Atrocities committed by atheists?

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ancient_antitheist's picture
Atrocities committed by atheists?

Whenever it's pointed out that Christianity is responsible for many atrocities throughout history, Christians respond by bringing up Stalin and Mao, as if that proves anything. The problem with these examples is that atheism for Stalin and other communist tyrants was incidental to their political beliefs, such as communist utopia through proletarian revolution, rather than an integral part. Another problem is communism itself is a religion, with its own rituals, holy books, holy days, creeds and prophets. So when these dictators were out murdering their own citizens they were actually acting under the influence of these quasi-religious beliefs, the exact opposite of the skeptical mindset. In reality, the communist is no different from your typical Christian.


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Old man shouts at clouds's picture
So when these dictators were

So when these dictators were out murdering their own citizens they were actually acting under the influence of these quasi-religious beliefs

Like religious hierarchy they were expunging anything that could or would contradict or oppose them. They were not "quasi religious" beliefs, that gives far too much respectability to religion.

They were calculated massacres of people that could or would possibly pose a threat to the individual in charge and the system that supported them.

Religion is a system of oppression exactly as murderous and barbaric as any other hierarchical system devised by man where there are not powerful counterbalances in the society, or a society that has been drained by the blood of its own, and lived through it.

That Mao was an atheist is entirely incidental to his crimes. That Pope Gregory XIII massacred the Huguenots was a theist is entirely incidental to his crimes that were for the identical reasons.

cranky47's picture


"Another problem is communism itself is a religion, with its own rituals, holy books, holy days,"

I've heard that claim before ,more than once. I thought it was nonsense the first time and think it's nonsense now.

Stalinism and Maoism as well as the regimes in Cuba and North Korea were/are personality cult based dictatorships with the kind of features you've mentioned. None were communist states within the meaning of The Communist Manifesto or Capital except in the most superficial ways as far I'm aware. . The very term 'Communist Dictatorship' is an oxymoron. One of the basic conditions for a communist state is that it be democratic.

As for the rest of it. Well yes. To be an atheist neither infers nor implies anything else whatsoever than a non belief in god (s). Nothing illegal, immoral or fattening one may do has anything to do with being an atheist.

Conversely, identifying as a christian infers a set of beliefs*** and a morality based on the ten commandments. Same goes for the other Abrahamic religions.


*** for Catholics, their beliefs are pithily set out in the Nicene Creed . Protestants tend to be equally dogmatic and bloody minded, but just not about all of the same things.

"NICENE CREED (Professed at Sunday Mass)
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and
We believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father; God from
God, Light from Light, true God from true God; begotten not made, one in being with the Father.
Through Him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation He came down from heaven. By the
power of the Holy Spirit He was born of the Virgin Mary and became man. For our sake He was
crucified under Pontius Pilate. He suffered, died, and was buried. On the third day He rose again, in
fulfillment of the Scriptures. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He
will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and His kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
With the Father and the Son He is worshipped and glorified. He has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the
forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen. "

Cognostic's picture
@ancient_antitheist: OH

@ancient_antitheist: OH FUCKK!!! Not another one of these,,,,, okay be nice.... hope he catches on quickly ..... they aren't all trolling idiots... WHEW... LUCKY JUTS A VAGUELY INFORMED ATHEIST.

"A communist ideologically committed to the Leninist interpretation of Marxism, Stalin formalized these ideas as Marxism–Leninism, while his own policies are known as Stalinism. (NOT ATHEISM)"

"Chairman Mao, was a Chinese communist revolutionary who became the founding father of the People's Republic of China (PRC), which he ruled as the chairman of the Communist Party of China from its establishment in 1949 until his death in 1976. Ideologically a Marxist–Leninist, his theories, military strategies, and political policies are collectively known as Maoism." (NOT ATHEISM)

Under a very loose interpretation of "religion:" "a pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance." Communism could be considered a religion.

You make a whole lot of assertions and offer evidence for nothing. You might want to avoid doing that around here.

Sheldon's picture
Totalitarianism always

Totalitarianism always results in abuses of human rights, regardless of whether those with power delude themselves in superstition or not.

Religions have a long history of barbaric suppression of those from opposing religions, and if the best defence religious apologists can now offer is that they are no worse than barbaric despots like Mao and Stalin, then they ought to be ashamed to say so.

This quote sums up the self righteous claims adherents make for their chosen superstition.

Many religions now come before us with ingratiating smirks and outspread hands, like an unctuous merchant in a bazaar. They offer consolation and solidarity and uplift, competing as they do in a marketplace. But we have a right to remember how barbarically they behaved when they were strong and were making an offer that people could not refuse.

