Atheists and historical illiteracy

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Joseph Stalin, the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953, patronised the League of Militant Atheists, whose chief aim, under the leadership of Yemelyan Yaroslavsky, was to propagate militant atheism and eradicate religion.[1][2]

It is common for atheists to be ignorant about history and to also engage in historical revisionism with the aim of distorting the historical record (see also: Atheism and historical revisionism).[3]

For example, it is common for atheists to be unfamiliar with these fundamental historical facts related to the history of atheism:[4]

1. 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."[5] Vitalij Lazarʹevič Ginzburg, a Soviet physicist, wrote that the "Bolshevik communists were not merely atheists but, according to Lenin's terminology, militant atheists."[6]

2. The Reign of Terror of the French Revolution established a state which was anti-Roman Catholicism/Christian in nature [7] (anti-clerical deism and anti-religious atheism and played a significant role in the French Revolution[8][9]), with the official ideology being the Cult of Reason; during this time thousands of believers were suppressed and executed by the guillotine.[10]

3. As far the history of atheism in the 20th century, many atheists are not aware of the many murderous atheist regimes which inhabited this historical period (see: Atheism and mass murder).

Theodore Beale on atheists commonly having a poor grasp of history

See also: Historiography and Richard Dawkins, atheist atrocities, and historical revisionism and Richard Dawkins' commentary on Adolf Hitler and Historicity of Jesus

Theodore Beale wrote about atheists and their typical poor grasp of history:

The strange thing is that the science fetishists are always talking about a hypothetical religious ignorance of science while openly demonstrating their own ignorance of history, in particular, the history of the very religion they denigrate on false bases. At least one atheist is aware of the historical illiteracy of his co-irreligionists:

One of the occupational hazards of being an atheist and secular humanist who has the lack of common sense to hang around on atheist discussion boards is to encounter a staggering level of historical illiteracy. I like to console myself that many of the people on such boards have come to their atheism via the study of science and so, even if they are quite learned in things like geology and biology, usually have a grasp of history stunted at about high school level. I generally do this because the alternative is to admit that the average person’s grasp of history and how history is studied is so utterly feeble as to be totally depressing....

It’s not hard to kick this nonsense to pieces, especially since the people presenting it know next to nothing about history and have simply picked this [bullsh--] up from other websites and popular books and collapse as soon as you hit them with some hard evidence. I love to totally stump them by asking them to present me with the name of one – just one – scientist burned, persecuted or oppressed for their science in the Middle Ages. They always fail to come up with any. They usually try to crowbar Galileo back into the Middle Ages, which is amusing considering he was a contemporary of Descartes. When asked why they have failed to produce any such scientists given the Church was apparently so busily oppressing them, they often resort to claiming that the Evil Old Church did such a good job of oppression that everyone was too scared to practice science. By the time I produce a laundry list of Medieval scientists – like Albertus Magnus, Robert Grosseteste, Roger Bacon, John Peckham, Duns Scotus, Thomas Bradwardine, Walter Burley, William Heytesbury, Richard Swineshead, John Dumbleton, Richard of Wallingford, Nicholas Oresme, Jean Buridan and Nicholas of Cusa – and ask why these men were happily pursuing science in the Middle Ages without molestation from the Church, my opponents have usually run away to hide and scratch their heads in puzzlement at what just went wrong.[11]

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

See also: 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.[12][13][14] It is as if no true atheist could be responsible for mass murder (see also: Atheism and mass murder).[15]

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

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

Atheists and the denial that Jesus Christ existed

Christ on the Cross by Jacques Louis David.

