Friday, May 08, 2009

Book Excerpt: The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Bible by Robert J. Hutchinson


Book excerpt:

Religion the greatest danger to world peace? Think again

Contrary to what anti-religious zealots such as [Sam] Harris assert, throughout history far more lives have been snuffed out by faith-hating fanatics than by religious believers.

Historical demographers estimate that, in the 350 years between 1478 and 1834, the Spanish Inquisition was responsible for the execution of between 2,000 (Encyclopedia Britannica) and 32,000 people (Paul Johnson, A History of the Jews, 1987.)

That works out to about ninety-seven people a year- a ghastly number, to be sure, but a far cry from the "millions" routinely cited by secular fundamentalists.

As for the "witch hunts," another example Harris and others give as irrational religious fanaticism, the British historian Norman Davies estimates 50,000 people, primarily women, were executed as witches over a four-hundred year period-an average of about 125 a year.

Yet as horrible as these examples of religious intolerance may be, they pale in comparison with the single-minded, bloodthirsty, satanic fury unleashed upon the innocent by secular fundamentalists-those militantly atheistic regimes that sought to expunge religious belief and "bourgeois" morality represented intolerable obstacles to social progress.

According to research conducted by the political scientist Rudolph Rummel at the University of Hawaii, the officially atheist states of the Communist bloc committed more acts of genocide than any societies in governments in the twentieth century-communist, socialist, fascist-equals about 170 million.

  • USSR: 61 million people murdered 1917-1987
  • Communist China: 35,2 million people murdered 1949-present
  • Mao's army: 3.4 million people murdered 1923-1949
  • Nazi Germany: 20 million people murdered 1932-1945
  • Communist Poland: 1.6 million people murdered 1945-1948
  • Communist Cambodia: 2 million people murdered 1975-1979
  • Communist Vietnam: 1.6 million people murdered 1945-1975
  • Communist Yugoslavia: 1 million people murdered 1944-1987
  • Anti-Christian Mexican Revolution: 1.4 million people murdered 1900-1920
  • Turkey:1.8 million people murdered 1900-1918
  • Pakistan: 1.5 million people murdered 1958-1987
  • Japan: 5.9 million people murdered 1936-1945
...Rummel's conclusion is as shocking as it is inescapable: War wasn't the most deadly evil to afflict humanity in the twentieth century. Government was! And not just any government, but atheist government.

As a result, ordinary people-whether religious or not-might be forgiven their general skepticism when today's secular fundamentalists talk about the "intolerance" and "violence" of biblical religion or the people who believe in it.

In terms of raw numbers-which is the only kind of evidence that rationalists such as Harris claim to accept-the evidence is incontrovertible: Freed of any moral restraint, believing that the ends justify the means, scoffing at the notion that they will ever answer to a power higher than themselves, the murderous dictators of atheistic regimes feel little hesitation in committing mass murder if they believe it will advance their more "rational," more "scientific" social aims.

Note from Truthbomb:

I realize that the above information does not automatically mean that atheism is false. Nor do we believe (or mean to imply) that all atheists are bad people. We know some that are very nice.

The purpose of this book excerpt was to challenge the often proclaimed statement that "religion has caused more death and wars than anything else," or an objection like it.

Added: Our friend the Wintery Knight has blogged on this topic as well. Check it out here and here.

Thanks WK!

16 comments:

Marcus McElhaney said...

This is great! I heard a recording of Walter Martin talking about him using this information once when he was debating atheist Madelyn O'Hair when she tried to uses this argument that more people have died in wars and persecutions by theists than by atheists. This excerpt has great information.

Chad said...

Hello Marcus,

Welcome! I agree that the book excerpt contains some valuable information.

I heard a radio debate between those two and it was difficult to listen to. Poor Dr. Martin couldn't get a word in at some points!

Godspeed

Jake said...

Looking at the millions of people being killed in the Communist countries, reminds me that we need to be praying for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are on the mission field spreading his Word. Very Good article!!
Jake

Chad said...

