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  1. #121
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Byrom View Post
    I'm pretty sure Michael's argument is the other way round: That Communism is a religion, and therefore hostile to other religions.
    Which also doesn't work because not all religions are hostile to other religions.
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  2. #122
    Reader in Slood Dynamics Rincewind's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Byrom View Post
    I'm pretty sure Michael's argument is the other way round: That Communism is a religion, and therefore hostile to other religions.
    It's couched in that form but the thrust of Michael's post is to conclude that Communism is a "religion" and the hostility towards "other religions" seems more like evidence for this conclusion than the other way around.
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  3. #123
    CC Grandmaster Capablanca-Fan's Avatar
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    Or else: Communism is a particularly murderous political and economic philosophy that stems from the religion of dogmatic atheism, although not all or necessarily even most dogmatic atheists are Communists.
    “The history of the 20th century is full of examples of countries that set out to redistribute wealth and ended up redistributing poverty.”
    “There’s no point blaming the tragedies of socialism on the flaws or corruption of particular leaders. Any system which allows some people to exercise unbridled power over others is an open invitation to abuse, whether that system is called slavery or socialism or something else.”—Thomas Sowell

  4. #124
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Byrom View Post
    Communism is definitely an ideology. But it has many features of a religion. Jim McClelland make that point here much more charmingly than I ever could. Vladimir Putin isn't quite so charming, but he agrees here.

    I'm pretty sure Michael's argument is the other way round: That Communism is a religion, and therefore hostile to other religions.
    If we look at Communist Russia or China for instance: The respective religions were fought aggressively. Reason being - those who believe in God can not believe in Communism same time so how to convince someone to believe in Communism if the person is Christian, Buddhist etc.

    One of defining features of a religion (along with with believing in super powers - and even this has been claimed in some countries such as North Korea) is ''a particular system of faith and worship.'' in communist countries - this is exactly what the State wanted people to believe in.
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  5. #125
    CC Grandmaster Desmond's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Capablanca-Fan View Post
    Or else: Communism is a particularly murderous political and economic philosophy that stems from the religion of dogmatic atheism, although not all or necessarily even most dogmatic atheists are Communists.
    Atheism is a religion is the same way that not collecting stamps is a hobby.
    So what's your excuse? To run like the devil's chasing you.

    See you in another life, brotha.

  6. #126
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Capablanca-Fan View Post
    Or else: Communism is a particularly murderous political and economic philosophy that stems from the religion of dogmatic atheism, although not all or necessarily even most dogmatic atheists are Communists.
    Except it doesn't. There is nothing in atheism, dogmatic or otherwise, that supports a communist approach to political economy as opposed to a capitalist or socialist or mixed or protectionist one or anything else. Ayn Rand was a dogmatic atheist and she certainly wasn't a communist!

    The causality is the other way around - practical communism employs dogmatic atheism because it is not very compatible with theism and requires on illiberal repression to survive.
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  7. #127
    CC Grandmaster Capablanca-Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham View Post
    Except it doesn't. There is nothing in atheism, dogmatic or otherwise, that supports a communist approach to political economy as opposed to a capitalist or socialist or mixed or protectionist one or anything else. Ayn Rand was a dogmatic atheist and she certainly wasn't a communist!
    Hence my statement, "although not all or necessarily even most dogmatic atheists are Communists."

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham View Post
    The causality is the other way around — practical communism employs dogmatic atheism because it is not very compatible with theism and requires on illiberal repression to survive.
    That could well be right.
    “The history of the 20th century is full of examples of countries that set out to redistribute wealth and ended up redistributing poverty.”
    “There’s no point blaming the tragedies of socialism on the flaws or corruption of particular leaders. Any system which allows some people to exercise unbridled power over others is an open invitation to abuse, whether that system is called slavery or socialism or something else.”—Thomas Sowell

  8. #128
    CC Grandmaster antichrist's Avatar
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    this poor guy never got a word in edgeways

    https://www.memri.org/reports/egypti...tric-treatment
    Zionism is racism as defined by the UN, Israel by every dirty means available steals land and water, kill Palestinian freedom fighters and civilians, and operates an apartheid system to drive more Palestinians off their land

  9. #129
    CC Grandmaster Ian Murray's Avatar
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    We’re Less and Less a Christian Nation, and I Blame Some Blowhards
    Nicholas Kristof
    New York Times
    26.10.19

    Perhaps for the first time since the United States was established, a majority of young adults here do not identify as Christian.

