Christians vrs Atheists: Who's killed the most?

One of the recurring themes of evangelical Christianity is that atheism means people have no reason to look after each other, supporting the allegation that it led the deaths of millions during the 20th century. Disregarding for a moment the reality that wars are caused by elite power conflicts and generally have little to do with religious belief or a lack thereof, I thought I'd check out who led some of the more famous wars and genocides in history...

Starting with the most famous of all:

The Holocaust
Leader: Hitler
Deaths: Between 11 and 17 million people
Unfortunately, this is a bad start for the religious, Hitler was a devout Catholic who drew on his religion as a justification for what became the Holocaust.

Hitler wrote:
In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders.
Hitler to General Gerhard Engel, 1941 wrote:
I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so.

Rwanda Genocide
Leader: Théodore Sindikubwabo
Deaths: 500,000-1million
Oops, another loser for the men of the cross. Theodore, who memorably told his fellow Hutus to "get working" (ie. kill more Tutsis), was not only a Catholic and backed by the powerful Rwandan Catholic church (left over from Belgium's christian-led occupation of the country), he claimed divine inspiration was behind the massacre, saying God would help the Hutus against the "enemy."

Colonising of the Americas
Leaders: Colombus, the European Monarchs, the easrly US presidents
Deaths: Anywhere between 8.4 million and 100 million people (due to lack of records)
Oh dear. Originally found and gutted by a man who cited God every time he opened his mouth (try Howard Zinn for more), followed by a succession of very religious monarchs and religious types who jumped the boats to get away from Europe's restrictions on them, who deliberately introduced massive disease into the native population of an entire continent. Not looking good this. It's paralleled by similar events in Australia.

Cromwell's Irish campaign
Leader: Oliver Cromwell
Casualties: 50,000
He may have killed a king, but Old Ironsides was also a puritan who ordered or condoned the killing, torture and deportation of tens of thousands of Irish people.

The Irish famine
Leader: Lord John Russell
Casualties: 4 million
Good old CoE our John, this holds true incidentally for a number of different leaders of British atrocities, from Rhodesia to China and the Americas.

Vietnam
Leaders: Nguyen Van Thieu (Catholic), Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon (Protestant, Quaker), Ho Chi Minh (Atheist)
Casualties: approx 3.5 million
Bit of a no-score draw, they were all arseholes who killed many innocents, the US significantly more than the rest but only because they had better weapons.

Soviet war/post-war repression
Leader: Joseph Stalin
Deaths: 10-20 million
Yep, caught the atheists cold there, Uncle Joe was a stone cold killer and a hard-headed atheist.

Right, got to get back to work, but I might follow this up a little more later (people are more than welcome to chime in btw), there's a list of some of the most famous genocides on Wikipedia here.

Posted By

Rob Ray
Feb 11 2010 13:58

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DuckPhup
Mar 11 2010 14:30

The Abrahamic death-cults of desert monotheism (Judaism, Christ-cult, Islam) are totalitarian ideologies.

Naziism, communism and fascism are totalitarian ideologies.

Atheism is not any kind of ideology... it is simply a label that is attached to people who are not stupid and gullible enough to 'believe' in invisible, magical, all-powerful, supernatural sky-fairies.

Quote:
"Atheism can be construed to be a 'belief', a 'faith', or a 'religion', only in the same sense that one might consider NOT collecting stamps to be a 'hobby'." ~ Unknown

The 20th century conflicts that are mentioned here are the collisions of totalitarian ideologies, wherein an innovation in political philosophy established the 'state' (often in the person of a charismatic and/or powerful authoritarian leader... i.e., 'personality cult'), rather than a supernatural entity, as the supreme power. Non-belief in supernatural operators was a feature of such ideologies... but it does not define those ideologies.

The assertion that millions of people were slaughtered 'in the name of atheism' is patently absurd. It is exactly the same thing as saying that millions of people were slaughtered due to a disagreement over the reasonableness or unreasonableness of 'believing' in invisible, magical, all-powerful, supernatural sky-fairies. It would make just as much sense to declare that since Stalin and Hitler both had hair on their upper lips, their victims were slaughtered 'in the name of mustaches'.

It is much more accurate to say that the victims of Naziism, Communism and Fascism were slaughtered 'in the name of religion', wherein the 'deity' was the 'state'.

Boris Badenov
Mar 11 2010 15:13
DuckPhup wrote:
The Abrahamic death-cults of desert monotheism (Judaism, Christ-cult, Islam) are totalitarian ideologies.

if by totalitarian you mean supportive of the absolute power of the state, or a ruling elite, the same can be said of Classical "paganism," Buddhism or indeed any organized religion. Equally death and resurrection are central to many pre-Christian (and non-Jewish) cults (indeed some have argued that many features of Christ's martyrdom were "borrowed" straight from widespread mediterranean cults like that of Mithras).
Unless of course you mean that those bad Jews with their deathly obsessions ruined good European religion....

