A good number of atheists, with their noses in the air, still maintain that religion is evil – the shirt of Nessus sort of – and many wars have been prosecuted in the name of religion. Is this true? Can we accept this wooden nickel?
To some extent, people have used religion to commit evil. When narrowed down to Christianity, can one individual Christian butcher and then claim he/she was acting at the behest of Jesus Christ of Nazareth? Should we judge a philosophy by its abuse?
Do academic studies agree with atheistic assertions?
Figures don’t lie
In 2013, the New York and Sidney based Institute for Economics and Peace looked at all of the wars of the same year and found no ‘general causal relationship’ between religion and conflict.
In fact countries with highest levels of atheism, which are mostly communists or former communists, like Russia and the Czech Republic were not necessarily the most peaceful; these countries still harbour chaps that are nutty as a fruitcake. The Hermit Kingdom of North Korea, which has the least number of people practising religion was among the last ten countries’ least peaceful’ in the world.
Professor John Wolffe of the Open University (one of the biggest Universities in the United Kingdom) had this to say, “Even if you go back to the so-called ‘wars of religion’ of the 16th and 17th century [following the Protestant Reformation in Western and Northern Europe], religion is an essential factor, but if you dig beneath the surface, issues like dynastic influence, power, and economics are a factor………..I suppose a statement I might agree with is that religion is implicated in most of the worst wars, but to say religion is responsible is a distortion of the evidence.”
This revelation is not as plain as a pikestaff to an average atheist.
Those who want to commit evil for political, economic and social reasons will likely hide under cover of religion.
What did the psycho Nikko Jenkins say when he was cornered for spree killing in the US? To please an ancient Egyptian serpent god, Apophis, who had instructed him to kill!
Academic research shows that less than 3% of all democides pre – 20th Century were related to religion (Statistics of Democides). In the 20th Century, most murders were committed in USSR and China by regimes allied to atheism.
Indeed Charles Phillips and Alan Axelrod’s three-volume Encyclopedia of Wars (2004) sets out the unadulterated facts. In 5 millennia worth of wars—1,763 total—simply 123 (or approximately 7%) were religious.
Nazism and fascism nevermore held themselves out as Christian enterprises. Hitler loathed Christianity. He viewed Christianity as “meek” and “flabby” and endeavoured to destroy it “root and branch”. He lamented why Germany was “stuck” with “feeble-minded” Christianity and fancied other “strong-arm” systems.
Anyone interested in knowing the truth will dig deeper into history books. And history will show you that people have committed most evils with atheistic inclinations than religious ones. Does this mean atheists are evil? NOPE! In fact, some atheists put Christians to shame in matters of probity.
Does this absolve Christians from the blame for committing evil? NOPE! But it at least demonstrates that atheists are factually wrong when they assert that religion has caused most evil.
Indeed, some of the most iconic advocates for peace are, or were, deeply religious: Martin Luther King Jr, Mahatma Gandhi and Bishop Desmond Tutu.
When atheists say that religion is evil, can’t we notice the fallacy of composition in this thinking? Such an assertion could also point to an extraordinary level of cluelessness in those who declare it.
Aren’t atheists cherry-picking? Even if they were factual and logical, that religion has caused much suffering than anything else, does that then mean religion is bad or evil? Does correlation imply causation? This is a sixty-four thousand dollar question. In essence, atheists assail rise like a rocket when unexamined, yet fall like a stick when subjected to scrutiny.
When our atheist friends’ cage is rattled, they ordinarily resort to using an abundance of indignities as cover for the poverty of insight. This is not the full quid.