Secular humanists and atheists regularly attempt to discredit Christianity with trite acclamations of blame for every ill and tragedy that ever afflicted earth. "Look at all the wars started over religion," the tired atheist mantra goes. They claim that "the spirit of man" would never inflict such brutality on fellow man, but believers in the Spirit of God do evil in order to conquer those who do not share their interpretations of Him. Man has and does treat man inhumanely. That's not God's fault. That's man's fault. That's the same thinking that postulates people have no responsibility for their actions, that it's always some external force's fault. Almost anything is at fault — broken homes, disease, bad economy. Never man. The devil made me do it. Wait. Atheists don't believe in him either.
Dr. William Oddie, a former atheist, is a leading English Catholic scholar, writer and broadcaster. He edited The Catholic Herald from 1998 to 2004 and is the author of The Roman Option and Chesterton and the Romance of Orthodoxy. He's one man who is out to set the record straight.
I recently saw an interview he gave a few years ago where he eloquently explained the mind of the atheist, the perception of the atheist of the Christian and, in fact, the evil atheism has wrought but for which it never seems accountable — the horrors of communism and fascism. Here is the remarkable truth in a quote I transcribed (click here and scroll to 292 for the entire one hour interview via podcast):
One of the things the atheist mind is . . . it understands more about religion than the religious person. ... What he doesn't understand is that what he has seen has nothing to do with the reality of the thing itself.
(A famous English politician and convert to Christianity) said, "For all these years I've been shadow boxing with against an invisible opponent who wasn't standing where I thought he was." You need an intellectual start. Mine was the sudden realization of having looked at the history of the 20th century, the first century where avowed atheism had such a massive effect on the history of the human race, and I said to myself, "Is this the century of wisdom or a folly unknown in all human centuries?"
That was the real characterization of this century, this terrible century. You then ask the question, "Does this have anything to do, causally, with the loss of the Christian faith?" because the most venomous and effective atheism was in those countries which had formerly been Christian — we'll leave China out of it — but Russia, Germany, and the answer was yes.
So one was driven to the conclusion that in this most self assertive and arrogant culture the human race had ever seen was also the most spiritually barren and bankrupt and that, therefore, about religious questions it seemed it was turning out, it was wrong and not right.
Here's Dr. Oddie in a half-hour interview about his life as an author:
The clap from secularists about the evils and wars instigated by Christianity is one of the great unanswered, disingenuous, misleading assertions ever conjured. Atheists are not innocent and have undertaken more terror than can be documented. Since they claim there is no God, who, then, do they blame for these evils and those that persist to this day? The next time you hear one blame Christianity for one thing or the other, ask them.