Hitler, Stalin, Mao = Atheist mass murderers? 15


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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.