RANCHO SANTA FE, CALIF. – In recent months, a spate of atheist books have argued that religion represents, as “End of Faith” author Sam Harris puts it, “the most potent source of human conflict, past and present.”
Columnist Robert Kuttner gives the familiar litany. “The Crusades slaughtered millions in the name of Jesus. The Inquisition brought the torture and murder of millions more. After Martin Luther, Christians did bloody battle with other Christians for another three centuries.”
In his bestseller “The God Delusion,” Richard Dawkins contends that most of the world’s recent conflicts – in the Middle East, in the Balkans, in Northern Ireland, in Kashmir, and in Sri Lanka – show the vitality of religion’s murderous impulse.
The problem with this critique is that it exaggerates the crimes attributed to religion, while ignoring the greater crimes of secular fanaticism. The best example of religious persecution in America is the Salem witch trials. How many people were killed in those trials? Thousands? Hundreds? Actually, fewer than 25. Yet the event still haunts the liberal imagination.
It is strange to witness the passion with which some secular figures rail against the misdeeds of the Crusaders and Inquisitors more than 500 years ago. The number sentenced to death by the Spanish Inquisition appears to be about 10,000. Some historians contend that an additional 100,000 died in jail due to malnutrition or illness.
These figures are tragic, and of course population levels were much lower at the time. But even so, they are minuscule compared with the death tolls produced by the atheist despotisms of the 20th century. In the name of creating their version of a religion-free utopia, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Mao Zedong produced the kind of mass slaughter that no Inquisitor could possibly match. Collectively these atheist tyrants murdered more than 100 million people.
Moreover, many of the conflicts that are counted as “religious wars” were not fought over religion. They were mainly fought over rival claims to territory and power. Can the wars between England and France be called religious wars because the English were Protestants and the French were Catholics? Hardly.
The same is true today. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not, at its core, a religious one. It arises out of a dispute over self-determination and land. Hamas and the extreme orthodox parties in Israel may advance theological claims – “God gave us this land” and so forth – but the conflict would remain essentially the same even without these religious motives. Ethnic rivalry, not religion, is the source of the tension in Northern Ireland and the Balkans.
Blindly blaming religion for conflict
Yet today’s atheists insist on making religion the culprit. Consider Mr. Harris’s analysis of the conflict in Sri Lanka. “While the motivations of the Tamil Tigers are not explicitly religious,” he informs us, “they are Hindus who undoubtedly believe many improbable things about the nature of life and death.” In other words, while the Tigers see themselves as combatants in a secular political struggle, Harris detects a religious motive because these people happen to be Hindu and surely there must be some underlying religious craziness that explains their fanaticism.
Harris can go on forever in this vein. Seeking to exonerate secularism and atheism from the horrors perpetrated in their name, he argues that Stalinism and Maoism were in reality “little more than a political religion.” As for Nazism, “while the hatred of Jews in Germany expressed itself in a predominantly secular way, it was a direct inheritance from medieval Christianity.” Indeed, “The holocaust marked the culmination of … two thousand years of Christian fulminating against the Jews.”
One finds the same inanities in Mr. Dawkins’s work. Don’t be fooled by this rhetorical legerdemain. Dawkins and Harris cannot explain why, if Nazism was directly descended from medieval Christianity, medieval Christianity did not produce a Hitler. How can a self-proclaimed atheist ideology, advanced by Hitler as a repudiation of Christianity, be a “culmination” of 2,000 years of Christianity? Dawkins and Harris are employing a transparent sleight of hand that holds Christianity responsible for the crimes committed in its name, while exonerating secularism and atheism for the greater crimes committed in their name.
Religious fanatics have done things that are impossible to defend, and some of them, mostly in the Muslim world, are still performing horrors in the name of their creed. But if religion sometimes disposes people to self-righteousness and absolutism, it also provides a moral code that condemns the slaughter of innocents. In particular, the moral teachings of Jesus provide no support for – indeed they stand as a stern rebuke to – the historical injustices perpetrated in the name of Christianity.
The crimes of atheism have generally been perpetrated through a hubristic ideology that sees man, not God, as the creator of values. Using the latest techniques of science and technology, man seeks to displace God and create a secular utopia here on earth. Of course if some people – the Jews, the landowners, the unfit, or the handicapped – have to be eliminated in order to achieve this utopia, this is a price the atheist tyrants and their apologists have shown themselves quite willing to pay. Thus they confirm the truth of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s dictum, “If God is not, everything is permitted.”
Whatever the motives for atheist bloodthirstiness, the indisputable fact is that all the religions of the world put together have in 2,000 years not managed to kill as many people as have been killed in the name of atheism in the past few decades.
It’s time to abandon the mindlessly repeated mantra that religious belief has been the greatest source of human conflict and violence. Atheism, not religion, is the real force behind the mass murders of history.
• Dinesh D’Souza is the Rishwain Fellow at the Hoover Institution. His new book, “The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11,” will be published in January.
