Saturday, November 21, 2009

Facebook Fun

As his Facebook status, an atheist friend of mine wrote, " Just think of how many more people Stalin would have killed if he had been religious. Bullet dodged."

After seeing a few people say, "Nice" and "That's Funny" I felt compelled to reply, "Stalin killed 20 million. During the 500 year Inquisition period 6,000 people were executed. Both wrong. But in the race to kill gobs of people the secularists win by a landslide. And I say this as a person who isn't religious."

Oh sure, I'm a buzz kill but I had to say something.

After a few people backed me up, my friend said, "Well made points, all. the point I'm making is this: Very few people, if any, kill in the NAME of secularism. More deaths are conflicts over territory, resources, etc, - and that's part of nature. Humans are the only species that kill in the name of religion. Shakespeare's writings are far more violent than the Bible, and both have passionate followers, but no one kills over Shakespeare unless it's to get the lead in regional theatre."

To which I said, "Yes, but communism and Marxism are anti-religion. Secularism is at the very core of both ideologies."

A friend of his chimed in, "True Traci, but they were not killing people in the name of secularism: they were killing people in the name of the ideology of communism."

Apparently, this debate wasn't over and the responses were getting longer.

Yes, but the first thing these "isms" do is ban religion. Why do you think that happens? Stalin, Hilter, Moa and "Paulpotts" [Paulpotts is a callback to a joke which is not printed here] were all atheists. That doesn't mean all atheists are capable of mass murder but you can't deny who they were. Our Founding Fathers put Freedom of Religion into our Constitution because they understood the ability to worship freely is vital to a democracy. Like I said earlier, I'm not a religious person but I do believe in freedom. "Secular' despots have killed more people in the 20th Century than any religious leaders ever have in all of recorded history combined.
My friend...
You're right on the above, Traci, but the above dictators were not motivated to genocide by their secularism. The fact that secularism or atheism was a part of who they were is true. Their secularism had as much to do with their killings as did their love for pants; they may have loved both, but pants and godlessness were not their motivation for mass murder, except in the case of Paulpants. Most wars are resource-related, as you stated, but religion adds in a "special bonus" reason for war. War is in every strand of human dna; religion is an imaginary reason to unlock it. I imagine that everyone in this thread believes in the right to religious freedom that you speak of, as well as the danger of theocracy.
My friend's friend...
"Secular' despots have killed more people in the 20th Century than any religious leaders ever have in all of recorded history combined."

That's not true. Pretty much all ancient wars were fought in the name of religion, as royalty believed they were appointed by God and had the right to whatever they wanted. Vikings raped and pillaged to pay tribute to their Gods. The crusades were fought over the belief that Christians deserved to rule the land of their "savior's" birth.

There are also insane incidents like the Easter Island statues, where inhabitants became so consumed with building idols that they used all the natural resources on the island and just about everyone died. Religious leaders also spread lies about Small pox vaccines and AIDS prevention because modern medicine undermined the power they wielded as someone who could supposedly commune with God and heal them. AND how many people have been killed because of religious based intolerance? Slavery, manifest destiny, racism, homophobia, are all concepts which have been propped up by many/most of the religious leaders of their respective eras.

The leaders of various communist/facist parties didn't outlaw religion because of some petty dislike for it, they outlawed it because it had a message in direct contrast to their own. If you teach your followers to kill everyone with glasses, it doesn't really gel with "Love thy neighbor" (not that people tend to listen to that part anyway.) Religion wasn't all that was outlawed; anything with an opposing message was. Hitler killed all the Communists because they were a threat, not because he was really into Adam Smith's invisible hand.

