Atheism and Mass Murder

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Joseph Stalin's atheistic regime killed tens of millions of people.

Concerning atheism and mass murder, Christian apologist Gregory Koukl wrote 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."[1] 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 atheistic communist regimes, in which militant atheism served as the official doctrine of the state.[1]

Historically, atheism has generally been an integral part of communist ideology (see: Atheism and communism).

Communist regimes killed 60 million in the 20th century through genocide, according to Le Monde, more than 100 million people[2] according to The Black Book of Communism (Courtois, Stéphane, et al., 1997).[3] and according to Cleon Skousen[4] in his best-selling book The Naked Communist.[5]

It is estimated that in the past 100 years, governments under the banner of atheistic communism have caused the death of somewhere between 40,472,000 and 259,432,000 human lives.[6] 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.[7]

The Reign of Terror of the French Revolution established a state which was anti-Roman Catholicism/Christian in nature [8] (anti-clerical deism and anti-religious atheism during the Enlightenment played a significant role in the French Revolution[9][10]), with the official ideology being the Cult of Reason; during this time thousands of believers were suppressed and executed by the guillotine.[11] Although Communism is one of the most well-known cases of atheism's ties to mass murder, the French Revolution and subsequent Reign of Terror, inspired by the works of Diderot, Voltaire, Sade, and Rousseau, managed to commit similar persecutions and exterminations of religious people and promote secularism and militant atheism. Official numbers indicate that 300,000 Frenchmen died during Robespierre's Reign of Terror, 297,000 of which were of middle-class or low-class.[12] Of the amount murdered via the guillotine, only 8% had been of the aristocratic class, with over 30% being from the peasant class.[13]

One of the most well known cases of mass murder during the French Revolution was the genocide at Vendée, which has yet to be officially recognized as genocide. Some estimates indicated that Robespierre and the Jacobins planned to massacre well over 15,000,000 Frenchmen,[12] and that he also intended to commit genocide against the Alsace region of France due to their German-speaking populace.[13] Besides the guillotine, the French Revolution also resulted in various other deaths, including trampling children with horses, burning people in ovens, "Republican Marriages" (which involved stripping people naked, tying them together to a log in a suggestive fashion, and then putting them into the water to drown. In the event that there wasn't enough people of both sexes, they also resorted to "tying the knot" in a homosexual manner), cutting recently raped girls in half after tying them to a tree, crushing pregnant women under wine pressers, cutting up pregnant women and using bayonets to stab the fetus inside before leaving her to die, "catching" infants thrown from a balcony with their bayonets, and using shotguns to ensure people bled out to death.[13]

Although the aristocracy as well as clergy and the monarchy were the French Revolution's primary targets for extermination, they were not above slaughtering even those that acted as their own allies for the sake of it. This was chillingly shown with Commander Louis Grignon and his orders to his troops, who had uncontrollable bloodlust, that "everyone they met was to be immediately killed, even if they were Republicans."[13]

The aforementioned actions during the French Revolution, especially the Reign of Terror in 1793, would also inspire Karl Marx with the Communist manifesto, specifically telling Frederick Engels in correspondences to each other: “There is only one way of shortening, simplifying, and concentrating the bloodthirsty death-throes of the old society and the bloody birth pangs of the new—revolutionary terror. . . . [...] Once we are at the helm, we shall be obliged to reenact the year 1793. [...] We are pitiless and we ask no pity from you. When our time comes, we shall not conceal terrorism with hypocritical phrases. . . The vengeance of the people will break forth with such ferocity that not even the year 1793 enables us to envisage it...”[14]

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.[1]

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 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.' [15]

The historical record and statistics about atheist leaders and mass murder

See also: : Atheistic communism, mass murder and sociopathic leaders and Atheist atrocities and Atheism and human rights violations and Atheism and violence and Irreligion/religion and war

Theodore Beale 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![16][17]

Anthony DeStefano, author of the book Inside the Atheist Mind, wrote:

The truth is, the atheist position is incapable of supporting any coherent system of morality other than ruthless social Darwinism. That’s why it has caused more deaths, murders and bloodshed than any other belief system in the history of the world.

Atheists, of course, are always claiming hysterically that Christianity has been responsible for most of the world’s wars, but that’s just another example of atheistic ignorance. The main reasons for war have always been economic gain, territorial gain, civil and revolutionary conflicts. According to Philip Axelrod’s monumental “Encyclopedia of Wars,” only 6.98 percent or all wars from 8000 BC to present were religious in nature. If you subtract Islamic wars from the equation, only 3.2 percent of wars were due to specifically Christian causes. That means that over 96 percent of all the wars on this planet were due to worldly reasons.

