As Robert Irwin pointed out, “In Britain, there ha[s] been a long tradition of disparaging the Crusaders as barbaric and bigoted warmongers and of praising the Saracens as paladins of chivalry. Indeed, it is widely believed that chivalry originated in the Muslim East. The most perfect example of Muslim chivalry was, of course, the twelfth-century Ayyubid Sultan Saladin.”
Perhaps the most bizarre of all the charges leveled against Christian missionaries (along with colonialists in general) is that they “imposed modernity” on much of the non-Western world. It has long been the received wisdom among anthropologists and other cultural relativists that by bringing Western technology and learning to “native peoples,” the missionaries corrupted their cultures, which were as valid as those of the West. Continue reading
Certainly organizations calling themselves ‘Christian’ have often had deleterious and even disastrous effects on human society. But such movements have clearly diverged at least as far from the gospel of Christ as they have from the restraints of common morality. Sheep ought not to be judged by the actions of wolves who wear wool.
— Thomas Morris, quoted in Without a Doubt by Kenneth Richard Samples, kindle location 2363
Since oppression and mayhem are neither religious duties for Christians nor logical applications of the teachings of Christ, violence done in the name of Christ cannot be laid at his door. This conduct might tell you something about people. It tells you nothing about God or the gospel.
— Greg Koukl, from Tactics, kindle location 2702
A religion cannot be charged with the crimes of its heretics.
— Greg Koukl, from The New Atheists: Old Arguments, New Attitudes Part 2 at 17:00
One should observe that Jesus commissions his followers to persuade and influence people through teaching that is empowered by the Holy Spirit. He never authorizes imperialism, exploitation, coercion, threats, or any other means of illicit power over others. Instead, he tells us to love our neighbors and even our enemies (Matthew 5:43-48). The Book of Acts shows the early Christians winning conversions through persuasion, not coercion or manipulation. Sadly, some later Christians who held the reigns of political power did enforce Christian conformity through the sword. One would be hard pressed, though, to find any warrant for this in the teachings of Jesus (or the Apostles).
— Douglas Groothuis, from On Jesus, p. 46
I had barely begun separating the teetering stacks of books dedicated to ancient and medieval warfare when Charles Phillips and Alan Axelrod fortuitously happened to publish their three-volume Encyclopedia of Wars, a massive 1,502-page compendium compiled by nine reputable professors of history, including the director of the Centre of Military History and the former head of the Centre of Defence Studies, of what amounts to a significant percentage of all the wars that have taken place throughout recorded human history. Continue reading
In the ruins of Yugoslavia, during World War II, an evangelist by the name of Jakob Kovac went to nearby villages to tell people about God’s love. He had walked ten kilometers to see an old man named Cimerman and his family.
Cimerman said to him, “Permit me to ask you if you are aware of what is being done in the name of your God of love.” Continue reading
The real question, therefore, is not whether the church is responsible for these awful deeds but whether this catalogue of horrors represents an aberration born of human weakness or a logical result of Christian teachings. Were the stake, the gibbet, the rack, and the ghetto—symbols of our inhumanity in the name of God—the results of institutional failure, a corruption of the Christian gospel of love, or were they the necessary consequence of Christian doctrine, prominently including the Christian claim to be the only true faith?
— Guenter Lewy, from Why America Needs Religion, p. 2