Refuting the myth that Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot were atheists


"God With Us"

Atheist Foundation president David Nicholls says the comments are an act of desperation by the church.  Personally, I think “desperation” is an understatement of epic proportions.   There are so many things wrong with Jensen’s statements that I had to sit here and stare at my screen for quite a while before I even found a starting point.  I gave considerable thought to expounding on the sheer arrogance that a god rules the world regardless of whether or not anyone actually believes in one, the utterly ridiculous notion of a struggle between god and man, or their dogma about not being able to achieve peace, happiness and harmony in our society without their god.  However, time being at a premium today, I decided to a different route.

First of all, there is no such thing as state-imposed atheism.  A state can ban religion, but it cannot ban atheism because it is not a belief, a faith, a set of doctrines or dogmas and cannot be imposed on anybody.  Atheism is an absence of belief, and you cannot ban something that does not exist.  I have heard the argument so many times from believers who think that atheism is a belief. They compare it to a religion.  They say it takes faith.  They accuse us of hating god.  Believers really need to find another line of fire, as all of these arguments only serve to make them look like complete idiots, which is unnecessary, as many believers are otherwise intelligent individuals.  I will not bother to extrapolate  the reasons why these are illegitimate arguments, as many of you already know the details. Those of you who don’t can look them up yourselves, and perhaps better arm yourselves for the times when you are confronted by theists who offer them up.

Today, though, we are going to examine Jensen’s claims about Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mass Murder and Broken Relationships.  We’ll start with the people he mentioned, and, as far as I’m aware, none of them said “I don’t believe in god, therefore I will slaughter lots of innocent people“. Let’s start with Adolf Hitler…

On Adolf Hitler…

Christians have been trying to discredit Hitler’s faith for decades, turning their eyes away from history books. From the earliest formation of the Nazi party he expressed his Christian support to the German citizenry and soldiers. He was baptized as Roman Catholic in Austria, attended a monastery school and was a communicant and an altar boy in the Catholic Church.  He was confirmed as a “soldier of Christ” and his goal was to become a priest.  He was never excommunicated or condemned and the church had stated that he was “Avenging for God” in attacking the Jews for they deemed the Semites the killers of Jesus.  Look it up…

Hitler was given veto power over whom the pope could appoint as a bishop in Germany and forged a treaty whereas the National Socialist state was officially recognized by the Catholic Church.  In a letter to the Nazi party, he wrote “…this treaty shows the whole world clearly and unequivocally that the assertion that National Socialism is hostile to religion is a lie.”

He allied with Pope Pius in converting German society and made a deal with the church whereas the church absorbed Nazi ideals and preached them as part of their sermons, and in turn, Hitler placed Catholic teachings in public education.  This lead to Hitler enacting doctrines of the Church as law.  He outlawed all abortion, raged a death war on all homosexuals, and demanded corporal punishment in schools and home.

He was quoted as stating, “The National Socialist State professes its allegiance to positive Christianity.  It will be its honest endeavor to protect both the great Christian Confessions in their rights, to secure them from interference with their doctrines (Lehren), and in their duties to constitute a harmony with the views and the exigencies of the State of today…Providence has caused me to be Catholic, and I know therefore how to handle this Church.”

In fact, the Holocaust grew out of Hitler’s Christian education due mainly to Jews having an inferior status in Christian Austria and Germany.  The Christians there blamed the Jews for the killing of Jesus and the hatred that Hitler fostered against Jewish people began from the preaching of Catholic priests and Protestant ministers throughout Germany.  It is well known that Martin Luther held a livid hatred for Jews and their religion.  Luther wrote a book titled “On the Jews and their Lies” which set the standard for Jewish hatred all the way up to World War 2.  Hitler, of course, expressed a great admiration for  Luther.

The Nazis began to control schools insisting that Christianity was taught.  They included anti-Semitic Christian writings in textbooks and were not removed from Christian doctrines until 1961. Nazi soldiers wore religious symbols and placed religious sayings on military gear.  The official army belt buckle read “God With Us“. They got sprinkled with holy water and listened to Catholic sermons before going out on maneuvers. The Nazis had a secret service called the “SS Reich” that would act as spies on the dealings of other citizens and if anyone was suspected of heresy they would be prosecuted.

