Atheism Atheism against Religion Atheist Morality Christian Morality Philosophy

Is Atheism dangerous? A comparison against faith

There have been twenty-eight countries in world history that can be confirmed to have been ruled by regimes with avowed atheists at the helm, beginning with the First French Republic and ending with the four atheist regimes currently extant: the People’s Republic of China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. These twenty- eight historical regimes have been ruled by eighty-nine atheists, of whom more than half have engaged in democidal acts of the sort committed by Stalin and Mao and are known to have murdered at least 200,000 of their own citizens.

The total body count for the ninety years between 1917 and 2007 is approximately 148 million dead at the bloody hands of fifty-two atheists, three times more than all the human beings killed by war, civil war, and individual crime in the entire twentieth century combined. The historical record of collective atheism is thus 182,716 times worse on an annual basis than Christianity’s worst and most infamous misdeed, the Spanish Inquisition. It is not only Stalin and Mao who were so murderously inclined, they were merely the worst of the whole Hell-bound lot. For every Pol Pot whose infamous name is still spoken with horror today, there was a Mengistu, a Bierut, and a Choibalsan, godless men whose names are now forgotten everywhere…

Is a 58 percent chance that an atheist leader will murder a noticeable percentage of the population over which he rules sufficient evidence that atheism does, in fact, provide a systematic influence to do bad things? If that is not deemed to be conclusive, how about the fact that the average atheist crime against humanity is 18.3 million percent worse than the very worst depredation committed by Christians, even though atheists have had less than one-twentieth the number of opportunities with which to commit them. If one considers the statistically significant size of the historical atheist set and contrasts it with the fact that not one in a thousand religious leaders have committed similarly large-scale atrocities, it is impossible to conclude otherwise, even if we do not yet understand exactly why this should be the case.

Once might be an accident, even twice could be coincidence, but fifty-two incidents in ninety years reeks of causation!


An excerpt from Vox day’s “The Irrational Atheist”, Pg: 240-242, Chapter Red Hand of Atheism.

Now, I am not a big fan of Vox-day nor his book, which is very rude, at times. But what would you guys, especially the Atheists, would say to this?


I think I must clear one thing more. I do not believe Atheism kills, just as I do not think that Christianity kills. Personally, whether Hitler was a Christian, he was a very poor one, since I do not know of any tenet of Christianity that says to butcher millions. I will say the same for Stalin, I think he was just an immoral person at heart. Atheism it self does not say to kill, neither does Christianity. but men do, so Stalin butcher millions and so did medieval Christianity.

But I must object to the double standard here, if Atheism does not teaches to kill and yet Atheism has killed as a system, I am not sure than how one can carry this charge to Christianity without obvious bias and prejudice. Since if Atheists kill and that does not mean atheism kills (as it does not teaches so) then by the same rule if Christians kill that does not mean Christianity kills (as it does not teaches so).

So if you are going to hold to one, you must accept the other or concede both. You can’t have both without introducing a double standard.

By John A. David

A student of theology, a bible teacher and a graphics designer. I ramble a lot about Christian faith, apologetics and atheism.

52 replies on “Is Atheism dangerous? A comparison against faith”

In your text above, the author tries to create a connection between atheism and mass murder, but he doesn’t prove the connection.

First of all: If two things A and B happen at the same time, this doesn’t mean that A causes B or B causes A. In today’s world, we have seen an increase of the ability of man to kill other people, and an increase in the total population – which leads, unfortunately inevitable, to an increase in people killed – including people killed by their own government, for example. (That the comparison to the Spanish inquisition – which was less bad than the alternative, btw., as it at least had rules – is nonsense is probably something that we don’t have to discuss). So it doesn’t imply that the increase of atheism as a possibility for the people has to cause the increase in deaths.

But, more importantly: Religion becomes less important, but this doesn’t mean that the actions of the people have to be caused by this. None of the countries in your quote are “atheistic countries”, just countries with a political system that is also atheistic. You will have to search hard for people who wave a flag and kill in the name of atheism, simply because it would be plain stupid and as logical as killing in the name of the non-existence of fairies. Atheism is just not believing in any gods, nothing more. It doesn’t imply any moral rules or something like that (Theism doesn’t do that, too, btw, just the religions based on the basic theistic idea do). Many of the systems that include atheism add things, for example based on human nature or something similar, to answer questions about moral, etc. But if one of this systems fails and becomes inhumane, it’s not the atheism that’s the problem, but one of the things added to it (for example, no one starved in Russia because of atheism, just because of the other ideas of the political system).

