The hypocrisy of religions of peace

Most organized religions claim that they are religions of peace. This, however, is not exactly the case. In the Talmud, the Bible, the Qur’an, there are many phrases that endorse violence against those who do not conform to their ideals. To this, the response is: “Those phrases are not meant to be interpreted literally.” Be that as it may, it is not difficult to find instances of these religions accepting violence. For example, the Crusades, the violent expansion of Islam and the terrorist movements, but that is not all. The violence of the Spanish inquisition is another example, or how about this: 31:15-18
10 They burned all the towns where the Midianites had settled, as well as all their camps. 11 They took all the plunder and spoils, including the people and animals, 12 and brought the captives, spoils and plunder to Moses and Eleazar the priest and the Israelite assembly at their camp on the plains of Moab, by the Jordan across from Jericho.

13 Moses, Eleazar the priest and all the leaders of the community went to meet them outside the camp. 14 Moses was angry with the officers of the army—the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds—who returned from the battle.

15 “Have you allowed all the women to live?” he asked them. 16 “They were the ones who followed Balaam’s advice and enticed the Israelites to be unfaithful to the Lord in the Peor incident, so that a plague struck the Lord’s people. 17 Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, 18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

Then one might say: “Those were outdated words and actions.” Nonetheless, this does not change the fact that these are clear acts of violence, additionally, the slave trade is another good example. Then some will say that slavery is prohibited and then point to Exodus 21, and then additionally state that the bondsmen were more like workers with a contract than a slave. However, this is not the case. The bondsmen had to endure any violence, so long as they did not die or lose their vision, however Ephesians 6: 5 states: “Servant, be obedient to those that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart as unto Christ.” Timothy 6: 1 states: “Let as many servants under your yoke count their masters worthy of all honor, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.”
There are instructions for masters to treat their servants well, but in the end the only proper treatment of slavery and indentured servitude is its abolition. In conclusion, the only true religion of peace is Jainism, and one can be religious and peaceful and moral, but they must then look at their faith and scripture and choose what to follow and what not to follow.

It is inappropriate to consider the crusades (or anything else for that matter) as morally equivalent to present day Islamic terrorism.

The crusades sprang up as a means of defending Christian pilgrims from…Islamic violence. The crusades were also a response to…violent Muslim expansion in the mid-east.

Trying to be charitable, I don’t see Jews or Christians flying jetliners full of passengers into skyscrapers; bombing funerals; bombing markets, or otherwise deliberately targeting civilians.


Okay, so atheists sending people to gulags makes them morally Superior how? See, I can defend morality because I believe that morality is based on a lawgiver, once you take that lawgiver out of the equation, you can’t defend that position. Life is God’s to give, life is God’s to take away


Just for the sake of argument, so what’s the alternative? a successful atheistic society? there has never been such in the history of the world. In fact, history shows that atheism is unnatural to the human experience.


I see no hypocrisy in violence which is moral.

Catechism of the Catholic Church

2264 Love toward oneself remains a fundamental principle of morality. Therefore it is legitimate to insist on respect for one’s own right to life. Someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow …


Not so. Let’s look at your examples:

  • the Crusades were the West’s response to Muslim aggression and land grabs
  • Spanish inquisition? Are you talking torture or heretic-burning? The former was a method of interrogation which was a secular invention and culturally accepted. The latter was never ordered or carried out by the Church, but rather, by secular governments.
  • in the Scripture example, Moses is unhappy that the people of God had carried out a battle of conquest, for personal gain, rather than for the protection of the people.
  • the slavery of antiquity is not the same system as the slavery of the second millennium, which is what (I presume) you’re railing against.

Your solution is Jainism? The religion that posits that there’s no Creator God, or any real transcendent God? Umm… hard pass. :man_shrugging:


I can’t speak for other religions, but for a Catholic Christian, peace as a goal and pacificism as an ideology are two different things. Sometimes violence is unfortunately necessary to defend order and justice, which are necessary for peace. Since man is fallen and sin abounds–the ultimate cause of injustice–the perfect peace of Christ is not perfectly realized in this world. Such perfect peace is eschatological. But we also should seek to anticipate and bring about this peace as much as possible in this world (“Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven, etc.”). Furthermore, Christ brings peace between man and God, through the remission of sins. Through reconciliation with God, men are reconciled to one another, and peace is found in this reconciliation. Where reconciliation with God is lacking, so often is reconciliation between men.

And course, just because someone professes the Christian religion doesn’t mean he always perfectly embraces the commandments. Certainly Christians can also commit injustice.


I am not arguing for an atheistic society, I am saying that the phrases in the Bible that endorse violence must not be acted upon. Furthermore, as I said in my argument, one can be a good person and religious or atheist, but both must acknowledge the violence of the past and must consider what part of the doctrine applies to today’s world and what parts are not morally acceptable.

