Sorry, Sithy, but you're wrong. Atheism is a lack of belief in supernatural agency
, particularly gods. Nothing more. One can very easily be an agnostic
atheist (as I am), and most probably are. This dictates that you have a lack of belief in a god or gods, since no good evidence has been shown to suggest one or more exists, but you acknowledge that knowing for a "fact" that there is no god is beyond your ability.
Originally Posted by rccar
between Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot, atheistic Communism has killed more people than any religion...and you can probably throw in Hitler for good measure,
Atheistic communism has
killed a lot of people. But I challenge you to back up your assertion than any religion. xianity alone has killed many millions. I won't assert any numbers, but since the claim is yours, let's see the stats, shall we?
And, as several have already pointed out, it wasn't atheism that killed these people, it was Marxist-Communism, which has a doctrine of classless society and collectivization that includes and inherent distrust of the bourgeoisie
to the point of stifling dissent and preventing a middle class from forming. The "elite class" of these "classless" societies demanded power and worship from the commoners, which was obtained through fear. There is no evidence that atheism leads to Marxism; moreover, there is significant
evidence that capitalism among atheists is strong.
On the flip side of your argument, there is much
evidence of Christianity and Islam leading to evil acts.
** Flying planes into buildings and detonating vests of explosives on public buses are acts committed by those that believe in an afterlife guaranteed by religious dogma as reward for their actions.
** Exploding pipe bombs at clinics that kill innocent bystanders and shooting doctors because they perform legal abortions is an evil act committed by those that think their imaginary sky god will approve.
** Detonating a Ryder truck full of fertilizer at a government building is the evil of someone who, likewise, believes his religion dictates his action.
Drowning your children in a bathtub or chopping the limbs off of a toddler are the despicable acts done by women who hear their christian deities' voices in their heads.
** Murdering women in Salem, MA is an evil committed by the otherwise pious followers of Christ just to remove the "witches" of their lands.
Thomas Aquinas, in the 13th century said of "heretics" (those that didn't buy into the christian BS being forced upon them) that "they deserve not only to be separated from the Church by excommunication, but also to be severed from the world by death."
Once convicted of heresy, those that dissented should be put to death. This sounds suspiciously like the restriction of dissent that existed in Marxist-Communism! If communists were guilty of learning their evil from anywhere, it was from the religious. There were plenty of examples of religious nutbars committing evil acts in the name of their dogma and to further their "causes," but none
of atheists doing the same for communists to pattern their methods after.
The numbers murdered by christians during the Middle-Ages aren't clear, certainly not as clear as the numbers slain by Stalin and Pol Pot, but this referenced paper
paints a pretty grim picture for the damage -the evil
- that religion is capable of. Certainly, we cannot hold today's catholics responsible for the evil acts of their ancestors. Nor can we hold today's protestants responsible for the lynchings and racially motivated murder of blacks in the American South just a few decades ago.
But we must keep the fact that religion has a tendency to be used by elites for evil purpose. The dogma and tendency for members of religious cults to accept the words of their cult leaders without question -on "faith"- is just as serious a flaw in the religious paradigm as it is an advantage. Trust without evidence is called credulity, and a credulous person who believes what he does is for an imaginary god can be dangerous to the rest of the world.
The conflicts that still exist in Ireland today are based on protestant versus catholic. People are killing, raping, bombing, etc. All evil acts.
The conflicts occurring in Palestine today are between Muslim and Judaic cults. Terrorists on both sides are launching missiles that kill children, women on their way to work, farmers in fields, etc.
The conflicts in Iraq are largely due to evil acts being committed between two Islamic cults.
The conflicts that occurred recently in the former Yugoslavian region were between religious cults. Graves are still being discovered there where one cult committed mass-murder on members of another.
Religion in and of itself isn't evil. I agree with Nancy Allen. But it sure makes evil easy.
Originally Posted by rccar
and you can probably throw in Hitler for good measure,
Hitler was a theist. He was born and baptized a Roman Catholic and there is evidence that his actions of genocide were inspired by Biblical genocides committed by mythical figures like Moses. Indeed, Article 24 of the Nazi Party Program calls for "positive Christianity." Clearly, Hitler abandoned his piety in favor of his own "divinity" as it were by the full height of the Third Reich, but his foundation was christianity.