A Review of Chapter 14 of The Christian Delusion

Hector Avalos writes chapter 14:  “Atheism Was Not the Cause of the Holocaust.”  Avolos primarily addresses Dinesh D’Souza and Richard Weikart’s claims that Darwininist atheism led, in part, to the Holocaust.  I am by no means an expert on the Holocaust so I will restrict myself to commenting on points where I think I can give at least a semi-informed opinion.

Before getting to the Holocaust, the author briefly mentions Communism.  In trying to distance atheism from Communism, Avalos points to Acts 4:32-37 as proof that a system of collectivized property is a biblical notion.  Of course a group of people sharing possessions voluntarily is a far cry from today’s Communist governments.  Avalos then makes the absurd claim that Acts 5:1-11 established the principle of killing those who did not conform to the collectivization of property.  But v. 4 makes it clear that Ananias and Sapphira were not forced to share their money.  Their sin was in trying to deceive God.  Moreover, the punishment was from God and not men.   The passage does not permit men to kill those who do not share their property with the larger community.

On p. 371 the author makes this startling claim:  “If D’Souza does not think genocide is always evil, then he is no less a moral relativist than atheists, and now we would have only his arbitrary reasons for justifying it.”  At least to me, this appears to be an admission from Avalos that he is a moral relativist.  This belief is buttressed by the fact that he appeals to the United Nations Convention Against Genocide and not more general moral principles throughout the chapter.  One then has to wonder if chapter 8, which he also wrote, should have been entitled “Yahweh is a Moral Monster According to the Arbitrary Reasons Given by Hector Avalos.”  And why should we be concerned over the causes of the Holocaust when it is wasn’t an objectively evil thing anyway?

One of the main points of the chapter is that Christians in Europe had a long history of anti-Semitism and that the Nazis could tap into this anti-Semitism in order to bring about the Holocaust.  I do not deny that some Christians were anti-Semitic, but we need to determine whether this anti-Semitism is rooted in the teachings of Christ or not.  The author notes that Alfred Rosenberg thought Leviticus 25:17 referred to only fellow Hebrews and that Christians thus only needed to be concerned with loving members of their own race.  However, the parable of the good Samaritan (Lk 10:25-37) shows that the Christian is to love everyone and not just members of his own race.  John 8:44 is spoken to a specific group of first-century Jews out to kill Jesus and is not a call for the persecution or murder of Jews.  Revelation 2:9-10 is speaking about a specific situation involving the church in Smyrna.


One thought on “A Review of Chapter 14 of The Christian Delusion

  1. “One then has to wonder if chapter 8, which he also wrote, should have been entitled “Yahweh is a Moral Monster According to the Arbitrary Reasons Given by Hector Avalos.””

    hehe, well put.

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