The Atheist Atrocities Fallacy – Hitler, Stalin & Pol Pot

The Atheist Atrocities Fallacy – Hitler, Stalin & Pol Pot

The A F

In Memory of Christopher Hitchens

Religious apologists, particularly those of the Christian variety, are big fans of what I have dubbed, the atheist atrocities fallacy. Christians commonly employ this fallacy to shield their egos from the harsh reality of the brutality of their own religion, by utilizing a most absurd form of the tu quoque (“you too”) fallacy, mingled with numerous other logical fallacies and historical inaccuracies.  Despite the fact that the atheist atrocities fallacy has already been thoroughly exposed by Hitchens and other great thinkers, it continues to circulate amongst the desperate believers of a religion in its death throes.  Should an atheist present a believer with the crimes committed by the Holy See of the Inquisition(s), the Crusaders and other faith-wielding misanthropes, they will often hear the reply; “Well, what about Stalin, Pol Pot and Hitler? They were atheists, and they killed millions!”

Given the obstinate nature of religious faith and the wilful ignorance it cultivates in the mind of the believer, I am quite certain that this article will not be the final nail in this rancid and rotting coffin.  Having said this, I do hope it will contribute to the arsenal required by those who value reason, facts and evidence, in their struggle against the fallacies perpetually flaunted by those who do not value the truth above their own egocentric delusions, delusions inspired by an unquenchable thirst for security, no matter how frighteningly false its foundation.

Before addressing the primary weaknesses of the atheist atrocities fallacy itself, I would like to attend to each of these three homicidal stooges; Stalin, Pol Pot and Hitler, who are constantly trotted out to defend a religious worldview.  I will lend Hitler the most time, as the claim that he was an atheist represents a most egregious violation of the truth.

HITLER

“Besides that, I believe one thing: there is a Lord God! And this Lord God creates the peoples.”  [1]    ~Adolf Hitler

 “We were convinced that the people need and require this faith. We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations; we have stamped it out” [2]   ~Adolf Hitler

Hitler was a Christian.  This undeniable fact couldn’t be made any clearer than by his own confessions.  Yet, I will not merely present you with these testimonies, as damning as they happen to be on their own, but I also intend on furnishing you with a brief history of the inherent anti-Semitism of the Christian religion.  I will do so to demonstrate beyond any reasonable doubt that Hitler and his Christian Nazi Party were acting in complete concordance with traditional Christian anti-Semitism.

To begin, here are just a few of Hitler’s Christian confessions:

My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter.  It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth!  was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter.  In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders.  How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison.  To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross.  As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice…For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people.” [3]

“The greatness of Christianity did not arise from attempts to make compromises with those philosophical opinions of the ancient world which had some resemblance to its own doctrine, but in the unrelenting and fanatical proclamation and defense of its own teaching.” [4]

“His [the Jew’s] life is of this world only and his mentality is as foreign to the true spirit of Christianity as is character was foreign to the great Founder of this new creed two thousand years ago. And the Founder of Christianity made no secret indeed of His estimation of the Jewish people. When He found it necessary He drove those enemies of the human race out of the Temple of God; because then, as always, they used religion as a means of advancing their commercial interests. But at that time Christ was nailed to the Cross for his attitude towards the Jews…” [5]

Over and above these solid testimonies, there are other equally strong pieces of evidence that indicate that Hitler was a Christian, like the fact that his soldiers all wore the slogan, ‘Gott Mit Uns’ (God with us) on their belts, that his birthday was “celebrated from the pulpits until his death,” as Hitchens so eloquently put it, and that the Nazis published their own slightly revised Christian bible. [6] As the late great Hitchens has already addressed many of these uncomfortable facts, I would now like to move onto an assessment of the Nazi’s horrendous treatment of the Jews in light of Christian history.

Christian anti-Semitism (From the Beginning of the Christian Era)

“His blood be upon us [Jews] and our children”  ~“Matthew” 27:25

Prior to Constantine’s legitimization of the Christian religion in the fourth century, Christian anti-Semitism was confined to the canonical and non-canonical works of Christian authors and Church fathers.  From the fifth century onward, the fantasies of the ante-Nicene fathers began to manifest into brutal violence.

In the first volume of my three volume book series, (I Am Christ), I trace the concentration camps of World War II all the way back to the Gospel of “John.”  In that book, I said:

From all of the evidence available in the volumes of historical works, both Christian and non-Christian, it is clear that there is an unbroken chain of hatred, intolerance, and racism toward the Jews, which began with “John’s” Gospel (see also the Synoptic gospels) and continued all the way down into the twentieth century, ending with Hitler’s bloody campaign against the Church’s most despised enemies. [7]

More than a few bible scholars have made mention of the virulent anti-Semitism of John’s gospel.   This anonymous and falsely named piece of work goes beyond its synoptic counterparts (Matthew, Mark and Luke) to directly accuse the Jewish people of being the “sons of Satan” (John 8:44), thereby demonizing the Jewish people and opening the door to a millennia of Jewish suffering at the hands of credulous Christian maniacs.

In Porter’s Dictionary of Biblical Criticism and Interpretation, Porter notes:

…particularly within the post-Holocaust growing sensitivity to the history and consequences of Christian anti-Judaism, has been the concern about the anti-Judaism or even (potential) anti-Semitism of the [John’s] Gospel; its characteristic antithetical use of ‘the Jews’ (NB 8:34–47), hardly neutralized by appeals to 3:16 and 4:22, has earned it the epithet ‘the father of the anti-Semitism of the Christians’: (Bieringer 2001). [8]

Some scholars have sought to make sense of the anti-Semitic rhetoric in John by way of a historical exegesis of the text.  At around the time John was written, toward the end of the first century, Christians were being expelled from the Synagogues for the heresy of worshipping a false messiah. [9] It was at this moment in history, many speculate, Christianity broke completely away from its parent religion, Judaism.

In Robert Kysar’s Voyages with John, he enunciates the anti-Semitism within the Johannine community and also looks at some of the theories that have sought to explain the context of the origins of anti-Jewish racism amongst Christians in general, saying:

Over twelve years ago Samuel Sandmel correctly observed, “John is widely regarded as either the most anti-Semitic or at least the most overtly anti-Semitic of the gospels.” Little has been done to ameliorate that harsh judgment since it was first written.  While efforts have been made to soften the impact of the tone of John when it comes to Jews and Judaism, the fact remains that a reading of the gospel tends to confirm Sandmel’s judgment. Still, recent theories for understanding the historical setting of the writing of the Fourth Gospel do offer some ways of interpreting the harshness with which the gospel treats Jews and Judaism. Such theories do not change the tone of the gospel but offer a way of explaining that tone. [10]

The historical setting Kysar was referring to pertained to the expulsion of the Johannine Christians from the Synagogues, as he explains in the following words:

An increasingly clear picture emerges from all these studies grounded in the hypothesis that the gospel was written in response to the exclusion of the Johannine church from the synagogue and the subsequent dialogue between these two religious parties. The subject of the picture is a defensive and threatened Christian community, attempting to reshape its identity isolated from the synagogue and its Jewish roots. [11]

But Christian anti-Semitism cannot be laid solely on the shoulders of the anonymous author of John, as the passion narratives contained in all four gospels were also co-conspirators in the crimes committed against Jewish families.  To illustrate this fact we have the testimonies of various Church fathers.

“He (Jesus Christ) made known the one and only true God, His Father, and underwent the passion, and endured the cross at the hands of the Christ-killing Jews…” [12]          ~Ignatius of Antioch (2nd Century Apostolic Father)

Further, the second century Church father and apologist Justin Martyr, in his Dialogue with the Jewish philosopher Trypho, said:

“For other nations have not inflicted on us and on Christ this wrong to such an extent as you have, who in very deed are the authors of the wicked prejudice against the Just One, and us who hold by Him. For after that you had crucified Him, the only blameless and righteous Man,– through whose stripes those who approach the Father by Him are healed, –when you knew that He had risen from the dead and ascended to heaven, as the prophets foretold He would, you not only did not repent of the wickedness which you had committed…” [13]

Going into the fifth Christian century, the racism of the Church continued with Pope Leo “the Great,” who, in an Easter Sermon on the Passion of Christ, exhorted:

 “And when morning was come all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death.” This morning, O ye Jews, was for you not the rising, but the setting of the sun, nor did the wonted daylight visit your eyes, but a night of blackest darkness brooded on your naughty hearts. This morning overthrew for you the temple and its altars, did away with the Law and the Prophets, destroyed the Kingdom and the priesthood, turned all your feasts into eternal mourning.  For ye resolved on a mad and bloody counsel, ye “fat bulls,” ye “many oxen,” ye “roaring” wild beasts, ye rabid “dogs,” to give up to death the Author of life and the LORD of glory; and, as if the enormity of your fury could be palliated by employing the verdict of him, who ruled your province, you lead Jesus bound to Pilate’s judgment, that the terror-stricken judge being overcome by your persistent shouts, you might choose a man that was a murderer for pardon, and demand the crucifixion of the Saviour of the world.” [14]

