Friday, October 28, 2011

Week 4 - "How Christians stole Halloween"

This week's topic is obviously going to be Halloween, since you know, this weekend is Halloween. I've been hearing a lot of uproar from (once again) uneducated Christians on how "evil" this holiday is and how they are "against it in every way." Contrary to popular (Christian) belief, this holiday has more to do with Christianity than many people realize.

First, let's get the obvious out of the way. Halloween is not a "satanic" holiday. It's not evil. The only thing that's evil about it, is what commercialism in present days has chose to glorify. Witches, vampires, ghosts, devils, it's all part of that one special time of year that everyone can dress up and pretend to be someone they aren't for one night. Halloween was originally a Pagan celebration. Now when most Christians hear the word "Pagan," they cringe just as badly as if someone had said "Satanist" or "Atheist." This is mainly programming, Christians are taught to hate anyone or anything, especially religions, that directly oppose their own ideas. They're conditioned this way through fear... as in, anything different from them is wrong, evil, and trying to "divert you away from God." There's a huge misconception about Paganism, that it's essentially witchcraft under a different title. This is wrong. It is not witchcraft. Paganism, to it's core, is a religion based around nature. Pagans, loosely defined by Wikipedia, are:
"Another definition, currently used by some religious studies scholars, uses the term to apply to religions which adhere to a belief in polytheism, animism and a concept of divine immanence; under this category therefore comes the pre-Christian and pre-Islamic religions of Europe and Asia, the indigenous religions of the world and new religious movements that consider themselves to be a part of the Contemporary Pagan movement. They are polytheistic, recognising a plurality of divine beings, which may or may not be avatars or other aspects of an underlying unity/duality/trinity etc. They view Nature as a theophany, a manifestation of divinity, not as a 'fallen' creation of the latter. They recognise the female divine principle, called the Goddess (with a capital 'G' to distinguish her from many particular goddesses), as well as, or instead of, the male divine principle, the God."

Now, obviously the Pagans didn't refer to this holiday as "Halloween" and they definitely did not dress up in costumes to go door to door collecting candy for their children. There were at first two festivals which eventually became the one "Halloween" that we know today. First was a Celtic celebration called Samhain. The Celtic peoples, who were once found all over Europe, divided the year by four major holidays. According to their calendar, the year began on a day corresponding to November 1st on our present calendar. The date marked the beginning of winter. Since they were pastoral people, it was a time when cattle and sheep had to be moved to closer pastures and all livestock had to be secured for the winter months. Crops were harvested and stored. The date marked both an ending and a beginning in an eternal cycle.

The festival observed at this time was called Samhain (pronounced Sah-ween). It was the biggest and most significant holiday of the Celtic year. The Celts believed that at the time of Samhain, more so than any other time of the year, the ghosts of the dead were able to mingle with the living, because at Samhain the souls of those who had died during the year traveled into the otherworld. People gathered to sacrifice animals, fruits, and vegetables. They also lit bonfires in honor of the dead, to aid them on their journey, and to keep them away from the living. On that day all manner of beings were abroad: ghosts, fairies, and demons--all part of the dark and dread.

Samhain became the Halloween we are familiar with when Christian missionaries attempted to change the religious practices of the Celtic people. In the early centuries of the first millennium A.D., before missionaries such as St. Patrick and St. Columcille converted them to Christianity, the Celts practiced an elaborate religion through their priestly caste, the Druids, who were priests, poets, scientists and scholars all at once. As religious leaders, ritual specialists, and bearers of learning, the Druids were not unlike the very missionaries and monks who were to Christianize their people and brand them evil devil worshippers.

As a result of their efforts to wipe out "pagan" holidays, such as Samhain, the Christians succeeded in effecting major transformations in it. In 601 A.D. Pope Gregory the First issued a now famous edict to his missionaries concerning the native beliefs and customs of the peoples he hoped to convert. Rather than try to obliterate native peoples' customs and beliefs, the pope instructed his missionaries to use them: if a group of people worshipped a tree, rather than cut it down, he advised them to consecrate it to Christ and allow its continued worship. In terms of spreading Christianity, this was a brilliant concept and it became a basic approach used in Catholic missionary work. Church holy days were purposely set to coincide with native holy days. Christmas, for instance, was assigned the arbitrary date of December 25th because it corresponded with the mid-winter celebration of many peoples. Likewise, St. John's Day was set on the summer solstice.

Samhain, with its emphasis on the supernatural, was decidedly pagan. While missionaries identified their holy days with those observed by the Celts, they branded the earlier religion's supernatural deities as evil, and associated them with the devil. As representatives of the rival religion, Druids were considered evil worshippers of devilish or demonic gods and spirits. The Celtic underworld inevitably became identified with the Christian Hell. The effects of this policy were to diminish but not totally eradicate the beliefs in the traditional gods. Celtic belief in supernatural creatures persisted, while the church made deliberate attempts to define them as being not merely dangerous, but malicious. Followers of the old religion went into hiding and were branded as witches.

The Christian feast of All Saints was assigned to November 1st. The day honored every Christian saint, especially those that did not otherwise have a special day devoted to them. This feast day was meant to substitute for Samhain, to draw the devotion of the Celtic peoples, and, finally, to replace it forever. That did not happen, but the traditional Celtic deities diminished in status, becoming fairies or leprechauns of more recent traditions.

The old beliefs associated with Samhain never died out entirely. The powerful symbolism of the traveling dead was too strong, and perhaps too basic to the human psyche, to be satisfied with the new, more abstract Catholic feast honoring saints. Recognizing that something that would subsume the original energy of Samhain was necessary, the church tried again to supplant it with a Christian feast day in the 9th century. This time it established November 2nd as All Souls Day -a day when the living prayed for the souls of all the dead. But, once again, the practice of retaining traditional customs while attempting to redefine them had a sustaining effect: the traditional beliefs and customs lived on, in new guises.

All Saints Day, otherwise known as All Hallows (hallowed means sanctified or holy), continued the ancient Celtic traditions. The evening prior to the day was the time of the most intense activity, both human and supernatural. People continued to celebrate All Hallows Eve as a time of the wandering dead, but the supernatural beings were now thought to be evil. The folk continued to propitiate those spirits (and their masked impersonators) by setting out gifts of food and drink. Subsequently, All Hallows Eve became Hallow Evening, which became Hallowe'en--an ancient Celtic, pre-Christian New Year's Day in contemporary dress. Many supernatural creatures became associated with All Hallows. In Ireland fairies were numbered among the legendary creatures who roamed on Halloween.

Virtually all present Halloween traditions can be traced to the ancient Celtic day of the dead. Halloween is a holiday of many mysterious customs, but each one has a history, or at least a story behind it. The wearing of costumes, for instance, and roaming from door to door demanding treats can be traced to the Celtic period and the first few centuries of the Christian era, when it was thought that the souls of the dead were out and around, along with fairies, witches, and demons. Offerings of food and drink were left out to placate them. As the centuries wore on, people began dressing like these dreadful creatures, performing antics in exchange for food and drink. This practice is called mumming, from which the practice of trick-or-treating evolved. To this day, witches, ghosts, and skeleton figures of the dead are among the favorite disguises. Halloween also retains some features that harken back to the original harvest holiday of Samhain, such as the customs of bobbing for apples and carving vegetables, as well as the fruits, nuts, and spices cider associated with the day.

Today Halloween is becoming once again and adult holiday or masquerade, like mardi Gras. Men and women in every disguise imaginable are taking to the streets of big American cities and parading past grinningly carved, candlelit jack o'lanterns, re-enacting customs with a lengthy pedigree. Their masked antics challenge, mock, tease, and appease the dread forces of the night, of the soul, and of the otherworld that becomes our world on this night of reversible possibilities, inverted roles, and transcendency. In so doing, they are reaffirming death and its place as a part of life in an exhilarating celebration of a holy and magic evening. 


Jack-o-lantern: Originally, they were turnips hollowed out and equipped with candles to light the way of “guisers” and beggars roaming about on All Hallow’s Eve for a bite to eat or rousting neighbors door-to-door for a donation to their cause. With their mass migration to the United States after the potato famine, the clever Irish replaced their illuminated turnips for more accommodating pumpkins. Carved in various grotesques and ghoulish faces; maladjusted spirits are kept at bay or frightened away entirely by the sight of these luminous lamps. Various legends speak of the name Jack. Most popularly is the persona of Jack as a weather sprite (Jack-in-the-Green, or Jack Frost). Undeniably, this Halloween symbol welcomes the oncoming winter season while simultaneously lighting the night.
Bats: A common practice among our ancestors at the time of summer’s end (Samhain, Oct. 31) was to build tremendously brilliant bonfires. These fires would blaze the night for many reasons: Warding off maladjusted energies, soften the chill in the air, prepare harvest feasts, mark the occasion with a powerful solar symbol, etc. Anyone who has lit their own campfire knows the light magnetizes all manner of insects. In turn, their natural predators will also come to the flame looking for an easy insect meal. And so, bats were a common sight at Halloween-time festivities. By association, bats are viewed to be connected with this holiday’s theme of magic and a time of passing from one phase of life to another (both in the timeline of human life and seasonal cycles).

Cats: Mysterious, precocious, sleuthy, and seemingly able to stalk the darkest nights without aid of light – the cat has long been considered to be closely linked with otherworldly concepts. Indeed, many practitioners of energetic communication welcomed the company of felines as it was understood these creatures could serve as a facilitator to opening otherworldy doors. Black is a common color of mystery and the unknown. Black is also considered to be an absorbing element – taking on off-kilter energies and transforming them into purer frequencies. When we view the meaning of Halloween symbols based on the understanding it is a time of transitions – the black cat becomes a suitable totem for the celebration. The black cat augers our connection with the intangible, and serves as a bridge from the mundane to the magical.

Owls: Following the same fashion as Halloween bats (see first entry), owls were commonly seen around Samhain bonfires lit in honor of the night of transitions. Furthermore, owls have long been symbols of wisdom of an esoteric (hidden) nature. This time of year held much mystery for our ancestors. With questions such as: “Will we survive the coming winter?”, “Are the spirits of our transitioned clansmen and women at peace?” it took wise auguries to identify subtle communications to answer these questions. Due to their status as wise creatures, and their long-standing association to the spirit side of life, (and their common appears at bonfires) it made sense to hold owls sacred to this time of year. It took the keen perception of a good witch to understand the language of the owls to answer clan questions. Thus, considering the time of year, this is one reason these two are commonly seen together as a Halloween symbol.

Skeletons: Continuing in the knowledge that Halloween is a time to honor the memories of those who no longer share the physical stage of life with us, the skeleton is a symbolic (and physical) reminder of the remnants of life. Skulls in particular were considered by many ancient cultures (including the Druids of the Celts) to be the psychic seat of the human whole. As such, skulls are powerful symbols invoking a heightened awareness of our psychic potential. Incorporated during this powerful time of year doubles their profound symbolic purposes.

Spiders: Much like the bat, cat, and the owl – spiders (as Halloween symbols and otherwise) are creatures considered to be endowed with supernatural qualities which make them harbingers of mystic energy. Witches often invite the spider into their homes and practices as a method of enhancing understanding of energetic patterns. Why are they so mystical? Predominantly because of their ability to weave webs, which has long been symbolic of time, fate, progress and the representation of the human journey (on both physical and philosophical levels).

