Difference between revisions of "Atheism"

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'''Atheism''', as defined by the ''Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy'', the ''Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy'', and other [[philosophy]] reference works, is the denial of the existence of [[God]].<ref>[http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/atheism-agnosticism Stanford Encyclopedia of Philisophy - Atheism and Agnosticism]</ref><ref name="cw">[http://creation.com/atheism-is-more-rational Is Atheism More Rational?] by [[Creation Ministries International]]</ref><ref>[http://www.thedivineconspiracy.org/athart3.htm Atheism - Etymology]</ref>  
 
'''Atheism''', as defined by the ''Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy'', the ''Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy'', and other [[philosophy]] reference works, is the denial of the existence of [[God]].<ref>[http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/atheism-agnosticism Stanford Encyclopedia of Philisophy - Atheism and Agnosticism]</ref><ref name="cw">[http://creation.com/atheism-is-more-rational Is Atheism More Rational?] by [[Creation Ministries International]]</ref><ref>[http://www.thedivineconspiracy.org/athart3.htm Atheism - Etymology]</ref>  
  
The atheistic worldview has a variety of effects on individuals and [[society]] at large, and according to the esteemed [[University of Cambridge]], historically, the "most notable spread of atheism was achieved through the success of the 1917 Russian Revolution, which brought the [[Marxism-Leninism|Marxist-Leninists]] to power."<ref name="Marxism-Leninsim">{{cite web|url = http://www.investigatingatheism.info/marxism.html|title =Marxism|publisher = [[University of Cambridge]]|quote=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.|year=2008|accessdate = 2011–03–15}}</ref> Vitalij Lazarʹevič Ginzburg, a Soviet physicist, wrote that the "[[Bolshevik]] communists were not merely atheists but, according to Lenin's terminology, [[militant atheist]]s."<ref name="Lenin & militant atheism">{{cite web|url = http://books.google.com/books?id=ufC9Ar8iuDcC&pg=PA161&dq=The+Bolshevik+communists+were+not+merely+atheists+but,+according+to+Lenin%27s+terminology,+militant+atheists.&hl=en&sa=X&ei=1oFUUdj6PIiK0QGvq4CAAw&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=The%20Bolshevik%20communists%20were%20not%20merely%20atheists%20but%2C%20according%20to%20Lenin's%20terminology%2C%20militant%20atheists.&f=false|title =On Superconductivity and Superfluidity: A Scientific Autobiography |author=Vitalij Lazarʹevič Ginzburg|publisher = [[Springer Science+Business Media]]|year=2009|quote=The Bolshevik communists were not merely atheists but, according to Lenin's terminology, militant atheists.|accessdate = 2011–03–15}}</ref> However, prior to this, the [[Reign of Terror]] of the [[French Revolution]] established the [[atheist state]], with the official ideology being the [[Cult of Reason]]; during this time thousands of believers were suppressed and executed by the [[guillotine]].<ref name="Guillotine">{{cite web|url = http://books.google.com/books?id=bf3m7IVAa9gC&pg=PA461&dq=France+atheism+guillotine++Christians+executed&hl=en&sa=X&ei=l4lUUaTRBufG0QGe0IHACA&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=France%20atheism%20guillotine%20%20Christians%20executed&f=false|title =Christianity|author=James Adair|publisher = JBE Online Books|year=2007|quote=Although the Civil Constitution called for religious liberty, which was extended to Jews as well as Christians, many revolutionaries pushed for the establishment of a new state religion, either the Cult of Reason (atheists) or the Cult of the Supreme Being (Deists). Changes toAlthough the Civil Constitution called for religious liberty, which was extended to Jews as well as Christians, many revolutionaries pushed for the establishment of a new state religion, either the Cult of Reason (atheists) or the Cult of the Supreme Being (Deists). Changes to the calendar eliminated references to Christian holidays, and even the ancient seven-day week, and a ist of officially recognized saints included such famous thinkers such as Socrates, Jesus, Marcus Aurelius, and Jean-Jacques Rosseau. A period of political persecution, often with religious overtones, broke out, known as the Reign of Teror. Thousands of people were executed by the guillotine, including many of the original leaders of the French Revolution.|page=461|accessdate = 2011–03–15}}</ref><ref name="France">{{cite web|url = http://books.google.com/books?id=9WkBAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA105&dq=Reign+of+Terror+atheism&hl=en&sa=X&ei=HoRUUcD0NeXX0gGNo4HIDQ&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=Reign%20of%20Terror%20atheism&f=false|title =Memoirs of the reign of George III. to the session of parliament ending A.D. 1793, Volume 5|page=105|author=William Belsham|publisher = G.G. & J. Robinson|year=1801|quote=Reign of this portentous period, it has been eloquently tenor, and energetically observed, " that the reign of atheism in France was avowed the reign of terror. In the full madness of their career, in the highest climax of their horrors, they shut up the temples of God, abolished His worship, and proclaimed death to be an eternal sleep:-in the very centre of Christendom, Revelation underwent a total eclipse, while atheism, performing on a darkened theatre its strange and fearful tragedy, confounded the first elements of society, blended every age, rank, and sex ,indiscriminate proscription and massacre, and convulsed all Europe to its centre, that the imperishable memorial of these events might teach the last generations of mankind to consider religion as the pillar of society, the parent of social order, and the safe-guard of nations." It is wonderful that, amid the horrors of this dismal period, while "the death dance of democratic revolution" was still in rapid movement, among the tears of affliction, and the cries of despair, "the masque, the song, the theatric scene, the buffoon laughter, went on as regularly as in the gay hour of festive peace."|accessdate = 2011–03–15}}</ref><ref name="Reign of Terror">{{cite web|url = http://books.google.com/books?id=Tt5rqiCP1p8C&pg=PA57&dq=Reign+of+Terror+atheism&hl=en&sa=X&ei=HoRUUcD0NeXX0gGNo4HIDQ&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=Reign%20of%20Terror%20atheism&f=false|title =Christianity, Islam, and Atheism: The Struggle for the Soul of the West|author=William Kilpatrick|publisher = [[Ignatius Press]]|year=2012|quote=Actually, it's helpful to think in terms of two Enlightenments: the Enlightenment that cut itself off from God. The former led to the American Revolution, the Declaration of Independence, the abolition of slavery, and the civil rights movement. The latter led to the French Revolution, the Reign of Terror, the suppression of church by state, and the godless philosophies of Marx and Nietzsche and their offspring-National Socialism and communism. More recently the abandonment of God has led to the regime of cultural relativism that regards rights as arbitrary constructions. It's this second Enlightenment tradition that Cardinal Ratzinger referred to when he wrote, "The radical detachment of the Enlightenment philosophy from its roots ultimately leads it to dispense with man." Actually this transition happened no "ultimately" but almost immediately. The first instance occurred when Enlightenment worship of abstract "reason" and "liberty" degenearated quickly into the mass murders committed during the antireligious Reign of Terror in France. "Liberty, what crimes are committed in your name", said Madam Rolande as she faced the statue of Liberty in the Place de la Revolution movements before her death at the guillotine. She was one of the early victims of a succession of secular systems based on rootless notions of "liberty", "equality", and "reason". As many historians have pointed out, the atheist regimes of modern times are guilty of far more crimes than any committed in the name of religion. Communist governments alone were guilty of more than one hundred million murders, most of them committed against their own people.|accessdate = 2011–03–15}}</ref> In regards to [[atheism and charity]], a comprehensive study by ''The Barna Group'' found that atheists are less likely than "active faith" individuals to volunteer to help a non-church-related non-profit (20% versus 30%), to describe themselves as "active in the community" (41% versus 68%), and to personally help or serve a [[homeless]] or [[poverty|poor]] person (41% versus 61%).<ref name="Religion & Charity - Barna Group">{{cite web|url = http://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/12-faithspirituality/102-atheists-and-agnostics-take-aim-at-christians|title =Atheists and Agnostics Take Aim at Christians |publisher = [[The Barna Group]]|quote=One of the most significant differences between active-faith and no-faith Americans is the cultural disengagement and sense of independence exhibited by atheists and agnostics in many areas of life. They are less likely than active-faith Americans to be registered to vote (78% versus 89%), to volunteer to help a non-church-related non-profit (20% versus 30%), to describe themselves as "active in the community" (41% versus 68%), and to personally help or serve a homeless or poor person (41% versus 61%). They are also more likely to be registered to vote as an independent or with a non-mainstream political party. The study produced a mix of findings when it came to lifestyle and personal priorities. In terms of differences, Christians were more motivated by faith, as expected. Yet, just one-quarter of active-faith adults identified their faith as the primary focus of their life. For their part, atheists and agnostics were more likely than were Christians to be focused on living a comfortable, balanced lifestyle (12% versus 4%) or on acquiring wealth (10% versus 2%). Three-quarters of no-faith adults said they are clear about the meaning and purpose of their life and a surprising one-quarter said the phrase "deeply spiritual" accurately describes them. One of the largest gaps was the perception of being "at peace," a description less frequently embraced by no-faith adults (67% versus 90%).