27 COMMENTS

  1. Mao said “religion is poison”. I think wanting to get rid of the theocracy in Tibet was at least a part of his motivation.

    The US attacked Afghanistan and Iraq. If you check out the newsgroups at the time, the average American was in favour of the wars because he wanted to rid the world of Muslims, particularly brown ones. But I suppose that was more trying to impose Christianity not atheism.

    Hitchens was in favour of war in the name of atheism. He promoted the Iraq war.

    The lack of wars in the name of atheism may simply reflect the lack of atheists.

    I have many times wished all the Christians and Muslims simply vaporised. I don’t think my atheism protects me from violent thoughts.

    Atheists can get in wars over superstitions. Atheists demand others give up their superstitions. Christians do the same thing, then insist others adopt their superstitions.

    • In reply to #2 by Roedy:

      The US attacked Afghanistan and Iraq. If you check out the newsgroups at the time, the average American was in favour of the wars because he wanted to rid the world of Muslims, particularly brown ones. But I suppose that was more trying to impose Christianity not atheism.

      That’s an odd thing to claim. In what way could a war in Iraq ever rid the world of Muslims? It couldn’t even rid Iraq of Muslims. Most of the country’s population are Muslims. Are you suggesting the “average American” envisaged genocide?

      Hitchens was in favour of war in the name of atheism. He promoted the Iraq war.

      Tsk tsk. I suggest you have another look at the oatmeal comic, you seemed to have missed the point entirely. Hitchen’s support of the Invasion of Iraq was for the removal of Saddam and his brutal regime. How can this be seen as motivated by athiesm? It was motivated by morality, which is not exclusive to atheists.

      I disagreed with the invasion of Iraq and my country’s (UK) participation in that conflict. Sure, I wanted Saddam out of power and his regime replaced by a democracy. But an American led conflict, without the full support of the UN or participation by a significant number of its member states, was bound to end in failure

      • In reply to #4 by hemidemisemigod:

        In reply to #2 by Roedy: Are you suggesting the “average American” envisaged genocide?

        Yes. I respecify that as Average American supporter of the Iraq war on Internet Newsgroups. There were very few Americans opposed to the war. Most of them bought Bush’s “mushroom cloud” lie, so did not really care what happened to Iraqis, so long as they were safe.

        so wat i joined [the Iraq war] to kill kids.
        ~ Private Tyler Rogers United States Army Signal corps, in email

        The night the Iraq war started I was at a local TV station with a crowd including some Iraqi ex-pats who were highly optimistic that the USA would topple Saddam then leave. They were buoyant. They started wailing and screaming as we watched the USA bombing the residential parts of Baghdad, their old neighbourhoods seeing buildings crushing their old neighbours. Canadians and Americans were cheering, as if it were a fireworks show. I had warned the Iraqis not be too optimistic. They felt that Bush had lied and betrayed them. I knew from that point, for sure this war was not about toppling Saddam. There was no need to kill random civilians to do that.

        • In reply to #5 by Roedy:

          In reply to #4 by hemidemisemigod:

          In reply to #2 by Roedy: Are you suggesting the “average American” envisaged genocide?

          Yes. I respecify that as Average American supporter of the Iraq war on Internet Newsgroups. There were very few Americans opposed to the war. Most of them bought Bush’s “mushro…

          It was blindingly obvious that the war was never about Saddam. I mean for Science sake the very same people who were cheer leading the war (Cheney, Rumsfeld) were the people who were supporting Saddam when he was committing his worst crimes. Rumsfeld shook his hand for the cameras during the same period when the evil tyrant was using chemical weapons against Iran and against his own people. If they really cared about those things they could have stopped giving him billions of dollars in military aid at that time.

          Another way it was blindingly obvious is that the people who were lying were known liars. I don’t just mean your normal political spin but outright, bald face, would make Pravda blush kind of lying. The Soviet Union was tired of the Cold War way before they unilaterally declared it over. Yet the US military industrial complex required that we continue spending at close to WWII levels of GDP in order to continue to maintain their profits. And one way they did that was with Team B an informal working group that published lie after lie about the Soviet threat. Those lies were used by the Reagan administration to justify the massive and pointless military buildup that ballooned the deficit under Reagan. And by the time of the buildup to the second Iraq war we knew that every single thing Team B said had been a carefully crafted lie or exaggeration. And the people who led Team B were the same people leading the buildup to the Iraq war.

          And finally, sorry didn’t mean to go on this long but I’m on a roll now, the third way we knew it was all BS, at least those of us who paid attention, and by the way there weren’t just a few there were a lot of Americans protesting in the street, I was one of them, but anyway the final way we knew it was BS is because UN weapons inspectors –led by the US! — had already supervised the dismantling of the actual WMDs that Saddam had purchased back when he was our friend, that happened after the first Gulf war.

