What would you say to this argument someone sent me? “Crusades Inquisition, Salem witch trials? Christians killed more people than anyone.”
I suppose it would depend on the context in which they sent it. You say they’re presenting it as an argument. For what? What is being argued for or against? How does this belief support their position? I believe that context could matter.
The statement itself probably has enough truth in it that we should take it seriously. I don’t think any of us knows whether the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Salem witch trials, etc. have resulted in Christians doing more killing than anyone, ever, in the history of the world. Look at Hitler, for example. I suspect his slaughter of Jews ranks pretty high up there. So have other wars.
But the sad truth is that enough killing has been done in the name of religion to be taken seriously. Most of the wars fought in the history of mankind are said to have been fought over religion or religious ideals. And Christianity has an ugly history of persecuting others. Perhaps the saddest example was when the Bible was first translated into English. During that period in our history, Christian Europeans were savage people and behaved in awful ways. Of course that’s hind sight though. In the moment, they thought they were doing good — protecting the integrity of the Bible. (They felt that any translation of the Bible was blasphemy.)
The point shouldn’t be lost on Christians though. Just as Islam has its radicals who do heinous things that the majority of Muslims would never consider — so do does Christianity have its radicals who do heinous things that the majority of Christians would never consider.
The point shouldn’t be lost on Christians though. Just as Islam has its radicals who do heinous things that the majority of Muslims would never consider — so do does Christianity have its radicals who do heinous things that the majority of Christians would never consider. And that’s your ‘trump card’ against the alleged argument.
An ideal example to illustrate this is found in Mark 9:38-40. Jesus’ disciples were complaining to Him that they’d observed a man ministering and driving out demons in Jesus’ name. The disciples thought he should be stopped, because he was not one of them (Jesus’ disciples) and Jesus had not commissioned him or given him the authority to do what he was doing. But Jesus said, “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “No one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us.” Clearly, the people who persecuted the men that were translating the Bible into English had overlooked this Scripture passage!
Sadly, there will always be the dilemma of Christians behaving badly. But let’s be clear. They don’t represent Christ. They’re not following Christ. And the rest of us who are truly obedient to Christ have an even bigger cross to bear because of it.