American Voters Prefer Muslims to Atheists

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A new poll of American voters reports that atheists are less popular than Muslims. To wit:

Sixty-one percent of those questioned said they would be less likely to support a presidential candidate who did not believe in God. Forty-five percent said the same for a Muslim contender.

Only 5 percent or fewer said they would be likelier to support candidates who were atheists.

It appears that for most American voters, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett and Christopher Hitchens can just go to Hell. 

Whole article here.  

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  1. Who is surprised by this? At least Muslims have irrational superstition to support their positions. Them God damned atheists only have reason on their side. To your average theist that’s no friggin’ contest.

  2. If most vocal atheists weren’t such self-absorbed, angry fuckheads, maybe atheism would have a better chance.
    But I’m not hopeful.
    Oh well, back to reading my parchments.

  3. One more reason I keep my shotgun loaded and support the 2nd Amendment.

    Damned Robertsonistas knock on my door…

  4. Ron you say that like the public not letting a drunken nasty sot like Hitchens anywhere near the levers of power is a bad thing.

  5. Hmmm…. maybe we’ve found the root of our political problems…

  6. If most vocal atheists weren’t such self-absorbed, angry fuckheads

    Sounds like most vocal libertarians as well.

  7. I may be self-absorbed and a fuckhead but I’m not , uh, what was the middle one again?

  8. Muslims, and most religions in general, tend to be more “leave me alone to worship in peace please” more than the hardcore atheists, who are more apt to insist you’re a stupid, ignorant fuck who believes in some mythical being akin to a unicorn or narwhal.

    And I’m an atheist.

  9. “Hmmm…. maybe we’ve found the root of our political problems…”

    Yes because putting athiests in charge in Russia and China resulted in so much liberty and rational government. I hear there are a lot of scientific Bolshvics and Maoists who are out of work these days, perhaps we could put them in charge and all of our problems will be solved.

  10. Sounds like most vocal libertarians as well.

    Fuck you.
    πŸ™‚

  11. Most atheists in public office suck it up, go to church, and pretend like they believe all that shit. The Sam Harris’s of the world are repugnant because they make it their life’s goal to make 94% of Americans feel like shit. That’s no way to get elected.

  12. Yes because putting athiests in charge in Russia and China resulted in so much liberty and rational government.

    While those regimes didn’t have a SpecialManInTheSky as such, they were constructed and led in with all the trappings and religious zeal. And John, don’t take it personally, I wasn’t insulting your SpecialManInTheSky in particular…

  13. Mencken was right.
    (sigh)

  14. In case you don’t think that atheists are picking a fight, just look at the front page stores on “atheist” on Digg.com

  15. We’re probably more popular than pedophiles and Andy Dick. Probably.

  16. putting athiests in charge in Russia and China resulted in so much liberty and rational government

    I usually don’t resort to name-calling but damn, John, you’re so full of shit.

  17. If most vocal atheists weren’t such self-absorbed, angry fuckheads, maybe atheism would have a better chance.

    the hole in your hypothesis is by this standard, that a handful of muslims blew up the world trade center should have biased non-muslim americans against them for pretty much a super long time.

    and yet…

  18. Once again, agnostics are ignored.

  19. Yes because putting athiests in charge in Russia and China resulted in so much liberty and rational government. I hear there are a lot of scientific Bolshvics and Maoists who are out of work these days, perhaps we could put them in charge and all of our problems will be solved.

    Hi, troll.

    Just to let you know, the atheist=communist epithet is not only bullshit, but it’s also the Matlock of red herrings.

  20. If most vocal atheists weren’t such self-absorbed, angry fuckheads, maybe atheism would have a better chance.

    Yeah, gosh…what would atheists in this country have to be angry about, after all?

  21. Once again, agnostics are ignored.

    I thought I was agnostic for a while, but religion is just too vile to be passive about.

  22. “While those regimes didn’t have a SpecialManInTheSky as such, they were constructed and led in with all the trappings and religious zeal. And John, don’t take it personally, I wasn’t insulting your SpecialManInTheSky in particular…”

    They were most assuredly atheists. Yes, they had a real religious zeal to them. Stalin used to ask his advisors in times of most stress “tell me what you think as a Bolshevik”. It was basically a religious oath. The Bolsheviks and the Maoists for that matter believed that they were ushering in paradise on earth. With that as the end state, what does it matter if you kill a few million people? I guess it goes to show that if people don’t believe in God, they will believe in anything. For whatever reason, perhaps we are evolved this way, people always want to believe that are doing something for a higher purpose. Thinking that atheism is somehow going to get rid of that need or man’s mania to control other people and kill those in the way of paradise is just laughable.

  23. I’d venture a guess that the most vocal members of any group are self-absorbed, angry fuckheads.

    People want to vote for the person they see in the mirror every morning. This is why retards run everything.

    By the way: the Matlock of red herrings

    So it’s the simple country lawyer of red herrings?

  24. Muslims, and most religions in general, tend to be more “leave me alone to worship in peace please” more than the hardcore atheists

    hmmmm….that is not connected to any reality I am aware of.

  25. Yup, folks hate it when your right.

  26. What dhex said, sheesh. Most atheists are not “picking a fight” any more than most Muslims are. Double sheesh!!

    Anyway, why focus on the relative numbers when the absolute numbers are much more important? 61% less likely to support a non-believer (which includes agnostics, like me, Russ 2000!) and 45% less likely to support a Muslim?

    TRIPLE-SHEESH!!!

  27. Atheists are only angry because we can’t figure out why nobody else “gets it,” and that’s frustrating. And we’re cocky because we’re right.

    Being right all the time isn’t easy =\

  28. I thought I was agnostic for a while, but religion is just too vile to be passive about.

    “i was going to follow my conscience, but tribalism provides more of a socio-emotional jolt, frankly.”

  29. Know this time-child; I shall smash your skull like a clam on my tummy!

  30. So it’s the simple country lawyer of red herrings?

    Heh.

    Matlock=old, actually.

  31. Yeah, gosh…what would atheists in this country have to be angry about, after all?

    Some to be angry about, lots to be happy about.
    That they live in a largely secular society and despite repeated attempts by the Christian right to gain control of America’s political life, they can still buy porn, get an abortion, and sit around stroking their genitals on Sunday morning while playing violent video games.
    That’s a start.

  32. “Atheists are only angry because we can’t figure out why nobody else “gets it,” and that’s frustrating. And we’re cocky because we’re right.

    Being right all the time isn’t easy =”

    Funny, all of the real nutso fundementalist Christians I know feel exactly the same way. Could it be that they are just two sides of the same coin? That is the desire to be in on the “know” over everyone else? Talk to people in fundementalist sects sometimes, they are often reformed athiests. At the same time, a lot of athiests are reformed fundementalists. For some people it is one ditch or the other.

  33. I guess it goes to show that if people don’t believe in God, they will believe in anything. For whatever reason, perhaps we are evolved this way, people always want to believe that are doing something for a higher purpose. Thinking that atheism is somehow going to get rid of that need or man’s mania to control other people and kill those in the way of paradise is just laughable.

    Yes John, without a SpecialFloatyThing to worship, I admit I’m inclined to mass murder. Also, without your FloatyThing’s Ten Commandments, I have no idea how to be a good human being. You’ve nailed it. In the absence of rediculous religious bullshit, humanity will colapse.

  34. Once again, agnostics are ignored.

    This is exactly why, when asked about religious beliefs, I say “agnostic”. It doesn’t have the “athiests are smug fucking assholes” connotation, but it also does not acknowledge any belief in voices in the sky (go Lemmy) either. Keeps people off your back.

  35. If most vocal atheists weren’t such self-absorbed, angry fuckheads, maybe atheism would have a better chance…

    This is unfortunately true. It’s also true that (religious) people are going to be most offended by attacks on their beliefs, for the simple fact that any religious belief is inherently irrational and unsupportable by facts. This is why I have totally given up arguing with the religious about religion – logic is completely irrelevant.

    Jamie – that would be a full morning.

  36. If most vocal atheists weren’t such self-absorbed, angry fuckheads, maybe atheism would have a better chance.

    All things being equal, and assuming that neither candidate has a violent past or is a radical, I think that pretty much sums it up.

  37. “In the absence of rediculous religious bullshit, humanity will colapse.”

    Thanks for not understanding a work of what I was saying. The point is that people are what they are. To think that some ism, be it Christianity or atheism or scientology is going to change that fact and somehow make them better and less prone to violence, is just crazy. Even Christianity will admit that. Man is fallen and lousy and only God in the afterlife can make him better.

  38. The Atheist religion is a particularly lame one – all the “answers” with none of the optimism.

  39. mythical being akin to a unicorn or narwhal

    You don’t believe in narwhals?

    Hey everybody! Finklestein doesn’t believe in narwhals! Lets kick his ass.

  40. “The Atheist religion is a particularly lame one – all the “answers” with none of the optimism.”

    That is actually pretty damn funny. My compliments. Athiests just live in denial. Most athiests I know skip that whole abyss and existential anxiety thing. They have plenty of optimism. What could be more optimistic and fun than to smugly look down your nose at everyone?

  41. Yet more evidence of an absurd world.

    Religion is winning the “fight” because the majority is rarely reasonable, because there is far more propaganda pushed for religion than for, say, science education, and because weak minds do what they’re told without truly questioning it. And, overall, it’s a nicely lucrative business.

    It’s conceivable that people might want to live in a violent tradition of metaphor and magic, and other people certainly want to profit from it, but it’s totally inconceivable that nonsense not only enters politics, it drives it.

  42. “If most vocal atheists weren’t such self-absorbed, angry fuckheads, maybe atheism would have a better chance.”

    That sums things up pretty well. That and the annoying Freedom From Religion people misreading the establishment clause of the first amendment.

  43. “It’s conceivable that people might want to live in a violent tradition of metaphor and magic, and other people certainly want to profit from it, but it’s totally inconceivable that nonsense not only enters politics, it drives it.”

