Saturday, July 31, 2010

Religious intolerance

Matthew 10:34:
34.Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

If there is one prophecy in the bible that has come true, it is the one mentioned in Matthew 10:34. Since it's ascendancy to power Christianity has left a path of destruction littered with rivers of blood of all those that dared to oppose their beliefs, but do not think for a moment that this is unique to Christianity. Since the biblical deity called on Moses to lead his chosen people out of captivity from Egypt and once he purged his people from the undesirables which he did throughout a 40 year sojourn in the O.T.  he supposedly commanded them to conquer the lands across the Red Sea or sea of Reeds since now scholars have said that the latter is a more correct translation and that the former was a mistake.

God chose Israel as his people according to Leviticus 20:26 and as is common with most cultures this theme of exclusivity has caused much bloodshed and strife. To the day Israel continues to bully the Palestinians out of their land, and what do you think is their justification for claiming that land? You guessed it, God gave it to them as an inheritance (Exodus 3:17)! This has been the main cause of religious strife in the middle east for the last two thousand plus years. Religious beliefs have been the cause of unwarranted strife and dissensions ever since man could remember. The Old Testament god was also behind all of the massacres of those inhabitants of those lands which he had promised to his people. They claimed at the edge of the sword what was not rightfully theirs because of a belief that a deity had given it to them.

This was also the beginning of religious intolerance as is stated all throughout the Old Testament. In the ten commandments the very first commandment is according to Exodus 20:3 'Thou shalt have no other gods before me.' and to reinforce this one of the first things that the Hebrews had to do when they inherited these lands that God supposedly promised them was to:' destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves:14.For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God'(Exodus 34:13,14). This O.T. god according to the scriptures had chosen the Hebrew people out of all of the races upon the face of the Earth to represent him initially. It was their job as the chosen people to keep his commandments and literally cleanse the Earth of all infidels and those that opposed the Lord.

In those days there was no salvation for the rest of us it was exclusively for the Hebrews if they remained faithful to God, there was no chance given to these other foreign nations to accept and worship this so called god of gods. By not being Hebrew they were by default condemned as enemies of God and his people, this is evident as well in the story of the Exodus when it clearly says that Pharaoh could not accept the God of the Hebrews even after all he had seen because according to Exodus 11:10 it states that he did so so that he could shew his many signs and wonders before him. This evil deity of the O.T. was cruel to the utmost and as evil or even worse than any human dictator could ever hope to be.

There is an interesting tale in the book of Matthew where a Canaanite woman begged Jesus to heal her daughter who was vexed with demons and it's funny but he told her he came for the house of Israel. That is was not right to cast the bread of his children to the dogs (gentiles/ non-Jews), in essence he called all others including us (you and I dogs) if you don't believe me read it for yourself in Matthew 15:24-28. We are essentially eating from the crumbs of Gods table lol what an insult! Romans 11:11 states that through the stumbling of the Jews the gentiles have obtained salvation to make them (the Jews) jealous.

Once the Christian church obtained this so called promise of salvation they did as the Jews before them and began to build an empire based on those promises. It turned from a cultural to a religious war. This was because they hinged themselves on the O.T. verses that referred to God being a jealous god and how it was now through the new covenant a mandate to make Christianity the one and only true religion in the world. Religion has been the cause of division, dissension, war, and an innumerable number of atrocities in the name of God. But in the end it was all about political power and control, which led to the crusades and subsequent inquisitions.


  1. Chat Piliot, i find your reasoning,
    interesting to say the least. I guess I find it interesting because everything you accuse Christians of doing that cause you to question, you use all the time in your logic against Christianity.
    For me this is really disappointing because I expect an unbias, unemotional, ancient stoic response. Instead you read your own presumptions and make ignorant statements like this one:

    For example take this statement:
    Religion has been the cause of division, dissension, war, and an innumerable number of atrocities in the name of God. But in the end it was all about political power and control, which led to the crusades and subsequent inquisitions.

