The Human Truth Foundation

Christian Extremism, Intolerance and Resurgent Fundamentalism

By Vexen Crabtree 2017

#christianity #dark_ages #extremism #fundamentalism #islam #judaism #religious_violence

Christianity has had a very troubled past when it comes to violence and extremism1,2. Problems with tolerance of other religions and beliefs began from its very inception within the Roman Empire3 and to the extent that Christianity "has insisted over the centuries that its way is the only true way [...] it has developed a militancy and a tendency toward fundamentalism"4. Christian Emperor Constantine had to deal with constant violent inter-denominational conflict, and time and time again had to rule in favour of one side or another, with bloodshed and violence resulting from each new division that appeared5. "Pagans openly taunted Christians about their internal battles"5. Future emperors Julian and Diocletian tried to restore paganism in order to return the old days of multi-faith tolerance6,7. Over its first few hundred years dozens of Christian sects were wiped out including the Ebionites, Arians and Marcionites. The victorious Cappadocian-Nicene sect of Pauline Christianity got to select which books to put into the Bible and which doctrine to declare orthodox. An industry of anti-heresy institutions spread terror throughout Europe, resulting in the Dark Ages8,9. The Waldenses and Cathars were attacked, and Jews and Muslims were subject to entire Crusades against them.

The violence stems from New Testament doctrine; Luke 14:23 says "Compel people to come in!". Matthew 10:34-37 and Luke 12:51-53 repeat the theme that Jesus says "I am not come to send peace, but a sword". 1 John 5:1-5,10 warns that having wrong beliefs makes you worthless. 2 John says that if you don't have the right beliefs about the relationship between Jesus-as-god and Jesus-as-man then you are godless (2 John 1:7-9), and Christians can't greet you politely nor welcome you in to church or home (2 John 1:10-11). Just to greet people with wrong beliefs, says 2 John, is to be in league with evil! This has no doubt helped encourage the intolerant and fundamentalist streams in Christian history. The entire book of Jude is dedicated to preaching that those who have erroneous beliefs are ungodly and need to be "rescued". These verses and many like them in the Old Testament set the scene for aggression against those who do not believe the right things.

In modern times, the Christian institutions remains the West's strongest campaigners against LGBT equality, family planning, science education and gender equality; all of these battles have seen emboldened Christians commit acts of violence and atrocity against their perceived enemies1. Christian organisations have a particular problem with child abuse, possibly as a result of strict teachings on sexuality which see some of the priesthood attempt to live lives of celibacy10. Although fundamentalism is a strong and growing wing of modern Christianity11,12,13, the vast majority of Christians are thankfully now moderate or liberal and there is strong criticism of extremism from many Christian institutions.

1. Fundamentalism in World Religions

#abrahamic_religions #amish #christianity #defining_religion #fundamentalism #intolerance #islam #jehovah's_witnesses #judaism #literalism #monotheism #religion #religious_extremism #religious_intolerance #religious_violence #terrorism

Fundamentalism is the approach to religion that sees believers embrace an early form of their religion, to consider it beyond criticism and worthy enough to be enforced upon oneself (or others) without having to accommodate modern evidence or logical arguments against it14. Fundamentalists of text-based traditions treat a core holy text as infallible and inerrant15,16,17,18. Because beliefs are given absolute importance, fundamentalism is often sectarian and intolerant: every doctrinal interpretation results in schism and division19,20. Some religions are more prone to fundamentalism than others21. The uncompromising attitude is a psychological boost, and fundamentalists will happily seek out areas of conflict between their own values and the values of those around them in order to publically highlight their own superior discipline. Also fundamentalists can be accidentally intolerant of others because by sticking so sternly to their own interpretation of the rules, they cannot make room for the diversity of real-life. It can descend into violent extremism but note that some fundamentalist groups (such as the Amish and Jehovah's Witnesses) exist for very long periods with no sign of extremism. It often seems futile arguing with fundamentalists because most arguments against them merely prompt them to re-state doctrine.

Fundamentalist groups seem especially prone to schism and organisational instability, with most such groups being originally part of larger movements. Because personal beliefs are raised to the level of ultimate importance, every possible interpretation of (vague) doctrine will result in two sides who stake their entire religious outlook on the fact that their interpretation is correct20 and often "true believers are obligated to fight against corrupting influences from the broader culture"22 and to fight against any sign of 'false belief' from within their own ranks too, often leading to schism23. Many people push for increased rights for their own religion and for theocracy, 'out of an emotional attachment to their religion'24 but some people take it too far. The declining strength of religion in the face of secularisation means there are fewer middle-ground religionists to rein in fundamentalists. Fundamentalist branches of religion across various religions tend to share certain traits and features25, in particular scriptural literalism, active resistance against multiculturalism and the rejection of human rights.

