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Monotheism evil?

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in response to reader comment: King Olaf v. The Muslim invaders of India

Submitted by Kepha Hor (United States), Dec 30, 2014 at 08:53

True, there is nothing in the New Testament that demands conversion by the sword. In the cases of the forced conversions of the Saxons and the Norse, it was used on rather dangerous peoples. Yet at all turns in Christian history, we see questioning of such methods. A good case in point is the strongly biblicist William Tyndale (early 16th century) arguing that the New Testament offers no indulgence for those killed in holy war. Further, despite a long history of warfare with Islam, Eastern Orthodoxy seems to have never developed a doctrine of plenary indulgence for holy warriors comparable to those given by Popes to Crusaders.

But if we talk of forced conversions, do we not also see the same in modern ideologies? Even enlightenment liberalism had its Rousseau, who spoke of the "General Will" that could compel people to be "free". I suspect there is something deeply rooted in human nature that leads the up-and-coming to try to force the conscience of one's neighbor; and a corresponding defensive reaction. A serious issue with Islam is that it gives this will to power and compulsion a divine sanction in its foundational texts.

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