Short Answer: The massacres by the atheists far outweigh all the wars waged in the name of Religion. Dr. R.J. Rummel, professor emeritus at the University of Hawaii estimates that since 1900, the total body count is approximately 262 million dead from the bloody hands of atheistic governments. And in the 20th century alone, the atheistic ideologies of fascism and communism murdered more than 150 million people. It may be literally true that there’s not a single atheist who does mass killings or wars in the name of atheism. That is, the atheists when they do mass murders do not declare that they do this in the name of atheism.
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Wars of Atheists
One of the perennial arguments by atheists is that religion has led to wars and untold suffering. But see some significant statistics:
Joseph Stalin, a product of the atheistic ideology of Marxian socialism caused the deaths by murder or starvation of as many as 60 million humans.
The Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong was responsible for as many deaths or even more.
And Pol Pot led the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia during the 1970’s, when 2 million Cambodians or about 20% of the population died from execution, disease, and starvation.
Add to that the massacres by the atheistic or antireligious regimes of Lenin and Hitler, and you can see the scourge of humanity called atheism – which is the rejection of the values of Religion – for what it is.
The massacres by the atheists far outweigh all the wars waged in the name of Religion. Dr. R.J. Rummel, professor emeritus at the University of Hawaii estimates that since 1900, the total body count is approximately 262 million dead from the bloody hands of atheistic governments. And in the 20th century alone, the atheistic ideologies of fascism and communism murdered more than 150 million people.
In the Name of Atheism?
It may be literally true that there’s not a single atheist who does mass killings or wars in the name of atheism. That is, the atheists when they do mass murders do not declare that they do this in the name of atheism. Doesn’t this apply to religion as well? Anyway, no such claim can bring the millions dead back to life.
It is a fact that no ideology in history grew up without using some degree of violence – could be psychological violence at the least – at some point in its development. And even a peaceful religion, for instance, can cause a level of violence that can grow out of control at some moments for various reasons.
This applies to secular ideologies too. The horrific bloodshed of the French revolution is immense; yet it is praised and defended for its ideals of liberty, equality, and fraternity.
If this is the case, then we should not be blind to the immensely beneficial effect that religions have on human societies and on the lives of individual human beings, owing particularly to their emphasis on an eternal metaphysical world beyond the confines of this-worldly materialism.
What Could Be the Root Cause of Violence?
Indeed the role of the human psyche in the perpetration of violence is well acknowledged by psychologists. Humans could be called predatory carnivorous mammals, from which state they could be lifted by exposure to art, philosophy or religion. It is the soul of man that raises him above the level of a beast.
A religious person can resort to violence only by going counter to his religion or by deviating from the essence of religion. Allah Almighty in the Quran says,
‘O mankind, indeed we created you from male and female, and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted’ (Quran 49:13).
Islam Emphasizes Spiritual Responsibility
Indeed there are three values Islam inculcates in its followers: piety in individuals, knowledge in scholars and social justice in leaders. And the core of this religious worldview is spiritual responsibility oriented toward a world beyond this world.
This is the essential Islam that serves the Muslims as their source of moral standing and hope for a better future. And it helps them to keep their allegiance to the Islamic faith even in the face of dire socio-political conditions.
In fact, the violence and atrocities committed by the Muslims in some parts of the world are regressive and in many ways anti-Quranic and therefore anti-Islamic.
The Role of The Quran
The Quran is a magnificent Book of Guidance, whose appeal is not just to the heart of the readers, but to the depth of their soul. Several of its verses appeal to human reason and intellect as well. The Quran converses with the mind of the learned and experienced reader as no other book does. Its generosity and comprehensiveness makes it a very dynamic book.
It is true that some Muslims adopt a literalist reading that is anti-intellectual, anti-modern, and consequently in an anti-Quranic spirit. Evidently this leads to confusion and turmoil. As Islam addresses the human soul, as well as human reason, it is needed in the world of today and the world of tomorrow.
Atheism per se may present a neat system of thought aided by science, but the very same science may demolish it in the future. Atheism presents human beings as the creators of their own ethics and morality, without leaving any scope for accountability in another world after this one. The result is that it endangers human life and dignity. Hence Islam categorically refutes it.
And Allah knows best.
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