Audio debate: Should Christians be coerced to act like non-Christians by the state?

Our next debate in the series of 4 wacky British debates is on whether Christians should be allowed to express their faith in public. In particular, should Christians be allowed to express their faith in the workplace? In the UK, it sounds like it is virtually illegal, just like it was in Stalinist Russia or North Korea today.

The way it works in the UK is like this: if you are a nurse, and you offer to pray for a patient, you’re suspended. Period. The offendedness of thin-skinned atheists cancels out the liberties of Christians. Listening to the atheist Terry Sanderson is like listening to Stalin. American Christians will be shocked to find how atheism leads naturally to fascism. Listen to him for yourself!

Note that debates on the Unbelievable radio show start at about 15 minutes into the podcast.


Unbelievable? 18 Apr 2009 – Are Christians being marginalised?
Premier is inviting Christians to sign the “I am a Christian” declaration at www.iamachristian.org.uk and stand up for their Christian faith. It’s in response to the fact that over 100,000 have downloaded the National Secular Society’s “Debaptism” certificate, renouncing childhood baptismal vows.There have been a number of stories that suggest Christians are being restricted form being open about their Christian faith in the public arena, and now the National Secular Society is urging that hospital chaplains should not be funded by the NHS.Premier’s CEO Peter Kerridge explains why he believes the campaign will encourage Christian to be bold in their faith. Terry Sanderson of the National Secular Society explains why they want to take Christian influence out of the public sphere, while Andrea Williams of Christian Concern for Our Nation explains why she believes the rights of Christians are being challenged.

Sign the declaration at www.iamachristian.org.uk

For Terry Sanderson see www.secularism.org.uk

For Andrea Williams see www.ccfon.org


Atheism naturally leads to heavy-handed censorship of other views.

Human rights and liberties have no place in an atheistic, materialistic universe – it’s just survival of the fittest. And that’s what led atheist regimes to murder 100 million people in the 20th century. Violence, hatred and coercion are natural on atheism. That’s consistent atheism. There are no objective moral values, moral duties and morally significant actions in an atheistic universe. It’s all accidental.

Yes, I am exaggerating for effect, many atheists are not like that, especially the libertarians and fiscal conservatives, who do believe (inconsistently) in morality and freedom of religion. But those are rare! In a materialist universe, there is no such thing as objective human rights and human dignity, so even the fundamental right of free speech and freedom of religious expression can be removed.

UPDATE: I just want to define fascism so people understand what I am saying. Fascism is the system of government in which the values and purposes of the state are imposed on the people through state coercion. When something that someone else says makes you feel bad, and you threaten them with state coercion, you are using the state to force that person to give up their fundamental rights, such as the right to free speech, and act in a state-approved manner. That’s fascism.

Atheists need to learn how to listen to those who disagree with them and tolerate other points of view.

UPDATE: Be sure and check my comparison of a famous, authentic, consistent Christian with a famous, authentic, consistent non-Christian.

10 thoughts on “Audio debate: Should Christians be coerced to act like non-Christians by the state?”

  1. 1) I have never read so much rubbish as I just have. Are you seriously saying that Atheists are responsible for the deaths of millions of people and yet you include none of the religions whose wars have led to countless more deaths?

    2) [Wintery Knight paraphrases]: What did Christians do to stop Hitler in WW2?

    3) [Wintery Knight paraphrases]: But isn’t Christianity supportive of wars of aggression such as conducted by Germany in WW2?

    4) There have been many good and bad, of faiths and of no faith yet so worried are you by the simple wish of some people to have church and state separated that you use half truths, leave out pertinent facts or omit them altogether. Some of you will even lie.

    If that is the face of your christianity, then it is of little wonder that people turn away from it, either by finding another faith or by having no faith at all.

    5) Your example of the nurse above, mentions nothing of the fact that she was asked by the patient to stop and or that she has a record of trying to impose her beliefs on those who wish to have none of it or are content with their own faith and have no need or desire for the zealotry displayed by this woman or indeed for others who feel they have a right to inflict their views on others.

