A few weeks ago we remembered a sad anniversary. In Paris a group of jihadists broke into the office of a satirical publication called “Charlie Hebdo” and shot to death everyone, including the editor. To mark that anniversary one of that editor’s last works was published in English. It was an open letter stating that he was an atheist but that it is ok to make fun of him and caricature him. Taking a decidedly high moral ground, he wrote that there would be no violence against the satirist since you can make fun of atheists for they are all good natured, unlike members of religion who have been killing one another for centuries. May he rest in peace; but he was wrong.
I was driving in my car when I heard part of this letter read out. The commentator from NPR clearly approved of the quote and commented on the truthfulness of this assertion. Now, while I do not want to criticize a man who died for the exercise of his freedom, I was stunned. Atheists are benevolent? Easy going about criticism? Non-violent! I never wanted to telephone one of these shows, but I was tempted.
Can intelligent men like that editor and the broadcaster be so historically uninformed and shamefully bigoted as to accept this as a true statement?
The facts are otherwise. Atheists have killed more people in the last century than probably the total number killed by all religiously motivated people in the rest of history.
Hitler was an atheist. Stalin was an atheist. Mao Tse Tung was an atheist. Pol Pot was an atheist. Their death squads and armies murdered tens of millions of people all in the name of Atheism!
Hitler hated religion. He hated Jews because of their faith, which he asserted in “Mein Kampf” weakened the will to kill in the name of progress (6 million exterminated). He hated Poles because they were Catholics (4 million exterminated). His plan after the death of the last Jew was to dismantle the Church in Germany and to kill the Pope. The war he caused killed over 40 million people (including fellow atheists). Stalin’s purges were epic in scale. He used starvation, the Gulag camps. It is estimated that he exterminated over 9 million of his own people. Mao, not to be undone in his cultural revolution, killed anywhere from 2 to 30 million (facts are hard to come by during that period). The bodies of millions of Cambodians littered the killing fields.
It is horrendous that on the radio someone could extol the benevolence of atheism and go unchallenged. It is further proof of the anti-religious bigotry of many in the news media who want to instill their false vision of the truth, thereby corrupting their own vocations as guardians of the Truth.
You see this anti-religious propaganda in films, plays and news articles in subtle, and not so subtle ways. Whenever you see (very infrequently) a crucifix in someone’s house you can be sure that character is a maniac or a murderer or just plain out of it. And it is not just Catholics who are laughed at. Evangelicals get it worse. They come off in the media as hypocrites and unfeeling wretches. Fortunately it is not politically correct to do the same to Jews and Muslims. But the self-hatred of former Christians against their own faith knows no bounds. Not even the bounds of simple reason. That does not mean Jews and Muslims are extolled for their faith. It is all in the interests of cultural inclusivity. In this materialist, mechanistic and reductionist age, anyone pointing to a spiritually transcendent dimension (God) will be put out with the ‘trash’ of former days.
To mention another example of the censoring that goes on about religion in the interest of a false concept of the separation of Church and State: it is the rather funny experience I had in Las Vegas. I went to a hotel while sightseeing in which there is a Venetian theme. We got into a fake gondola and made our way to the main destination of this ‘ride’: St. Mark’s Square, which really exists in the city of Venice. But the reproduction was faithful except in one very important and telling instance: there was no St. Mark’s in their depiction of the Square! Why this omission? It was a Church! And we can’t have any of that in a Casino. Not because of the gambling involved! No, it was because it might offend non-Christians! These acts of supposedly ‘benevolent self-censorship’ are the rule on TV and in the movies. Religion is private and should be hounded out of any public space! But when does that become prejudice and even bigotry? If we exile God from our midst (even though the majority of Americans: Jewish, Muslim, Christian and others, believe in God) can we really say we are a free country? And if God has been exiled what is left, in the end? Live it up today, for tomorrow you die which is a colloquial way of saying Nihilism.
It is suddenly ‘in’ to believe in nothing. Visions of the future in movies are bleak and forbidding. With perhaps an intuition of the truth, some writers know that a world without God is a world that diminishes the human person who has been made in the image and likeness of God. This “brave new world” can only be seen as a dark and dangerous place replete with the living dead (also known as Zombies).
But hopelessness does not sell. So we have added another fiction: that the self is the center of all meaning and if you “really believe you can do anything you want” (as long as it is approved by The New York Times!). You can have your dream! Can one really believe that?
According to this logic: if I really want, I can be an NFL quarterback. All I need to do is to ‘believe in myself’ and with a lot of effort in the Gym: wow! Dostoyevsky once said that when people stop believing in God they believe in anything. But, what about reality? (Let me hasten to reassure Tom Brady and Eli Manning that I will not compete for their jobs!!)
How can intelligent, educated people throw out the idea of God that Aquinas, Galileo and Newton believed in? Do they really think they are smarter? Atheists are just harmless fellows? Can we really substitute “me” in the pantheon of greatness by sheer willpower? And they say God is hard to believe in!
One more question: What kind of a financial pledge to NPR did the Premier of North Korea make?