Witches: Witches and Halloween are perfect pairs as Oct. 31 is a time most advantageous to tap into supernatural perspectives. This time of year is situated in the crevasse of transition in both constellational, and seasonal aspects. It’s a time when the Veil between mundane and magical are quite thin and energies tend to take on more revealing forms. As witches are devoted to utilizing, interpreting, magnifying, and manipulating unseen energies – their presence upon the cultural stage of this time of year is only common sense. Witches are gifted at energetic interpretations; and in ancient times their talents, perspectives and expertise would be called upon during this time of year for help in understanding messages from the non-physical side of life as well as forecasts for seasons ahead (long before the Farmer’s Almanac, there were soothsayers :-). And so, witches as a Halloween symbol are understandably vital to the occasion.

So, to sum things up since that's quite a lot of information to throw at someone over one holiday...

Halloween may have once been, but is no longer a Pagan/Celtic holiday. It's origins began as Pagan/Celtic in nature, but was quickly squashed out by Christians back in the first few early centuries AD. Christians saw it as evil, as they see most things that contradict what they believe, and decided to take over the holiday so as to make the transition between Paganism and Christianity easier for the people they were forcing to convert. You'll find this a common theme with many other modern day "Christian" celebrations, I like to think of Christianity as a hijacking culture killer. I'll make sure to write about all of the holidays that have been stolen by Christianity later on, probably around the time of the holiday in question. You know, to be festive, and stuff.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Response from my mom, Week 3 on "Why Are Atheists So Angry?"

Same as usual, original text is in white, her response is in pink, mine is green. This one isn't very extensive, she didn't have much to say and I didn't have much to argue, we agreed on many things this week.

One more thing that needs to be added to this list of intolerance is religion. We've seen it to be detrimental, we know it to be the cause of hatred, ignorance, bigotry, and countless crimes against humanity, so why tolerate such a thing?

Of course there are two camps, there has always been disagreement between people who believe in God and those who don’t and there always will be.    Each camp quotes the very same charges against the other camp.  I find it interesting that the young guy on YouTube called himself  “by AntitheisticAtheist”.  That says it a lot

I know this doesn't address the "anger" accusation, just the clarification on why "intolerance" doesn't have to mean something negative.

I agree that there are some things we should be intolerant of…. Such as all kinds of evil in the world like those you mentioned above that are charged against religion. 
As far as actual "Atheist Anger" is concerned, I came across a blog post a long, long time ago, written by a woman who I'm guessing is named Greta, since that's the title of her blog :P

I agree with a lot of the reasons this woman is angry, she has a lot of valid points.  But haven’t you noticed that angry people specifically look for all kinds of reasons to be angry.  And that they pick and choose what information they want to focus on, because some sources of information fuels their anger better than others.  And that they don’t focus on what’s good and right for the same reason?

There will always be wrong and evil in the world.  I blame that on people, not God.
 No one has to write about the "good and right" things of religion for a few reasons. One of which is that they toot their own horn every damn day that we all know already. Secondly, "good and right" things don't need a spot light like this because "good and right" things aren't an "issue" that people need to know about. Focusing on negative things aren't a bad thing. If you ignore them, they never go away. If you give them attention and let people know about the negative things in the world, then action can be taken against them. Ask Martin Luther King Jr. what I'm talking about, he knows. Nothing good and right comes out of religion anyways. Anything that does come out of religion that's good, can be attained without it, can be found elsewhere, or it's natural human nature anyways. 
And you should actually be blaming it on God. He made evil. He's all powerful and all knowing. He either made it and doesn't care, or he's not all powerful and all knowing because he can't stop or prevent it and therefor not really worthy of being worshiped.

I appreciate her sense of being fair with the following:
I get angry when believers trumpet every good thing that's ever been done in the name of religion as a reason why religion is a force for good... and then, when confronted with the horrible evils done in religion's name, say that those evils weren't done because of religion, were done because of politics of greed or fear or whatever, would have been done anyway even without religion, and shouldn't be counted as religion's fault. (Of course, to be fair, I also get angry when atheists do the opposite: chalk up every evil thing done in the name of religion as a black mark on religion's record, but then insist that the good things were done for other reasons and would have been done anyway, etc. Neither side gets to have it both ways.)”
"The "They just aren't doing religion right" argument is not going to cut it with me. I don't think any of you have it right.    …..     I get angry when religious believers insist that their interpretation of their religion and religious text is the right one, and that fellow believers with an opposite interpretation clearly have it wrong. How the hell do they know which parts of the Bible/ Torah/ Koran/ Bhagavad-Gita/ whatever God really meant, and which parts he didn't? And if they don't know, if they're just basing it on their own moral instincts and their own perceptions of the world, then on what basis are they thinking that God and their sacred texts have anything to do with it at all? What right do they have to act as if their opinion is the same as God's and he's totally backing them up on it?

This is a tough question for everyone.  Sometimes all we can do is trust we are hearing the Spirit lead us.  It is sometimes a matter of trying to live by faith.  
We're not hearing the spirit. We're hearing our conscience. 
And if you’re not bigoted against atheists and are sympathetic to us, then can you shut the hell up for ten seconds and let us tell you about what the world is like for us, without getting all defensive about how it's not your fault?

            I believe I am trying to do that.  I can’t be the only one.
Many of the examples you gave for week 2 violence involve the Catholic church or catholic peoples, and as you have heard me say for your whole life, I don't respect the catholic church as a true christian organization, and I have seen that organization do a LOT of things wrong, so I'm not surprised to hear that Hitler and Stalin were catholic.  I'm not surprised to hear that Mother Theresa wasn't such a saint. Nor do other 'reglious organizations such as Muslums doing violence in the name of Allah have any allegence to the true God. 

In all the examples you've given, I would blame the people involved for being wrong.  I believe in many cases they were not following God and so I wouldn't put the blame on him.

You say "I'm making the distinction between a murder by an Atheist, and a murder in the name of Atheism. There's a massive difference."  I agree, and say the same thing - there is also the distinction between murder by a Christian, and murder in the name of Christianity".   Also, an atheist says he doesn't stand for anything so of course he isn't going to say he does the violence in the name of it, such as your examples of Mao and Pol.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Week 3 - "Why Are Atheists So Angry?"

The topic this week is "Atheists & Anger... Why Are Atheists So Angry." I've heard this many times before, even from my own mom. It's a huge misconception. I'm feeling particularly lazy tonight, since I've pretty much busted my nuts on the past 2 week's topics, so I apologize but I'm going to have to do some copy and pasting, and letting other people do some speaking for me. Also I don't think I could express what I'm trying to say any better than they have already.

The first piece of information is about "Intolerance vs Hatred." The boy in this video may be young, but he's definitely wise beyond his years. He speaks about how the world "intolerance" nowadays has become more of a catch-all phrase for "hatred" yet it is nowhere near the same concept. He talks about the unrecognized benefits of intolerance and how he's proud to be "intolerant." A quick description of the video before you watch:
"A word thrown around all to often is "intolerance". Something that people frequently accuse atheists of. People hate the idea of intolerance; they do so because on the surface it seems like a terrible thing, but if you look closer, intolerance is what makes up our society and, indeed, our nation. Laws are based on the intolerance of crime, our basic moral code is based on intolerance of things we consider to be bad. One more thing that needs to be added to this list of intolerance is religion. We've seen it to be detrimental, we know it to be the cause of hatred, ignorance, bigotry, and countless crimes against humanity, so why tolerate such a thing? People do so because the believe religion deserves respect when in reality, that's the farthest thing from the truth."

I know this doesn't address the "anger" accusation, just the clarification on why "intolerance" doesn't have to mean something negative. As far as actual "Atheist Anger" is concerned, I came across a blog post a long, long time ago, written by a woman who I'm guessing is named Greta, since that's the title of her blog :P I'm going to post the best parts below, followed by a direct link to her blog post. I don't want to take credit for her work, she put a lot of effort into the post.

"One of the most common criticisms lobbed at the newly-vocal atheist community is, "Why do you have to be so angry?" So I want to talk about:
1. Why atheists are angry;
2. Why our anger is valid, valuable, and necessary;
And 3. Why it's completely fucked-up to try to take our anger away from us.
So let's start with why we're angry. Or rather -- because this is my blog and I don't presume to speak for all atheists -- why I'm angry.

I'm angry that according to a recent Gallup poll, only 45 percent of Americans would vote for an atheist for President.

I'm angry that atheist conventions have to have extra security, including hand-held metal detectors and bag searches, because of fatwas and death threats.

I'm angry that atheist soldiers -- in the U.S. armed forces -- have had prayer ceremonies pressured on them and atheist meetings broken up by Christian superior officers, in direct violation of the First Amendment. I'm angry that evangelical Christian groups are being given exclusive access to proselytize on military bases -- again in the U.S. armed forces, again in direct violation of the First Amendment. I'm angry that atheist soldiers who are complaining about this are being harassed and are even getting death threats from Christian soldiers and superior officers -- yet again, in the U.S. armed forces. And I'm angry that Christians still say smug, sanctimonious things like, "there are no atheists in foxholes." You know why you're not seeing atheists in foxholes? Because believers are threatening to shoot them if they come out.

I'm angry that the 41st President of the United States, George Herbert Walker Bush, said of atheists, in my lifetime, "No, I don't know that atheists should be regarded as citizens, nor should they be regarded as patriotic. This is one nation under God." My President. No, I didn't vote for him, but he was still my President, and he still said that my lack of religious belief meant that I shouldn't be regarded as a 

I'm angry that it took until 1961 for atheists to be guaranteed the right to serve on juries, testify in court, or hold public office in every state in the country.

CreationismI'm angry that almost half of Americans believe in creationism. And not a broad, "God had a hand in evolution" creationism, but a strict, young-earth, "God created man pretty much in his present form at one time within the last 10,000 years" creationism.

  And on that topic: I'm angry that school boards all across this country are still -- 82 years after the Scopes trial -- having to spend time and money and resources on the fight to have evolution taught in the schools. School boards are not exactly loaded with time and money and resources, and any of the time/ money/ resources that they're spending fighting this stupid fight is time/ money/ resources that they're not spending, you know, teaching.

I'm angry that women are dying of AIDS in Africa and South America because the Catholic Church has convinced them that using condoms makes baby Jesus cry. 

I'm angry that women are having septic abortions -- or are being forced to have unwanted children who they resent and mistreat -- because religious organizations have gotten laws passed making abortion illegal or inaccessible. 

I'm angry about what happened to Galileo. Still. And I'm angry that it took the Catholic Church until 1992 to apologize for it. 

I get angry when advice columnists tell their troubled letter-writers to talk to their priest or minister or rabbi... when there is absolutely no legal requirement that a religious leader have any sort of training in counseling or therapy. 

And I get angry when religious leaders offer counseling and advice to troubled people -- sex advice, relationship advice, advice on depression and stress, etc. -- not based on any evidence about what actually does and does not work in people's brains and lives, but on the basis of what their religious doctrine tells them God wants for us. 

I'm angry at preachers who tell women in their flock to submit to their husbands because it's the will of God, even when their husbands are beating them within an inch of their lives. 

I'm angry that so many believers treat prayer as a sort of cosmic shopping list for God. I'm angry that believers pray to win sporting events, poker hands, beauty pageants, and more. As if they were the center of the universe, as if God gives a shit about who wins the NCAA Final Four -- and as if the other teams/ players/ contestants weren't praying just as hard. 

