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Author Topic: Christianity a Religion of Violence?  (Read 1290 times) Average Rating: 0
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88Devin12
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« on: July 12, 2010, 05:21:48 PM »

I was in a discussion on a different forum about whether or not Christianity is a religion of violence, forced conversion, etc...
I contested that true Christianity isn't, and we see this through the fact that nations/regions like Mesopotamia, Armenia, Georgia, the Roman Empire, Africa, Eastern Europe, Russia and even Alaska weren't converted to Christianity by force, but rather did so without force.
(yes I know there are a few exceptions but it wasn't altogether a mass slaughter, convert or be killed)

Another person then replied telling me to read an *bleeping* book and countered that all those nations were converted by force.

He argued that Christians massacred Pagans in Rome (the cult of Mithra) because they were the Emperor's first choice as a state religion. He also argues that Russia was converted by force from the middle ages up through the renaissance and industrial age because Pagans were massacred en masse by both the state and the Church. He cites a certain city in Russia as a prime example of Christians committing genocide against all Pagan Priests etc... in Russia. He also argues that the Native Americans of Alaska were also converted by force...

So I would like to know what really happened, were all these nations converted by force or by simple conversion?
« Last Edit: July 12, 2010, 05:27:26 PM by 88Devin12 » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2010, 05:29:42 PM »

Russia was converted by force. Once St. Vladimir decided to adopt Christianity, he ordered all of his subjects on pain of death to head down to the Dniper for baptism. This event is still re-enacted every January in Kyiv.

The Komi were converted by force inasmuch as their sacred groves were cut down and they simply no longer had a place to practice their traditional religion.
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« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2010, 05:48:55 PM »

Russia was converted by force. Once St. Vladimir decided to adopt Christianity, he ordered all of his subjects on pain of death to head down to the Dniper for baptism. This event is still re-enacted every January in Kyiv.

The Komi were converted by force inasmuch as their sacred groves were cut down and they simply no longer had a place to practice their traditional religion.

Quote
Thereafter Vladimir sent heralds throughout the whole city to proclaim that if any inhabitant, rich or poor, did not betake himself to the river, he would risk the prince's displeasure. When the people heard these words, they wept for joy, and exclaimed in their enthusiasm, "If this were not good, the prince and his boyars would not have accepted it." On the morrow the prince went forth to the Dnepr with the priests of the princess and those from Kherson, and a countless multitude assembled. They all went into the water: some stood up to their necks, others to their breasts, the younger near the bank, some of them holding children in their arms, while the adults waded farther out. The priests stood by and offered prayers. There was joy in heaven and upon earth to behold so many souls saved. But the devil groaned, lamenting: "Woe is me! how am I driven out hence! For I thought to have my dwelling place here, since the apostolic teachings do not abide in this land. Nor did this people know God, but I rejoiced in the service they rendered unto me. But now I am vanquished by the ignorant, not by apostles and martyrs, and my reign in these regions is at an end."

When the people were baptized, they returned each to his own abode. Vladimir, rejoicing that he and his subjects now knew God himself, looked up to heaven and said: "O God, who hast created heaven and earth, look down, I beseech thee, on this thy new people, and grant them, O Lord, to know thee as the true God, even as the other Christian nations have known thee. Confirm in them the true and unalterable faith, and aid me, O Lord, against the hostile adversary, so that, hoping in thee and in thy might, I may overcome his malice." Having spoken thus, he ordained that churches should be built and established where pagan idols had previously stood. He thus founded the Church of St. Basil on the hill where the idol of Perun and the other images had been set, and where the prince and the people had offered their sacrifices [lxt]. He began to found churches and to assign priests throughout the cities, and to invite the people to accept baptism in all the cities and towns. He took the children of the best families, and sent them to schools for instruction in book learning. The mothers of these children wept bitterly over them, for they were not yet strong in faith, but mourned as for the dead. When these children were assigned for study, there was thus fulfilled in the Russian land the prophecy which says, "In that day, the deaf shall hear the words of a book, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see" (Isaiah, xxix, 18). For these persons had not ere this heard words of Scripture, and now heard them only by the act of God, for in his mercy the Lord took pity upon them, even as the Prophet said, "I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious" (Exodus, xxxiii, 19).
http://www.uoregon.edu/~kimball/chronicle.htm

Btw, Christianity among the Rus' predated St. Vladimir.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2010, 05:49:34 PM by ialmisry » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2010, 06:40:50 PM »

Russia was converted by force. Once St. Vladimir decided to adopt Christianity, he ordered all of his subjects on pain of death to head down to the Dniper for baptism. This event is still re-enacted every January in Kyiv.

