Communists & fascists being labelled as Atheists

64


Discussion by: Myrodd

I find whenever I am up against the religious who are very outspoken against Atheists, they bring up that these communist countries are Atheists. North Korea, China, when Russia was the USSR etc, and try and use them as examples of Atheism. Naturally I point out that other than North Korea where the people worship their leader as a God so they aren't Atheists to start with. I go on to point out in the defense of Atheism that the populations of communist countries that do not have a religion, the people never had a choice to be a believer. So they were not Atheist by choice. In addition the very nature of their government leadership, effects their morals and ethics as it probably would if your parents didn't set good moral standards. 

Anyway I'm wondering if anyone had a better response to this as it is a common argument I seem to be up against.

64 COMMENTS

  1. The leaders of many of these communist countries are/were Atheists. Can’t argue against that.

    They are massively dogmatic though and free speech , expression and assembly is frowned upon.

    Does atheism motivate this. Don’t think so , it is their world view , i.e big, controlling government.

    • In reply to #1 by Pauly01:

      The leaders of many of these communist countries are/were Atheists. Can’t argue against that.

      They are massively dogmatic though and free speech , expression and assembly is frowned upon.

      Does atheism motivate this. Don’t think so , it is their world view , i.e big, controlling government.

      I’d rather say that believing in one’s own superiority over the rest of the citizens make this person a poor atheist.

  2. The key word here is ideology.

    While an ideology can be atheistic, atheism in itself can not be described or defined as an ideology. After all, not believing in a god doesn’t say much about how to live your life or what to value in your life.
    Once you get the difference between these two words, the puzzle starts to make sense.

  3. The only reason why communist countries are considered atheistic is that the heads of the government don’t want the competition for the hearts and minds of the people so religions are either squashed or restricted.

    Communist leaders know how to work the people. They do everything similar to what religions do when they have power. They restrict people’s rights, they hold bogus trials and inflict fear into the populace to get ‘traitors’ brought forward.

    To suggest that any communist country is atheistic is ridiculous. None of them have upheld any secular/democratic idealism.

    • In reply to #3 by Nick LaRue:

      To suggest that any communist country is atheistic is ridiculous. None of them have upheld any secular/democratic idealism.

      I think that is besides the point. While atheism to you means that you have to uphold certain secular/democratic values, to many others it simply means that you don’t believe in any gods.

      At its core atheism is not about secularism, democracy, or politics. Even though some people might think otherwise.

      • In reply to #5 by DHudson:

        In reply to #3 by Nick LaRue:

        To suggest that any communist country is atheistic is ridiculous. None of them have upheld any secular/democratic idealism.

        I think that is besides the point. While atheism to you means that you have to uphold certain secular/democratic values, to many others it simpl…

        Yes I am aware of the dictionary atheists.

        Point is most of these fascists or communist countries or regimes are atheistic. They’re dictatorial. Replacing one type of worship with another.

        Does that work better for you?

        • In reply to #25 by Nick LaRue:

          Yes I am aware of the dictionary atheists.
          Point is most of these fascists or communist countries or regimes are atheistic. They’re dictatorial. Replacing one type of worship with another.

          Does that work better for you?

          Maybe, but don’t worry about me.

  4. There’s a difference between atheistic and antireligious. An antireligious regime, perhaps founded & largely run by atheists, suppresses religion, but atheism seems never to be a motivating factor since (as DHudson rightly pointed out) atheism is not an ideology. I suspect that antireligious policy is intended to suppress competition for loyalty, and divert tribal instinct that normally fuels religion into a force for the state. It chaps my cheeks when someone trying to make a case against atheistic nationalism cites Nazism, which was certainly not atheistic.

    }}}}

  5. yes, I met those type argument from religious people.
    And the more we try to explain, the more it gets worse. Why? because these religious nuts are not educated person, they are only parrots without critical thinking skills. But I found a very simple way to counter it by keep it simple.

