8th October 2018

Are Atheists Ignorant of History? 

“…because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened, professing to be wise, they became fools.”
Romans 1:21-22 (NKJV)

From time to time one of the new atheists will appear in the media condemning Christians as ignorant, arrogant, intolerant or cowardly. Sadly they will be treated with more respect than any Christian by the media, who are too lazy to do some work which would enable them to properly challenge these prophets of doom. In this short series we will look at four things atheists accuse Christians of and show that atheists are guilty of all four themselves. Let’s begin today with ignorance using just one simple example. Ignorance is defined as a “lack of knowledge or information.” So the atheists ignorantly state that, ‘religion has caused more wars, murders and bloodshed than any other belief.’

To prove their point they usually point to the crusades and the inquisition as typical examples of religion killing millions. But, allowing for the smaller population of those times, and therefore much smaller armies, as well as the lack of accurate record keeping, most historians will suggest the death toll for the crusades was around one million people. The famous Spanish Inquisition charged between 100,000 to 150,000 thousand people with crimes, of whom around 3000 were sentenced to death. So let’s be generous and say double those numbers were killed during the crusades and Inquisition, that would make a total of 2.3. million deaths. Tragic and terrible as those numbers are, let’s now look at the death toll in non-religious wars, and from dictators who were most definitely not Christians.

Hitler was most definitely not a Christian, but the estimated death toll of World War II is just short of 21 million people. How about Joseph Stalin, of Russia, another non-Christian, responsible for an estimated 42 million deaths. Yet another secular dictator, Chairman Mao of China, was responsible for the deaths of nearly 38 million Chinese. Just three non-Christian dictators responsible for 100 million deaths at a time when accurate records were kept. That dwarfs the deaths from religious conflict and we have not even added dictators like Chiang Kai-Shek of China, Vladimir Lenin of the Soviet Union, Hideki Tojo of Japan, Pol Pot of Cambodia, Idi Amin of Uganda and other African, European and Asian tyrants who thought nothing of killing their people brutally in numerous ways. All these deaths happened in the 20th century and far outnumber any deaths caused by religious wars in the last 2000 years. Yet atheists and their media supporters conveniently ignore history because it does not suit their narrative. All this information is available with just a little effort and work. In fact according to Phillips and Axelrod’s three volume Encyclopedia of Wars*, which records some 1,763 wars waged between 3500BC and 2000AD, there are only 123 which can be classified as religious in nature. That represents 6.8% of all the wars that have ever taken place. If you take out Islamic wars from that figure, the Christian percentage falls to 3.23%.

How can atheists claim that religion has caused so much bloodshed when they account for less than 7% of humanity’s wars? When 93% have been caused by other factors, most typically over territory, ethnicity or by brutal dictators. Are atheists ignorant of history? Well it is certainly fair to say, in this example, they are both ignorant, arrogant and deliberately ignore facts that don’t fit. But their arrogance will be the subject of our next article.

Loving and merciful Father, despite the pressures from Atheists and Humanists, the media and entertainment industry, keep us focused on Jesus Christ and give us a clearer vision of humanity’s wonderful future.In Jesus’ name, we pray.

Study by Keith Hartrick


*Encyclopedia of Wars – Volume 1 to 3, by Phillips & Axelrod, available from Amazon at £280.00

*More recommended reading on this subject is, “ Inside the Atheists Mind “ by Anthony DeStefano, available from Amazon at £12.80

About the Author:
Keith Hartrick is an Elder in Grace Communion Church – Leeds, and serves on the Church Council there.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion – Leeds
Garden Village Welfare Association Community Centre
Pendas Way
LS15 8LE

Meeting Time:
Saturday 2PM

Local Congregational Contact:
Malcolm Arnold
Phone: 01484-312347
Email: malcolm701@googlemail.com

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