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Old May 1st, 2012 (7:27 AM).
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Esper Esper is offline
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: California
Posts: 10,761
Originally Posted by Toujours View Post

I think it's part of hanging around with Andy. Like it's something you kind of have to know with him - if you just know him on the surface level because you know he's not a fan of religion you'd think he was 100% serious on that, but on a deeper level he's still definitely open to intellectual discussion on it because an exaggeration is just an exaggeration sometimes. :P

An interesting experiment in religion is to think of what religion would be like without the Old Testament. While many Christians do believe that the New Testament "overwrites" the Old Testament, they're still influenced by the images of overbearing violence (for example, in Exodus where half of the Israelites turned to worshipping idols while Moses was on Mt. Sinai, and the God-approved solution was that the people who are still loyal to God must slaughter the idol-worshipping people) in their ideas, and the idea of human beings passing judgement on one another. If their only source of influence was Jesus, who urged against judgement from human beings and pretty much only preached love and forgiveness for all people, do you think the Christian religion would have turned out differently?

Although, this raises another question for me personally, something I've been thinking about for a while. Often the violence of Christians is blamed on the angry Old Testament God. But, the violence of Christians is what's in the mainstream media, not other religions (except for radical Muslims, but that's not my point). If we agree that the violence of Christians comes from the Old Testament, then why aren't the Jewish people considered way more violent than Christians? Is it a matter of Christians coming to power while Jewish people were still being discriminated against, therefore giving them the ability to actually oppress based on their beliefs while the Jewish people had no such ability? If they had not had to deal with those hardships and had risen to popularity in the way Christianity has, do you think they would have the same level of violence?

Food for thought.
Even if history had provided us with a violence-free Bible I think we would probably still have a lot of the same violence/wars/etc. owing simply to the fact that people are emboldened when they think they have all the answers. There are plenty of historical instances of Buddhists (including monks themselves) committing terrible violence. Religion just kinda gives people an "I'm-right-you're-wrong" mindset and then good ol' violence is often the result.

I can see why Jews aren't seen as violent. 1) There are far fewer of them in the world than Christians so even if they do commit as many violent acts their overall number will be smaller. Also, if you're in the minority you are going to be wary about picking a fight. 2) Related to that is the sheer number of Christians out there and only a few need to be violent to give the rest a bad name. Also, a single angry Christian leader can command a much larger group of followers to go out and do violence (a.k.a. the Crusades).