Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Now we see the violence inherent in the (atheist) system

Dinesh D'Souza makes the case that atheism has had a much greater death toll than religions, in spite of all the posturing about the bloody history of religion.

But what do you make of this atheist school shooting? I will tell you this, if the gunman had said he was doing it in the name of Jesus, all the infidels would be a lot to say about the violence inherent in the (Christian) system.

I'm not sure how far these arguments should be pushed. But in light of preposterous claims about religion as the source of all violence, these murders need to be pointing out. Anyone know the religious affiliation of the Columbine killers?

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

More people are killed by sober drivers than by drunk drivers.

So let's have no more talk about the dangers of drinking.

Drinking is not inherently dangerous, at least not compared to sobriety.

But many hypocrites claim drinking and driving is inherently dangerous, and come up with rationalisations whenever a sober person crashes his car (He was tired, it was foggy, blah,blah,blah...)

Ron said...

I personally don't like this at all. When atheists ask about the Crusades or the Inquisition we ought to tell them that they were tragic events that don't reflect the teachings of Christ and the New Testament.

Sure, atheists have done terrible things in the past century but atheism is a totally individual belief. Atheists can be communists, capitalists, you name it. The dark episodes in Christian history are so dark because as Christians they ought to have known better. That's why they are held to a higher standard then the many horrific things pagans have done in the B.C. period and what people like Hitler and Stalin did in the last century.

Anonymous said...

This old chestnut?

Atheism was part of communism, so was common ownership of property and a dozen other things.

Did Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot etc kill those millions of people because of their religion? With some isolated exceptions, it was because the people got in the way of their political plans. These dictators would have killed even if their victims had been atheists. Compare this e.g. to the slaughter of French Huguenots during the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre because they were protestant.

Would these dictators have killed less people had the dictators been religious? No reason to believe this. Plenty of religious people have killed in large numbers. They just haven't had the power to do it on this scale. This is to suppose that religion causes people to feel OK about killing in the hundreds of thousands but start to feel queasy when it gets into the millions.

If Al Quaeda get the use of nukes do you think their religion will tell them not to use them?

mattghg said...

Anyone know the religious affiliation of the Columbine killers?

Read this. Perhaps what's described is not a religious affiliation, but it's certainly an ideological one.

mattghg said...

Anon 1,

The reason more people are killed by sober drivers than drunk ones is that (thankfully) the overwhelming majority of drivers are sober while driving. The reason more people have been killed by atheistic regimes than religious ones is, what? That the overwhelming majority of leaders throughout history have been atheists? Do me a favour.

Lyric Crossborn said...

If we eliminate the force to which the most violence is attributed, then the second greatest motivation becomes the greatest. Do we then eliminate that one too? And if we do, what then, the one after that? People go to war in the name of freedom and right. Shall we do away with liberty and morality? People kill in the name of mercy and justice. Imagine a world lacking these ideals. The concept of doing away with provocations for violence and war is misguided if not totally absurd.

Anonymous said...

"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."

I think Dinesh is a very stupid man.
The good Nazi citizens of Germany continued to go to church and carried bibles and wore crosses into battle. Most of them were not atheists.
What is so scary is that these good people thought they were still traveling on the path to heaven while obeying the evil commands of madman Hitler. And their faith was completely useless in preventing the horrors of the Holocaust.

Christopher said...

tell that to Bonhoeffer.

Anonymous said...

"With some isolated exceptions, it was because the people got in the way of their political plans."

Yes it is true atheism taken alone may have not caused Pol Pot or Stalin to kill millions of people. But given atheism what is exactly wrong with killing millions of people? Take the most evil event that Stalin has done in his life. Maybe it was when he laughed at his son when he tried to commit suicide or when he sent hundreds of thousands to the gulags. Now Stalin is on his deathbed pondering his years in power. Given atheism is he wrong to think that nothing will come of him when he dies? Given atheism will the things made wrong by him ever be made right? Given atheism is Stalin wrong to chuckle at such events? If not than why can't atheists make the jump and say nothing is wrong now? After all given atheism morality is only preferences, making the entire argument that atheist use against the inquisition completely absurd.

