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.
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.
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
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."
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
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