Winning back our liberty: the ‘religious right’ threat

Just read Ezra Levant’s ‘Christmas column’.  It sums up the problem rather well…

It has taken me a long time to write this post, because I just can’t seem to get the proper wording.

But, there is no easy way of saying this…

The ‘conservative movement’ or ‘right wing’ includes what is referred to as ‘the religious right’.

I am not referring to people who are conservative, but just happen to be religious.  Not at all.  Rather, I am referring to the people who see themselves as ‘conservatives’ because they have what they consider to be ‘conservative social values’.  But, their social values are not so much ‘conservative’ as ‘old-fashioned’, or, even better description would be ‘religiously motivated’.

There is no problem with holding these views – even though they mistakenly think them to be ‘conservative’.  Where the problem comes is that many of these people wish to impose these so-called ‘conservative’ values on all of our society:  they think that in order to be a ‘conservative’ a person must subscribe to their brand of religious ‘morality’.

To much of this  ‘religious right’, ‘freedom of religion’ appears to mean replacing the religious oppression of every member of the society by another religious faction by the religious oppression of every member of the society according to their own religious dogma.   All else they call ‘moral relativism’

And, they say this as if it were a bad thing!

Legislating one religious group’s morality to rule everybody is not freedom!

Which, I rather thought, is the whole point of separating the State from the Church (or Synagogue, or Mosque, or whatever other temple may wish to influence the State).

In a free society, the citizens must not permit anyone to legislate morality or to turn religious prejudices into laws which rule the land!

Most of you have doubtlessly heard a variation of this statement:

“Our Western values of freedom of speech and religion are deeply rooted in the Judeo-Christian tradition and it was time we became true to our roots!”

This statement is so ludicrous, I do not know where to start…or even if I need to…to debunk it!

It is in the scientific revolution that our society has its roots!

It is through the rejection of Judeo-Christian principles that we have gained freedom of speech and freedom of religion!

In ancient Greece, thinkers and philosophers (‘yellow horses’ included) reasoned out that so much of what was happening around them – and which was attributed to deities – was no more and no less than natural phenomena.  This freed their thinking of the blind desire to be servants to invisible, intangible deities.  Their now unfettered minds were free to reason – truly reason – about their surroundings.  This led to new advances in science and technology, raising everyone’s standard of living.

The beginning of the end of this era of free thought was ‘the conversion of Constantine’ to Christianity.  The event that marked the final end, the ‘death blow’ to the religious tolerance which people then took for granted, the demise of the very ancient Greek civilization, was the brutal murder of Hypatia of Alexandria.

Hypatia grew up in the famed Library of Alexandria, as her father, Theon, the astronomer and mathematician,was the second last curator of the library.  She became the last (if one is to take Carl Sagan’s word for it).

Famous for her breadth and depth of knowledge and wisdom beyond her years, Hypatia was a much sought after teacher, astronomer, philosopher and mathematician in her own right. Historical records indisputably demonstrate that she headed up the Neoplatonic school of Philosophy at the main site of the Alexandrian Library, the Museum (named for the Muses).  She was highly respected – even by Christians, many of whom attended her lectures.

St. Cyril, the Christian Bishop of Alexandria at that time, was attempting to fuse the power of the state with religion – with himself in full charge of ruling Alexandria.  Famously – and illegally – his mob of ‘monks’ leveled all the synagogues of Alexandria and expelled the Jews.  He destroyed the churches of Christian sects he deemed too moderate.  But, he did not forget the ‘pagans’!

Cyril declared that ‘learning and intellectual pursuits’ kept people form ‘religious fervor’ and therefore had to be destroyed.  His predecessor (and uncle) had started, by burning thousands of scrolls which recorded scientific knowledge.  Cyril continued.

And, he could not suffer the popular symbol of Greek learning and wisdom, Hypatia, to live.

A mob of Christians, led by St. Cyril’s right-hand henchman, Peter,  dragged Hypatia from her carriage/chariot and stripped her naked, dragged her through the streets, into a Christian Church, placed her on the altar and scraped her flesh off her bones with sharp oyster shells.  They then set her on fire, in an attempt to disguise the crime…

The end of the ancient Greek period of enlightenment ended when Christians took the reigns of secular power in the Roman empire, burned and destroyed libraries, and imposed ‘Christian morality’ on all the land!