|date=June 11, 2007|accessdate = 2011–03–15}}</ref><ref name="Religion & Charity - HarperOne">{{cite web|url = http://books.google.com/books?id=y8_RpglSSiEC&pg=PA185&dq=atheist+homeless+or+poor+person+Barna+Group&hl=en&ei=1ph_TdDVEuWa0QGQhvyACQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CC0Q6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false|title=Why Faith Matters|publisher=[[HarperOne]]|quote=Finally, the ''Los Angeles Times'' reports that researchers found that people without faith are less likely to register to vote (78 versus 89 percent) and less likely to help a poor or homeless person (41 percent versus 61 percent) even though they are more likely to be college graduates and have higher income than believers. Americans of no faith typlically contributed $200 a year to charities; active-faith Americans $1,500 a year. Even when church-based giving is subtracted from the equation, active-faith adults donated twice as many dollars a year than atheists and agnostics. This accords with a recent study by the Barna Group, which conducts research for Christian ministries. The Barna Group concluded that religious Americans give seven times as much charity on a per capita basis as do nonreligious Americans.|publisher=[[David J. Wolpe]]|accessdate = 2011–03–15}}</ref><ref name="Religion & Charity - Los Angeles Times">{{cite news|url = http://articles.latimes.com/2007/jun/16/local/me-beliefs16|title=Survey illuminates views of atheists and believers|newspaper=[[Los Angeles Times]]|quote=The independent marketing firm, which has tracked trends relating to beliefs, values and behaviors since 1984, looked at the beliefs of agnostics and atheists and compared them to believers over a two-year period. Researchers found that people without faith are less likely to be registered to vote than believers (78% versus 89%), and less likely to help a poor or homeless person (41% versus 61%) even though they are more likely to be college graduates and make more money than believers. The survey also found that "no-faith" Americans typically donated $200 to charities in 2006, far less than the amount given by "active-faith" adults, who typically contributed $1,500. "Even when church-based giving is subtracted from the equation, active-faith adults donated twice as many dollars last year as did atheists and agnostics," the study said.|author=K. Connie Kang|accessdate = 2011–03–15}}</ref> Atheism is also [[atheism and suicide|associated with increased rates]] of suicide; according to the [[World Health Organization]]'s report on international male [[suicide]] rates, nine of ten of the nations with the highest male suicide rates are strongly irreligious nations with the highest levels of atheism, while countries with the lowest male suicide rates are highly religious nations with statistically insignificant levels of organic atheism.<ref name=Religion and Medicine>{{Cite web|title=The Cambridge Companion to Atheism|url=http://books.google.com/books?id=tAeFipOVx4MC&pg=PA58&dq=Concerning+suicide+rates,+this+is+the+one+indicator+of+societal+health+in+which&hl=en&ei=DLiiTeoQi_aAB6qg_NkF&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CDMQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false|quote=Concerning suicide rates, religious nations fare better than secular nations. According to the World Health Organization's report on international male suicide rates, of the top ten nations with the ''highest'' male suicide rates, all but one (Sri Lanka) are strongly irreligious nations with high levels of atheism. Of the top remaining nine nations leading the world in male suicide rates, ''all'' are former Soviet/Communist nations, such as Belarus, Ukraine, and latvia. Of the bottom ten nations with the ''lowest'' male suicide rates, all are highly religious nations with statistically insignificant levels of organic atheism.|publisher=[[Cambridge University Press]]|author=Michael Martin|accessdate=13 November 2010}}</ref> Furthermore, atheism is indirectly proportional to education; a scholarly study published in an academic journal titled the ''Review of Religious Research'' demonstrated that increased education is correlated with belief in God and that "education positively affects religious participation, devotional activities, and emphasizing the importance of religion in daily life."<ref>{{cite journal |title=The Effects of Education on Americans’ Religious Practices, Beliefs, and Affiliations|last=Schwadel|first=Philip|year=2011|journal=Review of Religious Research|volume=53|issue=2|doi=10.1007/s13644-011-0007-4|}}</ref><ref>{{cite web|title=Study: More educated tend to be more religious, by some measures|author=Jim Kavanagh|date=11 August 2011|publisher=[[CNN]]|url=http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/08/11/study-more-educated-tend-to-be-more-religious-by-some-measures/|quote=“With more years of education, you aren’t relatively more likely to say, ‘I don’t believe in God,’” he said. “But you are relatively more likely to say, ‘I believe in a higher power.’”}}</ref><ref>{{cite web|title=The more education people receive, the more religious they become?|date=12 August 2011|publisher=[[Daily Mail]]|url=http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2025166/The-education-people-receive-religious-become.html|quote=By analyzing data from a large national survey, sociologist Philip Schwadel of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln found that people tend to become more religious - by certain definitions - as they further their education. The survey also qualified what concept of God or a 'higher power' individuals held, as well as whether they had any doubts. Mr Schwadel said that: 'With more years of education, you aren’t relatively more likely to say, "I don’t believe in God," but you are relatively more likely to say, "I believe in a higher power."'}}</ref><ref>{{cite web|title=More is More When it Comes to Education and Religion, Study Says|date=13 August 2011|publisher=[[Christian Post]]|url=http://www.christianpost.com/news/who-is-more-religious-53865/|quote=Sociologist Philip Schwadel from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) studied this phenomenon. He discovered that people today tend to become more religious as they further their education.}}</ref>
+
The atheistic worldview has a variety of effects on individuals and [[society]] at large, and according to the esteemed [[University of Cambridge]], historically, the "most notable spread of atheism was achieved through the success of the 1917 Russian Revolution, which brought the [[Marxism-Leninism|Marxist-Leninists]] to power."<ref name="Marxism-Leninsim">{{cite web|url = http://www.investigatingatheism.info/marxism.html|title =Marxism|publisher = [[University of Cambridge]]|quote=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.|year=2008|accessdate = 2011–03–15}}</ref> Vitalij Lazarʹevič Ginzburg, a Soviet physicist, wrote that the "[[Bolshevik]] communists were not merely atheists but, according to [[Lenin]]'s terminology, [[militant atheist]]s."<ref name="Lenin & militant atheism">{{cite web|url = http://books.google.com/books?id=ufC9Ar8iuDcC&pg=PA161&dq=The+Bolshevik+communists+were+not+merely+atheists+but,+according+to+Lenin%27s+terminology,+militant+atheists.&hl=en&sa=X&ei=1oFUUdj6PIiK0QGvq4CAAw&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=The%20Bolshevik%20communists%20were%20not%20merely%20atheists%20but%2C%20according%20to%20Lenin's%20terminology%2C%20militant%20atheists.&f=false|title =On Superconductivity and Superfluidity: A Scientific Autobiography |author=Vitalij Lazarʹevič Ginzburg|publisher = [[Springer Science+Business Media]]|year=2009|quote=The Bolshevik communists were not merely atheists but, according to Lenin's terminology, militant atheists.|accessdate = 2011–03–15}}</ref> However, prior to this, the [[Reign of Terror]] of the [[French Revolution]] established the [[atheist state]], with the official ideology being the [[Cult of Reason]]; during this time thousands of believers were suppressed and executed by the [[guillotine]].<ref name="Guillotine">{{cite web|url = http://books.google.com/books?id=bf3m7IVAa9gC&pg=PA461&dq=France+atheism+guillotine++Christians+executed&hl=en&sa=X&ei=l4lUUaTRBufG0QGe0IHACA&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=France%20atheism%20guillotine%20%20Christians%20executed&f=false|title =Christianity|author=James Adair|publisher = JBE Online Books|year=2007|quote=Although the Civil Constitution called for religious liberty, which was extended to Jews as well as Christians, many revolutionaries pushed for the establishment of a new state religion, either the Cult of Reason (atheists) or the Cult of the Supreme Being (Deists). Changes toAlthough the Civil Constitution called for religious liberty, which was extended to Jews as well as Christians, many revolutionaries pushed for the establishment of a new state religion, either the Cult of Reason (atheists) or the Cult of the Supreme Being (Deists). Changes to the calendar eliminated references to Christian holidays, and even the ancient seven-day week, and a ist of officially recognized saints included such famous thinkers such as Socrates, Jesus, Marcus Aurelius, and Jean-Jacques Rosseau. A period of political persecution, often with religious overtones, broke out, known as the Reign of Teror. Thousands of people were executed by the guillotine, including many of the original leaders of the French Revolution.|page=461|accessdate = 2011–03–15}}</ref><ref name="France">{{cite web|url = http://books.google.com/books?id=9WkBAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA105&dq=Reign+of+Terror+atheism&hl=en&sa=X&ei=HoRUUcD0NeXX0gGNo4HIDQ&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=Reign%20of%20Terror%20atheism&f=false|title =Memoirs of the reign of George III. to the session of parliament ending A.D. 1793, Volume 5|page=105|author=William Belsham|publisher = G.G. & J. Robinson|year=1801|quote=Reign of this portentous period, it has been eloquently tenor, and energetically observed, " that the reign of atheism in France was avowed the reign of terror. In the full madness of their career, in the highest climax of their horrors, they shut up the temples of God, abolished His worship, and proclaimed death to be an eternal sleep:-in the very centre of Christendom, Revelation underwent a total eclipse, while atheism, performing on a darkened theatre its strange and fearful tragedy, confounded the first elements of society, blended every age, rank, and sex ,indiscriminate proscription and massacre, and convulsed all Europe to its centre, that the imperishable memorial of these events might teach the last generations of mankind to consider religion as the pillar of society, the parent of social order, and the safe-guard of nations." It is wonderful that, amid the horrors of this dismal period, while "the death dance of democratic revolution" was still in rapid movement, among the tears of affliction, and the cries of despair, "the masque, the song, the theatric scene, the buffoon laughter, went on as regularly as in the gay hour of festive peace."