Religion has done little to prevent war, famine, crime, oppression, misery, and unhappiness

By James Hervey Johnson | 1949
Positive Atheism

Catherine de Medici Gazing at Protestants Massacred in the Aftermath of the Massacre of St. Bartholomew, Edouard Debat-Ponsan (1880).

Each religion claims that its god or gods have supreme power. If their god or gods had any such power, they could wipe out all the unhappiness in one gesture. The truth is, of course, that there are no such gods and it is only the imagination of propagandists which originate such gods and such powers.

For ages men have been and still are, human slaves. In the United States of America as late as 1865, black men had little more freedom than dogs or horses. They were owned as chattels by white masters. The masters could and did make them work all their lives without any pay whatever. Every slave could be beaten, mauled, and mutilated or killed, and many have been so treated by drunken and cruel masters. The children of the slaves were sold like cattle and sheep. All of these things were done under legal authority. All of these terrible things were done under sanction of the Christian religion. Most American slave owners were religious Christians. The slaves themselves were supposed to be Christians.

Those who favored slavery quoted the Bible as authority for maintaining this cruel and inhuman practice. The Catholic Church and the Baptist church stood side by side in protecting the perpetrators of this inhumanity and oppression. When the Civil War took place, the Methodist Church in America divided on the question of slavery. The Methodist Church South and the Methodist Episcopal Church existed separately for generations. The Methodist Church South espoused the cause of slavery.

Men who owned slaves preferred to fight and kill or be killed rather than to give up their ownership of their human chattels. Even to this day Christian men, including priests and preachers, countenance and assist the whites of the South in keeping the Negroes there from voting and expressing their political views as all Americans are supposed to have the right to do.

Every office holder who takes an oath to support the Constitution of the United States winds up by saying, “so help me God” and then actually nullifies many of the rights the Constitution tries to guarantee.

There have been more wars since Christianity was established than there were before. Since the birth of Christ there have been only a few years in which there was not a war between Christian peoples. Cruel and tyrannical wars of extermination against the Indians of America were carried on by Christian people. With a Christian cross in one hand, a sword and gun in the other, the early Christian Spaniards conquered the Indians in North and South America. Murder, rape, torture, and enslavement, and in many cases positive extermination, followed in the bloody wars of the Spanish conquests under Pizarro and Cortez. The Catholic Church grew wealthy beyond its dreams as the result of this conquest. The Indians were Christianized under force of arms, but the new god they prayed to was as powerless as the old ones to protect them from the cruelty of and enslavement by their Christian conquerors.

In recent years the Italians under Mussolini, from the most Christian country on earth, coming from Rome, the seat of the Pope, ruthlessly murdered their way to ownership of the lands of Ethiopia, taking the Ethiopians’ lands and country in one of the most cold blooded robbing expeditions ever known. The Ethiopian king was only restored to his throne by a more powerful nation, still worshipping the same god as the others.

Did the Pope raise one word of protest? Did any Christian church or Christian country actually do anything to stop them? Did the Christian God that the poor Ethiopians pray to do anything to save them? Did even the same Christian God the Italians pray to deliver the land to them without a fight? No, the men with the strongest arms won in that war as they have in all other wars.

Why must people still remain befuddled and think that their gods control their fates when they see Christian nations murdering other Christian inhabitants of the world; each praying to the same God of “love and good will” to permit them to get their neighbors by the throat so they can slit it?

The Hindus have their gods, Buddha, Krishna, Siva, and a thousand others. Each one is supposed to be a protector of some class or group. Murder, misery, early death, depravity, oppression, serfdom and starvation are the daily lot of the Hindus, the most religious people on earth. The Christian Englishmen with money to buy rulers and guns and bombs to kill protectors told the religious Hindus what to do.

And so it has been from time immemorial, the strong oppressed the weak. The stronger, selfish races murdered those with less strength. The oppressors and aggressive fighters inherited the earth and control it today. Gods of clay, wood, brass, gold, and iron, gods of imagination such as the Christian, Mohammedan, and other gods have been prayed to in vain for ages by gullible fools, by priests, preachers, and rulers.

James Hervey Johnson (1901-1988) was an atheist and outspoken critic of organized religion. For nearly a quarter of a century he was owner/publisher and editor of The Truth Seeker from 1964 until his death in 1988. Through his efforts as an activist and benefactor, Johnson contributed significantly to freethought in the mid to late twentieth century.

Animated map shows how religion spread around the world

The Future of World Religion (in 2050)

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55 COMMENTS

  1. I'm agnostic and I have no time for any church, the position taken in the opening paragraph is fallacious however, the absolute statement that 'there are no such gods' cannot be proven by the writer. The term 'gods' has not even been clearly defined, are we talking about actual beings here or just archetypes? It's completely unfounded to say that consciousness is confined to an organ inside our heads and that there isn't anything worth speaking of outside the material world.

  2. To be honest I don't consider my self all to well informed on religiousness in general other than they seem to have a political-like way of controlling those that believe. they speak of eave and kindness and free will to choose but this inky applies to those that covert and obey those that seem to speak for those they believe has power…. a political-like way of dealing with thingss… A "If you not with us , your against us" mentality that "to me at least" shows that the type of love they seem to preach about has people standing outside with signs that seem to preach that all folks not like the, go to hell and will burn… They show how we're still living in a world where gender, sexuality, the color of the skin and wether your rich or poor seems to deter men what worth you have to them…. Kindness and compassion are things that have nothing to do with what you might believe but by the choice you act on from what you believe…. Tolerance isn't respect and people slaughtering people isn't the act of gods but one of action done by humanity…. Mankind is like a 3 year old with a dynamite stick in one hand and a lid lighter in the other…. We have all these choice in what to do with things and yet it still seems like the most likely outcome is that we end up blowing the "hell" out of things…. I'm not saying I'm above what we as a people are song to our selves and the world, what I'm saying is": we could do so much better… So why don't we?

