Atheism and communism

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Karl Marx said "Religion is the opium of the people".[1] 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."[2]

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."[3]

Friedrich Engels wrote of atheistic evolutionism and communism: "Just as Darwin discovered the law of development of organic nature, so Marx discovered law of development of human history."[4]

In 1955, Chinese communist leader Zhou Enlai declared, "We Communists are atheists".[5] In 2014, the Communist Party of China reaffirmed that members of their party must be atheists.[6][7]

The Russian revolution caused the most notable spread of atheism

According to the 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."[8] Vitalij Lazarʹevič Ginzburg, a Soviet physicist, wrote that the "Bolshevik communists were not merely atheists but, according to Lenin's terminology, militant atheists."[9] However, prior to this, the Reign of Terror of the French Revolution established an atheist state, with the official ideology being the Cult of Reason; during this time thousands of believers were suppressed and executed by the guillotine.[10]

Atheistic communism and repression

The atheism in communist regimes has been and continues to be a form of militant atheism which led to various acts of repression, including the razing of thousands of religious buildings and the killing, imprisoning, and oppression of religious leaders and believers.[11]

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.[12] According to Orthodox Church sources, as many as fifty million Orthodox believers may have died in the twentieth century, mainly from persecution by Communists.[13]

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. Despite intense effort by the atheistic leaders of the Soviet Union, their efforts were not effective in converting the masses to atheism.[14][15]

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.[16] China continues to practice religious oppression today.[17] 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.[Citation Needed] 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.[18][19] China's state sponsored atheism has been a failure and a 2007 religious survey in China indicated that only 15% of Chinese identified themselves as atheists.[20]

North Korea is a repressive communist state where public religion is discouraged, and is an atheist state.[21] The North Korean government practices brutal repression and atrocities against North Korean Christians,[22] and all open religious activity in North Korea was persecuted and eradicated after Kim Il-sung took power, only to be revived in the present as part of a political show.[23]

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 and 259,432,000 human lives.[24] 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.[25] Richard Dawkins has attempted to engage in historical revisionism concerning atheist atrocities, but was shown to be in gross error.

Atheistic communism and torture

See also: Atheistic communism and torture

The website declares concerning atheistic communism and the use of torture:

Significantly, communists did not merely try to block or halt religious faith but to reverse it. This was particularly true for Romania, even before the Nicolai Ceausescu era. This meant not just forbidding religious practice and jailing ministers and believers but employing torture to force them to renounce their faith. It was not enough to contain, silence, even punish believers in prison; it was decided they must be tortured in truly unimaginably degrading ways to attempt to undo religious faith.[26]

For additional information please see: Atheistic communism and torture

Evolutionary belief and communism

The theory of evolution played a prominent role in regards to atheistic communism.[27][28] Communists, in particular Stalinists, favored a version of Lamarckism called Lysenkoism developed by the atheist Trofim Denisovich Lysenko.[29] Lysenko was made member of the Supreme Soviet and head of the Institute of Genetics of the Soviet Academy of Sciences. Later Lysenko became President of the All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences.[Citation Needed] 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.[29]

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.[30]

Atheistic communist regimes and forced labor

In atheistic communist regimes forced labor has often played a significant role in their economies and this practice continues to this day (see: Atheism and forced labor).[31][32][33][34]

Soviet Union and morality

Atheist Christopher Hitchens is known for having a history of heavy drinking.[35]

See also: Soviet Union and morality

Peter Hitchens is the ex-atheist brother of atheist Christopher Hitchens. In an article entitled Britain needs God Creation Ministries International wrote about Peter Hitchens:

Peter wrote that his views changed slowly, as he came to see the fruit of atheism. Part of this realisation came when he was working as a journalist in Moscow, during the final years of the Soviet Union. His depiction of this godless society was sobering. He wrote of the riots that broke out when the vodka ration was cancelled one week; the bribes required to obtain anaesthetics at the dentist or antibiotics at the hospital; the frightening levels of divorce and abortion; the mistrust and surveillance; the unending official lies, manipulation and oppression; the squalor, desperation and harsh incivility. Peter wrote of how traffic stops dead in Moscow when rain begins to fall, as every driver fetches wind-screen wipers from their hiding places and quickly fits them to their holders. Any wipers left in place when the car is parked are stolen as a matter of course.

