Religion has been divisive

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Cal Thomas wrote a column titled “His ‘other gospel’” in the May 19 Chronicle. While I agree with Mr. Thomas’ criticism of Barack Obama’s religious views and his use of religious concepts for political issues, I am appalled by Mr. Thomas’s statement – “I recently wrote that it is becoming increasingly difficult for people who believe the Bible is God’s Word to impose their beliefs on those who disagree with them” – unless he intends the statement to be a criticism of the religious arrogance associated with Christianity.

Historically, Christians have imposed and routinely practiced genocide on those indigenous peoples whose beliefs did not embrace Christianity. An excellent example is what white settlers did to the American Indians. Karl Marx got one idea right when he said religion is the “opium of the people.”

In all fairness, the same criticism of arrogance could be leveled at Islam, of which a precept is to force the infidel to convert to the “true” religion of Islam. Religion historically has been a divisive element in all societies and cultures.

I am not advocating atheism. There surely is a superior power, much greater than mankind. However, 2,000 years of Christianity certainly has not improved the species, nor has any other religion. Man still practices atrocities on mankind, nature, the environment and other species.

Somewhere, the precepts of Christianity have been corrupted and perverted. Man eventually will have to take responsibility for his actions.

Victoria E. Antonacci

Augusta

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desertcat6
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desertcat6 05/25/12 - 03:33 am
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Yes, Victoria, there is an

Yes, Victoria, there is an on-going battle on earth against good and evil. Its a struggle for the souls of men and woman. And, yes, that's why evil worms its way into individual Christians, and sin has wrongly been committed in the name of the Lord. The Bible covers this, and I'm partial to hearing Brother Bill at ABC lay it out. Yes, man will eventually have to take responsibility for his actions before God. I'll be praying you do so as a Christian.

seenitB4
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seenitB4 05/25/12 - 04:36 am
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Another article on religion...aaah

Man still practices atrocities on mankind, nature, the environment and other species.

That is true....so what would the world be like if we had 0 religion???
Do we really want to know?

Techfan
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Techfan 05/25/12 - 05:24 am
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Isn't Brother Bill one of

Isn't Brother Bill one of those pastors who thinks Catholics aren't Christians?

nofanofobama
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nofanofobama 05/25/12 - 05:58 am
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isnt it in the koran that the

isnt it in the koran that the infidels are to be converted or executed. ..also the LTE writer is greatly mistaken about historical events..

desertcat6
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desertcat6 05/25/12 - 06:07 am
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Yes, there is a Preacher

Yes, there is a Preacher called Bill saying something like that. From what I saw on-line he looks nothing like my Pastor. Thanks.

Bizkit
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Bizkit 05/25/12 - 07:32 am
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The letter writer is either

The letter writer is either ignorant or naive of 2000 years of Christianity and the influence on history, art, science, and culture. It isn't all good but what is? Anytime humans are involved we screw it up. Even Buddhism has had corruptions and violence. 2000 years of trying to teach a bunch of animals how to be altruistic. Some successes and some failures.

Fundamental_Arminian
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Fundamental_Arminian 05/25/12 - 07:35 am
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Cal Thomas' column

Whoever wants to read Cal Thomas' statement in context can find it in his column, "The President's 'other gospel,'" at this link:

http://online.worldmag.com/2012/05/17/the-presidents-other-gospel/

There Mr. Thomas refutes our president's claim that his endorsement of gay marriages has biblical support. Because Mr. Thomas is a Baptist, and Baptists have historically advocated religious freedom and opposed national churches, he most likely was speaking tongue-in-cheek when he mentioned how difficult it has become for Bible-believers to impose their faith on other people.

The Lord Jesus commanded that his followers "Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation" (Mark 16:15 ESV), but he never ordered them to hurt or kill the unbelievers. Instead, he added, "Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned" (Mark 16:16 ESV).

We are free to accept or reject the gospel (good news about salvation through trust in Christ Jesus). On Judgment Day, we shall all have to stand before God to give an account to him.

Bizkit
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Bizkit 05/25/12 - 07:35 am
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What is amazing is that three

What is amazing is that three religions grew from the seed of Abraham and two of them dominate 2/3 of the religious people of the earth. For some made up myth it sure has lasted and influenced a lot of folks over a long time.