Also in the fifth century, John Chrysostom, a most vile and capricious Church father, in his work, Orations Against The Jews, wrote:

And the Jews are more savage than any highwaymen; they do greater harm to those who have fallen among them. They did not strip off their victim’s clothes nor inflict wounds on his body as did those robbers on the road to Jericho. The Jews have mortally hurt their victim’s soul, inflicted on it ten thousand wounds, and left it lying in the pit of ungodliness.[15]

Although I have only provided a few of the litany of examples available, anti-Semitic rhetoric permeated the very fabric of Christian history and was eventually the inspiration for the founder of the Protestant Church, Martin Luther, who told Protestant Christians that they would be at fault if they didn’t slaughter Jews. [16]

Further still, citing Luther’s own words from his polemic, On the Jews and their Lies, and the work of one of Luther’s biographers, Robert Michael, who documented various speeches spewed into the ears of Luther’s listeners, we suffer the following racist profanities:

“…the Jews are a base, whoring people, that is, no people of God, and their boast of lineage, circumcision, and law must be accounted as filth.” [17] They are full of the “devil’s faeces …which they wallow in like swine.” [18] The synagogue was a “defiled bride, yes, an incorrigible whore and an evil slut …” [19] He argues that their synagogues and schools be set on fi re, their prayer books destroyed, rabbis forbidden to preach, homes razed, and property and money confiscated. They should be shown no mercy or kindness, [20] afforded no legal protection, [21] and these “poisonous envenomed worms” should be drafted into forced labor or expelled for all time. [22]

In Louis A. Ruprecht Jr’s This Tragic Gospel – How John Corrupted the Heart of Christianity, he remarks on the similarity between Luther’s hatred of the Jews and the racist rhetoric of John’s gospel, saying:

First, then, to his declaration of war on Jews, Luther ’s evolving anti-Semitism is legendary and assuredly represents one of the darkest chapters in this polemicist ’ s long career. Luther argues against the Jews precisely as John’s Jesus did. [23]

Having successfully connected the anti-Semitism of John to the founder of the Protestant Church, all we need do now is establish a connection between Luther’s racism and Hitler’s.

To confirm this association, I call upon the testimony of the former Dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral, William Inge.  The late Dean said of the atrocities committed by Hitler and his Nazi Party:

“If we wish to find a scapegoat on whose shoulders we may lay the miseries which Germany has brought on the world, I am more and more convinced that the worst evil genius of that country, is not Hitler or Bismarck or Frederick the Great, but Martin Luther.” [24]

But this is just one learned man’s opinion, right?  Wrong. Numerous scholars and commentators have remarked on the Lutheran origin of Hitler’s anti-Semitism, no less Hitler himself:

The great protagonists are those who fight for their ideas and ideals despite the fact that they receive no recognition at the hands of their contemporaries. They are the men whose memories will be enshrined in the hearts of the future generations….To this group belong not only the genuinely great statesmen but all the great reformers as well. Beside Frederick the Great we have such men as Martin Luther and Richard Wagner. [25]

Despite the overwhelming evidence that Hitler and his Nazi Party were heavily influenced by Martin Luther’s anti-Semitic teachings, and the present consensus amongst historical scholars, which rests upon this mountain of evidence,[26] a handful of Christian scholars have sought in vain to draw petty distinctions between Hitler’s anti-Semitism and Martin Luther’s.

Martin Brecht, for example, argued that there was a vast difference between Hitler’s anti-Semitism and Martin Luther’s. For Luther, Brecht argued, the rejection of Christ was the significant source of contempt, whereas for Hitler it was purely racial. [27]  Yet such hollow distinctions are washed away not only by the wealth of evidence indicating the Nazi’s admiration for Luther, but the direct influence that Christian anti-Semitism had on Hitler and his Christian Nazi Party.

Notwithstanding his honesty, the good Dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral was too short-sighted to see, lest admit, that the roots of violent anti-Semitism didn’t begin with Martin Luther, but in the very building blocks of his beloved religion.  Was he ignorant of the vile and racist words of Justin Martyr, John Chrysostom and the majority of bigoted Christian fathers, who all railed against the Jews with the ferocious fervour of Hitler himself?  Did he not read of the atrocities committed by St. Cyril of Alexandria in the fifth century that saw Jewish families put to the sword?  Surely he had read of the Crusaders’ barbarism toward the Jews along the road to their bloodthirsty war with the equally bloodthirsty Muslims of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, and all of the countless anti-Semitic edicts enunciated by Church councils throughout the centuries, edicts all based upon the very foundations of a rotten and racist religion.

Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.  A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.  Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.                               Matthew 8:17-20

Presented in the illuminating light of its proper historical context, one can see that the rotten fruit of Nazi anti-Semitism was born from Hitler’s conviction in his Lord and saviour, Jesus Christ, and the poisonous tree of the Christian religion.

STALIN

Of these three characters, Stalin was the only confirmed atheist, yet Hitchens thoroughly dealt with the religious nature of Stalin’s dictatorship in a manner that has left religious apologists without sufficient reply.  Notwithstanding the fact that Stalin was raised as a Christian under the religious influence of his mother, who enrolled him in seminary school, and that Stalin later took it upon himself to study for the priesthood, as Hitchens and others have pointed out, Stalin merely stepped into a ready-made religious tyranny, constructed by the Russian Orthodox Church and paved with the teachings of St. Paul.

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.                                           Romans 13:1-2

Such teachings were the inspirational well from which the Russian Orthodox Church drew their justifications to support this new Tsar, causing the more sensible fringe of the Church to flee to the United States in contravention of St. Paul’s teachings.

Here then, the central premise of Hitchens’ argument is worthy of reiteration.  Had Stalin inherited a purely rational secular edifice, one established upon the ethos espoused by the likes of Lucretius, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, Einstein and other free thinking and rational secularists, then the apologist’s argument would hold slightly more weight, but such wasn’t the case.  Stalin merely tore the existing religious labels off the Christian Inquisition, the enforcement of Christian orthodoxy, the Crusades, the praising of the priesthood, messianism, and Edenic ideas of a terrestrial religious-styled utopia, and re-branded them with the red of communism.  Had this Christian machine not been in place, then it is more than likely Stalin wouldn’t have had the vehicle he needed to succeed in causing so much suffering in the name of his godless religion, Communism.

To quote Hitchens:

For Joseph Stalin, who had trained to be a priest in a seminary in Georgia, the whole thing was ultimately a question of power. “How many divisions,” he famously and stupidly inquired, “has the pope?” (The true answer to his boorish sarcasm was, “More than you think.”) Stalin then pedantically repeated the papal routine of making science conform to dogma, by insisting that the shaman and charlatan Trofim Lysenko had disclosed the key to genetics and promised extra harvests of specially inspired vegetables. (Millions of innocents died of gnawing internal pain as a consequence of this “revelation.”) This Caesar unto whom all things were dutifully rendered took care, as his regime became a more nationalist and statist one, to maintain at least a puppet church that could attach its traditional appeal to his. [28]

I shan’t rehash Hitchens’ arguments in full, but if you would like to learn more about the details of his logically sound and beautifully crafted reply to this fallacious charge, I suggest you read chapter seventeen of his book, ‘God is Not Great – How Religion Poisons Everything.’

Hitchens was not alone in seeing the parallels between Russia’s old supernatural religion and its new secular one.

In Emilio Gentile’s ‘Politics as Religion,’ Gentile describes the sacralising of Stalin’s regime in the following words:

The sacralization of the party opened the way to the sacralization of Stalin when he became the supreme leader.  After 1929, the political religion of Russia mainly concentrated on the deification of Stalin, who until his death in 1953 dominated the party and Soviet system like a tyrannical and merciless deity. [29]

That vast and seemingly bottomless “reservoir of religious credulity,” as Hitchens so eloquently phrased it, which served to subdue the servile Soviets for hundreds of years beneath the yoke of an equally brutal supernatural religion, was the very fountain of boundless unthinking acquiescence that Stalin, having adorned himself in the Tsar’s clothes, utilized to send countless innocent Russians to their deaths.  Where would Stalin have found such docile servitude, servitude that fed the flames of his secular religious tyranny, had Lucretius, Thomas Paine, Albert Einstein or Thomas Jefferson bestowed upon these poor religious Russians, their intellectual legacy?  To answer in a word, nowhere.

POL POT

Pol Pot, possibly not even an atheist, but almost certainly a Buddhist, believed in the teachings of the Buddha, no matter how perverted his interpretations may or may not have been.  His violence, much like the violence of many earlier religionists, wasn’t the result of a lack of belief in a god, whether Zeus, Osiris, Yahweh, or the god-like Buddha of Mahayana Buddhism, but in the megalomaniacal belief that heaven or destiny was guiding him to improve the state of affairs for all those who could be forced to share his misguided utopian delusions.  Not only was Pol Pot a Theravada Buddhist, but the soil in which his atrocities were sewn was also very Buddhist.

