Not All Christians are Terrorists

“I know that not all Christians are right-wing extremist terrorists, but why are all right-wing extremist terrorists Christians?”

This is the question I’m never asked. But as somebody who actually knows something about Islam and about the complex history of Muslim relations with Jews and Christians, I am often asked the following: “I know that not all Muslims are terrorists, but why are all terrorists Muslim?”

Last week, 21-year-old Dylann Roof, a member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Columbia, walked into a study session at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. After sitting for an hour he shot nearly everybody at the meeting. That was an act of terror. He was not a Muslim. As far as we know he was acting alone, like the Tsarnaev brothers, though both were undoubtedly influenced by organized groups through social media and other electronic sources. Was Christianity the motivation for Roof’s brutal violence?

One could make the case. The Christian Crusades were a violent European military movement directed not only against infidels, but against people of color living outside the boundaries of Europe. That’s a parallel to the argument that I often hear among non-Muslims that Muslims were bent on a violent conquest against all infidels. But more to the point, many of the white supremacist groups in the US are united under the banner of “Christian Unity,” while the Ku Klux Klan website claims that its “better way” is “the Christian way.”

Of course one could easily argue that Christian white supremacist terrorists claim they are acting on Christian principles while they are actually acting against them. It’s the same argument that most Muslims make in reference to Muslim terrorists.

According to David Schanzer and Charles Kurzman’s recent article in the New York Times, a study produced by the US Military Academy’s “Combating Terrorism Center” at West Point counted an average of 6 terrorism-related plots per year carried out by Muslims since 9/11. These resulted in a total of 50 fatalities. The same study found that right-wing extremists averaged 337 attacks per year, causing a total of 254 fatalities.

If you were to try to remember all the terrorist attacks in America since 9/11, which would come to mind? Probably many more perpetrated by Muslims than by Christians. That’s because our memory stores our perceptions in mental categories that are formed and organized by our experience. And our experience comprises more than the interactions we have with other people in the flesh. It includes what we read and see and hear via the media.

And it’s influenced by the repetition and excitement that our media—from newspapers and magazines, to TV and Twitter—associate with terrorism. Since 9/11, the media has associated terrorism far more with Muslims and Islam than with any other means of identifying communities, despite the fact that they comprise only a relatively small minority of incidents.

The truth is that neither of the two questions posed at the beginning of this article makes sense. That’s because terrorism is a tactic, not a religious tenet. As a tactic, terrorism has been used by religions. But the reality is that terrorism has been used by most human communities at one time or another, communities defined by religion, politics, class, race and gender. You name the organizing principle, at one point or another, that community used tactics that we define today as terrorist.

Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, and all other religious communities that I have studied in my research on religious violence have engaged in brutal and ruthless aggression: massacres, cruel torture and many other types of violent carnage.

All religions have vectors of religious thinking that justify extreme violence against people defined as threatening, just as they all have vectors stressing peaceful reconciliation and harmony with adversaries. We can find sacred texts, creedal statements and other authoritative sources in all our traditions to justify both standpoints.

It was the late Bishop of Sweden, Krister Stendahl, who noted that believers, like members of any human group, have the tendency to see themselves in reference to the “other” by comparing the best of one’s own community with the worst of the other community.

And it was Jesus who said, “Hypocrite! First take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your fellow’s eye” (Matt.7:5).


  •' HomerBedloe2 says:

    I’m sorry, but this is a rather weak attempt to create some sort of equivalency between the weekly (almost daily) terrorist attacks emanating out of the Muslim world, and a very rare (thank Heaven) incident of domestic terrorism, which has absolutely nothing to do with Christianity, at least as far as we know to this point. I certainly wouldn’t argue that all religions are capable of atrocities and have committed more than their fair share. But when a white man in America or Europe commits mass murder, it’s a bit silly for the first reaction to be “See? It’s not just Muslims!” Of course it’s not. But if you wanted to add up the numbers, the results are pretty damning.

  •' seashell says:

    Nope. Three different centers that study terrorism all find that the number of attacks and fatalities associated with right-wing extremism outnumber the attacks and fatalities from Muslims in the USA. Further, 7% of state and local police agencies identify the threat coming from right-wing extremists as severe versus 3% that identify Muslims as the greater threat.

    So when you add up the numbers, right-wing extremists beat Muslims. And that’s pretty damning.

    (Forgot that we can’t do links anymore, but check out the NY Times link in the article.)

