Some Things are So Obvious…

even Bill Maher can’t help noticing them. A guest tries to serve up Manning’s Corollary (briefly defined as “If you’ve seen one Abrahamic religion you’ve seen ‘em all”) to argue that Christianity is just as violent as Islam. Maher responds:

You know what — that’s liberal bullshit right there … they’re not as dangerous. I mean there’s only one faith, for example, that kills you or wants to kill you if you draw a bad cartoon of the prophet. There’s only one faith that kills you or wants to kill you if you renounce the faith. An ex-Muslim is a very dangerous thing. Talk to Salman Rushdie after the show about Christian versus Islam.

He adds:

As many people have pointed out — ‘The Book of Mormon,’ did you see the show? … OK, can you imagine if they did ‘The Book of Islam?’ Could they do that? There’s only one religion that threatens violence and carries it out for things like that. Could they do “The Book of Islam” on Broadway?

The cowards in the MSM know this, of course. That’s why they have no problem running images of “Piss Christ” in the NY Times and hectoring Christians to be more open-minded while refusing to run the Danish cartoons and, again, hectoring Christians to be more “sensitive”. The sheer cowardice of the MSM in the face of radical Islam is one of the most embarrassing spectacles of our allegedly free press. I think it’s because they know, down deep, how profoundly cowardly they are that they take it out, as bullies so often do, on safe targets like prolifers: so they can feel big and powerful and cover up the rankling awareness of their cowardice.

  • Benjamin

    Islam is currently more violent than Christianity but this is not just because of the content of the two religions, there’s much much more to it than that. Christianity was plenty violent before the Enlightenment when it was effectively neutered. Islamic countries never went through that.

    • Rosemarie’s Husband

      +J.M.J+

      Islam has always spread itself by the sword, going back to Mohammed himself who led armies into battle to spread his religion. Jesus did no such; in fact He sharply rebuked St. Peter when the latter tried to fight to stop the arrest in Gethsemane: “Put your sword away… He who lives by the sword shall die by the sword….”

      I know Christianity has sometimes been spread by the sword but that was wrong and always an anomaly, a departure from Christ’s own teachings. He told us to preach the Gospel and make disciples (students), not wage war and make converts at sword point. Jihad, OTOH, is part and parcel of Islam. There’s no equivalence between Christianity and Islam when it comes to religious violence. It’s wrong for the former, permitted (if not encouraged) by the latter.

      • Rosemarie

        +J.M.J+

        Actually, that was me, not my husband. His moniker was still in the name field.

    • MarylandBill

      Yeah, after the enlightenment, it was the turn of the Secularists.

      In fairness, though, I think we need to contrast Christianity’s violent period with Islam’s history. Early in the history of the Church there was a strong strain of pacifism. Not every Christian felt this way, but some did.

      Islam in contrast was built on conquest. Muhammed and his successors spread their faith through conquest such that within two centuries of its founding it threatened the very existence of Christianity.

      The first organized war of conquest that was explicitly Christian in its motivation did not come until about 1000 years after Christianity was founded. And it could realistically be thought of as a war of re-conquest because the Crusades and the Reconquista (in Iberia) were attempts to retake lands that had been conquered from Christian states. Its actually interesting that it took nearly 400 years before Christianity really began to push back against an almost constant wave of Islamic agression.

      Yes, there are other charges of violence that can be leveled against the Church, or at least against Christians, but the thing is, the very enlightenment which you claim neutered Christianity grew out of the Universities and relative intellectual freedom that the Christian world provided. We haven’t seen any similar movement in the Islamic world.

  • SteveP

    Indeed — which is why there are scads of manuscripts detailing “Benedictines run amok!”

  • Bill

    So much Christian violence pre-Enlightenment had little to do with actual religion, and far more to do with politics and land-grabbing. The Hundred Years War was totally this. Even the Thirty Years War was. Ecclesiology and Theology were the superficial reasons for it, and yes, Calvinists and Catholics and Lutherans duked it out, but it was, as everything was back then, about power.

    Romans vs the Arian Goths was too.

    • Benjamin

      Yeah, it’s only about religion when The Other does it, I know.

      • Jared

        Funny, how Mark posts on the tendency to pick on Christians rather than the violence of Islam, and…you pick on Christians because the middle ages were a violent few centuries.

        Christianity has always stood against the unjust violence of Christians; Christ Himself rebuked Peter for striking a man in Gethsemane.

      • Andy, Bad Person

        I notice when people want to talk specifics instead of wildly emoting, you punt. Less penumbra, more facts.

  • http://reluctantliberal.wordpress.com Reluctant Liberal

    Religion is simply too broad of a category to meaningfully assess violence. It is neither a sufficient nor a necessary condition to violence. And associating violence with Islam is bigotry that hurts people I know. Take Zoha. She’s just out of high school and she’s already a published poet. Or Arriba. She’s absurdly competitive with her school work. These are real people that I know. And it really sucks that they get yelled at on the streets, that people called for the to be deported, or even killed, because of their faith.