    Only 49 percent of millennials consider themselves Christian, compared with 84 percent of Americans in their mid-70s or older, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center.

    We don’t have good historical data, and the historians I consulted are wary of definitive historical comparisons. But something significant seems to be happening. The share of American adults who regard themselves as Christian has fallen by 12 percentage points in just the last decade.

    “The U.S. is steadily becoming less Christian and less religiously observant,” the Pew study concluded....

  10. #130
    CC Grandmaster antichrist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Murray View Post
    We’re Less and Less a Christian Nation, and I Blame Some Blowhards
    Nicholas Kristof
    New York Times
    26.10.19

    Perhaps for the first time since the United States was established, a majority of young adults here do not identify as Christian.

    Only 49 percent of millennials consider themselves Christian, compared with 84 percent of Americans in their mid-70s or older, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center.

    We don’t have good historical data, and the historians I consulted are wary of definitive historical comparisons. But something significant seems to be happening. The share of American adults who regard themselves as Christian has fallen by 12 percentage points in just the last decade.

    “The U.S. is steadily becoming less Christian and less religiously observant,” the Pew study concluded....
    Capa Fan would classify himself as a Christian but I left the Church 55 years ago but I am still more Christian than him. Probably about the same time he was born.
    Zionism is racism as defined by the UN, Israel by every dirty means available steals land and water, kill Palestinian freedom fighters and civilians, and operates an apartheid system to drive more Palestinians off their land

  11. #131
    CC Grandmaster antichrist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Capablanca-Fan View Post
    Crap. Rabbi David Dalin's book The Myth of Hitler's Pope documents that the medieval popes were at the forefront of denouncing the "host desecration" and "blood" libels (well, duh, Jewish food laws prohibit consumption of blood). But such antisemitic libels are very popular in the Islamic world. Two of my relatives, the father and son Samuel and Joseph Sarfati (d. 16th C) were leaders in the Jewish community and physicians to popes. See also Christian opposition to antisemitism
    If there was not Catholicism there would not have been a body and blood of Christ host that the Jews could be accused of stabbing. Straight out of the Holy Scriptures

    Matthew 26:28 - Bible Gateway
    https://www.biblegateway.com/verse/en/Matthew 26:28

    “Take and eat this,” he said, “it is my body.” Then he took a cup and after thanking God, he gave it to them with the words, “Drink this, all of you, for it is my blood, the blood of the new agreement shed to set many free from their sins. I tell you I will drink no more wine until I drink it fresh with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
    Zionism is racism as defined by the UN, Israel by every dirty means available steals land and water, kill Palestinian freedom fighters and civilians, and operates an apartheid system to drive more Palestinians off their land

  12. #132
    CC Grandmaster Capablanca-Fan's Avatar
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    Self-serving myths and pseudo-history by the New Atheists

    REVIEW – NATHAN JOHNSTONE “THE NEW ATHEISM: MYTH AND HISTORY”
    Tim O'Neill, History for Atheists, 3 August 2019

    Nathan Johnstone, The New Atheism, Myth, and History: The Black Legends of Contemporary Anti-Religion, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018) 309 pp.

    Since 2015 I have been arguing on this blog that many anti-theistic and anti-religious activists often abuse and distort history while making their case against religion. Too many New Atheists use outdated, naive, over-simplified or simply plain wrong ideas about history in their arguments and claim to be “rational” while doing so. Now historian Nathan Johnstone has written an excellent monograph arguing precisely the same thing and drawing on a number of the same examples of New Atheist bad history.