The Komi were converted by force inasmuch as their sacred groves were cut down and they simply no longer had a place to practice their traditional religion.

Pretty much the same in Ireland.  Saint Patrick and the early bishops made great efforts to befriend and convert the local kings and chieftains since once they were converted they would ensure that their subjects did the same en masse.   
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« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2010, 11:03:43 PM »

I was in a discussion on a different forum about whether or not Christianity is a religion of violence, forced conversion, etc...
I contested that true Christianity isn't, and we see this through the fact that nations/regions like Mesopotamia, Armenia, Georgia, the Roman Empire, Africa, Eastern Europe, Russia and even Alaska weren't converted to Christianity by force, but rather did so without force.
(yes I know there are a few exceptions but it wasn't altogether a mass slaughter, convert or be killed)

Another person then replied telling me to read an *bleeping* book and countered that all those nations were converted by force.

He argued that Christians massacred Pagans in Rome (the cult of Mithra) because they were the Emperor's first choice as a state religion. He also argues that Russia was converted by force from the middle ages up through the renaissance and industrial age because Pagans were massacred en masse by both the state and the Church. He cites a certain city in Russia as a prime example of Christians committing genocide against all Pagan Priests etc... in Russia. He also argues that the Native Americans of Alaska were also converted by force...

So I would like to know what really happened, were all these nations converted by force or by simple conversion?

To borrow a phrase, perhaps this other person should read a *bleeping* book other than "Excerpts from Richard Dawkins on a Colossal Drinking Binge" by Ima Moran.
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« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2010, 11:16:59 PM »

I was in a discussion on a different forum about whether or not Christianity is a religion of violence, forced conversion, etc...
I contested that true Christianity isn't, and we see this through the fact that nations/regions like Mesopotamia, Armenia, Georgia, the Roman Empire, Africa, Eastern Europe, Russia and even Alaska weren't converted to Christianity by force, but rather did so without force.
(yes I know there are a few exceptions but it wasn't altogether a mass slaughter, convert or be killed)

Another person then replied telling me to read an *bleeping* book and countered that all those nations were converted by force.

He argued that Christians massacred Pagans in Rome (the cult of Mithra) because they were the Emperor's first choice as a state religion. He also argues that Russia was converted by force from the middle ages up through the renaissance and industrial age because Pagans were massacred en masse by both the state and the Church. He cites a certain city in Russia as a prime example of Christians committing genocide against all Pagan Priests etc... in Russia. He also argues that the Native Americans of Alaska were also converted by force...

So I would like to know what really happened, were all these nations converted by force or by simple conversion?

Isa and the others can help you with most of the other history, but in regards to the first 360-80 years of christianity, there is no way it was done by force. Most of it wasn't. There was a strong passive tendency in christianity  for the first 4 centuries, and to be honest, we never lost that passive tendency. Were we totally passive? No! It wasn't universal for there were christian soldiers.

And yes from time to time we did do mass conversions by the sword or when a King converted his whole territory converted. Or if a chief converts then the whole tribe converts. Violence wasn't the norm. But violence did happen from time to time.

We were nothing like Islam and how it became huge. We never started out as a war campaign.










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« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2010, 11:17:44 PM »

"Russia" simply did not exist in 988. What St. Volodymyr baptized was Rus', i.e. present-day Ukraine, a union of eastern Slavic tribes. Lands that are known today as "Rossiya" (translated into English as "Russia") were, back then, populated by Ugro-Finnish tribes (Merya, Ves', Chud', Muromya, Erzya, etc. etc. etc.) Even in the 12th century, chronicles witness that princes of Moskva (Finnish for "rotten water") and Suzdal were "going to war on Rus' " (i.e. on what is currently Ukraine).

