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I Wouldn't Have Guessed That

The last Soviet premiere was a Christian.

I find arguments (such as Dennett and Dawkins, and Hitchens) put forth that religion is the source of all evil in the world to be tendentious. Much evil has been (and continues to be) done in the name of a god, but the most nihilistic, murderous regimes in history, in the twentieth century, were godless. Belief in God (or lack thereof) is neither a necessary, or sufficient condition for evil acts. The real dividing line, as Jonah points out, is not whether or not one is a deist, but whether or not one is an individualist. Say whatever else you want about a classically liberal society--it might leave some behind, but it won't murder them wholesale.


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mathman wrote:

This goes back to my days among the radical Holy Spirit crowd. It was widely rumored about Nikita Khruschev:
He had been raised by Russian Orthodox monks in an orthodox school. He had won a prize for memorizing the entire Gospel of John.
He left the faith, and adopted in its fullest the doctrines of the Communist faith.
At the end of his life he had to be deposed. The trouble was that he returned to the faith of his youth. That is why he so abruptly disappeared.
Take it or leave it: that was the rumor.

Jim Harris wrote:

The last Soviet premiere was a Christian.

You wouldn't have guessed it because there is no evidence that it was true at the time. Gorbachev was baptized Russian Orthodox, but St. Francis is a Catholic saint, so he would have had to convert if he were consistently Christian. As the Wikipedia article says, in 1997 he made the pantheistic statement, "Nature is my God", together with "Trees are my temples and forests are my cathedrals." So his religious views are haphazard and haven't always been Christian.

Now you also might not have guessed, even though it was always widely documented, that Tariq Aziz, who was one of Saddam Hussein's main henchmen, is a Christian. By contrast, in the new Iraq, the Iraqi cabinet only has one token Christian with no real influence compared to Tariq Aziz -- she is the "human rights minister". Most Iraqi parties are organized along religious and ethnic lines and there are no Christians in the main Shiite, Sunni Arab, or Kurdish parties. One of Iraq's Catholic archbishops was just kidnapped and shot in the leg and died in captivity. Another archbishop was also kidnapped and released. A third Archbishop, the Archbishop of Basra, transferred to Australia for his safety and has not been replaced. The Catholic church in Iraq describes Iraqi Christians as a besieged and rapidly dwindling minority.

There were, even before the invasion of Iraq, more Christians in Syria than in Iraq (both a higher percentage and a larger population), and their numbers have been padded by Iraqi Christians who fled.

For once, the National Review acknowldged the truth. It bitterly criticized the Bush Administration for turning its back to the plight of Iraqi Christians. They don't fit into the victory narrative.

Rand Simberg wrote:

Jim, what is the root cause of your apparent fantasy that anyone here cares what you scribble on the wall?

Jim Harris wrote:

If you don't care to read the writing on the wall, that's up to you.

Rand Simberg wrote:

I have no problem with writing on the wall. But I pay little attention to graffiti on the wall.

At this point, I can't imagine why you would fantasize that I or my readers would want to pay any attention to your desperate flinging of feces.

Stewart wrote:

Gorby and the Grace of God. Who'da thunkit?

Mike Puckett wrote:

Wow Jim! Did those contortions cause you any injury? That was some tap dance!

Anonymous wrote:

The vast majority of bloody subjugative regimes throughout history had non-religious motives or leaders. If anyone wants to argue this point thatís fine, but it seems fairly obvious to me.

Conversely, the good that is done in the name of religion goes almost undocumented, and always has been.

chris b wrote:

It seems to me the problem is with people who want to enforce their beliefs on others. When people change from encouraging others to do the right thing to thinking it's ok to force others to do the right thing that is when the trouble starts.

It seems too much time has passed since Mussolini. Some of my friends have started talking about him like he was good, or had good ideas and that bad old Hitler took advantage of him. And to think my mother's parents' families fled Italy to escape him.

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This page contains a single entry by Rand Simberg published on March 19, 2008 1:23 PM.

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