    Yes because man was never violent before religion and those who don’t have religion are never violent. Further, man’s intellect is so astounding that he can put aside all of his prejudice and live an entirely rationally based, peaceful existance if only he could set aside religion. Jeese, and some athiest selling “reason and science” as a cure for all the world’s ills is any different than some dirtbag telling me that all my dreams will come true, if I only pray to Jesus and send him $20 how?

  44. If there was ever a thread to make Reasonoids blow a gasket on all sides, its religion and who prefers what.

  45. Their science is not rational like our science. Praise Science! πŸ™‚

  46. Muslims, and most religions in general, tend to be more “leave me alone to worship in peace please” more than the hardcore atheists, who are more apt to insist you’re a stupid, ignorant fuck who believes in some mythical being akin to a unicorn or narwhal.

    And I’m an atheist.

    Just because hardcore atheists tend to be obnoxious, arrogants jerks doesn’t mean the hardcore religious who also tend to be obnoxious, arrogant jerks aren’t any less worse. It’s a two-way street.

    And I’m not an atheist.

  47. Man is fallen and lousy and only God in the afterlife can make him better.

    My Invisible Dancing Table Gorilla says that is untrue. The way to the Invisible Dancing Table Gorilla is through self-cutting.

    Your turn.

  48. What could be more optimistic and fun than to smugly look down your nose at everyone?

    I don’t know, John, why don’t you tell us.

  49. aren’t any less worse=are any less worse

  50. The Atheist religion is a particularly lame one – all the “answers” with none of the optimism.

    The same people who agree with you the most will think you’re also going to Hell for being a liberal.

  51. i love these threads because they confirm my religious beliefs (discordianism).

    HAIL SHE WHUT DONE IT ALL!

  52. Liberty,

    I have about 5000+ years of human history that says man is in a pretty fucked up state and can’t seem to get along without killing each other. If you can’t see that, you are just stupid and I don’t what to do for you. You don’t have to be a theist to recognize the horrible state of mankind. Pretending that not believing in God would somehow change or cure that state is just as moronic as the people who think that being a Christian is going to somehow gaurentee them worldly success.

  53. Jeese, and some athiest selling “reason and science” as a cure for all the world’s ills is any different than some dirtbag telling me that all my dreams will come true, if I only pray to Jesus and send him $20 how?

    both are right, in their own ways and in some cases.

    of course bridges tend to hold up whether or not i believe in the bridge so there’s that as well.

    i mean really guys what we’re talking about here is meaning, and meaning is important.

  54. Asharak,

    Alot of liberals think I am going to hell for being libertarian. Not sufficiently interested in wealth redistribution, er “social justice”.

  55. I have about 5000+ years of human history that says man is in a pretty fucked up state and can’t seem to get along without killing each other. If you can’t see that, you are just stupid and I don’t what to do for you. You don’t have to be a theist to recognize the horrible state of mankind. Pretending that not believing in God would somehow change or cure that state is just as moronic as the people who think that being a Christian is going to somehow gaurentee them worldly success.

    John, I have never asserted that Atheism is a cure for the destructive human inclinations.

    I have only asserted that believing in some nonsense not only will not cure it, all that worship of nonsense will provide a distraction from the cure at best, and compound the problem at worst.

    Mysticism is one more problem for humans. Curing it will not cure all the other ailments, but it will be one less ailment.

  56. If most vocal atheists weren’t such self-absorbed, angry fuckheads, maybe atheism would have a better chance

    Hey, I represent that statement!

    Although many would have good reason to doubt it, I don’t start all my social interactions with religious people by calling them superstitious stone age, tribalist fools. I, and I suspect other ateists who post here, feel as though I’m among friends and can let my hair down, so to speak. When I’m offended or angry, I indicate that. OTOH I’ve NEVER backed awaw from my support of the most important and revered law of the land.

    I don’t don’t really hate, scorn or feel suprior to you theists and deists out there. I just disagree, sometimes vociferously, but never with malice.

  57. BTW: I’m sure you can all take a joke. Right?

  58. BTW: I’m sure you can all take a joke. Right?

    Let me consult my boogeyman, or his representative (he’s sometimes a pedophile, he’s always asking for money), and get back to you….

  59. who believes in some mythical being akin to a unicorn or narwhal.

    Wait, narwhales are mythical?

  60. I’m an athiest myself, but let’s all compromise.

    More Unitarian presidents please.

    Adams, Quincy Adams, Fillmore, Taft.

    Been almost a century now since Taft, and if Taft could hold the line against a populist, Scopes-prosecuting Creationist fundie like William Jennings Bryan, well, that’s a check plus in my book.

  61. Such a strong selection bias for the irrational.. Too bad.

  62. If most vocal atheists weren’t such self-absorbed, angry fuckheads, maybe atheism would have a better chance

    Yeah, because that’s something that distinguishes atheists from religious people.. *sigh*

    But more seriously, in any group the most visible members are not necessarily representative.

  63. I like Dawkins’ line about how we’re all atheists about most gods (thor, vishnu, tooth fairy, etc), and that some of us just go one god further.

  64. Funny, all of the real nutso fundementalist Christians I know feel exactly the same way. Could it be that they are just two sides of the same coin?

    No, because one side has rational arguments and the other has blind faith.

  65. Full disclosure: I’m a non-believer who harbors no prejudice e against believers whatsoever. I have found that although believers seem quite wrong about the existence of the super-natural, they are often quite right about all manner of other matters. And though I disagree with their conclusions, I even respect the way in which some of them attempt to justify their beliefs.

    I am glad to see that the order of he result of the poll came out this way cuz it seems that Muslims are more likely to be the victims of folks who would act on their prejudice. And we now have politicians and a major news outlet (FOX) fomenting bigotry against Muslims.

  66. Most religious people don’t go around picking fights with atheists or each other. They just live their lives, but also go to church/temple/whatever, which is visible to the outside world.

    Most atheists don’t go around picking fights with religious people. They just live their lives, but since they don’t assemble anywhere, they are not noticed.

    The only time that a person’s atheism gets noticed is if he picks fights with religious people. So there is a serious perception bias problem here.

  67. Muslims, and most religions in general, tend to be more “leave me alone to worship in peace please” more than the hardcore atheists, who are more apt to insist you’re a stupid, ignorant fuck who believes in some mythical being akin to a unicorn or narwhal.

    It’s not particularly meaningful to compare average religious people with hardcore atheists It’s likely that a hardcore anythingis more apt to think you are a stupid ignorant fuck than the average person–that’s what makes them hardcore. If the guy isn’t going on about how nuts it is to believe in a mythical being, how can you even tell he’s a hardcore atheist? How can he even claim to be one with a straight face. Any atheist who won’t tell you what a stupid ignorant fuck you are is just a pussy. I’ll turn the other cheek, you miserable motherhumper, I’ll turn the other goddam cheek!

  68. …shoulds been: “…order of *the* result…”

  69. Both atheists and religious people are right.

    ‘God’ is indistinguishable from reality, for it is all of reality.

    So while atheists understand there is nothing apart from us (aka God)Religious folk look for understanding from outside of themselves (God).

    I think athiests should take a look at eastern religions. For instance, the art of meditation is a scientifically proven way to increase IQ, happiness, creativity, etc.

    Not all of religion is useless, but most of it is.

  70. “The opposite of the religious fanatic is not the fanatical atheist but the gentle cynic who cares not whether there is a god or not.”

    — Eric Hoffer

  71. I have mixed feelings about China and Russia.

    After 10,000 years of people slaughtering one another for this God and that God, I think it’s rather refreshing when people slaughter one another for no reason at all.

  72. John, if I understand you correctly, you’re saying that if even religion did not exist, people would still find reasons to fight and kill each other, so religion is not at fault for this.

    There’s a kernel of truth in what you’re saying, but it doesn’t get religion off the hook. Every divisive ideology plays to humans’ innate tendencies towards tribalism and violence, and makes the situation worse. Without religion, would there still be silly wars? Yes. As many? I doubt it. Do you really take such a deterministic view of the world, that the level of violence is fixed, and that ideologies have no effect on it? If radical Islam did not exist, someone would have knocked down the towers anyway (or committed some other massive act of violence) for some other reason?

  73. ‘God’ is indistinguishable from reality, for it is all of reality.

    Defining god in a way that makes the concept useless. I see.

  74. Only 5 percent or fewer said they would be likelier to support candidates who were atheists unwilling to be hypocritical about their lack of religious belief.

    Fixed!

    Newsflash! Populace prefers hypocrital politicians than ones who tell the truth! News at 11.

  75. After 10,000 years of people slaughtering one another for this God and that God, I think it’s rather refreshing when people slaughter one another for no reason at all.

    Aresen, there has always been a reason for senseless slaughter of innocents. It’s about power. That defending the faith, saving your soul or protecting the proletariat is all just bullshit used to sway the weak, the unthinking apathetic. Slaughter has always been about getting or maintainig power, “GOD” doesn’t have a thing to do with it. If he existed, he’d be righteously pissed.

  76. “…self-absorbed, angry fuckheads…”

    Pathetic argument. Rather than address the substance of the athiests’ claims, call them a bunch of names.

  77. Maybe religious voters would prefer a religious president because they believe he has an extra incentive to behave himself — a president who believes in an all-knowing and just God, and operates under the assumption that even if he manages to fool all of the people all of the time, he will still go to Hell at the end of the day.

    (Acknowledged: Most atheists do not require belief in a final reckoning after death to keep them honest and moral. And such belief often fails to deter the faithful. I’m just talking about what most religious people probably believe.)

    On the other hand, I suspect that a majority of American voters would prefer an atheist to a Muslim as the pilot of their airplane.

    I know, and I think most other Americans know, that most ordinary Muslims are harmless. But who can imagine even a combative, angry atheist such as Christoper Hitchens flying a plane into a building while yelling, “Nobody is most great!”

  78. “…self-absorbed, angry fuckheads…”

    Pathetic argument. Rather than address the substance of the athiests’ claims, call them a bunch of names.

    Except the issue at hand isn’t whether atheists’ claims and arguments are rational and defensible, but how atheists are perceived by most American voters. How the most highly visible atheists present themselves — as conciliatory leaders to truth? Or as combative crusaders? — could make a difference.