The atheist, humanistic ideology of the state, he believed, had even affected the Russian language. Peter spoke to a descendant of an exile, whose grandparents had fled Moscow in the days of Lenin. Having been brought up to speak pure Russian in his American home—the elegant, literary language of his parents—he was shocked when he visited Russia to hear the coarse, ugly, slang-infested and bureaucratic tongue that was now spoken, even by educated professionals.[36]

See also: Atheism and mass murder

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

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn offered the following explanation:

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.'[37]

See also

Recommended reading

  • Dimitry Pospielovsky, (December, 1987), A History of Marxist-Leninist Atheism and Soviet Antireligious Policies, Palgrave Macmillan, ISBN 0312381328
  • Dimitry Pospielovsky, (November, 1987), Soviet Antireligious Campaigns and Persecutions (History of Soviet Atheism in Theory and Practice and the Believers, Vol 2), Palgrave Macmillan, ISBN 0312009054
  • Dimitry Pospielovsky, (August, 1988), Soviet Studies on the Church and the Believer's Response to Atheism: A History of Soviet Atheism in Theory and Practice and the Believers, Vol 3, Palgrave Macmillan, hardcover: ISBN 0312012918, paperback edition: ISBN 0312012926


  1. Marx, Karl. 1976. Introduction to A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right. Marx-Engels Collected Works, vol. 3. New York.
  2. Marx, Karl. Private Property and Communism, 1844.
  3. Lenin, Vladimir Ilyich. The Attitude of the Workers' Party to Religion, 1909.
  4. Engels, Friedrich. "Karl Marx's Funeral", Marx-Engels Collected Works, vol. 24, p. 467.
  5. Noebel, David, The Battle for Truth, Harvest House, 2001.
  6. China’s Communist Party Reaffirms Marxism, Maoism, Atheism, New American, 2014
  7. China's Communist Party Bans Believers, Doubles Down On Atheism
  8. "Investigating atheism: Marxism". University of Cambridge (2008). Retrieved on July 17, 2014. “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.”
  9. Vitalij Lazarʹevič Ginzburg (2009). On Superconductivity and Superfluidity: A Scientific Autobiography p. 161. Springer Science+Business Media. Retrieved on July 17, 2014. “The Bolshevik communists were not merely atheists but, according to Lenin's terminology, militant atheists.”
  10. Multiple references:
    • James Adair (2007). Christianity: The eBook p. 461. JBE Online Books. Retrieved on July 18, 2014. “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 to the calendar eliminated references to Christian holidays, and even the ancient seven-day week, and a list of officially recognized saints included such famous thinkers such as Socrates, Jesus, Marcus Aurelius, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. A period of political persecution, often with religious overtones, broke out, known as the Reign of Terror. Thousands of people were executed by the guillotine, including many of the original leaders of the French Revolution.”
    • William Belsham (1801). Memoirs of the Reign of George III. to the Session of Parliament ending A.D. 1793, Volume 5 pp. 105-6. G.G. & J. Robinson. Retrieved on July 18, 2014. “In allusion to the monstrous transactions of this portentous period, it has been eloquently 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.'”
    • William Kilpatrick (2012). Christianity, Islam, and Atheism: The Struggle for the Soul of the West p. 57. Ignatius Press. Retrieved on July 18, 2014. “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 not 'ultimately' but almost immediately. The first instance occurred when Enlightenment worship of abstract 'reason' and 'liberty' degenerated 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.”
  11. Ostling, Richard N. Cross Meets Kremlin TIME Magazine.
  12. In Memory Of The 50 Million Victims Of The Orthodox Christian Holocaust by Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes
  13. Merry Anti-Christmas!
  14. Froese, Paul. Forced Secularization in Soviet Russia: Why an Atheistic Monopoly Failed Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Volume 43, Number 1, March 2004, pp. 35-50(16)
  15. China sends Bible owners to labor camp
  16. Christians Tortured While Under Arrest
  17. Christianity exploding in China
  18. Christianity Growing in China
  19. Huffington Post: China's state-sponsored atheism a failure, original here
  20. Elizabeth Raum. North Korea. Series: Countries Around the World. Heinemann, 2012. ISBN 1432961330. p. 28: "North Korea is an atheist state. This means that people do not pray in public or attend places of worship. Buddhist temples exist from earlier times. They are now preserved as historic buildings, but they are not used for worship. A few Christian churches exist, but few people attend services. North Koreans do not celebrate religious holidays."
  21. Korean Reds Targeting Christians
  22. Ryu, Dae Young (2006), "Fresh wineskins for new wine: a new perspective on North Korean Christianity", Journal of Church and State 48 (3).
  23. Internet Archive:
  24. Rummel, R. J. (November 1993). "How many did communist regimes murder?" University of Hawaii website; Freedom, Democracy, Peace; Power, Democide, and War.
  25. The War on religion
  26. Communism and Nazism Questions and Answers
  27. The Darwinian foundation of communism
  28. 29.0 29.1 Lysenkoism - Research Article from World of Genetics
  29. The blood-stained 'century of evolution'
  30. Qatar's ambitious future driven on by North Korean 'forced labour', The Guardian, Pete Pattisson in Doha, Friday 7 November 2014 07.52 EST
  31. Labor camps reinforce China's totalitarian rule. (1984-10-09). Retrieved on 2013-03-20.
  32. "China to reform re-education through labor system", Xinhua, January 8, 2013. Retrieved on January 8, 2013. 
  33. Hitchens and Booze
  34. Britain needs God
  35. Humber, Paul G. Stalin's Brutal Faith, Institute for Creation Research.