Book of Mormon Internal Evidence (19b): Korihor and the Modern Atheists

The four icons of the modern “new atheists” are Charles Darwin, Sigmund Freud, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Karl Marx.

Charles Darwin (1809-1882)

Darwin was the father of the theory of evolution and natural selection (survival of the fittest). His ideas gave birth to modern “materialistic empiricism.”  Most modern atheists are “materialistic empiricists”. To them, only the material physical universe exists. There is only matter. Hence, the only way to gain knowledge of truth is empirically through our senses, by observation and scientific testing. “Seeing is believing.”

Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)

Freud viewed God as the product of disturbed and infantile brains in need of wish fulfillment and a powerful father figure.  Religion may have been useful in ancient times to restrain mankind’s violent impulses.  However, religion should now be rejected in favor of reason and science. Religion satisfies a neurotic need to feel secure and absolve oneself of guilt. Basically, religion is the result of a neurosis – a widespread mental disorder.  

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)

Nietzsche rejected the notion of absolute truth.  He dismissed the traditional views of religion and morality.  “Good” and “evil” do not exist. There is no objective “right” or “wrong.” There is no free will or moral agency. People’s actions are the inevitable response to stimuli. We are not responsible for our conduct. Thus, we cannot get credit or blame for what we do.

Karl Marx (1818-1883)

For Marx, religion was just a useful tool of the upper ruling class to keep the poor working class in their place. Religion does this by giving false hope of a hereafter.  “Religion is the opium of the people

“Fruits” or Modern Atheism

As a side note, Jesus declared, “By their fruits ye shall know them.”

Adolph Hitler, an atheist, was influenced by the Darwinian concept of “survival of the fittest.” Hitler was also inspired by Nietzsche, who was a prominent German philosopher.  Hitler committed some of the greatest atrocities in human history.  

Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot and Kim Il-sung were all atheists and disciples of Marx. Stalin and Mao committed the two largest genocides in human history.

  • Pol Pot is responsible for over 1 million deaths in Cambodia. (The “Killing Fields”)
  • Kim is responsible for 1-3 million deaths in North Korea. 
  • Hitler is responsible for 6 million deaths in the Holocaust alone.
  • Stalin is responsible for 9-40 million deaths.
  • Mao is responsible for 30-80 million deaths.

Stalin observed, “A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is just a statistic.”

Atheists often point to some historical atrocities committed by religious people in the name of God.  However, they ignore the more recent greater genocides committed by secular atheists.

Korihor (Alma 30)

In his attacks on God and religion, Korihor argued the same four theories inspired by Darwin, Freud, Nietzsche, and Marx. These are the same theories asserted the modern “new atheists.”

One, Korihor argued, “ye cannot know of things which ye do not see.” (Al. 30:15) “Every man fared in this life according to the management of the creature; therefore, every man prospered according to his genius, and that every man conquered according to his strength.” (Al 30:17) These are the Darwinian arguments for materialist empiricism and survival of the fittest.

Two, Korihor insisted that faith and religion “is the effect of a frenzied [and deranged] mind.” This is the Freudian argument.

Three, Korihor asserted that “whatsoever a man did not was crime.” This is the philosophy of Nietzsche.

Four, Korihor claimed that religion and the belief in God were used by the ruling upper class to “usurp power and authority over them [the poor working class], to keep them in ignorance … and brought down.”  This is the theme of Marx.

Alma’s Response

Prophet Alma gave a profound and persuasive four-part response. His answers are still valid today.

 “Will ye say, Show unto me a sign, when he have the testimony of all these thy brethren, and also all the holy prophets? The scriptures are laid before thee, yea and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator.” (Al. 30: 44)

  • Testimony of the millions of believers
  • Testimony of ancient and modern prophets
  • Testimony of ancient and modern scriptures
  • Miracles of creation and nature

Authenticity of the Book of Mormon

The account of Korihor and Alma in the Book of Mormon is further evidence of its authenticity. 

Darwin, Freud, Nietzsche, and Marx all produced their new secular theories long after the Book of Mormon was even published. 

An educated theologian in the twentieth century might be able to re-create the debate between Alma and Korihor based on new atheism and the works of Darwin, Freud, Nietzsche, and Marx.

Obviously, Joseph Smith was not an educated theologian. He was an uneducated farm boy. Plus, Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon long before modern atheism and its four icons.

In conclusion, Korihor’s sophisticated assaults against religion and the existence of God, and Alma’s profound defenses, are further internal  evidence of the authenticity of the Book of Mormon.

(Sources: Professor Hyrum Lewis, “There is a God: How to Respond to Atheism in the Last Days; “Karl Marx,” “Marxism and Religion,” “Sigmund Freud,” “Sigmund Freud’s View on Religion,” “Charles Darwin,” “Religious Views of Charles Darwin,” “Friedrich Nietzsche,” “Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche,” Wikipedia)

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