Atheists killed more people throughout history

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Atheists killed more people throughout history

Postby raby760 » Thu Mar 03, 2011 5:43 am

Just brainstorming for a new counter-argument. Perhaps someone can use better wording and expand on this idea...

A few years ago I got into a debate with a Christian. He ended by saying that Atheists killed more people throughout history.

In the debate, the theist "stacked the bodies"/tallied the amount of people that died under Stalin, Pol Pot, and Mao Zedong. I don't remember the count right now, but it was extremely high. Anyway, I responded back by tallying the amount of deaths as a result from theists (+80 Million deaths under Hitler's 3rd Reich, +80 Million Hindus killed by Muslims, etc.).

The theist's response will be "those weren't true Christians" or "they didn't kill those people because of religion. That being said, some of those deaths which are attributed to those atheists were not directly carried out by them (starvation under Mao Zedong's rule). So in this case, the murders were not a result of "atheism" (though it's not a ism). Basically, it's a special pleading fallacy when the Christian refuses to acknowledge the deaths as a result of theists, while accepting the deaths which was not a result from "atheism".

And also, if we were to stack the bodies from the beginning of civilizations until today, and count the murders of every single day from then to now, we would see that most of the murders have been carried out by theists, since theists make up the majority of the population. We could tally up how many theists are in jail for murder.

Christians will say that these theists weren't acting in accordance with religion, and we'll say that atheists weren't acting in accordance with atheism, and when we arrive to the total number of deaths as a result from theists, we used the theist's logic.

Of course it becomes more complicated when a Christian stack the bodies of murders committed by all non-Christians (including Muslims, Hindus, Shinto, Norse, etc) vs Christians. So in order to find out, I guess I'll have to do the research again.
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Postby Infidel » Thu Mar 03, 2011 5:52 am

Usually when body counts are used to determine what's true and what isn't, the side who kills the most is the winner. I bet if *they* had a higher body count they'd be arguing that it's because god was on their side. Sour grapes I say.
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Postby raby760 » Thu Mar 03, 2011 6:04 am

I forgot to add that people generally don't kill because of lack of beliefs, but people kill because of beliefs.
"So far, nobody knows the mysteries that lies behind the formation of the universe. But at least I don't make up an answer, rationalize it, call it god, and then pretend to know." - Raby
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Postby raby760 » Thu Mar 03, 2011 6:20 am

Infidel wrote:Usually when body counts are used to determine what's true and what isn't, the side who kills the most is the winner. I bet if *they* had a higher body count they'd be arguing that it's because god was on their side. Sour grapes I say.


Yes, it's unfortunate. But perhaps it should be addressed. I've dealt with variations of this argument at least 3 times from above average apologist, with championship titles in rubbish.
"So far, nobody knows the mysteries that lies behind the formation of the universe. But at least I don't make up an answer, rationalize it, call it god, and then pretend to know." - Raby
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Postby Infidel » Thu Mar 03, 2011 3:31 pm

I suppose I would ask them what point they're trying to make. It's clear that religion has been the cause of inumerable murders (it's happening even as we type), so that debunks any claims that religion results in peace. Of course, lack of religion does not result in peace either. Stalin et.al. have higher body counts than Constantine only because the population of the earth grew by a factor of 1000 in the interim.

But the *results* of religion have nothing whatsoever to do with the veracity of religious claims.

From a political perspective, there is some sense in propogating ideas that help keep the peace whether they are true or not. But there is a difference between whether or not religious claims are true, and whether or not it's a good idea to propogate them as part of a political strategy to pacify the public. I think religion *does* tend to promote blind obedience to authority, which really is in the best interest of the state. But it isn't in the best interest of the cannon fodder.
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Postby Cephus » Sat Mar 05, 2011 5:42 am

It's not a question of whether atheists have killed more people or not, but what instigated those killings. Was it the lack of belief in a deity that caused the individual to act in that way, or was it some other cause? Certainly, we can point to millions of people killed by theists, done specifically in the name of their religion. Can you do the same with atheism? I think not.
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Postby bijane » Wed May 11, 2011 3:29 pm

I think one thing that would demonstrate a point would be this: more adults have committed murders throughout history, that makes adults bad!
Extend to principles of race and gender. Maybe even hobbies.

In essence, I doubt many people at all were killed because someone liked sci-fi books, or because they were male: just like next to none were killed out of homage to nothing.

And even otherwise, theism has accounted for a staggering number of deaths, let alone the gruesome nature of many. Case in point: Aztecs.
Even if thinking of Christians alone, the Crusades should be evidence enough. Almost two centuries of bloodshed; and this is without mentioning 'witch-burnings'.
To top it all off, the Bible itself should squash the No-True-Scotsman fallacy: the ridiculous amount of deaths in that show, quite plainly, God is not against killing.
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