The Hitler/Stalin/Pol Pot argument
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10-04-2013, 02:33 AM
RE: The Hitler/Stalin/Pol Pot argument
(09-04-2013 09:33 PM)amyb Wrote:  What Katiegal said, also. Stalin and Pol Pot didn't kill anybody because of atheism; whereas in the past and in modern times, Christians and Muslims have killed and tortured in the name of Christianity/Islam. That's the main difference, as I see it. It's also useful to point out that communist dictatorships tend to replace "god" with "dictator." And Hitler was religious, so he has no place in the discussion. It's just that theists want to distance themselves from him, so they pile him in with atheism.

It's true that some people are bad with or without religion, and some good with or without religion, but I still think the main argument here is that people kill for their god(s), people don't kill for atheism. At least, not that i know of.

Stalin and Pol Pot killed many people because they were anti-theist. If you are an atheist who is not anti-theist, then yes the Stalin/Pol Pot argument doesn't apply to you. However this forum is chock full of anti-theists, this forum is chck full of people who share the same ideology as mass murderers. To those people I call them hypocrites for thinking that religion cause people to commit evil but anti theism doesn't.

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10-04-2013, 03:30 AM
RE: The Hitler/Stalin/Pol Pot argument
(10-04-2013 02:33 AM)Heywood Jahblome Wrote:  
(09-04-2013 09:33 PM)amyb Wrote:  What Katiegal said, also. Stalin and Pol Pot didn't kill anybody because of atheism; whereas in the past and in modern times, Christians and Muslims have killed and tortured in the name of Christianity/Islam. That's the main difference, as I see it. It's also useful to point out that communist dictatorships tend to replace "god" with "dictator." And Hitler was religious, so he has no place in the discussion. It's just that theists want to distance themselves from him, so they pile him in with atheism.

It's true that some people are bad with or without religion, and some good with or without religion, but I still think the main argument here is that people kill for their god(s), people don't kill for atheism. At least, not that i know of.

Stalin and Pol Pot killed many people because they were anti-theist. If you are an atheist who is not anti-theist, then yes the Stalin/Pol Pot argument doesn't apply to you. However this forum is chock full of anti-theists, this forum is chck full of people who share the same ideology as mass murderers. To those people I call them hypocrites for thinking that religion cause people to commit evil but anti theism doesn't.

Pol Pot was not an anti-theist as he was a Buddhist. Stalin is the harder case since Iron Joe was a mass of contradictions. Like the Catholic Hitler he was in the seminary with aspirations of becoming a priest. He then joined a fringe political group that called for the abolishment of religion. Yet to this day the Eastern Orthodox Church issues Icons featuring Stalin. Personally I think you'd have a far better case for Lenin who was an ideologue. Lenin of course meant for Trotsky to follow him as Leon Trotsky was another idealist Stalin was just the enforcer. Stalin's first set of purges were to eliminate the pro-Trotsky element from the party and the subsequent purges began to lack any real reasoning behind them. Stalin was a paranoid megalomaniac with absolute power and as far as I can tell (this is a lay opinion) his motivation was more in securing his own power against real and imagined threats rather than for any transcendent reason.

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10-04-2013, 04:05 AM
RE: The Hitler/Stalin/Pol Pot argument
(10-04-2013 02:33 AM)Heywood Jahblome Wrote:  
(09-04-2013 09:33 PM)amyb Wrote:  What Katiegal said, also. Stalin and Pol Pot didn't kill anybody because of atheism; whereas in the past and in modern times, Christians and Muslims have killed and tortured in the name of Christianity/Islam. That's the main difference, as I see it. It's also useful to point out that communist dictatorships tend to replace "god" with "dictator." And Hitler was religious, so he has no place in the discussion. It's just that theists want to distance themselves from him, so they pile him in with atheism.

It's true that some people are bad with or without religion, and some good with or without religion, but I still think the main argument here is that people kill for their god(s), people don't kill for atheism. At least, not that i know of.

Stalin and Pol Pot killed many people because they were anti-theist. If you are an atheist who is not anti-theist, then yes the Stalin/Pol Pot argument doesn't apply to you. However this forum is chock full of anti-theists, this forum is chck full of people who share the same ideology as mass murderers. To those people I call them hypocrites for thinking that religion cause people to commit evil but anti theism doesn't.

I'll break your argument down and prove it's flawed.

