Atheists who have presided over incredible mass murders:
Religious people who have presided over incredible mass murders (‘mass’ goes up with time/weapons technology/available slaughterees):
Ramses II (Exodus)
Joshua (Exodus – Jericho and several other Caananite city-states)
Judas Maccabeus (Maccabees)
Alexander the Great
Gaius Julius Caesar
Octavian Augustus Caesar
Urban II (First Crusade… wow, we haven’t even really started that… let’s assume the rest are listed and move on, shall we?)
Torquemada and all the various Inquisitions that wiped out the Cathars, Waldensians, lots of Jews, and so on
the entire Tudor family in England, Catholic and Protestant (Wars of the Roses, Thirty/Hundred Years’ Wars, etc, etc)
…you know what, forget the rest of it. One more name.
I haven’t even touched on great killers who were Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, or on the many, many dictators in Africa right now who praise God with one voice and order genocide in another. And there’s more. Feel free to think up other atheists who’ve done as much damage to people and property. Castro? Please. Pretty small potatoes.
I’m not knocking the good that religion has done – there’s a lot of it – but it just isn’t all good.
Secondly, truth is eternal not temporal, which is why what is true is true no matter who says it or believes it. The passage of centuries means nothing at all. You may as well say that what was true on Monday cannot possibly be true because it is now Tuesday (to use G. K. Chesterton’s example).
Sure, but what if you’re wrong? You’re human and fallible and plenty of other people believe differently from you and believe they’re right.
Not quite. Any religious system that does all the things you describe must certainly be respected, but that doesn’t automatically make it as true as any other. What you are promoting isn’t ecumenicism, but indifferentism. And indifferentism leads to loss of any sense of truth and so on to chaos, as it has in our own Western society.
I thought we were doing pretty well until the pendulum started swinging back towards general fundamentalism (Protestant, Catholic, Muslim, etc)
Violence, in and of itself, is no more an evil than is any other action when it is done at the right time and the right place and under the right circumstances. For instance, it is prefectly all right for any of us to defend our families from those bent on killing us through acts of badly motived violence (such as robbery and other such crimes), as long as oujr violence is governed by mere necessity and not a desire to destroy others.
Violence is evil; sometimes it is necessary. These things happen.
I find this commendable, actually, not to be damned. At least they believe in Someone higher than themselves to whom they must answer. They may be quite wrong in their beliefs about that Someone and act in ways really would not please Him, but that is something for which they will have to answer to Him and to society by giving their lives or being put on trial and given the proper sentence, if that is what is called for.
Which, ideally, is how they would see you, no? If everyone who practices religion gets along, agrees that there is a common Good and that each sect is a different way of trying to attain that Good? Even atheists who don’t perceive it as being divine?
Oh no. Religion won’t do that. People being misled in their beliefs will do that, certainly, be those beliefs religious in origin or atheistic. The problem is we are ruled by our passions, not that we believe this or that.
I envy your conviction but not your naivete. If people keep becoming more and more divided and angry because of religion… it could well happen, even if religion isn’t the actual cause of conflict (that’s usually money, but religion is quite often used to promote and aggravate it).