    The Historical Innocence of Atheism

    Christian apologists and other critics of atheism often try to turn the historical tables on atheists by noting that, in the twentieth century in particular, atheism proved itself as bloodstained as any religion.

    The issue here for the New Atheists is that if atheism can be as capable of inspiring mass murder as any other idea, then their claim that religious ideas are uniquely or particularly malevolent loses its force. Johnstone notes their various lines of defence against this problem.

    None of these arguments work particularly well. Harris’ argument is little more than an example of the No True Scotsman Fallacy by trying to redefine “true” atheists as ones who do not do murderous things in the name of atheism. This is not convincing when Christians try to do the same thing to brush aside the Inquisition or the Crusades, so it is equally ineffective when the boot is on the other foot. Hitchens, in typical style, uses many eloquent words to try to redefine Soviet Marxist Leninism as a religion and so dodge the implications of its murders, but this is just smoke and mirrors. Whatever outward trappings and superficial similarities Stalin’s ideology may have with some forms of religion, it was inherently atheistic and, at several key points, overtly and murderously anti-religious. The argument that atheism per se is not an ideology so cannot be blamed for anything done by an actual ideology is cute, but disingenous.

    To pretend that Soviet Marxist Leninism having atheism as a core tenet did not mean that it therefore proposed answers to this and related questions is being wilfully blind. And to pretend that, especially at certain points, it did not decide to enforce that tenet and its attendant ideological answers to these questions by force is being wilfully ignorant of history.

    Of course, D’Souza and his ilk are trying to argue that there is something inherently immoral in an ideology that had no room for God. This is simply an extension of the apologist argument from morality, that assumes no true ethical system is possible unless it is based on objective absolutes mandated by a divine power – which is a dubious proposition, as any undergraduate moral philosophy student could explain to D’Souza (not that he would listen). But while it is hard to blame the totality of Soviet Marxist Leninism’s millions of murders on the supposed inherent wickedness of Godlessness, it is impossible for the New Atheists to dodge the fact that at least some of this murderous oppression was based on atheism as a central idea in the ideology.
    “The history of the 20th century is full of examples of countries that set out to redistribute wealth and ended up redistributing poverty.”
    “There’s no point blaming the tragedies of socialism on the flaws or corruption of particular leaders. Any system which allows some people to exercise unbridled power over others is an open invitation to abuse, whether that system is called slavery or socialism or something else.”—Thomas Sowell

  13. #133
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    The idea that religious (or atheist) ideas are uniquely malevolent is obvious nonsense. But the New Atheist argument is stronger than O'Neill acknowledges. Persecution of religious people by atheists is effectively confined to a very specific group of atheists - totalitarian Communists. However, persecution by religious people of atheists - and other religious people - is not restricted to any single religion. Indeed, almost every religious group has engaged in it.

    So an atheist could reasonably argue that the persecutions by totalitarian Communism were not due to its atheism but because of a trait that it shared with the persecuting religions - totalitarianism. And a New Atheist could make the further point that atheism, in general, appears to be less totalitarian than religion.

  14. #134
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Capablanca-Fan quoting Tim O'Neill View Post
    REVIEW – NATHAN JOHNSTONE “THE NEW ATHEISM: MYTH AND HISTORY”None of these arguments work particularly well. Harris’ argument is little more than an example of the No True Scotsman Fallacy by trying to redefine “true” atheists as ones who do not do murderous things in the name of atheism. This is not convincing when Christians try to do the same thing to brush aside the Inquisition or the Crusades, so it is equally ineffective when the boot is on the other foot. Hitchens, in typical style, uses many eloquent words to try to redefine Soviet Marxist Leninism as a religion and so dodge the implications of its murders, but this is just smoke and mirrors. Whatever outward trappings and superficial similarities Stalin’s ideology may have with some forms of religion, it was inherently atheistic and, at several key points, overtly and murderously anti-religious. The argument that atheism per se is not an ideology so cannot be blamed for anything done by an actual ideology is cute, but disingenous.

