Was Atheism the Cause of 20th Century Atrocities?

A student of Soviet history and communist ideology with a MA in Russian Studies from Georgetown University answers this question here. Be sure to check out the pictures of the Nazi connection with the church here, and Martin Luther's dirty little book about the Jews.

40 comments:

BahramtheRed said...

Huh no. Most those atrocities where good chrisitian soldiers doing what they thought god wanted.

Just Joeb's army is the next gebneration waiting to kill us all.

AdamH said...

20th century atrocities include the Gulags. And that is where most of the atrocties took place.

I was not aware the Lenin's, Trotsky's, and Stalins's stooges were good Christian solders.

And for a definitive expose of the fact that millions were killed by these atheists, because of their atheistic hatred of believers, there are few better sources than the Nobel Prize winner Alexander Solzhenitsyns' three volume series, The Gulag Archipelago.

Face it. It happened.

stormshadowcult said...

Sorry adamh, if you dont understand that these tyrants did these things because they were power hungry authoritarians then you dont understand what the word "atheism" means. Atheism = disbelief, lack of belief in god or gods. Atheism is not a belief system. So being an atheist does not make you do anything. You may want to learn a few more things about these concepts before you speak. :)

AdamH said...

SS, you may have noticed that I referred to Solzhenitsyns' three volume series, The Gulag Archipelago.

He establishes beyond any reasonable doubt that Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin and thousands of their hencemen arranged the killing of millions of believers because of their atheistic hatred of religion.

Of course, you may try to evade this by employing the weak definition of atheism, but you know full well that is not the only definition.

I strongly recommed you familiarize yourself with the actual history Solzhenitsyn documents before you speak.

It happened. It has to be faced before it can be dealt with.

Samuel Skinner said...

Hmmm- you think their antitheism could have an actual motivation? You know, the fact that the Czar was the head of the Eastern Orthodox Church and hence an enemy of the communist regime? The fact that the church was against many of the things the party stood for? The fact that the communists needed to get money and the church was rich (Defaulting on your debts just kills your credit)?

Face it- there are alot of things the communists were opposed to- but they were antitheists and anticlerical for the exact same reasons the French Revolutionaries were.

But wait! The French Revolutionaries were deists! You beginning to see the problem with your idea?

BahramtheRed said...

Adamh; First off this century has been littered with atrocities. Don't just blame the gulags. While bad they world has been soaked in blood.


But Hey wanna play a point game?

Every time you name an atheists atrocity you get a point for every person killed.

I'll name a relgious one and get a point for all the people killed. Who do you think will win this little game? Just on the 20th century?

BTW: Consider yourself lucky you didn't name hitler and his little holocaust. He required his soldiers to swear an oath under god to obey him and many stated (even after the war) that was the only reason they obeyed. They swore to obey him before god. Nice.

Harold said...

Atheists claim to that their beliefs are based on objective facts. That they seek out the truth. Yet here we have atheist avoiding the truth. It is shocking to me to see atheists white washing the reality of atheism’s atrocities in Communist Russia and China. Atheist have killed and imprisoned because of their atheistic beliefs.

Atheist like Sam Harris and others claim that Communist were not really atheist but religious. Granted there is a similarity between the Communist atheist and religion; unlike the new atheist theses atheist had the balls to do something political. Like religious people these atheist actually put into law what they believe. They don’t just write books complaining about things and hoping that someone else will changes things. For instance instead of writing a book and hoping that it would end religion, communist atheist (like Lenin) had the guts to ban religion.

Lenin was not under the delusional (like the new atheists are) that writing a book would some how get rid of religion. These communist atheists knew that if you want to get rid of religion you must ban it; which banning religion will be the only way of getting rid of it. Writing books or having blogs about religion won’t do anything.

Robert said...

Hello all, I'm the author of the article John has kindly linked to.

It seems adamh is parroting a few misconceptions, which I'd like to clarify.

20th century atrocities include the Gulags. And that is where most of the atrocties took place.

Actually, we don't have a very good estimate of the number of dead in the Gulags. Figures range from 1.5 million to 30 million.

And for a definitive expose of the fact that millions were killed by these atheists, because of their atheistic hatred of believers...

If you would, please read my article. The notion that believers were somehow singled out is a profoundly myopic understanding of Soviet repression.

...there are few better sources than the Nobel Prize winner Alexander Solzhenitsyns' three volume series, The Gulag Archipelago.

