Prince of Peace - Not
December 16, 2006
by William P. Meyers

Jesus may have been a prophet in the Old Testament sense - not someone who could magically foresee the future, but someone who publicly criticized the evils of his day, as he some them. He certainly was not God or even "God's only-begotten son." And he most certainly was not the Prince of Peace.

One of the earliest recorded acts of the Christian sect was the murder of Ananias and Sapphira as described in the New Testament book Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 5. We also know that the early apostles claim to be vandals who walked into other people's temples and damaged their idols. Jesus himself is said to have vandalized the booths outside the Jewish temple.

Time passed and with the wondrous elixir of promises of eternal life the Christian sect became a major religion within the Roman empire. The Christians fought among themselves rather vigorously, and with their neighbors, which I take as a sign of ordinariness, not as divine. Eventually one of the most bloodthirsty men in history, eventually (after he had killed enough people) the Emperor Constantine, made Christianity an (but not the) official religion of the Roman Empire. By then perhaps 10% of the people were Christian. Emperors after Constantine, perhaps true believers but certainly aware of how the Christian religion could help them control people, outlawed all other religions. There were still nice little wars between Christian sects even before the Roman Empire completely collapsed, notably between Arian Christians, Catholics, and Orthodox.

Some scholars have characterized the Dark and Middle Ages in Europe as basically peaceful centuries under the universal tutelage of the Catholic Church. Anyone bothering to read about any country in any century in this era will find that it was awash with wars of all sorts.

Protestantism started long before Luther, who was the first Christian leader to defy the Pope and live. Wars between Protestants and Catholics were a regular feature history from roughly 1500 until 1800, and don't be certain that they are over.

Wars between Catholics and other Christians and those who would like to live in peace as non-Christians have taken up the slack since 1800. The appalling Catholic attacks upon the Jews of Europe in World War II and upon atheists, agnostics and even Protestants in the Spanish Civil War are not historical anomalies.

Of course other religions - Moslem, Buddhist, Jewish, Hindu also have appalling records when it comes to peace. Atheists not been much better, as a group.

I simply can't tell whether a person is good or bad by knowing that person's religion, or lack of it.

How about a little peace, please in 2007 and beyond? Could we have some economic and social justice with that? Could we all temper our greed a bit and give the Earth and Nature a chance to get a much needed vacation from our rapacity?

Thank you. I'm taking a bit of a vacation. I'll probably start in on my ranting again around the 1st of 2007.