How To Defend So-Called "Christian Atrocities"?
The next topic chosen by our "skeptics" discussion group is "Christian Atrocities".
I have the option of narrowing the scope of the discussion. Our prior two topics were really too broad for a one-hour discussion, and I'm concerned that this one may be as well.
I'm thinking the best way to approach this topic is to start with this question:
- Is it ever right to do something that would otherwise be viewed as wrong?
Perhaps we can discuss "white lies" (particularly under circumstances where the truth could cause someone pain or harm), "less worse cases" (such as cutting a person open to remove a cancerous tumor), or imprisonment (taking away a guilty person's rights for the protection of innocents).
I'm hoping this will start people off with the mindset of not automatically condemning people responsible for so-called "Christian atrocities", but trying to understand that there are circumstances under which people make choices that are not obviously right or wrong.
It may be tough, though. We have a couple of members who are very reactive and outspoken... "binary thinkers" if you will. You know, everything's black and white... no shades of grey whatsoever.
Anyone have other suggestions for how best to approach this topic?
When unbelievers & nonbelievers (and wolves in Christian cloths) embrace the religiousity of their belief systems, they are embracing a superiority of individualism (intelligence is prime - above faith or charity or self-sacrifice).
Intelligent argumentation becomes prime in order to "houdini" out of personal responsibility (as is seen in the culture of death arguments on the personhood of the fetus, etc.)
When shown the various atrocities caused by the lack of charity in atheism, unbelievers & nonbelievers counter with the wars that religions have caused.
Christ's Holy Church exists independent of what people in His Church do. Christ is all Truth. His Truth is Absolute.
That's not true of atheism. The atheist in power determines truth. Subjective truth without charity has lead humanity toward mass murder, time and time again.
Humanity's anti-Christ / anti-sacrificial natures, want truth to be subjective to individual desires and wills - completely independent of a Supreme Truth or of a Supreme Sacrificial Lamb.
diana. the doctrine of double effect was an idea posed by thomas aquinas, and it seems to have some similar qualities to your question of "Is it ever right to do something that would otherwise be viewed as wrong?" in the case of attrocities this may be a factor.
also i would pay a lot of attention to the facts, or at least those that can be got. i know that often you hear unbelievable numbers like 100 million people killed by the inquisition but the evidence shows that there were probably less than 10000 deaths over 400 years of inquisition. also keeping the facts about what was really going on. many think the inquisition was an all out attack on jews, but it wasn't, the inquisitors could only try catholics. if a person was a practicing jew he could not be tried. the issues that sparked the situation too would come into play. for my part getting to the basic facts of many of the "attrocities" was about as enlightening as reading the catechism for the first time. it seems that many who pride themselves on skepticism are just as suseptible to the conspiracy mentality and propaganda as the fundamentalists are.
here is a site that may be of use. http://www.tektonics.org/af/crimeline.htm
Thanks, mikejuli and bwellmysoul... great suggestions that I will have to mull over.
One of my concerns about this subject is that there's not really a way to predict what "atrocities" are of concern to participants... it could be the Inquisition, but given the level of knowledge they have displayed thus far (excluding the atheist and agnostic, who very well may not be back), I almost doubt that will come up. I am thinking it more likely that they will raise the issues they know: the priest sex scandals, personal experiences of abuse in school, antisemitism, and the like.
So I face the same conundrum that the Church often faces: how to explain these things without being dismissive or suggesting that there should be no culpability at all for those responsible. My main concern, I suppose, is to get people past the temptation to hold Christ responsible for the acts of some of His followers...
(I wonder if they realize that this is the actuality of what they do when they judge Christians to the extent of dismissing Christianity altogether? Though most of them haven't exactly dismissed it... they mostly reinvent it...)
Perhaps bwellmysoul's suggestion is best: stick to what is true. If the claims of Christianity are true, should the behaviors of anyone stand between an individual and the love and forgiveness of God?
Also (if I get a chance) to focus on Jesus' teaching and example of "loving neighbor" and "praying for those who persecute you"... His betrayal by Judas... Peter's denial and reconciliation... examples showing that even those closest to Him faltered and failed because of the weaknesses inherent in being human.
Somehow I doubt that, hua.
Diana, how'd the discussion with the skeptics go?
It will be on Wednesday night... I'll let you know!
Well, I had to move this discussion to Thursday night due to a conflict. But I thought some of you might be interested in how I am advertising it. Here is the text from the information I have sent out.
