Questions for atheists (part 3 of 7)
|May 20, 2011||Posted by Joseph Keysor under Short Essays|
31. The founding giants of modern science, including Kepler, Newton, Galileo, Copernicus, and many others believed in God. Their attitude was not “God made it, so let’s forget about science and devote ourselves to prayer and meditation,” but rather “God made it, now let’s see how it works.” Does this mean that allegations of a fundamental conflict between theism and religion are totally false, as are many other atheist arguments?
32. Might someone who believes “God created the human eye” study its workings just as effectively, or in some cases even more effectively, than someone who says “The eye evolved over time through natural selection?”
33. If once in the history of the world someone walked on water, or healed a man blind from birth, this would not interfere with any principles of engineering or medical science, and the world would continue outwardly at least to go on as it now does – so how and why are such events threats to modern secularism? Is it because of fear of the unknown?
34. It is generally considered morally justifiable to kill in self defense. So, if religious belief imperils the human race as Sam Harris claims, is it morally justifiable to kill religious people for the good of humanity? Atheists persecuted and killed believers before, and are doing it now (in China), so this is not a rhetorical question.
35. Why is it that in past centuries when gunpowder has been easily available, there has never been one Christian suicide bombing?
36. If Christians practice violence against others (except as police or military agents of duly instituted governments given the duty of keeping the peace, as Paul teaches in Romans 13), this is a violation of the teachings of Christianity. If, however, an atheist commits violence, including killing or imprisoning large numbers of people for the good of humanity, which principles inherent in atheism, Darwinism, and materialism, does he violate?
37. Adolf Hitler argued in Mein Kampf that people were animals who emerged out of the survival of the fittest; that the ethic of “might makes right” was founded on this; and that higher civilized views of ethics are false and contrary to nature. Where, from a secular point of view, is the flaw in his logic?
38. Secular denials of atrocities, repression, famine, and murder in socialist states, and the willingness to deny or rationalize evils committed for the future good of mankind – haven’t these been much more harmful to humanity than believing there is a God to whom we will be held accountable for all of our actions? Isn’t defending the evils of Stalin, Lenin, Mao, or Castro much worse than seeing an image of the Virgin Mary on a piece of burnt toast?
39. Sidney and Beatrice Webb wrote this about Lenin in their book Soviet Communism: A New Civilisation? (1940): “Lenin insisted, as the basis of all his teaching, on a resolute denial of there being any known manifestation of the supernatural. He steadfastly insisted that the universe known to mankind (including mind equally with matter) was the sphere of science; and that this steadily advancing knowledge, the result of human experience of the universe, was the only useful instrument and the only valid guide of human action. . . . When the Bolsheviks came into power in 1917, they made this defiant and dogmatic atheism the basis of their action” (Peter Hitchens, The Rage Against God, p. 171).
Lenin also wrote before 1917, “We demand the complete separation of church and state in order to combat religious fog with purely ideological and only ideological weapons, with our press, with our words” [Dmitri Volkogonov, Lenin: A New Biography (New York/London 1994), p. 373]. Yet, when he came to power he immediately began a vicious campaign of persecution to destroy the church.
So, a few related questions are:
a. Are atheists who try to distance themselves from Bolshevism being honest?
b. Before he came to power, Lenin spoke of opposing religion by argument only. After he came to power, it was a different story. Are current atheists being similarly disingenuous? Would they really like to persecute Christians if they had the power to do so? Are protests of peaceful intent only the sort of camouflage and deception that animals routinely employ in nature when they are stalking their prey? And don’t atheists see themselves as animals?
c. Is responding to such concerns with ridicule merely a clever evasive tactic?
d. It is morally justifiable to kill hundreds of thousands of chickens to prevent the spread of bird flu. Is it morally justifiable to kill hundreds of thousands of human animals, especially dangerous religious one, for the future good of mankind? If not, why not?
40. In the Soviet Union, a decree forbidding religious education and secularizing all schools was issued in 1917. A second decree banned the teaching of religion to children in churches, church buildings, and even in private homes (Hitchens, p. 173). Do today’s aggressive atheists approve of this measure, and hope to see such measures implemented in America at some time in the hopefully not too distant future? If they answer “No,” is this a truthful answer?
41. Christopher Hitchens wants to write the word “God” with a small “g.” Decree Number 176 issued by the Bolshevik government in 1917 required, along with other spelling reforms, that the word “God” should not be written in capital letters. Given Hitchens’ admiration for Trotsky, and his statement “One of Lenin’s great achievements, in my opinion, is to create a secular Russia,” (Hitchens, pp. 193, 194), is it reasonable to infer that the spiritual (yes, spiritual), emotional, psychological, intellectual and philosophical links between Hitchens’ ideas and Lenin’s atrocities (and Trotsky’s, and Stalin’s, and Mao’s) are much stronger than he himself is aware? Or maybe he is aware of them. Should we consider the possibility that the new anti-theism “is a dogmatic tyranny in the making” (Hitchens, p. 206)?