Friday, February 6, 2009

What is Islam? Even Muslims Don't Seem to Agree

A simple version of the War on Terror is that crazed, fanatic Muslims, followers of an ancient death cult, are monolithically dedicated to wiping out Western Civilization, beer, and bikinis. And, that America Alone stands between the world of Sports Illustrated and Playboy, and a burqa-covered future.

Life isn't that simple.

For starters, there's more to Western civilization and culture than skimpy swimwear and tacky Superbowl ads.

And Muslims are nowhere near as unified - and weird - as some seem to think. Someone said, in a comment last month: "...You should read the Koran, but be careful, for the Koran prohibits non-Muslims from reading it...."

I'd been chatting online with quite a few Muslims - who knew I wasn't a Muslim. They were offering their opinions on which translation of the Quran was better, and where I could find it. They didn't have a problem with my possessing, or reading, their holy book.

On the other hand, Ahmad Ghaws Zalmai may be killed - executed - by the Afghan judicial system, for translating the Quran - and not putting the original Arabic alongside the translation.

According to The Associated Press, Muslims "regard the Arabic Quran as words given directly by God. A translation is not considered a Quran itself, and a mistranslation could warp God's word...."

I don't take The Associated Press as a final authority on Islam and Muslim beliefs. But that sounds more likely than what Geert Wilder's defender wrote, about the Quran (Koran, he spelled it) and non-Muslims being allowed to read it.

The Many Faces of Islam

I think that what many westerners are beginning to realize is that there are many different sorts of Muslims, and many different sorts of Islam.

There's Al Qaeda's Islam, the Islam of those weird (mouse-hating?) Saudi clerics, the Islam practiced in Indonesia and New York City, and many others. All of them with what seem to be distinct beliefs.

It's a complicated world out there: and Westerners who make wild statements about Islam and Muslims - without checking the available facts - are, I think, not all that unlike the 'Mickey Mouse must die' sort of Muslims. Both are, I think, sincere, passionate, dedicated: and a very real problem for the rest of us.

(I think that the Afghan courts are on the wrong page about that Quran translation - but that's a topic for another blog.)

Related posts: In the news: Background: http://anotherwaronterrorblog.blogspot.com/2009/02/what-is-islam-even-muslims-dont-seem-to.html

3 comments:

akhter said...

Before you diss Islam, know your Christianity first… And quit generalizing, too.

While chatting with a friend the other day, we found ourselves on the topic of religion. This particular friend is getting a tattoo of the word in Islam for “infidel” in a few weeks. When I asked him why he would do this (he’s Christian), he told me that he was doing it as a mockery of the faith. He spoke of Islam as a violent religion, out to massacre and kill, pillage and rape. He cited this passage from the Quran: “Prophet make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal rigorously with them. Hell shall be their home: an evil fate” (Quran 9:73) “Those who believe fight in the cause of Allah, and those who reject faith fight in the cause of evil: so fight ye against the friends of Satan” (Quran 4:76), and of course, he referenced suicide bombings.





This logic no longer surprises me, but it does continue to agitate me. The direct correlation between Islam and September 11, the assertions that all Muslims are America-haters and Christian-killers, that the religion teaches them to either convert non-believers or exterminate them… all of this I’ve heard time and time again, and all of it I roll my eyes at. The overt hypocrisy, the vast generalizations, and the sheer idiocy of these remarks are so easy to see, yet even easier to overlook.





The Christian Bible’s Old Testament repeatedly calls on those of faith to either convert or kill non-believers. For example, Deuteronomy 17 states, “17:2 If there be found among you, within any of thy gates which the LORD thy God giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness in the sight of the LORD thy God, in transgressing his covenant; 17:3 And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded; 17:4 And it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and enquired diligently, and, behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel; 17:5 Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die.”



Why can we point out passages in the Quran that call for extermination of infidels while we continue to ignore the very passages in the CHRISTIAN BIBLE that promote the exact same actions? What makes our “peaceful” Christian religion justified in its writings urging murder yet labels Islam a violent faith?



After reaching this point in the argument, I am usually reminded of the events of September 11; I’m told that terrorists bombed the World Trade Center in the name of their faith, and thus, any faith that promotes such a thing must surely be a hostile one. I’d like to direct anyone who chooses to utilize this argument back to the actions of our peaceful Christian brothers and sisters. Think of the Christians who have blown up abortion clinics or attacked doctors and nurses who work there in the name of Christianity. Is this not a similar concept? European countries in the 16 and 1700s colonized and enslaved the people of Africa and Asia in the name of Christianity, in the name of saving the savage people from their filthy sin filled lives. Their land and resources were exploited and their human dignity ravaged all disguised under a veil of Christianity’s greater good, of a mission to bring the Christian faith to those who were too stupid and too uncivilized to know it.



But no, it is the Muslims who are violent.



