The Truth... What is it?





Are humans innately good?

Setting: Just check this ongoing Wikipedia listing of world-wide documented terror instances that are not even state-sponsored, HERE.

AND, MOST IMPORTANTLY, see this four-minute, impassioned historical video review, !!!***HERE***!!!, of why a MINORITY with killing INTENT always takes over nations throughout history.

For essentially the entire history of mankind, there has been inter-group fighting and warfare. But, firstly as context, "nature" has caused some massive pandemic killings of mankind: (1) the "black plague" of the early 1300s = 75,000,000 died (over half of Europe's population died!) & (2) the 1918-1919 "Spanish flu" = 50,000,000 died (oddly, this followed on the heels of the world's most calamatous man-made event, WWI); & (3) 24,000,000 have died from 1981-2006 due to AIDS...to name just 3. And definitions of "good" vary, depending on the religion. The human track record strongly suggests that it is naively hopeful to hope for a humanly engineered end to man's inhumanity to man. EXAMPLE: In the 15 years since the year 2000, "human trafficking" [Wikipedia summary here] worldwide has become a huge problem. And the pace of beheadings and killings under the banner of Islamic (radical muslim) jihad is so brutal as to be truly barbaric! How can these things happen? As someone has pointed out, a highly vocal & focused radical minority starts and pushes a movement. The silent majority delay contending with them until it is too late. That silent majority throughout history might as well be referred to as the "irrelevant majority".

Killing in the name of God:

As USA Lutheran Church ELCA Bishop Mark Hansen so correctly & approximately stated in December 2007, "Bad done in the name of religion is not a testimony to religious faith of the killers but to the sinfulness & brokenness of human beings...using religion as an excuse [hijacking religion] to justify their own aggression and hunger for power & domination!" It is my belief that, of the great religions of the world, their killers in the name of God are likely only nominal followers of that faith...though often seriously & lethally determined..."believers" and "practitioners" of the faith. More likely, such folk may be weak believers who simply got swept up into a strong political or governmental movement (you must join in or be killed). As one writer notes: the crusades and inquisitions have nothing to do with God/Christ; arrogance and revenge have nothing to do with God/Christ; war, torture, and persecutions have nothing to do with God/Christ.

Killing by leadership of despots via atheistic state doctrine: In each instance, the majority was of peaceful citizens who wouldn't believe what was unfolding in their country until it was too late. In the past 100 years, Marx, Stalin.,Mao, Pol Pot, Niclae Ceausescu, Enver Hoxha, Fidel Castro, Kim Jong-il and others have presided over the murder of more than 100,000,000 people!!!

Persecution of Christians by others:

Today: Christians are NOW worlds' MOST-persecuted people (short video, HERE). "There are 200 million Christians suffering for their faith every day, from Cuba to North Africa to the Muslim Middle East, India and the rest of South Asia, North Korea, China, Vietnam, and Indonesia, to name a few."...(here [International Christian Concern website]).

Martyr: As to religious martyrdom, a Christian martyr is a Christian who has willingly died (was killed) amidst persecution for his/her faith; a Muslim martyr is a Muslim who is willing to risk death or even deliberately die while killing for his/her faith.

I know of no organized, modern, dramatic persecution of others by Christians! However, we Christians should all be aware of how we believers fail in vast numbers to follow the example of Jesus (and his TWO fundamental commands...both about right relationships [righteousness]: "love thy God & thy neighbor")3.

Man's inhumanity to man:

While this specific web page is more about literal killing of people, 2010 began the exposure of how organized crime exploits teenager desires to take risks by discussing modern human slavery even in the USA...for purposes of labor and sex trafficking (one introductory source, HERE). To refresh our memories of (and please NOTE: none of what follows was under western [American] capitalism). Just some of man's inhumanity to man (for more detail, see Wikipedia concerning "democide") continues as humans killed humans in the following numbers:
  • The An Lushan Rebellion in China (755-764AD): though the majority of chinese were peaceful, one-sixth (36,000,000 people) of the entire world's population is estimated to have died in this horrendous Chinese war!

