Friday, May 28, 2010

In Cambodia, millions were murdered with hammers, in Rwanda with machetes.

Selections: The World Is a Cruel Place -- and If America Weakens, It Will Get Crueler, Dennis Prager

One of the many beliefs -- i.e., non-empirically based doctrines -- of the post-Christian West has been that moral progress is the human norm, especially so with the demise of religion. In a secular world, the self-described enlightened thinking goes, superstition is replaced by reason, and reason leads to the moral good.

Of course, it turned out that the post-Christian West produced considerably more evil than the Christian world had. No mass cruelty in the name of Christianity approximated the vastness of the cruelty unleashed by secular doctrines and regimes in the post-Christian world. The argument against religion that more people have been killed in the name of religion than by any other doctrine is false propaganda on behalf of secularism and Leftism.

The amount of evil done by Christians -- against, for example, "heretics" and Jews -- in both the Western and Eastern branches of Christianity -- was extensive, as was the failure of most European Christians to see Nazism for the evil that it was. The good news is that Christian evils have been acknowledged and addressed by most Christian leaders and thinkers.

But there were never any Christian Auschwitzes -- i.e., systematic genocides of every man, woman and child of a particular race or religion. Nor were there Christian Gulags -- the shipping of millions of innocents to conditions so horrific that prolonged suffering leading to death was the almost -inevitable end.

The anti-religious Left offers two responses to these facts: The first is that modern technology made the Nazi and Communist murders of scores of millions possible; had the church been technologically able to do so, it would have made its own Auschwitz and Gulag. The second is that Nazism and Communism were religions and not secular doctrines.

The response to the first is that technology was not necessary for the Communist murders of over a hundred million innocent people in the Soviet Union, China, Cambodia and elsewhere. In Cambodia, millions were murdered with hammers, in Rwanda with machetes.

The response to the second is that Communism and Nazism were secular movements and to deny that is to tell a gargantuan lie. Even if one argues that Nazism and Communism were religions, they were nevertheless secular religions. That too many Christians morally failed when confronted with Nazism is true, but irrelevant to the fact that Nazism was in no way a Christian movement.


  1. "But there were never any Christian Auschwitzes -- i.e., systematic genocides of every man, woman and child of a particular race or religion."

    Really? I don't suppose the endorsement of systematic bondage and outright slaughter of natives on the American continent by rugged Christian conquistadors counts.

    Or the mass extermination and exile of millions of Jews and Muslims from Spain in 1492 under Queen Isabella's "Reconquista" in the name of Catholicism.

    What about the most typical answer - the Crusades? The most typical example of Christian hostility. The Arabs gave us no hostility, and even let Christians continue practicing our religion in the Holy Land. But Pope Urban II hated that Jerusalem be in Muslim hands (like it had been for thousands of years) and so we have a mass slaughter and war for hundreds of years.

    Then there were the wars of religion all over Europe for hundreds of years, annihilating millions of combatants the continent over.

    You can see where I'm going.

    First, I take offense by the implication that the irreligious and secular are somehow without morals and part of the Left. I am irreligious, and I would be the first to condemn any immoral action done by an individual or a state. Many of my libertarian friends are as well. Religion is not a prerequisite of being a nice, whole person.

    Secondly, as a student of history, I am more than a little disturbed at the glazing over with glossed eyes of the numerous atrocities (of which I named just a few) made in the eyes of religion. Specifically, I addressed the shortcomings of Christianity. Would you like me to start on the Islam nations - the nations that are run by virtual theocracy? They're pretty religious. You'll also note they have no sense of morality when it comes to child abuse, wife abuse, stoning in the streets, jihad, etc. How could a thoroughly religious part of the world be so immoral?

    The answer is obvious. Morality and religion are not hand in hand.

  2. Mattheus,

    Your ignorance makes your arrogant post amusing (and thus actually palatable). Only two things merit saying to your ridiculous post.

    1) As a "student of history", you obviously have deemed yourself of high intelligence. Bravo. Except you say things like Jerusalem "had been [in Muslim hands] for thousands of years. Let's do the most basic review of history... Islam began in the early 600's. The Crusades occurred in the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries. I'm going to go out on a logical (and entirely factual) limb and say that Jerusalem had not been in Muslim hands for thousands of years.

    2) Your ignorant portrayal of what religion really is negates your entire argument. Gross abuse of religion will always exist because man is inherently flawed, ego-centric and will always be capable of corruption. The "wars of religion" in Europe that killed "millions" had nothing to do with religion (as a student of history, you should know that, but then again, you've proven ignorance on multiple levels...). It was about the ruling elite (read: government) attempting to seize more control and power, and generally did not involve slaughter of civilians. As for today's theocratic regimes in "Islam [sic] nations", any basic understanding of the Qur'an demonstrates these are just another example of man's perversion of religion. You're vague and generalistic statement "They're pretty religious" demonstrates you possess no understanding of what a religion actually is.

    Yes, religion is often abused - then it is not religion.

    More people have died at the hand of governments than religion. That is the point of the post that you so clearly missed.