After Paris: Christians, don’t forget that we too have killed in God’s name

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People hug on the street near the Bataclan concert hall following fatal attacks in Paris, France, November 14, 2015. Gunmen and bombers attacked busy restaurants, bars and a concert hall at locations around Paris on Friday evening, killing dozens of people in what a shaken French President described as an unprecedented terrorist attack.    REUTERS/Christian Hartmann   - RTS6X48

People hug on the street near the Bataclan concert hall following fatal attacks in Paris, France, November 14, 2015. Gunmen and bombers attacked busy restaurants, bars and a concert hall at locations around Paris on Friday evening, killing dozens of people in what a shaken French President described as an unprecedented terrorist attack. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann - RTS6X48

People hug on the street near the Bataclan concert hall following fatal attacks in Paris, France, November 14, 2015. Gunmen and bombers attacked busy restaurants, bars and a concert hall at locations around Paris on Friday evening, killing dozens of people in what a shaken French President described as an unprecedented terrorist attack. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann - RTS6X48

People hug on the street near the Bataclan concert hall following fatal attacks in Paris, France, November 14, 2015. Gunmen and bombers attacked busy restaurants, bars and a concert hall at locations around Paris on Friday evening, killing dozens of people in what a shaken French President described as an unprecedented terrorist attack. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann – RTS6X48

My pen was quiet for the last two weeks, as I was lecturing in western Europe. My path took me to Paris — just 36 hours before the horrific terror attacks, my wife and I were in that grand old city, which seemed (at the time) sunny, happy, and brimming with life. I join with so many others in deploring the unspeakably evil attacks and grieving the terrible losses inflicted there.

It is sadly inevitable that continual acts of killing by those acting in the name of their sick version of Islam ultimately would hurt the public reputation of the religion as a whole. Social media was already awash with inflammatory comments regarding the purported fatal flaws of Islam before the attacks, and these are, of course, only intensifying now. Reporting from France suggests the mood there toward its Muslim citizens is darkening. We are seeing signs of a similar phenomenon in the United States, abetted by presidential politics.


READ: “After attacks, Muslims in Paris fear being targeted anew”


As a Christian scholar and minister, I have made it a practice not to point fingers at supposed problems in other religious communities but instead have focused on helping my fellow Christians practice our own faith better. It has always seemed to me the responsibility of religious leaders to put their own house in order, which gives us plenty to do.

One further reason for this hesitancy is that grand old world religions like the three Abrahamic faiths are highly complex organic realities. Very, very few people from outside a religious tradition really understand the dynamics of that tradition well, with the possible exception of professional scholars who make a lifetime study of a religion.

This is one reason why it is sadly amusing to hear Christians pontificate online about what they think they understand about the inner reality of Islam. On what basis have they suddenly gained this expertise?

Traveling in western Europe, and looking at that continent as a Christian with some historical sensitivity, it is hard not to be reminded that Christians also have killed in God’s name. To visit the grand old Christian cathedrals of Europe is to be reminded of the close alliance between church and state for centuries in waging all kinds of wars in the name of Christ and Christendom. Just look up at the stained glass windows integrating cross, sword, and crown. These wars claimed the lives of Muslims, Jews, and fellow Christians.

Or go to the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, which is right next door to the grand old Westerkerk. This lovely church’s bells chimed the hour while Anne and her desperate family were hiding out from baptized Christians who were trying to catch and kill them. Anne wrote about those bells in her diary. But they didn’t save her when Dutch and German policemen took her and her family away and sent them off to death.

My dissertation was on Christians who rescued Jews during the Holocaust, and the basic finding is that there were precious few of them. Jews were murdered in Christian Europe — after 1600 years of being a marginalized, often persecuted minority — largely to the deafening sound of Christian apathy and indifference and sometimes with explicit and religiously grounded Christian support. Today the casual visitor to Europe would never know that for centuries it was the largest Jewish population center in the world. Jews certainly remember.