See also: Historicity of Jesus and Atheist hypocrisy and Richard Carrier

Despite their being an abundance of historical evidence for Jesus Christ living in the first century, many atheists embarrassingly claim the Jesus never existed (see: Historicity of Jesus).[16]

In an article entitled Scholarly opinions on the Jesus Myth, Christopher Price wrote concerning individuals who insist that Jesus Christ was merely a mythical figure:

I have often been asked why more academics do not take the time to respond to the Jesus Myth theory. After looking into this question, I discovered that most historians and New Testament scholars relevant to the topic have concluded that Jesus Mythers are beyond reason and therefore decide that they have better things to do with their time.[17]

For more information, please see: Atheists and the denial that Jesus existed.

Atheists and the selective use of academic consensus

An irony of atheists asserting that Jesus never existed is that atheists often appeal to the academic consensus when it comes to pseudoscience such as the evolutionary belief. And secular leftists often appeal to the academic consensus when engaging in global warming alarmism. See also: Atheist hypocrisy.

John Lennox's discussion with New Atheist Richard Dawkins

John Lennox pointed out to New Atheist Richard Dawkins that Dawkins claimed in his book The God Delusion that Jesus may have never existed and that Dawkins errantly claimed that ancient historians have some disagreement on whether Jesus existed or not. After some additional discussion with Dawkins, Dawkins conceded that Jesus existed and said, "I take that back. Jesus existed".[18]

Atheists, historical illiteracy and indoctrination in secular schools

See also: Atheist indoctrination and Atheism and deception

One of the reasons why atheists are often ignorant of the history of atheism is due to atheist indoctrination in secular/public schools.

Jewish columnist Dennis Prager has stated that a causal factor of atheism is the "secular indoctrination of a generation."[19] Prager stated that "From elementary school through graduate school, only one way of looking at the world – the secular – is presented. The typical individual in the Western world receives as secular an indoctrination as the typical European received a religious one in the Middle Ages."[20] In 2013, an study found that academia was less likely to hire evangelical Christians due to discriminatory attitudes.[21]

Dinesh D'Souza has pointed out that atheists have focused considerable efforts on the public schools in order to indoctrinate young people into atheistic beliefs.[22]

See also: Atheism and deception

Suppression of the history of social Darwinism and evolutionary racism

Since World War II a majority of the most prominent and vocal defenders of the evolutionary position which employs methodological naturalism have been atheists and agnostics (see also: Causes of evolutionary belief)[23]

Despite the significant role that social Darwinism and evolutionary racism played in terms of causing WWI and WWII, evolutionists often become indignant when this matter is brought up and this topic is not commonly taught in public schools.

Please see:

Richard Dawkins, atheist atrocities and historical revisionalism

See also: Atheism and communism and Atheism and mass murder and Richard Dawkins, atheist atrocities, and historical revisionism

Dinesh D'Souza took Richard Dawkins to task for engaging in historical revisionism when it comes to the atrocities of atheist regimes and declared Dawkins "reveals a complete ignorance of history".VIDEO

In a recent interview D'Souza declared:

Richard Dawkins argues that at least the atheist regimes didn't kill people in the name of atheism. Isn't it time for this biologist to get out of the lab and read a little history? Marxism and Communism were atheist ideologies. Stalin and Mao weren't dictators who happened to be atheist; atheism was part of their official doctrine.

It was no accident, as the Marxists liked to say, that they shut down the churches and persecuted the clergy...[24]

Dinesh D'Souza stated in another interview:

As one writer put it, “Leaders such as Stalin and Mao persecuted religious groups, not in a bid to expand atheism, but as a way of focusing people’s hatred on those groups to consolidate their own power.” Of course I agree that murderous regimes, whether Christian or atheist, are generally seeking to strengthen their position. But if Christian regimes are held responsible for their crimes committed in the name of Christianity, then atheist regimes should be held accountable for their crimes committed in the name of atheism. And who can deny that Stalin and Mao, not to mention Pol Pot and a host of others, all committed atrocities in the name of a Communist ideology that was explicitly atheistic? Who can dispute that they did their bloody deeds by claiming to be establishing a “new man” and a religion-free utopia? These were mass murders performed with atheism as a central part of their ideological inspiration, they were not mass murders done by people who simply happened to be atheist.[25]

