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Friday, January 15, 2010

Atheism Kills People – Or Not?

You surely must have heard the following argument over and over again: atheists have no morals and therefore tend to do more evil. Like killing innocent people. Think about Hitler, Stalin, Mao and others.

Now if people would only believe in the Riboinoy shel Oilom, people would be more moral and Auschwitz could’ve been avoided. Inshallah.

The post Atheism doesn’t kill people, fanaticism does from the Center for Inquiry brings some convincing points to the contrary:

We humans do deserve harsh judgment. Some religion can be used for evil, while nonbelievers can be evil too. Still, religion cannot show that god exists by complaining that nonbelievers tend to be more evil. Prisons are full of religious people.

No evidence of ordinary criminality rampant among nonbelievers can be found. In a desperation move, atheism gets blamed for modern warfare. You've heard the familiar tune -- Hitler, Stalin, and Mao were atheists, they all were responsible for terrible mass murder; therefore, atheism is responsible for terrible mass murder.

Let's see -- religion's defenders ignore 8,000 years of religious mayhem by many millions of believers, in order to pick out three recent non-Christians? It is just hypocrisy to think that such an argument over evil won't work both ways. Maybe fanaticism is just fanaticism and that's what gets people killed. No one excuses those recent psychopaths for their evil deeds, but atheism doesn't deserve to get blamed.

We need a moment of logical clarity here. Six points:

First, pointing to Hitler, Stalin, or Mao as consequences of nonbelief cannot help demonstrate the existence of God. If anything, such tragedy suffices as evidence against the existence of the Christian (or Jewish – ed) God (see the problem of evil).

Second, Hitler was religious, hated atheism, and most Nazis were Christians [see Steigmann-Gall, The Holy Reich: Nazi Conceptions of Christianity, 1919–1945 , 2003], while atheist Stalin and atheist Mao eradicated millions for totalitarian power, not for atheism. If Stalin and Mao had been religious, they would have murdered all the same (consider the Catholicism of France's Napoleon or Italy's Mussolini).

Read it all here.

2 comments:

  1. > Still, religion cannot show that god exists by complaining that nonbelievers tend to be more evil. Prisons are full of religious people.

    “Religion cannot show that god exists by complaining that nonbelievers tend to be more evil” because whether or not religion serves as a deterrent for bad behavior has nothing to do with whether or not God exists.

    Anyway, most of the things most people do aren’t done for deep philosophical reasons. We do what we do because that’s what we do.

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  2. G*3: That's a dangerous statement. If I would be Garnel or JP, I would throw the argument back in your face and say that you are not looking for truth but you 'frey out' just because 'you do it'.

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