  79. A couple of odd points to me about this thread:

    Atheists are apparently to be seen as self-absorbed and angry fuckheads because…well, why exactly? Can someone come up with something for me that doesn’t boil down to “They think they’re right and religious people are wrong and they talk about it a lot”?

    Because I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but there are four channels on my cable right now where ALL DAY, EVERY DAY, religious people talk about how they’re right and everyone else is wrong, and about how atheists deserve eternal suffering to punish them for their wrongness. Somehow I don’t think snickering about the flying spaghetti monster really matches up.

    Also – “Most athiests I know skip that whole abyss and existential anxiety thing. They have plenty of optimism.”

    That’s because there’s no abyss unless you are spoiled by the standard set by the Christian teleology.

    “Oh noes! My smallest action is no longer part of a Manichaean struggle for control of the universe! How will I ever manage to continue living on without that struggle to give me meaning?” Um – whatever. I don’t shiver over the abyss because Satan’s not there watching me when I take a shit. I can take a shit all by myself, and have been able to do so since I was quite small, thank you very much.

  80. Most of us confirmed atheists are too smart to run for political office anyway.

  81. A new poll of American voters reports that atheists are less popular than Muslims.

    Uh, no it doesn’t. Are the words “less popular” anywhere in the article? I’m not surprised; making sure his conclusions actually follow from the data never has been Mr Bailey’s strong suit.

    I’m sure that if there was a poll asking people whether they’d rather vote for Peyton Manning or Hilary Clinton for president, Hillary would win. That doesn’t mean she’s more popular.

  82. If most vocal atheists weren’t such self-absorbed, angry fuckheads

    Wow, that sounds almost like every vocal person I know. Substitute “angry” for “self-assured”, “full of religious zeal”, or whatever… None of us have any final answers, but we all know the other guys are wrong. We just can’t conceive that we’re wrong too.

    Oh the humanity.

  83. “We’re probably more popular than pedophiles and Andy Dick. Probably.”

    Nope.

  84. Religious people *want* to see atheists as angry, condescending assholes because that’s a very convenient excuse for not listening to what they say and not bothering to really think about what the implications of not having answers to some of their questions mean.

    I think athiests should take a look at eastern religions. For instance, the art of meditation is a scientifically proven way to increase IQ, happiness, creativity, etc.

    Because something makes you happy/is good for your brain/etc doesn’t mean that there’s anything supernatural about it, and it doesn’t mean that other practices which are associated with it are true or work.

  85. J sub D

    I agree completely. I was simply mocking the notion, propounded by several of the more religious posters, that atheism was the root cause of the mass murders committed in the 20th century.

    If Savonorola or Torquemada or Luther or John Knox had had access to 20th Century technology, they would have committed atrocities in all respects equivalent to those committed by the communists.

    Catherine de’ Medici arranged the murder of 5,000 Hugenots on St. Barholomew’s Day 1572 with just 16th century technology. The slaughter was applauded by the Pope and most of the Roman Catholic Kings. [I wonder what the Muslim rulers of the time thought of this? Did they consider it evidence that Christians could not be considered civilized?]

  86. Atheists are apparently to be seen as self-absorbed and angry fuckheads because…well, why exactly? Can someone come up with something for me that doesn’t boil down to “They think they’re right and religious people are wrong and they talk about it a lot”?

    Heh. No doubt – in every one of these threads we get to hear about how annoying atheists are because they have the nerve to believe they’re right and religionists are wrong… geez, imagine that! Not like they’re telling you if you don’t believe them you’re going to suffer for all eternity. No, that isn’t being an angry fuckhead, that’s just expressing your religious beliefs which we (of course!) must all respect. No such respect needs to be shown to us angry fuckhead atheists however – we should just shut the hell up.

    As I have mentioned before, I have been approached many many times by those who want to tell me I better accept Jesus – knocking on my door, leaving fliers on my car, trying to hand me unsolicited fliers, approaching me as I’m eating lunch to ask about my beliefs (and to suggest which ones I should hold), the list goes on and on. NEVER ONCE have I had any such approaches from an atheist. Nobody ever knocks on my door while I’m trying to enjoy a quiet weekend to tell me I shouldn’t believe in god.

    As is obvious from this poll and others we atheists are a tiny minority so I’m sorry if I just can’t take sniveling complaints about obnoxious atheists all that seriously. The cumulative obnoxiousness of all the atheists combined would not equal even one episode of the 700 Club.

    Religious people *want* to see atheists as angry, condescending assholes

    Indeed.

  87. “who believes in some mythical being akin to a unicorn or narwhal.”

    What about an Urkbold?

  88. Considering being an atheist makes you more likeley to be a marxist than any religious group, who exactly are the stupid people believing in myths?

  89. God damnit

    Allah dammit

    fixed.

  90. John,

    If your goal is to get people to shout “Oh, shut the fuck up” at their monitors, well done.

  91. Considering being an atheist makes you more likeley to be a marxist than any religious group, who exactly are the stupid people believing in myths?

    OK I can not stay mad at you….brilliantly said.

  92. OK I can not stay mad at you….brilliantly said.

    Maybe if you’ve recently suffered severe head trama.

  93. I have about 5000+ years of human history that says man is in a pretty fucked up state and can’t seem to get along without killing each other. If you can’t see that, you are just stupid and I don’t what to do for you. You don’t have to be a theist to recognize the horrible state of mankind. Pretending that not believing in God would somehow change or cure that state is just as moronic as the people who think that being a Christian is going to somehow gaurentee them worldly success.

    mantooth,

    Why again would anyone want stuff like this to be shut up?

  94. Maybe if you’ve recently suffered severe head trama.

    I ass fucked your mom last night.

    What is your point?

  95. I ass fucked your mom last night.

    What is your point?

    Nice language and attitude there, “Christian.”

  96. I’m an atheist, and I think man is in a fallen state too. But not because of original sin or the garden–its basically because we have one too many chimp genes in us, and our animal side will always show.

  97. Joshua,

    Because it is asinine. No one here has claimed that if everyone was an atheist the world’s ills would disappear. John has the heads of a thousand strawmen mounted in his trophy room.

  98. I was going to give Yet Another Atheism Thread a pass, until I saw this:

    “Yes because man was never violent before religion…”

    Now, I don’t really care about the argument of religious vs. secular violence, but I’m curious:

    When, exactly, was the time before religion?

  99. Considering being an atheist makes you more likeley to be a marxist than any religious group, who exactly are the stupid people believing in myths?

    Leave it up to you to engage in such pathetic red-baiting. Yeah, Ayn Rand was a real commie, wasn’t she?

    And aren’t you the same guy who’s scoffed at the religious for showing compassion for the poor and less fortunate? Now you want to side with them in order to attack atheists. Then again, you’ve never been very consistent, have you?

    The sad part is that you were actually starting to make sense in some of your recent posts here.

  100. Hasn’t anybody thought that maybe the reason a number of atheists are militant about it is partly because of shrill believers? If Bible-thumpers accuse of being atheists evil, hellbound Satanic communists who want to exterminate religious people, are atheists supposed to just take it and be nice in return? Like I said, it’s a two-way street.

  101. Considering being an atheist christian makes you more likeley to be a marxist klansman than any religious group, who exactly are the stupid people believing in myths?

    Cuts both ways, doesn’t it?

  102. In my experience, most religious believers, I’d say 80%–be they Christian, Jewish, or even Muslim or Mormon (the two religions that seem to catch the most shit these days) have been friendly, nice and tolerant people. The same goes for 80% of atheists.

    Its the Jerry Falwells, Osama bin Ladens, Bauruch Goldsteins, and assorted plygamous Mormons, and fanatical atheists of the world that ruin it for everyone else.

  103. Chalupa –

    Let’s see:

    Christianity:

    False idealistic [in the continental sense] metaphysics
    Radically altruistic ethics
    Millenarian eschatology

    Marxism:

    False idealistic metaphysics
    Radically altruistic ethics
    Millenarian eschatology

    Maybe the reason there aren’t a lot of Christian Marxists is because there’s no reason for Christians to cross the street to buy what they already have at home.

  104. I’m not “attacking atheists”. I’m attacking the belief that not believing in god makes you any less susceptible to magical thinking.

    In fact, as horrible as the atrocities commited in the name of religion have been, they pale in comparison to the body count of people who thought they had freed themselves from superstition.

    People who believe in a heavanly afterlife don’t scare me nearly as much as those who want to create it here on earth.

    And for the record, I’m not a religious believer. But I still believe by and large that as bad as man is with God on his side, he’s much worse without him.

  105. Chalupa-

    If the combatants in the Wars of Religion had had modern industry, modern science, and modern state organization on their side they would have killed just as many people trust me.

  106. Maybe the reason there aren’t a lot of Christian Marxists is because there’s no reason for Christians to cross the street to buy what they already have at home.

    Makes sense. For my response, I quote from my previous post with new and improved spelling.

    People who believe in a heavenly afterlife don’t scare me nearly as much as those who want to create it here on earth.

  107. All the complaints of “arrogant” or “asshole” atheists being responsible are a crock. Poll/survey numbers indicating mass disdain/ unwillingness to vote for atheists have been around long before the recent spate of books by Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens, etc. Perhaps atheists are more vocal because they are tired of this mass bigotry and tired of seeing religion injected into laws and science, where it does not belong. Being sheepish and passive about things has not helped atheism, so you can’t really get huffy and whine about how atheists are actually standing up for themselves. As Ashrak says, are atheists supposed to just take it and be nice in return?

  108. Chalupa-

    Osama bin Laden thinks God is on his side. Kim Jung Il is an atheist. Who would you be more scared of with a nuclear weapon, bin Laden or Kim?

  109. For the person who thinks that man would be worse without belief in God than with, I would point out that people with belief in God often do believe in a utopia: heaven. And they often have the bad habit of trying to make heaven on earth, it isn’t just marxists. And for the last time, atheists are NOT all marxists. I’d guess that a good many posters on this discussion are atheists. And they are reading REASON magazine, not “Proletariat Quarterly.”

