When I discuss the harm done in religion's name with my sister, who is Moslem, she inevitably brings up the harm done in atheism's name, including Stalin in the process.  I am not sufficiently well informed about history to know whether or not she is right that harm has been done in atheism's name.  (I know that Marx thought that religious belief would simply vanish once people ceased to live under oppressive economic conditions, so that he didn't see the need to actively combat religious belief, but I also know that the USSR was an officially atheist state.)  What sort of reply would you give to someone who contended that while harm has been done in the name religion, it has also been done in the name of atheism, so that the look-at-the-harm-religious-belief-does argument isn't effective?

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All but Napoleon were either fascists or communists. Everyone who perpetrated the crusades and the inquisitions and 9/11 were believers.

The kill rate of communism  (meaning the percentage of humans killed) was lower than the entire kill rate of religiosity.

 

The killing done by the Third Reich was a christian religious endeavor.

Saying someone isn't a christian when he or she does something bad means there are no christians.

"The kill rate of communism  (meaning the percentage of humans killed) was lower than the entire kill rate of religiosity."

 

Evidence please.

 

"The killing done by the Third Reich was a christian religious endeavor."

 

Gee, funny how there were thousands of Christian priests imprisoned at Dachau then, and funny how the Nazis undermined and opposed Christianity during the final stages of the Kirchenkampf.

Perhaps they forgot that they were supposed to be a Christian religious endeavour.

Given that the history of communism is short in comparison to the history of religion and given that religion historically has stunted by centuries the development of science and therefore medical advancements that would have prevented deaths much much sooner than those advancements do now  (and add this to the overtly murderous element of religion), it is easy to reason that the kill rate of religion is much greater than the kill rate of communism.

Were any of those priests murder? Why were they there?

 

No matter the vicissitudes of the Nazi hierarchy, the waging of war and the mass extermination of people (mostly Jews as the "enemies" of christianity) couldn't have been conducted without the cooperation of a Germany population that was almost a hundred percent christian. 

Oh my goodness...

 

"Given that the history of communism is short in comparison to the history of religion"

 

lol, yes well that's awfully convenient then. Using that reasoning, love affairs probably have a higher "kill rate" than Nazism. After all one has existed for hundreds of thousands of years and the other only for a few decades, so love affairs are more dangerous than Nazism huuuuurrrr duurrrrrrrrr

 

Seriously, the lengths some people will go to to construct sophistic differences...

 

"and given that religion historically has stunted by centuries the development of science"

 

Sometimes religion stunted the development of science, sometimes it furthered the development of science.

Simplistic statements make for easy rhetoric, but are rarely accurate.

 

"Were any of those priests murder?"

 

Over a thousand died. And that's just in Dachau.

 

"Why were they there?"

 

Primarily because, unlike myths to the contrary, the Vatican did not favour national socialism and many priests spoke out against fascist atrocities. Many of them paid the ultimate price for that.

 

"No matter the vicissitudes of the Nazi hierarchy, the waging of war and the mass extermination of people (mostly Jews as the "enemies" of christianity)"

 

If you think the Nazi motivation for killing Jews was because they were the enemies of Christianity, you apparently don't know much about the Third Reich (and you'll have a hard time explaining why many prominent Nazis were not Christians and why Christianity was targeted by the Nazi regime in the Kirchenkampf). Have you heard of the term untermensch? Do you know what it means and why it was applied to the Jews? Do you think that was a religious term???

 

"couldn't have been conducted without the cooperation of a Germany population that was almost a hundred percent christian."

 

Hah!! What a joke. So because most of the people living in Germany were Christian, that apparently makes the mass murders of the Third Reich "Christian religious endeavours" -your words.

This means that, since the vast majority of people in communist Russia and maoist China were atheists, the millions of people who died in the gulags are therefore deaths caused by "atheist endeavours", correct?

 

You really need to start thinking rationally about these issues rationally, my friend.

I am an anti-communist. And the fact that communism has been rejected by the major powers (in China it's only nominal), makes communism less insidious, and therefore less harmful,  than religiosity. The grip that religiosity has on the human species works against it. There's nothing mitigating about its longevity; it's longevity is what aids it in killing people.

 

Religiosity has stunted science much more than it's "helped" it.  And the claim that religiosity "helped" science is a contradiction in terms: To be pro-science is to be anti-religious -even in the case of scientific activity by clergy and lay people, such activity operates in contradiction to religiosity. There is nothing in the Bible that promotes science; but there is plenty that opposes it, e.g. supernatural events to cure illnesses.

