List of Christian Atrocities
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13-06-2011, 04:21 PM
RE: List of Christian Atrocities
(13-06-2011 01:34 PM)Ghost Wrote:  He wanted an Atheist state. That's an Atheist agenda. It cannot be anything else.

That's absurd. He did not have an "atheist agenda". He had an agenda of total obedience with out having to compete with any other force for it, be it religious belief, political affiliation, etc. And, he did not outlaw religion, he just made it toe the line. That's much better than how he treated other groups. But, the point remains that his actions were not motivated by his non-belief and he did not use his non-belief as a means of motivating people. That doesn't make him any less of a monster and also does not change the fact that he managed to convince thousands of people to engage in the murder of millions of people without using religion to charge them up, but that is still a far cry from an "atheist agenda".

(13-06-2011 01:34 PM)Ghost Wrote:  He didn't use religion, he didn't use Atheism per se, but he sure as hell inspired people to follow him and committ atrocities. He didn't kill all those people himself.

Agree on all points. However, whatever means he use to inspire them, his atheism was not part of that equation. This counter argument to religion inspires atrocities simply does not work. Atheism is not an inspiration. Or, if it is or can be, Stalin is not an example of it being so.

(13-06-2011 01:34 PM)Ghost Wrote:  It's not that Stalin was able to run things WITHOUT invoking divine law, his regime couldn't function if he did. He did everything in his power to crush the invocation of God.

Once again, agree. He did not take his stance on theism because of atheism. His stance was based on more fundamental factors, like it interfered with his view of how he wanted to lead.

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13-06-2011, 04:35 PM (This post was last modified: 13-06-2011 04:39 PM by Monk.)
RE: List of Christian Atrocities
Ghost? I am a little baffled by your postings? What are your views on religion? Are you deist? theist? Pro-FSM? :-)
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13-06-2011, 08:40 PM
RE: List of Christian Atrocities
Hey, Monk.

Much to the chagrin of peeps round here I am simply an Agnostic. But my religious views are irrelevant here. I'm talking about power. That's political science, not religion.

Hey, BnW.

I'm going to say that I don't understand your preoccupation with inspiration. WHATEVER device is used to inspire a people, if it is not Theistic then by definition it is Atheistic.

Like I said, if wanting to rid your state of Theism is not an Atheist agenda then nothing is.

Look. If you're hung up on the idea that Theism is used to warp and twist people's minds and Atheism is not, then sure, in principle I guess I agree with you. But who cares? What that has to do with anything is beyond me.

Really, if wiping out Theism is not an Atheist agenda then what is?

BnW Wrote:This counter argument to religion inspires atrocities simply does not work.

Ah. I think I might have just figured you out... and I'm insulted. Dude. Seriously. You know better than to treat me like some talking point repeating Theist. I'm not trying to out-point Atheists. I’m not talking about counter-arguments. I don't give a shit about Atheist/Theist pissing contests. I'm interested only in mechanics. What are the universals? So he didn't inspire them with Atheism. Whooptie shit. That's irrelevant. Atrocities are the result of power manoeuvring. Nothing more. Whatever motivates the power grab is irrelevant. It would only be relevant if there was some property of religion that made it the only type of organisation that sought power. But that’s cockamamie. Every single hierarchical organisation seeks power. So it’s irrelevant.

BnW Wrote:He did not take his stance on theism because of atheism.

Dude, by definition, Atheists are the ONLY people that can take a stance against Theism.

...For real, I'm racking my brain trying to figure out where you're coming from and I got nothing. Inspiration is such a non issue in my mind that I just can't figure it out. I mean, I've outlined an argument that explains how the quest for absolute authority is what leads to atrocity. Why people are seeking absolute authority and how they get people to help them is irrelevant.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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16-06-2011, 05:43 PM
RE: List of Christian Atrocities
Irrelevant in what context? In the context of the general concept that bad things happened and people were killed, then sure, the why's and how's may be irrelevant. But, when you get into a discussion of how and why it happened, then motivations becomes very relevant.

