Saturday, September 5, 2009

Christianity and Persecution

What does a religion do once it achieves dominance if its mythology is one of persecution and victimization at the hands of an evil majority? If you’re Christianity, you splinter into many sects and claim everyone is out to get you – even with the reins of power in your hands.



The above chart is humorous, but inaccurate given the fact that Christianity is not a homogenous, monolithic entity. They bicker amongst themselves over petty details of interpretation.

Which brings up an interesting point: most of the persecution of Christians was committed by fellow Christians. There has been only two documented periods of persecution under Roman rule: under Nero in the 60’s AD; under Diocletian and Galerius in the 300’s, just before Constantine. All of this certainly came to an end once Christianity came to power after the conversion of Constantine I. Or did it?

Christianity has a rich history of self-directed violence. It has not been enough to believe in Jesus, but also to agree with what degree he is divine or human. It’s not always about reading the Bible; one must have the right Bible. The banality of the things for which Christians have killed each other for does help explain their reaction to those of completely different faiths.

Gnostics, Arians, Valentinians, and nontrinitarians are just a few lines of philosophy quashed by Christianity in their infancy. Not only were most of the texts about them destroyed, but the followers were often killed if they did not convert in a satisfactory way. This is a theme that continues for centuries, and explodes into a large split in the form of the Reformation, which sets the stage for even more Christian-on-Christian violence.

How is it Christianity can play the victim so well while the whip is in its hand? Would Christianity be a less hypocritical belief if it was as feeble and impotent as Buddhism? If so, how can we help them on this path?

3 comments:

  1. I think the reason Christians think they are persecuted is because they are the dominant religion.

    In Britain, when you try and secularise something - you are going against the Christians. When schools don't put on nativity plays, the Christians claim persecution. When you try and remove the bishops from the house of Lords - persecution. When someone isn't allowed to wear a cross to work - persecution.

    None of the other religions get that opportunity to integrate into the lives of everyone else in the country, we barely celebrate other religious festivals. Each Easter and Christmas papers publish opinion columns claiming people have forgotten the 'true meaning' of Easter and Christmas, that only X percentage of children know who Jesus is. The Christians claim they are being marginalised when instead they are being put on a level playing field with the rest of the faiths (I wonder how many school children know who Allah & Krishna are, and what Ramadan is about. I don't even know what Ramadan is about, other than that you aren't allowed to eat).

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  2. I think the other monotheistic faith that recruits - Islam - is not very different.

    Ramadan is merely the name of a month in the Arabic calendar. Muslims fast during the the daytime hours and are supposed to focus on religious thoughts during the month. It's sort of like an elongated Yom Kippur, whereby the act of fasting is seen as a sacrifice worthy of allowing Allah to forgive them of their previous sins. It's also just an excuse to encourage religiosity.

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  3. I think it could be summed up with one simple word...Paranoia! Oppressive governments, police, and religions all love to play the oppressed ones while they in fact are the ones forcing their views or laws on free people.

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