No, Atheists, Religions Are Not Equal
Religions do not always act as forces for good, but some are clearly evil.
If you thought witchcraft went out with the Middle Ages, look at this headline on Phys.org: “Bringing the shocking issue of witchcraft under the UN spotlight.”
Witchcraft-related beliefs and practices have resulted in serious violations of human rights including beatings, banishment, cutting of body parts, and amputation of limbs, torture and murder.
There are thousands of cases of people accused of witchcraft each year globally, often with fatal consequences, and others are mutilated and killed for witchcraft-related rituals.
Atheists sometimes treat “religion” as some catch-all category where “people of faith” are equally misguided, stupid, or harmful. But even the most egregious cases of Judeo-Christian atrocities don’t sink to the level of “trade in albino body parts” resulting from torture and killing of albino humans as conferring magical powers. And Christians (in name only) who have done evil don’t follow the teachings of Jesus, who called for loving one’s neighbor to the point of enduring evil rather than retaliating. Followers of witchcraft, though, are doing exactly what their religion commands them to do.
Now a team, led by Lancaster University, have enabled the shocking issue, which includes ritual killings, to come under the microscope for the first time at international level.
A UN Witchcraft and Human Rights Expert Workshop will take place at UN headquarters in Geneva on September 21 and 22 with a multi-agency approach.
Why aren’t certain atheistic or Darwinistic behaviors treated like religions? Consider the case of Eugenics. This was a veritable “religion” to its adherents before the Nazis turned it into a dirty word. Ricki Lewis examines the dark side of Eugenics for a PLoS Blog entry. And she draws a clear connection to evolutionism:
Whenever I work on a new edition of my human genetics textbook and reach the section on eugenics, at the end of an evolution chapter, I’m relieved that it’s history. But this summer, as I wrapped up the 12th edition, the eugenics coverage took on a frightening new reality.
Today’s resurging white nationalism/supremacy echoes the century-old idea that a self-appointed group that perceives itself as superior can “improve” a human population through selective breeding or actions taken against individuals judged to be inferior. Theodore Lothrop Stoddard, identified in Wikipedia as an historian but also a eugenicist and Klansman, laid out his ideas in the 1920 book “The Threat Against White World Supremacy: The Rising Tide of Color.”
Unlike some in the mainstream media, who try to link white supremacy to conservatives or Christians, Lewis rightly shows it to rise out of evolutionism. In her brief history of eugenics, though, she fails to mention that its founder was a nephew of Charles Darwin:
Sir Francis Galton coined the term “eugenics,” meaning “good in birth,” in 1883, defining it as “the science of improvement of the human race germplasm through better breeding.” In 1930, Sir Ronald Aylmer Fisher, another pale Brit, embellished Galton’s ideas by suggesting that governments reward high-income families when they have children, to encourage the passing on of the prized germplasm.
By failing to establish the Darwin connection, and by ignoring the worst atrocities of eugenics, Ricki Lewis’s treatment of the subject is weak. To get the whole ugly history of eugenics, see Jerry Bergman’s books How Darwinism Corrodes Morality and The Darwin Effect, and John West’s book, Darwin Day in America.
We must not let Darwinists forget their dirty hands in the eugenics movement. If the likes of Richard Dawkins want to impugn the God of the Bible, let them examine the horrific effects of their idol, Charlie Darwin. Misguided Christians have done evil things, but usually because they were not students of the Scriptures. This is true of medieval Catholicism that actually discouraged study of the Bible, and had become so political and corrupt, even insiders knew it needed a Reformation. The body count from atheist regimes, though, stands mountains over that from religious “holy wars.” We’re talking hundreds of millions of casualties from communism and Nazism in the 20th century alone! Jerry Bergman documents unbelievable atrocities committed by regimes that swallowed Darwin’s lies about superior races and survival of the fittest.
What about eastern religions? Buddhism advocates separation from passion, leading to apathy about those who suffer; it has also made the Buddha into an idol. Hinduism and other polytheistic religions encourage self-torture (lancing one’s tongue, spearing one’s flesh and carrying weights on the spears) and irrational, unhealthy behaviors like bathing in the filthy Ganges. It led to suttee and the caste system. Muslims engage in slavery, abuse women, and use the sword to force conversion. Islam is not so much a religion as a political and legal regime following (again) the teachings of one man, a torturer, murderer, conqueror and child abuser. Confucianism is not really a religion, but a set of teachings by one man who didn’t know everything and didn’t try to understand the natural world.
Christians have brought help to the suffering, and sought to end the evil practices of other religions. Protestant churches were the first responders to the hurricanes in Texas and Florida. Christian missionaries and charities, like Samaritan’s Purse, send food to Haiti and the Sudan. Christians also take great interest in seeking to understand the workings of God’s creation—a passion that led to modern science (see our series on the world’s greatest creation scientists). Finally, Jews and Christians have preached against the evils of false religions for thousands of years. The contrast between God and the idols of the Canaanites is stark. Idol worshipers burned their children in the fire to their gods, and engaged in sexual orgies as “worship”. The Bible consistently condemned such evils in the strongest terms. Remember that Jesus provided a way to distinguish true from false religion: “You will know them by their fruits.” Only Christianity could draw the contrast that James makes in his letter:
Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. (James 3:13-18)
Atheists must not be allowed to lump the good and the evil under one label, “religion.” For one thing, atheism is a religion if religion is defined as a worldview that seeks to understand the Big Questions of Life (where did we come from; what is the meaning or purpose of life; what is good, true and beautiful). Darwinism certainly qualifies as a religion with that definition. For another thing, lumping supposed “people of faith” together overlooks differences which are much, much greater than the similarities. Finally, let’s dispense with the meaningless phrase, “people of faith.” Everybody is a person of faith. Substitute our phrase for those with simplistic, unexamined beliefs: people of fluff. We have an additional term for angry Darwinists: people of froth.