Maximus destroys a conventional atheist defense in the process of pointing out a powerful reason for the appeal of Islam:
Can we come to a conclusion on the historical record between religious and atheist forms of man’s governance in terms of quality of life OVERALL?
I think we can conclude that while religious traditions, using the name of God as political cover, have committed much oppression and tyranny, atheism under the Communist banner committed far WORSE atrocities since they were committed in the name of NOTHING! Nothing, that is, other than a man made philosophy about how he should organize and govern himself outside the purview of God’s divine law since He does not exist. Man governing himself does not seem to have worked out all that well for him when he removed God from the equation.
This takes the common – if absurd – atheist defense of historical atheist crimes and turns it on its head. The fact that the crimes of atheists like Stalin, Mao, and others were not committed “in the name of atheism” not only doesn’t serve as an effective defense of atheism, (as I and many others have pointed out), but was actually a factor in exacerbating the magnitude of the crimes.
But this is actually the less interesting aspect of his piece. He notes that the appeal of religion, specifically Islam, was magnified by the way in which it mitigated the slaughter in Rwanda:
Islam…was a small faith in the country of Rwanda at the time of the genocide, almost non-existent. It is rising now faster then ever, mosques overflowing, and playing a part in healing wounds and bringing forgiveness to that country. Why is Islam growing in Rwanda? In their own words:
During the genocide, Muslims were among the few Rwandans who protected both neighbors and strangers. Elsewhere, many Hutus hunted down or betrayed their Tutsi neighbors and strangers suspected of belonging to the minority.
But the militiamen and soldiers didn’t dare go after Tutsis in Muslim neighborhoods like Biryogo, said Yvette Sarambuye, a 29-year-old convert. ”If a Hutu Muslim tried to kill someone hidden in our neighborhoods, he would first be asked to take the holy Quran and tear it apart to renounce his faith,” said Sarambuye, a Tutsi widowed mother of three who survived the slaughter by hiding with Muslims. “No Muslim dared to violate the holy book, and that saved a lot of us.”
For many Hutu extremists, Muslims were regarded as a group apart, not to be targeted in the genocide.
Muslims take God and the Quran VERY seriously. They don’t have faith or belief…they KNOW God exists and that his word came down to man through the holy prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
You will note that while Muslim Hutus did partake in the slaughter, but when they were confronted by their own religious community and asked to leave Islam because it forbids the killing of innocents, they put down their machetes, at least in Muslim neighborhoods. Islam saved lives…by the Koran alone. In contrast to the Christian majority that the country is now moving away from, the Bible did not save anyone as a holy book:
Although the Christian clergy in many communities struggled to protect Tutsis and often died with them, more than 20 Roman Catholic and Protestant priests, nuns and pastors are facing charges related to the killings. Rwandan courts already have convicted two Catholic priests and sentenced them to death.
The Rwandan church failed in much the same way that the Christian church in the West has failed. We tolerate the unrepentant sinners in our midst rather than doing what is explicitly commanded in the Bible, confronting them, demanding repentance, and expelling them from the church community if they will not do so. And in both cases, the resulting consequence is that people walk away from a faith that is not true to itself.
The church that will not confront the adulterer, the thief, the homosexual, the liar, or the gossip is one that will not confront the murderer either when he appears at their door, demanding the blood of the innocent.