When God Gets Replaced

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Look back to the two great crimes of our century – nazism
and communism – and you will see what happens when
a substitute religion bursts upon the world, untempered
by belief in God’s judgment.

– Roger Scruton

God Is Not A Nazi

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It is said that while the Germans were desecrating a church somewhere in Poland some German sergeant, cockeyed with excitement, stood up in front of the altar and yelled out that if there was a God He would want to prove His existence at once by striking down such a bold and important and terrifying fellow as this sergeant. God did not strike him down. The sergeant went away still excited, and probably the unhappiest man in the world: God had not acted like a Nazi. God was not, in fact, a Nazi, and God’s justice (which everybody obscurely knows in his bones, no matter what he tries to say he thinks), is inexpressibly different from the petty bloodthirsty revenge of Nazis over one another.

– Thomas Merton

The Heart of the Problem

119773145_0419a86325_m-copy-2Those seeking to condemn religion as the great source of human violence will inevitably cite the Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition. Those seeking to defend religious faith and place the blame for human atrocity elsewhere will invariably respond by pointing to the Holocaust and the Gulag…

At the root of these atrocities, whether they are classified as “religious” or “secular,” we find neither religion or ideology. These atrocities and all atrocities are the product of human nature. It is our inborn inclination to pursue our own self-interest and to disregard the interests of those outside our particular group . . . that drives humans to enslave and kill. And it is because humans are born with this evil inclination that genocide and slavery have been so common in so many of our cultures for so long.

The great insight of the Judeo-Christian tradition is that we are the source of evil in the world. The great promise of the Judeo-Christian tradition is its power to inspire men to overcome evil in their hearts…

Modern ideologies such as Nazism and Communism, by contrast, did not seek to transcend human nature, but to empower it. These new ideologies turbo-charged our natural selfishness and encouraged it as the greatest good. Elevating and unleashing humanities dangerous impulses was a perilous enterprise. Genocide was as certain as the sunrise.

The point is this: Communism and Nazism were not evil ideologies that coincidentally rejected the Judeo-Christian idea. These ideologies were evil precisely because they rejected the Judeo-Christian idea.

–David Brog,
In Defense of Faith