Last modified on 29 May 2017, at 11:50

Asian atheism

Political boundaries of Asia

Razib Khan points out in Discover Magazine, "most secular nations in the world are those of East Asia, in particular what are often termed “Confucian societies.” It is likely therefore that the majority of the world’s atheists are actually East Asian."[1]

The current atheist population mostly resides in East Asia (particularly China) and in secular Europe/Australia among whites.[2] See: Western atheism and race

Desecularization is the process by which religion reasserts its societal influence though religious values, institutions, sectors of society and symbols in reaction to previous and/or co-occurring secularization processes.[3]

According to the global news website Quartz, Asia is going through a process of desecularization:

Atheists, agnostics, and other religious non-affiliates are a dying breed in Asia. According to a Pew Research Center study released last week, Asia’s shrinking pool of men and women who don’t identify with any religion are driving a drop in the proportion of “religious nones” in the world.

The percentage of the unaffiliated in Asia Pacific—home to about 76% of the world’s unaffiliated—will fall to 17% in 2050 from 21%, Pew estimates. ...this drop in Asia and the growth of religious communities elsewhere will mean the unaffiliated will make up only 13% of the world’s population in 2050, down from 16% in 2010.[4]

For additional information, please see:

East Asia, atheism, superstition and irrationality

See also: Irreligion and superstition and Atheism and science

Discover Magazines declares:

...the most secular nations in the world are those of East Asia, in particular what are often termed “Confucian societies.” It is likely therefore that the majority of the world’s atheists are actually East Asian...

This is not to say that East Asia is necessarily a haven for a critical rationalist perspective, what with the prominence of Chinese medicine, geomancy, Korean shamanism...[5]

In 2015, Rodney Stark wrote in his book The Triumph of Faith: Why the World is More Religious Than Ever: "35 percent of the French believe in astrology, 35 percent of the Swiss agree that 'some fortune tellers really can foretell the future'..."[6]

Chinese atheism and the growth of Christianity in China

See also: China and atheism and Growth of Christianity in China and East Asia and global desecularization

In front of the Great Hall of the People in Tiananmen Square in Beijing.

China has the world's largest atheist population.[7][8] See also: China and atheism

According to Slate, "Protestant Christianity has been the fastest growing religion in China."[9] Evangelical Christianity is especially growing sharply in China.[10]

On November 1, 2014, an article in The Economist entitled Cracks in the atheist edifice declared:

Officials are untroubled by the clash between the city’s famously freewheeling capitalism and the Communist Party’s ideology, yet still see religion and its symbols as affronts to the party’s atheism...

Yang Fenggang of Purdue University, in Indiana, says the Christian church in China has grown by an average of 10% a year since 1980. He reckons that on current trends there will be 250m Christians by around 2030, making China’s Christian population the largest in the world. Mr. Yang says this speed of growth is similar to that seen in fourth-century Rome just before the conversion of Constantine, which paved the way for Christianity to become the religion of his empire.[11]

Asian atheism and intelligence: China/Vietnam and intelligence

See also: Atheism and intelligence and Asian atheism and intelligence

China has the 5th highest national IQ in the world with a score of 105.[12] At the same time, Singapore and South Korea (which have higher degrees of religion/religious freedom) have higher national IQ scores of 108 and 106 respectively.[12] In addition, Hong Kong, which has a greater degree of religious freedom than mainland China, has a regional IQ score of 108.[12]

In the latter part of the 20th century and throughout the 21st century, China has seen a rapid growth of evangelical Christianity within their nation, increased economic development and a leap in intelligence scores.[13][14] See also: Growth of Christianity in China and Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism

Atheistic and communist Vietnam has an national IQ score of 94.[12]

Projected growth of evangelical Christianity in Asia

See also: Growth of evangelical Christianity

Justin Long, citing statistics from Operation World states:

From 146 million in 2010, evangelicals grow to 1.2 billion, or 24% of Asia’s 4.3 billion by 2100. Evangelicals are, in this model, predicted to slip from 3% per annum growth today to 1.5% per annum in 2100, due to the projected fall in population growth. This, too, seems a fairly realistic projection. While there are significant gains in the number of evangelicals in China, growth in other places in Asia is presently fairly flat.[15]

Ethnic Chinese and the rapid rise of Christianity in Southeast Asia

See: Ethnic Chinese and the rise of Christianity in Southeast Asia

Collapse of atheism in the former Soviet Union

See also: Collapse of atheism in the former Soviet Union

The Soviet Union after WWII.