|accessdate = 2011–03–15}}</ref><ref name="Reign of Terror">{{cite web|url = http://books.google.com/books?id=Tt5rqiCP1p8C&pg=PA57&dq=Reign+of+Terror+atheism&hl=en&sa=X&ei=HoRUUcD0NeXX0gGNo4HIDQ&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=Reign%20of%20Terror%20atheism&f=false|title =Christianity, Islam, and Atheism: The Struggle for the Soul of the West|author=William Kilpatrick|publisher = [[Ignatius Press]]|year=2012|quote=Actually, it's helpful to think in terms of two Enlightenments: the Enlightenment that cut itself off from God. The former led to the American Revolution, the Declaration of Independence, the abolition of slavery, and the civil rights movement. The latter led to the French Revolution, the Reign of Terror, the suppression of church by state, and the godless philosophies of Marx and Nietzsche and their offspring-National Socialism and communism. More recently the abandonment of God has led to the regime of cultural relativism that regards rights as arbitrary constructions. It's this second Enlightenment tradition that Cardinal Ratzinger referred to when he wrote, "The radical detachment of the Enlightenment philosophy from its roots ultimately leads it to dispense with man." Actually this transition happened no "ultimately" but almost immediately. The first instance occurred when Enlightenment worship of abstract "reason" and "liberty" degenearated quickly into the mass murders committed during the antireligious Reign of Terror in France. "Liberty, what crimes are committed in your name", said Madam Rolande as she faced the statue of Liberty in the Place de la Revolution movements before her death at the guillotine. She was one of the early victims of a succession of secular systems based on rootless notions of "liberty", "equality", and "reason". As many historians have pointed out, the atheist regimes of modern times are guilty of far more crimes than any committed in the name of religion. Communist governments alone were guilty of more than one hundred million murders, most of them committed against their own people.|accessdate = 2011–03–15}}</ref> In regards to [[atheism and charity]], a comprehensive study by ''The Barna Group'' found that atheists are less likely than "active faith" individuals to volunteer to help a non-church-related non-profit (20% versus 30%), to describe themselves as "active in the community" (41% versus 68%), and to personally help or serve a [[homeless]] or [[poverty|poor]] person (41% versus 61%).<ref name="Religion & Charity - Barna Group">{{cite web|url = http://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/12-faithspirituality/102-atheists-and-agnostics-take-aim-at-christians|title =Atheists and Agnostics Take Aim at Christians |publisher = [[The Barna Group]]|quote=One of the most significant differences between active-faith and no-faith Americans is the cultural disengagement and sense of independence exhibited by atheists and agnostics in many areas of life. They are less likely than active-faith Americans to be registered to vote (78% versus 89%), to volunteer to help a non-church-related non-profit (20% versus 30%), to describe themselves as "active in the community" (41% versus 68%), and to personally help or serve a homeless or poor person (41% versus 61%). They are also more likely to be registered to vote as an independent or with a non-mainstream political party. The study produced a mix of findings when it came to lifestyle and personal priorities. In terms of differences, Christians were more motivated by faith, as expected. Yet, just one-quarter of active-faith adults identified their faith as the primary focus of their life. For their part, atheists and agnostics were more likely than were Christians to be focused on living a comfortable, balanced lifestyle (12% versus 4%) or on acquiring wealth (10% versus 2%). Three-quarters of no-faith adults said they are clear about the meaning and purpose of their life and a surprising one-quarter said the phrase "deeply spiritual" accurately describes them. One of the largest gaps was the perception of being "at peace," a description less frequently embraced by no-faith adults (67% versus 90%).|date=June 11, 2007|accessdate = 2011–03–15}}</ref><ref name="Religion & Charity - HarperOne">{{cite web|url = http://books.google.com/books?id=y8_RpglSSiEC&pg=PA185&dq=atheist+homeless+or+poor+person+Barna+Group&hl=en&ei=1ph_TdDVEuWa0QGQhvyACQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CC0Q6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false|title=Why Faith Matters|publisher=[[HarperOne]]|quote=Finally, the ''Los Angeles Times'' reports that researchers found that people without faith are less likely to register to vote (78 versus 89 percent) and less likely to help a poor or homeless person (41 percent versus 61 percent) even though they are more likely to be college graduates and have higher income than believers. Americans of no faith typlically contributed $200 a year to charities; active-faith Americans $1,500 a year. Even when church-based giving is subtracted from the equation, active-faith adults donated twice as many dollars a year than atheists and agnostics. This accords with a recent study by the Barna Group, which conducts research for Christian ministries. The Barna Group concluded that religious Americans give seven times as much charity on a per capita basis as do nonreligious Americans.|publisher=[[David J. Wolpe]]|accessdate = 2011–03–15}}</ref><ref name="Religion & Charity - Los Angeles Times">{{cite news|url = http://articles.latimes.com/2007/jun/16/local/me-beliefs16|title=Survey illuminates views of atheists and believers|newspaper=[[Los Angeles Times]]|quote=The independent marketing firm, which has tracked trends relating to beliefs, values and behaviors since 1984, looked at the beliefs of agnostics and atheists and compared them to believers over a two-year period. Researchers found that people without faith are less likely to be registered to vote than believers (78% versus 89%), and less likely to help a poor or homeless person (41% versus 61%) even though they are more likely to be college graduates and make more money than believers. The survey also found that "no-faith" Americans typically donated $200 to charities in 2006, far less than the amount given by "active-faith" adults, who typically contributed $1,500. "Even when church-based giving is subtracted from the equation, active-faith adults donated twice as many dollars last year as did atheists and agnostics," the study said.|author=K. Connie Kang|accessdate = 2011–03–15}}</ref> Atheism is also [[atheism and suicide|associated with increased rates]] of suicide; according to the [[World Health Organization]]'s report on international male [[suicide]] rates, nine of ten of the nations with the highest male suicide rates are strongly irreligious nations with the highest levels of atheism, while countries with the lowest male suicide rates are highly religious nations with statistically insignificant levels of organic atheism.<ref name=Religion and Medicine>{{Cite web|title=The Cambridge Companion to Atheism|url=http://books.google.com/books?id=tAeFipOVx4MC&pg=PA58&dq=Concerning+suicide+rates,+this+is+the+one+indicator+of+societal+health+in+which&hl=en&ei=DLiiTeoQi_aAB6qg_NkF&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CDMQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false|quote=Concerning suicide rates, religious nations fare better than secular nations. According to the World Health Organization's report on international male suicide rates, of the top ten nations with the ''highest'' male suicide rates, all but one (Sri Lanka) are strongly irreligious nations with high levels of atheism. Of the top remaining nine nations leading the world in male suicide rates, ''all'' are former Soviet/Communist nations, such as Belarus, Ukraine, and latvia. Of the bottom ten nations with the ''lowest'' male suicide rates, all are highly religious nations with statistically insignificant levels of organic atheism.|publisher=[[Cambridge University Press]]|author=Michael Martin|accessdate=13 November 2010}}</ref> Furthermore, atheism is indirectly proportional to education; a scholarly study published in an academic journal titled the ''Review of Religious Research'' demonstrated that increased education is correlated with belief in God and that "education positively affects religious participation, devotional activities, and emphasizing the importance of religion in daily life."<ref>{{cite journal |title=The Effects of Education on Americans’ Religious Practices, Beliefs, and Affiliations|last=Schwadel|first=Philip|year=2011|journal=Review of Religious Research|volume=53|issue=2|doi=10.1007/s13644-011-0007-4|}}</ref><ref>{{cite web|title=Study: More educated tend to be more religious, by some measures|author=Jim Kavanagh|date=11 August 2011|publisher=[[CNN]]|url=http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/08/11/study-more-educated-tend-to-be-more-religious-by-some-measures/|quote=“With more years of education, you aren’t relatively more likely to say, ‘I don’t believe in God,’” he said. “But you are relatively more likely to say, ‘I believe in a higher power.’”}}</ref><ref>{{cite web|title=The more education people receive, the more religious they become?|date=12 August 2011|publisher=[[Daily Mail]]|url=http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2025166/The-education-people-receive-religious-become.html|quote=By analyzing data from a large national survey, sociologist Philip Schwadel of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln found that people tend to become more religious - by certain definitions - as they further their education. The survey also qualified what concept of God or a 'higher power' individuals held, as well as whether they had any doubts. Mr Schwadel said that: 'With more years of education, you aren’t relatively more likely to say, "I don’t believe in God," but you are relatively more likely to say, "I believe in a higher power."'}}</ref><ref>{{cite web|title=More is More When it Comes to Education and Religion, Study Says|date=13 August 2011|publisher=[[Christian Post]]|url=http://www.christianpost.com/news/who-is-more-religious-53865/|quote=Sociologist Philip Schwadel from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) studied this phenomenon. He discovered that people today tend to become more religious as they further their education.}}</ref>
  
