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Ah, yes, but the Muslim and the Christian have very different views in this area.  How many "free" Muslim nations do you know of?  How about the freedom of women in these, are they seen as partners?
I am afraid that your statements above are inaccurate. (i) You are comparing apples with oranges. You must realise that a lot of the Middle East is living in what was our 17th century. In our 17th century, the Christians burned witches, executed heretics hung homosexuals and women were property. As we have already discussed, The West threw off the shackles of superstition, ignored the Churches and set about progressing to its present position. During all this time – 1700 years of Christianity, life was very much like what it is today in Fundamentalist Iran

the  Jesus promoted liberation, and greatly empowered those that the rest of society deemed as inferior, and I believe that difference in philosophy continues today.

This is the second inaccuracy. In Judea at the time of Christ, women were possessions. You will be aware of various verses by both Jesus, Paul and others which order woman’s place in society.

In Northern Europe, prior to Christianity, women were free and held positions in society much as they do today. After the arrival of Christianity, this all changed. They again became possessions. The could not own property, they could not vote, the professions barred them. This lasted until the late 1950s.

Why was this? It is because of the power of the Christian Church that still influenced governments.

This may indeed be true, as I am sure my idea and understanding freedom, while similar, probably looks different than yours.

I am quite aware of the differences but please: what meaning do you attach to “freedom”? What do you mean by “Freedom”

YOUin Western civilization, this is appealing to the "free" man or woman, that they can come to God, through Christ, regardless of status.

MEI assure you that the religions I mentioned also state the same thing.

We can say this, but, how does that work out in reality?  In India, do we see this?  In Iran?  In Syria?  How about Pakistan?  Afghanistan?  Iraq?  Egypt?  Does the rest of the world, dominated by other religions, enjoy such freedom...

Well, we can say it by quoting you: in Islamic civilization, this is appealing to the "free" man or woman, that they can come to God, through Mohammed, regardless of status.

including those governments built upon these religions?

As we have seen from the history of the West at a time when religion dominated Europe, the governments were just like those in present-day Islamic states.

What we therefore are witnessing is the damage that a strong religion does to society and mankind.

(my question = “what do you mean by “free”?) To some degree, as an American, I look at this through the lens of growing up in a society that has traditionally celebrated democracy, freedom of choice, of religion, etc.

All very interesting, but it has absolutely nothing at all to do with Christianity. Nothing. You will have read about the Christian institute of slavery? You will have read about racial segregation, you will have read about the McCarthy era. You will know about the attitudes that your fellow citizens have to Blacks and Hispanics. You will know how the richest country on earth still has a poor health care system compared with Europe.

These terrible injustices were all done in the name of Christianity – yes, even Jesus apparently hated the communists that McCarthy exposed (rather similar to a witch hunt.)

In contrast, my Brother, Saeed Abedini, is currently in Iran imprisoned for simply being a Christian and not renouncing his faith.  Is this freedom?

No. It is religion.

Does Islam really promote freedom and free society?

Does Christianity? Remember who said the following?   

Feminism encourages women to leave their husband, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians – Pat Robertson, Christian Coalition.

Atheistic, secular humanists should be removed from office and Christians should be elected; Government and True Christianity™ are inseparable – Robert Simonds Citizens for Excellence in Education.

When the Christian Majority take over this country there will be no satanic churches, no free distribution of pornography no more talk of rights for homosexuals – Gary Potter, Christians for Political Action

AIDS is a racial disease of Jews and Niggers, and fortunately it is wiping out the queers. I guess God hates queers for several reasons. J.B. Stoner

These people are Christians… and I have many more similar quotes I can give you. But this religious article will show you what an excess of Christianity does for you: http://www.wnd.com/2012/06/why-atheists-cant-be-real-americans/

Jesus preached a message of liberation yet responsibility.  Paul also carried this message.  My understanding of freedom has come out of slavery.  Even in my own life, the greatest freedom I've ever known has come from, as Paul, being a willing servant (slave) of Christ.  That would take much more time to get into, not sure if that is something you want to dive into, but it is probably very relevant to this discussion of why I believe Christianity has flourished around the world, not just in the West.

Christianity has flourished around the world. Why, in Christian Africa are hundreds of thousands starving. Does Jesus love Americans more than Africans? And Have you heard of “The Lord’s Resistance Army”?

This is very true.  Yet, we also see the greatest explosion of Christianity has also happened during this same stretch of time [Edit GB to add 18th century to the present day].

I am afraid this is simply wrong. Church attendance and religion in general has actually been falling since that time. In Europe, ~35% of the population describe themselves as Christian. Had you asked the question in 1780, the answer would have been 100%.

I must emphasise that the thing you call freedom has been granted to us because we left the church and disregarded its dogma.

Since the time the Church was scattered and fell under severe persecution, it has been a slow climb.  Then, suddenly, and explosion of freedom and the spread of Christianity started about the same time as our very own country was founded.
This is simply wrong. I do not know what else to say! I am afraid you have a very small understanding of history. “The Church” was never “persecuted”. One Church would persecute another, but that was just people fighting about which one of them God loved Best!

I don't like to confuse patriotism/freedom/etc. with Christianity.  I just find it interesting that the places where we find freedom, are places we largely find Christianity as the dominant religion.

Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan, Mali, Nigeria, Ghana? They have what you call “freedom”?

You must tell me what this “freedom is.”

I don't necessarily credit free societies as being inherently Christian, just the correlation between these principles and the teaching of Christ, Paul, Peter, etc.

Again, historically, you are wrong. All those principles were there in the American Natives who were slaughtered in their thousands by “Good God-Fearing American Settlers”

"Religion" may hold people back, of that we probably both hold similar perspectives.

Thank you – there may be help for you yet! : )

So, again, I will ask you to define your terms (Salvation, freedom, free) and accept that the citizen being able to release himself from the influence of the church was what lead to democracy as we see it.
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Bereft_of_Faith +Karma due: Thanks for your continued efforts March 05, 2013, 02:59:59 AM