Clearing the name of Christ
Published: 3 February 2006 (GMT+10)
Feedback response to T.B., UK
Lets take a look at the first paragraph.“Those attacking Christianity sometimes point to the many religious wars and atrocities perpetrated in the name of Christ and the Church. They forget that not everyone self-labeled Christian truly follows Christ.”
Whether they followed him or not, they called themselves christians, (as did Adolf Hitler).
He called himself many things, depending on his audience; an Australian Humanist of the Year, Ian Plimer, has also called himself a ‘practising Christian’. More to the point is that his contemporary, evolutionist Sir Arthur Keith, said Hitler was totally trying to apply evolution to Germany (see quote). And the Nuremberg prosecutors Jackson and Donovan documented the fanatical anti-Christianity of the Nazis. Or would you believe Churchill’s opinion, from his address after Chamberlain’s ill-fated attempt at appeasement at Munich, 1938 (emphasis added):
‘… there can never be friendship between the British democracy and the Nazi power, that power which spurns Christian ethics, which cheers its onward course by a barbarous paganism , which derives strength and perverted pleasure from persecution, and uses, as we have seen with pitiless brutality, the threat of murderous force. That power cannot be the trusted friend of the British democracy …’
If we are entitled to say of them “well they weren’t really christians because they weren’t following Christ’s teachings”, …
Correct—being inconsistent with their stated worldview/belief. And as shown, this was the opinion of leading contemporary evolutionists, the Nuremberg prosecutors and the great Churchill.
… then that also allows us to say of “evolutionists” like Hitler and Stalin that they were not really “evolutionists”, because the theory of evolution says nothing about permitting mass-murder.
No it doesn’t, because the parallel you draw is not a parallel, as a little thought will show. To be one, you could have said ‘weren’t consistent in their application of evolutionary thinking’. But in fact there is nothing inconsistent with evolutionary thinking in what they did. There is nothing in such a worldview which says that it is wrong to mass murder. That is why Dawkins has to say that he is a passionate anti-Darwinian when it comes to morality.
You can’t have it both ways, Mr Wieland.
And what are we to make of the fact that millions of combatants, on both sides, must have believed in God and in evolution?
Now you’re talking about combatants, whereas I was talking about mass murder of civilian populations. But if you’re trying to highlight the inconsistency of being a Christian who believes in evolution, I’m with you (see Some questions for theistic evolutionists and Is evolution ‘anti-religion’? It depends.). “Belief in God” is of course a fuzzy concept which is often not remotely related to the God of the Bible.
“Also, that many times more people have been killed this century, most by their own governments, than in all religious conflicts, ever”
This probably has more to do with the fact that the populations are larger and the weapons better than anything else. You can kill many more people with a nuclear bomb than you can with a spear.
First, spears have not been the weapons of choice in religious conflicts for a very long time. Second, the victims at Auschwitz etc. were not killed with nuclear blasts, but laboriously, deliberately. Brought to the spot, undressed, gassed horribly, room-by-room before being cremated a body or so at a time. Pol Pot’s assassins in Cambodia were instructed not to waste bullets, so beat their victims to death with iron pars and hoes or buried them alive. Stalin murdered millions of Ukrainians with famine. The picture you paint is off the wall in that regard.
The scope for mass murder with industries geared toward the production of Weapons of mass destruction gives you far greater scope for killing people. Nothing to do with “atheism”. Belief in God has never stopped anyone killing anyone. George W Bush claims to be a christian. That doesn’t appear to have stopped him from destroying the lives of thousands of Iraqis.
We were talking about mass murder, deliberate killing of people by their own government, not inadvertent killing in a war (and the Bible allows for just war, e.g. to remove a murderous despot, although [CMI] can take no official position on the Iraq war).
To highlight this does not necessarily condone or absolve any other actions of a different calibre. It’s as if you’re changing the subject, in a sense. But while on that, surely you would not see the killing of German combatant soldiers in WW2 by Allied troops at the behest of their government (and vice versa) as being in the same category as the ovens of Auschwitz, or the killing fields of Pol Pot?
I thought one of the teachings of christianity was that we are “all sinners” but God forgives us? Or does murder not count?
It’s true that we are all sinners, but if you think that God just waves His hand and forgives everyone whether they seek Him or not, whether they repent and accept Christ or not, then I can recommend reading the New Testament to see what Christianity really teaches.
Moving on to paragraph 2, Mr Wieland says, “Nazism openly proclaimed its dependence on Darwin. It was right and moral for the strongest race to survive; to have pity for the weak was to defy natures laws.” Perhaps Mr Wieland could point out where Darwin said this?
