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Christian Al-qaida?


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Hi. This is an article I wrote that I'm thinking of putting on my blog when I get round to starting one. Please give it a read and let me know your thoughts. It's potentially quite controversial, so just to warn you some people might find it offensive. I hope it's thought-provoking at least, and if you disagree with certain bits I would welcome having a civilized but lively debate :). Max

 

 

Christian Al-Qaida

I am going to make a chilling prediction. I hope it doesn't ever come true, but I really think it will, and probably in the first half of the 21st century. With all the talk of Islamic extremism, especially since 9/11 embodied by terrorist groups like Al-Qaida, I've often wondered, what about Christian extremism? Of course, we know there are a ton of fundamentalists, many of us used to be one, and many of them have hateful or mildly dangerous views. Pat robertson, Jerry Falwell, Pastor Terry Jones and the Phelps family all appear regularly in the mainstream media as good examples. But even if these awful people are as bad as it gets in Christianity, that's still childsplay compared with Al-Qaida, who are believed to be responsible for all sorts of brutal attacks on civilians and suicide bombings, of course including 9/11 itself when almost 3,000 people lost their lives. Yet we usually just laugh away Pat Robertson's bigotry about homosexual people, or his ramblings about how God caused various hurricanes in acts of judgement, usually against this same group, which is clearly his favourite to talk about, for some reason or another...

 

OK it does get pretty bad if you start including George Bush in this list. As I'm not a US citizen I can't really comment, but let's just say I wasn't a fan of this guy. People like to cite and make a great song and dance about the fact that he claimed that God "told" him to invade Iraq, whatever that means, leading to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. I think it's fairly clear that many in Washington had been planning to attack Iraq anyway, long before Bush junior came onto the scene.

 

But there's no real terrorist group with extremist Christian ideology, at least not in the US (I'll come back to this point). So I got to thinking, why not? Why is there no Christian Al-Qaida?

 

When I was a Christian I found it easy enough to convince myself this is because it is the true religion that's actually from God who of course is a God of love and peace, of course there's no Christian terrorism. All the violence and the bloodshed, the crusades, the inquisition, witch hunts, slavery, racial oppression, support of fascism in Europe - I could go on for a very long time - that was in the past, surely. Perhaps it's because we now concentrate more on Jesus, because we're protestants, we're the good ones. Jesus meek and mild surely can never have preached eternal damnation for the infidel, bringing not peace but the sword, division and hatred of the family in order to follow his own personality cult. Except that he not only said all of that, but at the beginning of the sermon on the mount in Matthew he confirms that he wishes to remove not one iota of the Old Testament law! That's all the stuff Pat Robertson rails about like homosexuality being an abomination, as well as stoning of women, slavery, genocide, ethnic cleansing.

 

Maybe a more likely explanation is that the effect of liberal and secular democracies which now house the majority of believers who are in North America, Australia, Brazil, UK etc is precisely to dampen and emasculate the potential tendencies that are inherent in Christianity from manifesting themselves in crazy ways. But I think they sit there like lava in a dormant volcano just waiting to bubble and burst to the surface in a hellish eruption of violence and killing. I really do, and here's why.

 

This is an article on a British Christian website for University students that attempts to justify the horrific parts of the Bible: http://www.bethinkin...ss-killings.htm

 

In the introduction the author explicitly states that instances when God directly carries it out will be overlooked. Even just focusing on one example among many, the Israelites' massacre of the Canaanites, the article is quite long so you might wish to scroll down to the relevant passage, under the subheading "What about the innocent Canaanites?". It says the following, in all seriousness:

 

"In particular, the thought of young children being killed is troubling. There are two things to say about this:

 

1. The means of judgement was merciful to the weak and young

 

Although the killing of children by the sword seems brutal to us, it was relatively merciful compared with the alternatives of abandonment and starvation. The sword is actually a quick and relatively painless means of execution."

 

Never mind the second thing for the moment, just re-read and dwell on these astonishing words for a moment, if it's not too much to bear. This is no uncertain terms justifies the killing of children with swords. Children - stabbed and slashed to pieces until their screams can be heard no more. Just small inanimate bodies on the floor, in their thousands at least. You either have to have a serious and psychopathic lack of humanity to even begin to contemplate justifying this. Or you need to be religious.

