Thursday, June 05, 2003
What's the frequency, Jesus?
Over at Matthew Yglesias's corner, there's what I consider to be a great debate going on in the comments section. The post that started it concerns the Vatican's suggestion that Christianity be specifically mentioned in the EU constitution, but the dialogue quickly derailed into an evaluation of the Church's history. Should Christianity be condemned for the faults of its practice--including the Inquisition, the Crusades, and the Holocaust? Is Christianity in fact responsible for the Holocaust? Don P, a very good debator and a frequent commentor there, says yes; I say no. I'm going to quote my best point from the debate, and all apologies if you find this stuff terribly uninteresting, 'cause it's long:
One reason that Christianity finds so much apologism is that there are countless vantage points from which a politically charged individual may take the religion and run with it. Invariably, it is very difficult to pin the most aggregious [sic--I was sleepy!] crimes committed in the name of Christianity to a cohesive foundation in Christianity itself--because of many of those contradictions I referenced, which foreswear such radical interpretations. Almost like checks and balances. Hitler being a case in point: you'll have a hard time finding support if your opinion is that Hitler rationally and fairly interpreted the Bible or Jesus or what have you and then acted. It does not get any closer to what is a "real" Christianity, but Hitler's interpretation violates enough obvious, essential Christian principles that you can't really argue that it's his dogma versus, say, St. Augustine's.
Full disclosure: I'm not a Christian but I am mesmerized by Catholic humanism of the Renaissance variety, and I'm also inane enough to be giddy over a good debate on dogma. If you're similarly inclined maybe you should head over.