In 2003, the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard published a paper by Assaf Moghadam entitled A Global Resurgence of Religion? which declared:

As the indications leave little doubt, Russia is showing clear signs of a religious resurgence. In fact, all seven criteria by which change in religious behavior and values are measured here confirmed that Russia is experiencing what could be called a religious revival. Since 1970, the nonreligious/atheist population has been on steady decline, from 52% in 1970 to 33% in 2000. Further, the percentage of this population is projected to decrease even further, possibly reaching the 20% mark in 2025. Between 1990 and 1997, belief in God has risen from 35% to a whopping 60%, while belief in the importance of God has climbed to 43% in 1997, up from 25% in 1990. More people have been raised religious in Russia in 1997 (20%) than at the beginning of the decade (18%), and 8.39% more Russians believed religion to be important toward the end of the 1990s, when compared to 1990. “Comfort in Religion” has also sharply increased within this time period, from less than 27% to over 46%. Finally, more and more Russians attend church services more regularly in 1997 than they did in 1990.

In the three Eastern European countries that were included in the WVS survey on belief in God, a drastic rise could be witnessed of respondents who answered this question in the affirmative. In Hungary, the percentage of believers in God jumped from 44% to 58% from 1981 to 1990, even prior to the collapse of the former Soviet Union. In Belarus, the number of people who believe in God nearly doubled over the course of the 1990s, from 36% to 68%, while in Latvia this figure almost quadrupled, from 18% to 67% in the same time period. Similar trends held true when it came to the importance of God, where there was a sharp rise in all three countries.[16]

Growth of Protestantism in Russia

Russia spans from Eastern Europe to Northern Asia.

Russia spans from Eastern Europe to Northern Asia.

A large number of missionaries operating presently operating in Russia are from Protestant denominations.[17]

According to a survey conducted at the end of 2013, 2% of surveyed Russians identify as Protestants or another branch of Christianity.[18]

Russia Watch in an article entitled Is Russia Turning Protestant? wrote:

Russia’s Justice Ministry has registered 14,616 Orthodox parishes, 4,409 Protestant parishes, and 234 Catholic parishes. But Anatoly Pchelintsev, a religion specialist and professor at the Russian State Humanitarian University, estimates that for every registered Protestant congregation, there are at least two unregistered ones.

Pchelintsev, who edits the Religion and Law publication here, concludes that Russia has about 15,000 Protestant congregations, roughly equal to the number of Russian Orthodox ones. He says the number of Catholic parishes is roughly the same as the official number.

In Siberia, long a land of dissenters and discontents, there are believed to be more Protestants in church on Sunday mornings than Russian Orthodox. On one recent visit to Khabarovsk, the second largest city of the Russian Far East, I went to a packed Baptist church, only a kilometer from a sparsely attended Russian Orthodox Cathedral. The massive Cathedral had been built with federal funds.[19]

Evangelicalism and Russia

According to the Christian Broadcasting Network:

The Orthodox Church's biggest competitors are the evangelical, charismatic congregations, which are experiencing tremendous growth.

"So many Russians are leaving the Orthodox Church and joining the charismatic churches and they don't like it," Ryakhovski said.

Ryakhovski gave CBN News a document produced by a leading Russian research group and backed by the Orthodox Church. The paper was titled, "Ways to weaken the potential of neo-Pentecostal sects and to help their victims."....

Once a persecuted minority, evangelical Christians in Russia and the surrounding countries that once made up the former Soviet Union, are now exerting more influence in society by displaying what it means to be a true follower of Jesus Christ.

"People are looking for meaning, they are looking for authentic lifestyles, authentic relationships," Sipko told CBN News. "And so in the midst of all the economic and social changes, we have the opportunity to demonstrate what a personal relationship with Jesus is like."[20]

South Korea and irreligion

In 2005, according to figures compiled by the South Korean National Statistical Office, 46.5% of the population were classified as irreligious, compared to 22.8% Buddhists, 18.3% Protestants, 10.9% Catholics, and 1.7% Other religions.[21]

In the 20th century, South Korea saw a rapid rise of Christianity within its population (see: South Korea and global desecularization).

