In What’s So Great about Christianity, Dinesh D’Souza demonstrates that the New Atheists grossly exaggerate the crimes committed in the name of religion while rationalizing the vastly greater crimes committed in the name of atheism. For example, Sam Harris estimates the number of people who were killed in the Salem witch trials to be 100,000. What is the real number? Hundreds? thousands? tens of thousands? Actually, it’s fewer than twenty-five.31 But how does atheism fare?
It’s important to keep in mind that the issue is not whether individual atheists can be good people. Of course they can (and many are). The key question is whether atheism, when it is adopted as the prevailing philosophy for a particular culture, is good or bad. When this question is the standard, it becomes clear that no other fundamental worldview has caused as much misery and bloodshed as atheism. Specifically, the number of people slaughtered by twentieth-century atheistic regimes, such as communist China, communist Russia, and Nazi Germany is more than one hundred million people.32 There is no close second place. David Berlinski, a secular Jew who received his PhD from Princeton University, believes that one of the main reasons for such atrocities is the absence of ultimate accountability: “What Hitler did not believe and what Stalin did not believe and what Mao did not believe and what the SS did not believe and what the Gestapo did not believe . . . was that God was watching what they were doing.”
While Christians have certainly done some bad things, the legacy of Christianity has been overwhelmingly positive. Christians built the first hospitals, started the Red Cross, led the movement to end slavery, invented the university, and pioneered modern science. When we trace the movements that have led to the most profound liberation for humanity, we find the gospel at the heart of almost all of them. — More Than a Carpenter (Josh D. McDowell)