Here is an excellent quote from the book The Devil’s Delusion by David Berlinski
For scientists persuaded that there is no God, there is no finer pleasure than recounting the history of religious brutality and persecution (pg. 19)
That activity is not limited to scientists as many unbelievers take delight in blaming God for things he did not do. Unbelievers are lazy and take the easy way out. They are looking for excuses to justify their continual unbelief and they find those excuses in the actions of men who only claim to be of God yet refuse to follow all of his words.
I say lazy because they do not take the time nor do the work required to read what both God and Jesus said their followers are to do, they just hear the word ‘Christian’ and make very generalized assumption.
We read in 1 John 1 these words
5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all[b] sin.
8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us. (NIV)
Religious persecution or religious brutality is certainly not God’s will nor is it of God. Those who claim to follow God yet lie, steal, con, and many other sins are not following what God or Jesus said to do.
Those who practice sin are not of God, and this includes religious bullying, brutality and persecution
3 We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. 4 Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. 5 But if anyone obeys his word, love for God[a] is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: 6 Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did. (1 John 2 NIV)
There is no commandment in the Bible instructing God’s followers to sin and commit atrocities in God’s name. God does not give permission to sin. If the unbeliever was honest and not lazy, they would take the time to see what God commands and compare them with the actions of those who claim to follow God.
Then instead of condemning all of Christianity, they would condemn only those who do not follow God or his word and see that the Christian faith is as Jesus said it was. Many unbelievers like to use Hitler as an example of Christian brutality and they cite the quote on many of the German soldiers’ belts–God is with us.
They say that quote is evidence that Hitler was a Christian. That is news to any real believer because to be a Christian one has to follow John 3:16 – 17 not write simple words on a belt.
Anyone can write religious words on any item but their presence doe snot indicate that the holder of such things is actually a believer. To use the logic of the unbeliever on this matter, we could say that any atheist who owns and reads a Bible actually believes God exists. We know they don’t but we can say it just like the unbeliever says Hitler was a Christian because he declared God was on his side.
Hitler was not a Christian and his acts were from evil not God. If you want an OT example, all we have to do is turn to the 10 commandments and read ‘Thou shalt not kill’ to know that Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Lenin and many others were not Christian or followed God.
It is easy to cast blame on God for what his supposed followers did but if the unbeliever was not lazy but was honest, he would acknowledge the fact that people, even those who call themselves Christian, disobey God’s teachings.
Not everything done in the name of God is in obedience to his will or commands. People do use God as a rallying point but again, that does not mean God has blessed those actions taken in his name.
Some people like to point to the Inquisition as an example of religious brutality but what they do not do is prove that Roman Catholicism is a Christian Church and that those priests were acting under the guidance of God. In researching the Inquisition, one will find that those leaders of that persecution were not following God’s direction but their own.
Sadly, again, the unbeliever simply hear the words God, Jesus and Christian or even Church and leap to their own invalid conclusions without the proper investigation, use of logic or rational thinking. Many unbelievers state that their side of the issue are the sole possessor of logic, reason and rational thinking but when it comes to issues of the church like persecution and religious brutality, they throw all logic, reason and rational thinking aside to make leaps to astounding conclusions, or broad assumptions that have no basis in reality.
Then when a believer tries to present evidence contrary to those notions held by the unbeliever, they refuse to listen and dismiss any counter argument without consideration. They have their justification or excuses which allow them to continue pursuing sin and they do not want those reasons demolished by the truth.
Case in point. Many unbelievers point to a few men in the Roman Catholic church who opposed Galileo and had him stand trial. They say that those few misguided men spoke for the whole church and the Bible when they stood on their idea that the sun revolved around the earth. The unbelievers refused to listen when it was pointed out to them that belief was not taught in the Bible and not held by everyone in the church.
They took the viewpoint of a few misguided and uninformed men and applied generally to all church people and refused to listen to reason. Bill Maher is another fine example of atheist cherry picking and faulty rational thinking when it comes to believers and the Bible. His movie Religulous focused on the fringe people of Christianity, those people who provided evidence for his point of view, but ignored true Christians and did not talk to one of that group.
His documentary was very dishonest as it was used to promote a personal bias held by Mr. Maher and present a false picture of Christians. (I did watch it). Unbelievers do not want the truth and they do not want to be honest fo rif they were they would have to realize that they are wrong and in need of changing their lives. But as the Bible says ‘men love darkness rather than light’ unbelievers really do not want to change because they like sinning.
Living a life of sin for them is fun and easy as they are part of the crowd and do not have to face persecution for living as Christ lived. Does religious brutality, bullying and atrocities take place? Of course it does. One reason is that some believers do not fully understand the OT and think those commands of God to the Israelites apply to today.
Another reason is that the many false religions in existence have other agendas on their mind and not God’s. They do not teach God’s morality or right and wrong, they teach the ideas of their human founders (men who did not know God but used his word to bolster their false teachings).
Should Christians be on picket lines or other more abusive protests against abortion? No. For we were forgiven of many sins by God thus we should not be condemning others for their sins. We need to minister to their needs not stand in judgment of them like they were inferior beings.
We are not going to save everyone but that doesn’t mean we do not try. We do not use the Bible as an excuse or justification for unholy and sinful behavior towards those who do things we do not like. We use the Bible to guide us to live like Jesus did as 1 John 1 says.
True Christians do not practice religious persecution, brutality or bullying. We live as Jesus lived and we find his life in the gospels.