I was going to post this as a reply to Friar Bob, but the reply became as long as the original post. Again, this is a subject which I could write a book on, and it defies quick and simple analysis.
Friar Bob explains the nature of Christ and peace:
Christians ARE enjoined to be “wise as serpents, yet harmless as doves”. Yet calling Him “pacifistic” isn’t really accurate by many contemporary uses of the word. Because today that often implies supine surrender regardless of the cost. It means go along with anything just to avoid a fight. It means Chamberlain-style negotiations with “Mr. Hitler” promising “peace in our time”. And none of that is an accurate description of Him.
He is, of course, entirely correct. Notions of the Just War entered into Christian thinking right around the time Constantine. Constantine was, of course, engaged in that perennial feature of Roman political life: the Civil War. Hardly a succession went by without intrigue, assassination and outright open war, the exception of the Five Good Emperors non-withstanding. Just War tells us that there are certain things for which Christians must fight, certain things that they cannot countenance.
Self Defense is, of course, paramount among these. But there are other things. Going to war to, say, stop the doings of Hitler is justified whether defensive or not. War purely for the sake of power, money, or love of killing is prohibited. But war to save innocents, defend your own territory and protect your loved ones is justifiable. Naturally, slippery Weasels will rationalize their wars thusly, claiming that the war they are fighting for money is really for the oppressed people of… wherever. But, nonetheless, the Just War theory requires a casus belli. World War I was, ostensibly, started by the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. This was the official casus belli even if the “unofficial” reasons were somewhat less pure.
The issue here is that in Christianity war must be justified. War for its own sake is not a feature of the religion.
Islam, on the other hand, requires the exact opposite. Against the denizens of the House of War, war is required unless there is some justification NOT to do it. Islamic nations do not require a casus belli. You not being a Muslim, or even being insufficiently Muslim is cause enough.
The reason is that Christ loved peace. It is true, he turned over the tables and cracked whips at the moneylenders. It is true he fought a culture war against the Pharisees. At the same time, Friar Bob’s assertion is on point: there are things Christ would not tolerate. Indeed, there are things that God has repeatedly declined to tolerate.
Nonetheless, the foundation of Christianity is peace and the foundation of Islam is war.
But Islam has been a good teacher for Western civilization. From Islam, the concepts of Jihad (Crusade), the ferreting out of the insufficiently pious, the heretic, the infidel were learned. Islam also brought back slavery into the Christian world.
It is difficult to overstate the damage Islam has done. Slavery continues to exist today in the Islamic world. Roman Christians BANNED the practice and freed their slaves. Rome, the great consummate slave regime of ancient history was forced to abolish the practice without even so much as a fight, because Christianity’s distaste for it was THAT great. Then Muslim slave traders, pirates and traffickers reintroduced the practice in places like Spain, and the borders of Byzantium, the Holy Land, etc… it is no coincidence that the Spanish & Portuguese were the first to reintroduce slavery, or that they formed, for a great while, the bulk of the slave traders. Even when the English picked up the practice, it was only after they had observed the other colonial powers doing it. This was around the time that increased contact with the Ottoman world was changing the perceptions of the West.
Even still, the Europeans knew the Good Book did not justify such activity, and made sure to practice these things only outside of their core territories. It was almost as if they felt guilt for what they were doing.
Islam feels no guilt for it.
Interestingly enough, as Europe finally achieved military supremacy over Islam in the 19th century, suddenly slavery begins to vanish. Imperialism has one last great flare in Africa and India, and then is gone forever. Religious Holy Wars become a thing of the past. Intolerance of heretics vanishes. Secular government, as in the 7th century Classical world, reasserts itself. The Divine Right of Kings is expunged. The Church loses power all over Europe, becoming ancillary to government, and finally cut off from it entirely.
Without the threat of militant Islam, Christianity dispensed with the foul tools they had copied from the Muslim world. They had no need of them any longer.
And yet history absolves the Muslims of guilt for these things, and blames Christianity instead. Christianity, which only used these tools when pressed for survival, and eliminated them soon after. While Islam has always practiced Holy War, and continues to do so today. They continue to ferret out Jews and Christians, exterminating them, exiling them or oppressing them. They continue to practice slavery and oppress women. And yet the WEST is decried as the Imperialist scum, the slavers, the oppressors, the killers. Furthermore, Christianity gets blamed for it, even though the Bible condemns these things.
It is disingenuous in the extreme, and proof of the Anti-Christian sentiment common in the West today. And, as Christians put down the tools of Tyranny, so did the Atheist Socialists pick them up and improve upon them.