Religion has always been a principal cause – perhaps the principal cause – of Manmade Human Suffering.
Christians of all stripes practiced religious intolerance for hundreds of years. At present, however, Christians are the victims of it. They are being persecuted and killed in large numbers, mostly by Communists and Muslims.
In an article in this month’s issue of Commentary magazine, The Worldwide Attack on Christians, David Aikman writes:
A Pew Forum study in 2011 estimated that Christians are persecuted, either by government or hostile social forces, in an incredible 131 of the world’s 193 countries, and they constitute 70 percent of the world’s population. The World Evangelical Alliance believes that 200 million Christians are being singled out for persecution at any one time. At a 2011 Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) conference in Lithuania on the topic of Christian persecution, one delegate estimated that approximately 105,000 Christians lose their lives every year for their faith — a figure that translates into approximately one Christian killed every five minutes.
The informative article is let down by an absurd conclusion:
However much it helps those being persecuted is a matter of debate. But, still, we can pray.
What sort of a god have they invented who needs to be asked to protect his suffering faithful before he’ll take any notice of what’s happening to them and do something about it? And how many centuries of his failing to live up to his reputation for infinite goodness will it take to convince them that he isn’t going to do what they ask anyway?
But to return to the human persecution of Christians: suddenly it’s become a topic in the mass media, or at least in Newsweek.
Nina Shea reports in the National Review:
Best-selling author, film director, women’s-rights advocate, former Dutch parliamentarian, Islamist death-threat survivor, refugee from a Somalian forced marriage, and a fierce champion of individual freedoms — that of others as well as her own — Ayaan Hirsi Ali has demonstrated her courage once more. In the cover story she penned for the current issue of Newsweek, entitled The War on Christians, … Hirsi Ali gives a tour d’horizon of the most politically incorrect subject of all human-rights reporting: the ongoing religious persecution of Christians in the Muslim world. … She criticizes the media for giving short shrift to this development, favoring instead the [totally false – JB] narrative that Muslims are the victims of religious persecution by the West. …
She asserts: “The conspiracy of silence surrounding this violent expression of religious intolerance has to stop. Nothing less than the fate of Christianity — and ultimately of all religious minorities — in the Islamic world is at stake.”
Nothing less. And nothing more.
We deplore religious persecution. We deplore religion.
We don’t say religion has never been good for anyone, but we do say it has done incalculable harm.
We don’t imagine that wars and persecutions would never happen again if religion were to vanish from the earth. But we profoundly wish it would. By as much as human suffering would be reduced by its going, happiness would be increased.