"Stalin and Pol Pot killed many people because they were anti-theist." If that's a fact, it was because they were murderers, not because they were anti-theists. (your words.) Pol Pot and Stalin had mustaches. Does that make Freddie Mercury a mass-murderer?

"If you are an atheist who is not anti-theist, then yes the Stalin/Pol Pot argument doesn't apply to you." What "Stalin/Pol Pot argument? You haven't stated it.

"this forum is chock full of anti-theists," True

"this forum is chck full of people who share the same ideology as mass murderers." Huh? Your proof? Name one person here who approves of mass murder. Just one. In fact, this forum is full of "anti-theists," not murderers.

The fact Pol Pot and Stalin were anti-theists who killed people for anti-theistic reasons says nothing about other anti theists.

"I call them hypocrites for thinking that religion cause people to commit evil but anti theism doesn't." There's no hypocrisy here. I'll repeat what my atheist colleagues have already stated. Religion endorses killing. Open your bible or the Koran, it is there in black and white. Historically, many evil people have killed in the name of their religion, using the "truth" of their holy books for justification. (Note; I am not implying you approve of this or you are a murderer.)

"Anti-theism" (your words) is just....anti-theism. There's no endorsement of killing in atheism. There is in religion.
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10-04-2013, 04:40 AM
RE: The Hitler/Stalin/Pol Pot argument
(09-04-2013 05:52 PM)ELK12695 Wrote:  It's pretty stunning how many times I encounter this one. Okay, I'm in a debate with a theist (mostly over the net of course). The theist wants to call me immoral and downright evil, and uses the "Hitler Argument". Now for those of you who don't know what the "Hitler Argument" is, (although most have, it's been used even by Bill O'Riley, repeated winner of Idiot of the Year Award) it's very simple. It is claimed that Adolf Hiter was an atheist; therefore, the third reich, the holocaust is all in the works of an atheist, ergo claiming that since Dolfy "was" an atheist, all other atheists are just as bad as Hitler. Does it sound stupid? Of course it does. Now, the problem is, that Hitler acually was a member of the catholic church, and other sources point to that Hitler was more of an creationist. But it doesn't stop there; it Hitler doesn't work, just slap in another historical scumbag like Stalin or Pol Pot since they tried to abolish religion...

So, has anyone else ecountered someone making this pretty silly argument? Let me know.
And just in case, when I mention theists, not everybody says so, and bla bla bla, i'm excused.

They were the creations of Gawd. Their ability to choose to do evil couldn't come from anywhere else except from Gawd. Mission accomplished.

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10-04-2013, 07:43 AM
RE: The Hitler/Stalin/Pol Pot argument
As stated before, Pol Pot and Stalin murdered for power. I think , HJ, that you will acknowledge most big religions have power on par, or almost on par, with the state. If Stalin or Pol Pot targeted religious people, and if they were anti-theists, I would think that they did so for political reasons, not because they believed in a deity.
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10-04-2013, 08:15 AM
RE: The Hitler/Stalin/Pol Pot argument
It sucks when you need to grasp at straws in order to defend one's stone age beliefs.

Unfortunately people kill other people. In some instances people in positions of power kill LOTS of people. Follow me along this path

If an anti-theist/athiest kills another person it is wrong. There is no defense.
The basis for the killing is most likely rooted in a need for power or mental sickness. You can make a plea of insanity in some cases but that doesn't turn the wrong into right, it just changes the punishment. It is still wrong.
Pol Pot/Stalin's killings were wrong. There are people much more educated and knowledgeable than myself as to how those two "rationalized" the killings but it wasn't due to commands from a "holy" book, it was based on their own personal worldview.

now lets change the setup
If a religious person kills another person it is wrong. There is no defense.
The basis for the killing now can be opened up to the same reasons for the anti-theist/athiest (need for power or mental sickness) but we can also include god says its ok b/c my book/religion/mullah/etc says i should kill you based on verse xxx. Still wrong.
The problem we are faced with the religious killer is that we as a society accept the religious to believe one part of their holy book through strict interpretation which certainly allows those in power or just mentally unstable enough to use another part of the holy book to justify killing. As we see in parts of this world this belief in the infallibility of their holy book creates conflict/war/death/suffering/racism/sexism/discrimination and legitimizes it at an institutional level.

