|Reviews for The Persecution of the Church: The Real Holy War|
| Guest chapter 1 . 2/12/2013
I agrre that the Crusades were kinda pointless. The Holy Lands were the Middle East, in particular, Israel. Israel was the home and very foundation of the Jewish religion, and therefore the Holy Lands belong to them( not Europe or Palestine). And as for the thing about the Pledge of Allegience, I dont think the words should be changed to "Under my God." Yes, America was founded on and gives the right to religious freedom, but keep in mind that it was Protestants who founded America to escape oppression from the King's Church in England. They founded it on the monotheistic belief that there is One True God
| Solemn Coyote chapter 1 . 4/20/2008
Thank you for the favorites listing. 'Bestiary' is my oldest story on the site, so I'm always surprised when someone writes a positive review or lists it as a favorite. My policy is to return reviews, and usually I review something of the same type, but this caught my eye. It might be a little difficult to review, but I'll give it a shot.
1) Some things I should establish first about myself: I refuse to judge an entire religion based on the actions of one or more of its practitioners. I try not to use one religion to define another. I'd rather have a believer of that religion define it. However, I'm not a big fan of fundamentalism, and I don't like dogma. Basically, I try to put the 'core principles' of a religion before the small text (i.e. "thou shalt not kill" before "thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.") If there's a contradiction between these two, I don't try to reconcile the dogma with the core principles. I just default to the core principle (i.e. "don't kill people, even if they are witches.") Finally, I'm an agnostic, which means that I really haven't made up my mind about religion yet. I keep my mind as open as I can manage.
2) Okay, with that out of the way, I'll move on to the parts of the essay that caught my eye. First is the line "All the Crusades were, were nothing more than stupid and futile attempts at reclaiming the Holy Land". I'll definitely agree with you there. The crusades probably seemed like a good idea at the time, but I can never bring myself to support a holy war. Especially one waged by Christianity or Islam, which both include in their core principles a command against killing. Even if they had taken the holy land, that would have denied the holy land to the two other major world religions that claim it. Personally, I see no reason why Christianity, Islam, and Judaism can't share the place.
3)"If the Church (Now fighting on both the physical and spiritual fronts) loses the war, Christianity and virtually every other religion in the United States will cease to exist." That's an incredible leap of logic there, and probably one of the few times where I'm going to outright disagree with you. I don't believe that every other religion in the United States is dependent on the existence of the Church in order to survive. However, I will say that every religion has a Faction of sorts, the way you describe it. If all those Factions were to win out, then religion in the states would be pretty unpleasant indeed.
4) You've got a good point about 'adult bashing'. Some followers do tend to treat their religion like a private club, and hold it over everyone else. It's extremely egotistical, and I can see how running into it would turn away a potential believer in a religion. People have an unfortunate tendency to judge whole groups of people based on the actions of a few, and I can definitely see the situation that you just described happening.
5) As for teenage bashing, you touched on the idea, but you didn't really come up with a clear motivation. It is there, believe me. Or, rather, I should use 'they' and 'are' because there are a lot more ways to explain a reflexive religious bash. One of them is dogmatic (i.e. they read the bible, found an idea that they couldn't stand in it, and condemned the entire religion for allowing that idea in their holy text.) Every long-standing religion that I know of has some dogma that I object to, but I try not to confuse that dogma with the religion as a whole, or with the practitioners as a group.
Another reason to bash without thinking is when a person is echoing some else's idea. For example: someone who grows up with racist parents might be casually racist themselves. They simply copy their parents' ideas unless something causes them to question 'em.
6)"In the mid-nineteen fifty’s, during President Eisenhower’s terms of office, Congress amended the Constitution to add the words “under God” to the pledge." There's another leap of logic here that I'm going to question. Eisenhower's introduction of the phrase 'under God' doesn't necessarily mean that that phrase is constitutional. The US government does not always strictly follow the constitution, which is why there is a precedent for legal battles that end up modifying or reversing laws. During segregation in America, for example, there were a lot of unconstitutional laws on the books. So, it is possible that 'under god' could be unconstitutional, if it forced everyone saying the phrase to participate in Christianity. It is blatantly unconstitutional for the American government to force its citizens to believe or practice a certain way.
My own personal stance on this issue is that it's a lot of to-do about nothing. I simply don't say the pledge. But, I think it would be a lot better if the phrase 'under my God' was used instead. That allows for a lot more individuality, I think, now that the original purpose of the phrase 'under God' (which was introduced to help stir up morale against 'the godless communists') is obsolete.
7)"Then, there are the complaints against having the Ten Commandments on display. Where do people think that our laws come from?" There are Latin and Greek sources, as well as Native American, French, British, and Christian ones. This is worth noting because every religion, every group of people has a basic concept of morality. They might disagree on the specifics, but people all over the world agree that it's not good to hurt other people. American laws are supposed to echo that universal concept of morality. I have no problem with displaying the ten commandments, but I think that the Magna Carta, some Plato, Iroquis law, etc. should be displayed as well.
