessed to believing them
- 1080: Gregory VII wrote to King Harold of Denmark advising that those accused of supernaturally causing bad weather or epidemics should not be sentenced to death.
- Coloman, the Christian king of Hungary (11th century), passed a law declaring ‘Concerning witches, no such things exist, therefore no more investigations are to be held’ (’De strigis vero quae non sunt, nulla amplius quaestio fiat’)
- Late 15th century: Antonino, Archbishop of Florence condemned the popular belief in witches, insisting that the powers attributed to them were impossible, and such beliefs were foolish.
- 1540: Antonio Venegas de Figueroa, Bishop of Pamplona, sent a circular to the priests in his diocese, explaining that witchcraft was a false belief. He recommended medical treatment for those accused of witchcraft, and blamed the ignorance of the people for their confusion of witchcraft with medical conditions
- 1583: Protestant Johann Matthaus Meyfart condemns the inhuman treatment of those accused or convicted of witchcraft
- 1599: English Archbishop Samuel Harsnett condemned not only those who practiced fraudulent exorcisms, but also the very belief in witches and demons
- 1610-1614: Alonso de Salazar y Frías, inquisitor reviewing the Logroño trials. His reports (1610-1614) led to the practical suppression of witch burnings in the Spanish empire one century before the rest of Europe.
- 1691: The Dutch theologian Balthasar Bekker published ‘Die Betooverde Wereld’, reprinted in English as ‘The World Bewitch’d’ (1695), an attack on the witch hunts and belief in witches
So it seems that quite a few religious figures, including those in the highest ranks of the Churches(including Pope), railed against the belief in witches and condemned witch-hunts.
I strongly advise you to read the works of historians like Henry Kamen and scholars who, after investigating through the actual documents of the Inquisition in the Vatican archives, have come to the conclusion that torture was rarely employed by the Inquisition. Even when it was employed, strict rules were in forced that NO blood had to be shed. Once blood was shed, the torture had to immediately stop.
inquisitions with torture
Another interesting fact is that the Inquisition had the lowest execution rate of anyother court in Europe at the time; with an average of 3 executions per year over a 300 year period. Compare with the 3000 nuns that were executed by the atheist Communists in 1924 alone!
Also it may interest you in knowing that the Inquisition was also the first court in history to declare that a defendent had a right to a lawyer. If he couldn't afford one, then the court would provide him with one.
By the latest estimates, at most 2% of all priests have ever molested children. Child molestation is far more common public school teachers than priests.
, and even child molestation.
You do know that it was Christians who created the first hospitals right, among many many many other things?
Preaching love and forgiveness while condemning and bringing pain and suffering to others.
Even a staunch anti-religious thinker like Voltaire admitted that Christians have been greatly generous to other people:
"Perhaps there is nothing greater on earth than the sacrifice of youth and beauty, often of high birth, made by the gentle sex in order to work in hospitals for the relief of human misery, the sight of which is so revolting to our delicacy. Peoples separated from the Roman religion have imitated but imperfectly so generous a charity."Christianity has contributed greatly to the world. So much so, one can't even hope to list them all at one time.
There's no doubt that Christians have done serious shit in the past. Nobody denies that. However, to claim, as you do, this as the be-all sum-all of the Christian tradition, not to mention its history, is grossly inaccurate.
That is the tradition I have learned to associate with Christianity. Anyone who has ever studied history and looks to the present examples can easily come to that same conclusion.
You claim to want to discover the truth behind Christianity. Fine, I have nothing against that. Heck I'm still working on that myself. But believe me, you're going along the wrong path.
Im more than willing to help anybody try to understand the faith more.