Choccy wrote:
Yeah i thought it was pretty obvious that it was a bit of fun.

I guess it could be "fun" if the tired old "religion killed more people than atheism" strawman hadn't been done to death by Dawkins and his band of merry men (and every self-conscious Atheist I talk to) to the point where I can't stomach it at all anymore, even if it's purely in jest.

Yorkie Bar
Mar 11 2010 16:03
DuckPhup wrote:
The Abrahamic death-cults of desert monotheism (Judaism, Christ-cult, Islam) are totalitarian ideologies.

Naziism, communism and fascism are totalitarian ideologies.

Atheism is not any kind of ideology... it is simply a label that is attached to people who are not stupid and gullible enough to 'believe' in invisible, magical, all-powerful, supernatural sky-fairies.

Quote:
"Atheism can be construed to be a 'belief', a 'faith', or a 'religion', only in the same sense that one might consider NOT collecting stamps to be a 'hobby'." ~ Unknown

The 20th century conflicts that are mentioned here are the collisions of totalitarian ideologies, wherein an innovation in political philosophy established the 'state' (often in the person of a charismatic and/or powerful authoritarian leader... i.e., 'personality cult'), rather than a supernatural entity, as the supreme power. Non-belief in supernatural operators was a feature of such ideologies... but it does not define those ideologies.

The assertion that millions of people were slaughtered 'in the name of atheism' is patently absurd. It is exactly the same thing as saying that millions of people were slaughtered due to a disagreement over the reasonableness or unreasonableness of 'believing' in invisible, magical, all-powerful, supernatural sky-fairies. It would make just as much sense to declare that since Stalin and Hitler both had hair on their upper lips, their victims were slaughtered 'in the name of mustaches'.

It is much more accurate to say that the victims of Naziism, Communism and Fascism were slaughtered 'in the name of religion', wherein the 'deity' was the 'state'.

I think you're taking this thread a bit too seriously; it's just meant to be a bit of a laugh. It's not about seriously analysing the causes of genocide, and their relation to theistic belief systems. That would require a rather more thorough analysis than just 'christians vs atheists: who's killed the most".

That said, I have to say I disagree with your statement that "The 20th century conflicts that are mentioned here are the collisions of totalitarian ideologies"; I'd say they were the collisions of nations, both 'totalitarian' and 'democratic', which aren't the result of ideology per se but of economic necessity. Imperialism isn't caused by ideology - just the reverse. It's caused by the need for nation-states to compete for resources, markets and political influence in order to survive.

Entdinglichung
Mar 11 2010 16:57

totalitarianism is total totalitarian, totally!

SeasickTex
May 9 2010 09:37

I agree that in most recent wars involved atheism. But if you are to look back a little further in the pre and post Renaissance era, the wars and genocide of that time were based on nothing but religious beliefs. Many wars took place in France and all over Europe that have been known to be influenced by the pope himself. These "holy wars" were led by major religious leaders who rose up against and slaughtered millions of people(protestants) that their only crime was having different beliefs in religion. But it was justifiable in that time because a disagreement in religion was just simply called "witchcraft". But since it was done by religious leaders and not athiests it was ok right? It was not until the Queen of France, Catherine De Medici came up with the concept of seperation between church and state that a crumbling nation began to prosper again. This "holy" genocide lasted for hundreds of years longer than just these Athiest run wars of just this recently passed century. That is why I have my bible sitting next to my copy of "Lord of the Rings" in the fiction section of my bookshelf. It's a good fictional novel. The existance of GOD is a good thoery. Yet it is the only theory that has no proof other than a 2,000 year old book that has been lost in translation and re-written to meet certain leader's approval. The greatest example was in 1611, the post renaissance British ruler, King James I release his approved version of the holy scripture. Hence the "King James Version" The poorly translated, altered, and totally off from the original security blanket that most christians tend to cling their faith to the most. Maybe after these thousands of years, someone would have at least found some sort of physical evidence that could back up these fictional short stories in the bible. I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.

SeasickTex
May 9 2010 21:13

Where did you come up with the nickname "Old Ironsides". That name had nothing to do with Cromwell's Irish campaign. Old Ironsides was the nickname for the first U.S. Navy ship the USS Constitution. Named that due to the tactics used by the captain at the time to be able to angle the ship just right to where the British cannon fire seemes to just bounce off the hull

Rob Ray
May 10 2010 07:12

try googling Cromwell Ironsides. It was his nickname given in 1644 by a defeated enemy general. Amazingly enough people do sometimes come up with phrases entirely independently of US history.