The men who bombed the World Trade Center were not Muslims at all. The faith strictly forbids alcohol consumption, loose sexual values, and gambling, yet the terrorists of 911 drank heavily, utilized the service of prostitutes, and visited casinos all the night before their act of terrorism was to be executed. Wouldn’t it seem that men who are thought to be killing American lives all in the name of Islam would be interested in rigidly following the basic rules of their faith?



“Oh yes, well the Quran states that those who die for their faith will be rewarded greatly in heaven.” I would like to guide you toward Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount for a response to this argument. “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake/ Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. (Matthew 5:11-12). We honor martyrs and pray to saints, many of whom have died in the name of their Christian faith. We immortalize those who have died for the sake of Christianity… Sound familiar?



Of course, at this point I must add a disclaimer, although I know that there will still be someone who chooses to point this out: I am in no way saying that Islam is never used by evil people as a shield for evil deeds. However, we have to remember to separate the religion from the people. By this I mean, while the faith itself may say one this, someone else may interpret it to mean something else, something violent and hostile, and may act on it. This does not mean that that is what all Muslims believe!



Again, to Christianity… Some Christians believe that only through baptism can one be saved. Even if one has never heard of Jesus Christ, because that person has not been baptized and does not accept Christ as his or her savior (again, not by choice but because the belief in Christ has never been made known to that person), that person will go to hell. Not all Christians believe this. Not all Christians believe that homosexuality is a sin; not all Christians believe that the death penalty is bad; not all Christians believe evolution is real; not all Christians choose to wait to have sex until after marriage. This means that Christianity, like Islam, is not a uniform belief. Some people believe and do one thing while some people believe and do another. It is not just to generalize a whole people, an ENTIRE FAITH on the actions of the few or with regards to the events that we see on the news. It’s not fair, and it’s not right.



I really am becoming more and more disgusted with the hatred and bigotry toward Islam. Yes, there are bad Muslims out there, and Christians and Jews, and Hindus and atheists. We have to stop judging and entire faith on our shallow predispositions and skin-deep generalizations. We have to let go of our contempt and judgmental attitudes and stop being so childish and inane.



More senseless idealism and bleeding-heart liberalism from an untainted nineteen year old youth.
“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”
MLK Jr.



Perhaps it’s not too late…

Tags: Christianity, Christians, Islam, Muslims, Religion

This entry was posted on January 1, 2008 at 11:35 pm and is filed under Christian, Christianity, Islam, Muslims, Religion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
4 Responses to “Before you diss Islam, know your Christianity first… And quit generalizing, too.”

1. ahh Says:
January 2, 2008 at 12:07 am

prokopios is the solution
2. amberfireinus Says:
January 2, 2008 at 12:10 am

I absolutely loved your blog. Finally someone who tells it like it is!!! I love it! I am planning to send this link to people who I feel need to see it in their lives. I have tried to articulate these same thoughts in my own blog.

Very eloquently put. Bravo!!
3. Before you diss Islam, know your Christianity first… And quit generalizing, too. « Opinions are like… « Amberfireinus’s Weblog Says:
January 2, 2008 at 12:14 am

[…] January 2, 2008 by amberfireinus Before you diss Islam, know your Christianity first… And quit generalizing, too. « Opinions are l… […]
4. ilegirl Says:
January 2, 2008 at 2:32 am

Thanks for this well-stated post. It’s good to know that there are others who are as troubled by misinformation and misinterpretation of Islam as I.

akhter said...

VICTIMS OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH



"WONDERFUL EVENTS THAT TESTIFY TO GOD'S DIVINE GLORY"



Listed are only events that solely occurred on command or participation of church authorities or were committed in the name of Christianity. (List incomplete)

Ancient Pagans




* As soon as Christianity became legal in the Roman Empire by imperial edict (315), more and more pagan temples were destroyed by Christian mob. Pagan priests were killed.
* Between 315 and 6th century thousands of pagan believers were slain.
* Examples of destroyed Temples: the Sanctuary of Aesculap in Aegaea, the Temple of Aphrodite in Golgatha, Aphaka in Lebanon, the Heliopolis.
* Christian priests such as Mark of Arethusa or Cyrill of Heliopolis were famous as "temple destroyer." [DA468]
* Pagan services became punishable by death in 356. [DA468]
* Christian Emperor Theodosius (408-450) even had children executed, because they had been playing with remains of pagan statues. [DA469]
According to Christian chroniclers he "followed meticulously all Christian teachings..."
* In 6th century pagans were declared void of all rights.
* In the early fourth century the philosopher Sopatros was executed on demand of Christian authorities. [DA466]
* The world famous female philosopher Hypatia of Alexandria was torn to pieces with glass fragments by a hysterical Christian mob led by a Christian minister named Peter, in a church, in 415.
[DO19-25]