    STEPS:

    Step 1

    a. Make a statement that says “Government style is NOT THE SAME as belief system”; Communism is a government style. Secularism is a government style. Kingdom or Monarchy is also a government style. These government style are related in the discussion of how to manage a country.

    b. On the other hand, Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Scientology, Mormonism belief system (aka. religions, since all of them are related in the discussion about supranatural things that has greater power), they are NOT A GOVERNMENT STYLE. Atheism is NOT A GOVERNMENT STYLE EITHER, because it also “relates in the discussion” about supranatural things that has greater power.

    Step 2

    Make a supporting statement such as: “Cuba is a country with Communist government style, yet it’s a Catholic country”. China is a communist country, and yet you will find a lot of buddhist temples inside, there are thousands of it. In fact, about 20% of 1,4 Billion China populations are Buddhist, which is more than the Christians population in the whole ENGLAND or USA.

    Step 3

    (Ridicule them)
    Make a statement to let them go back to school and study the difference between religion and government system.

  6. Most dictatorships foster idolatry – statues, portraits, books of wisdom etc. and the cult of personality to go with it. The worship and belief is focussed on a person instead of a magic being in the sky but I don’t see it being hugely different.

    • In reply to #7 by locka:

      Most dictatorships foster idolatry – statues, portraits, books of wisdom etc. and the cult of personality to go with it. The worship and belief is focussed on a person instead of a magic being in the sky but I don’t see it being hugely different.

      And neither is it. The point is that communism (and other dictatorships) thrive on the cult of personality and other forms of idolatry. That is a quasi-religious system. Atheism is simply the non-acceptance of god claims, not the substitution of one god with another, or with a quasi-god.

      Yours questioners would be hard put to name any political system that has killed people in the name of atheism.

      And just to to complete things, although Stalin was an atheist, Hitler was a Catholic. In fact it seems he was a Catholic in good standing as late as 1943.

  7. North Korea is a Necrocracy where a dead man is god. The ultimate real-life 1984. They believe Kim Il Sung is god. Russia has claimed denunciation of religion during several stages of its modern history, yet the Russian orthodox (Roman catholic “Lite”) church has been pulling strings for centuries. Hitler had catholic churches praying for him throughout Germany on his birthday every year until the point the catholics thought “…shit”, and stopped.
    Too many times in history a religion is too small scale and temporary to be viewed historically as A RELIGION. The late great Christopher Hitchens demonstrates this better than I could ever wish to, in several talks/debates/lectures. The religious WISH all these assclowns of history could be packaged into the neat and frightening mystery-bracket of ‘athiest’. But upon minimal research, they would be almost as red-faced as they deserve to be. So OP, these people who like to point out villains of history as being ‘athiest’ ignore the instances in which they have deified themselves. And those cases where established religions have foundationally supported these supposed ‘athiests’

    IE your opponents are pathetic, history-starved cretins.

    EDIT: P.S it’s my birthday and I’m suitably ‘blessed’ by saint Johnny Walker.

    • In reply to #8 by Timothy McNamara:

      Hitler had catholic churches praying for him throughout Germany on his birthday every year until the point the catholics thought “…shit”, and stopped.

      That’s not strictly accurate, although I was somewhat misguided on the Hitler/RCC issue myself until recently.

      Can I suggest some intriguing reading on the subject…“Hitler’s Pope: The Secret Life of Pius XII” by John Cornwell. Somewhat controversial, if even some of it is accurate, and from the bibliography I’ve no reason to doubt it is, then Cardinal Pacelli had a lot to answer for during his tenure prior to his rise to the top of the RCC. He’s not without criticism after his rise to the papacy on the eve of WW 2 either.

  8. First things first, if Atheists are bad it does not mean that Atheism is not true. You have to be clear and not be distracted. How Atheists should behave if they do not blindly follow a book is another topic. If you are talking about Atheism and they talk about Atheists it becomes an ad hominem. One is about the idea while the other is about people accepting the idea. If they bring up Atheistic Dictators just tell them you are standing right in front of them and you do not find a reason to harm them. The should be the biggest knock down against the notion that if you are an Atheist you cannot treat people well. Another is that many scientists and politicians are not religious and yet they do not advocate violence and many even help others.