My own reading of at least northern hemisphere Christianity is that its violent potentialities have largely been tamed, for complex historical reasons partly involving the Enlightenment, secularization, and the birth of liberal democracy. But Christian violence can resurface in just the right (wrong) historical circumstances, as when in the early 1990s extremist Christians in the US started attacking abortion clinics and killing those who worked there.

So the problem is not an abstraction called “Islam.” And it’s not “Christianity.” It’s human nature. But leaders in these and all religious communities do have a sacred responsibility. They must teach versions of their religion that produce believers who will love rather than murder their neighbors.

I welcome your thoughtful comments on this article. You an also find me on Twitter and Facebook.

  • Jon

    Thanks for the very good and insightful article. This gives me hope that some version of Christianity (and Islam) can be crafted which is compatible with reality and with a just, healthy and sustainable world. This article is refreshingly honest, and the second to last paragraph (starting “My own….”) is spot on – a clear statement on a complex reality so often distorted.

    I may have a minor quibble with the last paragraph. I do see things in both religions (and especially their scriptures) that fan the hatreds of human nature and worsen the worst parts of our minds. So I don’t completely exonerate either religion. I do agree that they both can (and need to) produce loving versions of themselves – with effort and an open acknowledgement of those harmful verses and ideas.

    But you may have meant that anyway. Regardless, – great article.

  • Dave Miller

    David, I too thank you for your voice of moderation, which needs to be heard. And I agree that Christianity’s violent potentialities have largely been tamed by the Enlightenment, secularization, and the birth of liberal democracy (noting also that Christianity played a role in the birth of liberal democracy).

    My concern is whether Islam is able to be similarly tamed. As far as I can see, has no internal grounds allowing for the separation of church and state. And unlike Christianity, it provides no grounding for nonviolence and pacifism. I have asked people more familiar with Islam than I whether there is any strain of it parallel to Christianity’s Quakers and Mennonites. The best answer I’ve been given is Sufism–which is mystic and ascetic, but not pacifistic as Quakerism is.

    Pacifist elements in Christianity provided the impetus for a “just war” theory (which the U.S. violated when we invaded Iraq). But I know of no equivalent “just war” theory in Islam. That’s a…

  • Jon

    I think Islam can be tamed as well as Christianity (and Judaism). Why? Because the taming process is sociological, not theological. The elites who understand the Qu’ran and Hadiths already reject violence. The people carrying out the violence often have a very shallow theological underpinning, and the heady stuff you mention just isn’t important (nor understood) to them, and the pacifist Christian sects you mentioned are, and always were, small and insignificant. Christianity was tamed without regard to their existence. Further evidence comes from the fact that large groups of Muslims, such as most Muslims in the US, have already updated their Islam to a modern, peaceful version.

  • The Sanity Inspector

    Liberal self-flagellation is not a good guide to the threat of violent Jihadism.

  • The Sanity Inspector

    “A liberal is a man too broadminded to take his own side in a quarrel.” – Robert Frost

  • Dave Miller

    Jon, thanks for your thoughtful reply. Yes, pacifist groups in Christianity have never been mainstream, but my point is that there is a basis for their existence in the foundation of Christianity. It can be argued that Jesus himself was a pacifist. Christian leaders wishing to condemn violence can quote passages like “never repay evil with evil,” “turn the other cheek,” and so on. I’m not saying that mainstream Christians have invariably been guided by this sentiment; only that it’s there in Christianity.

    I take your point about elites who understand the Qu’ran and Hadiths rejecting violence. But are there any pithy pacifist quotes to be had in those? If so, let’s hear them more often! Can they point to a leader/founder who rejected violence as clearly as Jesus? Let’s hear about that too!

    Consider the denunciation Egypt’s Grand Mufti. He said, “None of these extremists have been educated in Islam in genuine centers of Islamic learning.” So what? That ends up a very…

  • Dale

    Dear David Gushee:
    Please quit making excuses.
    You say you make it a habit of not pointing fingers. Yet it seems like that is exactly what you are doing here. Victim blaming will solve nothing. The responsibility here lies with those who perpetrate such barbaric acts, and not with past misdeeds of Christianity, Judaism or Islam.
    Past being the operative word. And with the probable exception of a relative few isolated incidents, (isolated meaning not undertaken by whole, but by a few radical individuals) I am talking the very distant past…as in decades, probably even centuries since this kind of wholesale atrocity was committed in the name of God.

