Whether you have listened to Lee Stoneking’s teaching re: ‘3 Kinds of Christianity’, or you have done your own research.
You would have realised that the early church (i.e. the believers in the teachings of Jesus Christ) had their ‘Christian’ beliefs firmly rooted within an Hebrew Judaic, monotheistic foundation, following the Torah.
Due to being ostracised by those who refused to move on from Hebrew man made traditions (The Talmud), as well as the obvious oppression (of the time) by the occupation of Rome (Roman soldiers, laws etc.) believers often held their ‘Church services’ in the homes of fellow believers…home fellowship.
The rise of what became termed as ‘Christianity’ became a concern to the ruling Roman authorities of the time, especially as there were converts to Christianity springing up amongst their ranks.
History (if you look for the information) showed that Rome adopted the ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’ approach.
However, originally, Roman religious beliefs were Polytheistic (pagan), therefore, in order to make the original Christian beliefs more acceptable to the Roman masses, they made (what they thought) were the necessary “adjustments” and the Roman Catholic religion was born.
Religion is the cause of war
How many times have you heard the statement “Religion is the cause of wars”? Perhaps you may have even said it yourself.
Some even point out the fact that wars and fighting have been documented in the Bible but fail to understand that those wars, were mainly carried out under the time dispensation of the old Testament, a time when humankind was rebellious and extremely violent and could only be stopped by an opposing force of equal or greater measure.
Since the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, It is true that many generations have cited religious beliefs and differences of beliefs as a means to justify going to war.
The Crusades were a classic example, highlighted by those who do not fully understand.
The Crusades may have been a religious war (remember my definition) but was never a holy one ordained by God.
Catholicism may have been a cause, along with Islam but it had nothing to do with true Christianity.
Unfortunately, many haven’t taken the time to read and study the teachings of Jesus Christ.
If they did, they would know about the teachings concerning honest communication, forgiveness, going the extra mile to help others in need, looking for peaceful alternatives to disagreements, loving your enemies as well as your friends and sharing that love with everyone.
Those teachings have nothing to do with war or going to war, whether over land disputes, women, money, oil, precious stones or metals, minerals or anything else.
Religion is the cause of genocides
History is full of accounts of humankind’s atrocities against those of differing ethnic backgrounds, cultures, colours and even amongst their own people.
It would be unfair, extremely prejudice and xenophobic to point the finger at any one particular ethnic group, nationality or colour, as the evils of war and genocide has plagued us all, and is sadly, continuing today.
However, to point out a few examples…there is no denying that religion or religious beliefs were given as justifications for the Islamic movement from North-East Africa (the Middle East) to parts of Africa and Southern Europe as well as the aforementioned so-called Christian/Catholic crusades.
Then there are other atrocities, for example, Belgian King Leopold the 2nd mass genocide of millions of Africans, Hitler’s mission to eradicate the European Jewish people, the Europeans movement into South Africa, which eventually led to the apartheid regime.
The European slave trade affecting millions of Africans, The Europeans move across the Atlantic attempting to wipe out the ‘People of the land’ AKA native Americans, whilst using the enslaved Africans to build the new ‘America’.
The British movement to Australia, attempting to wipe out the original Aboriginal people, while using the country as some form of ‘prison state’ to ship their hardened male criminals and female prostitutes to.
As I said, there have been many atrocities carried out, many of which were/are by those who believe they had a divine right, or justified religious reasons to eradicate others, possess the land, people or both.
Human beings are a funny species, we dislike being personally judged for our actions.
However, we are prone to hand out judgements on others, wanting to run the rule over who should, or should not, be forgiven.
Many (who do not hold any religious beliefs per-Se) would state, if there is a God, he (or she) should be doing our bidding, making life right for us, eradicating those who are not like us.
There are many religious beliefs in this world, some appear to be focusing on the Creator, some look to multiple deities(fallen angels), others focus on self, others look to nature, some look to science while others focus on the only true ‘Racist’, the hater and ‘enemy’ of the human race, Satan.
As far as Christianity is concerned, historically, ‘religious leaders’ have used the fact that others have been ignorant of the true teachings of Jesus.
Usually through being uneducated, the masses were religiously controlled and manipulated by the educated religious few, who verbally taught their version of the teachings Jesus Christ and the rest of the Bible, to those who couldn’t read.
William Tyndale campaigned tirelessly, to get the Bible translated to the language of the ‘common man’, within Europe.
It took those who were against slavery (Black & White), to teach the slaves in Europe and America how to read English, giving the masses in both scenarios, the ability to realise their worth and rights to be equally treated with dignity and respect.
‘Religion is the cause of…’ has usually been the argument used by those who claim not to have any beliefs.
According to my definition of Religion, where so-called Christianity has been blamed, they are partially right.
However, if you study and understand the teachings of Jesus Christ, you will know that the atrocities carried out in the name of Christianity, were most definitely not carried out for ‘true Christianity’.
Wars, Slavery, Genocides have common causes… yes, politics and religion have been instrumental, however, the absence of love for others, hatred, un-forgiveness, greed, desiring what others have, mankind’s refusal to talk/negotiate along with xenophobia and prejudices…were and still are, the real causes of the evils of this world.