The Freedom from Religion Foundation recently wrote a letter to remove a large carved statue honoring WWII veterans from an Indiana state park. The large wooden statue of an eagle and a soldier includes a small cross as a symbol of those who died, and the FFRF argues that by putting up the statue, the state is endorsing Christianity. Governor Mike Pense and State Park officials have in turn given their support to the acceptance and placement of the statue, which was commissioned by local citizens:
“The freedom of religion does not require freedom from religion,” Gov. Pence said in a statement. “The constitutions of our state and nation more than allow the placement of this Hoosier artist’s sculpture on public land. So long as I am governor, I will defend the right of Hoosiers to display this sculpture in Whitewater Memorial State Park as a lasting tribute to the service and sacrifice of all who have worn the uniform of the United States.”
The FFRF constantly battles displays of religious symbols in the public sector, working to force secularization on what has historically been a Judeo-Christian nation. In August, the organization complained that the Eagle Nest Senior Center in Madison, Wisconsin included a Christian prayer before meals. Last week, the Seventh Circuit heard oral arguments on the constitutionality of minister’s housing allowance tax exemption in a case originally brought by the FFRF. The FFRF has gotten known for their billboards that declare, “Imagine no religion.”
If it were not for religion, after all, there would have been no planes used as bombs on September 11, 2001. ISIS wouldn’t have been slaughtering children in Syria and Iraq this summer. There would have been no Spanish Inquisition, no Taliban, no Crusades, no human sacrifices to various and sundry gods. Religious wars would be conspicuously absent from world history and nobody would follow cult leaders in sipping down toxic Kool-Aid.
Richard Dawkins’ book The God Delusion spends the first page of the Preface going through the evils that have been done in the name of religion. Yet, while atheists love to blame zealous believers for the world’s sufferings, they have missed the true problem. Yes, much earthly evil has been done in the name of one deity or another, but religion isn’t the real problem. The real problem is … human nature.
Religion is a convenient scapegoat for the atheist, who wants to justify himself in a world of believers. The atheist has a serious problem in blaming the evils of the world on religion, though. For every complaint against religious people, there are plenty of complaints to be made against the faithless.
Swift to Shed Blood
CNN reports that, according to Human Rights Watch, 60,000 people were killed in the Mexican Drug War between 2006 and 2012. The slaughter of Mexico’s youth is the result of Mexico’s drug wars, which are absolutely not based in religion. They are based in the fact that drug sales to the culpable United States produce between $19 and $29 billion dollars for Mexican drug cartels. Religion doesn’t make human beings evil. Humans are that way all on their own.
Have people been slaughtered in the name of religion? Certainly. Yet, the Crusades are a drop in the bucket compared to the massive death toll caused by atheistic regimes. The leaders of the French Revolution shoved God out of their social justice crusade, and the result was a blood bath. Stalin is responsible for the deaths of at least 20 million of his own people, and Mao Zedong’s death toll runs upwards of 40–70 million. From Pol Pot in Cambodia to the Kims in North Korea, governments freed of “religion” — those utopias of atheistic communism — have murdered millions upon millions of people. People of various religions continue to fight all around the world, but, anti-God governments streamline human death. Any time people get starry-eyed about imagining “no religion too” they need a little history lesson.
The problem isn’t religion or even lack thereof. The problem is humanity.
We all have that destructive sin nature inside us by birth. It’s there, and we spend our lives fighting it. If we were naturally good, it would be easy to be good and kind, generous and patient. If we were naturally good, it would be a heavy effort to be rotten. But, we find that we are just the opposite, always struggling to do what is right and constantly falling into that corruption that most people want so desperately to avoid.
Even the atheist wants to escape the corruption according to the sense of right and wrong inside him. Atheists have consciences too, after all.
“For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;”
— Romans 2:14–15 (KJV)
Atheists and humanists are quite capable of morality and moral decision making. Yet, in rejecting the one true God, humanists make themselves their own gods. Because they have no greater yardstick to measure by, it often happens that they reject one evil only to turn around and embrace something far worse.
The poor in France had good reason for anger against the spoiled aristocracy and opulent church in the late 18th century. But, having only man’s reasoning to depend on — and hearts full of vengeance — thousands of innocent people were murdered. The atheist has nobody but himself and the local legal system to help him do the good he wants to do. If the good he wants to do requires getting the Kurds out of the way, or the using an iron fist to keep his subjects in line, that can lead easily into gross error. Humankind has excellent thinking ability, but we too often use that brainpower to justify doing the destructive things we want to do rather than the good we should.
Religion Is No Answer
Yet, the atheist is not too far off when he looks at the religions of the world and feels massively unimpressed. The world’s salvation is not found in religion, but in the person of Jesus Christ.
“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
— Gal 5:16,22–25
Life on this planet is hard, and Jesus never promised us anything different. He said we would have many troubles in this world, but he also said he had overcome the world. If people can see Christ in us, they won’t want to imagine a world without him.
“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”
— 2Cr 4:6–8 (KJV)