The Holocaust everybody knows about is the one that happened in Nazi Germany eighty years ago. But there is another one that started with the arrival of Homo Sapiens on the planet and it has been ongoing ever since. The scope of this Holocaust is truly mind-boggling. About fifty billion people. You have probably figured out by now where this is going.
First, a little background. In 2007, an independent researcher, analyst and author named Gregory S. Paul wrote an essay for the journal Philosophy and Theology (hereafter, referred to as P&T).[i] It deals with what he calls “The Holocaust of the Innocents.” His analysis was based on the statistics of the deaths of children from the earliest times up to the present. Obviously, a lot of it is necessarily based on estimates. Even today, we really do not know how many children die of diseases, malnutrition or violence in many parts of the world.
His next paragraph hits like a sledgehammer:
This) has been due to the vast numbers of cruelly tortuous diseases that infest the child-toxic planet on which the creator…if any such being exists…saw fit to stick us with, one way or the other. But the full toll is even more colossal. The human reproductive system is so inefficient and dysfunctional that three-quarters of pregnancies fail. So, the number of preborn who have died is in the hundreds of billions. Fortunately, few (of the) preborn have been aware of their existence before their premature deaths. [ii]
The actual number is not the point that the author is trying to make in a new article that appears in the latest issue (June/July 2021) of Free Inquiry magazine. It draws heavily from his 2007 piece in P&T. The opening paragraph lays it out:
It is the most important historical statistic that remains almost entirely unknown. Like nothing else, this terrible fact guts the moral claims of those speculators who proclaim to honorably worship a noble and righteous creator/power.
Those theists who fantasize that learned theologians have wielded wisely crafted theodicies to explain how a loving, moral god could oversee a planet that manages to knock off most humans in their youth are either ignorant or lying.
He goes on to say that neither scripture nor the theodistic literature has come close to acknowledging the mass death of children, much less how incompatible that is with the idea of a benign creator.
And then he gets to the core point of the essay:
Far from superenatural faith being moral, honorable, noble and altruistic, the billions who praise and worship a child-liquidating and animal-abusing god in their search for boons earthly and beyond are being self-aggrandizing, immoral narcissists and exhibiting serious moral depravity. Not to mince words, the religious are not good people because they are pious, but despite it.
I certainly would not accuse him of mincing words. Believers will not get close to this guy, fearing that they might get singed by the hellfire and damnation that they surely expect to descend on him.
Finally, he suggests that if nonbelievers get into a debate with a theist, they should:
Drop this in their lap. It is unlikely to make an instant atheist out of your opponent, but it should place them in a bad moral spot. If your opponent says theologians have solved the problem, firmly request who and when and what they said, and watch your antagonist squirm. Who knows? Over time that might succeed in weakening their theism.
His final statement:
The demand that theists finally own up to their corrupt waving away of the mass deaths of children will put them on the moral defensive perpetually….or at least as long as religion lasts.
It’s a fire-breathing piece that has tinges of hyperbole, but he hammers home his points with relentless precision and logic. I looked in vain for a critique of his writings. If you find any, please post the links. But be careful. Even typing them might burn your fingers.
[i] The essay was titled “Theodicy’s Problem: A Look at the Holocaust of the Children, and the Implications of Natural Evil for the Free Well and Best of All Worlds Hypotheses.”
[ii] This could also be said of the vast majority of fetuses that are aborted.