Skip to comments.Atheism, not religion, is the real force behind the mass murders of history
Posted on 11/20/2006 5:42:11 PM PST by Lorianne
In recent months, a spate of atheist books have argued that religion represents, as "End of Faith" author Sam Harris puts it, "the most potent source of human conflict, past and present." Columnist Robert Kuttner gives the familiar litany. "The Crusades slaughtered millions in the name of Jesus. The Inquisition brought the torture and murder of millions more. After Martin Luther, Christians did bloody battle with other Christians for another three centuries."
In his bestseller "The God Delusion," Richard Dawkins contends that most of the world's recent conflicts - in the Middle East, in the Balkans, in Northern Ireland, in Kashmir, and in Sri Lanka - show the vitality of religion's murderous impulse.
The problem with this critique is that it exaggerates the crimes attributed to religion, while ignoring the greater crimes of secular fanaticism. The best example of religious persecution in America is the Salem witch trials. How many people were killed in those trials? Thousands? Hundreds? Actually, fewer than 25. Yet the event still haunts the liberal imagination.
It is strange to witness the passion with which some secular figures rail against the misdeeds of the Crusaders and Inquisitors more than 500 years ago. The number sentenced to death by the Spanish Inquisition appears to be about 10,000. Some historians contend that an additional 100,000 died in jail due to malnutrition or illness.
These figures are tragic, and of course population levels were much lower at the time. But even so, they are minuscule compared with the death tolls produced by the atheist despotisms of the 20th century. In the name of creating their version of a religion-free utopia, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Mao Zedong produced the kind of mass slaughter that no Inquisitor could possibly match. Collectively these atheist tyrants murdered more than 100 million people.
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Glad to see someone else saying it, because it's simply a terrible argument for the atheist left to make in light of historical fact. Pol Pot, as an example, was one of the lesser offenders in the new order of despots, and he and his minions slaughtered millions. The worst of religious crusades is like a tiny flea compared to the whale of atheist offenders.
Stalin didn't kill people because of atheism, he killed them because he was an absolute dictator who killed anyone who he thought opposed him. Hitler didn't kill people because they were atheists, or because they weren't. He did kill them because they were Jews, but not because he himself was an atheist. Otherwise he was in the same league as Stalin and Mao.
It's comparing apples and wrenches.
Tu quoque is a fallacy, if you did not know.
Dawkins will blame anything he can think of on religion - he isn't an atheist he's an antitheist.
As long as Humanity has free will some humans will misuse that to make war upon their fellows - one can blame God for that by allowing us to have free will in the first place but that is no more rational than blaming a gun for a murder that is also the result of human responsibility...but some liberals have a hard time understanding that too...then again some liberals have a hard time with the whole notion of human responsibility, maybe because they don't understand liberty either.
One kills hundreds of millions, the other kills thousands......
And you think I'm saying "they did the same thing, so it's okay"
What is amazing is your ignorance. Religious killing numbers are not in thousands but much higher. Just to give you an example - early expansion of islam [a religion" of sorts, so count it right there] was genocidal. Check the name Al-Hajjajj when you have time - he's remembered as a bloody scoundrel 1300 years later, and to earn so lasting a reputation is not that easy. On proportional scale [% of populations involved] it would give Stalin a pretty decent run for his money.
well, then take the last religion war in Europe - 30year war. What is now Germany lost only 1/3 of its population in it. And all the participants were Christians. Religions [all of them- from marduk and aztec cults to the present] have bloody hands, and are accused jointly.
Sohlznetsin claims over a hundred million were slaughtered by Stalin alone, ditto for Mao......how's them numbers compare?
I wouldn't make an argument either way but I'm happy to refute the nonsense that Dawkins preaches.
Read any history of 30 years war- start with the Encyclopedia Britannica, and go from there - they would have a bibliography. And as has been noticed to you on this thread before, in religion wars the fight was - expressly - for the sake of, and in the name of, a religion [whatever religion]. Human sacrifice was again done in the name of a religion. Causation there is self-evident and self-proclaimed. The wars and crimes of atheist dictators were never done for the sake of, or in the name of, atheism, but rather for much more mundane purposes [personal aggrandizement, power struggle, territorial conquests, racial theories, class struggle, enemies of the people, collectivizations, great leap forward, or rather sideways, and so on]. thus you would have a hell of the time trying to establish causation with atheism.
Hitler, Stalin, the Muslim hordes, and the sort of 'bioethicists' approved of by Dawkins and his ilk all have no compunction about writing human beings out of the human race as untermenschen, counterrevolutionaries or kulaks, infidels, and unwanted pregnancies or useless eaters, respectively, because they all deny the high, theistic anthropology summed up in "come let Us make Man in Our image and likeness," the pagan intuition of the human soul as a spark of divinity, the kinship of all beings taught by the Buddha, and all analogous notions found in other traditional religions.
There have been numerous absolute rulers throughout history who were restrained by the notion of Christian kingship, or of karma, . . . and did not slaughter either their citizenry nor even their enemies in such wanton fashion--even allowing for differences in population and technology. Atheistic dictators feel no transcendent restraint on their power, and unleash unrestrained horrors.
"Human sarifice"??? In the European wars?
Did you get this stuff in some crazy history course from some weirdo, or do you like making things up to post and positing them again so you can re-read your brilliance?
Get a grip, perhaps even move to Cuba where you can be religion free. Or go back to the workers paradise of the Soviet Union where surely you won't be exposed to superstition or other horrors of religion........
Wherever do they get their "facts" about the Crusades? They ignore the whole history of the Middle East prior to the First Crusade. It was occasioned
by the deeds of the Seljuk Turks, who as new converts to Islam, were far less tolerant of Christians than the Arabs had been, and who actively persecuted
pilgrims to the Holy Land. But what led directly to the Crusade was a call for help from the Greek Emperor, whose lands had been overrun by the Turks.
Take a minute to contemplate the world without religeon.
A world without Jewish or Christian morality.
It not too hard to imangine. In north korea, these religeons are forbiden. Dear leader Kim is God. He oversaw the starvation of millions while spending all they had producing nukes. Soviet union under stalin, 20 million. Germany under Hitler, 15 - 20 million? No mercy for the weak. None.
What can be said is that murder is a human condition with or without religeon, yet it becomes unbridled without mercy to curb it, as established in Christian or Jewish faith. Yes, the Muslim "religeon" seems to spawn murder, and seems to be a tenant of that faith, just as Mohammed exercised it. It is no accident that Muslims murder to advance their "religeon". I tend to view the Muslim religeon as a tool of war for men who wish to lord over others. Suicide muder bombing is a case in point. It's a muslim thing. Not Christian or Jewish.
If I had to guess, I would say religeon, as practiced by Christinas and Jews, has saved many more lives than were ever murderd in its name. I dont think this true for the Muslim religeon, and that religeon is not yet done writing its murder record.
Of all the religions, his seems to have the least to give, and is by far the most condoning of violence of all the major ones.
That doesn't excuse the fact that atheism has promulgated far worse, as Mr gslob tries so hard to ignore.