"Religion is used to justify evil." (Claim #E869)
- Jesus commands Christians to love their enemies, 1 return good for evil, 2 and live quiet and peaceable lives. 3 Thus, true Christians will not be violent, lawless people. 4 Some religions promote evil, but not all, 5 and Christianity certainly does not.
- Atheism has also been used to justify much evil (e.g., the Soviets). 6
- Even suicide bombings are not primarily fuelled by religion but by politics. 7
- Almost any ideal can be abused, not just religions ones. For instance, the idea of “freedom” can be abused. 8
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McGrath, A. E., & McGrath, J. C. (2007). The Dawkins Delusion: Atheist Fundamentalism and the Denial of the Divine. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press.
- Matthew 5:44 ↩
- I Thessalonians 5:15 ↩
- I Timothy 2:1-4 ↩
- McGrath, 2007, p. 76: “Yet is [violence] a necessary feature of religion? Here, I must insist that we abandon the outmoded idea that all religions say more or less the same things. They clearly do not. I write as a Christian who holds that the face, will and character of God are fully disclosed in Jesus of Nazareth. And as Dawkins knows, Jesus of Nazareth did no violence to anyone. He was the object, not the agent, of violence.”
**Note** Jesus will come back again as a warrior and kill multitudes of unbelievers. The point of including this quote is that Jesus commands us not to avenge ourselves, and so Christians should not be violent; however, Jesus Christ is the righteous Judge and will punish evil. ↩
- McGrath, 2007, p. 94: Michael Shermer, president of the Skeptics Society: “However, for every one of these grand tragedies [in which religions were implicated] there are ten thousand acts of personal kindness and social good that go unreported … Religion, like all social institutions of such historical depth and cultural impact, cannot be reduced to an unambiguous good or evil.” ↩
- McGrath, 2007, p. 78: “In one of his more bizarre creedal statements as an atheist, Dawkins insists that there is “not the smallest evidence” that atheism systematically influences people to do bad things. It’s an astonishing, naive and somewhat sad statement. Dawkins is clearly an ivory-tower atheist, disconnected form the real and brutal world of the twentieth century. The facts are otherwise. In their efforts to enforce their atheist ideology, the Soviet authorities systematically destroyed and eliminated the vast majority of churches and priests during the period 1918-1941. The statistics make for dreadful reading. This violence and repression was undertaken in pursuit of an atheist agenda–the elimination of religion.” ↩
- McGrath, 2007, p. 80: “As Robert Pape showed in his definitive account of the motivations of such attacks, based on surveys of every suicide bombing since 1980, religious belief of any kind is neither necessary nor sufficient to create suicide bombers–despite Dawkins’s breezy simplifications. … Pape argues is that [sic] the fundamental motivation is political: the desire to force the withdrawal of foreign forces occupying land believed to belong to an oppresed people who have seriously limited military resources at their disposal.” ↩
- McGrath, 2007, p. 81: “Madame Rolande was brought to the guillotine to face execution on trumped-up charges in 1792. As she prepared to die, she bowed mockingly toward the statue of liberty in the Place de la Révolution and uttered the words for which she is remembered: ‘liberty, what crimes are committed in your name.’ All ideals–divine, transcendent, human or invented–are capable of being abused.” ↩