All the big mass murders of the 20th century were committed by atheists apart from the holocaust which was perpetrated by adherents of a religion made-up for the purpose.

1 Like

Members of the JW religion are not allowed to even own a firearm. They are also prohibited from inventing, building, or deploying nuclear weapons. If we were all JWs, the human race would not be facing annihilation from a global nuclear war.

1 Like

The biography of St. Charles Borromeo records that he had over 100 so-called heretics (read “protestants”) arrested in Switzerland. The eleven who refused to recant were burned to death on his indictment.

1 Like

Shoot the messenger if he’s bad, but don’t dismiss the message itself out of hand; humans are known for their bad behavior at times; that’s a universal truth regardless of what religion, if any, they might subscribe to and proclaim. The basic message of Christianity is that love and goodness and order lie at the foundations of the universe. And that the lack of love and the evil and the chaos that reign to one degree or another here anyway in the human moral universe are not the ultimate intention but rather the result of man’s willful distancing from his Creator. And that, to the extent that God truly reigns in our hearts and minds, peace will be the result even if that won’t happen fully until the next life. Meanwhile we can experiment here with how we’ll live while the Master’s gone away, with how we’ll live when we believe little or not at all in the existence of the Master, especially of a good Master. Will we choose peace? Will we choose goodness and love and order and justice?

1 Like

And? This somehow de-saints him?

I know it is hard to believe but back in the days people did not have all the incredible knowledge that we do today. They actually believed that a person’s soul was more important than his body (not to the point of thinking the body unimportant —you can think Christianity for both hospitals AND universities), and thus, people who had been Christians, turned away, and tried to influence other Christians into heresy were seen as far more dangerous than a COVID-19 super spreader —because heresy is a mortal sin. remember, too, that we are talking about your ‘protestant’ who had been baptized and lived as a Catholic and who then rejected the Catholic faith. We aren’t talking about today’s Protestant whose family has followed the faith for hundreds of years and who thus is not a heretic by definition at all.

A heretic of the time could be responsible for bringing hundreds of people into heresy, thus condemning hundreds to damnation. Remember, at the time of the so-called reformation the world had been Catholic for centuries, and all through the first couple of generations of this tumult, people, and places, would ‘switch’ from Catholic to Protestant back to Catholic back to Protestant, etc. It wasn’t as if the whole Protestant ethos had been around for centuries, as it has been today. It wasn’t considered a settled thing. There was no ‘toleration’ because in those early times it was literally considered a fight for the immortal soul of a person.

C S Lewis once brought up the whole charge of how Catholics ‘burned witches once’ but don’t anymore, with the person bringing up the topic seeming to think that this proved Catholics had done a hideous wrong ‘once’ and then stopped doing it.

C S Lewis said what had happened was that the concept of witches (actually more common to the Puritan viewpoint) as being in some Satanic craziness was found to be more PURITAN craziness -coming to a zenith in Salem MA for example) and that it ‘stopped’ because people stopped believing in that type of ‘deal with the devil witch’. IOW, the persecution of witches stopped, not because the persecution in itself would have been wrong IF there had actually BEEN evil beings getting in league with the devil. . .but because there were no ‘witches’ of that type.

Had such beings actually existed and been in league with the devil, it would certainly have been right to try to stop them, even to the death penalty at that time, it being legal, in order to stop people from doing satanic evil to others, just as we would try to stop people from carrying out mass shootings or other evils.

Same thing with the whole “burning of heretics’ charges which usually betray an entire lack of understanding of the people of the time, the nature of the whole rift between Catholicism and various ‘protestations’, and the short-lived nature of who was a heretic, and what should be done (and remember, the times were also those in which cities and countries were under a secular as well as religious system, in which the two groups often clashed) and which persist in ascribing modern knowledge of terms and modern concepts onto people who lived centuries ago.


My post was only a reply to the statement that the Church never ordered the burning of heretics.
Who the Church beatifies is not my business, but I do not agree that a 20th century parish should be named after someone who caused eleven human beings to be executed by torture.
We have such a parish where i live.

1 Like

The greatest thing a Christian can do is to love God and to love our neighbours as we love ourselves. We are even asked to love and pray for our enemies. All the law of God hangs and depends on these two commandments.

Anything else we do is less great.

No doubt then you would object to parishes named for St. Paul, who acknowledges himself a murderer and a persecutor of Christians.