How about Darwin versus Compassion? [Update: See also Darwin and eugenics Darwin was indeed a ‘Social Darwinist’] In any case, I did not say Darwin said the quote above. Rather, the implications of Darwinistic belief do not depend on whether Darwin said something or not. But the onus of proof is on the critic to show how Nazi reliance on Darwinian thought was inappropriate, inconsistent or wrong in and of itself (Good luck—it can’t be done). By the way, a fascinating new book, From Darwin to Hitler , by Richard Weikart <www.csustan.edu/History/Faculty/Weikart/index.html> and studiously researched, shows the straight line that can be drawn from one to the other. Dr Weikart is professor of modern European history at California State University, Stanislaus, and lived in Germany over five years, including one year on a Fulbright Fellowship. He showed that a long line of Darwinists in Germany had attacked the Judeo-Christian ethic of sanctity of life and replaced it with moral relativism (so popular among liberals today), except for the ‘absolute’ of the primacy of evolutionary fitness. And these thinkers had long advocated applying Darwinian evolution to humanity, with the horrifying results of eugenics (first proposed by Darwin’s cousin Francis Galton), euthanasia, infanticide, abortion and racial extermination. See a review of From Darwin to Hitler, The Darwinian roots of the Nazi tree.
Now I am the first to admit that it does not have any bearing on whether Darwinism is true or not. But since it is not true, it is all the more tragic that the propagation of this false science has also had such tragic consequences.
Perhaps also given the fact that [CMI’s] own “creation model” relies heavily on Darwin’s theory of natural selection and speciation, as you are always at great pains to point out, we should wonder why “dependence on Darwin” is ok for CMI, although of course when mentioned in this context it was suddenly the CREATIONIST Edward Blyth who thought of it, not Darwin at all. So where we can blame mass murder on natural selection, Darwin thought of it. But where we want to take credit for natural selection, it was Edward Blyth. How disingenuous can you get?
I greatly appreciate the chance to highlight the difference. In a creationist (biblical) worldview, natural selection is the consequence of the Fall and does not abrogate the fact that God is Creator and Lawgiver, and that there is an ‘ought’, a moral law that has nothing to do with whether things in nature die out, struggle, etc. But in a Darwinian view, there is no ‘ought’, because there is no Creator in any personal sense who can be a Lawgiver. Natural selection and the blind forces of nature, rather than being simply the way the world post-Fall operates, become the “Blind Watchmaker”—these cruel, impersonal forces are not just operative, but they become the Creator.
This means that there is no basis for any moral absolute, no basis in philosophy for saying that something is right or wrong. As the Nazis argued at Nuremburg, ‘might is right’ is a logical conclusion to draw from nature, and who is to say (given an evolutionary view) that their actions were wrong? The only answer that could be given was to argue for a ‘higher’ law—which of course implies a Lawgiver, hence undermining Darwinian materialism. See Darwin’s real message: have you missed it?
Of course, Mr Wieland to give him credit appears to be aware of the vacuousness of his arguments, for in the footnote he says:“About 130 million (not including the hundreds of millions killed by abortion) were slaughtered this century in the name of atheism, whereas all those killed in the name of Christ in all of recorded history was at most around 17 million.”
If anything, this was a great overstatement. E.g. modern historical research on the Inquisition <www.tektonics.org/qt/spaninq.html> points to about 2,000 killed in three centuries. Stalin killed that many before breakfast. The historian Henry Kamen wrote (The Spanish Inquisition, A historical revision, p. 203, 1999):
“It would seem that during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries fewer than three people a year were executed in the whole of the Spanish monarchy from Sicily to Peru, certainly a lower rate than in any provincial court of justice in Spain or anywhere else in Europe.”
Even if we granted that anyone at all was killed (or even “slaughtered”—note how Wieland selects a more emotive word when speaking of the “victims of atheism”) in the name of “atheism”, which I must call a highly questionable assertion, then the logic of Wieland’s argument is just this—a relative body count. Your beliefs killed more people than mine.
No, what most people would perceive I am saying is that ‘people holding to your beliefs, by acting consistently with them, caused the deaths of vastly more people than did those who were acting in the name of my belief but acting inconsistently with it’—which is not a pacifist argument, by the way.
And that really is the best that can be done with this line of argument.
Hardly. But it is a very important set of points to make in the face of those who highlight past atrocities in the name of Christ while ignoring the far, far greater atrocities committed by overtly atheistic regimes.
Dr Carl Wieland
Managing Director, Creation Ministries International (Australia)