Mission




* Emperor Karl (Charlemagne) in 782 had 4500 Saxons, unwilling to convert to Christianity, beheaded. [DO30]
* Peasants of Steding (Germany) unwilling to pay suffocating church taxes: between 5,000 and 11,000 men, women and children slain 5/27/1234 near Altenesch/Germany. [WW223]
* 15th century Poland: 1019 churches and 17987 villages plundered by Knights of the Order. Number of victims unknown. [DO30]
* 16th and 17th century Ireland. English troops "pacified and civilized" Ireland, where only Gaelic "wild Irish", "unreasonable beasts lived without any knowledge of God or good manners, in common of their goods, cattle, women, children and every other thing." One of the more successful soldiers, a certain Humphrey Gilbert, half-brother of Sir Walter Raleigh, ordered that "the heddes of all those (of what sort soever thei were) which were killed in the daie, should be cutte off from their bodies... and should bee laied on the ground by eche side of the waie", which effort to civilize the Irish indeed caused "greate terrour to the people when thei sawe the heddes of their dedde fathers, brothers, children, kinsfolke, and freinds on the grounde".
Tens of thousands of Gaelic Irish fell victim to the carnage. [SH99, 225]


Crusades (1095-1291)




* First Crusade: 1095 on command of pope Urban II. [WW11-41]
* Semlin/Hungary 6/24/96 thousands slain. Wieselburg/Hungary 6/12/96 thousands. [WW23]
* 9/9/96-9/26/96 Nikaia, Xerigordon (then Turkish), thousands respectively. [WW25-27]
* Until January 1098 a total of 40 capital cities and 200 castles conquered (number of slain unknown) [WW30]
* After 6/3/98 Antiochia (then Turkish) conquered, between 10,000 and 60,000 slain. 6/28/98 100,000 Turks (incl. women and children) killed.
[WW32-35]
Here the Christians "did no other harm to the women found in [the enemy's] tents - save that they ran their lances through their bellies," according to Christian chronicler Fulcher of Chartres. [EC60]
* Marra (Maraat an-numan) 12/11/98 thousands killed. Because of the subsequent famine "the already stinking corpses of the enemies were eaten by the Christians" said chronicler Albert Aquensis. [WW36]
* Jerusalem conquered 7/15/1099 more than 60,000 victims (Jewish, Muslim, men, women, children). [WW37-40]
In the words of one witness: "there [in front of Solomon's temple] was such a carnage that our people were wading ankle-deep in the blood of our foes", and after that "happily and crying for joy our people marched to our Saviour's tomb, to honour it and to pay off our debt of gratitude."
* The Archbishop of Tyre, eye-witness, wrote: "It was impossible to look upon the vast numbers of the slain without horror; everywhere lay fragments of human bodies, and the very ground was covered with the blood of the slain. It was not alone the spectacle of headless bodies and mutilated limbs strewn in all directions that roused the horror of all who looked upon them. Still more dreadful was it to gaze upon the victors themselves, dripping with blood from head to foot, an ominous sight which brought terror to all who met them. It is reported that within the Temple enclosure alone about ten thousand infidels perished." [TG79]
* Christian chronicler Eckehard of Aura noted that "even the following summer in all of Palestine the air was polluted by the stench of decomposition". [WW41]
* Battle of Askalon, 8/12/1099. Thousands of heathens slaughtered "in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ". [WW45]
* Fourth crusade: 4/12/1204 Constantinople sacked, number of victims unknown, numerous thousands, many of them Christian. [WW141-148]
* Crusades (1095-1291)

o Estimated totals:

+ Wertham: 1,000,000

+ Charles Mackay, Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the
Madness of Crowds (1841): 2,000,000 Europeans killed. [http://www.bootlegbooks.com/NonFiction/Mackay/PopDelusions/chap09.html]

+ Aletheia, The Rationalist's Manual: 5,000,000

o Individual Events:

+ Davies: Crusaders killed up to 8,000 Jews in Rhineland

+ Paul Johnson A History of the Jews (1987): 1,000 Jewish women in
Rhineland comm. suicide to avoid the mob, 1096.

+ Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, v.5, 6

# 1st Crusade: 300,000 Eur. k at Battle of Nice [Nicea].

# Crusaders vs. Solimon of Roum: 4,000 Christians, 3,000 Moslems

# 1098, Fall of Antioch: 100,000 Moslems massacred.

# 50,000 Pilgrims died of disease.

# 1099, Fall of Jerusalem: 70,000 Moslems massacred.

# Siege of Tiberias: 30,000 Christians k.

# Siege of Tyre: 1,000 Turks

# Richard the Lionhearted executes 3,000 Moslem POWs.

# 1291: 100,000 Christians k after fall of Acre.

# Fall of Christian Antioch: 17,000 massacred.

# [TOTAL: 677,000 listed in these episodes here.]

+ Catholic Encyclopedia (1910) [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/]

# Jaffa: 20,000 Christians massacred, 1197

+ Sorokin estimates that French, English & Imperial German Crusaders lost
a total of 3,600 in battle.