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    1. Thanks for your comment. Sorry I had to edit your comment a bit, I hope I didn’t change the meaning of what you said. Now don’t be too unhappy, with me, let’s have a dialog, at least for a bit.

      Here’s my response:

      1) Here’s my source for the 100 million deaths due to communism, an atheist system that represses free expression of faith. I can provide you with citations of atheist leaders in communist countries explaining how war flowed from their atheist views that the universe is an accident and humans are just animals and morality is a sham. I am only interested in defending Christianity, so for this point I need you to give me the list of wars started for specifically Christian reasons, and then show me in the Bible where Jesus sanctions these wars. I also need a body count for each war in your list. You can include a body count for the Inquisitions and the witch trials, as well. Thanks.

      2) On atheism, where is the moral standard that allows you criticize what the Nazis did? Let me help. Is it your personal opinion? Or is it the evolved standard in place in your culture at this time? Or is it an objective standard that governs any culture at any time in history? I need to know what you mean by right and wrong, on atheism, before I answer the charge. Next, please find for me the part in the Bible where Jesus urges his followers to engage in wars of aggression and genocide.

      3) Again, I need an explanation, on atheism, for why wars of aggression are wrong, then the Bible verse that shows where Jesus supports wars of aggression and genocide. These things are not forbidden on atheism, (nothing is), but they are forbidden in Christianity.

      4) Again, on atheism, what do you mean by good and bad? Also, we do not have an official church in the USA, so we do have separation of church and state. How do you think that separation of church and state should limit the Constitutionally-guaranteed right to free speech and to freedom of religious expression? In short, why do your unhappy feelings justify the removal of fundamental human rights, rights that are grounded in God, and not grounded anywhere on atheism, I might add.

      5) What do you mean when you say that the nurse was imposing her beliefs? Do you mean that speaking freely to people should be controlled by the state? If not, how do you propose to prevent people from speaking freely about whatever they wish?

      Thanks. Take it easy, we’ve got time.

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  2. Well, I’m disappointed that you felt a need to rewrite my original email but I can’t say I’m too surprised.

    I’m sorry, but when you said you had sources for the hundred million deaths caused by Atheism, I thought it would more than just a website sponsored by a discredited former U.S. President whose actions have led to the deaths of many of his fellow countrymen and women but also to thousands of Iraqis and who has postured on the world stage but done nothing for humanity.

    You ask me for proof of wars started for specifically christian reasons. Well, I could start with the second Roman invasion of Britain, which also included most of Western Europe. Not a nice time to be an unbeliever of any sort, unlike during the first Romano invasion. We can then move on to the Crusades and the invasion of the Arab nations there with the subsequent savagery that attended them. Next? How about the Spanish Armada and the French/Spanish war with Britain based purely because one of our kings fell out with the catholic religion, and we should surely remember the Spanish Inquisition, that was a nasty little war all in itself.

    Let’s see, we’ve got the British civil war, again, over religion. I’m ignoring wars in Europe that don’t directly affect the UK, by the way. But let’s not forget the Spanish invasion of South America and the mindless violence that erupted from that. Or indeed, the murder of thousands of North American Indians, all done with the blessing of the church. Two examples which could justly be called Holocausts.

    We have various wars with Europe after that, but mostly over Empire (but yet again, an endeavour vigorously encouraged by the church) until we come to the Great War where it was your christian duty to fight the hun as much as it was your christian duty to fight the French/British/American troops, moving swiftly on to the second Great War, where Hitler’s troops invaded Europe, sent millions to the camps, all with the motto “Gott mitt uns” giving the delusion that their “work” would be approved by a higher authority and all the while, the church, either protestant or catholic did nothing. How many dead is that? Who knows but even Stalin’s excesses are reckoned to be around the 20 million mark, leaving 80 million others according to your figures. I very much doubt China lost eighty million during the Chinese Revolution.

    There have been various smaller atrocities around the world, all in the name of religion. You ask me to show you in the bible where jesus specifically sanctions these wars. Why should I need to do that, it’s your religion, and others, that have caused these wars and it has been the interpretation of those biblical words which have caused so much harm in this world. I don’t need to specify anything, you need to defend your argument about the interpretations based on this book of your god. Mind you, what is your view on Gods instruction to Moses to go out and kill everything of the Amalekites? I believe that is in your bible.

