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Monday, March 5, 2012

Christianity's Bloody History

I bet you weren't expecting this.

"Ours is a terrible religion. The fleets of the world could swim in spacious comfort in the innocent blood it has spilt." - Mark Twain, Reflections on Religion

Christianity is often criticized because of its violent history. I've shown elsewhere that religious violence has not caused nearly as much bloodshed as some other causes which we still actively promote today, such as capitalism.

However, even if Christianity has caused a fair amount of suffering, which it has, holding modern Christianity accountable is irrational and a double standard.

This is because there are plenty of other organizations have caused millions of deaths and yet they are hailed as symbols of progress and innovation.

For example, IBM developed the punch card technology that measured large-scale statistical information and provided these machines to the Nazi regime, making the deadly efficiency of the Holocaust possible.

Nobody protests IBM or proposes that we eradicate it in the way that some wish we would abolish religion.

BMW had a hand in the Holocaust, as well. Factories used around 50,000 slave laborers from concentration camps to supply weapons and ammunition to the regime. Hundreds of these labourers died from working in the inhumane conditions and others were executed. BMW produced the Luftwaffe's Fighter Plane engines, as well. BMW was also discovered to have profited from taking over dozens of businesses seized from Jewish families by the Nazis. Incidentally, Mitsubishi built Japanese fighter engines.

Nobody wants to abolish BMW or Mitsubishi.

Perhaps the most extreme example is the US Democratic Party. Democrats have historically represented the interests of white, male, slave-holding Southern farmers. It fought hard to preserve and expand a slave trade that ended more human lives than the Holocaust, the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the Witch Hunts and 9/11 combined. These efforts were a major cause of the American Civil War, which killed or wounded another 800,000.

To be honest, some people do want Democrats to just go away, but not even for this reason. They don't care about the Democratic Party's bloody history any more than anyone cares about BMW, Mitsubishi or IBM.

Why don't we care? Because it's in the past, and because we judge these organizations by what they are, not by what they were. These organization's no longer promote African slavery, or assist tyrannical despots in racial genocide and global domination. In most cases, the unscrupulous people behind these endeavor's are not even alive anymore and the organizations have gone in totally different directions. These charges are simply no longer relevant.

Except when it comes to Christianity. I can't speak for other religions, but Christianity is simply no longer an organization that would attempt to control the Holy Land at all costs, hunt down and kill witches, or torture and execute dissenters. Nevertheless, we are clearly practicing a sort of double standard by picking and choosing which terrible atrocities we're willing to forgive.

Am I arguing that Christianity is perfect? No. Just as BMW and Mitsubishi still produce machines that kill 35-40,000 people annually, Christianity has it's flaws, too.

But if we are going to forgive other organizations for the terrible things they've done in the past, then we must forgive Christianity, which hasn't even been the most destructive of the bunch. Otherwise, we're just being biased, bigoted, and irrational.


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