Christopher Hitchens

No one should ever have absolute power, and that includes religious institutions.

Whitefire13's picture
Humans. We are humans. And as

Humans. We are humans. And as Sheldon said “no one should have absolute power”. We need counter balances, shared responsibilities and accountability.

Cognostic's picture
@Whitefire13: I don't know

@Whitefire13: I don't know baby, the way you wield that rolling pin, I think we could give you absolute power. All we have to do is get you to come out of your shell and stop being so shy.

cranky47's picture


It took me 30 years to realise it was mum who was in charge, not dad.

Dad yelled a lot .Mum would cry and invariably get her own way. If she got really cross she would throw things.

Over the years ,I had heard the term 'dysfunctional families'. Finally looked it up. Fair dinkum the explanation described my family to a T -------- problem was, given the plethora of WW2 PTSD neurotics at the time, my family wasn't unusual. Mercifully, almost all of them are finally dead .

Cognostic's picture
@Cranky: And no one is as

@Cranky: And no one is as powerful as a dead person. "What would your poor deceased mother think about that?" (You can't argue with the dead.)

Weakness, even to the point of death, can be an extremely powerful manipulative tool.

Probably why "individuation" is so vital to psychological health.

cranky47's picture


My mother would almost certainly respond as she invariably did to anything even hinting of criticism; flatly deny it.

My mother had some wonderful qualities, including compassion and generosity of spirit. However, she was not perfect, who is? It is part of my family culture to criticise each other, and perhaps that can seem excessive to outsiders who know not of which they speak . BUT FSM help any outsider who criticises our family. --there's a term for that behaviour in sociology which escapes me at the moment .

CyberLN's picture
Atrocities committed by

Atrocities committed by atheists are no more associated with atheism than a theist committing an atrocity is associated with theism.


...those atrocities are committed IN THE NAME of a/theism!

Calilasseia's picture
The problem with these

The problem with these examples is that atheism for Stalin and other communist tyrants was incidental to their political beliefs, such as communist utopia through proletarian revolution, rather than an integral part.

This is a part of my own past exposition on the subject, whenever the usual suspects among the mythology fanboys toss this duplicitous canard into the arena of discourse.

For your future reference, I'll now provide that exposition in full. Your above observation forms Part Two thereof.

Demolishing The Tiresome "Stalin/Hitler/Moa/Pol Pot Were Atheists" Canard

One. Atheism, in its rigorous formulation, is nothing more than suspicion of unsupported supernaturalist assertions. That is IT. And as such, provides no motivation to do anything other than question those assertions. On the other hand, we have a wealth of observational data informing us how religions are cited by their adherents as strong motivation to kill those who do not conform. Inquisition and the Crusades, anyone?

Two. The individuals frequently cited as purportedly "killing in the name of atheism" by pedlars of this bullshit well-poisoniong meme, perpetrated their horrors for two reasons - first, pursuit of the objectives of a well-defined political ideology, and two, consolidation of personal power. Atheism had nothing to do with this.

Three. Those same individuals, when their backgrounds are properly researched, are found to have connections with supernaturalist belief. Pol Pot was raised in a Theravada Buddhist household, and spent part of his education in a Catholic high school. Mao had Buddhist parents and received a Confucian education, not encountering Marxist politics until the relatively late age of 24. Stalin was educated in an Orthodox seminary. Hitler was a Catholic, who never renounced his Catholicism, and indeed, devoted space in Mein Kampf to praising the Catholic Church and its modus operandi (some examples thereof I presented in that previous post).

Four. As for the question of the body counts, an inconvenient fact that supernaturalists frequently (and deliberately) overlook, is that modern perpetrators of atrocities had access to modern weapons for the task. Anyone who thinks, for example, that the Crusaders, or Inquisitors such as Tomas de Torquemada, would not have racked up a far bigger body count if they had been given access to 20th century weapons, needs to re-take their basic history classes, given the body counts they racked up with nothing more sophisticated than swords or bows and arrows to hand. If the Crusaders has been given access to nuclear weapons, they would have turned the entire Middle East into radioactive lava in the name of their god without even drawing breath. Torquemada would have been creaming himself with delight at the prospect of sending the "heretics" to modern concentration camps.

