Then the LORD spoke to Job out of the storm. He said: “Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone – while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?”
Increasingly we human beings have grown independent of God in our own imaginations. We have put God on trial and out of our collective “wisdom and knowledge” have decided that He is unjust, or that he does not exist at all. In our pride and in the vain imaginings of our hearts we have mocked Him and His Word. And if self-pride has not lifted us up, then we have tried self-pity, feeling so sorry for ourselves that we believe we are justified to blame God.
To this generation these words God thundered to Job so many centuries ago ring with fresh meaning. Who are we to judge God, the Creator of the Universe? We have not the wisdom, the knowledge, or the right to advise or criticize Him.
Yet God is patient with our attempts to do so. He gently answers in love and compassion. We do not intimidate Him nor make Him respond like some insecure human would. He answered Job in His power and might because this was what Job needed to be reminded of, and we also need the same reminder today. But God is still gentle and loving and gracious – even though He is also the holy and righteous Judge – and we should treat Him with all the love and reverence that these realities demand.
One of the lies that is often perpetuated today is that religion has caused the greatest problems of the world, specifically the Christian religion. People normally point to such blight on our reputation as the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, and the witch trials, to justify these accusations. While these events are sad and embarrassing moments in Christian history, events which we should shake our heads and wonder how they ever came to be, there are a few facts that make mitigate in Christianity’s favor.
First, is the fact that these events happened in a contradiction to the teachings of Christ and the basic tenets of Christianity. So they did not arise out of the gospel itself, but were aberrations, corruptions of Christian teachings. The Christian position is to forgive, to turn the other cheek to the offender, to pray for our enemies, to teach the truth with meekness and let God give repentance unto it, to bless those who curse us, and to seek to overcome evil with good, not with violence and vengeance.
Second, however, is the historical research itself. Scholars have an idea of how many people were killed in these historical tragedies. If we combine the estimated death totals of these three events above conservative estimates are: the Crusades cost between 58,000 and 133,000 lives; the Spanish Inquisition resulted in up to 31,912 deaths; and the witch trials resulted in between 30,000 to perhaps 100,000 deaths. These are tragic figures, totaling over 264,000 deaths.
But look more thoroughly in history and we find much worse statistics. For example, Rudolph J. Rummel, political scientist at the University of Hawaii, verifies that the largest mass murderer of humans has been atheistic Communism, and the numbers are staggering.
The total number killed in all of human history is estimated to be about 284,638,000. Of that number, 151,491,000 were killed during the past 100 years. The single largest killer in all of human history is, by far, atheistic Communism with a total of 110,000,000 … over 1/3 of all people ever killed! If we add to that the number just two other regimes where religion of any sort was strongly discouraged, Nazi Germany and Nationalist China, the number rises to 141,160,000. Almost 50% of all the killings in human history were committed in the past 100 years by regimes that either actively promoted atheism or strongly discouraged religion. We have not considered the over one billion abortions, where Christianity seems to be particularly unwelcome. When the murders of history are tallied up, it is very clear that atheism is the most dangerous philosophy ever embraced by humanity. The most effective restraint on man kind’s inherently evil tendencies is faith in God through Jesus Christ, a faith that actually follows the teachings and commands of Jesus Christ as a daily way of life.
Atheists often accuse the Christian religion as being a greatest murderer of people in history but the historical facts simply do not bear this out.
The next time that someone begins to espouse the dangers of Christianity as being the worst mass-murderer of history, simply remind them of the true historical facts, that atheism is the most dangerous philosophy ever embraced by humanity.
We have not brought up the issues of militant Islam, but if we examine those figures we will also find that they far outnumber Christianity’s contributions in this area.
This is not to excuse what deaths have occurred in the name of Christ. We should never be ashamed of the gospel or of Christ, but these are blights on the reputation of Christianity. And we should be sure that nothing like this happens again, for it is contrary to the teachings of Christ.
Lord, we repent for the actions of our brothers and sisters in Christ who have taken Your holy name and used it to abuse and murder others. We pray that the church will never have such moments again and commit ourselves to practice peace and patience with all. We also pray that the dangers of atheism and militant Islam would become apparent to all, that we might be wise and safe. We pray for open doors to the gospel in all the world, that all may hear and learn of Your love and receive the life You offer through Christ. Amen.
 Matthew 5:38-48; 2 Timothy 2:25-26; Ephesians 4:15; Romans 12:14-21
 Kirk Durston, “Just How Many People Has Religion Killed?”, online source, www.theroadtoemmaus.org/RdLb/21PbAr/Pl/DthByAsthsm.htm