Does Religion Poison Everything?
In 2007, the late Christopher Hitchens came out with a book that set forth his reasons for not thinking much of the God of the Bible, or of the Bible itself. The title of the book: God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. Hitchens, like so many today, erroneously concludes that all religions are basically the same—all bad, producing violence and bigoted followers.
Right after the terrible tragedy of September 11, 2001, many blamed religion. Some even said, “Religion did this!”—referring to the carnage that occurred at the World Trade Center. But we have to ask, “Which religion did this?” Is the religion that drove fanatics to attack America on 9/11 really the same as the religion taught by Jesus of Nazareth and revealed in the Bible?”
Christianity has inspired men and women to produce great works of science, art, and literature. Schools and hospitals have been built by Christian groups. The Bible has underscored human dignity—we were all made in the image of God. The family and Christian home have a special place in the heart of God, according to Scripture. Education, government by the people, free enterprise, and the work ethic can all be traced back to the Bible.
The Bible, and biblical thought, have strongly influenced various groups from Western philosophers to political activists. The teachings of Jesus, such as the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25–37), His blessing of the little children (Mark 10:13–16), and His attention given to the blind and poor (Mark 10:46–52) provide the basis for showing compassion and mercy.
Many evils are overlooked when it is commonly considered that certain men and women have no right to exist as free people. Much can be said about Christian leaders such as William Wilberforce and John Wesley who work worked tirelessly in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to abolish slavery. James 3:9 reminds us of the importance of using the tongue in the right way. It is with the tongue that we bless God, and with the tongue “curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God,” or “in the image of God.” In the words of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truth to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights. …”
If religion is so bad how do you explain the evil, brutality, and violence being perpetrated by atheistic governments? Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and Kim Jung Un are all professed atheists, but their governments have produced, and still produce, some of the worst human rights abuses that have ever been seen.
Pastor Wang Squares Off With Chairman Mao Tse-tung
In the Shandong province of China, in December of 1950, Pastor Wang Deyun was visited by officials who demanded the use of his church building for a communist conference a few days before Christmas. Pastor Wang agreed on two conditions: that no political portraits or flags be displayed, and that no smoking would be permitted on the premises. As soon as the conference, started both requests had been ignored. A portrait of Chairman Mao Tse-Tung was hung at the front of the sanctuary with flags one either side of it, while many of the guests were smoking.
Pastor Wang was a gentle soul who did not like confrontation, but he did what he had to do. He called his family and asked them to concentrate in prayer for him. He then walked down the center aisle of the church, removed the portrait of Mao as well as the flags, and walked out. The atheist government brutalized him and his family (Hattaway, Shandong: The Revival Province, pp. 174–175).
President Xi Jinping is doing the same thing today, pulling down crosses, steeples, bulldozing church buildings, and arresting pastors. He is a vicious atheist who is trying to stamp out Christianity. China is also trying to stamp out everything else that doesn’t sing the party line.
According to a report in World (8/17/19) by June Cheng, Dai Ying is a middle-aged Chinese woman, who has fake front teeth. She lost her real ones when guards at a Chinese prison forced her to end a hunger strike by ramming a screwdriver between her clenched teeth. Her fingers are also deformed. What happened? The atheist guards forced her and other prisoners to make leather shoes each day from 7:30 a.m. to midnight. She is also blind in her left eye, a result of guards repeatedly shocking her with an electric prod. What had this woman done that brought her such punishment? She refused to recant her belief in Falun Gong, a banned “spiritual” movement in China based on Buddhism and qigong exercises.
China has a long history of intellectual, scientific and artistic achievement. But Mao and his atheist cronies have given a great civilization a bad name. The atheistic Chinese government strenuously denies that they have been making money by the forced harvesting of organs from prisoners of conscience, but more and more information is coming in that proves they are lying.
An Endorsement of Christianity By an Atheist
Prominent atheist Richard Dawkins gave a wonderful testimony to Christianity. Dawkins, who wrote The God Delusion, admitted that, “There are no Christians, as far as I know, blowing up buildings. I am not aware of any Christian suicide bombers. I am not aware of any major Christian denomination that believes the penalty for apostasy is death.” In a 2010 interview with The Times of London, Dawkins even went on to admit, “I have mixed feelings about the decline of Christianity, insofar as Christianity might be a bulwark against something worse.”
Friedrich Nietzsche is a good example of what happens when the “bulwark” is torn down. Nietzsche saw Christianity as a moral weakness which leads people to believe in equality. He had no place in his thinking for the “foolish idea” that men and women should be regarded as equals. He was quite insistent that the first step in the advancement of society is the destruction of the “physically and mentally handicapped.” His writings are replete with the death of God, the importance of moral relativism, Aryan racism, and the coming Ubermensch, Hitler’s “Superman” who regarded Jews as “vermin” (Johnston, Unimaginable: What Our World Would Be like Without Christianity, pp. 88–91).
Yuri Gagarin (1934–1968), the first human to journey into outer space, was quoted by Nikita Khrushchev who was making an anti-God speech. “Gagarin flew into space, but he didn’t see any god there,” Khrushchev approvingly said. Whether or not Gagarin had actually made that statement has been questioned. But the statement illustrates the impossibility of disproving the existence of God. No human being can prove a universal negative. Though atheists claim to be scientifically oriented and claim that empirical evidence is on their side, atheism is an act of human arrogance, an insane leap of faith into a dark void.
Transformation on Pitcairn Island
A group of islands located 4,000 miles east of New Zealand form the only British overseas territory in the Pacific. There are actually four islands—Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie, and Oeno—scattered across several hundred miles of ocean and have a combined land area of about 18 square miles. Only Pitcairn is inhabited, having a total population of 50. The islanders are a biracial ethnic group descended mostly from nine mutineers from the H.M.S. Bounty and the Tahitians who accompanied them. The famous book, and movie, Mutiny on the Bounty, is based on the true story of the cruelty of Captain Bligh. Fletcher Christian led a group of mutineers to take over the ship and set it adrift.
Although the island was a veritable paradise, these men and women—all fallen humans tainted with human depravity, turned the island into a living hell. The colony became infamous for drunken orgies, mayhem, and sin. The individual who tried to bring some semblance of order to the island was Alexander Smith, who later changed his name to John Adams.
One of the things that the mutineers salvaged from the H.M.S. Bounty was a Bible, now found in a museum in New York City. Smith began to read the Bible. He wrote: “When I came to the Life of Jesus, my heart began to open like doors swingin’ apart. Once I was sure God was a living and merciful Father to them that repent, it seemed to me I could feel His very presence, sir, and I grew more sure every day of his guiding hand.”
In 1808, when the British navy discovered Pitcairn Island, they were so astonished at the faith of Smith and all the inhabitants of the island that they forbore to prosecute him for mutiny. The name Pitcairn then became a byword for piety in the nineteenth century (D. James Kennedy, What If the Bible Had Never Been Written?,” p. 31).
What would America be like without the Bible? What it is slowly becoming in these days of moral confusion. We don’t like what we see. Mass shootings, attacks on the police, social unrest are all signs of a society adrift. Apart from a revival of momentous proportions, our country will continue to unravel.