Monday, December 12, 2005

Dennis Prager and Christianity

Last week a fine Jew wrote a piece on Dennis Prager and his warm feelings for Christianity. This reminded me of something that has been bothering me for a long time. Now I like Dennis Prager, he is well meaning and has a yiddishe kup, but there are some things that he is absolutely wrong about.
Dennis Prager in his defense of religion in general, and specifically of christianity, admits that religious (christian) countries in the past have commited atrocities - even in the name of God. This however is all whitewashed, because he states that it happened long ago and christians do not behave that way in the modern era.
Here comes the best part: He states that the the two most evil regimes of modern times - Nazi Germany and the Stalinist Soviet Union were secular, anti-religious countries. As part of his broader attack on secularism, he blames the evil actions of these countries specifically on their secularist philosophies.
This is where Mr. Prager is dead wrong. Nazi Germany may have been a secular, anti-religious government, but the vast majority of Germans were Lutherans. You can not erase centuries of religious culture with a new government. This has been demonstrated time and time again. Martin Luther himself was a virulent jew hater (for a sample of his anti-semitic writings please click on my link to outreach judaism), and his influence in that culture was manifest long after he was dead and buried. What I'm saying is: the atrocities of Nazi Germany did not happen in spite of Germany being a christian country, it happened precisely because it was a christian country. The Nazi regime could not have existed without the support of the christian Germans.
Obviously, The same case can be made for the Stalinist regime. The Catholic or Russian Orthodox people of that regime tolerated and carried out evil acts against their own people (not to mention what they did to the jews). Did they suddenly give up their religion and culture because Stalin said so? I don't think so! They were christians before Stalin came along and remained christians after he was gone, and history tells us that christians torture and kill other people when they have the means and opportunity.
As a matter of fact, it would seem that the more secular the culture, the less atrocities will be commited by that culture and the more fundamentalist the culture, the more atrocities will be commited by that culture (ie. Muslim cultures).
So you see Mr. Prager, even though you dislike liberals, you can not blame the world's evil on secularism. What you must do is ask your fair-weather christian friends some very uncomfortable questions.

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