Indeed, in the last 100 years alone, upwards of 360 million people were killed by governments—and close to half of those people were killed by atheist governments![18]

Atheists attempting to deny/minimize the roles of atheism/atheists in atheist atrocities

See also: Atheism and historical revisionism and Atheism and the no true Scotsman fallacy

Atheist apologists commonly try to minimize or deny the role of atheism/atheists as far as atheist atrocites.[19][20][21] It is as if no true atheist could be involved for mass murder.[21]

Atheism was an integral tenet of Marxist-Leninism/Maoist/Stalinism communism (see: Atheism and communism).

Richard Dawkins has attempted to engage in historical revisionism concerning atheist atrocities and Dawkins was shown to be in gross error (see also: Atheism and communism and Persecution of Christians in the Soviet Union).

For more information, please see: Atheism and the no true Scotsman fallacy

Atheist mass murders in history and the historical illiteracy of many atheists

As far the history of atheism in the 20th century, many atheists are not aware of the murderous atheist regimes which inhabited this historical period (see: Atheists and historical illiteracy). Part of the reason why many atheists are unaware of widespread atheist atrocities during this period is due to atheistic indoctrination in public/secular schools.

Explanatory links between atheism and mass murder

Theodore Beale wrote about the secular left and mass murder: does, however, cast serious doubt on the common atheist assertion that a godless society will be a peaceful one. The significant question has never been if atheism causes political leaders to kill in large quantities, it is why political leaders who happen to be atheist have been inordinately inclined to kill in large quantities.

As I wrote in TIA, the answer is probably to be found in the fact that atheists who have committed great historical crimes are almost exclusively left-wing atheists with utopian visions of restructuring human society; Ayn Rand atheists aren't exactly known for attempting to violently restructure societal order. This is why atheists like Bertrand Russell, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, and especially Michel Onfray are far more dangerous than those more akin to Daniel Dennett and even Richard Dawkins.[22]

The degree to which atheist society is authoritarian vs. wedded to a democratic process also has a bearing on whether it will engage in mass murder.

Other factors

Christian philosophers and theologians explain that there are causal links between mass murder and atheism. Atheism, lack belief in God, have the following characteristics that can lend itself to mass murder and can explain why the greatest mass murderers were atheists:[23]

  • Lack of recognition of an ultimate judge of moral actions and a judge who sets injustice aright in a last judgement, and thus do not recognize the immorality of murder.
  • Lack of seeing the importance of human beings as images of God and so easily discarding them as merely material things, products of mere chance.
  • Lack of acknowledging an external standard of moral perfection, thus ending up with self-created standards which can include killing for political survival.
  • Absence of guidance by divine revelation of the moral law, such as "Thou shalt not kill".
  • Following an ethic of atheistic evolutionism that is based on the survival and victory of the fittest, which is ultimately a bloodthirsty ethic—an ethic that is eager to kill and to maim. This ethic is about conquering others rather than self-conquest.[24]
  • The intolerance of many atheists (see: Atheism and intolerance)


Estimates vary for the death toll of the atheist Mao Zedong. In his Great Leap Forward, 8 million is the low estimate while Deng Xiaoping claimed 16 million.[25] The Cultural Revolution killed from a range of 20 million to 35 million.


The president of Yugoslavia Slobodan Milosevic, who was on trial for accusations of genocide and crimes against humanity in Bosnia and Kosovo, most notably for the Srebrenica massacre, was an avowed atheist.[26]

Atheism and abortion

The perverse and cruel atheist Marquis de Sade advocated induced abortion.[27]

See also: Abortion and atheism

The father of medicine, Hippocrates, expressly prohibited abortion in his ethical Oath long before Christianity.

The Journal of Medical Ethics article declared concerning the atheist and sadist Marquis de Sade:

In 1795 the Marquis de Sade published his La Philosophic dans le boudoir, in which he proposed the use of induced abortion for social reasons and as a means of population control. It is from this time that medical and social acceptance of abortion can be dated, although previously the subject had not been discussed in public in modern times. It is suggested that it was largely due to de Sade's writing that induced abortion received the impetus which resulted in its subsequent spread in western society.[27]

Not possessing a religious basis for morality, atheists are fundamentally incapable of having a coherent system of morality which is based on the worldview of atheism (see: Atheism and morality).

