Militant Atheism and the Communist/Modern Day Connection?

Is there really a connection between Militant Atheism and Communism? “Yes” says Harold J Berman, a specialist in Soviet Law from Harvard University. “Militant Atheism was the official Religion, one might say, of the Soviet Union and the Communist Party was the established church”. “The standard Marxist feeling that religion was the opiate of the masses” (1). Also it was that the Russian Orthodox Church “Had always been a pillar of czarism”(2). The churches had strict orders under separation of church and state to destroy all churches, mosques, synagogues, mandirs, madarasahs, religious monuments and also to remove by deportation to Siberia those who had faiths in other religions or beliefs! (3)

Churches in the Soviet Union were under strict rules and forbade giving to the poor, education activities, publish any literature, or have any special meetings. Church property was expropriated. Religious teachings were banned from any educational institute as all was Government ran. Pre Russian Revolution there were 50,000 Orthodox clergymen, by 1939 there was roughly 300. In 1922 by itself the atheist system had murdered 2691 secular priests, 1962 Monks and 3447 Nuns because of their faith! (4)

The late Christopher Hitchens and now believer in God said “One of Lenin’s great achievements, in my opinion, is to create a secular Russia. The power of the Russian Orthodox Church, which was an absolute warren of backwardness and evil and superstition, is probably never going to recover from what he did to it” (5) The bottom line though is that militant atheism has failed to extinguish Christianity! Thanks to many martyrs that gave up their lives in underground churches.

When I hear or read statements that the only difference between “New atheism” and ”atheism” in general is that the New atheists are getting in Christians faces and making a lot more noise. This does worry me. We must stand up to the atheist or are we going to allow this to happen again?

1 Cor. 5: 6 Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough?

This is outright spiritual warfare, and believe me it is going to get a lot worse unless we collectively stand together in the Church. The body of Christ must get its act together and stop the division that is creeping into the Church! Hold the atheist’s feet to the fire! If they make a bold statement like “God doesn’t exist” then ask them how they know that? They sure spend a lot of time and energy trying to prove to the believer that God does not exist. Why?

God Bless

Brian Mason

Notes and references:

(1) Crane Brinton (1995). A History of Civilization: 1648 to the present. Prentice Hall.

(2) Crane Brinton (1995). A History of Civilization: 1648 to the present. Prentice Hall

(3) Simon Richmond (2006). Russia & Belarus. BBC Worldwide. Retrieved on 2011-07-09. “Soviet ‘militant atheism’ led to the closure and destruction of nearly all the mosques and madrasahs (Muslim religious schools) in Russia, although some remained in the Central Asian states. Under Stalin there were mass deportations and liquidation of the Muslim elite.”

(4) R.J. Rummel (1993). Death By Government. Transaction Publishers. “With this understood, the Soviet Union appears the greatest megamurderer of all, apparently killing near 61,000,000 people.”

(5) Christopher Hitchens (2005). Heaven on Earth: The Rise and Fall of Socialism. Public Broadcasting Service. “One of Lenin’s great achievements, in my opinion, is to create a secular Russia. The power of the Russian Orthodox Church, which was an absolute warren of backwardness and evil and superstition, is probably never going to recover from what he did to it.”

23 thoughts on “Militant Atheism and the Communist/Modern Day Connection?

  1. Sarah, by “unaccountable” I am simply saying that the atheist does not want to be accountable to God. As for atheism as I said is a religion: 1.It has a creed! No God. 2. Atheists are generally Evangelistic to the cause. 3. There are assemblies such as atheist conventions. 4. The is an satisfaction when an atheist converts someone to the philosophy
    Actually when you mention the stirring up trouble in Belfast etc, are you familiar with the teachings of Jesus? He said to LOVE OUR ENEMIES AS OURSELVES” What you are quoting was done in the name of religion or God, but has nothing to do with the Christian teachings. Catholics are not Christian as they are idolatrous, and have a non-Christian doctrine. But that is another posting.
    God Bless!

  2. Hi beacon,
    I just wanted to respond to one or two small points. You said that law and societal norms change. This is true, they evolve over time as we experience more examples of degrees of right and wrong. Canon law also changes. For example, there was a point in Ireland when you could be ex-communicated for being divorced. Now, that has been relaxed. Canon law has also been changed to stop people officially leaving the (Catholic) church. You’ve seen many churches become more open to the idea of evolution, even creator-led evolution. That is change, not rigid adherence.