Solzhenitsyns was a bit of an...iconoclast. His indictment of the Gulag system was based on his view of Marxism-Leninism's "lack of religious and moral principals," which is unsurprising given his fervent Russian Orthodox beliefs. This analysis did not garner much support among Soviet historians.

Robert said...

harold wrote,
Yet here we have atheist avoiding the truth. It is shocking to me to see atheists white washing the reality of atheism’s atrocities in Communist Russia and China.

You are more than welcome to attempt a refutation of the points I make in my article.

What is shocking to me is the wholly shallow understanding of communist ideology and history theists such as yourself put forward. You're parroting propaganda, not history.

Charlie said...

Stormshadowcult,

Sorry adamh, if you dont understand that these tyrants did these things because they were power hungry authoritarians then you dont understand what the word "atheism" means. Atheism = disbelief, lack of belief in god or gods. Atheism is not a belief system. So being an atheist does not make you do anything.

Nonsense. Get your definitions right, will you? You've effectively described agnosticism. Atheism is defined as the belief that there is no god. As a matter of cold, hard historical fact, atheism influenced the atrocities brought about by Stalin, Pol Pot, et al. Stop trying to deny reality.

AdamH said...

Trotsky's testament, for the influence of atheism on his life and work:


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Home : Marxist Classics : Works by Leon Trotsky

Trotsky's Testament
By Leon Trotsky

1940

My high (and still rising) blood pressure is deceiving those near me about my actual condition. I am active and able to work but the outcome is evidently near. These lines will be made public after my death.

I have no need to refute here once again the stupid and vile slander of Stalin and his agents: there is not a single sport on my revolutionary honour. I have never entered, either directly or indirectly, into any behind-the-scenes agreements or even negotiations with the enemies of the working class. Thousands of Stalin's opponents have fallen victims of similar false accusations. The new revolutionary generations will rehabilitate their political honour and deal with the Kremlin executioners according to their deserts.

I thank warmly the friends who remained loyal to me through the most difficult hours of my life. I do not name anyone in particular because I cannot name them all.

However, I consider myself justified in making an exception in the case of my companion, Natalia Ivanovna Sedova. In addition to the happiness of being a fighter for the cause of socialism, fate gave me the happiness of being her husband. During the almost forty years of our life together she remained an inexhaustible source of love, magnanimity, and tenderness. She underwent great sufferings, especially in the last period of our lives. But I find some comfort in the fact that she also knew days of happiness.

For forty-three years of my conscious life I have remained a revolutionist; for forty-two of them I have fought under the banner of Marxism. If I had to begin all over again I would of course try to avoid this or that mistake, but the main course of my life would remain unchanged. I shall die a proletarian revolutionist, a Marxist, a dialectical materialist, and, consequently, an irreconcilable atheist. My faith in the communist future of mankind is not less ardent, indeed it is firmer today, than it was in the days of my youth.

Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full.

L. Trotsky
February 27, 1940
Coiyoacan.

All the possessions remaining after my death, all my literary rights (income from my books, articles, etc.) are to be placed at the disposal of my wife, Natalia Ivanovna Sedova. February 27, 1940, L. Trotsky.

In case we both die [The rest of the page is blank.]

March 3, 1940

The nature of my illness (high and rising blood pressure) is such - as I understand it - that the end must come suddenly, most likely - again, this is my personal hypothesis - through a brain haemorrhage. This is the best possible end I can wish for. It is possible, however, that I am mistaken (I have no desire to read special books on this subject and the physicians naturally will not tell the truth). If the sclerosis should assume a protracted character and I should be threatened with a long-drawn-out invalidism (at present I feel, on the contrary, rather a surge of spiritual energy because of the high blood pressure, but this will not last long), then I reserve the right to determine for myself the time of my death. The 'suicide' (if such a term is appropriate in this connection) will not in any respect be an expression of an outburst of despair or hopelessness. Natasha and I said more than once that one may arrive at such a physical condition that it would be better to cut short one's own life or, more correctly, the too slow process of dying ... But whatever may be the circumstances of my death I shall die with unshaken faith in the communist future. This faith in man and in his future gives me even now such power of resistance as cannot be given by any religion.


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AdamH said...

Well, I included more link info there than needed, but the Testament is present.

Philip said...

Adam,

How does that selection of journal entries prove anything other than that its author was an atheist and a Socialist? Doesn't your case amount to the idea that atheism was the primary factor in the persecution of religionists?

Rachel said...

