Does Religion always cause Wars?

If you read some bloggers and their comments, you might begin to think that religions are the sole cause of war. Miec Pearse, in The Gods of War addresses this issue thoroughly and intelligently. I don’t know that I’ve ever read one more acquainted with world history than Pearse.  He begins chapter three with these words:

Although much of the history of Christian churches is disgraceful in that their creeds have been stained by bloodshed and spread by violence, the churches did not begin that way. For the first three centuries of its life, the faith of the Prince of Peace was spread entirely by pacific means, usually in the face of violent persecution.
~Meic Pearse in The Gods of War, Intervarsity Press, 2007. p. 58.

Get the book and take a read. You’ll find it refreshingly enlightening — especially if you’ve spent any time reading some of the anti-religious web sites or watching some of the pop-corn cable news.

Forward from Postman’s “Amusing Ourselves to Death”

I recently was reminded of a book by Neil Postman that I read a dozen years ago. The forward is here:

We were keeping our eye on 1984. When the year came and the prophecy didn’t, thoughtful Americans sang softly in praise of themselves. The roots of liberal democracy had held. Wherever else the terror had happened, we, at least, had not been visited by Orwellian nightmares.

But we had forgotten that alongside Orwell’s dark vision, there was another – slightly older, slightly less well known, equally chilling: Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. Contrary to common belief even among the educated, Huxley and Orwell did not prophesy the same thing. Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression. But in Huxley’s vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.

What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions”. In 1984, Huxley added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.

This book is about the possibility that Huxley, not Orwell, was right.

Turn on the television and you’ll see Postman was right.  Our appetite for distraction knows no bounds.

The book is Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business. I may post a couple more quotes from the book here in the hopes it gets a read from others.


Survey Reveals how Christians Are Preceived…

“…and they’ll know we are Christians by our….”

How did that 70’s song go?

Well, according to a new book released by the Barna Group, titled, UnChristian: What a new generation really thinks about Christianity… and why it matters, most of those outside of Christianity would expect Christians to finish that song with…

And they’ll know we are Christians by our:

  • anti-homosexual mindset (91%)
  • judgmental attitudes (87%)
  • hypocrisy (85%)
  • old-fashioned lifestyle (78%)
  • over-emphasis on politics (75%)
  • cluelessness (out of touch with reality) (72%)
  • insensitivity to others (70%)
  • boring (personality?) (68%)
  • failure to accept other faiths (64%)
  • tendency to be confusing (61%)

Thinking about this, I’ve two observations: Continue reading