So, yes, there were atheistic political systems (and still are, of course) that are the reason for millions of deaths, no doubt about that. It’s just not the atheism that’s the problem. Do you really think, a religious dictatorship would not be capable of this with modern weapons? Do you want to see an atomic bomb in the hands of Iran?

Put together, the argument is neither new nor good. It’s a surrender. Someone cannot prove that god exists, so he tries to at least prove that atheism leads to bad things – and fails, because all the bad things he can bring up were already done by religious people long before the 20th century – they just lacked modern firepower and similar things to do it in the given scale.

I am not one of these guys who thinks that global atheism will bring peace and happiness for everyone – people are just humans, after all, and humans can be quite bad. But I think that religion has enough negative sides to more than make up for it’s advantages. And of course… Religions are most probably wrong. I wouldn’t want to live with a lie, even when the lies would make me happier. But I don’t think that “religion was the reason for mass murder in the past” is a very good argument – humans are creative that way, they would have found other reasons, even without religion.

And of course, I think, a little bit you’re wrong, as some religions DO say to kill, the bible mentions this quite often, for example, so any specific religion, for example Catholicism, does have to take the blame for all the crimes of explicit catholic governments, for example. Theism, on the other hand, without any religious things added to it, correct, theism alone never told anyone to kill. If you have a vague feeling of some divine power out there, you’re not very likely and kill in it’s name (because you don’t know its name, at least). But honestly, true theists are not a real major problem for atheists 🙂

I hope you read my edit to the post.

I do not necessarily disagree with you. I understand what you are saying. I just find it very sad that most people do not have this much of insight to view the issue and form their opinions just so they can vent out or probably degrade the other side.

I would add that atheism also offers no reason NOT to kill, which is a very present aspect of Christianity. (Many argue that the Bible condones murder, but this is simply not the case.) THe idea that non-theists would not kill because of empathy or a perceived value of human life are sneaking morality through the back door of a deterministic worldview. It is the attendant lack of value of human life that permits atheist regimes (or leaders, or systems) to wantonly murder their own citizens, among others. It truly is, as atomicmutant says, the inherent evil present in humanity – rather than subscription to a worldview or philosophy – that is the root cause of all of the mess. I would simply submit that Christianity has overt proclamations and commandments against such actions, while atheist worldviews offer no such deterrents.

“I would add that atheism also offers no reason NOT to kill…”

This is where you’re wrong, and where, quite frankly, it makes the remainder of such a response difficult to read.

Atheism is simple worldview that denies the existence of god.

………………….and that’s it. There is no creed or guidelines or explanation of morality. Its just an observation that there likely isn’t a god.

Now secular humanism may, indeed, present a worldview in which its adherence describe morality in naturalistic terms and expressions. But the murderous dictators of the 20th Century certainly couldn’t be described as humanists.

The fact remains that any ideology: ones that reject god, ones that embrace god, ones that embrace 45 gods, ones that embrace the state (extreme nationalism or patriotism), etc are capable of atrocity on a long enough timeline. It is extremism of movement that breeds the propensity for atrocity.

To argue that Christians, due to the prescribed tenets of their faith, are incapable (or even less likely) to become violent as a result of their worldview is insane. Indeed, the record of history is clear!

I would challenge you to show me a historical example of someone who committed atrocities as a result of extreme atheism. And, again, I am not saying it couldn’t happen…because of course it could!

It just hasn’t thus far.


You have turned my argument around and made a straw man to argue against. A “simple worldview that denies the existence of God… and that’s it” offers no reason not to kill, just as I said. It is essentially amoral, not immoral. I make no claim that it makes people more likely to commit a particular sin of any sort than any other worldview, on the face of it. It simply does not deal with morality – the morality of an atheist must come from elsewhere, be it humanism, Buddhism, etc. The problem is us – our hearts – not our worldviews. My claim is that Christianity aims at the heart, and means to change it. Atheism makes no such claim, and does not need to.

Christians are just as capable (on their own) of committing the same atrocities as everyone else, but there is a marked difference in the lives of those who are born-again. As you say, “the record of history is clear” on this point, as well. Christians who follow Christ do not become more violent, and that is why it is said that more Christianity (in individual lives) is needed, not less. If the leaders of the Inquisition truly followed the tenets of the Bible, it would never have happened. When men and women followed Jesus, abolition happened. Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater…

I’ve only offered a straw man pursuant to your disingenuous comparison of worldviews. Not all worldviews are created equal or postulate as many guidelines as all others. You cannot conclude that atheism is “dangerous” simply because it, in itself, it fails to offer a guideline against killing others.

