Were Stalin, Pol Pot and Mao atheists?

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).

Thoughts?

_________________________

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.

 

 

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Comment by Justin Murray on November 4, 2012 at 8:03pm

I agree that both Stalin and Pol Pot activites have to be undestood as part of a cult of personality which was religious in its approach. Any claim that they had to atheism is null and void, as they had claims about the non-existence of gods that were unfalsifiable. Again that is a reliigous thinking pattern. Atheism is a statement of disbeleif in any gods. Stalin and Pol Pot's claims were that there are gods AND they are bad. Again this is very much like religious thinking.

Comment by nick cox on October 2, 2012 at 2:14am

I think Loren Miller is correct here.They built up a cult of personality which was religious in its approach:Stalin was brought up in a devout Christian household and Pol Pot was a Buddhist monk at one stage,so I guess they learned about the uses of religion then.I don't think they were atheists in the sense that their views of the existence of a god or not would affect their political approach.

Hitler I think was Catholic at heart,and his anti-semitism inspired in the first place by the innate  anti-semitism of the Catholic Church.He was supported by the Catholic and Protestant hierarchy during his time in power.

Comment by Sentient Biped on October 1, 2012 at 11:00pm

Not being a historian I can't offer proof, but I think JS, MTT and PP were probably all atheist.  Then again, the Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition were promulgated by christians.  The slave trade, which resulted in the deaths of roughly 7 million and the involuntary transportation and enslavement of even more Africans, was promulgated first by Muslims, then in a bigger way by Christians.  Argument has been made both ways about Hitler.  What is the argument about?What does a numbers game of abuse corruption and genocide prove?

In person, I've known some very nice atheists and some very nice christians.

Comment by Loren Miller on October 1, 2012 at 9:03pm

I don't see that the beliefs of Josef Stalin, Mao Tse Tung or Pol Pot are operant to who they were or what they did.  All three of them were involved in cults of personality and power, built up around them and all three were more interested in power than they were in atheism.  In the case of Stalin, he was more interested in eroding the power base of the Russian Orthodox Church, which was formidable back then, and as I understand it, he was willing to work with them to further cement his power base.

Here's the real poser: has there ever been, in all of recorded history, a single death, a single murder or any other act of violence executed in the pure advancement of atheism?  I submit that there has not been, and that the alleged atheism of the three mentioned above is less a primary characteristic driving them than a secondary or ancillary facet, which was not essential to their modus operandi.

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