Atheism is more than a belief. It is an ideology/doctrine, a belief system and a lifestyle. In a nutshell it is values based.
Atheism, in this day and age when religion is all around us, is not simple non-belief. Ignorance is non-belief. Atheism is a conscious decision to disregard the gods and theology proposed in different religions.
It’s disbelief. It’s making a stand and saying, “Your theistic belief system is bunk, and here is why I think so”. The irony is that such a stance is the creation of another belief system, which can turn itself into a religion.
a) Athiesm is certainly an IDEOLOGY.
Here is what I mean when I say atheism is an ideology…….
1 The body of ideas reflecting the social needs and aspirations of an individual, group, class, or culture.
2. A set of doctrines or beliefs that form the basis of a political, economic, or other system.
BASIC DOCTRINE’S OR TENETS OF ATHEISM
There is no definitive atheist organization that defines the absolutes of atheism, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some common, there are basic principles that atheists, as a whole, tend to adopt. Listed below are some of them.
Pease note, however, that not all atheists accept all of these tenets.
1. There is no God or devil.
2. There is no supernatural realm.
3. Miracles cannot occur.
4. There is no such thing as sin as a violation of God’s will.
5. Generally, the universe is materialistic and measurable.
6. Man is material.
7. Generally, evolution is considered a scientific fact.
8. Ethics and morals are relative
33rd annual ATHEIST CONVENTION in Seattle, Washington, in April of 2007
Let me list here the experience of a person who attended the 33rd annual ATHEIST CONVENTION in Seattle, Washington, in April of 2007. He had a very interesting experience and he learned things he did not expect.
While sitting in the crowd, listening to speakers, and watching the atheists’ reactions, it dawned on him how utterly religious they seemed to him. He is not trying to say they believed in a God but they acted as though it were.
As he sat there, watching, taking notes, listening, he formulated a list he thinks is accurate and representing of what he saw at the convention. Have a look.
a) No God, anti God, Pro-homosexuality, anti-Christianity.
b) Atheism is a belief. I know that many atheists will disagree with this, but the atheists gathered around a COMMON BELIEF of no God or lack of God and the need to increase what they perceive as separation of church and state in America.
a) Created a problem and offered a solution. The problem was religious oppression in society with atheistic ideals as the solution.
a) Gathered in groups with meeting times. Now, atheists don’t meet nearly as frequently as Christians do in their churches. However, they do have state meetings, national meetings, and regular gatherings.
a) The lectern from which speeches were made, their ideas were promoted, and their reasons for their belief system were validated.
a) The atheists sought converts to their cause. They frequently spoke about getting the idea of atheism out into society, and to move people away from theism.
6. Celebration over converts
a) Rejoiced when converts to their BELIEF SYSTEM were announced. There was applause and excitement when there were announcements about people who had “come out of the closet” and announced their atheism.
7. Zealous for their cause
a) They wanted their cause and belief system expanded to the extent of changing America to reflect their thinking.
a) Only they have the truth. The atheists repeatedly spoke of how atheism was the truth and that theists and deists were ignorant of facts and reason.
9. Us against them mentality
a) There was a profound description of the division between atheism and theism with the atheists being the ones who were defending themselves against the intrusive theists.
10. Concerned about public image
a) This is normal. They were very concerned with how they were perceived and wanted to change their negative reputation.
11. Lack of critical thinking
a) This is common everywhere. Though they thought they were rational, by far most of the arguments and comments weren’t.
12. Misrepresentation of opposing views
a) Again, another common trait among people who gather in groups, have a common ideology, and see others as being less enlightened.
13. Voting block
a) The atheists mentioned voting as a group in order to progress their cause in society.
a) This is normal for groups. We don’t all see eye to eye. However, they all held to atheism even though they had disagreements about some particulars.
a) They didn’t have tithing, but there were plenty of things for sale. In addition, let’s not forget to mention how they sought donations to help cover the costs of promoting atheism, paying speakers, renting facilities, etc.
I think it rather ironic that those who are AGAINST REIGION so much, are in actuality so RELIGIOUS themselves. I couldn’t help but smile and see the natural tendency of people to gather around an IDEA, develop a CAUSE, and then PROMOTE it.
ATHEISTS have gathered around NON-BELIEF and want that non-belief PROMOTED in society.
This blog looks at exposing Atheism and Atheist for what it is.... I'll be concentrating more on Atheistic beliefs and Atheistic violence. Let me start off with a quote from Finnish killer and Atheist.... he said quote I am ...... "a cynical existentialist, anti-human humanist, anti-social social-Darwinist, realistic idealist and GOD-like ATHEIST. "I am prepared to fight and die for my cause," he wrote. "I, as a natural selector, will eliminate all who I see unfit, disgraces of human race and failures of natural selection." Pekka Eric Auvinen - Finnish killer of seven students and Atheist.