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To: oyez
The history here is confused. First off, let's put this 'persecution of witches' to rest. People in the 15th and 16th centuries, although Christian, were highly superstitious. This superstition wasn't the fault of Christianity, but simply the *normal human condition* in most pre-modern human societies. Witches were accused of maliciously casting spells and hurting or killing people. People at that time *believed* you could be hurt by a spell. Witches were NOT being punished for being "anti-Christian," but for doing something that practically everyone thought posed an actual, real danger. Look at it in modern terms: the powder sent to the abortion clinics proved to be a hoax, but until it's proven otherwise, people take it as a serious threat. In those days, having no scientific understanding of medicine or physics, they took casting malicious spells to be real. The *intent* was to do evil, in any case, even if spells really didn't work.

As for Joan of Arc, she was a *political prisoner* of the British. The witchcraft charge was a smokescreen, but for the time it made sense - she admitted she heard voices, and wore men's clothing. In those days that was "proof" you were "a witch." Many crazy people were no doubt thought to be witches; again, that showed a lack of scientific understanding.

In the twentieth century, the case is *very* clear that both atheism and paganism have claimed far more lives than any Christian wrongdoing. Atheist Communism was the dominant murderous ideology of the 20th century. Josef Stalin murdered about 9,000,000 peasant farmers (the "kulaks") all over western and southwestern Russia. Mao-Tse-Tung murdered over 10,000,000 Chinese during the "Cultural Revolution" of the 1960s, not to mention the murders of Laotians and Cambodians under communism. The Nazis (who not only murdered 6,000,000 Jews, but another 4 million Christian Europeans, including over half the priests of Poland and many, many Polish Catholics, as well as German Christians who opposed him) were flat-out pagans who made explicit attempts to revive the Norse god worship.

11 posted on 11/01/2001 6:11:27 AM PST by ikanakattara
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To: ikanakattara
I agreed with you up until the last paragraph. Let's not confuse atheism and atheistic communism. Atheists don't believe in God because they don't, most really don't care what anybody else believes. Communism doesn't allow for religion (is atheistic) for self defense, an important part of communism is controlling the flow of information, if people are meeting in church regularly that's information flow not controlled by the state.

The distinction becomes most clear in the hypothetical: what if God got a TV show. The atheist would of course freak out and do some major reconsideration. The communist wouldn't care, people still wouldn't be allowed to go to church.

59 posted on 11/01/2001 10:20:25 AM PST by discostu
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