Let's talk about atheists for a moment.
Some really militant atheists like to talk about how evil religion is.... They are generally referred to as anti-theists: not only is there a God, but anyone who believes in God is someone to be wary of / someone who is a danger to the human race. Religion for them is the source of all evil, makes people believe in fairy tales, goes after homosexuals, etc. We've covered a lot of these in prior articles.
How would things look in an atheist society? Better? Worse?
Let me start by being totally, utterly, and completely unfair. Let's look at how large bodies of atheists treat some of the same topics. We have four, count 'em, four large nations that have completely and totally eschewed religion.
France, 1792: Bloodbath. Guillotine. Target: a lot of people killed happened to be the priests who sided with "the People" ... the people who used bread to soak up the blood of those people beheaded. Not that that's a demonic perversion of the eucharist or anything
The Soviet Union and The People's Republic of China: according to the French work The Black Book of Communism, these two, with some help from the other, minor communist governments, killed about a hundred million people in the 20th century.
Nazi Germany -- Some people like to slander Christianity with Nazism's formation. Looking at private statements from Mussolini, Goebbels, Himmler, the general concensus seems to be that it was a secular movement with a lot of religious rhetoric .... well, there was also the entire part where Hitler tried to reinstate Thor and Odin as deities, and I don't mean the Marvel movie version.
Oh, look at how well ¾ of those people treated gays. The Nazis gassed them, the Chinese make certain they don't exist, and the nuclear family was mandated by the Soviet Union, after a very brief experiment with free love. The French were too busy declaring war on everybody, and killing priests. That covered a nice chunk of time (about a century or more), and over 1.5 billion people on the planet.
Now, I have been hit with an argument stolen from Sam Harris, who is essentially a stone cold moron.
Harris: Atheists don't kill people because they have no good reason to do so.Uh huh .... If I make an assertion that No True Christians hurts anyone, ever (Since violence is not something proposed by Christ), then I can disprove every dumbass statement ever made about Christianity and get on with my life.....
Reply:Stalin and Mao were atheists and they killed millions of people
Harris: Then Stalin and Mao were No True Atheists.
I don't think so.
And, hey, I'm surprised Sam Harris wants to disavow Stalin and Mao so quickly. Even he out and out states his desire for a world government. "The diversity of our religious beliefs constitutes a primary obstacle here" (End of Faith, 151). Funny, Kim Jong-il used similar words justifying North Korean concentration camps, which have -- surprise surprise -- mostly Christians.
Now, let's drop the cheap shots, shall we?
The atheists I know aren't Nazis, nor are they Left wing sociopaths with delusions of genocide. You have the militant atheists like Dawkins who think my parents should be thrown in jail for teaching me Catholicism -- that's child abuse, don't you know?
It's little things like that which make me half-expect some half-crazed Oxford Don, wearing tweeds, to leap from a bookcase with a sword, shouting Dawkins-hu Akbar!!!!!
The atheists I know are guys like Matt, who I have trouble believing are true Dawkins believers, since, well, he's still talking to me ... though that may change by the time I'm done with this :). And on the other hand, I have acquaintances like former best friend Colleen Eren. She's an atheist, but she's more like a glorified agnostic. She can't prove God exists, neither can you, can't we all get along.
So, there are anti-theist atheists, and there are agnostics who lean atheist, who are generally Libertarian.
I'm good with that. I have my beliefs, you have yours, and if I'm not working on the downfall of civilization, or killing people, leave me the hell alone. As for you, throw wild orgies if I care. Bye.
I have two thoughts on the matter.
1. Recorded history is about 3-5000 years, depending on who you talk to. A hundred years is an eyeblink. At best, it's maybe 3% of time. As with global warming, it's not a big enough control group, over too small a period of time. No one can prove things will be better without religion. Not unless some governments stay 100% unchanged for the next thousand years. We'll see.
2. Atheists say that Religion makes people believe in fairy tales, fables, etc.
Imagine you are an atheist. Imagine you have your perfect, pure, religion-free world. Imagine you can now walk into the American organization of the Baker Street Irregulars, and then imagine shouting “Sherlock Holmes is a work of fiction, you ignorant dolts!”
Imagine running for your life from a large body of enraged Sherlock Holmes nerds.
As Chesterton said, just because you stop believing in God doesn't mean you stop believing. It just means you'll believe in anything.