8)"However, the most terrifying instance when the church has been persecuted was when a child (in elementary school) was nearly expelled for praying over his lunch." I agree. That's crazy. Separation of church and state should never mean denying anyone their religion. All it means is not forcing a religion on them.
9)"I know an atheist, whose name I will keep to myself; I deeply respect him for his views on Christianity and religion in general. He will not take offence to me practicing my faith in public or private like others would, and for that, I am grateful beyond all comparison." People will surprise you. Regardless of which religion they subscribe to, some people are thoroughly tolerant. Others are utterly fanatical. Most, though, fall somewhere in between the two extremes. I have friends or relatives who are Buddhist, Taoist, Christian (of several variations), Neo-Pagan, agnostic, Jewish, atheist, and a variety of other personal religions. The majority of them respect each other, and I likewise do my best to respect them. Tolerance, I think, is one of those basic human morals, and followers of any religion can adopt it.
10)"When a child cannot thank God for food, our country is one more step towards a communist state." Um...you end an otherwise interesting and thought-provoking piece with another of those grand leaps of logic. Communism and religion are not mutually exclusive. They have some disagreements, sure. But it's entirely possible to believe in a higher power (or not) and still support a political system. Moreover, Christianity is not the sole enemy of communism. There are plenty of countries with a low number of Christians that are not communist. Finally, our country is in no danger of sliding into communism, being as conservative as it is. I know that communism was hyped as the big bad for a long time, and we Americans are still getting used to the idea of not being threatened by it, but it's really not a huge menace to modern society. At least, in my opinion.
11) Anyways, that's a lot of my rambling, there, so I think I'm going to wrap up this review. Thank you for for reading my story and making me think. Keep writing, keep thinking, and stand by your beliefs.
| Tiefling chapter 1 . 5/27/2007
"I’ve been tempted, and solely by the grace of God, I didn’t give in."
What, never? I find that extremely hard to believe. I was always taught the Jesus was the only human who managed to live without sin. Currently it looks like your sin is pride.
"But what about those “Christians” who do give in?"
Giving in to temptation doesn't make you cease to be a Christian. It just makes you a Christian who made a mistake. Then all you have to do is repent and learn from it. God forgives.
"What about the hypocrites that sit at the “amen pew”?"
I don't know what you're talking about here. Perhaps you could explain.
"And just what was the cause of all this hatred toward the Christian faith?"
A number of reasons. Mainly I think some people just don't like being preached at.
I'm curious what you mean when you talk about the Church. Which type of Chritianity do you have in mind? Protestants? Roman Catholics? Eastern Orthodox? Or just those you approve of?
"I have seen very few times when an adult publicly insults my faith or me. On the other hand, teenagers bash and publicly insult my faith on a regular basis without meaning or cause."
Yeah, that's rude. It goes on everywhere, not just in America, and people are rude to people of other faiths also. It's just something you have to get used to.
| Conteuse Vivante chapter 1 . 5/2/2007
Interesting thoughts. I like well-articulated points of view, no matter whether I agree with them or not, and your essay certainly contains that.
And I just have to add that you're a brave soul, being one of the few males I've run across. Hats off to you, sir.
If I had to nitpick about anything, it would be your punctuation - a few places here and there it goes out of whack, but most of the time it's very clean.
Cheers! I'm off to go check out some more of your work.
| The Intelligent Designer chapter 1 . 2/7/2007
You're just...wrong. The Constitution very clearly states that church and state should be seprate. I have no idea as to why you would ever think differently. My problem with Christianity is well...I guess it might have to do with this Faction thing you've mentioned. (Or made up?)Now by the Curch, do you mean Christianity or Catholic? The Catholic Church has proved itself to be intolerant of practically everything. According to the Pope. Now, the essay was...okay, except you are stating false facts. Please, read the Constitution before you quote it...
| Natalie chapter 1 . 8/12/2006
Very insightfull. I agree that separation of church and state has been blured. As to who to blame for all the christian bashing I believe that the "religious right" deserves most of it. I worry that when we bring too much politics into christianity we comprismise the message of love. Godd job well written. Natalie
| Doubting Thomas chapter 1 . 4/29/2006
| Decollage chapter 1 . 12/8/2005
You have a point, a very good one, might I add. But you appear to be generalizing, just as Christians are generalized. The dominant relgion of America is, you guessed it, Christianity. Whether these are of 'The Faction', as you so aptly term them, or the real Church makes little difference statistically. Myself, a Christian also, is shamed at the behavior of some of out bretheren.
