Atheist Atrocities?

I notice that some comments on recent posts have resurrected the old canard about atheism being responsible for some of history’s worst atrocities. The argument goes like this: Communists committed horrible atrocities. Communits were atheists. Therefore atheism is to blame for horrible atrocities. Prof. Alister McGrath of Oxford Univbersity makes this claim in his book The Twilight of Atheism, Doubleday, 2004. I responded to it at length in my essay “Atheism: Twilight or Dawn?” in The Future of Atheism, edited by Robert B. Stewart, Fortress Press, 2008. Below is a long quote from my essay (pp. 54-57).

According to McGrath’s analysis…atheism’s partnership with Marxism became a deal with the devil when communism, and hence atheism, became the established, and exclusive, ideology of repressive regimes:

“The appeal of atheism to generations lay in its offer of liberation. It promised to liberate the enslaved and exploited masses from their cruel oppression by the state and church. Yet wherever atheism became the establishment, it demonstrated a ruthlessness and lack of toleration that destroyed its credentials as a liberator. The Promethean liberator had turned nasty (McGrath, 2004b p. 234).”

Indeed, McGrath says, the collapse of Soviet communism forced the world to confront the genuine nastiness of atheism:

“The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 did more than allow inhabitants of the Soviet bloc access to the West; it also paved the way for Western scholars to inspect the archives of the Soviet Union and its allies. The opening of the Soviet archives led to revelations that ended any notion that atheism was a gracious, gentle, and generous world view…Communism was a ‘tragedy of planetary dimensions’ with a grand total of victims variously estimated…at 85 and 100 million—far in excess of those murdered under Nazism (McGrath, 2004b pp. 232-233).”

But, of course, precisely the same sort of argument could cite the actions of the 9/11 hijackers to discredit theism. The 9/11 hijackers were, to a man, devout theists, but the obvious reply would be that the impetus behind their atrocious acts was not theism per se, but their adherence to a particularly fanatical brand of Islamic fundamentalism. Precisely the same kind of retort could be given to McGrath’s argument. Unless he shows, which he hasn’t, that the communists committed their atrocities qua atheist, that is, that is was their atheism that inspired their murderous rancor, the argument fails. In fact, of course, Marxism/Leninism and Maoism were irrational ideologies that became objects of fanatical, indeed, “religious” devotion for many of their adherents. If theism can take on poisonous and destructive forms without thereby discrediting theistic belief in general, precisely the same should be said of atheism.

McGrath errs in identifying atheism as a “worldview.” From the mere fact that one is an atheist very little else can be inferred. Atheists can be political fascists, conservatives, libertarians, liberals, communitarians, anarchists, or radicals. Their philosophical views can be pragmatist, empiricist, rationalist, idealist, existentialist, postmodernist, feminist, or almost anything else. As cases in point, Antony Flew and Kai Nielsen have been two of the most outspoken atheists among recent analytical philosophers. Their critiques of theism often are nearly identical in content. Yet Flew was a staunch Thatcherite Tory and Nielsen is a dedicated Marxist. Atheism, whether it is taken as the claim that belief in God is false or incoherent or unjustified, just does not have sufficient content to constitute a worldview.

Naturalistic humanism is a worldview, and most present-day atheists are probably naturalistic humanists. Humanists claim no more affinity with Joseph Stalin than do Southern Baptists. Indeed, some of the most damning indictments of Stalinism were written by humanists such as George Orwell and atheists like Arthur Koestler. Bertrand Russell is just as emphatic in “Why I am not a Communist” as in “Why I am not a Christian.” Humanist intellectuals and activists have a long and honorable record of opposing dictatorships of the left and the right, standing against oppression whether conducted by ayatollahs or commissars. Christian churches, let us recall, have far too often winked at right-wing autocrats, just as long as they were friendly to the interests of the Church hierarchy. To mention just one of many possible examples, during his long dictatorship over Spain, Franco enjoyed the support, or at least the acquiescence, of the Roman Catholic Church…

Could Prof. McGrath respond with a tu quoque and argue that atheism…[has] a natural propensity to grow into intolerant and repressive forms? Roger Scruton, in a 1986 essay published in the Times Literary Supplement makes precisely this argument:

“It seems to me that the morally defective feature of the death camp—and of the totalitarian system which engenders it—is the impersonal, cynical and scientific approach to the victims. Systematic torture and murder become a bureaucratic task, for which no one is liable and for which no one is particularly to blame…I do not offer to prove, what nevertheless has been vividly impressed on me by my own study and experience, that this impersonal (and therefore ungovernable) evil is the true legacy of the naturalistic view of man. Those very philosophies which enjoin us to place man upon the throne from which God was taken away for burial, have been most influential in creating a new image of man as an accident of nature, to whom nothing is either forbidden or permitted by any power beyond himself. God is an illusion; so too is the divine spark in man (Scruton, 1986, p. 565).”