In Alexander Laban Hinton’s book, Why Did They Kill?: Cambodia in the Shadow of Genocide,’ Hinton drew attention to the role that the belief in karma played in Pol Pot’s Cambodia, particularly with regards to the cementation of a docilely accepted social hierarchy, not too dissimilar from Stalin’s ready-made Russian religious tyranny, as well as highlighting the Buddhist origins of Pol Pot’s ideological initiatives.

Hinton remarks:

This [Pol Pot’s regime’s] line of thinking about revolutionary consciousness directly parallels Buddhist thought, with the “Party line” and “collective stand” being substituted for dhamma…One could certainly push this argument further , contending that the Khmer Rouge attempted to assume the monk’s traditional role as moral instructor (teaching their new brand of “mindfulness”) and that DK regime’s glorification of asceticism, detachment, the elimination of attachment and desire, renunciation (of material goods and personal behaviors, sentiments, and attitudes), and purity paralleled prominent Buddhist themes…  [30]

I have only presented a small snippet of the available evidence that points to religion’s role in Pol Pot’s crimes, and there is not one single piece of solid evidence that Pol Pot was an atheist, so let us once and for all dispense with that speculative piece of religious propaganda.  Pol Pot spent close to a decade at Catholic school and nearly as long studying at a Buddhist institution, so religious education was something he had in common with both Hitler and Stalin, but I would never use such data-mined facts to assert that religious education invariably inspires tyrants to commit atrocities, although a case for such a proposition could probably be made without committing too many logical and historical inaccuracies.  I won’t even bother sharing the un-sourced quote from Prince Norodom Sihanouk that Christians present as “proof” that Pol Pot was an atheist, as its origin is not only dubious, but its contents reflect a belief in heaven, which, if genuine, negates any claim that Pol Pot was an atheist.

THE ATHEIST ATROCITIES FALLACY

The atheist atrocities fallacy is a multifaceted and multidimensional monster, comprised of a cocktail of illogically contrived arguments.  It is, at its core, a tu quoque fallacy, employed to deflect justified charges of religious violence, by erroneously charging atheism with similar, if not worse, conduct.  But it is much more than this, for within its tangled and mangled edifice can be found the false analogy fallacy, the poisoning of the well fallacy, the false cause fallacy, and even an implied slippery slope fallacy.

Tu quoque (“You Too”) Fallacy

The Tuquoque fallacy is an informal fallacy used to dismiss criticism by means of deflection. [31] Instead of addressing an accusation or charge, the perpetrator of this fallacy will offer an example of their opponent’s alleged hypocrisy with regards to the allegation.  This is precisely how Christian apologists employ the atheist atrocities fallacy.

To give you an example of this fallacy in action, we need only examine the reply of renowned Christian apologist, Dinesh D’Souza, to charges of religious violence:

And who can deny that Stalin and Mao, not to mention Pol Pot and a host of others, all committed atrocities in the name of a Communist ideology that was explicitly atheistic? [32]

“…it is interesting to find that people of faith now seek defensively to say that they are no worse than fascists or Nazis or Stalinists.” [33]                                                                                   ~Christopher Hitchens

This fallacy will be often employed with an added sprinkle of one-upmanship, with the apologist using the immense scale of secular atrocities to argue that atheism is worse than religion.  However, if we were to honestly calculate those victims of ritual and religious sacrifice across the entire planet, the total number of witches burned and drowned across Europe and in America, the near genocides of the Pacific Islanders by the London Missionary Society, and similar missionary organizations, the dismembered bodies of the Saint Francis Xavier’s Inquisition in Goa, the disembowelled remains of the Anabaptists in Europe, the men, women and children murdered by Muslim conquerors from the Middle-East to Spain, the stoned and strangled blasphemers in Christian states of the past and Muslim ones of the modern age, and all of the unmarked graves of all of the victims of religion, from the dawn of that plague to now, I am quite certain that the numbers game would prove to be an unfruitful one for the desperate apologist.

This brings us to our next fallacy.

False Analogy Fallacy

This fallacy depends upon the existence of an often minor analogous factor, in this case, the belief in god versus a lack of belief in god, god being the analogous component, and extrapolating from this minor analogy, conditions that are alleged to affect both positions, when the truth of the matter happens to be, the two (religion and atheism) are not analogous at all. [34]

For apologists to overcome the existence of this fallacy, they must show that atheism is a religion, but the very definition of atheism circumvents any such attempt.  Atheism, although encompassing varying degrees of disbelief, is not a system of beliefs, but an unsystematic absence of god-belief, that is all.  It has no doctrines, traditions and most importantly, no beliefs.  Unless there is some secret atheist bible from which Stalin drew inspiration for his crimes, there is absolutely no reason to suggest that his lack of belief in a supernatural deity had anything to do with his messianic and maniacal behaviour.

This takes us to the next fallacy in this medley of intellectually dishonest apologetics.

False Cause Fallacy

The fallacy of false cause occurs whenever the link between premise and conclusion

depends on some imagined causal connection that probably does not exist. [35]

Example 1:

Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot were all non-figure skaters.  Therefore we can conclude that not being a figure skater causes a person to commit atrocities.

Example 2:

None of these three dictators believed in the existence of leprechauns, hence the lack of belief in leprechauns causes people to commit atrocities.

The imaginary atheist bible is a great hypothetical answer to this fallacy, yet such a collection of manuscripts does not exist, nor do any unwritten doctrines that a dictator who happens to lack belief in a god would be able to employ to commit such religious-styled atrocities.  In the absence of any written or unwritten atheist doctrines, the apologist must show that a lack of belief in god was a causal factor in the atrocities committed, but to do so, they must conversely demonstrate that had these tyrants believed in a god, they wouldn’t have committed such crimes against humanity, which brings us right back to our Christian Inquisitions, Holy Crusades, missionary atrocities and all of the other dirt directly derived from religion that this fallacy attempts to quietly sweep under the rug.

Poisoning the Well Fallacy

When someone presents adverse information about, or associates unfavourable characters, characteristics or qualities with, a targeted person, or in this case, worldview (atheism), with the intention of undermining it, this is known as poisoning the well.  “Stalin was an atheist, therefore atheism is dangerous.”  By associating atheism with these three villains of history, the religious apologist is attempting to throw an unjustified negative light on atheism.

Aren’t atheists and anti-theists doing the same thing when they associate Christianity with the Spanish Inquisition?  No. The Spanish Inquisition was directly caused and inspired by the very foundations of the Christian religion, i.e., the Bible and Church doctrines and traditions.   The fallacy doesn’t exist when there is a legitimate association between the poison and its target.

To give you a hypothetical example of this legitimate association, just imagine that John smith has offered a friend of yours a too-good-to-be-true investment opportunity, and John has previously been convicted of fraud on multiple occasions.  If you inform your friend about John’s prior convictions you are not poisoning the well, but stressing a legitimate association between the poison (fraud convictions) and the target (John Smith).  Such association is certainly the case with the religious atrocities committed as a direct result of scripture, ecclesiastical edicts, tradition, and clerical authority.

[Implied] Slippery Slope Fallacy      

The slippery slope fallacy is a species of the false cause fallacy that seeks to present a conclusion of an argument that is dependent upon an unlikely chain of events.

In Hurely’s Concise Introduction to Logic, he offers the following example:

Immediate steps should be taken to outlaw pornography once and for all. The continued manufacture and sale of pornographic material will almost certainly lead to an increase in sex-related crimes such as rape and incest. This in turn will gradually erode the moral fabric of society and result in an increase in crimes of all sorts. Eventually a complete disintegration of law and order will occur, leading in the end to the total collapse of civilization.

 

Because there is no good reason to think that the mere failure to outlaw pornography will result in all these dire consequences, this argument is fallacious. [36]

The more we become secularized and the more atheism is allowed to spread, the greater the chance of such horrendous atrocities occurring will be.  This is the not so subtle inference of the atheist atrocities fallacy.  I won’t bore you with statistics that show societies with higher rates of atheism are generally more peaceful; have higher standards of education, health and personal freedom, [37] as I have already pulled the first proposition in this “slippery slope” from beneath the starry-eyed apologist’s feet.

A FINAL WORD

So, what is the atheist atrocities fallacy, really?  It is little more than erroneous historical data wrapped in illogical argumentation and cloaked with the rhetorical garb of apologetic propaganda.  Yet and still, above all of this inanity, the atheist atrocities fallacy is the result of a psychological defence mechanism, the aim of which is the distortion of reality for the protection of the hypersensitive religious ego.

To finish, let me now surrender and admit defeat.  You look puzzled.  Please lend me just one more moment to explain my surrender.