In fact, you would have to conclude, by your own line of logic, that atheists should actually WANT to kill people. After all, you believe that is our nature, no?

Or is it possible that the extensive understanding in science regarding traits like empathy, altruism, love, etc…are hardwired into our neurons.

Obviously you choose not to accept good science. I don’t know how you personally rationalize why the scientific consensus is wrong. We’re talking about studied professionals in their field who overwhelmingly agree.

After all, if science does indeed demonstrate the inborn predisposition to not murder, a god who gives us such a command becomes irrelevant.

“If the leaders of the Inquisition truly followed the tenets of the Bible, it would never have happened.”

But of COURSE! Forgive my skepticism on that account. It’s *always* those who aren’t *really* following the Bible that give everyone else a bad name. By the way, how in the world did God screw up so badly with his church?

“When men and women followed Jesus, abolition happened.”

Please. The church has routinely and predictably opposed every bit of social progress in history. The Bible provides instructions for good slave-keeping, not prohibitions on slavery.

“But of COURSE! Forgive my skepticism on that account. It’s *always* those who aren’t *really* following the Bible that give everyone else a bad name. By the way, how in the world did God screw up so badly with his church?”

Ofcourse it is always those who are not following Christ, which give us a bad name, I do not know what else you expect as an honest answer, that is the only one there is Andrew. Humans run the church, therefore they turn corrupt like everyone else, there is no magical virtue which makes you a good person just because you are born a Christian.

And no, I do not think that atheists are any more immoral or moral than Christians, and vice versa. You can’t judge philosophies by public acts.

You reference a “scientific consensus” regarding the “hardwiring” of specific traits into our neurons. You would have to add envy, hate, greed, lust, etc. as well. *That* they are hardwired is not the question – how and why they are, is. Empathy and love do not come from a blind force that is essentially based on the survival of the species (and that only because the more dominant species do in fact survive, rather than the force “desiring” such a result). The “good science” that effectively demonstrates the source of morality is no better than the “good science” that demonstrates the source of life

It is very common for people to shout against my disparaging of – and distaste for – science. I enjoy math, physics, cosmology etc. for the same reason I enjoy spending time with my wife – I love her and want to know more about her. I love God, and I want to know everything I possibly can about how He designed creation and how it all works together. It is extraordinarily fascinating, and I see human progress as an exceedingly fortunate and enjoyable side effect.

Does “science… indeed demonstrate the inborn predisposition to not murder?” Left alone, the desire of every person is selfish, yet practical. Organisms desire to live (even in the forms where desire is little more than instinct and stimulus-response), and that end is pursued at all costs. The fact that empathy, love, kindness, etc. exist in human nature to any degree is itself a supernatural phenomenon that cannot be regressed to a naturalistic cause; if we have indeed evolved, we have done so beyond the prescription of nature, and thus nature itself evolves. If this is so, then there is no Principle of Uniformity and all of science has little point, since an evolving natural universe precludes repeatable experimentation.
Finally – explain abolition in the absence of Christianity. Progress does not always mean moving in the same direction; in fact, sometimes the most progressive thing – if you have gotten on the wrong path – is to turn around and go back to when you were on the right path. Do you really believe that our liberal and progressive morality is creating a better world or better people today? I think our nature is obviously flawed, and our nature IS to scratch and crawl over others for our own survival. If good traits are indeed hardwired into us (and I believe they are), then it is not nature that does so (cf. Jeremiah 31:33). If everything is the result of neurological impulses, then we are just naturalistic automatons, anyway, and even this very thought is the result of a random or instinctual process, rather than individual thought.

“I love God, and I want to know everything I possibly can about how He designed creation and how it all works together.”

What evidence do you think you have that competing faith-worldviews do not? Do you not think, if your evidence were so obvious, convincing, or clear that these people believe with any less stridency than you do?

They must all be mistaken. It is YOU who have figured it out. They’re just deluded with the teachings of a false prophet. Mmhmm.

“Finally – explain abolition in the absence of Christianity.”