  110. …I have been approached many many times by those who want to tell me I better accept Jesus – knocking on my door, leaving fliers on my car, trying to hand me unsolicited fliers, approaching me as I’m eating lunch to ask about my beliefs (and to suggest which ones I should hold), the list goes on and on. NEVER ONCE have I had any such approaches from an atheist.

    Hell, I was once physically assaulted by a self proclaimed Christian because of my disbelief in Hell. I was being nice by not stating that his God was fiction.

    But all you deists out there don’t worry, we dunoshits> do not condone violence in hope of increasing our membership. One day you too will be Not Visited and join voluntarily.

  111. Interestingly enough, apparently only atheists have the corner on logic and reason.

    I mean, Muslims invented several higher mathematics, a Christian developed the laws of motion, Babylonian astrologers tracked and plotted planetary movement, an ardent Creationist created the first rabies vaccine.

    This isn’t to diminish the discoveries by atheists. However, it should be remembered that just because one believes that beyond what is seen there is something unseen, that which can be neither proven or unproven, it does not mean that he does not trust his senses for that which is.

  112. I mean, Muslims invented several higher mathematics, a Christian developed the laws of motion

    True, as long as what the religious scientist proposes doesn’t conflict with the established church doctrine at the time, ie Galileo and Darwin (both of whom believed in God).. otherwise, you stand accused of heresy. Not to diminish the work of such God-fearing individuals as Darwin, of course..

  113. This is exactly why, when asked about religious beliefs, I say “agnostic”. It doesn’t have the “athiests are smug fucking assholes” connotation, but it also does not acknowledge any belief in voices in the sky (go Lemmy) either. Keeps people off your back.

    Seems like enough Americans buy into tolerating another’s religion, as long as he or she has some kind of religion, that an atheist that doesn’t want to be hassled can simply dress up that atheism as a religion. Calling yourself a Unitarian or Buddhist could provide cover.

  114. In fact, as horrible as the atrocities commited in the name of religion have been, they pale in comparison to the body count of people who thought they had freed themselves from superstition.

    Only because you’re counting anyone killed by a regime led by a nominal atheist as blood on the hands of atheism, but you don’t do the same for theists. Does Hiroshima count as X deaths against Christianity, Truman being a Christian? Were Stalin’s crimes motivated by hatred of theists or was that just an excuse for a power trip?

  115. I think athiests should take a look at eastern religions. For instance, the art of meditation is a scientifically proven way to increase IQ, happiness, creativity, etc.

    Some Eastern religions are essentially atheistic by Western standards, although probably a lot of Americans don’t know enough about those religions to know it.

  116. “rather refreshing when people slaughter one another for no reason at all.”

    hmmm….”my non-god is bigger than your non-god.”

  117. No one here has claimed that if everyone was an atheist the world’s ills would disappear.

    None the less a common perception. And surly I have heard on hit and run from commenters that the world’s ills would be lessened.

    Has Akira posted yet?

  118. Nice language and attitude there, “Christian.”

    To bad sucker, I am an atheist.

  119. Only because you’re counting anyone killed by a regime led by a nominal atheist as blood on the hands of atheism, but you don’t do the same for theists. Does Hiroshima count as X deaths against Christianity, Truman being a Christian? Were Stalin’s crimes motivated by hatred of theists or was that just an excuse for a power trip?

    Even though I think Hiroshima was justified, you can count that and Hitler as a Christian and still fall WAY below the Marxists.

    Anyways, I don’t want to get into a game where we just go around counting the dead for each side. My original comment was in response to the Harrises and Hitchenses (an ex’fucking Marxist!) of the world who think atheism will save the world.

    And when you bring up Marxism, they say that’s a religion too. Despite the fact that in recent history it has been the belief system of educated people all over the world who saw it as “scientific”. Changing the definition of “religion” to mean any ideology that proves to be murderous is cheating.

  120. its basically because we have one too many chimp genes in us, and our animal side will always show.

    Almost there Cesar…now just cross that line and say “Man is a wild animal living in the wild and will never stop being wild” and you will get it.

  121. Chalupa–

    At least Joseph Stalin and Mao–atheists–weren’t insane enough to launch a nuclear war, since they feared death. You can’t say the same about a religious fanatic like bin Laden or Ahmedinijad, can you?

  122. Damn it, this website!!! I had great comments there (really, the greatest thing ever said)… I give up!

  123. But all you deists out there don’t worry, we dunoshits> do not condone violence in hope of increasing our membership. One day you too will be Not Visited and join voluntarily.

    As if the religious have not been persecuted and killed on mass by Marxist atheists.

    Look its cool you are a libertarianish (or at least lefty who likes to considers himself a liberal) atheist, hell i am one of those, but please be somewhat honest with yourself and how atheism does not have all that great of history.

    Chalupa makes a very good point in that libertarian atheists are not the norm. Marxist atheists are.

  124. Joshua Corning is right. The corollary truth to atheism is that all human behavior is explicable by reference to animal behavior.

  125. Let me give it anothe try:

    I am glad to see that the order of he result of the poll came out this way cuz it seems that Muslims are more likely to be the victims of folks who would act on their prejudice. And we now have politicians and a major news outlet (FOX) fomenting bigotry against Muslims.

    Thanks (again) Rick! πŸ™‚

    Stivo:

    On the other hand, I suspect that a majority of American voters would prefer an atheist to a Muslim as the pilot of their airplane.

    Frankly, I too get nervous when I see what would looks to me like a young, possibly of the puritan types, Muslim on a plane I am on board. I usually get “vigilant” and a bit uneasy. I guess I too commit racial profiling. And this comes from an observant Muslim.

    Osama bin Laden thinks God is on his side. Kim Jung Il is an atheist. Who would you be more scared of with a nuclear weapon, bin Laden or Kim?

    OBL.

  126. At least Joseph Stalin and Mao–atheists–weren’t insane enough to launch a nuclear war, since they feared death.

    Need it be pointed out that Stalin’s and Mao’s fear of death existed because a primarily secular Christian (with quit a few jews) state also had The Bomb?

  127. At least Joseph Stalin and Mao–atheists–weren’t insane enough to launch a nuclear war, since they feared death. You can’t say the same about a religious fanatic like bin Laden or Ahmedinijad, can you?

    And yet we all trust blood thirsty Christian Bush having his hand on the most capable nuclear arsenal on the planet.

    Anyone ever notice that this was never really a fear? Even here at reason! During a time of war!

  128. If the combatants in the Wars of Religion had had modern industry, modern science, and modern state organization on their side they would have killed just as many people trust me.

    The Hutus did alright with axes and radios.

    Atheists are much like theist true believers in that they are absolutists with no skepticism of their own beliefs.

  129. opps

    This:

    And yet we all trust blood thirsty Christian Bush having his hand on the most capable nuclear arsenal on the planet.

    Anyone ever notice that this was never really a fear? Even here at reason! During a time of war!

    Was for this:

    Osama bin Laden thinks God is on his side. Kim Jung Il is an atheist. Who would you be more scared of with a nuclear weapon, bin Laden or Kim?

  130. The Hutus did alright with axes and radios.

    The Thirty Years War (a religiously inspired war) managed to reduce the population of what is now Germany between 15 to 30%, I shudder to think what they would do have done with modern weapons.

  131. Joshua-

    Bush isn’t a big of a fanatic as bin Laden, even in his worst days.

    The Christian equivalent to OBL would be Eric Rudolph. How do you feel about him having nukes versus a secular fanatic like Kim Jung Il?

  132. Cesar:

    Why go that far. Well, we have Tancredo!

  133. Considering being an atheist makes you more likeley to be a marxist than any religious group, who exactly are the stupid people believing in myths?

    probably the stupid people believing in myths.

    besides, your example is not so hot in either direction – the group of atheists who are communists is going to be smaller (gross and by %) than the group of religious people as a whole no matter what. (both being groups given the label “stupid people believing in myths”)

    dorothy day was pretty cool all things considered.

  134. Cesar,

    Rudolph is a Christian?

    from wiki (apologies but this is how I remember it when it was news)

    However, Rudolph’s actions are not now considered to be religiously motivated, as he wrote “Many good people continue to send me money and books. Most of them have, of course, an agenda; mostly born-again Christians looking to save my soul. I suppose the assumption is made that because I’m in here I must be a ‘sinner’ in need of salvation, and they would be glad to sell me a ticket to heaven, hawking this salvation like peanuts at a ballgame. I do appreciate their charity, but I could really do without the condescension. They have been so nice I would hate to break it to them that I really prefer Nietzsche to the Bible.

  135. SIV-

    OBL or Kim Jung Il with a nuke, which scares you more?

  136. Hey the bio indicates Eric Robert Rudolph was a POT SMOKER. Perhaps mary jane was his motivation….

  137. Hey the bio indicates Eric Robert Rudolph was a POT SMOKER. Perhaps mary jane was his motivation….

    Wow, I’m shocked the Partnership for a Drug Free America hasn’t made an ad about that yet.

  138. Even though I think Hiroshima was justified, you can count that and Hitler as a Christian and still fall WAY below the Marxists.

    Anyways, I don’t want to get into a game where we just go around counting the dead for each side. My original comment was in response to the Harrises and Hitchenses (an ex’fucking Marxist!) of the world who think atheism will save the world.

    20th century, yeah, the nominal* atheists probably have more dead by their hands, though there are some flaws in this: here we’re only counting mass murders committed by governments, and I think the numbers change drastically if we go further back and count hundreds of years of wars between Europeans who were virtually all Christian in some form or another, accounting for murder-enabling technology and population inflation.

    (I say “nominal atheists” because I’m not knowledgeable enough about Stalin, et al., beyond “communism is an atheistic doctrine” to decide if it makes sense to call them atheists the same way we call Richard Dawkins an atheist.)

    But agreed, counting deaths is not a useful way to compare religion vs. non-religion. It’s too hard to get accurate numbers to begin with unless we arbitrarily limit the data set, there are plenty of confounding variables and, most importantly, “My guys only killed 12 million people while your guys killed 26 million! My metaphysics are thus clearly better than yours!” is like the worst argument ever.

