Sharpened stakes testing

i-f1ed343cbe0d7fe21e80b35943436236-BurnsChapman.jpgDisco. ‘tute ex-president Bruce Chapman doesn’t know his history. He asserts:

The Spanish Inquisition was about testing the sincerity of people’s Christianity.

This is true in the sense that the Crusades were about the joys of travel and cultural exchange.

I mean, how did torturing Jews until they accepted Jesus or fled their homeland test the sincerity of their Christianity? Was the seizure of property of those Jews who fled or died a test of anyone’s Christianity?

In what sense did the iron maiden test the sincerity of anyone’s Christianity?

It isn’t clear whether Chapman regards the 5,000 people burned at the stake by the Inquisition as having been justly tested and found lacking in their Christianity, nor whether he thinks waterboarding, strappado, and the rack are appropriate means of testing one’s faith.

I guess we’re to believe that Dante’s Christianity was found lacking (posthumously), since the Inquisition banned his books. Understandably, King Solomon failed the test, too (a translation of Song of Songs was banned).

Historians note that contemporaries of the Inquisition took a less sanguine view than Chapman. One concerned Toledano wrote to the King:

Your Majesty must provide, before all else, that the expenses of the Holy Office do not come from the properties of the condemned, because if that is the case, if they do not burn they do not eat.

Other subjects of the Inquisition claimed, “the Inquisition was devised simply to rob people.” “They burn only the well-off,” said another, and a resident of Cuenca observed, “They were burnt only for the money they had,” while a victim of the Inquisition stated, “only the rich were burnt.” Catalina de Zamora was targeted by the Inquisition for saying, “this Inquisition that the fathers are carrying out is as much for taking property from the conversos as for defending the faith. It is the goods that are the heretics.”

I wonder what Disco. ‘tute Jewish figleaf David Klinghoffer thinks of his boss’s casual attitude towards the torture, murder, expulsion, and robbery of Jews.

Comments

  1. #1 Anthony McCarthy
    February 15, 2012

    Well, you can fail a test as well as pass one. In a test you try to find out if someone shows that they have absorbed and can implement knowledge. By that standard a test of Christianity would have to show how well someone implemented the teachings of Jesus. And by that standard, the only valid standard for determining the Christianity of something, the Crusaders and those who sent them and encouraged them failed Christianity. They failed it rather spectacularly. They’d have failed Buddhism rather badly as well, by the way.

    Many are called few are chosen is more generally a matter of few choosing to try to live up to what they profess. Fundamentalist “christianity” regularly fails to live up to its professions as much as the medieval papacy generally did. That always seems to happen whenever it becomes a question of political power, getting it and holding it.

  2. #2 Scott Jensen
    February 15, 2012

    Chapman was obviously not showing sympathy for the Spanish Inquisition, but rather drawing an ironic parallel between Richard Dawkins recent efforts and the Spanish Inquisition. By letting himself get “SQUIRRELED” by the juxtaposition of “Spanish Inquisition” and “the sincerity of peoples Christianity”, he missed the point of the article altogether, and went of on a tangent about nothing at issue. In doing this he failed to defend his colleague Richard Dawkins, or to even engage Chapman’s point

  3. #3 Ender
    February 16, 2012

    Your comment betrays your bias Scott Jensen, AFAIK Josh Rosenau is not a colleague of Richard Dawkins in any literal sense, and he is definitely not a colleague of his in any looser sense, he in fact disagrees with some of what he says.

    That said, Josh has clearly gone down a blind alley here. The Spanish Inquisition was about testing the sincerity of people’s faith, among other things and the punishment for failing was sometimes execution – however nowhere does Chapman express support or the belief that this was a justified test or punishment.

    In fact, he clearly compares the inquisition’s “test of sincerity” with Dawkin’s “test of sincerity”, which though an unfair comparison, clearly indicates he is attempting to disaprove of both. One simply does not write “Just like good-thing A, thing B is totally bad!”

    And this is just silly:
    “I guess we’re to believe that Dante’s Christianity was found lacking (posthumously), since the Inquisition banned his books. Understandably, King Solomon failed the test, too (a translation of Song of Songs was banned).”

    Yes. Yes, they both failed the “Is this correct Christianity/faithful Christian translation in the Inquisition’s eyes” test. That’s why they banned them. What is hard to understand about this?

    p.s. Chapman may be logic deficient and totally wrong on most things (I don’t know the guy), but he’s got a point here. Dawkins did not like the suggestion that his own failure to name the subtitle of Origin of the Species meant anything, and neither does a Christian’s failure to name any selected book of the Bible.

  4. #4 KG
    February 19, 2012

    did not like the suggestion that his own failure to name the subtitle of Origin of the Species meant anything, and neither does a Christian’s failure to name any selected book of the Bible.

    Blithering nonsense: The Origin of Species is not a sacred text, and evolutionary biology is not a religion. Moreover, the survey gave those taking part a multiple choice question, with just four alternatives. However, Dakwins should have been prepared for this kind of “gotcha”.