I thought we declared a truce around here on this whole thing of "which philosophy has killed the most people"...

ismellarat said...

"Figures range from 1.5-30 million" people that died in the gulags?

Take a look at these figures, Robert.

http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/20TH.HTM

62 million, in the *Soviet* gulags alone (add to that Mao, etc.), is what RJ Rummel came up with - out of 262 million, total.

Everyone seems to love to focus on 2% of the problem and be happily oblivious to the rest. I haven't yet figured out if they discriminate in this way because of their views on race, religion, or ethnicity (hypocritically making them just as evil as the holocaust deniers they wax so righteously against).

Read Rummel's Death by Government.

http://www.amazon.com/Death-Government-R-J-Rummel/dp/1560009276/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1222111824&sr=8-1

500 pages of country-by-country accounts of mass murder. It's the best thing to read for anyone who gives a dam about his neighbor. (Isn't this what all these debates are really supposed to be about? Well, you ain't seen nothing yet.)

I think it reveals Christians and atheists to have both been worthless in this respect (Christians may be more hypocritical, since they keep making claims about being better than others, but atheists of course can't tell a Pol Pot why he should change, if he enjoys and can get away with what he does).

Rummel also says the Nazis were atheists, in "Democide", his study on them.

Rachel, be strong - I think you can win this one, although I think you may have trouble explaining how Christians have gone from murdering Jews to believing Jews can do no wrong, and being indifferent to everyone else's problems throughout, because they think the Rapture's coming so soon and all (which I'm not saying is your own belief). Why can't they just see Jews as normal people, no more and no less special than anyone else?

I think it's the suggestion that all governments do good all the time, in Romans 13:1-7, that explains why they seem to be all over the place with their beliefs. Those verses seem to undo everything good you stand for. The "Divine Right of Kings" came from them. Obey God, and pull that trigger. (Should a foreign Christian obey orders to bomb your family just as you should to bomb his? No one seems to want to think about it.)

And after these many millions died, most went to Hell, I'm to believe, and to agree with. The day I suddenly realized that, my own enthusiasm for the faith started slipping.

A crazy, crazy world, this is.

ismellarat said...

[email follow-ups]

Charlie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Charlie said...

Atheism not only strongly and unquestionably influenced the murder of millions of people throughout history, but it also logically implies that in reality there is nothing morally wrong with the fact that those murders took place.

After all, what's wrong with atoms being rearranged? That's fundamentally what happens during a 'murder', given atheistic materialism -- nothing more. Is an atomic swerve in the left or right direction a matter of morality? Clearly not. On atheistic materialism, we are all particles arranged like talking meat. Things like 'personhood', 'objective value', 'reason', are ontologically meaningless given atheism. Period. I challenge any atheist here to explain what is morally wrong with the following situation: atom A is located at location L at time t and at some time after t, t*, A is located at L*.

At least if theism is true, there is something really wrong with murder; and personhood, rationality, moral responsibility, etc., are all ontologically significant -- we are not merely complex arrangements of particles.

Robert said...

ismellarat wrote,
Take a look at these figures, Robert.

http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/20TH.HTM

62 million, in the *Soviet* gulags alone (add to that Mao, etc.), is what RJ Rummel came up with - out of 262 million, total.


Interesting. The figure of 1.7 million comes from a Russian demographer, who writes,

"Следовательно, общее число умерших в советских исправительно-трудовых лагерях, исправительно-трудовых колониях и тюрьмах за 1930-1953 годы, в основном подтверждающееся опубликованными архивными данными, составляет 1,76 миллиона."

My Russian is not the best nowadays, but here is my translation:

"Therefore, on the basis of confirmed publicized archive data, the overall number who died in Soviet labor camps, labor colonies, and prisons between the years 1930 to 1953 is 1.76 million."

Interestingly, ismellerat, your source completely confirms the point of my article.

"Q: Is atheism the principal factor in democide, such as that committed by the "Big Three,” Stalin, Mao, and Hitler?

* A: No. I find that religion or its lack -- atheism -- have hardly anything to do in general with wide-scale democide. The most important factor is totalitarian power. Whether a church, atheists, or agnostics have that power is incidental -- it is having the power that is a condition of democide. Incidentally, some ideologies, such as communism, function psychologically and sociologically as though a religion. The only distinction is whether the subject is a god or a man, such as Marx, Lenin, Hirohito, Hitler, Mohammed, Kim Ill sung, Mao, etc."

Philip said...