    And agreed, atheism isn’t going to save the world. Nothing will. But I, and I think most other sensible atheists (as well as sensible adherents to religion), don’t adhere to atheism because we believe it has a better shot at saving the world than theism does. We adhere to atheism because we believe it is more likely to be true than theism is, and that’s the only logical way to pick your beliefs on these kinds of questions.

  139. OBL

    not cause Kim is an atheist and OBL is a Mohammedan Fanatic

    Kim is a pussy who inherited the job and would hate to lose the perks

    OBL could be relaxin’ on a yacht at Cannes or Monte Carlo with a crew of 20000$ hookers and enough Cristal to float the boat and more cocaine than he could lift like any good saudi rich boy but NO he is chillin’ in shithole Pakistan in a cave. I fear his audacity and ambition.

  140. Would this be a good point in the thread to point out that the question of whether atheists are nicer people than Christians is absolutely immaterial to the question of whether the Christian myths are true or not?

    Stalin and Mao may have killed a lot of people, but that doesn’t really help us determine whether or not it’s silly to think that Jesus rose from the dead.

    I tend to be a bit agnostic on the deity question, but pretty atheistic on the question of the Christian god. After all, I can concede that it’s at least possible that there’s a deity of some kind out there doing his best to stay hidden from us at all times. But that’s a lot different from granting credence to the story of Abraham, of Joseph, of Moses, and of Jesus. There may be a deity somewhere, but it ain’t this one. And the likelihood of the version of events described in the two testaments being accurate doesn’t rise or fall when Michaelangelo paints a pretty picture or when Hitler has someone strangled with piano wire.

  141. SIV:

    It is not a matter of PC, but more a matter of precise descriptions. OBL is not a “Mohammedan Fanatic”. This is more of an orientalist thing. Orientalists used to misinform Europeans back in the day that Muslims worshiped Muhammad, which is patently false. OBL is simply a Muslim terrorist. Or, as I would rather describe him, a terrorist who happened to be Muslim and who happened to be using Islam as his reasons for the atrocities he committed. Sort of like Bush using the goodness that is inherent in democratic ideals, and liberty to justify the war on Iraq (while his true motives were _______ [fill in the blanks — if you find any]).

  142. How about we put it this way, not all atheists are marxists (actually, I doubt very few of them are), but all marxists are atheists, well most of them are anyway. I think Cornel West said that religion was where he disagreed with Marx. Remember, Ayn fucking Rand was an atheist. You shouldn’t automatically suspect an atheist of being a marxist. Marxism has only been killing people for about a 100 years. We seem to have wised up about that. How long has religion been doing it? And the last point on that is that the atheism of marxists is incidental. It was their marxism that caused them to kill people, not their atheism.

    Also, all atheists aren’t skeptical? My atheism came out of my skepticism. So has my libertarianism.

  143. TheCurseOfLono:

    There reason I believe in a deity is that the lack of His existence makes no sense to me.

    Simply put: No single law of physics explains why things happen. They merely describe how they happen. Why I believe in the Big Bang Theory. It is a descriptive theory and does not explain it for us. Newton’s laws of gravity describe (in a mathematically exact way) how bodies interact, but does not tell us why they interact the way they do. Not even Einstein’s general relativity provide an explanation. It provides an a description. That is probably why Einstein was not an atheist.

    To say the leat, if there is no logical reason to believe in a deity, there is no logical reason not to believe in one.

  144. An estimated 16,692 persons were murdered nationwide (US) in 2005, an increase of 3.4 percent from the 2004 figure.
    Murder comprised 1.2 percent of the overall estimated number of violent crimes in 2005. (Based on Table 1.)
    There were an estimated 5.6 murders per 100,000 inhabitants.
    http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/05cius/offenses/violent_crime/murder_homicide.html

    my guess is the above numbers have been pretty steady for, i dunno..about a decade or so.

    were they commited mostly by christians? pagans? atheists? Thelemites?

    i couldnt tell from the website.

  145. I think Cornel West said that religion was where he disagreed with Marx.

    Funny story about West. When I decided I wanted to be more open minded and read a far leftists’s view I bought one of his books off Amazon for four bucks or so. It was the most intellectually dense collection of crap I have ever spent money on.

    It was surely worth it, just to see how silly you could be and still be considered a contemporay leftist intellectual. There is no complexity to his arguments at all. Conservatives are either evil or stupid and easily fooled. From reading his material you’d think that there was never an intellectually viable conservative view on anything.

    If you ever want to convert a smart liberal to the conservative point of view you’d be better off recommending West than Burke or Hayek.

  146. Are the words “less popular” anywhere in the article? I’m not surprised; making sure his conclusions actually follow from the data never has been Mr Bailey’s strong suit.

    Oh so true. But he probably sells a lot more articles that way. People like to hear somebody spouting their secret prejudices across the headlines as PROVEN FACT.

  147. At least I got a couple of laughs out of this thread.

    After 10,000 years of people slaughtering one another for this God and that God, I think it’s rather refreshing when people slaughter one another for no reason at all.

    ……

    But who can imagine even a combative, angry atheist such as Christoper Hitchens flying a plane into a building while yelling, “Nobody is most great!”

  148. To say the leat, if there is no logical reason to believe in a deity, there is no logical reason not to believe in one.

    Well….perhaps but —

    If you suppose that what your senses tell you exists, needs to have an explanation, and then you suppose that explanation is FloatingGodThingy, or GorillaDancingOnTable, or TheLoneWacko — or just whatever gets your rocks off man, it’s a free country — then, assuming you take the last option in my list, I have to ask where did TheLoneWacko come from?

    Now you don’t have to answer my question. But if existence is not enough and you demand a creator for it, then I demand to know who the creator of your creator is. [I mean hey man, who created TheLoneWacko anyway?] Because that creator must be even more complex (thus harder to explain, especially considering the existence of TheLoneWacko) than what we see in front of us. Which indisputably is, TheLoneWacko.

    This leads to an infinite regress of “who/what did it?” questions. I find Occum’s Razor much more convincing than an infinite regress.

    I also fear that whatever would have created TheLoneWacko would have to be something InfinitelyWorse (and perhaps even more amusing), hence my adament atheism. But that’s a story for another time.

  149. Oh for the love of Christ.

    Firstly iih, if you honestly think that if there is no logical reason to believe in something than there is no logical reason not to believe in something, you might as well believe in invisible pink unicorns, flying spaghetti monsters and so forth. There is no logical reason to disbelieve in them either according to what you are saying.

    Secondly, people who argue that Einstein believed in “God,” miss the point that Einstein did not use the word in the conventional sense. He tended to conflate “God” with the universe and the physical laws that govern it. When he said that “God does not play dice” for example, he was rejecting what he say as the randomness of quantum mechanics.

    Also, I can’t say I’ve read West. I just remember something I read some time ago. I only used him to try to illustrate that you don’t have to be an atheist to be a marxist.

  150. I don’t shiver over the abyss because Satan’s not there watching me when I take a shit. I can take a shit all by myself,…

    Of course, he’s not there – do you think he wants a face full of shit?!

  151. I haven’t RTFA (the comments are *much* more interesting), but it seems that American voters are statistically more likely to *consider* voting for a Muslim than to consider voting for an atheist.

    Do I agree with these attitudes? No, because there are qualified atheists just like there are qualified Muslims, though I don’t share their beliefs.

    I can certainly understand the attitude, though. If you look at the death tolls, atheists have killed more people than Muslims. Of course, these killers don’t represent *all* atheists or Muslims.

    I love the way some posters hem and haw at describing Stalin and Mao as atheists. I seem to detect something very like the “True Scotsman” fallacy, which is described on this atheist Web site:

    http://atheism.about.com/od/logicalfallacies/a/notruescotsman.htm

    Of coure, the Web site thinks that the True Scotsman fallacy is the province of those wicked believers.

    No true atheist would ever fall prey to the True Scotsman fallacy!

  152. Ironically, of all the people I have talked to and debated, generally the agnostics are by far the most arrogant, snobby pieces of shit there are. I’d rather be trapped in a room with a Christian fundamentalist than an agnostic.

  153. Why don’t we simply accept that concentrating power into anyone’s hands is a really bad idea? Those who are most strongly attracted to power are those least suited to possessing it. Frank Herbert (the author of “Dune”) had an interesting reinterpretation of Lord Acton’s famous axiom: The desire for power corrupts, the desire for absolute power corrupts absolutely. Those in power should be those most reluctant to have it and under such circumstances that they are reluctant to use it.

  154. Cesar: “At least Joseph Stalin and Mao–atheists–weren’t insane enough to launch a nuclear war, since they feared death. You can’t say the same about a religious fanatic like bin Laden or Ahmedinijad, can you?”

    Right, look at how many nuclear wars bin Laden and Ahmedinijad have started!

    Wait, it’s zero?! Doh!

  155. bin Laden doesn’t have nuclear armed cruise missile arsenals either. At least not that I’ve heard anything about. If you trust that lunatic you’re — well, I am unable to must anything sufficiently fitting to describe what you would be if you actually trusted him.

    I do recall hearing bin Laden saying something to America like “Convert to Islam or die!”.

    Doh!

    Whether anyone believes in God, gods, or nothing, is not even what matters in the end. It’s how they choose to deal with the here and now.

    Nobody has a monopoly on stupidity, it is freely and abundantly available to all. A regular Tragedy of the Commons kind of problem. Stupidity is like air.

  156. JBinMO replied to a previous post which stated, “We’re probably more popular than pedophiles and Andy Dick. Probably.” He replied with one word, “Nope.”

    I beg to differ. As both an atheist and a pedophile (girl lover) I can assure you that atheists are far more popular. For example, if you are open about the fact that you are a law-abiding atheist, you will not get thrown out of California, but if a man is open about the fact that he is a law-abiding pedophile, he will be. (cf. Jack McClellan, who was issued a restraining order prohibiting him from coming within 30 feet of any child in all of California, simply because he was open about his attraction to young girls. This effectively prohibits him from California.)