On legal issues, no, the constitution does not designate seperation of Church and State. But if there can be no state religion, either Christianity is present in the government- along with every other religion that anyone practices in this country- or, to keep things simple, no religion is incorperated.
Prayer in schools is legal. But, as religion is a personal thing, it cannot be school-organized prayer. The administration can't say "Ok, children, now bow your heads and say a prayer to God." We have silent moments, and if individual students decide to pray, they may do so. In New Jersey as well as every other state.
What it really boils down to is this- while there is some anti-Christian sentiment in America, and we, as Christians, are instructed to turn the other cheek, there is more dissent against other religions, by Christians, in this country. There are more of us than there are of them, and there appears to be more of the Faction running around than the real church.
In my perception, while you had some very good points, we have it easier than many other religious groups in this country. It is, after all, the land of the free. And it was dominantly settled by Christians- in fact, still is.
| James Jago chapter 1 . 8/3/2005
I hear what you say, but I suppose you could call such incidences an equal and opposite reaction to the weirder factions of the religious right. I'm not condoning it, but I don't like people claiming that if I don't follow their code of beliefs to the letter then I will burn in hell the pledge question, I'm pretty sure that one might reasonably construe the Constitution to grant one the right to believe that God -in any form- is the figment of a deranged imagination (a conclusion I reached based upon the available evidence at about age eleven, though I'm happy to concede that there are other interpretations to the facts).
Anyway, both sides have a fair share of nutjobs, so my advice would be to call it even and pay them no mind.
| Lily Willow chapter 1 . 8/1/2005
Alright, this review isn't a comment on the essay so much as a response to Flyne's review. So, here goes.
I'd like to address the whole separation of church and state issue. The specific term "separation of church and state" is never used in the constitution. What it DOES say is that there cannot be a state religion, meaning that this country can never force every citizen to practice one certain religion. The clause was inserted to ensure that this country would never be like England was under, say, the rule of Elizabeth I, where everyone who did not attend the Anglican church was either fined or put in prison. It has nothing to do with putting the words "under God" in the Pledge, or with having Ten Commandments displays on public property. These things aren't meant to force people to practice Christianity. Not by a long shot. They're meant to acknowledge the fact that most of the founders of our country were Christian, and they wrote our Constitution with those principles in mind. Now, I do think that the schools shouldn't force anyone to actually say the words "under God." In fact, at my school, I know several people who merely stand in silence while the rest of us say it. However, the words shouldn't be taken out altogether, just as Ten Commandments displays don't need to be removed from public property, for the reasons I mentioned above. It's when the state actually kicks in and prevents someone from practicing their religion in order to force them to actually practice another religion that freedom of religion is violated.
| Flyne chapter 1 . 7/29/2005
In a way, some parts of this essay are funny. Such as- The "Faction" and the "Church", the Church being your religeon and practice of it, the "Faction" being the other people.
In the "story" (after the bold stuff), you make generalizations in the same manor that "Jason" (the adult basher) did. You see one avid Christian-basher and assume that all non-Christians are like him. Or at least, you make it sound like you think that.
"A man in California sued a school district because his daughter had to say the Pledge of Allegiance and it had the words 'under God' in it. That is completely ridiculous.
In the mid nineteen fifty’s, during President Eisenhower’s terms of office, Congress amended the Constitution to add the words 'under God' to the pledge."
You didn't give reasons why it's "completely ridiculous".Also, if you'll look at the current constitution, it does not have an amendment placing the words "Under God" in the pledge. And then in the next paragraph, you state that the constitution forbids the formation of a state religeon. And it does. The words "Under God" in the pledge are certainly encourageing if not forcing a state religeon. Many schools require students to say the pledge. All of it. So there goes freedom of religeon.
"Then, there are the complaints against having the Ten Commandments on display. Where do people think that our laws come from? Answer; a girl once told me that our laws came from Native American beliefs. Even if she were right, they have their gods too. Sorry to burst your bubble."
If the laws did come from gods, they didn't necisarrily come from your God. So there is no reason that the Ten Commandments should be on display when no other so-called "Holy" laws are there as well. This is also blatently encourageing a state religeon.
In conclusion, it's nice that you want to support your beliefs. However, what are you doing to change the world to the way you would like it? For that matter, how would you recomend we (your readers) change the world?
| rotted reverie chapter 1 . 7/27/2005
Well, true Christians will inivetibly suffer in various degrees because this world is under the control and sway of the Evil One as the Bible says. The Bible also says to be a friend of the world is to be God's enemy-(something I wrote within the past two hours):Why being a friend of the world is to be God's enemy:"This world really is under the sway of the demon spirits working for Satan. It should be obvious when you see God being removed from public settings, having His commandments, the universal laws of righteousness, being removed from a house of supposed justice. How about people being jailed and fined for witnessing God's stand on certain issues? Shouldn't it be obvious when babies are slaughtered, tolerance for sin shoved down everyone's throats, rape, murder, domestic abuse, unbrideled lust, hatred for those who hold fast to the Truth, having Jesus censored on TV, having His Name taking in vain, etc?" And when the world put Jesus to death, put His followers to death then, now, and, as the Bible says, until the coming of Christ in physical form.