# 1st C (1096-99): 400

# 2nd C (1147-49): 750

# 3rd C (1189-91): 930

# 4th C (1202-04): 120

# 5th C (1228-29): 600

# 7th C (1248-54): 700

+ James Trager, The People's Chronology (1992)

# 1099: Crusaders slaughter 40,000 inhabs of Jerusalem. Dis/starv reduced
Crusaders from 300,000 to 60,000.

# 1147: 2nd Crusades begins with 500,000. "Most" lost to
starv./disease/battle.

# 1190: 500 Jews massacred in York.

# 1192: 3rd Crusade reduced from 100,000 to 5,000 through famine, plagues and
desertions in campaign vs Antioch.

# 1212: Children's Crusade loses some 50,000.

# [TOTAL: Just in these incidents, it appears the Europeans lost around
650,000.]


o TOTAL: When I take all the individual death tolls listed here, weed out
the duplicates, fill in the blanks, apply Occam ("Pluralitas non est
ponenda sine necessitate"), etc. I get a very rough total of 1½ M
deaths in the Crusades.



Heretics and Atheists




* Already in 385 C.E. the first Christians, the Spanish Priscillianus and six followers, were beheaded for heresy in Trier/Germany [DO26]
* Manichaean heresy: a crypto-Christian sect decent enough to practice birth control (and thus not as irresponsible as faithful Catholics) was exterminated in huge campaigns all over the Roman empire between 372 C.E. and 444 C.E. Numerous thousands of victims. [NC]
* Albigensians: the first Crusade intended to slay other Christians. [DO29]
The Albigensians (Cathars) viewed themselves as good Christians, but would not accept Roman Catholic rule, and taxes, and prohibition of birth control. [NC]
Begin of violence: on command of pope Innocent III (the greatest single mass murderer prior to the Nazi era) in 1209. Beziérs (today France) 7/22/1209 destroyed, all the inhabitants were slaughtered. Number of victims (including Catholics refusing to turn over their heretic
neighbors and friends) estimated between 20,000-70,000. [WW179-181]
* Carcassonne 8/15/1209, thousands slain. Other cities followed. [WW181]
* Subsequent 20 years of war until nearly all Cathars (probably half the population of the Languedoc, today southern France) were exterminated. [WW183]

* After the war ended (1229) the Inquisition was founded 1232 to search and destroy surviving/hiding heretics. Last Cathars burned at the stake 1324.
[WW183]
* Estimated one million victims (Cathar heresy alone), [WW183]
* Other heresies: Waldensians, Paulikians, Runcarians, Josephites, and many others. Most of these sects exterminated, (I believe some Waldensians live today, yet they had to endure 600 years of persecution) I estimate at least hundred thousand victims (including the Spanish inquisition but excluding victims in the New World).
* Spanish Inquisitor Torquemada, a former Dominican friar, allegedly was responsible for 10,220 burnings. [DO28]
* John Huss, a critic of papal infallibility and indulgences, was burned at the stake in 1415. [LI475-522]
* Michael Sattler, leader of a baptist community, was burned at the stake in Rottenburg, Germany, May 20, 1527. Several days later his wife and other follwers were also executed. [KM]
* University professor B.Hubmaier burned at the stake 1538 in Vienna. [DO59]

* Giordano Bruno, Dominican monk, after having been incarcerated for seven years, was burned at the stake for heresy on the Campo dei Fiori (Rome) on 2/17/1600.
* Thomas Aikenhead, a twenty-year-old scottish student of Edinburgh University, was hanged for atheism and blasphemy.


Witches




* From the beginning of Christianity to 1484 probably more than several thousand.
* In the era of witch hunting (1484-1750) according to modern scholars several hundred thousand (about 80% female) burned at the stake or hanged.
[WV]
* Incomplete list of documented cases:
The Burning of Witches - A Chronicle of the Burning Times


Religious Wars




* 15th century: Crusades against Hussites, thousands slain. [DO30]
* 1538 pope Paul III declared Crusade against apostate England and all English as slaves of Church (fortunately had not power to go into action). [DO31]
* 1568 Spanish Inquisition Tribunal ordered extermination of 3 million rebels in (then Spanish) Netherlands. [DO31]
Between 5000 and 6000 Protestants were drowned by Spanish Catholic Troops, "a disaster the burghers of Emden first realized when several thousand broad-brimmed Dutch hats floated by." [SH216]
* 1572 In France about 20,000 Huguenots were killed on command of pope Pius V. Until 17th century 200,000 flee. [DO31]
* 17th century: Catholics slay Gaspard de Coligny, a Protestant leader. After murdering him, the Catholic mob mutilated his body, "cutting off his head, his hands, and his genitals... and then dumped him into the river [...but] then, deciding that it was not worthy of being food for the fish, they hauled it out again [... and] dragged what was left ... to the gallows of Montfaulcon, 'to be meat and carrion for maggots and crows'." [SH191]
* 17th century: Catholics sack the city of Magdeburg/Germany: roughly 30,000 Protestants were slain. "In a single church fifty women were found beheaded," reported poet Friedrich Schiller, "and infants still sucking the breasts of their lifeless mothers." [SH191]
* 17th century 30 years' war (Catholic vs. Protestant): at least 40% of population decimated, mostly in Germany. [DO31-32]


