Faiths of Peace?


#1

I recently read a short history of Islam during the period from 600 to 1000 A.D. Besides the initial development of the faith, Arabs also embarked on a process of empire building. My reading indicates that conquered peoples including Jews and Christians were afforded almost democratic freedoms. Activities that could appear to be viewed as oppression seem to be related more to politics (empire expansion or defense) than faith. This seems to also be the case with Christianity. The Gospel is a gospel of peace…yet the Church has a long history of persecution. So how did a Gospel of peace lead to mass brutality? How has Islam given the world ruthless terrorism and virulent anti-semitism? This thought process has lead me to the conclusion that wars are not necessarily created by religion, but by the use of religion to achieve political aims and power. If this really is the case, then there might be at least a glimmer of hope for eliminating religion as a direct (crusades, jihad, Armageddon etc) reason for killing each other.


#2

War is not caused by religious fanatics but simply by fanatics. Fanatical leaders need a way to turn their followers into fanatics as well. Because of the central importance of religion, it is a good way to “rile up the troops”. Religion is hardly necessary, though. Fanatic nationalism also works. Let’s not forget that the Nazis were founded not on Christianity but on the beliefs of atheistic eugenicists.


#3

[quote=sdigrazi]I recently read a short history of Islam during the period from 600 to 1000 A.D. Besides the initial development of the faith, Arabs also embarked on a process of empire building. My reading indicates that conquered peoples including Jews and Christians were afforded almost democratic freedoms. Activities that could appear to be viewed as oppression seem to be related more to politics (empire expansion or defense) than faith. This seems to also be the case with Christianity. The Gospel is a gospel of peace…yet the Church has a long history of persecution. So how did a Gospel of peace lead to mass brutality? How has Islam given the world ruthless terrorism and virulent anti-semitism? This thought process has lead me to the conclusion that wars are not necessarily created by religion, but by the use of religion to achieve political aims and power. If this really is the case, then there might be at least a glimmer of hope for eliminating religion as a direct (crusades, jihad, Armageddon etc) reason for killing each other.
[/quote]

Every institution is flawed whenever human beings become involved in it. Therefore, as the Church grew and became more institutionalized (by necessity) more human beings became more involved…thus you have more of a chance for flaws and sin and problems. Also, the Church was linked with secular governments and thus, with governmental power. That is a recipe for disaster. As the Holy Mother Church has concentrated more and more on distancing Herself from actual governmental decisions, i.e. political maneuverings to decide who become king, queen or the leader of a nation, the kind of abuses that occur when flawed human beings jockey for power and prestige diminish.

Today we still have flawed human beings in religious structures. Combine that with oppression and the thirst for power and you have a dangerous combination.

This is, of course, my own opinion.


#4

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