    Of course, there are always some exceptions. There are a few Christians, for example, who are actually aware of the fact that there is nothing in the Bible that can be construed as condemnation of an attraction to children. Quite the contrary, God the Father apparently got Mary pregnant when she was about 12. So a great deal depends on the individual – yet all the same, I have told a few people in real life that I am an atheist, I have not been so forthcoming about who I am attracted to.

    As an added note: a friend of mine who is both a girllover and African-American affirms that anti-pedophile bigotry is much greater and affects his life more negatively than racism.

  157. For Mad Max here, I’m going to repeat an earlier point. The atheism of people like Mao and Stalin is incidental to their mass-murder. They didn’t kill all those people because of their atheism. If you take some one like bin Laden on the other hand, their religion is quite evidently part of the reason why they do what they do.

  158. TheCurseOfLono,

    When Trotsky (not even the worst of the commies) said “We must put an end once and for all to the papist-Quaker babble about the sanctity of human life” (http://www.salon.com/march97/sneaks/sneak970325.html), why did he single out two *theistic* groups for special scorn, if atheism was just an incidental add-on to Marxism?

    Why did the Soviet Union propagandize incessantly against religious “superstition,” create Museums of Atheism and promote “scientific atheism,” if atheism was just an incidental part of their ruling ideology?

    Here’s something I found on Google – a 1913 article by Lenin describing the “three sources of Marxism.”

    http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1913/mar/x01.htm

    Guess which source of Marxism Lenin cites *first*?

    “The philosophy of Marxism is materialism. Throughout the modern history of Europe, and especially at the end of the eighteenth century in France, where a resolute struggle was conducted against every kind of medieval rubbish, against serfdom in institutions and ideas, materialism has proved to be the only philosophy that is consistent, true to all the teachings of natural science and hostile to superstition, cant and so forth. The enemies of democracy have, therefore, always exerted all their efforts to “refute”, under mine and defame materialism, and have advocated various forms of philosophical idealism, which always, in one way or another, amounts to the defence or support of religion.”

    Not all atheists are Marxists, but these Marxist murderers we have been discussing were certainly atheists as a key component of their ideology, and not people who *just happen* to be atheists.

  159. Some more wisdom from Comrade Lenin. Gosh, he sure seemed to focus a lot of attention to the minor, “incidental” doctrine of atheism, didn’t he?

    http://www.marxist.com/classics/lenin/militant_materialism.html

    “On The significance of Militant Materialism

    “by V. I. Lenin

    “. . . It will be seen from the above that a journal that sets out to be a militant materialist organ must be primarily a militant organ, in the sense of unflinchingly exposing and indicting all modern ‘graduated flunkeys of clericalism’, irrespective of whether they act as representatives of official science or as free lances calling themselves ‘democratic Left or ideologically socialist’ publicist.

    “In the second place, such a journal must be a militant atheist organ. We have departments, or at least state institutions, which are in charge of this work.But the work is being carried on with extreme apathy and very unsatisfactorily, and is apparently suffering from the general conditions of our truly Russian (even though Soviet) bureaucratic ways. It is therefore highly essential that in addition to the work of these state institutions, and in order to improve and infuse life into that work, a journal, which sets out to propagandise militant materialism, must carry on untiring atheist propaganda and an untiring atheist fight.The literature on the subject in all languages should be carefully followed and everything at all valuable in this sphere should be translated, or at least reviewed.

    “Engels long ago advised the contemporary leaders of the proletariat to translate the militant atheist literature of the late eighteenth century for mass distribution among the people. We have not done this up to the present, to our shame be it said (this is one of the numerous proofs that it is much easier to seize power in a revolutionary epoch than to know how to use this power properly).Our apathy, inactivity and incompetence are sometimes excused on all sorts of ‘lofty’ grounds, as, for example, that the old atheist literature of the eighteenth century is antiquated, unscientific, na?ve, etc. There is nothing worse than such pseudo-scientific sophistry, which serves as a screen either for pedantry or for a complete misunderstanding of Marxism. There is, of course, much that is unscientific and na?ve in the atheist writings of the eighteenth-century revolutionaries. But nobody prevents the publishers of these writings from abridging them and providing them with brief postscripts pointing out the progress made by mankind in the scientific criticism of religions since the end of the eighteenth century, mentioning the latest writings on the subject, and so forth.It would be the biggest and most grievous mistake a Marxist could make to think that the millions of the people (especially the peasants and artisans), who have been condemned by all modern society to darkness, ignorance and superstition, can extricate themselves from this darkness only along the straight line of Marxist education. These masses should be supplied with the most varied atheist propaganda material, they should be made familiar with facts from the most diverse spheres of life, they should be approached in every possible way, so to interest them, rouse them from their religious torpor, stir them from the most varied angles and by the most varied methods, and so forth.

    “The keen, vivacious and talented writings of the old eighteenth-century atheists wittily and openly attacked the prevailing clericalism and will very often prove a thousand times more suitable for arousing people from their religious torpor than the dull and dry paraphrases of Marxism, almost completely unillustrated by skilfully selected facts, which predominate in our literature and which (it is no use hiding the fact) frequently distort Marxism. We have translations of all the major works of Marx and Engels. There are absolutely no grounds for fearing that the old atheism and old materialism will remain unsupplemented by the corrections introduced by Marx and Engels. The most important thing – and it is this that is most frequently overlooked by those of our Communists who are supposedly Marxists, but who in fact mutilate Marxism – is to know how to awaken in the still undeveloped masses an intelligent attitude towards religious questions and an intelligent criticism of religions.”

  160. Once again, agnostics are ignored.

    I don’t think you have enough evidence to make that determination.

    πŸ˜‰

  161. From The Gulag Archipeligo by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn:

    In the spring of 1922 the Extraordinary Commission for Struggle Against Counterrevolution, Sabotage, and Speculation, the Cheka, recently renamed the GPU, decided to intervene in church affairs. It was called on to carry out a “church revolution”-to remove the existing leadership and replace it with one which would have only one ear turned to heaven and the other to the Lubyanka….For this reason, the Patriarch Tikhon was arrested and two resounding trials were held, followed by the execution in Moscow of those who had publicized the Patriach’s appeal and, in Petrograd, of the Metropolitan Veniamin, who had attempted to hinder the
    transfer of ecclesiastical power…Here and there in the provincial centers and even further down the administrative districts, metropolitans, and bishops were arrested and, as always, in the wake of the big fish, followed shoals of smaller fry: archpriests, monks, and deacons. These arrests were not even reported in the press. Men of religion were an inevitable part of every annual “catch”, and their silver locks gleamed in every cell and in every prisoner transport en route to the Solovetsky Islands.

    From the early twenties on, arrests were also made among groups of theosophists, mystics, spiritualist. Also, religious societies and philosophers of the Berdyaayev circle. The so-called “Eastern Catholics”-followers of Vladimir Solovyev-were arrested and destroyed in passing, as was the group of A.I. Abriksova, And, of course, ordinary Roman Catholics-Polish Catholic priests, etc.-were arrested, too, as part of the normal course of events.

    However, the root destruction of religion in the country, which throughout the twenties and thirties was one of the most important goals of GPU_NKVD, could be realized only by mass arrests of Orthodox believers. Monks and nuns, whose black habits had been a distinctive feature of Old Russian life, were intensively rounded up on every hand, placed under arrest, and sent into exile. They arrested and sentenced active laymen. The circles kept getting bigger, as they raked in ordinary believers as well, old people, and particularly women, who were the most stubborn believers of all and who, for many long years to come, would be called “nuns” in transit prisons and in camps.

    True, they were supposedly being arrested and tried not for their actual faith but for openly declaring their convictions and for bringing up their children in the same spirit. As Tanya Khodokevich wrote:

    You can pray freely
    But just so God alone can hear.

    (She received a ten-year sentence for these verses.)

  162. CurseOfLono:

    Firstly iih, if you honestly think that if there is no logical reason to believe in something than there is no logical reason not to believe in something, you might as well believe in invisible pink unicorns, flying spaghetti monsters and so forth. There is no logical reason to disbelieve in them either according to what you are saying.

    Sure. No disagreement there. Then the question is, which system of belief (that already exists or one that you create yourself) makes most sense to you. That could potentially believing in no supreme deity. All I am saying is that, to me, “science” is mostly descriptive in nature and does not explain to us why. Classic example, gravitational laws tell us how bodies behave in the vicinity of one another. You can have complete descriptive equations for the strong and weak forces. But the “why” of these forces is what science does not explain. In particular, why these forces so beautifully put themselves together to give us this perfect structure is what science also fails to explain — describe yes, explain no.

    Secondly, people who argue that Einstein believed in “God,” miss the point that Einstein did not use the word in the conventional sense. He tended to conflate “God” with the universe and the physical laws that govern it. When he said that “God does not play dice” for example, he was rejecting what he say as the randomness of quantum mechanics.

    I am not referring to the “God does not play dice” quote. I read one of his books (“The world as I see it”) a long time ago and in it, the message I left with is that he did believe in a deity that best matches the God of the Jews (which almost identically matches the notion of God to Muslims by the way).

  163. Firstly, atheism is still incidental to the millions of deaths, though I will not argue there was prosecution of believers. For some strange reason, I think marxism’s/communism’s death toll may have more to do with faulty economic theory and that totalitarian “dictatorship of the proletariat.” Do you actually believe that the atheism of the marxists caused all those deaths?

    Secondly, iih, that you conceded one might as believe in IPC’s and the FSM does not speak well for your critical thinking skills. If an argument leads you into absurdities, it may be time to re-examine it. Does the universe seem “fine-tuned” for life? Sure. But that does not a God make. Saying that God fine tuned the universe is to me like saying that winning the lottery is a miracle from God. As for Einstein, I can’t claim that I have read the book you mentioned (though I now intend to), but based on what I have myself read, I can conclude that Einstein did not believe in a personal Judeo-Muslim-Christian God, but did have views that could be described as pantheistic or spinozistic.

  164. i prefer the term “spinozatastic.”

    i believe einstein did as well.

    chalupa, if you’re genuinely interested in engagement, try peter singer, specifically a darwinian left and the expanding circle. intriguing with a dash of crazy, as good stuff tends to be.