The Barna Group found that atheists and agnostics in America were more likely, than theists in America, to look upon the following behaviors as morally acceptable: illegal drug use; excessive drinking; sexual relationships outside of marriage; abortion; cohabitating with someone of opposite sex outside of marriage; obscene language; gambling; pornography and obscene sexual behavior; and engaging in homosexuality/bisexuality.[28]

See also: Atheism, evolutionary belief and infanticide proponents

Atheism and psychopathy

See: Atheism and psychopathy

Atheism and young mass muderers

See also: Young mass murders

A significant portion of the recent incidents involving young mass murderers have involved atheists.

Recommended books

  • 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

See also

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Koukl, Gregory (February 20, 2013). "The real murderers: atheism or Christianity?" Stand to Reason. Retrieved July 19, 2014.
  2. Wolfe, Claire (2000). "Review of The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression by Stéphane Courtois et al., trans. by Jonathan Murphy and Mark Kramer". Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership website. Retrieved from October 23, 2007 archive at Internet Archive on May 21, 2015.
    "China: 65 million deaths; USSR: 20 million deaths; North Korea: 2 million deaths; Cambodia: 2 million deaths; Africa: 1.7 million deaths; Afghanistan: 1.5 million deaths; Vietnam: 1 million deaths; Eastern Europe: 1 million deaths; Latin America: 150,000 deaths; Communist movements or parties not in power: about 10,000 deaths. "Nearly 100 million deaths. Not casualties of war, but civilian slaughter. Deaths in gulags and concentration camps. Deaths from a bullet to the head. Most of all, deaths by starvation - the result either of planned famines, meted out as punishment to internal foes (as in Stalin's USSR), or unintended consequences of central policy."
  3. Available at:
  4. Father of anti-Communist conservative libertarian survivalist author Joel Skousen.
  5. In July 2014, the noted African-American surgeon and political commentator, Dr. Ben Carson, appeared on Fox News and said, "The Naked Communist lays out the whole progressive agenda."
  6. Multiple references:
  7. Rummel, R. J. (November 1993). "How many did communist regimes murder?" University of Hawaii website; Freedom, Democracy, Peace; Power, Democide, and War. Retrieved July 19, 2014.
  8. War, Terror and Resistence
  9. Forging Freedom: The Life of Cerf Berr of M Delsheim by Margaret R. O'Leary, iUniverse (June 1, 2012), pages 1-2
  10. Multiple references:
    James Adair (2007). Christianity: The eBook. JBE Online Books, 461. 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. G.G. & J. Robinson, 105–6. 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. Ignatius Press, 57. 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. 12.0 12.1 McIlheny, William H. (June 12, 2009). "A primer on the Illuminati". The New American website. Retrieved on May 22, 2015.
  12. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, Erik (October 1989). "Operation Parricide: Sade, Robespierre & the French Revolution". Fidelity magazine. Retrieved from Culture Wars website on May 22, 2015.
  13. Socialism Sucks community (April 30, 2014)."Marxism in America". Facebook website. Retrieved on May 22, 2015.
  14. Humber, Paul G. (October 1987). "Stalin's brutal faith". Acts and Facts, vol. 16, no. 10. Retrieved from the Institute for Creation Research website on May 22, 2015.
  15. Vox Day (Theodore Beale), The Irrational Atheist: Dissecting the Unholy Trinity of Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens (Dallas, TX: BenBella Books, Inc.), 2008, p. 17.
  16. Ammi, Ken (June 11, 2009). "Atheism [quoting Vox Day]". Creation Ministries International. Retrieved on July 19, 2014.
  17. Today's atheists are bullies -- and they are doing their best to intimidate the rest of us into silence by Anthony DeStefano, Fox News
  18. Atheists Dodge Their History of Atrocities
  19. Atheism
  20. 21.0 21.1 Mailvox: the "No True Atheist" defense
  21. Atheist Demotivator #4 by Theodore Beal
  22. Kreeft, Peter and Tacelli, Ronald, Christian apologetics and de Torre, Joseph, Christian philosophy (2000). Contemporary Philosophical Issues in Historical Perspective (Manila: University of Asia & the Pacific).
  23. Ratzinger, Cardinal Joseph (1999). "Cardinal Ratzinger's thoughts on evolution: An excerpt from 'Truth and Tolerance'". Excerpt published at Zenit website on September 1, 2005. Excerpt retrieved on May 22, 2015.
  24. Mao: The Real Story by Alexander P. Pantsov with Steven I. Levine, pg. 472
  26. 27.0 27.1 Farr, A. D. (1980). "The Marquis de Sade and induced abortion". Journal of Medical Ethics, 6, pp. 7-10. Retrieved from Journal of Medical Ethics website on July 20, 2014.
  27. "Practical outcomes replace biblical principles as the moral standard" (September 10, 2001). Barna Update. Retrieved on July 19, 2014.