And yes, of course, all the embellishment nonwithstanding, Rus', as well as (much later) the Ugro-Finnish Muscovy, were baptized by brutal, murderous violence. That's just the truth.
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« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2010, 11:24:51 PM »

That's why is unlikely that America will ever become Orthodox: you'd need an autocrat suppressing the free exercise of religion and laws pressuring people into converting.
Just an exercise of imagination, not something likely to happen. Perhaps not even desirable. God knows.
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« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2010, 11:59:11 PM »

That's why is unlikely that America will ever become Orthodox: you'd need an autocrat suppressing the free exercise of religion and laws pressuring people into converting.
Just an exercise of imagination, not something likely to happen. Perhaps not even desirable. God knows.
Why would America require it? Romania didn't.
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« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2010, 12:14:02 AM »

"Russia" simply did not exist in 988. What St. Volodymyr baptized was Rus', i.e. present-day Ukraine, a union of eastern Slavic tribes. Lands that are known today as "Rossiya" (translated into English as "Russia") were, back then, populated by Ugro-Finnish tribes (Merya, Ves', Chud', Muromya, Erzya, etc. etc. etc.) Even in the 12th century, chronicles witness that princes of Moskva (Finnish for "rotten water") and Suzdal were "going to war on Rus' " (i.e. on what is currently Ukraine).

And yes, of course, all the embellishment nonwithstanding, Rus', as well as (much later) the Ugro-Finnish Muscovy, were baptized by brutal, murderous violence. That's just the truth.
Oh? I've seen that claimed in many a modern history, but I haven't seen it in the old sources (though I can't claim I've seen all of them). Can you cite something?

Since  Valdamar/Volodymyr/Vladimir and the rest of Rurikids were Swedes, I fail to see the importance even if Moscow (which was part of Rus' in St. Volodymyr's time)

was populated by Ugro-Finnic peoples.  I don't have anything against Finns.
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« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2010, 12:16:15 AM »

That's why is unlikely that America will ever become Orthodox: you'd need an autocrat suppressing the free exercise of religion and laws pressuring people into converting.
Just an exercise of imagination, not something likely to happen. Perhaps not even desirable. God knows.
Why would America require it? Romania didn't.
There was no Romania back then. There were Romance speakers living within the borders or in the proximity of the Eastern Roman Empire. I guess they just went with the flow, for the same reasons as others.
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« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2010, 12:20:10 AM »

That's why is unlikely that America will ever become Orthodox: you'd need an autocrat suppressing the free exercise of religion and laws pressuring people into converting.
Just an exercise of imagination, not something likely to happen. Perhaps not even desirable. God knows.
Why would America require it? Romania didn't.
There was no Romania back then. There were Romance speakers living within the borders or in the proximity of the Eastern Roman Empire. I guess they just went with the flow, for the same reasons as others.

I don't understand your logic... When we say "Romania" "Russia" "Georgia" "Armenia", I think it is pretty obvious we aren't talking about the modern nations, but rather those living in those regions back when they were converted.
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« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2010, 12:41:14 AM »

That's why is unlikely that America will ever become Orthodox: you'd need an autocrat suppressing the free exercise of religion and laws pressuring people into converting.
Just an exercise of imagination, not something likely to happen. Perhaps not even desirable. God knows.

How did Christianity spread in the first few centuries? How did the Assyrian Church of the East spread it all the way to China?

The future is gonna be much like the ancient past in that we are living in a new pagan world. And we will have to spread the Faith like we did in the pre-Nicene era.

Just because you may not know much about evangelism doesn't mean we over here in the States don't. Just because you may not like proselytism doesn't mean we don't. I like proselytism. I like it alot!











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« Reply #13 on: July 13, 2010, 12:47:26 AM »

Since  Valdamar/Volodymyr/Vladimir and the rest of Rurikids were Swedes, I fail to see the importance even if Moscow (which was part of Rus' in St. Volodymyr's time)

was populated by Ugro-Finnic peoples.  I don't have anything against Finns.

Anna, a daughter of Yaroslav the Wise, was the Queen of France. Does it mean that the French people were Slavs? Smiley)))
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« Reply #14 on: July 13, 2010, 02:40:16 AM »

So much for people claiming all of Christendom converted by complete free will in other threads! Some even claim that no armies were involved in the matter whatsoever and that everything happened in complete pacifism!
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« Reply #15 on: July 13, 2010, 03:30:48 AM »

So much for people claiming all of Christendom converted by complete free will in other threads! Some even claim that no armies were involved in the matter whatsoever and that everything happened in complete pacifism!

