Hitler, Stalin, Mao = Atheist mass murderers? 26


There exists a very tedious theist argument that keeps popping up, and no matter how many times you kill it, it keeps coming back, in fact its almost akin to a game of whack-a-mole at times. It goes like this …

Hitler, Stalin, and Mao were atheists, they all were responsible for terrible mass murder; therefore, atheism is responsible for terrible mass murder.

Do serious christians really take this line? You bet they do. To find an example, just click here to read the article in the Christan Science Monitor by the bestselling author, Dinesh D’Souza, that takes this precise line …

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.

OK then, the way to really address this is to start by identifying the logical fallacy. Its called “Post hoc ergo propter hoc”, and that Latin phrase means “after this, therefore because of this,“. What does this really mean? Well its a way of pointing out that sometimes people make the mistake of thinking that something is responsible for causing something else, when in reality there is no connection at all. For example, if I step out into my yard and cut the grass and it then starts to rain, “Ah ha, evidence … quite clearly cutting grass causes rain”.It is easy for any of us to make such a leap, here is another example:

Fanatical believer shoots his wife – “Ah”, say the non-believers, “Proof that religious people do bad things”. But in reality it might not have been belief or non-belief, just a couple who got into a shouting match, then into the heat of the moment he looses his rag, pulls a gun, … bang. No connection to the fact that he is a believer. You can reverse the roles if you like, what if he was a non-believer? If he had been, then the you can bet you would have believers citing it as an example of the wickedness of non-belief.

The key is to ask yourself what the driving force was; belief, non-belief, or something else. Please make no mistake, there are cases where fanatical belief is indeed the root cause, you don’t need to think too hard to cobble up a couple of examples:

  • 9/11
  • shooting a doctor for performing an abortion
  • stonings
  • Apparent political assassination in Pakistan that are carried out by religious fanatics
  • etc …

OK then, lets move on and tackle the big three.

Hitler – the atheist tyrant, as D’Souza called him, intent upon creating a religion-free utopia. Really!! … that claim has a couple of flaws. The most notable is that Hitler was not an Atheist, he was Catholic. Hitler frequently spoke positively about the Christian German culture, and his belief in the “Aryan” Christ. He also remained a formal member of the Catholic Church until his death. In Mein Kampf Hitler speaks of the “creator of the universe” and “eternal Providence.” And as for his supposed plans to create a religion-free utopia, utter bollocks – Hitler often associated atheism with Germany’s communist enemy, and not as a goal. In a speech delivered in Berlin, October 24, 1933, Hitler stated: “We were convinced that the people needs and requires this faith. We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations: we have stamped it out“. During negotiations leading to the Nazi-Vatican Concordat of April 26, 1933 Hitler argued that “Secular schools can never be tolerated”.

Atheist Tyrant? … er no, not one jot of evidence exists for that claim.

Stalin – Most definitely a tyrant, no doubt of that, and also one that openly opposed religion. Now this is where we come to our “Post hoc ergo propter hoc” fallacy … “Stalin was not a believer, Stalin killed millions, therefore atheism caused the death of millions”. The fundamental flaw here is that Stalin was in fact a believer, a fanatical Marxist believer – he personally led the Russian revolution in 1917 alongside Lenin and so he created his own myth. The cause of all that happened and all that followed was not non-belief, but rather was rooted within the combination of his fanatical Marxist idology, his unstable personality, and also his ambition and lust for total power. In fact by 1922 Lenin came to realise that Stalin was too unstable and wanted him removed, but due to his stroke was unable to do this. So what was the root cause, what really made him tick inside …non-belief? No quite clearly not, Stalin was in fact a psychopath, with a lust for power who rose high enough to be able to leverage total control and then proceeded to eliminate any and all opposition.

Mao Zedong -Yes, another fanatical Marxist and also a non-believer whose Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, are blamed for millions of deaths. He demonstrated an astonishing disregard for individual human lives and repeatedly affirmed his willingness to sacrifice up to a third of the Chinese population in a nuclear war, an utter fanatic devoted to grasping, then consolidating total power and imposing his ideology upon all, driven not by non-belief, but by a belief in himself and his personality cult.

So where does all this lead us? its simple really, Atheism doesn’t kill people, Fanaticism kills people, be that religious or political.

So what really is the root cause behind all that Hitler, Stalin, Mao and other similar tyrants did? All of them have one common cause, in each instance they were psychopaths. Note that I’m not using that as a form of insult, I’m giving you a diagnosis. A psychopath is somebody who manifests superficial charm, Grandiose sense of self-worth, is cunning and manipulative, lacks remorse or guilt, is callous, has a lack of empathy, and fails to accept responsibility for their own actions.