  •' HomerBedloe2 says:

    Define ‘right wing extremism.’ Which, by the way, is not synonymous with racism and is different from Christianity. Plus, these studies refer only to attacks within the USA. Terrorism is terrorism, and the victims in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and throughout the Arab world number in the thousands.

  •' seashell says:

    You can Google right wing extremism if you don’t know. Most people do know the definition. You are the one who pointed to “…a very rare (thank Heaven) incident of domestic terrorism…” and it was the basic point of the article, as well.

    I didn’t mention religion at all, but again, another point of the article is terrorism isn’t restricted to one religion, but has been practiced by the major religions pretty much equally.

  •' not_guilty says:

    The greatest number of terrorist attacks in the United States during my lifetime have been perpetrated by abortion opponents, most of whom claim to be Christians.

  •' HomerBedloe2 says:

    Historically? Perhaps. Last 10-20 years? Not even close. And that West Point study has been widely debunked. It’s nonsense.

    This was an act of terrorism – on that much we agree. But the line “Was Christianity the motivation for Roof’s brutal violence? One could make the case” is, unless new facts come to life, completely untrue. One could NOT make that case. There is no basis on which that case can be made. Roof’s manifesto does not contain a single mention of Christianity or of God. None.

  •' MarkS2002 says:

    He’s a racist, a belief system in place in the USA since the first WHITE settlers got off of the first boats from Europe. Since the locals weren’t fit for Southern styled slavery, we then imported Africans. And don’t forget the Asians brought in to work on the railroads. I know someone will find an excuse for every occurrence; but racial superiority is the common denominator.

  •' Fired, Aren't I says:

    And that West Point study has been widely debunked. It’s nonsense.

    [citation needed]

  •' Fired, Aren't I says:

    the victims in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and throughout the Arab world number in the thousands.

    ..which would make the great majority of the victims devout muslims, yes? I had a guy tell me the muslim terrorists are the muslims that take their religion most seriously (therefor are the most devout) – but if that were true, every mosque in the country would be a terror cell.

    They’re not. The US actually made the mistake of treating them as such though, and was thoroughly rebuked.

  •' NelsonRobison says:

    When I Googled certain portions of this article, I’ve found instances of terrorism practiced by any and all religions including Buddhism. But what separates the majority of the world’s religions from Christianity, Judaism and Islam, is that among the world’s religions fundamentalism is by far more prevalent among the Big 3 monotheistic religions. What isn’t surprising though is that the majority religions actually encourage fundamentalism among them. They take up the sword at a moments notice, predictably to encourage obedience and obeisance to their leaders.

    We need to break free from the medieval thinking encouraged by fundamentalist thought and philosophy, though this is hard, we can and must do so, that the future will be free from the stain of fundamentalism and its adherents. To do this we must start educating our children and grandchildren, showing them that giving up being able to think for oneself is a crime against the very fabric of society. A society built on the foundational principles of the Enlightenment, which America is, must grow beyond the strictures and structure of fundamentalist thinking for it to thrive into the future.

  •' DKeane123 says:

    “…”an average of 6 terrorism-related plots per year carried out by Muslims since 9/11. These resulted in a total of 50 fatalities. The same study found that right-wing extremists averaged 337 attacks per year, causing a total of 254 fatalities.” – Just for completeness we have spent a great deal more money on terrorism imported from overseas than our own right wing extremists. This analysis should also include how many plans were thwarted.

    “All religions have vectors of religious thinking that justify extreme violence … just as they all have vectors stressing peaceful reconciliation and harmony with adversaries. We can find sacred texts, creedal statements and other authoritative sources in all our traditions to justify both standpoints.” This goes to the very root of my atheism. These books are obviously produced by the human mind and very much reflect the time and place they were written in. A perfect God could never inspire so much garbage.

  •' DKeane123 says:

    Body count discussions are a diversion. Unjustified violence (self defense, etc) should be minimized regardless. The REAL problem is that religious ideas are given special authority and therefore many are unable or unwilling to evaluate them on their own merits.

    With respect to who is more violent, Christian or Muslim – much of this has to do with the power of enlightened principles and government. Thankfully, much of Christianity in the West has been forced to shed any kind of real governmental power. So we get a whole lot of bellyaching about gay marriage, but the Pope or SBC has little power other than how they can influence the electorate (and the occasional terrorist). With Islam, we have several governments that have embraced strict interpretations of the Quran – so that belonging to another sect, being a homosexual, or an atheist are elevated to state crimes. Unfortunately, this trend appears to be increasing and only results in more violence against against regional minorities. We should dump Saudi Arabia as an ally.

