Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Are Christians Responsible for the World's Wars?


One of the greatest blows to Christianity has been the assessment that we are responsible for all the wars in the world. “If your God is so loving, then why have more people died in Christian wars than in all other wars put together?” The Crusades and Inquisition have also been a black mark on our history.

But let’s take a closer look at those claims.

Adolf Hitler is perhaps history’s best-known villain. During his Holocaust Hitler murdered 6 million Jews and another 5-10 million others. That number does not include all the lives lost worldwide during World War II, which he should certainly be blamed for. Was Hitler a Christian? Hardly. He was a pagan that believed in the ancient gods.

Joseph Stalin is not as well known as Hitler, but he murdered far more people. An estimated 40 million people lost their lives at the hands of Stalin, who was anything but a Christian. Stalin closed 90% of the churches in the Soviet Union.

Mao Tse-tung is not nearly as famous as the others, but the 70 million people he murdered were certainly aware of him. “Chairman Mao’s” Cultural Revolution was the bloodiest “revolution” in history. A Marxist-Leninist, Mao was far from Christianity.

Osama bin-Laden is only the latest face of evil in the world. To say that he has only murdered thousands may sound cruel, but compared to those who murdered millions or tens of millions, bin-Laden doesn’t look as evil. But his was a different kind of war, hiding behind suicide bombers and in caves, he never had the support of a country like the three men listed above. We also have to contribute the thousands who have died in war in response to bin-Laden’s 9/11 attacks.

Osama represents, not Christianity, but Islam. He is just the latest chapter in their violent history (and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran is next) that has spanned fourteen centuries. As I heard one person put it just this morning, “Is this the 10th year of the War on Terror, or the 1400th year of Islam’s war on infidels?”

Some of the other non-Christians responsible for wars are Napoleon Bonaparte, Kim Jong Ill, Fidel Castro, and Saddam Hussein. Who exactly are the Christians that have started all these wars?

Why don’t we hear people saying, “Communism has killed more people than all other wars combined?” Or why aren’t we hearing that atheists or Muslims are responsible for the bloodshed? More often than not the only involvement Christians have in these wars are victims or responders to evil.

But what about the Crusades?
One of the popular things for Christians to do these days is apologize for things they didn’t do, like apologizing to homosexuals for the people who protest their parades. They also apologize for the Crusades. I’m still trying to figure out what we have to be sorry for.

#1, We weren’t there, and #2, the Christians didn’t start them. The First Crusade was waged by the Muslims in A.D. 637 by Caliph Omar. In this Crusade the Muslims captured the Holy Land, Bethlehem, Galilee, Calvary, and even the tomb where Jesus was buried. These were all sacred places for the Christians, and the Muslims, at knifepoint, gave the Jews and Christians two options: convert or die. Their churches were destroyed or converted into mosques.

Then the Christians responded with the Second Crusade, which was an organization to recapture their land. I’m not defending all that happened during this Crusade, but it is only fair to keep it in its context.

But what about the Inquisition?

The Inquisition, which took place in A.D. 1233, was known as the “inquiry on heretical perversity,” and was an attempt to remove any heresy from the church. People accused of heresy were tortured and ordered to repent or face death. Were Christians involved? Of course—they were the ones being beaten and murdered. The only church committing persecution in the Inquisition was the Roman Catholic church, not the Christian church.

There are two things we need to understand when it comes to these issues. First, not all churches are Christian churches. The Roman Catholics, Muslims, atheists, or any other group you want to include, is different from Christianity. Christianity is exclusive in that we believe that Jesus Christ, as He is presented in the Bible (not the Watch Tower, Book of Mormon, or any other extra biblical book) is the only way to the Father. Crimes committed by “the church” don’t necessarily denote the Christian church.

The second thing to remember is that not everyone in the Christian church is a Christian. Billy Graham estimated that 80% of the church is lost, and since across the board only about 20% tithe, that number has to seem right. Many people that sit on a pew every Sunday are nominal Christians (or Christians in name only), and they do not represent Christianity either (this could also include abortion clinic bombers and gay pride protesters).