Yes, this ascension of Christianity into a position of power brought us – what was it?  Ah, yes, the Dark Ages.

And when science began to re-emerge in our society, when Copernicus made his observations, what did the Christian culture respond with?   What was the most widely printed and circulated (aside from the Bible) book Christiandom produced then?  Ah, that wonderful treatise on religious tolerance and love between all humans:  Malleus Maleficarum!

It had excellent instructions on opening inter-faith dialogues!

Are these the Judeo-Christian principles in which our modern freedoms are rooted?

Is this what we want to return to?

Because that is what theocracies inevitably degenerate into!

If you listen to the ‘religious right’, that would seem to be the plan….except that they truly seem to think this is ‘freedom’.

That is why I think that so many people do not wish to be associated with ‘the right wing’:  very few people wish to be lumped together with the people who wish to impose their religious ‘morals’ onto the whole society.

The worst thing is that our society is, slowly but incrementally, submitting to Islamic religious ‘morals’ – and this push is coming from the ‘left’, under the guise of ‘tolerance’.  Which it is not.  Again, I do not understand how so many people can have such a large blind spot.

Fighting imposition of Islamic ‘morals’ on our society by attempting to impose Christian ‘morals’ on us instead is not the way to win back our freedom!

If we do not recognize that, we are doomed…

12 Responses to “Winning back our liberty: the ‘religious right’ threat”

  1. CodeSlinger Says:

    Xanthippa:

    This is exactly why I tell people

    It isn’t left versus right.
    It’s the state.
    Versus YOU.

    Of course, the power structure I simply call “the state” actually refers to the incestuously intertwined tangle of big government, big business and their bastard offspring, the non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The point is, they work together to pull the wool over people’s eyes and make them think they have freedom and choice when they really live abject lives of incarcerated servitude.

    The illusion of choice is maintained by making sure the only choices people have are between “package deals” which are equally poisonous, though flavoured differently. On the left we have moral tolerance and fiscal profligacy; on the right we have fiscal restraint and moral severity. In theory.

    In practice, we get two different flavours of the worst of both sides: fiscal incontinence and moral constipation. Each side thinks you’re beneath contempt if you question their Holy Book (the Bible, the Quran, the Talmud, the Communist Manifesto, the IPCC Report, …) and each side is prepared to spend unlimited amounts of your money to get their way.

    So we get a choice between two kinds of collectivism: socialism and fascism. We get to choose which web of lies will form the walls of our virtual prison, and which cabal of liars will rob us blind.

    The choice we don’t get is fiscal responsibility and moral temperance. The choice we don’t get is true liberalism, which builds community on the unshakable foundation of boundless respect for individual rights.

    But that is the choice we must demand.

    It’s high time to form a new political party that offers people that choice.

    Xanthippa says:

    OK – but, HOW?

    Our society has become so twisted that a party such as that would be torn apart by the PR of existing, entrenched, parties which have access to money from interests who wish to keep ‘status quo’. People believe the ads and the spin, do not look beyond to substance and credibility….

    And, EVEN IF!!!

    Even IF such a party came into power – through some miracle – the ‘State’ can only act through its agents. Its ‘agents’ are the bureaucrats – career bureaucrats – in the countless ranks of what makes up ‘our civil service’. These career bureaucrats, who have been around longer than any politicians, know how to ‘defend their turf’! They (along with the civil service unions) are no match for any elected party – especially one set on dismantling their empire!

    These people are smart, talented and resourceful. Very good at ‘spin’. Very good at ‘submissive sabotage’. I know many of them. They have made mincemeat out of any elected official that did not obey them – in the ways THEY think count. Electing a party that would wish to reduce their influence would be a massacre – of the elected party!

    There is no easy way to dismantle a large, well-oiled machine that the civil service has become. And, regulating more and more of the citizens’ lives is the only justification for the continued growth of the public service. So, regardless of whom we elect, the regulations will grow so the public service can grow!

    We are less governed by our elected officials than we are by the bureaucrats who control them.

  2. CodeSlinger Says:

    Xanthippa:

    A miracle isn’t exactly what I had in mind. All that’s needed is to get the message out to the people. And all that takes is money. So, what’s needed is someone, or some group, that’s just outside the inner circle of the status quo, and isn’t afraid to upset the apple cart so they can become the new inner circle. Someone who has the means and the motive, and is only looking for the opportunity…

    There is a huge mass of people out there who feel completely cut off from the process of government and completely betrayed by the state. They are, as I wrote elsewhere, whistling in the dark to distract themselves from something that terrifies them, and which they can see no way to avoid. But they are not oblivious. They don’t vote because they are convinced there is no one to vote for.