  9. I think there is a general point here that both sides, atheists and theists tend to miss. And that is you can’t judge an idea by how crazy people misuse it. So the fact that people tortured and killed a lot of people in the name of Jesus doesn’t in and of itself mean that Christianity is wrong. (There are a lot of other reasons that Christianity is wrong, just saying that isn’t one of them). And the same thing goes for atheism. The fact that lunatic killers like Stalin happened to be atheists doesn’t mean atheism is wrong. In both cases what you need to do is judge things like the logical consistency of the idea, is it supported by evidence, etc. Of course on those terms Atheism wins hands down over theism.

    Now atheists love to use what IMO is simply the “No True Scotsman” defense. I don’t know how many times I’ve read people on this site saying “Stalin wasn’t really an atheist” or “Stalin was driven by communism and lust for power not atheism” etc. The problem is that Christians, Muslims, etc. use the exact same defense. I’ve heard countess Muslims claim Bin Laden isn’t “really” a muslim. And Christians will say “come on Jesus was about love and forgiveness, the people who did the Inquisition obviously were just abusing his name and didn’t get what he was all about”

    All I want is consistency. If you blame the Inquisition on Christianity then you also need to blame the gulags on atheism. My position is consistent because I don’t blame either one for the crimes of lunatics, lunatics do crazy awful things and use whatever justifications they can after the fact.

  10. I see too many simplistic arguments here by users normally beyond reproach. Their crime is placing ‘atheism’ in their posts as an ideology for which potential crimes were committed. The absence of something cannot be the driving force of something. Saddened am I, that I must repeat myself that atheism is NOT another team in a certain sports league, but the domain of those who disregard sports altogether.

  11. I think we have all heard of this argument so many times, it’s getting to be unbearably aggravating. It’s also a classical example where “correlation does not mean causation”.

    Disregarding the obviously flawed assumption that communists are inherently murderous, atheism is the result of communism rather than the other way around. Just because some swans are black, it does not mean all of them are. However, if the religious people thinks that this kind of down-up association is justifiable (it’s logically not justifiable), then they’d have to also accept that the religious are more likely to be criminals as according to the following link and they’ve got more blood on their hands than the communists throughout history.

    Let’s just take the British Empire for example, which is obviously Christian, for example, the famine they caused in India killed about 50 million people. And that’s before counting the numbers of directly caused death, which would be lower, but still be a significant number. This inclusion of famine death number is fair because they also used death by famine to count the number of deaths caused by communists.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2012/03/29/what-percentage-of-prisoners-are-atheists-pew-forum-offers-an-answer/
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_major_famines_in_India_during_British_rule

  12. I’ll concede that the closed authoritarian countries like Soviet Union, China (until late 70s), North Korea, Cuba where atheism was imposed were horrible it they concede that there is a very strong correlation between democratic secular states with a high degree of atheism and happiness, economic stability, low crime rates, education….. That topic usually dies pretty quickly.

  13. Perhaps someone here could explain to me what a “communist country ” is ? As far as I understand “communism” it means the absence of countries, the absence of buying and selling, and the common ownership of the means of production by the whole of society, the absence of classes and social inequality. Now when did that happen in Russia, China, Cuba, N. Korea or anywhere else ? It didn’t ! Exploitation of the workers was probably worse in the so-called communist countries, than it was in the avowedly capitalist ones.

    And as for the powerful dictator Stalin. Well he trained as a priest for 5 years. He might not have believed the bullshit, but he bloody well learnt the lessons the Russian Orthodox Church had to teach him about social coercion ! It seems Stalin would have anyone killed whom he thought to be a threat to his power. Of course that included Christians and anyone else, including his best military commanders. A factor that weakened the Red Army during WW2, and whilst the Kremlin and the Church were once again allies in the Great Patriotic War. Some 20 million or more died on what we call the Eastern Front. What for ? Christians on both sides slaughtering each other like flies.

  14. It’s just a purely logical consequence of the initial premises that anything good is a consequence of faith in god.

    There’s nothing inherently wrong with the logical conclusion that ‘therefore all bad things, including communism, fascism, democracy etc. must be a consequence of lack of faith’. Atheists are an obvious subset of the class of ‘those of bad faith’. Possibly even the worst of the worst given that atheists are more than just those who haven’t yet been offered the opportunity to join with the faithful, or mere sinners who have momentarily lost their moral bearings and slaughtered a few million people.