Bizkit
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Bizkit 05/25/12 - 07:46 am
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Religions did evolve and are

Religions did evolve and are memes and replicators so they serve a purpose in the species. Likely the tendency for religions is just as biological as a sexual preference like homosexuality. But you don't have to accept a religion or homosexuality. However you have to agree The Power of Myths is staggering.

howcanweknow
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howcanweknow 05/25/12 - 07:56 am
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Huh?

Not really sure what the purpose of the LTE is. Everyone knows that Christianity is indeed divisive. Has been for 2000 years. The New Testament talks about that very openly. It's just logical. Christ came and said He was God incarnate, and was the only way for mankind to get to heaven. That's an inherently very divisive statement. OK. No news there.

But, Victoria is certainly confused -- or at least misinformed. She says that "Historically, Christians have imposed and routinely practiced genocide on those indigenous peoples whose beliefs did not embrace Christianity." Hey Victoria, if you are going to evaluate Christianity, then examine the direct teachings of that faith, not what some "supposed" Christian said or did. Victoria is repeating the all-too-common error of saying that Christianity, as a whole, is bad because we know Christians have done some bad things. This is a very naive and, frankly, dishonest way to evaluate Christianity. Sounds more like Victoria simply has an issue with Christianity and is grabbing at any straw she can to attempt to downgrade it.

As Bizkit points out above, Victoria is cherry-picking what she want to believe, and avoids the real issues. She boldly states that Christians have done some bad things, but she curiously omits all the good things done in the name of Christianity (hospitals, charitable organizations, founding universities -- such as Harvard and Duke, feeding / caring for the poor, etc.). She presents only a very one-sided argument. She is either misinformed or intentionally blind to the whole truth here. Either way, her LTE fails to support her agenda.

I do agree with her that the precepts of Christianity are often corrupted by people. I assume she respects those precepts -- precepts that say very clearly that Christ is the only way to God, and that all other ways are dead ends. It is not arrogant, as Victoria tries to suggest, to simply repeat and affirm the words of Christ. You cannot be a Christian and believe that Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, etc. are just as valid. Oil and water. Christ does not allow compromise with the world's religions. If that appears arrogant, then so be it. But, if Christ is indeed God Incarnate as He claimed, then the only genuine arrogance is to delude yourself into thinking that you know better than God -- that He is wrong, and you are correct.

Christianity is very different and is divisive as well. And, praise God for that difference!

Fundamental_Arminian
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Fundamental_Arminian 05/25/12 - 08:03 am
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Judgment has begun at God's house

Soapy, everyday we see believers as well as non-believers expose the ills of organized religion. In the apostle John's day, there were already problems in a church under a man named Diotrephes (3 John 9-10). Our Lord mentioned various problems in his letters to the seven churches identified in Revelation 2-3. The apostle Peter warned that false teachers were going to come (2 Peter 2:1-3).

If all were going well in organized religion, what the Bible has predicted about hypocrites and false teachers in the church would be disproved.

Bezukhov
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Bezukhov 05/25/12 - 08:08 am
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Just Wondering...

Yes, Christianity, and others, to be fair, did practice violence and brutality. Now the question is, if those religions did not practice such atrocities, would they have survived? We do not know, since we only have what past events can tell us. And what they tell us is that there was no "Golden Rule", but only a "Golden Suggestion", which could be ignored, if it was profitable to do so.

And what was this God doing while all this was going on? Perhaps giving a 'nudge, nudge, wink wink' since He did nothing to stop it. Perhaps it was all part of His Glorious Plan.

howcanweknow
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howcanweknow 05/25/12 - 08:27 am
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Agreed

That's why you need to evaluate the truth of the source documents to see which "one way" is supported by historical evidence. For example, contemporary Greek, Roman, and Jewish historians verify that Christ was crucified in Jerusalem under Pilate -- just as the Gospels say. The Quran, on the other hand, teaches that Christ was never crucified. (and remember, the Quran was written 500 years AFTER the fact, and conveniently when all the eyewitnesses were long gone)

So, which of these "one ways" is likely to be true and which one appears to be a more modern revisionist attempt to confuse the truth?