Religion does indeed stand guilty of some truly hideous crimes and a direct root cause within a delusional belief can indeed be established (think 9/11 as an example), but the attempt to put a lack of belief in the dock on the basis that some fanatical psychopaths committed truly hideous crimes on an industrial scale is simply an instance of the “Post hoc ergo propter hoc” fallacy, the root cause was their Psychopathy.


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26 thoughts on “Hitler, Stalin, Mao = Atheist mass murderers?

  • Ugle

    “Hitler was Christian” aka pseudo-skeptical reasoning: lies and rationalisation. By absolutely NO account was Hitler ever a christian or a catholic, and this is basic Historical trivia. I still continued to read and laughed at the “The fundamental flaw here is that Stalin was in fact a believer, a fanatical Marxist believer”…that’s so ridiculously weak as a way to rationalise yourself out of facts nobody ignores…

  • Jonathan Seidman

    the reason it keeps coming up is because it’s true.

    you can massage the argument all you want, but the state religion under Mao was ATHEISM.

    Stalin and Hitler were both SECULARISTS who thought religion was evil and wanted nothing more than to exterminate religion.

    so, yeah, there’s the truth…if you don’t like it, well, go circle-jerk with your buddies.

  • B

    So, an atheist like Stalin kills 100,000 avid religious followers, 10,000 priests(and nuns, and monks and whatever) and destroys almost every church in the country, while telling his citizens that he is doing so to save them from the evils of religion and create a religion free utopia (the other 60 million deaths on his account I will say are not religion related) and he’s just a lunatic. But if a religious person does it then it’s different? You are biased af/

  • Alex escomu

    You can with no risks say atheism does not make people angels nor avoid committing crimes. You can say atheism is a great part of atheist’s lifes (they are always discussing or moking religions, babies and cats don’t do that btw) and that didn’t make them good persons. There has always been good and bad guys in any religion or lack of it

  • paul

    Oh so when 9/11 happens you can say religion caused it but when an atheist murders millions you claim its not the atheism? You dumb fuck piece of shit your such a fucking loser. Atheists killed millions. If your going to make the argument that RELIGION caused crimes due to events like 9/11 then by default you have to agree that atheism is what caused the murders of hundreds of millions by stalin, polpot, and mao. How the FUCK is religion responsible for violent behavior when Christianity and Islam and Judaism all prohibit killing or hurting innocent people? If the religion doesn’t allow violence then how the fuck is religion responsible for something like 9/11?
    The terrorists would still be the same regardless of which religion they were part of you fucking dumb ass.

    • Dave Gamble Post author

      // You dumb fuck piece of shit your such a fucking loser //

      Clearly you are a deeply religious man of peace and love, and a true credit to your belief system.

    • ralph

      “How the FUCK is religion responsible for violent behavior when Christianity and Islam and Judaism all prohibit killing or hurting innocent people? If the religion doesn’t allow violence then how the fuck is religion responsible for something like 9/11?”

      You just made an idiot out of yourself with that comment.

      • MOSES AWESOMEE

        Lol he does have a point. Both kill… Religious or not . one with absolute morality and the other no or subjective relative morality, which is no morals at all. One argues “justification ” and the other argues that morality doesn’t exist for it to be wrong. So it makes sense that the one that murders more hold the crown. But on the other hand on would think that atheist should have more way kills (if abortion counts) and the religious less. Esp if Christ (who was non violent ) preached love and forgiveness for those who asked. So does that mean those who murder in the name of Christ aren’t Christians at all? It seems so. Anyway, these murders weren’t truly religious but greed and coveting. Over land and property , goods, and honor. ——–> for power. The devalue of human life for self preservation and lack of empathy for the fellow man. Which is the opposite of religion.

    • Marla

      islam most certainly does command to murder those who refuse to submit to their totalitarian ideology/”religion”.. tons of verses to prove it. the main goal of muslims is to spread islam, as per the commands of their prophet , who is seen as the perfect man, but who was also a jihadist, murderer, enslaver, rapist, none of which Jesus was, and every muslim is to imitate mohammad, first and foremost and mohammadans committed some of the most gruesome, devastating crimes in history. and still today justify their actions by their doctrine which is , in fact, accurately telling them to die in the name of allah. islam is not a true religion because more of it is devoted to how to treat the Kafir/unbeliever who refuses to submit , than is devoted to personal spirituality. learn more at http://www.politicalislam.com

      Jesus did not teach to mass murder and waS not a megalomaniac as the above mentioned atheist/communist so if anything’s been done in the name of a true religion, it was by a fanatical psychopath and the argument this author is using is more applied to religious crimes than to his atheist apologist argument that it wasn’t atheism but just believers in marxism who were unstable and power hungry.

