God Incites Human Violence?
Do God's actions in the Bible incite humans to violence?
THE CLAIMED PROBLEM: Gods Violence Incites Human Violence
A serious problem with the violence and injustice in the Bible is that, all too often, the teachings and example of the biblical God have incited cruel acts by his followers.
Many of them reasoned that since God, who is considered just and loving, committed or approved of the most brutal acts, good Christians need not have qualms about behaving likewise. Such logic led the American patriot Thomas Paine to say, The belief in a cruel god makes a cruel man.
I hope by now you can quickly identify the problem with this statement. As we have seen, all of God's actions are just and appropriate, not cruel. He defines law breaking, establishes the penalties for breaking the law, and He warns people, in advance of judging them, when they are breaking the law. In many instances, He gives nations hundreds of years to change their ways. And, although I've not mentioned this before, God, in His mercy, often does not impose the specified earthly penalty on the guilty. God's love, patience, and mercy shines throughout the Bible.
What Did Thomas Paine Believe?
The humanists call on Thomas Paine as an expert who certifies the humanist's claims to be true. What did Thomas Paine believe about God and religion? He believed there is a god that he could know through his own mind, and he rejected all religions. In his book “The Age of Reason” he wrote:
"I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turk church, or by the Protestant church, nor by any
church that I know of. My own mind is my own church."
"All institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit."
He sounds like a humanist dream. A man who puts his trust in himself (his own mind). Thomas Paine denied Jesus is God. He denied the virgin birth, saying it was impossible (that is true, it was impossible, that’s why it is called a miracle of God). He also believed the Christian church was based in "heathen mythology," and the Bible was written by men and was full of problems. He was in alignment with humanistic beliefs. However, an expert on the Bible and its impact on humanity? Nope. Paine was no authority in this area.
We have the humanist accusation that the Bible incites violence. Do they have any evidence to back up that claim? Let's continue reading their web page:
Joseph McCabes treatise The History of Torture illustrates the reasoning process. McCabe reports that during the Middle Ages, there was more torture used in Christian
Europe than in any society in history."
The main cause of this cruelty was the Christian doctrine of eternal punishment. McCabe explains: If, it was natural to reason, God punishes men with eternal torment,
it is surely lawful for men to use doses of it in a good cause.
Here’s another name. Who was Joseph McCabe? Before I start evaluating a statement, I want to know about the person who wrote it. Are they really an authority on the subject? In this case we are looking for authorities on the Bible and world history. So who was Joseph McCabe?
I am going to quote the SecularWeb website for a description of Joseph McCabe:
One of the giants of not only English atheism, but world atheism, Joseph McCabe left a legacy of aggressive atheist and antireligious literature that remains fresh and insightful today. His many works-- he wrote nearly 250 books--could constitute a library of atheism by themselves.
Born in 1867, Joseph McCabe became a Franciscan monk at the age of nineteen. But disgusted with his fellow monks and the Christian doctrine, he left the priesthood for good on February 19, 1896.
Joseph McCabe was a failed monk and a giant of an atheist. He is known for being an evangelist for atheism. That is their authority on the Bible and world history? Not even close. McCabe is a propagandist, not a Biblical authority.
Torture in the Middle Ages
The statement that "there was more torture used in Christian Europe than in any society in history" is certainly a compelling statement, if it were true (it is not). First, however, we need to know what we are talking about so we are all on the same page. We need to define torture.
Does torture include medieval machines such as the rack and thumb screws? Certainly. Does it include starving people to death? Or intentionally working people to death? Yes, to both. What about killing people in furnaces or gas chambers? Yes. So when we think of people who do things like this, who comes to mind?
Hitler, of course. He is always at the top of the list. He murdered 12 million people (including 6 million Jews), many as the result of painful “scientific” experiments (torture). Hitler is often described as a Christian, but he was not. He was a scientific pantheist follower of Darwin. To the world, he proclaimed whatever beliefs would get him what he wanted. In private, he worshipped Arianism and the gods who were in everything. However, Hitler does not come close to the top of the list as far as the number of people tortured and killed.
There is Stalin, who not only murdered millions of Russians, he intentionally starved an entire nation (millions of Ukrainians). Starvation is not a pleasant way to die. It is slow and painful. It is estimated that 6 to 7 million Ukrainians were starved to death by Stalin. In addition, Stalin killed 11 million people in other ways. That is 18,000,000 dead. Stalin was a humanist. However, even Stalin is not close to the man at the top of the list.
