Arguing With Theists

After having read a rather good blog entry on agnosticism and atheism last week, I was all fired up about religious matters.

So I found myself in a comment thread about religion in an article of The Local (where, I have, incidentally, just published another article).

Anyway, the person I was arguing with began, as these people do, to discuss oppressive communist states and point out that they were and are all “atheist” states. Meaning, I can only assume, that atheists are all mass-murderers (pretty rich coming from the people behind the crusades, I thought).

Let’s look at this more closely. Now, if you planned to install a totalitarian communist regime in a country, what kind of population would you want?

Would you prefer an educated, sceptical population who base their decisions on evidence and reason and can not be convinced of things that are not demonstrably true?

Or would you prefer a population who are used to subjugating themselves to a higher power, who do not ask for evidence and quite happily believe anything you tell them as long as some unelected authority figure told them to believe it?

I won’t insult your intelligence by answering that question directly.

Basically, religion primes people to accept any and all shadowy omnipotent leaders. Atheism, by and large, doesn’t, since atheists are (by definition) better at reasoning.

So if you want to install a totalitarian regime you had better hope that the population is as religious and uneducated as possible. Like, oh let’s see, half the countries in Africa?

And for the record, communist states don’t stamp out religion because they don’t like it. They stamp it out so that their own power can be more absolute. And what is communism, if not a religion? Isn’t it also a set of ideas and doctrines, complete with holy books, which must be followed without thinking? What are Chairman Mao and Kim Jong-il, if not little arrogant gods?

Communists are sure as hell not sceptics, and can only be called “atheists” in the most superficial of ways.

So you want “freedom”? Then you can start by freeing people from all forms of oppression, both governmental and religious, and empower them to make their own decisions. And then we can all live happily ever after.

Until we die, and turn to godless compost and bright little flowers grow from our mulch.

Anyway, have a nice weekend. Free of both communists and sky fairies.

/ paddy