Also, your comment about atheists being the only people who can take a stand against theism is misleading. Generally your comment is true but in reality theists regularly oppose theists of different religions. That is the most common form of a stance against theism. By sheer numbers alone, that has to be the most common form. In the Stalin example, he was basically a religion in and of himself. I'm obviously speaking metaphorically, but he was simply a replacement for it. Also, the USSR never outlawed religion. Stalin certainly made it difficult for religious leaders but that was as much about power as anything. He wanted to make sure no one was talking against the state. But, not all communist regimes were that tough on religion. I saw your comment on Viet Nam in another thread and the use of suicide bombers. I think you made an assumption about their atheism as well. Some of them may have been, and they most probably not one of the big 3 monotheistic religions but just because they weren't and just because they were communists does not in and of itself mean they are atheists. That is a bit of a leap of faith, so to speak, on your part.

But, getting back to the original point, you want to say that religion is not solely responsible for all the world's evils that's fine, and I agree. You want to argue that wars are fought for reasons other than religion, I'm still with you. However, you want to argue that belief in god has not fueled many of histories wars and atrocities because some of the leaders may have had other motivations, that is where we part ways in our thinking.

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16-06-2011, 07:05 PM
RE: List of Christian Atrocities
.
.
.
Let's play a game. Find the similarities in the pics.

[Image: crusader.jpg]

[Image: CrossSwastika1.jpg]

[Image: inquisicion_seal.gif]
(Seal of the Spanish Inquisition)


Now find me a picture of an atheist battle attire or military insignia. You can't. Because atheism has no symbol, no inspired message, no doctrines, and no ideology to be pushed on others.

Even if you think that religion was just the "tool" used to "sell" people into the war. Why do you think they "bought" it? Without a religious facade to stand behind, Hitler would have found little support for his cause (global domination bred from racism), the witch hunts would have had no "righteous judgement" to impose on "demonic witches," and there would be no reason for the Crusades to have ever occurred; there would have been no Pope to sanction the wars as "just," no "Christian" control to establish over "Muslims," and the "Holy Land" would just be another piece of worthless desert.

"Ain't got no last words to say, yellow streak right up my spine. The gun in my mouth was real and the taste blew my mind."

"We see you cry. We turn your head. Then we slap your face. We see you try. We see you fail. Some things never change."
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16-06-2011, 07:38 PM (This post was last modified: 16-06-2011 08:03 PM by Ghost.)
RE: List of Christian Atrocities
Hey, BnW.

Irrelevant in the sense that this isn't a question of motivation. Religion would not be able to motivate anyone to do anything if it wasn't for the structure beneath it that allowed it to. That structure is not unique to religion. That structure is the mechanics of power.

To have an actual conversation about motivating factors, one has to discuss all of them. Religion is just one of them. If we're having a serious, rational and honest discussion, we cannot ever pretend that it is the only one. If we do, we abandon fact and descend into demonisation.

And my statement about Atheists being the only ones that can take a stand against Theism is not misleading in the least, your argument is. If Christians and Muslims go to war, neither is taking a stand against Theism and you know it. Taking a stand against a theistic organisation and taking a stand against Theism are completely different things.

Stalin was only a religion in and of himself if we abandon all reason and just say that religion means anything that has power and is mean. And I know that you qualified it afterwards as just a metaphor, but if you want to talk about misleading, that metaphor is it. Stalin was NOT a religion. End of story. The only reason you would even think to say so is because you refuse to take a step back from the idea that religion causes everything. The features that he shares with a religious organisation have nothing to do with religion, but everything to do with a power maximising hierarchical organisation. Religions are (can be) power maximising hierarchical organisations. Stalin's regime was a power maximising organisation. The lowest common denominator is being a power maximising hierarchical organisation, it is not religion. It's like saying that the USSR is the problem because it was a warlike state because (insert an entire library of Cold War rhetoric here) but that the United States is somehow different because of the different permutations of their organisation. The states of the USSR and the USA functioned on the exact same principals. We know this because the permutations of Russian society has changed in the last two decades and approached the permutations of the USA and they are still the same power hungry warlike society they were before and so is the USA. Germany, France, China, name them, they're all the same thing, warlike states. That is the lowest common denominator. To single one out as somehow special is just wrong.