Here are a few quotes from Hitler:

“We were convinced that the people needs and requires this faith.  We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations: we have stamped it out.” -Adolf Hitler, in a speech in Berlin on 24 Oct. 1933

“My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter.  It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth!  In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders.  How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison.  To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross.  As a Christian I have no duty to allow my self to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice…  And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows . For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people.”  -Adolf Hitler, in a speech on 12 April 1922

“Christianity could not content itself with building up its own altar; it was absolutely forced to undertake the destruction of the heathen altars.  Only from this fanatical intolerance could its apodictic faith take form; this intolerance is, in fact, its absolute presupposition.” -Adolf Hitler Mein Kampf

“Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.”  -Adolf Hitler (Mein Kampf)

Had enough of Hitler?  OK, let’s move on to Stalin:

Joseph Stalin was raised to be a Catholic Priest and I remain curious as to why his Christianity is shoved aside in all these arguments. Yes, there is no way to get around the fact that in his early career, Stalin made a vast effort to rid Russia of religion, but that had nothing to do with atheism.  It was the only way he knew to seize power of the country.

For generations the entire populace of Russia had been taught that the head of state was supposed to be close to god.  At the time in question, the head of the church in Russia was a tyrant.  The Russians were already disposed to servility and all Stalin did was exploit these two facts, and place himself in the position of god.  Once Stalin was firmly seated in office, he revived the Russian Orthodox Church in order to intensify patriotic support for the war effort.  Stalin was part of a council convened to elected a new church Patriarch.  Then the Russian theological schools were opened, and thousands of churches began to function. Even the Moscow Theological Academy Seminary was re-opened, after being closed since 1918.

So, while Stalin was no peach, he was not exactly what you would call a died-in-the-wool atheist.  He was more a secular minded religious opportunist, which is a personal character trait.  He did not use atheism to gain control, but religious principles that were modified to fit his own, sick and twisted method of revolution.

What about Pol Pot?

Truly a monster, having killed some twenty-five percent of the entire population of Cambodia.  Pol Pot targeted not just different religions, but education, science and medicine in his quest for total domination.  Now, let’s take a head count of atheists who are against education, science and medicine.  Thought so…  Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge were composed of Buddhists and Pol Pot was a Theravada Buddhist. He studied at a Buddhist monastery and then at a Catholic school for 8 years.  Cambodia’s communism was influenced by Theravada Buddhism.

Prince Norodom Sihanouk said, “Pol Pot does not believe in God but he thinks that heaven, destiny, wants him to guide Cambodia in the way he thinks it the best for Cambodia, that is to say, the worst. Pol Pot is mad, you know, like Hitler.”

So, while Pol Pot was definitely not a Christian, he was also definitely not an Atheist.

Let’s get on with some Mass Murder, shall we?

Add up the deaths that were attributed to Hitler, Stalin and Pot.  Then round up for good measure.  You can safely say that the number is staggering.  Probably upwards of fifteen million.  However, consider the following conflicts where the only differences between the opposing factions were and are religion:

  • Albigensian Crusade, 1208-49
  • Algeria, 1992-
  • Baha’is, 1848-54
  • Bosnia, 1992-95
  • Boxer Rebellion, 1899-1901
  • Christian Romans, 30-313 CE
  • Croatia, 1991-92
  • English Civil War, 1642-46
  • Holocaust, 1938-45
  • Huguenot Wars, 1562-1598
  • India, 1992-2002
  • India: Suttee & Thugs
  • Indo-Pakistani Partition, 1947
  • Iran, Islamic Republic, 1979-
  • Iraq, Shiites, 1991-92
  • Jews, 1348
  • Jonestown, 1978
  • Lebanon 1860 / 1975-92
  • Molucca Is., 1999-
  • Mongolia, 1937-39
  • Northern Ireland, 1974-98
  • Russian pogroms 1905-06 / 1917-22
  • St. Bartholemew Massacre, 1572
  • Shang China, ca. 1300-1050 BCE
  • Shimabara Revolt, Japan 1637-38
  • Sikh uprising, India, 1984-91
  • Spanish Inquisition, 1478-1834
  • Taiping Rebellion, 1850-64
  • Thirty Years War, 1618-48
  • Tudor England
  • Vietnam, 1800s
  • Witch Hunts, 1400-1800
  • Xhosa, 1857
  • Arab Outbreak, 7th Century CE
  • Arab-Israeli Wars, 1948-
  • Al Qaeda, 1993-
  • Crusades, 1095-1291
  • Dutch Revolt, 1566-1609
  • Nigeria, 1990s, 2000s

If you add up all of the lives that were lost in the name of one religion or another, you come up with a staggering figure that is in excess of eight-hundred-million. That’s eight-hundred-million.  An eight, followed by eight zeros.  So, even if the believers who are uneducated enough to think that Hitler, Stalin and Pot were psychotic mass murderers because they thought these men were atheists, it is horrifically clear that religious murder wins out.

Abortion and Broken Relationships…

I won’t cover abortion here, as I have already wrote a piece on it that can be found by doing a search within my profile here at the Birmingham Atheism Examiner.  Clearly, though, to attribute abortion to atheism is utterly ridiculous, as there are many Christians who support it.