It is a great tragedy of human history that certain people like Stalin were able to rise to such power and were able to carry out their deranged vision. But they were individuals that ran amok. Their beliefs were not formed by sacred tomes and societal acceptance of fairy tales. Religion on the other hand, has a history of creating millions of zealots (and continues today) with just as much of a warped view on their fellow human being. The problem is that if I have to respect someone's right to believe that the earth was created 6000 years ago, I don't have much of a foundation to tell them that they are wrong about killing apostates. Either the book is bullshit or it isn't. And this man's opinion is that those books are utter and complete bullcrap to the highest degree.
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11-04-2013, 03:21 AM
RE: The Hitler/Stalin/Pol Pot argument
(10-04-2013 04:05 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  I'll break your argument down and prove it's flawed.

"Stalin and Pol Pot killed many people because they were anti-theist." If that's a fact, it was because they were murderers, not because they were anti-theists. (your words.) Pol Pot and Stalin had mustaches. Does that make Freddie Mercury a mass-murderer?

"If you are an atheist who is not anti-theist, then yes the Stalin/Pol Pot argument doesn't apply to you." What "Stalin/Pol Pot argument? You haven't stated it.

"this forum is chock full of anti-theists," True

"this forum is chck full of people who share the same ideology as mass murderers." Huh? Your proof? Name one person here who approves of mass murder. Just one. In fact, this forum is full of "anti-theists," not murderers.

The fact Pol Pot and Stalin were anti-theists who killed people for anti-theistic reasons says nothing about other anti theists.

"I call them hypocrites for thinking that religion cause people to commit evil but anti theism doesn't." There's no hypocrisy here. I'll repeat what my atheist colleagues have already stated. Religion endorses killing. Open your bible or the Koran, it is there in black and white. Historically, many evil people have killed in the name of their religion, using the "truth" of their holy books for justification. (Note; I am not implying you approve of this or you are a murderer.)

"Anti-theism" (your words) is just....anti-theism. There's no endorsement of killing in atheism. There is in religion.

If Freddie Mercury tried to stamp out religion like Stalin and Pol Pot, I'd label him an anti-theist too....regardless of the status of his mustache. Hatred of religion gives people who are inclined to kill an excuse to kill. Religion gives people who are inclined to kill an excuse to kill. If religion is evil because it provides an excuse to kill, then so is anti-theism.

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11-04-2013, 03:44 AM
RE: The Hitler/Stalin/Pol Pot argument
(11-04-2013 03:21 AM)Heywood Jahblome Wrote:  
(10-04-2013 04:05 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  I'll break your argument down and prove it's flawed.

"Stalin and Pol Pot killed many people because they were anti-theist." If that's a fact, it was because they were murderers, not because they were anti-theists. (your words.) Pol Pot and Stalin had mustaches. Does that make Freddie Mercury a mass-murderer?

"If you are an atheist who is not anti-theist, then yes the Stalin/Pol Pot argument doesn't apply to you." What "Stalin/Pol Pot argument? You haven't stated it.

"this forum is chock full of anti-theists," True

"this forum is chck full of people who share the same ideology as mass murderers." Huh? Your proof? Name one person here who approves of mass murder. Just one. In fact, this forum is full of "anti-theists," not murderers.

The fact Pol Pot and Stalin were anti-theists who killed people for anti-theistic reasons says nothing about other anti theists.

"I call them hypocrites for thinking that religion cause people to commit evil but anti theism doesn't." There's no hypocrisy here. I'll repeat what my atheist colleagues have already stated. Religion endorses killing. Open your bible or the Koran, it is there in black and white. Historically, many evil people have killed in the name of their religion, using the "truth" of their holy books for justification. (Note; I am not implying you approve of this or you are a murderer.)

"Anti-theism" (your words) is just....anti-theism. There's no endorsement of killing in atheism. There is in religion.

If Freddie Mercury tried to stamp out religion like Stalin and Pol Pot, I'd label him an anti-theist too....regardless of the status of his mustache. Hatred of religion gives people who are inclined to kill an excuse to kill. Religion gives people who are inclined to kill an excuse to kill. If religion is evil because it provides an excuse to kill, then so is anti-theism.

You haven't really proved your point except in the most basic theoretical way. Could someone use the hatred of religion to justify murder, well the human mind can usually find a way to justify any action so thats not really a profound statement. Now as to motivation to kill that is a much harder point to make. What truly motivated any of the people mentioned? Stalin, Hitler and Pol Pot all wanted power and used any means to get it. Religion or lack there of was a side note though a better case for Hitler's religion being one of his motivations rather than Stalin's lack of religion can be made.

