Religious people often argue that communism is an atheistic system, and communism has killed millions of people. Therefore, atheism is dangerous. However, this argument is logically fallacious and historically inaccurate. Here, we go through some of the claims and discuss them.
Okay,let's see if the charges are false or accurate then.
1.Communism is an atheistic worldview.
Marx and Engels did consider religion to be "the opium of the masses," but that's not the whole story.Actually, there is such a thing as Christian communism. Christian communists believed that the first communist communities emerged as a result of Jesus's teachings. There are Bible verses which have "communism" written all over them. See the Christian communism Wikipedia article for more information about Christian communism.
And we are not off to a very good start.The writer is attempting to link Christianity with communism so that Atheism may be exonerated of the mega-genocides or at least share the blame with Christians.Here's why that charge cannot hold water:(i) The wikipedia article cites a handful of Christian communists.And all tried to bridge the gap between communism and Christianity but to no avail.They were either killed,repudiated by their churches or joined other non-communist political parties.
(ii)If communism were compatible with Christianity,we would have witnessed a trend up until today but instead most Christians have embraced democracy.
(iii) But most importantly,there has never been any mega-genocides perpetrated by communist christians,proving that atheism was the real force behind the worst atrocities of the 20th century.
2.Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot were all atheists.
There is no denying that. If you keep reading, you will realize that's beside the point.
Perhaps the writer will do better next time.I'll give him/her the benefit of the doubt.
3.Communism is responsible for the worst crimes in the 20th century.
That's right, and anyone who denies it is a monster or very, very uneducated. The Black Book of Communism estimates a death toll between 85 and 100 million.
Not too bad.There's nothing wrong with being honest occassionally.Just one small problem.The death toll per the Black Book of Communism are mid estimate figures.The actual body count are between 149 million to 259 million
4.So you have just admitted that atheism has killed 100 million people.
No. By far the most casualties were due to faulty bureaucracy, incompetent planning, and... an economic utopia detached from reality. State atheism did not kill these 100 million people. To get a realistic number of the direct casualties of aggressive state atheism, you need to consider church burning, killing religious figures only.
That's really sad.When atheists are "faulty,incompetent and detached from reality",then more than 100 million people have to die.Suddenly the Inquisition seem more rational in comparison.
5.Communists persecuted believers.
Religious communities were indeed persecuted. That's yet another claim that no (honest and educated) atheist will deny. There's no reason to deny it, because this claim in itself has nothing to do with atheism in general. For one, persecution of religions was only a small part of communist governance. Communism is essentially a rearrangement of wealth to achieve a perfectly egalitarian society.
This sub-paragraph contradicts the one above in number 4 that I underlined which stated that atheism is only responsible for religious related casualties.And now the writer admits religious communities were persecuted but claims atheism is not to be blamed.
The Soviet anti-religious campaign began in 1929. According to Wikipedia, 85.000 Orthodox priests were shot in 1937. The anti-religious enthusiasm dropped as a result of Operation Barbarossa (the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941). It is estimated that between 1917 and 1964, 50.000 monks have been executed. As you can see, we have numbers in the ten thousands here; a small number compared to the sum of all casualties (100 million) of the Soviet era. Seeking out political dissenters and suspected spies was simply more important than persecuting believers.
Historically inaccurate! The writers own source, wikipedia states that the first Soviet anti-religious campaign began in 1917 and the reason why the anti-religious terror tactics faded was because they had reached their objective of eliminating all public religious influence from society.But the resumption of persecuting Christians resurfaced in the 1950's and continued until the 1980's.The writer has deceptively singled out the killings of priests and omitted the slaughter of the parishioners,which out number the priests by millions.Also,no one was killed for being an atheist.
6.Communism gives us an idea what an atheistic society looks like.
You cannot use communism as a general anti-atheist argument. Communism is a genocidal, militant ideology that became an atheist system for historical reasons. The Christian communist ideology could have prevailed, and they also believed in the major tenets of communism, excluding fervent anti-religious campaigns of course.
False.Communism is only genocidal when led by Atheists as history has proven.And no,Christian communism could not have prevailed because it will inevitably lead to communalism (a social system based on common beliefs in an ethnic group),while Communism is a political system with Atheism as an imperative aspect.It's always helpful to understand an ideology from their own source.Call it a confession if you will.According to the Marxist Communist comrades at their official website,only Atheists are allowed to become Marxists.
There are hardly any atheist today who promotes violence against religion. Chances are, if you ask an atheist whether churches should be destroyed and believers should be executed, he will give a definite no. Just because some psychopaths, who happened to be atheists, in the 20th century believed in a system that killed 100 million, does not mean atheists want to burn down churches or make anti-religion legislation.Another gross lie.Atheists are still very active in promoting violence and terror tactics. Check these articles:
Leading Hindu Professor Murdered by Atheists
Marxists violence and Killing of Hindus in Kerala
Christian Police Officer killed in Campus by Marxist and Hindu students
Indian Marxists murder 11 farmers
Eight Communist Party of India (Marxist) activists have been arrested in connection with the murder of Nazrul Mullah
The large majority of atheists are humanists. Most atheists believe in a secular state, that is, one where the state does not favor one religion over another. And of course, one can choose to not have a religion. So if a secular atheist becomes the head of state, he is not a threat to religion. He will simply not make legislation that favors one religion over another. Good news for you if your religion is the minority.
Most Atheists may not resemble their more militant Marxists brothers but that is irrelevant.According to Richard Dawkins;"... moderates enable extremists ". This charge fits perfectly with Atheists as shown by the following Christopher Hitchen's quote.Hitchens praised Lenin for his destruction of Christianity in the Soviet Union."One of Lenin’s great achievements, in my opinion, is to create a secular Russia. The power of the Russian Orthodox Church, which was an absolute warren of backwardness and evil and superstition, is probably never going to recover from what he did to it."
7. Why are you defending communism?
I'm not. Communism is a demented ideology. I'm just showing why using communism as an all-encompassing ace-in-the-sleeve argument against atheism does not stand its ground. Just because communist leaders were atheists does not mean atheists approve of their "contributions." Not back then, and certainly not today.
This argument is a two-fold failure:Firstly,communism was codified by two Atheists,Marx and Engel,making it an official subcategory of Atheism.Secondly,during the communist era of the 20th century most Atheists were communists.This meant they approved of the ideology.
The decisive majority of atheists are secularists, which is neutral in religious affairs, not aggressive, violent atheists such as Stalin or Mao. If there's an aggressive atheist candidate running for election in your district, he will never get elected, even if atheists are the majority in the district. Because atheists do have morals, they just don't get it from the Bible. There are instructions in the Bible that overlap with humanist morality, and there are passages that do not.
There's no such thing as humanist/atheist morality. If there is,then show me the document.Atheists appropriate their moral principles from Theists,then deride the source of those principles or they make them up as they go along.The latter implies subjective morality which is an incoherent concept,thus nullifying it..And since Atheists claim only science can produce truths,Atheists must demonstrate morality via empiricism.