Darwin’s impact—the bloodstained legacy of evolution
Poland was still behind the Iron Curtain then. It was the summer of 1972, and I was travelling to that country with student colleagues. Our tertiary course involved Marxism, and we wanted to see something of its implications in practice.
Entering East Germany en route, I felt a certain sense of excitement; I had not penetrated the ‘Berlin Wall’ before. ‘No-man’s Land’ and the ugly prison defences separating East and West Germany were chilling.
Even more chilling was the concentration camp of Auschwitz in southern Poland. I saw hair, spectacles and teeth piled high, and the gas chambers where thousands of victims were mercilessly destroyed. It was summer, but the birds did not sing. There was death in the air. A Polish boy who acted as our guide whispered, ‘My grandparents died in this camp. It is my duty to let people know what happened.’
Three years later, my wife and I went to visit an East German pen-friend, Dorothea, who was not allowed to visit us. Once again, we traversed ‘No-man’s Land’ and went beyond the Berlin Wall—this time feeling very vulnerable.
We have been many times since. On one occasion we asked our friend, ‘Do you ever see the situation changing?’ The answer was a short ‘No’, but her resigned look of despair spoke more eloquently.
I trust you can imagine, therefore, the tears and the joy that flowed in November 1989 when the Wall came down. The prison doors had broken open, and our friends were free!
Yet lingering beneath the surface was a question that would not go away. I had seen the horrific impact of Nazism on the life of a nation. I had then experienced the similarly grim effect of a different ideology—Communism. Why had such enormous evil been unleashed upon so many people?
A common denominator
In those years since my first visit to Poland, I sought to understand Marxism and Nazism, and what shaped the worldviews that had justified the horrific actions that I had witnessed. I discovered a common denominator.
Marxism, so I learnt, sought to be scientific. It was anchored in a social and economic theory that was believed to mirror the true history of life. Central to that theory was the struggle between the class that owned the means of production (the capitalist ‘bourgeoisie’) and the working class (the ‘proletariat’) that did not.
Evil, in the socialist worldview, is the oppression of the working class by the bourgeoisie. Having been enlightened by Marx regarding the ‘true history of life’, men and women could now take control of that history. They could accelerate ‘nature’ as it sped towards its goal of a world revolution that would banish such ‘evil’ and produce a socialist utopia.
Hitler, I discovered, shared a similar worldview, as outlined in his book Mein Kampf (literally ‘my struggle’). He believed that people, like animals and plants, were engaged in a constant struggle for survival. The climax of history would be the survival of the fittest race—which he believed to be the ‘Aryan race’, as embodied in the German people.
Hitler and Stalin both applied their ‘scientific’ logic with a ruthless, overwhelming determination. So did Mao Zedong in China, where countless millions also perished in the name of a utopian Marxist dream. And they not only convinced themselves, but millions of others—people just like you and me—that they were right to do so.
But where did these ideas come from? What was the ‘scientific’ basis for such evil?
A timeline of evolution-inspired terror1860: Karl Marx
The ‘spiritual father’ of the communist system, Marx was an avid adherent of Darwin. He combined his social and economic idea with evolutionary principles. Marx wrote that Darwin’s book ‘contains the basis in natural history for our views.’ His disciple Lenin applied utter ruthlessness and terror in Russia—the term ‘rivers of blood’ has commonly been applied in describing his reign.1918: Leon Trotsky
Fanatically committed to Darwinism and Marxism, communist leader Trotsky was brutal against the Christian church. He said that Darwin’s ideas ‘intoxicated’ him, and ‘Darwin stood for me like a mighty doorkeeper at the entrance to the temple of the universe.’ With no Creator’s laws to restrain him and the justification of evolution, he felt free to use any means to attain power and political ends.1930: Joseph Stalin
The world’s worst mass-murderer studied at Tiflis (Tbilisi) Georgia, theological college. A friend later said Stalin became an atheist after reading Darwin. He was expelled from the college at 19 because of his revolutionary connections. After understanding that evolution provided no basis for conscience or morals, he felt free to torture and murder to whatever extent he chose to achieve his communist goals.1940: Adolf Hitler
Formed his racial and social policies on the evolutionary ideas of survival of the fittest and the superiority of certain ‘favoured races’ (as in the subtitle of Darwin’s book). Hitler’s reign resulted in the murder of six million Jews as well as many blacks, gypsies, the retarded, and other groups deemed unfit to live. The evolutionary ‘science’ of eugenics provided him with justification for his decrees.1975: Pol Pot
The death in 1998 of Cambodia’s Pol Pot marked the end of one of the world’s worst mass murderers. From 1975 he led the Khmer Rouge to genocide against his own people in a bloodthirsty regime which was inspired by the communism of Stalin and China’s notorious Mao Zedong. Chairman Mao is known to have regarded Darwin and his disciple Huxley as his two favourite authors.