The world is where Satan walks to and fro. The Bible says those belonging to the world are blinded by demon spirits which decieves the whole world. The kingdoms of this world have been given to Satan. Satan is the prince of this world.
The world distracts us from Christ with its vain philosophies, posessions, amusements, and whatnot. We cannot fully obey God when we are living part of our life for the life in this world and then having another part for God.
How God uses the world for His purpose:
The world was needed to put Jesus to death so we could be redeemed.
The world hates us because it hates Jesus and His Father for They are One. The world is medium to chasten us with trials and tribulations so that we grow in spiritual maturity.
The hostility of the world further forces us to put our whole trust in our Father for deliverance from our weaknesses and the trials we all face in this world. It also causes us to appreciate the brethren who are also subject to challenges. This moves us to seek God with our whole being and promotes godliness, active faith, and unity in the Body of Christ.
That's a lotta stuff in this review, but whatever.
| DarkSorceress chapter 1 . 7/27/2005
I agree that Christians are very often unfairly treated. Many times, the line between the hate-mongering 'Christians' and the real, "Love they neighbour like thyself" Christians is blurred.
However, its very easy for this line to be blurred. Where are the "Love they neighbour like thyself" Christians? All I see on TV are televangelists, and people who spread hate. I know that 'love they neighbour' christians exist, and probably make up the majority- so why don't they speak out, and remind us that they're still out there?
In addition, you give Christianity too much credit. Shockingly, we would have laws without the Ten Commandments. Human society needs laws and rules, just so that society can function...Even if there was no such thing as religion, we would have laws, because it is impossible for total anarchy to exist.
As for seperation of church and state- Do you think that it is entirely fair for your beliefs to be imposed on others? Yes, most, if not all, religions have the same underlying message, but that does not stop them from being different in many respects. Everyone should have the right to go about their day, without having beliefs that are not necessarily their own forced upon them.
| Mbwun chapter 1 . 7/27/2005
You talk a lot about generalizations and stereotypes and how bad they are in this essay, and then you write a whole slew of them.
Also, you could stand to check some of your facts, too-the US Constitution was never ammended to change the Pledge of Allegiance, for example. And the Crusades were about considerably more than a land grab in the Middle East.
And I'm curious about what you consider to be the real Church. Holy Rome? Pure, non-denominational Christianity in general? All religion? All spirituality? You leave the term too nebulous, and that confuses an already unclear message.
~He Who Walks On All Fours
| g21lto chapter 1 . 7/27/2005
I can sympathize with your observation that many people meet a few snobby my-god-is-better-than-your-god type Christians and get the wrong idea about ALL Christians because of that. But it's my view that the image problems of the Church in the secular world are due to more than a few bad eggs. The church has increasingly presented a view to the secular world outside it of being 1) aligned along particular political lines and 2) closed-minded, whether with respect to the immutability of dogma (or the Protestant equivalent) or to the public reluctance of churches to support women's and gay rights (dunno what your beliefs are here, but among many secularists this is a major sticking point). The public image of Christianity has also, at least for the past decade or so, been increasingly carried by televangelists. Billy Graham is an example of a televangelist who has preached a more positive, uniting-under-God message, while sadly many other televangelists have proven to be either highly politicized and divisive figures like Jerry Falwell or mere frauds, like Jim Bakker.
This is not meant to suggest that I think the majority of the church is a "fraud" or "closed-minded", but that is the prevailing image among secularists. I don't know what your political views are, and whatever they are you are certainly entitled to them, but when an institution APPEARS to outsiders to be overwhelmingly of one political stripe it is intimidating and alienating to many or the people who are not church members already.
There are my ideas on the bad image of the church. Now, having said these, I think the church is actually not in as much trouble as you're making out. It may have image problems for outsiders, but outsiders (I only have statistics for atheists and agnostics, unfortunately) only constitute about 14% of the population, and atheism is still a big enough piece of baggage that it is unlikely an open atheist could be elected to many high political positions today. Not the only test of power, but certainly a potent one. It's questionable whether people of other major religions would fare worse or better than atheists - Muslims might have it worse off than us right now in the U.S., and I'm not too sure how positive the public's perception of eastern religions is.
Overall, I would suggest a positive PR campaign on the Real Church's part, which you seem to be trying to do. Dunno how easy or difficult is would be for a larger-scale effort though, so it might not be a very helpful suggestion.