    And I think it’s stupid to play the game of which religion is worse, but if you insist,

    1) Our murder rate is higher than most Muslim countries.
    2) The Iraq and Afghan wars.
    3) Drone strikes.
    4) Muslims in the United States are disproportionately unlikely to commit terrorism. They’re responsible for something like 3% of terrorist attacks, according to the FBI.
    5) While more than 20% of Muslims say that attacks on civilians can be justified, that is a smaller number than the percentage of Americans who say attacks on civilians can be justified.

    And Bill Maher is a war cheering, religion hating hack. You can peddle inaccurate stereotypes all you want, just know that some very good people have given up feeling welcome in their own country because nonsense like this.

    • Rosemarie

      +J.M.J+

      >>>And I think it’s stupid to play the game of which religion is worse, but if you insist,
      >>>1) Our murder rate is higher than most Muslim countries… (etc)

      I wouldn’t consider modern American society a paragon of Christianity. More like a post-Christian society getting uglier all the time.

    • MarylandBill

      Religion does not equal country. America’s war on Afghanistan and Iraq were waged by people of all faiths including in some cases, Muslims. Perhaps you hadn’t noticed, but our Popes over the last decade or so have been calling for peace and I remember reading at least some priests and theologians speaking out against pre-emptive war.

      Further, there is a difference between a religion and an individual. There have always been good Muslims, and I suspect (at least as long as there is Islam) there always will be. That does not however mean that there is not something about Islam that makes it more likely that its followers will be motivated by the faith to commit acts of violence.

      • http://reluctantliberal.wordpress.com Reluctant Liberal

        I need to point out a few things.

        1) You let stand my assertion that Americans are more prone to violence than Muslims. Can you either challenge it, or explain to me why Muslims are constantly associated with terrorism while Americans are hardly ever associated with violence? What accounts for the discrepancy.

        2) The United States is overwhelmingly lead by Christians. You might say that some of them, like Obama, aren’t really Christians. But since you’re lumping my devout Muslim friends in with people who blow up schools, I don’t have any sympathy for that argument.

        3) ” That does not however mean that there is not something about Islam that makes it more likely that its followers will be motivated by the faith to commit acts of violence.”
        By this line of reasoning, there is something about the West that makes it more likely that Westerners will colonize other countries. There is also something about Christians that seem to make them more likely to want to give gay people the death penalty. Four hundred years ago, Christians were way more likely to burn witches in spats of mob violence.

        The response to all of these claims, of course, is that these apparent tendencies are the result of contingent historical circumstances. Your insinuations of “something about Islam” are based on observations of far less weight than many of those that I have given.

        • SM

          “Can you either challenge it, or explain to me why Muslims are constantly associated with terrorism while Americans are hardly ever associated with violence?”

          Americans are hardly ever associated with violence? There is constant dialogue on how violent Americans are. I agree, we are a nation of gun violence, bombing civilians overseas, the massacre of 50 million+ unborn children, etc.

          “The United States is overwhelmingly lead by Christians. You might say that some of them, like Obama, aren’t really Christians. But since you’re lumping my devout Muslim friends in with people who blow up schools, I don’t have any sympathy for that argument.”

          I consider anyone who says they are a Christian to be one. But let’s be honest…do you really think Obama decides to launch drones because of his faith in Christ? I would guess many (most?) people in America’s inner-city hellholes (where much of American violence is taking place) consider themselves Christians, but they are not gunning people down because of their religion. The real questions that need to be asked are: Are American Christians killing ex-Christians? Beheading those who insult the faith? Screaming “Hail Mary” as they murder civilians? Plus, non-Muslim does not only equal Christian. Sikhs don’t do such things on such a regular basis, nor Hindus, nor Bahá’ís, nor anyone else.

          People like your Muslim friends are the predominant victims of radical Muslims. When leftists bury their heads in the sand and pretend all religions are equally violent, you are screwing them too. A suicide bomber murdered 32 people shortly after the Boston bombings, normal Muslims like your friends who were just trying to play pool. Not to mention the absolutely abhorrent treatment of Muslim women. My feminist friends go insane when Christians don’t want to pay for their recreational sex, but when women are killed by Muslims for having pre-marital sex, they simply rush to remind me: “but most Muslims are peaceful.”

        • MarylandBill

          1. I didn’t answer your point about America because I thought it was irrelevant to the discussion, also, your claim was about the American murder rate compared to that of Islamic countries. I ignored that for the simple reason that murder rates are calculated differently in different countries. For example, do all Islamic countries include things like honor killings, the execution of adulterers or apostates or the killing of those who have spoken against Islam or Muhammed in their murder statistics?

