The Coupling Of God With Morality

Dennis Prager writes:

When confronted with Judaism’s (and logic’s) insistence on a transcendent source of morality, the most frequently offered argument by those committed to a godless moral world is: “More people have been killed by religions in the name of God than by anything else.”

This line is, quite simply, false. It is not an opinion with which I happen to differ. It is just false. The fact is that far more people have been murdered — not to mention enslaved and tortured — by secular anti-religious regimes than by all the God-based groups in history.

Mao-Tse Tung’s atheistic regime in China killed between 40 million and 70 million people.

Joseph Stalin’s atheistic regime in the Soviet Union killed 20 million or more people.

Pol Pot’s atheistic regime in Cambodia killed about one out of every four Cambodians.

The North Korean atheistic regime has killed millions of its own people.

Nazism, an irreligious racist doctrine, killed as many as 17 million civilians.

The Hutus slaughtered Tutsis in Rwanda for ethnic and tribal reasons, not religious ones.

The 5.4 million Congolese killed in the last decade has nothing to do with religion.

And at this moment, as regards Jews and the greatest Jewish existential question — that of Israel’s survival — the more religious the American Christian, the more likely he or she is to support Israel, while the greatest enmity toward Israel emanates from the center of secularism, the university.

Those who claim that God-based societies have killed more than any others regularly cite the Crusades and the Inquisition. But this, too, proves my point. First, these events occurred 1,000 years ago and 500 years ago, respectively. If God-belief is such a source of murder, why the need to use examples from so long ago? Second, the Crusades were essentially Christendom’s war to re-conquer the holy places that Muslims had conquered in their wars of aggression against Christianity. Unless one holds that all wars are immoral, this one was not particularly so. What was particularly immoral was the massacring of Jewish communities in Germany by Crusaders on their way to the Holy Land; though even here, one should note that those massacres were never directed by the Church, and that Jews regularly hid in the homes of bishops.

As for the Inquisition, the largest number of executions I have seen for the Inquisition period of 1540-1700 is 3,000. Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, the Hutus in Rwanda, all murdered more in a day than the Inquisition murdered in 160 years.

Today, when one thinks of murder in the name of God, one thinks of Islamic terror. And one is right to. But radical Islam has nothing to do with the Torah or any Judeo-Christian belief system, and its Allah is not the God of the Torah or of the New Testament. Indeed, its adherents target Jews and Christians.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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