January 31, 2010 by Bill
I tire, as I am sure you do, of reading all of those knee-jerk/tear-jerk essays about how Christians are being persecuted in various parts of the world. Any Freshman in religious history studies could explain it to them. In Eastern religions, it is called Karma; what you sow, you will reap. Emerson called it “the law of compensation.”
For 2,000 years, the Christian church has persecuted at will around the world. One of my Anthropology professors at the University of Colorado spent one full week documenting the crimes of Christian missionaries against indigenous people around the world. The church has left a legacy that promotes sexism, racism, the intolerance of difference and the desecration of the natural environment. There has been a disregard for human freedom, dignity and self-determination. As the church took over Europe, it almost totally wiped out education, technology, science, medicine, history, art and commerce.
The distinguished church historian of Yale University, Kenneth Scott Latourette, wrote this: “Christianity spread by violence and the bloody sword of Constantine.” In 1995, Pope John Paul II urged the Catholic church to seize the occasion of the new millennium to recognize “the dark side of Christian history” and in a letter to his cardinals, he asked “how can one remain silent about the many forms of violence perpetrated in the name of Christianity…wars of religion…tribunals of the inquisition…and all other forms of violations of the rights of persons?”
The persecution of Christians is called Karma in Eastern religions. Ralph Waldo Emerson called it a “perfect” and “absolute” law, the “law of compensation.” He wrote: “Justice is not postponed. In history, we see it. It is in the world. Cause and effect, seed and fruit, cannot be severed, for the effect already blooms in the cause. The fruit is in the seed.”
The emotional and psychological persecution of persons by the Christian church continues to this day in the year 2010. The emotional persecution of gays and lesbians, of women, of those who favor abortion, of atheists, agnostics, free thinkers, of those who want religion totally separated from the state and politics.
Equally as devastating has been the impact of the church on our relationship to the natural world. A society that once celebrated nature through seasonal festivals was made to commemorate biblical events having no connection to the earth. Christianity separated human beings from nature.
Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas made this observation: “Judaism and Christianity conditioned men to be vandals interested in converting everything from alligator skins, to plumes of the ibis, to sparkling blue waters of mountain ranges into dollars. Man could destroy, and without fear poison the waters, pollute the air, level the forests and despoil the land. Man took the wealth and left only ashes.”
I remember, with loathing, President Reagan’s Secretary of the Interior saying at a press conference “what difference does it make if we destroy the earth? Jesus is coming soon.” James Watt was his name.
Christians being persecuted…so what else is new? Emerson reminds us it is an absolute law of life…the “law of compensation.”