Darryl's thoughts on the Christian Faith, Facts, and World Events
Shock!: Atheist on Facebook Makes Excuses for Parents Who Murder or Sell Their Children into Prostitution/Slavery to Pay Debts! Calls Children, an "Investment," "Selfish", and Who "Need To Be Taught the Value of Sharing!"
"There’s no such thing as an atheist charity organisation. It’s a ridiculous concept, if you think about it: what commonality do we have to build a charity around? I’ve said it dozens of times before but Atheism is nothing more than the absence of belief in god(s)." Alex Denethorn
"My recent Facebook dialogue with an atheist reveals that the callous situational-ethics and pragmatic-morality which led to the Killing Fields of the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia and other regimes that either practiced or continue to practice State Atheism still exists in the hearts and minds of some (not all) atheists in 2018." Darryl Record November 6, 2018
According to Wikipedia: "State atheism is the incorporation of positive atheism or non-theism into political regimes, particularly associated with Soviet systems. In contrast, a secular state purports to be officially neutral in matters of religion, supporting neither religion nor irreligion. State atheism may refer to a government's anti-clericalism, which opposes religious institutional power and influence in all aspects of public and political life, including the involvement of religion in the everyday life of the citizen." en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_atheism
I want to be absolutely clear that not all or even most atheists have a similar callous situational-ethics and pragmatic-morality to the Khmer Rouge. For example, YouTube philosopher Stefan Molyneux is an atheist. His ethics and morality are not extremely different from those held by many Christians. Even he, an atheist, opposes state atheism. Here are a couple of his videos on this topic (may contain strong language, viewer discretion advised). "Why I Was Wrong About Atheism" youtu.be/vqQdc0mX1_c "The Politics of Atheism" youtu.be/mxWufzMAgxc
Atheists routinely highlight terrible actions committed by people directly or indirectly associated with Christianity, regardless of the fact that the perpetrators of these atrocities' beliefs and actions were contrary to the clear teachings of Scripture, such as "You shall not murder" (Exodus 20:13) and "(Mark 12:31) and many other relevant passages.
Here is a challenge which I received from one atheist of Facebook named Patrick (not the same atheist as the one referred to in the title of this article." Patrick wrote, "Hitler and Stalin - two men - both born to Christian parents in a Christian village, in a Christian nation, who had Christian soldiers kill millions of people. You are here spreading the lie that it is Atheism that spreads evil and murder. Why do you spread this lie? Because you are too much of a coward to admit that it is religion - Christian religion - that produces the most murderous populations this planet has ever known?"
I gave a "defense" of Christianity with "gentleness and respect" but Patrick made an excuse and refused to read it. So, I will give a condensed response to his challenges here.
1. Was Hitler a Christian? Some atheists claim that Hitler considered himself "a devout Catholic." This may or may not be true. 1. As Hitler's actions have become known, the Catholic Church has completely disavowed him as a member and rejected his actions. 2. The Catholic Church has not made any statues etc. in his honor. 3. Hitler's possible association with the Catholic Church, even if confirmed it still would not prove Hitler was genuinely, a "devout Catholic". Attending a Catholic Church but not living according to its doctrines, requirements, and practices would not make Adolf Hitler a "devout Catholic" anymore than walking through a forest would make him into a tree. 4. Even though Hitler's association with the Roman Catholic Church might reflect badly on the Roman Catholic Church as a single branch or christendom, it would not reflect on other branches of Christianity which have been independent, separated, and many times opposed to the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church for hundreds of years. (See Diagram Below)
Sometimes atheists attempt to use the Crusades and Inquisition to discredit Christianity as a whole, even when speaking to Protestants, Anglicans, or Anabaptists. If they had studied the history of Christianity, they would have known that the Crusades were the sole responsibility of the Roman Catholic Church and the Anabaptists, Protestants, and Anglicans were the main targets of the Roman Catholic Church's Inquisitions. www.britannica.com/topic/inquisition
Even the Roman Catholic Church has since recognized that the Inquisition is not consistent with the teachings of Scripture and they have rejected it. I personally reject all attempts to convert people to Christianity through any means stronger than love and gentle persuasion. I reject all forms of coercion, pressure, or intimidation based on Scripture. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast." If salvation is a gift, it must not be forced upon anyone. For more information I wrote this blog post a few years ago. www.internationalfishers.com/blog/were-the-nazis-christian
2. Was Stalin a Christian? Patrick also misunderstands the basic teachings of the Bible concerning salvation. I don't know if Stalin had Christian parents or not, but even if Stalin's parents were genuine Christians themselves, it would not make Stalin a Christian automatically. Every child in Sunday School memorizes John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." "Whoever believes," means that your parents cannot believe for you, you must believe on your own, in order to be saved and be counted as a genuine Christian.
