originally posted by: DISRAELI
I was born with a wide-ranging sense of curiosity, which soon focussed on history.
... I've done a lot of reading on church history in my time...
What does history teach us regarding religion and Christendom in particular? Are the world's religions, and in particular those in Christendom, giving
the right lead?
“Religion has been one of the most powerful forces in history,”(1) stated The World Book Encyclopedia
. But have the world’s religions
been a genuine force for peace and security? Have they taught their followers that brotherly love should surmount national boundaries and racial
differences? Also, have the churches of Christendom, Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox, proved true to their claim to follow Jesus Christ as the
“Prince of Peace”? Or have they actually contributed to the hatreds that imperil man’s future? A look at the record will give the surprising
What do various sources tell us about the historical record?
In this regard, Parade Magazine
said: “History teaches lessons to those who are willing to learn. One of the most primary lessons is that
conflicts based on religious and sectarian differences are almost always the most vicious, most enduring and most difficult to solve.”(2) And as
the Chicago Tribune
stated: “Every major religion preaches peace and brotherhood and mercy, yet some of the cruellest and most intolerant
repressions in history have been committed in the name of God.”(3) With such historical facts in mind, newspaper editor C. L. Sulzberger
appropriately asks: “Disagreeable as the subject may be, should it not be realized that in addition to other causes—imperialism, racism,
militarism—religion has developed into a persistently greater threat to human life?”(4)
Yes, history is stained with the blood of religiously backed strife. Just in the 20th century alone, during the two world wars and after, we have
witnessed the shameful practice of fellow religionists slaughtering each other—Catholic killing Catholic, Protestant killing Protestant, Muslim
killing Muslim, and others. And the clergy on opposing sides, though of the same religion, blessed the troops that would soon be killing their
Among the most reprehensible in this matter are the churches of Christendom. Why? Because they claim to represent the God of the Bible and his Son
Jesus Christ, who said: “By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love among yourselves.” (John 13:35) Yet the worst
slaughters of all have occurred right in the heart of Christendom. As an editorial in the Waterloo Courier of Iowa declared: “Nor have Christians
ever been squeamish about waging wars on other Christians. If they had been, most of the liveliest wars in Europe would never have occurred. . . .
World Wars I and II, which set the all-time records for Christians killing Christians, could never have occurred.”(5)
On this matter, the Bible is clear: Those who truly serve God are told to “seek peace and pursue it,” to “beat their swords into plowshares,”
and not to “learn war anymore.” (1 Peter 3:11; Isaiah 2:2-4) “We should have love for one another; not like Cain, who originated with the wicked
one [Satan the Devil] and slaughtered his brother.” (1 John 3:10-12) But followers of this world’s religions continue to slaughter their brothers,
as did Cain, and their clergy have supported those pursuing that course. Thus, if you belong to a religion, ask yourself: ‘If everybody on earth
belonged to my religion, would wars have stopped and would this earth now be a place of genuine peace?’
Song 141 Searching for Friends of Peace (with
The book Holocaust Politics
, published in 2001, says: “If more people practiced versions of what the Jehovah’s Witnesses preach and
practice, the Holocaust could have been prevented and genocide would scourge the world no more.”
The divided and warring state of the world’s religions prove that God is not their backer. This may come as a surprise to those who think that all
religion must be good since it claims to represent God. Yet the Bible clearly shows that “God is a God, not of disorder, but of peace.” (1
Corinthians 14:33) It also shows that there is both true religion and false religion. And it states that only worship founded on truth, free from
hypocrisy, has God’s backing.—Matthew 15:7-9; John 4:23, 24; Titus 1:16.
Why does religion seem to be at the root of so many problems?
The fault lies, not with all religion, but with false religion. A widely respected religious figure, Jesus Christ, indicated that false religion
produces bad works, just as a “rotten tree produces worthless fruit.” (Matthew 7:15-17) What fruit does false religion yield?
False Religion . . .
▪ MEDDLES IN WAR AND POLITICS: “Across Asia and beyond,” says the journal Asiaweek
, “power-hungry leaders are cynically manipulating
people’s religious sentiments for their own needs.” As a result, the journal warns: “The world threatens to sink into madness.” A prominent
religious leader in the United States declared: “You’ve got to kill the terrorists before the killing stops.” His solution? “Blow them all
away in the name of the Lord.” By contrast, the Bible says: “If anyone makes the statement: ‘I love God,’ and yet is hating his brother, he is
a liar.” (1 John 4:20) Jesus even said: “Continue to love your enemies.”
(Matthew 5:44) How many religions can you think of whose members
engage in war?
Because the world’s religions have, in effect, prostituted themselves for political, commercial, and social gain, the Bible pictures them as being
like a harlot. Describing this “harlot,” it says: “In her was found the blood of . . . all those who have been slaughtered on the earth.”
(Revelation 17:1-6; 18:24) Yes, this world’s religions bear a heavy bloodguilt in relation to all the slaughter of world history! For this they will
be called to account.
Clearly, any religion whose practices are contrary to the Bible could never succeed in leading mankind to true peace and security. That is why Jesus
said of the false religious leaders in his day: “Blind guides is what they are. If, then, a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a
pit.” (Matthew 15:14) Similarly, the world’s religions today are “blind guides” in the matter of war and in other vital aspects of life as
2 Corinthians 10:3
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not wage warfare* according to [what we are in the] flesh. [*: “We do not wage warfare.” Lit., “we are
not doing military service.”
Gr., ou . . . stra·teu·oʹme·tha
; Lat., non . . . mi·li·taʹmus.
The example of early Christians: The Encyclopedia of Religion and War
states: “The earliest followers of Jesus rejected war and military
service,” recognizing those practices as “incompatible with the love ethic of Jesus and the injunction to love one’s enemies.” Likewise,
German theologian Peter Meinhold said of those early disciples of Jesus: “Being a Christian and a soldier was considered irreconcilable.”
[continued in the next comment, including the references earlier numbered]