Thanks for an easy one: humanism. Humanism has done more for the positive progress of mankind than Christianity could dream to ever do. And its because you’re not actually concerned with easing people’s suffering. You’re concerned with making them adherents to your creed. This is why Christians historically oppose contraception, for example. Nevermind the AIDS crisis in Africa or the fact that contraception can stop abortion…the creator of the universe is deeply interested in what his people do when they get naked! So, no contraception.

“Do you really believe that our liberal and progressive morality is creating a better world or better people today?”

Umm, yes. Unequivocally. Believers get themselves all wrapped up about how bad the world has become due to secularism because it allows them to be “driven to the cross.” I never understood the imagery of being driven to a torture / execution device but that’s another point…

We’re experiencing the least violent time in human history. Right now. You think religion has accomplished that? Christians?

Far more urgent is the fact that whilst neither atheism nor Christianity, Hinduism or Judaism advocate violence regardless of the content of their source texts, Islam alone to only demands strict adherence to its genocidal source texts, the Qur’an, Hadiths & Sunnah, it indoctrinates its precious offspring with this mandate, making Islam uniquely dangerous to all human kind.

Further to my last reply, I am of referring to current times. In 2016, only Islam actively teaches its children to hate non-believers & requires the death or conversion of all non-believers PRIOR to Islam’s Judgement Day.

Not sure if it is Atheism that is the problem here, but rather our tendency as human beings to justify dehumanizing those of whom we dislike or present a problem for us. The Nazi’s called the Jews “rats”, the Hutus called the Tutsis “cockroaches”, and now we in the West with our modern hardened sensibilities call babies “fetuses”. The Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and even Native American Religions have all done this. I don’t think one particular world view is to blame here, but rather need all of humanity has felt over some point in time to look at another human being and call it something else. Maybe it is more the outflow of an inherent self-righteousness, in which case maybe we should look for ways to build bridges here instead of burning them.

This post goes well with your last one. Authoritarian states have always taken advantage of an unfortunate human capacity to view the “other” as a means to an end, whether in the active, put-them-all-in-a-work-camp sense or the organizationally passive, keep-them-out-of-the-way sense. I am a pessimist on this matter; I think it belongs to the anthropologists, not the theologians and philosophers. The basic problem has always been there and the shift from “enemies of the faith” to “enemies of the state” was a natural one. Does anyone think Stalin’s purges were based on philosophical ideas of any sort, or that the cultural revolution differed in any way other than volume from the auto-da-fe’? Anyone maintaining that we can solve this problem by ‘just getting rid of those damned atheists’ or ‘just getting rid of those damned Muslims’ (to use the religion currently victimized by this process) simply paves the way for the next tragedy.

I don’t think that this excerpt provides enough information. Only a few countries which Vox Day’s list of 28 countries are cited here. I am actually surprised that there has been that many atheistic countries, to be honest. As a ruler, the temptation to ostensibly accept the religion of the masses is so great that I’m sure plenty of “religious” rulers were actually atheists (Saddam Hussein comes to mind) — of course, it would be impossible to know how many rulers have been closet atheists.

Do you think you could find the excerpt where Day lists these countries? I think that this is important because there are some rulers, such as Adolf Hitler, who many people claim to be atheists who weren’t. Was Saddam an atheist, ya, I think he probably was; I’ll accept that. However, the evidence for Hitler being a non-believer is lacking and the evidence for him being a believer is great.

I think I must clear one thing more. I do not believe Atheism kills, just as I do not think that Christianity kills. Personally, whether Hitler was a Christian, he was a very poor one, since I do not know of any tenet of Christianity that says to butcher millions. I will say the same for Stalin, I think he was just an immoral person at heart. Atheism it self does not say to kill, neither does Christianity. but men do, so Stalin butcher millions and so did medieval Christianity.

But I must object to the double standard here, if Atheism does not teaches to kill and yet Atheism has killed as a system, I am not sure than how one can carry this charge to Christianity without obvious bias and prejudice. Since if Atheists kill and that does not mean atheism kills (as it does not teaches so) then by the same rule if Christians kill that does not mean Christianity kills (as it does not teaches so).

So if you are going to hold to one, you must accept the other or concede both. You can’t have both without introducing a double standard.

I never said that Christianity kills, nor do I believe that. I do believe that any belief based on a scripture which is interpreted differently by different people can easily be used to justify killing. This goes for the Bible or the Communist Manifesto. My primary concern is with dogma and the exploitation of the masses with such dogma.