    People who consider themselves atheists usually have explicitly rejected faith and have therefore condemned themselves to exile from the relevant tribe or civilised community. Or vice versa – atheists being perceived as doing the casting out of those of good will, something which would be a grave injustice and a great evil. Whatever is the situation just depends on the relative numbers of believers vs non-believers in the relevant community.

    So it’s not surprising that those who are rated as the worst possible in the moral rankings will tend to be equated with the worst possible on the political spectrum.

    Generally when the flow of logic is not flawed, but the conclusions contradict reality, it’s considered to be a valid form of proof that the initial assumptions are false. So you need to highlight the initial assumptions, as well as the conflict between the logical conclusions and reality.

    So for a believer to argue that dysfunctional totalitarian governments are equated with atheism is kind of undermining their own faith that their beliefs about goodness are true. If they pay attention to evidence and logic they will be forced to the position that what they believe about conflating belief in god with all things good can’t be true. (Which isn’t quite the same thing as arguing that gods and magic etc. don’t exist.)

    Not necessarily a problem if believers are seldom motivated to focus or contemplate these things, but once an element of openness to real truth creeps into any belief system there’s a risk of undermining pseudo truths. If the person involved is unable to be frequently revived and reinforced in their false beliefs then there’s a risk of doubt creeping in, with the potential consequences of cluttering up the world with extra atheists.

    Logic dictates that, with all those extra atheists around, there must be even more things to for them to stuff up and for which ‘atheists in general’ may therefore be held responsible. So the remaining believers will have plenty of additional ammunition with which to further undermine their beliefs in a potentially uncontrolled chain reaction.

    They may already be on the slippery slope to atheism merely by proposing some other practical justification (political stability?) for what they are becoming increasingly aware may be otherwise be a false belief. So unless they can make it back to church for urgent counselling and prayer, and various other purging rituals that I can’t even imagine, then they’re probably toast.

    It probably depends on the situation, who is the other party, and their internal hormonal environment. Religion is mostly about sex rather than politics. So a possible next step is to move the discussion to safer moral issues like sexual relations outside of marriage. Especially of the ‘don’t knock it until you’ve tried it’ kind. It may help to prove that being an atheist is not all talk and no fun.

  15. Just point this out:

    The leaders were atheists.

    Their atheism did not dictate their behaviour.

    For example, god says kill heretics. Therefore, an immoral behaviour was condoned by religious ideals. Religion is a force that can make a person immoral. A religious person has to listen to the instructions of god – many of which are immoral. So we see that they must follow rules.

    Atheism simply doesn’t force us to do anything. How can believing nothing (with nothing telling us what to do) play an influencing role? There are no rules for being an atheist. What book says what we can/can’t wear, how to treat others, that killing is/isn’t okay? We don’t have any single force influencing our actions. An atheist with immoral behaviour is simply an immoral person. Their atheism cannot play ANY part in influencing their actions, as we don’t have anything to influence us but ourselves. We are directly responsible for the amount of jackassery we commit, not a deity.

    All the actions of these communist leaders are simply the actions of megalomaniacs. They just happen to be atheists.

  16. Juche in North Korea is a religion. Maoism during the Cultural Revolution in PRC was a religion. Only the fact that Germans already had solid Christian backgrounds kept Nazism from becoming a full-blown religion. Stalin may have considered himself the center of the universe, but I’m no expert on what was happening in Stalin’s head.

    Ideologies from any source have the potential for great evil.

  17. @ Jogre 16.

    To reinforce your view please remind them the following passage:

    “Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the lord: and the prayer of faith shall save him that is sick, and the lord shall raise him up.” (James 5:14-15)

    If they are really true to their faith they should NEVER consult a medical doctor for ALL their ailments ever again… Otherwise they must stop mumbling!