Jews




* Already in the 4th and 5th centuries synagogues were burned by Christians.Number of Jews slain unknown.
* In the middle of the fourth century the first synagogue was destroyed on command of bishop Innocentius of Dertona in Northern Italy. The first synagogue known to have been burned down was near the river Euphrat, on command of the bishop of Kallinikon in the year 388. [DA450]
* 694 17. Council of Toledo: Jews were enslaved, their property confiscated, and their children forcibly baptized. [DA454]
* 1010 The Bishop of Limoges (France) had the cities' Jews, who would not convert to Christianity, expelled or killed. [DA453]
* 1096 First Crusade: Thousands of Jews slaughtered, maybe 12.000 total. Places: Worms 5/18/1096, Mainz 5/27/1096 (1100 persons), Cologne, Neuss, Altenahr, Wevelinghoven, Xanten, Moers, Dortmund, Kerpen, Trier, Metz, Regensburg, Prag and others (All locations Germany except Metz/France, Prag/Czech) [EJ]
* 1147 Second Crusade: Several hundred Jews were slain in Ham, Sully, Carentan, and Rameru (all locations in France). [WW57]
* 1189/90 Third Crusade: English Jewish communities sacked. [DO40]
* 1235, Fulda/Germany: 34 Jewish men and women slain. [DO41]
* 1257, 1267: Jewish communities of London, Canterbury, Northampton, Lincoln, Cambridge, and others exterminated. [DO41]
* 1290 Bohemia (Poland) allegedly 10,000 Jews killed. [DO41]
* 1337 Starting in Deggendorf/Germany a Jew-killing craze reaches 51 towns in Bavaria, Austria, Poland. [DO41]
* 1348 All Jews of Basel/Switzerland and Strasbourg/France (two thousand) burned. [DO41]
* 1349 In more than 350 towns in Germany all Jews murdered, mostly burned alive (in this one year more Jews were killed than Christians in 200 years of ancient Roman persecution of Christians). [DO42]
* 1389 In Prag 3,000 Jews were slaughtered. [DO42]
* 1391 Seville's Jews killed (Archbishop Martinez leading). 4,000 were slain, 25,000 sold as slaves. [DA454] Their identification was made easy by the brightly colored "badges of shame" that all Jews above the age of ten had been forced to wear.
* 1492 In the year Columbus set sail to conquer a New World, more than 150,000 Jews were expelled from Spain, many died on their way: 6/30/1492.
[MM470-476]
* 1648 Chmielnitzki massacres: In Poland about 200,000 Jews were slain.
[DO43]



(I feel sick ...) this goes on and on, century after century, right into the kilns of Auschwitz.


Native Peoples




* Beginning with Columbus (a former slave trader and would-be Holy Crusader) the conquest of the New World began, as usual understood as a means to propagate Christianity.
* Within hours of landfall on the first inhabited island he encountered in the Caribbean, Columbus seized and carried off six native people who, he said, "ought to be good servants ... [and] would easily be made Christians, because it seemed to me that they belonged to no religion." [SH200]
While Columbus described the Indians as "idolators" and "slaves, as many as [the Crown] shall order," his pal Michele de Cuneo, Italian nobleman, referred to the natives as "beasts" because "they eat when they are hungry," and made love "openly whenever they feel like it." [SH204-205]
* On every island he set foot on, Columbus planted a cross, "making the declarations that are required" - the requerimiento - to claim the ownership for his Catholic patrons in Spain. And "nobody objected." If the Indians refused or delayed their acceptance (or understanding), the requerimiento continued:

"I certify to you that, with the help of God, we shall powerfully enter in your country and shall make war against you ... and shall subject you to the yoke and obedience of the Church ... and shall do you all mischief that we can, as to vassals who do not obey and refuse to receive their lord and resist and contradict him." [SH66]