Atheism is not a belief and therefore it is not subject to supernatural dogma. You don’t have dogma for anti-alchemists in exactly the same way. There’s no anti-theist bible or anti-alchemist bible, either. Can an atheist be dogmatic? Perhaps, but not in a supernatural sense, otherwise they’d no longer be an atheist.

“Atheism is not a belief and therefore it is not subject to supernatural dogma. ”
True enough, but it is not ideology proof, you will agree that no man is totally one thing, you may be an atheist but you may have many other ideologies with which you might agree. Same is the case with anyone, with or without religion, no person is simple, as no person is one thing.

Athiesm in the wrong hands just does not kill with supernatural dogma, it may kill with human induced dogma. The potential to twist it is always there, same as any other authority system. It can be a blanket for many things. As these numbers show.

In your first paragraph, I couldn’t agree more with ” no man is totally one thing, you may be an atheist but you may have many other ideologies with which you might agree.” Therefore, if you accept this proposition, then atheism can’t kill people because it isn’t dogmatic. Perhaps the argument you can make is that when atheism is paired with some political theory, it can become deadly. I’d accept that as an argument. I don’t agree with it, but I’d accept it 🙂

Please I never said atheism kills, I think humans do it, regardless of their faith or the lack thereof.

Any philosophy when it tends to suppress reason is a threat to peace, Christianity or atheism, does not really matter.

I appreciate your thoughtful feedback and I agree with you, pure Atheism can’t kill people, the same way pure Christianity can not either, Atheists and Christians may kill but that should not be made a ground to stereotype.

Here is one table he gives with the note at the end. There are many footnotes and citations, I cant copy paste all, best is to read the book yourself. One a side note, the book is aimed at the new Atheists, not atheists in general, though it is kind of strong and I do not agree with the tone, its quite harsh.

Country Dates Murders
Afghanistan 1978–1992 1,750,000
Albania 1944–1985 100,000
Angola 1975–2002 125,000
Bulgaria 1944–1989 222,000
China/PRC 1923–2007 76,702,000
Cuba 1959–1992 73,000
Czechoslovakia 1948–1968 65,000
Ethiopia 1974–1991 1,343,610
France 1793–1794 40,000
Greece 1946–1949 20,000
Hungary 1948–1989 27,000
Kampuchea/Cambodia 1973–1991 2,627,000
Laos 1975–2007 93,000
Mongolia 1926–2007 100,000
Mozambique 1975–1990 118,000
North Korea 1948–2007 3,163,000
Poland 1945–1948 1,607,000
Romania 1948–1987 438,000
Spain (Republic) 1936–1939 102,000
U.S.S.R. 1917–1987 61,911,000
Vietnam 1945–2007 1,670,000
Yugoslavia 1944–1980 1,072,000

*Note that some known Communist
countries are not listed here, for example, the state murders committed by the Nicaraguan Sandinista
regime and the People’s Republic of South Yemen numbered 5,000 people or less. In some
cases, such as Kampuchea and Laos, the numbers reflect the victims of more than one Communist
regime, for example, the Khmer Rouge ruled Kampuchea from 1975–1978, after which the Vietnamese-
installed puppet government ruled until 1991. Both regimes committed mass murders, although
the Khmer Rouge were ten times as deadly as their successors.

Many many have been killed in the name of religion. I can’t think of an example of a time that people have been killed in the name of atheism.
The statistics you present are of people dying in the name of non-religious dogma. Some of it is economic dogma, some of it is political dogma, but none of it is “atheism”.

People killing in the name of Christianity has nothing to do with Christianity, a person will make anything an excuse to carry out what he wants to do. If by Christian, you mean anyone who is called Christian but does not follow Christ teachings then I am not sure what a Christian is. And if we are going by that standard of yours then sure, Atheists killed in the name of Atheism and its spread, trying to eradicate religion from society, read about Albania, and even U.S.S.R. Which demolished 42000 churches out of the 46000 there were in all of Russia. You think they were doing it for fun or imposing Atheism?

We’re at an impasse. The intellectual connection between the teaching of a book and the violent behaviour of some of its followers is an important connection to me.
There is no immediate connection between lacking a certain belief and any actions at all. The (extremely recent) historical pattern is (a) a small sample size compared to the last few hundred years and (b) lacking in any clear causal relationship.
So it’s a correlation fallacy and an undersized sample size.
Lastly, the underlying issue of “dogma” is unrelated to atheism.

if christ said to kill, then i wud agree with you, since that is not the case, i cant see that connection.
though if you feel we should just disagree than thank you for your time, i appreciate it

I think that if we can identify where we disagree on an issue of values then there is not a lot we can do. And we disagree on what constitutes a reliable and explicable pattern. So I also thank you for your time.