North Korea and atheism

North Korea has state atheism and public religion is actively discouraged.[22]

The Christian Post published an article entitled North Korean Defector Who Spent 28 Years in Prison Camp Details Hunger, Torture, and Cannibalism in the DPRK which stated:

More than 200,000 North Koreans, including children, are imprisoned in camps where many perish from forced labor, inadequate food, and abuse by guards, according to Human Rights Watch. The isolated, secretive nation has no media, functioning civil society, or religious freedom, and pervasive problems include arbitrary arrest, lack of due process, and torture.[23]

Mongolia and irreligion

In 2006, the atheist Phil Zuckerman estimated that the irreligious population was 9% in Mongolia.[24]

East Asia's aging population and global desecularization

See also: East Asia and global desecularization and Atheism and fertility rates

An elderly man in Beijing, China. CNBC reported in 2015: "36 percent of the world's population over 65 currently live in East Asia. That's 211 million people and it is projected to rise over time."[25]

According to the global news website Quartz, Asia is going through a process of desecularization:

Atheists, agnostics, and other religious non-affiliates are a dying breed in Asia. According to a Pew Research Center study released last week, Asia’s shrinking pool of men and women who don’t identify with any religion are driving a drop in the proportion of “religious nones” in the world.

The percentage of the unaffiliated in Asia Pacific—home to about 76% of the world’s unaffiliated—will fall to 17% in 2050 from 21%, Pew estimates. ...this drop in Asia and the growth of religious communities elsewhere will mean the unaffiliated will make up only 13% of the world’s population in 2050, down from 16% in 2010.[4]

CNBC reported in 2015:

If stock market volatility, slowing economies, and low commodity prices were not enough of a problem for East Asia, many countries in the region now have to worry about losing as much as 15 percent of their working-age population by 2040, according to the World Bank.

In a report released Wednesday, the World Bank said aging population and low fertility rates are to blame as 36 percent of the world's population over 65 currently live in East Asia. That's 211 million people and it is projected to rise over time.[25]

See also: Atheism and fertility rates

China's aging population

See also: Growth of Christianity in China

China has the largest atheists population in the world (see: Atheist population). The Chinese population is rapidly aging, due to a lower mortality rate and its former one child policy. This will lead to a pension problem for the Chinese government.[26] See: Asian atheism

Like most religious conservatives within Abrahamic religions, Evangelical Christians do have higher than replacement levels of births (see: Desecularization). China's demographics in terms of the age of its population will likely change in the 21st century due to the rapid growth of evangelical Christianity in China (see: Growth of Christianity in China).

Factors related to growth of Christianity in Asia

See also: Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation's website RN reports:

The reason for this rise in Asian Christianity is as varied as the region is diverse. However for South Korea, China and other economically vibrant neighbours contributing to the rise of the Asian Century, German sociologist Max Weber got it right. Christianity is like the spiritual backdrop to the market economy.

Christian business people in China ‘think that the Protestant work ethic is particularly suitable for this market economy,’ claims Professor Fenggang Yang, sociologist at Purdue University in Indiana.

‘The market economy [in China] is sometimes associated with a high ratio of corruption—doing business without rules or regulations, or when those regulations cannot be enforced,’ he says.

Contrary to the belief that modernism breeds secularism, Yang posits that the rise of the Chinese entrepreneurial class has created a demand for internal rules—morality, ethics and spiritual certainty—all the elements that make up religion’s job description.

The demand for this religious foundation is certainly formidable. Beijing controls Christianity by sanctioning only a set number of churches, yet underground or ‘house churches’ keep popping up, like Bible studies groups that gather at McDonalds, recounts Yang.

Buddhism, Confucianism and other great religious and philosophical traditions indigenous to Asia also provide the same spiritual bedrock, and overall, religion is on the rise in China. However Christianity can claim more converts because of its association with other key aspects of a modern life like better education, individual freedom, equality and democracy says Yang.

Sebastian Kim of York St John University in the UK concurs. Unlike other Asian countries, Koreans, not foreign missionaries, planted the first seeds of Christianity in Korea. Yet, it was western missionaries who brought with them hospitals, schools and other social institutions that helped transform Korea.[27]

Justin Wood wrote:

China, devoured by hunger so many times in its history, now feels a spiritual hunger beneath the neon exterior of its suddenly great cities. Four hundred million Chinese on the prosperous coast have moved from poverty to affluence in a single generation, and 10 million to 15 million new migrants come from the countryside each year, the greatest movement of people in history. Despite a government stance that hovers somewhere between discouragement and persecution, more than 100 million of them have embraced a faith that regards this life as mere preparation for the next world. Given the immense effort the Chinese have devoted to achieving a tolerable life in the present world, this may seem anomalous. On the contrary: it is the great migration of peoples that prepares the ground for Christianity, just as it did during the barbarian invasions of Europe during the Middle Ages.[28]

China, state atheism and persecution

See also: Atheism and communism and Communism and religious persecution

Communist countries practice state atheism (See: Atheism and communism).