Ultimately we can list dozens of examples of religion being used to justify or even motivate people into committing atrocities. Where as you have made a lackluster case that falls apart against 1 tyrant. So no they are not equal, one is worse than the other and even someone that has a stake in religion can't really defend the history of abuses laid on it's doorstep. There has never been an Atheist or even an Anti-theist Torquemada but he is not alone in the ranks of the faithful that was motivated solely by his faith into becoming a monster.

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11-04-2013, 04:29 AM
RE: The Hitler/Stalin/Pol Pot argument
(11-04-2013 03:44 AM)Revenant77x Wrote:  
(11-04-2013 03:21 AM)Heywood Jahblome Wrote:  If Freddie Mercury tried to stamp out religion like Stalin and Pol Pot, I'd label him an anti-theist too....regardless of the status of his mustache. Hatred of religion gives people who are inclined to kill an excuse to kill. Religion gives people who are inclined to kill an excuse to kill. If religion is evil because it provides an excuse to kill, then so is anti-theism.

You haven't really proved your point except in the most basic theoretical way. Could someone use the hatred of religion to justify murder, well the human mind can usually find a way to justify any action so thats not really a profound statement. Now as to motivation to kill that is a much harder point to make. What truly motivated any of the people mentioned? Stalin, Hitler and Pol Pot all wanted power and used any means to get it. Religion or lack there of was a side note though a better case for Hitler's religion being one of his motivations rather than Stalin's lack of religion can be made.

Ultimately we can list dozens of examples of religion being used to justify or even motivate people into committing atrocities. Where as you have made a lackluster case that falls apart against 1 tyrant. So no they are not equal, one is worse than the other and even someone that has a stake in religion can't really defend the history of abuses laid on it's doorstep. There has never been an Atheist or even an Anti-theist Torquemada but he is not alone in the ranks of the faithful that was motivated solely by his faith into becoming a monster.

50,000 clergy were executed in Russia trying to stamp out religion. That doesn't include laity who were executed. I don't think the inquisition comes close to rivaling the amount of deaths anti-theism in Russia "caused". Also wealthy people were more subject to the inquisition than the poor so there is good reason to believe atrocities committed under the Spanish inquisition were motivated by greed instead of religion. If you study the Inquisition it becomes apparent that it was really a money grab.

Now I don't think anti-theim or religion are evil. I just think its a case of the pot calling the kettle black when anti-theists claim religion "causes" people to commit evil. If religion cause people to do evil, so does anti-theism.

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11-04-2013, 04:37 AM
RE: The Hitler/Stalin/Pol Pot argument
(10-04-2013 02:33 AM)Heywood Jahblome Wrote:  Stalin and Pol Pot killed many people because they were anti-theist. If you are an atheist who is not anti-theist, then yes the Stalin/Pol Pot argument doesn't apply to you. However this forum is chock full of anti-theists, this forum is chck full of people who share the same ideology as mass murderers. To those people I call them hypocrites for thinking that religion cause people to commit evil but anti theism doesn't.

Anti-theists (as the term is commonly used) are not "mass murderers." I am going by the way Hitchens defined it, as someone who thinks religion is an actively harmful force in the world (as opposed to the view of it being harmless nonsense). Antitheists do not, by definition anyway, have anything in common with mass murderers.

Quote:If Freddie Mercury tried to stamp out religion like Stalin and Pol Pot, I'd label him an anti-theist too....regardless of the status of his mustache. Hatred of religion gives people who are inclined to kill an excuse to kill. Religion gives people who are inclined to kill an excuse to kill. If religion is evil because it provides an excuse to kill, then so is anti-theism.
Again, antitheists do not necessary want to deconvert anyone by force, they only seek to point out the problems in religion. Being opposed to religion is not the same thing as wishing to murder or force people to believe/disbelieve in anything.

I'd agree with Mark Fulton on the point that dictators are concerned with power, not religion. If they oppose religion or certain kinds of religious practice, it's because it's a threat to their power (in contrast: most antitheists are opposed to religion because they think it's harmful to society or intellectually dishonest). They want to be recognized as the people's god; they don't want competition. So, to me, it still seems like many dictatorships are just a different kind of religion and don't like competition, just like early christianity didn't like competition. I still don't think anyone was really ever killed because of atheism; they were killed because people in power want to keep power and don't want any threats to their power.
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