Answering Atheist Objections

1. Answering the Atheist Objection that Most Wars Are [Allegedly] Religions Wars

Q: Haven't most wars been started by religion?
A: No. First the answer in brief, then two qualifications, and finally the statistics.
The answer:
No, most wars are started by wanting land, money, or power. But while the number of petty and large wars started is not important, the number of people killed is. The religious viewpoint that has killed the most people is probably atheism, though it could be Islam. The statistics below are rough, but around 53 to 59% of people killed in non-religious wars and democide. Two-thirds of the remainder are wars and killing with Muslims. The religious viewpoint that has killed more than any other is (depending on the numbers) either atheism or Islam. Consider the French Revolution, the Communist Revolution in Russia, the Communist Revolution in China, Communist Collectivism in the Ukraine, the Khymer Rouge in Cambodia, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, The Cultural Revolution in China, and North Korea today.
Qualification 1:
While Hitler was not a religious person, he did have some belief in astrology and the occult, he and the Nazis are not counted as atheists. Many wars were started by people for whom religion was either non-existent or unimportant to them.
Qualification 2: If you ask about religious people who were killed for their faith, including atheists doing the killing, then according to World Christian Trends 30-AD 200 p.229, there have been about 69.4 million Christian martyrs. 32 million of them were killed by atheists. On p.230 32 million were martyred by atheists only 9 million were martyred by Muslims, only 5.2 million martyred by Roman Catholics, only 0.2 million martyred by Orthodox, and 0.075 martyred by Anglicans and Protestants. Only 1.6 million Christians have been martyred by Buddhists (ibid p.229).

millions killed War  
80-115+ Wars and killing with Atheists Years
0.03 French Revolution 1789-1805
20-50 Communist Revolution in Russia 1917-1950
51-65 Communist Revolution in China, including Cultural Revolution (10) 1949-1976
3 Korean War 1950-1953
2-3 Khymer Rouge in Cambodia 1970-1975
2 Vietnam War 1957-1975
2 North Korea today 1953-
5.2 Other communist regimes 1939-
... 31.7 Total Christians killed by Atheists (already counted) 1917-
105-125+ Other major non-religious killing  
30-50 Mongol expansion (Mongols were usually tolerant of religion) 907-1292
6 South American War of the Triple Alliance 1864-1870
8.5 World War I 1914-1918
60 World War II. The Holocaust: 5 million Jews, 1 million non-Jews 1939-1946
164 - Major religious killings  
80 - ? by atheists Total Muslim martyrs, including dying in battle and killed by atheists 622-
... 0.1 + 1 Roman Catholic Church Crusades 1096-1291
37.7 Total Christian martyrs not killed by atheists 33-
... 9 Christian martyrs killed by Muslims (already counted) 622-
... 0.1 Roman Catholic Inquisitions (already counted) 1232-1826
... 7 Thirty Years War (already counted) 1618-1648
20 Hindus killed by Muslims 997-
... 7 Tamerlane (5% of the world's population) 1360-1405
10 Buddhist martyrs 82 B.C-
4 Jewish martyrs minus the Holocaust 167 B.C.-
... 0.6 Roman Titus kill rebellious Jews 70
14 Other religious martyrs  
? 29,465 Muslim attacks since 911 2001-

See World Christian Trends 30-AD 200 p.227-230.
So in summary, while all these wars are bad, a little over half have been killed by non-religious wars than religious ones. Of the religious killing, roughly two-thirds are related to Islam.

Q: Regardless of the percentages, too much war and killing has gone on in the name of religion.
A: Unfortunately that is true, but don't mix up fighting for Allah with following Jesus, the Prince of Peace. Since the Muslims fought 82 battles in the 23 years of Mohammed's "prophethood" and he was personally in 19 of them, what would you expect?
For sheer volume, around 926 hadiths in the Bukhari Hadiths and 181 hadiths in Sahih Muslim (that is over 710 pages in English and Arabic) leave no doubt that Jihad is fighting for Allah. In Bukhari, 97% of Jihad references are for war, and 3% are inner struggle. The 69 pages in Sahih Muslim mention just military fighting and collecting booty.
Jihad, or fighting for Allah is a central part of Islam according to both Muslims today and the Qur'an.
The Ayatollah Khomeini taught, "Islam says: Whatever good there is exists thanks to the sword and in the shadow of the sword! People cannot be made obedient except with the sword! The sword is the key to Paradise, which can be opened only for Holy Warriors! There are hundreds of other [Koranic] psalms and Hadiths [sayings of the Prophet] urging Muslims to value war and to fight. Does all that mean that Islam is a religion that prevents men from waging war? I spit upon those foolish souls who make such a claim." quoted from Ibn Warraq Why I am Not A Muslim Prometheus Books 1995 p.11-12. (p.381) Amir Taheri. Holy Terror. London, 1987. p.226-227.
The following is quoted from (December 2001). (start of quote)
Another distortion that is promoted is the idea that Jihad is only defensive. The protagonists of this idea again utilise certain misinterpretations to justify their positions.
"Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress the limits. For Allah loves not the transgressors" [TMQ Al-Baqarah: [Sura 2] 190].
"And if they incline to peace, you incline to it also, and trust in Allah. Verily! He is the hearer, the knower" [TMQ Al-A'raf: 61].
These two verses however, cannot abrogate the 119 other verses of Qur'an that suggest that Jihad is not merely limited to defensive war alone. These 119 verses, which are general and absolute, indicate that Jihad encompasses all of the following types of war:
...The verses concerning Jihad were revealed as general and absolute without limitation. Accordingly an evidence from Shari'ah is required to limit these verses concerning Jihad. However there are no evidences from Qur'an or Sunnah that place limitations on Jihad. Thus, Jihad encompasses all of the aforementioned types of war.
There are many verses concerning Jihad that could be drawn upon to illustrate this understanding. It is sufficient to focus on Surah At-Taubah (Repentance), which is one of the last Surahs to be revealed. Thus no one can claim that the verses are abrogated, limited or specified by later revelations. (end of quote)