  18. Atheism stops at the refusal to believe in a proposed god. That’s all atheism is.

    Countries like North Korea, USSR and China may have persecuted people who held certain religious beliefs, but that is not atheism. There are many theocracies today and throughout history that have persecuted people who hold certain religious beliefs – try being a Saudi citizen and not a Muslim (or not even the right SORT of Muslim), for example.

    Throughout history people have sought power by compelling populations to comply with certain beliefs, and they do this by not tolerating other forms of belief. Many states use, or have used, religion as a tool to do this. Far fewer states have tried dispensing with religion altogether and used other types of extreme belief to control or terrorise their populations.

  19. it’s a red herring argument anyway. comparing what a person thinks to a countriy’s governement style is just another way of saying “yeah i got nothing”

    if a religious person wants to discuss forms of government you simply point out you’re in favour of democratic secularism (I assume that’s the case). Ask them to define their point better, are they talking about you as an individual? or suggesting that atheism itself leads to dictatorships? (for example, was the russian revolution a result of all the common people deciding they didn’t beliefe in god?)

    I think since it’s unlikely we’re ever going to see an honest argument for the existance of invisible apes, the best response is always to question exactly what they mean

  20. The way I’ve always responded is while these countries may have been officially recognized as Atheistic States, leadership is largely Atheist, etc. they’re not examples of Atheism, nor are they examples of how Atheism is responsible for evil. Being that Atheism is not a religion means that Atheists don’t have set rules and regulations that we have to follow. Therefore it is impossible to act officially in the name of Atheism, because you have no holy text or doctrine to support your claims. Instead, you would be acting under your own personal beliefs.

  21. I suppose we ‘good’ atheists object as much to being labelled by the worst distortions and examples of atheism/atheists as religious people do to being identified with their worst examples. Suck it up, and move the conversation to more fertile agreeable ground by acknowledging that some people are just ‘evil’ and will use religion or atheism as an excuse to oppress people and commit atrocities.

    Then start to discuss how inherent in the nature of religion, there is less freedom of thought and ability to contradict those to whom truth has been revealed.

    • In reply to #23 by Bobwundaye:

      I suppose we ‘good’ atheists object as much to being labelled by the worst distortions and examples of atheism/atheists as religious people do to being identified with their worst examples. Suck it up, and move the conversation to more fertile agreeable ground by acknowledging that some people are j…

      A reasonable suggestion. Although I’d argue that no one has been killed in the name of atheism, or on reasons based solely on atheism.

      The beauty of atheism is that it’s not a philosophical or ideological position.

      My main beef with the A+ idea is that it is an attempt to make atheism about more than just not believing in any gods.

      • In reply to #24 by DHudson:

        Although I’d argue that no one has been killed in the name of atheism, or on reasons based solely on atheism.

        The beauty of atheism is that it’s not a philosophical or ideological position.

        With the exception of the “Reign of Terror” during the French Revolution…perhaps. Dechristianisation of France seems to have been an issue at the time.

        • In reply to #53 by Ignorant Amos:

          With the exception of the “Reign of Terror” during the French Revolution…perhaps. Dechristianisation of France seems to have been an issue at the time.

          Wasn’t that more a question of weeding out the royalists?

          • In reply to #54 by DHudson:

            In reply to #53 by Ignorant Amos:

            Wasn’t that more a question of weeding out the royalists?

            I don’t think so…, the RCC took a bit of a pounding so I’ve read. The ousting of the aristocrats was where it started, but I believe things started to get a bit carried away once there was no aristocracy left to guillotine. But I am looking about the net to get a handle on it. If anyone is read up on the subject I’d appreciate any leaders.

          • In reply to #55 by Ignorant Amos:

            I don’t think so…, the RCC took a bit of a pounding so I’ve read. The ousting of the aristocrats was where it started, but I believe things started to get a bit carried away once there was no aristocracy left to guillotine. But I am looking about the net to get a handle on it. If anyone is read up on the subject I’d appreciate any leaders.

            Thanks for the reply. My knowledge about the politics of the french revolution is very limited, so I’m inclined to take your word for it.