  •' Duck says:

    Any religion is a potential terrorist if they have a sufficient power base to enforce their dogmas. The Catholic Church was a holy terror when they had power; obviously they don’t enjoy the same kind of authority today. However, it’s not only religion, give any group enough authority and they will enforce their thinking on others (Hitler for example).

    A truly democratic society ensures that no group (religious, political or otherwise) becomes powerful enough to pose a threat.

    I think that democracy itself is under attack. IS has us all running scared and we’re going to implode and perhaps that’s their strategy.

  •' Robert Burke says:

    Weren’t the Democrats for gun control (to disarm the blacks!), for slavery, for Jim Crow laws, and against the 1950’s actions of Eisenhower? Sure they were! Republicans, you know, were the ones fighting to end all that!

    Does this history bother anyone? Who is keeping the inner cities messed up? Who runs them? Not Republicans! Democrats who know only how to keep blacks down?

  •' Frank Levy says:

    Is it religion that is the terrorist of individuals who CLAIM to be acting in the name of a particular religion? Terrorists seem always to have a reason or justification for the oppression, violence, murders they commit when it is more likely that they are simply violent people and murderers looking for an excuse to act violently. As a rabbi friend of mine told me many years ago, “don’t judge a religion by the people who claim to represent it.”

  •' phatkhat says:

    The parties switched places under Johnson and Nixon. Remember the Great Society and The Southern Strategy???

  •' phatkhat says:

    If you have never read Bob Altemeyer’s The Authoritarians, you should. If you’ve read it a while ago, read it again. It explains the phenomenon so well. John Dean also studied and wrote about it, and he should know, having served in the Nixon administration.

    Since I can’t post the link, just google “altemeyer authoritarians”. The whole book is available free as a PDF online. Another source of links and info is “the wawg blog”.

    Terrorism is not religious, it is political. “Religious” terrorism is about temporal, political power for the religion. And religions seek political power for the same reason any other group does.

  •' phatkhat says:

    When religious factions struggle for political dominance, then the dominant religion in the region will be the one committing the most atrocities. It is logical that in Islamic areas that would be Islamists, and in Christian areas it would be Christianists.

    We also have a tendency in this country to whitewash terrorist acts by white men. Black men are “thugs” (they rarely commit mass murder, you know), Muslim men are “terrorists”, and Latino men are “criminals”. But white men are psychos or just bad people – never is it related to race or religion as it is with the “other”.

  •' Rmj says:

    Fundamentalism is a product of the modern world. It dates back to the early 20th century, where it got it’s name among Christians, then spreading out to become a label for other religious practices, usually a label applied by Westerners (largely by Americans).

    It has as much to do with “medieval thinking” as unicorns have to do with religious faith.

  •' phatkhat says:

    We should dump Saudi, for sure. And Israel, too.

    But do bear in mind that the ultimate goal of the extreme religious right is to institute Sharia Law under a different name here in the USA. I’m sure you are familiar with Rushdoony, Reconstructionism, NAR, etc. I look for more, rather than less, violence here in the USA.

  •' phatkhat says:

    I don’t think the author was saying Roof was acting as a Christian. (Lutherans are pretty mainstream and not given to violence – at least not outside the home. But misogyny is not the topic here.) I think the author is making the point that not all terrorism can be neatly summed up by attributing it to religion. ANY religion.

  •' phatkhat says:

    Even “white” people like Irish, Italians, Jews, etc., were looked down on as not “white enough”.

  •' cmbennett01 says:

    A Christian is someone who says they are a Christian, and a Muslim is someone who says they are a Muslim. You don’t get to say that they’re not real Christians or they’re not real Muslims just because you don’t agree with it. I often hear the claim that the extremist don’t know anything about what the Bible or the Quran says, but the truth is most of the time, they and their leaders are very well versed is what their scriptures say, more so than the average person. The average person just happens to ignore the parts that are not compatible with modern society. The truth is the extremists are real Christians and Muslims and the problem is not going away until the moderate faithful address that fact. That would of course require publicly rejecting fundamental ideas that are in their holy books.

  •' DKeane123 says:

    Agreed – I just don’t see Dominionism getting anyplace in the US (considering the polling and trends in social issues). That is one of the reasons they export the theology to Africa. Shoot, Scott Lively is on trial for crimes against humanity just south of me in Mass.

    The unfortunately thing about Israel is that it was initially founded as a secular government. That seems to have eroded considerably over the years.

