What Are The New Atheists Saying?
There are many people today who believe that the world would be a better place without religion. If there was no religion, there would be no wars (so they say). Tolerance, love, peace, and joy would fill the earth if it were not plagued with religions which have been the cause for so much evil, fighting, hatred, and intolerance. We all remember John Lennon singing for peace and singing the lyrics “Imagine no religion.”
The infamous New Atheists began writing books which stated that religion was evil and it needed to be abolished to see progress in humanity. Richard Dawkins wrote “The God Delusion.” Sam Harris wrote “The End of Faith.” Christopher Hitchens wrote “God Is Not Great.” Unfortunately, these books have their flawed logic and reasoning which I do not have time to go into in this post. That being said, I would like to look at the assumption they are making about religion being evil.
The Problems with this Assumption:
Firstly, the fundamental issue with saying that “religion is a source for evil in our world” is in the very language itself. There is such thing as individual religions; however, there is no such thing as universal “religion” that can all be heaped together into one. The different religions do not all teach the same thing and, therefore, need to be assessed individually with what they teach. I am a Christian and I will look at Christianity’s claims later in this post.
Secondly, asking the question “Is Religion Evil?” is not the same as asking “Is Religion True?” I have already shown in a different post that not all religions can be true. Whether you find religion to be evil or inconvenient to you is not as relevant as asking if it is objectively true. Truth is not dependent on having negative feelings towards something (as the New Atheists do towards religion). Simply calling religion evil does not make Atheism true.
What about Religious Wars?
The New Atheists tend to argue that religion has been the main cause of most wars in human history. But is this true?
Charles Phillips and Alan Axelrod compiled together a three volume work called “The Encyclopedia of Wars.” The authors cover 1763 of wars that have happened in human history. Of those 1763, only 123 (6.98%) were religious in nature. If we deduct the 66 of those committed in the name of Islam from that 123 (6.98%), we are left with a mere 3.23% of all wars committed in the name of religion outside of Islam. Certainly this is nowhere near the majority of wars in human history.
It is true that the Crusades did happen (in defense against the rise of Islam). It is true that the Thirty Years’ War happened in Europe. It is true that Islam was behind the destruction of the World Trade Center in 2001. It is true that the Catholics & Protestants have been at unrest in Ireland for a number of years as well; however, this is more of a political than a religious battle.
Did these religious wars amount to more bloodshed than some of the Atheist regimes though?
What about Secular Wars?
Are things really more peaceful when religion is out of the picture? Does secularism/Atheism really lead to less wars and more peace? Let’s look at a few Atheist regimes in human history and how many people were killed under their dictatorship:
Joseph Stalin = 42,672,000 people killed
Mao Zedong = 37,828,000 people killed
Chiang Kai-shek = 10,214,000 people killed
Vladimir Lenin = 4,017,000 people killed
Hideki Tojo = 3,990,000 people killed
Pol Pot = 2,397,000 people killed
Probably the most famous and well-known among people today is that of Adolf Hitler. His regime had 20,946,000 people killed which is less than that of Stalin & Zedong; however, he is still more widely talked about as one of the most cruel Atheists in history. It has been publicized that one of the motivating factors for Adolf Hitler was Charles Darwin’s “Origin of the Species” which talks about evolution and survival of the fittest. Only the strong survive. According to Hitler, the German people were the “fittest” and the Jewish people were the “least fit” and he was only speeding up the evolutionary process by demolishing the Jewish race.
It is historically proven that Atheist regimes have caused more deaths, destruction, war, and innocent lives killed than that of any religion.
Does Christianity Teach Evil?
Men like Richard Dawkins would hope you would be oblivious enough to think that Christians today believe that those who do not obey the Sabbath should be executed and so should disobedient children. However, no rational Christian believes this to be so.
Christianity teaches that the law and second greatest commandment is to love your neighbour as yourself (Matthew 19:19; Matthew 22:37-39; Mark 12:31; Luke 10:27; Romans 13:9; Galatians 5:14; James 2:8). Christianity takes it a step further than just loving your neighbour, but also loving your enemy (Matthew 5:43-48). How many Atheist dictatorships would teach that?
Christianity teaches that God is love (1 John 4:8) & He gave His life for sinners (John 3:16; Romans 5:8). It also teaches not to murder (Exodus 20:13; Deuteronomy 5:17; Matthew 5:21; Matthew 19:18; Mark 10:19; Luke 18:20; Romans 13:9; James 2:11).
Therefore, anyone who goes against what the Bible teaches is not simply following what Christianity itself is teaching; rather, they are being disobedient to the teaching itself and are not truly representing Christianity. If one kills in the name of Christianity, he is not obeying Christ by doing so. Sadly, this is not the case for all major world religions.
Historically speaking, religion is not the main cause for the majority of wars in human history. Also historically speaking, there have been more killings in the name of Atheism than that of “religion” as a whole. Christianity has been the cause of far less killings than that of Islam & Atheism. So what is the main cause of the majority of wars in human history?
The human heart is desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). No one is naturally good and righteous people (Psalm 14:1-3; Psalm 53:1-3; Romans 3:10-12). On the contrary, we are born sinners by nature (Psalm 51:5; Psalm 58:3; Ephesians 2:3). Our actions are a result of what’s in our hearts (Mark 7:21-23).
It is impossible to put all religions together into one universal category and state that all war is the direct result of religion. The world would not be better off without religion because many Atheist regimes tried that & caused more innocent bloodshed.
War comes from within the human heart & we need Jesus to overcome that heart.
– Tyson Bradley