  

Revision as of 14:38, 28 March 2013

atheism
Paul-Henri Thiry, Baron d'Holbach (1723 - 1789) was an early advocate of atheism in Europe.

Atheism, as defined by the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, and other philosophy reference works, is the denial of the existence of God.[1][2][3]

The atheistic worldview has a variety of effects on individuals and society at large, and according to the esteemed University of Cambridge, historically, the "most notable spread of atheism was achieved through the success of the 1917 Russian Revolution, which brought the Marxist-Leninists to power."[4] Vitalij Lazarʹevič Ginzburg, a Soviet physicist, wrote that the "Bolshevik communists were not merely atheists but, according to Lenin's terminology, militant atheists."[5] However, prior to this, the Reign of Terror of the French Revolution established the atheist state, with the official ideology being the Cult of Reason; during this time thousands of believers were suppressed and executed by the guillotine.[6][7][8] In regards to atheism and charity, a comprehensive study by The Barna Group found that atheists are less likely than "active faith" individuals to volunteer to help a non-church-related non-profit (20% versus 30%), to describe themselves as "active in the community" (41% versus 68%), and to personally help or serve a homeless or poor person (41% versus 61%).[9][10][11] Atheism is also associated with increased rates of suicide; according to the World Health Organization's report on international male suicide rates, nine of ten of the nations with the highest male suicide rates are strongly irreligious nations with the highest levels of atheism, while countries with the lowest male suicide rates are highly religious nations with statistically insignificant levels of organic atheism.[12] Furthermore, atheism is indirectly proportional to education; a scholarly study published in an academic journal titled the Review of Religious Research demonstrated that increased education is correlated with belief in God and that "education positively affects religious participation, devotional activities, and emphasizing the importance of religion in daily life."[13][14][15][16]


Concerning individuals adopting an atheistic worldview, atheism has a number of causal factors that influence its origination in individuals which will be addressed. In addition, critiques of atheism will be offered and some of the historical events relating to atheism will also be covered. For example, since World War II a majority of the most prominent and vocal defenders of the theory of evolution which employs methodological naturalism have been atheists.[17]

Types of atheism

There are different types of atheism, based on different answers to the following questions:

  • What God or gods does the atheist deny?
  • Why does the atheist deny?
  • How does the atheist's denial manifest itself?

Atheism and Which God or gods?

The Greek philosopher Socrates

Since atheism is denial of the existence of God or gods, it is important first to identify in which God and/or gods the atheist denies. In ancient times, for example, Christians were accused of being atheists because of their denial of the pagan gods, even though they believed in the Christian God.[18] Socrates was also accused of atheism, although references to God run throughout his recorded statements.[19] Also, Albert Einstein and Baruch Spinoza professed belief in "God," but they defined "God" as the cosmos as a whole, and without personality.

Atheism and why do atheists state they disbelieve?

Atheists claim there are two main reasons for their denial of the existence of God and/or disbelief in God: the conviction that there is positive evidence or argument that God does not exist (Strong atheism which is also sometimes called positive atheism), and their claim that theists bear the burden of proof to show that God exists, that they have failed to do so, and that belief is therefore unwarranted (Weak atheism).