I'm addressing this to the theists reading this:

While atheism makes absolutely no claims vis a vis morality, theists seem to assume that conversely theism in and of itself makes moral claims.

But going on the simple, plain definition of theism, the belief in a god or gods, how does any sort of morality follow from it? How logically does one go from "There is a god or gods" to "The god or gods have moral standards we must abide by"?

It seems to me that mere theism is not sufficient enough to provide a supernatural basis for morality, but a religion with developed claims about the supernatural.

Basically, neither atheism nor theism in and of themselves make any claims vis a vis morality. Larger structures, ideologies, like Communism or Christianity, do make claims about morality, and atheism and theism are only parts of those larger structures. Secular humanism and Communism have atheism as part of their principles, but obviously they're both morally very different. Christianity and ancient Germanic religion both have theism as a part of their principles, but are morally very different.

Neither atheism NOR theism are sufficient to give anyone any idea of what it is to be moral or immoral. Only the larger structures of which they can be a part actually make any such claims. So for theists to claim that only by virtue of being theists are they in a superior position to make claims about morality, is a claim that I have not seen properly, logically justified.

Charlie said...
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Charlie said...

Philip you are precisely wrong and I'll explain why in a moment. But first let me thank you for your admission, as an atheist, that atheism is not "sufficient to give anyone any idea of what it is to be moral or immoral." I'm happy to see that your last reply contains at least one true proposition. You're getting better.

Not being a committed theist myself, let's now get to your mistakes. You ask:

But going on the simple, plain definition of theism, the belief in a god or gods, how does any sort of morality follow from it?

The first thing we have to do is fix your definition of theism. World Religions 101: Theism is the view that an omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent, personal being exists. To this being theists have given the name 'God'. The truth of theism implies that God exists independently of humans. It follows from theism alone, then, that there exists goodness and personhood independently of human thoughts or opinions. It's really out there, just as much a part of reality as chairs and tables, if theism is true.

We next need to clear up your imprecise use of 'morality'. If by 'morality' you mean specific, codified claims, knowable and agreed upon by everybody, about what a person should do in every particular moral situation, then, no, theism (alone by definition) does not provide this. Nor does atheism. Nor, arguably, does any worldview provide 'morality' in this sense -- that's because your definition of 'morality' is non-standard. What you should have used instead of 'morality' to get your point across is 'normative ethical system' or 'code of ethics'.

But if you are using 'morality' more standardly to refer to moral concepts, namely, rightness and wrongness or good and bad, then, yes, theism does account for the actual objective existence of morality in this sense, and, no, atheism does not.

The attenuated sense in which theists are on better moral standing than atheists is that right actions and wrong actions are part of the theist's ontological inventory (i.e. things that really exist). Atheists have to explain them away in terms that don't refer to anything existing independently of human opinions or minds or languages or what-have-you.


The lesson to take home tonight, Philip, is (a) learn what theism is before you attempt to speak authoritatively on it and (b) communicate a bit more precisely instead of using ambiguous terms like 'morality' to load your questions.


Thnx

Samuel Skinner said...

People, people- Plaot refuted the religion=morality connection in the Euthyphro dilemma! AND it is a logical proof- you CAN'T refute it!

In addition, theism doesn't mean the belief in a diety with the three atributes- the Greeks were theists AND their Gods didn't have those traits.

As for the body counts of Stalin, they vary. We have the low estimates which are from 1.5 to 8 million... and the high estimates which go as high as 60 million.

If you want to do the body counts, here:
http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/warstat1.htm

ismellarat said...

Robert, my Russian isn't really so good either, but I'm sure it's no worse than that of anyone else here.

Can you show me some translations of what he's written?

I know there's Babelfish, etc., but I'd like to see something that's been professionally translated, that other researchers have referenced. I don't even know his name.

The low estimate makes me wonder if he's in one of those neo-Stalinist groups, but if he can really show that everyone else is wrong, more power to him.

Imagine the outrage if someone were to say that the Jewish Holocaust had only been about 1/30th as bad as the consensus has it. I'd probably go along with Raul Hilberg's 5.1 million estimate.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raul_Hilberg

I probably have to agree with you (and Rummel) about Christians having a sorry record concerning genocide (but I'd say they go along with it, more than instigate it), because of what I said earlier. Government always does what's best, too many believe.

It can only work if a believer believes murder to always be wrong. But of course they're not taught that. If an "authority" says "go kill", it comes straight from God, they believe, unless they're on the receiving end, but then they can't explain why the other guy shouldn't obey God.