    I say, give them someone to vote for!

    Someone who says what he means and means what he says, who speaks the truth in blatant defiance of political correctness, who does what is right in blatant disregard of what is expedient.

    Someone whose whole intent is to make the state smaller and cleaner and who knows that a bureaucrat, stripped of job security, is less than nothing.

    You think the media can tear some one like that apart?

    The more they try, the better they will make him look.

    Xanthippa says:

    You underestimate the role – and power – of the bureaucrats.

    They do not stand as individual employees – they have rich and powerful unions backing them.

    ‘The State’ can only act through its agents – the bureaucrats. If they refuse to carry out the elected officials’ bidding – or, worse, pretend to agree, then sabotage it in ‘how’ it is implemented – they can destroy any politician they choose by making him/her look foolish and their policy half-baked. I have experience with some of these people – luckily, I could limit it. They must not be underestimated!

    • CodeSlinger Says:

      Xanthippa:

      The whole point is to dismantle the bureaucracy.

      At least 95% of the things government does are things it should not be doing at all. Therefore the required reform is simply to eliminate those functions.

      No bureaucrat can sabotage a policy whose entire content consists of eliminating his job.

      Xanthippa says:

      You are forgetting that the whole public service is 100% unionized.

      You try to eliminate jobs here, no pension checks will be issued there. Or, they’ll be issued all wrong. Etc.

      The Romans had an interesting thing: when a person became a minister of something, he brought his own people to be the civil servants who ran the department. As in, if there were a cabinet shuffle, all the bureaucrats from a department would leave with the minister – who was their direct employer – and their positions would be filled with the people working directly for the new, incoming minister.

      That way, the minister would be responsible for all that went on in his department – AND he could trust his people.

      Now, the incoming minister inherits those promoted by – and therefore somewhat likely to be loyal to – their predecessor.

      I am not suggesting this would be practical today: the unions would prevent any such attempt to have direct responsibility to the minister, without the usual baggage….but, it is something to think about.

      Still, CodeSlinger, do not underestimate the power most higher-ranking bureaucrats hold. Stripping them of it will not be as easy as telling them their job was eliminated. And a cornered bureaucrat, fearing the loss of their ’empire’ is more dangerous than a cornered bear…plus they are armed with blackberries. You’d have an army of frightened, cornered bureaucrats – bureaucrats well connected with the union hierarchy. General strike by all civil servants, from immigration and customs people to healthcare and on and on….

      • CodeSlinger Says:

        Xanthippa:

        People whose jobs are useless cannot afford to strike, because all they will accomplish is to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that their jobs are indeed useless. By providing that proof, they only make it that much easier to issue their termination notices.

        People who cause problems with the few remaining bureaucratic functions are guilty of misconduct — or worse — and will be dealt with accordingly. At minimum, they will be immediately terminated with cause, and therefore without severance pay.

        If they intentionally interfere with truly essential services, they create a state of emergency. All they accomplish thereby is to activate emergency powers, the exercise of which will land them in prison.

        To take over the pecking order, you take on the toughest contenders first. That is a given, just like in the schoolyard. Thus the first wave of layoffs includes all the senior levels in every department. After all, you are downsizing by a factor of 20 to 1. Such senior people are far overqualified, and clearly no longer required. So they can go without prejudice — with generous severance pay, even. As long as they go peacefully. If not, see the preceding paragraphs.

        Believe me… there will come a point where those who still have jobs will start cooperating. Some because they see a route to a promotion that would otherwise have taken 30 years, others out of sheer fear. It doesn’t matter which. As long as they do their jobs. Properly.

        Don’t mess with me, Mr. Bear… I like bear meat!

        Xanthippa says:

        It is not as easy as you present it. Trust me. I know what I speak of – at least on this one!

      • CodeSlinger Says:

        Xanthippa:

        Okay, it’s not as easy as I’ve made it out to be. But neither is it as tough as you’ve made it out to be. The bureaucracy can be whittled down to size, and it must be.