 

Let me say something about the author. I guess it's not that shocking if it's some crackpot pastor in some tiny marginal redneck church consisting mainly of his cousins and wife, or wife-cousin. It's not. Paul Coulter is a former doctor and theologian from Belfast, Northern Ireland, who achieved the highest grades possible in two of his many degrees. This for me makes it all the more dangerous, that someone with this background can hold views such as these.

 

The second thing they say is almost too obvious to warrant mentioning, that is that hell is worse, so basically anything goes on earth as long as it saves someone from hell.

 

"2. Death is not the final judgement or destiny of people

 

It is always important to remember that death is not the end. In fact, the judgement faced after death (Hebrews 9:27) is much more serious than any judgement resulting in physical death because it determines the eternal destiny of the person."

 

Indeed, at the time of writing Dr. Coulter has a quote from the Bible in the centre of his homepage (http://www.paulcoulter.net/index.html). It's from Philippians, you probably all know it: To me, to live is Christ and to die is gain (Philippians 1:21). I never used to think anything of this quote, in fact I quite liked it; it summed up for me how my life was now all about Jesus and nothing else, and to be in heaven with him is all I really wanted. This is the philosophy of suicide bombing. Think about it, could 9/11 have ever happened if the 19 hijackers weren't absolutely committed to taking to their own lives? Would it have worked if they didn't all sincerely believe they would be better off dead, and taking some infidels with them? The whole logistics of the attacks depended on this consideration. It is pure poison, as Matt Dillahunty might say.

 

So do Christian terrorist groups exist? The answer is yes. Here is an example of one such group in north-east India linked with the Baptist Church, called the NLFT:

 

http://news.bbc.co.u...asia/717775.stm

 

If it can spring up in India, what's stopping it springing up in Europe or the United States? Or far more frightening, in areas where fundamentalist evangelicalism is booming such as in Nigeria or Brazil? All it takes is some political impetus, usually some form of nationalism or a group that considers itself oppressed, add a bit of money which Brazilian evangelical megachurches aren't short of at the moment, and then you have the perfect ingredients for an international terrorist organisation to rival the likes of Al-Qaida. There are really not that many major differences between the monotheisms, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, in terms of excusing atrocities. If you are looking for them you can find in all their scriptures justifications for hideous acts of violence against civilians. The basic reason is that the criteria for innocence change, from being defined by the law set down by the people, to being decided by God, usually where pretty much anyone and everyone is considered guilty in some way of offending him, deserving of death. Not only death, but eternal conscious torture in hell, an infinitely worse outcome. The Christian God himself, believe it or not, would without a doubt fit most currently accepted definitions of a terrorist. Terrorism is usually defined as the systematic use of violence or threat of violence against a civilian population as a means of coercion to achieve certain goals. Think about it.

 

So, my prediction is that within the next forty years we will see extremist Christian terrorist groups springing up, especially if the trend continues that people become either secular or more and more fundamentalist. I think we should have the courage to speak out against religion, all religion, in general as an evil and corrupting force. We should win the battle of ideas as soon as possible, to persuade people that it is irrational, lacking in evidential support, and dangerous to a healthy and democratic world that we want our children to grow up in. Let's nip this poison in the bud before it's too late. Or we may just have to prepare ourselves for a world with a new, twice as devastating, twice as well-funded, Christian Al-Qaida.

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It is possible, but I think American society is too integrated and open for something like this to actually come to fruition. They can preach all they want behind the pulpit, but when it comes to actually facing the rest of us, they are going to fold. Al-Qaeda in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc. all had closed, isolated societies in which to keep reinforcing their own propaganda.

 

With that said, I think many of us are familiar, from personal experience, at just how isolating certain religious communities can be, even though we may work at a place with a variety of people. So, who knows.

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Christianity already had its day of terrorism and Islam is just a few hundred years behind. Le everything else, religions tend to evolve.

 

I predict that sanity will ultimately prevail. If it doesn't, we have no future.

