Who did what to Whom?

by Potters_Freedom

Who Did What to Whom?
Hello all, I apologize for the delay in replying to the numerous responses given as evidence of the truth
of the statement that you’ll find below. Thanks to everyone who did contribute. I decided to spend
some time doing more studying in certain aspects of this issue and it was productive, thought-
provoking and certainly rich. Digging for “archaeological evidence” of the truth is always
an exciting adventure. So thanks again for your responses which motivated me to get into
some more research.

Because this is a long post, I’ll send it in two parts. I do hope you’ll have the time
to read the comments. Some areas I covered a bit more, namely, the Holocaust,
Crusades,and Bosnia/Serbia.

Here is the initial statement: (I think this was from Neal S on/about 8 September)
“Christianity was once embroiled with as much violence as Islam. It took many centuries and
many, many great people to lead it to where it is today. Lets all pray that Islam hurries on its
course to become a religion of tolerance and peace. The world will be a better place when all
are free to express their faith and ideas without the fear of persecution. ”

Does anyone have any primary source citations proving that past violence of Christians equals
that of Muslims? Further, to hold out hope that the Muslims will have great leaders bringing
this religion to peace flies in the face of every authoritative writing in Islam. The writings of
Islam show it cannot head toward a religion of peace. Why? It would no longer be Islam.
“Death to infidels!” means you unless you are a Muslim and the right kind at that. Beginning
with Muhammad himself, it has been conversion through any means. (America is the “great
satan” because we are perceived as Christian.)

Sidebar: There are some peaceful Muslims such as the Suffis. They, too, have been and will
be targets of the adherents to the teachings of the Qu’ran.

The New Testament from Matthew through Revelation promotes peace even at the expense
of one’s life. In the past 250-300 years the church around the world has condemned
violence. Notice I did not say no violence has been done in the name of Christianity in the
past 300 years.

I want to begin by saying, quite clearly, that I do not deny in any manner, that, around the
world, atrocities have been committed while using the name Christian. Absolutely that has
happened and to the shame and sorrow of the Church universal.

If one is not a Jew and not a Muslim, one is not automatically a Christian. One is not a
Christian because he is born in a purportedly Christian nation. Wouldn’t the USA be a glaring
example of that? One is not a Christian by birth because one or both parents are Christian.
They may be but this is never the reason the offspring may be a Christian. Being a gentile is
not synonymous with Christian. Because I’ve run into this assumption so frequently I thought
it important to clarify this. I’ve often met people who identify themselves as Christians who,
when asked, have no clue what it even means biblically to be a Christian. This is an
important issue in understanding how a national, civil or ethnic, racial/cleansing war can at
some point be morphed into a “Christian aggression.” A nation can be seen as “Christian”
when that is often not the case at all.

Holocaust:

I’m surprised that there are any gentiles or nominal Christians who actually may believe that
Christians were responsible for the Holocaust. Yes, some were complicit with the Nazis. As
there were some Jews who were complicit. Yet I don’t recall anyone accusing the Jews of
causing the Holocaust (though Nazi types would say they brought it on themselves).

We know about the 6 million Jews who died in the Holocaust. Unfortunately, history only
carries a small footnote that 3 million plus Christians were killed, too. Being a gypsy, gay,
retarded, against Hitler in any way or a Christian spelled doom. Here I would like to add that
we need to be aware that there were many churches “nationalized,” taken over by the Nazis,
which some people overlook when they try to assert Christians were the pivotal factor in the
Holocaust.

If anyone believes that Hitler himself was a Christian, I would point you to his disavowment
of Christianity, his embracing of satanism and the occult, etc. There is massive documentation
that proves this out but still some folks hold to this falsehood.

Consider this please:

“It is through the peasantry that we shall really be able to destroy Christianity because there
is in them a true religion rooted in nature and blood. One is either a Christian or a German.
One can’t be both.” (Christianity on Trial: Arguments Against Anti-Religious Bigotry.
Carroll and Shiflett. 2002. Encounter Books. Page 115)

Did you recognize the accent? That was Hitler in 1933.

Makes it hard to believe that the Christians were the power behind the throne or the drive and
motivation for the Holocaust considering Hitler’s determination to wipe out the Christians in
Germany. However, I want to pointedly say that there were those involved who identified
themselves as Christians of some stripe.

The long history of anti-Semitism within the church had to have added to the atmosphere in
which the Third Reich could grow. The “anti-Semitism” in some and even many early
Christians has historically been religious and not racial. The anti-Semitism of the Nazis
was race-based. To be clear, I am not excusing any Christian anti-Semitism no matter what
drove it but this fact is nearly always not known or overlooked. When the issue of Christian involvement in any aggressions comes up there is nearly
always wide-ranging ambiguity historically and nebulous numbers abound. Also, it would
be unique to hear a view that includes the expansive good that has been done worldwide by Christians, more than all other religions combined.