A way of seeing
Hitler’s understanding of the history of life, and that of Marx, Stalin and Mao, was not devised by a German, Russian or Chinese. It was shaped by an Englishman named Charles Darwin.
Darwin’s book, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, Or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life (1859), laid the groundwork for their worldviews. They each applied the principle of ‘survival of the fittest’ to their own situation.
For Marx and Stalin it was class struggle; for Hitler it was racial struggle. And because Darwinism undermined the authority of the Bible on origins, it meant that, logically, there was no accountability to God for the mass murder they used to implement their ideas. In fact, such tactics could be justified by Darwinism. Without an absolute standard of right and wrong, those in power are not accountable to any standard. So ‘might’ becomes ‘right’.
As Darwin’s evolutionary thinking became widely welcomed and absorbed by society, it not only convinced leaders like Marx and Hitler, but it became a ‘scientific’ framework justifying the public acceptance of their actions for the ‘benefit’ of all humanity.
Over the years, I have visited East Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary. I have become accustomed to seeing crude and faceless residential slab blocks encircling towns and cities.
Recently, I visited Romania as well. I was not surprised to see the same thing in her capital city, Bucharest—which was at one time called ‘Little Paris’.
The sheer scale of the destruction was a shock, not only around Bucharest, but at its very heart. I listened to a Romanian woman whose family home had disappeared to make way for the Grand Avenue that leads to the People’s Palace of (now-deposed) communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.
As I walked the length of this cultural wasteland, I found it difficult to articulate the depth of sadness I was feeling. I was seeing the impact of Darwin’s thinking, as interpreted through Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin and then Romanian leader Ceausescu, on the life of yet another nation.
They were wrong
On the Sunday of my visit I shared these thoughts with a group of Christians in Bucharest. As an Englishman, I could only stand before them and express immense regret for what one of my countrymen had released into an unsuspecting world.
Hitler was wrong. Stalin was wrong. Ceausescu was wrong. Darwin’s theory, upon which those tyrants based their actions, was wrong, too. The evidence was before my eyes; its radical effect on the lives of everyone I was speaking to. For them it was not just an interesting theory, but a frightening practice.
At the same time, however, I was also able to point them to someone who was right, not just in theory but also in practice. He understood the true history of the world and the true nature of life, because He created it (John 1:1–3).
That person is Jesus Christ, God in the flesh (John 8:58). He came to Earth to verify and fulfil statements that He had made in earlier times concerning the beginning of life. And He added to it with inspired insight into what is yet to come. And He validated all this by rising from the dead.
Not from chaos
On that Sunday, I referred to a passage from John’s Gospel, chapter 10, where Jesus said, ‘I tell you the truth … the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; but I have come so that they may have life, and have it to the full’ (John 10:1, 10).
That same Jesus is the Word (John 1:1) who has spoken into history from its very beginning. ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth … God created man in His own image … God saw all that He had made, and it was very good … Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array’ (Genesis 1:1, 27, 31, 2:1).
We do not come from chaos, ascending via ‘survival of the fittest’ to reach a utopia of our own making. We come from perfection, through failure into pain and death—which came into being when our first parents sought to exclude God; just as Darwin, and then Hitler, Stalin and Ceausescu had done these years since.
Each of these was wrong about the past; this is evident in the death and destruction their ideas wrought. But Jesus was right—as is equally evident in the good fruit of His own life.