 

The Vatican celebrated Hitler's birthday yearly. It has yet to excommunicate Hitler.

 

Jew-hating is at the core of christianity. Without it there would be no christianity. Christianity sprung from its rejection of the Torah. Rejection of the Torah was it's greatest marketing ploy for recruiting the new meat.

 

Therefore, the German people were ripe to wage wars "instigated by the Jews." And they were ripe for the attempt to annihilate them.

 

The New Testament with its tactical inclusion of the Old Testament in the Bible preaches hatred for Jewishness and rationalizes killing individuals and groups in the name of god.  There is nothing in the doctrine of communism that does the same. The killing done by communists is akin to the killing done by the Bible religions -especially christianity. That is, the rejection of the individual for the promise of an unrealistic communal life headed by an all-powerful unelected leader. Sound familiar?

 

 

JVLtrailman,

 

"To be pro-science is to be anti-religious -even in the case of scientific activity by clergy and lay people, such activity operates in contradiction to religiosity. There is nothing in the Bible that promotes science; but there is plenty that opposes it, e.g. supernatural events to cure illnesses."

 

That may be true, but the fact is that as Christianity matured into a world religion, one of the chief components it incorporated was Neo-Platonism, the philosophy of the Greeks that asserted the existence of a rational God and a rational universe as its creation. This is why the work of pagan philosophers was cherished and taught at European universities, and why, when Europe had recovered from the fall of the WRE, it were clerics who first took up rational inquiries into the nature of the universe and laid the foundations of modern science.

In other words, to say that to be pro-science is to be anti-religious is quite simply false: they didn't think that was the case, and so they were more motivated to do science than would have otherwise been the case.

 

You can't have it both ways.

 

"The Vatican celebrated Hitler's birthday yearly."

 

And that's a lie.

Have fun trying to get me a source for that claim.

 

"The New Testament with its tactical inclusion of the Old Testament in the Bible preaches hatred for Jewishness and rationalizes killing individuals and groups in the name of god.  There is nothing in the doctrine of communism that does the same."

 

The idea that there's nothing in the doctrine of communism that does the same is utter nonsense. Communism maintains that religious belief is fundamentally erosive to human wellbeing because it does not focus thoughts on the material world (which might actually well be true) and shows how in order for change to come, religiosity has to be removed as much as possible.

If you don't see how there's a direct causal link from that set of ideas to the atrocities perpetrated by the communists, then I don't know what to say.

 

"That is, the rejection of the individual for the promise of an unrealistic communal life headed by an all-powerful unelected leader. Sound familiar?"

 

I don't dispute that. Communists killed for an irreligious doctrine and many religious believers throughout the ages killed for a religious doctrine.

But what's interesting in this thread is how many fallacious differences we have to hear about how when people kill for the attainment of theistic ideals and ideas, that's "killing in the name of religion", but when communists kill millions of people to attain their ideal of communism, that's somehow... something completely different.

 

I see you've stepped down from some of our former arguments though. That's progress ;)

Why do your replies always include ad hominem attacks?  Why do you base your claims on such questionable sources as Table Talk, which was published after the war on the recommendation of Hitler's willing executioners?  Yes, in addition to religious anti-Semitism, the Nazis practiced racial anti-Semitism, considering the Jews more as a separate species than a religious or ethnic group.  But then, the Nazis were too stupid to understand Nietzche.  Of course, anti-Semitism is justified in the gospels when Pilate washes his hands and the Jews demand the death of Christ--one dangerous piece of fiction.  The history of Europe is a long thickening plot that culminates in the Holocaust.  Ignorant, illiterate, and superstitious Europeans for centuries used Jews as scapegoats.  Richard the Lion Hearted had thousands killed in an afternoon, then cut open on the suspicion that they might have swallowed their valuables.  Popes prevented genocide on the grounds that the Jews served as good examples of what happens to the enemies of Christ.  Read Constantine's Cross for more.  And yes, we know that thousands of priests were arrested and many were executed.  Compared to 6 million Jews, the homosexuals, the Gypsies, etc., that's not even a drop in the bucket.  We also know that the Vatican's policy was appeasement.  Why wasn't the worldwide power of the Church brought to bear on the Nazis?

Adolph Hitler was a Catholic.  He said so over and over again.  Do we really think Martin Bormann would tell us the truth?

These threads are confusing. Replies have the appearance of responding to the wrong people.