Hello Jake,

Great to see you on the blog again! You have been missed!

You are so right- we all need to remember to pray for our brothers and sisters on the mission field. Amen.

Godspeed

Robert said...

Unfortunately, Hutchinson has failed to do due diligence, since his own source, Dr. Rummel, completely contradicts Hutchinson's assertion:

Q: Is atheism the principal factor in democide, such as that committed by the “Big Three,” Stalin, Mao, and Hitler?

A: No. I find that religion or its lack – atheism – have hardly anything to do in general with wide-scale democide. The most important factor is totalitarian power. Whether a church, atheists, or agnostics have that power is incidental – it is having the power that is a condition of democide. Incidentally, some ideologies, such as communism, function psychologically and sociologically as though a religion. The only distinction is whether the subject is a god or a man, such as Marx, Lenin, Hirohito, Hitler, Mohammed, Kim Ill sung, Mao, etc.
Who is Hutchinson? Is he an authority on communism?

I have examined this common Christian canard and debunked it, debating even Dinesh D'Souza and David Aikman (the latter actually has some expertise in the subject). You can read our exchanges on my blog.

Chad said...

Robert,

Thank you for stopping by the blog and taking the time to comment.

I appreciate the resource provided and will certainly check it out.

Thank you

Chad said...

Hello Robert,

Your comments have already been addressed on the Wintery Knight’s blog, where you seemingly cut and pasted the same comment as here.

See here:

http://winteryknight.wordpress.com/2009/05/12/how-to-dialog-with-an-atheist-without-losing-your-temper/

Please see ECM and Wintery Knight’s comments.

Robert, I appreciate you providing the resource and I am considering responding to it in detail in the future.

Take care

Robert said...

Actually, Wintery Knight did not address my comments, since his objections had already been answered in my main article. When I pointed this out, as well as other clear errors, he deleted my response.

Chad said...

Hello Robert,

Thank you for the reply and the info. In regards to WK not publishing your reply, you will have to address him about that.

As for myself, I did read your essay last evening and, as I said in my prior comment, I am considering responding to it in detail in the future. I really do appreciate you sharing it.

A few general thoughts regarding Hutchinson and Rummel:

1.Rummel’s numbers are the point here. Hutchinson’s conclusions are admittedly different.

2.Regarding Hutchinson’s credentials, I have found in the past that the credential game to be most times pointless. For example, Sam Harris certainly feels justified in speaking about the atrocities that are the subject of this post and your essay, however, is he an authority on communism? I would submit that he is not. Do you dismiss Harris’s statements as you seemingly dismiss Hutchinson’s statements due to his “lack of authority?” My point is simply this: it’s best to focus on the arguments themselves; otherwise, you get arguments such as 1. Richard Dawkins makes historical assertions in the God Delusion 2. RD is not a historian. 3. Richard Dawkins can’t make any truthful assertions about history. I submit that he can and that his arguments should be engaged.

Surely I understand the importance of scholarship and knowing one’s topic; however, I also understand that one does not need a degree to make a truthful statement about something.

Finally, I’m sure that you are aware that Christopher Hitchens recently debated William Lane Craig (who isn't!). I think it’s important, for our purposes here, to highlight something that was brought forth in the debate.

Craig was asked the following question by moderator Hugh Hewitt the following:

“What do you make of the evil acts of atheistic regimes such as the Soviet Union?”

Craig answered:

“I don't think that you can asses the truth of a worldview by arguing about it's social impact. That doesn't determine truth.”

I agree with Craig.

Robert, I appreciate the respectful nature of your comments and I assure you that I will look into the claims in your essay and respond if I feel so inclined.

However, you should know ahead of time, I am not an authority on communism. :-)

Respectfully

Robert said...

Chad wrote,

Thank you for the reply and the info. In regards to WK not publishing your reply, you will have to address him about that.He continues to delete my responses. Apparently, he cannot tolerate appearing to lose a debate.