          2. By and large the people in this thread have talked about Islam, not about Muslims. If we did mention Muslims, it certainly was not in the context of all Muslims. Further, I will draw an analogy that will risk the invocation of Godwin’s law; every movement has good and bad people. There have been members of both the Communist and the Nazi party who were good and honorable people. That doesn’t mean we can’t say that Communism and Nazism are evil.

          3. From the time Muhammed, until at least the 16th century, Islam was engaged in near constant wars of expansion with the Christian world. In that period, they also conquered large parts of Africa and South Asia. I would argue that it was only the military ascendency of Europe in the late 16th century that ended that threat.

          Also, if you think that Christians are hard on gay people, you have no idea what they do to them in some Islamic countries. And yes, there is something about Western Europe that made them want to colonize other countries, it was called economics and technology.

          • sjay

            “From the time Muhammed, until at least the 16th century, Islam was engaged in near constant wars of expansion with the Christian world.”
            An interesting thing about that is that the 7th and 8th century Muslim threat was a different group of Muslims than the ones who were stopped at Vienna. The first group, halted at Tours in southern France, were Arabs from the first generations after Mohammed. They founded the Islamic Empire, which was eventually conquered by the Mongols, a very diverse religiously people, who in turn were overthrown by various groups of Turks who had adopted Islam, who then defeated the Byzantine empire. It may be that peoples with warlike tendencies have a tendency to adopt Islam because it seems most in accord with their own sense of natural theology.

      • Benjamin

        This is absolutely correct. You cannot say America’s wars are “Christian”, America is a secular republic. The majority is Christian, but this does not make it a Christian *country*.

  • Billy Bean

    Want to know what a given religion actually advocates? Go to its founding documents and the guardians of its deposit of tradition (i.e., its scriptures and ecclesiastical authorities). You might have some luck with its contemporary adherents and their interpretations, but as likely as not, you’ll get a heretical version of the original. It’s Jesus, the New Testament and Church fathers to understand Christianity. It’s Muhammed, the Quran and the mullahs to understand Islam.

  • Terence M. Stanton

    A.M.D.G.

    The texts and teachings of Islam are the problem. Some 20,000 acts of jihad have been carried out worldwide since September 11th, 2001. Thankfully, most Muslims don’t slaughter us infidels but the ones who do can point to the teachings of their Prophet (or whomever wrote the Koran and subsequent hadiths because there is scant historical evidence that Muhammad actually existed) and say “see! He did it so we have to do the same thing! The peaceful Muslims are the *real* heretics!” If Christians were to say, “Jesus Christ engaged in acts of violence, therefore, I must..” they can be readily and easily refuted from Sacred Scripture. Sadly, that is not the case with Islam. May all of our hearts be converted to Our Lord through The Blessed Virgin Mary. Amen.

    • The True Will

      Funny, you are the first person I have known to question the existence of Mohammed. Usually it is only Jesus who is subjected to this standard of “evidence”.

  • SouthCoast

    In any case, this appears to open the possibility, with some prayer from the rest of us, that Maher may yet be salvaged. Which would be a Good thing.

  • Mark R

    Christianity can be denigrated because Christ was ultimately, willingly denigrated.

  • Tom R

    You need to distinguish violence as an actual motivation (where it’s the sole – or at least the dominant – motivation for people harming others) vs religion as an ex post facto rationalization (“we want to steal the valuable land of that rival tribe, so we’ll justify it to ourselves and our children by saying that they’re pagans or heretics and the One True God(s) have commanded us to expense them from the earth”).
    The latter is actually quite uncommon. Humans tend to be Ferengi rather than Fremen and will seize any loophole to water down Divine commands to carry out conquest or genocide if there’s no profit in it. Even in the Old Testament Hebrew theocracy, Saul, David and Solomon all found reasons for doing business with the polytheists because exterminating them was too much damn effort.
    The former is much more common. Almost any religion will do to justify theft or slavery. Christians have used Jesus for this purpose while Japan and Burma have used Buddhism: by comparison, using Wotan, Allah or Huitzilopochtli is even easier. If religious skepticism is widespread, Darwinism and Marxism have proven just as useful for mobilizing the populace to cleanse the world of the less evolved races or the exploiter classes.
    Certainly a lot of fights over material resources have seen the competing tribes ramp up the religious rhetoric to a very high degree (eg, the battle over whether Scottish or Irish Celts rule Northern Ireland).
    But for purely religious violence – where someone suddenly kills their neighbours or co-workers, after living among them peaceably for years, because they hold to a false religion, or because their government is fighting your co-religionists around the globe in a country you’ve never been to – over that sort of violence, over theology alone, Muslims today have a near-monopoly. No other religion comes close to encouraging its adherents to divide friends from enemies (and to justify lethal attacks on the latter) on the basis of individuals’ theological beliefs alone.


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