        But we’ve let ourselves get caught up in a side issue. The topic of your post is the danger posed by the religious right, and on that we completely agree: the rightards are as dangerous as the leftards. And to that list, I add the islamatards, the jewtards, the greentards, and all the other ‘tards. They are all just different flavours of the same danger.

        All of those factions pose a threat to freedom, irrespective of their position on the left/right scale. They all present fatally flawed package deals, but these package deals are not flawed by accident. They are carefully crafted to manipulate and control the masses of true believers (the ‘tards) while consolidating power and wealth in the hands of the elite.

        But the people are getting wise to it, and they are tired of being taken for ‘tards. They only seem oblivious because they see no way out. If someone were to come along and present them with a deal that is not fatally flawed, he could give them a way out, and all that pent-up frustration would propel him to power with a mandate to actually fix what’s wrong with this place. Dismantling the bureaucracy is only a small part of it.

        What is really required is to place strict limits on the size and mutual influence of organizations of all kinds, be they religious, political, commercial, or whatever. We need organizations. But when they get too big and to intertwined they become so detrimental to individual freedom that they threaten the survival of the whole society.

        Xanthipa says:

        Yes. Agreed.

        Again, though, let me play the ‘light-bringer’s advocate’.

        HOW???

        There is no easy way to do this without serious regulations – which would still be circumventable and/or so oppressive to individual rights and freedoms that we would end up becoming the very same baddies we are opposing now!

        I still suspect the real problem lies in that we are unable to effectively scale up our societies without oppression being the side effect of just about any attempt to expand more than one or two powers of ten beyond our ‘monkeyspheres’.

        Yes, there MUST be an answer. But, I don’t think anything we have tried so far can work, without breaking down due to the scale. We can either accommodate numbers, or individuality – not both! I will keep thinking….please, do likewise!

        Though, human nature being what it is, it will be difficult to retain both individuality and accountability when dealing with large numbers of people.

      • CodeSlinger Says:

        Xanthippa:

        Yes. We are thinking along the same lines: scale is the crucial issue. When it comes to government, the smaller its budget, the less harm it can do and the less tempting it is to corrupt it. In the private sector, a large number of small, simple, independent entities are more difficult to co-opt than a small number of large, complex, intertwined entities.

        So what we need are structural changes that inhibit the accumulation of large fortunes that outlive their creators, and enforce strict separation of church, state, business, charity, and so on.

        Indeed, this way of thinking implies sweeping legislative and regulatory reform, but the end result would be far less invasive and restrictive than what we have today, and far more conducive to the flourishing of true capitalism and democracy.

        Xanthippa says:

        Yes, CodeSlinger.

        However, I suppose you have spotted the fault in this: education!

        We are faced with 2 or more generations who were educated to look to authority for just about everything!

        EVEN IF they are displeased – and, my estimate of the level of ‘displeasure’, or even awareness that one ‘ought to be displeased’, is WAY lower than yours – people are not ready to WANT to look after themselves!

        The vast majority will simply demand replacing the current overbearing nanny state with another one!

        This is because they were educated not to become full, self-sufficient adults. This is difficult to remedy.

        Sure, some people became mature, independent adults despite their education – but, these are in a minority. The majority – even IF they recognize the problem AND think it worthwhile to change it – they will want to change it in a way where they get all their freedoms, but none of the responsibilities.

        Once the responsibility bit hits them, they will get disillusioned, angry and will fight to restore their ‘perks’ and ‘entitlements’!

      • CodeSlinger Says:

        Xanthippa:

        Yes, there would be more than a little kvetching from some quarters. But I think you would be surprised at how fast people can grow up if there is no other option. Like kids whose tantrum stops like flicking a switch as soon as they realize it won’t get them anywhere.

        People act like spoiled children because then can. And I think the general public is a lot less stupid than they are made out to be. We are often presented with a story about some exceptionally stupid or squalid twit, and we are invited to conclude (wrongly) that this is typical and therefore the nanny state is necessary.

        But the problem you point out is real. And the longer we wait, the worse it gets. So the sooner we dismantle the nanny state, the less painful it will be. Indeed, there may come a time when it is too late, but I don’t think that time has arrived. Yet.

        For now, I think people would rise to the occasion.

        Xanthippa says:

        Well – there have been ‘thinkers’ out there who have looked at this question of ‘when’ it is ‘too late’ to reverse state-nannyism.