* Likewise in the words of John Winthrop, first governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony: "justifieinge the undertakeres of the intended Plantation in New England ... to carry the Gospell into those parts of the world, ... and to raise a Bulworke against the kingdome of the Ante-Christ." [SH235]
* In average two thirds of the native population were killed by colonist-imported smallpox before violence began. This was a great sign of "the marvelous goodness and providence of God" to the Christians of course, e.g. the Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony wrote in 1634, as "for the natives, they are near all dead of the smallpox, so as the Lord hath cleared our title to what we possess." [SH109,238]
* On Hispaniola alone, on Columbus visits, the native population (Arawak), a rather harmless and happy people living on an island of abundant natural resources, a literal paradise, soon mourned 50,000 dead. [SH204]
* The surviving Indians fell victim to rape, murder, enslavement and Spanish raids.
* As one of the culprits wrote: "So many Indians died that they could not be counted, all through the land the Indians lay dead everywhere. The stench was very great and pestiferous." [SH69]
* The Indian chief Hatuey fled with his people but was captured and burned alive. As "they were tying him to the stake a Franciscan friar urged him to take Jesus to his heart so that his soul might go to heaven, rather than descend into hell. Hatuey replied that if heaven was where the Christians went, he would rather go to hell." [SH70]
* What happened to his people was described by an eyewitness:
"The Spaniards found pleasure in inventing all kinds of odd cruelties ... They built a long gibbet, long enough for the toes to touch the ground to prevent strangling, and hanged thirteen [natives] at a time in honor of Christ Our Saviour and the twelve Apostles... then, straw was wrapped around their torn bodies and they were burned alive." [SH72]
Or, on another occasion:
"The Spaniards cut off the arm of one, the leg or hip of another, and from some their heads at one stroke, like butchers cutting up beef and mutton for market. Six hundred, including the cacique, were thus slain like brute beasts...Vasco [de Balboa] ordered forty of them to be torn to pieces by dogs." [SH83]
* The "island's population of about eight million people at the time of Columbus's arrival in 1492 already had declined by a third to a half before the year 1496 was out." Eventually all the island's natives were exterminated, so the Spaniards were "forced" to import slaves from other caribbean islands, who soon suffered the same fate. Thus "the Caribbean's millions of native people [were] thereby effectively liquidated in barely a quarter of a century". [SH72-73] "In less than the normal lifetime of a single human being, an entire culture of millions of people, thousands of years resident in their homeland, had been exterminated." [SH75]
* "And then the Spanish turned their attention to the mainland of Mexico and Central America. The slaughter had barely begun. The exquisite city of Tenochtitlán [Mexico city] was next." [SH75]
* Cortez, Pizarro, De Soto and hundreds of other Spanish conquistadors likewise sacked southern and mesoamerican civilizations in the name of Christ (De Soto also sacked Florida).
* "When the 16th century ended, some 200,000 Spaniards had moved to the Americas. By that time probably more than 60,000,000 natives were dead."
[SH95]


Of course no different were the founders of what today is the US of America.



* Although none of the settlers would have survived winter without native help, they soon set out to expel and exterminate the Indians. Warfare among (north American) Indians was rather harmless, in comparison to European standards, and was meant to avenge insults rather than conquer land. In the words of some of the pilgrim fathers: "Their Warres are farre less bloudy...", so that there usually was "no great slawter of nether side". Indeed, "they might fight seven yeares and not kill seven men." What is more, the Indians usually spared women and children. [SH111]
* In the spring of 1612 some English colonists found life among the (generally friendly and generous) natives attractive enough to leave Jamestown - "being idell ... did runne away unto the Indyans," - to live among them (that probably solved a sex problem).
"Governor Thomas Dale had them hunted down and executed: 'Some he apointed (sic) to be hanged Some burned Some to be broken upon wheles, others to be staked and some shott to deathe'." [SH105] Of course these elegant measures were restricted for fellow Englishmen: "This was the treatment for those who wished to act like Indians. For those who had no
choice in the matter, because they were the native people of Virginia" methods were different: "when an Indian was accused by an Englishman of stealing a cup and failing to return it, the English response was to attack the natives in force, burning the entire community" down. [SH105]
* On the territory that is now Massachusetts the founding fathers of the colonies were committing genocide, in what has become known as the "Peqout War." The killers were New England Puritan Christians, refugees from persecution in their own home country England.
* When however, a dead colonist was found, apparently killed by Narragansett Indians, the Puritan colonists wanted revenge. Despite the Indian chief's pledge they attacked.
Somehow they seem to have lost the idea of what they were after, because when they were greeted by Pequot Indians (long-time foes of the Narragansetts) the troops nevertheless made war on the Pequots and burned their villages.
The puritan commander-in-charge John Mason after one massacre wrote: "And indeed such a dreadful Terror did the Almighty let fall upon their Spirits, that they would fly from us and run into the very Flames, where many of them perished ... God was above them, who laughed his Enemies and the Enemies of his People to Scorn, making them as a fiery Oven ... Thus did the Lord judge among the Heathen, filling the Place with dead Bodies": men, women, children. [SH113-114]
* So "the Lord was pleased to smite our Enemies in the hinder Parts, and to give us their land for an inheritance". [SH111].
* Because of his readers' assumed knowledge of Deuteronomy, there was no need for Mason to quote the words that immediately follow:
"Thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth. But thou shalt utterly destroy them..." (Deut 20)
* Mason's comrade Underhill recalled how "great and doleful was the bloody sight to the view of the young soldiers" yet reassured his readers that "sometimes the Scripture declareth women and children must perish with their parents". [SH114]
* Other Indians were killed in successful plots of poisoning. The colonists even had dogs especially trained to kill Indians and to devour children from their mothers breasts, in the colonists' own words: "blood Hounds to draw after them, and Mastives to seaze them." (This was inspired by Spanish methods of the time)
In this way they continued until the extermination of the Pequots was near. [SH107-119]
* The surviving handful of Indians "were parceled out to live in servitude. John Endicott and his pastor wrote to the governor asking for 'a share' of the captives, specifically 'a young woman or girle and a boy if you thinke good'." [SH115]
* Other tribes were to follow the same path.
* Comment the Christian exterminators: "God's Will, which will at last give us cause to say: How Great is His Goodness! and How Great is his Beauty!"
"Thus doth the Lord Jesus make them to bow before him, and to lick the Dust!" [TA]
* Like today, lying was morally acceptable to Christians then. "Peace treaties were signed with every intention to violate them: when the Indians 'grow secure uppon (sic) the treatie', advised the Council of State in Virginia, 'we shall have the better Advantage both to surprise them, & cutt downe theire Corne'." [SH106]
* In 1624 sixty heavily armed Englishmen cut down 800 defenseless Indian men, women and children. [SH107]
* In a single massacre in "King Philip's War" of 1675 and 1676 some "600 Indians were destroyed. A delighted Cotton Mather, revered pastor of the Second Church in Boston, later referred to the slaughter as a 'barbeque'." [SH115]
* To summarize: Before the arrival of the English, the western Abenaki people in New Hampshire and Vermont had numbered 12,000. Less than half a century later about 250 remained alive - a destruction rate of 98%. The Pocumtuck people had numbered more than 18,000, fifty years later they were down to 920 - 95% destroyed. The Quiripi-Unquachog people had numbered about
30,000, fifty years later they were down to 1500 - 95% destroyed. The Massachusetts people had numbered at least 44,000, fifty years later barely 6000 were alive - 81% destroyed. [SH118] These are only a few examples of the multitude of tribes living before Christian colonists set their foot on the New World. All this was before the smallpox epidemics of 1677 and 1678 had occurred. And the carnage was not over then.
* All the above was only the beginning of the European colonization, it was before the frontier age actually had begun.
* A total of maybe more than 150 million Indians (of both Americas) were destroyed in the period of 1500 to 1900, as an average two thirds by smallpox and other epidemics, that leaves some 50 million killed directly by violence, bad treatment and slavery.
* In many countries, such as Brazil, and Guatemala, this continues even today.