As far as broken relationships go, it is common knowledge that the divorce rate amongst Christians is about on par with non-Christians of all types.  Most Christians already know this. However, what they might not know is that the divorce rate amongst specifically non-believers of any faith – atheists – is demonstrably lower than that of believers, which only proves that the reason, rationality and personal responsibility that is dominant in most atheists serves as a better base for a relationship than an imaginary being that requires credulous servitude and a conceited desire to place himself above that of ones spouse and family.

Although the audacity of the Catholic Church continues to astound me in their attempts to bury their dirty laundry, the majority of the Christian community blaming atheism for the atrocities that have been committed largely in the name of religion or religious ideologies remains on of the pinnacles of arrogance.  If I listed in this article all of the atrocities committed directly by the church from it’s inception,  you would be finished reading it right before the coroner arrived to collect you for death by old age.

By and large, the church is only interested in protecting itself, it’s power and it’s wealth and will do so however it can, using whatever means necessary. It will not end until it is either forced to by international law or it is eradicated from existence by the abandonment of it’s membership. Either one would be fine with me

Communism As Religion


Communism is Religion

Posted by Daniel G. Jennings

One major argument that apologists for religion like to make against proponents of secularism, humanism and religion is to equate all opponents of religion with Communism and the numerous crimes against humanity perpetuated by such monsters as Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Ho Chi Minh, Pol Pot and Fidel Castro. The best argument against these people of faith is a simple one, far from being a humanist or rationalist belief system, Communism was and is a religion.

Like all religions, Communism is irrational, dogmatic and based on faith rather than science. Just like Christianity and Islam, Communism had its Holy Books which were treated as Holy Scripture, namely the writings of Lenin, Mao, Marx and others–all of which were far from scientific. Karl Marx, who was treated by Communists as a genius, was actually a small-time journalist whose writings are a collection of prejudices, generalizations and editorializing. Marx held and promoted some beliefs which were later disproved by science, for example Marx taught that many human characteristics we now know to be inherited through genetics were caused by environmental factors. When scientists in 1930s Russia pointed this fact out, Stalin reacted by throwing the scientists into the gulag just like the Church imprisoned Galileo. Just like fundamentalist Christians who promote creation science, Stalin (himself the recipient of an “education” in a Christian seminary) backed a charlatan named Lysenko who came up with a completely false science of genetics that fit squarely with Communist dogma and then banned the teaching of genetics because it contradicted Communist dogma.

As with Christianity and Islam, Communism attracted followers by promising a pie-in-the-sky heaven to the faithful. The difference being that the Communist heaven would be sometime in the future when all people would be happy and equal under Communism rather than after death. This magical future was conveniently pushed farther and farther into the future so that Communist leaders could “explain” to the average people impoverished by their wonderful system why they hadn’t yet achieved utopia. It might also be pointed out that the Communists never actually said exactly how this utopia would be created–just as Christians and Moslems can present no evidence of life after death.

Like most religions, Communism operated on irrational faith; people in Communist countries had to have absolute faith in the Communist system and its leaders. Thinking for oneself was strictly verboten in Stalin’s Russia, Mao’s China, and Ho’s Vietnam. Those who questioned Communism and its leaders were treated as heretics by the Communist state.

Far from being an example of the evils that occur when religion is removed in society, Communism is a perfect example of the excesses and horrors that result when religion is allowed to take over a society. The Communist Party acted just like the church had in Medieval Europe.

Just like the Church in Medieval Europe, the Communists tortured and killed those who refused to adopt the official faith. Just like the Church, the Communists promoted the belief that governmental authorities were all-knowing, all-powerful and sanctioned by God, and the idea that refusing to bow to authority was a sin.

Just like the medieval church, the Communist Party promoted the idea of saints, people whose total devotion to the Communist cause was a good and holy thing and entitled them to be worshiped. The difference was that the Communists substituted Communist leaders like Mao and Stalin for the saints. The Communists even revived the bizarre medieval practice of worshiping the dead bodies of the saints; they built massive mausoleums in which they placed the embalmed bodies of their dead leaders and forced their people to worship them.

Just like the Russian Orthodox Church, the Communists also created icons, pictures of Communist leaders whom people were to worship. In North Korea, for example, it is even a crime to destroy a picture of the late dictator Kim Il Sung.

The Communists also revived the horrendous medieval practice of the Inquisition, an official body to hunt down and eliminate heretics, in the form of the purge trials and the various secret-police forces. Hundreds of thousands of people in Communist countries were tortured, brutalized and murdered by such bodies.

Just like the church before them the Communists tried to force their captured enemies to repent their “sins.” After the fall of Saigon, 600,000 Vietnamese were forced into concentration camps called reeducation centers to learn Communist dogma. Just as the “First Holy Roman Emperor,” the religious fanatic Charlemagne, tried to forcibly baptize German pagans captured in his wars, captured American soldiers in the Vietnam and Korean wars were also forced to admit the “truth” of Communism.