  •' cmbennett01 says:

    Fundamentalism is a product of the modern world in that it is a response and rejection of modernism. It stresses strict adherence to scripture and doctrine, much of which was developed in the medieval period of European history. And therefore can be called “medieval thinking”. Just because the term wasn’t in the dictionary yet doesn’t mean that the ideas are not the same.

  •' cmbennett01 says:

    Muslim extremist are right-wing extremists. It just happens to be the case that the majority of the right-wing extremists in this country are Christians.

  •' John Kenyon says:

    Reuven Firestone needs to check his facts. It is easily done. All right wing terrorist groups are Christian? The FBI has identified 15 domestic terrorist groups in the USA. Seven of them have collapsed or are dysfunctional. Of those seven, three self-identified as Christian.

    1. Weathermen—no Christian identity (collapsed)
    2. United Freedom Front—no Christian identity (collapsed)
    3. Symbionese Liberation Army—no Christian identity (collapsed)
    4. The Order—no Christian identity (collapsed)
    5. Ku Klux Klan—self identifies as Christian (dysfunctional)
    6. The Covenant, The Sword, and the Arm of the Lord—self identifies as Christian (collapsed)
    7. Phineas Priesthood—self identifies as Christian (dysfunctional)

    Of the remaining eight, two self-identify as Christian.

    1. Animal Liberation Front—no Christian identification
    2. Alpha 66 and Omega 7—no Christian identification
    3. Army of God—self identifies as Christian
    4. Aryan Nations—self identifies of Christian
    5. Black Liberation Army—no Christian identity
    6. Earth Liberation Front—no Christian identity
    7. Jewish Defense League—no Christian identity
    8. May 19th Communist Organization—no Christian identity
    Five of the 15 terrorist groups call themselves Christians, with two currently “active.”

  •' NelsonRobison says:

    Rmj the fact is that part of the problem of fundamentalist thinking is that it acts and thinks just like those who lived in medieval times. They propose thinking about the world just like medieval people, they consider that the world was created in 6/24 hour days, that snakes walked upright and talked, that Adam and Eve were the beginnings of mankind. Also they believe that there was a world wide flood and that only 8 people survived that flood and repopulated the whole world, enough to build the Pyramids of Egypt in less than 100 years.
    Too much of the fundamentalist Christian thought comes from medieval times to not make a difference. These deluded people have at heart a thinking that can only be described as medieval. They believe women are chattel, that children are an extension of the father, that girl children cannot be trusted to do anything but bear children and be extensions of their husbands and of course women are too be seen and not heard. This is why I make the statement that fundamentalists are medieval in their thinking.

  •' NelsonRobison says:

    Another book that explains so well the mind of the follower of authoritarians, Escape From Freedom by Erich Fromm. He escaped Nazi Germany and came to the U.S. and made an impression on those who were sociologists and psychologists. The premise of the book is that Germany made itself into the nation that became enraptured by the Hitlerian governance structure and style of governance.
    One of the best sites for out-of-print or hard to find books is Alibris. They have a stock of books that is hard to beat.

    So what can be done to change the current paradigm of authoritarianism? Firstly education, secondly the fact that the population who believe this way, that are holding out for impeachment and a Republican president to be elected in the next election cycle, are dying out with much more rapidity is a good sign.

  •' Sam says:

    What would a perfect God inspire?

  •' seashell says:

    Except that the author didn’t say “all right wing terrorist groups are Christian.” What Firestone said was:

    The truth is that neither of the two questions posed at the beginning of this article makes sense. That’s because terrorism is a tactic, not a religious tenet. As a tactic, terrorism has been used by religions. But the reality is that terrorism has been used by most human communities at one time or another, communities defined by religion, politics, class, race and gender.

    Feel better?

  •' seashell says:

    @phatkhat:disqus Glad you took this on because I wasn’t sure how to deal with the last 50 years that apparently don’t exist in Mr. Burke’s world.