    You said that “atheism is a religion that wants no accountability”. Accountability for what? Stalinist Russia? No-one denies that Stalin happened or that it was terrible. Atheism is not a coherent movement with set aims or political parties that can be blamed for Stalinist Russia. It’s not even a religion.Sometimes an atheist does bad things. It would be as logical as blaming all the followers of the Catholic church for the abuse of children (which was widespread) in Ireland. Or for stirring up sectarian violence in Belfast. You, as a christian, had about as much to do with those things as I did with Stalinist Russia.


  3. There is no no code of conduct to follow by being an atheist, (to contradict an above commenter) it is not a religion. It’s like calling a group of people who don’t play sport a football team. There is no doctrine to follow. Therefore, some of us do believe in absolute truth. That’s mandated by our own personal opinion and usually societal opinion. That is enough for me to consider something absolute. There is no “atheistic belief” for me to “go against” in this way.

    I understand your skepticism about how a secular state would work. It’s complicated to keep everyone happy and there will always be a minority that loses out democratically. Government shouldn’t be following either line of thought in matters of faith. Faith is personal business. Places of worsip are funded by the people, not the government (at least where I’m from).

    You said: “There is no compassion in atheism”. I would say, there is no “anything” in atheism. Like I mentioned above, it is not a belief system or a “way of life”. There is no atheist bible for me to consult, I don’t go to atheist church.

    It is not automatically dismissive of religion. Atheists, as a whole, value human life highly. Possibly moreso than those who believe in an afterlife because we believe this is the only chance you get at life.

    No problem, Eugene. I find theology interesting to discuss and I appreciate you being civil.

  4. Morning Sarah,

    Thanks for answering my questions. Here’s a point that I want to make to you that goes somewhat along with the original post that you clicked on and the rest goes along with the answers you gave to my questions.

    You desire to live under a goverment that cannot exist. Here’s why I say this. You said, “Everyone would have an equal say. Religious groups would be able to have their say about how legislature would affect them, as would people who are not religious.”

    Having an “equal say” is not the same as having an “equal way.” Words without the ability to bring them to fruition is useless. When you have two systems of beliefs (way of life) that are diametrically opposed you cannot have it both ways. Only one can be followed from a govermental point of view. Secularism (no influence from the church) is a misnomer for atheism because that’s they only way you can have a goverment with no religious influence.

    You said you believe that certain things are right and wrong no matter how a person chooses to believe. I commend you highly for this, although it does go against your atheistic belief because there can be NO MORAL STANDARD without a standard maker that goes above and beyond men and women’s decision. Atheism only has men and women to make the decision. And if there is only men and women then it will always be the might that makes right.

    But regardless, my main point is that atheism by its very nature and system of belief will always push down absolute morality because with atheism there is no absoute morality. Look at every nation that has been ruled by an athestic leadership and see what happens to the population. There is no compassion in atheism. There might be a compassionate atheist, but in the idea of atheism itself there is no compassion because there is nothing to create absolutes. There is no value in human life because human life is just human life – and not a soul.

    Atheism is more than just a non-belief in God. Atheism is a way of life that leads to certain inevitable costs when the leadership of a nation falls prey to its idea and way of life.

    Thanks for your time Sarah. I hope my points are clear enough.

  5. Remember Sarah, Laws and Social Norms change. In Christianity they do not. “It doesn’t take much thought to realise that abusing someone who is defenceless or too young to understand something is wrong.” So I must ask you from your own statement, ” Do you believe there are moral absolutes?

  6. Law and social norms are the standard, formed from history lessons.

    Empathy is how we get that gut feeling that something is not right. It doesn’t take much thought to realise that abusing someone who is defenceless or too young to understand something is wrong. By observing life and experiencing loss ourselves, we come to realise how fragile life is and treat the taking away of that life very seriously.

    Most of it is common sense, really. Murder and stealing will cause unnecessary suffering to people and we would not like to experience it ourselves, so we don’t do it. The threat of legal retribution cements that view. Education increases our understanding of morality, like how it’s wrong to hurt or exile those we don’t agree with.

    A lot of it is innate, I don’t think humans are hard-wired to enjoy inflicting suffering. It’s not necessary for our survival. Our capacity for bonding with and forming relationships with other humans is too great.