Christian apologists often face the charge of "atrocities" or injustices committed by professing Christians or in the name of Christianity. Some involve events in Christian history, such as the Crusades, the Catholic Inquisition, or the handling of Protestants during Reformation times. Others are more personal and current, such as the Catholic priest sex scandals, abuse in Catholic and private Christian schools, adultery among ministry staff in churches, and seemingly endless church splits across Christian denominations - all of which fly in the face of Jesus Christ's teachings about Christian unity and purity.
This week we will begin our discussion of this very challenging topic. We will take a structured approach with a 30 minute general discussion of ethics, accountability and culpability followed by 15 minutes addressing specific concerns. The last 15 minutes of the meeting are set aside for voting on group business (i.e., use of the "talking stick", next week's topic, and election of group officers).
This event is open to all, but only group members may engage in discussion. Others are welcome to watch and ask questions anonymously via our "Question Machine".
cool diana. wish i could attend.
Technically, anyone can It's listed as an event in Second Life.
The Prayer of Enoch
"Lord God the Fountain of true wisdom, thou that openest the secrets thy own self unto man, thou knowest mine imperfection and my inward darknesse : How can I (therefore) speak unto them that speak not after the voice of man ; or worthily call on thy name, considering that my imagination is variable and fruitlesse, and unknown to my self ? Shall the Sands seem to invite the Mountains : or can the small Rivers entertain the wonderful and unknown waves ? Can the vessel of fear, fragility, or that is of a determined proportion, lift up himself, heave up his hands, or gather the Sun into his bosom ?
Lord it cannot be : Lord my imperfection is great : Lord I am lesse than sand : Lord, thy good Angels and Creatures excell me far : our proportion is not alike ; our sense agreeth not : Notwithstanding I am comforted ; For that we have all one God, all one beginning from thee, that we respect thee a Creatour : Therefore will I call upon thy name, and in thee, I will become mighty. Thou shalt light me, and I will become a Seer ; I will see thy Creatures, and will magnifie thee amongst them.
Those that come unto thee have the same gate, and through the same gate, descend, such as thou sendest. Behold, I offer my house, my labour, my heart and soul, If it will please thy Angels to dweIl with me, and I with them ; to rejoyce with me, that I may rejoyce with them ; to minister unto me, that I may magnifie thy name. Then, lo the Tables (which I have provided, and according to thy will, prepared) I offer unto thee, and unto thy holy Angels, desiring them, in and through thy holy names : That as thou art their light, and comfortest them, so they, in thee will be my light and comfort.
Lord they prescribe not laws unto thee, so it is not meet that I prescribe laws unto them : What it pleaseth thee to offer, they receive ; So what it pleaseth them to offer unto me, will I also receive. Behold I say (O Lord) If I shall call upon them in thy name, Be it unto me in mercy, as unto the servant of the Highest. Let them also manifest unto me, How, by what words, and at what time, I shall call them. O Lord, Is there any that measure the heavens, that is mortal ? How, therefore, can the heavens enter into mans imagination ? Thy creatures are the Glory of thy countenance : Hereby thou glorifiest all things, which Glory excelleth and (O Lord) is far above my understanding.
It is great wisdom, to speak and talke according to understanding with Kings : But to command Kings by a subjected commandment, is not wisdom, unlesse it come from thee. Behold Lord, How shall I therefore ascend into the heavens ? The air wlll not carry me, but resisteth my folly, I fall down, for I am of the earth. Therefore, O thou very Light and true Comfort, that canst, and mayst, and dost command the heavens : Behold I offer these Tables unto thee, Command them as it pleaseth thee : and O you Ministers, and true lights of understanding, Governing this earthly frame, and the elements wherein we live, Do for me as for the servant of the Lord : and unto whom it hath pleased the Lord to talk of you.
Behold, Lord, thou hast appointed me 50 times ; Thrice 50 times will I lift my hands unto thee. Be it unto me as it pleaseth thee, and thy holy Ministers. I require nothing but thee, and through thee, and for thy honour and glory : But I hope I shall be satisfied, and shall not die, (as thou hast promised) until thou gather the clouds together, and judge all things : when in a moment I shall be changed and dwell with thee for ever." (Amen)
Again, baby3... why are you posting a prayer from an occult source on a Christian forum?
I posted this on another thread, but it bears repeating here:
baby3, are you aware of the source of that prayer?
I think readers should be aware that it was written by astrologist John Dee (although he claims it was revealed to him by an angel...).
I don't see anything immediately objectionable in it, but I'm wondering why you are posting quotes from an occult source on a Christian web site.
Edited by Diana Holberg on 03/07/2012 21:31:47