      • In reply to #4 by hemidemisemigod:

        In reply to #2 by Roedy:
        Hitchen’s support of the Invasion of Iraq was for the removal of Saddam and his brutal regime.

        I have heard Christopher in dozens of videos discus Islam. He uses a tone of voice as if he were biting into a particularly bitter grapefruit. He does not just disagree with Islam, he hates Muslims. I too get quite angry about Muslims who do female genital mutilations, force children into marriage, interfere with female education, bully people into observing Islamic superstitions… However, unlike Christopher, I cheer them when they repulse invaders to their countries.

        • In reply to #6 by Roedy:

          I have heard Christopher in dozens of videos discus Islam. He uses a tone of voice as if he were biting into a particularly bitter grapefruit. He does not just disagree with Islam, he hates Muslims.

          This is complete nonsense. The Kurds would be very surprised to learn that Hitchens, one of the most prominent advocates of the Kurdish people, hated Muslims.Perhaps if you paid more attention to what Hitchens says rather than his tone of voice, you wouldn’t fall into such silly errors.

      • In reply to #4 by hemidemisemigod:

        But an American led conflict, without the full support of the UN or participation by a significant number of its member states, was bound to end in failure

        That all depends on your definition of failure. For those who profited, billions of dollars, the Iraq invasion was a raging success.

  2. I simply wish we would simply admit that wars, however we publicly acknowledge their origins are always about power, influence and land. Religious ideals can and have exert influence over how and why groups of people are involved but the politicians and private interest are either trying to consolidate what power they have or trying to achieve that power in whatever form possible.

    Being atheist or religious does not make you guaranteed to start wars. A lust for material control backed by influence over a nation’s army pretty much guarantees its inevitability. With enough power, you can promote all the wild assumptions you want (with religious trappings or not) and with a gullible and misinformed enough populace get away with it. Happens all the time.

    That having been said, a funny and insightful cartoon.

    • I agree, accept the cartoon, which was wrong. But we all have our opinion
      In reply to #3 by achromat666:

      I simply wish we would simply admit that wars, however we publicly acknowledge their origins are always about power, influence and land. Religious ideals can and have exert influence over how and why groups of people are involved but the politicians and private interest are either trying to consolid…

  3. I don’t agree that very few Americans were opposed to the Iraq war. I recall that about 20% were. In the weeks leading up to the war, here in this fairly well-to-do, white and liberal section of Columbus, Ohio, we held weekly anti-war demonstrations at a major intersection that attracted on the order of 200 people. Many people driving by honked their horns in approval.

    It is true that once the invasion took place and the “support our troops” nonsense began to be expressed, vocal war opposition more or less ceased for a time.

  4. In reply to #6 by Roedy:

    In reply to #4 by hemidemisemigod:

    In reply to #2 by Roedy:
    Hitchen’s support of the Invasion of Iraq was for the removal of Saddam and his brutal regime.

    I have heard Christopher in dozens of videos discus Islam. He uses a tone of voice as if he were biting into a particularly bitter grapefruit…

    I’ve watched Christopher Hitchens in lots of videos too and also read a useful amount of what he wrote. I didn’t get the impression that he hated Muslims. He may have hated some Muslims (and some people of other faiths) and he certainly disliked Islam intensely. But he was far too intelligent to fall for the generalised hatred that you suggest.

    People are people, good and bad in every kind. Most rational people who’ve given the subject sufficient thought would have to agree with that statement.

    In my opinion all religions are bad because they promote superstition and irrationality. But on a scale of benign to malignant, I’d have to put Islam way over to the latter end. The dogma of Islam offers people of a violent disposition the opportunity to make war on their fellow men and gives it the blessing of a supreme being, whose morality cannot be disputed or even debated my mortal men. It’s in The Book.

    The fact that 99.9999% of Muslims might not hold such an extreme view is irrelevant when you have a population of 1,600,000,000. And the moderately religious, who might devote most of their time organising coffee mornings, indirectly support extremism merely by being moderately religious. Have a look at what Sam Harris says on the subject.

    Atheism does not come with a promise of eternal life, nor does it claim a supernatural moral code or authority.

  5. I don’t see why an atheist should consider himself responsible for Christopher Hitchens’ views on the Iraq war, Muslims, or for anything else Hitchens said, for that matter. We all have our own minds.

  6. Not to sidetrack, but this chat puts me in mind of a video I just discovered recently.

    This Land is Mine

    Nina Paley did an animated video of the violent war history in Palestine, and while there are some historical errors the animation (done the the crooning of the song The Exodus Song-This Land is Mine by Andy Williams) speaks volumes about the insanity of the conflict there.

