Some liberal Quakers attack institutional Christianity for its violence.
The Christian Church has a history of using violence: the Crusades, the Inquisition and the Thirty Year's War come to mind as just a few examples.
But is Christianity more violent than other religions?
After the attack of 9/11, the dalai lama was asked if Islam were inherently a violent religion. He responded that all religions are inherently violent.
I don't always --or often--agree with the dalai lama, but in this case I believe he was right. All religions are inherently violent. Why? Because people are inherently violent.
I have met elements in Quakerism who tell a story that goes somewhat as follows: Buddhists are pure and peace loving but Christians are blood thirsty and violent. Native American spirituality is pure and womanist and earth loving, while Christianity is full of rape and pillage.
As for Buddhism, we need to look no further than Sri Lanka to find prominent Buddhist monks mired in violence. In Japan, Buddhist monks have been discredited since World War II for getting into bed with a fanatical, pro-War government. People rightly questioned why a religion ostensibly dedicated to non-violence supported a reactionary political party that led the country into an extremely bloody war.
Muslims have perpetrated many acts of violence. Hindus hardly have a clean record either: For starters, Pakistan was created to give Muslims a safe haven from the Hindus who were slaughtering them. Native Americans also perpetrated their share of violence-- Woolman, for example, was not naive enough to think he was necessarily heading into a warm, womanist, eco-friendly embrace when he visited Indian territory. More on his mind were stories of Native Americans pulling out their enemies' intestines and using them to tie them to trees until they died. More up to the minute, a recent Salon article reviews a book about a Midwestern Indian civilization that practiced large scale human sacrifice. (Of course, I don't forget that all major religions have perpetrated great acts of compassion, love and mercy.)
So why do Christians get particularly villifiied for violence? Part of it is mindset: We live in a predominately Christian culture so we look more closely at its failings. Also, Christianity is still the largest world religion,even though it is losing ground to Islam. A glance at adherents.com shows 33 percent of the world's population to be Christian, 21 percent Muslim, 16 percent no religion, 14 percent Hindu and six percent Buddhist. If Christians have, in fact, been more violent, could it be because there have been more of them? Is it possible that for all the deplorable acts, Christians have even been proportionally less violent? (For example, the very bloody 20th century was led in violence by non-Christian regimes such as Stalin's.) Or at least can we agree that Christians have been, proportionally, no more violent than any other group?