Sunday, September 11, 2005

Religion Kills

In somber remembrance of the religion-inspired slaughter of 9/11/01, today's post will point out just how murderous "God's children" often are. It's frequently been said that more people have been killed in the name of religion than for any other reason. After reading the following, it becomes a very believable assertion.

The Crusades (1095-1291): The Crusades were a series of multiple military actions—mostly sanctioned by the Papacy—that occurred from the 11th to the 13th centuries. Originally, they were Roman Catholic attempts to get the Holy Land from the Muslims, but some were aimed against other Europeans, for example the Fourth Crusade versus Constantinople, the Albigensian Crusade versus the Cathars of southern France, as well as the Northern Crusades. Death toll: Estimates range from 1,000,000 to 5,000,000.

Witch Hunts (1400-1800): Death toll roughly estimated to be between 50,000 and 60,000.

Spanish Inquisition (1478-1834): The Spanish Inquisition was the product of Spain's reconquest from the Muslims and the decision to convert Spanish Jews and Muslims to Christianity. Death toll roughly estimated to be between 8,800 via Torquemada; 32,000 in total.

The second half of the 16th century and the early part of the 17th century brought about one of the worst series of wars that Europe had ever suffered. The early Reformation had been, in hindsight, notably free from bloodshed; that, however, lasted only a little while. It was inevitable that the increasing division between Christian churches in Europe would cause a series of armed conflicts for more than a century. Protestants and Catholics would shed each other's blood in incredible amounts in national wars and civil wars. These battles would eventually shatter the European monarchical traditions. The monarchy was challenged by Protestants dissatisfied with the rule of Catholic kings. The final result of these struggles would be the overthrow and execution of Charles I in England in the mid 17th century, a historical event that permanently changed Europe.

The French Wars of Religion (1562-1598): The French Wars of Religion represented a series of battles between Catholics and Huguenots (Protestants) from the mid 16th century to the Edict of Nantes in 1598, including civil infighting in addition to military operations. Death toll: 2,000,000–4,000,000.

The Thirty Years' War (1618-1648): This was a battle waged mainly in the Central European territory of the Holy Roman Empire, but additionally involving the majority of the main continental powers. It took place for myriad reasons. Although it was from its beginning a religious conflict between Protestants and Catholics, the self-preservation of the Habsburg dynasty was also a key motive behind it. Death toll: 3,000,000–8,000,000.

And, let's not forget the constant battles between the Palestinians and Israelis, or the events of September 11.

Now, here are some individual stories of religious-inspired assault, misery and/or death:

A Pagan girl in Tennessee was punished for refusing to participate in religious events. In addition, the school did not do nearly enough to prevent religiously motivated bullying, which lead to physical assaults on the girl. Read more:

There have been many victims of religion-based medical neglect, whereby children do not receive medical care because stupid religious superstitions lead parents to shun traditional medicine. When you rely on the power of prayer, you get horror stories like these. Read more:

Theist murders atheist in the name of believing in God. The murderer told the police "I did it because he is evil; he was not a believer." Read more:

The People's Temple was a cult that is notorious for a mass suicide at Jonestown, Guyana, on November 18, 1978. Reverend Jim Jones created the Temple in 1953, in Indianapolis, Indiana. Read more:

Religious torture stories spring up again. Read more:

An innocent child is starved to death in order to "fulfill a religious prophecy." Read more:

Psychotic man slaughters mother for God. Read more:

Victim of incest to be executed for perceived crime against God. Girl was raped and impregnated by her brother and Iran’s clerical judge has sentenced her to death by stoning. Read more:

That's just a taste of the death, misery and mayhem directly caused by religious nonsense. There is no God. There is no afterlife. All we have to enjoy is our earthly life. Wouldn't it be much more sensible to throw superstition to the side and simply work toward making the world a better place? And, step one on that score is to expunge religion from the species.


In remembrance of the 9/11/01 victims of religion.


Blogger Aaron Kinney said...