In 1955, Chinese communist leader Zhou Enlai declared, "We Communists are atheists".[29] In 2014, the Communist Party of China reaffirmed that members of their party must be atheists.[30]

In 2016, the International Business Times reported:

A senior Chinese advisor on religious affairs has said the country should promote atheism throughout society, in remarks that appear to reflect a deepening campaign to reinforce traditional Marxist values in China — and could add to concern about official attitudes among believers in the country’s five officially recognized religions.[31]

There is growing persecution of Christians by the Chinese government.[32]

The Chinese communist regime has used beatings, harassment and torture to suppress religion in China and continues to use these practices.[33][34]

Historically persecution has often been an ineffective means to stop the growth of Christianity in a region.[35] Persecution and exponential Christian growth have frequently coincided. On the other hand, persecution often coincides with diminishing Christianity.[35]

The historian Martin Van Crevel points out that sovereign states are losing power/influence due to technology democratizing access to information, welfare states increasingly failing, fourth-generation warfare being waged against countries and sovereign states increasingly losing their ability to maintain internal order.[36][37]

Asian century, Christianity and its implications

The atheist and Harvard University historian Niall Ferguson declared: "Through a mixture of hard work and thrift the Protestant societies of the North and West Atlantic achieved the most rapid economic growth in history."[38]

The Asian Century is the projected 21st-century dominance of Asian politics and culture by social scientists, based on current demographic and economic trends persisting. The characterization of the 21st century being an Asian Century parallels the 20th century seen as the American Century, and the 19th century as the British Century. See also: British atheism

A 2011 study conducted by the Asian Development Bank estimates that an additional 3 billion Asians could enjoy living standards similar to those in Europe today, and the region could produce over half of global economic output by the middle of this century. It did warn, however, that the Asian Century is not cast in stone and it is merely a projection based on current trends.[39]

In China, the growth in religion has accompanied China’s fast economic growth over the last twenty years. Christianity is seeing rapid growth in China and the historian Niall Ferguson attributes this recent economic growth to the Protestant work ethic being more incorporated into Chinese society.[38] See: Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism and Atheism and sloth

Effect on global influence of Christianity

Justin Wood also wrote:

Ten thousand Chinese become Christians each day, according to a stunning report by ...veteran correspondent John Allen, and 200 million Chinese may comprise the world's largest concentration of Christians by mid-century, and the largest missionary force in history...

I suspect that even the most enthusiastic accounts err on the downside, and that Christianity will have become a Sino-centric religion two generations from now. China may be for the 21st century what Europe was during the 8th-11th centuries, and America has been during the past 200 years: the natural ground for mass evangelization.[28]

Professor Fenggang Yang indicates:

One sign of the advancing state of Christianity in China is that it is reaching out to the larger world. Nine hundred Chinese pastors gathered in Hong Kong this fall for the Mission 2030 Conference. Their goal: To send out 20,000 missionaries from mainland China by 2030.[40]

Traditional values in Asia and increased global cultural influence

Geographic regions which achieve increased economic dominance often increase their cultural influence in the world.

In the Western World, the secular left promotes libertine morality (see: Atheist population and immorality) whereas Asian cultures often have more traditional/family values.[41] And desecularization occurring Asia along with a growth of religious conservatives in Asia, could further increase traditional/family values in Asia and the rest of the world.

Furthermore, the desecularization of Asia is not an isolated event. The world is experiencing a global resurgence of religion (see: Growth of global desecularization).

Impact of Christianization of China on morality and Darwinism

See also: China and biblical creationism and Evolutionary belief and sexual immorality

David Aikman served as Time Magazine's bureau chief in Beijing China. He wrote a book in 2003 entitled Jesus in Beijing: How Christianity Is Transforming China and Changing the Global Balance of Power.

In his book Aikman wrote:“China is in the process of becoming Christianised … [i.e.] it is possible that Christians will constitute 20 to 30 percent of China’s population within three decades” (p. 285).

