Christ and the North American Natives

julio
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Christ and the North American Natives

Christ and the North American Natives
Was Christianity involved in the genocide of the American Indians?
How many were killed in the name of Christ?

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Brian37
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I am quite sure the European

I am quite sure the European invaders who eventually took over the entire contenent prayed to the god of Jesus for their good fortune.

Andrew Jackson gave the order to march 10,000 Native Americans to reservations, that death march killed thousands. "Trail of Tears", look it up. I am quite sure that the soldiers following his orders also prayed to the Chrisitian god too.

 

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Hambydammit
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 Quote:Christ and the North

 

Quote:
Christ and the North American Natives
Was Christianity involved in the genocide of the American Indians?
How many were killed in the name of Christ?

Captain Pineapple!  You need to record this in your calendar, ok?

I don't think religion played a very big part (if at all) in the genocide of the American Indians.  Let's be really clear about what was happening in the world at the time.  You had a few European empires vying for power, resources, and money, and a virtually endless supply of all three had just been found.  All that was standing between these empires and their upward mobility were a few "savages" who thought they had a right to their land just because they were there first.

Sure, the various colonizers used their religion as a convenient excuse to justify their actions, but does anyone actually believe that anything would have been different if they had not been Christian?  Would the Dutch have sat by quietly while the Spanish and French laid claim to their parts of the new continent if only they'd not been Christian?  Hardly.

This was expansionism at its finest, and it took no religion whatsoever for each government to realize the obvious -- they needed to get their chunk, or their kingdom would be in dire straits.

Also remember that during this particular period of history, Europeans had no qualms whatsoever about killing "savages."  This wasn't a religious thing.  It was just a biproduct of the ruthlessness of the time.

So basically, I'm saying that Christianity was coincidentally involved.  It wasn't a root cause.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Brian37
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Hambydammit

Hambydammit wrote:

 

Quote:
Christ and the North American Natives
Was Christianity involved in the genocide of the American Indians?
How many were killed in the name of Christ?

Captain Pineapple!  You need to record this in your calendar, ok?

I don't think religion played a very big part (if at all) in the genocide of the American Indians.  Let's be really clear about what was happening in the world at the time.  You had a few European empires vying for power, resources, and money, and a virtually endless supply of all three had just been found.  All that was standing between these empires and their upward mobility were a few "savages" who thought they had a right to their land just because they were there first.

Sure, the various colonizers used their religion as a convenient excuse to justify their actions, but does anyone actually believe that anything would have been different if they had not been Christian?  Would the Dutch have sat by quietly while the Spanish and French laid claim to their parts of the new continent if only they'd not been Christian?  Hardly.

This was expansionism at its finest, and it took no religion whatsoever for each government to realize the obvious -- they needed to get their chunk, or their kingdom would be in dire straits.

Also remember that during this particular period of history, Europeans had no qualms whatsoever about killing "savages."  This wasn't a religious thing.  It was just a biproduct of the ruthlessness of the time.

So basically, I'm saying that Christianity was coincidentally involved.  It wasn't a root cause.

 

Hambi, it is very rare that I disagree with you. Those in power, DO, even today use their personal beliefs to weild power on political entities. Christians have treated "no religious test" in our constitution, as lip service, which is why in our history we have never had an open non-Christian of any label, in the White House.

European leaders who conquerd Europe during the dark ages, may have had absolute power, but consulted the Church as being the closest to god's athority.

You can say that as far as the Americas are concerned were a battle for resources, and you'd be correct. BUT, the people conducting those battles consulted their God and or prayed to their god for their good fortune.

I don't think you can separate the two, although the founders tried with the Constitution. 

Religion can and is used as a political weapon even if the person exploiting it doesn't really believe it. I agree. But to say that all leaders in Chrisitan history do this, is a mistake. I think for everyone merely using it as a tool, there are far more that DO litterally believe that they are doing "Gods work".

Secularism and the Age of Enlightement was the first attempt to break away from dogmatic rule. But that doesn't mean people since then havent tried to userpt that . There were certainly then, and even today, people in power who want to use their position as a pulpit and DO truely believe in their God.

I don't think it is as black and white as you want to make it.

I think we can agree however, that when those in power invoke society's popular super hero, it is easy to lead them by the nose, weither or not the person leading them really believes what they are saying.

Religion may not always be the root cause, but it can be. Either way it should be treated as the weapon it is.

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BobSpence
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Not to downplay actual

Not to downplay actual massacres, but I think it is generally acknowledged that it was the new diseases that the Europeans introduced to the continent that were the main cause of the population decline in Native Americans after European settlement.

 

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 Bob is right.  The actual

 Bob is right.  The actual massacres, while brutal in their own right, were not the primary reason for the majority of American Indian deaths.  Disease was.

As for the massacres themselves, I don't deny that many were committed in the name of Jesus Christ.  I maintain that it is unlikely that removal of Christ from the picture would have changed much.  Europeans wanted the land, and they knew good and well that the Indians needed to be dead if they were going to have it.  They would have invented another excuse if they hadn't used Christianity.

It isn't often that I come down on the side of religion as NOT playing a major role in something like this, but in this case, I think it's the correct interpretation of history.  Obviously, we can't go back and replay history with a non-Christian Europe, but colonial expansion was an economic issue, pure and simple.  Christianity was a big part of European life, and so it infiltrated most elements of the colonization effort, but I just can't see how it was the cause of the colonization effort.

 

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:o

The parts the Spanish took in search of gold led them to mass-slaughter large groups of people that didn't convert from their "barbaric beliefs" at swordpoint though.

 

1. Gold?

 

2. Christian or die?

 

3. Profit!

 

 

Of course, if you speak only about what America the colonies/nation did, then religion mostly only played a role in determining them as lesser savages that didn't know the truth (tm) as far as I know.

