Again, I'm not arguing that that he (Augustine) didn't endorse extreme measures, or even that those measures were not unethical or illogical. That's not the point. It's when you imply that Augustine drastically shifted his position from being an outspoken critic of torture and genuine threats of death, to one that openly embraced and encouraged it, that's a major misrepresentation. He clearly maintained that torture and executions were inherently evil acts. His view of their necessity is an entirely different issue.
Um, “necessity”? The fact that they are being done in response to what many of us here see as an imaginary hell doesn’t, in reality, make them any less evil. The fact it was Christianity that caused him to advocate torture and conversion at the point of a sword in no way excuses it – any more than if it were motivated by Islam, Zoroastrianism, or pure hate. Again we see, in spades, that the logical implications of Christianity lead to atrocities, something proven again and again, century after century, from Augustine in the 400s to John List and others in the 1900s. As Voltaire reminded us, “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities."
Your whole post shows that we agree on the fact that Augustine advocated the use of terror and compulsion to get religious conversion. What justification was used is simply window dressing.
The "majority of objective scholarship?" Really? That's some pretty big claims your making. Do you have anything to back that up... "objectively?"
By “objective”, I mean something like “based on the evidence, and not driven by religious ideology.” Biblical criticism is obviously a huge topic, but my point is by assuming that the text is the word of God, that the original form can be known with great accuracy, and that the text must give a unified message, they make it impossible for themselves to look at anything objectively. This makes them reject things that are agreed on by most scholars, such as the idea that the pastorals are forgeries. I’m not sure what claim you are asking for support of, so I’ll give support for the idea that the pastoral are forgeries
, because that is probably sufficient for my point that those who you say are using “textural criticism” are doing so without objectivity. http://catholic-resources.org/Bible/Paul-Pastorals.htm
Well I can't argue with how you see them but I can tell you what I know about them is that they are far from being tied to a literalistic, inerrant view of scripture. Do you realize that no Baptist, Presbyterian, Pentacostal, Catholic or Church of Christ churches made your list? Are these the ones you are considering "liberal/moderate?"
OK, so are you saying that JWs, Mormons and SDA tend to use a metaphorical interpretation? I guess I’m not sure what you are asserting here. Maybe listing the original 5 “fundamentals” that gave us the term “fundamentalism” would be useful:
• The inspiration of the Bible and the inerrancy of Scripture as a result of this.
• The virgin birth of Christ.
• The belief that Christ's death was the atonement for sin.
• The bodily resurrection of Christ.
• The historical reality of Christ's miracles.
All the fundamentalist churches hold to these.
Remember that "growth" rates don't in any way equate to actual shares of the population, or specifically in the current representation of Christianity.
Of course not. That’s why I posted that data too, and the fact that these are the top 25 churches by order of total membership shows that we are talking about significant portions.
Your original point is vanishing amidst the data you say supports it, that Christianity views atheism as a crime deserving of eternal torture, that radical fundamentalism is on the rise, that Christianity is even polarizing to begin with, OR that this is an issue that deserves our highest level of focus.
Again, I claimed that Christianity is polarizing, with liberal Christians leaving their churches to either become fundamentalists or to become non-Christians. If that were true, then the more fundamentalist churches would be growing, and the most moderate/liberal shrinking, and the % of non Christians growing. Now, looking at the data, we see that the top growing churches are
4.4 Jehovah's Wit (fundamentalist)
4.3 Seventh Day Adventist (fundamentalist)
1.42 Mormon LDS (fundamentalist)
0.57 Catholic (growth due to immigration, not fundamentalist)
0.52 Assmb of God (fundamentalist)
0.42 Southern Baptist (fundamentalist)
0.38 Church of God (fundamentalist)
Now, the top shrinking churches:
-1 Methodist UMC (modern, not fundamentalist)
-1.08 Lutheran LCMS (modern, not fundamentalist)
-1.5 Am Bapt. (I’m not sure about this one, if they are fundamentalist or not)
-1.96 Lutheran ELCA (modern, not fundamentalist)
-2.5 Episcopal (modern, not fundamentalist)
-2.6 Presbyterian (PCUSA) (modern, not fundamentalist)
-2.8 United Church of Christ UCC (modern, not fundamentalist)
And non-Christians are increasing rapidly, to around 30 million today from just 15 million or so in 1990.
Do not all those data fit the prediction?
Of course, whether or not you care is up to you.