Thursday, December 04, 2008

Dinesh D'Souza - The best defense is a good offense

In his article "Atheism, not religion, is the real force behind the mass murders of history" makes a convincing case that religion is not necessarily a cause of genocide. However, he immediately turns around and blames atheism, using essentially the same argument. Yet the argument, in my opinion, is flawed. We all know the old slogan, "correlation does not imply causality" and I think this is partially the falacy in D'Souza's argument. Just because Hitler and Stalin were atheists does not mean that their atheism was the cause of their genocidal atrocities. D'Souza never makes a cogent argument showing the causality.

Atheism was always a side-effect of both Communism and Nazism. Take Communism for example. The main doctrine of communism has to do with class struggle and economic equality. The initial Bolshevik terror had to do with killing of "class enemies". Stalin's purges had nothing to do with ideology at all, as is well documented. He was simply killing anyone whom he perceived as a potential threat.

So, what makes people commit genocide - religion or atheism? My suspicion is that it is neither. Mass killing is part of human nature. It is as old as humanity. Mainly it has to do with identifying the "Other" and then eliminating it. The reasons may be ethnic, religious, economic or social or all of the above.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Daganev said...

Atheism (well, actually Materialism) clearly is the cause for the mass murders. However, even people who claim to follow religion can be atheists.

Only with the belief that what you do here and now is the only thing that matters, and that what you do will not affect you in the after life, could you even imagine that mass murder is a good or effective idea.

Only when you forget that all people are created by G-d can you even conceive of killing others based on your own decision.

December 04, 2008 3:33 PM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...

Materialism does not preclude religion (see King Solomon or the Pope).

"Atheism (well, actually Materialism) clearly is the cause for the mass murders."

This is an assertion that you have not proven in any way.

December 04, 2008 6:37 PM  

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