Matthew 7:15-20 says, "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them." What was Joseph Stalin's fruit? According to Dr. D. James Kennedy's book, What if Jesus Had Never Been Born? , "Stalin slaughtered more than Forty Million People" (page 234) www.amazon.com/What-Jesus-Never-Been-Born-ebook/dp/B000SFOUV2 Hitler also exterminated 6 million Jews and millions of others (page 230). Even Wikipedia confirms that Stalin was indeed an atheist. "Teachers complained that he declared himself an atheist, chatted in class and refused to doff his hat to monks." en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Stalin#Childhood_to_young_adulthood:_1878–1899
3. Does Christianity Produce the "Most Murderous Populations This World Has Ever Known?" I wish Patrick would read D. James Kennedy's book, listed above, in which he shows how Christianity has been instrumental in making the world a better place in the following ways: 1. Hospitals, which essentially began during the Middle Ages. 2. Universities, which also began during the Middle Ages...most of the world's greatest universities were started by Christians for Christian purposes. 3. Literacy and education for the masses.. 4. Capitalism and free-enterprise. 5. Representative government, particularly...in the American experiment. 6. The separation of political powers. 7. Civil liberties. 8. The abolition of slavery. 9. Modern science. 10. The discovery of the New World by Columbus. 11. The elevation of women. 12. Benevolence and charity; the good Samaritan ethic. 12. Higher standards of justice. 13. The elevation of the common person. 14. The condemnation of sexual immorality. 15. High regard for human life. 16. The civilizing of many primitive cultures. 17. The codifying and setting to writing of many of the world's languages (for the purposes of Bible translation, missionary schools, and evangelism). 18. Greater development of art and music. 19. Countless lives transformed from liabilities into assets to society because of the Gospel. 20. The eternal salvation of countless souls. (What if Jesus Had Never Been Born? pages 3-4).
Christians have done a lot to make the world a better place, especially compared to Atheists. Just compare these two lists of Christian Charities en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Christian_charities and Atheist Charities
www.quora.com/What-are-some-atheists-charity-organizations According to Alex Denethorn, "There’s no such thing as an atheist charity organisation. It’s a ridiculous concept, if you think about it: what commonality do we have to build a charity around? I’ve said it dozens of times before but Atheism is nothing more than the absence of belief in god(s)."
4. Where the Khmer Rouge Christian or Were They Atheist? Patrick conveniently forgot to mention the Khmer Rouge. It is pretty difficult to make the claim that they were Christians. They did not have Christian parents or go to church.
It is clear that the Khmer Rouge were atheist. 1. They are listed in Wikipedia in the article on State Atheism.
"The Khmer Rouge actively persecuted Buddhists during their reign from 1975 to 1979. Buddhist institutions and temples were destroyed and Buddhist monks and teachers were killed in large numbers. A third of the nation's monasteries were destroyed along with numerous holy texts and items of high artistic quality. 25,000 Buddhist monks were massacred by the regime, which was officially an atheist state. The persecution was undertaken because Pol Pot believed that Buddhism was "a decadent affectation". He sought to eliminate Buddhism's 1,500-year-old mark on Cambodia."
Religion was also banned, and the repression of adherents of Islam, Christianity, and Buddhism was extensive. And according to Ben Kiernan, the "fiercest extermination campaign was directed against the ethnic Cham Muslim minority". en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_atheism#Cambodia_under_the_Khmer_Rouge
2. My long time friend, mentor, and former mission organization colleague, Pastor Sok, a Khmer Rouge survivor wrote the following. "(sic) The Khmer Rouge were atheists they destroy the temples, church building and they are not allow to practice any religion at all during they were in power. There were killing everywhere in the country. It was just some places more or less. So, the practice of communists and the atheists the same toward religions and what had happened in Cambodia from 1975-1979 was true. I was 1.8 million people died. Because they said that there is no God and no religion. They were the atheists."