Manifestations of atheism

Below are three common ways that atheism manifests itself:

  • Militant atheism which continues to suppress and oppress religious believers today (see also: Atheism and communism).
  • Philosophical atheism - Atheist philosophers assert that God does not exist.
  • Practical atheism: atheism of the life - that is, living as though God does not exist.[20]

Attempts to dilute the definition of atheism

See also: Attempts to dilute the definition of atheism and Definition of atheism and Definitions of Atheist and Agnostic

Charles Bradlaugh, in 1876, proposed that atheism does not assert "there is no God," and by doing so he diluted the traditional definition of atheism. Since 1979, many atheists have followed Bradlaugh's thinking further and stated that atheism is merely a lack of belief in any god.[21] [22] The motive for such a shift in meaning appears to be to an attempt to shift the burden of proof regarding the existence of God to the theism side.[23]

In the article, Is Atheism Presumptuous?, atheist Jeffery Jay Lowder, a founder of Internet Infidels which owns and operates the Secular Web (the Secular Web is a website focused on promoting atheism, agnosticism and skepticism on the internet), states that "I agree (with Copan) that anyone who claims, "God does not exist," must shoulder a burden of proof just as much as anyone who claims, "God exists."[24] In short, the attempt to redefine atheism is merely an attempt to make no assertions so no facts need be offered.[25] The attempt to redefine atheism, however, is not in accordance with the standard definitions of atheism that encyclopedias of philosophy employ which is that atheism is a denial of the existence of God or gods.[26][2][27]

Atheism often relies on asserting fragile assumptions that are contrary to the existing evidence (see also: Evidence for Christianity ).[28] In addition, atheists/skeptics do have a tradition of making assumptions that later have proved errant.[29] Also, prominent atheists, such as Charles Darwin (see: religious views of Charles Darwin ), have experienced doubts concerning the validity of atheism.

Atheism is a religion

Many of the leaders of the atheist movement, such as the evolutionist and weak atheist/agnostic Richard Dawkins, argue for agnosticism/atheism with a religious fervor.

Roderick Ninian Smart, a Scottish writer and professor, defined a seven-part scheme of understanding both religious and secular worldviews[30]. These can be understood as narrative, experiential, social, ethical, doctrinal, ritual and material.

English Pastor Daniel Smartt defines atheism as a religion, using Ninian Smart's seven dimensions of worldview as a list of criteria. It is not necessary in Smartt's model for every one of these to be present in order for something to be a religion.[31]. However, it can be argued that all seven are present in the case of atheism.[32][33]

Please see: Atheism: A religionand Atheism and Atheism is a religion.

Atheism is a religion and its legal implications relative to the teaching of evolution

Atheism is a religion and naturalistic notions of origins are religious which has legal implications relative to evolution being taught in public schools.[34][35][36]

John Calvert, a lawyer and intelligent design proponent declared:

The Seventh Judicial Circuit of the Court of Appeals of the United States held that atheism is a religion. Therefore, it cannot be promoted by a public school. Currently, public schools are often unwittingly promoting atheism through a dogmatic and uncritical teaching of materialistic theories of origins.[37]
A proponent of the Question evolution! campaign declared that "Evolution is the air supply of atheism. ..to truly prevail against atheism, cutting off the air supply of atheism is crucial."[38]

Biblical Christianity vs. evangelical atheism

A proponent of the anti-evolution Question evolution! campaign by Creation Ministries International wrote:

Atheism is a religion. And atheists, time and time again, take away the religious liberty of Christians in order to promote their false religion. Evolution is the air supply of atheism. Directly confronting atheism can be useful. But, the best way for Christianity to prevail against secularism is through preventative medicine. Reaching young people with the gospel and discipling them is a first step. Yet to truly prevail against atheism, cutting off the air supply of atheism is crucial.

The grassroots Question evolution! campaign can reach countless young people before evolutionists indoctrinate them in high school and college.[39]

See also:

Biblical statements concerning atheism

see also: Resources for leaving atheism and becoming a Christian

The psalmist David wrote: "The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God.'"

The writers of the Bible considered the existence of God to be self-evident and Moses simply wrote: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." (Genesis 1:1).[40]

Accordingly, the psalmist David declared:

"The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God.' They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good." - Psalms 14:1 (KJV)

The psalmist David also wrote "The heavens declare the glory of God..." - Psalms 19:1

In his letter to the Romans the Apostle Paul declared:

"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse..." - Romans 1:19-20 (NKJV)

Tenuousness of atheism in prominent atheists and in large populations

See also: Atheists doubting the validity of atheism and Denials that atheists exist

Notable professing atheists have had the characteristic of variability and instability when it came to maintaining thoughts in accordance with atheism. For example, Jean-Paul Sartre was one of the leading proponents of atheism of the 20th Century. Yet Jean-Paul Sartre made this candid confession:

As for me, I don’t see myself as so much dust that has appeared in the world but as a being that was expected, prefigured, called forth. In short, as a being that could, it seems, come only from a creator; and this idea of a creating hand that created me refers me back to God. Naturally this is not a clear, exact idea that I set in motion every time I think of myself. It contradicts many of my other ideas; but it is there, floating vaguely. And when I think of myself I often think rather in this way, for wont of being able to think otherwise.[41]

Charles Darwin wrote in his private notebooks that he was a materialist, which is a type of atheist. (see: religious views of Charles Darwin) [42][43]

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy states:

In 1885, the Duke of Argyll recounted a conversation he had had with Charles Darwin the year before Darwin's death:

In the course of that conversation I said to Mr. Darwin, with reference to some of his own remarkable works on the Fertilization of Orchids, and upon The Earthworms, and various other observations he made of the wonderful contrivances for certain purposes in nature — I said it was impossible to look at these without seeing that they were the effect and the expression of Mind. I shall never forget Mr. Darwin's answer. He looked at me very hard and said, “Well, that often comes over me with overwhelming force; but at other times,” and he shook his head vaguely, adding, “it seems to go away. ”(Argyll 1885, 244)[44]

Research on the weakness of individuals' attachment to atheism through secularistic upbringing

See also: Weakness of secularistic upbringing

In 2012, a Georgetown University study was published indicating that only about 30 percent of those who grow up in an atheist household remain atheists as adults.[45]

In 2012, a Georgetown University study was published indicating that only about 30 percent of those who grow up in an atheist household remain atheists as adults.[46] Similarly, according to recent research by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, in the United States, a majority of those surveyed who were raised in atheist or agnostic households, or where there was no specific religious attachment, later chose to join a religious faith.[47][48] A notable example of a person raised in a atheistic household who later became a Christian is William J. Murray. Mr. Murray is the son of the late atheist Madalyn Murray O'Hair who founded the organization American Atheists. In 1982, William J. Murray founded the Religious Freedom Coalition.

An article published by a Question evolution! campaign group entitled Georgetown University study provides two clues to shrinking atheism faster declares:

Since atheism has a low retention rate among people raised atheists, one of the best methods of speeding up the global decline of atheism is though evolutionism and atheism inoculation. In other words, let Christians and the general public know about the many problems of atheism and evolutionary ideology and the many problems they cause BEFORE individuals consider becoming atheists (Atheism and suicide, atheism and its history of mass murder, etc. See: Atheism)...

Atheism, agnosticism and evolutionism do not stand up under critical examination that is why Richard Dawkins, the British Humanist Association and leading evolutionists have recently ducked notable debate offers. They know their weak ideologies cannot withstand cross-examination.[49]

In addition, as noted earlier, in atheistic Communist China, Christianity is experiencing explosive growth.[50][51] On July 3, 2005, the New York Times reported concerning many countries in the former Soviet Union: "A return to religion in Romania and the region's other formerly Communist countries has in many places outrun the speed at which the church can screen and train clergy..."[52]

Atheism losing adherents in terms of the global population

The 2004 to 2007 publicity campaign for atheism in the Western World was not sustainable. The level of public interest in atheism is not coming back in the West and global atheism is shrinking.[53]

See also: Global atheism and American atheism and Atheist Population and Resources for leaving atheism and becoming a Christian

In 2012, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary reported that globally every day there are 800 less atheists per day, 1,100 less non-religious (agnostic) people per day and 83,000 more people professing to be Christians per day.[54][55]

In 2011, the American Spectator citing research published in the International Bulletin of Missionary Research reported that atheism is on the decline as a whole in terms of adherents .[56][57]

The American Spectator declared:

The report estimates about 80,000 new Christians every day, 79,000 new Muslims every day, and 300 fewer atheists every day. These atheists are presumably disproportionately represented in the West, while religion is thriving in the Global South, where charismatic Christianity is exploding."[58]

In 2009, the book A sceptics guide to atheism indicated: "A worldwide poll taken in 1991 put the global figure for atheists at just 4.4% of the population. By 2006 it was estimated that only 2% of the world population were atheists."[59]

In 2012 an article entitled Atheism in decline by Nigel Tomes declared:

The IBMR publishes yearly figures for religions (and non religions) around the globe. Their latest numbers, hot off the press (Jan. 2012) show some interesting trends.

