Something About
Marx, Lenin And Mao
-- And Hitler
Kim Brown

Since this came as one solid paragraph, we took the liberty to separate it into several paragraphs for readibility.
-- Editor

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From: Positive Atheism <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: Bruce and Kim Brown
Subject: Re: Positive_Atheism_
Date: Wednesday, June 16, 1999 3:32 PM

No wonder you're confused. Are you sure it is our website you have visited? If so, where did you get this impression? what page?

Positive Atheism is dedicated to truthfulness; there is no singular "truth." Truth is truth and it is not falsehood.
 

If the Bible happens to say something truthful, that's the way it is. We are not knee-jerk reactionaries, making sure that what we maintain is always the contrary of what the Bible says.

First, that would mean that we let the Bible do our thinking for us -- the very thing we warn against. We don't think it is healthy to let any book or dogma frame our outlook or decide our actions. We think it is important that people learn how to think for themselves and to have the skills necessary to decide right from wrong, and to discern truthfulness from falsehood.

Secondly, the Bible is a mish-mash of various statements and it is impossible to develop a systematic theology from it that is self-consistent. It is impossible to take into consideration every statement made by the Bible god and by Jesus and by the Apostles and by the "narrator" (if you will), and to make a system that has integrity. You must ignore or reinterpret at least some parts of the Bible if you want to be consistent.

Thus, I can (for example) make a case in favor of capital punishment using some verses and a case against capital punishment using other verses. The same goes for abortion: I can make a case that abortion is not murder and I can make a case that it is murder. In many places, the world is described as flat, having a lid or "firmament" over it; in a few places, the world is described as a "circle" (a globe?). I can do this all from the Bible.

So, if the Bible is this ambivalent on the issues we keep hearing about from Christians, then it follows that any opinion -- pro or con -- on almost any issue will go along with at least one statement contained somewhere in the Bible.
 

Many people feel the need to think there are absolutes. It's not easy realizing that "all is uncertain," as Hume stated. We can only speak about what we can sense or detect, and our senses and instruments are fallible. Our nervous systems are likewise fallible. This does not mean that we cannot know something is true. It is extremely unlikely that the probability of a proposition is exactly equal to the probability of what it contradicts. Thus, I can decide which is most likely between proposition A and proposition not-A, and can declare that I believe a proposition (or its contradictory) to be true or false, based on the likelihood of each. This way, I do not need to live my life in a fog.

Of course, attaching myself to a dogma and calling it an absolute is one way to avoid the appearance that I am living in a fog. However, we need to question how one can know that this dogma is absolutely true and that another dogma (or no dogma at all) is falsehood. I have serious doubts about the Bible's truthfulness. The Bible is replete with self-contradiction and its description of reality contradicts many of the basic things that we know about the universe. I think it is more truthful of me to reject the Bible than to accept it as truth. Ditto for the Koran, the Upanishads, the Bhagadva Gita, The Iliad and The Oddessy, the Book of Mormon, Uncle Wiggley and Jackie and Peetie Bow-Wow, and Science and Health and Key to the Scriptures.
 

We get this one often. Your questions presuppose that we are aware of which statements you have read. They also presuppose that we happen to agree with every statement on this website. We now have 26 megabytes of material on this website, only about three megabytes of which is in the graphics folder. The rest is text. That's a lot of text for such a vague question.

No. If you have specific questions to ask, we will attempt to respond the best we know how. If you have specific objections to specific statements made on our website, a response depends upon which article you are reading. We cannot pretend to speak for Lewis, Ingersoll, Twain, Jefferson, Paine, Lincoln, Murray-O'Hair, McKinsey, Smith, Robinson, Gora, or any of the others. Their words speak for themselves and pass or fail on their own merit.

We refuse to get caught in the trap of someone insisting that because we cannot answer vague questions that we don't know what we are talking about.
 

This is usually pointed out to us by Christians, whose predecessors got away with wholesale tortuous murder for over a millennium. What was that saying about the beam in one's own eye?

Meanwhile, although Communism teaches the nonexistence of God, that does not mean that Communism is not theistic in some of its practices and in some of its ways of thought. Communism, as practiced in China and the U.S.S.R. during these times, was very fundamentalistic in its approach to Communism as well as to atheism, and it is this fundamentalistic thinking which prompts irrational behavior. Communism taught that it had an exclusive on the truth and that all others, all non-Communists, were in error. At the same time, Communism squashed any dissenting points of view. This is a traditionally theistic way of thinking, if you ask me, acting as if loyal to a higher absolute, as if charged with the burden of protecting the reputation of that higher absolute. Communism failed to rid itself of the vestigial modes of thought resulting from hundreds of years of Christian and Islamic domination.

Also, Communism was very big on teaching slave mentality, an attitude that is usually associated with theistic systems -- not with atheistic thinking. Gora makes a very impressive case that Communism -- or any form of slave mentality, for that matter -- is rightly called a form of theism. Read about it in his book Positive Atheism in the India section of our website.
 

Was it their atheism that prompted them to kill? If you can make the case that it was their atheism and their atheism alone that made them kill (if you can eliminate all other possible influences), then I will grant that atheists are responsible for propagating a murderous doctrine and are thus responsible for murder. If you cannot make a direct connection between atheism and the murderous tendencies of the Communists, then I insist that you retract this statement that you made, associating the philosophy of atheism with these murders.

