We have all heard the tired arguments trotted about by theists about how Stalin, Pol Pot and Hitler killed people in the name of atheism. These are all wrong, of course, (debunked here).

Some people say it does not even make sense to say that people can be killed in the name of atheism because atheism is not an ideology.

However, if someone were to begin a killing spree of religious people because they hated religion so much and wanted to get rid of it wouldn't this count as killing in the name of atheism?

I suppose it may be argued that atheism itself is just the non-belief in gods and goes no further so activity attempting to eradicate religion is something different but is that just excuses?

Essentially, if someone were to kill someone religious and afterwards state their reason was because they are an atheist and do not want religion to exist - is that killing in the name of atheism?

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I would be surprised if a few maniacs haven't done this in the past. Not just in the modern Western world but also in the classical world (Rome or Greece).

I wouldn't really call it murdering in the name of Atheism though. In the name of humanism or in the name of secularism perhaps and if you really must push it...you could say it's in the name of "New atheism" which is slightly (very slightly) more ideological than plane old atheism. But no...I don't think you can kill in the name of a negative belief in the super natural. Secularism on the other hand is a movement to limit the influence of religion in the world, teach certain values and principles, fight certain phenomena that hurt man kind (gross human rights violations) and to put reason above belief. In this case...there is no reason why a few extremely unstable radicals wouldn't murder in the name of humanism even though part of humanism is respecting the dignity of others and their right to have their own opinions.

Atheism...no. Secularism...yes.

I would relate it to 9/11 denialism vs 9/11 truther movement. I don't think you can kill in the name of 9/11 denialism (that is nothing more than denying an event occured in the narrative most people believe). But I can imagine some nut cases murdering people in the name of the 9/11 truther movement which is more than just denying something but trying to convince (and by some people very aggressively) others that there was a conspiracy, that it is essential not to cover up the truth and to radically question everything...sometimes in very manipulative ways...to free people from the tyranny of government malevolence.

9/11 denialism...no. Truther movement...yes.

Hmm, interesting. I like the distinction but it is probably one that would fall on deaf ears of theists if it ever happened.

Dr. Bob seemed utterly unable to grasp the difference after explaining it to him on three separate occasions:

I grasped it, I just didn't agree.  There's a difference.

I'm not even really sure whether "murdering in the name of X" has any real meaning.  What we're interested in may be what the causes of violent acts are so that we can control/try to prevent those, but the causes of violent acts are always complex and often idiosyncratic.  Just because someone yells "Allah Akhbar" before detonating a suicide bomb "in the name of religion" doesn't tell you whether they were coerced into it, whether their family was destitute and this guaranteed them financial support, whether they were despondent about their son who was collateral damage in a drone strike, or whether they were simply mentally ill. 

It's a shallow and unhelpful approach to thinking about violence which serves only to reinforce bias and prejudice, rather than address the real causes of such violence.

In the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, many of the suicide attacks have been carried out by women. In these cases, the motivation was revenge.The women had seen their male family members kill or jailed, their property confiscated and their homes bulldozed to make way for Israeli settlements. 

  Feeling they had lost everything, they decided give their lives in a last payback effort.  There are two types of suicide bombers:

Those with everything to die for, and those with nothing to live for.

Americans have been sold a mythology that Islam is bad and all its followers hate freedom, hate Americans, hare non Muslims, yada yada yada....

And yet, we are seldom permitted to think the wholesale slaughter of indigenous people who stand in the way of profits could, in anyway, play a part in the motivation of those who hate us? 

  So religion is offered as the only possible reason for violence when many more realistic reasons are ignored as politicians will never admit that we are often not on the side of good.

Is it possible to kill in the name of atheism? Yes it is.It has happened.

Atheist terror groups:

League of Militant Atheists
Tamil Tigers
Charles Darwin Martyrs Brigades

Americans have been sold a mythology that Islam is bad and all its followers hate freedom, hate Americans, hare non Muslims, yada yada yada....

Oh, right. You're one of our resident conspiracy theorists. 

Who are the conspirators? OF COURSE it's the capitalist fat cats and (Jew) bankers!

Is it possible to kill in the name of atheism? Yes it is.It has happened.

Of course, if you embrace atheism as a cause, you can die for it.

So Unseen, why do you feel the necessity to go all ad hominem on my gluteus maximus? 

That really is beneath you. I expect better.

You AREN'T one of our resident conspiracy theorists? I'm sure that will come as a surprise to many.

  The League of Militant Atheists was an atheistic, anti religion group formed in the Russia around 1929 and disbanded in the 1940's. 

According to Wikipedia:

"The League of Militant Atheists aided the Soviet government in killing clergy and committed believers.[48] The League also made it a priority to removereligious icons from the homes of believers.[49] Under the slogan, "the Storming of Heaven," the League of Militant Atheists pressed for "resolute action against religious peasants" leading to the mass arrest and exile of many believers, especially village priests. By 1940, "over 100 bishops, tens of thousands of Orthodox clergy, and thousands of monks and lay believers had been killed or had died in Soviet prisons and the Gulag." 

The Tamil Tigers, while not atheist, took much of their inspiration from Asian chapters of the League of Militant Atheists. I think the Tigers was mostly secular and included some atheists.

I threw the last one in to see if anyone actually bothered to google it.

The Charles Darwin Martyrs Brigades is a joke that started on a satirical website and was mistaken as real by respectable news organization as real. (who obviously did no fact checking)

However it seems that "killing in the name of atheism" is found in totalitarian Marxist regimes

Gary, I'm a skeptic and when I hear such broad all-encompassing statements without any data to back them up, I usually look at them with a raised eyebrow and a Billy Idol sneer. May I suggest if you wish to speak for the women of Palestine get the data to validate your claim.

  I find it odd how an anecdote from "a friend of a friend" about Muslims attacking an American is taken at face value, totally unchallenged for it's veracity, but when I make a statement indicating a motivation other than religion every one demands statistics. 

 As for the women of Palestine, well, my wife of 23 years is a Palestinian Christian woman (she seems okay with my non belief, but I think she expects me to be one of those deathbed converts). Before coming to America in her early 20's, she witnessed first hand to much of the violence against Palestinians by Israelis in the West Bank.

  She is a first cousin to an internationally respected Palestinian journalist, whom I've personally met. 

  But you need references. Okay, but for those readers who have already made their minds up well, they wont believe it any way and that's really the point here.

The revenger's tragedy: why women turn to suicide bombing

What Motivates the Suicide Bombers?

Female suicide bombers (Documentary)

Now we're talking.  Something to sink my teeth into.


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