Me again....
Pre-20th Century weaponry can't hold a candle to 20th century weaponry. They may have had the desire to kill as many people but they didn't have the means... or the population numbers to make their dreams a reality. And slavery was ended by religious people! Abolitionists were all Christians. Next thing you know you'll tell me 5,000 people were killed during the Salem Witch Trials. (It was 19 plus a dog.) I can't believe I'm defending religion but I'm sort of staggered that I'm witnessing people defend Stalin. If "love thy neighbor" doesn't fit in with the communist manifesto then I think I'll hang out with the religious folks. For all the "evil" that's been perpetrated by religion there has also been quite a bit of good. The same can't be said for fascism, Marxism and communism.
As my husband pointed out, the term "useful idiot" wasn't coined by Edward R. Murrow, it was the brainchild of Vladimir Lenin.

And you thought Facebook was all about people telling the world what they had for breakfast.


JP said...

you need to point out to your facebook fellow that Atheism has become his religion.
He seems to have lost the fact that what all his atrocities have in common is PEOPLE.
Religion is not the evil in the world, it is the people who used it for their excuse.
Atheism also was not the reason for Stalin or PolPot killing so many. Their evil policies were. As you point out, the pointing to the Crusades shows a lack of what the numbers were, but you also miss that numbers from then, and say the 30 Years War, and Muslim expansion, are not an easy number of deaths to get the actual amounts to. Plus most estimates tend to be muddied by how one wishes to come to a conclusion.
Wiping a town from the map and killing all residents, man, woman and child, is an atrocity but in the 1600's cities were not the size of NYC. But the 30 Years war was not so much about religion as it was about control. The same participants could have been atheists and the war would have taken place for much the same reason and result.
Now, I'm not as positive about Islam being benign and the people being the problem, as it is based on the rantings of a delirious nutbag "General" who hid from his enemies and deprived himself of food and water for long enough for hallucinations to kick in.

I'm an atheist not because religion is the problem in the world, but because I have never believed in a god. Raised catholic, I was not swayed in the least by anything "taught" me in sunday school, CCD, or confirmation. But I've not been taken in by either side's blathering about who's beliefs have killed more. Religion has been at it far longer,(before Judaism was even around, let alone Christianity) but the Atheists have had the "advantage of higher densities of populations to accumulate their numbers of victims. But it all comes down to the same thing. People controlling people.
Freedom of religion is not freedom from religion. Freedom also means some things will go on that you will not like .Everyone seems to forget that from time to time, and some never realize it at all.

Traci Skene said...

I've always found it odd that many secularists (atheists, progressives, etc.) defend radical Islam. Is it a simple case of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend?" Are they willing to forgive radical Islam because they know these people would love to wipe out Christianity? The same folks who would trash the Duggars will make excuses for Nidal Hasan.

I guess I feel they do the same thing with the various "isms."

JP said...

"I've always found it odd that many secularists (atheists, progressives, etc.) defend radical Islam.
Me too
The one thing a RIF hates more than Jews and Christians is atheists.
Same goes for the fools who like them solely because the are Anti-American. They will be the next targets for RIFs.
Funny thing too, these are often the same folks who will defend the Taliban running Afghanistan, yet claim the Dali Llama is just a leader in a Theocracy so why should he be allowed to run Tibet.

"Please don't think I was defending evil men who commit atrocities in the name of religion."

Did not think you were. I know you're not like that. I do know some who are though.
I don't hate religion myself. On the contrary, if a person thinks they need religion to help them through life, all the more power to them, lots of people need a philosophy to get them through the day, others just the thought of a God does it for them. . . who knows, they might be right, and I'm the one who is wrong. Someone being religious is not a bad thing. . . . unless the practitioner thinks it means he is free to try to kill me, or his religion actually tells him it is.

jk said...

Well said, Traci. Thanks for continuing to make the care for reason.

Traci Skene said...

JP, your opinion of religion seems to be the same as mine. When it comes to God, I sort of have the "you do your thing, I'll do mine" attitude.

But, there are times when I actually envy people who have a strong belief in a creator. A few weeks ago, I asked my husband, "Have you ever been at peace?" Without hesitation he said, "No." I said, "Neither have I." We spent some time debating whether it's possible to be "at peace" without religion. We didn't reach any conclusions.

Don't get me wrong, we're happy but "at peace" seems to be something entirely different.