  22. Communist have used atheism like religion. Stalin (who have do theological studies) known that religion is one poltical power, and limite his power. Fascism have allways working with religion Mussolini had took at catholic church Vatican teritory, hitler had collaborated with the same, as well as all south american dictator.
    Fabien M, french athee

      • WIth violence (like judaism, islam, christianism, buddism and other), with gulag and other repression, book destruction, and other destructive laws.Not with miracle (i joke) (In reply to #31 by DHudson:

        In reply to #30 by fabi11975:

        Cist have used atheism like religion.

        How so? Did the religious people suddenly convert to atheism?

        • In reply to #43 by fabi11975:

          WIth violence (like judaism, islam, christianism, buddism and other), with gulag and other repression, book destruction, and other destructive laws.

          Yes, but do you think that atheism is to blame?

          Or is it a result of several other accumulated factors?

    • In reply to #32 by PoliticallyIncorrectAtheist:

      State atheism is practically a religion.
      The leader is worshiped like a God.

      I’ve never really understood what is meant by state atheism.

      Can you define it?

      • In reply to #33 by DHudson:

        In reply to #32 by PoliticallyIncorrectAtheist:

        State atheism is practically a religion.
        The leader is worshiped like a God.

        I’ve never really understood what is meant by state atheism.

        Can you define it?

        State atheism is the so called atheism promoted in communist countries where religious beliefs are suppressed but people are forced to worship the communist doctrine and the supreme leader.
        It works exactly like a religion.

        • In reply to #36 by PoliticallyIncorrectAtheist:

          In reply to #33 by DHudson:

          In reply to #32 by PoliticallyIncorrectAtheist:

          State atheism is practically a religion.
          The leader is worshiped like a God.

          I’ve never really understood what is meant by state atheism.

          Can you define it?

          State atheism is the so called atheism promoted in communist c…

          Wouldn’t it be more correct to say that state communism is to blame?

      • In reply to #33 by DHudson:

        In reply to #32 by PoliticallyIncorrectAtheist:

        State atheism is practically a religion.
        The leader is worshiped like a God.

        I’ve never really understood what is meant by state atheism.

        Can you define it?

        I’ve read the response to this question but I’d like to throw my name into the mix. From what I gather, state Atheism is nothing more than the state saying that it doesn’t endorse any religion or belief in any deity, and that it officially holds the Atheistic belief. Now the fact that the given country’s leader is looked at as god-like is separate from the state Atheism. I would also like to respond to your state Communist question by saying no, because Communism is really government control. Communism has just been perverted by others by making their version more Authoritarian.

        • In reply to #41 by jimmy3:

          I’ve read the response to this question but I’d like to throw my name into the mix. From what I gather, state Atheism is nothing more than the state saying that it doesn’t endorse any religion or belief in any deity, and that it officially holds the Atheistic belief. Now the fact that the given country’s leader is looked at as god-like is separate from the state Atheism. I would also like to respond to your state Communist question by saying no, because Communism is really government control. Communism has just been perverted by others by making their version more Authoritarian.

          Good post and good observations. I agree although I wouldn’t call it an official belief in atheism. I’d rather say a disbelief in any gods ( or in theism and deism ). To me there’s a subtle but important distinction between the two phrases.

  23. My understanding of the attitude to religion after the Russian revolution was that the church was not allowed to operate or spread its ideas to children at school. I thought also that the property of the church was confiscated and no money was permitted to go into church coffers. Putting these things in place would virtually stifle the practice of religion at its source. I was not aware of any penalty for the thought-crimes of believers.

    When we took a tour of Russia in the seventies, churches were open and attendance permitted, though the only people we witnessed availing themselves of the service were old crones wearing headscarves. The churches themselves were beautiful. The walls were adorned with gold framed icons. It would have been a terrible loss to the country, had they been destroyed.

    I could well be wrong about this and maybe people were penalised for practising their religion and holding onto their beliefs. I hope someone out there has knowledge regarding the actual state of affairs.

  24. The best books I have read that cover this are Hitches “God is not great” and Orwells 1984 and Animal Farm.

    Essentially a totalitarian state can be regarded as one in which citizens are forced to sacrifice every right and freedom in order to obtain a state of paradise at some point in the future.