I'm especially angry that so many believers treat prayer as a cosmic shopping list when it comes to health and illness. I'm angry that this belief leads to the revolting conclusion that God deliberately makes people sick so they’ll pray to him to get better. And I'm angry that they foist this belief on sick and dying children -- in essence teaching them that, if they don't get better, it's their fault. That they didn't pray hard enough, or they didn't pray right, or God just doesn't love them enough.

And I get angry when other believers insist that the cosmic shopping list isn't what religion and prayer are really about; that their own sophisticated theology is the true understanding of God. I get angry when believers insist that the shopping list is a straw man, an outmoded form of religion and prayer that nobody takes seriously, and it's absurd for atheists to criticize it.

I get angry when believers use terrible, grief-soaked tragedies as either opportunities to toot their own horns and talk about how wonderful their God and their religion are... or as opportunities to attack and demonize atheists and secularism.

I'm angry at the Sunday school teacher who told comic artist Craig Thompson that he couldn't draw in heaven. And I'm angry that she said it with the complete conviction of authority... when in fact she had no basis whatsoever for that assertion. How the hell did she know what Heaven was like? How could she possibly know that you could sing in heaven but not draw? And why the hell would you say something that squelching and dismissive to a talented child?

I'm angry that Mother Teresa took her personal suffering and despair at her lost faith in God, and turned it into an obsession that led her to treat suffering as a beautiful gift from Christ to humanity, a beautiful offering from humanity to God, and a necessary part of spiritual salvation. And I'm angry that this obsession apparently led her to offer grotesquely inadequate medical care and pain relief at her hospitals and hospices, in essence taking her personal crisis of faith out on millions of desperately poor and helpless people.

I'm angry at the trustee of the local Presbyterian church who told his teenage daughter that he didn't actually believe in God or religion, but that it was important to keep up his work because without religion there would be no morality in the world.

I'm angry that so many parents and religious leaders terrorize children -- who (a) have brains that are hard-wired to trust adults and believe what they're told, and (b) are very literal-minded -- with vivid, traumatizing stories of eternal burning and torture to ensure that they'll be too frightened to even question religion. 

I'm angrier when religious leaders explicitly tell children – and adults, for that matter -- that the very questioning of religion and the existence of hell is a dreadful sin, one that will guarantee them that hell is where they'll end up.

I'm angry that children get taught by religion to hate and fear their bodies and their sexuality. And I'm especially angry that female children get taught by religion to hate and fear their femaleness, and that queer children get taught by religion to hate and fear their queerness.

I'm angry about the Muslim girl in the public school who was told -- by her public-school, taxpayer-paid teacher -- that the red stripes on Christmas candy canes represented Christ's blood, that she had to believe in and be saved by Jesus Christ or she'd be condemned to hell, and that if she didn't, there was no place for her in his classroom. And I'm angry that he told her not to come back to his class when she didn't convert.

I'm angry -- enraged -- at the priests who molest children and tell them it's God's will. I'm enraged at the Catholic Church that consciously, deliberately, repeatedly, for years, acted to protect priests who molested children, and consciously and deliberately acted to keep it a secret, placing the Church's reputation as a higher priority than, for fuck's sake, children not being molested. And I'm enraged that the Church is now trying to argue, in court, that protecting child-molesting priests from prosecution, and shuffling those priests from diocese to diocese so they can molest kids in a whole new community that doesn't yet suspect them, is a Constitutionally protected form of free religious expression.

I'm angry about 9/11.

And I'm angry that Jerry Falwell blamed 9/11 on pagans, abortionists, feminists, gays and lesbians, the ACLU, and the People For the American Way. I'm angry that the theology of a wrathful God exacting revenge against pagans and abortionists by sending radical Muslims to blow up a building full of secretaries and investment bankers... this was a theology held by a powerful, widely-respected religious leader with millions of followers.

I'm angry that, when my dad had a stroke and went into a nursing home, the staff asked my brother, "Is he a Baptist or a Catholic?" And I'm not just angry on behalf of my atheist dad. I'm angry on behalf of all the Jews, all the Buddhists, all the Muslims, all the neo-Pagans, whose families almost certainly got asked that same question. That question is enormously disrespectful, not just of my dad's atheism, but of everyone at that nursing home who wasn't a Baptist or a Catholic.

I'm angry about Ingrid's grandparents. I'm angry that their fundamentalism was such a huge source of strife and unhappiness in her family, that it alienated them so drastically from their children and grandchildren. I'm angry that they tried to cram it down Ingrid's throat, to the point that she's still traumatized by it. And I'm angry that their religion, which if nothing else should have been a comfort to them in their old age, was instead a source of anguish and despair -- because they knew their children and grandchildren were all going to be burned and tortured forever in Hell, and how could Heaven be Heaven if their children and grandchildren were being eternally burned and tortured in Hell?

I'm angry that Ingrid and I can't get legally married in this country -- or get legally married in another country and have it recognized by this one -- largely because religious leaders oppose it. And I'm angry that both religious and political leaders have discovered that they can score big points exploiting people's fears about sexuality in a changing world, fanning the flames of those fears... and giving people a religious excuse for why their fears are justified.

I'm angry that huge swaths of public policy in this country -- not just on same-sex marriage, but on abortion and stem-cell research and sex education in schools -- are being based, not on evidence of which policies do and don't work and what is and isn't true about the world, but on religious texts written hundreds or thousands of years ago, and on their own personal feelings about how those texts should be interpreted, with no supporting evidence whatsoever -- and no apparent concept of why any evidence should be needed. 

I get angry when believers trumpet every good thing that's ever been done in the name of religion as a reason why religion is a force for good... and then, when confronted with the horrible evils done in religion's name, say that those evils weren't done because of religion, were done because of politics of greed or fear or whatever, would have been done anyway even without religion, and shouldn't be counted as religion's fault. (Of course, to be fair, I also get angry when atheists do the opposite: chalk up every evil thing done in the name of religion as a black mark on religion's record, but then insist that the good things were done for other reasons and would have been done anyway, etc. Neither side gets to have it both ways.)

I'm angry at the believers who put decals on their cars with a Faith fish eating a Darwin fish... and who think that's clever, who think that religious faith really should triumph over science and evidence. I'm angry at believers who have so little respect for the physical world their God supposedly created that they feel perfectly content to ignore the mountains of physical evidence piling up around them about that real world; perfectly content to see that world as somehow less real and true than their personal opinions about God.

Ted_haggardI get angry when religious leaders opportunistically use religion, and people's trust and faith in religion, to steal, cheat, lie, manipulate the political process, take sexual advantage of their followers, and generally behave like the scum of the earth. I get angry when it happens over and over and over again. And I get angry when people see this happening and still say that atheism is bad because, without religion, people would have no basis for morality or ethics, and no reason not to just do whatever they wanted.

I get angry when religious believers make arguments against atheism -- and make accusations against atheists -- without having bothered to talk to any atheists or read any atheist writing. I get angry when they trot out the same old "Atheism is a nihilistic philosophy, with no joy or meaning to life and no basis for morality or ethics"... when if they spent ten minutes in the atheist blogosphere, they would discover countless atheists who experience great joy and meaning in their lives, and are intensely concerned about right and wrong.

I get angry when believers use the phrase "atheist fundamentalist" without apparently knowing what the word "fundamentalist" means. Call people pig-headed, call them stubborn, call them snarky, call them intolerant even. But unless you can point to the text to which these "fundamentalist" atheists literally and strictly adhere without question, then please shut the hell up about us being fundamentalist.

I get angry when religious believers base their entire philosophy of life on what is, at best, a hunch; when they ignore or reject or rationalize any evidence that contradicts that hunch or calls it into question... and then accuse atheists of being close-minded and ignoring the obvious truth.

And I get angry when believers glorify religious faith without evidence as a positive virtue, a character trait that makes people good and noble... and then continue to accuse atheists of being close-minded and ignoring the obvious truth.

I get angry when believers say that they can know the truth -- the greatest truth of all about the nature of the universe, namely the source of all existence -- simply by sitting quietly and listening to their heart... and then accuse atheists of being arrogant. (This isn't just arrogant towards atheists and naturalists, either. It's arrogant towards people of other religions who have sat just as quietly, listened to their hearts with just as much sincerity, and come to completely opposite conclusions about God and the soul and the universe.)

And I get angry when believers say that the entire unimaginable enormity of the universe was made solely and specifically for the human race -- when atheists, by contrast, say that humanity is a microscopic dot on a microscopic dot, an infinitesimal eyeblink in the vastness of time and space -- and yet again, believers accuse atheists of being arrogant.

I get angry when believers say things like, "Yes, of course, the human mind isn't perfect, we see what we expect to see, we see faces and patterns and intention when they aren't necessarily there... but that couldn't be happening with me. The patterns I see in my life... they couldn't possibly be coincidence or confirmation bias. I'm definitely seeing the hand of God." (And then, once again, those same believers accuse atheists of being close-minded and only seeing what we want to see.)

I get angry when believers treat the gaps in science and scientific knowledge as somehow proof of the existence of God. I get angry when, despite a thousands-of-years-old pattern of supernatural explanations being consistently and repeatedly replaced with natural ones, they still think every single unexplained phenomenon can be best explained by God. And I'm angry that, whenever a gap in our knowledge does get filled in, believers either try to suppress it (see above re: evolution in the schools), or else say, "Okay, that part of the world isn't supernatural... but what about this gap over here? Can you explain that, Mr. Smarty-Pants Scientist? You can't! It must be God!"

I get angry when believers say at the beginning of an argument that their belief is based on reason and evidence, and at the end of the argument say things like, "It just seems that way to me," or, "I feel it in my heart"... as if that were a clincher. I mean, couldn't they have said that at the beginning of the argument, and not wasted my fucking time? My time is valuable and increasingly limited, and I have better things to do with it than debating with people who pretend to care about evidence and reason but ultimately don't.

I'm angry that I have to know more about their fucking religion than the believers do. I get angry when believers say things about the tenets and texts of their religion that are flatly untrue, and I have to correct them on it.

I get angry when believers treat any criticism of their religion -- i.e., pointing out that their religion is a hypothesis about the world and a philosophy of it, and asking it to stand up on its own in the marketplace of ideas -- as insulting and intolerant. I get angry when believers accuse atheists of being intolerant for saying things like, "I don't agree with you," "I think you're mistaken about that," "That doesn't make any sense," "I think that position is morally indefensible," and "What evidence do you have to support that?"

And on that point: I get angry when Christians in the United States -- members of the single most powerful and influential religious group in the country, in the wealthiest and most powerful country in the world -- act like beleaguered victims, martyrs being thrown to the lions all over again, whenever anyone criticizes them or they don't get their way.

I get angry when believers respond to some or all of these offenses by saying, "Well, that's not the true faith. Hating queers/ rejecting science/ stifling questions and dissent... that's not the true faith. People who do that aren't real (Christians/ Jews/ Muslims/ Hindus/ etc.)." As if they had a fucking pipeline to God. As if they had any reason at all to think that they know for sure what God wants, and that the billions of others who disagree with them just obviously have it wrong. (Besides -- I'm an atheist. The "They just aren't doing religion right" argument is not going to cut it with me. I don't think any of you have it right. To me, it all looks like something that people just made up.)

