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Comment by Michael on December 28, 2013 at 9:15pm

David I am assuming that you think the violence in the picture was a result of a lack of religion. This is simply untrue. Find some atrocities that were committed in the name of the lack of religion. You won't find any. You will probably point to Stalin, however, the atrocities under Stalin were not a result of the absence of religion. They were the result of an almost cult like devotion to a misinterpretation of Marxism. As well as the uncontrollable greed of a few to consolidate wealth and power. There hasn't been any atrocities committed in the name of atheism. None whatsoever. Yet how many have been committed explicitly in the name of a particular god?

Comment by Pope Beanie on December 28, 2013 at 10:16pm

Atheist Jihad!

Wait, we don't have a leader, do we?

Comment by Diane on December 28, 2013 at 10:20pm

David, can you say more about the pics and caption?  Was there a story with it in the context of which it made sense?  I am curious.

Comment by Gallup's Mirror on December 28, 2013 at 10:24pm

Apparently, David Treibs would have us accept that three unspecified events in 1987-- a soviet funeral, a burning corpse, and a stockpile of weapons-- came about for lack of religion.

The underlying claim is that people act based on what they don't believe in, instead of what they do believe in, such as an abhorrent dogma, ideology, state, party, leader, racism, or what have you.

None of these people believed in leprechauns. Without this essential belief, the world ended up with one more soviet funeral, one more burning body, and yet another weapons stockpile back in 1987.

Why can't you non-leprechaun-ists see that?

Comment by _Robert_ on December 29, 2013 at 3:32pm

First This

I think it is safe to say that atrocities committed in the name of Communism are done in the name of atheism

Then This

I would never make the silly argument that people act on what they don't believe.

Could you possibly be more contradictory? This is exactly the type of confused thought pattern I have come to expect from theists. Comparing totalitarian governments to atheism is intellectually irresponsible. Just like imperial Japan and Nazi Germany the Soviets simply swapped their supernatural dictator with their head of state, complete with worship and ceremony. This has nothing to do with atheism, science or free thinking.


Comment by _Robert_ on December 29, 2013 at 10:31pm

Therefore, I think it is safe to say that atheism played a role in the violence

The violence was the result of a cult of paranoid personality, and total domination by a dictator who is not unlike god. The communists eliminated all competition for power including the church. This is not atheism, this is totalitarianism.

And do you really think the people that killed were really atheists, because religion picked up right where it left off and today only 13% of Russians are atheists/non religious. God is worse than any dictator because he can convict you of thought crime.



Comment by Gallup's Mirror on December 29, 2013 at 10:41pm

I wasn't really trying to argue that the pictures were the result of atheism. 

It may be safe to recite a stereotype about atheists, but that doesn't make it true. Mao and Stalin and communists like them did not do the things they did because they were atheists.

If a person tells you he is an atheist you know nothing about what he believes. You know exactly one thing he does not believe.

Whoever posted the bumper sticker made the point that we would be better off without religion (some of them, frankly, I would agree that we would be better off without), 

Religion plays a significant role in much of the discrimination, conflict, terrorist organizations, and seemingly endless acts of violence occurring all around the world today. Without religion, two of the most common reasons the perpetrators give for committing acts of war and hatred are gone: your religion is false, or my religion says it's okay.

and I posted some examples of pictures where a lack of religion didn't really make things any better.

Click on the linked examples above; Muslim killing Christian, Christian killing Sikh, Jew killing Muslim, Muslim killing Jew, Protestant killing Catholic, Christian killing Muslim. Don't tell me that a world without religion wouldn't make things any better for coexisting with each other.

This is not to say that without religion there would be no problems at all; the OP did not say religion is the only factor in causing problems in the world. But it's a major one.

Your point is more or less the same that I made at the top of this message, that there's really no such thing as a lack of religion, and yet the sticker implies that there is such a thing, and on the simplest level, would probably mean none of the religions typically represented in the COEXIST stickers, and nothing similar to them.

Of course there is such a thing as irreligion. What's similar are the dogmas of party, ideology and state, such as the god-like cults of personality surrounding Stalin, Mao and Kim_Il-sung, which belong in the COEXIST sticker along with the dogmas of religion. People commit acts of hatred, violence and murder for religious and irreligious beliefs, such as ideology, fascism, and racism. There has been no state or leader who committed atrocities in the name of non-belief (whether in God, leprechauns, or anything else).

Comment by Gallup's Mirror on December 29, 2013 at 10:41pm

I would never make the silly argument that people act on what they don't believe.

Except where you made exactly that argument-- "I think it is safe to say that atrocities committed in the name of Communism are done in the name of atheism."-- to throw atheists down on all fours with the same animals who committed atrocities for reasons besides their non-belief in a supernatural being.

The pictures represent the actions of those who do not typically believe in a supernatural being, and that is one of the tenets of Communism.

The pictures and your statements above represent your stereotype of atheists as violent, murderous beasts.

Communism means society is organized so the government owns the means of making and distributing products (farms, factories, ships, trains, etc.) and there is no private property. Communism no more requires atheism than does capitalism.

You don't know what you're talking about.

Comment by _Robert_ on December 30, 2013 at 12:26am

Are you saying that a totalitarian can't use atheism to promote himself and his agenda?  To convince people that he is the highest law and power?  To convince them to obey him no matter what?

The dictator uses fear to promote himself and force behavior (like all the gods do). Soviet, Chinese and Korean communism (and fascism) became like a religion with the dictators as an incarnate god (Let me hear you say Jesus!). Just like religion they have a book, they use heavy symbolism, they have prophets and they have martyrs.

Being naturally skeptic, I would suggest that many atheists would most likely find a fascist or communist dictatorship abhorrent no matter it's "official policy" on religion.

Comment by Gallup's Mirror on December 30, 2013 at 2:41am

Gallup: It may be safe to recite a stereotype about atheists, but that doesn't make it true.
David Treibs: I don't recall stereotyping atheists.

That you're ignorant of the stereotypes of atheists as mass murderers or of atheism as causing atrocities does not mean you're not applying the stereotype. You are. For instance:

Gallup: Mao and Stalin and communists like them did not do the things they did because they were atheists.

David Treibs: I think it definitely was an influencing factor.  If you believe you are the measure of all things, and there is no right and wrong, and who has the gold or the power makes the rules, and you don't have to answer to anyone, it will influence your thinking.

Then you're wrong.

If you believe what you described-- megalomania, amorality, corruption, injustice and impunity-- and behave accordingly, then you're not doing the things you do because of atheism, which is lack of belief in God, nothing more.

This is simply you, pinning atheism to some of the worst qualities imaginable, then claiming causality.

With some people, they will do what they normally would not do if they were being watched, or if they knew they would answer for the deeds.

Please, David. You're actually suggesting religion is a prevention? This, in the age of jihad, suicide bombings, mass shootings at temples, religious warfare, and sectarian violence? 

Murder rates are lower in more secular countries and higher in more religious countries. More secular countries have statistically better ratings on peace, freedom, and human rights than more religious countries do.

Maybe some religions legitimize and give license to the evil in the hearts of the practitioners that is already there,

What religion does not claim a monopoly on truth on the basis of divine backing instead of reason and evidence? That's the difference. When a religious hates or kills a sinner, heretic, infidel, or non-believer, it really is because of the religion.


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