[ExI] to install

Ben Zaiboc bbenzai at yahoo.com
Sat Jun 5 23:03:38 UTC 2010

BillK <pharos at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 6/4/10, Ben Zaiboc wrote:
> > OK, perhaps I should say "There's never been a pogrom,
> crusade or suicide
> >  bombing for the cause of atheism."
> >
> Well, atheists fight just as much as everybody else and are
> just as
> likely to attack other ethnic groups. Groups attacking
> other ethnic or
> religious groups are a traditional human activity. The
> atheists have
> secular political or national leaders who lead their riots
> just as
> priests or imams lead their religious riots. There is
> plenty of
> evidence that atheism is no protective against psychotic
> homicide on a
> national scale.

All of which could also be said of blue-eyed people or people with a liking for goat's cheese.

Blue-eyedness or goat's cheese liking are not belief systems, and are not protective against psychotic homicide.  

I'm certainly not claiming that atheism is protective against psychotic
homicide on a national scale.  Or any scale.

> The question was asked here:
> <http://askville.amazon.com/people-killed-atheism-time-history/AnswerViewer.do?requestId=3621324>
> "Have people been killed in the name of atheism at any time
> in history?"
> And the overall conclusion was 'Yes'.
> For example: The French Revolution had anti-religious
> riots.
> Quote:
> You could argue that the basis given for the Russian
> killing therefore
> was Communism, not atheism, and this would be correct, but
> I would
> argue that a core component of Communism was state atheism,
> and that
> the aspects of it that were directed against religious
> people were
> therefore atheist in their component.  This became a
> core component of
> many communist regimes.  The Khmer Rouge in Cambodia
> was atheist, and
> most notoriously slaughtered everyone, with Buddhist monks
> at the top
> of the list.

So if a core component of some regime was goat's cheese eating, and that regime declares a war on it's neighbour, a country that eats mostly cow's cheese, should we conclude that goat's cheese eating causes warlike behaviour?

A better example might be language.  Many invading cultures have imposed their language (or tried to) on the people they conquered.  We never take the view that the language is the main cause of the war.

My point is that many religious belief systems lead people to treat other people very badly, up to and including physical and mental torture, and murder, and to declare war on whole groups of people, but the absence of a religious belief system - /in itself/ - does not.  

Yes, there are always psychopaths and unscrupulous megalomaniacs, but it makes no difference whether they have a religion or not, their behaviour is not driven by it, although it may serve as a convenient excuse.

Yes, there are groups of people that do bad things, and they may be atheists, but the reasons for their actions are not "because we're atheists", they're because of the tyranny of a previous regime, because there isn't enough food to go round, because they want more power, because they're afraid of being exterminated, etc., etc., or because their god told them to.  

Those last ones obvously wouldn't be atheists.

Ben Zaiboc


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