John W. Loftus said...

I'm beginning to think that "which belief system killed more people, Christianity or atheism” is a wash, just like the particular psychological theories used to explain why someone is a Christian or an atheist is also a wash. That being said, we probably need these arguments to counter the opposition’s claims, lest one side get the upper hand.

Since it's obvious people use religion for their own selfish purposes, and since self-destructive and egomaniacal people who reject religion can kill people in the name of atheism, it probably doesn't show much to us in this debate about the truth or falsity of our respective claims, except in one important respect, which is the same one we argue about between us anyway.

Christians have a revelational claim. They do not reason to their specific beliefs (the trinity, Incarnation, resurrection?). They learn about such beliefs from God’s revelation and then they argue such things are reasonable to believe. Even the AFR cannot get you to the Trinity. Non-believers claim to follow reason and science. We have separate starting points. But we both claim to be reasonable.

That difference between us is also the difference in which of our set of beliefs killed the most people, I think, and also the reason why I think religious beliefs are indeed more dangerous. Why? Because there’s this entity called the Holy Spirit. The Christian claim is that he speaks to them, individually through illumination, or collectively through the Bible. Atheists have no such belief. What they believe is based on reason and science (in various degrees, since there are intelligent and educated ones as well as ignorant ones).

Individually a Christian can claim to have heard the Holy Spirit or God speaking directly to them, and this voice can say “kill people,” or a host of other messages, many benign. Those who claim God told them to “kill people” are the insane people, of course, but an atheist insane person has no such justification if he chooses to kill.

Whenever God’s message is believed based upon this voice of God’s, without evidence, Christians are absolutely sure of it and they can do a great amount of evil in God’s name. They can claim practically anything. From “God wants so-and-so elected,” to “I should marry this person,” to “we should have another baby,” to “I should bash gay people and infidels,” to “our church should step out on faith and build a bigger church,” to “so-and-so is an evil person.” These beliefs can do harm, and they are adopted based upon that voice in their own heads.

An individual who hears this voice can influence a church or a nation on a collective level, if that person is a leader. Collectively a church can do harm in such things as the Inquisition, a Crusade, or by endorsing slavery. A “Christian” nation can endorse such things as “manifest destiny,” or that we should invade Iraq, or support the Jews no matter what, because they are supposedly in “end time prophecies.”

So I think these beliefs of Christians admit an element of danger and evil for the very same reasons I reject it. Their beliefs are not based upon reason and science, and anything no so based is delusional and can lead to harm. The question I have posed continually is why God never said such things as “Thou shalt not trade, sell, buy, own, or beat slaves” and said it as often as needed for the collective church to get the point (this could be done for witch, honor, and heretic killings as well). And if a proper exegesis of the relevant texts should’ve been so clear in the Bible that Southern Christianity was not getting it right about slavery, then where was the Holy Spirit’s influence? If Christians can repeatedly and grossly reject the influence of the Holy Spirit, then what influence does he really have in the lives of believers?

Mike Darus said...

John, I think you answered your own questions in one of your premises “Since it's obvious people use religion for their own selfish purposes…”

“Which belief system kills the most people?” it is obvious people use religion for their own selfish purposes…

“Why do Christians falsely claim that the Holy Spirit told them to commit a violent act? …it is obvious people use religion for their own selfish purposes…

“How do you explain such things as the Inquisition, a Crusade, or by endorsing slavery, “manifest destiny,” or that we should invade Iraq, or support the Jews no matter what.” … it is obvious people use religion for their own selfish purposes…

If Christians can repeatedly and grossly reject the influence of the Holy Spirit, then what influence does he really have in the lives of believers? … it is obvious people use (or fail to properly utilize the resources of real) religion for their own selfish purposes…

Anonymous said...

Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Mao Zedong have a long way to go to reach the notoriety of Professor Antony Flew - the world's most notorious atheist.

Simply read Flew's books to see why Dinesh D'Souza shudders at the violence inherent in the atheist system.