  • Dominic

    Christians were never cowardly murderers who hid amongst the Muslims. Open, defensive wars against aggression yes……600 years ago. Muslims need to expose their own criminals, or kill them under their own dubious laws.

  • I certainly do not see this as a defense of ISIS or any radical Islamic group., nor necessarily an attack upon modern Christianity. I read it this way: knowing our own history is crucial to understanding another’s faith. and our assessments should be informed with curiosity, seeking understanding first, then judgement. It’s easy to see wrong-headedness from the outside; more difficult to achieve an empathetic understanding. Once we can do that, we may move toward an effective reconciliation and find a way to move forward that does, indeed, speak love to have. Peace begins with me.

  • Larbi Megari

    Thank you David for this insightful article.

    I am Muslim from Algeria, a journalist writing about religion. I am convinced that terrorism (Islamic one) did not start in its beginnings as a planned action against anyone, including the West. Terrorism is the logical result or fruit of awkward religious communication. Angry (for various reasons) preachers addressed angry Muslims using religious contents selected on “anger” basis, and we are all tasting fruits of this wrong communication.

    Religious understanding, of any religion, can never be neutral, either good or bad, so let’s work to make it a good understanding.

    But in all this, why don’t we look into sacred texts of Islam to make an impartial idea on this religion.

  • I’m Sorry,? Larbi Megari,but you’ll have to clear up my confusion here…what”sacred texts of Islam” are you talking about that are impartial? The Hadiths? The Quran itself? Seriously? I await your reply.

  • War divides. It puts neighbor against neighbor and brother against brother. While the events that took place on November 13, 2015 were tragic, the reaction of the world is even more troublesome. Much like the reaction to the events that took place on September 11th, the recent events in France and Germany has caused a modern day witch hunt. Of course, instead of witches, the hunt is for terrorist. Much like the witch hunt, people are being accused and condemned by visible characteristics instead of definitive actions.

  • Larry

    That is some heavy weaselwording, qualification and equivocation you got there. All to make an elaborate “No true Scotsman” fallacy.

    It doesn’t wash. For example, every Nazi and most of their collaborators identified themselves as Christian before the war and after it. Various Christian churches had no problem fanning the flames of murderous anti-semitism back then. (The Catholic Church did not apologize for its efforts there until 20 years after the fact)/

    Conquest in the name of Christ was a key part of colonization and its attendant genocidal actions until well into the 20th Century. The last genocide in Europe was done by Christians against Muslims not more than 20 years ago.

    There is nothing inherent to Christianity in practice which makes it calm. The only thing which has kept Fundamentalist Christianity from the level of atrocity as its Islamic counterparts has been the power and influence of secular government and ideals. Something Christian apologists usually…

  • Larry

    “Open, defensive wars against aggression yes……600 years ago”

    Like:
    The the genocide in Bosnia?
    The genocide of Tauregs and Bedouin in North Africa by British and French?
    The Invasion of Iraq?
    The wars in Chechnya?

    Christian apologists usually have a terrible understanding of history.

  • It seems to all come back to moral relativity. Man has and continues to do horrible things, but that is always an outside prospective. Those involved believe with all of their heart and mind that they are doing what needs to be done.

  • Bernardo

    And your God addressed the issue before when the Christian forces defeated the invading Muslim armies at Tours in 732 CE. Onward Christian soldiers!!!

    It appears that the Muslim armies are on the march once again. See some of their brutal military history as outlined at http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/imperialism/notes/islamchron.html

  • Larbi Megari

    I did not say these texts are impartial (Please read my post again), all I am saying is, to make an IMPARTIAL IDEA on any given religion (or even on an idealogy) we need to go back to its scriptures, and not to refer to people acting in the name of this religion.