 On that topic: I get angry when religious believers insist that their interpretation of their religion and religious text is the right one, and that fellow believers with an opposite interpretation clearly have it wrong. I get angry when believers insist that the parts about Jesus's prompt return and all prayers being answered are obviously not meant literally... but the parts about hell and damnation and gay sex being an abomination, that's real. And I get angry when believers insist that the parts about hell and damnation and gay sex being an abomination aren't meant literally, but the parts about caring for the poor are really what God meant. How the hell do they know which parts of the Bible/ Torah/ Koran/ Bhagavad-Gita/ whatever God really meant, and which parts he didn't? And if they don't know, if they're just basing it on their own moral instincts and their own perceptions of the world, then on what basis are they thinking that God and their sacred texts have anything to do with it at all? What right do they have to act as if their opinion is the same as God's and he's totally backing them up on it?

And I get angry when believers act as if these offenses aren't important, because "Not all believers act like that. I don't act like that." As if that fucking matters. This stuff is a major way that religion plays out in our world, and it makes me furious to hear religious believers try to minimize it because it's not how it happens to play out for them. It's like a white person responding to an African-American describing their experience of racism by saying, "But I'm not a racist." If you're not a racist, then can you shut the hell up for ten seconds and listen to the black people talk? And if you’re not bigoted against atheists and are sympathetic to us, then can you shut the hell up for ten seconds and let us tell you about what the world is like for us, without getting all defensive about how it's not your fault? When did this international conversation about atheism and religious oppression become all about you and your hurt feelings?

But perhaps most of all, I get angry -- sputteringly, inarticulately, pulse-racingly angry -- when believers chide atheists for being so angry. "Why do you have to be so angry all the time?" "All that anger is so off-putting." "If atheism is so great, then why are so many of you so angry?" Which brings me to the other part of this little rant: Why atheist anger is not only valid, but valuable and necessary.

There's actually a simple, straightforward answer to this question:
Because anger is always necessary.

Because anger has driven every major movement for social change in this country, and probably in the world. The labor movement, the civil rights movement, the women's suffrage movement, the modern feminist movement, the gay rights movement, the anti-war movement in the Sixties, the anti-war movement today, you name it... all of them have had, as a major driving force, a tremendous amount of anger. Anger over injustice, anger over mistreatment and brutality, anger over helplessness.

March_on_washington_aug_28_1963I mean, why the hell else would people bother to mobilize social movements? Social movements are hard. They take time, they take energy, they sometimes take serious risk of life and limb, community and career. Nobody would fucking bother if they weren't furious about something. 

So when you tell an atheist (or for that matter, a woman or a queer or a person of color or whatever) not to be so angry, you are, in essence, telling us to disempower ourselves. You're telling us to lay down one of the single most powerful tools we have at our disposal. You're telling us to lay down a tool that no social change movement has ever been able to do without. You're telling us to be polite and diplomatic, when history shows that polite diplomacy in a social change movement works far, far better when it's coupled with passionate anger. In a battle between David and Goliath, you're telling David to put down his slingshot and just... I don't know. Gnaw Goliath on the ankles or something.

I'll acknowledge that anger is a difficult tool in a social movement. A dangerous one even. It can make people act rashly; it can make it harder to think clearly; it can make people treat potential allies as enemies. In the worst-case scenario, it can even lead to violence. Anger is valid, it's valuable, it's necessary... but it can also misfire, and badly.

PreacherBut unless we're actually endangering or harming somebody, it is not up to believers to tell atheists when we should and should not use this tool. It is not up to believers to tell atheists that we're going too far with the anger and need to calm down. Any more than it's up to white people to say it to black people, or men to say it to women, or straights to say it to queers. When it comes from believers, it's not helpful. It's patronizing. It comes across as another attempt to defang us and shut us up. And it's just going to make us angrier.

 And when believers tell passionate, angry atheists that extremism is never right and the truth usually lies somewhere in the middle, they're making a big, big mistake. Not just because they're making us want to spit in their eye. They're making a mistake because they're simply mistaken. Read this piece from Daylight Atheism on The Golden Mean. Read the quotes from the abolitionist movement, the civil rights movement, the anti-war movement, the American Revolution. And then come tell me that the moderate position is usually the right one.

nd you know what else? I think we need to have some goddamn perspective about this anger business. I mean, I look at organized Christianity in this country -- not just the religious right, but some more "moderate" churches as well -- interfering with AIDS prevention efforts, trying to get their theology into the public schools, actively trying to prevent me and Ingrid from getting legally married, and pulling all the other shit I talk about in this piece.

 Because the other thing I'm angry about is the fact that, in this piece, I've touched on -- maybe -- a hundredth of everything that angers me about religion. This piece barely scratches the surface. I know, almost without a doubt, that within five minutes of hitting "Post" and putting this piece on my blog, I'll think of six different things that I'd wished I'd put in. I could write an entire book about everything that angers me about religion -- other people certainly have -- and still not be finished.

Are you really looking at all of this shit I'm talking about, a millennia-old history of abuse and injustice, deceit and willful ignorance -- and then on the other hand, looking at a couple of years of atheists being snarky on the Internet -- and seeing the two as somehow equivalent? Or worse, seeing the snarky atheists as the greater problem?

If you're doing that, then with all due respect, you can blow me.
We now return you to your regularly scheduled attempts at civility.

Greta is far from the only one to feel this way. This next quote was taken directly from the wall of a facebook page I'm a part of, the writer is unknown but that doesn't make what was said any less valuable:
In response to several comments. You're right religion itself has not started wars and conflict. But it has been a convenient excuse for wars and conflict. And as for the comment that " we've long since left the time when countries would go to war out of religious belief". Where have you been for the past 10 years. And as for the reason we are so angry? Simple, we are tired of being told that this is a "christian country". We are tired of not being able to buy beer on Sunday or any other "blue laws". We're tired of being made to feel uncomfortable at school when they have a prayer before a sporting event. We're tired of having medical testing stopped because of religious reasons (i.e. stem cell research). We are tired of being told when life begins and ends based on religious dogma and not on science. We're tired of political decisions being made based on religious beliefs. We are angry because, we would love to live our lives. But YOUR god keeps getting in OUR way!
If that's not enough to convince a person on why Atheists are angry, and why that angry is completely valid and even necessary, then I don't know what will convince you. I'll end the post this week with an exert from Richard Dawkins' book, "The God Delusion" where he addresses the difference between being "passionate" about something and being "fundamentalist" about it, something I've heard people accusing Atheists of being just as often as they've been accused of being "angry." I really suggest you read this book, along with a few others I have.
"No, please, it is all too easy to mistake passion that can change its mind for fundamentalism, which never will. Fundamentalist Christians are passionately opposed to evolution and I am passionately in favor of it. Passion for passion, we are evenly matched. And that, according to some, means we are equally fundamentalist. But, to borrow an aphorism whose source I am unable to pin down, when two opposite points of view are expressed with equal force, the truth does not necessarily lie between them. It is possible for one side to simply be wrong. And that justifies passion on the other side. Fundamentalists know what they believe and know that nothing will change their minds.The quotation from Kurt Wise says it all, "...if all the evidence in the universe turns against creationism, I would be the first to admit it, but I would still be a creationist because that is what the Word of God seems to indicate. Here I must stand." It is possible to overstress the difference between such a passionate commitment to biblical fundamentals and the true scientist's equally passionate commitment to evidence. The fundamentalist Kurt Wise proclaims that all the evidence in the universe would not change his mind. The true scientist, however passionately he may 'believe' in evolution, knows exactly what it would take to change his mind: Evidence. As J.B.S. Haldane said when asked what evidence might contradict evolution, "Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian." Let me coin my own opposite version of Kurt Wise's manifesto: "If all the evidence in the universe turned in favour of creationism, I would be the first to admit it, and I would immediately change my mind. As things stand, however, all available evidence (and there is a vast amount of it) favours evolution. It is for this reason and this reason alone that I argue for evolution with a passion that matches the passion of those who argue against it. My passion is based on evidence. Theirs, flying in the face of evidence as it does, is truly fundamentalist"."
 And let's not forget the most important point of all; Atheists are angry because of how they're treated, by Christians, non Christians, and anyone else of any religious affiliation alike.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Response from my mom, Week 2 on "Christianity's Death Toll & Wars vs Atheist Death Tolls & Wars"

My original text is in white, her response in pink, and mine in green. This one made me really angry, and serves to show people just how diluted and self serving Christian thinking really is.

Let's start at the very beginning. Many Christians argue that murder is a sin and their God is a peaceful, loving God. They claim that the only reason "evil" exists in the world is because well, of two reasons. We were given free will, first of all. Secondly, it's Satan's fault too. I don't see how it could be both to be honest. If we have free will, how can Satan dictate what we do? If we didn't, I can maybe see it being Satan's fault for causing all this shit. But it's just us. I won't get too much into that topic because that's another one for another day.

It is both; man has free will and satan spends much time tempting people and lying to them especially if they’ve got reason to be angry anyway.  That’s the perfect person to launch an attack on and to convince them that they have a right to kill someone.  So a person will take the leading of satan and use his free will to act no it.
 What you said makes it sound more like Christianity is a religion for Satan more than it is a religion for Christ, since he's the one influencing people do to his bidding according to your logic.
Anyways. As you can see in the chart to the left, God is actually the one with the most documented murders. The 10 deaths that are attributed to Satan aren't even fully his fault. He was placed on a bet and given permission by God himself to carry out those murders. Think back to Noah's Ark, Sodom & Gomorrah, killing "the innocents" and "first born children" in the 10 plagues in Egypt, he even murdered his own son. He violates a direct commandment, "Thou shalt not kill," number 6. I'm sorry but I'd never follow a God who couldn't lead by example.

God did wipe out mankind at the flood (not sure how many people were on the earth then) but his reasons were because everyone except Noah’s family were given over to evil.  The same with Sodom & Gomorrah and all the others that were killed in the old testament.  And though I didn’t confirm each of the verses above, I know that many are true   I cannot pretend to understand God’s reasons or ways.  But God wiping out evil people cannot be compared to Christians killing people vs atheists killing people.
You're missing the point. There's no good reason to kill anyone, no matter what. Evil is subjective. God made of of the 10 Commandments "thou shalt not kill," and then he directly disregards that Commandment himself. I would never worship a God who can't lead by his own example. A good quote by Richard Dawkins from his book The God Delusion says:

""The God of the Old Testament is arguable the most unpleasant character in all
fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust; unforgiving control-freak; a
vindictive; bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist,
infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic,
capriciously malevolent bully. Those of us schooled from infancy in his ways can
become desensitized to their horror. A naif blessed with this perspective of
innocence has a clearer perspective. Winston Churchill's son Randolph somehow
contrived to remain ignorant of scripture until Evelyn Waugh and a brother
officer, in a vain attempt to keep Churchill quiet when they were posted
together during the war, bet him he couldn't read the entire Bible in a fortnight:
'Unhappily it has not had the result we hoped. He has never read any of it before
and is hideously excited; keeps reading quotations aloud "I say I bet you didn't
know this came in the Bible..." or merely slapping his side and chortling "God,
isn't God a shit!"' Thomas Jefferson - better read - was of a similar opinion,
describing the God of Moses as 'a being of terrific character - cruel, vindictive,
capricious and unjust.'""