Christianity, as described in the Christian Bible, does in fact teach murder for a large number of things. If you don’t think the OT applies to Christianity then take it out of your books. Jesus claims to come to fulfill the law, not depricate it. The penalty for working on the Sabbath is stoning. There are many others. All three of the big monotheistic religions advocate death as the penalty for perceived sins. Christianity does indeed teach murder.

So you are telling me that you can not understand the difference between Judaism and Christianity? Seriously?

So Jesus came to fulfil the law, well how many guys did he stone? care to elaborate? I am sure you will find a list somewhere on some atheist website. Go ahead try it.

There is, unfortunately, a little bit of cherry-picking here, sorry. Last time I asked, the old testament was still a part of Catholicism, for example, and many, many Christians still cite it, when it’s about what they want. So Catholicism has to take blame for the things in the book. As soon as the pope tells everyone, that the old testament is no longer valid, Catholics can claim that they don’t have anything to do with it any longer, but until then, it’s part of their faith and a valid thing to judge them about. You can’t keep the dope and not be responsible for possession, sorry 🙂
I know that cherry-picking is something many people, not only religious ones, do, but it’s pretty obvious here and effectively a basis for every fundamentalist: If you don’t like homosexuals, just take the parts of the bible that speak against them and ignore the whole love-thy-neighbor stuff. If you want your faith to be a nice, pretty, clean one, ignore all the dark parts and just quote that god loves everyone. But, unfortunately, both versions will be cherry-picked, distorted versions of the complete faith. Neither can claim to be a “true” Christian – probably, because there is cannot be a really “true” Christian.
But,a s I said, that’s a human trait, not a uniquely religious ones. It also works with political parties, celebrities, etc. – Followers of those will always use cherry-picking to ignore the things they don’t like. It’s harder with atheism, as cherry-picking from only one thing is pretty hard, but the same is true for theism 🙂

Not really, there are a few things you are right about, about some you are wrong.

Old testament is a part of history and faith in the roots of the new testament, it is not Christian practice. That is Judaism and Torah.

Please cite some official catholic statement which supports your point that stoning gays as written in the old testament is “Christian”.

Faith is complete in Christ, people may disagree, theologically it doesn’t change a thing. the old testament is not for Christians to practice, Christians cite it often as guidelines or on some cases as laws they must obey but they in the latter case are also wrong, they impose on themselves things that are not required of them and certainly not commanded to them.

I am not ignoring the dark parts, neither I am trying to clear anything, what is written is written, but you must have some knowledge of scholarship in the biblical area to divide the things and make sense of them, reading a simple english bible is not qualification enough to do such analysis.

“Neither can claim to be a “true” Christian – probably, because there is cannot be a really “true” Christian.”
According to who? A true Christian is one who believes in Christ and his commands, simple.

You are right though that people cherry pick, I find it often the case, when out of everything, Crusades and the Spanish inquisition is given to me to defend, next time I’ll remember to tell them not to cherry pick 🙂

Though I agree that this goes for both sides. And by the way believe me, given enough time, Atheism will also have a big a library as faith to be cherry picked from. Christianity had two thousand years, Atheism is still young compared to that. 🙂

First of all, in my whole catholic youth, I was never told that the old testament is not valid anymore. It was part of every religion class I had back then and also part of many church days, so even if there is some agreement within the theological community, it obviously hasn’t reached all of the simple catholic people out there, which makes it, in real life, the thing people believe. Of course, they don’t follow it, they just ignore it, the same way as they ignore everything else they don’t like, no matter where it comes from. Oh, and I read the german bible, btw, back then my tendency to mostly read english texts wasn’t that well developed 🙂

And no, Atheism itself cannot have a big library of faith, because the simple words “There is not enough proof to justify believing in god” doesn’t need a big library. Of course, more words may be needed to explain it to the people, but that doesn’t change the fact that there cannot be anything else for atheists to believe in. There can be, for example, more for secular humanists, but not for pure atheists themselves. It’s the old problem: If atheism is a faith, then not playing soccer is a game or “bald” is a hair color.

its a philosophy, anyone can use it, does not make it any more safe than some other system. you were told wrong in your child hood, i guess. by the way, i asked for official citations, not what people think in general.