shrimp for breakfast
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shrimp for breakfast 05/25/12 - 08:28 am
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good letter

I find this letter well thought out.
I have absolutely nothing against religion but when one faith starts killing people for not believing the way they should then I have a problem. If it weren't for free will I'm sure God would have done something about it but instead He can only look down and shake his head at man's inhumanity to man.

howcanweknow
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howcanweknow 05/25/12 - 08:36 am
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Correction

Bezhukov, what you said is not entirely correct. "Christianity" did not practice violence. Christianity expressly FORBIDS violence against others. It was people claiming to be Christians who committed the violence, and in so doing were hypocritically disobeying the very faith they claimed to observe. There is a big difference here.

You are falling into the same error that Victoria did -- evaluating Christianity by what some people do, and not evaluating the direct commands of the faith. Can't do that. Let's stick to the facts, and not slant the truth here.

crkgrdn
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crkgrdn 05/25/12 - 08:53 am
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Ignoring the writer's

Ignoring the writer's ignorance of history and Christianity's positive role in shaping history, what if we applied her standard to other endeavors: our armed forces, teachers, medical professionals, clergy, police officers, daycare workers?

When I was a teacher, I would wince and hurt when I learned that a teacher had abused a child. When I served in Viet Nam and learned of the My Lai massacre, my comrades and I were bewildered. And, then there were the priest sex abuse cases.

In those instances I felt some responsibility and felt that my effectiveness would be in some way diminished. But, you know, we must carry on despite the escapades of some.

Bezukhov
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Bezukhov 05/25/12 - 08:59 am
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@howcanweknow

So I'll rephrase it to: Yes certain Christians, in the name of Christianity, did practice violence and brutality. Now the question is, if those certain individuals did not practice such atrocities would those religions have survived?....

The question still stands.

howcanweknow
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howcanweknow 05/25/12 - 09:02 am
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good point

Thanks, Crkgrdn. You make good points.

Here's something that bothers me: So often (especially here) you read and hear folks demanding that we NOT judge Islam as a whole due to the violent acts of a few. We hear it constantly: "Not all Muslims are terrorists". That statement is absolutely true.

Yet, often it is those very same individuals demanding tolerance for Islam that will very freely condemn Christianity for the acts of some folks. There's a double standard here. You can't condemn Islam for the acts of a minority, but then you can indeed try to condemn Christianity for the acts of a minority.

Let's forget evaluating a faith by what PEOPLE do, and focus instead on what the faith actually TEACHES directly in the source scriptures. That's where you make you apples-to-apples comparison.

howcanweknow
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howcanweknow 05/25/12 - 09:08 am
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Bezukhov

I guess you'll need to be a bit more specific in which "atrocities" you are referring to.

Would the Catholic Church survived without the inquisition? I'm no expert on this. But, I would suspect so. Christianity has certainly survived without the Catholic Church -- (i.e., Protestantism).

Would Christianity have survived without the Crusades? I would say yes, because the Crusades accomplished very little anyway.

Because Christianity is adamantly opposed to "bad behavior", I would think that such behavior is obviously not required. I mean, we have Christianity surviving today, and the teachings of love to others survives. There's no tolerance in genuine Christianity for atrocities or harming others. Never has been.

But again, I'm not exactly sure what you are suggesting here. That's about the best I can do.

Fiat_Lux
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Fiat_Lux 05/25/12 - 09:29 am
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Uh...

Re: "However, 2,000 years of Christianity certainly has not improved the species, nor has any other religion. Man still practices atrocities on mankind, nature, the environment and other species."

Boy, howdy, where did you ever come up with that? People born and raised in a western society since about the time of the French Revolution and the War of Northern Aggression don't have a clue about how savage and treacherous human existence was up until then. Not a clue--unless you have really studied the history of civilizations.

THE most important and effective moderating influence on human civilization for the better has almost exclusively been religious in nature, be it Christianity mainly, or to a lesser extent Islam. Those two world religions are the source and inspiration for most of modern codified law, education and scientific-technological advancement over the past two millenia.

Even apart from the spiritual benefits of religion on personal behavior and on social interactions, those things listed above have totally changed our world and civilization for the better.

