Dr. Richard Land

Who Was Morally Responsible for the Hiroshima Bombing?

May 26, 2016

Southern Evangelical Seminary President and Evangelical Leader Says More Lives Would Have Been Lost Without Truman’s Decision

CHARLOTTE, N.C.—Tomorrow, President Barack Obama will become the first sitting president in American history to visit the site of the U.S. atomic bomb attack in Hiroshima, Japan. And there is conversation over the purpose of the visit—a political move at the end of his term, a statement on nuclear weapons or a chance to perhaps apologize?

Southern Evangelical Seminary (SESwww.ses.eduPresident and Evangelical leader Dr. Richard Land says that while the reasons for the visit are up for debate, there are many facts that are unwavering, even after more than 70 years after August of 1945.

Land pointed out that polls show that the support for dropping the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki has declined. The Pew Research Center has shared how data over the years indicates a change in opinion as the decades pass. For instance, in 1945, in the heat of war, 85 percent of Americans approved of the use of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, according to a Gallup poll. Support for the decision dropped to 63 percent in 1991, when the Detroit Free Press surveyed Americans. Another Gallup poll in 2005 found that 57 percent approved of the decision. Then last year, Pew conducted its own poll, which found that 56 percent felt the atomic bomb decision was justified. Generationally, the numbers also differ greatly. For example, of Americans 65 and older, 70 percent believed the use of the atomic bombs against Japan was justified; 47 percent of those between 18 and 29 concurred.

“Interestingly, even as support for President Truman’s decision to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to end World War II has declined,” Land said, “most Americans—73 percent—believed that the United States should not formally apologize to Japan, according to a Gallup poll 50 years after that fateful day. In fact, U.S. veterans groups have protested President Obama’s planned visit to Hiroshima and have said that the President should not visit Hiroshima until the Japanese formally apologize for the savage and barbaric treatment of American and Allied POWs, tens of thousands who died from torture, abuse and starvation while in Japanese POW camps.”

Land says that in order to understand the decision to drop the first atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Americans must first understand the context in which that decision was made.

“Japan had furnished the world a vivid demonstration of the fanatical defense they were prepared to put up against the coming invasion of the home islands,” Land said in a recent installment of his daily radio feature, “Bringing Every Thought Captive.” “In the Battle for Okinawa, 12,000 Americans died and more than 50,000 were wounded, and over 200,000 Japanese were killed. Also, the Japanese held over 36,000 Americans POWs. Thirty-eight percent of them died in captivity because of the cruelty and barbarity of their captors. Now we know that Japanese were preparing to execute those POWs in order to relieve their captors from guard duty and free them to focus on repelling the American invaders. The executions were scheduled to begin August 17, 1945, just eight days after Nagasaki was bombed. These American POWs would have been killed if not for President Truman’s decision to drop the atomic bombs. 

“Who bears the moral responsibility for the deaths of Hiroshima and Nagasaki?” Land asks. “The Japanese militarists who led their country to attack America and start World War II. Approximately 23,000 American POWs who had been held for years in terrible conditions in captivity would have been unceremoniously executed had we not dropped the atomic bombs and ended the war. The blood of those 23,000 American soldiers, sailors and airmen would have been on the hands of American authorities had they not dropped the bomb. In addition, it is estimated that over 500,000 American soldiers would have died subduing Japan. Up to that point in the war, 409,000 Americans had died. We would have doubled the number of American deaths in World War II, and approximately 5 million Japanese would have died. All those lives were saved by the dropping of the atomic bombs. If President Truman had not dropped the bombs and the American people found out that he could have prevented this carnage and didn’t, he would have been impeached.”