But respect for other persons does not arise from detection of some “divine spark,” whatever that might be, but from the experience of shared humanity. Recognition that another has thoughts, feelings, dreams, hopes, and fears like one’s own naturally promotes empathy towards that person, while campaigns of dehumanization, like that conducted against Jews in Nazi Germany or against the “Kulaks” in Stalinist Russia, almost always precede genocidal campaigns. In fact, the impersonal, reductive view of persons that characterizes totalitarianism is more reasonably seen as a pathological outgrowth of a religious rather than a humanistic worldview. Characteristic of totalitarianism is the exaltation of ideological purity and the enforcement of strict conformity in action and belief. But belief systems that insisted upon doctrinal purity, and enjoined obedience in thought, word, and deed did not enter the world with the rise of naturalism and humanism. Such systems are the legacy of belief in One God, One Creed, One Church, and One Law. Paganism had no concept of heresy or apostasy for the simple reason that it had no creed. A classical Greek could join any number of mystery cults without raising questions about his or her devotion to the recognized Olympian deities. Pagan Rome tolerated associations devoted to the worship of Isis, Mithras, Cybele, Jehovah, and–except for highly sporadic and often half-hearted persecutions–Christ.

About Keith Parsons
  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06394155516712665665 CyberKitten

    KP said: From the mere fact that one is an atheist very little else can be inferred. Atheists can be political fascists, conservatives, libertarians, liberals, communitarians, anarchists, or radicals. Their philosophical views can be pragmatist, empiricist, rationalist, idealist, existentialist, postmodernist, feminist, or almost anything else.

    I’ve been saying this for years! The Communist, Chinese and Nazi atrocities where the result of twisted ideologies that regarding millions of people as impediments to their idea of progress and therefore in need of permanant removal – they had *nothing* to do with atheism.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12752842018808595853 The Maze Monster

    Arguments tend to be circular. They wait until people forget about arguments and then bring them up again.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09925591703967774000 Dianelos Georgoudis

    It’s true that correlation does not necessarily imply causation. So, for example, the flash of lightning correlates very well with the sound of thunder but it’s not like the former causes the latter. Rather they are both caused by an underlying cause namely an electrical discharge in the atmosphere. Similarly one could think that both the atheism of regimes and the atrocities perpetuated by them are caused by the underlying cause of communism. But I think this argument does not work very well, for two reasons: First it’s not only when atheism joined to communism that atrocities happened. They also happened in the case of Nazi Germany, as well as in the case of the French revolution. To be fair it’s not atheism itself, but rather a particularly rabid version of atheism, namely one that disdains religion, or one that demonizes religion considering it to be at the root of all evil. When such atheistic regimes come to power shockingly bad things tend to follow. Secondly, communism is both a political/economic theory as well as a worldview characterized by materialism and hence by atheism. It’s difficult for me to conceive that it was the political/economic side of communism that moved so many communistic regimes to atrocities, but perhaps I am wrong. In any case I only mentioned the issue of atheist atrocities when challenged to provide evidence that atheism fails in practical ethics; I think the evidence is there and exists on different levels.

    Keith Parsons suggests that is not atheism but totalitarianism that is the underlying cause of atrocities. Again the problem I see is that throughout history they have been many totalitarian regimes that were religious or at least not disdainful of religion – and even though we do see atrocities there they pale in comparison to the atrocities perpetrated by totalitarian regimes that were explicitly atheist and disdainful of religion. Again, it’s difficult to escape the conclusion that there is a causal link there.

    The terrorist strikes of 9/11 are an event worthy of study itself. Clearly the preeminent motivation here was nationalistic, but I think there is no question that fundamentalist and extremist religion played an important facilitating role. In general, the question of how particular beliefs influence peoples’ behavior is a valid and important scientific question. Let science study it and let the chips fall where they may.