Regardless, we are more pacifistic, just, noble and right than Islam could ever dream of being. And you can take that to the bank!












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« Reply #16 on: July 13, 2010, 03:41:54 AM »

So much for people claiming all of Christendom converted by complete free will in other threads! Some even claim that no armies were involved in the matter whatsoever and that everything happened in complete pacifism!

Regardless, we are more pacifistic, just, noble and right than Islam could ever dream of being. And you can take that to the bank!












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I've neveer claimed Islam is pacifist. We take pride in our normal and just stance on warfare. And I don't go to banks, and you should do the same.  Wink
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« Reply #17 on: July 14, 2010, 05:54:10 AM »

To borrow a phrase, perhaps this other person should read a *bleeping* book other than "Excerpts from Richard Dawkins on a Colossal Drinking Binge" by Ima Moran.

Ima Moran? Is that person related to the hockey player Ian Moran?  Smiley I'm also not sure how Dawkins plays into it. Dawkins has said some silly things, but nothing related to the things mentioned in this thread--not so far as I've read, anyway. 

Anyway, Christianity a religion of violence? Sure, sometimes, in some places, by some people. Unless you want to trot out the no true scotsman fallacy, in an attempt to cleanse Christian history in the same way that the Church Fathers cleansed biblical history.

*scratches head* But anyway...
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« Reply #18 on: July 14, 2010, 09:55:41 AM »

To borrow a phrase, perhaps this other person should read a *bleeping* book other than "Excerpts from Richard Dawkins on a Colossal Drinking Binge" by Ima Moran.

Ima Moran? Is that person related to the hockey player Ian Moran?  Smiley I'm also not sure how Dawkins plays into it. Dawkins has said some silly things, but nothing related to the things mentioned in this thread--not so far as I've read, anyway. 

Anyway, Christianity a religion of violence? Sure, sometimes, in some places, by some people. Unless you want to trot out the no true scotsman fallacy, in an attempt to cleanse Christian history in the same way that the Church Fathers cleansed biblical history.

*scratches head* But anyway...

It was at night and I should have been in bed, so interesting analogies entered the picture.  I guess its largely that the whole "religion is BS, and Christians are a bunch of murdering superstitionists" thing comes out of atheists and Richard Dawkins is the most easy target for my ire.  It was an ad hominem and I apologize, but will hopefully get away with it because the hominem in question probably could care less about my opinions...

On topic: I think it is unfair to call Christianity a "religion of violence".  The religion does not teach us to convert by the sword.  Nothing in Christ's life or those of his disciples would point to this.  Nevertheless, there have been plenty of violent Christians over the years, but they are not representative of the founders of the religion.
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« Reply #19 on: July 14, 2010, 12:03:48 PM »

To borrow a phrase, perhaps this other person should read a *bleeping* book other than "Excerpts from Richard Dawkins on a Colossal Drinking Binge" by Ima Moran.

Ima Moran? Is that person related to the hockey player Ian Moran?  Smiley I'm also not sure how Dawkins plays into it. Dawkins has said some silly things, but nothing related to the things mentioned in this thread--not so far as I've read, anyway. 

Anyway, Christianity a religion of violence? Sure, sometimes, in some places, by some people. Unless you want to trot out the no true scotsman fallacy, in an attempt to cleanse Christian history in the same way that the Church Fathers cleansed biblical history.

*scratches head* But anyway...

It was at night and I should have been in bed, so interesting analogies entered the picture.  I guess its largely that the whole "religion is BS, and Christians are a bunch of murdering superstitionists" thing comes out of atheists and Richard Dawkins is the most easy target for my ire.  It was an ad hominem and I apologize, but will hopefully get away with it because the hominem in question probably could care less about my opinions...

On topic: I think it is unfair to call Christianity a "religion of violence".  The religion does not teach us to convert by the sword.  Nothing in Christ's life or those of his disciples would point to this.  Nevertheless, there have been plenty of violent Christians over the years, but they are not representative of the founders of the religion.

The same is mostly true for Christianity of the first few centuries as well. Islam on the other hand started out as a warlord religion.
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« Reply #20 on: July 14, 2010, 12:37:52 PM »

I personally believe Islam is inherently violent although pacifist groups (& peaceful societies) develop within it. Some religions seem to be violent;some do not. Unfortunately non violent faiths become marred by violence as they spread among different societies & their ideal becomes muddled at times.

