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

Tom Sarbeck

Tom, you are making so many statements that are obviously not true.

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

We are  here together and I believe that everybody wants us to together. I am not insenitive towars the reasons of hate, I was aware of them before I came to AN and  I HAVE NEVER SAID THAT THEY DON'T EXIST. My attempt is only to say that since we are from different cultures, and are very likely to expand our base, we should now think globally.How can I be regional after joining AN? I can not and will not leave AN. This is a home for atheists and I want it to be my home also.

2.I hope you succeed in freeing yourself.

3. 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.

We are living a world that is being often described as a 'global villaage,' We may want or not, we may like it or not, it is happening. Just 25 years before, I could not have joined  AN.

4.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.



4.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.

I have never 'flogged' so there is no question of my stopping floging. And please, where did yo find that I am

using power or compulsion? I think you should not use universal words like 'their horses are not dead yet', let others have the freedom to be their own judges. I certainly want opinions of more number of peoples. I have given ample reasoning for whatever I have said.


How is that a universal?  He said that not all horses are dead which means some are still alive.  How is that a universal exactly?

Susan Stanko

If the meaning of the words 'their horses' is 'some are alive and some dead" then there should have been some reference to those some whose horses are dead and to those whose horses are not. I found no such reference. If you have found something like this, kindly enlighten me.

 I have not done any deliberate mis-interpretation.


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.


It is simply that English is not your first language that is the problem.  Their does not mean all atheists but, everybody who feels that their horses are not yet dead.  It refers to thos ewith a specific condition.

I find this discussion very interesting. I feel like I am in complete agreement with BOTH Tom and Madhukar. Some people come here with alot of pain and anger towards religion that needs to be expressed. Others want to move on to something more positive. I am new here. I have alot of anger towards religion that I am glad I can express, but I was hoping that atheism would also give me something positive. I now wonder if that hope was unrealistic. Everyone has their own atheism that is for sure. The fact that we have all realized the god-based religion is a bunch of nonsense does not guarantee much else about us. We may be positive and hopeful, or we may be angry and despondent. We may be economic conservatives or liberals. I'm not sure that atheism IS something you can build your life on. It is simply one fact (God probably doesn't exist) that it helps to get right, so we can move on to other things that we CAN build our lives on. What those things will be that make life meaningful depends on the person: family? friends? career? a hobby? learning? making the world a better place?  It is great that I am freed from the distraction of church and idolitry because now I have more time and energy for doing something real and meaningful.

Ann N.

I do not intend to say that we should say something only on which we can build our lives. Having come together, we should give some thought for some constructive action also. I look upon atheism as the highest ideal of today's time. Atheism is the ultimate truth of modern thought. If we have accepted this modernity, then let us think and act like modern people. Who does't have some kind of sorrowful experiances? Let us move on and not dwell on the past. The past belonged to the savages, today belongs to us.



When you ask, "we can move on to other things that we CAN build our lives on. What those things will be...?" I would point out that it sure sounds to me like what you are looking for is what the Christians disparagingly call "secular humanism."  I would suggest that you look at the Humanist movement, especially such organizations as the American Humanist Association, among others.  These organizations seek to fill the moral void that a loss of religion can create.  And that is why religionists are so deeply antagonistic towards it - it's competition in being good, without the imperative to fill collection plates.  Many Humanist organizations are engaged in the same sort of works that many churches are, and some even have state pastoral license to conduct marriages.  So I would suggest you look into it.  I think you will find in it a moral foundation on which you can build your life without the hocus-pocus of religion or the negativity you find obnoxious.

Scott B.

Scott Bidstrup, Ann,

I request both of you to come back to my original thread. I have heard something from Ann on the main subject, I now request Scott Bidstrup to let me know his view on the subject I have raised.

I find the premise of the original post to be somewhat irrelevant to a forum of atheists, as it is premised on the assumption of the historicity of Jesus and the account of the presumed biographical detail as given in Christian scripture, and hence of "divine" origin.  As I have noted previously, I have done a good deal of study on this and have written an essay on the origins of both that scripture and the Jesus mythology itself.  To save you the effort of going back through my posts to look for it, here is the URL for that essay:


That is all I really have to say with regards to the origins of Christianity; I believe my essay on that subject speaks for itself.

Scott Bidstrup

 "it is premised on the assumption of the historicity of Jesus and the account of the presumed biographical detail as given in Christian scripture, and hence of "divine" origin."

Your essay on the origin of christianity is long but scholarly and I wil need some time to absorb it, but your above statement is without basis. I have no connection to christianity and bible, I am a strong atheist and so I can not see diviniy anywhere. If you read my above post, it will become clear to you. A lot of discussion and writing has been done on Christ and Christianity. Your reply does  take note of my post. Thanks anyway.

"...but I was hoping that atheism would also give me something positive. I now wonder if that hope was unrealistic."

Atheism has given me something very positive, partly because the Catholic xianity I grew up in was so very negative. (See note below.)

I began to see the positive when I realized that my most distant ancestors were blue-green algae (aka pond scum).

Humankind never fell from a state of grace, et cetera, et cetera, and et cetera. We are rising. We are rising too slowly, but we are rising and we ourselves are doing it.

Note. I spoke with many people who dealt with xianity's negativity more quickly than I, and for years did not understand how they did it. I began to understand when I began to deal with the negativity that resulted from being born to parents who meant well but who used violence to achieve their ends.

I had to deal with two negativities, and told my ex-wife some 30 years after our divorce that she couldn't have done it by herself.




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