"Fundamentalism and Literalism in World Religions"
Vexen Crabtree

And about monotheism in particular:

The God of the Abrahamic religions, so far as it is concerned in The Bible, The Koran, and in history, hates opposing Gods. The Israelites are described as being commanded by God, time and time again, to wage war against and kill nonbelieving pagans because they dare to worship icons, fake gods, and any number of unapproved things. Worshipping wrongly is prohibited in the traditional Ten Commandments, and is consistently one of the most punished crimes in the holy texts of Jews, Christians and Muslims. The emphasis on correctness of individual belief and individual salvation has led monotheism down an intolerant and often violent path in history. The development that "insiders are correct" and "outsiders are wrong" is not a feature of simple tribal religions26, but this idea of correctness developed alongside literacy, especially in monotheistic religions, finding particular prominence in Christianity of the first century3. It made the new monotheism sectarian, schismatic and aggressive; social and moral laws were deemed inferior to the new emphasis on textual fundamentalism. It heralded a new type of religion, fundamentally hostile to all other religions.27

"Religious Extremism: 3. Monotheism and Violent Intolerance" by Vexen Crabtree (2017)

2. Early Warning Signs: Christian Monotheism Verses Polytheism of the Roman Empire

#christianity #intolerance #judaism #monotheism #paganism

The polytheist pagans were naturally tolerant of others' gods, and not so sanctimonious as to consider others' gods 'wrong' or delusional. People worshipped as was appropriate for them in a certain locale or situation and not according to universal doctrines of declared truth. When groups arose who threatened the ability of others to worship freely they would fall foul of legal and social reactions. Christianity was one such group.

The tolerance which the Roman government showed towards all foreign creeds and the result of which in imperial times was, practically speaking, freedom of religion over the whole Empire, could not be extended to the Jews and the Christians; for it was in the last resort based on reciprocity. [...] The Christians were generally designated as atheoi, as deniers of the gods, and the objection against them was precisely their denial of the Pagan gods, not their religion as such.

"Atheism in Pagan Antiquity" by Anders Björn Drachmann (1922)28

To the extent that the [Christian] religion has insisted over the centuries that its way is the only true way and/or that its myths are literally true, it has developed a militancy and a tendency toward fundamentalism.

"Jealous Gods & Chosen People: The Mythology of the Middle East" by David Leeming (2004)4

Book CoverIn some ways, this matter of being "right" was a concern unique to Christianity. The Roman Empire was populated with religions of all kinds: family religions, local religions, city religions, state religions. Virtually everyone in this mind-boggling complexity, except the Jews, worshipped numerous gods in numerous ways. So far as we can tell, this was almost never recognized as a problem. No one, that is, thought it was contradictory, or even problematic, to worship Jupiter and Venus and Mars and others of the "great" gods, along with local gods of your city and the lesser divine beings who looked over your crops, your daily affairs, your wife in childbirth, your daughter in sickness, and your son in his love life. Multiplicity bred respect and, for the most part, plurality bred tolerance. No one had the sense that if they were right to worship their gods by the means appropriate to them, you were therefore wrong to worship your gods. [...] But then came Christianity.

"Lost Christianities" by Bart Ehrman (2003)3

Do not think that religious tolerance in the classical era was at all liberal, compared to today's secular examples. The Roman Empire surely terrorized various religious minorities but it did for the most part permit all the others to exist peacefully. But after the rise of Pauline Christianity intolerance and oppression cast a shadow upon all other religions. Merely believing the wrong things on even obscure points of theology could result in torture and bookburning, and street battles between rival Christians.

Book CoverThe emperor [Constantine] made it plain that he considered the escalation of doctrinal conflict among high-ranking Christians not only disruptive of Church unity, but disreputable and almost certainly unnecessary. Christ's enemies rejoiced at this disorder. Pagans openly taunted Christians about their internal battles. [...]

When he convened the Great Council of Nicaea, Constantine could not have imagined that the bishops would be meeting almost every year to rule on charges of criminal activity and heresy.