I like how Randy Alcorn put it in his book The Ishbane Conspiracy, “There are lots of counterfeit bills, too, but that doesn’t mean there’s no such thing as real money…Christianity isn’t about…things some Christians say and do. It’s about Jesus. (p.252).”

Am I saying that the Christian church has been perfect throughout the years? Absolutely not; we are made up of humans and are sure to make mistakes, and we must repent of each and every one of them.

Are Christians responsible for the world’s wars? No, we have usually been the victims, just as we are the victims of these false accusations. 

(Read a similar post, "Should Christians Vote for War or Capital Punishment?" here)

2 comments:

Melissa said...

In 1233 the Christian church WAS the Catholic church claiming then as we do today that Jesus is God and a triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. If this is not Christian, then what is? There is no proof of any other Christian church and if you claim there was then from what heresy did it derive, what were they called and what is the evidence? If it wasn't for the Catholic church there would be NO christian church in history, past or present. Funny how you can claim the Christian role in the Crusades but not the Christian role in the Inquisition. Again, Christianity was Catholicism and these actors of the two events are one in the same. I do agree with this statement: "Am I saying that the Christian church has been perfect throughout the years? Absolutely not; we are made up of humans and are sure to make mistakes, and we must repent of each and every one of them." The Catholic Christian church is not exempt from this statement. In our current times, I think it most important to build eachother up in the body of Christ and be united in our common beliefs.

http://www.catholic.com/tracts/fundamentalist-or-catholic

http://www.catholic.com/magazine/articles/an-inquisition-primer

Tommy Mann said...

Melissa,

Thank you for your comment, and I’m glad you found something you agreed with. Please allow me a minute to answer your questions.

You wrote: In 1233 the Christian church WAS the Catholic church claiming then as we do today that Jesus is God and a triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. If this is not Christian, then what is?

There are many groups that believe in Jesus, but that does not make them Christian. The Catholic church has routinely added to Scripture. Consider the following additions: purgatory, Mary as mediatrix, indulgences, the Treasury of Merit, postmortem sainthood, the office of the pope (who is said to be the inerrant mouthpiece of God), transubstantiation, and the deuterocanonical books of the Apocrypha. These things were all added to the Bible and most are considered essential to salvation.

While the Bible teaches salvation through Jesus alone, the Catholics have added many extra steps. To answer your question of “If this is not Christian, than what is, let me tell you that Christianity is faith and repentance in accordance with Romans 10:9-10, and 13.

Your second question was: There is no proof of any other Christian church and if you claim there was then from what heresy did it derive, what were they called and what is the evidence?

My statements were all historically accurate and far from heretical. Jesus established the Christian church in the book of Acts. The Catholics split off of that church in 1054, then the Protestants “protested” the Catholic practice of infant baptism, so they split off of the Catholics. The Protestants eventually split into other denominations.

Here is an article on how to know if your church is a part of the true church: http://www.gotquestions.org/original-church.html

You also said: If it wasn't for the Catholic church there would be NO church in history, past or present.

The truth is if it were not for Jesus Christ there would be no church.

Then you wrote: Funny how you can claim the Christian role in the Crusades but not the Christian role in the Inquisition

That was the point of the entire article, to show how Christians get the blame for what other people did. Nothing funny about that.
Finally, you concluded with: In our current times, I think it most important to build eachother up in the body of Christ and be united in our common beliefs.

While that sounds nice, that ecumenicalism is very dangerous. As a Christian I believe that Jesus Christ, not Mary or sacraments, is the only way to the Father. If I just focus on my common beliefs with someone who does not believe that, then they might go to hell. That idea is not in keeping with the Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20.

Mormons and Muslims believe Jesus exists too, but I will not focus on my common beliefs with them. One thinks Jesus was the brother of Lucifer and son of one of the gods, and the other thinks Jesus was a prophet; neither thinks His death on the cross was of importance, and neither worship Him as Lord.

We may have a few common beliefs, but the ones we don’t have in common will seal their fate in hell. I will not keep quiet about that.

Thanks again for your comment. Hope my answers were helpful!