Suppose the Christian apologist is correct, and atheist tyrants are worse than religious ones.  What does this, from the point of view of the believer, show?  What are the implications?  On the one hand, you can interpret it to show that the more people believe in the Christian god, the more virtuous they will behave, despite the fact that the truth of history will laugh at such vacuous attempts to ignore its tomes of evidence to the contrary.  On the other, what does it say about an all-powerful, all-knowing and all-loving god, one who allows tyrants, whether secular or religious, to murder helpless and innocent children by the millions, who turns a blind eye to the wrongful imprisonment of innocent men and women, and who starves to bare bones, the poor and meek?

Perhaps now you see that my surrender was but a Trojan horse, in which I smuggled Epicurus’ old, yet unanswered, problem of evil.  I guess I could have just said that there is no way for a religious apologist to win this one.  For if the atheist admits defeat, they still leave the faithful with the dissonance of evil, and as many theologians and philosophers have correctly concluded, freewill is no answer to such evil.   But that is a story for another time.

Sources

  1. Max Domarus & Patrick Romane. The Essential Hitler: Speeches and Commentary. Bolchazy-Carducci. (2007). P. 499.
  2. Adolf Hitler. Speech in Berlin. October 24, 1933.
  3. Norman H. Baynes.  The Speeches of Adolf Hitler. Vol.1. Oxford University Press (1942). pp. 19-20.
  4. Adolf Hitler. Mein Kampf. Hurst and Blackett Ltd. (1939). p. 275.
  5. Ibid. 240.
  6. Susannah Heschel. The Aryan Jesus: Christian Theologians and the Bible in Nazi Germany. Princeton University Press. (2008) Chapter 3: Projects of the Institute.
  7. Michael Sherlock. I Am Christ: The Crucifixion – Painful Truths. Charles River Press. (2012). p. 182.
  8. Stanley E. Porter. Dictionary of Biblical Criticism and Interpretation. Routledge (2007). p. 182.
  9. Lance Byron Richey. Roman Imperial Ideology and the Gospel of John. The Catholic Biblical Association of America. (2007). p. 63.
  10. Robert Kysar. Voyages in John – Charting the Fourth Gospel. Baylor University Press. (2005). p. 147.
  11. Ibid. p. 153.
  12. The Apostlic Fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus. Justin Martyr (trans. Philip Schaff ) Ignatius Epistle to the Ephesians. Chapter 11. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. p. 107.
  13. Ibid; Justin Martyr Dialogue with Trypho; Chapter 17. p. 320.
  14. Philip Schaff . Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers: 212: Leo the Great & Gregory the Great. Christian Classics Ethereal Library. (1885). p. 317.
  15. John Chrysostom. Homily 8:3.10.
  16. Luther, Martin. On the Jews and Th eir Lies, cited in Michael. Robert. “Luther, Luther Scholars, and the Jews,” Encounter 46 (Autumn 1985) No. 4:343-344.
  17. Luther, Martin. On the Jews and Their Lies, 154, 167, 229, cited in Michael, Robert. Holy Hatred: Christianity, Antisemitism, and the Holocaust. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006, p. 111.
  18. Ibid. p. 113.
  19. Ibid. p. 112.
  20. Michael, Robert. Luther, Luther Scholars, and the Jews, Encounter 46:4, (Autumn 1985). p. 342.
  21. Ibid. p. 343.
  22. Luther, Martin. On the Jews and Their Lies, cited in Michael. Robert. Luther, Luther Scholars, and the Jews, Encounter 46 (Autumn 1985) No. 4:343-344.
  23. Louis A. Rupercht Jr. This Tragic Gospel – How John Corrupted the Heart of Christianity. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (2008). p. 166.
  24. William R. Inge. Church of England Newspaper. August 4, 1944: cited in; Peter F. Wiener. Martin Luther-Hitler’s Spiritual Ancestor. Amer Atheist Press. (1999). inside cover.
  25. Adolf Hitler. Mein Kampf. Hurst and Blackett Ltd. (1939). p. 171.
  26. Ronald Berger. Fathoming the Holocaust: A Social Problems Approach. Aldine De Gruyter. (2002). p.28; Paul Lawrence Rose. Revolutionary Antisemitism in Germany from Kant to Wagner. Princeton University Press. (1990); quoted in Berger. p. 28; Paul Johnson. A History of the Jews. HarperCollins Publishers. (1987). p. 242; Leon Poliakov. History of Anti-Semitism: From the Time of Christ to the Court Jews. University of Pennsylvania Press. (2003). p. 216; Michael Berenbaum. The World Must Know. Johns Hopkins University Press and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. (1993, 2000). pp. 8–9.
  27. Martin Brecht. Martin Luther: The Preservation of the Church. Vol. 3. 1532-1546. Fortress Press. (1999). p. 351.
  28. Christopher Hitchens. God is Not Great – How Religion Poisons Everything. Twelve Books. (2007). pp. 244-245.
  29. Emilio Gentile. Politics as Religion. Princeton University Press. (2006). pp. 41-42.
  30. Nathaniel Bluedorn. The Fallacy Detective: Thirty-Six Lessons on How to Recognize Bad Reasoning. Christian Logic (2002). p. 54 [Note the irony of the source].
  31. Christopher Hitchens. God is Not Great – How Religion Poisons Everything. Twelve Books. (2007). p. 230.
  32. Alexander Laban Hinton. Why Did They Kill?: Cambodia in the Shadow of Genocide. University of California Press. (2004). p. 197.
  33. Dinesh D’Souza. Answering Atheist’s Arguments. http://catholiceducation.org/articles/apologetics/ap0214.htm.
  34. Patrick J. Hurley. A Concise Introduction to Logic. Wadsworth Publishing. (2000). p. 36.
  35. Ibid. p. 143.
  36. Ibid. p. 146.
  37. Kerry Walters. Atheism: A Guide for the Perplexed. The Continuum International Publishing Group Inc. (2010). 11.
Advertisements

219 thoughts on “The Atheist Atrocities Fallacy – Hitler, Stalin & Pol Pot

  1. I stopped reading at “Religious apologists”. By this dear Author, you only prove the SAME intolerance, aggressivity and ignorance already proven by religious militants. It makes you no better. You only proved you have chosen sides. That’s all. Your article is therefore only a piece of atheists propaganda.

    If you want to be credible, you have to be tolerant and not instantly condemn believers. Slam the other side.

    If you want to win them over, which you should, you have to prove them that atheists can be better and more tolerant than christians.

    Otherwise you will only prove them why atheism is wrong.

    And this is not what you want, do you?

    1. And why choosing a side in a debate would automatically debunk your arguments?

      Usually, who debates about some matter chooses a side based on his arguments and the logic behind them. If, for an instance, you believe the Earth is round, and says that who doesn´t believe that is wrong, does that mean that all the arguments you gathered to justify your position should be disregarded?

      Besides, I´d say that calling some religious people “apologists” hardly means you´re “condemning believers”. Rather, it is simply stating a fact: some religious people really are apologists of their beliefs.

    2. “Apologists” is a term used by Christians to describe Christians who speak openly about their faith. It’s not intended as an insult. It’s an honor to be considered an apologist among Christians, and it’s a perfectly respectful term.

      If you have a more appropriate or less offensive term, please, speak up.

    3. an entirely ludicrous comment

      despite reading in your first line that you stopped reading (a position I consider juvenile) I finished reading all you wrote

      to not be willing to expose yourself to counter views, even those you perceive as aggressive marks you as an insular individual incapable of receiving and reviewing new information

      that you feel the need to soothed by writers presenting challenging ideas simply means you will forever stuck where you are and presumably more likely to be hoodwinked by suave operators who pay special attention to people just like you

    4. Vadim Navigatorul said, “‘I stopped reading at Religious Apologists’.” THAT statement totally invalidates everything else that you wrote! The author, contrary to what you wrote, did not show intolerance, aggressiveness or ignorance. Had you read the article/commentary, you’d have found that the author simply showed how religious apologists and their baseless logic are wrong as their logic that those three mass murderers were atheists is, 1) wrong and 2) even if religious apologists are correct, atheism has nothing to do with them being murderers.

      That is where people like you, Vadim, fail. You fail in your ignorance as was demonstrated by your lack of reading the whole (or even 25%) of the article. You fail.

    5. Since many Christian philosophers refer to themselves as apologists, your comment means that you do not know what that word means. One of Martin’s most influentional pieces is referred to as “Apology for the Ausberg Confession.” You might want to look it up, but apologist doesn’t mean one who *apologies* for something, but one who used reasoned arguments to defend or justify.

  2. I admire your work very much. Still, RE: Pol Pot… Isn’t Buddhism, in fact, pantheistic? If this is so, then by extension it is neither theist nor atheist. Hence, as you allow yet don’t affirm: “PP possibly not even an atheist.” The root of PP actions were, like Hitler & Stalin unbonded psyche’s that is detached from feeling (Ref Alice Miller’s work). But in PP case his culture nurtured in the people a sort of readiness to be led to such ends. Of course this also has been said of Hitler’s Germany. For this reason I am not certain PP should be included with AH and JS.

    1. I thought that pantheism was the belief that god is everywhere and in all things, Forgive my ignorance if I am wrong as I’m not well versed in religions.. If this is so, an atheist cannot be a pantheist because he has no belief in any god.

