I am having a long running discussion in another forum about whether Stalin, Pol Pot and Mao were atheists.
I maintain that there were not, in the current sense, because they were simply following Marx's axiom that religions are human products.
That would put the burden of proof on him to prove that there was no gods. Since this is impossible, he should have revised his ideas.
Maybe they should have been something like:
"The belief in god is a human product, that beleivers cannot prove, but that has real world effects including being passive in life (and beleiving in a better afterlife)."
However they were taken up and developed by Lenin to say that the abolishion of relgion was necessary for human happiness.
This then justifies the oppression of the religious (as they are deluded).
Just a note:
I have made the claim that Stalin and Pol Pot are not atheists.
So the burden of proof lies on me.
I think I can support the claim, by proving that Marxists never met the burden of proof to prove that there is not a god (as would be needed to claim that gods, in themselves, are human products).
My opponent is now trying to throw Mao in the mix.