BnW Wrote:Stalin certainly made it difficult for religious leaders but that was as much about power as anything.

DUDE! It's everything! That's my entire argument! It's a question of power and only a question of power.

The Viet Cong thing is not a leap of faith. The official state policy of North Vietnam was anti-religious. If one of the sappers was a Catholic so be it. Doesn't change the fact that they were fighting for the interests of an anti-religious communist state and not for Catholicism. It's like saying that the religion or lack thereof of an American soldier in Afghanistan is relevant. It's not. None of them are over there fighting for their personal religion. They're over there fighting for American interests and those interests are secular (and drenched in fossil fuels but that's another discussion entirely).

BnW Wrote:However, you want to argue that belief in god has not fueled many of histories wars and atrocities because some of the leaders may have had other motivations, that is where we part ways in our thinking.

I'm following you, homey. But there's a distinction that I think is evident, but I can't seem to make it clear... let me try this.

The United States went to war in Iraq because of 9/11. 9/11 was used to create support for military action and the mythology of the day (it was even branded) has been used to justify pretty much every part of American foreign policy for the last decade and has also been used domestically to inspire youth to volunteer for the US's all-volunteer army.

So wars are caused by 9/11.

If that's too specific for you, work with me. What's the statement? Wars are caused by being attacked? Wars are caused by wanting vengeance?

Whatever statement can be fashioned, its wrong.

Wars are caused by large power maximising hierarchical organisations that have militarised (or at least have dedicated and expendable forces that they can wield) who are trying to maximise their power by projecting it or by trying to maintain their power by defending against the projection of power by other states.

LPMHO X uses religion and the forces of authority, coercion and influence it grants as part of their power maximisation strategy.
LPMHO Y uses capitalism and the forces of authority, coercion and influence it grants as part of their power maximisation strategy.
LPMHO Z uses... the list goes on.

What is going on is the use of something to the end of maximising power. What that thing is is irrelevant. IT is not the problem. IT is not the CAUSE.

So I'm not above saying religious organisations have gone to war and incited others to go to war on their behalf and committed acts of atrocity. That's true. But that's not the cause of war. They did that because of the nature of their organisation, not because of some special property of religion.

Last analogy I can think of. Walls. You could build a wall out of stone, brick, glass, wood, steel... but you can't say that walls are made of any one of those materials. Maybe one of them is easier to use, so it's used a lot, maybe 80% of the walls are stone, but that doesn't mean that walls are made out of stone. Religion CAN be used (because religion isn't a control mechanism in and of itself, it can also be a benevolent influence, a path to peace and understanding) to build a wall. It's a really easy material to work with. But you can't say that all walls are made of it. And if you think that getting rid of religion means getting rid of walls, you're fooling yourself.

Anyhoo, that's about as far as my brain can go at the moment. I hope it was a meaningful example.

ON EDIT:

Hey, Buddy.

Buddy Wrote:Now find me a picture of an atheist battle attire or military insignia. You can't. Because atheism has no symbol, no inspired message, no doctrines, and no ideology to be pushed on others.

The cross isn't the symbol of Theism. Think about that for a second. There are many symbols for many theistic organisations. And as you've shown, they are prominently displayed by each organisation.

If an organisation is not theistic, then it is atheistic. That's what has been beaten into my skull since I got here. Now tell me that there are no symbols that are used by non-Theist, meaning Atheist, organisations. $ is on my God damn keyboard!

Now think about this one for a second. Any religious warrior you can name from history was not fighting for Theism. Really think about that for a second. The idea is just silly. They were fighting for the interests of their particular organisation. So why would we expect someone to fight for Atheism? They fight for the interests of their particular organisation. And you better believe that there are powerful non-Theist organisations with interests to pursue in the world.