If that's not enough proof for you, you can find more bible verses of that nature in the links listed below. If you want to argue "but those are all old testament stories and rules! God gave us Jesus to die for our sins so we wouldn't have to live like that anymore!" If you want to believe this is true, then how come some people still live by these rules?

Christians are no longer under ‘the law’ of the old testament, that many of the verses you quoted above are made up of.  There are some people who do not believe that Jesus was the Savior predicted in the old testament so do not believe in or follow the new testament, where we are now under grace and not the law.  I cannot speak for those who do not follow the new testament, but I believe the majority of them no longer put to death someone for the reasons you quote above. 
I already answered this statement in the next bit I wrote. As far as I'm concerned there should be no divider between Old and New, because what "shouldn't be followed" anymore shouldn't be in the book. The fact that it is begs the question "why is it?" Maybe it's because it still is supposed to be followed and Christians today are too smug to listen to anything other than what they want to use that will suit their desires the best.
Why is it even in the Bible if it's not relevant anymore? The Bible is supposed to be the word of God, his moral compass for us. If it's not to be taken literally, then what part of the Bible is at all? Once you start cherry picking like that, it's a very slippery slope of "perceptive interpretations" that can turn into just about anything that anyone wants to hear to justify what they want to get away with.

So true, that is why it is so important to be lead by the Spirit of God, and to be taught on a regular basis by elders of the church.
Video: Why don’t Christians kill their children:

Andrea Yates was mentally ill and delusional, and very likely under demonic control.  This does not mean that all Christians are mentally ill, delusional or under demonic control.   This guy’s arguments are utterly ridiculous and any sane person, Christian or not, would agree.  He’s just having fun being ‘devil’s advocate’.
Ah, but it does bring us back to the topic of Christians and mental illnesses. What you call "under demonic control" in the Christian world is a scapegoat in the real world, we just call them mentally insane. And by the way she was "evaluated" and attempted to be tried as mentally ill but they threw that out in the court room, she was deemed fit to be tried as an adult. No, not everyone will agree with you that he's "just having fun," infact there are probably millions of people who agree with him because what he's saying is true. Just because you don't agree with it doesn't mean no one else does. That's your Christian side talking.
Throughout Documented History

From Ancient Pagans    to   Religious /wars

Your notes above range between the years 315 to 1645, which is approximately 1330 years.  The articles seem to be a listing of all wars and deaths, regardless of who started it and who were being killed.  Several times I see Christians being massacred , several times I see many deaths due to sickness and famine.  I believe some of the totals are exaggerated, ie Witch trials (see more below).  Also, we have to remember that for many centuries, the church and the state (law, taxes, government, etc) were one, and if the state was going to have a war it was called a ‘religious’ war.  That does not have the same meaning as it holds today.  Also, there were many religious wars between groups who had differing opinions about how to be a church.  In my opinion, many of those murders were done in God’s name but were not right. 

As for Ancient Pagans, many pagans were killed in obedience to God in biblical times God gave orders to kill these people, and I believe that God had his reasons that we don’t understand.   From reading the bible I did get some reasons:  the pagans worshiped many gods and were forever leading God’s people into idolatry.  Also, many of the pagans had demons and dabbled in supernatural powers and God wanted the world to be rid of them to protect his own people.

In Dinesh D’Souza’s book “What’s So Great About Christianity” he says “ Atheism has killed more people in the past 100 years than Christianity in the past 1,000 years!  

“SUFFERING    D'Souza does not deal with the issue of evil and suffering the way most would. In fact, he barely scratches the surface. Rather, what he does is deal with the objection raised by atheist and unbelievers that Christianity has led to the greatest massacres and wars in history. More people have been killed in the name of religion (including Christianity) than any other reason. They always point to things like the Crusades, Inquisition, the Salem Witch Trials, etc.

D'Souza does not minimize these events and the millions that were killed. However, he puts them in their proper context and the historical background needed to understand them. There is no excuse for some of the things that people have done in the name of God, but D'Souza shows that much of what leading atheist thinkers are saying are historically inaccurate.

One of the many myths that he debunks here is the numbers game. For example, many assume that hundreds were murdered in the Salem Witch trials. When the truth is that less than 25 were killed. Neither the author nor myself, are downplaying those deaths, for even 1 is too many, but you can notice how much atheist and unbelievers have exaggerated the claims of death and murder in religion. Most of the things they say concerning this issue is simply wrong.

And then the author does something that really drives his point home. He shows that there have been, by far, more people killed and massacred in the name of atheism than religion. One paragraph reads:

"Religion-inspired killing simply cannot compete with the murders perpetrated by atheist regimes. I recognize that population levels were much lower in the past, and that it's much easier to kill people today with sophisticated weapons than it was in previous centuries with swords and arrows. Even taking higher population levels into account, atheist violence surpasses religious violence by staggering proportions. here is a rough calculation. The worlds population rose from around 500 million in 1450 AD to 2.5 billion in 1950, a fivefold increase. Taken together, the Crusades, the Inquisition, and the witch burnings killed approximately 200,000 people. Adjusting for the increase in population, that the equivalent of one million deaths today. Even so, these deaths caused by Christian rulers over five-hundred-year period amount to only 1 percent of the deaths caused by Stalin, Hitler, and Mao in the space of a few decades."

This is a staggering figure to say the least! And the calculation above is only considering those killed under 3 atheist dictators, not all of them! The statistics of those killed in the name of Christianity doesn't even compare the number killed by atheists.

Therefore, the argument that Christianity and religion only kills and causes useless wars must never be made again because history has revealed that the most dangerous ideology isn't Christianity or religion, but the lack-thereof. Atheism has killed more people in the past 100 years that Christianity in the past 1,000 years!”

Stalin was responsible for 20 million deaths, Mao was responsible for 70 million deaths and Hitler was responsible for 10 million deaths (6 million were Jews).   That’s a total of 100,000 deaths at the hands of atheists just a few decades. 

The articles list all wars and deaths caused because of Christianity. It's amazing how fast you forget what subject you're reading about today, it's denial at it's finest. It was called a "religious" war back in the day when church and state were one because of just that, it was one. Religion had full influence and final say on what a "state" was going to do. It was religious in nature therefor it was religious, period. "In my opinion, many of those murders were done in God’s name but were not right." How can you say something like that, which completely backs up my point, and yet fail to grasp my point at the same time? The rest of your comments about this is just stupid and I don't want to address them again because I hate repeating myself, especially for someone who just won't get it. Also that link you gave me is lies and propaganda created by Christian leaders to make Atheists look bad and Christians look saint-like. You should really check your sources before you start shooting off at the mouth trying to sound righteous. Especially the part about the Salem Witch trials, that's sick. You sound like a Holocaust denier.

You clearly ignored my post about how Stalin and Hitler were devout Catholics. If you need proof then I suggest you read here. and for Hitler and Stalin respectively. I plan on writing about this more extensively but I hope this helps you see just how blinded and propagated you actually are. It kind of infuriates me that you had the nerve to say this after I actually added it into my post for the week about how they were NOT atheist and they WERE catholic, you still chose to ignore it as if it didn't matter. That's ignorance, and quite frankly that's something I'd go so far as to say brain washed. 

‎"Christians should be ashamed of themselves for backing something that has
caused so much horror, strife & oppression, as well as backing something with
no proof, no substance, no logic, no reason; for putting all their heart into fairy
tales for grown-ups, and then trying to push that delusion on everybody else just
so they can control the things they were taught to be uncomfortable around." - Chelle Von Steenburgh

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Week 2 - Christianity's Death Toll & Wars vs Atheist Death Tolls & Wars

I'm writing my entry a bit early this week because I predict the next few days leading up to the weekend to be a bit too busy for me to get this done on time. I'll email it out to my mom on Friday as usual and I'll post the responses I get back from her as I receive them.

This week's topic is going to be a two part topic, probably pretty long again so apologies in advance. I had an argument with my mom not too long ago about how much blood is on the hands of Christianity, and she claimed that just as many people have killed in the name of Atheism as they have done in the name of Christianity. As always, I'll provide whatever links I may have used to back up what I've said at the end of this post. I intend on saying only things that I can back up. I have no intentions of plagiarizing anything from anyone, however please forgive me if I end up copy-pasting some text from some websites near the end, I'm sure you can understand how much work it takes to write this up and how lazy I become near the end. I'll always give credit where credit is due.

 God & The Bible

Let's start at the very beginning. Many Christians argue that murder is a sin and their God is a peaceful, loving God. They claim that the only reason "evil" exists in the world is because well, of two reasons. We were given free will, first of all. Secondly, it's Satan's fault too. I don't see how it could be both to be honest. If we have free will, how can Satan dictate what we do? If we didn't, I can maybe see it being Satan's fault for causing all this shit. But it's just us. I won't get too much into that topic because that's another one for another day. Anyways. As you can see in the chart to the left, God is actually the one with the most documented murders. The 10 deaths that are attributed to Satan aren't even fully his fault. He was placed on a bet and given permission by God himself to carry out those murders. Think back to Noah's Ark, Sodom & Gomorrah, killing "the innocents" and "first born children" in the 10 plagues in Egypt, he even murdered his own son. He violates a direct commandment, "Thou shalt not kill," number 6. I'm sorry but I'd never follow a God who couldn't lead by example.

If that's not enough, if you want to argue "But he's God, he punished all those people for x y z reason! He doesn't have to abide by human rules because he is the creator!" Then fine. But that's circular logic that I can't talk reason into. Going back to the Bible, however, you'll also notice dozens of hypocrisies within, blatantly disregarding the 6th commandment again and again. Here are some examples of where God not only condones and encourages, but sets murder as the punishment for breaking certain rules:
Kill People Who Don't Listen to Priests
Deuteronomy 17:12 -  And the man that will do presumptuously, and will not hearken unto the priest that standeth to minister there before the LORD thy God, or unto the judge, even that man shall die: and thou shalt put away the evil from Israel.

Kill Homosexuals
Leviticus 20:13 - If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them.

Death for Hitting Dad
Exodus 21:15 - And he who strikes his father or his mother shall surely be put to death. 

Death for Cursing Parents
Proverbs 20:20 - Whoever curses his father or his mother, His lamp will be put out in deep darkness. 
Leviticus 20:9 - For everyone who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death. He has cursed his father or his mother. His blood shall be upon him. 

Death for Adultery
Leviticus 20:10 - The man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, he who commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress, shall surely be put to death.

Death for Fornication 
Leviticus 21:9 - The daughter of any priest, if she profanes herself by playing the harlot, she profanes her father. She shall be burned with fire. 

Death to Followers of Other Religions2 Chronicles 15:12-13 - Then they entered into a covenant to seek the LORD God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul; and whoever would not seek the LORD God of Israel was to be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman.
Deuteronomy 13:7-12 - of the gods of the people which are all around you, near to you or far off from you, from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth, you shall not consent to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him or conceal him; but you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. And you shall stone him with stones until he dies, because he sought to entice you away from the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. So all Israel shall hear and fear, and not again do such wickedness as this among you.

