By Matthew White. New York: W. W. Norton, 2012.
As far as Herod’s massacre of the innocent not being recorded by extra-Biblical sources, Herod is hardly likely to either have written down that he tried to kill the promised Messiah only to have Him escape and thousands of innocent babies be slaughtered in the process. If it were written down, Herod would have probably have had it expunged.
I object to the author’s use of the common terms CE and BCE, meaning Before Common Era and Common Era. This is a blatant attempt by those who use these acronyms to deny that God is the author of history. Jesus Christ’s coming was the central point on which this history revolves. Even looking at things from a more secular point of view, the world is the way it is today because of the influence of Christianity.
Gladdiatorial Games: It is not surprising at all the hammer ritual should be employed in connection with the Pope since the Catholic church takes all it’s traditions from paganism.
Justinean: As far as comparing Gibbins’ time to this time period, people have been treated less harshly under Christianity than atheist so-called historians would like to think they have.
The Crusades: The purpose of the Crusades was to protect the relic-selling scam perpetraited by the Catholic church and to protect the Venitian Black Nobility, which of course leads into…
Religious Killings: Although religion has been the banner under which the masses have been compelled to fight, this still doesn’t mean the actual cause of these wars was religion. Greedy megalomaniacs will find any excuse to kill their rivals and seeze their property but the average person needs a compelling reason, such as his beliefs being threatened, in order to be tricked into being a pawn who will fight the pawn’s of the greedy megalomaniac on the other side who are completely similar to said pawn in everything but religious belief.
Also, has the author ever considered how profitable war is? Who do you think profits from and finances most wars anyway?
Archaeological evidence shows Ai was destroyed twice.
If God, the God of the Bible, is the author of history, which He is, and if He is the omnipotent, omniscient Creator of the universe, which He is, then thus it is He who decides every detail of the universe’s function and operation, including how long any of the individual inhabitants or people groups on this little blue planet far out in His universe have to live. Ultimately, the Cananites’ time to turn to God in repentance had drawn to a close. Whether you like it or not, with God as Creator and sole ruler of the universe, that’s just the way it is.
God is merciful. Rahab turned to the Lord and she and her family were saved. Thus, we can infer that any other of the individual Cananites could have done likewise.
The Cananites were a horrible people. I notice there has been nothing said about the many horrible things those people did. Life isn’t as straightforward as a lot of atheists (and Christians) alike would like to believe. By commanding the Israelites to wipe out all the Cananites, it must be acknowledged, however begrudgingly by those whose rebellious spirit will not allow them to properly process such things, that the Lord saved many children from human sacrifice, unspeakable sexual acts and other terrible things. Though murder should never be used as a means of salvation, people need to be made aware that children are under the age of accountability and thus all those murdered Cananite children would (most likely) be in Heaven. If for whatever reason they weren’t, it’s God who runs the universe and God who gives the orders.
The author, rather than those who believe the Bible, has some explaining to do. There is intelligent apologetic explanation of such things as the killing of the Cananites written in many books (whith indeed entire books probably being written on the aforementioned subject) as well as many online resources. Similarly, there are many good offline and online resources regarding Biblical archaeology so it is curious why the author never consulted any of those in the preparation of this book.
Spiritual forces are also behind human activity which also aids in explaining these issues.
Hinduism definitely has it’s violent streak today so I don’t know how one is to realistically believe Hindus were less violent in the past than followers of the monotheistic religions. This is most likely only possible due to the factor of their being fewer of them.
Keep in mind as well that, except for trade along the Silk Road, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism never really interacted with each other, at least not in the same way and to the same extent Christianity, Islam and Judaism did.
Lack of Shinto religious conflicts can be explained by the fact Japan was insulated from the rest of the world for much of history, and, for most of the time it wasn’t keeping to itself, traded with other nations in limited capacity and did not have much if any other interaction.
Anamist religions not launching religious wars can be explained by the fact that life and geographic features of the Americas, much of Africa, and Australia were not conducive for people coming into conflict with the anamist beliefs of the people two tribes over, let alone sending military forces to the pan-European-Asian-Northern African area of the world to try to convert those monotheists to their beliefs.
To underscore this last point, most followers of anamist belief were hunter gatherers so the members of these tribes were too busy getting enough resources in order to live until the next day to spare much time fighting with people, (though armed conflict did take place among tribes and bands over natural resources, logic necessitating this to be the case. This is likely how many bands became tribes in the first place: being forcibly assimilated into a larger, stronger band.)
Among primitive pantheist or polytheist societies, villages of the same tribe will fight each other if, for instance, a woman who has married into another village is not being treated properly by her husband.
If this book shows us anything, it is that fighting is something people have done constantly throughout history with a multiplicity of reasons mixed up in the conflict, (though of course there being a few main motivations.)
Of course, the author’s leading remarks at the end of this section would lead one to conclude that if we could only get rid of the three exclusivist monotheistic religions, the world would be a lot more peaceful place, except not so.
Firstly, one should be prepared to face the fact that if such a result actually occurred, it would almost certainly be proceeded by a conflict that would make any of those described in this book look like an elementary school after school dance.
Secondly, if the internet has emphasised anything, it is that people will fight with and be nasty to one another over anything, (something I have myself been guilty of in the past.)
Thus we see that ultimately ridding the world of Christianity, Islam and Judaism would not do a single thing to change the combative nature of fallen humanity.
Manachean Rebellion: Actually, Heaven and Hell were mentioned in the Books of Moses, the first five books of the Bible. These were written down long before the third century _B._C., and the history contained in them goes back even further than this.
Additionally, Heaven and Hell is perfectly logical. The desire for something better than this world proves the existence for Heaven and the desire to see justice meeted out proves the existence for Hell.
Besides, if there is no God of the Bible, than nialism is the only belief system which makes sense. If there is no Saviour and thus no hope for imperfect mankind, and no better Heaven or just Hell, then humanity has entirely no reason to have hope for or in anything and the only certainty is death of all life on earth by the eventual failure of the sun or some other astronomical calamity. Hence, why not get the whole process finished with and kill all living things starting here and now. Therefore, “The Great Big Book of Horrible Things” is not actually a chronicle of such and should be retitled, “The Great Big Book of the Only Thing it Makes Any Logical Sense to do as Part of a Program Which Has Been Taking Place Entirely Too Slowly.”