A MURDEROUS CHURCH
(Investigator 140, 2011
Christianity as a religion and its leading Church fathers and Popes
were the most murderous in the history of this world. To name a few:
St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Augustine, St. Anthony, St. John Chrysostom,
St. Jerome, St. Dominic, Canon Lactantius, Pope Gregory the Great, Pope
Innocent 1V, Pope Innocent VI, Lactantius, Martin Luthor, and Pope Leo
XII. Nearly all have been made saints by this corrupt Church.
Various Christian groups had no compunction in attacking and killing
other Christian groups. Here are some examples:
In the 12th century a.d. the Church owned nearly half the feudal lands
of Europe. The greed and corruption of the Church was at its height and
those who criticized were attacked with a ruthlessness never seen in
the history of civilization surpassing even the Nazi Holocaust of the
20th century. The Nazi Holocaust lasted about ten years, the Church’s
version more than 500 years.
The Inquisition was ordered by Pope Innocent IV against the heretics
with seizure of good and property, imprisonment, torture and death to
those caught up in its net, often on the evidence of hearsay alone.
Catholic sources continue to falsify the great number of “legal
murders” which are today estimated between 11,000,000 and 12,000,000.
Accused persons were tortured by the Inquisition to give up the names
of “accomplices”. No accused person was ever found innocent.
The riches brought into the Church by these methods encouraged
further attacks on heretics throughout Europe.
Mass executions were commonplace. In one incident 180 were burnt at
once — "Holocausts are great and pleasing to God." Pope Gregory XIII
(I502-1585) sent congratulations on the slaughter of 10,000 French
Protestants: "We rejoice that with the help of God, you have relieved
the world of these wretched heretics."
Pope Martin V (I368-1431) ordered that a whole town, Magnalata, in
Italy be leveled to the ground and every inhabitant to be slain. Pope
John XXII issued a bull against heretics. The Pope had 114 Franciscans
An order named The Apostolic Congregation preached against the worldly
wealth of the Church. Three crusades were mounted against these
heretics in 1307. They were trapped in a mountain hideout and were
starved and slaughtered.
The Inquisition established the "Law of Property Seizure" which
remained in force in most European countries till 1870. The use of
torture was officially sanctioned in 1257 a.d. and remained for
5½ centuries until abolished in 1816 by Pope Pius VII. The
Inquisition was active till 1834.
In India during the late 16th and early 17th centuries, the Inquisition
killed over 4,000 in Goa alone.
Pope Pius X defended the Inquisition, "the naked fact that the church,
on her own authority, has tried heretics and condemned them…shows that
she surely has the right of killing…"
Victims had to pay all expenses of their own imprisonment, even for the
ropes, wood and stakes to kill them. Those without money could starve
to death in prison.
Pope Gregory XI (I336-1378) said that too many were dying of starvation
before being brought for execution, so the Pope offered indulgences to
all who would donate food.
In 1209 Pope Innocent III led a crusade against the Albigensians in
France. When the Papal Legate was asked how the crusaders might
distinguish the heretics from the faithful, he answered "Kill them all,
God will know his own." More than a million were slaughtered during
Famous victims of the Inquisition include Giordano Bruno (1548-1600)
burned in 1600 a.d. and Michael Servetus (who first recognized the
circulation of blood) burned in 1553 a.d.
Pope Innocent VIII (1432-1492) declared war on witches, declaring
witchcraft a heresy. Pope John XXII empowered the Inquisition to
prosecute any woman who worked charms, spells or folk remedies. In
Europe more than 9,000 were killed as witches.
One Bishop proudly claimed to have executed 1,900 in 5 years. A
Lutheran Bishop Benedict Carpzov claimed to have condemned 20,000 by
himself. In England over 30,000 witches were slaughtered. In one German
city 900 were burned in one day. The Inquisition of Italy burned over
1,000 in a single year. These killings went on for over 500 years.
Prof. Brian de Kretser
Institute for Research into Religions
Darwin, N. T. Australia.
RELIGION OF GREAT DEEDS
by “Godless people”
(Investigator 141, 2011
Jesus foretold that his followers would do greater deeds than he did:
“Very truly, I say to you, the one who believes in me will also do the
works that I do and, in fact will do greater works than these… (John
And Paul wrote: “For we are…created in Christ for good works, which God
prepared beforehand to be our way of life.” (Ephesians 2:10)
For example, Edward Chad Varah (1911-2007) was a British Anglican
priest who founded The Samaritans in 1953, the world's first crisis
hotline organization, to offer telephone support to people
contemplating suicide. In 1935 he officiated at a church service for a
girl who killed herself when she began to menstruate and feared she had
a disease. Chad Verah, therefore, vowed to encourage sex education.
This he did for 20 years as a board member of the British edition of
Forum magazine, besides founding Men Against Genital Mutilation of
Girls in 1992. The Samaritans are credited with saving thousands of
Worldwide there are hundreds of noteworthy ministries by Christians for
the public good. If we include all the little ministries by local
churches the total would number millions.