The only time we will ever see people fighting for Theism is when Christians, Muslims, Jews, you name em say, "Man, we have our differences, but we have to wipe out this idea that there is NO God. That undermines us all." That's fighting for Theism. It will also happen when people from across the spectrum of Atheist groups that people refuse to try and identify band together and say, "Let's just get rid of Theism all together."

Buddy Wrote:Even if you think that religion was just the "tool" used to "sell" people into the war. Why do you think they "bought" it? Without a religious facade to stand behind, Hitler would have found little support for his cause (global domination bred from racism), the witch hunts would have had no "righteous judgement" to impose on "demonic witches," and there would be no reason for the Crusades to have ever occurred; there would have been no Pope to sanction the wars as "just," no "Christian" control to establish over "Muslims," and the "Holy Land" would just be another piece of worthless desert.

I grant you. That is why they bought it. But it's not the only thing that people buy.

This is the exact reason that I am so vigorous in defending my position. You cannot possibly believe that if there was no religion that there would be no war and no atrocity.

That is the idea that I fight tirelessly against. Because if we make the target religion and we spend all of our energy trying to rid ourselves of it we solve NOTHING. We will still be in a world where there are large, powerful hierarchical organisations that are out to maximise power and that will go to war and commit atrocity and convince us to support it all.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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16-06-2011, 08:07 PM
RE: List of Christian Atrocities
I don't think anyone here thinks that without religion there would be no war. There's always the other main causes of war; nationalism, racism, government oppression, and just plain boredom (humans are violent in nature). But religion is the number 1 tool used to gather support for genocide. It's a way for leaders to control their masses. It's a way to force rational people to make irrational decisions.

Without religion, it would be MUCH harder to gather support for your cause. I can't imagine the Israelis and Palestinians fighting over arbitrary land for decades without the belief that they were the chosen people to reign over the the divine location. Without religion, YOU would be responsible for your actions. The Pope would be a human being supporting a war, rather than "just a messenger for God" (not my decision, God wants that land!) and accountable for his support.

"Ain't got no last words to say, yellow streak right up my spine. The gun in my mouth was real and the taste blew my mind."

"We see you cry. We turn your head. Then we slap your face. We see you try. We see you fail. Some things never change."
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17-06-2011, 09:36 AM
RE: List of Christian Atrocities
(16-06-2011 07:38 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Taking a stand against a theistic organisation and taking a stand against Theism are completely different things.

I absolutely agree with this statement. Perfectly stated. And, that is my point. Stalin was not taking a stand against religion, he was taking a stand against theistic organizations because they represented a threat to his power. He personally may have had issues with religion (the evidence is that he did) but he did not just outlaw belief in god, he instead attacked religious institutions. It was not an atheistic attack, it was an attack on a competing power.

Secondly, Buddy made the general point I was making too. Of course there would be wars without religion. Is it often said that religion has historically been the most frequent cause of wars, but I don't really believe that. What I do think is that historically religion has been the most frequent justification for wars, though. Those are not exactly the same thing.

Without religion and belief in god, you may very well motivate your people to attack another country or tribe or whatever. No doubt you can. However, without religion, the types of atrocities we've seen, not just within war, but outside of it, would be much less likely to have happened. The Inquisition, the Holocaust, the genocide of the native Americans all were justified on religious grounds. Convincing people to go along with that type of sadistic and genocidal behavior without a religious argument is going to be much more difficult. Even the Stalinist purges often had a religious bent to them as they attacked Jews, etc. and made religious distinctions. And, many of Stalin's, and later Mao's, victims were not part of group wide campaigns, but were part of more targeted on an individual basis, which generally does not require convincing large swatches of your population to go along with. That you just manage by getting a small number of fanatical followers and ruling through fear.