    As for asking me to provide specific casualty details, well, I think asking me to provide the casualty list for an invasion two thousand years ago is being a bit silly really, you know I can’t provide such a list any more than you can. There are, of course, estimates, such as those for the English Civil War in which it has been said the dead and injured equalled that of the Great War. But then, in the examples you quote, there aren’t specific casualty lists, only approximations.

    As for Atheism, why shouldn’t atheists have as good a knowledge of right and right as any one else, such as Sikhs, Muslims, Hindus or even Christians. You don’t have to be a christian or be religious at all to be aware of a moral code which embraces right and wrong. Again, I fail to see why I should provide you with quotes in the bible where people are urged to wage war, if there are any, again, you know as well as I do that the interpretation of that book by its readers who use it as the sole authority on what’s right and wrong, go out and do harm. I doubt very much there are any parts of the bible where it says go out and torture to death all those who do not believe but that’s the very thing which was done in your gods name during the Spanish Inquisition and by others throughout history. You know this, yet you argue that it doesn’t happen. I find it quite odd.

    As for the nurse, she was asked by the patient not to pray or proselytise yet she ignored that specific request. She had the right to speak freely, and still does, but when a person is asked not to do something and that person ignores that request, then you are not speaking freely, your are impinging on another persons rights and no matter what your belief, you don’t have that right.

    Now, ‘m pretty sure, that you will alter this reply as you did my first post into something that fits your particular world view of atheism and Christianity but all it will show me, is that your faith in religion is so fragile, that you feel you have to shield it from any fully justified criticism. As others of your ilk do, the truth will be distorted, facts will be omitted or presented in a poor light and you will think you have done the will of your god. You will, of course, have done nothing of the kind, unless your god is a cruel vindictive being which you claim he isn’t.

    For me, all this nonsense about militant atheism and religion under attack is puerile and arrant nonsense. The hierarchy of the various churches see their comfortable positions under threat from a congregation now doing a bit more than just turning up and kneeling and are trying to cloud the issue with a smokescreen about how their religion is under attack. Which it isn’t.

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    1. Atheism’s record

      Here is R.J. Rummel, a professor of political science at University of Hawaii:

      With this understood, the Soviet Union appears the greatest megamurderer of all, apparently killing near 61,000,000 people. Stalin himself is responsible for almost 43,000,000 of these. Most of the deaths, perhaps around 39,000,000 are due to lethal forced labor in gulag and transit thereto. Communist China up to 1987, but mainly from 1949 through the cultural revolution, which alone may have seen over 1,000,000 murdered, is the second worst megamurderer. Then there are the lesser megamurderers, such as North Korea and Tito’s Yugoslavia.

      Obviously the population that is available to kill will make a big difference in the total democide, and thus the annual percentage rate of democide is revealing. By far, the most deadly of all communist countries and, indeed, in this century by far, has been Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge. Pol Pot and his crew likely killed some 2,000,000 Cambodians from April 1975 through December 1978 out of a population of around 7,000,000. This is an annual rate of over 8 percent of the population murdered, or odds of an average Cambodian surviving Pol Pot’s rule of slightly over just over 2 to 1.

      In sum the communist probably have murdered something like 110,000,000, or near two-thirds of all those killed by all governments, quasi-governments, and guerrillas from 1900 to 1987. Of course, the world total itself it shocking. It is several times the 38,000,000 battle-dead that have been killed in all this century’s international and domestic wars. Yet the probable number of murders by the Soviet Union alone–one communist country– well surpasses this cost of war. And those murders of communist China almost equal it.

      Communism is a worldview that explicitly repudiates the truth of religion and the idea that man is created in the image of God. If God is dead, all things are permissible. Atheism, historically, has been the moral foundation for mass murder and genocide.

      Christianity’s record

      For all of your examples, no link to the Bible was even attempted. The assertions that wars were conducted for religious purposes was made, but not substantiated with a single piece of evidence.

      I’ll help you again with a list. There are only a few areas where Christian doctrine appears to have been a factor:

      – the Crusades (between 2 and 100 thousand according to Encarta, I say about 30 thousand)
      – the Inquisition (about 2000 dead)
      – the Salem witch trials (about 25 dead)

      I won’t worry too much about the 25 dead from the witch trials. Let’s take a closer look at the others with the help of Dinesh D’Souza, who has sustained these points in debates against Hitchens and other prominent atheists:

      The Crusades:

      “The Crusades were a belated and necessary Christian enterprise to block Islamic invasion and conquest. Remember that before Islam, virtually the entire Middle East was Christian. Egypt, Syria, Palestine, Jordan—these areas were predominantly Christian. The Muslims conquered the region, and then Muslim armies invaded Europe, conquering parts of Italy and virtually all of Spain, which the Muslims ruled for nearly 700 years. The Muslims over-ran the Balkans and were at the gates of Vienna. Edward Gibbon, no friend of Christianity, says that if the Christians hadn’t fought back then, today at Oxford and Cambridge—and by extension Harvard and Duke—we’d all be studying the teachings of Muhammad in the Arabic language. Western civilization, then called Christendom, was mortally threatened. The Crusades, for all their excesses, helped to prevent this disastrous outcome.”

      The Inquistions:

      “Well, the best scholarship on the Inquisition shows that approximately 2,000 people were killed by the Spanish Inquisition over a period of 350 years. I would never apologize for the Inquisition, which I think represented a terrible strain in late-medieval Christianity. I am glad that Christianity is different now, and the closest thing you have to a religious inquisition today would be something like the regime of the ayatollahs in Iran. Still, how can you even compare the casualties of the Inquisition to those of the atheists’ regimes? Even a second-rate atheist despot like Pol Pot killed more people in a month than the Inquisition managed to do in three centuries.”

      More on the Crusades here.

      Do belt buckles on SS troops prove anything?

      Here is a historical assessment by Dinesh of Hitler’s vicious hatred of Christianity. Also, I recently wrote a post where I contrasted the morality of an authentic Bible-believing Christian with an authentic Darwin-believing non-Christian. The morality you inherited today in the West is a morality left-over from the prominence of Christianity in the last few centuries. It is based on Christian ideas, and explicitly so, ideas that have NO GROUNDING on atheism.

      Please explain to me how a 3-word inscription on belt buckles undergirded Hitler’s wars of aggression, and explain the real record of his hatred of Christianity in his own actual writings. On your view, you would have to argue that Barack Obama is a Christian, because he claimed to be one. Don’t we actually have do some scholarly study to link external activities directly back to specific Biblical teachings in order to claim that there was a meaningful link? If I taught my parrot to claim to be a Christian in his speeches, would he also be a Christian?

      What is the ground for a moral standard on atheism?

      Again, you had nothing to say here because there is no standard of morality on atheism. None. Atheists do what they please. Indeed, that is the whole point of it – to rebel against morality. If you would like to try again to tell me where is the content and being of the atheist moral standard, I would be delighted to hear.

      Until then, the moral language you use in praising this and condemning that is literally meaningless gibberish. There is no standard that you can use, on atheism, in order to praise or denounce anything in the world, past present and future. I offered you 3 alternatives for the source of the moral standard, you declined to answer. Answer the question, please. Where is this moral code that atheists follow? What is the reason for following it when it goes against their own self-interest? What does it matter, on atheism, whether atheists follow the moral code, or not?

      Are you familiar with the concept of “heat death of the universe”. Eventually, the usable energy in the universe will run down and no life will be possible. This occurs whether atheists act one way or another. What does it matter for atheists ultimately if they act this way or that way? Is it not the case that what is rational, on atheism, is for atheists to simply do what pleases them most at any given moment? What reason is there, given the meaningless of life on atheism, for putting selfishness second and morality (and you need to point me to the atheist moral standard) first?

      The nurse

      If you ask someone to shut up, and they don’t shut up, do you then remove their means of earning a living? Do you imprison them? Do you torture them? Do you murder them? Do you remove their fundamental rights by means of state coercion?

      Or, do you grow up and realize that in life you are going to hear things you disagree with and that is not a justification for destroying the fundamental liberties of individuals by imposing fascism on individual values.

      This is where the impulse in atheism that justifies mass murder and genocide comes from. You feel strongly in the removal of the fundamental rights of those who disagree with you. The idea of tolerating other views seems wrong to you. Instead, atheism seems to bring out the fascist impulse, and you use the very means that you condemn in others against those who have different beliefs than you do. In Christianity, we ought to love our enemies. Show me where this idea is in atheistic prescriptions of morality. (I.e. – where is “you ought to love your enemies” on atheism?)

      Here’s an idea: how about going out right now and finding the first evangelical Christian you meet and buying them lunch in order to listen to why they are a Christian and what it means to them? I did that 3 times with atheists this week, and will be posting the results of my interviews in a highly-anticipated series about what atheists think. All of these atheists are my personal friends, they know my real identity and could blow my cover at any time. Do you have any Christian friends that you love with all your heart? I do. Love for enemies is explicitly taught by Jesus in the Bible.

      Conclusion

      Thanks for your comment. I enjoyed responding to it. Please comment again soon, I won’t mind to hear your ideas. Differences of opinions are welcome here!

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  3. Now, I know it’s your website and you can do what you like with my responses but please don’t cherry pick bits of it upon which you think you base an argument. Give whatever audience you have (and I have no way of knowing how big it is), the chance to make up their own mind.

    Rummel? Much criticised for lack of empirical evidence and lack of research. I dismiss him out of hand. There are plenty of serious academics out there with more valid view points.

    You quote the Inquisition as having 2000 deaths, others say less, some more but you neglect to mention the terror that this Inquisition spread throughout Europe nor the many folk who suffer at the hands of these people, some would call it psychological warfare. I really cannot believe that you think the Roman invasion of Britain was not a religious war. It’s a matter of historical record. As is the invasion of much of Europe by this christian army.

    As for the Crusades, all of them, were a religious war, and not just focused upon the religion of Islam but on many other religions as well as the then current popes enemies and had nothing to do with an Islamic invasion of Europe. The invasion of Spain by the Muslims did not end in a massacre of christians and Italy was never invested but shipping from islands they had invested near the Italian coast was threatened. Again, historical fact. The siege of Vienna was well after the Crusades which ended in the 13th century, the siege of Vienna was in the 15th. Nothing to do with a crusade at all.

    England had a good enough army and a not inconsiderable navy to have made an Islamic army think twice. We haven’t been invaded since the Norman conquest and that was by chance so I very much doubt anyone would have been learning the Koran at Oxford or Cambridge and by extension, any US seat of learning.

    As for words on belts, it’s funny how you dismiss these words yet rely so heavily on the words in your bible. It’s also quite telling that you dismiss the fact that Hitler was a christian in his early years, as was Stalin (who also expressed that he wished he had stayed in the church and become a priest) such a shame that these two christian men later came to be the men we know today yet you paint them as dyed in the wool atheists from the day they were born. Sadly, for your argument, they were not.

    You said that if you taught your parrot Christianity, would it become a christian. I would doubt it but you do that to children, incessantly. Not all of them believe, many of those who do later disbelieve. In some of them, you do irreparable harm.

    Atheists do not do as they please. I do not and many more do not. Just as some christians do. There are shades to both sides, to deny it and insist that black is black and white is white is nothing more than self delusional. Atheists are constrained within the law as much as any one else and have their own moral compass. To say that they don’t because they are not christian is objectionable. To infer, as you do, that all atheists are capable of the acts of Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot et al, is dishonest and dishonourable to all those who have fallen in the service of their country. Not all the war dead were christian, but I would imagine upon seeing the carnage of the trenches in the Great War, many would profess a belief that a caring loving god would be incapable of allowing such suffering and swiftly come to the conclusion that there wasn’t one. I find much of what you say to be a nonsense and as such it makes this discussion a nonsense as well.

    Again, with the nurse, she ignored the patients requests to stop. When will you accept that she did not have the right, in that persons own home, to carry on with her evangelising after being asked to stop? If I came into your home and started evangelising for atheism, was asked to stop and didn’t, what exactly would you do? That nurses means of earning a living was not stopped. You know it, I know it yet you persist in these ridiculous half truths. She acted outside the scope of her job, which was to give medical care.

    Again, to me, all this shows to me is that your faith is flawed and is so fragile that you, and others, are afraid of what comes after that realisation, and you fight against it. The trouble is, you are fighting the wrong people and in that fight you resort to deception, half truths and distorted facts. You even distort history.
    I do genuinely feel sorry for you. I won’t be responding further to this website as it seems rather pointless. Your views are entrenched and you are not prepared to entertain the views of others that don’t meet your criteria.
    Cheers now

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    1. Angie, you are a good sport. You get the last word, because that’s the policy of the blog. Challengers always get the last word here. I really appreciated your comments, so much so that I will be pasting them into a separate post! Thanks again.

      Oh, and I am very sorry if I was mean at all. I like disagreeing, but I don’t like making people feel badly.

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  4. @Angie

    A person is not a Christian merely because they paint a cross on their sword and start misguidedly quoting the bible in support of violence. The real question is whether such actions are in fact justifiably consistent with Christ’s teachings. A cursory glance at the Sermon on the Mount would demonstrate to any open-minded person that this was definitely not the case.

    Now I understand why a Christian or Muslim might take objection to the crusades or Hitler or Stalin. What I don’t understand is why atheists do. Why do you think that war/killing is ‘bad’? This is the question raised earlier in these postings. I am genuinely intrigued to know your answer. From a non-theist point of view, I cannot imagine any intellectually satisfying argument against any war or killing (I do appreciate and accept that, as a matter of fact, you stand against them but how does atheism aid this noble standpoint?). Indeed from the perspective of naturalist neuroscience, those taking part in a war were always going to do so; there was no real choice involved (there being nothing more than random chemical reactions in the brain determining behaviour in line with environmental constraints). It seems clear that you have wholly failed to establish your case here.

    “Atheists are constrained within the law as much as anyone else and have their own moral compass”

    Yes, but British law itself reflects a Christian system of morality. British atheists do not have their own moral compass – it’s been largely borrowed from the hundreds of years of British Christian heritage. Indeed, how could atheists derieve any system of morality from their worldview?

    Education

    You rail against a non-existent system. I was educated in the British education system and had philosophical naturalism shoved down my throat. I was actively mocked by teachers and fellow-pupils for my theist worldview. It was only when I began to seriously study at university that I began to realise just how intellectually unsatisfying and unjustifiable naturalist dogmas are.

    The Nurse

    “As for the nurse, she was asked by the patient not to pray or proselytize”

    Actually, this is not accurate. The truth of the matter is that the old lady she was praying for did NOT ask her to refrain from doing so. In fact it was not she who complained – it was a relative who did so after the lady told them she had been prayed for. Further, the nurse cannot be said to have been ‘proselytizing’. In any event, what would it matter if she was? Providing she did not cause distress (she most certainly didn’t), why would it be problematic for her to discuss her sincerely held Christian beliefs?

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  5. Angie: “I very much doubt anyone would have been learning the Koran at Oxford or Cambridge and by extension, any US seat of learning.”

    Well, Cambridge and Oxford were started by Christians, as an outflowing of Christianity. So I’ll doubt it too:
    If it wasn’t for Christianity, there probably would not have been any Oxford or Cambridge.

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  6. Sanderson’s attitude was telling in that debate. He said he would be angry if someone offered their religion to him. Why? All he has to do is say no thanks. If someone came up and started praying for him without his permission then he might have a case. Otherwise, say no thanks, get on with your day and stop revealing your dislike of religion by censoring other people who don’t believe as you do.

    He made me so annoyed.

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    1. They seem to think that their feelings of being offended justifies them in removing fundamental rights from other people. There is no right to not be offended – but there is a right to free speech. No Christian I know would persist after being told “no thanks”.

      Like

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