Five.. With respect to the tiresome attempt by supernaturalists to point to Marx's famous dictum about religion being the opium of the people, as purportedly being an "atheist polemic", this is complete garbage. Even critics of Marx's political philosophy, understand that his opposition to religion was principally on practical grounds, taking note of the observational data present in his time, that religion was frequently used as a tool of political control of the masses by an exploitative ruling class. He did not, in any of his numerous writings, tackle the existence or otherwise of a god type entity as an ontological question, because ontological questions of this nature were not his primary conceptual remit. His remit was that of the political philosopher, and, to his credit, he didn't stray outside that remit and pretend to possess expertise elsewhere. Unlike a good few supernaturalists I could mention.

Six. One embarrassing aspect of the use of this well-poisoning bullshit by smug, self-satisfied supernaturalists, is that none of them are aware of the fact that whilst these individuals were responsible for nameless horrors, one atrocity they did NOT commit was systematic child rape - unlike a good few Catholic priests and "megachurch pastors" we've learned about of late.

I think that about wraps it up for the "Hate figure genocidal dictators were atheists" garbage.

doG's picture


Ummmm no. Religious persecution of non believers has been a thing, with each religion, since inception, based on religious doctrine. Stalin, pol pot and the like, did not kill non-believers, as religions do. There was no atheist doctrine that they followed, as with religious based populous murder. They killed everyone...atheist and all religious alike. No type religious or non-religious believers were sparred...therefore religion was not a determinant of there actions. If you know about this type communism, they were not killed because of belief...The same can not be said with religious persecution presently, and in history

Khantidhammo's picture
If persons want to believe

If persons want to believe certain things they can, but there are consequences. Belief in the Abrahamic God or gods of other religions, as in Hinduism or Napi if you're a Blackfoot in Montana are cultural and psychological phenomena. Humans have a need to know about the physical world in order to adapt and survive. We look for explanations. If you can get a copy of Homer W. Smith's book "Man and His Gods" you will see how and why religion developed in humans (He is an evolutionary biologist). I am an MD and I have dealt with the realities of birth, life, sickness and death since age 16. In 52 years as a doctor I've never seen any MD rely on divine intervention, saints, prayers or other spiritualistic practices. (That may be because I was trained at public health care facilities) Scientific knowledge, clinical skill and intuition (acquired by long practice) are the keys to medicine. Not sitting there and wishing for divine providence or a "personal savior". I spent 15 years in Cambodia but I had discovered Buddhism long before that.. I am a "secular " Buddhist not attached to any particular Buddhist sect or ethnic tradition. Like many others in the West and indeed some Theravada in Thailand, Cambodia and Lao I am atheistic. I don't worship any of the Hindu gods or local animist spirits as many locals did in Cambodia. BTW the historical Buddha (Gotama Sakyamuni) was a perfected human, not a deity. He is a respected teacher. Any petitions or prayers to him are worthless: "The tathagatas (ones that have gone beyond the cycle of life) point the way, you must make the effort". In fact, the Won sect in Korea definitely declares they are atheists and have no images of Buddha in their temples. Non-theistic, non-eternalistic and atheistic. From a pyschological standpoint, on a personal level, religious beliefs and rituals are ego defense mechanisms. Religion from a social standpoint is often used as a means of political control. In Western Europe, and to some extent in the US, Christianity is losing its political power and psychological control as the falsity of its doctrines and practices have been exposed. This decline was recognized by the Pope recently as he expressed concern that fewer and fewer men go into the priesthood and fewer persons attend mass. (Duh, These are consequences of the practices of the church) This decline was predicted in 1928 by Sigmund Freud in "The Future of An Illusion". This small book basically says that the Christian Religion in Europe is going to be abandoned as people become educated and realize that it offers no real consolation from suffering and that it is used as means of political control. The attitude of Buddhists toward belief is that there are two types: correct belief and incorrect. Having correct "view" is in fact the first of the eight "steps" of Buddhist practice. The historical Buddha analyzed and rejected 62 different religious philosophies in "The Net of Brahma" over 2500 years ago. He specifically rejected any religion that posited the existence of an eternal soul or other permanent personality. In this respect he rejected Hinduism (Brahmanism) and Jainism and would have also rejected Christianity. Such religions and philosophies are considered "micca-ditthi" - incorrect views. Carl Jung, at one time Freud's protege, referred to belief in God as "metahysical assertion". Suffering is not due to actions of some non-tangible mythical beings. Greed, hatred and delusion are the very human and real causes of suffering. The religious Christian cults like the "Prosperity Gospel" preachers and the political cults like that of Kim in North Korea are all based on similar mechanisms: Greed for money and power, hate for anything that undermines that power, promoting the delusion that their system offers some ultimate reward. I am a believer in kamma: Action and result. Consequences. Realization can be acquired by various means. Buddhists usually use forms of meditation to empty their minds of confusion and develop insight (vipassana, zen and yoga). Non-Buddhists may use other means such as music, art, running, dance and gymnastics; activities that require concentration and repetition to perfect and achieve insight into reality. They give freedom and insight without any religious reference. (I used to experience the "runner's high") Atheists can experience ecstasy without religious "trappings" rituals, sacraments, holy texts or communication with metaphysical beings.In Short: Do your thing and be free from religion.

doG's picture
So, replacing one

So, replacing one supernatural belief with another, is rational?

cranky47's picture


"So, replacing one supernatural belief with another, is rational?"