  •' Merlin Draper says:

    Xtians and all their preseedents and variations are and have been the biggest terrorists of all history.
    All religions conected to ..and any form or relation to the bible are just as guilty and connected to it.
    Every “rreligious war” and other major massacres in history involve them and their hatred and intolerance. From the chosen jews of old testement to the way xtian church killing pagans… the Early churches slaughter of the Druidsto the church of early Europe and Spain bloodbath of the crusades..Hitler and his Nazi agenda was based and backed by the churches back then.. Here in America the European church came over and took same stance on the Natives of this continent…
    And now today yalls still continue hatred and intolerance of any who are not of your beliefs and religion.
    Religion..wether you think or believe you are xtian, catholic, Jewish, Muslim and or any other biblically involved religion are all at failult. It is your is your is you.. the very base teachings teach hatred ..seperation .. intolerance. .. that is how you know it isn’t truth.
    Don’t blame it on Muslims or whatever. .blame the sources that teach you these things.. the early bible.. and all its teachings and areas and sources.. even the leader of christianity…jesus taught seperation and intolerance. . Against all who do not follow that path.. he lied and decieved.. it’s time to end the cause of and teachings of hatred and intolerance. . End religion all together

  •' DKeane123 says:

    Certainly not a book full of genocide, slavery, eternal torture. For a book to be considered divinely inspired, it should contain something special. It doesn’t contain an ounce of advanced wisdom that wasn’t already being discussed during the period.

  •' Sam says:

    So if a perfect God exists and this perfect God spoke to some people and some other people wrote a book that was essentially a narrative of a people doing what people do at that time in history and them attributing their actions to this perfect God than that would not be inspired by a perfect God? Is that what you are saying? That a perfect God would not allow people the free will to write what they want?

    How do you measure an “ounce” of wisdom? How do you determine what is “advanced wisdom”?

    What wisdom would you expect a perfect God to provide? Why?

    Also, what is an imperfect God like? What would it inspire?

    I guess I return to my question:
    What would a perfect God inspire?

  •' Duck says:

    I agree that religion is dangerous but give any group sufficient power and they will exploit it. But it’s the literalists that have done a hack job on the Bible and so it appears demented. However, I use a non-literal approach to interpreting and I hope you will agree, there’s sanity in the Bible after-all:
    check out, “The Proverbs 31 ‘Virtuous Wife’: Goddess and Slave of Yesterday to Businesswoman of Today to the Pearl of Great Price”

  •' DKeane123 says:

    If that twisted method is how your God has chosen to get me that all important message that it loves me and desperately doesn’t want to send me to hell – then God is incompetent. Infinite power, wisdom, and foresight should be able to do better.

  •' DKeane123 says:

    I’m in the sciences and a big fan of people saying exactly what they mean. If there was a set methodology to liberal interpretation, so that we could actually arrive at the actual truth on the other side, I might go for it. The fact that scientists across multiple countries and religious background can agree on the composition of water, but can’t agree on the most basic nature of God or the supernatural – tells me something very important.

    While I generally like the idea of liberal interpretations to take the edge off all the horrible stuff in the bible – I would probably be a literalist when it came to religion. So, it is a good thing I’m not religious.

  •' Sam says:

    Why the personal attack? Why do you think that is the message to you? Why do you think I believe that I believe that God would send you to hell? Why the assumptions?

    And what basis do you determine that “God is incompetent. Infinite power, wisdom, and foresight should be able to do better?” Perhaps you are infinitely powerful, wise, and foresightful (lol)? Is that how you know what one would do in such a situation?

    Why are you not answering any of the questions I ask?
    Most specifically:
    What would a perfect God inspire?

  •' DKeane123 says:

    Thank you for proving my point. You can’t assume what anyone believes, because everyone has a different idea and there is no way to get to the actual truth of the matter.

  •' Kim Fabricius says:

    True it is that terrorism is an equal opportunities employer. It may even have a franchise near you — for which an apposite acronym might be ISIS (“In Segregation Is Salvation”).

  •' Sam says:

    About anything, ever. Not only do I doubt strongly that that was your point but how that proves your point I am afraid I am missing.

    You said:

    These books are obviously produced by the human mind and very much reflect the time and place they were written in. A perfect God could never inspire so much garbage.

    And I asked:

    What would a perfect God inspire?

    But rather than actually responding to my question that directly leads from your statement you state:

    Thank you for proving my point. You can’t assume what anyone believes, because everyone has a different idea and there is no way to get to the actual truth of the matter.

    Why not just answer my question?

  •' Duck says:

    Well yes, there is a set methodology: I have isolated a distinctive ‘voice’ in the Bible.

  •' Duck says:

    I have to say this all over again! I will never be able to say it as well as the first time.
    “Historian Lynn White wrote a book, “Machina ex Deo,” on connections between technology, society and religion. The final essay, “The Necessity of Witches,” argues that belief in things like witchcraft seems to correlate with eras where the prevailing social and religious paradigm is breaking down.”
    That would certainly hold true for IS, who have devised all manner of horrific ways to kill innocent people for seemingly infringing some ridiculous religious law.
    Should Christianity regain the power it once enjoyed (need I mention the atrocities of the Spanish inquisition) we would see a resurgence in the same kind of paranoia here.