  • jerrod henry

    Apparently it was just an amazing coincidence that every Communist of historical note publicly declared his atheism … .there have been twenty-eight countries in world history that can be confirmed to have been ruled by regimes with avowed atheists at the helm … These twenty-eight historical regimes have been ruled by eighty-nine atheists, of whom more than half have engaged in democidal162 acts of the sort committed by Stalin and Mao …
    The total body count for the ninety years between 1917 and 2007 is approximately 148 million dead at the bloody hands of fifty-two atheists, three times more than all the human beings killed by war, civil war, and individual crime in the entire twentieth century combined.

    The historical record of collective atheism is thus 182,716 times worse on an annual basis than Christianity’s worst and most infamous misdeed, the Spanish Inquisition. It is not only Stalin and Mao who were so murderously inclined, they were merely the worst of the whole Hell-bound lot. For every Pol Pot whose infamous name is still spoken with horror today, there was a Mengistu, a Bierut, and a Choibalsan, godless men whose names are now forgotten everywhere but in the lands they once ruled with a red hand.

    Is a 58 percent chance that an atheist leader will murder a noticeable percentage of the population over which he rules sufficient evidence that atheism does, in fact, provide a systematic influence to do bad things? If that is not deemed to be conclusive, how about the fact that the average atheist crime against humanity is 18.3 million percent worse than the very worst depredation committed by Christians, even though atheists have had less than one-twentieth the number of opportunities with which to commit them. If one considers the statistically significant size of the historical atheist set and contrasts it with the fact that not one in a thousand religious leaders have committed similarly large-scale atrocities, it is impossible to conclude otherwise, even if we do not yet understand exactly why this should be the case. Once might be an accident, even twice could be coincidence, but fifty-two incidents in ninety years reeks of causation!

    • Dave Gamble Post author

      Both Stalin, Pol Pot and others did the abhorrent things that they did, not because they did not believe in a god, but because they promoted an irrational political belief that did not have a single jot of evidence to support it.

      This duck is dead … you can keep on bringing out a stuffed specimen if you wish, but the only person you are fooling is yourself.

      • Jonathan Seidman

        except the state religion under Mao was atheism. ;) ;)

        and Stalin led an anti-religious crusade from 1928-1941.

        and Hitler was a secularist who wanted nothing more than to crush religion.

        and, well you get the point…well, you don’t, but those are the facts ma’am ;)

  • mike klein

    You misunderstand D’Souza’s point. Atheists like Hitchens use the argument that Religion is evil because of all the evil done by Christians, Muslims, etc.

    The argument is granting that criticism, which you would call a post hoc ergo promptor hoc argument, and saying if you really believe that, then you also have to accept the evils committed by atheists as well.

    If D’Souza, and Christians in general, rejected the argument that Christianity is responsible for the Inquisition and the Salem Witch Trials, I quite certain that we would be attacked for that position as well.

    • psychicninjadeertheismOfTheGaps

      That actually isn’t D’Souza’s point, apparently you’re unfamiliar with his arguments. You only need to look at his article that is linked here to see him denying that a religious war was actually religious and how it’s about something else, he also shows just how little he knows about these religious wars when he tries to pretend that it’s called a religious war merely because two people of different sects fought each other, in reality, religious ideology causes religious wars to happen. Christianity is an ideology that has commandments to kill, atheism is not an ideology and does not have commandments to kill, atheism is merely about not believing in a god, might as well blame wars over not believing in fairies. And many Christians(including D’Souza) deny that the inquisition was religious and even go to the extremes of pretending that the Inquisitors were rational actors

  • Dave Gamble Post author

    M … a few thoughts to ponder over.

    Being an Atheist is not a thing, it is simply a conclusion, a dismissal of the God claims, usually due to a lack of credible evidence for such assertions, and says nothing about anything else. Hence you can have believers and non-believers who are decent or complete shits.

    A “no-God” conclusion is not coupled with morality, nor is an acceptance of a belief in any way coupled with morality. People are not good or bad because they happen to hold or reject specific beliefs. To illustrate that point, do believers read the bible and think to themselves, “Well gosh, murder is wrong, I never knew that; its a good thing I read it here or I would not have known and so I might have rushed out to murder somebody”. Morality is a product of our culture and our empathy and so regardless of our individual beliefs, most embrace it, and some don’t to various degrees.