"When Jesus Became God: The Struggle to Define Christianity During the Last Days of Rome" by Richard E. Rubenstein (1999)5

After witnessing the violent street battles and mob warfare between Christians of various flavours, a new Emperor, Julian, who succeeded the Arian Christian Constantine, wanted to restore the Roman Empire to paganism. He enjoyed initial support from the Empire, despite it having been mostly converted so far to Christianity.

No doubt, the initial enthusiasm for Julian among some of the common people reflected their distaste for the scandalous disunity of the Church. Christianity had conspicuously failed to bring the empire together or to secure it from enemy attack. As the contemporary historian Ammianus said, "no wild beasts are such enemies to mankind as are most Christians in their deadly hatred of one another."

"When Jesus Became God: The Struggle to Define Christianity During the Last Days of Rome"
Richard E. Rubenstein (1999)6

Diocletian was sole Roman Emperor from 284-302. During the rise of Christianity amongst the populace, he witnessed the increasingly uncivil behaviour of converted Christians. He asked why Jesus' followers could not simply live and let live.

Diocletian could not fathom why the belief in one God should separate the followers of Jesus from other Romans. [...] To question the existence of other gods, worse yet, to brand them demonic spirits, was rude and divisive. A Roman who worshipped the Olympian gods would never call a devotee a Serapis or Isis an atheist or demon worshipper. [...] Why insult one's neighbours by denigrating their deities? [...] The Christians' attitude seemed fanatical, like that of the Jews.

"When Jesus Became God: The Struggle to Define Christianity During the Last Days of Rome"
Richard E. Rubenstein (1999)7

The emergent Christian orthodoxy grew up to become responsible for wiping out many thousands of "heretics", such as the Ebionites and Arians, for not believing the right things about the physical fathership of Jesus, the gnostics, the Marcionites who didn't believe in the Hebrew scriptures, the Waldenses, the Cathars, the Jews and many other unfortunate victims who fell foul of the Mosaic creed of "no other god before Jehovah".

Yet Christianity started out tolerant and peaceful: the first Christians, the gnostics and ebionites, accepted respectively that their religion was one interpretation of the truth amongst many, or that it was a devout, personal path and not something that could be enforced on to others. Centuries later, though, the Nicene Christians arose and murdered their more peaceful predecessors, burning their books and preparing Christianity to embrace the Dark Ages like no other religion could have, or would have.

3. The Christian Dark Ages of Medieval Europe

#atheism #christianity #dark_ages #europe #islam

Christianity today is hemmed in by liberalism, democracy, human rights and multiculturalism. What happens when none of these controlling factors exist? Such a time occurred in history: the dark ages. Europe saw, during the time of Christian rule, a collapse of all development, the loss of science and academia, and the backtracking of humanity towards barbarianism. During this time, the Arab world overtook the West and became the light of humanity, developing science and intellectualism while Europe floundered.

The fall of the West during this time was not solely the fault of Christianity - part of the reason for the rise of Christian theocracy was the fact that the collapsing Roman Empire left anarchy in its wake. But it definitely did not help matters that the Age of Faith was embodied by religious, Christian governance.

It is strange that the last men of intellectual eminence before the dark ages were concerned, not with saving civilization or expelling the barbarians or reforming the abuses of the administration, but with preaching the merit of virginity and the damnation of unbaptized infants. Seeing that these were the preoccupations that the Church handed on to the converted barbarians, it is no wonder that the succeeding age surpassed almost all other fully historical periods in cruelty and superstition.

"History of Western Philosophy" by Bertrand Russell (1946)8

Uncounted numbers were tortured and killed for practicing witchcraft, sorcery, magic, satanism, trickery and alchemy. Witches and werewolves were hunted down by people on the payroll of the Church. The infamous Spanish Inquisition was formed by the Catholic Church to hunt down Christians who didn't believe quite the right things about Jesus, and Jews, and atheists, and all sorts of other people. A second instrument against heretics, apostates and infidels was the Crusades. With Christian Churches exerting massive influence over Western peoples, entire armies were raised in its name to wipe out Jews (the first crusade), heretics (Cathar Christians) and Muslims (later).

The troubled life of anyone developing new ideas under the shadow of organized religion (who justify their power in terms of "truth") slowed down every science and medical school imaginable. Except torture equipment of course!

In his study of the death penalty over a period of three thousand years, Kurt Rossa makes the remarkable statement: 'Anyone who wants to know everything about us Christians should read the Sermon on the Mount. Anyone who wants to know more about us, should read a history of the death penalty'. The Inquisition, which continued to exist in the Papal States until they were dissolved in 1870, caused countless people to suffer unspeakable torments for centuries.