        Some suggest this occurs when more than 50% of the population derives its primary income from the Government (either as welfare or another form of support or because they are employed by one or another level of government). Others put this number at a little higher – but the highest I heard was 66% (since some of these groups do not typically vote).

        This is because once the ‘beneficiaries’ have more votes than the ‘economy-growers’, they will, in effect, control those earners more and more, increasing taxes and benefits to themselves, because the ‘economy-growers’ will be unable to out-vote them.

        Where are we now?

        Remember, even serfdom started out with working on the landlord’s ‘stuff’ 2-3 days a month…..and ended with sun-rise to sun-set, 6 days a week… When the ‘economy-growers’ – not just those with ‘a job’, but those with a non-government-driven-income, but private sector people who actually make/create ‘stuff’ – loose the ability for their voice to count, bad things follow for their society!

      • CodeSlinger Says:

        Xanthippa:

        Well, if you add together federal, provincial and municipal governments, Canada is now hovering near the 45% mark — down from over 60% in the early 90’s. And, in fact it turns out that most of the countries in the world are distributed in a relatively narrow band between about 40% to 60%. However, I seem to recall a quote due to Washington, or Jefferson, or someone like that, to the effect that “a government which spends more than a tenth part of the wealth created by its people is necessarily corrupt.”

        The fact that we were able to back off from government spending in excess of 60% of GNP tells me that we are not (yet) at the point of no return. The fact that we haven’t gone far below 50% tells me it is high time to pick up the pace.

        And, okay, the factor of 20 I mentioned was an overstatement. But we need to shrink government at all levels by a factor of at least 5.

        Starting now.

        Xanthippa says:

        Actually, CodeSlinger, I think he 20-figure could be achieved.

        And not just by firing people.

        Rather, many thousands of people can be moved from the public into the private sector just by re-introducing choices and rescinding government monopolies on providing services – all kinds of services!

        For example, if schools went to a ‘voucher system’, many schools would become private – better reflecting the needs of their students and wishes of the parents. Sure, there would still need to be a ministry of education, to ensure minimum standards, and so on. But, that would be a much smaller ministry, as they would no longer be responsible for the administration of education. No more school boards. No more 3 bureaucrats’ salaries per one teacher salary…

        This should be done with each and every department. If a service can be provided by the private sector – it should be. First stop the government monopoly on it, then slowly wean the population off the government teat…

        Then, of course, if we get the government to stop sticking its nose into places it does not belong (can you say the HRCs?), it would not hurt at all!

      • CodeSlinger Says:

        Xanthippa:

        YES–!! Now you are talking my language!

        Xanthippa says:

        Thank you!

        Except that – we are in no position to begin implementing these changes. To do so, we need to first normalize these ideas (so people realize these options exist, and are viable – and desirable) and then elect a government capable of implementing them.

        In this, we face numerous ‘other’ public debates we must partake in and resolve, because unless we do that, people will not be willing to think about THIS problem: reducing the bureaucracy. At least, the public one.

        Reducing the bureaucracy in private institutions will be harder, but ‘private bureaucracy’ is no less dehumanizing. It would not be possible for bureaucraticly-bloated private companies to exist if large corporations were not protected from competition by legislation. But, chipping away at this will be difficult because these large corporations have relatively large access to influence.

        As a matter of fact, privatizing government services ‘the wrong way’ would only make this worse. The creation of ‘whales or plankton’ only companies in the private sector is highly unstable. We already have this problem in most areas of our economy, and this is making our society as a whole very vulnerable.

        So, it is not just as easy a task as it sounds. Done the wrong way, it will make things worse, not better.

      • CodeSlinger Says:

        Xanthippa:

        Downsizing corporations is as important as downsizing government. But, as to how it is done, I think this question is much deeper than it seems. In fact, I think the whole concept of the corporation needs to be rethought.

        Not only is the economy dominated by corporations too big to permit anything resembling a free market to exist, they are treated as immortal virtual persons who are legally required be ruthless, greedy, devoid of conscience, and, well, utterly psychopathic. Indeed, they are structured in just the right way to form the perfect natural habitat of human psychopaths.

        This is a very, very important issue, because it drives at the root of why privatization so often goes so horribly wrong — why so many attempts at reform give rise to greater evils than they drive out.

        It is an issue that applies to all types of organizations: governments, churches, corporations, unions, trusts, foundations, associations … all of them.

