Bumper sticker historical revisionism

A car at work has this bumper sticker:

The last time we mixed politics and religion people were burned at the stake

Ummmm… I think it has been over 300 years since anyone was burned at the stake in this country (a very unfortunate event in U.S. history). Since that time, mixing of politics and religion has led to some rather positive historical developments, such as the abolition of slavery and the civil rights movement (this person has obviously not read much by Martin Luther King Jr.). We should be thankful that the leaders of these movements did not leave their Christianity at the doorstep when they entered the political realm.

The history of religion, including that of Christianity, has some rather dark pages. I cannot deny that. Atrocities and injustices in the name of Christianity, however, are inconsistent with the teachings of Christ and of the New Testament, and so do not invalidate Christianity, or the involvement of Christians in politics.

This sort of historical revisionism runs rampant in the writings of the “new atheists,” such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. Perhaps a better bumper sticker—one that is a little more accurate in terms of recent history—would be:

The last time we mixed politics and atheism people were sent to the gulag or executed

Grace and Peace

7 thoughts on “Bumper sticker historical revisionism

  1. “one that is a little more accurate in terms of recent history—would be:”

    Except that’s even less accurate.

    Atheism had nothing to do with gulags or executions. Totalitarian rule and the desire of few for power at any cost did that.


  2. Gary

    Atheism of course, had everything to do with the thinking of the prominant mass murderers of the last century. Hitler, Mao, and Stalin were, in addition to being educated socialist intellectuals, convinced Darwinists. To say that what they believed did not affect what they did is preposterous. Hitler’s Mein Kampf is redolent with references to “evolution” and Darwin’s idea fueled Hitler’s preoccupation with racial superiorty and his willingness to act to the extreme. Stalin actually pursued learning in Ecclassiastical school but changed his life’s direction and course after reading Darwin. Mao is also said to have listed Darwin’s book as among his favorites.

    Atheism is not only dumb, it is dangerous.


  3. WebMonk

    Gary, do your argument a favor and not use Hitler. Hitler was about as atheistic as the Pope. Obviously not Catholic or Christian, but a LONG way from being atheistic. Megalomaniac? Absolutely. Power crazy? Sure. Atheist? Not even close.

    He specifically rejected the concepts of Darwinian evolution, or any sort of biological evolution at all beyond what would be the same as the YEC term “microevolution”. His concepts of racial superiority weren’t based on biological superiority or biological evolution. In fact he specifically declares in Mein Kampf that man was created as he is now by a Creator.

    Obviously you’ve never read the book because there are multiple statements that man was made by a creator, and that animals and man have never evolved.

    Ditto for the claim Stalin changed after reading Darwin. There is only one biography which claims Stalin was positively impressed by Darwin’s writing, and even it states that he was already rejecting his ecclesiastical schooling by the time he read Darwin. That biography is somewhat suspect for a few different reasons, only one of which is that Stalin actually disagreed with Darwin and persecuted a number of scientists because they held to Darwinian evolution. He even went so far as to declare “genetics” in general a pseudo-science.

    As for Mao – that’s you argument that Darwin caused Mao’s actions? He listed it among his favorite books?!?!? Also, I just did a quick search for that on the web, and I haven’t found anything to back up that claim. If you had a quote of some sort by Mao listing Origin among his favorite books, I’m sure everyone would appreciate a bit of factual support being thrown in here.


  4. WebMonk

    Ack! Gary, I’m sorry. There is some evidence that Darwin did in fact influence Hitler. There was a letter written a year before Darwin died that does indeed have some staggering implications on the Darwin-Hitler link.

    The link is here: Darwin late letter


  5. geochristian


    Can you point to a single officially atheist state that didn’t oppress its masses?

    I don’t intend to start a “who butchered more people?” argument. That the atheist states of the twentieth century (USSR, DDR, China, Cambodia, Romania, etc.) were repressive is indisputable. That great atrocities have been perpetrated in the name of Christ, or at least with the backing of Christians (I won’t use the “they must not have been real Christians” defense) is also indisputable.

    The basic problem is human nature. Whether religious (or more specifically Christian) or atheist, we tend to seek power and to justify the exclusion of others.

    For atheists to become more true to their atheism doesn’t solve the problem.

    For Christians to become more true to their Savior offers hope for at least a partial healing of our world.


  6. “Hitler, Mao, and Stalin were, in addition to being educated socialist intellectuals, convinced Darwinists.”

    I’m sorry, but first of all, what does Darwinism have to do with not believing in a god or gods?


    Second of all, Hitler was clearly not an atheist. Nor was he correct about his supposed beliefs about evolution. I know nothing about Mao or Stalin’s knowledge of science. Nor does it matter.

    All atheism is, is the lack of belief in a god or gods. I imagine that Hitler, Mao and Stalin all were firm non-believers in leprechauns. That doesn’t mean their lack of leprechaun belief led to the stupid and violent things they did.

    “Can you point to a single officially atheist state that didn’t oppress its masses?”

    Can you point to a single officially religious state that didn’t oppress its masses?

    There has yet to be an officially atheist state that is also built on things like democracy and humanistic values. Some countries in Europe are close, and are statistically much better off in nearly every way than religious countries, but those are only implicitly atheist states.

    “For atheists to become more true to their atheism doesn’t solve the problem.”

    What does that even mean? How can I become more true to “I don’t believe in a god or gods”?


  7. Boz

    We could equally say that Newcastle United (EPL) supporters oversaw the deaths of 100,000 Iraqi civillians in the last seven years.

    Maybe we should all stop supporting Newcastle United ?


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