  7. Sarah you said “I think some things are morally wrong without question, like paedophilia.” I would like to know what standard you use to make this conclusion? If it is only your opinion, then why could someone not state that it is okay to sterilize atheists? I mean if there is no standard?

  8. I would imagine that “…To suggest that atheists…” means that the actual content of the post was sidestepped in order to argue against an misinterpretation which was read into the text.

    The bottom line is not that which Atheists may want to do but what they have done.

    The fact that so very many Atheists want to deny the realities of a history as recent as the previous century speaks volumes about their gullibility and willingness to re-write history towards their own ends.

    Propaganda succeeds in at least two ways:
    1) When a regime so tightly controls information and feeds the populace misinformation that no one knows any better.
    2) In an age of free flowing information where it is accessible at the speed of a mouse click, people accept and promulgate propaganda because they WANT TO fall for it as it suits their purposes.

    #2 is why many Atheists deny recent history and applaud their heroes, such as Dawkins, when they are urged to deny it.

  9. Oh, I see. Thanks for elaborating. That’s pretty easy to answer. I see moral issues the same way I did when I was religious. I think some things are morally wrong without question, like paedophilia. You can maybe understand a situation if you are told the paedophile is mentally ill but it’s still morally wrong.

    Things like stealing, or killing are greyer areas. On paper, they’re wrong. But what if you steal food because your child is in imminent danger of starving to death? Still wrong, but understandable. Or when you think of killings, self-defence comes into the equation. There are degrees, like the law.

    So: yes, some things are 100% wrong. Some are understandable in certain circumstances and may or may not be subject to punishment even with that understanding. And no, it’s not because I’m an atheist. It’s just my concept of right and wrong, which I mostly learned from my parents, from observing my environment and from an innate sense of principles.

  10. Perhaps I should have been a little more clear. What I meant by my intial question and its follow up question in relation to your statement about atheism only being “a lack of belief in God” is do you believe that certain things are morally right and wrong in an absolute matter despite what a person chooses to believe about the issue?

    Now that I have made myself more clear – My question is: Do you believe in absolute truth? If your answer is “No” is it because of your personal atheistic conviction?

    Thanks for your time.

  11. No problem, Eugene. I’m not sure what you mean by “absolute truth”, to be honest. I believe that something can be absolutely true (i.e. I can see a chair and it is there, or Person A is now dead). Sometimes, something may appear true to a person through no fault of their own but may in fact be false. (eg. it looks like it’s raining but really a pipe is leaking over the window). So, some things are demonstrably true and some truths are true to people but they interpreted it incorrectly. Do you mean do I think that I am absolutely 100% right about there being no supernatural being? I do think I’m right but I’m open to new evidence or some development which would change my mind. It’s impossible to prove or disprove the existence of God, therefore a truth about it cannot be absolute. And, without a doubt, God does exist as a truth in some people’s minds (I don’t mean that in a derogatory way) so that would be a truth to them. So, to answer you: yes and no. Some truths are incontrovertible and some are not so it’s a matter of best interpretation. I hope that answered you, I wasn’t completely sure if that’s what you meant!

  12. Hello again, Sarah.

    Thanks for answering my question about why you wouldn’t want to live under an atheist regime.

    Now, as long as you don’t mind, would you please answer another question?

    You said on April 2, 2012 at 5:45 pm, “Atheism is a lack of belief in God. That’s it.”

    My question is: Do you believe in absolute truth? If your answer is “No” is it because of your personal atheistic conviction?

    I do have a point to make with my questions, and I won’t be rude with it – I promise. Thanks.

  13. Hi Eugene,
    Atheism, for me, is a personal thing. I have no interest in getting rid of religion, it would be incredibly arrogant of me to do so.
    I want to live under a secularist regime. That way, no religious viewpoint (or the viewpoint that religion is wrong) would dominate. Everyone would have an equal say. Religious groups would be able to have their say about how legislature would affect them, as would people who are not religious.
    The vast, vast majority of atheists just want a separation of church and state. They have no wish to stop people of faith having their faith.
    To me, an atheistic regime (the extreme where hypothetically religion would be forbidden) is as undesirable as an extremely religious regime, where people have stuff like what they can wear dictated by that regime.
    Extremism is bad in any form.

  14. Hello Sarah,

    On April 2, 2012 at 5:07 pm you said, “I’m an atheist but I wouldn’t want to live under an atheist regime….”

