When I discuss the harm done in religion's name with my sister, who is Moslem, she inevitably brings up the harm done in atheism's name, including Stalin in the process.  I am not sufficiently well informed about history to know whether or not she is right that harm has been done in atheism's name.  (I know that Marx thought that religious belief would simply vanish once people ceased to live under oppressive economic conditions, so that he didn't see the need to actively combat religious belief, but I also know that the USSR was an officially atheist state.)  What sort of reply would you give to someone who contended that while harm has been done in the name religion, it has also been done in the name of atheism, so that the look-at-the-harm-religious-belief-does argument isn't effective?

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There are terrible people of all persuasions, but Stalin didn't do what he did to prove there was no god. No atheist has ever used "there is no god" as a battle cry, or a reason to invade others.


I suspect Stalin was more anti church than anti religion, simply because there was no seperation between church and state. One was very much like the other, which is still prevalent in many places today.

Sorry, but Stalin was NOT an atheist! Stalin was baptised into the Catholic Church when young, and used religion whenever he could to promote his agenda. There are many Hitler quotes such as this one: "... I am convinced that I am acting as the agent of our Creator. By fighting off the Jews, I am doing the Lord's work." There is much on this subject on infidels.org:





Hitler was a baptised Roman-Catholic. In fact, many priests in- and outside the Third Reich supported him (many more didn't). Stalin, although having been raised a Christian, supported atheism as a state religion (or non-religion, as the case may be), in order to shift the alliances of the Soviet people away from deities and make them more allegiant to the State. However, Stalin's atrocities, such as the Great Purge and the assassination of Trotsky, were not motivated by atheism but indeed by ideaology and the lust for power.
Stalin was anti "anything that took away from his complete and total authority over everything"

I agree with the Gaytheist.  The key here is, "harm done in atheism's name."  Sure, atheists are capable of doing the same harm as anyone, and conversely, are also capable of doing as much good as a theist, but when atheists do harm, is it for the cause of atheism? 

Stalin was less about atheism than he was about POWER.  Ditto Pol Pot.  Both were essentially cults of personality who may or may not have HAPPENED to be atheist.  Nowhere will you find any evidence that they did what they did in the name of atheism ... more like in the name of their own self-advancement.

When athiests do harm it's because they are crazy and need mental help and we accept that they are wrong.  When religious people do harm it's because they are crazy as well but because the delusion is something that is accepted by a wide number of people... so is the harm.



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Another small point is that tzars were considered head of Eastern Orthodox Church, same as monarch of England is head of Church of England and Pope is head of Western Catholic Church. As such, whoever was head of state in Russia was looked as as at least somewhat closer to divine than was any regular person. Hitchens makes a point of saying how anyone as concerned w amassing power as was Stalin was (as Loren and Sam Jones and others pointed out) would be a fool not too take advantage of this situation. To an alarming extent anyway Stalin was a theists who believed everyone should worship Stalin.

I am not a history major but...


I can't believe there was ever a case where some megalomaniac wanted to kill whomever stood in his way on his path to spreading Atheism.


And no people were ever rallied around the cause of Atheism to invade and kill millions of others.


However I do believe that ALL of Histories butchers were faithless in the way they used religion as a tool to get people to follow them and kill the bad guys.


Religion's biggest problem is how it is exploited by people for all kinds of selfish gains.


any religion should be about getting people to be good people PERIOD!!


but they have ALL been bastardized by "users" who see them as convenient means of getting the masses to "behave" and/or rally to some BS cause and march off to kill the infidels...


And religions by their very nature make otherwise good people intolerant of those who don't see things the same.


I could rant-ble on here for a while, but the many problems I see with religion will take me off topic farther than I already am...


to me a "good" Atheist is someone who does the right thing because they know that it is so.


but a "good" ________ (insert religious identity here) is someone who is basically following what others tell him/her how they should interpret the will of their deity, and this has been VERY counterproductive to any ones definition of what is right religious or not.



I am puzzled by your declaration that religion should be used to get people to be good. The problem with "good" is that it is defined differently from person to person. How do you define "good"? In Nazi Germany, killing Jews was considered "good". Even if we could agree on a definition of "good", I cannot agree that it is ever proper to use religion to control the thinking and behavior of a population. I firmly believe that children should be taught to reason and think critically for themselves so that they can make their own choices intelligently as adults.

I am also going to have to disagree that religion's biggest problem is it's exploitation of it's followers. That's a problem definitely, but no larger a problem than the fact that it brow beats people into abandoning reason in favor of faith. How faster to hamstring a democracy than to cripple the population's ability to make rational decisions in favor of blindly voting for whatever is declared favorable to their god's way of doing things?




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