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Lemmie
19-02-09, 02:38
Something has been bothering me that I saw today.

For several weeks now there has been a weekly series on the history of the Christian faith broadcast on Sundays on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom. It charts the growth of Christianity from the minority cult in the Middle East to the largest religion in history.

This week's programme was about the spread of Christianity to South America and Africa, the ways in which the European colonisers and missionaries tried, succeeded and often failed to impose their beliefs and suppress the indigenous religions they encountered.

However, now it seems that Christianity is growing faster and faster in Africa, while in Europe in particular it is losing believers. The presenter, an Afro-Caribbean man himself, was very pleased to discover that a form of Orthodox Christianity had survived for thousands of years in Abyssinia - modern Ethiopia. He was delighted to find that there were ways other than what he called 'Western Christianity' to practice this religion - for example Pentecostalism, an originally African/African American way of practicing.

My problem is that these African churches seem adamant to 'bring Christianity back' to Europe - I remember that one theme that was mentioned was homosexuality. The African churches seem angry with the lack of spirituality in Europe and want to return to God's Word - essentially a conversion exercise.

Now, I have no problem with people worshipping in whatever way they wish. But this very Fundamentalist attitude seems to me that it could be a hotbed for hostility, perhaps even terrorism. Idealogical differences between Western society and fundamental Islamists have already had horrifying results on both sides.

The idea of re-converting Europe to a more hard-line form of Christianity is at best unsettling and at worst terrifying. It won't happen, because of the fluidity of spirituality today and the countless different forms of practicing Christianity must be respected. But if these churches are as determined as they seemed to be, I worry that centuries of repressive colonialism in the past and modern problems like the AIDS epidemic and internal conflicts such as those in DRC, Zimbabwe and Sudan - all of this, combined with a break down in relations between Africa and the rest of the world, might see the creation of a new terrorist movement; one to teach decadent European and American society some hard lessons about God's Word?

What do other people think?

By the way, I'm not saying that the presenter Kwame Kwei-Armah endorses terrorism, or that these churches are terrorist in themselves. But their sentiments and displayed intentions seem dangerous to me.

Links - http://www.channel4.com/programmes/christianity-a-history/episode-guide/series-1/episode-6 - Overview of the episode.

- http://www.channel4.com/services/videoplayer/popup.jsp?name=kwame - Interview with Kwame Kwei-Armah.

Tihocan9
19-02-09, 02:47
If they were really Christian they would not resort to terrorist ways. I am Catholic, but I don't believe in conversion, well at least not going and directly trying to change someones religion. I think that if they want to hear about your religion I will gladly tell them but I will not say that they should join, they should only join because they think it is right not because I pressure them. What colonists did back then to covert the native peoples is very wrong I am just hoping that they don't do the same back to Europe and the US.

Lemmie
19-02-09, 02:53
I agree with you. Forced conversion is very wrong - and as history has shown, it didn't work particularly well in the first place for the European colonists!

Goose
19-02-09, 06:44
Now, I have no problem with people worshipping in whatever way they wish. But this very Fundamentalist attitude seems to me that it could be a hotbed for hostility, perhaps even terrorism. Idealogical differences between Western society and fundamental Islamists have already had horrifying results on both sides.


In Islam there's no separation between religion and government, meaning those with the guns are working for Allah, Christianity that we bought over to the world doesn't feature that, so Ethiopia's armies fight for politics, not religion.

Archetype
19-02-09, 08:59
Because of my own beliefs I think its quite good.

But really is there a form of hard line Christianity?

woody543
19-02-09, 09:19
Personally, although I would like to believe in God, I don't and just can't. Therefore I'm not religious in anyway, and am tollerent too all religions. The only time I get angry about religion is when they try and force it upon other people, and try to convert them.

I don't go around telling them they are wrong and there isn't a god, therefore I dont believe they should tell me I am wrong, or try and change my views. Im not saying this about any particular religion, as there are cases of this in many religions.

Goose
19-02-09, 09:58
Because of my own beliefs I think its quite good.

But really is there a form of hard line Christianity?

Yes there is, places like Indonesia are suffering from two insurgencies, one Islamic and one Christian. Although, there isnt really a massively hardline christian terror cell there, as the population is majority muslim like 70% or somthing, and Jemaah Islamiyah is huge with a big propoganda cell, but there are still christian terror attacks which seem to back fire with Islamiyahs propaganda cells cameras.

Let me get this right, a guy in Ethiopia said that the Bible and God is telling him to bring a global version of his Christianity? Or did he just say that the west should relearn values?

Bobsyeruncle
19-02-09, 10:32
There's an old Edgar Rice Burroughs novels, "The Lost Continent", written in 1916, wherein long after Europe has "bombed itself back into the stone age", a PanAmerican flying sub goes back to Europe to find that a resurgent Ethiopian empire is now the master of Europe. I think your fears and that scenario have about the same level of likelihood of occurance.