    Would you please tell me why that’s true? What negative aspect about atheism would cause you to not want to live under the leadership viewpoint and direction of the very thing that you adhere to? Thanks.

  15. Okay, well you’ve made it clear that you have a different understanding of atheism than I do. Which is funny, me being the atheist and all. I am happy to agree to disagree with you and wish you luck in the future. I genuinely was trying to be reassuring when I said the US is not exactly in imminent danger of being taken over by Communists. Take a look at the presidential candidates you have, most are fiercely religious. You don’t have anything to worry about any time soon.
    Regards and goodbye,

  16. Sarah so atheism is “A lack of belief in God”?Is it fair for me to ask that since you have no position, take no intellectual action, and have no belief or unbelief on the matter concerning God?

  17. ///I’m disagreeing with your assertion that atheism is the same thing as communism. A communist state would never fully kill off religion because you can’t control people’s thoughts.////
    Communism is Atheism. You are correct that a Communist State would not fully kill off religion, and that is because it goes underground if necessary. God will not be removed I guarantee that.
    You asserted that the US it is highly unlikely that it will become Communist? There was a majority of the USSR that said Communism would NEVER fall. Nothing is out of the realm of possibility. Christians are currently being assassinated all over the world currently. I think there is something to be worried about.

  18. Atheism is a lack of belief in God. That’s it.

    Telling other people what to think, forbidding religion or trying to control people like that is tyranny.

  19. I’m disagreeing with your assertion that atheism is the same thing as communism. A communist state would never fully kill off religion because you can’t control people’s thoughts.
    I haven’t heard the “hold to the fire” phrase before, so apologies for misunderstanding. I’m sure you understand how it could be taken the wrong way.

    Of course you can ask atheists why they don’t believe in God and vice versa. I’m afraid the answers might be brief, though. Many people simply believe or do not believe. You say that all people will meet God when they leave this world. That is your belief. Some people do not believe this. Surely it is fair that everyone is represented in governments and constitutions, not just the most popular opinion?

    Thank you for replying so quickly. Oh, and I assure you I read it. The comment about Hitchens was unclear to me, obviously.

    I’m an atheist but I wouldn’t want to live under an atheist regime, just like I wouldn’t like to live under an Islamist regime or a Christian regime. The atrocities you mentioned are the problems you get if any governement goes to an extreme like that (irreligious or religious). I don’t know any atheist who wishes to see a time when people are forced to think like them or when churches are burned down.

    I’m not sure if you’re American but if you are it’s highly unlikely to become Communist any time soon. Secularism and Communism are not the same thing.

  20. If you are interested in history I suggest you read on not only Communistic Russia but others Communist rules that have tried (and failed) to erase out Christianity. Russia is NOT a unique example there are many other atheistic regimes that were the same. Pol pot etc.
    Harm atheists? FYI “Holding someones feet to the fire” means they should have to ANSWER the bold statements they make. If attempting to answer a statement is harm, well i don’t get it? I said that Hitchens is NOW a believer in God. He has met him, as all will when they leave this world. Are you sure you read this?

  21. First of all, I want you to know that I clicked on your blog because I have a huge interest in history. I didn’t come onto your blog knowing it was a Christian one, or with any desire to criticise you.

    However, I must confess to find your rhetoric a bit disturbing. To suggest that atheists (or anybody who wants to see a separation of church and state) wants to see all places of worship burned down and religious people deported is insane. Secularism does not mean an end to religion, merely an end to any one religion dominating in government. It means everyone gets a fair say.

    Russia is a unique example. You would be hard pushed to describe Russia under Stalin as “atheistic”. Yes, they brutally shut down any form of personal worship. That is because they didn’t want anything getting in the way of worshipping the leader. You’re probably familiar with the term “Cult of the leader”. That was the “religion” they wished to force on people to make them more malleable. It was a horrible, depressing time in history. I don’t know any atheist who would look to Russia and say “Yes, that was a great way of doing that. We should do that in our countries”.

    I would love to know, if you have time to respond, how wishing harm to atheists (“Hold the atheist’s feet to the fire!”) makes you a better Christian. I may disagree with religious people on certain points but I would never deny them the right to express their opinion or wish them physical harm because of what they believed.

    Also, Christopher Hitchens was most decidedly not a believer in God. I don’t understand the desire in some religious people to claim people who disagree with them converted on their death-beds. (Or perhaps you meant that he now believes in God because he has died and gone to heaven? Apologies if I misunderstood).


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