  3. Everything is so obvious. Everyone knows everything . But there is this sense of loyalty to ones faith which makes everyone blind. If religion can be made a personal thing and not brought to the streets AND if political leaders do not use it as an election tool .. worldwide ban must be brought in… then there is hope. Otherwise we will kill each other in the name of so called gods.

  4. Believe it or not all religions or blind faiths practices have given world only pollution, population and poverty nothing more than that or nothing less than it. Anything in extremes is extremism only so can’t be good for anyone. Life is an epidemic itself & now turned into natural calamities as it has been always like this as humans have never been designed to grow or develop in any era or time, nor even in the form of any Gods or goddesses or Allah or Messiah or Christ or popes or priests or gurus or prophets or saints or so on. Only five natural elements of nature are only statutory stable and permanent nothing else and can never be and was never and looking after or caring or maintaining purity of these five natural elements of nature mean a real honest prayers to all Gods or goddesses or Allah or Messiah or Christ or popes or priests or gurus or prophets or saints or so on. Nothing is free in this world or universe not even Oxygen we all inhale as direct or indirect invisible taxes and so on. We all are made of five natural elements of nature and all kinds of lives and things and was categorized to make humans life epidemic more convenient or comfortable. But in each era only things or animals can grow or develop not humans as humans are extremely dangerous most creatures than anything else. Each & everything what we all can see, feel,notice, observe, listen or hear is either marketing or recycling nothing more than that or nothing less than it. Even five natural elements of nature constantly & statutorily keep on struggling or fighting to create all things or lives upon earth. But each & every religion speak about human acts or deeds or time or era, but it never goes away anywhere as we all only keep on moving around it as atom never die as it can only change its colour or shape or size. The Almighty Sun mean energy, hate, anger or so on, The Almighty earth mean love, attraction & so on. The Almighty Air mean marketing & so on, The Almighty water mean life of all nature, and The Almighty Sky mean balance or so on. All religions were made for some kind of Honesty, discipline and non interference but all religions severely or badly gone against these statutory principles. So it would be better to get banned all religions or blind faiths practices completely in the world in the utmost interests of human civilisation upon earth & all Gods or goddesses or Allah or Messiah or Christ or popes or priests or gurus or prophets or saints or so on shall be more happy. Infact they also did marketing of life or self marketing and so on to create discipline, honesty and non interference but all in vain as no one like God or Goddess or Allah or Messiah or Christ or popes or priests or gurus or prophets or saints or so on as all are only marketing themselves again, instead of this it would be better all are treated or respected equally and His or Her presence is observed or felt in each & everything & in all humans or animals.

  5. Yes, this is all true whether an atheist or not, and that dogmatic religion help create it is beyond a doubt. However, religion has been confused with spirituality forever. No spiritual person, particularly founders ever got hung up in metaphysics and the trappings of religion. Statesman that use the trappings of religion to wield power are political hacks and perpetrate a great evil upon the earth. The the powerful elite wrapped themselves in their religion to justify killing is no more an argument against spirituality and a looking to Source than wrapping oneself in the flag to justify killing damns the country. There are many ways to experience god, that we have historically done so in very shallow ways, condemns us, not god.

  6. Not to promote a Christian denomination; a send of some facts

    Said in the 325 Nicene Creed. The original church—today's Orthodox Church—is catholic, lower-case 'c,' a fancy word for universal; open to all, to include those with same-sex attraction.

    Ca. 1200 CE; the Jerusalem-Palestinian Orthodox See’s Archbishop did not approve of the Roman Catholic Church’s Crusades, though the Latin Church said purpose is to protect the Palestinian Christians. Compared to the Latin and Protestant Churches, Orthodoxy in history seems not to have started wars.

    It is problematic going against the original Church’s married-presbyters tenant. The celibate priests question; there are married Orthodox priests.

    The Eastern Orthodox Church is the second largest denomination on the planet.

    Greek Orthodox Archbishop Iakovos (James), with DrMLKJr | https://youtu.be/qalVO2_NRuY.

  7. I knew before it was stated that this was written by an atheist. I was raised as a Christian but have studied many religious traditions. To me, nothing makes sense without reincarnation and the laws of Karma. That makes me a satanistic heathen in most christians eyes, but that doesn’t bother me. My judgement will be from a far more forgiving God.

  8. Interesting. But the article said next to nothing regarding the role Islam played in causing mayhem in the world, especially in India, concentrating only on Christianity. Islam, up to today, stand out as the worst social system ever created by humankind.

  9. Can atheists claim to have done any better? Evil is a human condition. It effects all kinds of people. Atheists are no better. Atheists only think that they hold higher moral ground. Deep down, everyone knows there is a Creator God. Atheists just try to deny the obvious for whatever reason and are dishonest for doing so.

  10. Atheists only think that they hold the higher moral ground. Evil is a human condition that affects all people. Deep down, everyone knows there is a Creator God. Atheists only try to live in denial of the obvious and by doing so are dishonest.

  11. No religion is more dangerous so than the religion which makes the State God. Claiming atheism yet actually making the government God. Tens of millions have been killed or under such conditions in Germany, Soviet Union, China, Cambodia, etc.

  12. Please don't buy into the fake Roots narrative.

    The largest slave holder in SC in 1960 was William Ellison, a black man.
    Thousands of free blacks owned slave labor during the slave era.

    Google search: The Blame Game by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
    for real history

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