  • Dominic

    Hardly religious conflicts. There was no decision by Christians to kill Muslims in any of your “points”. We were there to push back war mongers….we didn’t care a bit what religion they were.
    Groups of Christian terrorists, ala Bosnia, do not rate as world wide threats to Islam…..they are stupid tribal matters that are a thousand years old that they use the Christian banner to rationalize their actions. Hardly the type of universal, coordinated Islamic terrorists we have today.
    Purely religious wars ended with the Crusades and the conflicts after the heresy of Protestantism……..so, 500 years ago.

  • Jon

    Yes, Jesus did say “turn the other cheek”, but he also said “I have not come to bring peace, but a sword”, “I have come to set the world on fire”, “those who did not want me to be king, bring them here and kill them in front of me” and so on. It’s not hard to find some verses that fit either view, and that’s the same with the Qu’ran, which has peaceful verses, as well as violent verses. I don’t see a difference between the two – in both cases it comes down to what the believer wants to do.

    Yes, I agree it would be nice to hear more pithy Muslim peace quotes – though I’ve certainly seen a bunch of them on facebook over the last few days. Yes, Muhammad did say lots of peaceful stuff – and I have seen those.

    Best- Jon….

  • Jon

    The Qu’ran, like the gospels, has plenty of vicious stuff, as well as plenty of peaceful stuff. In both cases, a believer can make a case for peace or for terrorism, as they choose. Looking to scripture alone is not sufficient for guidance.

  • Jack

    The content of this article is true enough, and one has to be hiding under an intellectual rock not to know all of it by now.

    People now know about the depredations of European Christendom, which was largely the product of a millennia-old church-state fusion that was completely unbiblical from a New Testament standpoint.

    Gushee is assuming that the West must fret about having a self-righteous sense of superiority to all things Islamic. While that is a spiritual concern, it is utterly irrelevant and ultimately unhelpful to the task at hand, which is to muster the moral will and confidence in the righteousness of our cause that is essential to wiping ISIS & friends off the earth.

    In a post-9/11 world, we don’t meed is more navel gazing, more self-criticism, and more introspection. There’s a time for that, but not now. We need the opposite — a strengthened will to be adults, do our duty, and physically take apart a terrible enemy.

  • Jack

    I agree. There is a time and a place for tough introspection and self-criticism…..but not when we’re trying to muster the moral will to fight a totalitarian enemy bent on turning the world into a slaughterhouse.

  • Jack

    David Gushee is the opposite of one who is prophetic. He can be relied upon time and again to regurgitate that which is politically correct. He is a cultural conformist, in that he conforms to the consensus of cultural elites. If he were living a century ago, he’d be doing the same thing, but only on the opposite side of the divide.

    I haven’t seen a single instance where he questions his own easy conformity or subjects it to critical thought.

    In Gushee Land, all the intellectuals are liberal and all the conservatives knuckle-draggers. From CS Lewis to Bill Buckley, Richard John Neuhaus to an entire generation of Commentary and First Things writers, it’s as though none of these people ever existed.

    This is what happens when one’s only reference point for non-liberalism is ultra-fundamentalist Protestantism. There is no center-right in Gushee Land.

  • Jack

    The “invasion of Iraq?” What the……?

    How in the world was that religious in nature?

  • Jack

    There is nothing to understand, other than the fact that we are in a war, not of our choosing, against radical Islamism. It is not the same as Islam, and most Muslims are not radical Islamists. But it cannot be divorced entirely from Islam any more than the depredations of European Christendom can be divorced entirely from Christianity.

    But most people know all of this already.

    What we need know isn’t more knowledge, but to act on what we know. We need to crush ISIS in a war, and we need to re-engage the ideological battle against radical Islamism.

    In the battle for hearts and minds in the Muslim world, we need to kill terrorists and also prevent people from becoming terrorists in the first place.

    But again, we know this — the problem is we’re not doing it enough. We are waging neither physical war nor ideological war. We are still playing game and as a result, the enemy is getting stronger and more civilians are being targeted and murdered.

  • Larry

    Wrong. The Bosnian conflict went along sectarian lines. Even to the point of Catholic vs. Orthodox Christian in the same country. Muslims were specifically singled out for genocide by the Serbs and Croats on the basis of their religion.