    I can prove this wrong right away. I agree that people have used religion to terrible things. However I think its so irrational to imply if you got rid of religion these things would not happen as frequently. People who do not follow God still hunger for power and control. I know this for one simple fact. I live in Vancouver, Canada. Vancouver is the least churched city in all of North America. Yet in 2002 it boasted the highest car theft rate in all North America per capta. Every News Report in this city are of People killing and raping all the time in this city and most of them do not consider themselves Christians. Vancouver boasts on the poorest Zip codes in Canada, where women can be treated as property and abused 3 blocks over from the trendy downtown skyline Vancouver is also the hub the sex slave trade of women into North America. I can't argue with the fact that people have done awful things in the name of religion. But lets be honest for a moment, a city where most people are apathetic towards God does not make it any better. If religion were gone tomorrow and the whole world would were atheist, people would still rape, people still commit genocide, people would still steal, people would still enslave others. People would do these for money, power and pleasure and they would do it just as frequently as they do now. In a world like that they would probably do it the name of humanism, or nationalism. Take for example Russia, during its Communist era. Communist Russia was proudly atheistic. There are historical accounts of torture and death of those that professed faith. This then cane be seen as example how people (in the name of Atheism I might ad) are just as carnal as you make us out to be. How can you sit there and tell us we don't have it straight and athiesm is superior when people still act like this when they don't believe in God? Can you see why I take issue with your "rational" argument? It's not. A reasonable person would look at the issue and conclude that humans will do these evil things regardless of the existence of religion. This then becomes mudslinging. Because you point all the ways we have failed, but never stop to examine all the things we have succeded or tried to fix. You don't take the time to ask yourself, have Christians as a general rule of thumb feel remorse about how they have abused their own faith. You haven't taken the time or engery to realize how much energy people put into learning from the way we have been. I don't see any Christian military crusade. I don't see a Christian nation forcing genocide. There really is no "Christian nation" the same way you have Islamic controlled states (yes there is the Vatican)
    I take issue with your rationalism too because when you argue against Christianity you accuse of taking our own basis making the Bible say whatever we want to say. Therefore Christians have tons of different Doctrines. But in this entry thats what your doing.

  2. You take the passages of the Bible that show exlusivity, but then you forget to include the stories that do. For example you say that salvation was strictly for Hebrews yet you leave out the story of Jonah. Niveh was not a Hebrew city and yet Jonah was sent there. You also forget to include the stories where the prophets like elijah and Elisha healed non Jews before they healed their own people. You're doing the same thing you accuse us Christians of. Dude that is not fair. I respect you a lot, but I need something far more well laid out then what you're giving me here.

  3. You have also forgotten that same Jesus talked with A Samaritan woman, a culture that was despised by Jews. If there are examples were 1) Non Jews became "saved" and Jesus and other role models went to the most rejected people its hard to believe that the bible promotes the intolerance you suggest. You can't pick and choose the sections without looking a the ones that show examples to the contrary.

  4. I thought you'd find this interesting....
    a debate/confrontation, my brother, a fervent atheist, was trying to attack the reliability of the New Testament.
    His argument was that under Emperor Constantine, the gospel was so significantly altered as to render our modern manuscripts inaccurate and unreliable.

    This meant that the Roman Empire would have an effective tool for subduing its subjects. My brother accepts the existence of Jesus as an historical figure, but believes that history was rewritten by the Romans to suit their interests, such as was done under Stalin. Though I do not believe this claim, I am interested in knowing how to defend Christianity on this issue.

    Your brother is asking a thoughtful and good question...

    The answer is rather simple, but can be very instructive in illustrating the methodological problems with a number of such "conspiracy theories" of some power structure (e.g. the Roman empire, the Church, a specific power structure, some wealthy Roman family, etc.) radically altering the NT to suit their purposes.

    Let's examine first the issue of WHAT DATA would be required to 'prove' your brother's thesis.

    Logically, your brother would have to produce evidence of:

    Some original "unaltered" manuscripts
    Some later "altered" manuscripts
    Some evidence that some government official, acting in an official capacity, modified the former into the later
    Some evidence that this was done on a widespread basis or large scale
    Some evidence that these roman officials had substantially exclusive control over the publication/copying of the NT texts.
    Note that it is NOT ENOUGH to simply produce a 'motive' (e.g. to control people); one must also have some evidence that it (1) COULD have occurred and (2) DID occur. Without #3 and #4 above, your brother's thesis is "rampant and pure speculation."

  5. Now, the odd thing about this, is that if we have #1 (some unaltered original) from which to determine that an alteration occurred, THEN WE HAVE an 'accurate and reliable' manuscript! In other words, to prove his thesis is to refute it! If the empire had done alterations (without disposing of all the originals) then we would have the originals with which to base our rejection of the Empire's fabrications!

    What this implies is that IF WE HAVE manuscripts that can be dated to PRE-CONSTANTINE years (i.e. in the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd centuries), then we, BY DEFINITION, have manuscripts that are 'unaltered' by CONSTANTINE--and hence your brothers supposition becomes trivial. (Not altogether 'untrue', for we DO FIND alterations in later texts--but these changes can be 'weeded out' on the basis of the earlier, 'unaltered ones'.)