Q: But no matter how much killing Muslims have done, that does not excuse all of the killing done in the name of the Church or Christianity.
A: Unfortunately that is true too. The World Christian Trends 30-AD 200 p.229 estimates there were 5.5 million people martyred by those claiming to be Christians, 5.2 million were by Roman Catholics.
But don't mix up the Roman Catholic Inquisitions, and the Roman Catholic Crusades with what Jesus taught in the Bible. The Waldenses were a quiet group of Christians who spread through Italy, Spain, and France from 1000 A.D. onwards. There were Roman Catholic crusades against them too.

Q: But regardless, killing other people solely because of their religion is wrong.
A: I agree, but why would you say that? I agree that it is wrong to murder anyone for the sake of their religion, but I believe that because we are commanded not to murder, we are love everyone, including our enemies, Jesus is the Prince of Peace, etc. But if you do not believe in any God, then why would you say that; what is your basis?
If I do a chemistry experiment in a lab, when I am done, I empty the test tube contents down the drain. If you as an atheist think that we are no more than a bad of chemicals, then why would emptying a test tube by any worse than emptying a person of their life? Is it wrong to kill a mosquito or a cockroach, because we don't like them bothering us? Well maybe mosquitoes and roaches don't like us bothering them. Why is it worse for a human to kill a mosquito, than for a mosquito to kill a human (with a disease). Without any basis, such as a God who gives our life meaning, a person would have no more rights not to be killed than a roach. So if you are an atheists, despite the feelings of your conscience, you logically should have no problems at all with anyone killing anyone. Indeed throughout history atheists in China, Russia, Cambodia, and North Korea have had no problem whatsoever killing others as it was convenient for them.

2. Answering the Objection that Books were [Allegedly] Taken out of the Bible

Q: Why do you trust the Bible, since many have claimed that books were taken out of it?
A: While no books were taken out of the Bible, many have written counterfeit scriptures that they trust to put on the same level as the books of the Bible. While there have been many counterfeit books produced, all of them are almost identical to one of the six examples below.
The Book of Mormon
, first published by Joseph Smith, Jr. in 1829 was purported to be scripture for people in the New World prior to Columbus. Joseph Smith said he supernaturally translated gold plates which were later taken up into heaven. In addition to having entire paragraphs identical to Isaiah, it has many new world claims that archaeologists say are untrue. Mormons do not claim it was a book in the Bible, but rather another scripture on equal footing with the Bible. People have been creating books to kick off their own heresy or religion all the way back to the Gnostics.
The Gospel of Barnabas
is a Medieval Muslim forgery first known around 1547, almost 300 years prior to the Book of Mormon. While it has gross mistakes, like sailing to Jerusalem (an inland city on a mountain), it contradicts both the Bible and the Qur'an. Nevertheless, for some time it was a best seller in some Muslim countries after the Qur'an.
The Gospel of Thomas
is not of the "gospel" genre, but rather a collection of 114 random sayings said to be by Jesus. Irenaeus, writing 182-188 A.D. lists all of the heresies and made up books known to him, and he never heard of it. However, his disciple, Hippolytus of Portus, made up a similar exhaustive list from 222-235 A.D., and he mentions it along with the group that used it, the Naasene Gnostics. So this book claimed to be by Thomas, was likely written between 182 and 235 A.D.
Here is the 114 saying in the Gospel of Thomas: Simon Peter said to Him, "Let Mary leave us, for women are not worthy of Life." Jesus said, "I myself shall lead her in order to make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every woman who will make herself male will enter the Kingdom of Heaven." Maybe someone thinks or wishes this was a genuine saying by Jesus, but I disagree.
The Hermetic Gnostic Justin's Book of Baruch has an unknown date of writing, but might be before 200 A.D. It mixes Bible characters and Greek ones, telling how Elohim first sent Adam, then Hercules(!) And then Jesus. Naas (who is evil unlike the Naasene Gnostics taught) first tried to seduce Jesus, and that failing had Jesus crucified. It could be considered scripture by Justin's school of Gnosticism, but they would not consider it a part of our Bible, since they did not accept our Bible anyway.
The Acts of Paul and Thecla
makes no claim to be scripture, but claims to tell incidents in the life of Paul and Thecla. It was written before 207 A.D., because Tertullian, writing then, said it was made up by a presbyter gone bad.
1 Clement
, written by bishop Clement of Rome in 96/98 A.D.) is actually a good book with orthodox Christian teaching. But neither the book itself or other Christians claimed it was scripture, though other Christians were aware of it and valued it. However the Bible manuscript Alexandrinus (c.450 A.D.) has besides Bible book 1 Clement and 2 Clement up to 12:4.
Just like these six books were not taken out of the Bible, because they never belonged in it in the first place, none of the other fake scriptures, whether done in modern times and ancient belonged in the Bible too.
Since God wanted to reveal His Word to us, it would make sense that Satan would try to fool people with counterfeits. Of course the very first Christians, prior to the death of John the Apostle, could go and ask the apostles directly, even before all of the New Testament was written. The early church did not give us the New Testament scripture, God did, but we owe a debt to the early Church for recognizing the New Testament scripture.

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by Steven M. Morrison, PhD.