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REALITY CHECK

Reader comment on item: Pope Benedict XVI and the Koran
in response to reader comment: On the immuntability of Christianity

Submitted by orange yonason (United States), Feb 5, 2006 at 02:33

BS"D


"First off, to think is the same as "to do" thought is equal to action."

When's the last time you, or anyone else, turned on a light switch by merely thinking it? The facts speak for themselves. Thought is not "equal to action." Of course, if you mean that a person's actions reflect his true thoughts, despite what he might say, then I don't understand how you can't appreciate how a tradition filled with violence can't be based on love and peace as it claims.

"As for persecution, any type of religious killing is vanity. That is not taught."

Just because something is evil, and should not be taught, doesn't mean it hasn't been. As the links I provide in my previous post show, the long history of Christian religious intolerance was based on fundamental doctrine, and quite clearly demonstrate that it was often practiced as a consequence of it's having been widely taught.

In fact, it is only within the past 60 years that those teachings have not been emphasized to the extent that they had been for the previous roughly 1900 years. That is a good development, but the violence has in the past declined for about that long, only to return unabated. Relying on such short-term recent tranquility as the basis for Dr. Pipes' claim that Christianity is capable of positive change, may yet prove premature. I hope that's not the case. Only time will tell.

The most recent evidence that anti-semitic teachings have been part and parcel of Christian dogma throughout history comes from the Nuremberg trials, where Julius Streicher even invoked Martin Luther's teachings in his defence:

And he was not alone. The following link documents the Christian foundations of Nazi anti-semitism among it's architects and perpetrators, based on their own words:
http://jdstone.org/cr/files/quotesfromhitlershenchmenandnazisympathizers.html

The following unsolicited assessment by a non-Jewish music lover captures what I think is the essence of the dysfunctionality I referred to in my previous post.

"what I will never understand is that Martin Luther still is honored as a moral hero and an accepted founding father of German culture. All those Bach churches we visited still call themselves "Lutheran". Given Germany's recent history, this is alarming because Luther was a man full of hatred and what he wrote about the Jews is almost indistinguishable from what Julius Streicher or Hitler wrote (and also, Jews were already being killed in those days, as I learned in Mühlhausen , and expelled from German lands under Luther's direct influence). It's one of the paradoxes of history that Bach wrote his heavenly music within the framework of a tradition established by the man who gave Germany it's particular brand of paranoic anti-Semitism and xenophobic hatred for other creeds."
http://www.let.rug.nl/Linguistics/diversen/bach/tourist3d.html

I do agree with your statement the such behavior is vanity, because it is rooted in a spiritual arrogance that is never justified. However, the historical evidence, of which I have only scratched the surface, speaks for itself and clearly does not support your assertion that it "is not taught." Although it may no longer be taught, (or perhaps "emphasized" might be a better term?), it does still exist, if only in potential. Nevertheless, it was most certainly taught in the past, as you can easily see from the supporting historical material I have provided. Just because something shouldn't be done, doesn't mean it wasn't, especially when the historical record clearly says "It was."

Regarding the definition of "love." I'll recap what I said about Hillel. Love is a complex and powerful emotion, and cannot really begin to be understood until one first knows what it is not. It cannot be effectively harnessed without intensive life-long behavior modification based on a valid method.

Just bandying the term "love" about doesn't demonstrate a mastery of the concept, let alone the ability to manage it's expression in a healthy way in all one's activities. Again, I refer you to the dysfunctionality of those who claimed a belief in "love" yet thought nothing of committing torture and murder. By not even being able to follow the simple, "What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow," they were their own best advertisement against the doctrine they espoused.

Regarding Jesus' "teachings" on the subject of love, I refer you to what I said before. In essence, it can be summed up in our belief that: "What he said that was true, wasn't new; what he said that was new, wasn't true." (in other words: "If it isn't broken, why pay someone to fix or replace it?")

If you want to have some general feel for the importance we attach to the term "love," I again refer you to:
http://www.chabad.org/library/article.asp?AID=54393
..and, on the importance of action, to:
http://www.chabad.org/therebbe/article.asp?aid=62270
Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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