Kill the Entire Town if One Person Worships Another God
Deuteronomy 13:13-19 - Corrupt men have gone out from among you and enticed the inhabitants of their city, saying, “Let us go and serve other gods”’—which you have not known—then you shall inquire, search out, and ask diligently. And if it is indeed true and certain that such an abomination was committed among you, you shall surely strike the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying it, all that is in it and its livestock—with the edge of the sword. And you shall gather all its plunder into the middle of the street, and completely burn with fire the city and all its plunder, for the LORD your God. It shall be a heap forever; it shall not be built again. So none of the accursed things shall remain in your hand, that the LORD may turn from the fierceness of His anger and show you mercy, have compassion on you and multiply you, just as He swore to your fathers, because you have listened to the voice of the LORD your God, to keep all His commandments which I command you today, to do what is right in the eyes of the LORD your God.

Kill Women Who Are Not Virgins On Their Wedding Night
Deuteronomy  22:20-21 - But if the thing is true, and evidences of virginity are not found for the young woman, then they shall bring out the young woman to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death with stones, because she has done a disgraceful thing in Israel, to play the harlot in her father’s house. So you shall put away the evil from among you. 

Death for Blasphemy
Leviticus 24:10-16 - Now the son of an Israelite woman, whose father was an Egyptian, went out among the children of Israel; and this Israelite woman’s son and a man of Israel fought each other in the camp. And the Israelite woman’s son blasphemed the name of the LORD and cursed; and so they brought him to Moses. (His mother’s name was Shelomith the daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan.) Then they put him in custody, that the mind of the LORD might be shown to them. And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,“Take outside the camp him who has cursed; then let all who heard him lay their hands on his head, and let all the congregation stone him. “Then you shall speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘Whoever curses his God shall bear his sin. And whoever blasphemes the name of the LORD shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall certainly stone him, the stranger as well as him who is born in the land. When he blasphemes the name of the LORD, he shall be put to death. 

Kill People for Working on the Sabbath
Exodus 31:12-15 - And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak also to the children of Israel, saying: ‘Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you. You shall keep the Sabbath, therefore, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people. Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.

Kill Brats
2 Kings 2:23-24 -Then he went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up the road, some youths came from the city and mocked him, and said to him, “Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!” So he turned around and looked at them, and pronounced a curse on them in the name of the LORD. And two female bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths. 

God Kills the Curious 
1Samuel 6:19-20 - Then He struck the men of Beth Shemesh, because they had looked into the ark of the LORD. He struck fifty thousand and seventy men of the people, and the people lamented because the LORD had struck the people with a great slaughter.

Kill Sons of Sinners
Isaiah 14:21 - Prepare slaughter for his children Because of the iniquity of their fathers, Lest they rise up and possess the land, And fill the face of the world with cities.
If that's not enough proof for you, you can find more bible verses of that nature in the links listed below. If you want to argue "but those are all old testament stories and rules! God gave us Jesus to die for our sins so we wouldn't have to live like that anymore!" If you want to believe this is true, then how come some people still live by these rules? Why is it even in the Bible if it's not relevant anymore? The Bible is supposed to be the word of God, his moral compass for us. If it's not to be taken literally, then what part of the Bible is at all? Once you start cherry picking like that, it's a very slippery slope of "perceptive interpretations" that can turn into just about anything that anyone wants to hear to justify what they want to get away with.

Throughout Documented History

Christianity as a religion has been around for a very long time. 2000 years infact, possibly even longer. Since that time, Christianity and it's followers have targeted just about every group imaginable, either to convert and consume them, or to murder and destroy if they can't convert them. It's really not surprising that they feeling completely justified in doing these kinds of things, after reading the above passages from their Holy Book, which they get all their morality and instruction out of. Especially if their God is the one who has done the most murdering throughout their version of history, it's natural that they'd only want to be more God-like by following in his footsteps. Below is a list of most known Christian atrocities acted out upon various groups of people since Christianity became recognized as a religion, starting from as far back as the Roman Empire. Links will be provided below for more information on these "holy crusades."

Ancient Pagans
  • As soon as Christianity became legal in the Roman Empire by imperial edict (315), more and more pagan temples were destroyed by Christian mob. Pagan priests were killed.
  • Between 315 and 6th century thousands of pagan believers were slain.
  • Examples of destroyed Temples: the Sanctuary of Aesculap in Aegaea, the Temple of Aphrodite in Golgatha, Aphaka in Lebanon, the Heliopolis.
  • Christian priests such as Mark of Arethusa or Cyrill of Heliopolis were famous as "temple destroyer."
  • Pagan services became punishable by death in 356.
  • Christian Emperor Theodosius (408-450) even had children executed, because they had been playing with remains of pagan statues.
    According to Christian chroniclers he "followed meticulously all Christian teachings..."
  • In 6th century pagans were declared void of all rights.
  • In the early fourth century the philosopher Sopatros was executed on demand of Christian authorities.
  • The world famous female philosopher Hypatia of Alexandria was torn to pieces with glass fragments by a hysterical Christian mob led by a Christian minister named Peter, in a church, in 415.
  • Emperor Karl (Charlemagne) in 782 had 4500 Saxons, unwilling to convert to Christianity, beheaded.
  • Peasants of Steding (Germany) unwilling to pay suffocating church taxes: between 5,000 and 11,000 men, women and children slain 5/27/1234 near Altenesch/Germany.
  • 15th century Poland: 1019 churches and 17987 villages plundered by Knights of the Order. Number of victims unknown.
  • 16th and 17th century Ireland. English troops "pacified and civilized" Ireland, where only Gaelic "wild Irish", "unreasonable beasts lived without any knowledge of God or good manners, in common of their goods, cattle, women, children and every other thing." One of the more successful soldiers, a certain Humphrey Gilbert, half-brother of Sir Walter Raleigh, ordered that "the heddes of all those (of what sort soever thei were) which were killed in the daie, should be cutte off from their bodies... and should bee laied on the ground by eche side of the waie", which effort to civilize the Irish indeed caused "greate terrour to the people when thei sawe the heddes of their dedde fathers, brothers, children, kinsfolke, and freinds on the grounde".
  • Tens of thousands of Gaelic Irish fell victim to the carnage.  
Crusades (1095-1291)
  • First Crusade: 1095 on command of pope Urban II.
  • Semlin/Hungary 6/24/96 thousands slain. Wieselburg/Hungary 6/12/96 thousands.
  • 9/9/96-9/26/96 Nikaia, Xerigordon (then Turkish), thousands respectively.
  • Until January 1098 a total of 40 capital cities and 200 castles conquered (number of slain unknown)
  • After 6/3/98 Antiochia (then Turkish) conquered, between 10,000 and 60,000 slain. 6/28/98 100,000 Turks (incl. women and children) killed. Here the Christians "did no other harm to the women found in [the enemy's] tents - save that they ran their lances through their bellies," according to Christian chronicler Fulcher of Chartres.
  • Marra (Maraat an-numan) 12/11/98 thousands killed. Because of the subsequent famine "the already stinking corpses of the enemies were eaten by the Christians" said chronicler Albert Aquensis. 
  • Jerusalem conquered 7/15/1099 more than 60,000 victims (Jewish, Muslim, men, women, children). In the words of one witness: "there [in front of Solomon's temple] was such a carnage that our people were wading ankle-deep in the blood of our foes", and after that "happily and crying for joy our people marched to our Saviour's tomb, to honour it and to pay off our debt of gratitude."
  • The Archbishop of Tyre, eye-witness, wrote: "It was impossible to look upon the vast numbers of the slain without horror; everywhere lay fragments of human bodies, and the very ground was covered with the blood of the slain. It was not alone the spectacle of headless bodies and mutilated limbs strewn in all directions that roused the horror of all who looked upon them. Still more dreadful was it to gaze upon the victors themselves, dripping with blood from head to foot, an ominous sight which brought terror to all who met them. It is reported that within the Temple enclosure alone about ten thousand infidels perished."
  • Christian chronicler Eckehard of Aura noted that "even the following summer in all of Palestine the air was polluted by the stench of decomposition".
  • Battle of Askalon, 8/12/1099. Thousands of heathens slaughtered "in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ".
  • Fourth crusade: 4/12/1204 Constantinople sacked, number of victims unknown, numerous thousands, many of them Christian.
  • Crusades (1095-1291)
    • Estimated totals:
      • Wertham: 1,000,000
      • Charles Mackay, Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the
        Madness of Crowds
        (1841): 2,000,000 Europeans killed.
      • Aletheia, The Rationalist's Manual: 5,000,000
    • Individual Events:
      • Davies: Crusaders killed up to 8,000 Jews in Rhineland
      • Paul Johnson A History of the Jews (1987): 1,000 Jewish women in Rhineland comm. suicide to avoid the mob, 1096.
      • Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, v.5, 6
        • 1st Crusade: 300,000 Eur. k at Battle of Nice [Nicea].
        • Crusaders vs. Solimon of Roum: 4,000 Christians, 3,000 Moslems
        • 1098, Fall of Antioch: 100,000 Moslems massacred.
        • 50,000 Pilgrims died of disease.
        • 1099, Fall of Jerusalem: 70,000 Moslems massacred.
        • Siege of Tiberias: 30,000 Christians k.
        • Siege of Tyre: 1,000 Turks
        • Richard the Lionhearted executes 3,000 Moslem POWs.
        • 1291: 100,000 Christians k after fall of Acre.
        • Fall of Christian Antioch: 17,000 massacred.
        • [TOTAL: 677,000 listed in these episodes here.]
      • Catholic Encyclopedia (1910) []
        • Jaffa: 20,000 Christians massacred, 1197
      • Sorokin estimates that French, English & Imperial German Crusaders lost
        a total of 3,600 in battle.