"The Misery of Christianity - a Plea for Humanity without God"
Joachin Kahl (1968)2

Ellerbe, quoted below, devotes a few entire chapters of her book "The Dark Side of Christian History" by Helen Ellerbe (1995)29 to the causes, duration and lasting effects of the dark ages on civilisation:

Book CoverThe Church all but wiped out education, technology, science, medicine, history, art and commerce. The Church amassed enormous wealth as the rest of society languished in the dark ages. When dramatic social changes after the turn of the millennium brought an end to the isolation of the era, the Church fought to maintain its supremacy and control. It rallied an increasingly dissident society against perceived enemies, instigating attacks upon Muslims, Eastern Orthodox Christians, and Jews. When these crusades failed to subdue dissent, the Church turned its force against European society itself, launching a brutal assault upon southern France and instituting the Inquisition.

"The Dark Side of Christian History" by Helen Ellerbe (1995)9

Pagan literature is fond of a phrase used to emplore the world not to return to the rule of faith-based intolerance and superstition: "Never Again the Burning Times". It is a pledge never to let the world fall again into an age of faith - a plea that falls on deaf ears in much of the world, but no longer in the Christian world.

4. Extremism and Intolerance


Many, many times in Christian history, believers have felt compelled to commit terrible atrocities precisely because of their faith.

"Bad Faith: The Danger of Religious Extremism" by Neil J. Kressel (2007)1

It is not just misguided minions who think that Scripture incites violence against non-believers; Christianity's leading theologians and the founders of its denominations have been the greatest supporters of violence in the name of Christianity:

The Vatican had long since sanctioned torture as acceptable, and the Inquisitors were not shy about using some fairly gruesome methods. [...]

[Martin Luther, founder of Protestantism] thought that '[e]ven unbelievers should be forced to obey the Ten Commandments, attend church, and outwardly conform.' He had no problem endorsing the death penalty for heretics such as 'those who teach against a manifest article of the faith ... for example, if anyone should teach that Christ was not God but a mere man.' And although he first reached out to the Jews, when he realized that they were not going to sign on to the Protestant program, he urged: '[L]et whosoever can, throw brimstone and pitch upon them; if one could hurl hellfire at them, so much the better.... And this must be done for the honor of our Lord and Christianity, so that God may see that we are indeed Christians. Let their houses also be shattered and destroyed'. [...]

John Calvin, the source of inspiration for millions more, set up an unprecedented totalitarian system in Geneva. Elders would visit each house to question occupants on all details of their lives. Card playing, dancing, irreligious songs, extravagant living, immodest dress, theatrical performances, and many other things were strictly prohibited. Blasphemy and adultery could be punished by death. Fornicators would be exiled or drowned. And, as in the Inquisition, torture was used to get confessions.

"Bad Faith: The Danger of Religious Extremism" by Neil J. Kressel (2007)30

5. Antisemitism

#antisemitism #christianity #islam #judaism #religion

The violent and irrational anti-Semitism in history has had its roots in one common cause: the teachings of early and middle ages Christianity. Anti-semitism has always been rife within Christianity from the original Church Fathers of the first century. Many of the most influential Christian theologians, for example Augustine, St Aquinas and later, Martin Luther, all indulged themselves by writing anti-Jewish volumes. Aquinas wrote that "since the Jews are the slaves of the Church, she can dispose of their possessions". The Christian anti-Semites took their cue from Biblical verses such as Mark 15:15, Luke 23:3, John 19:4-6, 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 that blames Jews as a whole for the death of Jesus, John 8:42-47 that says Jews are descended from the devil, and in Rom 10:3 that they are ignorant of God's will, and other verses are often cited by early Christians too although sometimes the logic of their exegesis is confusing.

No other religion has displayed such immovable hatred towards another religion as Christianity did towards the Jews. No holy war has ever lasted so long and been so bloody as the one the Christians waged against innocent Jews from the first century and through the Dark Ages. History provides us with only few occasions where Jews, or even Muslims or pagans, were as intolerant or morally corrupt as the West was under Christian rule. Thankfully modern Christianity, since it lost its power, is generally more humane. Christianity has slowly been forced to change its ways mostly due to pressure from increasingly powerful secular, poly-cultural governments and changing culture.