  3. This is a very well written, very insightful text. Congratulations.

    I’m concerned, however, that the basis to religious authority (godfull or godless religions, like Stalin’s twisted Communism or the fanatic approach to any political or philosophical doctrine, for what it matters) is the existence of the simple-minded, to whom reason has limited reach.

    The simple-minded don’t bother with reason, they can’t follow extensive argumentations, they feel threatened by anything that defies their beliefs and react in a fear-based fashion, refusing even to listen. And formal education seems not to be the medicine for that condition. It’s a mass of people ranging from simple peasants on rural settlements with low to zero access to non-biased information and formal education, to high executives of transnational corporations, college teachers, judges, people with a high degree of formal education and, presumably, some training with critical thinking.

    Without the simple-minded, organised religion loses its appeal and faith becomes a deep idiosyncratic choice that has little social interest, much like the colour of choice, or the favourite food. The problem, I think, is how to bring simple-minded out of the dark.

  4. Hitler a CHRISTIAN?! I’ll read the rest after I ROTFLOL, I was looking for something entirely else, not realizing atheistic apologetics could be so entertaining. Following this logic then, so was Hitchens. And the author of this article, btw, with all these Bible quotes, references to God, etc. 🙂 You do realize you have to understand what you quote before you try to use it. Thanks for providing the bibliography, too. One learns how people come to such outlandish conclusions.

      1. Pedro,

        A Christian is someone who follows the teachings of Jesus Christ.

        It is obvious that Hitler was a mass murderer and therefore could not possibly be Christian.

      2. ok so in that case no one on earth is a christian because jesus christ said to sell all your belongings and give to the poor. and no being a mass murderer doesnt automatically make you a non christian. in order to be a christian one merely has to believe that they are. they can interpret the bible any way they want just like you can because guess what? thats all the bible is in the context of religion…. interpretation of words to fit your view of a supposed afterlife. get outta town with that nonsense bro.

  5. I just made this argument about Stalin, not from the fallacy of “you do it too,” but to point out that an atheist ruler with absolute power is not accountable to anyone. For an atheist, might makes right, ultimately (there is no absolute morality).

    Stalin is quoted to have said, “A million deaths is a statistic.” He had no reason to value human life and no reason to fear judgment in the afterlife – he felt he could do anything he wanted as long as he held absolute power (no wonder he was so paranoid for his life and power).

    All those who claim to be Christian must face accountability for their actions – they answer to someone more powerful than them. The difference is authority and accountability, and an atheist is his own authority.

    1. “All those who claim to be Christian must face accountability for their actions”
      Christians also believe in salvation through faith, not works, so they believe that the worst sins can be forgiven through faith in Christ. By that reasoning, even someone Hitler, Stalin, or Pol Pot could have been “saved” through faith. After all, Christians believe that Saul of Tarsus, persecutor and murderer of Christians, became Paul the Apostle, so why not those three, if they only had faith?

      1. Peter, you are correct, though your intention may be sarcastic.

        The is that there is someone higher than you, and they can pay your debt (as large or small as it is) because they have infinite resource. If you agree that Christ is who he says he is then you can receive the forgiveness.

        It is like you own $100. You have no ability to earn the $100 to pay it back, but someone already earned it and is offering it to you with an open hand. You can accept it (debt paid) or you can reject it (debt remains on you). Now you may own $100 and Stalin may owe ~$20,000,000 (dollar for each person he murdered), but neither of you can pay and the only one who could pay has infinite resource to balance your debt.

  6. Hello,
    I only read the first pages of your article. I like how you integrate quotes as i think it is an important approach to being objective. Unfortunately it seems that you take their quotes out of context: Your John 8, 44 quote, was not meant for the entire jewish people as all involved were Jews. I am Peruvian and when I argue with Peruvians, i am not being anti-Peruvian. If you get what I mean.

    Your early church father quotes are very good too for your point. But i believe you fail to integrate what were the Jewish communities saying about the Christians. Were some of those writings a response to maybe, jailing Christians?, etc. You lack context and that turns Christian like me off.

    Thanks for the food for thought.

    Ana Maria

  7. I have NEVER heard a Christian use the argument posited above. Do you have a source of reference to support your erroneous and bigoted claims ? also I do agree the Roman Catholic Church has been the perpetrators of some of the most horrendous crimes against humanity in history , however the presumption the RCC is a Christian organization is erroneous and false . The Roman catholic church was never Christian in the history of its existence . My reference is the very scholarly effort ” The Two Babylons or Proof the Papacy is the Worship of Nimrod and His Wife ” , a very thorough and perhaps a bit tedious book written by A. Hislop and first published in 1852 . !

    1. This is arguing from incredulity…I have never heard of…just because you haven’t, it doesn’t mean there aren’t any. I have, for example. As for your argument that the RC Church was never Christian…Over a billion people would disagree, and that’s only the Catholics. In fact if you add the second largest denomination, the orthodox, they would still not accept the belief that RC were never Christian.

    2. Catholics are christian sorry to burst your bubble. Stalin sent Russian Orthodox believers underground, killed their priest and executed those practising religion because he had become the religion called a Personality Cult hence his pictures in every home and parade..I know Athiest like to think themselves perfect, but Stalin was responsible for millions of deaths of innocent people, destroyed historic churches, he never returned to the Church of his childhood, he was to busy being worshipped himself. Russians could only practice their religion after glasnost, that is atheist freedom for you. Great if you are an atheist, pretend to be one to survive a brutal system.

  8. In a 1956 speech, Nikita Khrushchev denounced Stalin’s cult of personality with these words: “It is impermissible and foreign to the spirit of Marxism-Leninism to elevate one person, to transform him into a superman possessing supernatural characteristics akin to those of a god.”
    The man that was Stalin was sort of humble, but “The Man of Steel, Stalin” was an icon, he was a symbol meant to be taken as a god by the people. His son Vasily once got into a drunken fight and used the Stalin name to get out of trouble. Joseph was very angry when the boy said, “But I’m a Stalin too,’ retorted Vasily. ‘No, you’re not,’ said Stalin. ‘You’re not Stalin and I’m not Stalin. Stalin is Soviet power. Stalin is what he is in the newspapers and the portraits, not you, not even me!” (10) Stalin was raised to be a Catholic Priest, spending five years in seminary school. He may have moved away from that as a formal position, but he certainly used the idea of this power. When Stalin found himself securely fastened into his seat of office, (yes after destroying thousands of churches to remove the threat the churches posed), he rehabilitated the Russian Orthodox Church to deepen the patriotic war support during World War II. Stalin was on the council that elected the new church patriarch, which lead to the opening of thousands of Churches including the Moscow Theological Academy Seminary. Breaking down the prevailing religious infrastructure was the way for Stalin to claim complete power and not have to worry about the influence of the church that presided before him. Being the one to place religious leaders into their position was essential to make sure they are in line with his politics.
    There were attacks and murders of different church denominations and monks; however that is hardly any different from one Christian denomination declaring war on a differing denomination. That seems to have been a staple of religious history. How many times did Christians and Muslims try to eradicate each other or Christians against Christians for that matter? Christians have never been one aligned group. Since the beginning differing groups of Christians have always been in a power struggle for who has the absolute truth. Absolutely nothing has changed to this day.
    I’ve so far only been able to find one viable and true quote that would imply Stalin had changed his mind about a creator.
    “You know, they are fooling us, there is no God…all this talk about God is sheer nonsense” in E. Yaroslavsky, Landmarks in the Life of Stalin, Foreign Languages Publishing House,
    Moscow 1940
    This does not negate that fact that he still used religion as a violent tool for control, just as religion has done for centuries.
    He was a bad guy there is no doubt about it and many religious love to point out the fact that he killed millions of people during his reign. They often claim more than all the religious wars of the past, which is not correct. Regardless of his religious feelings he was a man who had some poor ideas about how to treat people. Up to five million of the people “the religious” tout him killing, were victims of bad government policy. His collectivization of agriculture in Russia led to those millions of people starving. As for the people he had executed they ranged from priests, teachers, peasants, musicians and beggars. Those people round out to around 700,000 people; quite a large number indeed. There isn’t one quote I could find where Stalin proclaims Atheism as his motives for carrying out his actions. Power was his motivation. We have to realize Stalin and Hitler were in a time when the Earth was much more populated than many previous times of war, and the advancement in weapon technology had advance to a point where bombs and machine guns allowed for immensely larger scale bloodshed. The population of the Earth was up to around 450 million by 1340 C.E. but after the great famine and the Black Death in 1350 C.E. the population dropped drastically. In 1500 C.E., there were only about a total of 370 million people on Earth. The population shortly began to balloon because humans had re-learned agricultural methods, irrigation and governments were re-established. 314 million is about what the United States has today alone. Until the 11th millennium B.C.E. the population is estimated to have topped out at 3 million people. During the time of Hitler and Stalin the Earth’s population had popped up to around (2 billion) and weaponry technology allowed for the subjugation and the genocide of people by the millions, instead of hundreds of thousands. Using a higher number to substantiate someone as bigger villain is improper logic. Had the perpetrators of the crusades had machine guns and Jets dropping bombs on a larger population, you can guarantee there would have been higher death tolls.
    In 1941 as Stalin’s health was declining, he took a retreat with the inclusion of religious believers. It was then that Stalin went back to his Christian roots according to his biographer Edvard Radinsky. Stalin also made this statement, “The writer is the engineer of the human soul.” Said by Stalin at a meeting of fifty top Soviet writers at Maxim Gorky’s house in Moscow (26 October 1932)
    A man who believes in souls still subscribes to some sort of superstition. He might not follow organized religion all his life but, whatever the case, whether he believed there might be a higher power or if he was so deluded that he thought he himself to be that higher power; the argument that Atheistic dictators commit their crimes based on the fact they don’t believe in a creator is barren.
    Saying Atheists are good or bad, does not equate to whether or not integrity and virtue come from a divine power. I repeat, saying Atheists are good or bad, does not equate to whether or not integrity and virtue come from a divine power.
    Let’s for a second say, Atheist are just as terrible as the religious. That doesn’t tell us atheism is correct or if theism is correct, all that says is humans can be rotten. Insistence that a god is real does not prove the actuality of the supernatural. The inability to prove said celestial bodies exists, invalidates the religious moral position. Stating that religious folk are really great people doesn’t mean there is a god any more than saying Atheist are rotten does. Feeling like your religion is validated because somebody was an asshole and didn’t say he followed your particular brand of superstition is not a reasonable position. Just like saying all religions are bad because one religious man perpetrated genocide on a group of people. However when you have people doing things in the name of a god, they are basing their actions on their brand of superstition. There are enough ideas about how economies should work and governments should function, without throwing “a guess at which god is real, and how it wants us to act”, into the mix.
    Over Millennium humans have coordinated slaughter on millions of other humans for territorial claims, religion and nationalism. Dictators with no religious affiliation are not simply killing for Atheism, they are killing for power. Religions have historically had power and dictators are often not looking to compete with alternative potential threats which may have influence or gain power. Stalin was killing for Marxism and totalitarian rule.
    -The God That Cried Wolf and the Dangers of Make Believe

