Originally Posted by Theophilus
Interesting use of language. The origin and existence of righteousness for Christians lies completely outside of themselves. You realize that only the edicts of the New Testament are the basis for the Christian's actions and beliefs? The Old Testament is pre-Christ. BTW - the crusade’s purpose was to turn back Muslim conquests and restore formerly Christian lands to Christian control. The entire history of the crusades is one of belated western reaction to Muslim advances. The crusades were no more offensive than was the American invasion of Normandy.
Didn't know you were on-board with that notion, Theo; glad to hear it. One of my big beefs with contemporary Christianism (a term used to define those whose political agenda is meant to comply with their own definition of Christianity - and by that I mean to keep "Christianism" completely separate from meaningful Christianity).
I'm fond of describing the Christian mis-use of the Old Testament as 'anti-semetic.' For those not playing the home game, Jesus says, in his own words in several places within the Gospels (meh, maybe it's just one), that he is not coming to add to the 10 commandments, but to replace them.
So when I hear someone saying that the old testament says this or that, I think: But the old testament is a book for jews, not for christians... A lot of Christians pick and choose what they like from the Old T and ignore the rest, sort of like Vegeterrians who eat fish...
In any event, the root of this discussion is that some people (we'll label them "Atheists") can't abide disagreement with their own ideology, and they're pointing at this other group (will call them "believers") demonstrating lots of things that Atheists find foolish to believe.
On top of that, then they're stretching the boundaries of credulity to argue that "People who believe this are the reason X, Y, and Z are bad in the world." They imply, or state overtly, that if we could get believers to stop believing foolish things, the world would at worst be better off, and at best would be nirvana?
I'm not sure I see the correlation (because it's spurrious, of course).
FYI, my new brother-in-law is a Lutheran minister. Good guy. Married us. I didn't close my eyes for the prayer, mind you...
People are prone to believing things that others are going to disagree with. People are prone to do bad things in an infinite combination of ways, intentional and unintentional.
Let's define Christianity, as I understand it:
The four Cardinal Virtues are Temperance, Prudence, Justice, and Fortitude.
The three Theological Virtues are Faith, Hope, and Charity.
The seven Heavenly Virtues are Chastity, Temperance, Charity, Diligence, Patience, Kindness, and Humility
They oppose the Seven Deadly Sins of Wrath (Anger), Greed, Sloth, Pride, Lust, Envy, and Gluttony.
I feel very strongly that if you just look at that quote, and try to adopt it as a personal manifesto, you're doing as much as you possibly can to avoid making the bad bad world worse. And that's about as much as we can hope for, as individuals. You can call it religion if you like, or you can call it anything BUT religion, if that is your preference. I find it to be good advice to contemplate as often as your life permits.
I'm an atheist, hoping my agnosticism will someday prove fruitful.
Yet from what I have learned about religion (above), I can actually make my life a better thing to live. If I just focus on the Virtues, and try hard to steer myself away from the Deadly Sins, I'm generally doing the best I can.
The Atheists are mistaking bad people for bad philosophy. There's nothing inherently wrong with the philosophies espoused by the great religions (and some of the lesser ones like veganism and rivery-hippydom). What there are and always will be are bad people who get engaged in the need to be right, who stop being engaged in the ubiquitous battle to be more virtuous than sinful. That's the line several of you are crossing, I feel, in making broad sweeps of 'religion' as a net bad for society.
I cannot think of any major religion that does not preach the problematic axiom of spirituality:
Spirituality and/or Salvation is an individual pursuit
It's incredibly simple to determine whether a someone is genuine or fake:
Ask yourself whether what he is saying is a call to action for you as an individual to practice within your own life.
If he is, then he's the real deal.
If he's telling you what "we" must do, or what "they" must do (or not do, as is more often the case), then he's a grand-stander.
People will always believe irrational stuff. You do. I do. We'll never admit it's irrational stuff, either.