The Protestant Atrocities: Manifest Destiny and Slavery

I've highlighted some of the sins of the church in the past, like the witch hunts, and the inquisition, but some evangelical Christians want to claim that was the Catholic church and not the true church. Well then, how about Manifest Destiny and Native American slaughter, along with southern slavery? What Christian people have done in the name of faith and religion is atrocious. See the video below:

I have a hard time understanding the lyrics of this, but the images and story of Native Americans is absolutely horrible. Ever hear of the trail of tears?


John W. Loftus said...

What Christians did is called the red holocaust.

Evan said...

American countries besides the US and Canada have spent a lot more time dealing with this.

The proclamation he is reading from comes the Requeremiento. I strongly recommend Diaz's The Conquest of New Spain as a good text describing the complexity of the initial clash of the cultures.

It's important to realize that if the shoe were on the other foot, the Incas and Aztec empires would quickly have enslaved and destroyed European culture as well. People have behaved badly, regardless of their belief system from very early on. That being said, the conquistadors, pilgrims, mercenaries, explorers and other sundry palefaces who came to America didn't do their religion any favors.

John W. Loftus said...

Thanks Evan, I'm putting together an anthology of contra-Christian texts and I was looking for these things but didn't know what they were called.

Stil I want you to understand my argument. Sure "people have behaved badly, regardless of their belief system from very early on." And sure "the conquistadors, pilgrims, mercenaries, explorers and other sundry palefaces who came to America didn't do their religion any favors." But that misses my whole point, and I've said it a bunch of times. Perhaps you weren't here at DC when I did, although the links show it. While the video talked about the Spanish conquistodors, I didn't. I spoke about Manifest Destiny and the faith of many Christians that agreed with it. Sure not everyone did, but enough Christians did, didn't they?

My arguement about the inquisition, the witch hunts, slavery and even manifest destiny is an indictment againt the very God that Christians claim to worship. There are several links beyond the ones I offered, but here's another one.


John W. Loftus said...

Which reminds me of what Friedrich Nietzsche wrote: "A god who is all-knowing and all-powerful and who does not even make sure his creatures understand his intention – could that be a god of goodness? Who allows countless doubts and dubieties to persist, for thousands of years, as though the salvation of mankind were unaffected by them, and who on the other hand holds out the prospect of frightful consequences if any mistake is made as to the nature of truth? Would he not be a cruel god if he possessed the truth and could behold mankind miserably tormenting itself over the truth? – But perhaps he is a god of goodness notwithstanding – and merely could not express himself more clearly! Did he perhaps lack intelligence to do so? Or the eloquence? So much the worse!...Must he not then…be able to help and counsel [his creatures], except in the manner of a deaf man making all kinds of ambiguous signs when the most fearful danger is about to befall on his child or dog?”

David said...

John, sorry I'm really making an effort to read your older posts as time permits....for the moment I am just curious what your response to this would be:

"Although it has been fashionable to deny it, anti-slavery doctrines began to appear in Christian theology soon after the decline of Rome and were accompanied by the eventual disappearance of slavery in all but the fringes of Christian Europe. When Europeans subsequently instituted slavery in the New World, they did so over strenuous papal opposition, a fact that was conveniently "lost" from history until recently. Finally, the abolition of New World slavery was initiated and achieved by Christian activists."

Rodney Stark, For the Glory of God: How Monothesism Led to Reformations, Science, Witch-Hunts, and the End of Slavery (Princeton Univ Press, 2004), p. 291

My study of this area is decidedly thin, especially in trying to see it from the skeptic perspective. Any book recommendations would also be great. Thanks.

David said...


Ok since you're busy I'll make it worth your while.

10$ donation for one paragraph responding to the quote

20$ donation for one paragraph
responding to the quote, and some books you have read that discuss the Christian atrocities.

No joke! :) Google answers charges, why shouldn't folks donate a few bucks if you spent some of your time looking up sources etc...Of course thats assuming they think your opinion is worth hearing! But I think many on this blog do (including me) so hopefully they will support you as well when you take time to give a response.

John W. Loftus said...

Okay David, you’ve my attention. I don’t know if what I have to say is worth anything but here’s what I’ve got. I have not read the book you refer to, nor have I read most things, so I first wanted to find out about the Rodney Stark, the author. He has an entry at Wikipedia. He’s an agnostic but one whom Christians seem to love.

Then I looked at the reviews on Amazon. I found a couple that would express my thoughts on that paragraph:

One) The part on slavery was also a real whopper. Christianity, Stark claims, was also responsible for the abolition of slavery. Interesting, that, since the Bible explicitly teaches slaves to obey their masters and even tacitly endorses the entire practice by actually regulating who you can buy or sell, for how much, and for what period of time you can keep your "property." Yes, one can easily see how such a fine moral compass would lead to the humanitarian revulsion that fueled the abolitionists (many of whom may very well have been Christians, but not terribly literalist in their interpretation of the Bible, apparently). As for the fact that it took Christendom over 1800 years to get around to the abolition of slavery, well, let me remind you that, according to the New Testament, the Second Coming was supposed to occur within the lifetimes of Jesus's apostles, so this definitely isn't a religion that rushes things.

To sum it up, the book puts forth an exquisitely twisted argument that contends literal belief in absurd ancient mythologies was necessary to achieve modern advances in science and ethics.

TWO) …the most glaring flaw of Rodney Stark's argument lies in his most bewildering silence concerning the other, eastern variants of Christianity. If Christianity is the catalyst the author thinks it is, then why didn't science blossom in the Byzantine empire or in Russia, in Coptic Egypt, in the Syrian plateau or in Ethiopia where Christian communities existed since the very beginning? Certainly reformations, science, with-hunts and abolitionism have a more cultural core that that author thinks.

Then I did a Google search for the title to his book and found an interesting scholarly review:

John Coffey,School of Historical Studies, University of Leicester, wrote:

In contrast to such reductionist and anti-Christian historians, Stark’s basic thesis is that monotheistic belief has been a powerful force for good and ill: Moral fervour is the fundamental topic of this entire book: the potent capacity of monotheism, and especially Christianity, to activate extraordinary episodes of faith that have shaped Western civilisation (p. 365). The world we live in, Stark implies, is a world profoundly shaped by Christianity. He does not pretend that Christian monotheism is a sufficient factor in the rise of science, the witch-hunts, or the abolition of slavery, but he does argue that it was a necessary one. No other civilisation, he maintains, witnessed these three remarkable phenomena.

Then I noticed a couple of review/discussion threads over at Internet Infidels about it here and here.

I also noticed how Christians have taken to an agnostic like him. He was interviewed by Christianity Today. One Christian reviewer thinks his book will be a "classic."

What I found is a really good essay on the topic by William Gervase Clarence-Smith, pp. 5-15, which I think is more balanced and better than what I see from Stark. Smith wrote the book, Islam and the abolition of slavery (2006).

I personally have read the first book listed here, which describes American slavery, along with Douglass’ Narrative of his life. These two books provide a background for my condemnation of American protestant slavery, which is my focus. Then too I’ve read Swartley’s book, and have this one, which I’m planning on using an essay for my anthology. A helpful overview of many of these problems was dealt with by Brian Moynahan.

Hope this helps.

David said...

Excellent! thanks for the info.

John W. Loftus said...

And thanks so much for your gift!