Atheism is in Decline

In 1970 atheists (those avowing there is no God) numbered 166 million worldwide; that was almost one-in-twenty—4.5% of the globe’s population. By 2012 atheists’ number is estimated at 137 million. That’s a decline of almost 30 million. Since world population is growing, atheists’ share declined to less than one-in-fifty—under 2% in 2012. Put differently, every 24 hours there are 800 fewer atheists in the world! Atheism is in decline.

Agnosticism is in Decline

In 2000 agnostics (those who “don’t know” if there is a God) numbered 666 million, 10.9% of the world’s people. By 2012 agnostic’s number is estimated at 661 million--a decline of 5 million. In relative terms by 2012 agnostics represent less than one tenth (9.4%) of world population. Every 24 hours there are 1,100 less agnostics in the world. Agnostics are also in decline.

Added together these two groups make up a declining share of global population. In 1970 atheists and agnostics accounted for one-in-five (19.2%) of the world’s people. Based on current trends by 2025 they will represent less than one-in-ten (9.7%). Their population share will fall by half in 50+ years.[60]

Decline of atheism in terms of global adherents is expected to accelerate

See also: Global atheism and American atheism and Atheist Population and Resources for leaving atheism and becoming a Christian

The decline of global atheism is accelerating and it is expected to affect Western World atheism.[61][62]

Eric Kaufmann, a professor at Birkbeck, University of London, using a a wealth of demographic studies argues the decline of atheism in terms of its global adherents is an established trend that will persist for the foreseeable future and the rate of decline will accelerate.[63][64][65][66] In addition, Kaufmann argues that religious conservatism has a long term trend of rising and that their influence in the world will significantly increase.[67] Kaufmann is author of the book Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?.[68][69] In the Western World due to immigration and the higher birth rates of religious people, Kaufman writes: "Committed religious populations are growing in the West, and will reverse the march of secularism before 2050."[70]

Michael Blume, a researcher at the University of Jena in Germany, wrote "Most societies or communities that have espoused atheistic beliefs have not survived more than a century."[71] Blume also indicated concerning concerning his research on this matter: "What I found was the complete lack of a single case of a secular population, community or movement that would just manage to retain replacement level."[72]

In addition, currently the Western World population is aging in terms of its demographic makeup, particularly in secular Europe, and it has been found that belief in God grows as a person's death nears.[73][74]

For more information please see the article: Atheist population

Decline of American 1990s secularism

For more information please see:

Prominent atheism websites loss of global market share

The article Internet atheism: The thrill is gone! points out that internet atheism has been in a significant slump since 2008.

See also: Internet atheism and Atheistic bullying and Internet atheism and polyamory

During the period of 2008 to 2012, the atheist community made a concerted effort to spread atheism through means of the internet. However, leading atheist websites have seen plunges in web traffic during this same period and during the first half of 2012.[75]

In May of 2012, it was pointed out by supporters of Creation Ministries International's Question evolution! campaign that from a global internet perspective the public's interest in the views of the agnostic/weak atheist Richard Dawkins and the atheist PZ Myers and in atheism are on the decline while interest in Jesus and Christianity are on the upswing.[76]

For more information please see:

Question evolution! campaign

See also: Question evolution! campaign and Atheist Population

As noted above, since World War II a majority of the most prominent and vocal defenders of the theory of evolution which employs methodological naturalism have been atheists.[77] In 2011, a campaign called the Question evolution! campaign was launched by the biblical creation organization Creation Ministries International which is a worldwide "grass-roots movement to challenge the anti-Christian dogma of evolution".[78]

The focus of the Question evolution! campaign is on 15 questions that evolutionists cannot satisfactorily answer. The campaign will be primarily conducted in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and South Africa.[79]

Atheist infighting and factions

See also: Atheist factions

Another factor contributing to the decline of global atheism is the lack of unity and the significant amount of infighting in the atheist community.

Jacques Rousseau wrote in the Daily Maverick: "Elevatorgate..has resulted in three weeks of infighting in the secular community. Some might observe that we indulge in these squabbles fairly frequently."[80] An ex-atheist wrote: "As an Atheist for 40 years, I noticed that there is not just a wide variety of Atheist positions, but there exists an actual battle between certain Atheist factions."[81]

For more information please see: Atheist factions

Lack of sound leadership

See also: Atheism and leadership

Using academic studies, survey data and other information, supporters of the Question evolution! campaign maintain that there is a lack of sound leadership within the agnostic/atheist and evolutionist communities in dealing with the global decline of atheism and agnosticism.

See:

Claims of the conditionality and nonconditionality of atheism

See also: There are no atheists in foxholes and Denials that atheists exist

Henry More wrote the following: "In agony or danger, no nature is atheist. The mind that knows not what to fly to, flies to God."[82] Reverend William T. Cummings is famous for declaring "There are no atheists in foxholes."[83] Chaplain F.W. Lawson of the 302d Machine Gun Battalion, who was wounded twice in wartime, stated "I doubt if there is such a thing as an atheist. At least there isn't in a front line trench."[84] On the other hand, the news organization MSNBC featured a story in which atheist veterans claimed that there are atheists in foxholes.[85]

Atheism and communism

see also: Atheism and communism and Militant atheism and Atheism and mass murder and Soviet Union and morality and Atheism and slavery

Karl Marx said "[Religion] is the opium of the people". Marx also stated: "Communism begins from the outset (Owen) with atheism; but atheism is at first far from being communism; indeed, that atheism is still mostly an abstraction."[86]

Vladimir Lenin similarly wrote regarding atheism and communism: "A Marxist must be a materialist, i. e., an enemy of religion, but a dialectical materialist, i. e., one who treats the struggle against religion not in an abstract way, not on the basis of remote, purely theoretical, never varying preaching, but in a concrete way, on the basis of the class struggle which is going on in practice and is educating the masses more and better than anything else could."[87]

The atheism in communist regimes has been and continues to be militant atheism and various acts of repression including the razing of thousands of religious buildings and the killing, imprisoning, and oppression of religious leaders and believers.[88]

The persecution of Christians in the Soviet Union was the result of the violently atheist Soviet government. In the first five years after the October Revolution, 28 bishops and 1,200 priests were murdered, many on the orders of Leon Trotsky. When Joseph Stalin came to power in 1927, he ordered his secret police, under Genrikh Yagoda to intensify persecution of Christians. In the next few years, 50,000 clergy were murdered, many were tortured, including crucifixion. "Russia turned red with the blood of martyrs", said Father Gleb Yakunin of the Russian Orthodox Church.[89] According to Orthodox Church sources, as many as fifty million Orthodox believers may have died in the twentieth century, mainly from persecution by Communists.[90]

In addition, in the atheistic and communist Soviet Union, 44 anti religious museums were opened and the largest was the 'The Museum of the History of Religion and Atheism' in Leningrad’s Kazan cathedral.[91] Despite intense effort by the atheistic leaders of the Soviet Union, their efforts were not effective in converting the masses to atheism.[92][93]