What a great post. Lots of examples, lots of links, and an honorable dedication to the victims of 9/11/01.

Truly, they were caught in a crossfire between two very similar, but mutually exclusive, psychotic superstitious beliefs that have been at each others throats for over a millenia.

8:54 PM  
Anonymous Velkstrom said...

If only there were a fact channel dedicated to exposing the hateful insanity religious belief promotes. Call it the counter-punch to the cultist TBN channel ;)

10:14 PM  
Blogger Kele said...

Couldn't it be argued that religion was what the common person saw but not the true reason? Like it was a way for one king to oppose another king or something like that?

11:46 PM  
Blogger The Libertarian Defender said...


Thank you for your kind words. I agree completely with your analysis. In a religiously-inspired fictitious battle between good and evil, the 9/11 victims were caught in the crossfire. Those innocent victims, just as much as the innocent victims of the Witch Hunts and Crusades, were casualties of rabid theism.


A fact channel would be a nice idea. Right now, I consider the "fact channel" to be a blend of National Geographic, BBC, Discovery, History and PBS. In addition to those, blogs such as Aaron's, the Evanglical Atheist, and this one do our best to debunk pernicious theism.


Nice to have you here! Hope you enjoy your stay!

I think you raise a very good point. Religious wars are often really about power and control. Oftentimes, there is a king or leader using religion as a method to build a rabid army. However, I still classify those as wars of religion. The warriors are fighting based upon the religious justification, not realizing that religion is only a pretext for the ruling class to gather cannon fodder. In that case, the illusory justification becomes more important than the hidden real one.

6:34 PM  
Anonymous Tanooki Joe said...

Great post. We say it again and again -- religion is dangerous.

I've heard that the casualties of the Thirty Years War amounted to nearly 30 percent of Germany's population. Can you imagine that -- nearly one in three people dead!

Kele points out the common method theists use to deflect this criticism -- either use a version of the No True Scotsman fallacy or say the violence was motivated by other factors (while insisting the fact that Stalin was an atheist means all athiests are mass murders :P). This is often true -- but often religion is the cause; and the real danger of religion is not as a cause but as an enabler -- after all, if God's on your side, how can you do wrong? Like Voltaire said, "Those that can get you to believe absurdities can get you to commit atrocites."

8:51 PM  
Blogger The Libertarian Defender said...

I agree with you completely.

"Like Voltaire said, 'Those that can get you to believe absurdities can get you to commit atrocities'."

Just look at the perpetrators of 9/11 for a prime example of that. Based upon belief in absurdities, they committed something that, in my view, was a terrible atrocity.

6:58 PM  
Anonymous Kowaii_Neko said...

I love what you say. I thought the EXACT same thing about religion being the most destructive force in history.

The only religion I don't recall being like the others is none other than Buddhism. Ever noticed that? Took me a while to figure that out.

Maybe you can write something about it? I would very much like to read it.

10:23 PM  
Anonymous Tanooki Joe said...

Even Buddhism is sometimes bad -- there are Buddhist extremists in Sri Lanka, and Tibet was basically a theocracy before the Chinese took it over. All religions are capable of breeding extremism.

12:20 AM  
Blogger Toasty Moe said...

Do we have one single example of an atheistic regime that has not murdered millions of it's own citizens?

7:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dude...thank you. really. this is awesome. would you be able to email a list of your work cited?

8:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...and the number of people murdered by atheistic regimes in the 20th century alone dwarfs the numbers you cite in your commentary.

1:05 AM  
Blogger OB said...

<< Anonymous said...

...and the number of people murdered by atheistic regimes in the 20th century alone dwarfs the numbers you cite in your commentary. >>

Have there been "atheistic regimes" in any other century but the 20th? And didn't we have better ways to kill more people at once in the 20th century than in those previous? Hmmm...

2:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

" ...and the number of people murdered by atheistic regimes in the 20th century alone dwarfs the numbers you cite in your commentary."

Check this out...

12:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If religion was eliminated tomorrow,
China would still be killing people,
the Russian mob, yakuza etc. would still be killing people,
some courts would still be killing people,
drug addicts would still be killing people,
Israelis and Palistinians would still be killing each other because it is more of a land war than a religious one now,
abusers will abuse,
rapists will rape,
Mothers will still be having small human beings torn limb from limb from their uteri.

I think it should be obvious, people kill people, sometimes without motivation. Cars don't kill people, guns don't kill people, religion doesn't kill people, people kill people. What is the difference if a child is beaten with the bible or a phone book?

The problem is, when you say religion causes these things, if you are truly athiests, you do not believe in the gods behind the religions. That makes them nothing more than human constructs, which puts the blame squarely on the humanity that needed an excuse to kill, not the religion it has used to justify it.

Humanity is not "good", humanity is a mass of the lowest common denominator for the most part. I do not trust it to run itself and remain civilized, see Jerry Springer et al.

I think you just need a scapegoat to distract from the fact that athiesm holds no answers to the problem either, it just lets you move right and wrong, good and evil to suit yourself. If everything is legal there is no crime rate, right?

Let me put it this way, I am a nice guy, I pay my taxes, help strangers, am faithful to my wife, and I have very good friends who are Muslim, athiest, black, white etc. Hypothetically, you would like me if you met me, but perhaps only until you found out I was a bible believing Christian. Then no doubt there would be tension over my "superstitious beliefs" and how many people I supposedly am responsible for the deaths of in the crusades, inquisition etc. Who's beliefs are poisonous then?

I am not a huge fan of religions, I believe in God and that the Bible is his inspired word. I also believe it can be twisted by people, and used on people who lack understanding, to meet their own, sometimes evil, ends. But so can "The Catcher in the Rye" or any book if you are sick enough.

And for those who say:

"In a religiously-inspired fictitious battle between good and evil, the 9/11 victims were caught in the crossfire. Those innocent victims, just as much as the innocent victims of the Witch Hunts and Crusades, were casualties of rabid theism."

take some time out to realize, a good portion of those killed were likely Christian. Some sick pukes flew planes into buildings, BECAUSE THEY DO NOT LIKE THE WESTERN WAY OF LIFE, OUR FREEDOM, OUR TOLERANCE. Do not use that against me or the Christians in the towers, to "shove your view of the world down peoples throats".

Hmm, where have I heard that statement before.

Thank you for your time, discussion is good. God bless you.


2:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

as a reply to anonymous, no matter how many people atheists kill, they dont blame it on some higher being.

And yes man did invent god, and he uses this fake god as an excuse for everything. Thousands of people believe in some false hope.

We will kill people with or without religion, the crusades maybe would have still happened, but it wouldn't have been in 'gods name'.

Leaders should accept that they naturally want to conquer and get more, instead of saying 'god told me to'. It's retarted

8:40 AM  
Blogger james said...

The above anonymous is completely missing the point. What kind of argument is, "no matter how many people atheists kill, they dont blame it on some higher being?"

It's such a pointless argument that I don't even have the first clue how to reply. It's like saying, "toilet water causes color-blindness whether it's blue or not." It's an incoherent statement.

It seems like you are saying that the real atrocity is not the act of killing people, but it's doing it in the name of some higher power. That is nonsense.

The fact is that every worldview has logical consequences.

With a worldview in which the "holy book" can only ensure entrance into heaven if you die in jihad you will logically find people blowing themselves up in marketplaces and flying planes into buildings.

With a worldview where we are nothing more than accidents of nature, and where progress happens when the weak die out and the strong persevere you will logically have guys with strange mustaches leading scores of evolutionary inferiors into gas chambers.

The fact is, and for some reason atheists seem to ignore this, the Founder of Christianity, Jesus Christ, taught such atrocious practices as loving your enemies, praying for those who curse you, and treating everyone the way you would like to be treated.

Whether He existed or not, whether He was the Son of God or not, whether there even is a God or not, Christianity in its purest form, as taught by Jesus, is a religion of peace.