        Make a list of characteristics that define the psychopath:

        1. Glibness, superficial charm and habitual lying.
        2. Emotional shallowness, callousness and lack of empathy.
        3. Cunning, devious and manipulative behaviour.
        4. Lack of remorse or guilt for actions that harm others.
        5. Grandiosity and exaggerated sense of self-worth.

        This is the exact set of characteristics that will maximize a person’s success in any of these organizations.

        This is why we are in the mess we are in, and why every effort to extricate ourselves from it only gets us in deeper.

        This is the problem we must solve.

        Xanthippa says:

        Yes.

        Corporations operate under the premise that their only responsibility is to their shareholders (unless they are subverted….we are talking best-case scenario here). This is necessarily in opposition to having responsibility to the society they operate in.

        A profound conflict of interest, perhaps?

        Socialists saw this problem and decided to solve it by making each member of the society an equal ‘shareholder’. We saw how well THAT worked….

        Now, for a little change of pace: back to the original topic of this post…

        It seems that not everyone (just scroll down past the LEAF thing) who has read my post has taken from it the same message that you did (which was, indeed, the message I intended to convey in the post). I was worried that people would read the ‘supporting evidence’ and ignore – nay, fail to notice – the actual message of the post itself….which is why it took me so long to cobble it together.

        Now, I have been struggling for 3 days to explain it: I think this is really important. Not only because I do not want to alienate people, but because I actually want to make them consider just how inconsistent their position is. Without recognizing the inconsistencies in one’s message, it is not possible to build a position which would be taken seriously by others….in this case, the people who do not self-identify as ‘little c’ conservatives.

        Any thoughts you might have on this or advice you could offer me would be greatly appreciated!

  3. SUZANNE Says:

    Xanthippe, this history of freedom is so full of errors, I don’t know where to start.

    The Greeks were not about freedom. Remember Socrates?

    Constantine PROMOTED freedom by his edict of Milan in 313. It was the first time in recorded history that a government announced toleration for various religious beliefs.

    The demise of Hypatia, tragic as it was, hardly marked the beginning of the decline of Greek civilization.

    It’s erroneous to lay the blame of the so-called “Dark Ages” on Christianity. The Fall of the Roman Empire did not automatically make Europe into a Christian continent. Arian Vandals ruled in Spain; France, England, Germany, and other vast areas of Europe were still largely pagan. The Ostrogoths ruled in Italy, but there were still pockets of paganism.

    The Dark Ages, i.e. the breakdown of the political and social system was largely due to the barbarian invasions. These uncultured individuals largely took over. It was with the gradual conversion of these people that they rose from their barbarism and learned to appreciate education.

    If the Church was such a force for ignorance, how is it that a figure like St. Isidore of Seville created his encyclopedia, or Boethius penned his philosophies, or the monks penned their chronicles?

    If anything the Church was the shining light in the beacon of darkness when it came to learning. It was the only force that valued these things when the rest of the world was warring and plundering.

    I don’t think you get that.

    The point of separating Church and State was not to limit the influence of religion. It was to limit the power of the state in running the Church. It was expected that government would be influenced by transcendent values. Even our Charter of Rights makes our rights dependent on the Supremacy of God.

    Who do you suppose came up with the idea of the Separation of Church and State? It wasn’t atheists. It was people who had some form of faith, and who let their faith influence their thinking in political matters.

    I think you have a distorted view of history.

    It was the Catholic concept of the two-sword theory that made the Separation of Church and State a possibility. You don’t have that idea in Islam nor Judaism, nor in any other religion that I know of. The natural law theory of the universities– religious institutions– made possible basic ideas like freedom of speech and freedom of religion. The idea of freedom that you propose did not come from militant secularists, because up until the 20th century there were virtually no militant secularists, with the possible exception of those directing the French Revolution. And we all know what kind of freedom they ended up promoting.

    So yes, Freedom, as we know, has its roots in Judeo-Christian culture, because up until the 20th century, there was virtually no culture untouched by Judeo-Christian values. It was only in the post-war that we really see the emergence of such a widespread culture.

    It was precisely those experiences of persecution that led various Christian communities to adopt a more tolerant attitude because they *didn’t* want to go back to persecution and wars of religion. It’s not inherent in Christianity to do that.

    Xanthippa says:

    I am well familiar with the points you raise.

