Some religious propagandists like to pretend that they are just and good and righteous and that anyone who believes differently is somehow inherently evil, especially if we don’t have any faith-based beliefs at all. As if none of us have ever done anything good, which of course means they have to ignore all the good that so many of us actually do, and instead exaggerate the bad as much as possible, even if they have to lie to do that.
Here in America, that sort of propaganda most often comes from Christians, and Protestants in particular. These people feel empowered by a sense of persecution. Somehow having their beliefs questioned, criticized or ridiculed doesn’t inspire them to re-evaluate their position, as it logically should. Instead they’re determined to double-down, so that an already unreasonable belief becomes an incurable delusion, which they’ll actually brag about, having such strong faith.
The more severe their persecution, the more justified they think their belief is. So they want to feel persecuted. It’s like a badge of honor for professional victims. Christians claim to be the most persecuted people in America; even though they’re still the dominant demographic and always have been; which they think makes the U.S. a Christian country. It almost is now that they own and control everything at every level of State and Federal government and literally lay down the law. They’re so persecuted, aren’t they?
We atheists are out-numbered, out-financed, and certainly out-gunned, but we’re committed to defending the first amendment against their constant attacks, because we’ve had a lot of history to show us what they’ll do to us and everyone else once they get that out of the way. The Founding Fathers knew that too. That’s why the First Amendment is there.
But these religious extremists tend to have an altered and enhanced view of history. It is propaganda after all.
For example, modern Protestants distance themselves from the Crusaders, Inquisitors, and Conquistadors by blaming all that on Catholics, as if Catholics are godless Mary-worshiping pagans who really aren’t Christian.
First of all, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, there are over a billion Roman Catholics, more than twice as many as all Protestant and Orthodox denominations combined. The inclusion of Catholics is the reason why Christianity is still the world’s leading religion. But if Catholics are not Christian, then Christianity loses its privileged position and Islam becomes the dominant religion.
That’s gonna happen eventually anyway, and the sooner y’all realize that, and work with me to defend and promote secular policies before that happens, the better off we’ll all be.
Those who dismiss Catholics also tend to reject Jehova’s Witnesses, Mormons, Orthodox, and several other denominations too. You include Anglicans, but that’s about it. In which case, Christianity is only the 4th largest religion, after Islam then Catholicism (awkward) and even behind Hinduism.
Did you know there were more Hindus than there are Baptists, Calvinists, Methodists, Lutherans, and all that put together? Islam is the fastest growing religion, and Muslims already have all y’all out-numbered almost 4-to-1. How do you feel about your Catholic allies now?
The same people who dismiss Catholics as not true Christians also blame atheists for a long list of atrocities against Christians, even when those Christians were Catholics, and their oppressors were not entirely or not necessarily atheist. So they’re fudging the numbers on both sides here. That’s what makes these claims propaganda: that they are both biased and deliberately misleading.
For example, the “reign of terror” during the French revolution was aimed at Catholics specifically, not the Protestant Huguenots or Lutherans, nor even the Jews who were also there. It was aimed against Catholicism because revolutionaries saw the Catholic church as their oppressors, which of course they were and had been for centuries.
And while there were some atheists in the French revolution, most (including Napoleon) were Deist. Let’s not forget that after deposing theocratic rule of the Catholic church, the state then mandated belief in a Deistic version of the Supreme Being. That’s still God. So you can’t call them atheists.
Likewise Christians blame atheists for murdering tens of thousands of religious believers in the Paris Commune of 1871, but that’s not what happened either. Again Catholic clergy gave authority to the monarchy and therefore had to be deposed along with them, but this was an entirely political conflict in which religious believers were never targeted, nor atheists implicated as the aggressors. At least some of those rebels were Christian, and fewer than a thousand people were reportedly killed in total.
Then when the Bolsheviks took over the Russian Empire, their Red army was pitted against the White army, being a collection of tzarists, Republican liberals (there’s a concept) and Russian Orthodox, which American Protestants only consider Christian when it’s convenient for their persecution complex. The Bolsheviks did kill a bunch of Orthodox—along with many other people, and they did this with the assistance of Muslim mercenaries; again not in the name of atheism, obviously, but because the church supported their enemies in the white movement. If you opposed the tzar, who was backed by the Russian Orthodox Church, then the Church was your enemy too.
The new Russian state did seek to eliminate religion after that, and they thought they could do this by removing the fear on which faith is apparently based. But at that time, a majority of Soviet citizens were still openly religious. Even after the Communists established state atheism, most organized religions were never outlawed and people were still allowed to carry religious and anti-religious materials.
Even Stalin—who was raised religious himself—allowed the Russian Orthodox Church to resume at least some of its former position in the community. I’m not defending Stalin by any means. He was a vicious idiot who rejected Darwinian selection in favor of Lamarckian Lysenkoism, and he was a monster responsible for a whole lot of inhuman atrocities—some against Christians for various reasons, but also against lots of other people too, behavior that sane people consider unconscionable.
Pol Pot was another rocket surgeon who had people murdered if they wore glasses, because he thought only smart people wear them. So he thought anyone with glasses was smarter than him, (which ya know, they probably were) and he thought that made them dangerous. So he had them all killed. The man was a homicidal moron reacting out of fear.