I wouldn’t call the basic atheism a philosophy, just an idea. Of course, any philosophy that includes it can become dangerous – the past has proven that – but that’s probably also true for any philosophy that contains the idea that vegetables are good for you.

I am not a bible scholar, admittedly, so I’m personally the wrong person to ask, but in my primitive way, I would read things like this…

123 Christians venerate the Old Testament as true Word of God. the Church has always vigorously opposed the idea of rejecting the Old Testament under the pretext that the New has rendered it void (Marcionism).

…as pointing in this direction (from the Catechism of the Catholic Church). But I don’t doubt that the official policy also includes the whole cherry-picking approach, everything that sounds acceptable is taken as “still valid” and everything else is not…

Here is the thing. No matter that you personally think that the OT has nothing to do with your Christianity, your version of it is only one of more than 30000 sects of Christianity and most of them use the OT when it suits them – ergo, it is part of the Christian teachings. You don’t have to like it for it to be true.

Your Jesus was such a good person that he never actually managed to say ‘hey, slavery is wrong’ and he never condemned any of the laws which call for stoning, his best effort was to say that if you are without sin, go ahead and start the stoning. You think that his flouting of the Jewish law he represented is special and wonderous. He did NOT depricate or invalidate those laws, quite the contrary, he said they are valid. His actions did not get written into law and he did not rewrite the law of his god (himself). Twist all you want, the book that you claim says this. Denying it or cherry picking from that book is only creating your own cult. No matter that you do so, if you call your cult Christianity you will get tarred with the same brush and typically the tar will be applied liberally.

You claim this jesus was all good. Well, he totally screwed up his opportunity to set things right. Just one more failure by a god who makes failures all over the place.

I am not sure exactly where in this thread to butt in, so I’ll start at the top, I guess. I actually disagree that the OT no longer applies. While Christians are certainly not held to the Levitical and Deuteronomic laws, which were culturally and nationally specific to Israel, the *entire* Old Testament is still part of God’s specific revelation and, therefore, still part of Christianity. Jesus came to fulfill the Law, which included expanding, focusing and clarifying it. The fact is, every sin is a death sentence, commutable only through payment or forgiveness (forgiveness is also a form of payment, but one where the violated pays for the violator). Physical death is not the end, and thus is not a final punishment (although I understand that those who do not believe in life after death will not accept this argument).

There is a capricious tendency to deny the difference between “murder” and “kill,” and that does a great disservice to any intellectual debate. It is not as if all of the writers, compilers, fabricators or whomever is deemed to have written the Bible were ignorant of the fact that the Decalogue commands men not to murder, and then people are instructed to stone citizens for various crimes; there is a distinct difference – the most easily recognizable that all of the criminal punishments in the Old Testament were laws that were pronounced through legal proceedings, rather than arbitrarily through vengeance or vigilante justice. Even where nations were attacked and destroyed at God’s commands (often misrepresented as “genocide”), the attacking army was used as a tool for God’s justice, not out of any preference for that nation (see: the destruction of Judah by the Assyrians as referenced in Habakkuk).

There are many things in the OT that must be viewed through the lens of the NT in order to be fully understood (such as the sacrifice of Isaac, Passover, the Tabernacle, etc.). Many claims that are made against the morality of the Bible or Jesus simply misunderstand the culture and/or the text. Slavery then was not what we think of slavery as, and Paul implored slaves and masters to act in ways that made slavery an impossible institution. (It should also be noted that it was the Bible and Christians committed to it that were responsible for the abolition of modern slavery in the industrialized world, and leads the charge now in those places it still exists.) Jesus did not speak to particular activities and institutions; He spoke to the heart of those who heard Him. There is no point in attempting to change behavior without changing the foundation of that behavior; Jesus came to save our souls, not our lives.

Well over all guys, what do you think? You like defending something which your philosophy has been used for but actually does not condone? Is it a good feeling defending something which you know is not as such as being represented?

I hope you see that. With some people it strikes a nerve, I hope they can see that when they use such tactics what other people feel like when they are misrepresented. Being misrepresented and having to defend yourself over and over is not a very nice feeling.