Pastor Sok, was beaten by the Khmer Rouge for many hours, but miraculously they did not execute him as they usually did to others. Later, he escaped through the jungles with his pregnant wife to a refugee camp in Thailand. At the camp, they accepted Jesus Christ as their personal savior. One day, Pastor Sok met one of the former Khmer Rouge soldiers who had beaten him in Cambodia. The man was afraid that Sok would seek revenge. Pastor Sok told him, "I am a Christian now. I forgive you because Jesus Christ has forgiven me." The Khmer Rouge soldier replied, "I am a Christian now too."
Pastor Sok went on to pastor Cambodian churches in Cambodia before returning to Cambodia as a missionary. He (and his beloved late wife) have planted several churches and founded Tahas Bible Institute in Kampong Chhnang. Tahas is unique in that the schedule is designed to make it possible for pastors and church leaders who serve churches, especially in rural areas, and who must support themselves with other jobs, especially rice farming, can come to study in modules while continuing their regular ministries and employment. The schedule is actually designed so as not to interfere with the rice planting and harvesting seasons! www.tahas.org
My Shocking Facebook Dialogue With An Atheist About Morality:
The conversation began with an atheist posting an offensive meme (pictured below) which read:
"Meet Abraham...The father of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam...Because a person who is willing to murder their child because a voice told them to is someone the whole world should admire and follow."
It was a quiet Saturday afternoon and I was scrolling through Facebook on my phone, when I came across the meme. No one else had commented or rebutted it yet so I felt like I should say something. When I was studying for my Master's in Christian Apologetics at Biola University, I remembered a lecture by Greg Koukl, a Christian Apologist www.str.org/training/speakers/greg-koukl , in which he described what he called the "Colombo Method." Basically you: 1. Play dumb. 2. Ask questions. 3. See what useful information you learn which can be used to help the person you are talking to come closer to the truth (and perhaps others).
Here is my conversation with minimal edits. I added some emphasis and shortened some irrelevant parts:
Darryl: "Just curious...If there is no god or karma, why would murder be wrong? Let's assume that Abraham, if he existed, lived in a place without any government or laws. I'm not trying to pick a fight here. I'm just interested in hearing different perspectives on this question."
Atheist: "What's wrong in throwing away all you've invested into raising your own child? And if he were in an anarchy, his action would've weakened his family's ability to resist its neighbours' desire for his land. And he would be hard-pressed to find any allies, because would anyone care to ally with someone who disregarded human life like that?"
Darryl: "Your answer about not throwing away a child that you have invested in seems a bit too pragmatic for me. ...(In some countries) when parents get too deeply in debt, they sell their own young children as prostitutes and child laborers to pay off the debt. They also abandon their children and have been known to kill their children if they don't fear the consequences. I know that people in developed countries always assume that people are naturally good at heart, but this does not match my real life observation. At least some of the evil acts are restrained by a fear of bad luck, evil spirits, bad karma etc."
Atheist: "Unfortunately, pragmatism is one way to cope. Selling a child will at least recover some of the investment, since there's no sense to sacrifice it for the whims of a deity.
Abandoning children is a shame, but where's the point in keeping them and watching them starve? :-|
As for killing them, that's why most countries have laws against murder. But if the community is really that poor that there's nothing that could be done about it, i won't add to the parents' regrets and guilt...
Naturally good at heart?! Not really, kids tend to be quite selfish, and they need to be taught the value of sharing. Actually, that's arguably a better answer against evil acts: education, not fear of some juju, even if that juju is a god.
Darryl: "But Abraham did not murder his son. An angel stopped him. It was a one time test. Since then human sacrifice has been uniformly rejected in the Judaism and Christian traditions. Murder has also been rejected. Capital punishment required two or three witnesses. Another aspect of the Bible that people also misunderstand is that just because a Bible character does something does not necessarily mean that God commanded or approved of it. David committed adultery and murder but those were sins. As far as selling your children to pay a debt I cannot accept that as moral. A loving parent will not put their children at risk but will take the risk and punishment for not repaying the debt themselves. Even if they could not feed the child, the child should eat before they do. They also should find some good family to adopt the child. Child prostitutes can become infected with HIV. It is just a slow murder."
A Christian Apologist, Author, Missionary, Husband, and Father. Darryl has an MA in Christian Apologetics from Biola University (CA), an MA in TESOL from Azusa Pacific University (CA), and a BA in Political Science from Truman State University (MO).