Recently, as some of the regular lurkers know (at least according to Google Analytics), I have been having an argument with a guy (pseudonym Aquinas Dad) who has been arguing that atheists have killed more people than religious people. His sole argument centres on the atheist nature of communist organisations (in this case focusing on Shining Path in
Well you’d imagine that Shining Path being a bunch of atheist murderers would make the search “shining path atheism” a good term to Google. Indeed it returns over 360,000 results. However the comments of Aquinas Dad on this blog were ranked 4th in the listings, hardly indicative of a wealth of scholarly study. (I realise this isn’t exactly the best way of rating intellectual ideas but it is indicative of what has been done).
I accept communist organisations, such as the Maoist Shining Path, have committed murder on a large scale. But did they do this because they were atheists? Clearly the answer is no. In the same way that most murders by religious fundamentalists often are not done because people believe in this, that or these gods. The problem is that the religious G3 (Judaism, Islam and Christianity) through their acceptance of horrific Bronze Age texts actually condone these actions.
If the Old Testament or the Koran actually condemned violence then many of the most horrific acts in history would have been avoided. These texts gave, and still give, authority to such actions as the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition and the Holocaust. (The last one may seem far fetched but I was sent a magazine by the Christadelphians which states clearly that “the Holocaust was an essential part of god’s covenant with
So yes, there are mentally ill individuals (both theist and atheist) who commit murder. The difference is that the religious person has the authority of religious texts, accepted by millions of people worldwide. They act to support an imaginary being that they believe certainly exists and holds the key to their personal afterlife.
Atheism denies the existence of this imaginary deity and, as a consequence, has to accept the delusions of these people for what they are: delusions. It may not be easy, but it’s the truth.