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Brian37 wrote:...You can say

Brian37 wrote:
...You can say that as far as the Americas are concerned were a battle for resources, and you'd be correct. BUT, the people conducting those battles consulted their God and or prayed to their god for their good fortune.

I don't think you can separate the two,...

The argument that the two are inseparable is by definition a Theistic argument.

It's also not a relevant argument.

This was a battle for land, as you admit.

There was no interest in conversion of the tens of thousands of "savages" during the time the mass killings took place.

This was not a battle by Crusaders of any Church seeking to spread their religious influence, nor to lay claim to land in the name of any church.

Additionally, there were not a battles with the American Indians during and around the time of and shortly after the Colonies took root and the Union was formed, wherein the root cause was a religious conflict.

This "one" was about land alone. What the killers prayed to and their religions were not part of the picture, inasmuch as the conflict with the American Indians was concerned.


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treat2 wrote:Brian37

treat2 wrote:
Brian37 wrote:
...You can say that as far as the Americas are concerned were a battle for resources, and you'd be correct. BUT, the people conducting those battles consulted their God and or prayed to their god for their good fortune.

 

I don't think you can separate the two,...

The argument that the two are inseparable is by definition a Theistic argument.

Crap. Whatever the explicit influence of their beliefs in this case, those beliefs are a fundamental aspect of the culture. It is by definition a sociological and psychological argument.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

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Hambydammit wrote: Bob is

Hambydammit wrote:

 Bob is right.  The actual massacres, while brutal in their own right, were not the primary reason for the majority of American Indian deaths.  Disease was.

As for the massacres themselves, I don't deny that many were committed in the name of Jesus Christ.  I maintain that it is unlikely that removal of Christ from the picture would have changed much.  Europeans wanted the land, and they knew good and well that the Indians needed to be dead if they were going to have it.  They would have invented another excuse if they hadn't used Christianity.

It isn't often that I come down on the side of religion as NOT playing a major role in something like this, but in this case, I think it's the correct interpretation of history.  Obviously, we can't go back and replay history with a non-Christian Europe, but colonial expansion was an economic issue, pure and simple.  Christianity was a big part of European life, and so it infiltrated most elements of the colonization effort, but I just can't see how it was the cause of the colonization effort.

 

So there is no truth to the claims that Europians knew this and exploited it?

Hambi, nothing is black and white. Jefferson was a wise man who owned slaves. He was not the cause of slavery. I admit that.

But, to dismiss the role of religion in it's bullying in history of outsiders is to dismiss the bullying of Hitler and Po Pot and Stalin. No one should equate all that moved here as wanting opression of Native Americans. But to say those who took land from Native Americans did not consult their gods as to favor them, is just as absurd.

It is this same denial that pits Palistinians against Jews. They all claim it to be merely political, but both sides pray to their respective gods for favor.

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 Brian,Cause and effect are

 Brian,

Cause and effect are very difficult to discuss in this context because, as you say, it's not black and white.  We mold our gods after ourselves, so religion is by definition an extension of the culture that already exists.  However, once a religion is in place, it adapts and molds and drives the culture.  The creation becomes the creator.  Yet, we are constantly reinventing our gods in our newly changed images -- which were created by the religion we originally created, which became the creator.

It's a circle.  Culture reinforces religion reinforces culture.

My point with the American Indian genocide is that it's probably not proper to say that the religious beliefs of the colonizers caused the genocide.  In the first place, regardless of beliefs, disease would probably have done the job anyway.   In the second place, the primary motivation behind the colonization of America was not religious.  It was economic.  Had religion not been available as an easy excuse for genocide, another excuse would have presented itself.

So, to put it another way, I'm not suggesting that Christianity had no part in the actions of various priests and conquistadors.  Surely their religion influenced the method and the practices involved in the genocide, but I believe the genocide was more or less inevitable based on the economic impetus driving the different European countries westward.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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BobSpence1 wrote:Not to

BobSpence1 wrote:

Not to downplay actual massacres, but I think it is generally acknowledged that it was the new diseases that the Europeans introduced to the continent that were the main cause of the population decline in Native Americans after European settlement.

 

Not be Australian I can honestly say I don't know, but didn't genocide happen in OZ with the aboriginal people as well? What was the role of religion in this action? I'm sure that religion was not the primary cause of this but very similiar to what happened here in the U.S. as well. 

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Cali_Athiest2

Cali_Athiest2 wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

Not to downplay actual massacres, but I think it is generally acknowledged that it was the new diseases that the Europeans introduced to the continent that were the main cause of the population decline in Native Americans after European settlement.

 

Not be Australian I can honestly say I don't know, but didn't genocide happen in OZ with the aboriginal people as well? What was the role of religion in this action? I'm sure that religion was not the primary cause of this but very similiar to what happened here in the U.S. as well. 

There were certainly some massacres, as well as many casual shootings. The most explicit efforts to wipe out the native population occurred in what is now the island state of Tasmania, then called Van Diemen's Land, as named by the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman who was the first European to report sighting the island, in 1642. As a result there are very few left with significant Tasmanian aboriginal "blood". Disease also played a major part in the decline there.

Disease was a factor on the mainland as well.

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julio
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Surely those who killed the

Surely those who killed the millions of American Natives were at least nominal Christians. Therefore they did pray on important occasions, like when going to kill to impose their religious or political agenda.
That is, when you pray and then go, you become a partner with your God in the crime!
There should be several monuments placed in appropriate places to remind people of the religious atrocities committed against innocent people! That should be an imperative of a peaceful government, don’t you think?

No gods with indirect messages to me.