More Glorious Events in U.S. History



* Reverend Solomon Stoddard, one of New England's most esteemed religious leaders, in "1703 formally proposed to the Massachusetts Governor that the colonists be given the financial wherewithal to purchase and train large packs of dogs 'to hunt Indians as they do bears'." [SH241]


* Massacre of Sand Creek, Colorado 11/29/1864. Colonel John Chivington, a former Methodist minister and still elder in the church ("I long to be wading in gore") had a Cheyenne village of about 600, mostly women and children, gunned down despite the chiefs' waving with a white flag: 400-500 killed.
From an eye-witness account: "There were some thirty or forty squaws collected in a hole for protection; they sent out a little girl about six years old with a white flag on a stick; she had not proceeded but a few steps when she was shot and killed. All the squaws in that hole were afterwards killed ..." [SH131]



* By the 1860s, "in Hawai'i the Reverend Rufus Anderson surveyed the carnage that by then had reduced those islands' native population by 90 percent or more, and he declined to see it as tragedy; the expected total die-off of the Hawaiian population was only natural, this missionary said, somewhat equivalent to 'the amputation of diseased members of the body'."
[SH244]


20th Century Church Atrocities




* Catholic extermination camps
Surprisingly few know that Nazi extermination camps in World War II were by no means the only ones in Europe at the time. In the years 1942-1943 also in Croatia existed numerous extermination camps, run by Catholic Ustasha under their dictator Ante Paveliç, a practicing Catholic and regular visitor to the then pope. There were even concentration camps exclusively for children!
In these camps - the most notorious was Jasenovac, headed by a Franciscan friar -
orthodox-Christian Serbians (and a substantial number of Jews) were murdered. Like the Nazis the Catholic Ustasha burned their victims in kilns, alive (the Nazis were decent enough to have their victims gassed first). But most of the victims were simply stabbed, slain or shot to death, the number of them being estimated between 300,000 and 600,000, in a rather tiny country. Many of the killers were Franciscan friars. The atrocities were appalling enough to induce bystanders of the Nazi "Sicherheitsdienst der SS", watching, to complain about them to Hitler (who did not listen). The pope knew about these events and did
nothing to prevent them. [MV]


* Catholic terror in Vietnam
In 1954 Vietnamese freedom fighters; the Viet Minh; - had finally defeated the French colonial government in North Vietnam, which by then had been supported by U.S. funds amounting to more than $2 billion. Although the victorious assured religious freedom to all (most non-Buddhist Vietnamese were Catholics), due to huge anticommunist propaganda campaigns many Catholics fled to the South. With the help of Catholic lobbies in Washington and Cardinal Spellman, the Vatican's spokesman in U.S. politics, who later on would call the U.S. forces in Vietnam "Soldiers of Christ", a scheme was concocted to prevent democratic elections which could have brought the communist Viet Minh to power in the South as well, and the fanatic Catholic Ngo Dinh Diem was made president of South Vietnam. [MW16ff]
Diem saw to it that U.S. aid, food, technical and general assistance was given to Catholics alone, Buddhist individuals and villages were ignored or had to pay for the food aids which were given to Catholics for free. The only religious denomination to be supported was Roman Catholicism.
The Vietnamese McCarthyism turned even more vicious than its American counterpart. By 1956 Diem promulgated a presidential order which read:

"Individuals considered dangerous to the national defense and common security may be confined by executive order, to a concentration camp."