    To pretend that Soviet Marxist Leninism having atheism as a core tenet did not mean that it therefore proposed answers to this and related questions is being wilfully blind. And to pretend that, especially at certain points, it did not decide to enforce that tenet and its attendant ideological answers to these questions by force is being wilfully ignorant of history.

    Of course, D’Souza and his ilk are trying to argue that there is something inherently immoral in an ideology that had no room for God. This is simply an extension of the apologist argument from morality, that assumes no true ethical system is possible unless it is based on objective absolutes mandated by a divine power – which is a dubious proposition, as any undergraduate moral philosophy student could explain to D’Souza (not that he would listen). But while it is hard to blame the totality of Soviet Marxist Leninism’s millions of murders on the supposed inherent wickedness of Godlessness, it is impossible for the New Atheists to dodge the fact that at least some of this murderous oppression was based on atheism as a central idea in the ideology.
    I don't think this really stands up philosophically. Firstly I agree that Hitchens is incorrect to characterise Soviet Marxist Leninism (hereafter SML) as a religion, although it may be taken to have some aspects in common with many religions. And I agree that what Harris offers is a fudge, and I think Dawkins' "they don’t do evil things in the name of atheism" is an over-generalisation. However the claim that SML was "inherently atheistic" requires much more unpacking. There is nothing in the empirical claims of Marxism regarding class struggle and historical progression that is logically incompatible with belief in a deity/creator/God of some kind as such. Rather, SML promoted atheism and attacked religion because it saw religion as in the way and harmful to securing goals dictated by its core beliefs about humanity and human progress. The attack on religion is not therefore not SML's answer to the questions raised by atheism; rather its opposition to religion already arises from its theory of society, and atheism is a means to an end, albeit one that it considers essential. So where Tim O'Neill writes:

    To pretend that Soviet Marxist Leninism having atheism as a core tenet did not mean that it therefore proposed answers to this and related questions is being wilfully blind.

    ...I am not convinced the "therefore" is correct. SML has decided religion is in the way and it is against it before it has to think about whether there is actually a God or not.

    Likewise:

    And to pretend that, especially at certain points, it did not decide to enforce that tenet and its attendant ideological answers to these questions by force is being wilfully ignorant of history.

    The "attendant ideological answers" were those of political Marxism. Indeed "If there is no God, why has mankind been so disposed to believe in one?" is not even the question being answered; it's more like "If religion is harmful to social progress, why has mankind been so disposed to believe in it?"

    The other difficulty here is that SML's philosophical roots lie ultimately in philosophy that is alien to how most atheists in the West now think. Indeed it's very strange given the philosophical shape of today's active atheism to think of this stuff coming via all the weird arguments involving Hegel then Feuerbach then Marx. (The latter two of whom should have listened when Stirner said it was all a bad idea, but I digress ...). By the standards of the current underpinnings of western atheism, post-Hegelian thought is a very strange way to get there and essentially outmoded. While there are still Marxists, critical theorists and so on out there for whom some kind of belief about humanity is philosophically basal, for most active atheists, atheism derives as a conclusion from some kind of assumption about observable evidence (and then noticing that there isn't any). From that kind of position an atheist is bound to proceed from their atheism to their responses to religion and to their responses to the questions mentioned, but that's not how the underlying basis of SML worked.

    (This is the only thing I disagreed with in the article, by the way. )
    Last edited by Kevin Bonham; 03-11-2019 at 10:36 PM.
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  15. #135
    CC Grandmaster Capablanca-Fan's Avatar
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    Holland, Dominion: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World, review T. O'Neill

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham View Post
    (This is the only thing I disagreed with in the article, by the way. )
    Thanks for that explanation.