Where religions such as Islam are built upon the blood of infidels, tracing their early explosive growth to military conquest and forced conversion, Christianity grew from the blood of martyrs. Every apostle except John (who died of old age) went to their deaths because they would not renounce their belief that their Master, after dying on a cross in Judea, rose from the dead and calls people everywhere to repent of their sins and trust Him for salvation.

So, attack Islam for being cruel, attack secular humanism for being brutal, but the only sense in which you can accuse true, Biblical Christianty of being bloody is that true followers of Christ throughout the ages, all over the world, have faced their deaths at the hands of the very people they were selflessly and willingly indebted to, because they cared about their eternity, whether there is one or not.

Just recently in the news, although the owner of this blog didn't mention it, there was a pastor who was shot to death in his church. His wife was interviewed shortly after her husband was murdered, and when asked what she hoped would happen to her husband's killer, she replied that she prays that whatever happens to him he finds forgiveness with God before he dies.

Think about that. She is asking God to give eternal life to the man who took her husband's life.

Yeah, that's dangerous thinking. The rest of the world needs to be protected from vigilantes like this woman.

There is a case similar to this where missionaries men were killed by natives only to have their wives and children go back into the village and continue the work of their husbands. Eventually befriending the very people who murdered their husbands.

This type of boundless, sacrificial love is unique to the followers of Christ, to the best of my knowledge, and flows logically from the teachings of Jesus.

I mean, some of His last words as He hung on the cross were a prayer for His Father to forgive those who were killing Him.

My point is that whoever you want to blame for the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Witch Trials, etc... don't blame Jesus. He didn't teach or endorse such behavior, and in fact taught us to love even those who are in opposition to us.

It is an understatement to say that it's unfortunate that people twist and distort religion to serve their own selfish and bloody purposes. But it has happened, is happening and will continue as long as selfish people exist. Blame them. Don't blame the religion they claim to follow, especially if the religion itself is against such violent and self-serving behavior.

Please reread Rick's comment. It's really well thought out and logically sound. Particularly the part calling you to at leat be consistantly atheistic in your thought processes. The truth that if there is no deity then every religion is a human construct and as such humans should be blamed for their creation. In fact, if there is no deity then the only universally, objectively true and right reason to kill someone is survival of the fittest.

Lastly, religion cannot be intrinsically evil if there is no God. In fact evil and good are completely subjective terms if there is no God. Right and wrong must either be decided by the individual or the society. In either case rape and murder both could be completely justifiable. And so could religion.

Thanks for this people. The real test of a thing is how it holds up under scrutiny. And, as usual, I find nothing new or compelling coming from the side of God-hating... excuse me, atheism.

Psalm 14:1

1:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the fact is that the numbers deaths pertaining to the crusades in this article are grossly exaggerated. actually it was somewhere between 200,000-500,000 people who were killed, over 200 years. that is nothing compared to the 100,000,000 or so killed with the backbone and ideology of aetheism in the 20th century(1900's).

the salem witch trials did not even kill 50 people. actually it was about 25.

5:26 PM  
Anonymous Frank Gallagher said...
Of all that is real dealt with as if fantasy in Satanic Truth Prohibition humanic inherently bias creatures of habit most comfortable in familiar places of body and mind through the natural process of osmosis believe they can be sources of pertinent information without deliberately learning.
The Humanic not organized against the Satanic to this day indicative of the power and weakness of mind in the realm of the PRICK

4:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why don’t you step back and look at what REAL Christianity has created such as the Salvation Army, early hospitals, and hospice? For someone to say that this is what Christianity teaches is showing off sheer ignorance.
I love the concluding sentence “And, step one on that score is to expunge religion from the species” How do you possibly write an article like this, and then say that religion needs to be expunge; in other words obliterated or wiped out? I hate to break it to you, but this was the same attitude as Stalin, whose kill total was greater than all the killings you listed combined.
I think you people need to go to church 

9:19 AM  

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