.... when a Christian “murders,” he acts in direct contravention of divine command. Fine: but what is murder? Is it “murder” to wage war to liberate the Holy Land? Or to obliterate the Cathars? Or to convert the Lithuanians? Or to reconquer Spain? I’m quite sure those who prosecuted those wars in the divine name would have been distinctly puzzled by the suggestion that their actions constituted murder – as opposed to justified killing. And, of course,“murder” is prohibited in every civilized society.<quoted text>
Islam is an international terrorist conspiracy, not a religion, and all Muslims should be considered potential terrorists.
Meanwhile, it’s my people who wrote Psalm 137, a prayer for vengeance that ends with glee at the thought of dashing our enemies’ children’s brains on rocks. And yet, over the sweep of history since the rabbinic period, one would have to call the Jewish people among the least-prone to extreme inter-communal violence. We can debate the reasons for that historical fact, but what it should show at a minimum is that the syllogism,“violent texts are a primary cause of inter-communal violence,” needs some work.
Dreher and Sullivan alike are Christians. I’m not. They assume that Jesus’s call to “turn the other cheek” means that Christianity has acted as a historic brake on violence. As a Jew, I have to question that assumption. After all, the number of Christian countries in history that have been governed according to principles of non-violence is exactly zero. Someone from a religious tradition whose founding texts articulated rules about when violence is justified or permitted might look at the long history of Christian violence – not just violence by Christians, but violence undertaken with the Church’s encouragement and undertaken in the name of Jesus – and say: gee, maybe saying “turn the other cheek” backfires, makes all violence seem equally sinful, and therefore opens the gate to truly horrific behavior?
I’m not endorsing that view – I’m just saying that there are perfectly logical arguments that can be made that completely reverse the Christian apologetic claim that because Jesus preached non-violence and Muhammad (like Moses) led an army, therefore Christian civilization is inherently less-violent than Muslim (or Jewish?) civilization. Obviously, if you’re a Christian, you’ll find a Christian apologetic argument congenial. But that doesn’t mean it has analytical value.
For that matter, the United States was founded by genocidal racist slave-trading colonialists. Does that mean the Constitution is essentially and irredeemably racist? Isn’t that where the “bad book” theory logically leads?