18 September 2010

Atheism murders 45 million. . .in just four years!

The next time you hear or read some blowhard like Maher or Dawkins spouting off about how dangerous religion is to civilization, point them to this article, "Mao's Great Leap Forward. . ."


Mao Zedong, founder of the People's Republic of China [and noted atheist], qualifies as the greatest mass murderer in world history, an expert who had unprecedented access to official Communist Party archives said yesterday. 

[. . .] 

Mr Dik├Âtter, who has been studying Chinese rural history from 1958 to 1962, when the nation was facing a famine, compared the systematic torture, brutality, starvation and killing of Chinese peasants to the Second World War in its magnitude. At least 45 million people were worked, starved or beaten to death in China over these four years; the worldwide death toll of the Second World War was 55 million. 

[. . .] 

State retribution for tiny thefts, such as stealing a potato, even by a child, would include being tied up and thrown into a pond; parents were forced to bury their children alive or were doused in excrement and urine, others were set alight, or had a nose or ear cut off. One record shows how a man was branded with hot metal. People were forced to work naked in the middle of winter; 80 per cent of all the villagers in one region of a quarter of a million Chinese were banned from the official canteen because they were too old or ill to be effective workers, so were deliberately starved to death.

[. . .] 

So, do not let go unchallenged the assertion that religion has been the cause of the world's greatest acts of violence.  As the Holy Father noted yesterday at Westminster Hall:

Without the corrective supplied by religion, though, reason too can fall prey to distortions, as when it is manipulated by ideology, or applied in a partial way that fails to take full account of the dignity of the human person.  Such misuse of reason, after all, was what gave rise to the slave trade in the first place and to many other social evils, not least the totalitarian ideologies of the twentieth century. This is why I would suggest that the world of reason and the world of faith – the world of secular rationality and the world of religious belief – need one another and should not be afraid to enter into a profound and ongoing dialogue, for the good of our civilization.

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  1. Is the implication that atheism predisposes to murder, or that Mao's crimes were done in the name of atheism, or both?

  2. Tony, none of the above.

    This is simply a defeator/counter-example to the ridiculous claim made by the used care salesmen of atheism that religious belief is responsible for most of the wars, etc. in the world.

    However, I would add that once a culture has stopped believing in some sort of transcendent Good, the only objective measure of right and wrong is power and violence.

  3. "...once a culture has stopped believing in some sort of transcendent Good, the only objective measure of right and wrong is power and violence."

    Is the "transcendent Good" of necessity supernatural? Are there no examples of secular societies that are humane and moral?