Have there been other instances before or parallel to Christianity where war, revenge and conflict was repudiated or not seen as an ideal - and instead peace and love for the others (love for the neighbor) was one of the core ideals?

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    Do not think that I came to bring peace on Earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother... – Tyler Durden May 19 '14 at 3:20
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    I fear you are looking at Christianity with rose tinted spectacles. Yes it preaches peace, but also war. Much like most human philosophies. Deuteronomy 20:10-17 comes to mind: "However, in the cities of the nations the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. Completely destroy them—the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—as the Lord your God has commanded you." – Richard Tingle May 19 '14 at 8:18
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    @Clockwork-Muse Its the same god. Christianity has to be taken as a whole; the point is that under certain circumstances violence is encouraged. Perhaps those situations no longer exist by 0AD but that’s hardly the point. Not to mention that many current day Christians do very much draw inspiration from the old Testament – Richard Tingle May 19 '14 at 9:10
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    After a while the idea of peace wore thin, and the First Crusade was launched on 27 November 1095 by Pope Urban II. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Crusade – andy256 May 19 '14 at 10:40
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    @Odysseus I'm just trying to show that Christianity isn't universally peaceful, nothing more. Questioning an assumption of the question. I'm not trying to suggest Christianity is mostly violent just that it has violence in it; both in scripture and action – Richard Tingle May 20 '14 at 20:34

Buddhism predates Christianity and some believe some of the ideas of Buddhism traveled along the Silk Road and reached the Middle East. They may have influenced thought in that area in the years before the appearance of Christianity.

Buddhism, although some would argue it’s not a religion, does promote peaceful co-existence. The five precepts are:

To refrain from taking life (non-violence towards sentient life forms), or ahimsā;
To refrain from taking that which is not given (not committing theft);
To refrain from sensual (including sexual) misconduct;
To refrain from lying (speaking truth always);
To refrain from intoxicants which lead to loss of mindfulness (specifically, drugs and alcohol).

Wikipedia has an article on Buddhist influences on Christianity.

Without going into details, however, I believe there are arguments against the perception of Christianity as entirely peaceful and repudiating things like revenge (eternal punishment in Hell for starters).

  • Thanks, Buddhism yes that makes sense. I am not an expert but re "After all, Jesus does promise eternal hell and punishment for those that don't follow him." I'm not sure AFAIK that's just some of the more extremist denominations. I guess I meant the Early or Central Christianity. Any idea if the peaceful co-existence in Buddhism is promoted in an active sense or more in a spiritual/metaphysical sense? – BlackBookOfThe60s May 18 '14 at 22:37
  • @BlackBookOfThe60s Updated my answer! Hope it helps answer the question. – Juicy May 18 '14 at 22:59
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    @BlackBookOfThe60s. Belief in Hell is by no means a minority position in Christianity. – TRiG May 19 '14 at 9:18
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    @Clockwork-Muse Also, Christianity incorporates the Torah as the Old Testament. The God portrayed in the Torah does regularly call for violence, extermination of other peoples... – Juicy May 19 '14 at 12:21
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    The only pertinent part of that here is avihimsa and (a) it's virtue shared by every Indic religion, with Jains following it far more strictly, and (b) it is in no wise a serious commandment or precept of the religion. The monks are free to kill and atone in certain circumstances, the laity are free to kill whomever whenever, as most noticeably seen in the Imperial Japanese Army and among the Buddhist terrorists in Sri Lanka. – lly Jun 11 '18 at 4:50

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