It can be hard to sort through it all, since most believe such a mess of contradictions. There's not always a coherent position to address. I try to pick out the good they claim to believe and exhort them to conform to it. "At least it's better than nothing," I'm often reduced to thinking.

ismellarat said...

Dang, SSkinner, I must be as smart as Plato. :) It's funny, how such obvious questions can make some lucky person famous, by virtue of having his name attached to them, like the Laffer Curve.

I've wondered about that myself, and used to feel uncomfortable admitting that I used "higher" criteria to judge God, but then I realized that other Christians really had the same idol, judging by how ashamed they looked, when I'd back them into a corner with dilemmas that forced them to either agree with something they abhorred, or to disagree with God.

It's very odd, how they claim to be so devoted, yet also try to have it both ways.

My point has always been that, while religion doesn't necessarily = morality, it's a better hook than having nothing at all, when it comes to trying to scare off a person from doing evil, who otherwise would be getting away with it.

I don't think the objection that "you must be weak or evil, to think such a thing is neccessary" (the way I understand it) has much meaning.

The same people who tell me such things also believe in having a legal system. Does this mean they'd otherwise rape their children?

Religion, at its best, is an appeal to the unknown (and I'd love to have a proof so easy that I could share it with the dullest of minds that are expected to "know" it's true, if anyone can provide it), that says that while you may be able to escape earthly justice, your crimes will catch up with you.

It's better than nothing, I keep saying.

tigg13 said...

Charlie, let me see if I understand you correctly.

You would rather have a theist rape and murder your family because god told him to, than to have an atheist rape and murder your family because he couldn't think of a good reason not to.

Is this about right?

ismellarat said...

Charlie, I don't think I've seen what you may have written elsewhere, but it looks like we agree on a lot.

Tigg13, I guess I'd prefer the theist, assuming I had a chance to talk with him. After the fact it really wouldn't matter much, would it? I bet Charlie'd say the same.

I'm only advocating a "good" theism, one that would support the many values I'm sure we hold in common, not theism in general.

Today's Christians do have a vague sense of them, so I haven't written them off completely.

ismellarat said...

Thanks for the body counts link, SSkinner. I'll have to find the time to compare that to Rummel's methodology. He also writes about what he thinks of the other studies.

Charlie said...

People, people- Plaot refuted the religion=morality connection in the Euthyphro dilemma! AND it is a logical proof- you CAN'T refute it!

Philosophy of Religion 101: Never say shit like this.

Plato -- oops, I mean Plaot -- "refuted" a very crude conception of the relation between morality and God. The dilemma doesn't work on contemporary accounts.

In addition, theism doesn't mean the belief in a diety with the three atributes- the Greeks were theists AND their Gods didn't have those traits.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_theism

Charlie said...

Charlie, let me see if I understand you correctly.

You would rather have a theist rape and murder your family because god told him to, than to have an atheist rape and murder your family because he couldn't think of a good reason not to.

Is this about right?


WTF are you talking about? Where has anything I've said implied this?

stormshadowcult said...

"Nonsense. Get your definitions right, will you? You've effectively described agnosticism. Atheism is defined as the belief that there is no god. As a matter of cold, hard historical fact, atheism influenced the atrocities brought about by Stalin, Pol Pot, et al. Stop trying to deny reality."

-ahh charlie. Wow, "denying reality" I couldn't have said it better charlie. I'm guessing you have the same issues adamh has too. Agnosticism deals with what you know and atheism deals with what you believe. Now what you are saying is the definition of atheism, there is no god, is a CLAIM. Now there are atheist who make this claim and they provide reasons for this claim but its not necessary to make this claim in order to be an atheist. Once you understand these concepts better you'll understand how and why your claim that atheist are to blame for the atrocities of stalin and so on is just bad reasoning. :) I find it that most people who make these accusations just have an incentive not to listen to reason because it might hurt their predisposed biases. Beliefs inform your decisions as well as your belief systems. Atheism is hardly a belief and certainly not a belief system. so how you could say that atheism makes you do anything....anything, is beyond me and denies reality. just wanted to throw some more knowledge at you again charlie but its for free so your welcome. :)

Charlie said...

^All bullshit.

Do us a favor. Come back when you're ready to stop re-defining atheism as something it's not.

tigg13 said...

Hi Charlie.

So that's not what you were trying to say.

You know, I didn't really think so. That's why I asked.

Let me take a second look.

(Short pause.)