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17-06-2011, 12:34 PM
RE: List of Christian Atrocities
Parallel to the genocide of the Native Americans, is the story of the Ainu, an indigenous people who lived on the islands of Japan before the Japanese. There are extreme similarities between what the westerners did, and what the people of wu did (where Japanese came from as far as I know, because the Ainu called them wujin which means person of wu in Japanese). Without any religious underpinnings, but the need for land the Japanese fought the Ainu for control of the islands. One of many similarities in a way is that the war was ended when the Japanese poisoned the head chieftain of the Ainu. After the Ainu were beaten and forced into the upper island (Hokkaido) where it is a harsher colder climate, they began taking able bodied men as workers. Use of the Ainu language and discussing Ainu culture were outlawed by the Japanese, also the Ainu were given the special privilege to be considered Japanese after rejecting their culture. In fact it was only in 2008 that the Ainu were recognized as the indigenous peoples of Japan by the Japanese.

I'm not suggesting it has to be religion, but I sure don't see things like this as being about religion. An atheist agenda is not an agenda devoid of religious underpinnings it's an agenda promoting atheism. this is a common linguistic consideration. When one says that they play basketball they do not then discuss all of the sports they do not play. It is assumed that if they don't discuss playing a sport they most likely do not play it.

I'm not a non believer, I believe in the possibility of anything. I just don't let the actuality of something be determined by a 3rd party.
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17-06-2011, 01:08 PM
RE: List of Christian Atrocities
Thank you for that, Lilith.

Hey, Buddy.

And when religion is gone something else will be the number 1 tool because the mechanics will remain untouched.

Hey, BnW.

Again, you muddle things. My well stated statement referred to Theists against Theists. Stalin was an Atheist. So sure, if you really want to say that he was not against all Theism (which is unlikely because the divine authority represented by all theistic organisations was a threat to his quest for absolute power [if you share authority with any god, your authority ain’t absolute], but that aside) then sure, he was against specific theistic organisations. But that does not change the fact that the only people that can take a stand against Theism are Atheists. More to the point, the lowest common denominator is not religion, but power maximisation.

Again, like I said, sure, religion justifies blah blah blah... but who cares if it was what was used most frequently historically? I mean really. Outside of pointing a finger at religious organisations or religion itself and saying "you're bad". If it is just one of many things and if those things will remain when religion is gone, who cares? It’s like letting France off the hook for having a disproportionate amount of the world’s wealth because the US has way more. The issue isn’t US wealth; it’s the system that the US and every other country in the world use. The US just happens to be better at it than everyone else/had favourable environmental conditions. Address the system that religion is simply nested in and the problems of religions vanish as a matter of course. Focus on religion and the system remains.

As far as it somehow being more difficult to rally the people without religion, believe me, the job of power maximisers is figuring out how to motivate people and they're very good at it. And as Goering said, you don't need religion to do it:
Quote:Naturally the common people don’t want war. But after all, it is the
leaders of a country who determine the policy, and it’s always a
simple matter to drag people along whether it is a democracy or a
fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship.
Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of
the leaders. This is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are
being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and
for exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every
country.”
--- Hermann Goering, Hitler’s Reich Marshall, at the Nuremberg
Trials after World War II.

Lastly, the idea that historical atrocities are less likely to have happened without religion has zero value as a statement. Those events occurred because of a complex relationship between multiple determinates. The Montreal Canadiens would have won the Stanley Cup this year if they hadn't lost but they did and any speculation about what would have happened is just that, speculation. You have absolutely nothing to base your claim on. More to the point, organisations do not exist in a vacuum. Remove religion from history and the entire ecosystem changes. Who knows what organisations would have been dominant and looking to maximise their power?

The only reason that corporate atrocity today is not as bloody as historical religious atrocity is because corporations have to contend with man-made authority. Laws that prevent such things. But they dutifully use their lobbying power to erode the protections given by law, thereby increasing corporate authority. They also don't have to shoot people in the head to make them do things. They have other powers of influence, authority and coercion that religions never had. Religions didn’t torture and kill people because they were moustache-twisting melodramatic villains; they did it as a means to an end. That end, power maximisation, is shared by all large power maximising heiarchical organsisations. Look at the history of corporate power over the last 200 years and tell me they don't commit atrocities and tell me that their power hasn't increased dramatically. The nature of their atrocities are largely different for now (although corporations have a long history of murdering people either directly or indirectly) but the nature of the atrocity is not the issue. The fact that a given organisation has the power to commit atrocities is.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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