As if bringing back the Inquisition wasn’t bad enough, the Communists also revived the witch hunt. Like other people of faith, the Communists blamed the failings of their system–not on their own loony dogma–but on hidden enemies who were secretly sabotaging Communism so as to prevent the Communists from creating a utopia. In 1930s Russia, tens of thousands of innocent people, many of them good Communists, were falsely accused of being foreign agents and “wreckers” who were sabotaging the Stalinist system, and then executed or thrown into the gulag–where many of them died from torture, forced labor and starvation. Those killed in this purge included several of the Red Army’s top generals who were falsely accused of being enemies by Communist courts using information provided by the Nazis (thus leaving Russia unprepared in 1941 when it’s real enemies attacked).

It must also be noted here that it didn’t take the Russian Communists long to revive another old evil of the church: anti-Semitism; by the early 1950s, Stalin was blaming Russia’s problems and his own bad health on the Jews. Just as the Medieval Christians blamed plagues and the black death on Jews secretly poisoning wells, so Stalin blamed his ill health on Jewish doctors who were trying to poison him.

In the 1960s, Mao went Stalin one better. When the Chairman’s brutal attempt to create the Communist heaven on Earth, the “Great Leap Forward,” failed miserably, resulting in the worst famine in human history, Mao blamed–not himself or his faith–but the Chinese people for not having enough faith in Communism (much as Hitler had blamed the German people and not his own incompetence, arrogance and stupidity, for his defeat in World War II). Mao then turned vast numbers of Communist fanatics, known as Red Guards, loose to punish the Chinese people for not showing enough faith in Mao and Communism. Just as the Medieval witch hunters burned little old ladies at the stake for owning cats, Chinese people were beaten up and terrorized for such crimes as owning birdcages or wearing makeup in the so-called Cultural Revolution. Many great treasures of China’s past were destroyed by Communist thugs during the Cultural Revolution (just as the Taliban blew up Buddhist statues in Afghanistan).

The excesses in Soviet Russia and Red China have been repeated in almost every other Communist country. Almost every Communist regime has behaved like a religion that is in a manner completely irrational and paranoid. The major difference between the Communist fanatics and the Christian fanatics of the inquisition was that the Communists had access to modern technology, weaponry and systems of government that enabled them to kill far more people far more quickly. Had the inquisition access to the same technology as the Communists, its body count would have rivaled that of Stalin and Mao.

Far from being an example of what happens when religion, faith and God are removed from society, Communism is a perfect example of what happens when society is turned over to religion. People are deprived of their basic freedoms, science and scholarship are suppressed, and average people are tortured and murdered for not displaying sufficient faith.

It must also be said here that Christianity did little or nothing to stop Communism or the horrible crimes the Communists committed against humanity. Russia was the most religious country in Europe in 1917 yet the Church was unable to stop the Bolshevik takeover. If Christianity is such a powerful force for morality, why couldn’t the Orthodox patriarchs and bishops have simply ordered the Russian people not to follow Lenin and Stalin’s orders? Why weren’t the leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church able to appeal to the piety of Joseph Stalin, himself a product of an Orthodox seminary, and get him to recant Communism? Far from protecting Russia’s people from Communism, the Orthodox Church did little but have the Russian people sit and pray to icons for the end of the Communist system.

It was not the Orthodox Church or its leaders that formed the main resistance to Communism in Russia, it was humanists and rationalists who refused to bow to irrational Communist beliefs. For example, the great scientist, Andre Sakarov, and many other Russian intellectuals, refused to go along with the Communist assault on the human mind. Later on, more enlightened and intelligent Soviet leaders, such as Mikhail Gorbachev, undermined Communism by allowing people to question and challenge its basic assumptions. Just like Christian and Islamic dogma, Communist dogma can’t stand up to a close examination based on reason and the scientific method.

It was the secular, democratic, capitalist societies in the United States, Japan and Western Europe–which are based on humanistic and rational values–which ultimately proved to be the undoing of Communism. The irrational, faith-based, Communist system simply couldn’t compete with the rational, secular United States and its allies. By basing their societies on faith rather than on reason, thus being in no position to change or adapt their system to meet future challenges, the Communists thereby sowed the seeds of their own destruction–except, of course, in countries such as Vietnam and China where Communist leaders have quietly abandoned Communism and adopted capitalism in order to preserve their own skins and line their own bank accounts.

Far from being an example of a godless society, Communism is a perfect example of the dangers which religion poses to human freedom and humanity’s future. Those Americans who want to establish an official religion should take a hard look at the history of Communism, for any country that establishes an official religion and a faith based system will end up just like the Communists–in the ash heap of history.