The McGILL DAILY OCTOBER 21, 1955

The Sins of Christianity

by Donald Kingsbury


I was raised as a non-denominational Christian and taught that as a Christian I belonged to the most civilized group of people on earth. But I was also ten when Germany sent her armies across the Czech border. It became increasingly difficult for me to believe that line about being civilized. We just aren't, and that is all there is to it. When the Allied armies invaded France I was already unequivocally committed to the belief that man is yet a barbarian who will only achieve civilization through hard work.

Heretical thoughts began to plague me. If Christendom was so spiritually diseased perhaps this was because it had caught the disease from Christianity, for it was an undeniable fact that Christianity held the moral leadership of the West. Or was the disease caused by the rejection of Christianity that began in the eighteenth century? No. A brief check through history revealed to me that the western world reached its height of callousness when the Christian church was strongest. Christian history is an absolutely incredible tale of continuous brutality and massacre. I state this flatly; the communists would have to hang around for a thousand years to match atrocity for atrocity with us gentle Christians.

It begins way back. Consider the case of the heretic Priscillian (385) who was officially tortured and executed with six of his followers, an act which is justified in the writings of St. Leo and approved of as recently as 1522 by Pope Hadrian VI.

Christian treatment of heretics has been appalling. Look up the Albigensians who were slaughtered by the thousands without much discretion, men, women, and children, under the orders of innocent Pope Innocent III. Look up the Waldensians. Look up a few hundred other sects and individuals. Besides the commonplace burning alive we have such amusing acts as the de-breasting of female heretics, the tossing of children off cliffs, the maiming with hot irons, et cetera, much of which was done under the supervision of the church.

We have such kind-hearted men as "St." Louis saying, "The layman, when he hears any speak ill of the Christian faith, should defend it not with words but with the sword, which he should thrust into the other's belly as far as it will go." We have the chilling Inquisitor's Directory of the Dominican Eymeric (1360) published with papal approval as late as 1584. "But if having been tortured reasonably, he will not confess the truth, set other, sorts of torment before him . . ."; The cold-blooded instructions to the Christian torturers are horrible to read. It contains such interesting niceties as the prohibition of the torturing of a pregnant woman until after she has given birth.

A typical example of Christian love and mercy is the story of the European Jews -- blood, confiscation, pillage, blood . . . True, we have such Papal Bulls as the one written by Gregory X in 1272 for the protection of the Jews who were being murdered for supposedly drinking Christian blood, but on the other hand we have papal "protective arrest" which set up the ghettos, endless papal restrictions such as Innocent III's cancellation of their money lending privileges, his edict forcing Jews to wear "a badge of infamy." All kinds of Good Christians justified this treatment. I quote St. Thomas Aquinas: "Since the Jews are the slaves of the Church, she can dispose of their possessions."

Massacres and individual murders are too numerous to name. In England we have 18 murdered and 73 imprisoned for the supposed ritual murder of Christians (1256), 283 Jews executed in 1278, the massacres at Lynn and Stamford and York, and in 1290 the expulsion of all the Jews, a few hundreds of whom were cheerfully drowned in the English Channel. The incredible Continental massacres have continued right up to the present day. For an introduction to this grisly subject I recommend "The Cremation of the Strasbourg Jewry" by Jacob von Konigshofen (1349). During the Black Plague some Jews were tortured (in Switzerland) till they "confessed" to poisoning wells. Presently, when the news got around, Jews were being tossed on bonfires from the Mediterranean into Germany.

Hitler did not invent Jew killing; Christians did. Hitler, being a man of small mentality, was unable to shake off his Christian heritage and went about this ancient Christian sport with twentieth Century efficiency. Then we have the Church, pledged not to shed blood, launching the bloody crusades wherein crusaders attacked Christian and heathen alike. Watch the holy Christian soldiers pour into Jerusalem, slaughtering men and women, Christians, Moslems, and Jews, rejoicing that they have fulfilled their pledge to Jesus.

I won't mention tens of thousands of witches burned alive -- they were only women.

Let us move from the bloody Dark Ages into the bloody Age of Light. Here is an interesting scene of Protestant murdering Protestant and Catholic, of Catholic murdering Protestant, and of everybody murdering Jews. Things did not even start to get better until science began to put Christian fervor on the defensive. Christian apologists say that these were not the acts of real Christians. I say that they were and in a coming article I want to show that Christian brutalities were and are born not from man's "base instincts" but from Christian morality.



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