christianity

Why “Christians were violent too!” Is a Bad Argument

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

I constantly see this argument that Leftists (and consequently their Muslim acolytes who seek protection in their masters’ arms) like to use. It goes something like this: Oh, you’re going to quote the Quran and say that Muslims are all violent? Well guess what? Christianity was violent too! Look at the Crusades! Look at the Inquisition! Look at all these horrible persecutions of minorities that Christians have done over the centuries! Thus we cannot judge Muslims to be violent just because of what their scripture says. There are multiple interpretations!

The reason why this is a bad argument is twofold. First of all, and the more important of which, it feeds into this narrative that religion is evil and violent. “Religion is the cause of violence” is a common New Atheist argument and all we’re doing is enforcing that (false) narrative. In fact, I frequently see people comment on articles that invoke this kind of argument something along the lines of “this is why all religions are evil/stupid. We shouldn’t persecute Muslims, but why would anyone believe in anything that stupid anyway.” Continue Reading

Bible Verses That Condemn Drinking

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

I recently wrote a post about how the medieval church considered drinking to the point of drunkness to fall under the deadly sin of gluttony.

A commenter on a message board I frequent provided some references to Bible passages in which these prohibitions are made more explicit. I’ve provided them below:

Proverbs 20:1New International Version (NIV)

20 Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler;
    whoever is led astray by them is not wise.

Proverbs 21:17 New International Version (NIV)

17 Whoever loves pleasure will become poor;
    whoever loves wine and olive oil will never be rich.

Proverbs 23:19-21 New International Version (NIV)

Saying 16

19 Listen, my son, and be wise,
    and set your heart on the right path:
20 Do not join those who drink too much wine
    or gorge themselves on meat,
21 for drunkards and gluttons become poor,
    and drowsiness clothes them in rags. Continue Reading

Getting Drunk Was Considered a Sin in Medieval Christianity

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

TIL that getting drunk was considered a sin in Medieval Christianity. Alcohol itself was considered permissible, but drinking to the point of inebriation was considered a subset of the deadly sin of gluttony.  The full reddit thread on r/askhistorians can be found below, although I’ll quote the relevant parts:

 

Prevalence of Alcoholism in Middle Ages? from AskHistorians

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Americans today (I understand ideas about alcoholism and its treatment can be quite different) tend to think of alcoholism as an addiction or even a disease. This was not so in the Middle Ages. Inebrietas–inebriety or drunkenness–was normatively a sin, a subset of the Deadly Sin of gluttony or overconsumption.

We must separate the rhetoric of preachers from the daily lives of medieval people (including, presumably, many of those preachers). An evening at a formal or informal tavern was the heart of socializing for a lot of urban people. It’s not for nothing the tavern was derided as the “chapel of the devil”; it was the secular parallel for social life to the Church and religious civic gatherings. As with today, not everyone would get drunk, and even fewer of those would get drunk so often and compulsively as to compare to modern alcoholism. And of course, the role of alcohol in the display of battle prowess and noble/royal power is well known to anyone who read Beowulf in high school….

…But in the background, and increasingly pushed by preachers and didactic authors over the 14th through 16th centuries, was the point that drunkenness inherently represented overconsumption, a focus on the material world and personal pleasure that distracted from God. It was a sin. And in both prescriptive theoretical sources and actual criminal records, medieval people knew and experienced the costs of inebriety.

In theory, drunkenness would lead to other sins. It loosened the tongue and mind, resulting in a rise to wrath. Naturally in women in particular, it heated the body and aroused it to lust. It led the drunk person to forget about others, greed. And so on. Meanwhile, coroners’ rolls from England and court records from French and German cities attest handsomely to the fights, assaults, and murders inside taverns and spilling onto the streets outside.

This is still just alcohol consumption, though. What can we say about the compulsion to drink caused by a pattern of overconsumption? First, in the medieval imagination though not in practice, pattern inebrietas was gendered heavily male. In German popular literature, there were two stock “parents who waste their family’s money” figures. The woman is the haute palate, the one who must always have the richest food, the most expensive clothing while her children go hungry and threadbare. The man, however? The man spends every night at the tavern, drinking away his children’s bread. The latter, at least, had a basis in reality. Women in early modern Germany sometimes petitioned their cities for emergency financial support or for legal living-arrangement separation from their husband, because he was ruining the family financially through drinking every coin. Continue Reading