Re. Re. Just a book
Cameron - Thanks for sharing your thoughts. As a Christian it is interesting for me to hear a different perspective and try to understand a little bit more about a non-religious perspective. I'm really sorry that you have had a bad experience of Chrisitanity and have found it to be both oppressive and, by your desciption, even violent in your life. I think that there is nothing more disgusting than when Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus or any religious group use their beliefs as justification to perform violence in any form - and I agree with you that many people have had extrememly negative experiences of the Church. The person who posted after you (post also entitled Re. Just A Book) seems to have touched on a few times when Christians have hurt others, whether that be financially, emotionally or physically and indeed these are definately areas which should not only be addressed by Christians and acknowledged as wrong but also apologised for and abolished as practices in the name of "religion".
What I find liberating about being a Christian is that Jesus is recorded in both the Bible and non-Canoncial writings as being anti-violence and a big fan of passive resistance. Among the sayings recorded and attributed to Jesus, there are statements such as "Blessed are the peacemakers", "He who lives by the sword dies by the sword", "Love your neighbour as yourself" and "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you". Jesus was much like Gandhi or Nelson Mandella in promoting non-violent approaches to oppression and teaching a new way of life for those who are interested in spirituality. I find it hurtful as a Christian that many people ignore these words of Jesus and still act violently towards others, and I found it particularly sad to hear about what happened to you and your neighbour when you were young. If you would like to read more about Jesus and His statements of peace, feel free to check out
http://biblia.com/jesusbible/joshua3b.htm or you can look up the book of Matthew (available on line - just google it) and check out Chapter 6 and 7.
Would love to hear your thoughts and reply to my ideas!