A Salon article about the evils of religion – the usual sophomoric yammering, but this passage caught my eye:
…The Second World War is no better, perhaps in respects far worse, although more complex. Two thousand years of anti-Semitism by the Catholic Church and four hundred years by Protestants had to have an effect and be a causal factor in the persecution and killing of the Jews…
And yet, for all that 2,000 years of Catholicism and 400 years of Protestantism, no one had quite got around to lining up the Jews and massacring them until none were left. I hate to break it to you, atheists, but the only sort of person who could build an Auschwitz is someone alienated from God. You see, while Hitler was, indeed, baptized a Catholic, the best historical analysis of his life indicates that he probably stopped going to Mass shortly after he was confirmed at the age of 15 – and that he only did the confirmation to please his mother. Hitler turned 15 in 1904. He started oppressing Jews 29 years later – that is a bit of water under the bridge. During that 29 year period, Hitler became convinced of a lot of very stupid things, all of which were in direct contravention of Christian dogma. To some how say that the Christian dogma he rejected was the foundation for his un-Christian beliefs and actions is absurd.
The reason progressives, atheists and the like are often on about how Christian anti-Semitism was the precursor to the Final Solution is because they dare not face the truth: Hitler was a product of the Enlightenment. The whole concept of tearing down religious dogma and setting in its place an appeal to science and the complete autonomy of the individual in determining morality is the bedrock of modern thought. But what if the science being appealed to is nonsense? And what if the autonomous individual decides that something horrific is morally licit? Where does the progressive atheist turn to for redress? No where. He’s rejected the only thing which can keep things on an even keel: religious Authority.
I can hear atheists getting mad – Hitler believed nonsense such as Social Darwinism and in eugenics. Yeah? So, what? When Hitler was developing, those ideas were Settled Science. They were rejected by the Church, but no progressive back then paid any mind to what the Church had to say. In fact, in my view, the only reason things like eugenics have gone by the wayside is because of Hitler – when he tore the lid off and showed what can be done by a man who rejects all religious authority, the result was so clearly bad that people had to change their tune, at least to some extent. Here in the 21st century we are getting back on the eugenics bandwagon with some advanced thinkers holding that we should kill “defective” children after they are born.
To get away from Hitler on this – Lenin and Stalin were also people who rejected religious dogma and were determined to act upon science. Seriously, folks: when Lenin and Stalin were butchering people in great, big, bloody batches they were convinced that rock-solid, indisputable science demanded it. And plenty of people agreed with them – and I’m not talking just about communists, I’m talking about supposedly wise and kind progressives in the rest of the world. To be sure, such people weren’t writing articles saying that poor peasants should be sent to slave labor camps to be worked to death – but they were writing articles saying that poor peasants were backwards and needed to be brought into the modern world. Can’t just leave them alone – and don’t appeal to some worn out, religious dogma about the sanctity of human life. We’re building a new society here, folks! Sure, its sad that some have to suffer – but think of the benefits future generations will reap! Talk like that was common on the left while Stalin was murdering 2 to 7 million people in Ukraine (for comparison – in the 300 odd years of the Inquisition, about 400 people were done in…Stalin murdered those Ukrainians in just a few years; some how or another, those who reject religious dogma seem capable of killing far more people, far more quickly, then even the wost religious bigot who ever lived).
Anti-religious folks are often on about how bad Christians are. I plead guilty. Here I am, a baptized Catholic who goes to Mass and confession on a regular basis and I’m often greedy, mean, dishonest and foolish. That’s me with the lid on – the lid of Catholic dogma. I can only shudder about how I’d be without it. And that’s the thing – Christian people aren’t perfect they are just, on average, better than they’d be without Christianity riding herd over them. Another thing our non-religious brothers like to say is that they are fine and decent people without religion. Well, you might not be as good as you think you are. You see, if I’m in good health and have sufficient wealth and no one is irritating me at the moment and I then say a kind word to someone, then I really haven’t exemplified moral excellence. In fact, I’ve done nothing of note, at all: there was nothing else I could possibly do in such circumstances. But if I’m ill and poor and I’m being very much irritated by my brother and I say something nasty – what, then? Well, a lot of people would excuse that in themselves. Trouble is, there’s still no excuse for it. My job, as a fellow human being, is to be kind to everyone – no matter how lousy they are – even when I’m in the very worst condition. Unless you are doing that, you really aren’t being all that swell a person. I’ve a long history of interacting atheists and progressive types who reject religious dogma: I have not found among such people a lot of love of fellow man. In fact, I often find a cross, bitter person who can’t put up with any opposition. This is not to say I’ve never found such a person who wasn’t nice – I’m just saying that I haven’t found that such people are paragons of virtue. Meanwhile, more times than I can count a Christian has done me a good turn simply because Christ commanded that it be done. You can take your chances on the atheist is having a good day, or you can work on the assumption that the Christian can be called to his duty. I take the latter as more likely.
My main point here is that without an absolute, indisputable standard of right and wrong, things will be messed up very badly. And an absolute standard requires belief in God. The crucial things must be either right or wrong because God says so – if you try to work it out any other way then no matter how well you construct your argument, it is as flimsy as straw in a hurricane. No one has to agree to it – and anyone is free to construct a different argument to justify whatever it is they want to do. I say we must not massacre people – and I say that because God has forbidden us to murder; that God uniquely created each of us for a purpose and it is not for us to decide when a person shall die. An atheist can say we must not massacre people – and another atheist can say, “why not?”, and the first atheist really has nothing to say. The second atheist can get his Science out (with charts, graphs, computer models and a consensus that 90% of scientists agree) and say that human beings are destroying the earth and we need two billion less people in order to have a sustainable environment and so two billion people have to die so the other five billion can live. What’s the argument against it? There is none – except to say that killing two billion people is wrong and must not be allowed; but that is an appeal to supernatural morality.
Errors there will be. People will get things wrong. For instance, many of our Muslim brothers are getting things wrong. ISIS is especially getting it wrong – but only a Christian, Jew or a Muslim who has got it right can really oppose what they are doing. What is the atheist argument against ISIS? That because ISIS does it in the name of religion that they have got it wrong? Suppose ISIS started saying they were chopping off people’s heads in order to reduce population pressure on the environment in the Middle East? Once again, only an appeal to God’s law allows us to firmly and without equivocation say that ISIS is wrong and must be stopped – and as we see, those most convinced of the existence of God and His laws are most firm in desiring ISIS be destroyed. Our more progressive, non-believing people are less convinced that there’s anything to be done – more likely to find excuses for their actions rather than craft plans to get them to stop.
Our progressives and atheists will keep working for the day when religion is no more. They will lawsuit and regulate and insult in the hopes that on one, fine morning in the future no one wakes up and says a prayer for the day. The trouble is, if they ever get to that happy event, they’ll find that some people have come up with rather interesting ideas, and they’ll have no defense against them.