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."[26]

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."[27]

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.[28]

The atheism in communist regimes has been and continues to be militant atheism that has committed various acts of repression including the razing of thousands of religious buildings and the killing, imprisoning, and the oppression of religious leaders and believers.[29][30][31][32][33][34][35] 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.[36]

Atheists, historical illiteracy and unrealistic atheist predictions about the future of atheism

See also: Global atheism and Desecularization

Recent and realistic projected trends of the atheist population in the world

On July 24, 2013, CNS News reported:

Atheism is in decline worldwide, with the number of atheists falling from 4.5% of the world’s population in 1970 to 2.0% in 2010 and projected to drop to 1.8% by 2020, according to a new report by the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Mass."[37]

China, has the world's largest atheist population and the communist state favors atheism and often persecutes Christians/religious. See also: Atheist indoctrination

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

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

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

Yang Fenggang of Purdue University, in Indiana, says the Christian church in China has grown by an average of 10% a year since 1980. He reckons that on current trends there will be 250m Christians by around 2030, making China’s Christian population the largest in the world. Mr. Yang says this speed of growth is similar to that seen in fourth-century Rome just before the conversion of Constantine, which paved the way for Christianity to become the religion of his empire.[38]

Furthermore, history teaches us that atheism can collapse in countries quickly when the state promotes atheism (Collapse of atheism in the former Soviet Union).

Professor Eric Kaufmann, a professor at Birkbeck College, University of London, using a a wealth of demographic studies, argues that there will be a significant decline of global atheism in the 21st century which will impact the Western World.[39][40] Kaufmann told a secular audience in Australia: "The trends that are happening worldwide inevitably in an age of globalization are going to affect us."[41] There are a number of factors that point to the continued global resurgence of religion and the desecularization of the world in the 21st century.[42]

Unrealistic predictions of atheists about the future of atheism

Around the time of the peak of the New Atheism movement, many atheists made a number of unrealistic proclamations about the future of atheism and Christianity.

For example, despite Christianity seeing significant global growth at the time and many religious immigrants entering the Western World, the atheist YouTuber Cult of Dusty made a video entitled "Atheists own the internet" on October 24, 2011, laced with profanity, which predicted the death of Christianity.[43]

However, on May 21, 2012 an article entitled Internet atheism: The thrill is gone showed that leading atheist websites saw plunges in web traffic during during the first half of 2012.[44] Due to their lack of historical literacy, many atheists failed to see that New Atheism was merely a marketing fad (now it is s shadow of its former popularity).[45][46]

Also, despite the entrenched trends unfavorable to the future of atheism, the atheist Niles Barbour made the unrealistic prediction that atheism will defeat religion by 2038.[47]

At the same time, the atheist professor Derek Bickerton wrote more realistically in an article entitled Why Atheism WON'T Replace Religion: Atheists show little understanding of what drives religion:

Nigel Barbers' post Why Atheism Will Replace Religion (henceforth WAWRR) is based on two assumptions: that improvement in economic conditions is the major driving force behind the spread of atheism. and that atheism will triumph globally when similar conditions spread to Asia, Africa and South America. Both assumptions are dubious indeed. With regard to the second, it's even dubious whether Europe and North America can maintain their current level of economic development. Plenty of civilizations have suffered economic collapse--why should ours be the one exception? But even if we do come out of the current depression, what difference will that make to the rest of the world?[48]

Bickerton and another critic of Barbers made other legitimate criticisms of Barbers prediction.[49][50]

Present day atheists/agnostic pessimism about the future of godlessness

In recent years, many atheists/agnostics have a pessimistic view about the future of atheism (see: Atheist movement).

