Friday, June 19, 2009

Atheistic Government Movements

The below is taken from a larger debate I had with a history teacher whilst sipping on some wine. I posted this for ease of access in posting the info found here elsewhere on the Web.

“If you wanted to control the nation’s manufacturing, commerce, finance, transportation and natural resources, you would need only to control the apex, the power pinnacle, of an all-powerful SOCIALIST government. Then you would have a monopoly and could squeeze out all your competitors…. ‘Communism’ is not a movement of downtrodden masses but is a movement created, manipulated and used by power-seeking billionaires…” (None Dare Call It a Conspiracy, Gary Allen)

“Power kills; absolute power kills absolutely…. The more power a government has, the more it can act arbitrarily according to the whims and desires of the elite…” (Death by Government, R. J. Rummel)

[Quote from debate]
At this point the usual litany of "straw man" arguments proceeded to spill forth as they normally do when ones precious bumper-sticker beliefs are challenged and shown to be vacuous. The next thing out of Felicia's mouth was that organized religion has killed more people and started more wars than any other reason in history. This is where I cringed -- a teacher that is charged with children who makes such false claims is a red-flag to me. These types of people repeat such lines not because they have studied history or religion in-depth, but because a politically motivated historian like Howard Zinn or Noam Chomskey said such a thing, or they simply picked up the saying from another friend (who themselves had heard it from another) and it fit so well in their theophobia framework to make the rejection of religion an easy thing in their mind's eye. This is more of a commentary on said person's psychosis than making any sort of valid argument. This being said let us deal with this charge:

  • e) The Bible does not teach the horrible practices that some have committed in its name. It is true that it's possible that religion can produce evil, and generally when we look closer at the details it produces evil because the individual people [Christians] are actually living in rejection of the tenets of Christianity and a rejection of the God that they are supposed to be following. So it [religion] can produce evil, but the historical fact is that outright rejection of God and institutionalizing of atheism (non-religious practices) actually does produce evil on incredible levels. We're talking about tens of millions of people as a result of the rejection of God. For example: the Inquisitions, Crusades, Salem Witch Trials killed about anywhere from 40,000 to 80,000 persons combined (World Book Encyclopedia and Encyclopedia Americana), and the church is liable for the unjustified murder of about (taking the high number here) 300,000-women over about a 300 year period. A blight on Christianity? Certainty. Something wrong? Dismally wrong. A tragedy? Of course. Millions and millions of people killed? No. The numbers are tragic, but pale in comparison to the statistics of what non-religious criminals have committed); the Chinese regime of Mao Tse Tung, 60 million [+] dead (1945-1965), Stalin and Khrushchev, 66 million dead (USSR 1917-1959), Khmer Rouge (Cambodia 1975-1979) and Pol Pot, one-third of the populations dead, etc, etc. The difference here is that these non-God movements are merely living out their worldview, the struggle for power, survival of the fittest and all that, no evolutionary/naturalistic natural law is being violated in other words (as non-theists reduce everything to natural law -- materialism). However, and this is key, when people have misused the Christian religion for personal gain, they are in direct violation to what Christ taught, as well as Natural Law.

So the historical reality that this teacher of history seemed to ignore is that non-religious movements have killed more people in the Twentieth-Century than religion has in the previous nineteen (or for that matter, all of mankind's history). I also pointed out to Felicia during our conversation that the non-religious view of origins has no moral law to point to any of the above acts as morally wrong or un-ethical. They are merely currently taboo. For someone to say the Nazis were morally wrong they have to borrow from the theistic worldview that posits a universal moral code. If there is no Divine moral law, then as Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s maxim makes the point, "If there is no God, all things are permissible." Without an absolute ethical norm, morality is reduced to mere preference and the world is a jungle where might makes right.