1.Rummel’s numbers are the point here. Hutchinson’s conclusions are admittedly different. The numbers are inseperable from Rummel's views about what or who caused them. What if I believed that "evil alien forces" were actually behind Nazism and Communism. Would I be justified in using Rummel's numbers to support my contention that "evil alien forces" caused the dead millions? Clearly not, particularly if Rummel explicitly repudiated the claim that "evil alien forces" were ultimately responsible for the deaths.

Hutchinson misrepresents Rummel's views when he writes, "Rummel's conclusion is as shocking as it is inescapable: War wasn't the most deadly evil to afflict humanity in the twentieth century. Government was! And not just any government, but atheist government." This is not Rummel's "conclusion" at all.


Regarding Hutchinson’s credentials, I have found in the past that the credential game to be most times pointless.Your point is taken; however, it remains a fallacious appeal to authority when Christians quote Hutchinson's historical claims, just as any skeptic would be in error citing Dawkins's or Harris's historical claims. What if Hutchinson had wrote, "Life from non-life is impossible". Would you still feel comfortable reproducing this quote on your blog?

Craig answered:

“I don't think that you can asses the truth of a worldview by arguing about it's social impact. That doesn't determine truth.”
I would have responded that atheism is not a worldview, while communism is :)

Robert, I appreciate the respectful nature of your comments and I assure you that I will look into the claims in your essay and respond if I feel so inclined. Great! I invite challenges to my views; this is the way I learn. And rest assured, unless your post is nothing but invective, it will definitely appear on my blog. I hope we can expect the same here too.

Chad said...

Hello again Robert,

I don’t want to spend to much time “haggling over the details” here, so I will be brief in this wrap-up.

Regarding Hutchinson statement about Rummel’s conclusions- when I read this book I took that to refer to Rummel’s numbers; meaning, that Rummel’s numerous were the “conclusions” that Hutchinson was referring to.

However, enlight of Rummel’s statements that you provided, I could see how it could be viewed as misleading.

I would suggest visiting Hutchinson's blog and discussing the statements with the man himself. He has the very information you are referring to here:

http://roberthutchinson.com/atheism/atheist-crusaders-misrepresent-both-history-and-science-in-their-denunciations-of-the-bible/

Further, it’s important to remember that this was a book excerpt, not the totality of an argument. More is provided in the text itself.

Regarding credentials, I believe we mostly agree here. I found the book excerpt to be thought-provoking, plain and simple.

I don’t believe that I claimed Hutchinson to be "an authority" on any topic.

Take care

Anonymous said...

You forgot this one.

USA: 49 million people murdered from 1973-2009

Chad said...

Anonymous One,

Where does this number come from and why would I include it in this book excerpt?

Thank you

B.Marshall said...

It appears that the USA deaths inserted by "anonymous" are those that come from legalized abortion.

Keep in mind that we cannot attribute abortion alone to the person who otherwise wouldn't have gotten one without state/legal facilitation. The source of the legalization is the ideological influence one must ascribe.

Having done that, we see that a floodgate of godlessness first effects man and then downstream of that man labels it as atheism, religion or even the suspected root of governmental power. The problem is not power per se. It really isn't the power but the dark heart of man, unregenerate man, within that power.

The reason Jesus was executed was due to His comments against a religion that was errant by reason of Godlessness. Differentiating between one’s proclamation of Godliness and a presence of Godlessness is our craft, "rightly dividing soul and spirit".

Ben Marshall said...

You might include this at the bottom, with my last post if you can...just saw it.


Godlessness in time, Aniversary today:

* 2009, the Obama administration's FDA said 17-year-old girls could get
"morning after" birth control without a prescription

Chad said...

B. Marshall,

You wrote: "but the dark heart of man, unregenerate man, within that power."

You are correct; this is the heart of the matter and only Jesus offers a remedy!

Godspeed