Supposedly to fight communism, thousands of Buddhist protesters and monks were imprisoned in "detention camps." Out of protest dozens of Buddhist teachers - male and female - and monks poured gasoline over themselves and burned themselves. (Note that Buddhists burned themselves: in comparison Christians tend to burn others). Meanwhile some of the prison camps, which in the meantime were filled with Protestant and even Catholic protesters as well, had turned into no-nonsense death camps. It is estimated that during this period of terror (1955-1960) at least 24,000 were wounded - ; mostly in street riots ; - 80,000 people were executed, 275,000 had been detained or tortured, and about 500,000 were sent to concentration or detention camps. [MW76-89].
To support this kind of government in the next decade thousands of American GI's lost their life.


* Christianity kills the cat
On July 1, 1976, Anneliese Michel, a 23-year-old student of a teachers college in Germany, died: she starved herself to death. For months she had been haunted by demonic visions and apparitions, and for months two Catholic priests - with explicit approval of the Catholic bishop of Würzburg - additionally pestered and tormented the wretched girl with their exorcist rituals. After her death in Klingenberg hospital - her body was littered with wounds - her parents, both of them
fanatical Catholics, were sentenced to six months for not having called for medical help. None of the priests was punished: on the contrary, Miss Michel's grave today is a place of pilgrimage and worship for a number of similarly faithful Catholics (in the seventeenth century Würzburg was notorious for it's extensive witch burnings).
This case is only the tip of an iceberg of such evil superstition and has become known only because of its lethal outcome. [SP80]


* Rwanda Massacres
In 1994 in the small African country of Rwanda in just a few months several hundred thousand civilians were butchered, apparently a conflict of the Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups.
For quite some time I heard only rumors about Catholic clergy actively involved in the 1994 Rwanda massacres. Odd denials of involvement were printed in Catholic church journals, before even anybody had openly accused members of the church.
Then, 10/10/96, in the newscast of S2 Aktuell, Germany - a station not at all critical to Christianity - the following was stated:

"Anglican as well as Catholic priests and nuns are suspect of having actively participated in murders. Especially the conduct of a certain Catholic priest has been occupying the public mind in Rwanda's capital Kigali for months. He was minister of the church of the Holy Family and allegedly murdered Tutsis in the most brutal manner. He is reported to have accompanied marauding Hutu militia with a gun in his cowl. In fact there has been a bloody slaughter of Tutsis seeking shelter in his parish. Even two years after the massacres many Catholics refuse to set foot on the threshold of their church, because to them the participation of a certain part of the clergy in the slaughter is well established. There is almost no church in Rwanda that has not seen refugees - women, children, old - being brutally butchered facing the crucifix.
According to eyewitnesses clergymen gave away hiding Tutsis and turned them over to the machetes of the Hutu militia.
In connection with these events again and again two Benedictine nuns are mentioned, both of whom have fled into a Belgian monastery in the meantime to avoid prosecution. According to survivors one of them called the
Hutu killers and led them to several thousand people who had sought shelter in her monastery. By force the doomed were driven out of the churchyard and were murdered in the presence of the nun right in front of the gate. The other one is also reported to have directly cooperated with the murderers of the Hutu militia. In her case again witnesses report that she watched the slaughtering of people in cold blood and without showing response. She is even accused of having procured some petrol used by the killers to set on
fire and burn their victims alive..." [S2]

More recently the BBC aired:

Priests get death sentence for Rwandan genocide
BBC NEWS April 19, 1998

A court in Rwanda has sentenced two Roman Catholic priests to death for their role in the genocide of 1994, in which up to a million Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed. Pope John Paul said the priests must be made to account for their actions. Different sections of the Rwandan church have been widely accused of playing an active role in the genocide of 1994...


* As can be seen from these events, to Christianity the Dark Ages never come to an end.





If today Christians talk to me about morality, this is why they make me sick.

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...

akhter,

My, my: two extraordinarily long posts this time.

"Before you diss Islam, know your Christianity first… And quit generalizing, too." --

Please, another time, read the post. Not just the first paragraph. If observing that Islam as practiced in New York City, Riyadh, and Jakarta isn't quite monolithic is 'dissing' Islam, so be it.

And, I went to college in America. I know how awful, disgusting, bloodthirsty, ignorant, woman-hating, black-hating, Jew-hating, and generally icky, Christianity is supposed to be.

And, your friend may not be the best example of Christianity around. Without making a comparison, and without insinuating a connection, members of the Ku Klux Klan claimed to be 'Christians' - back in the fifties and sixties, at least. Their actions said otherwise.

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Blogroll

Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.