A Christian linked me to a blog in order to provide arguments that the Spanish Inquisition was not really all that bad, but what caught my attention was that it contained a list of some of the evil deeds done by Protestants that I was not aware of. Now I don't blame religion on all of the world's problems, and I don't think that every conflict between two groups of people who are of different religions or religious denominations is always entirely a religious conflict. But I do think that whenever there is a conflict between two groups of people, if they differ in religion, the problem is almost always made worse. Take the 17th century English military leader Oliver Cromwell for example. After he rose through the ranks during the English Civil war, he invaded Ireland to help spread Protestantism after some of the Irish Catholics there killed some Protestants, and in effect lead to the deaths or exile of anywhere between a quarter to a third of the Irish population. Was it religion or was it politics? There's no doubt that even if given the most charitable assessment, there's a religious component that made the situation worse. Cromwell believed his military campaign in Ireland was a judgement from god, as he thought pretty much everything that happened was. And to this, I'm reminded of the words of Christopher Hitchens who asked, when you sincerely believe you've got god on your side, what amount of violence are you not capable of accomplishing?
- John Calvin not only banished dissenters from Geneva, some were tortured and/or executed (e.g. Jacques Gouet and Michael Servetus).
- The Protestant Council of Zurich decided to put Anabaptists to death by drowning.
- On the advice of Philip Melancthon, three Anabaptists who refused to recant under torture were executed.
- Henry VIII, the original English Reformer, executed 72,000 people.
- Henry VIII’s Protestant daughter, Elizabeth I, executed more than the Spanish and Roman Inquisitions combined.
- Oliver Cromwell killed or exiled between 1/4 and 1/3 of the population of Ireland in an attempt to establish Presbyterianism. In one massacre alone he had 3,500 people (including women and children) murdered in a church.