"Why do your replies always include ad hominem attacks?"

 

They don't. Though I happily pour some scorn on some of the irrationality in this thread. Self-proclaimed rationalists often fall into the same traps that all humans are bound to fall into, and pointing those things out is I think a worthwhile enterprise.

Some people get what I'm doing and appreciate it. Though not the people on the receiving end, usually ;)

 

"Why do you base your claims on such questionable sources as Table Talk, which was published after the war on the recommendation of Hitler's willing executioners?"

 

The fact that much of it was mistranslated by Trevor-Roper does not make the original "a questionable source", which is why it's still used by historians today. Trevor-Roper translations have been largely discarded whereas the original has not; no wonder, because it tends to agree with what we know about Hitler from other sources.

Besides, this attitude that "we shouldn't trust it because it's the Nazis telling us about what Hitler said in private"... ermmmm yeah, who else would be doing it? Eskimos? Of course what Hitler said in private is going to come to us through such people as Goebbels and Bormann. There's no other way.

If you have evidence that they were all lying and engagin in some vast cover-up operation, do provide it. Until then I'll use it with care like most historians do.

 

"Yes, in addition to religious anti-Semitism, the Nazis practiced racial anti-Semitism, considering the Jews more as a separate species than a religious or ethnic group."

 

And considering many of the Nazis practiced Germanic neo-paganism, and they also killed millions of Slavic people because they were 'untermenschen' and they targeted Christianity whenever it got in the way of their racial policy of extermination, it doesn't take a genius to figure out which type of anti-Semitism was -by far- their primary motivation.

 

"Of course, anti-Semitism is justified in the gospels when Pilate washes his hands and the Jews demand the death of Christ--one dangerous piece of fiction."

 

That's specifically in the gospel of John actually, not "the gospels".

But no argument there.

 

"Richard the Lion Hearted had thousands killed in an afternoon, then cut open on the suspicion that they might have swallowed their valuables."

 

Yeeeeees, and purple elephants trumpeted loudly to mark the occasion.

Pro-tip: don't believe everything you hear.

 

"Read Constantine's Cross for more."

 

I'm suspecting you're getting the title wrong because I can't find that book online. Do correct it though, I'm thrilled to know what sources you are using.

 

"And yes, we know that thousands of priests were arrested and many were executed.  Compared to 6 million Jews, the homosexuals, the Gypsies, etc., that's not even a drop in the bucket."

 

I didn't say priests were a primary target.

But everyone who wants to assert that the Nazis were so cosy with the Catholic Church and were such diligent Roman Catholics, needs to explain why they quickly and happily disposed of Catholics whenever they got in their way.

And of course they can't, because both the ideas that they were Roman Catholics and that they were motivated by Christianity in particular is bogus.

 

"We also know that the Vatican's policy was appeasement."

 

So was that of the United Kingdom, France, and pretty much the rest of the world right up until the point where the German Panzers were crossing the Polish border. Yet for some reason people single out things like the Reichskonkordat of 1933 as evidence of the Vatican's "support" for Hitler, yet Chamberlain giving Hitler half of Checho-Slovakia in 1938 is nothing of the sort.

I know why we see this double standard. Take a step back and you'll realise it too.

 

"Why wasn't the worldwide power of the Church brought to bear on the Nazis?"

 

There's that double standard again. You might as well ask why the worldwide power of the UK or France wasn't brought to bear on the Nazis. The reason is, because nobody in Europe knew that Hitler's endgame was a European hegemony and a total extermination of 'untermenschen'. And so everybody in Europe made treaties with the Nazis to try to contain the problem... including the Vatican.

 

Hindsight is a dangerous thing to have when you're doing historical analysis. It's easy to look at what we know about Hitler in the 21st century and then call everyone in the 1930's who did not know these things and didn't stop him "a supporter".

But that's not what rationalists do.

 

"Adolph Hitler was a Catholic.  He said so over and over again."  

 

In public and in his books, yes.

But heeeey, let's just trust Hitler when he says something that's politically convenient. It's not like he was a skilled manipulator and demagogue who routinely lied or something.

 

"Do we really think Martin Bormann would tell us the truth?"

 

Do you really think Hitler is telling you the truth when he's making political speeches for millions of people?

Are you for fucking real? Of course what the Nazis quote Hitler to have said in private is more reliable than his public speeches. The idea that we need to discredit the former but trust the latter is totally absurd.

 

Have a nice day,

 

Matt

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