  • Muslims begin to try to force the world into Islam (600AD-the present): though the majority of muslims are peaceful, who can count how many muslims and non-muslims have died in this 1400+ years war! See the book by Mosab Hassan Yousef, son of a founding leader of Hamas and a convert to non-denominational Christianity.

  • Crusades: After hundreds of years (beginning 600AD) of brutal muslim invasion into Europe to establish a caliphate by Islamic Conquest, the Crusades had onset about 1095AD and lasted 100+ years. The muslim killings of nonmuslims far outstripped the reclaiming retaliations by Christian nations.

  • Genghas Kan: he reigned from 1206-1226AD and his Mongol power sweep is estimated by some to have killed 40,000,000 people.

  • The Armenian genocide of 1915-1923...1,500,000 Armenian Christians were killed and/or kicked out of their homes and businesses and driven on a death march to the hot Syrian desert to die of starvation and torture by the Ottoman Empire of Turkey.
     
     
  • World War I (WWI) 1914-1918: about 16,000,000 soldiers & civilians killed.
     
     
  • China (Mao Soviets vs KMT) civil wars 1923-1949: though the majority of chinese were peaceful, 13,465,000 killed.
     
     
  • Russia under Stalin 1920s-1953: though the majority of Russians were peaceful, 43,000,000 killed.
     
     
  • Ukraine 1932-33: Stalin engineered a famine by sealing borders and killing off the large-scale farmers to cause what has been called the Holodomor ("extermination"...killed..."by hunger") in which 8,000,000 killed (starved to death) and had no choice but to resort to canabalism.
     
     
  • Germany 1933-1945: though the great majority of Germans were not Nazis, 20,946,000 total dwellers in Germany were killed...The Holocaust of the Jews in Germany under leadership of Adolph Hitler = 6,000,000 jews killed (and about 5,000,000 Christians) and others for a total of around 12,000,000.
     
     
  • The Sudeten Germans experienced what is a "war against civilians" which transpired against ethnic Germans (about 4 million) who historically had lived in the Austrian-Hungary Bohemian empire (centered in multi-ethnic Czechoslovakia)...but as a result of hatred against the Nazi German occupation...retribution was leveled at those civilians after the war (1945...after WWII). But this war against non-Germany German civilians also occurred in Poland and other places where ethnic Germans resided...some have referred to this as a kind of genocide or hidden holocaust.
     
     
  • WWII: 60,000,000 killed worldwide. In any wartime, various countries & cultures have different records as to their treatment of prsoners of war (POWs). Of the estimated 27,465 American POWs in Japanese camps, 11,000 died (40%); of the 93, 941 in Americans held in German POW camps, only 1,121 died (1.2%)9.
     
     
  • Korean war: 1,300,000 killed.
     
     
  • China (PRC) 1949-1987: though the great majority of Chinese were peaceful, 77,277,000 killed (But, out of this total, from 1958 to 1962 in his Great Leap Forward policy, Mao Zedong oversaw the deaths of up to 45 million people – easily making it the biggest episode of mass murder ever recorded).
     
     
  • USSR 1953-1987: though the majority of Russians were peaceful,18,911,000 killed.

  • Legal USA abortions, 1973-2015: 61,000,000. Quite a majority of USA abortions are of black babies. On the 19-20th of June 2015, Dr. Alveda King (Martin Luther King's kinsman) and Star Parker and other USA blacks marched again in Selma, Alabama over a desired extension of Black Lives Matter, to include the unborn lives. When does an intrauterine conception become a person?...with ensoulment?
     
     
  • 11 Sept. 2001 (9/11) terrorist attacks on the USA and about Feb. 21st, 2002, video-recorded threat cutting and beheading of Jewish Wall Street Journal reporter, Daniel Pearl, by terrorists in Pakistan.
     