    Meanwhile, here is another review by Tim O'Neill on the History for Atheists site:

    REVIEW – TOM HOLLAND “DOMINION: THE MAKING OF THE WESTERN MIND”
    Tom Holland, Dominion: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World (Little, Brown, 2019) 624 pp.
    11 Jan 2020 Tim O'Neill Comments 34 Comments

    Tom Holland is the best kind of popular history writer. He is a good researcher who knows what can be stated with emphasis and what needs to be judiciously hedged. He is a fine story-teller, who can weave bare facts into a smooth and engaging narrative. He is provocative and startling enough to keep the reader on their toes and turning pages. And he is quietly and wryly funny. He displays all of these qualities in this fine new book, but it is his role as wily provocateur that will cause it to ruffle feathers in certain quarters.

    One of the things that often startles me about the way most anti-theist activists speak or write about Christianity is their almost visceral emotionalism. I happen to be a person raised a Christian who abandoned any faith pretty readily in my late teens and who lives in a highly secular country in a largely post-Christian society. On occasion certain Christians, particularly some prelates or politicians, will annoy me with a particularly stupid statement or action, but on the whole I can regard Christianity as I regard any faith – something that other people do that interests me largely as a historical phenomenon.

    Many of those who are the focus of this blog, however, cannot seem to get Christianity out of their systems. A large number of them are, like me, ex-Christians, but ones who seem still mentally entangled in their former faith. Never able to emerge from a kind of juvenile angry apostasy, they seem impelled to strike out at it at every turn. They have to constantly remind others – and, it seems, themselves – of its manifest stupidity and wickedness.

    Tolkien versus Hitler

    If the vision of the world Tolkien brought from the Somme was one of hope and friendship in a long defeat, Hitler’s was of merciless dominance and raw willpower resulting in a ultimate glorious victory. A natural pessimist, Tolkien had hope because he saw God’s grace as “like the light from an invisible lamp”, deriving ultimately from God’s sacrifice as a broken figure on the cross. A fierce optimist, Hitler made sure his followers had no time for this weak, Jewish stuff. One SS magazine was typically scornful of useless Christian qualities like compassion:

    “Harping on and on that God died on the cross out of pity for the weak, the sick and the sinners, they then demand that the genetically diseased be kept alive in the name of a doctrine of pity that goes against nature, and of a misconceived notion of humanity.”
    (quoted in Holland, p. 460)

    The Nazis had a notion of humanity based on the strong rightfully dominating the weak, the healthy removing the sick and the “superior race” exterminating the “genetically diseased”. While they were forced by political expediency to pretend otherwise, their doctrine of mercilessness was patently and knowingly anti-Christian – it represented a rejection and reversal of everything people like Tolkien stood for and everything the world had inherited from Christianity. Yet it was Hitler who came to be rejected and defeated 988 years short of the Nazi’s projected “thousand-year Reich”, while Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, a paean to compassion, humility and friendship, came to be one of the most loved and most read novels of the twentieth century.

    Holland’s book does not shy away from the dark side of Christian history. On the contrary, he emphasises it to the point that some Christian reviewers believe he overdoes that part of the narrative: a likely sign he has actually got the balance about right. But his point is that “the standards by which [these Christians] stand condemned are themselves Christian” (p. 525). He concludes:

    “Nor, even if the churches across the West continue to empty does it seem likely that these standards will quickly change. ‘God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.’ [1Cor 1:27] This is the myth that we in the West persist in clinging to. Christendom, in that sense, remains Christendom still.”
    (Holland, p. 525)
    Last edited by Capablanca-Fan; 16-01-2020 at 04:53 AM.
    “The history of the 20th century is full of examples of countries that set out to redistribute wealth and ended up redistributing poverty.”
    “There’s no point blaming the tragedies of socialism on the flaws or corruption of particular leaders. Any system which allows some people to exercise unbridled power over others is an open invitation to abuse, whether that system is called slavery or socialism or something else.”—Thomas Sowell

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