    Ancient Greece was about freedom of religious thought – not about freedom in secular politics. I am sorry if I did not make that clear. Socrates drank his cup of hemlock because he displeased secular authorities, not because he blasphemed against any religion.

    As for Constantine being the 1st ruler to decree religious freedom…. Have you never heard of Cyrus the Great? Are you truly unfamiliar with the pagan practices of religious tolerance? Where temples to many gods from various pantheons coexisted peacefully? Just read the lists of pagan temples that Christian mobs destroyed when they came to power: in individual cities, you will find they had destroyed synagogues, temples to Greek deities, Roman deities, Egyptian deities….the list goes on and on. All these temples were active, co-existing quite well in the came cities – which is how they could all be destroyed, their gold stolen and melted for use in Christian churches all at once! This is a matter of history, recorded by many historians, over a large geographic area – and not a matter of conjecture.

    As for Constantine’s peaceful and tolerant nature – one does not have to look further than the Council of Nicea! He locked all the Christian leaders of all the different sects he could gather together and told them they could come out feet first – or as leaders of a new and powerful religion, depending on how agreeable they were to re-writing Christianity in his image! Less than 2% of the Christian writings known before the Council of Nicea made it into the Constantine-approved canon, now known as The New Testament. The rest – 98% of the collected works about Jesus, including scrolls written by people who know Jesus personally – were now deemed ‘heresies’, banned and, if found, burned.

    Thus, Constantine has banned more works about the life of Jesus than ANYONE ELSE IN HISTORY!!!

    The death of Hypatia did not mark the beginning of decline of the ancient Greek culture. It was the proverbial ‘last nail in the coffin’! This is not my notion – I am simply repeating what I read in history textbooks.

    And, please – lay off us barbarians!!!

    By the way – ‘barbarian’ means anyone who is not Roman…

    Rome was sacked mostly by Arian Christians – that is why the Christian churches were not burned down.

    The breakdown of infrastructure following the fall of Rome was greatly facilitated by roaming bands of fanatical Christian Monks, who burned down anything ‘Roman-like’. Again, this is not a matter of conjecture, but of recorded history.

    And, yes. The times that followed were called the Dark Ages because as the Roman Catholic Church usurped monopoly over education, the populace of Europe once again fell into illiteracy. Standard of living fell so fast, we would find it difficult to believe than anything short of natural disaster could cause it.

    As for The Church being a beacon of light…please! They only permitted the monks who had not learned to read to copy (yes, picture of a letter by picture of a letter) most books, lest they attain the knowledge contained therein!

    Please, do not misunderstand. I do not think that Christianity is any worse than any other religion. My criticism is of theocracies in general – and the spotlight is turned onto this theocracy in particular because it is this theocracy that some people seem hell-bent on bringing back – and doing so in the name of freedom!

    With the invention of the printing press, The Church could no longer enforce its monopoly on ‘learning’. That was the beginning of the end of the Christian theocracy – and the beginning of the dawn of our era.

    And it was people like Giordano Bruno (he believed in reincarnation – not just of God, but also of people and animals and maintained that if humans had souls, then so did animals) – burned at a stake in a flower market in Rome, and that ‘vegetarian gay bastard’ Leonardo and the scientists of the day (many of whom maintained an outward appearance of being ‘believers’, so as not to end up Pope’s barbecue, like Bruno and countless others did).

    Do you know what Jesuits would do – within my great-grandfather’s mother’s memory? If they found books in people’s homes (small villages), they herded the whole family in – infants included – barred the doors and windows and set the home on fire! This is the ‘enlightenment’ The Church brought us!

    In many parts of protestant Europe, the word ‘Jesuit’ is still synonymous with ‘book burner’!

    No, Christianity does not have to be practiced that way. I’ll completely, 100% agree with you there. But, it was.

    All theocracies devolve into oppressive tyrannies, because ambitious and unscrupulous men are driven in quest for secular power. And, they will gain it! In theocracies, they will do it through the religion.

    The problem is that there are no such checks and balances in theocracies, to control these ambitious unscrupulous and ruthless men. EVERY religion can lead to a bad theocracy.

    THAT is why we must guard against ALL theocracies!

  4. Steynicle 405nd « Free Canuckistan! Says:

    […] ~ ITEM: “Winning back our liberty: the ‘religious right’ threat“ […]


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