Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Christian Peace and Harmony

An article today in Yahoo news about a rift in a big Presbyterian church in FL, got me thinking about how often one sees claims that peace and harmony are among the benefits of being an Xian compared to the actual observed evidence. The above church is only unique in that it was one of the first mega-churches and that it has connections to Billy Graham and religious right leader D. James Kennedy. There's nothing at all unusual about seeing a headline that there is a rift within or between Xian denominations, and I suppose we should be glad that, at least in most places, the denominations aren't torturing and killing each other any more, but you'd think that when they make bumper stickers and song titles they might want to stick to claims that are less demonstrably false.

Most of the time when I hear of religious discord, I think of the bloody wars and suppression between Protestants and Catholics in Europe and Britain, but the first thing that came to my mind today was Africa. Have you ever wondered why there are so many followers of Islam in Sub-Saharan Africa, even though most of those nations were colonies of Xian countries? It seems that when the imperial Europeans decided to claim ownership of Africa, they included the traditional imposition of missionaries on the indigenous population, but the different Xian denominations spent so much time arguing with each other over who had more right to force their religion on the locals, that the Islamic missionaries were able to walk in with a monolithic message and convert everyone.

Maybe I'm the only one amused by this, but I'm always hearing about how the spread of Christianity, with all its manifest benefits, throughout the world is evidence of it being the true religion. Yet, it seems these guys are their own worst enemies and in spite of the constant discord, they'd like us to believe they are the primary force for achieving world peace and harmony.

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