Christianity’s selective understanding of human rights was not a blessing but a curse for the world, writes HS’s foreign editor Ville Similä.
Economist Sixten Korkman are Finland’s most respected economic experts. Korkman wrote HS on Monday In his guest pen of the heritage of Christianity, which he estimated to be enormous.
Jesus of Nazareth heritage is hard to overestimate. Jesus’ teaching was radical and still is. It is truly an incomprehensible miracle that Christianity managed to rise from the bottom to become the world’s largest religion, as Korkman writes.
It doesn’t occur to me to argue against Korkman that Protestant Christianity laid the foundation for Northern European capitalism.
Corkman goes on wider tracks. He reflects – appropriately cautiously – that Christianity reduced brutality when, for example, crucifixion lost its popularity as a means of torture. (It should be noted that Christian torturers have shown endless creativity in other ways.)
Of course, Korkman acknowledges that the legacy of Christianity is contradictory. He does not fail to mention the millions of victims of crusades, burnings and religious wars.
Having said all this, Korkman comes to a strange conclusion – that Christianity has nevertheless “implanted human rights in the Western world”.
“Christianity adopted the idea of human dignity in the form that every person – except pagans – is equally valuable in the eyes of God, whether he is a slave or an emperor,” he writes.
Here Korkman stumbles on a wedge phrase and falls headlong into Christian exceptionalism.
Human rights the concept was born in its current form only in 1948, after the Christian Western Europeans had murdered millions of Jews and each other.
Thought human rights that only belong to us are not the idea of human rights. It is tribalism, tribalism.
Therefore, “except for the Gentiles” is not a minor cosmetic flaw. Jews, Muslims, “witches” and indigenous peoples on every continent have experienced what it means to be in the “excepted” category.
The Christian wars of faith also return to this. Even those where the sects of Christianity killed each other – after all, the other half were heretics.
Corkman mentions the French Revolution and the American Declaration of Independence.
The United States shipped millions of people from Africa as slaves with the solid support of the churches. The slaves were converted to Christianity, but their human dignity did not rise. Of course, the monetary value increased, and many churchmen and congregations owned slaves. Not a single slave was helped by the fact that before God he was now equal to the emperor.
Slavery was America’s way of participating in colonialism, and Europe was no better. Extending Christianity to “heathens” was the basis for colonialism. The victims are counted in the hundreds of millions, or would be counted if the lives of the Gentiles were considered worth counting.
The human rights of white Christian Westerners were also extended to half of humanity – men. It wasn’t until after World War II that France recognized that women were equal enough to be allowed to vote.
No need just turn the pages of the history books. Let’s look at Ukraine. Christians there destroy other Christians.
Head of a hundred million Christians, Patriarch of Moscow Kirillfirmly supports Russia’s war of aggression and has stated that the Russian president Vladimir Putin is a gift from God.
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