China is a communist country. In 1999, the publication Christian Century reported that "China has persecuted religious believers by means of harassment, prolonged detention, and incarceration in prison or `reform-through-labor' camps and police closure of places of worship." In 2003, owners of Bibles in China were sent to prison camps and 125 Chinese churches were closed.[94] China continues to practice religious oppression today.[95] According to Asian Economic News, in 2004 the atheistic and communist government of China had an internal document which directed the Chinese media to promote atheism, instructed internet media to remove user comments that advocate alternative spiritual views, and called for a ban on publications that disseminate religious material out of step with Marxism or atheism.[96] The efforts of China's atheist leaders in promoting atheism, however, is increasingly losing its effectiveness and the number of Christians in China is explosively growing.[97][98] China's state sponsored atheism and atheistic indoctrination has been a failure and a 2007 religious survey in China indicated that only 15% of Chinese identified themselves as atheists.[99]

North Korea is a repressive communist state and is officially atheistic.[100] The North Korean government practices brutal repression and atrocities against North Korean Christians.[101][102]

It has been estimated that in less than the past 100 years, governments under the banner of communism have caused the death of somewhere between 40,472,000 to 259,432,000 human lives.[103] Dr. R. J. Rummel, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Hawaii, is the scholar who first coined the term democide (death by government). Dr. R. J. Rummel's mid estimate regarding the loss of life due to communism is that communism caused the death of approximately 110,286,000 people between 1917 and 1987.[104] Richard Dawkins has attempted to engage in historical revisionism concerning atheist atrocities and Dawkins was shown to be in gross error.

The theory of evolution played a prominent role in regards to atheistic communism.[105][106] Communists, in particular Stalinists, favored a version of Lamarckism called Lysenkoism developed by the atheist Trofim Denisovich Lysenko.[107] Lysenko was made member of the Supreme Soviet and head of the Institute of Genetics of the Soviet Academy of Sciences.[108] Later Lysenko became President of the All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences.[108] Many geneticists were imprisoned and executed for their bourgeois science, and agricultural policies based on Lysenkoism that were adopted under Stalin and Mao caused famines and the death of millions.[107]

Dr. Carl Wieland, Managing Director of Creation Ministries International, published an article entitled The blood-stained ‘century of evolution’ which declared:

Communism also took evolution to its logical conclusion. If everything just evolved from ‘natural law,’ then man’s opinion, not God’s Word, determines what is right and wrong. If the working class can take power by armed struggle, then this is ‘right,’ regardless of how many must die to bring in the socialist paradise. Communism’s death toll far outranks the Nazis’—probably more than 90 million worldwide.3

Some have suggested that the bloodthirsty deeds of Stalin were an ‘aberration’ from the revolution’s ideals. However, it was Lenin, the ‘father’ of the Russian revolution, who ‘perfected the science of mass killings,’ and total, merciless brutality as the ultimate method of political control. Evolution was the chief tool used to brainwash communism’s masses into ‘scientific atheism.’ If everything just evolved, then everything is at the whim of the most powerful, and there is no Maker to whom to be answerable. Hence Stalin’s belief that killing millions of people was no worse than mowing your lawn (grass is our cousin in evolutionary doctrine).

Mao’s reign of terror and lies resulted in the deaths of tens of millions. It is no coincidence that his two favorite books were by the evolutionists Darwin and Huxley. With millions dying from his forced famine, his physician records that Mao said, ‘We have so many people we can afford to lose a few.’ His successors have since persecuted and killed hundreds of thousands more.[109]

For more information please see: Atheism and slavery

Criticism of atheism

See also: Resources for leaving atheism and becoming a Christian and Christian apologetics

Commonly Cited Arguments Against Atheism and For Theism

Anselm of Canterbury's version of the ontological argument appeared in his work Proslogium.

In relation to the debate between theism and atheism, theists often criticize atheism as being contrary to persuasive argument and have a number of arguments against atheism. Arguments for the existence of God include:

Atheism and mass murder

The militant atheistic regime of Joseph Stalin killed tens of millions of people.
See articles: Atheism and Mass Murder and Atheism and communism and Atheism and sadism and Atheism and slavery

Christian apologist Gregory Koukl wrote relative to atheism and mass murder that "the assertion is that religion has caused most of the killing and bloodshed in the world. There are people who make accusations and assertions that are empirically false. This is one of them."[116] Koukl details the number of people killed in various events involving theism and compares them to the much higher tens of millions of people killed under regimes which advocated atheism.[116] As noted earlier, Richard Dawkins has attempted to engage in historical revisionism concerning atheist atrocities and Dawkins was shown to be in gross error.

Koukl summarized by stating:

It is true that it's possible that religion can produce evil, and generally when we look closer at the detail it produces evil because the individual people are actually living in a rejection of the tenets of Christianity and a rejection of the God that they are supposed to be following. So it can produce it, but the historical fact is that outright rejection of God and institutionalizing of atheism actually does produce evil on incredible levels. We're talking about tens of millions of people as a result of the rejection of God.[116]

Nobel Prize winner Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was asked to account for the great tragedies that occurred under the brutal communist regime he and fellow citizens suffered under.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote:

Over a half century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of old people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: "Men have forgotten God; that's why all this has happened.

Since then I have spend well-nigh 50 years working on the history of our revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some 60 million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: "Men have forgotten God; that's why all this has happened."[117]

In 2008, Vox Day notes concerning atheism and mass murder:

Apparently it was just an amazing coincidence that every Communist of historical note publicly declared his atheism … .there have been twenty-eight countries in world history that can be confirmed to have been ruled by regimes with avowed atheists at the helm … These twenty-eight historical regimes have been ruled by eighty-nine atheists, of whom more than half have engaged in democidal acts of the sort committed by Stalin and Mao …

The total body count for the ninety years between 1917 and 2007 is approximately 148 million dead at the bloody hands of fifty-two atheists, three times more than all the human beings killed by war, civil war, and individual crime in the entire twentieth century combined.

The historical record of collective atheism is thus 182,716 times worse on an annual basis than Christianity’s worst and most infamous misdeed, the Spanish Inquisition. It is not only Stalin and Mao who were so murderously inclined, they were merely the worst of the whole Hell-bound lot. For every Pol Pot whose infamous name is still spoken with horror today, there was a Mengistu, a Bierut, and a Choibalsan, godless men whose names are now forgotten everywhere but in the lands they once ruled with a red hand.

Is a 58 percent chance that an atheist leader will murder a noticeable percentage of the population over which he rules sufficient evidence that atheism does, in fact, provide a systematic influence to do bad things? If that is not deemed to be conclusive, how about the fact that the average atheist crime against humanity is 18.3 million percent worse than the very worst depredation committed by Christians, even though atheists have had less than one-twentieth the number of opportunities with which to commit them. If one considers the statistically significant size of the historical atheist set and contrasts it with the fact that not one in a thousand religious leaders have committed similarly large-scale atrocities, it is impossible to conclude otherwise, even if we do not yet understand exactly why this should be the case. Once might be an accident, even twice could be coincidence, but fifty-two incidents in ninety years reeks of causation![118]

See also:

Atheism and charity

See also: Atheism and charity and Atheism and depression and Atheism, uncharitableness and depression
[[Image:228130875 35181424e3.jpg|thumb|right|250px|According to a study by the Barna Group regarding charitable giving:"The typical no-faith American donated just $200 in 2006, which is more than seven t
  1. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philisophy - Atheism and Agnosticism
  2. 2.0 2.1 Is Atheism More Rational? by Creation Ministries International
  3. Atheism - Etymology
  4. 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.”
  5. Vitalij Lazarʹevič Ginzburg (2009). On Superconductivity and Superfluidity: A Scientific Autobiography. Springer Science+Business Media. Retrieved on 2011–03–15. “The Bolshevik communists were not merely atheists but, according to Lenin's terminology, militant atheists.”
  6. James Adair (2007). Christianity. JBE Online Books. Retrieved on 2011–03–15. “Although the Civil Constitution called for religious liberty, which was extended to Jews as well as Christians, many revolutionaries pushed for the establishment of a new state religion, either the Cult of Reason (atheists) or the Cult of the Supreme Being (Deists). Changes toAlthough the Civil Constitution called for religious liberty, which was extended to Jews as well as Christians, many revolutionaries pushed for the establishment of a new state religion, either the Cult of Reason (atheists) or the Cult of the Supreme Being (Deists). Changes to the calendar eliminated references to Christian holidays, and even the ancient seven-day week, and a ist of officially recognized saints included such famous thinkers such as Socrates, Jesus, Marcus Aurelius, and Jean-Jacques Rosseau. A period of political persecution, often with religious overtones, broke out, known as the Reign of Teror. Thousands of people were executed by the guillotine, including many of the original leaders of the French Revolution.”
  7. William Belsham (1801). Memoirs of the reign of George III. to the session of parliament ending A.D. 1793, Volume 5. G.G. & J. Robinson. Retrieved on 2011–03–15. “Reign of this portentous period, it has been eloquently tenor, and energetically observed, " that the reign of atheism in France was avowed the reign of terror. In the full madness of their career, in the highest climax of their horrors, they shut up the temples of God, abolished His worship, and proclaimed death to be an eternal sleep:-in the very centre of Christendom, Revelation underwent a total eclipse, while atheism, performing on a darkened theatre its strange and fearful tragedy, confounded the first elements of society, blended every age, rank, and sex ,indiscriminate proscription and massacre, and convulsed all Europe to its centre, that the imperishable memorial of these events might teach the last generations of mankind to consider religion as the pillar of society, the parent of social order, and the safe-guard of nations." It is wonderful that, amid the horrors of this dismal period, while "the death dance of democratic revolution" was still in rapid movement, among the tears of affliction, and the cries of despair, "the masque, the song, the theatric scene, the buffoon laughter, went on as regularly as in the gay hour of festive peace."”
  8. William Kilpatrick (2012). Christianity, Islam, and Atheism: The Struggle for the Soul of the West. Ignatius Press. Retrieved on 2011–03–15. “Actually, it's helpful to think in terms of two Enlightenments: the Enlightenment that cut itself off from God. The former led to the American Revolution, the Declaration of Independence, the abolition of slavery, and the civil rights movement. The latter led to the French Revolution, the Reign of Terror, the suppression of church by state, and the godless philosophies of Marx and Nietzsche and their offspring-National Socialism and communism. More recently the abandonment of God has led to the regime of cultural relativism that regards rights as arbitrary constructions. It's this second Enlightenment tradition that Cardinal Ratzinger referred to when he wrote, "The radical detachment of the Enlightenment philosophy from its roots ultimately leads it to dispense with man." Actually this transition happened no "ultimately" but almost immediately. The first instance occurred when Enlightenment worship of abstract "reason" and "liberty" degenearated quickly into the mass murders committed during the antireligious Reign of Terror in France. "Liberty, what crimes are committed in your name", said Madam Rolande as she faced the statue of Liberty in the Place de la Revolution movements before her death at the guillotine. She was one of the early victims of a succession of secular systems based on rootless notions of "liberty", "equality", and "reason". As many historians have pointed out, the atheist regimes of modern times are guilty of far more crimes than any committed in the name of religion. Communist governments alone were guilty of more than one hundred million murders, most of them committed against their own people.”
  9. Atheists and Agnostics Take Aim at Christians. The Barna Group (June 11, 2007). Retrieved on 2011–03–15. “One of the most significant differences between active-faith and no-faith Americans is the cultural disengagement and sense of independence exhibited by atheists and agnostics in many areas of life. They are less likely than active-faith Americans to be registered to vote (78% versus 89%), to volunteer to help a non-church-related non-profit (20% versus 30%), to describe themselves as "active in the community" (41% versus 68%), and to personally help or serve a homeless or poor person (41% versus 61%). They are also more likely to be registered to vote as an independent or with a non-mainstream political party. The study produced a mix of findings when it came to lifestyle and personal priorities. In terms of differences, Christians were more motivated by faith, as expected. Yet, just one-quarter of active-faith adults identified their faith as the primary focus of their life. For their part, atheists and agnostics were more likely than were Christians to be focused on living a comfortable, balanced lifestyle (12% versus 4%) or on acquiring wealth (10% versus 2%). Three-quarters of no-faith adults said they are clear about the meaning and purpose of their life and a surprising one-quarter said the phrase "deeply spiritual" accurately describes them. One of the largest gaps was the perception of being "at peace," a description less frequently embraced by no-faith adults (67% versus 90%).”
  10. Why Faith Matters. David J. Wolpe. Retrieved on 2011–03–15. “Finally, the Los Angeles Times reports that researchers found that people without faith are less likely to register to vote (78 versus 89 percent) and less likely to help a poor or homeless person (41 percent versus 61 percent) even though they are more likely to be college graduates and have higher income than believers. Americans of no faith typlically contributed $200 a year to charities; active-faith Americans $1,500 a year. Even when church-based giving is subtracted from the equation, active-faith adults donated twice as many dollars a year than atheists and agnostics. This accords with a recent study by the Barna Group, which conducts research for Christian ministries. The Barna Group concluded that religious Americans give seven times as much charity on a per capita basis as do nonreligious Americans.”
  11. K. Connie Kang. "Survey illuminates views of atheists and believers". Retrieved on 2011–03–15. “The independent marketing firm, which has tracked trends relating to beliefs, values and behaviors since 1984, looked at the beliefs of agnostics and atheists and compared them to believers over a two-year period. Researchers found that people without faith are less likely to be registered to vote than believers (78% versus 89%), and less likely to help a poor or homeless person (41% versus 61%) even though they are more likely to be college graduates and make more money than believers. The survey also found that "no-faith" Americans typically donated $200 to charities in 2006, far less than the amount given by "active-faith" adults, who typically contributed $1,500. "Even when church-based giving is subtracted from the equation, active-faith adults donated twice as many dollars last year as did atheists and agnostics," the study said.” 
  12. Michael Martin. The Cambridge Companion to Atheism. Cambridge University Press. Retrieved on 13 November 2010. “Concerning suicide rates, religious nations fare better than secular nations. According to the World Health Organization's report on international male suicide rates, of the top ten nations with the highest male suicide rates, all but one (Sri Lanka) are strongly irreligious nations with high levels of atheism. Of the top remaining nine nations leading the world in male suicide rates, all are former Soviet/Communist nations, such as Belarus, Ukraine, and latvia. Of the bottom ten nations with the lowest male suicide rates, all are highly religious nations with statistically insignificant levels of organic atheism.”
  13. Schwadel, Philip (2011). "The Effects of Education on Americans’ Religious Practices, Beliefs, and Affiliations". Review of Religious Research 53 (2). doi:10.1007/s13644-011-0007-4. 
  14. Jim Kavanagh (11 August 2011). Study: More educated tend to be more religious, by some measures. CNN. ““With more years of education, you aren’t relatively more likely to say, ‘I don’t believe in God,’” he said. “But you are relatively more likely to say, ‘I believe in a higher power.’””
  15. The more education people receive, the more religious they become?. Daily Mail (12 August 2011). “By analyzing data from a large national survey, sociologist Philip Schwadel of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln found that people tend to become more religious - by certain definitions - as they further their education. The survey also qualified what concept of God or a 'higher power' individuals held, as well as whether they had any doubts. Mr Schwadel said that: 'With more years of education, you aren’t relatively more likely to say, "I don’t believe in God," but you are relatively more likely to say, "I believe in a higher power."'”
  16. More is More When it Comes to Education and Religion, Study Says. Christian Post (13 August 2011). “Sociologist Philip Schwadel from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) studied this phenomenon. He discovered that people today tend to become more religious as they further their education.”
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