In A Murderous Church (#140) De Kretser’s logic is similar to
Christopher Hitchens in God Is Not Great (2007) in which Hitchens
catalogues crimes of different religions through the ages and concludes
“religion poisons everything”.
Such conclusion ignores the thousands of schools, hospitals and
charities operated by religious institutions and the positive effect
when religious principles that promote health and life are followed.
The New Testament foretold that Christianity will attract multitudes of
false Christians pretending to follow Christ for the material or social
Jude, for example, writes: “godless people have slipped in unnoticed
among us, persons who distort the message…to excuse their immoral ways,
and who reject Jesus Christ…” (Verse 4)
Jesus foretold that “people who
belong to the Evil One” will mix with “people who belong to the
kingdom” and the two categories will coexist and often be
indistinguishable. (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43)
Paul the Apostle writes:
“Many will hold to the outward form of our religion, but reject its
real power.” (II Timothy 3:5; See also II Peter 2:1-22; Luke 21:8; Acts
Statisticians who collate statistics of religious affiliation count as
Christian everyone who so labels himself. Many of these, however, are
“atheists” when it comes to following God and have only an “outward
form of our religion”. Some attend church because they had Christian
parents but have not made their own commitment.
Have ungodly atheists such as Marx, Stalin, Mao, Hitchins and Dawkins
enunciated a similar doctrine distinguishing genuine atheists who are
moral and law-abiding from pretend-atheists who are immoral and evil?
If not, then atheism as a system is guilty and monstrous, with 100
million people deliberately killed under atheistic Communism. In
Christianity it’s not the system that’s guilty but individuals who
“reject its real power.”
Hitchens’ and De Kretser’s game of cataloguing the bad while omitting
the good can be played using any category of people one chooses. One
can pick on students, scientists, females, politicians or car drivers
and catalogue all the bad and ignore all the good of that group, and
create a totally misleading impression. (See #129 — Hitchens’ Erroneous
Even the much-lambasted Medieval Catholic Church had redeeming
features. It encouraged and sponsored ministries for the public good
even while becoming increasingly corrupt. Monasticism, for example,
provided islands of stability that preserved knowledge and learning as
all Europe fell apart after the fall of Rome.
Europe was ringed by enemies perpetually, raiding, invading and
plundering. The better known include Huns, Goths, Persians, Vikings,
Muslims and Mongols. Muslim raids to kidnap people for slavery or
ransom (aside from Muslim wars of conquest) may alone have averaged
10,000 victims per year. BBC History magazine quotes an eyewitness
survivor of a raid on one of Iceland’s islands in 1627:
quartered the island, capturing people wherever they found
them, young and old women and men and infants. They chased after people
in their houses, across the mountain slopes, in caves and holes, and
killed everybody who fought against them. The dead lay everywhere… Then
they began to set fire to the houses. There was a woman there who could
not walk, whom they had captured easily. Her they threw onto the fire,
along with her two-year-old baby… (February 2011, pp 56-60)
This background of countless slave raids and invasions required unity
for Europe to survive. In that context the Church became increasingly
totalitarian as it enforced unity by destroying “heretics” in its
Sean McGlyn in “Kill Them All!” (BBC History, August, 2009) argues:
“mindless acts of savagery…in Medieval conflicts were employed as
effective military and political weapons [and] religious motivations
were not as strong as military ones.” Before the start of the
Albigensian crusade against the Cathars in 1208:
and high ranking clergy had already taken the decision to
adopt a policy of no quarter…at every stronghold approached, a garrison
that refused to surrender would be slaughtered wholesale, once it has
been taken by storm. The purpose of such merciless strategy was…they
would then meet with no resistance anywhere, as men would be so
terrified at what had already happened.”(p. 46)
In my opinion followers of Christ should stay neutral in such conflicts
and reflect the example of “the prince of peace”. (Isaiah 9:2-7)
The prophet Daniel foretold: “And those who have taught many people to
do what is right will shine like the stars forever.” (12:4) These
“shining” ones the New Testament identifies as Christians who are
genuine: “You must shine among them like stars lighting up the sky, as
you offer them the message of life.” (Philippians 2:14-16)
To look at godless infiltrators and pretend they alone constitute
biblical Christianity is self-deception — like sticking one’s face in
mud to avoid seeing the stars and then claiming stars don’t exist.
Reply to “A Murderous Church” (#140)
(Investigator 142, 2012
In his article ‘A Murderous Church’ (#140), Brian de Kretser presents a
list of religious atrocities carried out under the reign of several
Popes and bishops throughout church history. What raises a sense of
anger and indignation at such episodes in church history is that the
church is expected to be people who reflect God’s love and compassion
to the world around it. It is not expected to conduct a blood-letting
swathe of violence against anyone they find guilty of disagreeing with
their religiously imposed laws.
