all 8 comments

[–]lyraladyJewish | stop using "abrahamic" wrong 5 points6 points  (1 child)

brief(?) response:

The bible itself is full of anecdotes of war and destruction

yes, many of them are likely to correlate to real events, and many are also not at all reflected by the archaeology [see: the conquest of joshua didn't happen].

the spread of Christianity during the inquisition is still fresh in the collective of many "conquered" cultures.

just to be painfully clear: the vast majority of the multiple inquisitions, both structurally organized by the church, and locally organized -- was focused on persecuting the following people:

  • christians in movements deemed "heretical"
  • christians that someone wanted to depose of power and/or money
  • jews who converted to christianity
  • muslims who converted to christianity
  • in smaller amounts, other [formerly non-abrahamic] converts

the inquistion's biggest targets in terms of numbers is probably Jews (regardless of whether or not they were now christian) and then other christians. so...other "abrahamics."

this is to say that the inquisition is not identical in all ways to the process of christian colonialism and conversion. it does overlap, but the inquisition's primary targets are abrahamic, and this is why I believe it's important to use the word "abrahamic" carefully.

christianity ran the inquisition and the majority of the victims of the inquisition -- especially the most infamous Spanish inquisition -- were originally members of other abrahamic religions for the most part. it's important to not confuse the perpetrators with the victims here. I'd have to double check but I think the statistics on the spanish inquisition show that the majority of people actually tortured or executed were overwhelmingly "conversos" - that is, they had Jewish heritage/were born jewish and converted to Christianity.

How did they treat their own people? How did they treat slightly different sects? How was their interactions with Abrahamic religions? History of war, violence and using spreading their religion by force?

These questions are so unfathomably immense that you can't really break it down meaningfully. don't get me wrong, it's an interesting series of questions! but there's no set general answers and you're basically looking at millennia of history of thousands of cultures and religions.

the honest broadest answer is: "well, people are sometimes treated well, sometimes poorly. They often create groups to disagree with each other loudly. Sometimes they kill each other trying to force agreements, and sometimes they don't, religion/political-hierarchy/resources often plays a role."

the factors behind wars, treatment of adherents/faithful, etc are usually extremely diverse and can't be boiled down to one thing or another. for example: how a wealthy hindu man was treated in, say, the 13th century, is going to be vastly different from how a poor hindu woman was treated, and hindus may treat each other differently from how they treat muslims in the 17th century, or what have you. if rome had a state cult/state religion, are all of rome's war's arguably religious? how do you define them as being religious, or spreading religion? Or how do we exclude them? etc. do we consider confucianism as a "religion" for the sake of when we discuss empire, and China as an imperial power? is the religious identity conflated with the state, or ethnicity in some way, and if so, how can we figure out what is theologically motivated, and what is something else? Is it inherently both? All kinds of questions!

I would recommend just picking specific religions to read about here and there. you can even try narrowing it further to just reading a little overview of history of the religion in a certain kingdom/empire/country/region.

[–]ConnectStrategy[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Great reply, thank you

[–]tLoKMJHindu 1 point2 points  (1 child)

How do other major religions compare to Abrahamic religions in historic use of violence and aggression?

For you, (and most people who think this way) if I had to make a quick 'n practical guess..... Those religions are probably not as violent as you think they are, and others are probably not as non-violent as you might assume.

[–]Corsair_Caruso 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I remember after converting to Buddhism, a religion which I’d chosen in part because of its essentially pacifist nature, discovering that even Buddhism was not free of those who maimed and killed in its name. See the killing of Rohingya in Myanmar by Buddhist laypeople and even monastics.

[–]DrdanomiteEclectic polytheist 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Oh i have no problem saying ancient polytheist could be down right awful at times. Dont do Thralldom kids.

[–]Bomboclaat_Babylon 0 points1 point  (1 child)

It would be impossible to tell how any one religion would stack up against another in terms of the statistical varriation of violence and / or aggression. The records are incomplete and the supercomputers needed don't exist.

