Christopher Hitchens and the new atheist crusaders have felt justified in attacking Christians because they look at history and see the abuses committed by the Church. They see the witch hunts, the Inquisition, Southern slavery, and so on. Because of these horrors, they feel comfortable in making the claim that “religion poisons everything,” but this is actually a very shallow view of history.
The reality is that the Church has always been at war with itself. There has always been a battle going on between those who advocate abandoning the Scriptures and those who maintain that the Word is inerrant. Tragically, the Christian who maintains his/her allegiance to the Bible is usually the one that is called the fascist or Nazi, but nothing could be further from the truth. A closer look at the past would even reveal that the fundamentalist/evangelical Christian has consistently been on the right side of history and that they are the only group who has continually confronted abusive religious and political systems.
Who confronted Roman emperor worship? The Christians under the pristine teachings of the apostles, and they often died in the coliseum because of it.
Who confronted papal authority and the injustice of the Inquisition? The Christians, whose rallying cry was “Sola Scriptura,” and they were usually arrested and burnt at the stake for it.
Who confronted southern slavery? The Christians–William Wilberforce, William Lloyd Garrison, and a slew of other believers—arguing that the Southern Old Testament justification for slavery was a wrong interpretation of Scriptures.
Who gently confronted paganism with its dark ignorance, cannibalism, infanticide, etc…? The evangelical Christian missionaries did, often dying in the process.
Who confronted Hitler? The Christians of the Confessing Church who declared, “We reject the false doctrine that the Church could and should recognize as a source of its proclamation, beyond and besides this one Word of God. . .” and they ended up in concentration camps.
Who opposed Communism? Christians, like Watchmen Nee and Richard Wurmbrand, who loved Jesus and the Bible, and were persecuted without mercy for it.
If atheism is the great hope for the world, where are the atheist heroes? What has atheism ever done to set men free from poisonous religions?