The Christian Crusades: The majority of histories of the crusades start with “The First
Crusade.” It then follows that it is seen as the first of many Christian aggressions against
Islam. But historical facts strongly show that the crusades began with Islam which, from its
very inception, pursued conversion through aggressive conquest.

Muslims invaded Christian lands and began slaughtering Christians — men, women,
children. That was the beginning. From Muhammad’s first razzia, the prevailing Christian
view was that the wars were to be in defense of Christendom or to liberate and reconquer
lands that were rightfully theirs.

The outcome was that both sides suffered tremendous losses. To toss out an assertion as if
the Crusades were nothing but Christians performing atrocities is not only without substance
but, to say the least, ill-informed.

Am I condoning the Crusades? Not on the whole. What? That’s right. If your family were
being run out of their home, their land, tortured and slaughtered would you want soldiers to
go in to try to rescue them? I sure would. I’d be riding the first horse.

Histories on the sack of Jerusalem in 1099 had the Muslim death figure upwards of 70,000.
In the past decade, a document has been uncovered and verified that puts that figure at 3,000
not 70,000. By the way, this is a Muslim document. (Jonathan Riley-Smith in First Things,
March 2000, 20-23. Cited in Christianity on Trial: Arguments Against Anti-Religious
Bigotry. Carroll & Shiflett. Encounter Books. 2002. p.92)

The Salem Witch Trials: depending upon which document one reads, anywhere from
16-21 people were killed. Murdered, actually. Yes, those calling themselves Christians were
responsible for that. Rarely do we read the death figures though and even more rarely do
we read that it was balanced Christians who stopped these murderers. It’s always curious
to me when I ask “How many ‘witches’ were hanged?” The answers range from a red-faced
“I don’t know” to “Hundreds” or “Thousands.” One death is one too many and egregious
but I’m all for getting the facts as straight as possible.

Serbia/Bosnia: Please study the long history of these lands and peoples. This was
nationalism and racism. The Serbs are terrible for it. These were racially motivated ethnic
cleansings. The Serbs are basically Greek orthodox who wanted to lay claim to sections of
Bosnia. The Bosnians are a mix of Muslims and Catholics.

The Greek Orthodox were attacking the Christians as much as they were attacking the
Muslims. Thousands of lives were lost as Clinton delayed and delayed acting on the
European request for help. He delayed about 6 years and finally sent in some Cruise
missiles, bombed Belgrade and peace negotiations began with the UN peace keeper
stepping in. Note: this request for help was against Serbia and not against the
Christians, as claimed in one of the responses.

The Wars of the Roses: Civil war between two houses. This was not a religious war. This
was about power and the throne of England with the houses of Lancaster and York duking it
out for over 30 years. The Lancastrian victory gave the House of Tudor rule over England
and Wales for 116 years.

Inquisition: To this day the name Torquemada chills the blood. A travesty against humanity.
Henry Kamen, who has spent a lifetime studying the Golden Age of Spain, wrote in 1998 in
The Spanish Inquisition: A Historical Revision (Yale University Press,1998), pp.59-60.
that it is likely that over three-quarters of those who perished during the three hundred years of the Inquisition did so in the first half-century. I found this interesting,too: It is unlikely that more than
2,000 people were executed for heresy by the Inquisition.

Here’s something of interest: The Spanish crown introduced the Inquisition. The Catholic
church was not even robustly behind it. Kamen (cited earlier) says there is much to be
said for the argument that Ferdinand wished to use it to consolidate his power. (Kamen, 45)
Pope Sixtus IV was quickly alarmed by events in Spain and issued a papal bull against the
Inquisition but Ferdinand reacted so strongly that the Pope backed down. So much for
courage. It was after that that Torquemada was appointed. Evidence shows that for the
next half-century, the Catholic church made several attempts to interfere in jurisdiction
and to reform abuses. (Kamen, 50) This is no doubt the reason that 75% of the deaths
happened in the first half-century.

American Indians: Yes, certainly this was heart-wrenching (and the exposure to small pox
was devastating to Indians) There were many Christians who gave their lives aiding the
Indians. Such things are usually, and more likely often, overlooked when detracting
assertions are made.

While I’ve barely touched on the assertions, I hope this will provide some food for thought
and perhaps encourage us to seek out primary sources such as Vincent Carroll and
David Shiflett who authored Christianity on Trial: Arguments Against Anti-Christian
Bigotry (2002). This is a superb work, heavily documented and nearly all sources are secular
historians.

Many scholars consider Jaroslav Pelikan a quintessential source though his work on
church history, while extensive, covers doctrine, etc. There are many excellent primary
sources on the Holocaust and Hitler. David A Rausch, PhD and Irwin Lutzer both have
excellent material. I would also like to mention my hero, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a Lutheran
pastor, who was executed immediately after the declaration that the war had ended. He was
heavily involved with other Christians with plans to stop Hitler. Does anyone know of Pastor
Martin Niemoller? Corrie ten Boom, her father and sister? My heroes. Protestant pastor,
Andre Trocme and his village Le Chambon-sur-Lignon in France. The village saved 5,000 Jews.
Some more of my heroes.

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