See also

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


  1. Michael Hesemann, Whitley Strieber (2000). The Fatima Secret. Random House Digital, Inc.. Retrieved on 9 October 2011. “Lenin's death in 1924 was followed by the rise of Joseph Stalin, "the man of steel," who founded the "Union of Militant Atheists," whose chief aim was to spread atheism and eradicate religion. In the following years it devastated hundreds of churches, destroyed old icons and relics, and persecuted the clergy with unimaginable brutality.” 
  2. Paul D. Steeves (1989). Keeping the faiths: religion and ideology in the Soviet Union. Holmes & Meier. Retrieved on 4 July 2013. “The League of Militant Atheists was formed in 1926 and by 1930 had recruited three million members. Five years later there were 50,000 local groups affiliated to the League and the nominal membership had risen to five million. Children from 8-14 years of age were enrolled in Groups of Godless Youth, and the League of Communist Youth (Komsomol) took a vigorous anti- religious line. Several antireligious museums were opened in former churches and a number of Chairs of Atheism were established in Soviet universities. Prizes were offered for the best 'Godless hymns' and for alternative versions of the Bible from which ... the leader of the League of Militant Atheists, Yemelian Yaroslavsky, said: "When a priest is deprived of his congregation, that does not mean that he stops being a priest. He changes into an itinerant priest. He travels around with his primitive tools in the villages, performs religious rites, reads prayers, baptizes children. Such wandering priests are at times more dangerous than those who carry on their work at a designated place of residence." The intensified persecution, which was a part of the general terror inflicted upon Soviet society by Stalin's policy, ...” 
  3. 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.”
  4. Vitalij Lazarʹevič Ginzburg (2009). On Superconductivity and Superfluidity: A Scientific Autobiography. Springer Science+Business Media, 161. Retrieved on July 17, 2014. “The Bolshevik communists were not merely atheists but, according to Lenin's terminology, militant atheists.” 
  5. War, Terror and Resistence
  6. Forging Freedom: The Life of Cerf Berr of M Delsheim by Margaret R. O'Leary, iUniverse (June 1, 2012), pages 1-2
  7. 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.”
  8. The ignorance of Cosmos, March 10, 2014
  9. Atheists Dodge Their History of Atrocities
  10. Atheism
  11. Mailvox: the "No True Atheist" defense
  12. Mailvox: the "No True Atheist" defense
  13. Atheists’ Easter taunt to Christians: ‘Jesus is a myth’, Washington Times, April 16, 2014
  14. Scholarly opinions on the Jesus Myth by Christopher Price
  15. Richard Dawkins admits Jesus existed
  16. How atheism is being sold in America
  17. How atheism is being sold in America
  18. Suspicions Confirmed: Academia Shutting Out Conservative Professors
  19. The atheist indoctrination project
  33. Global Study: Atheists in Decline, Only 1.8% of World Population by 2020
  34. [Cracks in the atheist edifice], The Economist, November 1, 2014
  35. Eric Kaufmann: Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?, Australian Broadcasting Corporation
  36. Shall the religious inherit the earth - Festival of Dangerous Ideas - Eric Kaufmann
  37. Global decline of atheism and the rise of global creationism., June 4, 2012
  38. Atheists Own The Internet!, Cult of Dusty YouTube channel,Oct 24, 2011
  39. Internet atheism: The thrill is gone!
  40. Richard Dawkins has had his day, says Ravi Zacharias by Mark Woods, Christianity Today, Published 15 November 2014
  41. Believe it or not by David Bentley Hart, First Things, May 2010
  42. Atheism to Defeat Religion By 2038 by Niles Barber, Huffington Post 06/05/2012 5:11 pm
  43. Why Atheism WON'T Replace Religion: Atheists show little understanding of what drives religion by Derek Bickerton, Psychology Today, Published on June 14, 2010
  44. Why Atheism WON'T Replace Religion: Atheists show little understanding of what drives religion by Derek Bickerton, Psychology Today, Published on June 14, 2010
  45. Does atheism thrive on economic prosperity? Does religion prosper when people are desperate and ignorant?, July 10, 2012