Evidence For God: Human Casualties Due to Religion and Atheism

I just used StumbleUpon and found this page: http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/atrocities.html.

 

The first chart was interesting, showing how many people have been killed for other reasons than religion. Most of those were due to land and power struggles, invasions, and corrupt or inept governments. However, every one of those countries or groups had religion of some sort (even the Mongols, who were very open to all religions), so we can't be for sure as to whether religion was used to gather support for those actions (as in "God has told me we are to invade so-and-so country". Religion wasn't a factor in the Iraq War either, but GW Bush claimed God told him to do it.)

 

It was the second chart, the one with the 20th century figures, that caught my attention. This chart has "Atheist?" as a column header, denoting whether each country was atheist or not. I noticed something right away. The atheist countries the chart states are USSR/Russia, China, North Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Yugoslavia, and Poland. Let's take a look at each one:

  1. USSR (1917-1987)- Obviously, this was the Communist version of Russia. They pushed "state atheism", which is defined by Wikipedia as " the official "promotion of atheism" by a government, typically by active suppression of religious freedom and practice." However, the atrocities that Joseph Stalin committed were NOT driven by atheism, but by dogmatic Marxism, as Richard Dawkins has said. Religion would interfere with the productivity of the people, therefore it was banned.
  2. China (1949-1987)- China's belief was that religion was feudalistic, backward, and superstitious and it also interfered with their Cultural Revolution that took place in this time period. Again, atheism wasn't the purpose, but simply the tool to increase productivity and forward thinking in order to create a more modern culture.
  3. Cambodia (1975-1979)- From Wikipedia: "Though the constitution of Democratic Kampuchea guaranteed the right to worship according to any religion and the right not to worship according to any religion, it also provided that "Reactionary religions which are detrimental to Democratic Kampuchea and Kampuchean people are absolutely forbidden."" Religion WAS allowed, however any religion that went against government policy was forbidden. Christianity and Islam were the bulk of the casualties, as their faiths did not coincide with the government's views.
  4. North Korea (1948-1987)- In the N. Korean constitution, religious freedom is permitted. However, the government sponsors religious groups only to give the illusion of religious freedom. Religious practices are forbidden. Also, they push a political religion, as the citizens are meant to worship Kim Jong Il. So technically, they do have religion, but it's seriously messed up.
  5. Vietnam (1945-1987)- After the first IndoChina War and Vietnam was divided into two countries, a communist nation was set up in North Vietnam and they adopted the official Communist stance of atheism as far as religion was concerned. However, Buddhism was still widely practiced. Christians, mainly Catholics, were persecuted and kicked out to South Vietnam. So technically, they had religion but just not Christianity.
  6. Poland (1945-1948)- During this time, part of Poland was controlled by the Soviet Union.
  7. Yugoslavia (1944-1987)- Controlled by the USSR.

What are we to get from this? The author of this article states "If one examines the nature of the regimes that committed these atrocities (even the religious ones), the key factor is absolute power." True, but the difference is that the atheist states that committed the atrocities did NOT do them to spread atheism. They did them to gain absolute power and to maximize productivity. Just because the states were officially atheist doesn't mean that they were forcing people to convert to atheism. They saw religion as a threat to productivity, society, and progress and people who were religious threatened those things. True, they were completely wrong for killing people, but atheism was not the cause, simply the tool. If you look at the Crusades and the Inquisition, those events were SPECIFICALLY to convert groups of people in order to gain the numbers advantage, and thus power, or kill them. Religion was the cause AND the tool.

As far as today's terrorism, both foreign and domestic, people are using their interpretations of religion to justify their actions. As the author states in this article, "Today, some people kill abortionists in the name of God. Are these people unwilling pawns of religion or using religion to justify their own evil agendas?" They aren't unwilling. They are more than happy to blow up an abortion clinic because they think they are doing God's work. If there were no religion, the bomber would have no reason to bomb the clinic. If there were no religion, the idea that abortion was condemned by a sky deity and the doctor and the patient were going to hell wouldn't exist. And if blowing up a clinic were his evil agenda, then the man is crazy and lacking morals and should be punished as such. There are completely sane, intelligent, stable people who have blown up clinics and have used religion as the reason. If belief is strong enough, one will do anything for that belief regardless of whether it's rational, logical, or moral. Look at the 9/11 terrorists. They were all very intelligent, stable people. However, their belief in their religion got to the point where it consumed their logical, moral centers and they acted upon their beliefs.

The author of this article was trying to illustrate that atheistic groups have committed mass murder and tried to deflect the notion that religion is the most used reason to commit these mass murders. Instead, what he showed us is that countries used forced atheism to improve their countries (China and Russia were feudal agricultural countries before communism built them into industrial superpowers) and religion killed people simply for not changing their mind about which god they worshiped. Religion killed to spread their influence and gain power and wealth because God told them to. Atheism turned largely farm countries into massively productive, culturally progressive superpowers that have lent their hand in improving technology, science, medicine, the arts, and the world economy. The ones to blame for all those people dying in communist countries are the leaders. Stalin, Mao, Minh, Pol Pot. All power hungry, maniacal dictators who did not handle religious people as they should've. In all, atheism is not to blame.

Views: 24

Tags: atheism, communism, history, mass, murder

Comment by Scarlette Blues on May 19, 2011 at 11:36am

Very well said! 

"Religion wasn't a factor in the Iraq War either, but GW Bush claimed God told him to do it.)"

 

After watching a documentary on Netflix about the Taliban and insurgents, I beg to differ that religion wasn't a factor. The documentary crew spent several weeks with the insurgents on the front lines and during 'missions'. The entire time, they referred to us as the "non-believers" of Islam. From their point of view, this is a religious war.

On another note, each time one of the insurgents was asked when he would stop fighting, ALL said they would lay their guns down as soon as America left their country.

Comment by Akshay Bist on May 20, 2011 at 12:30am

The facts in the article are questionable.

In the first table -  TABLE 3.1 - Selected Pre-20th Century Democide and Totals most of the cases listed as non-religious are religious. There was religion in China, in India, in Japan, in Russia, in The Ottoman Empire, the Mongols followed a religion & so did the Native Americans. The slavery of Africans was a mixture of racist & religious beliefs and the 30 year war was fought between protestants & catholics so again religion. And putting the French revolution in that list is again wrong. It was an uprising of the masses against an ineffective, oppressive government & clergy, not a mass murder by atheists.

The writer provides a link to his source, but its to the main page of the whole research, not the parts where he got the exact statistics from. After cursory read of the research I couldn't find any place where religion has been mentioned so I don't know where the hack(writer) got his statistics about the killings being religious or not from.

In the second table, he lists the regimes as atheistic, but doesn't see the fact that their doctrine wasn't atheism but most it was communism. Communism is set is like a religion & the governments which enforce it are just replacing one doctrine with another. It has no religious motives. The elimination of religion by such governments is just to exert total control over the population. They would do the same to any free thinking school of thought if it rises in the country. Equating atheism & communism is a misnomer. Communism is just as much against free thought as religion is.

The third table lists a book as reference. I don't have the book, nor do I plan on wasting money on it so I can't comment on it, but the numbers look very wrong. Most of the countries listed have a very high religious population & so the number of murders committed by religious people should be way more. But I'm doubting the authenticity of these statistics.

The whole article is nonsense. A time waster.

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