NB// Do you think I'm arguing from a christian perspective? Try reading again, more slowly.

slothjabber
May 10 2010 20:41

The answer is, in the 20th century, atheists killed the most. Stalin + Mao (combined death toll approx 92 million) tops all Christians (of whom Hitler on 12 million is way out in front). But if you add in all religious (like the Japanese Divine Emperor) then it's about even. In pre-20th century history, the religious come out so far ahead that there's no way to even calculate it. There were no atheists before 1900 (or not enough to make any serious difference to anything).

But obviously, that's only wars and persecutions.

Why not run this as 'Communists & Anarchists v Capitalists (including State Capitalists)' and we can all feel better about ourselves? We've killed... several thousand. They've killed... everyone else.

Rob Ray
May 11 2010 11:04

Well if you include the upper limit of the massacre of the Americas the Christians could quite easily end up doubling the atheists overall, though over a longer time scale.

Plus that doesn't take into account relative scales (eg. the Crusades, which I noted earlier would amount to roughly 20 million deaths if they were scaled up for today's population levels) or the active brutality of it - eg. Tamerlane's infamous "28 towers" built entirely from the decapitated heads of the non-muslims he'd conquered.

baboon
May 11 2010 11:50

A bit late on this one following Dano's post some time ago:
Eugenics was a phenomenon coming out of capitalism, i.e., English bourgeoise society (greatly inbred by the way) was the pinnacle of man's development and could be perfected further under capitalism. This was, as Dano says, recuperated by the Nazis but was by no means confined to them alone and belonged to the whole of capitalist ideology, it was very strong in the USA for example.
Eugenics, along with the ideas of "dog eat dog" and competition as innate to humanity, were effectively undermined by A. R. Wallace and Darwin exemplified in Darwin's "Descent of Man..." Without at all underestimating the great advances that Darwin made along with Russel in their analysis of the development of humanity, the former did, in later editions of the book, succumb to pressure from the milieu he lived in, and showed some sympathies to the ideas of eugenics. This was completely against his whole work in relation to both the natural and human world.
My point is though, that "Social Darwinism" was recuperated by much more than fascism and remains an underlying tenet of capitalism today.

Invictus_88
May 11 2010 13:22

I seem to be the first to ask - but is this supposed to tie in relevantly to anarchism?

Rob Ray
May 11 2010 13:27

I seem to be the first to ask - but are you unable to read?

It's supposed to tie in relevantly to Christians who reckon atheists are amoral, as I said in the first line of the introduction.

Invictus_88
May 11 2010 13:53

I just didn't see a connection to anarchism. That's all. Wondered if I was missing something.

No need to be a tit about it.

Rob Ray
May 11 2010 14:17

Ah sorry thought you were being facetious, no the blogs aren't always specifically about anarchist-related stuff (although this does do a quick sideswipe at the concept of elites questing for more power being the primary force behind major massacres, rather than religious preferences).

gypsy
May 11 2010 14:44
Invictus_88 wrote:
I just didn't see a connection to anarchism. That's all. Wondered if I was missing something.

No need to be a tit about it.

You voted, not only did you vote but you voted for the conservatives(or did you not?) your the tit if so.

Dano
May 14 2010 10:55

I agree, Baboon, that's correct!

johnandes
Apr 23 2013 12:52

I have to concur with James678. I can't add anything. Thanks James. This is just a shallow biased, hateful rant against christians which is so common these days and an attempt to rewrite history. I am curious,however, about how you would address the homosexual roots of the Nazi party. Would you consider them Christians too. Thanks

Rob Ray
Apr 23 2013 13:24

Er, I'd guess you mean the leader of the SA, who was killed in the night of the Long Knives on Hitler's orders, with the public reason including grounds of "perversion"? Also, this:

How the Nazis treated homosexuals

Regardless of which, you seem not to be capable of comprehending simple English - I've said repeatedly that this isn't about Christian-bashing but merely points out the logical fallacy of Christians saying atheists are more prone to mass slaughter due to a lack of belief in God. The way in which you take the blog says more about you than about anyone else, imo.

Entdinglichung
Apr 23 2013 13:25
johnandes wrote:
I have to concur with James678. I can't add anything. Thanks James. This is just a shallow biased, hateful rant against christians which is so common these days and an attempt to rewrite history. I am curious,however, about how you would address the homosexual roots of the Nazi party. Would you consider them Christians too. Thanks

seems, that there is at least one person in the world who believes the crap written in Pink Swastika