They were also wrong about the future. The Utopian dream will not be fulfilled by man, but by God. History is heading towards ‘that day’—the promised new heavens and new earth, which follows the death of death and the destruction of the ‘old’ (2 Peter 3:10).
All those who love Jesus can look forward to the heavenly Marriage Feast of the Lamb of God (Rev. 19)—of which all marriages and all positive relationships are but a foretaste. Those new heavens and that new earth will be the home of the people who love Jesus, living together with Him for eternity in a relationship that is rich, full and perfect. And every tear—even those from Auschwitz and Bucharest—will be wiped away.
This was a good article. I look forward to your daily E-Mail as it is always informative and interesting. I would like to add a few relevant statistics. Atheist Rulers caused the death of both military and civilians during World War II. Both Hitler and Hirohito were Atheists. Total estimated deaths—60 million. Mao Zedong has killed an estimated 65 million of his own people. There is a 58 percent chance that an Atheistic leader will murder a noticeable percentage of the population over which he rules. I know that you don't publish other web addresses but good sites to visit regarding this subject can be found by Googling "atheism and mass murder" and "national ww2 museum world-wide deaths".
Tas Walker, I realise the article was not about slavery, but the hatred of Darwin by creationists needs to be balanced by the good that he had in him.
Hi Anthony, You are misreading creationists. They do not hate Darwin. If you saw the CMI documentary "Darwin: The Voyage that Shook the World" you would have seen a humane and personable treatment of Darwin. It is his ideas that we address, and these ideas have had and are having a devastating effect on the world, wherever they are embraced.
Your discovery of a common denominator was a correct one. If you would like to understand even more I, as someone who actually grew up under the communist system, would highly recommend you to read a couple of insightful books. “The Red Prussian” by Leopold Schwarzschild and “The Chief Culprit” by Viktor Suvorov. To the best of my knowledge neither of them are Christians.
This is indeed a powerful way of tracing the origin of such evil ideas as Nazism. As Dostoevsky pointed out, "If God is dead then everything is justifiable." The historical figures are truly testament to this.
I'd love the article to explore the Nazi method of knowledge for knowledge's sake. Is that from Darwinian thought too? This school of thought might have informed the experiments the likes of Mengele conducted on their hapless victims.
As always, superb piece of writing. Very eye opening too.
A remarkably stupid article, you are to be congratulated, this one really plumbs the depths. Blaming science for human abuses of knowledge is a cop-out.
Hi I.F., You could not have read the article very carefully because it does not blame "science" for human abuses. Did you see the word "worldview"? That is what the article is about. It is the godless worldview that leads to the atrocities that are described.
Darwin abhorred slavery unlike the deeply Christian Robert Fitzroy who believed in the practice. Read Chapter 5 of Darwin's Naturalist Voyage where they had a bust-up over their different views.
And what is your point? The article did not mention slavery. It was Christians that worked to abolish slavery (see article about Wilberforce).
Article succinctly expressed. Well done!
I read articles from creation.com daily.
Thank You & God Bless
In 1919 my grandmother moved to the U.S. from Poland. She was the one light in my life for 18 yrs. before I joined The Navy. I was close to her, and she told me what it was like during WW1 one day the Germans and the next day the Russians helping themselves to what was on the families farm.
My grandmother had left a very large family behind when she came here and all she left behind were at the mercy of both The Nazi's and sadly after the it was the Soviets. From letters she had received from family she told me in detail what they were going through at the hands of these people. I'm old now but my memory of her reading these letters is still fresh.
Today in the streets of an America she was proud of I see what is going on in the streets, in court rooms, capitals, and many cities. I could name many more institutions to this list. They believe and are doing the same thing today in this country that people like Mao, Stalin, Hitler,..etc did last century all the while they are accusing us Christians of being like these leaders. If she were alive today she would pack her bags and go back to Poland saying " what's the difference what I left behind 100 yrs. ago is now in this country", this country she loved very much.
I just pray that The Lord will soon bring this season of evil that has taken over this country to an end very soon with His return. I'm glad The Lord gave her the chance to hear The Gospel one last time before He took her. I was there when it happened and it was a beautiful thing to see, and hear her confess that she believed The Gospel Of Jesus Christ...Keep up the good work guys...