I had this very interesting Facebook conversation with an old friend who is now working for the US Navy. We were college classmates but it was not until she migrated to the US that we started having serious exchange of ideas. Her name is Ruth. She’s smart and very down to earth. Despite the tight nature of our discussion, I assure you that this is a friendly exchange between us. This entry is published with her kind permission.
Ruth: More people have been slaughtered in the name of religion than for any other single reason. That, my friends, that is true perversion.
Jojo: I agree that it is perversion but I genuinely disagree with your statistics and the way people came up with these numbers (not to mention the insinuation it paints in the mind). The flip side of this is that more good has been done to the world by Christianity than any other religion and atheistic philosophy; one of which is our freedom of speech. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to post something like this in a public forum like Facebook.
Another notable gift of Christianity to the world is the elevation of the value of women and children. In pre-Christian era, women were maltreated mercilessly and female children were either killed or left to die by exposure. Christianity is not perfect, it has a bloody history (like the witch hunts and the crusades) but it is the first religion to embrace the leper, feed the poor, build orphanages, fought for humanity’s inalienable rights and freedom of speech, ended cannibalism, and promoted education for everyone.
Ruth: One of these perversions in which I believe was orchestrated to be set in motion for the greater glory of a certain religion was the abusive violence in the Middle Ages like the burning (as per order of the big dogs) of condemned heretics – because they were found “guilty” by an appointed tribunal. Then there were the tortures of the non-believers (that most of the time resulted to their demise). It is beyond my grasp why with a religion that believes killing someone is a sin would do such barbarity – slaughtering those who disagreed with the present religion being practiced by those in power – or why they condoned such veritable acts of evil.
Persecution of non-believers is all over our history books and it is daunting to someone’s faith. I am glad that at present times we do not (at least to my knowledge) do these corrupt and atrocious practices anymore. At least we are free now to believe what we want to believe and even be vocal about it. And I do not have to worry about being burned at a stake for being outspoken about my religious stance or the lack thereof.
Jojo: That’s why the Reformation happened. Smaller dogs could not stomach what the big dogs were doing. The smaller dogs didn’t approve, they were just too small to be heard, well, until it reached a certain boiling point that culminated in Luther’s 95 theses. What many people didn’t realize was that the “religion” you were talking about was, at that time, soiled by politics. It became a state religion and the true exercise of its noble beliefs and teachings was cast to the corner while politicians took charge and used the religion’s brand as an excuse to do those atrocities. I wouldn’t throw the baby with the bath water on this one.
Ruth: Then there goes again the word “politics”. I think there should never be interference at all between the church and the state. It’s like “You do your thing and I’ll do mine.” We should always keep that wall between those two to avoid history from repeating itself. Tsk. Imagine some political icon wanting to shove down religion fiat down our throats without giving us any freedom to choose what we want to believe in. The horror, the horror. Anyways, thanks for the very stimulating discussion, Jo. I am not good when it comes to religion, but I always try to learn things from people like you. Namaste.
Jojo: At least history has been rectified. When America was founded, the founding fathers corrected the mistakes of the Europeans by keeping religion and the state separate. But don’t forget that over 90% of the framers of the American Constitution were Christians and they based the laws of the land on Biblical roots. The freedoms we now enjoy, including the freedom to post stuff like these on Facebook, women’s rights, and the freedom to choose any religion, are actually birthed out of the teachings of love and tolerance by Jesus Christ.
In some Muslim countries today, you can still be killed for subscribing to religions other than Islam. Yes we recognize the horror of the crimes done in the name of religion because we can see them etched on world history. As Christian, I am personally ashamed of all of those. But we must also recognize, with the same vivid intensity, the good things that Christianity brought to our personal lives and the entire world. If we don’t, we will be guilty of selective intellectualism, highlighting the things we don’t like and forgetting the things that actually did us so much good. That, I think, is like cutting the tree while you are nicely perched on one of its branches. If the whole thing crumbles down, thanks to all our freedom of speech diatribes, we might find ourselves suffering the most fatal blows of the crash.
American TV giant ABC is working on a show called Good Christian B*tches. They are trying to get the reaction from Evangelical groups, probably to get the talk around and test the waters for the viability of the show. So far it hasn’t generated much controversy.
But what if you change the word “Christian” and make it Islam, or Lesbian, or Gay, or N*gro? You think the big bosses of ABC would dare think of a show like that? Of course not. After 9/11, no one in his right mind would risk provoking the Islam world again. You see, when they mock Christianity, they call it freedom of speech. When they mock other groups, everyone would cry foul and say it’s racist or politically incorrect. I wonder who is intolerant now and who is shoving down their beliefs on people’s throats and who is using politics (and media) to endorse their beliefs?