To the believer? Absolutely .

All religious beliefs have their own internal logic, no matter flawed it might be. EG a logical flaw probably found in the earliest supernaturalist beliefs, and until today is " Post hoc ergo propter hoc" (after this therefore because of this )

Do you think people resorted to say the aguish of human sacrifice casually? It was done because of a belief that a sacrifice had or could have some effect on a/the god .It might appease or please, resulting in a gift of some kind, such as say rain or a cessation of rain.

The earliest example I can think of is god demanding that Abraham sacrifice his son Isaac . That passage exists because the writer believed and knew the reader believed that sacrifice influenced god. That human sacrifice was terrible but acceptable.

Imo it is a mistake perhaps caused by intellectual laziness or simple prejudice to simply dismiss religion and religious beliefs as stupid or irrational.

Imo humans beings are innately self seeking**. Often hidden within religious belief is the simple question; "What's in it for me?" For the christian it's an after life of bliss and unity with God, as an earned reward for following dogma. . For the Buddhist and the Hindu it is an escape from suffering and the wheel of rebirth into self realisation and bliss. I don't consider any of those reasons either stupid or irrational either in themselves and most certainly not within their own worlds.


**The philosophic principe is called "egoism" . My reference "Egoism and Altruism " Ronald D Milo. This is philosophy 101, which is where I read it. I only had a year of philosophy, and am not capable of sophisticated philosophical arguments

doG's picture


Sorry, but escapism is not a resolution for suffering. As well, if said belief is based on super-naturalism, one will never resolve their suffering. Resolution to issues can only be rooted in reality.

cranky47's picture


"Sorry, but escapism is not a resolution for suffering. As well, if said belief is based on super-naturalism, one will never resolve their suffering. Resolution to issues can only be rooted in reality.'

No need to apologise old chap. I'm aware my views are not shared by many here ,and that' s fine.

I'm willing to agree to differ .I'm perfectly happy with the warm glow which comes from the smug knowledge that I'm right and the rest of you are wrong. :-}

You know what ? I think that must be the same feeling theist apologists get when they come here.

cranky47's picture


First, welcome

It would help me, at least, if you would break your posts into paragraphs. The wall of text you have presented is hard to read.

" I am an MD and ------"

Imo one of the nobler professions. I accept that your 52 years a doctor has made you an expert in perhaps many medical areas. I concede that you are a medical expert.

However ,to claim or imply your medical experience has given you authority in any area outside of medicine is a basic logical fallacy called 'argument from authority' and I am unable to accept that claim .

You are required to provide to provide empirical evidence for any claims you make just as anyone else posting here. If You are unable to do so, and are arrogant, other people her will be less kind than I.

I do not believe in the principle or claims of any 'eastern' religion (several of which I have studied) All for the same reason 'a lack of proof.

This atheist is unable to make truth claims about any beliefs. AT BEST all I can say is '"I don't believe because of an absence of proof" OR I believe based on available evidence.

When you claim A is wrong or B is incorrect , you attract the burden of proof .

" Do your thing and be free from religion." Yet you say you believe in karma, which is at the very least a metaphysical concept.. Perhaps you can share the empirical evidence on which you have based this belief?


Homer H Smith was a doctor and as far as I can tell, not an Anthropologist . In fact he seems to have dismissed religion as simply superstition. IMO This is an especially ignorant and dogmatic position to take. (My view is not necessarily the consensus here.)

Doctor Smith's view seems to be similar to that found in the nineteenth century opus "The Golden Bough" by James Frazer (first printed in 1890) He uses the ' quaint custom and superstitions' approach to anthropology and is very judgemental . Dr Smith's approach seems similar, and as such almost certainly dismissed by modern anthropology, as is Frazer.

Your discipline is Medicine. Mine is Social Anthropology, in which I have a degree. The goal of modern anthropology is to understand other cultures and peoples, without judgement . This achieved often by first hand study of other cultures, their practices and beliefs.

Cognostic's picture
@@Khantidhammo: RE: "BTW

@@Khantidhammo: RE: "BTW the historical Buddha (Gotama Sakyamuni) was a perfected human, not a deity."