Meanwhile, during the Inquisitions, it was the Christian doctrines more than any other factors that inspired the torture of millions of feeble, harmless women charged with witchcraft. They were put to death in obedience to God's commandment to Moses in Exodus xxii. 18 (immediately following the "Ten Commandments"): "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live." They were burned in direct and literal obedience to Christ's statement in John xv. 6: "If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned." The reason these women were burnt slowly was so that they would have more time to repent (though this would be impossible, since most of them had their tongues torn out before they were burned, and if repentance involves action, how could they repent when bound to a pole with layer after layer of skin burning off of their quivering flesh, and if repentance is a matter of heart, who could switch loyalty toward something or someone who would burn you alive? this just could not be done!). Not to be outdone, Islam inspired the wholesale slaughter of anyone who refused to honor the god and prophet of Islam. All these murders were inspired directly by theism, which demands loyalty and obedience to a Jealous God.

I challenge you to find an example of where the atheism itself is as directly responsible for murderous acts on the part of a society as the various religions have been. True, atheist have committed atrocities, just as Christians and Muslims and Hindus have done. Can these atrocities, though, be directly explained by the person's atheism as clearly as the atrocities that many religious people have committed can be directly explained by that person's absolute belief in an absolute dogma? Again, if you can make a solid case that atheism itself has influenced atrocity as directly as Christianity or Islam has influenced atrocity, I will gladly accept responsibility for propagating murderous doctrines. If you cannot, you owe the atheists who visit and support this site an apology with your implication.
 

How does this apply to the Inquisitions which were the official policy of Roman Catholicism for centuries? How does this apply to the fact that all the original Protestant leaders (save two) endorsed the same barbarous practices against Catholics and Jews? We are talking, here, about the leadership calling the shots and the "flocks" going along with the calls.
 

I agree with you on this matter (except for the part about variable human worth).

Did you get this from your Bible? Is this part of that mentality that says, "It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs." (Mt. xv. 26)? Did Jesus teach equality regardless of opinion, or did he reserve some rather chillingly evil language for those who disagreed with him?
 

Hitler's dogma was derived primarily from the despicable teachings of Martin Luther (read Mein Kampf and see). They revolved around the doctrine of variable human worth (rent a copy of "Sophie's Choice" and see). This doctrine accurately reflects its Christian roots, in that Christians are seen as "sons" and nonbelievers are seen as "slaves" (cf. Galatians). The Christian doctrine of exclusive salvation and the accompanying doctrine of eternal punishment for nonbelief (non-sonship) is likewise reflected by Hitler's core philosophy.

True, he borrowed some metaphors from Nietzsche, but I challenge you to do a systematic study comparing the core beliefs of Nietzsche and the core beliefs of Hitler and the core teachings of the New Testament. You will find more in common between Hitler and the New Testament than you will from between Nietzsche and Hitler.
 

I won't make the comment about a persecution complex that usually belongs here.

True, some fringe groups of Christians bucked against the system, but the system itself was primarily Christian, and most of the perpetrators saw themselves as obedient Christians, who were ridding the world of the people who killed Christ and who rejected his message, and who had been condemned by God to be persecuted for these deeds.
 

Which biblical answer? The Gospel of Luke is absolutely silent on the matter of redemption, teaching instead that poverty is the key to entering the Kingdom, and that affluence is a sure ticket to Hell. James seems to go along with this notion.
 

There already is a logical explanation for Jesus dying on a Roman cross (assuming he even existed). According to Maccoby's Revolution In Judaea, he made himself out to be the King of Israel, thereby challenging the Roman occupation of Palestine. In doing so, he was executed as a rebel, in the manner that all rebels were executed at that time: crucifixion. He though he was Messiah and was mistaken. He thought God would work wonders and overpower the Romans, according to the prophecies of Zechariah, but God did not come through.

Because he thought the end was nigh, many of his more obscure teachings make sense: Give all you have to the poor, Let the dead bury their own dead, and many others. The statement that most clearly shows this is in Mark, xiii. 30-31: "Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done. Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is." Obviously, all his listeners have since died, and none of "all these things" were done.

I think that to mystify this obvious blunder on Jesus' part is patently dishonest.
 

According to Maccoby's Revolution In Judaea, he loved his country and his God and did not like to see his fellow-Jews enslaved and exploited by the Romans. This makes perfect sense to me.
 

If this is true, then why is it said that God sends some people to eternal hell because they were not loyal to Him? (Or is this simply an illogical condition on God's part?) If God loves us, then why is there such a vast amount of suffering and premature death on earth? If God loves us, you'd think He would clue us in as to who He is, but there is a whole world of controversy and disagreement as to who he is. I would especially think that a loving God would reveal himself on a mass scale, considering that it is said that you go to hell for believing in the wrong god (disloyalty: loyalty to the One True God being a condition for God's love -- according to biblical dogma).
 

Why would you want to change me? I don't want to change you. I could care less what you believe about Jesus.

If what you send me makes a solid case that what I believe is erroneous, and that what you believe is more likely to be true, I will gladly and publicly convert to theism. If you cannot make your case with me, do you agree to renounce your faith and to stop making these claims about supernatural gods to people?
 

I cannot follow Jesus because it is unlikely that he even existed. I could not make a very strong case that a Jesus did exist, that a man existed upon whose life story the current orthodox Jesus myth was constructed. It is extremely unlikely that he made the claims about him that Paul and the Gospel writers say he made, such as his divinity and the vicarious atonement. I is even more remotely unlikely (bordering on impossibility) that those claims are true.

Where do you get the idea that we adhere to the doctrine of variable human worth? If this teaching has been inadvertently posted to our website, we will remove it immediately and will post an explanation as to why we removed it.

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine

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