I had some idea about the history of Christianity before joining A N. I had heard of the crusades, inquisitions and the witch hunt but I had no idea that these things were driving people to atheism and that the atheists strongly hated bible, Jesus and Christianity. Although I am an atheist, I did not and do not feel any hate for religion and god. I always read that Jesus was peace loving and that was my impression of him. After joining AN, I noticed the strong dislikes of the atheists and that set me thinking.

The Crusades were religiously sanctioned military campaigns, about 1000 years after Christ. The First Crusade was launched with the approval of  Pope Urban II  to help  the Byzantine emperor, with the latent purpose of restoring Christian control of the Holy Land of Jerusalem from Muslim rule. Thirty five years before this, Pope Alexander II had given his blessing to Christians to start wars against the Muslims by granting a papal standard and an indulgence to those who were killed in the war. A crusader received a cross from the hands of the pope or his delegate, and was considered a "soldier of the Church". The crusaders were assured of remission of sin and were told that by retaking Jerusalem they would go straight to heaven after death.

Muslims were the other part of these wars and were no less brutal than the Christians. Both religions were interested in Jerusalem and in prosylytisation and the target for prosylytisation for each of them were the Jews. This created a serious conflict of interests. In reality, both the Christians and the Muslims were two mobs of savages, who were further intoxicated by religion. They would have anyway fought each other for historical or political reasons even if there was no mention of any violence in the Bible. The religious establishments of both the religions also played a great part by instigating their respective followers. If Islam had not come into existence, there would not have been any conflict of interests and no crusades. The same thing can be said of Christianity also.

The Muslims held Jerusalem at the start and even after the crusades ended 200 years after and their sentiments were almost a mirror image of those of the Christians.

The Inquisitions started in early 13th century and continued till the last half of 19th century. Pope John XXII had authorized the Inquisition to prosecute sorcerers in 1320.

Belief in witch-craft existed since ancient times and it was always hated by ordinary people. It is said that in Rome, in the year 331 BC, 170 women were executed as witches. In 184 BC, about 2,000 people were executed for witchcraft and in 182-180 BC another 3,000 were executed for witchcraft. Biblical thoughts about witches were only the result of this age old belief.

So, these atrocious incidents started about 1100 years after Jesus and continued for about 800 years after that. Now the question that comes to my mind is ‘who should be blamed for these barbaric incidents? God, Bible, Jesus or the savages of the time?’  To get an answer, I ask myself: ‘why do we despise that kind of human behavior today? Has god advised us better? Has a new prophet arrived? The answer to these all question is “NO!” Time and experience   has helped us to mature our thoughts. The barbarians of that time did not have this advantage. They have given it to us at their cost! I therefore look up on these stories as a part of cultural evolution of human beings, and nothing else. I can not blame god for this, the poor chap never existed and was a human invention, I do not blame the bible because it is also created by humans, who apparently were also savages. So, whom do you blame for cultural evolution? Whom do we blame because apes were our ancestors?

Jesus never took to the sword. He accepted a barbaric death peacefully. Eleven of his disciples also accepted death in his name and in peace and even St. Peter’s wife was executed. This tells me that it was not only Christians and the Muslims that were savages, but others that were there before them too were so.

Thinking further, I realize that the Christian mob started repenting and reforming and not the other mob. The Christians realized that combining religious and political power together was the worst ill. So eventually they discovered the idea of secularism. Yes, they were Christians even then. It is they, who, against all bigoted opposition developed modern science. It is they that evolved the modern liberal thought and gave it to the world (including India). Had science and technology not evolved, a far larger proportion of the population of the world would be dying hungry. All these thoughts had created such strong respect for Christianity in my mind, that I used to frequently say that since I do not believe in religion, I stay as I am, or else I would have become a Christian.  

Now, the question I would like my atheist friends, “Is it necessary to hate or denigrate something to acquire a new thought or a new vision?” I do not feel good when one atheist sees Christ in a very ugly place and when another says that Christianity is f****d! MIND YOU, I AM STILL AN ATHEIST!

Please correct if and where I may be wrong. I have placed my views in a very rational way and expect you to do the same.


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Replies to This Discussion

Natalie, I will respond to your genetic studies when you respond to my challenge about honoring MY ancestral land claims.

Hmmmm.  Let's see here.  You cite a right-wing, religious/financial woo-woo website and the Jersusalem err ... uhhhh ... I mean - the New York Times, where, currently, a new 'Judy Miller' is shoveling tons more bullshit - this time, instead of about NON-existent WMDs, about NON-existent 'nookuler' bombs & stuff in Iran and we gots to bomb 'em right away!  Mostly cuz that-there Iraq War worked out SOOOO good, right Natalie?

Shlomo Sand's book is science, but you wouldn't know that b/c your rabbi and/or father has forbidden you to read it.

You do know that this is an atheist forum where belief in an Invisible Super Sky-Grandpa is not exactly supported?

But your "genetic proof" about why, say, certain people return soup at restaurants, even before they've tasted it, "because this soup is ko-wald", is most enlightening.  No.  Really.

Natalie, here's one for you.  Turns out the Palestinians have a stronger ancestral land claim to Palestine than do the Jews, even if your assertions are accepted.  Something of which early Zionists were well aware, as David Ben Gurion himself acknowledged in a treatise he wrote in college, long before Israel even declared itself a state:


Madhukar,  Not bad but I have a problem with:

Jesus never took to the sword. He accepted a barbaric death peacefully. Eleven of his disciples also accepted death in his name and in peace and even St. Peter’s wife was executed.