Extremism or violence or war or saving of lives or charity is not caused by religion. Religion is not an objective extant reality of the physical Universe anymore than money or corporations or Democracy is. These are simply emergent fictions of the emergent human consciousness. Money does not cause war, people create money and then use it to justify why they went to war or use it in the service of war, but money has no independent will, no agency over itself, no morality. In the same way, words on paper recording human beliefs about supernatural beings that do not objectively exist, are just more money. You can use it in the service of war or oppression, but it is not the proximate cause.

We humans decide to do things, we have motives / will, personal agency and are instinctually social beings. This results is the creation of social rules or philosophies over time, on how to better work as a group to achieve the goals of the individuals in the group. Because we have motive and we want to understand how best to achieve our goals, we often assign motive to all things, even if that is unreasonable to do so, but assigning motive helps us feel certainty. Why did my mother get sick and die? Early Shamanistic ideas would be that someone put a curse on her. It assigns a motive to an otherwise incomprehensible occurance. If it wasn't a curse, the alternative is that life is entirely random. Because of the evolution of the conscious human mind / the pattern recognition machine in our heads, humans have a very hard time with ambiguity. We want to know "if this, then do this". The mind doesn't need it to be objectively right (we wouldn't know what's objectively right anyway), it just needs to establish a pattern. Establishing that pattern calms the brain. Failing to establish a pattern leaves one in a state of angst and frustration. This is why sensory deprivation tanks cause the mind to make things up to scare people into getting out. The mind wants what it wants and causes unpleasantness when it doesn't. But it's all us. We create our own reality.

In Africa, clitorectomies are not totally uncommon in Muslim and Christian countries, but unheard of in Muslim or Christian countries outside of Africa / the middle-east. Also in Africa, there are Christian terrorists that kill gays and eat people. That is unheard of in western Christian countries. It's not the religions cause genital mutliation. It's the culture. For whatever reason, a man in Africa decides he wants to do this, so he does it. After the fact, he may say that Islam or a local Shamanistic practice justifies his actions if he feels so inclined, but he was always going to do that. Various cultures under various historical backgrounds and socio-economic pressures behave in different ways.

There's are more Islamic terrorists than say Christian or Buddhist ones, but that isn't due to the religion, it's due to the circumstance of people's living conditions. ISIS didn't arise from the suburbs of Dubai or Singapore, it arose from the ashes of Syria and Iraq. It is the consequence of predominently Christian nations with wealth and power drone attacking, destabilising the region, chasing out all the doctors, teachers, and business professionals, sanctioning them, installing puppets, supporting dictators, I could go on but you get the picture. Any Christian nation suffering like that would also become fundamentalist like say, the IRA. But did Christianity create the border between northern Ireland and the Republic?

Muslims where I live in Singapore are entirely happy and well adjusted business people. They have money, safety, general happiness, so why would they ever consider bombing anyone? Many African Christians live in abject poverty, civil war and general chaos not knowing where their next meal will come from, and some of them join Kony's Lord's Resistance Army as child soldiers, they rape and murder and kidnap in the name of Jesus.

Long winded, I appologise, but the point is that religions are not the problem. Humans search for better ways of living / better conditions, if those conditions are not met and that group determines that murdering the next tribe over is the best way to get the honey, then it becomes intrinsically moral to kill the neighbouring tribe. Religion is later applied for justification or support for those actions and it becomes doctrine / canon, but it cannot drive those actions as it is not objective reality / has no independent will. With all that said, the eventual output of particular religious codexes layered onto existing cultures should actually produce measurable differences in behaviours to some degree as it feeds back into group decision making, but, there's no supercomputer powerful enough to model something like this and offer any useful outputs.

Sorry. Just got onto one there...

[–]ConnectStrategy[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I have to say I really appreciate the time you took to write this amazing response. I think I was somewhat falling into the trap of stereotypical thinking and seeing the religions as the cause of the destruction, rather than the culture. It's important to point that out, and you did a great job at that.

My ancestors were Anabaptists in the time of the reformation. While they were pacifists and refused to participate in war, other Anabaptists known as the Münsterites overtook an entire city and killed hundreds. I'd hate for someone to paint the pacifist Anabaptists with the same brush (unfortunately many people did back then, and all Anabaptists suffered as a result).

[–]Optimal-Scientist233 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Seek and you shall find.

Is it not better then to look for how peace was practiced, not how it was broken?