    I agree with Keith Parsons that atheism itself is not a worldview and that little can be inferred from it. That’s why one should only compare religion (or theism in particular) with the atheistic worldview which, as Parsons notes, is typically that of humanistic naturalism. I have not read Alister McGrath’s book “The Twilight of Atheism” but I do think that atheism’s future does not look very bright, for the simple reason that atheism tends to represent a superficial and ill-reasoned reaction to the failings of religion. It’s easy enough to criticize religion by fixating on the worse parts of it, such as the mythology, superstition, or extremism – all born out of its messy history. It’s much more difficult to suggest a worldview that works better than it. And people are apt to find out sooner or later that atheism’s worldview fails both in explaining what “is” and what “ought to be” in a way that makes sense. Shockingly enough but unbeknownst to most people (some writers, e.g. Nick Herbert calls this issue science’s “best-kept” secret) materialism has even trouble staying compatible with science, or rather with observational facts; and materialism is the ontological underpinning of humanistic naturalism. Perhaps atheists will come up with a stronger worldview, but I do not see much evidence of any movement in that direction. The reason perhaps is that people in general as well as many academic philosophers still appear to believe in a mythical connection between ontological naturalism and science, and are therefore under the impression that it’s not really up to them to think about these issues. But physics does not metaphysics make.

    Finally Keith Parsons argues that respect towards other persons is based on the feeling of shared humanity and of empathy. I agree but the question is how these feelings fare when experienced in the context of theism or else in the context of naturalism. The former worldview strengthens them (we are all God’s children, everybody is made in the image of God, etc) while the latter weakens them (people are not that different from animals, people are just complicated electrochemical mechanisms, etc).

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16641266062186767500 Keith Parsons

    Dianelos Georgoudis says:

    “Keith Parsons suggests that is not atheism but totalitarianism that is the underlying cause of atrocities. Again the problem I see is that throughout history they have been many totalitarian regimes that were religious or at least not disdainful of religion – and even though we do see atrocities there they pale in comparison to the atrocities perpetrated by totalitarian regimes that were explicitly atheist and disdainful of religion. Again, it’s difficult to escape the conclusion that there is a causal link there.”

    For it to be difficult to escape that conclusion, it needs much stronger support than Mr. Georgoudis has given here. He mentions the atrocities of Nazis and the excesses of the French Revolution. However, atheism was no part of Nazi ideology, as it was with Marxism/Leninism. The Nazis did not seek to eliminate the church, but to suborn and subjugate it. The rabid anticlericalism of the French Revolution was an extreme, but understandable, reaction to the oppressive role played by the Catholic Church in the ancien regime. By contrast, in the present day, by far the most enlightened, progressive, and open societies in today’s world are those with governments that are, in practice, secular. Would you rather live in Denmark or the Taliban-controlled areas of Pakistan?

    Mr. Georgoudis also claims that the atrocities committed by religious regimes pale in comparison to those committed by atheist ones. Really? The Thirty Years’ War comes to mind. From 1618 to 1648 Catholics and Protestants in central Europe enthusiastically devoted themselves to mutual annihilation. Many areas of Germany were simply decimated, suffering depopulation of as much as 80%. In the 1950′s when governments were examining the possible effects of nuclear war, they used the Thirty Years’ War as a model. Perhaps the total number killed in Europe’s many religious wars, crusades, pogroms, persecutions, massacres, witch hunts, and inquisitions did not equal the numbers murdered in Stalin’s Great Terror of the late 30′s, but given the financial, technological, and bureaucratic limitations of pre-modern states, they did a pretty thorough job.

    Besides, even if the claim holds that communist regimes killed more, or even a higher percentage, of their populations, this claim still begs the question of whether atheism was the exacerbating factor. On the contrary, the Stalinist purges of the ’30′s were due to the paranoia and brutality of one man. Likewise, I would simply challenge Mr. Georgoudis or anyone to show that Mao’s Cultural Revolution or Pol Pot’s killing fields were in any sense motivated by atheism.

    Mr. Georgoudis:

    “The terrorist strikes of 9/11 are an event worthy of study itself. Clearly the preeminent motivation here was nationalistic, but I think there is no question that fundamentalist and extremist religion played an important facilitating role. In general, the question of how particular beliefs influence peoples’ behavior is a valid and important scientific question. Let science study it and let the chips fall where they may.”