     
  • In Sudan, two million Christians have died (from 1985 to the end of 2000 1)...(320,000 in first half of 2004) as a result of their government's attempt to impose Islamic law on its non-Muslim population (Arabs determined to kill off all blacks). Nigerian Christians face similar pressures.
     
     
  • Congo civil war: 3,000,000.
     
     
  • Vietnam war: 1,900,000 & many more millions in the killing fields of Viet Nam and Laos before & after the war.
     
     
  • the killing fields of Iraq under Saddam Hussein are of at least 270 mass graves containing over a million bodies (info as of 13 Dec. 2003)
     
     
  • check out "The Brotherhood of Man" article by Thomas Sowell, 2/11/2004.

  • In 2014, the radical Islamic muslim fanatics known as ISIS or ISIL began to sweep in barbaric fashion into Iraq with video postings of beheadings on the internet and hopes of "converting" the world to Islam...convert or die (children killed in front of parents & wives in front of husbands). This movement has stirred up killers in Europe and North America. Many fear hidden terrorists within the millions of refugee Syrian and other Middle Eastern refugees flooding other nations. By the summer of 2016, there are small pockets of Muslim concentrations which are bordering on anarchy (judging from media reports). 

 

"Christians" persecuting others:
When Constantine converted to Christianity and made it the religion of Rome, who knows how many people were killed as they resisted accepting the the complete union of "church and state"? Misguided groups (were they just cultural or nominal Christians or true Christians who could not be pacifists?) identified as "Christian" [see ABOVE], on the other hand, have done the following:

  • Islam: In 622 AD , Muhammad (570-632 AD) flees Meca to Medina & dies there; mixed Christian & Jewish Jerusalem surrenders to Muslims in about 638 & all Palestine in a few years. The Jerusalem Temple Mount was still in ruins from its Roman destruction in 70 AD, almost becoming a sort of trash dump area. Muslims take over and also sacredly venerate the mount as where Abraham went to sacrifice Ishmael (rather than Isaac). They build The Dome of the Rock in about 696 AD. Muslim tradition says that Muhammad ascended to Heaven from that site ("the farthest place") on a night journey to meet with the prophets and returned to the mount & back to Medina. So, after about 400 years of Muslim terror trying to expand Muslim territory on into Europe, The "Crusades", ignited by the demolition [1009 AD] of the then-Christian Jerusalem "Church of the Holy Sepulchre" by muslim Al-Hakim [considered the site of the tomb in which Jesus was buried]) began. The point of the crusades [1095-1272 AD ] was to retake the area and rebuild that church & push back Muslim expansionism: some 1,000,000 died.

  • Christianity: When Martin Luther and others tried to reform the Church of Rome (the Reformation), unknown numbers of people died as the Roman Church resisted. Failing to reform the Church of Rome, the movement became the Protestant Reformation. As the protestants movement divided over which beliefs were accurate and accepted, unknown numbers of protestant Christians died as the various groups fought lethally over theology and practice and dominant groups tried to squelch minority groups. William Tyndale was event burned at the stake for printing a Bible version for the common man! Christianity has its own set of past inhumanity!
     
     
  • Witch Hunts 15th-17th centuries: 40,000-60,000.
     
     
  • Spanish Inquisition 16th-18th centuries: 3,000-5,000.
     
     
  • Others: David Prosser notifies me of even more [HERE].

Thanks to Ingmar Bitter, PhD. for much of the above, especially the link to Wikipedia info. In the fall of 2006/7, I became aware of this other source, too.


Attempts to exterminate Christians:

Finally, what about attempts to exterminate Christians? One's blood curdles at the horror of Christians being thrown to the lions while the ancient Romans watched in their coliseum. The TRUTH, however, is that recent history is much worse: it is said that more Christians have been killed worldwide simply BECAUSE THEY ARE CHRISTIAN since 1900 and until the present than in all the time between 30 AD and 1900s2!! [documentation...I'm indebted to Professor Warren Larson's efforts in pulling this documentation together]. By July 2014, the extermination of Christians has accelerated in the Muslim world, especially as ISIS has grown in power in the Iraq area.

