One of the most tiresome, frustrating and borderline insulting arguments, that theists charge against atheists is that Hitler or Stalin or any other dictator was an atheist. Now this of course isn’t an argument but the syllogism that theists propose is the following:

  • P1: Hitler/ Stalin a terrible dictator and mass murderer was an atheist
  • C: therefore atheism is ntrinsically evil and wrong

If we look at this argument then it should be abundantly clear, what the flaws are and why it is so laughably absurd, that there it isn’t worth addressing. Nevertheless I’m going to deal with it.

The first and most immediate flaw of course, is the fact, that the “atheism” of Hitler is not a historically settled fact. Sure Hitler might not have been very fond of the church, maybe he only faked his Christianity as a political move, he might even have outright hated Christianity. Does that make Hitler an atheist? No, not at all, it merely makes him an enemy of Christianity and a non-Christian. I am not aware of any quote of him, where he said he doesn’t believe in a deity, so for all we know, even if we concede, that he faked and hated Christianity he still could’ve been a deist or have different religious views altogether.

With Stalin of course, there is no dispute whatsoever in my eyes, that he was an atheist. Even if now, for the purposes of discussion, concede that Hitler was an atheist as well, what exactly would be established? Well, it would be established, that there were 2 men in history, who commited horrible, indescribable crimes and who happened to not believe in any deities. The problem is of course that both of them happened to male, both of them happened to be white Europeans, one of them was a vegatarian and presumably both of them ate bread on occasion.

Yet I’ve never heard anyone make the argument, that bread is intrinsically bad and evil, because Hitler ate bread. And the reason for this is, that the argument is a non-fucking-sequitur. It is nothing but an attempt to poison the well. It is designed to make atheists look bad by showing a correlation between atheism and the biggest crimes against humanity of the last century. It however falls flat because correlation does not equal causality and in order to make the argument above sound, causality between atheism and criminal/violent behavior needs to be dmonstrated.

But the fatal flaw in all of this, is that both of them weren’t science minded, critical thinking skeptics. While Stalin was an atheist and the dictator of a communist system, this isn’t at all what most atheists can identify with. Stalin stifled science with Lysenkoism and under his regime millions of people suffered, he eliminated any opposition he had and established a sickening system. I on the other am in favor of a secular democracy, I am in favor of promoting science and critical thinking and I’m in favor of freedom of speech, freedom of religion and all that good stuff. All in all Stalin and any other name theists want to bring forth, has nothing but their atheism (and sometimes not even that) with me in common and I don’t share their values at all.

Goodbye from yours truly,

Rene von Boenninghausen @Renevelation

3 thoughts on ““Hitler/Stalin was an Atheist!”

  1. Hitler expressed interests of exploiters and used religion. Stalin was a great anti-capitalist revolutionary and he was interested in disappearance of religion, because it is a means of intellectual oppression which was during centuries used by exploiters in their nefarious purposes.

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  2. I think you have misunderstood the purpose of the “Hitler was an athiest” argument. I have only heard this argument used in contexts where it was clearly meant to highlight the absurdity of the claim (which you thoroughly walked us through).

    Religious people often get the “argument” thrown in their faces that, “The vast majority of wars/genocides/human cruelty in history were committed in the name of religion,” somehow implying that all religious people are therefore evil and violent. Then religious people retort “Hitler and Stalin were athiests,” in order to illustrate the obvious flaws with the logic involved. Because if a religious war makes religious people evil, then an athiest dictator makes athiest people evil. So it’s a way of mocking the other argument. It’s not intended to be a serious argument in its own right.

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    1. I’m not aware of any atheist who would claim that all religious people are violent. I can only speak for myself but I think most religious people are quite peaceful. We’re saying that the religions and passages in the holy books (both Qu’ran and Bible) can be interpreted in a way that is positively harmful. I think it’s just a lazy attempt of poisoning the well honestly. I think we should all be above that.

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