  7. Charles Darwin quote: “the survival of the fittest”… Didn’t this play a part in Hitler’s killing of the Jews?

    I as a Christian do not have authority according to the Bible to kill people for the extension of my faith.

    Man is the cause of war.

    • In reply to #14 by jbjb:

      Charles Darwin quote: “the survival of the fittest”… Didn’t this play a part in Hitler’s killing of the Jews?

      Darwin never used that phrase, and, no.

      Must try harder.

      • In reply to #16 by bob_e_s:

        In reply to #14 by jbjb:

        Charles Darwin quote: “the survival of the fittest”… Didn’t this play a part in Hitler’s killing of the Jews?

        Darwin never used that phrase, …

        Worse than that, even the fittest don’t survive, we all die. However, some genes are copied into the next generation, and that is what it is about.

      • In reply to #16 by bob_e_s:

        In reply to #14 by jbjb:

        Charles Darwin quote: “the survival of the fittest”… Didn’t this play a part in Hitler’s killing of the Jews?

        And if we’re going to play that game, wasn’t Hitler’s Catholicism more an influence on his anti-Semitism?

        Yawn.

    • In reply to #14 by jbjb:

      Charles Darwin quote: “the survival of the fittest”… Didn’t this play a part in Hitler’s killing of the Jews?

      No. Hitler was an idiot high on Meth. Meth can only do so much… If he was a real Darwinian he wouldn’t have killed the Jews.

    • In reply to #14 by jbjb:

      Charles Darwin quote: “the survival of the fittest”… Didn’t this play a part in Hitler’s killing of the Jews?

      I as a Christian do not have authority according to the Bible to kill people for the extension of my faith.

      Man is the cause of war.

      You need to study history a bit more closely!
      Hitler was a Catholic, who was also hailed by his supporters as “The New Luther”.

      Perhaps you have not heard of the Christian NAZI movement parading with their flags and badges in support of Hitler?

      Deutsche Christen Flag

      Deutsche Christen Badge

      German Christian Movement Badge

      Hitler and mother with the Mutterkreuz

    • In reply to #14 by jbjb:

      Charles Darwin quote: “the survival of the fittest”… Didn’t this play a part in Hitler’s killing of the Jews?

      ‘Survival of the fittest’ is not a quote from Darwin. It was coined by the philosopher Herbert Spencer in the 1860s, some 60 years before the Nazi party was founded and has nothing at all to do with Nazism. The Nazis actually banned the teaching of evolution (sound familiar?).

      The biggest single influences on Hitler’s hatred of the Jews were Catholic teachings, which for over 1000 years had been exceptionally anti-semitic, teaching that the Jews were responsible for Jesus’s death; and Martin Luther’s appalling rants against the Jews, in which he preached that all Jews should be killed.

      German soldiers were mainly Catholic or Lutheran (with Gott Mitt Uns – God with us – on their belt buckles) although the SS was principally Catholic.

      (All of this is easily confirmed with a little Googling – I wish theists would check their facts before posting.)

  8. okay I got the quote wrong, my bad. Darwin used the idea in his writing but was not the author.
    Joseph Stalin, what about him?
    From wiki and others, “In their Encyclopedia of Wars, authors Charles Phillips and Alan Axelrod attempt a comprehensive listing of wars in history. They document 1763 wars overall, of which 123 (7%) have been classified to involve a religious conflict.”
    I heartily agree that many wars have been caused by religions.
    But I would say that money, greed, power, pride, selfishness, survival, and the likes, are behind a large portion of wars.

  9. The thing is, if we say that atheism does not make you do evil things, then the same must be true of religion. Yet both are part of the mindset. Thankfully it is not ALL from both sides (which should be acknowledged I think,) or else we might make a characature out of both

    • In reply to #24 by Robert-Evans:

      The thing is, if we say that atheism does not make you do evil things, then the same must be true of religion.

      Nonsense, religion is just one type of delusion. Atheists are not deluded by religion. They might be deluded by other things, but not by their atheism which is simply a lack of religious delusion.

      • Yes, but if you say that belief in God (what you call religion it seems) is a “delusion” then one should give evidence of it, rather than an opinion, or state that it is such, just an opinion. Otherwise people might accuse you of having no evidence for your claims
        In reply to #25 by Peter Grant:

        In reply to #24 by Robert-Evans:

        The thing is, if we say that atheism does not make you do evil things, then the same must be true of religion.

        Nonsense, religion is just one type of delusion. Atheists are not deluded by religion. They might be deluded by other things, but not by their atheism whi…

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