By Hank Hanegraaff
A common refrain in the twenty-first century is that religion is the root cause of the great atrocities of human history. In reality, more people died as a result of secularist ideologies in the last century alone than have died in all the religiously motivated conflicts of Western history.
First, the Nazi philosophy that Jews are subhuman and that Aryans are supermen led to the extermination of six million Jews. In the words of Sir Arthur Keith, a militant anti-Christian physical anthropologist, “The German Führer, as I have consistently maintained, is an evolutionist; he has consciously sought to make the practice of Germany conform to the theory of evolution.” Far from religiously motivated, Hitler’s “Final Solution to the Jewish problem” was grounded in the naturalistic philosophy of survival of the fittest. In fact, Hitler overtly distanced himself from the historic Christian faith, proclaiming, “Christianity is a rebellion against natural law, a protest against nature. Taken to its logical extreme, Christianity would mean the systematic cultivation of the human failure.”
Furthermore, the inherently atheistic utopian philosophy of communism eclipsed even the carnage of Hitler’s Germany. Karl Marx saw in philosophical naturalism the scientific and sociological support for an economic experiment that has led to the mass murder of multiplied millions worldwide. Marx denigrated religion as “the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions….the opium of the people.” He went on to pontificate that “the abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo the criticism of that veil of tears of which religion is the halo.” In reality, Marxism proved to be a veil of tears and a heart of a heartless world—a sociological experiment that resulted in the mass murder of multiplied millions not only in the former USSR but in places like Cambodia where Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge annihilated nearly a quarter of the nation’s population. The death toll resulting from the secular ideology of communism is truly a horror beyond comprehension.
Finally, a third ideology of modern secularism has led to even more ghastly consequences. Though not formally organized under a deranged dictator, this invisible holocaust continues to claim the lives of untold millions around the globe. Almost three thousand helpless victims—nearly the total casualties of 9/11—die each day in the United States alone. The secularist ideology to which I refer is, of course, abortionism. Indeed, this modern bioethical holocaust has eclipsed the carnage of Nazism and communism combined.
Even apart from the ongoing genocide of the unborn, over 100 million people died at the hands of secularist regimes during the twentieth century. Coupled with recognition of the innumerable humanitarian aid efforts motivated by religious commitments, these statistics should motivate secularists toward humble introspection rather than the haughty inculpation of religion.
It is a joy for the just to do justice,
But destruction will come to the workers of iniquity.
Proverbs 21:15 NKJV
For further study, see Os Guinness, Unspeakable: Facing up to Evil in an Age of Genocide and Terror (San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 2005).
**Note the preceding text is adapted from a new Revised and Updated version of The Complete Bible Answer Book that is forthcoming. When available we will update this page with corresponding information. Until then you can still purchase or receive for your partnering gift the current version by clicking here for purchase or here for partnering gift. ***