  9. I use Stalin as an example. Not to demonstrate believers are better than atheists. But to demonstrate humans are capable of ruthless and cruel ambition no matter what their world view is. I would say the capacity to commit atrocities is a human trait.

    You acknowledge Stalin was an atheist but then point to his Christian background. Turning that around any Christian murderer who has contemplated Bertrand Russell’s writings is actually a closet atheist. I know, that’s pretty lame. Exactly my point.

    One thing a lot of mass murdurers have in common: They exploit xenophobia. They portray their own group as superior while making others scapegoats for society’s ills. Hey Sherlock, what do you suggest we do with these horrible believers that are causing all the world’s problems?

    1. This article was written in response to a very typical accusation levied to atheists – that Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot are excellent examples of how evil atheists are because they lack good Christian morality. It is usually followed with an implied need to do something about all these horrible unbelievers that are causing all the world’s problems.

      You’ve reiterated the exact point of the article quite well, actually. Ruthlessness and cruelty are fundamentally HUMAN characteristics.

      Hitler was an example of someone who found a section of the Bible that happened to agree with what he wanted to believe, and acted on it. Without the Bible, his actions may have been quite different, but would certainly have probably not been any less horrific. Instead of Jews, atheists, and non-whites, he might have decided that another group of people represented the “non-Master Race” and exterminated them en masse.

      Hitler killed large numbers of innocents because he was a sick, twisted person. Not because he was Catholic, though that did have some effect over his specific choice of victim. And certainly not because he was an “immoral atheist” as the argument is presented to atheists very, very frequently. Because he was a person who desired power above all else, and the “us versus them” mentality is the perfect way to accomplish those means, as has been proven again and again throughout history.

      Neither religion nor atheism makes people inherently bad or good.

  10. Hitler was as much a Christian as Obama is. Every politician will spew whatever they can to get support. 78% of voters believe in the spaghetti monster……”I believe in the spaghetti monster and raising/lowering taxes. Now give me support” Hitler was huge into the Occult and that is very well documented. Taking excerpts from Mein Kampf and trying to say that because he acknowledged a “god/lord” is what makes him a Christian is like having my Atari vote and get a welfare check because you had it synthesize and repeat “I am human”.

  11. Allow me to show how you shot yourself in the foot epicly:

    “Religious apologists, particularly those of the Christian variety, are big fans of what I have dubbed, the atheist atrocities fallacy. Christians commonly employ this fallacy to shield their egos from the harsh reality of the brutality of their own religion”.

    You are doing the exact same thing, namedly: “atheists commonly employ this fallacy [the christian atrocities fallacy] to shield their egos from the harsh reality of the brutality of their own religion[atheism]”.

    Also I would like to draw your attention to the fact that Atheism rejects Absolute truth; as a consequence all moral, ethics and definitions of Good and Bad are merely relative and subjective. Therefore, there can be no atrocities.

    Please, guys, if you are going to [try to] attack religion, do some phylosophy reading first. You are simply being ignorants.

    God bless you all.

    1. You should maybe research what Atheism is before posting stuff like this. “disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods.”
      Morals, ethics and definitions of Good and Bad have nothing to do with it. I urge you to look at Kohlberg’s theory of moral development before stating that religion is necessary for morals.

    2. Atheism is not a religion. Name an atrocity done in (no one’s) name. You can’t because that’s not how it works.

      That’s how atheism is. We aren’t promoting God, Allah, Buddha, Ganesha, or any other god; we are promoting the fact that they are all imaginary. We don’t hate god or think that god is angry with us; we don’t even believe god exists. If people would stop killing each other in their respective god’s name, we as a human species would finally flourish. How can you not understand this?

  12. Im Agnostic. Im not an Anti-Theist. I agree that they didn’t do it because of their Atheism. But you really going to tell me that it is impossible for some Anti-Theist with the power of the state behind him. Would never use that power to destroy the thing that he hates. Next your going to tell me that hatred can never lead to violence if your Anti-Theist. I think you need to stop pretending that thing don’t apply to you just because your an Athiest Anti-Theist.

  13. Im not going to say stalin committed atrocities because of his Atheism. But i find it naive to believe that his Anti-theism might not have influence him in some way. Even if it was subconscious. After all if you hate religion and want to get rid of religion. How far are you willing to go to get rid of religion. Now im not saying that most Anti-Theist will killing somebody. But Anti-Theism is not bound to humanist values. Even if most are bound to it. But its not that hard for me to imagine that Extreme Anti-Theism and Nihilism with the power to impose one’s beliefs could be a horrific combination. Frankly i find Anti-Theist to be way more delusional than most religious people. I mean if you think you can change 6 billion people mind just by bitching at them over the internet. Then your belong in a insane asylum.

  14. Hitler a Christian? Hmmm, yes, he did make some Christian comments, but to call him a Christian in the sense that he held to some orthodox Christian beliefs is not historical verifiable. In fact, once the Reichstag took over, Historians record a more militant atheist who believed in reason, science, and evolutionary Darwinism. So to the point, Hitler’s Christianity was a vehicle for him to win over the German masses. Once he had power, his anti-Semitism revealed how Semitic he felt Christianity was. That is what the majority if Hitler Historians record. And a quick preview of Wikipedia on Hitler’s religion will prove my point nicely.

  15. Jesus Christ was a example to what we call Christianity. So how can u call them christians if they do Not follow the teaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Again if Jesus Christ of the Holy Bible is our role model. Then who were these 3 guys using as there role model? Not the Jesus of the new testament! Just cuz they say they are, then look at there actions. They believe in evolution and thought to wipe the inferior so to push the evolution prosses. There was no fear of God in their hearts our minds. That is not a follower of Jesus Christ.

    1. Sam: Don’t you think this is a rather tired and worn out argument, a very good example of the “no true Scotsman fallacy” The teachings of Christ are reasonably clear. They are not followed by most Americans, especially those who claim to be Christian. “Love thy neighbour? ” not if they are hispanic, black, Muslim, Mexican, “Illegals”, Socialists, Liberals, Capitalist or Investment Bankers. Give money to the poor? Not if you label them as welfare scroungers or you need a new fridge and some beer. And what’s the one about the rich man and the eye of a needle, and adultery is a sin? The worship of money and the whole concept of capitalism was attacked by Jesus when he lost it with the money lenders. So America, to use your own argument, is not a Christian Nation as exemplified by Jesus’s teachings or actions.

      1. “The worship of money and the whole concept of capitalism was attacked by Jesus when he lost it with the money lenders. So America, to use your own argument, is not a Christian Nation as exemplified by Jesus’s teachings or actions.”