When Aikman provided this estimate in 2003, he did not have the benefit of seeing Chinese Christianity grow rapidly in urban areas among the influential upper eschelons of Chinese society which is presently happening. See: Growth of Christianity in China

A review of his book declares and please note the bold font added for emphasis which indicates the Chinese Christians are generally not Darwinists:

Who are these Chinese Christians? It would be absurd to say they are an organized body with uniform beliefs and opinions on everything, yet Aikman’s book leads to certain generalisations. They regard themselves as truly patriotic, tending to support their government politically, with the exception, perhaps, of being very pro-American and pro-Israel. Both preferences stem from their religious, rather than their political beliefs. Their theology particularly with the “house church” Protestant Christians, is Biblical and fundamentalist, and the churches with which they are linked in the United States are their equivalents. To some extent the reason for this is that fundamentalists see evangelism as an urgent matter – to save souls from hell – in a way that their “liberal” co-religionists, with their less exclusive attitude to the matter of salvation, do not. Such help, spiritual and material, as does come from foreign Christians, will tend to come from such evangelicals, who are mostly Americans. Part of the fundamentalist package, millenarianism – the belief in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ to reign for a thousand years, regarded as probably an imminent event – includes a necessary, though uncertain role for the Jews. Other features widespread amongst Chinese Christians are the “speaking in tongues” and claims of miraculous healing and exorcism. Aikman does not mention it but it seems fair to add that such Christians will reject Darwinism. If, as seems likely, they adhere to the Christian morality brought to China by the missionaries, they will also preach chastity before marriage and fidelity within it, and abhor homosexuality and abortion. All these are positions that have long been compromised or abandoned in Western Christendom, but in China would be welcomed by any government as desirable virtues, apart from, presumably, the last.[42]

China held the largest secular event in history

Although the 2012 Reason Rally was billed as the largest secular event in world history, strictly speaking that is not accurate.[43]

Communist countries have embraced state atheism. And Marxist-Leninism along with Maoism explicitly adhered to the atheist worldview and communist countries have engaged in militant atheism and religious persecution (see: Atheism and communism).[44] China still engages in religious persecution. Communist countries had large/massive rallies. For example, at Tiananmen Square during the Cultural Revolution, the atheist Mao Zedong greeted 1,500 Red Guards and waved to 800,000 Red Guards and spectators below. [45]

During the Cultural Revolution, a new form of militant atheism made great efforts to eradicate religion completely.[46][47] Under this militant atheism espoused by Mao Zedong, houses of worship were shut down; Buddhist pagodas, Daoist temples, Christian churches, and Muslim mosques were destroyed; artifacts were smashed; and sacred texts were burnt.[46][47] Moreover, it was a criminal offence to even possess a religious artifact or sacred text.[46] The death toll in 20th Cenutry China attributable to Mao Tse-Tsung's "Great Leap Forward" is estimated by reputable sources "to be as high as forty million."[48] However, following the death of Mao Zedong in 1976, many former policies towards religious freedom returned although they are limited and tenuous, as religion is closely regulated by the government.[46]

Historically, the atheist population has tended to lean leftward in their politics (See: Atheism and politics and Secular left). According to the University of Cambridge, the "most notable spread of atheism was achieved through the success of the 1917 Russian Revolution, which brought the Marxist-Leninists to power."[49]