        • 1st C (1096-99): 400
        • 2nd C (1147-49): 750
        • 3rd C (1189-91): 930
        • 4th C (1202-04): 120
        • 5th C (1228-29): 600
        • 7th C (1248-54): 700
      • James Trager, The People's Chronology (1992)
        • 1099: Crusaders slaughter 40,000 inhabs of Jerusalem. Dis/starv reduced Crusaders from 300,000 to 60,000.
        • 1147: 2nd Crusades begins with 500,000. "Most" lost to starv./disease/battle.
        • 1190: 500 Jews massacred in York.
        • 1192: 3rd Crusade reduced from 100,000 to 5,000 through famine, plagues and desertions in campaign vs Antioch.
        • 1212: Children's Crusade loses some 50,000.
        • [TOTAL: Just in these incidents, it appears the Europeans lost around
    • TOTAL: When I take all the individual death tolls listed here, weed out
      the duplicates, fill in the blanks, apply Occam ("Pluralitas non est
      ponenda sine necessitate"
      ), etc. I get a very rough total of 1½ M
      deaths in the Crusades.
 Heretics and Atheists
  • Already in 385 C.E. the first Christians, the Spanish Priscillianus and six followers, were beheaded for heresy in Trier/Germany
  • Manichaean heresy: a crypto-Christian sect decent enough to practice birth control (and thus not as irresponsible as faithful Catholics) was exterminated in huge campaigns all over the Roman empire between 372 C.E. and 444 C.E. Numerous thousands of victims.
  • Albigensians: the first Crusade intended to slay other Christians. The Albigensians (Cathars) viewed themselves as good Christians, but would not accept Roman Catholic rule, and taxes, and prohibition of birth control. Begin of violence: on command of pope Innocent III (the greatest single mass murderer prior to the Nazi era) in 1209. Beziérs (today France) 7/22/1209 destroyed, all the inhabitants were slaughtered. Number of victims (including Catholics refusing to turn over their heretic neighbors and friends) estimated between 20,000-70,000.
  • Carcassonne 8/15/1209, thousands slain. Other cities followed.
  • Subsequent 20 years of war until nearly all Cathars (probably half the population of the Languedoc, today southern France) were exterminated.
  • After the war ended (1229) the Inquisition was founded 1232 to search and destroy surviving/hiding heretics. Last Cathars burned at the stake 1324.
  • Estimated one million victims (Cathar heresy alone),
  • Other heresies: Waldensians, Paulikians, Runcarians, Josephites, and many others. Most of these sects exterminated, (I believe some Waldensians live today, yet they had to endure 600 years of persecution) I estimate at least hundred thousand victims (including the Spanish inquisition but excluding victims in the New World).
  • Spanish Inquisitor Torquemada, a former Dominican friar, allegedly was responsible for 10,220 burnings. 
  • John Huss, a critic of papal infallibility and indulgences, was burned at the stake in 1415. 
  • Michael Sattler, leader of a baptist community, was burned at the stake in Rottenburg, Germany, May 20, 1527. Several days later his wife and other follwers were also executed.
  • University professor B.Hubmaier burned at the stake 1538 in Vienna.
  • Giordano Bruno, Dominican monk, after having been incarcerated for seven years, was burned at the stake for heresy on the Campo dei Fiori (Rome) on 2/17/1600.
  • Thomas Aikenhead, a twenty-year-old scottish student of Edinburgh University, was hanged for atheism and blasphemy.
  • From the beginning of Christianity to 1484 probably more than several thousand.
  • In the era of witch hunting (1484-1750) according to modern scholars several hundred thousand (about 80% female) burned at the stake or hanged.
  • Incomplete list of documented cases:
    The Burning of Witches - A Chronicle of the Burning Times
 Religious Wars
  • 15th century: Crusades against Hussites, thousands slain.
  • 1538 pope Paul III declared Crusade against apostate England and all English as slaves of Church (fortunately had not power to go into action).
  • 1568 Spanish Inquisition Tribunal ordered extermination of 3 million rebels in (then Spanish) Netherlands. Between 5000 and 6000 Protestants were drowned by Spanish Catholic Troops, "a disaster the burghers of Emden first realized when several thousand broad-brimmed Dutch hats floated by."
  • 1572 In France about 20,000 Huguenots were killed on command of pope Pius V. Until 17th century 200,000 flee.
  • 17th century: Catholics slay Gaspard de Coligny, a Protestant leader. After murdering him, the Catholic mob mutilated his body, "cutting off his head, his hands, and his genitals... and then dumped him into the river [...but] then, deciding that it was not worthy of being food for the fish, they hauled it out again [... and] dragged what was left ... to the gallows of Montfaulcon, 'to be meat and carrion for maggots and crows'."
  • 17th century: Catholics sack the city of Magdeburg/Germany: roughly 30,000 Protestants were slain. "In a single church fifty women were found beheaded," reported poet Friedrich Schiller, "and infants still sucking the breasts of their lifeless mothers."
  • 17th century 30 years' war (Catholic vs. Protestant): at least 40% of population decimated, mostly in Germany. 
  • Already in the 4th and 5th centuries synagogues were burned by Christians.Number of Jews slain unknown.
  • In the middle of the fourth century the first synagogue was destroyed on command of bishop Innocentius of Dertona in Northern Italy. The first synagogue known to have been burned down was near the river Euphrat, on command of the bishop of Kallinikon in the year 388.
  •  694 17. Council of Toledo: Jews were enslaved, their property confiscated, and their children forcibly baptized.
  • 1010 The Bishop of Limoges (France) had the cities' Jews, who would not convert to Christianity, expelled or killed.
  • 1096 First Crusade: Thousands of Jews slaughtered, maybe 12.000 total. Places: Worms 5/18/1096, Mainz 5/27/1096 (1100 persons), Cologne, Neuss, Altenahr, Wevelinghoven, Xanten, Moers, Dortmund, Kerpen, Trier, Metz, Regensburg, Prag and others (All locations Germany except Metz/France, Prag/Czech) 
  • 1147 Second Crusade: Several hundred Jews were slain in Ham, Sully, Carentan, and Rameru (all locations in France).
  • 1189/90 Third Crusade: English Jewish communities sacked.
  • 1235, Fulda/Germany: 34 Jewish men and women slain.
  • 1257, 1267: Jewish communities of London, Canterbury, Northampton, Lincoln, Cambridge, and others exterminated.
  • 1290 Bohemia (Poland) allegedly 10,000 Jews killed.
  • 1337 Starting in Deggendorf/Germany a Jew-killing craze reaches 51 towns in Bavaria, Austria, Poland.
  • 1348 All Jews of Basel/Switzerland and Strasbourg/France (two thousand) burned. 
  • 1349 In more than 350 towns in Germany all Jews murdered, mostly burned alive (in this one year more Jews were killed than Christians in 200 years of ancient Roman persecution of Christians).
  • 1389 In Prag 3,000 Jews were slaughtered.
  • 1391 Seville's Jews killed (Archbishop Martinez leading). 4,000 were slain, 25,000 sold as slaves. Their identification was made easy by the brightly colored "badges of shame" that all Jews above the age of ten had been forced to wear.
  • 1492 In the year Columbus set sail to conquer a New World, more than 150,000 Jews were expelled from Spain, many died on their way: 6/30/1492.
  • 1648 Chmielnitzki massacres: In Poland about 200,000 Jews were slain.
"(I feel sick ...) this goes on and on, century after century, right into the kilns of Auschwitz."
Native Peoples 
  • Beginning with Columbus (a former slave trader and would-be Holy Crusader) the conquest of the New World began, as usual understood as a means to propagate Christianity.
  • Within hours of landfall on the first inhabited island he encountered in the Caribbean, Columbus seized and carried off six native people who, he said, "ought to be good servants ... [and] would easily be made Christians, because it seemed to me that they belonged to no religion." While Columbus described the Indians as "idolators" and "slaves, as many as [the Crown] shall order," his pal Michele de Cuneo, Italian nobleman, referred to the natives as "beasts" because "they eat when they are hungry," and made love "openly whenever they feel like it."
  • On every island he set foot on, Columbus planted a cross, "making the declarations that are required" - the requerimiento - to claim the ownership for his Catholic patrons in Spain. And "nobody objected." If the Indians refused or delayed their acceptance (or understanding), the requerimiento continued:
    "I certify to you that, with the help of God, we shall powerfully enter in your country and shall make war against you ... and shall subject you to the yoke and obedience of the Church ... and shall do you all mischief that we can, as to vassals who do not obey and refuse to receive their lord and resist and contradict him