The biggest mass murderer in all of history took more lives than Hitler and Stalin combined. We can even add in Pol Pot and a few others. The winner is another humanist, Mao Zedong. From 1958 to 1962, his policies resulted in the death of an estimated 45,000,000 people–from starvation, overwork, and lack of medical care (all methods of torture). In addition, physical torture in Mao’s prisons was commonplace. He had no regard for human life .
Now let’s look at the Middle Ages. The Middle Ages lasted from AD 500 to 1500, and the estimated European population varied from 23 million to 73 million. Based just on raw numbers, at the time of the greatest population during the Middle Ages, the number of people Stalin killed was the equivalent of 25% of the entire European population. In just a couple of decades Mao killed off the equivalent of 61% of the maximum estimated European Middle Age population. In a couple of decades, these two humanists tortured and murdered far more people than were tortured and killed in all of the 1000 years of the Middle Ages. The humanist claim that "there was more torture used in Christian Europe than in any society in history” is a bogus claim. What was really going on?
In a History Today article about violence and law in the Middle Ages, Sean McGlynn, a lecturer at the University of Bristol, writes:
The awareness of danger and violence was in itself a major driving force behind society's seemingly cruel and bloodthirsty acts that have often come to characterize the
medieval world. This was most clearly manifested in the area of crime and punishment
Throughout the whole medieval period there was popular demand for malefactors to receive punishment that was both harsh and purposefully terrifying. This reflected people's
investment in the social order and their anxiety at any perceived threat to it.
Unlike what the humanists state, the brutality of the Middle Ages was the result of a desire for order and safety, and had nothing to do with the Bible inciting people to violence.
So far, all of the claims on this part of the humanist web page are fiction. But, wait! There is more. A whole list of "atrocities" that were the result of human wisdom, not Biblical teaching. Here are the next examples the humanists give:
Other historical examples of violent and unjust acts supported by biblical teachings include: the Inquisition; the Crusades; the burning of witches; religious wars; pogroms against Jews; persecution of homosexuals; forceful conversions of heathens; slavery; beatings of children; brutal treatment of the mentally ill; suppression of scientists; and whippings,
mutilations, and violent executions of persons convicted of crimes. Those acts were a regular part of the Christian world for centuries.
Are these accusations true? Are these “violent and unjust acts” supported by Biblical teachings? The answer is, no they are not.
For example, the Inquisition was persecution by a heretical church against, in many cases, Biblical Christians. The Inquisition was not supported by scripture.
And forceful conversions of heathens?" How does that work? The Bible clearly teaches we cannot make someone become a Christian. Only God can give people the faith needed to believe. Based on the Bible, there is no such thing as a forced conversion in Christianity.
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. - Ephesians 2:8-9
So, based on the Bible it is IMPOSSIBLE to force someone to convert to Christianity. It cannot happen. All it accomplishes, if anything, is to make false converts.
What about persecution of homosexuals? If by that they mean calling homosexuality a sin, that is not persecution, it is reality. Homosexuality is a sin that leads to death. Christians are expressing love when they warn someone that they are engaged in activities that lead to death, especially since in today's world that loving action brings persecution and physical harm to the Christian.
What about slavery? As we have already seen in chapter 35 the Bible condemns slavery as we think of it today. Slavery in the Bible was nothing like the American 18th and 19th century slavery we are familiar with and the humanists hope you will be picturing in your mind.
I assume the humanist intended to represent things done by anyone claiming to be a “Christians” as an evil approved by the Bible. However, I see nothing here that is evil and is supported by the teachings of the Bible. None. There are actions that are evil, such as brutal treatment of the mentally ill, and pogroms against Jews. They happened and were falsely justified using scripture. However, scripture does not support them. They were the actions of evil men.
In addition, there are accusations on this list that are pure fiction, such as the suppression of scientists. Overall this list is another fantasy (aka. fake news)… a list of fictions being used to promote humanist beliefs.
An important principle to keep in mind is: The actions of people calling themselves “Christians” do not define what the Bible teaches. The words of scripture alone define what the Bible teaches.
Conclusion: There is nothing but false accusations and fiction in the claims in this section of the humanist web page.
Next humanist accusation: The Bible Has Teachings Inconsistent with the Laws of Nature
Many of the Bibles claims are inconsistent with the laws of nature. Humanists believe that those claims are both wrong and harmful.
This is an interesting claim, since it is God who created the laws of nature and who also upholds and maintains the laws of nature. Click here to for more on this from the humanist web page, supposedly supporting this claim.