See also

External links

Notes

  1. Most atheists are not white & other non-fairy tales, Discover magazine
  2. A surprising map of where the world’s atheists live, By Max Fisher and Caitlin Dewey, Washington Post, May 23, 2013
  3. Religion and the State in Russia and China: Suppression, Survival and Revival by Christopher Marsh, 2011, page 11 (Christopher Marsh cites the definitions of desecularization given by Peter L. Berger and Vyacheslav Karpov)
  4. 4.0 4.1 Across the Asia Pacific, the population of atheists and agnostics is shrinking
  5. Most atheists are not white & other non-fairy tales By Razib Khanm, Discover Magazine
  6. The Triumph of Faith: Why the World is More Religious Than Ever by Rodney Stark, Introduction section of the book
  7. Top 50 Countries With Highest Proportion of Atheists / Agnostics (Zuckerman, 2005)
  8. A surprising map of where the world’s atheists live, Washington Post By Max Fisher and Caitlin Dewey May 23, 2013
  9. When Will China Become the World’s Largest Christian Country?, Slate
  10. In China, a church-state showdown of biblical proportions
  11. Cracks in the atheist edifice, The Economist, November 1, 2014
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 WORLD RANKING OF COUNTRIES BY THEIR AVERAGE
  13. Are human beings becoming smarter, BBC, March 2, 2015
  14. When will the world be over half evangelical? by Justin Long
  15. A Global Resurgence of Religion? by Assaf Moghadam, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University
  16. US State Department Religious Freedom Report on Russia, 2006
  17. 2013 End of the Year Survey - Russia WIN/GIA
  18. Russia Watch, Is Russia Turning Protestant?, 2014
  19. Russian Evangelicals Leery of Orthodox Church
  20. According to figures compiled by the South Korean [[National Statistical Office (South Korea)|]]. 인구,가구/시도별 종교인구/시도별 종교인구 (2005년 인구총조사). NSO online KOSIS database. Retrieved on August 23, 2006.
  21. Elizabeth Raum. North Korea. Series: Countries Around the World. Heinemann, 2012. ISBN 1432961330. p. 28
  22. North Korean Defector Who Spent 28 Years in Prison Camp Details Hunger, Torture, and Cannibalism in the DPRK
  23. Zuckerman, Phil (2006). "Atheism: Contemporary Numbers and Patterns". In Martin, Michael. The Cambridge Companion to Atheism. Cambridge University Press. pp. 47–66.
  24. 25.0 25.1 Here's why East Asia could be in big trouble, CNBC
  25. China's aging population
  26. The rise of Christianity in Asia by Masako Fukui, Australian Broadcasting Corporation's website RN
  27. 28.0 28.1 Christianity Finds a Fulcrum in Asia by Justin Wood
  28. Noebel, David, The Battle for Truth, Harvest House, 2001.
  29. Senior Chinese Religious Advisor Calls For Promotion Of Atheism In Society, International Business Times
  30. Martyr killed by bulldozer becomes symbol of growing persecution of Christians in China
  31. China: The crackdown on Falun Gong and other so-called "heretical organizations". Amnesty International (23 March 2000). Retrieved on 17 March 2010.
  32. Militant Atheist extremist regime persecuting and torturing Christians in China
  33. 35.0 35.1 Persecution: Does It Help or Hurt Church Growth?
  34. The Fate of the State by MARTIN VAN CREVELD
  35. Martin van Creveld interview
  36. 38.0 38.1 The Protestant Work Ethic: Alive & Well…In China By Hugh Whelchel on September 24, 2012
  37. "Asia 2050: Realizing the Asian Century | Asian Development Bank". Adb.org. 2012-03-26. Retrieved 2012-07-28.
  38. GlobalPlus: Religion in China By Fenggang Yang
  39. Cultural Values of Asian Patients and Families
  40. Christianity in China
  41. China’s Communist Party Reaffirms Marxism, Maoism, Atheism
  42. (Chinese) 倪天祚, "毛主席八次接见红卫兵的组织工作" 中国共产党新闻网 2011-04-07
  43. 46.0 46.1 46.2 46.3 The Price of Freedom Denied: Religious Persecution and Conflict in the Twenty-First Century (Cambridge Studies in Social Theory, Religion and Politics). Cambridge University Press. Retrieved on 2011-03-05. “Seeking a complete annihilation of religion, places of worship were shut down; temples, churches, and mosques were destroyed; artifacts were smashed; sacred texts were burnt; and it was a criminal offence even to possess a religious artifact or sacred text. Atheism had long been the official doctrine of the Chinese Communist Party, but this new form of militant atheism made every effort to eradicate religion completely.” 
  44. 47.0 47.1 Bryan S. Turner. Religion and Modern Society: Citizenship, Secularisation and the State. Cambridge University Press. “The contrast between religion in American and militant atheism in China could not have been more stark or profound. While the Red Guards under Mao Zedong's leadership were busy destroying Buddhist pagodas, Catholic churches and Daoist temples, the Christian Right were equally busy condemning the communists.” 
  45. Robert Stearns (1 October 2011). No, We Can't: Radical Islam, Militant Secularism and the Myth of Coexistence. Chosen Books. ISBN 0800795202. “Reputable sources estimate the death toll in twentieth-century China to be as high as forty million, attributed directly to Mao Tse-Tung's "Great Leap Forward."” 
  46. Marxism. University of Cambridge (2008). Retrieved on 2011–03–15. “The most notable spread of atheism was achieved through the success of the 1917 Russian Revolution, which brought the Marxist-Leninists to power. For the first time in history, atheism thus became the official ideology of a state.”