    “…they are stupid tribal matters that are a thousand years old that they use the Christian banner to rationalize their actions.”

    But its somehow different when its done by Muslims? Hardly.

    In case you haven’t noticed there is a sectarian bent to much of the violence in the Middle East as well. Muslim on Muslim. You are simply engaging in hypocrisy for its own sake.

    The purely religious wars went on for many centuries after the Crusades. 8 million dead in the 30 Years War, the Troubles in Ireland were also sectarian based. You also must lay the Holocaust at the feet of the Catholic and Lutheran Churches as well.

    At this point you are simply doing what every Christian apologist must do, 1ie for the Lord.

  • Larry

    A perfect example of Christians warring with Muslims for something clearly not “defensive” as Dom claimed. Of course it became a lightning rod for every Jihadi in the area as a demonstration that the West is trying to attack Islam itself. If it wasn’t a war of religions at the outset, it certainly became one.

  • Larry

    Of course you don’t want an honest and objective definition of Christian. It is always including people you want to glom from imagewise and deny those who tarnish it.

    Religious belief means never having to abide by things such as evidence, rational arguments or intellectual honesty. After all when one has faith, who needs to be rational or honest? 🙂

    Unless you are the living incarnation of Jesus himself, you don’t get to define who his believers are and who isn’t. Typical fundies like to pretend they are the only Christians that really exist. Just like Islamic State believes they are the only real Muslims. The Germans identified themselves as Christian before the war and after. Even those who saluted the Nazi flag.
    I will leave you with an article (which you won’t read) about the intersection of church and Nazi state.
    http://www.historytoday.com/robert-carr/nazism-and-christian-heritage

  • Larry

    Nazis found inspiration from centuries of official Christian antisemitism.
    http://www.historytoday.com/robert-carr/nazism-and-christian-heritage

    “We are at fault in not avenging all this innocent blood of our Lord and the blood of the children they have shed since then (which still shines forth from their eyes and their skin). We are at fault in not slaying them.” – Martin Luther

  • Dave Miller

    Hi, Jack. You wrote, “…the task at hand, which is to muster the moral will and confidence in the righteousness of our cause that is essential to wiping ISIS & friends off the earth.” The notion of our cause being righteous makes me a bit nervous. I worry that it provides fertile ground for a posture of self-righteousness which can be used to justify evil deeds. What I’ve meant to say in my postings above is that Christianity entails warnings against self-righteousness and prohibitions about repaying evil with evil. This is what, as far as I can tell, is lacking in Islam and what makes Islamic denunciations of ISIS so weak. As Augustine cautioned, “Never fight evil as if it’s something that arose entirely outside of yourself.” If Islam can marshall similar texts, warnings, and prohibitions, then please please let us hear them!

  • Dave Miller

    Jon, I’m not denying that there are elements in both Islam and Christianity that can be used to justify pro-violent or pro-peaceful behavior. I’m saying (among other things) that I’ve never heard of Islamic NON-VIOLENCE. (Sorry to shout there, but trying to be heard.) Please let us have some of the pithy Qur’anic quotes telling human beings not to repay evil with evil, not to judge, and not to exact vengeance. (And if those could be coming authoritatively from the Grand Mufti of Egypt, that would get some of the world’s well-deserved attention! But first those must be available for quotation.)

  • Dominic

    Again, the unfathomable calling of WWII as a religious conflict of any kind. The Nazi regime, at only Hitler’s command, was the cause of the Holocaust. Your atheism has warped you into a vile revisionist that sees god lurking behind every evil deed.
    Ever think yourself as a receptor for Satan? You act it.

  • Bernardo

    But before the Crusades, Inquisitions, Nazis and Islamic terror we have these words of wisdom:

    “The Two Universal Sects

    They all err—Moslems, Jews,
    Christians, and Zoroastrians:

    Humanity follows two world-wide sects:

    One, man intelligent without religion,

    The second, religious without intellect. ”

    Al-Ma’arri
    , born AD 973 /, died AD 1058 / .