    Is there any serious doubt that religion has and does motivate, or at least excuse and extenuate, much horrendous evil? When suicide attackers die shouting “God is great!” it would seem, prima facie, that God has something to do with it. Bertrand Russell puts it well when he notes that religion does not create the human capacity for hatred and violence, but it does all too often sanction and justify wickedness. Pascal noted that people never commit evil with so good a conscience as when they do so in the name of religion. Don’t like gays, infidels, foreigners, or uppity women? Your religion can let you hate them with a clear conscience since God hates them too!

    Mr. Georgoudis:

    “Finally Keith Parsons argues that respect towards other persons is based on the feeling of shared humanity and of empathy. I agree but the question is how these feelings fare when experienced in the context of theism or else in the context of naturalism. The former worldview strengthens them (we are all God’s children, everybody is made in the image of God, etc) while the latter weakens them (people are not that different from animals, people are just complicated electrochemical mechanisms, etc).”

    Let’s see: Traditional religion sees humans as universally sinful and wicked (we are afflicted with “utter depravity” as the Calvinists put it). Further, the vast majority of the human race is destined for a richly-deserved future of eternal torment. Since the Fall of Adam, Satan has been the ruler of this world. Further, whatever one’s religion, the majority of humans are inveterate infidels, and so hopelessly lost in darkness. And this view of humanity encourages me to have a kinder, gentler, more empathetic view? Further, it is simply mudslinging to say that according to humanism people are just animals or machines.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16826768452963498005 Jim Lippard

    A nitpick, Keith: “Many areas of Germany were simply decimated, suffering depopulation of as much as 80%.”

    80% would be decimation eight times over…

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16641266062186767500 Keith Parsons

    You’re right, as always, Jim. “Decimation” refers to the punishment given to units of the Roman army that displayed cowardice. They were decimated, that is, one out of every ten was executed. Ah, the pleasures of pedantry.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01875109580933192779 Perezoso

    Scruton’s point is worth pondering, even for non-believers (yet assuming a God existed, He did little to stop the atheistic communists and fascists anyway).

    There were nazis interested in eugenics, and Darwin. They made use of Nietzsche’s more virulent remarks against Xtianity. That doesn’t mean we have to agree with Ben Stein or biblethumpers (Darwin led to Auschwitz!), but it’s not unreasonable to posit some causal relation between Darwinism, eugenics and the nazis.

    Quite a few Brit and european intellectuals supported both eugenics and Darwinism (and social Darwinism). Winston Churchill, a supporter of Il Duce and Hitler (until the panzers were rolling) was a social darwinist, and favored eugenics if not liquidation of 3rd world populations.

    Marx’s relation to the communists, was a bit different: Marx materialist and atheist (and influenced by Darwin as well) pushed for violent revolution, but hardly suggested something along the lines of Stalinism. It’s debatable whether Stalin was atheist anyway: he was a former seminary student, and some have argued was actually in favor of reintroducing religion into USSR (at least after some purges).

    Science (or social science and ideology) obviously may be used for good or ill: that applies not only in regards to Darwinism, but say the development of nuclear weapons (Leo Szilard for instance was not entirely happy with Einstein’s associations with the Manhattan Project).

    Of course responsible non-believers, atheists and skeptics would object to a Mengele type making use of Darwinism, but there are naive Darwinists and right-wing atheists: some of them even teach at Oxford, and give lectures on atheism in corporate boardrooms across the world.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09925591703967774000 Dianelos Georgoudis

    In response to Keith Parsons’s comment above.

    I think that in order to find out what the effect of religion versus non-religion is on peoples’ behavior one should only compare state of affairs where all other factors are the same or at least similar. So to compare Denmark with the Taliban-controlled areas of Pakistan makes little sense. As would be to compare the crime rates in homogenous Sweden with its strict gun possession laws to the diametrically different US.