Buddhism seems to be pacifistic in its philosophy but can become interwined with violence in various societies in which it interfaces. Tibet is actually an example & Tibetan Buddhists seem to be upfront about this as indicated here: http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=40,5769,0,0,1,0

The example of Jesus Christ clearly indicates that the Gospel is peaceful  (Luke 2:14) but He indicates that violence will result as the Gospel spreads because of the human condition (Matthew 10:34-42) and perhaps we are to be pacifistic as the cost of discipleship?
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« Reply #21 on: July 14, 2010, 01:28:54 PM »

To borrow a phrase, perhaps this other person should read a *bleeping* book other than "Excerpts from Richard Dawkins on a Colossal Drinking Binge" by Ima Moran.

Ima Moran? Is that person related to the hockey player Ian Moran?  Smiley I'm also not sure how Dawkins plays into it. Dawkins has said some silly things, but nothing related to the things mentioned in this thread--not so far as I've read, anyway. 

Anyway, Christianity a religion of violence? Sure, sometimes, in some places, by some people. Unless you want to trot out the no true scotsman fallacy, in an attempt to cleanse Christian history in the same way that the Church Fathers cleansed biblical history.

*scratches head* But anyway...

It was at night and I should have been in bed, so interesting analogies entered the picture.  I guess its largely that the whole "religion is BS, and Christians are a bunch of murdering superstitionists" thing comes out of atheists and Richard Dawkins is the most easy target for my ire.  It was an ad hominem and I apologize, but will hopefully get away with it because the hominem in question probably could care less about my opinions...

On topic: I think it is unfair to call Christianity a "religion of violence".  The religion does not teach us to convert by the sword.  Nothing in Christ's life or those of his disciples would point to this.  Nevertheless, there have been plenty of violent Christians over the years, but they are not representative of the founders of the religion.

The same is mostly true for Christianity of the first few centuries as well. Islam on the other hand started out as a warlord religion.

I was thinking that as I wrote this, but decided not to write it.
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« Reply #22 on: July 14, 2010, 02:21:12 PM »

Unless you want to trot out the no true scotsman fallacy, in an attempt to cleanse Christian history in the same way that the Church Fathers cleansed biblical history.

How do you mean? Are you referring to some fathers saying that basically some things that happened in the Bible where because said people weren't "really Christians?"  Wink
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« Reply #23 on: July 14, 2010, 03:23:15 PM »

That's why is unlikely that America will ever become Orthodox: you'd need an autocrat suppressing the free exercise of religion and laws pressuring people into converting.
Just an exercise of imagination, not something likely to happen. Perhaps not even desirable. God knows.
Why would America require it? Romania didn't.
There was no Romania back then. There were Romance speakers living within the borders or in the proximity of the Eastern Roman Empire. I guess they just went with the flow, for the same reasons as others.
Actually no: when the Empire went to the Arians the Scythians (i.e. the proto-Romanians) were singled out by the contempories as loosing no one to Arianism, but holding firm to Nicea.
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« Reply #24 on: July 14, 2010, 03:29:31 PM »

Since  Valdamar/Volodymyr/Vladimir and the rest of Rurikids were Swedes, I fail to see the importance even if Moscow (which was part of Rus' in St. Volodymyr's time)

was populated by Ugro-Finnic peoples.  I don't have anything against Finns.

Anna, a daughter of Yaroslav the Wise, was the Queen of France. Does it mean that the French people were Slavs? Smiley)))

No, nor were they Scandinavians (outside of Normandy), which is what the Rus' were.
The Rus' homeland:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/9d/FC-Uppland%2C_Sweden.png
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« Reply #25 on: July 14, 2010, 06:41:39 PM »

Actually no: when the Empire went to the Arians the Scythians (i.e. the proto-Romanians) were singled out by the contempories as loosing no one to Arianism, but holding firm to Nicea.

Do you have a citation for that? The term Scythian was applied willy-nilly to speakers of all kinds of languages: Turkic, Finno-Ugrian, Iranian... But I'm unaware of the term being used for people of what became Romanian, as (at least later) the term Vlach was standard.
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« Reply #26 on: July 14, 2010, 07:17:28 PM »

He probably means the Scythian Monks that were, indeed, Latin speakers.
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