  165. Marx did say that religion was the opiate of the masses, implying it was a tool of the rich to keep the poor focused on attaining spiritual riches in the next life rather than acquiring wealth in the present one. Although I don’t know if he actually came out in denial of God’s existence.

    The Founding Fathers were Deists, not necessarily Christians, which may be why they made freedom of religion (to practice or not to practice) one of the first constitutional rights.

    Abraham Lincoln (who last I checked was not a Marxist) said, “The Bible is not my book nor Christianity my profession. I could never give assent to the long, complicated statements of Christian dogma.” Pretty controversial for a 19th-century leader to say, and he was elected twice!

    In addition to Ayn Rand and Lincoln, other non-Marxist atheists/deists/agnostics include Andrew Carnegie, Benjamin Franklin (“Lighthouses are more helpful then churches.”), John Stuart Mill, Walt Disney, Robert Heinlein, and Charles Schultz.

    And do we dare forget Thomas Paine?

    You don’t need organized religion to lead a good and productive life. And atheism is as ridiculous to me a being a true believer. If God does exists, he does whether you believe in him or not.

  166. Mad Max: people were killed by communists in the name of communism. People killed by religious people are killed in the name of God. In the former, atheism is incidental regardless of how much of a component atheism is to communism. Similarly, in the latter people are killed in the name of God regardless of how much of a component love is to religion.

    What you’re trying to do is redefine people’s motivations, decades after the fact. Unfortunately for your argument, killing in the name of god needs no historical redefinition.

  167. TheCurseOfLono:

    Do you actually believe that the atheism of the marxists caused all those deaths?

    No. No where have I said that. But, I can tell you this: (1) Human stupidy is the only culprit, (2) any ideology, religion or philosophy (Islam, atheism, libertarianism) can be twisted and abused to justify human stupidity and the possible blood baths that result from it.

    I am not sure what the acronyms IPC and FSM refer to, by the way.

    Saying that God fine tuned the universe is to me like saying that winning the lottery is a miracle from God.

    I said (or may be was trying to imply) that that is what made more sense to me. It does not have to be for you That is what people call belief — it is personal, emotional, mental, and spiritual. We differ on these things, hence we have different ways to interpret nature. For me, the existence of such a perfect physical order is (1) not explained by science (just described as I said above), and (2) is explained (at least rests my mind when I think of it this way) by Higher Cause that made it all happen.

  168. “…atheism is incidental regardless of how much of a component atheism is to communism.”

    The essence of communism is an atheist, materialist conspiracy against the old western order. The economics of it were incidental. The violent, murderous suppression of the religion is everywhere and every time a feature of a communist regime. They are all formally and militantly atheistic.

  169. I agree with John: the arrogance of believing that one’s own set of beliefs are the One True Way, the willingness to kill and oppress to bring about that One True Way, and the blind certainty that one’s own beliefs cannot lead to evil, are personal shortcomings that any believer can fall for, regardless of the details of the belief system.

  170. Well, I will not even bother replying to Mr. Solzhenitsyn, as he he appears incapable of reasonable argument. The word “conspiracy” should set of alarm bells.

    Mr. iih, I apologize if you think my question about whether atheism is responsible for all the deaths caused by marxism. It was directed at Mad Max. Also, to talk of how any ideology can be “twisted,” is to possibly fall prey to the “no true scotsman” fallacy that was already mentioned by others in the is discussion.

    The IPC also goes by the name Invisible Pink Unicorn and the FSM is also known as the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    Secondly, if you think that universe is a perfect physical order, you need to look up the second law of thermodynamics, as well as quantum mechanics. And to talk about a “first cause” is nonsensical, especially in the context of the big bang. Time is necessary for causation, but since time is a property of the universe, to talk of causation (and a first cause) before the universe existed does not make sense.

    Thirdly, atheism is not a philosophy or ideology. It is simply a position on whether a god exists or not. Many atheists have many different philosophies/ideologies, be they Marx, Rand, John Stuart Mill, Bertrand Russell, etc.

  171. TheCurseOfLono:

    second law of thermodynamics, as well as quantum mechanics

    These theories are our best attempts to study and understand very truly complex, but still prone to cause and effect, dynamical systems. In fact QM in the uncertainty principle is a an excellent example of a scientific theory that says that our theories can only go that far.

    So even systems that exhibit disorder, their disorderly behavior is in response to elementary physical phenomena that, in this case, are too complex for us to study in a deterministic way. So, we come up with statistical ways to try and study them. I think that was why Einstein had trouble with QM (at least initially and less so later in his life I believe).

  172. Solzhen,

    Thank you for the excerpts about the persecution of believers. Ask the persecuted believers whether the atheism of the communists was irrelevant and unimportant!

    CurseOf and Lamar,

    I maintain that Marxism is an ideology which is inseparable from atheism. Lenin (in the quotation I gave) backs me up on this when he gives materialism as the *first* of three sources of Marxism. Materialism is an atheist doctrine involving the rejection not only of traditional theistic religions, but any form of “philosophical idealism” which posits man as some kind of spiritual being.

    So Marxism is a murderous ideology, and a key source of Marxism is the atheist philosophy of materialism. To enforce their ideology, the commies not only propagandized in favor of atheism but persecuted and murdered believers.

    Yet we are told that this makes no difference. Some say that the commies aren’t *real* atheists because true atheists are rational and never commit mass murder. Others say that atheism was not an intrinsic part of the murderous ideology the commies were enforcing in their jurisdictions.

    For the “real atheist” argument, let’s go to an example (by Anthony Flew) cited in the atheist Web site I linked to above (http://atheism.about.com/od/logicalfallacies/a/notruescotsman.htm):

    “Imagine Hamish McDonald, a Scotsman, sitting down with his Press and Journal and seeing an article about how the ‘Brighton Sex Maniac Strikes Again’. Hamish is shocked and declares that “No Scotsman would do such a thing”. The next day he sits down to read his Press and Journal again and this time finds an article about an Aberdeen man whose brutal actions make the Brighton sex maniac seem almost gentlemanly. This fact shows that Hamish was wrong in his opinion but is he going to admit this? Not likely. This time he says, ‘No true Scotsman would do such a thing’.”

    Replace Hamish with certain H&R posters, replace ‘Brighton Sex Maniac’ with Osama or David Koresh, replace “Scotsman” with “atheist,” replace “an Aberdeen man” with “atheist communists” . . . well, you get the idea.

    For the “atheism was irrelevant to the murderousness of the commie ideology” argument, I simply don’t see it. It’s not just a hobby, like stamp-collecting, which commie leaders amused themselves with in the intervals between murders. Atheism is one of the things at the core of the Marxist ideology, and the Marxist ideology was the basis of millions of murders.

  173. Sorry Mad Max, but you really can’t win this one. Believe it or not, you can be a materialist and a believer at the same time, as long as you are a deist anyway. Also materialist theory and I believe socialist theory as well, can be traced back in some form to the greeks. Also, I have never said that communists weren’t “true” atheists. If you lack a belief in or affirm that there is no god, you can be said to be an atheist. Period.
    I also never said marxists didn’t prosecute believers. They certainly did. But the millions who died to marxism did not die because of the atheism of the marxists. Lastly atheism is simply whether one believes in God or not, it is not a philosophic or ideological system. It’s certainly not a “hobby.” You should go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marxism and tell me exactly how many times you find the word “atheism” there.

  174. “Believe it or not, you can be a materialist and a believer at the same time, as long as you are a deist anyway.”

    That may be so, but you would have to reject Marxism to hold such a view, because Marxism is not compatible with any form of theism, not even with watchmaker-style deism.

    “Also, I have never said that communists weren’t “true” atheists.”

    I never said you said it. I said that *some* people said it. I’m sorry if you took that as a swipe at you.

    “But the millions who died to marxism did not die because of the atheism of the marxists.”

    Would Marxists be Marxists in the first place without their atheism? No, they would be muddle-headed Anglicans or “Liberation Theologians,” who were certainly naive about Marxism, but generally weren’t murderers themselves. Marxism is inseperable from atheistic materialism. If you disagree, take it up with Lenin. I think his body is up for auction on Ebay.

    “You should go to [Wikipedia] . . . and tell me exactly how many times you find the word “atheism” there.”

    When determining the meaning of Marxism, as practiced by twentieth-century totalitarians, I think Lenin is a more reliable source than Wikipedia.

  175. For further evidence that materialism (as interpreted by Marxists, not deists)
    necessarily includes atheism, see

    “Giving Priority to Ideological Work is Essential for Accomplishing Socialism,” by Kim Jong IL, June 19, 1995

    page 5, second full paragraph

    http://www.korea-dpr.com/library/101.pdf

  176. Wow, you’re really scraping the the bottle of the barrel with “lil” Kim.

    hmmm…. just browsing through the communist manifesto, cannot find the words atheism there. Or materialism for that matter

    http://www.gutenberg.org/files/61/61.txt

    I also just took a good look at

    http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1913/mar/x01.htm

    The vast majority is considered with class struggle, economics, how bad capitalism is, etc. This kind of terminology dominates. I did not come across “atheism” once. It makes me look back at Solzhenitsyn’s comment about economics being incidental and it makes me laugh.

    Here’s another by Lenin called “What is to be done.” One of his major works apparently.

    http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1901/witbd/index.htm

    I did a word check on it. “Atheism” nor “atheistic” appear in over 130 pages. Once.

    As for your assertion that without atheism marxists would be muddle-headed Anglicans and liberation theologians, I think the example of Voltaire should suffice. And while materialism is certainly a pillar of marxism, atheism is not a pillar of marxism because it is used as an adjective to describe materialism. I somehow doubt their atheism was central to their collectivization plans

    Well anyway, I’ve decided this long debate has taken up too much of my time, so that’s that. I’ll leave you with a quote attributed to Voltaire.

    “If we believe absurdities, we shall commit atrocities.”

  177. “As for your assertion that without atheism marxists would be muddle-headed Anglicans and liberation theologians, I think the example of Voltaire should suffice.”

    Wait – Voltaire was a Marxist?