For more, see:

6. The Basis for Intolerance in the New Testament

#christianity #islam #judaism

Some think that the New Testament is nicer than the OT. They are correct; it was written in much more enlightened times. But the NT still endorses violence and murder. Jesus himself declared "think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword" (Matthew 10:34). But for what ends is this violence to be executed? Luke 14:23 says "Compel people to come in!" for the purpose of "filling" the Church. And henceforth, Christian history contains many unfortunate chapters where Christian groups anathematized one another as heretics, and proceeded to burn, torture and murder those who disagreed. Victims have been anyone who disagreed even on confusing technical points of Christian doctrine, members of other religions such as Muslims and Jews, "witches", homosexuals, and finally, a small number who have genuinely plotted against the Church.

Book CoverSuch attitudes are not merely disasters found in history. Even in the twentieth century, Pope Leo XII argued for violence and murder, based on religion:

The death sentence is a necessary and efficacious means for the Church to attain its end when rebels act against it and disturbers of the ecclesiastical unity, especially obstinate heretics and heresiarchs, cannot be restrained by any other penalty. [...] If there be no other remedy for saving its people it can and must put these wicked men to death.

Pope Leo XII31

Aside from the New Testament's endorsement of killing in the name of religion, God itself leads by example. The Book of Revelation is the climax of the New Testament. God reverts to his Old Testament ways. The suffering and pain described in the apocalypse is something that a good god could never let happen. Some excerpts:

It is an incredibly difficult task to explain to Christians who decide to kill in god's name that they are in fact going against the Bible, because this is simply not the case.

For more, see: Is the Christian God Evil? Evidence from Scripture and Nature.

Horrible xenophobia is not confined to the Hebrew Scriptures; the New Testament continues the theme. Matthew 10:34-37 and Luke 12:51-53 repeat the theme that Jesus says "I am not come to send peace, but a sword" and comes to divide families and set them against each other. In the First Epistle of John warns that having wrong beliefs made you worthless before God, and disposable as a human being (1 John 5:1-5,10). 2 John says that if you don't have the right beliefs about the relationship between Jesus-as-god and Jesus-as-man then you are godless (2 John 1:7-9), and Christians can't greet you politely nor welcome you in to church or home (2 John 1:10-11). Just to greet people with wrong beliefs, says 2 John, is to be in league with evil! This has no doubt helped encourage the intolerant and fundamentalist streams in Christian history. The entire book of Jude is dedicated to preaching that those who have erroneous beliefs are ungodly and need to be rescued. All of these verses and many like them set the scene for such institutions as the Inquisition, torturing and burning those who had even the slightest variance of belief from what the Church wanted them to have.

7. Modern Christianity is Softer and Kinder Than in History


Thankfully the vast majority of Christians are now moderate or liberal and there is strong criticism of extremism from many Christian institutions - "the will and capacity of Christian faith to inspire murder, torture, and intolerance has diminished tremendously"32 admits one critic.

Bertrand Russell once suggested that '[i]t is true that the modern Christian is less robust [in persecuting those with different beliefs], but that is not thanks to Christianity; it is thanks to the generations of freethinkers, who, from the Renaissance to the present day, have made Christians ashamed of many of their traditional beliefs.


It is quite unfair to phrase like that, though, as most Christians (like most people) are genuinely good-natured, and, it is no fault of their own that they are born into a faith with the history that Christianity has.

8. Growing Fundamentalism Within Mainstream Christian Churches


Fundamentalism is rising to power within otherwise moderate or liberal Christian communities. It has been happening since the very beginnings of second century Christian literalism. Many Christian groups do oppose this growing fundamentalism, but their resistance is too slow, too little and too polite... too liberal, too pacifist. If the Church of England, especially its upper management, was to oppose this fundamentalism, the Church would split and the liberals would be financially bankrupt. To guard against this eventuality, Western democracies governments should limit faith schools, and enforce the separation of Church and State so as the fundamentalists gain more power they are powerless to harm society in general.

This topic has been given more interest recently, three respectable books that touch on this are listed below. The voluminous book 'Social Trends in Britain since 1900' can be used to view the raw data that some of these books have also used:

Evangelical & fundamentalist groups within the Church of England include:

A large number of studies agree that the growth of conservative Protestantism owes little to the recruitment of people who were previously atheists or even liberal Christians. The real difference lies in the retention of children. [...] A survey [...] showed that 72 percent of those who joined in a four-year period were moving from other evangelical churches. Only 28 percent were 'converts' and almost three-quarters of these were the children of evangelists. This suggests that the explanation for the different fate of the denominational and sectarian versions of Protestantism has more to do with the ability to retain children rather than attractiveness to outsiders.