    It is possible to point to some truly obnoxious non-believers (Stalin being your example), but it is also possible to point to some truly obnoxious believers who have engaged in similar acts (Hitler) … [It is about here that some will assert “Ah but he was not a true believer / non-believer” … because there is an assumed coupling between belief and morality that does not exist.]

    It is all tied in with your project … is belief a force for good or not.

  • M

    Could someone please reply to this, I myself am an atheist but I am doing a project on whether religion is a force for good. Stalin was an incredibly unstable person and easily the biggest mass murderer in the history of mankind, perhaps the LACK of a religion denies someone the set of mainstream moral standards proposed by e.g. christianity’s ten commandments. I have read what the god delusion says, it basically says exactly the same as this article, I am not convinced by the reasoning.

    • Andrew Pritchard

      I offer Hitler as the counter to Stalin as mentioned in the article. Both were psychopaths. Both were in charge of a fundamentalist country willing to do whatever their leaders say (usually because they didn’t want to suffer the same consequences). One used religion to control their people, the other used politics.

      Religion could be a force for good. Unfortunately religion over the centuries has been used as a way of controlling the populace to do more evil than good. Taking Christianity as an example. Christ said you should look after people. Yet the fundamentalist Christian right in America will tell you that food stamps, which are keeping millions of Americans from starving to death, are evil and creating a dependency. The opposite of what Christ said.

      Perhaps you could explain the flaw in the reasoning of the article, or is it just that the truth makes you feel uncomfortable.

      • BK Anderson

        “Religion could be a force for good. Unfortunately religion over the centuries has been used as a way of controlling the populace to do more evil than good.”

        Does feeding the hungry, providing shelter for the homeless,free medicine not count as “a force for good”?

        “Yet the fundamentalist Christian right in America will tell you that food stamps, which are keeping millions of Americans from starving to death”

        what percentage of those people receiving food stamps actually “stave to death” without food stamps? How did humans manage to survive prior to 1961 when the pilot program was instituted for the “food stamp program”?

        I would suggest you have a problem with the truth. May I suggest ingesting less MSM news and leftist talking points and actually looking at the facts?

    • The King

      No one should be convinced of this drivel. It is quite logically flawed. Here are several reasons why this post is ridiculous. You will get torn apart if you use this approach on someone intelligent.

      Is a 58 percent chance that an atheist leader will murder a noticeable percentage of the population over which he rules sufficient evidence that atheism does, in fact, provide a systematic influence to do bad things? If that is not deemed to be conclusive, how about the fact that the average atheist crime against humanity is 18.3 million percent worse than the very worst depredation committed by Christians, even though atheists have had less than one-twentieth the number of opportunities with which to commit them. If one considers the statistically significant size of the historical atheist set and contrasts it with the fact that not one in a thousand religious leaders have committed similarly large-scale atrocities, it is impossible to conclude otherwise, even if we do not yet understand exactly why this should be the case. Once might be an accident, even twice could be coincidence, but fifty-two incidents in ninety years reeks of causation!

      http://atheismexposed.tripod.com/atheist_crimes.htm

      • Jezebel

        Wow that website’s a legitimate source… not. None of the historical references are remotely accurate.^^Christian with an axe to grind alert everyone. I really love the way that they try to link Communism and atheism as though they are ideological bedfellows too. I’m guessing this guy is American.

    • anon for good

      Hitler was raised as a Roman catholic. One of his favorite authors was a Roman Catholic priest (Martin Luther) who said that Jews should be driven from their homes and their property taken from them. Religion had a big influence on Hitlers life.

      As a soldier in the first world war he was injured and taken to a hospital. A doctor diagnosed him as mentally ill. Later on, when he came to power, Hitler had the Doctor killed to silence him.

      Hitler had a free thinkers hall that had 30,000 members (athiests) closed, and turned into a church. It is actually very easy to
      find quotes where Hitler says that he believes he is doing Gods work by punishing the Jews. He thought of Jews as being the people responsible for killing Jesus Christ.

      So you can see that there is a lot of evidence to support the argument that Hitler was religious. I am not going to claim that he was though. He recognized how religion could be used to manipulate the masses. He was a sociopath. One of the traits of which can be the ability to be manipulative. It would not have mattered if Hitler had been taught some religious moral code or some form of secular philosophy. He was a sociopath. Self interest would have completely over ridden any moral guidance that he had ever been given. He perverted religion for his own ends. And also science. Eugenics is a perversion of Evolution.