  178. “Wow, you’re really scraping the the bottle of the barrel with ‘lil’ Kim.”

    Any Communist author I find will by definition have been scraped from the bottom of the barrel. This applies to Lenin, Stalin and Mao as well as to Kim Jong Il.

  179. From Nicolai Bukharin and Evgenii Preobrazhensky, *The ABC of Communism,”

    http://marxists.org/archive/bukharin/works/1920/abc/11.htm

    “Chapter 11: Communism and Religion

    “? 89. Why religion and communism are incompatible

    “‘Religion is the opium of the people,’ said Karl Marx. It is the task of the Communist Party to make this truth comprehensible to the widest possible circles of the labouring masses. It is the task of the party to impress firmly upon the minds of the workers, even upon the most backward, that religion has been in the past and still is today one of the most powerful means at the disposal of the oppressors for the maintenance of inequality, exploitation, and slavish obedience on the part of the toilers. . . .

    “Every communist must regard social phenomena (the relationships between human beings, revolutions, wars, etc.) as processes which occur in accordance with definite laws. The laws of social development have been fully established by scientific communism on the basis of the theory of historical materialism which we owe to our great teachers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. This theory explains that social development is not brought about by any kind of supernatural forces. Nay more. The same theory has demonstrated that the very idea of God and of supernatural powers arises at a definite stage in human history, and at another definite stage begins to disappear as a childish notion which finds no confirmation in practical life and in the struggle between man and nature. But it is profitable to the predatory class to maintain the ignorance of the people and to maintain the people’s childish belief in miracles (the key to the riddle really lies in the exploiters’ pockets), and this is why religious prejudices are so tenacious, and why they confuse the minds even of persons who are in other respects able. . . .

    “In practice, no less than in theory, communism is incompatible with religious faith. The tactic of the Communist Party prescribes for the members of the party definite lines of conduct. The moral code of every religion in like manner prescribes for the faithful some definite line of conduct. For example, the Christian code runs: ‘Whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.’ In most cases there is an irreconcilable conflict between the principles of communist tactics and the commandments of religion. A communist who rejects the commandments of religion and acts in accordance with the directions of the party, ceases to be one of the faithful. On the other hand, one who, while calling himself a communist, continues to cling to his religious faith, one who in the name of religious commandments infringes the prescriptions of the party, ceases thereby to be a communist. . . .

    “? 90. Separation of the church from the state
    The Christian catechism teaches that the church is a society of the faithful who are united by a common creed, by the sacraments, etc. For the communist, the church is a society of persons who are united by definite sources of income at the cost of the faithful, at the cost of their ignorance and lack of true culture. It is a society united with the society of other exploiters such as the landlords and the capitalists, united with their State, assisting that State in the oppression of the workers, and reciprocally receiving from the State help in the business of oppression. . . .

    “The work which the bourgeoisie in its struggle with the church had left unfinished was carried to an end by the proletarian State. One of the first decrees of the Soviet Power in Russia was the decree concerning the separation of the church from the State. All its landed estates were taken away from the church and handed over to the working population. All the capital of the church became the property of the workers. The endowments which had been assigned to the church under the tsarist r?gime were confiscated, although these endowments had been cheerfully continued under the administration of the ‘socialist’ Kerensky. Religion has become the private affair of every citizen. The Soviet Power rejects all thoughts of using the church in any way whatever as a means for strengthening the proletarian State.

    “? 91. Separation of the school from the church
    The association of religious propaganda with scholastic instruction is the second powerful weapon employed by the clergy for the strengthening of the ecclesiastical r?gime and for increasing the influence of the church over the masses. . . .

    “A generation ago, the bourgeois, though they were them- selves still atheistically inclined, though they did not believe in religious fairy tales, and though they laughed covertly at religion, nevertheless considered that the fables must be treated with respect in public, since religion was a useful restraint for the common people. Today, the scions of the bourgeoisie are not content with looking upon religion as providing useful fetters for the people, but they have themselves begun to wear the chains. . . .

    “The separation of the school from the church aroused and continues to arouse protest from the backward elements among the workers and peasants. . . . The teaching of ecclesias- tical obscurantism in the schools, even though the instruction should be merely optional, would imply the giving of State aid to the maintenance of religious prejudices. In that case the church would be provided with a ready-made audience of children – of children who are assembled in school for purposes which are the very opposite of those contemplated by religion. The church would have at its disposal schoolrooms belonging to the State, and would thereby be enabled to diffuse religious poison among our young people almost as freely as it could before the separation of the school from the church.

    “The decree whereby the school is separated from the church must be rigidly enforced, and the proletarian State must not make the slightest concession to medievalism. . . . One of the most important tasks of the proletarian State is to liberate children from the reactionary influence exercised by their parents. The really radical way of doing this is the social education of the children, carried to its logical conclusion. As far as the immediate future is concerned, we must not rest content with the expulsion of religious propaganda from the school. We must see to it that the school assumes the offensive against religious propaganda in the home, so that from the very outset the children’s minds shall be rendered immune to all those religious fairy tales which many grown-ups continue to regard as truth.

    “? 92. Struggle with the religious prejudice of the masses

    “It has been comparatively easy for the proletarian authority to effect the separation of the church from the State and of the school from the church, and these changes have been almost painlessly achieved. It is enormously more difficult to fight the religious prejudices which are already deeply rooted in the consciousness of the masses, and which cling so stubbornly to life. The struggle will be a long one, demanding much steadfastness and great patience. Upon this matter we read in our programme: ‘The Russian Communist Party is guided by the conviction that nothing but the realization of purposiveness and full awareness in all the social and economic activities of the masses can lead to the complete disappearance of religious prejudices.’ What do these words signify?

    “. . . Throughout the entire mechanism of social production there will no longer be anything mysterious, incomprehensible, or unexpected, and there will therefore be no further place for mystical explanations or for superstition. . . .

    “For this reason, the mere fact of the organization and strengthening of the socialist system, will deal religion an irrecoverable blow. . . .

    “It is essential at the present time to wage with the utmost vigour the war against religious prejudices, for the church has now definitely become a counter-revolutionary organization, and endeavours to use its religious influence over the masses in order to marshal them for the political struggle against the dictatorship of the proletariat. The Orthodox faith which is defended by the priests aims at an alliance with the monarchy. This is why the Soviet Power finds it necessary to engage at this juncture in widespread anti-religious propaganda. . . .

    “The credulous crowd is extremely sensitive to anything which hurts its feelings. To thrust atheism upon the masses, and in conjunction therewith to interfere forcibly with religious practices and to make mock of the objects of popular reverence, would not assist but would hinder the campaign against religion. . . .”

  180. Just to clear things up, Voltaire was obviously not a marxist. However, he’s a good example of how you can believe in a God and still be anti-clerical.

    Also, I just checked the work you cited. Only that one chapter out of 19 is about religion. The very work you cited treats religion and anti-clericalism as a minor concern. I stand by my claim.

    Also you do realize that a great many of the people died because people like Stalin (who interestinly enough was intially trained to become a priest, though there is no doubt he was an atheist) were paranoid dictators? They killed anybody they viewed as a possible threat not because they were atheists.

  181. “I maintain that Marxism is an ideology which is inseparable from atheism.”

    I am an atheist and I believe in free markets. There is your separation. I, and many people like me (see also Ayn Rand), are irrefutable proof that atheism and marxism are not at all inseparable…not even close, despite your offensive bullshit whining.

    I think you are really trying to claim is that Marxism is founded on atheism the same way the catholic church is founded on Christianity and I’m calling bullshit on that.

    One of the downfalls of your argument is the fact that you have to cite to pages upon pages of treatises to make a tenuous link that atheism was the true foundation of communism (rather than centuries of serfdom crashing against the industrial revolution). When people kill in the name of God, they proclaim it. But, according to your silliness, Marxists kill in the name of atheism, and if you just read this 3,000 page treatise, review speeches of Lenin and correlate them with the glosses on Marx’s original manuscripts, why it’s plain as day…..

  182. At the time when Marxism first emerged on the political scene, the concept of secular or atheistic communism did not yet exist. All communism was rooted in religious principles.

  183. Lamar,

    I repeat that, if you take the atheism out of Marxism, you no longer have Marxism.

    You speak as if I were saying that *all* atheists are Marxists. That’s an easy straw man to demolish, but it requires you to ignore plain logic, as well at my 6:59 comment on 9/11 that “not all atheists are Marxists.”

    “Also, I just checked the work you cited. Only that one chapter out of 19 is about religion. The very work you cited treats religion and anti-clericalism as a minor concern. I stand by my claim.”

    That reminds me of the man who was accused of murder. The prosecutor said that he had five witnesses who observed the defendant killing the victim. The defendant replied, “so what? I have *twenty* witnesses who *didn’t* see me killing the victim!”

    So you have twenty excerpts from Communist works which discuss subjects other than religion. How on earth does that counterbalance the excerpts I cited in which the commies proclaim their hostility to religion and their determination to extirpate it?

  184. As I pointed out through the example of Voltaire, you do not have to be a non-believer to be hostile to religion. A point you seem to have missed utterly. Atheism and anti-clericalism are not one and the same.

    You seem to have all but conceded my point that atheism and anti-clericalism is a minor concern when compared to the rest of their ideology.
    The analogy you make to a murder is also false, the question is not if someone committed a murder, but why they did it. They killed people because they interered with their economic plans (collectivization being one example) or because they were paranoid dictators, like Stalin. If you’ll read a history book, you’ll find this out. If they were really to go around whacking all the religious people, there wouldn’t have been a population left. The communists weren’t a bunch of people who said “I hate religion, let’s go kill all the people who are religious and believe in God.”

    You act as if atheism had never existed, marxism wouldn’t have been possible. You don’t think something incredibly similar would have existed? As if belief in a God neccessarily made man humane.

  185. Oh, here’s a good example: Socialism. Socialism does NOT require atheism AT ALL. And in point of fact, that’s what the “communist” states were: socialist. Communism is defined as a sort of utopia where the state has withered away. USSR after all stood for : union of soviet SOCIALIST republics.

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