One of the many beliefs -- i.e., non-empirically based doctrines -- of the post-Christian West has been that moral progress is the human norm, especially so with the demise of religion. In a secular world, the self-described enlightened thinking goes, superstition is replaced by reason, and reason leads to the moral good.
Of course, it turned out that the post-Christian West produced considerably more evil than the Christian world had. No mass cruelty in the name of Christianity approximated the vastness of the cruelty unleashed by secular doctrines and regimes in the post-Christian world. The argument against religion that more people have been killed in the name of religion than by any other doctrine is false propaganda on behalf of secularism and Leftism.
The amount of evil done by Christians -- against, for example, "heretics" and Jews -- in both the Western and Eastern branches of Christianity -- was extensive, as was the failure of most European Christians to see Nazism for the evil that it was. The good news is that Christian evils have been acknowledged and addressed by most Christian leaders and thinkers.
But there were never any Christian Auschwitzes -- i.e., systematic genocides of every man, woman and child of a particular race or religion. Nor were there Christian Gulags -- the shipping of millions of innocents to conditions so horrific that prolonged suffering leading to death was the almost -inevitable end.
The anti-religious Left offers two responses to these facts: The first is that modern technology made the Nazi and Communist murders of scores of millions possible; had the church been technologically able to do so, it would have made its own Auschwitz and Gulag. The second is that Nazism and Communism were religions and not secular doctrines.
The response to the first is that technology was not necessary for the Communist murders of over a hundred million innocent people in the Soviet Union, China, Cambodia and elsewhere. In Cambodia, millions were murdered with hammers, in Rwanda with machetes.
The response to the second is that Communism and Nazism were secular movements and to deny that is to tell a gargantuan lie. Even if one argues that Nazism and Communism were religions, they were nevertheless secular religions. That too many Christians morally failed when confronted with Nazism is true, but irrelevant to the fact that Nazism was in no way a Christian movement.
And now the post-Christian world is getting worse.
The moral news about the world in which we live is almost unremittingly negative.
Russia is devoid of a moral values system. Whatever moral role the Russian Orthodox Church played was largely extinguished during the seven decades of Communist suppression of religion. Today, pockets of religious morality notwithstanding, Russia is essentially a nihilistic state. Under the leadership of a former KGB director, Russia now plays a destructive role in world affairs. Russia today is characterized by major arms shipments to Syria, protecting Iran while it becomes a nuclear power, forcing its will on Ukraine and other neighboring states, and the violent suppression of domestic critics who shed any light on the organized crime syndicate that rules the geographically largest nation in the world.
The Ataturk Revolution is being undone. Turkey, the country long regarded as the bridge between the West and Islam, is rapidly moving away from the West and to an increasingly anti-Western Islam.
Iran is ruled by the heirs of Nazism, if that word still means anything after being cheapened by the Left for decades, most recently by the Left's comparison of Arizona to a Nazi state. The rulers of Iran boast of their desire to initiate a second Holocaust against the Jews, all the while denying that the first Holocaust took place. And the country's treatment of Iranians who seek elementary human freedoms and of Iranian women is among the worst on earth.
According to all reports, nearly 6 million people have been killed in the Congo in the last decade. The great secular liberal hope in "humanity" and "world opinion" has once again been shown to be the false hope it is. World opinion and "humanity" have rarely done anything to help the truly persecuted. But there is more to the Congolese genocide -- the absence of reporting about it in the world's media and its being a non-issue at the United Nations. If an Israeli soldier kills a rock-throwing Palestinian, or even worse, makes plans to build 1,600 apartments in east Jerusalem, the U.N., world opinion and the world media cover it as if it were the primary evil on earth. But the Congolese deaths are barely worth a mention.
Mexico is fighting for its life against narcotics gangs that compete with Islamists in their sadism. Mexico could become the largest narco-state in the world. To be a good person in Mexico today, i.e., to oppose the drug lords in any way, is to put oneself in danger of being slowly tortured to death.
Europe long ago gave up fighting for or believing in anything other than living a life with as much economic security, as many days off and as young a retirement age as possible. World War I killed off European idealism. And whatever remained was destroyed by World War II. What I have written about the Germans is true for nearly all of Europe: Instead of learning to fight evil, Europe has learned that fighting is evil.
Other consequences of European secularism and the demise of non-materialistic ideals include a low birthrate (children cost money and limit the number of fine restaurants in which one can afford to dine), and appeasement of evil. Thus most European nations are slowly disappearing and nearly every European country has compromised Western liberties in order to appease radical Muslims.
Polls taken in the Muslim world regularly report that about 10 percent of the world's Muslims say they support radical Islam -- meaning Islamic totalitarianism as practiced by the Taliban and terror as practiced by Al-Qaida. That means at least one hundred million people. Add to that the unspecified number of Muslims who support the Nazi-level and Nazi-like anti-Semitism promulgated in much of the Middle East and you have an enormous body of people committed to the death of the West.
As in Russia, traditional Chinese virtues were largely destroyed by Communism, and China, too, is essentially a nihilistic state whose government spends its vast sums of foreign currency in buying influence in some of the cruelest places on earth (Zimbabwe, for example) and protecting the genocide-advocating regime of Iran.
The United Nations
The net result of the United Nations is an increase in evil on earth. Whatever good is performed by some of its institutions, like the World Health Organization or UNICEF, that good is outweighed by the amount of evil the U.N. either abets or allows. It has supervised genocide in Rwanda, done nothing to stop genocide elsewhere (e.g., Congo and Sudan), gives a respectable forum to tyrannies, and is preoccupied with vilifying one of its relatively few humane states, Israel. Its contributing to human suffering is exemplified by Libya being elected to its Human Rights Commission and Iran's election to its Commission on the Status of Women.
The United States
The United States was described by President Abraham Lincoln as The Last Best Hope of Earth. Most Americans agreed then. However, with the ascent of the Left in America -- in our educational institutions, news and entertainment media, and arts world -- fewer and fewer Americans believe this. On the contrary, the Leftist view of America, which pervades American life, is of a country deeply morally compromised by endemic racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, militarism, imperialism and a rapacious capitalism, leading to immoral levels of economic inequality.
As in Europe, these views are leading America to avoid offending its enemies. The American attorney general recently refused to answer a congressman's repeated question about whether he believes that radical Islam might have been one factor motivating recent Muslim terrorists in America.
With America more interested in being like Europe and being liked rather than in fighting its enemies, more and more countries are identifying with America's enemies than with America. Last week's three-way hug among the leaders of Brazil, Turkey and Iran was a clear example of such.
Meanwhile, America is rapidly accumulating unpayable debts that will render it not very different from Greece. Indeed, California, once the grease of the American economy, has become the Greece of the American economy.
As the Left's power increases, America's power recedes -- and the world further deteriorates. Under Democratic Party rule, the Last Best Hope of Earth has decided that the United Nations and Western Europe deserve that title, not the United States.
Those of us working to remove Democrats from power regard this November's election as not only a referendum on the direction of America, but of the world itself.
Dennis Prager is a SRN radio show host, contributing columnist for Townhall.com and author of his newest book, “The Ten Commandments: Still the Best Moral Code.”