The biblical Jesus never existed.  He's probably an amalgamation of a few wacky "prophets" who were bouncing around Palestine at the time.  The myth was enhanced by Paul et al for their new jewish sect.  There was no big-assed 'Crucifixion' and resulting pyrotechnics.  That's all just argle-bargle & propaganda to draw in the chumps.  The reference to a "Christus" in Tacitus was a 13th century add-on (Tacitus would never have referred to Pontius Pilatus as a 'procurator').

Biblical Jesus is a myth, but otherwise I like your concept.

Stephen McMahon

If Jesus never existed then so much better. Let us forget him. God does not exist ,so we forget him, then why not forget Jesus? We are all atheists, so what is the point in repeatedly telling each other why we are atheists? Hinduism has a huge volume of phylosophical literature that may make me and others in to atheists. How long should we keep telling why the Vedas are fictitious literature ?


Stephen McMahon

"Biblical Jesus is a myth, but otherwise I like your concept."

Yes, many people also the same thing you are saying. My reply is also same. If there was no Christ, good, then let us forget him. I repeat my words I have used elsewhere. There is no point in flogging dead horses. They have been flogged well after their death. Let us loook forward now.


Must be nice to live a peacful world where Christianity doesn't effect you.

Susan Stanko

"Must be nice to live a peacful world where Christianity doesn't effect you."

Christianity very much exists in today;s world and nobody can be oblivious to this fact. Let us fight today's Christianity by all means. We can also show them a mirror and tell them that they have always been savages, the word I have used for them , but let us not remain mired in the past. Everyone who is living today has to live for today and think of  future.


I think Madhukar Kulkarni is absolutely correct in his analysis. That was brilliant. It also goes towards something I've noticed: I get along just as well with atheists as lukewarm Christians, and even get along well with strong Bible-believing Christians who have decided to "let it go" with regard to converting me. My son, although he doesn't believe in God, is afraid to identify with atheisim, because he is suspicious of people who would make that central to their identity. 

Maybe many outsiders are turned off by the anger expressed towards Christianity (though if you have experienced something horrible, you have the right to be angry.) Still, with certain bad behaviors, such as child abuse, that you would expect to be associated with Christianity (spare the rod and spoil the child) the statistics don't bear it out. Nonchristians are just as abusive as christians. (I remember hearing that somewhere. I don't have the link.) But if we think of our own experience, we know that many people were beaten because their parents believed it was the Christian thing to do, while many people were beaten because their parents they thought it was the expedient thing to do, or the socially perscribed thing to do. In fact the underlying cause is probabaly not religion or no religion. The underlying cause of child abuse is that, in general, people with unchecked power tend to abuse it. 

MK, you asked, “Is it necessary to hate or denigrate something to acquire a new thought or a new vision?”

For many of us, including me, acquiring new thoughts or visions required setting ourselves free of old ones. Much depends on how tightly we held the old ones. The more tightly held, the more energy required.

The hatred or denigration you hear is the outward expression of that energy. Your expressing little or no hatred or denigration tells me:

1. no religious instructors had taken your freedom away, or

2. religious instructors took your freedom away and you are happy in your unfreedom.

Politically active people say it differently, perhaps this way: evolutionary change requires less violence than revolutionary change. They might say it this way: revolutionary change replaces one tyranny with another tyranny.

I will conclude with this: when you hear an atheist expressing hatred or denigration, are you able to accept that he or she finds it necessary? Are you able to feel sadness?

Tom Sarbeck

I will conclude with this: when you hear an atheist expressing hatred or denigration, are you able to accept that he or she finds it necessary? Are you able to feel sadness?


Actually, I should not be required to say that I am fully aware of the reasons of hatred. All I wish people to understand that, all I say is, let us not keep flogging dead horses. Others have done it before us, we are doing it now and now is the time to stop this and see if there is something else to be said or done. We certainly are not going to loose our atheism if we leave behind the baggage of god, Jesus and the Bible.

I was not borne in to Christianity. I and possibly all of us, should be hoping that our movement should acquire a broader base, should become more inclusive. Berating everything that is or was associated with christianity is not going to be very inspiring to others who have nothing to do with those issues. I and others like me will want to see a more universal atheism. This is not a question of not seeing anybody's sadness. I myself do not think that this is a platform to show my sadness.

2. religious instructors took your freedom away and you are happy in your unfreedom.

You say that I may be happy with my unfreedom. Do you really see this ?


MK, you gave me several issues which, in my view, allow a response.

No one is required to be aware of others' reasons of hatred, but those reasons exist.

What you see as a dead horse, another may see as alive and kicking hard.

You can stop your flogging, but you have neither the right nor the power to compel others to stop their flogging. Their "horses" are not yet dead.

A universal atheism will not exist. You have your atheism; I have my atheism; each of many millions of people has her or his own atheism. These many atheisms resemble each other but are not identical.

Surely you feel some sadness for people who are suffering religion's many harms, and who have not yet found freedom.

MK, people who taught me their religion said "people must" and "people should" and, for a while, so did I. Freeing myself required me to learn how to persuade.

I hope you succeed in freeing yourself.




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