A saint (who possesses heroic virtue) Is not an impeccable being who has never committed a sin (or, to be more accurate, has never acted in a way contrary to the limited fallible expectations for ‘good’ of a random 21st century poster on a forum); as we see so clearly with St. Paul, a saint is someone whose life message is that of heroic virtue. Whether that virtue consists of living, like St. Therese of the Child Jesus, a very ‘little way’ of goodness and dying in an obscure convent of a disease —no giant ‘sacrifice’ for others such as defending them from gun wielding assassins—living a life that many would find narcissistic and wasteful. . .

Or the virtue comes in longstanding and tireless work to spread the authentic gospel of the Lord, to the point that at one time that results in the agony of knowing that no matter how you prayed and begged others to return to the Lord, that the secular authorities in order to protect the multitude would have to legally sanction the death penalty, and you trusted in God that He knows your heart, your love for Him AND for those who stubbornly resisted Him, and hoping that in eternity somehow all would be well. . .

I do think it is an excellent thing that we have a Church which employs many people who are far more knowledgeable and whose eyes are focused on the whole picture who give evidence regarding candidates for sainthood. I trust them and the ‘big picture’ far more than I trust those whose focus seems to be more on seeking to casting stones.


Often, it’s helpful to read sources, rather than just repeat the “conventional wisdom” that everyone just knows is true.

The Wiki article on Borromeo makes the following claim:

Footnote 14 has the following citation:

Let’s look at see what the book actually says, shall we?

A couple thoughts:

  • “Protestants”, eh? Not according to this account.
  • Notice that, in both cases, it was the civil authorities who punished the civil crime of ‘heresy.’ It was seen as an affront to civil order, and so secular authorities punished it.

Always exciting to be able take the things “everybody knows is true” and show that it ain’t what it seems… :wink:

That’s right – because the Church didn’t do that…!

Right. We should judge everyone in the course of history not by the societal standards of their day, but by the standards of our day. (You might pause to consider how, by that standard, you’ll be judged by people in another 100 or 200 years… :thinking:)


Ha. In this cancel culture people are lucky enough to last from month to month. It doesn’t matter how quickly one jumps to virtue shame position A, sooner or later they won’t jump fast enough or the position will change so fast that they’ll be caught having ‘supported’ something that has become the latest societal wrong—and out into the ‘reprobated’ class he will go. . .

1 Like

Religious communities are composed of humans and humans are sinful. If you’re looking for truth in the actions of people, then you’ll be sorely disappointed. Many texts of the Bible, which many critics cite certain texts of the Old Testament, are stories that were told for centuries and later written down. Some actions by those “heroes” of the Bible are certainly morally corrupt. Take for example King David and Bathsheba. King David was certainly a holy man but did such gravely immoral things. He too was human.

Now, many critics certainly cite examples where God certainly seems to command some immoral actions. One example is when God punished King Saul for not placing the city he conquered under the ban (which meant to kill all living things and offer up the loot to God). I think many of us would be appalled at God commanding Saul to kill innocent women and children. Another example is when God tells Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. It may seem hypocritical to defend life as Christians but support God telling Abraham to kill his son,.

I’ll posit this understanding of these “difficult verses.” Every text in the Bible was written from a certain perspective. While Jews and Christians believe that God is the inspired author, each of these texts were written and edited by humans. And as such, they certainly would reflect that human’s understanding. I’ll bring in my two examples to illustrate my point.

In regards to the story of King Saul, we have to ask ourselves, how did the Israelites view God? Why would God command the Israelites to kill innocent people? The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is commonly seen as a warrior God. He is portrayed as a warrior who conquers for His people. Is God really a warrior? Obviously not since He has no body and could certainly topple any army without even needing to use people. However, the author would certainly have viewed God as a warrior when describing Israel’s victory in battle. The God of Israel was stronger than the other gods. And in those times, the way that gods would defeat other gods and conquer was to put the conquered city and people under the ban. Is that what the God of Israel wanted? Or is that just what the people of Israel, who saw the ban as an ordinary and typical practice and warfare assumed that God wanted. There are certainly solid moral values that come, such as giving all of one’s riches to God. However, we also have to remember that Israel was influenced by their larger, much more powerful neighbors.

Likewise, when we look at Abraham and Isaac. Did God really want Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. In the Levant, parents regularly sacrificed their firstborn to the god for fruitfulness. It was more common in those days than watching the Super Bowl today. But Israel actually practiced substitution, using rams as a sacrifice instead of their children. Why? Because God told Abraham NOT to sacrifice Isaac. A common reading of that story is that Abraham thought that God wanted him to do that but God said no. I think that it is a matter of perspective. We have to ask who’s voice is being heard?


As a TL:DR version of my response: The Bible is written through the perspectives of humans. Israel’s practices were certainly influenced by their larger, more politically powerful neighbors. If we want to understand the Bible, we have to understand the perspective and context of the text, otherwise the text will be misused. God is love and that can be seen throughout the entirety of Scripture.

1 Like
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit