David Nicholls’ article contains some mischaracterizations, both of theistic religion and atheistic nationalism, as well as some selective history. For those who wish to know up front, I’m a Calvinist Presbyterian–not because of Calvin, but because of the teachings of Christ, and those of His Father. I’m also an engineer, and some of Nicholls’ arguments just don’t add up. Nicholls complains of the world’s current state of affairs and offers a solution. Our current problems are because of mankind’s “unquestioning belief in its gods,” and Nicholls suggests that the best solution is to have a world without “God” at all.
As an engineer I have been trained to analyse a scenario and suggest a solution, much like Nicholls does here. A viable solution requires some demonstration or other evidence that it will work, but what is missing from Nicholls’ proposed solution is any proof that his solution would solve the problems he identifies. In fact, his solution would do the opposite of what he promises.
Nicholls laments the murders of innocents during the Inquisitions, the Crusades, slavery, and the Conquistadors, blaming all of these on a belief in God. However, there are historical examples of entire nations which were built on Nicholls’ solution (i.e., a rejection of God) but he makes no mention of them. Before Nicholls can legitimately propose a rejection of God as a solution, he needs to show that his solution works. It does not.
Consider how Nicholls’ experiment has worked in the past in countries that have adopted his motto of “There is no God”: The a-Theist Soviet Union murdered 20 million people last century. (Lenin’s regime murdered more people in its first 5 months than all of Czarist Russia in the preceding century.) A-Theist Communist China has murdered 65 million people this century, at home and through its sponsored regimes abroad. All of them under Nicholls banner of “There is no God.” These nations were built on Nicholls’ a-Theism. Before any of us sits at his feet as his eager students, we should first await his defence of this “solution.” Let’s just look at the math.
In all the Roman Catholic Crusades (over a 250 year period from 1096 to 1256) a high estimate of the deaths on both sides is 9 million. In all the Roman Catholic Inquisitions (over 300 years) about 60,000. In the Salem Witch Trials over a period of 3-5 months in 1692, 20 deaths. And the deaths from a-Theistic Communism in the last century alone: at least 85 million. Just a simple mathematical examination of his solution shows that extremist “christians” were unable to match the efficiency of the murderous madness of Nicholls utopia.
Although these a-Theistic atrocities are significant, and Nicholls’ failure to address them is a scholastic blunder, there is something curious about what he really seems to want. Although Nicholls doesn’t come out and say it, his underlying desire is for a western world that is uninfluenced by Christianity, or an eastern world uninfluenced by a-Theistic humanism. In other words, he either wants atheism without its effects, or liberty without its cause. Surely Nicholls would agree that if Crusades, Inquisitions, Jihads and Witch Hunts are the fruit of a religious world view, he would have to own up to the fruits of his proposed world view.
So what is the cause of liberty, and who came up with a republican democracy? Certainly not Lenin, Stalin, Marx, Pol Pot, Idi Amin and Mao Tse Tung!!!! So to whom do we owe the parliamentary representation form of government under which freedom has endured in the western world? One can certainly see its seeds in Exodus 18:20-22, where Moses’ father-in-law recommends that godly men be appointed to represent the issues of the people to Moses. Oliver Cromwell, the great English Christian general, implemented a similar policy over his fighting men and had them form groups from whom an elected representative would report to him. We see this interesting representative form of government emerge all over the free western world, including in America where Godly men established a nation which honoured God through the slogan Nicholls would repudiate: In God We Trust. While it is true that the people of this nation were sinful men, even in their frothing zeal they could never match the evils wrought on the world by Nicholls’ experiments in atheism. I trust the reader, if not David Nicholls, can see how silly his “solution” really is.
In addition to the above, Nicholls should also consider the differences between Protestants and Roman Catholics. In his article he makes no differentiation between them. Nations which are historically Roman Catholic have not fared as well politically or economically as nations which are historically Protestant, so lumping them together does not make sense, and it is especially anachronistic and ahistorical to impute the Crusades, the Inquisitions and the Conquistadors on the Protestant West. The Crusades, the Inquisitions and the Conquistadors were Roman Catholic-sponsored. In fact, England resisted the papal magisterium in Europe, and when the Church of England started acting like the Roman Catholic Church by forcing a state religion, some English Christians of Cromwell’s ilk moved to America and established this free nation, a representative republic. We in Australia, England and America are very very far from the murders Nicholls would assign to us, and even the Roman Catholic errors pale in comparison to what Nicholls prescribes for the world.
One might realistically imagine that Nicholls, despite his protestations, actually prefers life under an “oppressive” God-fearing western style democracy like Australia (or America) to life under a “liberating” murderous anti-God communist regime in China, Cambodia or the former Soviet Union. And that is the rub. Nicholls likes what the west offers, but hates why the west can offer it. He wants the effect of Christian influence–a Protestant Christian influence–on a society, without the cause. Likewise, he wants the cause of an a-Theistic humanist government without the mass murders and oppression that come with it. But this is fantasy, because there is no cause without effect, and there is no effect without cause.
And to top it all off, Nicholls makes the laughable claim that if we only were more open-minded and taught our children to have multiple sex partners–of both genders and at the same time–, abort any resulting babies and masturbate and participate in anal sex and distribute condoms on top of that, western society would be that much better off. Talk about the end of civilisation as we know it! That’s just silly, but it’s what Nicholls actually proposes as a viable alternative to an ordered society built on Protestant Christian values, with whole families with educated children taught in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. And then he concludes with some advice for the rest of us which he has no intention of following himself. Read his advice and see if you can find his hypocrisy:
Instead of young minds being filled with the taken-for-granted “truths” of parents, those minds should be exposed to all philosophies with emphasis on none.
David, what you have proposed IS a philosophy, and if you have children, I have no doubt you will emphasize YOUR philosophy above all others–that is, your philosophy of moral relativism and no absolute truths. To see how silly your advice is, try raising your children without emphasizing THIS philosophy which you propose for the rest of us. Pretty hard, isn’t it? Because what you have proposed is a philosophy that leads to the murder and destruction of all who disagree, especially for those of us “masses” for whom trust in God is merely “an opiate” in your eyes. Just look at the Chi-Coms and the Soviet Communists of the 20th century who had no tolerance for people who believed in truth and God. Thanks, but no thanks. Just as your proposed philosophy requires the absolute rejection and elimination of my world view, you must accept that my world view requires an absolute rejection of yours.
You can’t have a cause without its effect, David, and to propose as much is foolishness. Though he desires it, Nicholls cannot have his godless humanism without its fruits, as an entire century of murderous atheism has shown. And though he loves living with them, Nicholls cannot have his western freedoms without the Christian influence that caused it.
For those of you who have ears to hear, Galatians 5:1 and Galatians 2:4 seem appropriate:
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”
“And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage.”
And for David Nicholls, psalm 53:1 sums up your entire philosophy:
“The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good.”
May God Who reigns over the entire earth with justice bless the reader with His magnificent grace through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
There is no God, but YHWH, and Jesus Christ of Nazareth is His Son!!
By Tim K