I think the problem you face is that you could spend as much time arguing with other Christians as you could spend arguing with atheists. Christianity has many faces, from people who argue love and inclusion to people who like to scream “God hates fags,” and yet they all point to the same source as the basis for what they say. I don’t think so much that someone is misrepresenting Christians when they argue with you, rather they are presenting viewpoints of other Christians with whom you also appear to disagree.

Also, I would say that the majority of Christians don’t understand atheists. They start from preconceptions, often things they are told in church, and attempt to argue against atheist doctrine when there is in fact no such thing. It’s a pretty safe assumption that when a Christian says, “Atheists believe…” whatever follows will likely be wrong or at the least a gross over-generalization such as the bit about dictators you share here. Atheists are quite familiar with being misrepresented.

OTOH, many atheists grew up Christian. We became familiar with it before we rejected it. And as is often the case, we continued to read the Bible after we rejected it, because much of it takes on very different meanings after you realize it is fiction.

it isnt christian if it isnt christ like, west bro baptist is a cult, so not sure how u would lump them with main stream christianity.

also being an ex christian is not credible to your view, i am a former athiest would you accept that as credibility to my view?

I wouldn’t lump Westboro with mainstream Christianity, but they make the same argument as all Christian sects, that what they teach is derived from the Bible. This is part of your problem, that mainstream Christianity encompasses so much. Even among mainstream Christianity there is much disagreement. If this weren’t true, you wouldn’t have Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists, Episcopalians, etc., etc. You would just have Christians.

I would say that anyone who has been sincere in both viewpoints has more credibility than a person who has only known one. I would hope such a person would be less likely to mischaracterize the opposing view, but as you’ve shown here each is free to use absurd arguments to make a point. However, is it a mischaracterization if what I say comes from someone who calls themselves Christian? It certainly makes a conversation more cumbersome when you have to first decide who can legitimately use that label.

Of course you can claim I was never a true Christian, that’s a common line. I’ve always found it to smack of desperation, a way for a Christian to reassure themselves that they can’t lose their faith like others have. Few are immune to a crisis of faith, and most are more susceptible than they would like to believe.

Is this some kind of superficial consolation that you like to cherish?

Plenty of problems with this:

1.Atheists are less than religious population over all, OFCOURSE their numbers would be less compared to others, duh!

2. Atheism other than in America may seriously challenge this study of yours don’t you think?

3. Sampling data and sampling size, is in question here.

4. Precise account of beliefs is very very hard to get. And not at all good to make assumption, let me show you examples that you won’t like.

5. In the prison system of England and Wales, where it is customary to record
the religion of the prison population as part of the Inmate Information
System. In the year 2000, there were 38,531 Christians of
twenty-one different varieties imprisoned for their crimes, compared
to only 122 atheists and sixty-two agnostics. As Europe in general
and the United Kingdom in particular have become increasingly
post-Christian, this would appear to be a damning piece of evidence
proving the fundamentally criminal nature of theists while demonstrating
that atheists are indeed more moral despite their lack of a
sky god holding them to account.

However, there also happened to be another 20,639 prisoners,
31.6 percent of the total prison population, who possessed “no religion.”
And this was not simply a case of people falling through the
cracks or refusing to provide an answer; These do not include agnostics, the Inmate Information System is specific enough to distinguish between Druids, Scientologists,
and Zoroastrians as well as between the Celestial Church of God,
the Welsh Independent church, and the Non-Conformist church. It
also features separate categories for “other Christian religion,” “other
non-Christian religion,” and “not known.”

At only two-tenths of a percent of the prison population, educated atheists are, extremely law-abiding. But when one compares the 31.6 percent of imprisoned no-religionists
to the 15.1 percent of Britons who checked “none” or wrote in
Jedi Knight, agnostic, atheist, or heathen in the 2001 national survey,
it becomes clear that the lower than average atheists (uneducated and poor) are nearly four
times more likely to be convicted and jailed for committing a crime
than a Christian in the capacity. While Christians account for 39.1 percent of the English and Welsh prison population, they make up 71.8 percent of the total population.

Census, April 2001, Office for National Statistics.

Do you like this study, let me know why not? what are the problems you would find in the statistical data, when you do that, I suggest you take that high powered criticism back to the numbers you posted here as your point and let me know.

I’m laughing at how much people put into their responses. The more words you use the more convoluted your point becomes. Anyway I just wanted to point out that radical views will lead to radical action. Religious views that are hard set will typically lead to dangerous action.

I'd love to hear your thoughts, feel free to leave a comment. Thank you.

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