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So, How Many People
has Religion Killed?
Death by Atheism / Death by Government?

[COMMENT:  The facts are clear, but Christians continue to cower under the critiques of secular and pagan folks.  The truth will set us free -- when we bother to get it and learn how to digest it. 

The notion that the crusades, the Inquisition, and the burning of witches can possibly be the largest events of human slaughter is absurd on the face of it.  They were minor events in the flow of human history.  That is not excuse for them, but there is far less excuse for charges being made about religion in that way. 

This extraordinary article and the website below will raise a storm of controversy.  How accurate the figures on the website are, I have no way of knowing, but the general drift of the article below is certainly accurate.  R. J. Rummel wrote Death by Government, which documents many of the charges below. 

Visit the website listed below.  It is not easy perusing -- especially for those of us raised on the myth of eternal progress -- due to the alleged objective and neutral stance of scientific secularism.  As with any belief system, one can almost always find noble and good people, but secularism as a system itself is none of those things.  It is not objective, neutral, or scientific. 

 Most starvation in the world could be prevented by (1) honest Godly government, and (2) a genuinely free-market system under God (the two go together...).  Apart from the law and grace of God, honest government is all but impossible, and then only for very short periods.   That is true because, without God, having no moral foundation, politics is all power struggle. 

Most unnatural deaths are caused by the power struggle of the powerful -- those who get control of the levers of government (i.e., levers of coercion) and will do whatever they have to to keep control.  I include, emphatically, the United Nations -- a parody of the United States (which, sadly and obliviously is drifting that way) -- because Christians have lost their way and cannot stand up for the culture with which God had blessed them. 

The world is not over-populated, not yet by a long shot.  It is over-controlled by people who care only for their own power, pride, and pleasure.  We, the people (not the government),  have the capacity to feed every human being on earth many times over.  But that is not the agenda of most present governments.   Both our personal and our social and corporate freedom and prosperity will happen only under the lordship of Jesus Christ.  All other ground is sinking sand.   

There are further replies to this piece -- see below One; Two.

Note: the article below begins with a reference to the Da Vinci Code which, though it was a pretty good who-dunnit, was historically, morally, and spiritually a very irresponsible book.  

From an email by someone who read this article - on the Muslim contribution to the disaster of genocide -  http://www.politicalislam.com/tears/pages/tears-of-jihad/    Read the other articles on this website also -- to discern why Mohammed decided to adopt the political route -- i.e., to gain control when he found no other way to make converts.         E. Fox] 

No one should be permitted to get away with making rash, irresponsible, and utterly unsupported statements like this.

On 8/3/05 9:13 PM, "David Upton" <apologeticresponse@rogers.com> wrote:

Ms. Decker added, "The book kind of explains to the world how the Catholic Church demonized women such as Mary Magdalene, and also have killed millions of women during the Crusades.

I recently wrote a short, popular level article responding to this kind of stuff. The article is appended below:

Just How Many People Has Religion Killed?
Kirk Durston, National Director, New Scholars Society