        Sorry, your Atheist Dogma is showing.
        Jesus attacked the money lenders and others Inside The Temple, and those that cheated people, like Tax collectors. The merchants in the streets were never attacked by Jesus. One parable Jesus ells clearly counters your claim. Jesus told of a landowner who hired people to harvest his crop, those who accept his promised payment for the full day are angry when the landowner offers the same pay to those who he hired latter in the day. Jesus defends the landowner’s right to pay what he wanted, and the workers must accept the terms they agreed to.
        And it is not the worship of money. It is the right to deal with it with without Authoritarian Government Control; something Atheist in control of so many countries do not understand.

  16. Nothing in the term “atheism” prevents an atheist from taking any ethical, political, or social position. Mao was also an atheist. The 1924 Leopold-Loeb murder was based on the young men’s reading of Nietzsche that godlessness imposed the task of overcoming morality. If Pol Pot was Theravada, that is the line of Buddhism that adheres more strictly to Buddha’s belief that metaphysical speculation was a waste of time – a nontheist position. There is no implied adherence to critical thinking, democratic process, or altruistic policies. Those positions are encompassed in the term “Humanism.” My position on the term “atheist” is that it is intentionally belligerent. It emphasizes the points of disagreement rather than any shared values. I’ve always felt that I would feel more fulfilled working with a religious liberal like Gandhi than with an atheist libertarian like Ayn Rand.

  17. Well you can say what you want, but Stalin’s Anti-Religious compaign are as much “Atheist” in nature as the Iranian/Saudi conflict is “Muslim”.

    What you are doing here is an Atheist “No Scotsman” fallacy.

  18. You should do some better research. Hitler said many anti-christian things and most post date mein kampf! He was no Christian!!

  19. I learned a great deal from your brilliant article and even more from the remarks that ignorant remarks from self proclaimed Christians, esp.the one who said catholics weren’t Christians. They were the original ones.

  20. I agree with the author that real ethicality does not require an external authority-figure to define what is ‘wholesome’ and what is ‘unwholesome’, as though the matter can never be discerned by human-beings and bears no relation to intention or consequence for self and others but is mere arbitrary labelling by a despot whom one dare not disobey. Also I agree that, just because something is termed a religion, people should not become obsequious, but should remain honest, including with respect to their own thinking and intention.

    For the sake of accuracy, Buddhism is not a theism. One may hold a view of heaven-realms and ‘afterlife’ and not be theist. The “devas” or “shining ones” of Buddhist cosmology are just dwellers in heaven-realms; this does not make them beings to be worshipped, just as people living in Nottingham have no reason to worship someone living in London or vice versa. “Buddha” means “awake”, and the aim of Buddhist practice is to cultivate what Buddhists mean by “awakening”, to become a “buddha” oneself, not to preserve perceptions of an eternal divide between a deity and worshippers.

    I was forced to attend school morning-service when young, but that does not make me a Christian. Pol Pot’s regime was anti-religious, regardless of whether he drew on aspects of what he had been exposed to, and he targeted Buddhism along with other religions in Cambodia. If people take up too-generic cudgels against what they term “religion” without clarity on the specifics that concern them, this asserts just another blind dogma rather than being a reaching toward the truth.

  21. In all this, no one mentions the individuals carrying out the orders from on high. Who knows what their individual belief may be? Just because person A believes one thing, person B can believe something quite different yet still follow the orders of person A. So who individually is to blame?

  22. Have you never read that Hitler said he used Christianity to get to power as did Stalin who gave up faith and became an atheist and used the church to gain power. As did Pol pot. “The reason why the ancient world was so pure, light and serene was that it knew nothing of the two great scourges: the pox and Christianity. Christianity is a prototype of Bolshevism: the mobilisation by the Jew of the masses of slaves with the object of undermining society. Thus one understands that the healthy elements of the Roman world were proof against this doctrine.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 75-76
    “We do not fight against believers and not even clergymen. WE FIGHT AGAINST GOD to snatch believers from Him.” stalin

  23. There are, of course, clear flaws in this piece of atheist propaganda(and it IS propaganda; its rhetoric makes no bones about its bias, but isn’t honest enough to state it). I focus on Hitler here:

    First of all, using the word “God” does not eo ipso make its user Christian any more than any person who says “god damn you to hell” or “god help us”!! I find it astounding that you would take at face value Hitler’s statements (reproduced with no context here), which are their own form of political propaganda tailored to whoever he had to speak to at the time (which is the very definition of political speech). This is very nicely illustrated in a simple Wikipedia article including insights from historians of Hitler and the Third Reich:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_views_of_Adolf_Hitler

    which does a nice job of at the very least, decisively challenging your assumptions that Hitler was a Christian. The rubber stamp of confirmation and baptism does not make an individual ontologically “Christian” – cultural memberships may have events like these, but it doesn’t bind a person to acting in a certain way for the rest of their life. Come on! Isn’t it ironic that some adherents to an atheist paradigm which often valorizes evolution have no sense of history, either personal or collective?

    I do not deny that there’s a religious ELEMENT to Hitler’s politics, which explains his readiness to approve Christianity *at a certain point in his political career.* But to reduce this to “Hitler was a Christian” is childish at best. As the article explains, these ideas are part of a history that evolves to suit Hitler’s interests – the Easter-Egg “hunt-the-god-reference” approach to a complex historical entanglement is juvenile research easily outdone by the Wikipedia article, which provides plenty of citations for further research. In short, the discussion of Hitler (and perhaps the others?) lacks nuance and completely represses the fact that religion can and often is invoked for secular, political reasons…which brings up that pesky real-world problem of distinguishing between “religion” and “ideology” – something many atheists and believers alike don’t want to talk about.

    I am not “religious” or atheist. I am no apologist for atrocities committed by religion, but I get sick of atheistic narcissism which often engages in the futile, self-masturbatory endeavour of pointing out that “religion” is responsible for more deaths than “science.” The people who do this tend to forget that “religion” has been around much LONGER than “science” and secular political ideologies, which are doing just fine in catching up.

    As for atheism not being a “system of beliefs,” I see what you’re saying but I am not entirely convinced. Like every other “ism,” atheism has a certain coherence to it which, oddly enough, jibes with some sociological/anthropological definitions of religion. Am I stating that atheism is “just another religion”? NO – I think it’s more complicated than that. But you do have your “saintly” figures around which a certain aura accrues, even without the idea of an afterlife or a surly old man in the sky who zaps you for touching yourself at night or whatever. Take Hitchens, who was an Oprah Winfrey of the atheism circuit – people would go to his talks, already convinced in their beliefs, knowing that they would come away doubly convinced through a community of “believers” – and with smug, self-satisfied English humor to boot. That is part of EVERY intellectual paradigm; atheism does not survey other belief systems from some phantastic, stainless Archimedian point of objectivity.

    but I am sure that many atheists out there, like many believers, will project me into whatever camp they need to.

  24. This is a crucial distinction. Religion is a form of ‘dogmatic unreason’, as are Stalinism, Nazism and Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge. Atheism is a form of ‘undogmatic reason’.

  25. The nature of this little diatribe can be found in you quote of the Bible, willfully edited by you:
    “His blood be upon us [Jews] and our children” ~“Matthew” 27:25
    As your addition, “[Jew]”, does not exist in the Bible.

    What you fail to discuss – and is foundational – Is that Jesus is a Jew, as were all the Apostles and followers. Why would an Anti-Semite writer or writers make the Savior and Apostles Jews and then teach the reader to hate Jews? Of course, that also begs the question of why such an assumed Roman writer would have chosen to create a new religion based on the Jewish religion, as the Romans had contempt for such conquered nations.
    Add that this statement comes from a crowd which has been explicitly stated to have been manipulated by the, “chief priests and the elders” to say what those leaders wanted them to say.
    “But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed.” Matthew 27:20

    “I am quite certain that the numbers game would prove to be an unfruitful one for the desperate apologist.”
    I dare say not. Christianity had to deal with a world far different from what Atheists had to deal with in the 20th Century. We had to bring civilization to the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, but Atheists had all that set when you took control of so many nations in the 20th C. Getting the barbarian tribes that had stormed through the Western Roman Empire to settle down was not a tea party. Though they had the the teachings of Jesus, they were people of their time.

    You fortuitously forgot to mention that Pol Pot joined the Communist KPRP party, “that specifically espoused Marxism-Leninism.” Marxism-Leninism is explicitly hostile to religion, as Hitchens’ “Great Man,” Lenin, showed when he came to power. Renee Nabors states in “Genocidal Triviality: An Analysis of the Perpetrators of the Holocaust and Cambodian Genocide,” “Pol Pot believed wholeheartedly in Maoist thought, from which he derived his ideas about forced egalitarianism, cutting ties from the outside world, and destroying anciently rooted culture.” Mao, the Atheist who invaded Tibet, called religion, “poison” and desecrated Buddhist shrines: “Marxist propaganda depicted Buddhism as superstition, “Clergy were arrested and sent to camps; many Tibetan Buddhists were forced to participate in the destruction of their monasteries at gunpoint.” (Wiki)
    To blame the Killing Fields on Buddhism is absurd.