It might be instructive to count the number of European dead blown up in Christian terrorism attacks in subways, buses, and other public venues in the last several years. I believe you will find that number is zero.

Lemmie
19-02-09, 14:22
Let me get this right, a guy in Ethiopia said that the Bible and God is telling him to bring a global version of his Christianity? Or did he just say that the west should relearn values?

No, this is various churches (mainly in West and sub-Saharan Africa) saying that they want to re-convert Europeans to the true faith and re-learn Christian values and morals - pertaining more particularly to the Bible that to any other code of conduct.

It might be instructive to count the number of European dead blown up in Christian terrorism attacks in subways, buses, and other public venues in the last several years. I believe you will find that number is zero.

I see. Just because it hasn't happened yet means it will never happen. People have killed other people in the past for Christianity and myriad other reasons. There is no evidence to suggest that they won't do it again.

Besides, what about the Nationalist and sectarian war in Northern Ireland? Protestants and Catholics attacked each other over both politics and religion. You can't say that that wasn't motivated by Christianity surely? What about ethnic and religious differences in the Balkans? Where Serbs and Croats and Albanians, both Christians and Muslims, provoked not only war but various genocidal and terrorist acts?

Zebra
19-02-09, 14:50
In Islam there's no separation between religion and government, meaning those with the guns are working for Allah, Christianity that we bought over to the world doesn't feature that, so Ethiopia's armies fight for politics, not religion.

Well...not today. But there was a time when the Christian religion and the politics of Europe were not seperated, either. A rather long time.

thanatos
19-02-09, 14:54
There's an old Edgar Rice Burroughs novels, "The Lost Continent", written in 1916, wherein long after Europe has "bombed itself back into the stone age", a PanAmerican flying sub goes back to Europe to find that a resurgent Ethiopian empire is now the master of Europe. I think your fears and that scenario have about the same level of likelihood of occurance.

It might be instructive to count the number of European dead blown up in Christian terrorism attacks in subways, buses, and other public venues in the last several years. I believe you will find that number is zero.

Lets count the number dead in wars fought over christian beliefs throughout the ages, I think you will find that number slightly higher than zero.

Religion is a method of control, people have fought, killed and died over their beliefs for as long as religion has existed.
I agree their is no chance of this scenario ever occurring but it is certainly not because Christianity is a better or more peaceful religion than any other. Look how many people still hold extremely sexist, racist and homophobic attitudes just because of what an old book and the outdated moral and ethical lessons it teaches.

Even today politics in the UK and US aren't completely separate from our religion because our laws and founding beliefs were written by Christians, but whereas laws are frequently updated to reflect our evolving attitudes towards what is just; religious followings still follow outdated teachings that can be interpreted and twisted a thousand different ways.

Goose
19-02-09, 15:27
Lets count the number dead in wars fought over christian beliefs throughout the ages, I think you will find that number slightly higher than zero.


Thats the problem Europe has, were taught to hate everything we are based on events from over 600 years in the past, whilst other religions don't feel the guilt.

The only real trouble Europe has in relevant times were between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland.

thanatos
19-02-09, 16:29
Thats the problem Europe has, were taught to hate everything we are based on events from over 600 years in the past, whilst other religions don't feel the guilt.

The only real trouble Europe has in relevant times were between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland.

Europeans look at their history with both pride and disgust at what those who have come before us have done, but Christians still follow the same belief system that helped shape the troubles of the past.
Just because they are not blowing themselves up doesn't mean Christianity isn't to blame for a significant proportion of bigotry and hatred in Europe and the world. How many people are beaten to death and shot, even today, because of the beliefs people follow.

Forwen
19-02-09, 16:39
Some fellers from the world's most violent continent want to teach the world's least violent continent a lesson in spirituality?

A Biblical guy once said "And why do you look at the splinter in your brother's eye, and not notice the beam which is in your own eye?". Next please.

violentblossom
19-02-09, 16:41
Some fellers from the world's most violent continent say the world's least violent continent needs a lesson in spirituality?

A Biblical guy once said "And why do you look at the splinter in your brother's eye, and not notice the beam which is in your own eye?". Next please.

VERY nice post!

That's an awesome quote, i'll have to remember it.

;)

I, for one, do not believe in a God. *shrug*

Goose
19-02-09, 16:43
How many people are beaten to death and shot, even today, because of the beliefs people follow.

In Europe? Very rare, if it does happen, its in the news, that's a handful of people in over 60,000,000, in the UK alone, every year.

Some fellers from the world's most violent continent want to teach the world's least violent continent a lesson in spirituality?

A Biblical guy once said "And why do you look at the splinter in your brother's eye, and not notice the beam which is in your own eye?". Next please.

Another biblical bloke said "Bricks without straw? IT CANT BE DONE!".

Low and behold, they used cow **** instead....