You are an imperfect being. How in the fuck would you know what perfect was? What evidence do you have that a perfect human ever existed? If it did exist, what makes you so special that you would recognize it?

RE: "The attitude of Buddhists toward belief is that there are two types: correct belief and incorrect. Having correct "view" is in fact the first of the eight "steps" of Buddhist practice." A MORONIC CONCLUSION. Simplistic black and white logic. Also, a complete contradiction to Buddhist teaching. The wrong decision is also the right decisions for it could be no other. All beings are actually on the path. Some simply know it. It is not possible to make a wrong decision. This is right and that is wrong, is merely chewing gum for the mind. There is a middle way. After all.... Karma is karma.

RE: "I am a believer in kamma: Action and result. Consequences. Realization can be acquired by various means."

Then you are an amoral ass! You can directly link karma to cast systems of Asia. You are born into your reincarnated life because that is the karma you deserve. Your neighbor's child was born deformed because your neighbor was a horrible person in a past life. Your wife was hit by a car and paralyzed because she deserved it and you deserved having a paralyzed wife. That is your karma. FUCK YOU AND FUCK YOUR KARMA.

RE: "Realization can be acquired by various means. Buddhists usually use forms of meditation to empty their minds of confusion and develop insight (vipassana, zen and yoga)." DON'T BE FUCKING STUPID.

Empty your mind and gain insight. You can not gain insight without gaining insight. Emptying your mind is the opposite of gaining insight. Buddhist double speak.. (Nothing wrong with meditation and contemplation. You will get more insight from an examination of the self, than you ever will from "Emptying your Mind.") Do you even know what it means to have an empty mind? How do you have an empty mind and still spout all the bullshit you have shared? You obviously do not know about that which you speak.. You my friend are a horrible representative of Buddhist thought.

RE: " Buddhists may use other means such as music, art, running, dance and gymnastics; activities that require concentration and repetition to perfect and achieve insight into reality."

At what point will concentration and repetition lead one to insight into reality? An ape man banging a stick on a tree trunk who concentrates and repeats will get better and better at banging a stick on a tree trunk. THAT SAYS NOTHING ABOUT INSIGHT INTO REALITY. An idiot monk who sits for hours a day learns to sit for hours a day. You really think this idiot is going to glean the secrets of the universe by sitting? By repeating dance? By repeating art. Your alleged insights have been taught to you. You are merely following a Buddhist script in the very same way a Christian follows a Christian script, a Hindu follows a Hindu script, or a Muslim follows a Muslim script. YOU KNOW SHIT ABOUT REALITY FROM FOLLOWING THAT SCRIPT. YOU HAVE ACCEPTED UNSUBSTANTIATED WOO WOO.

Atheists can experience ecstasy the same way every human being on the planet experiences ecstasy. The birth of a child, the movement of music, a runner's high, just looking at the stars, watching a sunset, watching the words form on this page as my fingers run across the keyboard, listening to the silence of the night, ecstasy is here and now. It is always here and now. All I need do is touch it. It is a choice.. It is a natural human trait and an ability anyone and everyone has. It is the breath moving in and out of my body. It is the darkness in the room around me. It is simply being and nothing more. Psychologically these are called peak experiences. We all have them. But spending your life seeking them is a waste of life. The most enlightened man in the world will starve to death if he does not have money enough in his pocket for a bowl of gruel.

You have bought into a BELIEF system that is as full of Woo, as any of the Western religions. OPEN YOUR EYES and you will see the truth of that.
Meditation is not different from daily life. You talk of doing it as if it is something different from life, then come out of it and report having insights. What use are they when you do not understand the basics? Meditation is part of life, not something different from life.

What has been your motive, what it is that you want from this Buddhist shit? You are so eager and gullible; somebody promises something and you want it. I want enlightenment. I want Nirvana. I want to feel the peace. I want insights. If you examine the motive, you see that it is a desire to achieve something - like a businessman's desire to earn a lot of money. You have been duped. You have a psychological urge to get what a guru or instructor promises you. So you have the delusion of "right thinking" while you miss the very world around you. "I must change, I must do this, I must do that, I must think this way, I must think that way." You are being led by the nose.

Like all other religions, Buddhism has taken that which is inately human and attributed it to their special system of thought. It's BULLSHIT!

"If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him." The fact that you have not yet done this, demonstrates your lack of understanding. Buddhism is this, Buddhism is that, Buddhism is the religion you spend years learning and studying so that so that when you become enlightened you can forget everything because none of it ever mattered.

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