    For similar reasons it makes more sense to discuss the effect of religion at those times in world history before atheism had appeared on the stage as the official position of some regimes in power, i.e. before the French revolution. Before that all atrocities were perpetrated by regimes that were religious one way or the other. – Nevertheless the Thirty Years’ War merits some discussion. I dispute that this war’s motivation was primary religious in the sense that people were slaughtering each other because of their religious differences. I am not an expert but it seems to me clear that the basic causes of this war were political and related to the power games of those in power, as evidenced by the fact that Catholic France fought on the Protestant side of the war. Religion was then (as is now to a lesser degree) a means that regimes use for their own ends (sometimes by fanning their peoples’ religious sensitivities). To accuse religion for that Thirty Years’ War would thus be comparable to accusing science and technology for the destructiveness of modern warfare, or for the proclivity of those who possess the most powerful weapons to go to war. The closer I can get to see religion as playing a causal role in the Thirty Years’ War is in that people were prepared to go to war over their right to religious freedom, and even though I don’t agree with the means I do agree with this end.

    That wars in general have next to nothing to do with religion should be obvious when one looks at recent history. I think that even the often mentioned Israeli-Palestinian conflict has little to do with religion. Obviously, it’s not like if Israelis would today convert to Islam the problem would be solved. Nor is it like if the Israeli nation who came and displaced the locals in Palestine had already been Muslim there wouldn’t have been any trouble. That they came to that particular sliver of land does have to do with Jewish religion, but also has to do with Jewish history and nationalistic aspirations. A good argument can be made that here again we have a case of nationalism using religion rather than the other way around.

    Some atheists argue that religion is a bad thing because it “labels” people, and these labels can and are sometimes used to define the warring fractions. That’s true but then again what’s the alternative? People can also be labeled by their nationality, by their language, by their race, by their social status, and even by their education – and all these labels too can and have sometimes been used in conflicts and persecutions. The solution to violence is not to achieve absolute uniformity because this would be disastrous to our culture. To solution I think is to achieve respect and tolerance – and the relevant question is whether religion or non-religion is more helpful in this sense.

    Two final remarks.

    It’s true that Muslim suicide attackers die shouting “God is great”. Indeed I had already conceded that extremist fundamentalist religion did play a facilitating role in the 9/11 and similar attacks. But let’s not forget that there is no special link between terrorism and religion. Indeed the group which introduced terrorist suicide bombing in asymmetrical warfare were the secular Tamil Tigers, and I understand they have perpetrated more such attacks than all the terrorist Muslim organizations put together.

    Keith Parsons’s last paragraph I think grossly misrepresents how religious people view other people. When thinking about these issues one should either use the beliefs of the average religious person or else religious beliefs at their best. Finally he points out that to say that according to humanism people are just animals or machines is “mudslinging”. But that’s exactly what people are according to scientific naturalism, which I suppose renders “humanistic naturalism” an incoherent worldview.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11532683087210250003 Gaius Sempronius Gracchus

    Fess up, Keith.

    There is not the least doubt that religion has historically been a source of tyranny, violence, and totalitarian despotism.

    All the same, not every attack is just and not every claim made against religion, even in this connection, is true.

    Sam Harris in The End of Faith claims religion is such a terrible source of danger that it can no longer be tolerated.

    In making this claim he capitalizes on several blatant falsehoods such as that Muslim terrorism is more dangerous than other forms of terrorism are or were in the past; and that religion is or has been a more fecund source of ideologically motivated violence than several current and past secular ideologies that he does not suggest we ought to no longer tolerate, such as Nazism, Fascism, Communism, racism, and even nationalism.

    Too, his absurd claim that anyone who sincerely thinks only his coreligionists will be saved while others will be damned for eternity cannot tolerate other religions is belied by more than three centuries of religious peace nearly everywhere in the Occident.

    Furthermore, besides packing in so many absurdities and historic howlers as to prove that there is a lot of money to be made in complete balderdash for an appreciative audience, and with no justification at all, Harris presents his own physicalist naturalism as the only alternative to the Abrahamic religions.

    And not the least of his absurdities is his idea of denying toleration to religion.

    The alternative to toleration is persecution and suppression.

    Think how much violence that would involve!

    But Harris is far from the only atheist to want to use the power of the state to attack and suppress religion.

    The Jacobins did it, as did Marxists, and as did the fiercely anti-clerical revolutionaries of Mexico and Spain.

    Marx himself and his long-time opponent, Bakunin, and many Marxists and anarchists after them, positively hated religion and aimed at its violent suppression, as they do to this day.

    In light of that history, the idea that innocent atheism somehow unwisely and unfortunately made a mistake and “partnered up” with Marxism is just ludicrous.

    You are perfectly right to point out many atheists and humanists have condemned the crimes of the Communists.