"Religion in the Modern World: From Cathedrals to Cults" by Steve Bruce (1996)11

Unless the liberals within religion perform a never-before-seen coup, these trends will continue in the West. The evangelicals and fundamentalists tend to be intensely organized and motivated, whereas the liberals and mainstream adherents are more laid back, living more peacefully. "One embittered liberal rector of a London parish said yesterday: 'The trouble is that the evangelicals are so much better organised than we are. We need to get our act together' "12.

9. Evangelical Finances and the Church of England

#christianity #church_of_england

Anglican Mainstream (despite the title, this is a fundamentalist group) and other evangelical groups are funded by rich American evangelical churches that are largely business orientated and middle-class populated. This more-worldly outlook is opposed to moderate Christianity which does not generally pursue business interests and sometimes actively shuns commercialism. Of course this has, unfortunately for the Anglicans, resulted in a history of financial mismanagement. Modern, growing, forms of Christianity have a much better grasp of financial kung-fu.

Sociologists and insiders writings on the Church of England, such as Monica Furlong and Rowan Williams himself, have commented that there is a possible fragmentation of the Anglican Church into Evangelical (and other) groups13. The remaining liberal core, what is traditionally considered to be the center of the C of E, will be bankrupted. It is only the evangelical branches that can financially hold their own. After a series of serious financial scandals ten years ago, after which it reformed its financial management and even lent some of this management to secular businessmen, the Church of England has not been financially comfortable. It is selling churches and property, reducing paraphernalia, and increasingly sharing its staff across multiple sites.13

10. What is Creationism and Intelligent Design?

#anti-evolution #anti-science #belgium #brazil #christianity #creationism #evolution #faith_schools #fundamentalism #intelligent_design #italy #kenya #netherlands #russia #serbia #UK #USA

Creationism is a Christian stance against established sciences such as physics, biology, geology and evolution. Most of them believe that the Earth is only 6 thousand years old, that the Universe was created in 6 days by God. Although not all of them believe in the actual Adam and Eve story, they do believe that all species were designed by God in their present form rather than being a result of the process evolution. What they think the use of genes are, and how they explain why 99.9% of all of God's well-designed species are extinct, I have no idea. These beliefs require the wholesale dismissal of such a huge volume of evidence from a vast array of sciences that ordinary people are astounded by the existence of creationists. It has been pointed out that a sensible approach to evolution requires a good education in biology first37 and that the complexity and imagination required to visualize long-term changes in gene pools and how they facilitate speciation are more difficult to grasp than "god did it" explanation38. Empirical research on the most popular and proclaimed creationists has shown quantitively "that almost without exception the creationist propagandists are incompetent scientists with few if any accomplishments to their credit"39. Unfortunately such people are not content to merely believe strange things. They want others to believe them too. Many consider the success of creationism to be the failure of the education system and of societal controls on extremism.

A more modern face of creationism is intelligent design (ID), which is slicker with its presentation and marketing techniques. ID's front-line battle is with the schooling system and their campaigns make "evolution" out to be contentious or contested and that ID should be taught in schools as a viable alternative. It has made much headway in the USA in particular, and in the UK some faith schools have been found to be teaching that the Universe is less than 10 thousand years old40. But ID fails to find acceptance in most other developed countries although tussles have also been fought in Belgium, Brazil, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Russia and Serbia41. After the USA it is only Muslim countries and Africa that harbour virulent anti-evolutionists. Richard Leakey, who was once the director of Kenya's national museum, had to fight regularly to keep the descriptions of fossils and skeletons accurate. Anti-evolution Christians vandalized, threatened and sometimes won the right to have exhibits removed42.

Fundamentalists tried for a while to pass ID off as a different thing to creationism, but their bluff has been called43,44 and a series of legal defeats has seen the establishment recognize that ID is religious myth, not science. In 2008, the 47 member states of the Council of Europe resolved against the teaching of creationism, and emplored that scientific education is important and should not be mixed with religious beliefs45.

Thankfully, despite occasional small-scale failures, in all modern countries where science and education is driven by evidence, evolution continues to be strongly supported by Governments, and continues to be taught properly as part of public education systems.


11. Extremism in World Religions46