  26. Nice attempt at vilifying believers. The devil as they say quotes from the scriptures. As though being an atheist automatically makes you a fine human being and vice versa.

  27. Jesus said that a good tree produces good fruits. Hitler could have said that he was a christian. Lips and lives have often spoken with dissonance. The real man on the inside eventually comes out. Pol Pot reportedly did well with deceit in his early years. Later the real man came out. By their fruits, you know them. It is not everyone that says Lord, Lord that will enter the kingdom of heaven. It does not matter whether the man says he is a ‘joke’ -know all- atheist or Christian. The last day, the accounting day will soon come. For God, a thousand years is like a day. Everyman will have his day in court, to give an account of himself to God, the judge of all the earth. The creator and Judge of all the earth will bring all into judgment..

  28. For the sake of accuracy ( I know, I know) Stalin was not going to be a Catholic priest. The Christian denomination in Russia was the (Russian) Orthodox Church, and this was Stalin’s family religion.
    Christian yes, priest yes, Catholic No.

  29. Ho hum. Stalin wasn’t a “true” athiest. Good one, thats what religious people have to say about religious violence.
    He was still able to use it as a tool. People were still sent to gulags.
    Does that put it in the same league as the inquisition? No.
    Is the point completely negated. No

  30. “wilful ignorance”.

    Dr. Alan Guth once said, “any cosmological theory that does not lead to the eternal reproduction of universes will be considered as unimaginable as a species of bacteria that cannot reproduce”.

    And yet, not one scientist has ever even once discovered so much as one other universe.

    I leave the readers to decide which cosmological view is “more” blind faith.

    That faith of the world’s religions.

    Or that faith of the atheists.

  31. Nice work and lots of history citation history. Hitler was an “Aryan” Atlantis supremacist (Sanskrit Arya- honorable, respectable, Nobel). He identified with the true Roman people that operate the supremacist catholic christian Islam stratagem to control or destroy the non Aryan people. This thousands of years of domination has been one of death and destruction when apposed and relative calmness when majority submission occurs. The supremacist history of humans dates back 850,000 years with some studies going back 18,000,000. It is a long study that will take many years if a person is truly interested in supremacist history. But from the beginning it hinges on “belief.”
    I did the belief thing for many years and it has taken half my life to deprogram from that horrific indoctrination. NO WAY I would ever delude myself again. Totalitarian authoritarian stratagem are all the same in intent. Power and control is all they are for no matter what BS they are spinning.

  32. The entire article is a logical fallacy and distortion of information. First, you cannot prove that God does not exist. So your atheist belief system is a faith based belief system. Second, dogs can smell and sense things humans are not capable sensing or measuring. Just because human cannot sense those things is not evidence of their none existence. It is just evidence of humans lack of perception. Likewise, just because you cannot sense God, does not mean God does not exist. It may be just your lack of perception. The information about Hitler making Christian statements does not prove anything because politicians use religion has tool to gain power and exploit people, but they also use atheism to gain power and exploit people. Finally, I have address the incredulously illogical statements about God letting humans do bad things. Atheist believe that humans should have freedom conduct their own affairs, but that God should dictate human affairs. Atheisms is one confused and illogical faith based belief system. Atheism is a logical fallacy.

  33. The Fallasy of Stalin Mustache

    Atheists in general when faced with the irrefutable links between atheism and communism, they always will bring up Hitler (straw man & tu quoque ).
    # Christian apologist “Lening, Stalin, Pol-Pot … ”
    # Atheist apologist -” Stalin, Pol Pot, & Hitler, egg Hitler was a Christian “… “Stalin & Hitler did not believe in unicorns and have a mustache … but i did the disbelief in unicorns or there mustache made them to commit crimes do not …!!!” (Appeal to ridicule )

    The difference between “old atheists” and the “new atheists” is that the “new atheists” are trying to rewrite history, with numerous examples starting with Galileo
    “that burned on the stake … for science.” This is part of there defense mechanism (because the society treats them with distrust ), So they rewrite history thus eliminating what religion made good (as the preservation of the entire Greek culture and philosophy – plus astronomy and medicine – made by Byzantine monks for 1123 years, which has led to a cultural rebirth in both islam and western-christianity, ) and accectund alleged murder made in “the name of religion” (Like those of Roman Catholic church by removing the political context in which the Popes of Rome battled for supremacy “here on earth”.).

    First Hitler was an atheist, Mein Kampf was a propaganda book, but it appears from other books ( as adolf hitler table talks or hitler m’a dit ) that he was an atheist without his atheism have a harsh impact on the fact that he was an evil man.

    With communism things are different. It all depends if the atheist is willing to change his or her views or starts from an “a priori” and is determined to get (as a lawyer)
    to a predetermined conclusion?
    If this is the case, the atheist will be soon put in a very strange situation once studies that are now beginning to be write in Russian, Polish, Romanian, Bulgarian, Albanian will get to be published in English. Studies about the “atheistic shock-teams ” or about the sick doctrine of the “scientific atheism” or the “atheist university of Moscow ‘about the infamous “league of the militant atheists” the former USSR churches transformed into – – museums of atheism – “Lenin himself said that” atheism is inseparable from our doctrine “and ““Down with religion and long live atheism; the dissemination of atheist views is our chief task!” “.
    Might be as atheists living today in the “Stalin’s mustache” cocoon have a shock when they find from a future documentary about religious repression under communism that ” scientific-atheism courses” were absolved by spitting on a image of a saint, urinating on a cross or reading an essay about how you made your grandfather cry forcing him to listen to the “Haslam bible”.
    Communist philosophy was built on the idea of ​​Ludwig Feuerbach, G.W.F. Hegel, Karl Marx, Engles and Vladimir Lenin. Communist philosophy assumed that the Russian peasant alleged passivity has to do with his Christianity and the idea in the existence of an afterlife in which all evils are directed. In this case the workers had to be removed from the “opium of the peoples” and waking up to the reality that “there is no God.” Only then presupposed the Marxist-Leninist philosophy, they will start to build a better life here on earth. Lenin preached that religion is historically conditioned, and that would have been the main source of the evil (the Inquisition, the Crusades, wars). Religion had to be destroyed, and atheism introduced. The word atheist, atheism, It occurs throughout the history of communism. Communists published in every communist country tens of millions of atheist-textbooks in these the word atheist atheistic occurs in every page.
    These things can not be curette from history nor be covered with “atheist apology.” Any attempt of dumbing the stories of priests
    killed by the “atheist shock teams ” who executed those priests who refused to tell the villagers that everything they predicate until then about Jesus was a lie, will be doomed to failure. For communist atheists, religion was a bad thing that kept humanity in the Middle Ages, only by removing religion could humanity real progress

    Scientific Atheism proposed that science has the answer for everything, and that people must stop believing and become atheists. The repression started by Lenin against religion, was the toughest in history and surpassed the “age of martyrs.”

    The Communist Party claimed that it is based on science, it represented the future, the bourgeoisie and the church represents the past. Communist oppose “scientific atheism” to the bourgeoisie and the church. And yes! there were many cases of people being killed because they did not become atheists.

    Sources

    https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1905/dec/03.htm
    https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1909/may/13.htm
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marxist–Leninist_atheism
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Institute_of_Scientific_Atheism
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Questions_of_scientific_atheism
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Society_of_the_Godless
    http://blankbooks.co.za/woodstock/7451-marxist-leninist-scientific-atheism-.html

  34. Complete and utter bullshit. Militant atheists with an agenda selectively cherry picking quotations to support thier arguments. I don’t usually go for Wikipedia, but the article on Hitler quotes extensively from most of the modern academic biographies, and one thing comes across clearly- Hilter more often came across against Christianity then he did in favour of it. He also spoke out in favour of Islam, considering it a heroic and warlike religion of strongmen. No wonder it is a documented fact that there was a Muslim SS Brigade.

    Clearly Dawkins, Hitchens and Mr Sherlock fancy themselves as historians. They are not. Real historians are supposed to examine all the available evidence to reach an objective conclusion, not twist the facts to suit their opinions- and I speak as a qualified historian with a BA and an MA in Medieval History (and two years into a PhD).
    If Dawkins and his ilk were to honestly examine all the evidence in full (preferably in translation, to get past such obstacles as not understanding Latin) they would find many Medieval Christians who spoke against anti-Semitism, including Bishop Hugh of Lincoln (Hugh of Avalon), as well as numerous examples of clerics tried the Jewish populations of thier cities during the first crusade. But of course, they are not interested in the actual truth, or historical fact- only that which serves their purposes.

    This is undoubtedly the reason why Dawkins is one of the most vocal proponents of the notion, utterly debunked by Medieval Historians, that Medieval people thought the earth was flat. That they keep reviving a discredited myth says a lot about how they consider their distorted version of psuedo-history to be subject to thier whims. Merely a tool in thier hands.

    Good thing there was some sensible and truthful atheists, such as the Australian Historian Tim O’Niell, who speak out against the nonsense they propose.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s