    But how is that exculpatory if the like truth that many religious people have opposed and do oppose religious crimes and tyranny does not, in Sam’s eyes or in yours, make religion, even what he calls “moderate religion,” tolerable?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16641266062186767500 Keith Parsons

    Dianelos Georgoudis says:

    “I think that in order to find out what the effect of religion versus non-religion is on peoples’ behavior one should only compare state of affairs where all other factors are the same or at least similar. So to compare Denmark with the Taliban-controlled areas of Pakistan makes little sense.”

    But, of course, it makes perfect sense. When the Taliban takes control of a territory, the lives of the inhabitants, expecially the women, become much, much worse. Life is always tough in these tribal areas, but it becomes nightmarish when the Taliban takes over. Why does the Taliban do such horrible things? Religion. How do we know? Because they very loudly and insistently say so. As with the suicide attackers, when someone throws acid in a girl’s face, because she has the temerity to seek an education, and proudly proclaims that he is doing God’s work, it is hard to deny that God had somethng to do with it. By contrast, the only time there is any religious violence in Denmark, the Netherlands, or other such tolerant, secular countries is when it is committed by zealots in the immigrant Muslim communities. Recall the murder of the Dutch film director by a Muslim fanatic because he did a documentary about the treatment of women in Islamic countries.

    What actually makes no sense is to assert, as Mr. Georgoudis does, that prior to the French Revolution, we cannot say whether religion inspired any atrocities. His reasoning: “Before that all atrocities were perpetrated by regimes that were religious one way or the other.” Say what? This is like saying that we cannot say whether the effects of slavery were bad prior to the emergence of non-slaveholding societies. So we cannot judge that religious rancor had something to do with the motivation and justification for the Albigensian crusade, the expulsion of the Jews from Spain and Portugal, the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre, the Thirty Years’ War, etc., etc. because atheism was not yet a viable alternative? I confess that I just cannot see any coherent reasoning behind such a claim.

    Actually, a simple fallacy seems to underlie much of Mr. Georgoudis’s polemic. He apparently takes it for granted that if the motivation for a historical event was cultural or political it could not also have been religious. But this is simply a false dichotomy. Human events are complexly caused, and religion, culture, and politics interpenetrate in all sorts of intricate ways. Religion is just a part of the toxic mix that goes into atrocities. But it is a part. A big part.

    Mr. Georgoudis opines: “I think that even the often mentioned Israeli-Palestinian conflict has little to do with religion.” I am tempted merely to marvel at this remark rather than to respond to it. Since I am pretty much rendered speechless I’ll let Hitchens do the talking (from p. 24 of his book):

    “I once heard the late Abba Eban, one of Israel’s most thoughtful and polished diplomats and statesmen give a talk in New York. The first thing to strike the eye about the Palestinian-Israeli dispute, he said, was the ease of its solubility [!!!]. From this arresting start he went on to say, with the authority of a former foreign minister and UN representative, that the essential point was a simple one. Two peoples of roughly equivalent size had a claim to the same land. The solution was, obviously, to create two states side by side. Surely something so self-evident was within the wit of man to encompass? And so it would have been, decades ago, if the messianic rabbis and mullahs and priests [and John Hagee] could have been kept out of it. But the exclusive claims to God-given authority, made by hysterical clerics on both sides and further stoked by Armageddon-minded Christians who hope to bring on the Apocalypse…have made the situation insufferable, and put the whole of humanity in the position of hostage to a quarrel that now features the threat of nuclear war. Religion poisons everything.” Everything? Well, a hell of a lot.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11444305270383816724 El Profe

    The only thing I would object of the excellent argument of Keith Parsons is that, as far as I know, Christians were quite persecuted a little more than half-heartedly by the pre-Constantine Roman Empire.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09234052135912167443 jack44

    OK, OK, OK! I think I'll believe everyone's post and realize that the ONLY way to keep us safe MUST be to keep cant out of politics.

    I.E Separation of church and state. I know that's a new idea, but surely, there's a country somewhere that could try it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15778194629129379381 Josh

    In this rational, every Christian is a sick demented monster as well as ever muslim. Christians killed more during the crusades than anything atheists have ever conceived of doing. Muslims in their various jihads throughout civilization have killed and destroyed millions for their "god" also. I don't think the problems have anything to do with Atheists.
    Bertrand Russell
    "It has been said that man is a rational animal. All my life I have been searching for evidence which could support this."


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