I came across an article on the Internet asking why church attendance these days has dropped off dramatically. Among the comment contributers were several people who stated that ‘religion’ is the source and cause of war and unrest in the world and being atheists themselves set arguments against it, without proof I might add. I made a few comments to the contrary myself as I was reminded of an article I once read on the web site listed below. I have to admit that my eyes were opened when I first saw the article for I knew from history many conflicts brought about through religious fervour but the facts speak for themselves and although some wars have been started in the name of one religion or another, they are indeed in the minority. Take a look …….
Below is an extract taken from a site compiled and produced by Rich Deam called Evidence for God. http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/atrocities.html All credit acknowledged and directed to the author.
|TABLE 3.1 Selected Pre-20th Century Democide and Totals1|
|China||221 B.C.-19 C.||33,519,0004||No|
|Mongols||14 C-15 C||29,927,000||No|
|Slavery of Africans||1451-1870||17,267,000||No|
|Amer-Indians||16 C-19 C||13,778,000||No|
|Thirty Years War||1618-1648||5,750,000||No|
|In India||13 C-1 9 C||4,511,0005||No|
|In Iran||5 C-19 C||2,000,0004,5||No|
|Ottoman Empire||12 C-19 C||2,000,0005||No|
|In Japan||1570-19 C||1,500,0005||No|
|In Russia||10 C-19 C||1,007,0005||No|
|Spanish Inquisition||16 C-18 C||350,000||Yes|
|Witch Hunts||15 C-17 C||100,000||Yes|
|Total For All Cases||pre-20 C||133,147,000||2,650,000|
|Hypothetical Total||30 C B.C.-19 C A.D.||625,716,0007|
|International war-related dead||30 C B.C.-19 C A.D.||40,457,0008|
|Plague dead (Black Death)||541 A.D.-1912||102,070,0009|
What percentage of these killings were due to religious democide? It is less than 3% of the totals. The surprising thing is that these killings occurred during a period of time when virtually all the peoples of the world were involved in some sort of religion. Here is the data for the 20th century:
|TABLE 1.2 20th Century Democide1|
|China (Mao Soviets)3||1923-49||3,466,000||Yes|
|Turkey (Armenian Genocide)||1909-18||1,883,000||No|
Vox Day, in The Irrational Atheist, lists 22 atheistic regimes that committed 153,368,610 murders in the 20th century alone:
What percentage of this democide was due to religious conflict? It turns out that religious democide doesn’t even make the top 20 (although I am sure there is some in the “lesser murderers” category. Still, the total religious killings is less than 2%. In fact, the top two killers were specifically atheistic states (which had never existed before in human history). Should atheism be blamed for more than 50% of the atrocities committed during the 20th century? The answer of course is No! If one examines the nature of the regimes that committed these atrocities (even the religious ones), the key factor is absolute power (see Figure 1, right). According to Professor R.J. Rummel, in the 1816-2005 period there were 205 wars between non-democracies, 166 wars between non-democracies and democracies, and 0 wars between democracies. Lord Acton’s warning that “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” seems to be more than just a trite saying.
What about Christians who commit evil?
Jesus Himself addressed the issue of “Christians,” performing evil deeds in a rather chilling prophecy:
“Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'” (Matthew 7:22-23)
One should note that Jesus said that “many” people who think they are His followers will be rejected by Jesus when at the judgment when they attempt to claim that they are His disciples. Not all who claim the name of Jesus are actually His disciples. My guess is that in even the best of Christian churches only about half of the people have been truly born again (see John chapter 3).1 Christianity should be judged on the basis of what Jesus said and did, not on the basis of the actions of people who merely claim to be Christians. Foxe’s Book of Martyrs details the deaths of Christians who were killed because of their faith in Christ, in many cases by people claiming to be Christians.
So you see it isn’t all about religion is it? Man is born into sin. It is in his nature. Jesus Christ said ..’no-one is good, not even one’
- democide (lechouchouduprofesseurdelacommunication.wordpress.com)
- Democide = Extermination of 5.5 Billion Written in Stone ! (2012patriot.wordpress.com)