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The Idealized vs the Reality

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One of the things that pushed me away from religion was al Qada, more recently the IS, and reading history.

One would believe from reading the bible that Christianity flourished due to peaceful revolution. Not even close.

The first issue arose when people were told not to eat food that had been sacrificed to idols, or participate in religious festivals that honored "gods". This seems like a reasonable request, except when the supposed well-being of the entire culture depended on everyone eating food sacrificed to idols and partaking in religious festivals. This created an automatic division and subsequent persecution. And if that wasn't enough, christians persecuted and murdered each other for differences in doctrine.

The only peace for christians within christianity was in compliance. The way compliance was achieved was by force and by keeping the masses ignorant.

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I would not fault any religion for the excesses of its followers unless those "excesses" were not excesses at all, but prescribed by the religion.

Christianity offers a decisive break from Old Testament Judaism (forgive the shorthand), so I would not hold it against Christianity if Christians took the Old Testament too seriously in application: start burning witches and executing rebellious children as Yahweh instructed his followers to do.

Christianity, even in theory, depends on religious freedom to flourish. A person has to be free to decide to become a Christian, which implies that the person has to be free to say no. I don't see anything in Christianity that says if a person rejects Christ, kill him a lot. Quite the opposite. It says leave him be.

I'm not disputing that Christians have done some horrible things throughout history. I just don't fault Christianity for it.

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The horrible part was when things were done in the name of Christianity, but weren't actually in the book.

What is in the book is the command to not eat food sacrificed to idols. Sacrificing food to idols was a big deal and to refrain from that was a big deal. But there are ways of refraining. I have, over the years, had dietary restrictions - some self imposed - some not. I never felt it necessary to announce why I wasn't eating something, or demand special treatment. If I knew I couldn't eat anything at an event, I either didn't go, or brought my own food. Most of the time I could find *something* to eat. However, my daughter's SIL makes a huge issue of her special largely self-diagnosed; self imposed diet. People get annoyed.

I'm just saying, couldn't the early Christians found a less divisive way of avoiding idol food? Or better yet, not made it a big deal at all? Jesus didn't have a rule about it. It just seems to me to be unnecessarily antagonistic.

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So the belief is if we all get with the program - religion dictating what that program looks like - then we, currying the favor of god, will establish the (peaceful) kingdom. No matter how much carnage it takes to do that. The thinking that believing or teaching that "wrong" doctrine causes the division and must be eradicated.

Maybe that belief is what needs to be eradicated.

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