Bezukhov
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Bezukhov 05/25/12 - 09:28 am
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@howcanweknow

I could list them, but it would take up too much space.

Here is a partial list:

http://notachristian.org/christianatrocities.html

Retired Army
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Retired Army 05/25/12 - 09:31 am
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Oh boy Religion Food Fight

Oh boy Religion Food Fight Day, again!

I wonder how much it angers God when mankind starts this crud.

howcanweknow
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howcanweknow 05/25/12 - 09:33 am
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RA

RA, why do you even care? Why waste your time here on this topic since you believe it irrelevant.

Discussion of truth is never "crud". You do yourself a disservice with your comments.

Retired Army
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Retired Army 05/25/12 - 09:42 am
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And is there one poster here

And is there one poster here today who really believes they can change anothers Spiritual path? Especially those who would choose fear as their tool of motivation?

God loves me and there is nothing you can do about that. Your attempts at scaring me to believe as you do are an affront to the God who grants us free will. And I'm not going to Hell for saying that.

Gary Ross
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Gary Ross 05/25/12 - 09:46 am
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I am most certainly a beliver

I am most certainly a beliver in a higher power, and live my life based on the Ten Commandments - and the 12 points of the Scout Law. However, due to a serious incident a few years ago, I must admit that I have lost faith in organized religion. Especially those mega-churches. I have sadly discovered that Christians can be their own worst enemies.

So who is to judge other religions? They have all been reinterpreted by mankind, and all of them have discovered that religion can have a powerful hold on the people. Our Supreme Creator has made many different peoples, so why not many religions as well? To say that any one of them is correct and all others are damned, is arrogant.

We will all find out one day when we cross that bridge, for every living thig owes a death. There will no longer be any questions about anything, and all our deeds will be laid out for all to see.

harley_52
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harley_52 05/25/12 - 10:01 am
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Fiat_Lux....While I agree

Fiat_Lux....While I agree with the premise of your post (religion is responsible for lots of good things) I certainly do not agree that Islam should be listed alongside Christianity as being a force for positive changes.

In my opinion, Islam has been (and still is) the most repressive, violent, hateful "religion" ever foisted on mankind. I can't think of a single positive attribute of, or result from, Islam and I believe it may ultimately be the cause of the deaths of hundreds of millions of people.

Islam stands alone as the "religion" that commands its followers to subjugate, repress, and mistreat its female believers and slaughter non-believers to further the goal of world domination.

howcanweknow
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howcanweknow 05/25/12 - 10:19 am
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Bez

OK. But, really I'm still not really sure what your point is.

Actually, the phrase "Christian atrocities" is an oxymoron. There are no Christian atrocities. The teachings of Christ forbid that.

What you are asking is whether so-called "atrocities" committed by people claiming to be Christians were warranted?

That's highly speculative, don't you think? All I can say for certain is anyone who commits an atrocity is NOT a Christian.

howcanweknow
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howcanweknow 05/25/12 - 01:02 pm
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The Real Issue

If you wish to claim Christianity is arrogant, then blame it on Jesus Christ. He is the one who claimed exclusivity. The New Testament confirms that teaching, and the earliest Christian writings and creeds affirm that exclusivity.

The point is not whether Christianity is "arrogant" or not. That's a dodge.

The point is: Is Jesus a liar or is he Lord? That's the real elephant in the room that people tend to sidestep with sweet-sounding, non-offending language that makes everyone "feel good".

Focus on Christ. IS HE EXACTLY WHO HE CLAIMED TO BE OR NOT? If not, then all religions are indeed equal. If so, then His way is the ONLY way.

howcanweknow
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howcanweknow 05/25/12 - 10:28 am
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RA

No one questions whether or not God loves you. We all agree that is true. It's a moot point.

Question is, do YOU love God? Or more specifically, do you love Jesus Christ as your God & Savior.?

Again, Christ remains the crux of the issue here. You can use flowery-sounded, high-fallootin' words all day long. But, in the end, it boils down to your view of Christ.

Is He Lord, or was he a liar?

CobaltGeorge
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CobaltGeorge 05/25/12 - 10:35 am
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I am glad that I will never

I am glad that I will never debate religion. I just live and follow the Ten Commandments. Anybody else can do and think as they want. They have to live with themselves.

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