    • AtheismOfTheGaps

      Actually, it can be disputed whether Stalin was the biggest mass murderer. Queen Victoria, Kublai, An Lushan, Cao Cao, Toghon Temur, Zhang Xianzhong, Hong Xiuquan, and Timur(5M in 6 months alone) are all close contenders for that title

      That aside from the fact that it’s doubtful that Stalin and Mao were even atheists, they already lied about Hitler and Nazism being atheistic, it’s about time for people to wake up when it comes to the argument that Communism=Atheism

      “we need not believe one later Soviet claim that he read The Origin of Species at the age of thirteen while still at Gori, and told a fellow pupil that it proved the nonexistence of God. The story fails on several obvious accounts, including Stalin’s remaining religious, even pious, for some years longer.”
      Stalin: Breaker of Nations by Robert Conquest
      page 20

      Political Thought of Joseph Stalin: A Study in Twentieth Century Revolutionary Patriotism By Erik van Ree
      “As Stalin noted in 1952: “Jesus Christ also suffered, and even carried his cross, and then he rose up to heaven. You, then, have to suffer too, in order to rise up to heaven””

      In the Document “The ‘Purge’ of the Libraries” Stalin ordered the withdrawal of “all anti-religious literature, exposing religion on the basis of natural science data”
      Source: The Stalin Era By Philip Boobbyer

      Funny how atheists get blamed for Stalin when he gets so much religious support, even to this day:
      http://religiousleftexposed.com/home/2014/01/russian-orthodox-church-publishes-stalin-calendar.html
      http://babkin-mikhail.livejournal.com/92774.html#comment

      Mao wasn’t an atheist either

      “The late Chairman Mao Zedong said when he received delegations from Peru in 1964 that “it is wrong to tell people to be against religion.””
      http://en.people.cn/90001/90776/90882/6610660.html

      Yeah, real atheistic. Is that why in 1956 he created the Chinese Taoist Association? Some atheist all right!

      Usually the only quote people give that Mao was atheist comes from the Dalai Lama, he claims Mao said “religion is poison”, however:

      Recast All under Heaven: Revolution, War, Diplomacy, and Frontier China in the 20th century by Xiaoyuan Liu
      “Mao told the tibetan leader that religion was poison. Mao’s remark cannot be found anywhere in relevant publications in China. When recalling this incident on different occasions, the Dalai Lama has offered several versions of his reaction on the spot”

      The Baker Pocket Guide to World Religions by Gerald R.McDermott
      “Mao Zedong…seems to have believed privately in a realm beyond the grave….The thoughts expressed are reminiscent of a religious Daoist cosmos”

      According to “The Practice of Chinese Buddhism, 1900-1950” by Holmes Welch, at the time of Mao rule:
      “90 percent of the population occasionally resorted to Buddhist rites or temples and 99 percent were affected by Buddhist contributions to Chinese thought and behaviour.”

      Pol Pot: An Anatomy of a Nightmare by Philip Short
      Page 80
      “Most intriguing was his emphasis on Buddhism. Enlightened monks, he claimed, had ‘always understood very well the nature of monarchy’ and had written folk-tales like the Thmenh Chey(whose hero, one of the best-loved rogues in Khmer literature, famously outwitted the King), in order to show the people that they should not believe in royalty. The Buddha-“Our Great Master”- had abandoned princely life, he went on in order to become ‘a friend of the people; he had been the first to preach the virtues of democratic system alone that could defend Buddhism’s ‘profound values’. As a member of the Cercle Marxiste, Sar would not have been expected to write in such terms. Ieng Sary or Thiounn Mumm certainly would not have done so…Sihanouk, Sar wrote, had undermined the Buddhist faith by introducing ranks into the monkhood”
      Page 150
      “the grammar of Theravada Buddhism permeated Khmer communist thought, just as Confucian notions helped to fashion Maoism”
      Page 448
      “In the words of the Buddhist leader Yos Hut Khemcaro, ‘Millions of Cambodians, including Buddhist clergy, worked with [them]’ ” [them as in the Khmer Rouge]
      That book also mentions other Buddhist influences on Pol Pot

      Additionaly, religious atrocities still killed more than Communism and Nazism, people just don’t seem to be aware of the scale of religious atrocities. The Muslim Conquest of India killed 80 million(Will Durant, Koenraad Elst), the Taiping Rebellion killed 20-100 million(Black Book of Communism page 468, TaipingRebellion.com, Cao Shuji), and if we take the upper estimates for slavery in the Atlantic and the Middle East and the American Holocaust then we can easily get to the hundreds of millions for each, that aside from several other religious wars out there

  • aichtuttle

    The reason people cite atheist murderers is to counter the anti-religion bigotry of those who claim that ALL religion is evil because religion has been used as a reason for war. Now please do this same critique of those, even if you think that’s pointless, just so it can be linked to and cited.