Repeating the savagery

Peter HitchensIt is difficult to claim that Christianity has learned nothing from its past cruelty or that such cruelty is written in its laws or prescribed by its beliefs. When did Christians last burn, strangle, or imprison each other for alleged errors of faith?

By contrast, those who reject God’s absolute authority, preferring their own, are far more ready to persecute than Christians have been and have grown more inclined to do so over time. Each revolutionary generation reliably repeats the savagery.

The Bolsheviks knew all about the French revolutionary terror, but that did not stop them having their own. The Chinese Communists knew all about Stalin’s intentional famine and five-year-plans, but they repeated the barbarity with the Great Leap Forward. The Khmer Rouge were not ignorant of their revolutionary forerunners, yet they repeated the evil worse than before. The supposedly enlightened revolution Fidel Castro resorted swiftly to torture and arbitrary imprisonment and to the lawless purging and murder even of Castro’s old comrades such as Huber Matos.

By comparison, where now do we see Christian churches or factions persecuting each other as they did in the Reformation or Counter-Reformation? Nowhere. The delusion of revolutionary progress, and the ruthlessness it justifies, survives any amount of experience. This suggests that terror and slaughter are inherent in utopian materialist revolutionary movements. There will by another of these episodes along soon.

–Peter Hitchens,
The Rage Against God

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