Oh, Ok.

What you are actually saying is that, if there is no god then none of the horrible things that atheists have ever done can be considered to be evil, but if there is a god then all of the bad things that christians have done must be considered to be evil.

Right?

(Gosh understanding you is hard. I mean, its like, trying to find a relative point in what you say is like trying to find a snickers bar in a pile of dog turds.)

Charlie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Charlie said...

Tigg, I am sorry you lack basic reading comprehension skills. You should really work on that before you post again.

tigg13 said...

And yet I can handle Shakespeare, Homer, Heisenberg and the yearly IRS instructions without any problem at all.

Weird.

tigg13 said...

To get back to the original topic:

I don't think finger pointing is the best way to look at this subject.

Trying to pin the blame on Hitler, Stalin, ben Laden, Karadzic, etc. etc., or the ideologies they worked
under is to forget a very important point. All of these people had the support of their constituency.

Just look at how easily the Bush administration has been able to justify torture and at how many people are willing to defend this act of inhumanity.

It isn't christianity or atheism that's the problem.

Its fanaticism.

And the willingness of those who aren't fanatics to let the crazy people make the decisions.

Scott said...

Charlie,

Fist, let me attempt to present my position (and possibly the position of others) on God's existence

While I can't be 100% sure that the theists clam that God exists is false, I do not act as if he does exists.

This would be in contrast to the position that I don't have enough information to know one way or the other. If I were to find myself in such a position, it's likely that I would cover my bases and act as if he did. (Of course, this would be problematic for other reasons, such as the wide and varied interpretation of God's demands, etc.)

After being presented with the theists claim, the information I have at my disposal indicates that theism is very unlikely to be true. This is based on my observation that theism itself is a incoherent concept. That is, it invalidates itself as being a logical possibility based on it's own definition. This is in addition to a vast number of what I perceive as observed conflicts, such as the physical universe we live in, outcomes of actions based on theistic foundations, etc.

Feel free to label that agnosticism, weak atheism, etc.

Second, It does not follow that holding such a position requires or demands any specific behavior of me, let alone committing atrocities. Any positive actions I take in the presence of such a conclusion is based on other factors.

In fact, one might think that theism is untrue, yet promote it because they think a planet full of deluded people who fear eternal punishment from an all powerful being would result in a better world. (Personally, I think are better ways to reach such goals, as this sort of thinking is both an insult to humanity and observably results in poor outcomes. )

As I've illustrated, whether I think theism is true or not does not demand a particular course of action toward theists or anyone else.

Further more, If Satan does exist, then he knows God exists. And if Satan truly is the source of all evil and causes suffering, destruction and death, then it appears that biggest contributor to atrocities committed in any timeframe is indeed a theist. By hardening men's hearts to show how great he is, God himself would come in a distant second.

At least if theism is true, there is something really wrong with murder; and personhood, rationality, moral responsibility, etc., are all ontologically significant -- we are not merely complex arrangements of particles.....

I challenge any atheist here to explain what is morally wrong with the following situation: atom A is located at location L at time t and at some time after t, t*, A is located at L*.


Wow. Where to start?

First, I'll have to - again - point to non-thesitc Buddhism as just one such a positive system that makes these actions wrong. No God required. (is this going to be a habit?)

On atheistic materialism, we are all particles arranged like talking meat. Things like 'personhood', 'objective value', 'reason', are ontologically meaningless given atheism. Period.

Let's compare this "characterization" with the claims of theism and what we know about biology, physics, etc., shall we?

We know that our physical bodies are indeed made up of an arrangement of atoms. Correct?

As a materialist, I think it is the way in which these atoms are arranged that gives them meaning and that this arrangement was an emergent property of evolution. You claim that this arrangement is an intentional property of God's design and creation. However, you also think that we have a non-material aspect, called a soul, which cannot be reduced to atoms. Since this soul supposably lives on after we die, and it is the root of our personhood, identity, etc. I have to ask you the same question: what's wrong with atoms being rearranged?

As for your claim that 'personhood' and 'reason' are meaningless given atheism, this is an assertion based on your own world view, not mine.

AdamH said...

Scott, his "assertion" is not based on his world view, it is a logical inference from the premises of your world view.

Scott said...

adamh wrote: Scott, his "assertion" is not based on his world view, it is a logical inference from the premises of your world view.

Charlie's claim that I find personhood meaningless is dependent on the belief that 'true' meaning can only exist as a inherent property of things. I do not share this view.