    These states require not just outward compliance but inner subservience so that your very thoughts must always tow the party line.
    in addition, these states will often have a central demagogue who is will is absolute and who is considered perfect.
    They will have martyrs to the cause who are to be revered by the citizenry.
    There will be groups who will act as scape goats for the failure of the state to reach its goals.

    There is nothing in the disbelief in a deity that logically leads to a belief in totalitarianism; it is more likely that societies that escape from one tyranny fall easily into another.
    In any case you will find very secularists today who advocate totalitarianism whereas there are still many religions who subscribe to the order of surrender yourself body and mind to the pronouncements of their God on the promise of paradise in an afterlife; often enforced by violence in the here and now.

  25. First off, they need to be reminded that atrocities have been committed in the name of a god as well as by those considered atheists, so their argument about moral validity based upon theism is negated.
    Second, they need to be made aware that atheists do not have churches or organized atheist meetings where a common atheist doctrine is taught. Atheists are free thinkers, which means that they live by their own moral code and their actions serve only their own personal agenda. There is no requirement amongst atheists to conform to or support anybody else’s perspective.
    Arguing that all atheists are bad because of Stalin and Mao is equivalent to judging all Americans as racist bigots because they are the same nationality as David Duke and the KKK.

    • In reply to #40 by smi234:

      First off, they need to be reminded that atrocities have been committed in the name of a god as well as by those considered atheists, so their argument about moral validity based upon theism is negated.

      I agree with that. There is little doubt that more violence has been committed in the name of religion than atheism, its not even close. Although a thoughtful theist might reply that part of the reason for that is atheism hasn’t been around for nearly as long as religion. But in any case I agree, my position is that it makes no sense for either side to start counting atrocities because in both cases what the other side will do is to pull out the No True Scotsman defense. “Stalin and Mao were’t really atheists” say the atheists and the Muslims say “Al Queda aren’t really muslims” and the Christians say “the inquisition weren’t really Christians” And in all cases I’m willing to agree, crazy evil people do crazy evil things and then look for the rationalization. Mostly religion is the most convenient rationalization but sometimes it can include atheism. In either case I think a set of beliefs should be evaluated by metrics such as adherence to facts and logical consistency (and atheism wins hands down there) not by a pointless scorecard of who did more evil.

      Second, they need to be made aware that atheists do not have churches or organized atheist meetings where a common atheist doctrine is taught.

      They don’t usually. But communists are an obvious exception. And if you say “communists aren’t really atheists” you are just using the same defense as “Al Queda aren’t really Muslims”

      Arguing that all atheists are bad because of Stalin and Mao is equivalent to judging all Americans as racist bigots because they are the same nationality as David Duke and the KKK.

      Exactly. I agree. But it works the same if you reverse the argument. Arguing that all Christians are evil because of the Inquisition or David Duke is the equivalent of judging all atheists by Stalin or Mao.

      Its amazing to me that such a simple argument gets obfuscated with so much blather and hand waving about what is or isn’t an ideology or a belief. You can make all the same arguments about religions. There are various degrees of how seriously people take them, how much religion is a personal vs. public thing, etc. Sure, more religious people tend to go in for the organized dogma but to pretend that its either or that atheism has never been part of movements that did evil is just obvious bias, again its just what Trivers would predict, you all go out of your way to find facts that make theists look bad and you adamantly resist any argument that shows atheism in a bad way no matter how illogical or how much sophistry you have to go through in the process.

      • In reply to #50 by Red Dog:

        Sure, more religious people tend to go in for the organized dogma but to pretend that its either or that atheism has never been part of movements that did evil is just obvious bias, again its just what Trivers would predict, you all go out of your way to find facts that make theists look bad and you adamantly resist any argument that shows atheism in a bad way no matter how illogical or how much sophistry you have to go through in the process.

        This is an important point to keep in mind when debating the religious.
        I just have one small thing to add. The difference between religion and atheism is that atheism has no tenets whatsoever which gives us a slight advantage in the debate.

        We have no rules and even though some people see that as an indication of moral anarchy, we can honestly say that atheism is not, by any means, a proponent of violence and opression. For that to happen, it takes an ideology/philosophy with certain principles and rules.