Southern Evangelical Seminary recently announced its 23rd annual National Conference on Christian Apologetics hosted by Calvary Church in Charlotte, N.C., on Oct. 13-15. SES will welcome such top name speakers as Norman Geisler, Richard Howe, Richard Land, Josh and Sean McDowell, Hugh Ross, Jay Sekulow, Lee Strobel, Frank Turek and J. Warner Wallace, along with many others. The theme of the 2016 conference, “The Defense Never Rests,” focuses on the ongoing charge to Christians to defend their beliefs rationally, intelligently and lovingly. For registration information, visit conference.ses.edu/registration.

SES explores ethical issues through its “Ethics in Emerging Technology” program; for more information, visit www.ethics.ses.eduSouthern Evangelical Seminary also recently unveiled a new apologetics blog at www.WhyDoYouBelieve.org, where Land and other SES voices address the most pressing issues of the day.

SES is a leader in apologetics education—teaching students to defend their faith and talk intelligently, passionately and rationally about what they believe and why they believe it. Many courses focus on societal issues from a Christian worldview, delve into scientific apologetics or contemplate creation research.

Land is featured in his nationally syndicated daily radio commentary, “Bringing Every Thought Captive,” which airs on almost 400 stations nationwide, including nearly 200 on the American Family Radio Network and 100 on the Bott Radio Network. “Bringing Every Thought Captive” is also podcast daily on the free SES mobile app and airs locally in the Charlotte, N.C., area every weekday. The “Bringing Every Thought Captive” television program, hosted by Land, airs on the NRB Network Wednesdays at 8 p.m. and midnight EST. “Bringing Every Thought Captive” also reaches nearly 2 million households in the Chicago area on the Total Living Network. For details about stations, times, downloads and more, click here.

Land has taught as a visiting or adjunct professor for several seminaries and has authored or edited more than 15 books. He earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree from Oxford University in England and his bachelor’s degree (magna cum laude) from Princeton University. Land also earned a Master of Theology (Honors Program) degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, where he received the Broadman Seminarian Award as the Outstanding Graduating Student. Dr. Land was the 2013 Watchman Award recipient from the Family Research Council for his leadership on moral and cultural issues. He also received the Phillip E. Johnson Award for Liberty and Truth from Biola University in 2010. Land served previously (1988-2013) as president of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the Southern Baptist Convention’s official entity assigned to address social, moral and ethical concerns, with particular attention to their impact on American families. In 2014, he was appointed as a Senior Research Fellow of the ERLC’s Research Institute, and in 2015, he was named in the top 15 of Newsmax’s “Top 100 Christian Leaders in America.”

Southern Evangelical Seminary invites visitors to its web site to join the more than 20,000 people who have already downloaded the SES Apologetics App for Windows mobile devices and Android and Apple phones and tablets. Those with the app can get the very best news and information in Christian apologetics, including articles, audio, video, blogs and more from today’s most able defenders of the Christian faith—William Lane Craig, Lee Strobel, Josh McDowell, William Dembski, Frank Turek, Hugh Ross, Gary Habermas and other well-known speakers, authors and teachers.

Southern Evangelical Seminary has been ranked as one of the top graduate programs for General Christian Apologetics by TheBestSchools.org’s “Top 10 Graduate Programs in Christian Apologetics.”

For more information on SES, visit its web site at www.ses.edu or its Facebook page, follow the SES Twitter feed, @sesapologetics, or call (800) 77-TRUTH. For more information about SES’ “Ethics in Emerging Technology” program, visit www.ethics.ses.edu.  

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For information on SES or to set up an interview, contact Jen Retallick, 610-584-1096, ext. 100Media@HamiltonStrategies.comor Deborah Hamilton at 215-815-7716 or 610-584-1096, ext. 102.

Southern Evangelical Seminary is a leader in apologetics education—teaching students to defend their faith and talk intelligently, passionately and rationally about what they believe and why they believe it. The Christian college and seminary offers a wide variety of bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees. Programs can be completed through residence in the Charlotte area or online. The award-winning education at SES is distinctively Christian and focused on evangelism and world-engaging defense of the Christian faith—Christian Apologetics.