Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Atheist Cliches #2: Killer religions

"Just think of all those death in the name of religion" says the man in the corduroy jacket as he knocks back another glass of Chilean Merlot to the thoughtful nods of the assembled bien pensent diners.....

China (PRC) 1949-87 .......... 76.702 million
U.S.S.R. 1917-87 ............. 61.911 million
China (Mao Soviets) 1923-48 ... 3.468 million
Cambodia 1975-79 .............. 2.035 million
Poland 1945-48 ................ 1.585 million
Yugoslavia (Tito) 1944-87 ..... 1.072 million

TOTAL.........................146.773 Million deaths

Impressive for such a benign credo, no? The fact is that whenever a regime declares itself officially atheist - see above - there follows a huge death toll. It may not be a causative relationship but by golly the association is a strong one. Ah, say the blogosphere atheists - they're not real atheists, you know, the good, nice, cuddly atheists, the kind you meet at middle class dinner parties. Oh no.

This is a No True Scotsman Argument (and Christians are just as guilty of it as yer atheist blogging rentagob). But the fact is that Christianity if it is to follow its Master, is not a religion of the sword. It is religion that will take up the sword in its defence and against barbarism. Atheism is a different kettle of fish. Given the chance Catholic priests and the faithful will be killed and persucuted, because they are faithful (Spain, Poland, Russia, China) as will Buddhist monks (Cambodia, China).

Atheism puts no brakes, no 'Thou Shalt Not Kill' on its adherents. Is it any wonder they then industrialise their killing?

In truth, the killings that took place in atheist regimes probably tell us nothing about atheism, any more than the 30 Years War tells us about the tenets of Christianity. Both tell us about how humanity is a fallen thing. Remember that thing called Original Sin? But then, yer average bien pensant atheist will fight shy of that one at a dinner party, despite the evidence of it all around one.

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7 Comments:

Blogger Martin said...

Paulinus,

You forgot the Big Daddy of the godless, the Third Reich.

But well said.

7:54 AM  
OpenID berenike said...

Fr Benedict Groeschel says "You don't believe in original sin? Come to New York! Everyone in New York believes in original sin. Even the atheists in New York believe in original sin." It was probably him I heard some years ago talking about the crowds in NY churches on Ash Wednesday, even Jews turning up to get their ashes.

9:18 AM  
Blogger madame evangelista said...

I only half agree.

I agree that it's patently untrue that an atheist society is less likely to kill on a mass scale than a religious one.

But then I have to ask why the religious aren't more peaceful. Yes, I know, original sin, slaying the barbaric hordes etc. But surely it's much, much worse if people who claim to follow God butcher multitudes in exactly the same way as people who don't look to any higher moral authority than themselves. That's why I think it's entirely justifiable to criticize religon on the basis of wars and mass murders.

9:54 AM  
Blogger Paulinus said...

Indeed Madam, if we preach peace and love we should hold ourselves to a higher standard, but if one takes State Atheism as dating from the French Revolution, it's an impressive body count.

2:07 PM  
Blogger madame evangelista said...

Hi Paulinus, it is an impressive body count, I don't think I was making any claims for the peacemaking abilities of atheists. It just strikes me as problematic if the body count between atheist and religious societies isn't particularly different because that could so easily imply it's all just the result of bog-standard humanity, with no God to split the difference.


To say 'religion is responsible for war and destruction' isn't necessarily the same as saying 'atheists are virtuous'.

5:03 PM  
Blogger Paulinus said...

At the end of the day, I'm not sure it is problematic. 'Thou shalt not kill' is unambiguous.

9:11 AM  
Blogger Jackie Parkes said...

Re China & Mao I have in his 27 year rule 87 million Chinese killed. Am reading Mao by Jung Chang & Jon Halliday for an insight to pure evil when there is no God..

7:07 PM  

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