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Is Christianity Really the Worst Source of Evil?

A friend writes:

I have run across the following issue a lot recently: the blaming of Christianity (and belief in God generally) for all the major evil of the world. I had a conversation in Seoul with a Canadian expat who argued Christianity is to blame for the majority of hatred and violence in the world. She was then unwilling to also have a conversation about what Christianity has contributed to education, human rights, medicine and the sciences in general.

I usually respond to such people thus: “Like what? What hatred and evil are you talking about? Please describe the hatred and violence you’re decrying and show why you attribute it to Christianity rather than to, say, greed or lust or vengeance or envy or fear or something much more generic than a particular religion.”

If that doesn’t slow things right down, I might then ask: “And ‘the majority of hatred and violence’ relative to what? How much do you know about the history of China, Japan and Korea? There’s rather a lot of hatred and evil there that has nothing to do with Christianity. Say, a few millennia worth. Or about either northern or sub-Saharan Africa? And how about the pre-Columbian Americas? Any accounting for the bad blood and bloodshed—and blood sacrifice—there?”

Usually, that’s the end of it.

Half-educated people are the most dangerous in these conversations, of course, because they think they know things when all they “know” is what people like them “know,” which in these historically illiterate times doesn’t amount to much.

(Especially in this era of confused feelings about Islam and guilt over what is supposed in some circles to be the Greatest Evil of All Time, namely, the Crusades, ask such a person if she has opinions about the millennium during which Muslim slavers from North Africa raided southern and western Europe—as far away as England—hauling off Europeans to the African slave trade—upwards of a million of them during just the last four centuries [16C-19C] alone—’til they were stopped by European [Christian!] powers in the 19th century.)

The same correspondent added this:

Today, a friend posted this on his Facebook:

“It might be immodest to suggest that the odds rather favor the intelligence and curiosity of the atheists, but it is the case that some humans have always noticed the improbability of god, the evil done in his name, the likelihood that he is man-made, and the availability of less harmful alternative beliefs and explanations.”