    Al-Ma’arri was a blind Arab philosopher, poet and writer.[1][2] He was a controversial rationalist of his time, attacking the dogmas of religion and rejecting the claim that Islam possessed any monopoly on truth.”

  • Sabelotodo2

    There are rational explanations for earlier parts of our Christian history in which killing wrongly happened in the name of God. In those very unenlightened eras, those vying for power and dominance under a particular religious flag, used terror and fear of death as very crude tools of persuasion, to claim territory and thus souls, for their god–pretty much what the gihhadis are currently doing. During the Spanish Inquisition the Catholic Church stooped to similar tactics to weed out Jews secretly practicing their faith while appearing as nominal Catholics.

    Why were these practices abandoned centuries ago? Because of the parallel march of secular intellectual enlightenment alongside of Christian devotion. That enlightenment has also led to deployment of the killing tool to stop violent religious persecution. Seventy-five years ago, America–a “Christian nation” went to war to stop a madman from his slaughter of Jews and quest for world domination.Chrisians today don’t regret…

  • Larry

    ” The Nazi regime, at only Hitler’s command, was the cause of the Holocaust.”

    Feel free to continue the contribution of centuries of Catholic and Lutheran antisemitism while you make your excuses. It doesn’t get any more believable the more you say it.

    Your desire to demonize atheists fits in well with your desire to demonize people who believe in other religions as well. You are compulsive demonizer. 🙂

    “Ever think yourself as a receptor for Satan? ”

    Nope. But I do think of the old Tom Waits lyric, “There Ain’t No Devil, It’s Just God When He’s Drunk”

  • Larry

    1. America was never a Christian Nation. Still isn’t. (I would love to hear what you meant by such a statement)

    2. Sectarian killing by Christians didn’t end until the 1990’s. Feel free to cough up excuses for the Bosnian genocide and “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland.

    3. The only reason one needs to mention Christian atrocities here is because many of them persist in language concerning wiping Islam off the map or declaring all of its adherents to be barbarians by nature. Especially from the Evangelical sects. Its counterproductive.

  • Sabelotodo2

    No response needed here! Those embedded hatreds somehow never seem to lead to any level of enlightenment . . . .

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  • Art

    Under a theocracy that is; (God directly leading) any judgment occurring would be absolute and final; once Babylon overthrew God’s chosen people; (God’s decision) the days of theocracy were coming to an end. Jesus never instructed His followers to take or rule by force. True Christians (remnant) follow this rule of Christ; that said; any other doctrine espousing anything but self defense is spurious and not of God. “Thou shalt not murder… very different from senseless killing in “God’s name”. Those so called “Christians” need to be reviewed and labeled according to Isa 8:20.

  • Dominic

    Larry and Bernardo. What a duet. Brain tumors acting independently. Amazing.

  • Jack

    David, I obviously agree, but it is a psychological impossibility to guard against both extremes at the same time at any given moment. The answer to the dilemma is that there’s a time and a place for everything. There’s a time to be introspective and self-critical, but that time is not when your enemy is on a rampage and is poised to turn the world into a slaughterhouse. That is the time, again, to muster the moral will to fight and win.

  • Jack

    David, I would recommend you read Reinhold Niebuhr. There is simply no other writer over the past century who addressed these issues better than he did. While recognizing the risk of self-righteousness, and writing quite a bit about that danger, he also criticized the liberal quasi-pacifism of his time, promoted in the name of avoiding self-righteousness, as dangerously naïve when confronted with the terrible threats of Fascism and Communism.

  • Jack

    Wrong, Larry. Not even far lefties like yourself alleged that America attacked Saddam for religious reasons. Remember, in those days, people like you were bellowing about oil, Cheney, and Halliburton. Not a peep out of you about religion. You hewed to the normative Marxist line that it was all about money and resources.

  • Jack

    Larry, I’m countering the simplistic notion that any claim that anybody isn’t a Christian succumbs to the “no-true-Scotsman” fallacy. Yes, some claims do — namely those which judge who’s a Christian based on conduct. But other claims do not — namely those which apply a doctrinal test based on the historical church creeds like the Apostles Creed.