  • This is incorrect. Medieval Christianity is not fundamentalist. Indeed, it accepts the full authority of the interpretive literature, from the Church Fathers to the Scholastics. It does not accept the idea of the literalness of the Bible or of the principle of Sola Scriptura, both of which are foundational ideas in fundamentalism.

    Fundamentalism is a thoroughly modern and Protestant version of Christianity.

  •' NelsonRobison says:

    Daniel whether or not you believe that fundamentalism is not medieval I use the term because that is what I see it as being. We’ll just have to agree to disagree. But if you’re so obstinate as to be “anal” about a term, then so be it. Your intransigence is such that it begs the question, are you a fundamentalist Christian? No one I know takes offence at the term, they seek to open doors of communication. And yes historically the literalness of the Bible was one of the major tenets of both Protestant and Roman Catholic Churches during the Middle Ages. But you’ll believe what you want to and I’ll believe what I choose to.

  • I’m a Reform Jew and very liberal. About the farthest from a fundamentalist Christian that you can get.

    It’s not being anal. It’s about knowing what the words you use actually mean, as well as knowing some history, etc.

  •' Kent Truesdale says:

    I just wanted to ask (en cannabis veritas, I have a medical permit), “Does anybody else read these blog comment threads and thinks, ‘Damn, I gotta get me some of THAT!!!'” Our concerns seem pretty banal compared to the evil taking charge of our world right now …

  •' Jim Reed says:

    Evil taking charge of the world? It’s just a political issue. Republicans think the Muslims are the evil taking charge of the world. Social conservatives think its the devil using issues like Gay Rights. Liberals think it has always been the conservatives. We’ll all keep working on it, and hopefully in the long run we will arc towards a better world.

  •' Jim Reed says:

    Lincoln ended slavery and the South became solid Democrat. Then Johnson passed the civil rights legislation and the South became solid Republican.

  •' Kent Truesdale says:

    “Thank God” there’s still some bad sh*t that all SANE persons can agree is pure EVIL — the slaughter of the Charleston Martyrs …

  •' MIke says:

    Lets not forgot the 2 biggest secular TERRORISTS (Stalin, Hitler neo-pagan) of the 20th century.

  •' Jeff says:

    Was God a terrorist?

    Genesis 6, 1-8

    “”Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose. And the LORD said, ‘My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.’ There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown. Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the LORD said, ‘I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.’ But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” (Genesis 6:1-8)

    Maybe the statement needs rephrasing: “Not all people are terrorists.”

    Noah can be replaced, today, with “those who forgave Dylan Roof found grace in the eyes of the LORD.”

    The question should be, can you find your name in there?

  •' Jeff says:

    Then, how would the thinking you propose, built on the foundational principles of the Enlightenment, not become the new fundamentalism?

    To cast away the old in deference for the new amounts to Cherry Picking at its greatest. Just ignore the roots and lands from which the cherries come from, and, as well, the cultures from which they thrived; and, even, the way in which they were brought to whatever lands they came.

    I would not argue against the fact that “we need to break free from the medieval thinking…” I would argue though that we very much so need to keep in mind how ideological revolutions have occurred, such as three very present ones, Nasizm, Communism, and Islamism.

    If, as some Christian fundamentalists argue, the return of Christ is near, this discussion won’t last very long for, in a moment’s notice, final obedience to He who returns will come as the Bible promises, with every knee bowing, as such fundamentalists would argue.

    Say, though, that does not happen and something futuristic occurs, whereby we end up with some Ray Kurzweil Singularity around his predicted timeline – when humans and nanotechnology emerge. Think of the enormity of rights that will be involved with the Singularity, for will such created beings not be entitled rights as well?

    What of these rights? With such technology it will not only be possible to change sexes, with nano-technologically engineered human beings, you will be able to seamlessly change from male to female and back again and, maybe somewhere in-between, to actually go BLANK yourself, literally.

    Now, that may seem crude but just sit down for a while and talk to such futurists and see if this is not theoretically, at least, possible.

    Where am i going with this? To what Enlightment will your sets of strictures and structure that reach beyond, go?

    I say this as a Christian who, fundamentally believes that we are all, by the grace of God, capable of becoming brothers and sisters in Christ; and, was created with God-given intellect and understanding that allows me to imagine where others might go, and I wonder – to what ends?

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