Has Religion or Godlessness Killed More People?
by Ron F. Hale
Geraldo Rivera got away with “spin” in the No Spin Zone of Bill O’Reilly.[i]
They were discussing the media firestorm that President Obama created by his “crusades and inquisition” remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast. Most listeners knew these words were coming just days and hours away from the barbaric act of ISIS burning to death a Jordanian pilot in a metal cage and the president’s private meeting with a group of Muslim leaders at the White House.
Geraldo sets up his talking points by insinuating that more people have been killed in the name of religion than any other reason. Does history bear this out Mr. O’Reilly; did you catch the spin?
One of my favorite books is written by Michael Guillen and is entitled Can A Smart Person Believe in God? Dr. Guillen is a theoretical physicist, former Harvard professor, and once served as an ABC News Science Correspondent. At one point in his book, he answers the old cynical complaint that “the world would be better off without religion” and “look at all the violence and killing done in God’s name!” Dr. Guillen points to a nine-hundred-page book by Stephane Courtois (and other writers) entitled The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression – it details the horrible violence that Marxism, Stalinism, Communism–and other “godless” political regimes of the twentieth century. By conservative estimates, from 1917 to 1991, atheist governments massacred close to 100 million people. The worst offenders are:
1. China: 65 million people killed
2. USSR: 20 million people killed
3. North Korea and Cambodia: 2 million people killed
Guillen’s main point is that these governments have killed in the name of their “godless” political philosophies and atheism was a fundamental part of their creeds. Add up all the atrocities committed by Marx, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao, Lenin and their disciples — and you will quickly dispel the notion that they are smarter and govern more compassionately than “we” individuals who truly believe in a God who someday will hold all mankind morally accountable for their beliefs and behaviors.
Nevertheless, terrible things have been done in the name of God and religion. Investigate these horrible deeds and you will find that when any religion becomes a “state religion” – appalling things have happened. For this reason, early Baptists in America were persecuted in challenging the “state church” rule in each colony or state. Baptists did not wish to be “tolerated” they wanted to live with full “religious liberty” -– to worship, to ordain their own clergy, to baptize their own converts (while refusing the baptism of their babies), to evangelize in the marketplace of ideas, and pay their tithes to the local church, not the state-run church.
The last thing any good Baptist wants is a state-run religion—Christian or otherwise!
The “religious rub” happening in America today is that a theo-polictical state-sponsored religion is the only paradigm that most new Muslim immigrants have ever known. We fear this is what they will strive for through an ongoing community, city, state, and federal encroachment of Sharia laws passed in the name of accommodation. What fuels our fear is a sympathetic administration that is so frightened of being tagged “Islamophobic” they might pressure federal judges to speedily pass new laws that transform America into a safe haven for Al Qaeda, the Taliban, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas, and Boko Haram.
Have no fear, for we will not be killed in the name of Islam, but in the name of “work place violence!”
[i] The show aired on February 6, 2015 (Friday) at 7pm CST.