    Interestingly enough this is EXACTLY the case. Most of our NT texts are based on existing manuscripts that were in existence LONG BEFORE the Constantine deal!

    Consider the 'hard data' of textual criticism, archeology, and paleography:

    Below are the major EARLY manuscripts in existence today, with dates and general contents. (All of the below data are from ATNT, MTNT3,EMMT, COMFORT)

    First, let me point out that these texts are NOT simply 'tiny fragments'. Let's look at each of the two collections.

    The Beatty papyri.
    The major papyri in this collection are p45, p46, p47.

    p45: 150-250ad; contains some (or all) of Mt 20, 21, 25, 26; Mr 4-9, 11-12; Lk 6-7, 9-14; Jn 10-11; Acts 4-17.
    p46: 90-175ad; contains some (or all) of Rom 5-6, 8-16; all of I & II Cor, Gal, Eph., Philp., Col, I Thess 1,2,5; all of Hebrews.
    p47: third century, contains Revelation 9:10-17.2
    Depending on how one defines 'tiny', this set of mss ALONE comprise a 'non-tiny' fragment collection!

  6. Bodmer papyri
    The major papyri in this collection are p66, p72, p75.

    p66: 150-200 AD, contains almost all of the Gospel of John!
    p72: 200's, containing all of I & II Peter, Jude
    p75: 175-200 AD, contains most of Luke 3-18, 22-24; John 1-15.
    Again, substantial portions of the NT (as opposed to 'tiny fragments'). And, notice that ALL of these large mss. date from before the 4th century---that is, pre-Constantine.
    But what about OTHER papyri, not included in the Beatty and Bodmer collections? Are there any other mss. that would give us clues as to how early the NT was written and in circulation?

    Aland and Aland (ATNT: 85f) summarize the significance of p52 and the Beatty collection:

    We cannot conclude this survey of the papyri without some further comments on the truly amazing discoveries of the past generation. The critical significance of p52, which preserves only a fragment of John 18, lies in the date of 'about 125' assigned to it by the leading papyrologists. Although 'about 125' allows for leeway of about twenty-five years on either side, the consensus has come in recent years to regard 125 as representing the later limit, so that p52 must have been copied very soon after the Gospel of John was itself written in the early 90's A.D. (with the recent discovery of p90 another second century fragment of the Gospel of John is now known). It provides a critical witness to the quality of the New Testament textual tradition, further confirming it by exhibiting a 'normal text', i.e., attesting the text of today (that of Nestle-Aland26 and GNT3). While it is true that papyri from the third century were known before the discovery of the Chester Beatty papyri, none of them was as early as p46, which contains the Pauline letters and has been dated 'about 200' (with some leeway on either side). But more significantly, all the early papyri known previously contain no more than a few verses of the New Testament text, with the exception of p15 from the third century which preserves almost a whole leaf. Now for the first time entire New Testament writings became available from the early period.

    Although that's enough data to refute your brother's position, let's go a step farther...

    Now let's as the question as to how much ACTUAL modification of the texts occurred during the 4th century by the Empire or Church. Some will say that wholesale modifications of the text occurred during this period. These 'hard data' mss. above SHOULD exert control over these theories of massive recensions and revisions. And the significance of textual finds in this direction is argued by Aland (ATNT: 87):

    The implications of Papyrus Bodmer XIV/XV (p75) of the gospels of Luke and John went even further. Written somewhat later (than p66), at the beginning of the third century, it comprised twenty-seven almost perfectly preserved sheets together with a part of their binding. This papyrus marked another revolution in our understanding of how the New Testament text developed: its text proved to be so close to that of Codex Vaticanus (B) that the theory of recensions, i.e., of thoroughgoing revisions of the New Testament text made in the fourth century, was no longer defensible. One of the main pillars supporting the dominant theory of New Testament textual history was now demolished.

    It should be rather clear from the above that the 'hard data' of textual criticism (NOT a 'theological thing'!) documents quite strongly that we have (1) early, 'unaltered' documents from the pre-Constantine years; and (2) that even the manuscripts DURING/AFTER Constantine do not show significant alteration from the pre-Constantine ones...

    So, even if the Roman empire had a 'motive', they obviously did not act upon it...

  7. I suppose you could argue that the church alter the pre constantine ones too, but in order to work

    you'd to have to somehow prove that the above ones found were the ones that were altered. If you're thesis is true and the church DID alter the pre constantine ones, it would be illogical to assume they got every single copy. leaving room for the idea there are unaltered versions out there