Hiding behind a fallacy

It really grinds my gears when Christians try to give their religion credit for all the sociocultural progress we've made, all while blaming atheism for everything from economic woes to Stalin's genocide. It's astounding self-deception, one in which the innumerable Christians responsible for histories greatest cruelties and injustices are dismissed as not being 'true' Christians; that way, Christianity is responsible only for the pleasant things, and all the unpleasant things can be blamed on atheists or misguided believers who never would have done such things if only they'd had the correct theology.

It simply cannot be ignored that Christians were responsible for, among many other atrocities:
  • The wanton killing and displacement of Native Americans
  • Encomienda
  • The Atlantic slave trade
  • The Crusades
  • The Inquisition
  • The Nazi regime and the antisemitism that inspired the Holocaust 
  • Witch burnings
  • The KKK
  • The murder and forced conversions of Germanic peoples (the Saxon wars)
Importantly, I don't think people did these things because they were Christian, just like I don't think Stalin was a tyrant because he was an atheist. No non-believer thinks that being a Christian will by definition lead to such things. However, religious fanaticism intertwines effortlessly with imperialism and the demonization of outsiders. The important point, then, is that Christianity not only didn't stop these people, but it was often used as an inspiration and/or a justification for these atrocities. To suggest that these people were simply misguided Christians, or not 'true' Christians, is to hide behind the No True Scotsman fallacy in a transparent charade of self-deceit.

The truth is, people will do kind things and cruel things with or without religion. Human solidarity has, quite necessarily given our gregarious and interdependent nature as a species, existed as long as humanity has, and we made it for 198,000 years before Christianity came along to enlighten the lost – whether by words or, if that didn't work, by the sword. 


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