A popular urban legend that I've often heard is that religion has killed more people than anything else, so the world would be a lot more peaceful place were it not for religion. The top three largest examples are thought to be the Crusades of the Middle Ages, the Spanish Inquisition, and the burning of witches. Scholars estimate that the Crusades of the middle ages cost from 58,000 to 133,000 lives. The most realistic figure for the Spanish Inquisition puts the total killed from AD1480 to AD1808 at up to 31,912. Finally, records indicate that the number of witches killed may be over 30,000. Some argue that records don't tell everything and suggest that maybe even 100,000 were killed. These three events, totaling over 264,000 killed, are thought to be the largest atrocities perpetrated by one or another form of Christendom. As we shall shortly see, however, they pale into insignificance in comparison to the consequences of atheism.
There are two points to make by way of response. The first point can be made by asking the question, "Are these activities consistent with what Jesus taught?" Most people with even an elementary knowledge of Christ will admit that such killing is inconsistent with His teachings. People often try to justify their hatred, actions, and even killing by appealing to whatever is held in high regard by the population. It follows that if Christianity is or was held in high regard by populations, that certain people with the power to carry out atrocities would attempt to justify them in the name of Christianity. It is a simple-minded person indeed who reasons, "Joe claims he is a Christian--Joe committed an atrocity in the name of Christianity--therefore Christianity promotes atrocities." The Bible states that the person who says he loves God, but hates his brother, is a liar. There are many people through history that have done horrible things in the name of Christianity, but Jesus' words, "you will know them by their fruit" tell the real story regarding their love for God and whether they follow the commands of Jesus Christ.
The second point to make is that, yes, people who claim to love God do kill, but nowhere near to the extent that the lack of religion does. According to University of Hawaii political scientist Rudolph J. Rummel,[1] <#_ftn1> the total number killed in all of human history is estimated to be about 284,638,000. Of that number, 151,491,000 were killed during the past 100 years. The single largest killer in all of human history is, by far, atheistic Communism with a total of 110,000,000 over 1/3 of all people ever killed! If we add to that number just two other regimes where religion of any sort was strongly discouraged, Nazi Germany and Nationalist China, the number rises to 141,160,000. Almost 50% of all the killings in human history were committed in the past 100 years by regimes that either actively promoted atheism or strongly discouraged religion. We have not considered the over one billion abortions, where Christianity seems to be particularly unwelcome. When the murders of history are tallied up, it is very clear that atheism is the most dangerous philosophy ever embraced by humanity. The most effective restraint on mankind's inherently evil tendencies is faith in God through Jesus Christ, a faith that actually follows the teachings and commands of Jesus Christ as a daily way of life.

[1] <#_ftnref1>  http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/NOTE1.HTM (all stats have come from this site)


[COMMENT:  Here is additional info on the death-by-government theme.   E. Fox]

The best source is The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression, by Stephane Courtois, et al. (Harvard University Press, 1999 for the English translation). The book is highly worth owning ($27 at Amazon).
Here is the Publishers Weekly entry from Amazon.com:
In France, this damning reckoning of communism's worldwide legacy was a bestseller that sparked passionate arguments among intellectuals of the Left.  Essentially a body count of communism's victims in the 20th century, the book draws heavily from recently opened Soviet archives.  The verdict: communism was responsible for between 85 million and 100 million deaths in the century.  In France, both sales and controversy were fueled, as Martin Malia notes in the foreword, by editor Courtois's specific comparison of communism's "class genocide" with Nazism's "race genocide."  Courtois, the director of research at the prestigious Centre Research National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris and editor of the journal Communisme, along with the other distinguished French and European contributors, delivers a fact-based, mostly Russia-centered wallop that will be hard to refute: town burnings, mass deportations, property seizures, family separations, mass murders, planned famines: all chillingly documented from conception to implementation.  The book is divided into five sections.  The first and largest takes readers from the "Paradoxes of the October Revolution" through "Apogee and Crisis in the Gulag System" to "The Exit from Stalinism."  Seeing the U.S.S.R. as "the cradle of all modern Communism," the book's other four sections document the horrors of the Iron Curtain countries, Soviet-backed agitation in Asia and the Americas, and the Third World's often violent embrace of the system.  A conclusion: "Why?" Aby Courtois, points to a bureaucratic, "purely abstract vision of death, massacre and human catastrophe" rooted in Lenin's compulsion to effect ideals by any means necessary.


"Add other killings by other atheistic and totalitarian states-as a
result of their atheistic ideology-you come up with a number of more
than 130 million. If we were to add those dead from the wars of the
twentieth century, the number would easily jump to 170 million" (See tagline).
You might add to that the killings being done *today* by the atheistic regimes in Zimbabwe and North Korea.  
BTW, see the links debunking "The Da Vinci Code" on my
page http://members.iinet.net.au/~sejones/dvncdvch.html

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