    Based on the doctrinal test, major Nazis like Hitler were not Christian. They rejected Christianity’s core doctrines on creation, fall, and redemption. They did not see all humans as being created in God’s image. They did not see all of humanity as fallen. They did not believe in eternal salvation by grace through faith in Christ, but in earthly salvation by race, with Christ recast as the ultimate Aryan fighting man, even though He was (and is) obviously a Jew.

    And they tried to replace Christian churches with “Reich” churches anchored on the old Marcionite heresy.

  • Jack

    Dominic, I think lefties are so used to redefining everything, they hardly notice how Nazism completely redefined Christianity, making into something completely different doctrinally from the historical Faith. The Nazis went so far, even the spineless, theologically radical German church of the 1930s eventually rose up in protest against the Nazis’ attempt to create “Reich” churches which were as much like churches as brothels were and which denied every major doctrine of the Christian faith.

  • Jack

    Larry, you’re telling me nothing I don’t already know. You’re acting like this is some startling new revelation uncovered yesterday morning. Well, it’s not.

    Hitler and the Nazis drew constantly from Euro-Christendom’s despicable “legacy of hatred” against the Jews, to use the name of a book by an evangelical named David Rausch about Christian anti-Semitism in Europe.

    But to conclude from this that Hitler and the Nazis were themselves Christian is either off-the-charts naïve or maliciously mendacious. Again, Hitler and the Nazis could not have been Christian, since their teachings completed contradicted the major doctrines that define Christianity in all times and places. If to be anti-Semitic is to be a Christian, then we must call Osama bin Laden a Christian since he hated Jews as well.

  • Algird

    ” Civilization will not attain to its perfection until the last stone from the last church falls on the last priest! ” – Emile Zola

    ” Politics is the acquisition and exercise of power.
    Religion is the acquisition and exercise of power.
    Two sides of the same coin. ” – Algird

  • Dave Miller

    Hi again, Jack. You wrote, “There’s a time to be introspective and self-critical, but that time is not when your enemy is on a rampage and is poised to turn the world into a slaughterhouse. That is the time, again, to muster the moral will to fight and win.”

    Okay. But the point I’ve been trying to make since Nov. 17 has been that Christianity provides a grounding for pacifism, while Islam doesn’t AFAIK. Pacifism requires a disentanglement of church and state, which Islam doesn’t countenance. For a Christian state like Augustine’s Rome to find a path from pacifism to engagement of an enemy requires a “just war” theory…which Islam also doesn’t have AFAIK.

    That’s why I argued on Nov. 17 that while Christianity’s “violent potentialities” could be tamed as Dr. Gushee pointed out, I doubted that the same could be true for Islam.

    I’m still waiting for some sharp Islamic denunciations of ISIS grounded in Islamic nonviolence. I don’t think they’re coming forth,…

  • Shawnie5

    When you haven’t read the scriptures, are ignorant of the most basic of Christian doctrines, and don’t even know many actual Christians, it’s easy to be suckered by anyone wearing the Christian hat – let alone a consummate actor and manipulator like Hitler.

    Even Hitchens, for all his blind spots, knew better: “I would say that if you don’t believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ and Messiah, and that he rose again from the dead and by his sacrifice our sins are forgiven, you’re really not in any meaningful sense a Christian.”

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  • john

    Self deprecation isn’t noble or Christian.
    People of all faiths commit rape, murder, and other heinous acts.
    The Islamic Jihad ripped through Christians for1,500 years. The Crusades were began to stop this… Jesus said turn the other cheek not to be a doormat for evil.
    In modern times one recognized religion makes a public proclamation to their God just prior to committing these acts. Only one religion has a majority that’s silent about these things done in the name of their faith. Only one recognized world religion has leaders encouraging these acts. That religion is Islam.
    Christian and Jewish Leaders do not encourage, condone, or preach to carry out these acts in their sermons or at any other time. Yet, almost daily we can find a recognized leader of Islam that encourages or justifies these acts. Christians follow the teachings of Jesus Christ (The New Testament). There aren’t references to, directions for, condoning, or justifying any act of violence. The Quran…