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Answering the charge of infidels against Christianity

JeffLogan's picture

There is a verse in the Bible which reads,

"These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me." John 16:1-3 (KJV)

The infidel claims that if not for Christian history we would not know the depths of depravity to which the human mind may descend. That Christian fellows, claiming to follow in the steps of their Lord, have exhausted the limits of human imagination dreaming up the worst atrocities to carry out on those who claim to be their brothers in Christ yet deny one or more tenets of a creed. That the lives of millions of men, women and children have been sacrificed to preserve a creed all in the name of a God who taught them to love their enemies and turn the other cheek. That in this life the church persecutes those who disagree with her doctrines and at death sends them on to her god to be tortured through-out eternity. A god whose appetite for revenge is implacable and whose love for torment insatiable.

My question is, in light of Christian history, its decretals, its current doctrines and attitudes, and the way in which we treat others who do not agree with us, how can we answer the charge of the Infidel? Have we fulfilled the command to love one another, or have we fulfilled John 16:1-3 in putting them out of our midst and even killing them. Of course, we are stayed by civil power today but the Infidel contends that had we the power we would today kill heretics as in times past. How can we justify our actions? How can we condemn radical Islam who is but following in our steps? How can we condemn Hitler's slaughter of Jews who are classed with Infidels?

I would like to hear your thoughts. I will share mine as well.

epement's picture

Replying to JQ Logan, who

Replying to JQ Logan, who wrote: Very good points, Eric. That is, points 1,4, and 5.

Thanks, and I appreciate the kind words. I assume that in quoting the "infidel", you are really referring or are perhaps strongly influenced by The Magnificent Infidel, Robert G. Ingersoll? You said:

I would need some citations for points 2 and 3, or, are these your opinions? Regarding point 2, are you referring to Nazi Germany?

For point 2, I had written:

  • Most mass murder in the past 100 years has not been caused by the religious beliefs of Christians, but by atheistic (Communist) governments
  • No, I did not mean Nazi Germany, I meant the Marxist communist governments of the (former) USSR, China, and Cambodia. Stalin is believed to have killed 35 to 45 million people. Chairman Mao Zedong is believed to have killed 50 to 60 million people during his "Cultural Revolution." The Cambodian government killed a mere 6 to 8 million, but it was about 33 to 35 percent of their own population, and so calculating by percentage, the Cambodians are responsible for the greatest acts of mass murder in history. Calculating by numbers (body count), it would have been Red China.

    The numbers would come from the early (1970s) editions of the Guinness Book of World Records. Get an old copy from the 1960s or 1970s and look up the record for "greatest mass murders." After the Guinness editors discovered they could get their books published and purchased in China and Russia in the 1980s and especially the 1990s, they removed the entries for Stalin and Mao, and the current entries for greatest mass murders have been edited to remove the murders produced by Communist governments.

    If you want an impartial source of statistics that is more recent than Guinness, look at the Encyclopedia of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity, Dinah L. Sheldon, editor. 3 vols. (Detroit: Thomson Gale, 2005). Check the entries for Mao and China, and Stalin and Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

    For point 3, I had written:

  • The infidel exaggerates the scope of the Christian contribution to pain, suffering, slavery, etc.
  • And to this you replied: Regarding point 3, we have the continued tension between the descendent's of Isaac and Ishmael, the continued tension between the Christian and the atheist, and the tension between good and evil, all of which might be seen as rooted in religion. Not a good argument but just trying to see the other side.

    First, "tension" is not the same as mass murder, genocide, torture, slavery, and the brutalization of millions of people.

    Second, remember that the Infidel's main point is that Christianity (the Christian religion) is the worst offender and the greatest purveyor of this suffering. Instead of trying to present a balanced and nuanced survey of the causes of suffering, torture, and mass extermination worldwide from all causes, the rhetoric you have been reading focuses largely on Christianity (and to a large extent, on the God of the Bible) as the main element responsible for this offense.

    Third, although skeptics and infidels may not like this response, we must remind them that true Christianity is not determined by external profession, but by an inward regeneration of the heart and mind. Hypocrisy is not one of the fruits of the Christian faith; it occurs when the Christian faith is not truly adopted or internalized. The Bible is clear that "no murderer has eternal life abiding in him" (1 John 3:15), and acts of murder, blood feuds, torture and revenge killing are not truly credited to the work of the Holy Spirit, but are due to fallen humanity not accepting the regeneration of the Holy Spirit by faith.

    I could say more, but I'll leave it at that.