Atheism is a smart position to take for many reasons, but being atheist doesn’t make you smart. That’s why I personally advocate rational education in scientific skepticism and promote humanist values. Just ‘cuz you’re atheist doesn’t mean you’re rational, or skeptical, or educated. Your mere lack of belief in gods doesn’t automatically make you a Humanist, I’m sorry to say; just like it doesn’t make you Communist either.
But the propagandists among you have often assumed that if I’m atheist that means I’m Socialist, (which it doesn’t) and they don’t know the difference between socialist and Communist, because those descriptions are complicated, and the people I’m talking about—aren’t. They’re definitely prone to false dichotomies on one dimensional lines of thought without any consideration of nuance.
But because the only government to ever promote state atheism was Communist, then regardless of the circumstances in each particular case, any violent conflict between Communists and almost anyone else is misrepresented as an attack on Christians by atheists; regardless whether those Communists were exclusively or even predominantly atheist. Since none of this was actually done in the name of atheism, there’s no way to know, and whether any of them were actually atheist is largely irrelevant.
And it’s not just Communists who are categorized this way either. Socialists are conflated with Communists too and thus labeled atheist, even if they’re practicing Christians. Jesus himself was a Socialist. That don’t make him atheist, or violent either. It was never about atheists hunting Christians because they are Christians. That’s just a persecution fantasy.
While atrocious horrors are often committed in the name of God and religion, and violent mobs have reacted to that, especially when imposed by the ruling class, no such riots were committed in the name of what they don’t believe. Religion is not the only ideology one can believe in that can incite violence. Authoritarianism has particular appeal to the worst people ever, regardless whether they believe in a god or not; especially when that becomes totalitarianism.
I was always told not to talk about religion or politics, an order which I obviously didn’t obey. Because of that, I have discovered that the only thing less rational than religion is politics. And I’ve seen that atheists would sooner form alliances with politically compatible believers than tolerate political differences among fellow infidels. You can still believe in political ideologies and act horribly on their behalf regardless whether you also believe in religion.
So Communists were rarely—if ever—exclusively atheist, and atheists are rarely Communist. My wife’s family for example, fled Vietnam when the Communists took their land and imprisoned her grandfather, among many other horror stories she tells. Consequently she’s an atheist with no love of Communism at all.
Most of the Christian claims we hear about atheist regimes are hogwash, and much of what we hear about Christianized history is whitewash.
Let’s not forget St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre, where Catholics slaughtered tens of thousands of French Calvinists in 1572—in the name of God. Then remember the heavy persecution that began again with the Edict of Fontainebleau by Louis the XIV in 1685. That’s why Louis the XVI signed the edict of tolerance a hundred years later, allowing non-Catholics to practice religion freely at last.
Remember, Henry the VIII initiated anti-Catholic hostility that lead to Anglican and eventually German Protestants persecuting or killing Catholics, and we’ve had wars of Catholics against Orthodox, to say nothing of Puritans torturing Quakers in the American colonies—all in the name of God, which it has to be when it’s one religion vs another.
Which God? Well, whether you call him Abba, Allah or HaShem, they’re all the father-god of Abraham: you know, Jesus’ alleged dad. So they’re all fighting over different interpretations of the same god, and they’re killing each other in the name of that God. All three major Abrahamic religions claim to be all about peace and love, yet they’ve all been at war with each other continuously since their inception, while also being at war with the Hindus who are at war against the Sikhs and the Buddhists.
Then of course there’s the genocide of tens of millions of Native Americans, which was begun by Catholic Conquistadors but continued by Protestant Christians like Andrew Jackson, our first Trinitarian Christian president.
Remember that prior to Columbus’ famous discovery, Pope Nicholas directed Spain’s King Alfonso to “capture, vanquish, and subdue the saracens, pagans, and other enemies of Christ,” to “put them into perpetual slavery,” and “to take all their possessions and property.” This Christian Doctrine of Discovery was adopted into U.S. law by 1823. Our history records that indigenous Americans were described as pagan savages who must be killed in the name of civilization and Christianity. Thus thousands—if not millions—of Native Americans were killed deliberately in the name of God; where no one I know of was ever killed in the name of atheism.
Remember, (despite what religious propagandists say now) the Nazis were Christians too, (whether Catholic or Lutheran) and they said their concentration camps were based on the reservations we created to detain tribal natives. Hitler said his hatred of the Jews was based on his religious beliefs and not on any racial knowledge, and the Kristallnacht was inspired by the published anti-Semitism of Martin Luther, founder of Protestant Christianity. So don’t pretend that Protestant Christians are better than anyone else, nor that Christians in general are better than everyone else either.
Of course all through history, atheists have been—and in some countries still are arrested, tortured, and killed simply for not believing in whatever religion is favored by the local authorities. Because irrational beliefs can only be promoted with an irrational defense.
So what have we learned about predominantly atheist or secular governments beyond 20th century Communism? In a previous video of this series, I’ve already explained how religious believers are statistically far more prone to violent criminality and acts of immorality than atheists are. But I should also add that the most atheist countries today are also the greenest and most technologically advanced. With the single exception of Communist China, they are also most tolerant societies, and popularly considered to be the nicest places to live—with the best systems of education and health care, as well as the best economies and ecologies, with the lowest crime rate, and the worst criminals being devout believers: pretty much the exactly opposite of what biased dishonest right wing religious extremist propagandists want you to think.