  • Likewise in the words of John Winthrop, first governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony: "justifieinge the undertakeres of the intended Plantation in New England ... to carry the Gospell into those parts of the world, ... and to raise a Bulworke against the kingdome of the Ante-Christ."
  • In average two thirds of the native population were killed by colonist-imported smallpox before violence began. This was a great sign of "the marvelous goodness and providence of God" to the Christians of course, e.g. the Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony wrote in 1634, as "for the natives, they are near all dead of the smallpox, so as the Lord hath cleared our title to what we possess."
  • On Hispaniola alone, on Columbus visits, the native population (Arawak), a rather harmless and happy people living on an island of abundant natural resources, a literal paradise, soon mourned 50,000 dead.
  • The surviving Indians fell victim to rape, murder, enslavement and Spanish raids.
  • As one of the culprits wrote: "So many Indians died that they could not be counted, all through the land the Indians lay dead everywhere. The stench was very great and pestiferous."
  • The Indian chief Hatuey fled with his people but was captured and burned alive. As "they were tying him to the stake a Franciscan friar urged him to take Jesus to his heart so that his soul might go to heaven, rather than descend into hell. Hatuey replied that if heaven was where the Christians went, he would rather go to hell." 
  • What happened to his people was described by an eyewitness:
    "The Spaniards found pleasure in inventing all kinds of odd cruelties ... They built a long gibbet, long enough for the toes to touch the ground to prevent strangling, and hanged thirteen [natives] at a time in honor of Christ Our Saviour and the twelve Apostles... then, straw was wrapped around their torn bodies and they were burned alive." Or, on another occasion:
    "The Spaniards cut off the arm of one, the leg or hip of another, and from some their heads at one stroke, like butchers cutting up beef and mutton for market. Six hundred, including the cacique, were thus slain like brute beasts...Vasco [de Balboa] ordered forty of them to be torn to pieces by dogs."
  • The "island's population of about eight million people at the time of Columbus's arrival in 1492 already had declined by a third to a half before the year 1496 was out." Eventually all the island's natives were exterminated, so the Spaniards were "forced" to import slaves from other caribbean islands, who soon suffered the same fate. Thus "the Caribbean's millions of native people [were] thereby effectively liquidated in barely a quarter of a century". [SH72-73] "In less than the normal lifetime of a single human being, an entire culture of millions of people, thousands of years resident in their homeland, had been exterminated."
  • "And then the Spanish turned their attention to the mainland of Mexico and Central America. The slaughter had barely begun. The exquisite city of Tenochtitlán [Mexico city] was next."
  • Cortez, Pizarro, De Soto and hundreds of other Spanish conquistadors likewise sacked southern and mesoamerican civilizations in the name of Christ (De Soto also sacked Florida).
  • "When the 16th century ended, some 200,000 Spaniards had moved to the Americas. By that time probably more than 60,000,000 natives were dead."
  • Although none of the settlers would have survived winter without native help, they soon set out to expel and exterminate the Indians. Warfare among (north American) Indians was rather harmless, in comparison to European standards, and was meant to avenge insults rather than conquer land. In the words of some of the pilgrim fathers: "Their Warres are farre less bloudy...", so that there usually was "no great slawter of nether side". Indeed, "they might fight seven yeares and not kill seven men." What is more, the Indians usually spared women and children.
  • In the spring of 1612 some English colonists found life among the (generally friendly and generous) natives attractive enough to leave Jamestown - "being idell ... did runne away unto the Indyans," - to live among them (that probably solved a sex problem). "Governor Thomas Dale had them hunted down and executed: 'Some he apointed (sic) to be hanged Some burned Some to be broken upon wheles, others to be staked and some shott to deathe'." Of course these elegant measures were restricted for fellow Englishmen: "This was the treatment for those who wished to act like Indians. For those who had no choice in the matter, because they were the native people of Virginia" methods were different: "when an Indian was accused by an Englishman of stealing a cup and failing to return it, the English response was to attack the natives in force, burning the entire community" down.
  • On the territory that is now Massachusetts the founding fathers of the colonies were committing genocide, in what has become known as the "Peqout War." The killers were New England Puritan Christians, refugees from persecution in their own home country England.
  • When however, a dead colonist was found, apparently killed by Narragansett Indians, the Puritan colonists wanted revenge. Despite the Indian chief's pledge they attacked.
    Somehow they seem to have lost the idea of what they were after, because when they were greeted by Pequot Indians (long-time foes of the Narragansetts) the troops nevertheless made war on the Pequots and burned their villages. The puritan commander-in-charge John Mason after one massacre wrote: "And indeed such a dreadful Terror did the Almighty let fall upon their Spirits, that they would fly from us and run into the very Flames, where many of them perished ... God was above them, who laughed his Enemies and the Enemies of his People to Scorn, making them as a fiery Oven ... Thus did the Lord judge among the Heathen, filling the Place with dead Bodies": men, women, children.
  • So "the Lord was pleased to smite our Enemies in the hinder Parts, and to give us their land for an inheritance".
  • Because of his readers' assumed knowledge of Deuteronomy, there was no need for Mason to quote the words that immediately follow: "Thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth. But thou shalt utterly destroy them..." (Deut 20)
  • Mason's comrade Underhill recalled how "great and doleful was the bloody sight to the view of the young soldiers" yet reassured his readers that "sometimes the Scripture declareth women and children must perish with their parents".
  • Other Indians were killed in successful plots of poisoning. The colonists even had dogs especially trained to kill Indians and to devour children from their mothers breasts, in the colonists' own words: "blood Hounds to draw after them, and Mastives to seaze them." (This was inspired by Spanish methods of the time)
    In this way they continued until the extermination of the Pequots was near.
  • The surviving handful of Indians "were parceled out to live in servitude. John Endicott and his pastor wrote to the governor asking for 'a share' of the captives, specifically 'a young woman or girle and a boy if you thinke good'."
  • Other tribes were to follow the same path.
  • Comment the Christian exterminators: "God's Will, which will at last give us cause to say: How Great is His Goodness! and How Great is his Beauty!"
    "Thus doth the Lord Jesus make them to bow before him, and to lick the Dust!"
  • Like today, lying was morally acceptable to Christians then. "Peace treaties were signed with every intention to violate them: when the Indians 'grow secure uppon (sic) the treatie', advised the Council of State in Virginia, 'we shall have the better Advantage both to surprise them, & cutt downe theire Corne'."
  • In 1624 sixty heavily armed Englishmen cut down 800 defenseless Indian men, women and children.
  • In a single massacre in "King Philip's War" of 1675 and 1676 some "600 Indians were destroyed. A delighted Cotton Mather, revered pastor of the Second Church in Boston, later referred to the slaughter as a 'barbeque'."
  • To summarize: Before the arrival of the English, the western Abenaki people in New Hampshire and Vermont had numbered 12,000. Less than half a century later about 250 remained alive - a destruction rate of 98%. The Pocumtuck people had numbered more than 18,000, fifty years later they were down to 920 - 95% destroyed. The Quiripi-Unquachog people had numbered about 30,000, fifty years later they were down to 1500 - 95% destroyed. The Massachusetts people had numbered at least 44,000, fifty years later barely 6000 were alive - 81% destroyed. These are only a few examples of the multitude of tribes living before Christian colonists set their foot on the New World. All this was before the smallpox epidemics of 1677 and 1678 had occurred. And the carnage was not over then.
  • All the above was only the beginning of the European colonization, it was before the frontier age actually had begun.
  • A total of maybe more than 150 million Indians (of both Americas) were destroyed in the period of 1500 to 1900, as an average two thirds by smallpox and other epidemics, that leaves some 50 million killed directly by violence, bad treatment and slavery.
  • In many countries, such as Brazil, and Guatemala, this continues even today. 
  • Reverend Solomon Stoddard, one of New England's most esteemed religious leaders, in "1703 formally proposed to the Massachusetts Governor that the colonists be given the financial wherewithal to purchase and train large packs of dogs 'to hunt Indians as they do bears'."
  • Massacre of Sand Creek, Colorado 11/29/1864. Colonel John Chivington, a former Methodist minister and still elder in the church ("I long to be wading in gore") had a Cheyenne village of about 600, mostly women and children, gunned down despite the chiefs' waving with a white flag: 400-500 killed. From an eye-witness account: "There were some thirty or forty squaws collected in a hole for protection; they sent out a little girl about six years old with a white flag on a stick; she had not proceeded but a few steps when she was shot and killed. All the squaws in that hole were afterwards killed ..."
  • By the 1860s, "in Hawai'i the Reverend Rufus Anderson surveyed the carnage that by then had reduced those islands' native population by 90 percent or more, and he declined to see it as tragedy; the expected total die-off of the Hawaiian population was only natural, this missionary said, somewhat equivalent to 'the amputation of diseased members of the body'."
 20th Century Church Atrocities  
  • Catholic extermination camps
    Surprisingly few know that Nazi extermination camps in World War II were by no means the only ones in Europe at the time. In the years 1942-1943 also in Croatia existed numerous extermination camps, run by Catholic Ustasha under their dictator Ante Paveliç, a practicing Catholic and regular visitor to the then pope. There were even concentration camps exclusively for children! In these camps - the most notorious was Jasenovac, headed by a Franciscan friar -orthodox-Christian Serbians (and a substantial number of Jews) were murdered. Like the Nazis the Catholic Ustasha burned their victims in kilns, alive (the Nazis were decent enough to have their victims gassed first). But most of the victims were simply stabbed, slain or shot to death, the number of them being estimated between 300,000 and 600,000, in a rather tiny country. Many of the killers were Franciscan friars. The atrocities were appalling enough to induce bystanders of the Nazi "Sicherheitsdienst der SS", watching, to complain about them to Hitler (who did not listen). The pope knew about these events and did nothing to prevent them.
  • Catholic terror in Vietnam
    In 1954 Vietnamese freedom fighters; the Viet Minh; - had finally defeated the French colonial government in North Vietnam, which by then had been supported by U.S. funds amounting to more than $2 billion. Although the victorious assured religious freedom to all (most non-Buddhist Vietnamese were Catholics), due to huge anticommunist propaganda campaigns many Catholics fled to the South. With the help of Catholic lobbies in Washington and Cardinal Spellman, the Vatican's spokesman in U.S. politics, who later on would call the U.S. forces in Vietnam "Soldiers of Christ", a scheme was concocted to prevent democratic elections which could have brought the communist Viet Minh to power in the South as well, and the fanatic Catholic Ngo Dinh Diem was made president of South Vietnam. Diem saw to it that U.S. aid, food, technical and general assistance was given to Catholics alone, Buddhist individuals and villages were ignored or had to pay for the food aids which were given to Catholics for free. The only religious denomination to be supported was Roman Catholicism.The Vietnamese McCarthyism turned even more vicious than its American counterpart. By 1956 Diem promulgated a presidential order which read:
      "Individuals considered dangerous to the national defense and common security may be confined by executive order, to a concentration camp."

    Supposedly to fight communism, thousands of Buddhist protesters and monks were imprisoned in "detention camps." Out of protest dozens of Buddhist teachers - male and female - and monks poured gasoline over themselves and burned themselves. (Note that Buddhists burned themselves: in comparison Christians tend to burn others). Meanwhile some of the prison camps, which in the meantime were filled with Protestant and even Catholic protesters as well, had turned into no-nonsense death camps. It is estimated that during this period of terror (1955-1960) at least 24,000 were wounded - ; mostly in street riots ; - 80,000 people were executed, 275,000 had been detained or tortured, and about 500,000 were sent to concentration or detention camps. To support this kind of government in the next decade thousands of American GI's lost their life.

  • Christianity kills the cat
  • On July 1, 1976, Anneliese Michel, a 23-year-old student of a teachers college in Germany, died: she starved herself to death. For months she had been haunted by demonic visions and apparitions, and for months two Catholic priests - with explicit approval of the Catholic bishop of Würzburg - additionally pestered and tormented the wretched girl with their exorcist rituals. After her death in Klingenberg hospital - her body was littered with wounds - her parents, both of them fanatical Catholics, were sentenced to six months for not having called for medical help. None of the priests was punished: on the contrary, Miss Michel's grave today is a place of pilgrimage and worship for a number of similarly faithful Catholics (in the seventeenth century Würzburg was notorious for it's extensive witch burnings).This case is only the tip of an iceberg of such evil superstition and has become known only because of its lethal outcome.

  • Rwanda Massacres
    In 1994 in the small African country of Rwanda in just a few months several hundred thousand civilians were butchered, apparently a conflict of the Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups.For quite some time I heard only rumors about Catholic clergy actively involved in the 1994 Rwanda massacres. Odd denials of involvement were printed in Catholic church journals, before even anybody had openly accused members of the church.Then, 10/10/96, in the newscast of S2 Aktuell, Germany - a station not at all critical to Christianity - the following was stated:

    More recently the BBC aired:
        Priests get death sentence for Rwandan genocide
        BBC NEWS April 19, 1998

        A court in Rwanda has sentenced two Roman Catholic priests to death for their role in the genocide of 1994, in which up to a million Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed. Pope John Paul said the priests must be made to account for their actions. Different sections of the Rwandan church have been widely accused of playing an active role in the genocide of 1994...
None of these even account for the atrocities that have been going on in the past 10 years since the dawn of the 21st century. There are currently murders being carried out in African for families who claim their children are practicing witchcraft, where the children are taken to Christian churches and killed by the pastors for a fee. You can read more about it here. Or what about Mother Theresa's Missionaries of Charity who withhold medical aid, food, water, shelter, until the people they are there to help denounce their own beliefs and convert to Christianity, and even then they still withhold help. Find out more information about this story here. There are probably hundreds of other accounts, such as gays being murdered every year just for being gay, and let's not forget this example...

At this point I don't see how anyone could argue that Christianity isn't a war-mongering religion. Their God promotes it, their God leads by example, and their Bible supports it. I'd argue that it's quite possibly THE most violent religion known to man, yes even moreso than Islam.

Atheism & Violence

Now, all of this has definitely lead up to the 1 million dollar question of the night, which is; How much blood is on the hands of Atheists? How many wars have been started in the name of Atheism? How many murders are acted out because of Atheists and their beliefs? Well, that answer is...

 Not a whole fucking lot. Please keep in mind, I'm making the distinction between a murder by an Atheist, and a murder in the name of Atheism. There's a massive difference. You'll rarely ever, if never, hear of someone pointing a gun at your face and shouting "For ATHEISM!!" Before pulling the trigger, but you most certainly will hear "FOR ALLAH!" or any other variation of religions chanting. Even Stalin and Hitler, the two people that Christians point fingers at claiming they were Atheists and they started wars, were devout Catholics. That's another topic for another day, if you can't wait for proof on this statement you'll have to do your own reading and researching. But I think it's safe to say that this topic is big enough that it doesn't need to be added to with the backgrounds of each dictator just yet. 

I'm not sure there's a single documented case of an isolated murder, serial murderer, mass murderer, genocide, or full out war caused by an Atheist or caused in the name of Atheism. Our focus is the pursuit of knowledge and understanding of the world around us, not to blow it up. We have no Gods to answer to, no Gods to fight for, no Gods to prove to another whose is stronger. We're humanitarians at the core, and war only serves to divide us. There's no need to divide and conquer in Atheism, it is not our creed.

Some may argue that Mao Zedong, who led China for more than a quarter of a century following World War II, was an Atheist. While they may be right, I'd also argue that the unknown tens of millions of Chinese that he killed during his reign were not killed in the name of Atheism or to conquer in the name of Atheism, but moreso because he was a wicked man with his own selfish agenda to rule a country how he wanted to see it ruled, it was not a Crusade for Atheism. There's also Pol Pot, who led the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia during the 1970's, when as many as 2 million Cambodians, as much as 20% of the population, were killed. But again, was this because of Atheism, or because of an evil man with a twisted vision? The distinction is important. It is a distinction that must be made, and certainly can be made for the Christian butchering listed above throughout history.,8599,1182991,00.html