Modern burnings of just Methodist Churches:

It is even shocking to just look at an incomplete listing of church fires (arson ?) in the USA, just for the United Methodist Church denomination (and only since 1990) alone, under the title "burned Methodist churches"...by 2017, the link ["http://gbgm-umc.org/advance/Church-Burnings/methstats.stm"] had been taken down; but HERE is part 1 of a more current series by the UMC. And, we must not forget that Christians are not the only religious persons who are killed (note the attacks on both Jews & Muslims daily).

Modern USA: only Christians can be insulted openly...

And, Bill O'Reilly, more than anyone since 1997, has increasingly pointed out how even the free society in the USA exerts little or no political-correctness (PC) shame at those who openly degrade, legally attack, and openly express disdain or even raw hate-crime-like hatred for Christians...acts impermissible in the USA toward persons of any other religion. By July 2014, it has slowly worsened.

Evil: I doubt that mankind is innately evil. If mankind were innately evil, it would mean  that evil is part of the basic human make-up; and that would have two unacceptable implications:

  1. that it would make God  responsible for our sins, because  God created us, and whatever is part of our essence, whatever we are  innately, is His creation. 
  2. that it would  absolve us of sin,  because we can hardly be responsible for things that  are innate  characteristics. For instance, innately I have two  legs, but that is nothing  I could brag about or regret.   

So: humans are innately good because  God created all things and pronounced them good, and  that includes us humans. BUT, Mankind became flawed when it underwent "The Fall of Adam & Eve"...a consequence of The Fall being an inclination (as persistent as the force of gravity) on the part of all humans (manifested in some persons much more than others) to be tempted into sin...into evil...to be bad (sometimes the flaw maximally amplified by a psychopathic mind). And that bad comes from within...others don't put bad in us (according to Jesus). So, while humans are not innately bad, we are now flawed by that consequence of The Fall. Every human on earth has a "sin problem". Bad parents amplify bad consequences. Satan is ever ready to take advantage, and we fallen persons of mankind are, to varying degrees, almost lusty to go bad...to go downhill. Ask church leaders how hard it is to lead even the faithful to do good. Yet, throughout history, look how easy it has been for Satan to hijack even an entire segment of a religion and do awful things in the world & make it sound like it was "in the name of religion"..."in the name of God".

Through coming to belief in Jesus, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit rebirths us. And part of that rebirth is that the slave-like inclination toward yielding to the temptation to sin has been cancelled (believers no longer slaves to sin...but they still retain part of their "sin problem"). The spiritual forces of evil have not been cancelled...all humans can be easily tempted! We Jesus followers are, then, alone responsible for our own sins because Holy-Spirit-indwelt believers now have the power source to be enabled to refuse sin.  If  we hear God, and  realize that He redeemed us & comes to save us, not to punish  us, we should submit to Him (and not delay),  and He will not only clean us up but make us even better (sanctification) than we were with just innate potential!

References:

  1. According to studies by The Voice of the Martyrs organization as noted in a 1999 essay on the Focus on the Family website (put the word "martyr" into that website's search engine)
  2. A contact tells me that, in his book, The Truth of Catholicism, the Roman Catholic writer George Weigel gives an estimate of 27,000,000.
  3. Philip Gulley, If The Church Were Christian: Rediscovering the Values of Jesus, HarperOne, 2010, 197 pages
  4. Kirsten Powers, "Middle East Christians Need Our Protection: Religious Persecution is a Global Problem", USA TODAY newspaper, 3 April 2013.
  5. Paul Marshall, Lela Gilbert, Nina Shea (Shea is of The Hudson Institute), Persecuted: The Global Assault on Christians, March 2013, HERE.
  6. The Open Doors website.
  7. Christianity Today, web site section on persecution.
  8. Wikipedia overview page of persecution, HERE
  9. Bill O'Rielly, Killing the Rising Sun: How America Vanquished World War II Japan, 323 pages, Henry Holt and Co., 2016

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(posted March 2002; latest addition 22 October 2017)