  26. In Russia it is illegal to say anything uncomplimentary about a religion, hardly atheist.

    The claim is not that atheists don’t commit atrocities, just they don’t do it in the name of religion or atheism.

    • Atheism is a “belief”. It means: To not believe in God. Whereas an “absence of belief” is agnosticism. Agnostics have no knowledge of the subject, therefore no belief. If it were the same, there would be no reason having a third category. Atheism is difference than agnosticism in that sense. Atheists think they know. Agnostics do not. Agnostics do not believe as they have no knowledge, this is why there is an “abscense”.

      In reply to #47 by Docbrew:

      How did the “absence of belief” become an ideology? As usual the religious take the easy way out. No thinking required.

  27. The entire argument of your “religious who are very outspoken against atheism,” of course, hinges on their assumption that communism is a “Bad Thing” – and your acquiescence in that assumption.

    This is known in classical rhetoric as “Begging the Question.”

    I suggest that you ask your interlocutors (and yourself) why you hold this position, and then go off and study the subject – from all sides – with a view to making up your own mind.

    As an atheist who is also a communist, I obviously don’t accept your proposition – I am happy to argue my case.

    Oh and might I also suggest that you learn about some of the things the ‘religious’ are capable of?

  28. Communists & fascists being labelled as Atheists

    While state Communism suppressed competing religious ideologies, it was really only co-incidentally atheist, as atheism is not an ideology or philosophy.

    Fascists on the other hand (Franco, Mussolini, Hitler and various South American dictators) were strongly Catholic, – some with a few additional right-wing Protestant affiliations.

    • In reply to #60 by Popi:

      Well, you can argue that the Nazi’s were in fact Christians.

      Pretty decisively if you look at evidence!

      http://nobeliefs.com/images/DeutscheChristenFlag.png

      The Deutsche Christen (German Christians) were a German Protestantism movement aligned towards antisemetic principles of Nazism. The DC were sympathetic to Hitler’s goal of uniting the individual Protestant churches into a single Reich church.

      The DC was first formed in 1931 and the flag was flown during marches and demonstrations.

      http://nobeliefs.com/mementoes/MothersCross.jpg

      A Christian cross given to German mothers

      Hitler encouraged several programs for the growth of a strong German Nazi Volk. These programs involved the encouragement of the virtues of German motherhood for the purpose of increasing the size of their families and the abolition of abortions (except for the mentally ill). In 1938, Hitler instituted a new award to honor German Nazi motherhood, especially for large families. He awarded such mothers the cross of Honor of the German Mother

      http://nobeliefs.com/mementoes/HitlerWithMutterCross.jpg

      German Christian Movement Badge (Deutsch-Christliche Mitgliedsabzeichen)

      http://nobeliefs.com/mementoes/Mitgliedsabzeichen.JPG

  29. Well, I have not seen much of the Soviet Union (only its geriatric period), except fillms, but I can agree that there was nothing astheistis about it – saying that there is no Good does not count. Netiher does stress on the Sciences. But there was omniscentand omnipresent leader, saints, martyrs, inquisition …. everything.
    And education – nobody cared about the actual beliefs, but you were supposed to recite the official. Teachers were to be respected just because they have studied (not necessary learned) more, bosses were to be respected just because they have climbed higher….
    Anyway, as soon as Soviet Union fell into pieces, most of the people living on its territory turned christians or muslims (in the East)…. And this happened with ease, allthough most of them, for example, knows of Bible nothing more than its name…..

  30. Atheism is a believe that there is no God.

    Theism is a believe in a God.

    Neither kill.

    Some parts of Religion may well bring about torture and killing.

    Some parts of atheism may well bring about torture and killing.

    But it is wrong to say that ALL Religion does this, as this is untrue, and only leads to others doing the same with atheisms.

    Clearly the “group” who is responsible needs to be identified better, rather than just saying “Religion” or “atheism”.

    Hate campaign, demonizing people as some do, only leads the opposing sides to do the same. Hence anything set up can become the “opium” of the people, even atheism… it can indeed become a new religion.

    We all run round after the same words, twisting things as we go to suit our own ends.

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