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American churches support "terrorism" in places like Africa. There have been articles posted here about these types of things. If they desire to engage in such activities here at home they probably know they lack widespread public support...at least until they can demonstrate such things work abroad.

 

mwc

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Of course there are people claiming to be Christian who murder abortion doctors - that feels like terrorism. But it's usually loners who do it. The least harmful religion is Buddhism - the worst thing that a Buddhist will do is set fire to himself!

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They can preach all they want behind the pulpit, but when it comes to actually facing the rest of us, they are going to fold. Al-Qaeda in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc. all had closed, isolated societies in which to keep reinforcing their own propaganda.

 

I'm not seeing much difference here. There are vast swaths of the US where people nod in agreement with talk radio. Not saying this is going to lead to terrorism, but propaganda easily gets played on a societal loop-to-loop that looks strange to outsiders but seems perfectly kosher from the inside.

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Christianity already had its day of terrorism and Islam is just a few hundred years behind. Le everything else, religions tend to evolve.

 

I predict that sanity will ultimately prevail. If it doesn't, we have no future.

 

I'm still unconvinced religion is any more than a psychological prop used by the elite to motivate those at the working class, whether it be an islamic society or an xian society. We may still destroy ourselves, but I don't believe it will be because of fundamentalism. I think a lot of people would be surprised, for instance, that much of Iranian leadership, in terms of behind the scenes government, are educated in Western society. I have a close personal friend whose father was the Iranian ambassador to the US. He was educated in Paris and Washington DC and fit right in with the beltway crowd.

 

If we do destroy ourselves, it may be because a megalomaniac uses fundamentalism against the crowd's own interests like Hitler did, but more than likely it will be because someone in a lab drops the wrong beaker. IMO anyway.

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Of course there are people claiming to be Christian who murder abortion doctors - that feels like terrorism. But it's usually loners who do it. The least harmful religion is Buddhism - the worst thing that a Buddhist will do is set fire to himself!

 

Buddhist monks in Burma have used terrorism against the junta.

 

It goes back to my point. Religion isn't the driver. The driver is almost always political, which is the currency of power. Religion just gets used as the motivational tool by those who seek power because it serves as the easiest symbol to get the crowds behind a movement.

 

What we see happening in the ME, for instance, is a power struggle wrapped in Islam. If they were Buddhists facing the same political and military pressure, we would see Buddhist terrorism with some sort of Buddhist twist.

 

When it happened in the US, we just called it patriotism, which works equally well as a societal glue.

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I'm still attempting to wrap my mind around the ethnocentric notion that our rednecks would somehow have twice the funding and be twice as devastating as a group trained by the CIA and funded by wealthy sheiks.

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I'm still attempting to wrap my mind around the ethnocentric notion that our rednecks would somehow have twice the funding and be twice as devastating as a group trained by the CIA and funded by wealthy sheiks.

 

Agility is the key here.

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I'm still unconvinced religion is any more than a psychological prop used by the elite to motivate those at the working class, whether it be an islamic society or an xian society. We may still destroy ourselves, but I don't believe it will be because of fundamentalism.

 

If we do destroy ourselves, it may be because a megalomaniac uses fundamentalism against the crowd's own interests like Hitler did, but more than likely it will be because someone in a lab drops the wrong beaker. IMO anyway.

 

coincidentally, that same segment most susceptible to fundamentalism also takes the brunt of a sour economy and unemployment. Toss in a Kristallnacht inducing incident and Billybob will be shouting "God is great!" as the mosques burn.

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I don't think we can expect much better than this from the Abrahamic religions. After all, their foundation is a guy being willing to butcher and then burn up his own son. Problem is, I have never ran across a Christian or a Muslim that has a problem with this. Fortunately, some Jews have questioned this and believe that the real story there is that God was trying to show Abraham that He didn't want child sacrifice. It's either in Isaiah or Jeremiah that God says He never asked for human sacrifice. Apparently God forgot about His episode with Abraham. But, I will happily concede that the concept of God who never asked for human sacrifice, excepting to make a point to stop human sacrifice, is far above the God served by Christians and Muslims.

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