That said, it should be admitted that non Christian power structures
have also used the ‘sword’ to either gain or maintain their own status
of supremacy. Communism stands as one prime example of this in the 20th
Former atheist Alistair McGrath notes that “Soviet atheism is the true
religious philosophy of modernity – a totalizing worldview which
demanded that all else give way to its claims. As the history of the
atheist state makes clear, this inevitably sets the agenda for
repression and oppression. A worldview that was once acclaimed as a
liberator thus became an oppressor” (McGrath, 2004, p. 232).
Journalist and television presenter, John Humphrys, echoes that view in
claiming “the greatest horrors inflicted on humanity in the last
century were inspired not by religion but by communism” (Humphrys in
Gumbel, 2008, pg 50). Political philosopher, John Gray, acknowledging
the 21st century has been a time of terror, nevertheless asserts that
the terror that was “practiced in the last century on a scale
unequalled at any other time of history, but unlike the terror that is
most feared today much of it was done in the service of secular hopes”
(Gray 2007, p. 36). Gumbel writes that it is “estimated that in the
USSR that the total number of people killed by communist governments
through extermination of their own population and carrying out
explicitly anti-religious policies is somewhere between 85 and 100
million” (Gumbel 2008, p. 50). Gumbel quotes John Cornwell, author of
Darwin’s Angels, as saying: “Stalin’s atheism, moreover, was a crucial
feature of his entire ideology. He oppressed, imprisoned, murdered
(Christians), destroying their…churches, throughout the length and
breadth of Russia” (Cornwell in Gumbel 2008, p. 50, 51).
While Richard Dawkins acknowledges that Stalin was an atheist, he
asserts that “there is no evidence that his atheism motivated his
brutality” (Dawkins, 2006, p. 273). Such a view caused McGrath to
respond: “the facts are otherwise. In their efforts to enforce their
atheist ideology, the Soviet authorities systematically destroyed and
eliminated the vast majority of churches and priests during the period
1918-41…This violence and oppression was undertaken in pursuit of an
atheist agenda – the elimination of religion” (McGrath 2007, p. 48).
British journalist and broadcaster, Peter Hitchens, brother of
Christopher, acknowledges “intelligent Christians must – if they are
candid – accept that faith has often led to cruel violence and
intolerant persecution. They may say, as I would, that this was because
humans often misunderstand or misuse the teachings of the religions
they follow. This is not because they are religious, but because Man is
not great” (2010, p. 153). Hitchens notes that atheists should also
“equally concede that Godless regimes and movements have given birth to
terrible persecutions and massacres. …in these cases the slaughter is
not the result of a misunderstanding or excessive zeal. Utopia can only
ever be approached across a sea of blood. This is a far greater problem
for the atheist than it is for the Christian, because the atheist uses
this argument to try to demonstrate that religion specifically makes
things worse” (2010, p.153, 154). Yet, Hitchens asserts, it 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” (2010, p. 154).
Gray notes that the “machinery of terror – show trials, mass
imprisonment and state control…existed in every communist regime” (Gray
2007, p. 37). He writes that this kind of repression was also
experienced in Mongolia and East Germany, Cuba and Bulgaria, Romania
and North Korea, Eastern Germany and Soviet Central Asia. Yet he notes
that the strength of the church in Poland may have prevented the
imposition of full scale totalitarianism there (Gray 2007, p. 37). Even
Richard Dawkins, cited by Ruth Gledhill in The Times 2nd April
2010, reflected: “There are no Christians, as far as I know, blowing up
buildings. I am not aware of any Christian suicide bombers. I am not
aware of any major Christian denomination that believes the penalty for
apostasy is death. I have mixed feelings about the demise of
Christianity, in so far as Christianity might be a bulwark against
something worse” (Dawkins’ quote in Lennox 2011, p. 91).
While Brian highlights a tragic time in the church’s history, the
following centuries have shown a church that, for all its weakness and
imperfections, nevertheless esteems human beings as being fashioned in
the image of God, and accords them a dignity and intrinsic value that
is worth preserving. To disregard the image of God in other human
beings is often to open the door that allows a totalitarian mind-set to
crush all opposing views to allow their own vision of utopia to exert
its rule. The church may not be perfect, but as Dawkins ponders, what
else might it be saving us from?
Dawkins, Richard 2006, The God Delusion, Bantam Press, London,
Gumbel, Nicky 2008, Is God a Delusion? What is the evidence?
Alpha publishers, London.
Gray, John 2007, Black Mass Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of
Utopia, Allen Lane,
Hitchens, Peter 2010, The Rage Against God – how atheism led me to
faith, Zondervan, Grand Rapids.
Lennox, John C. 2011, Gunning For God – Why the New Atheists are
Missing the Mark, Lion publishers, Oxford.
McGrath, Alistair 2004, The Twilight of Atheism, the Rise and Fall
of Disbelief in the Modern World, Rider, London, Sydney.
McGrath, Alistair 2007, The Dawkins Delusion? - Atheist
Fundamentalism and the denial of the divine, SPCK, London.