Cases of persecution similar to Galileo’s (which are also found in Protestantism) are a significant indicator of the extent to which Christians themselves have been aware of the conflict between reason and faith. The issue is not whether Galileo was right or wrong. The issue is: Why has Christianity found it necessary and desirable to suppress free inquiry with the threat of force? If reason will only lend support to the dogmas of religion, why have those countries with a strong Church-State alliance displayed such an eagerness to enforce religious dogmas and eliminate dissent through the power of the State? Why has Christianity refused, whenever possible, to allow its beliefs to compete in a free marketplace of ideas? The answer is obvious – and revealing. Christianity is peddling an inferior product, one that cannot withstand critical investigation. Unable to compete favorably with other theories, it has sought to gain a monopoly through a state franchise, which means: through the use of force.
George H. Smith
From Atheism the Case Against God
[This same argument can be used to even greater effect with Islamic extremists. They have been “converting by the sword” for centuries. Frequently murdering everyone in an entire town. I’m listening to Hatred’s Kingdom: How Saudi Arabia Supports the New Global Terrorism and the picture it paints about the history of Islam is worse than I thought it was. Which was already extraordinarily negative.–Joe]