(My reply in quora.com)
No doubt, the inflated figures of carnage by Stalin, Mao and Hitler (the last one, according to himself, a deeply religious man who was carrying on the tradition of Jesus in his attempt at annihilating the Jewish race) is in mind when such questions are asked. Even if you believe that Stalin had caused genocide in Ukraine by allowing a good number of the population to starve to death, don’t forget that his education came from an Orthodox Christian Seminary. The death due to famine in undivided Bengal under the deliberate and well articulated inaction of Winston Churchill was no less brutal than the death in Western parts of then USSR under Stalin or in Xingiang under Mao.
Although Karl Marx made dialectical materialism a part of his communist dogma, and rightly blamed the church for many of the social ills, atheism is not communism. Many communists do profess atheism, some offer lip service to the concept, some others are pious church, mosque or temple-goers. In Kerala, the den of communists, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, a senior leader is known to have conducted “enemy-annihilation sacrifice” in a temple notorious for such sacrifices.
Bernard Shaw, Bertrand Russell, Christopher Hitchens or Jawaharlal Nehru were not Communists, but were atheists. Russell went to jail for opposing war. Billy Graham, the most popular preacher of all times, supported an unequal war that five presidents of the United States perpetrated on Vietnam. There lies the difference between atheism and religion.
As for the political leaders who are alleged to be atheists, Mao often mentioned God and sought His help in his speeches as well as in poetry. Stalin, as I mentioned before, had seminary education in Orthodox Christianity, Pol Pot believed that it was his heaven-ordained destiny to lead Cambodia to great heights. Hitler announced in his public speeches that by exterminating Jews, he was carrying the baton from the point that Jesus left off. Kim Jong-un survive in his countrymen’s belief that his grandfather Kim Il Sung, who died in 1994 is still the reigning president of the nation. Atheists don’t subscribe to such nonsensical notions.
Now read the Old Testament through Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Judges and all the rest of the Bible and start counting the bodies. Think of the living humans who were quartered, broken on wheels, burnt on stakes, alleged witches who were killed in so many ways through the centuries. Remember the crusades, where Christians massacred Muslims and collected Jews together and burnt them. Recollect the number of American natives who were hunted down with the active moral and theological support of the Protestant church. The walls of Sistine Chappell in the Vatican are lined with sadistic images of torture in hell; of children in their mothers’ arms being stabbed to death by soldiers, presumably of King Harrod.
Don’t forget the Dutch Reformation Church which taught in South Africa that Blacks are Canaanites who were cursed to be enslaved. When the tide turned, the church chose to be turncoats. The slave trade and bonded labor pursued by the British under the condescending eyes of the Anglican Church, enslavement and humiliation of the Black people that the Christians of the South nostalgically salivate on till today. Recall with disdain the five Presidents of the United States who napalmed innocent and impoverished peasants of Vietnam under the blessings of the great Billy Graham, achieving no purpose, and certainly no victory. Don’t forget that George Bush openly claimed that God told him to attack Iraq. That advice by God (no doubt, Christian God) set off a human tragedy that has been flaring through a decade-and-a-half with no end in sight. Nobody really knows how many millions have been bombed to smithreens in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya.
If the Islamic rule of Spain was relatively benign and tolerant of Christians and Jews, Christianity reversed the trend. Cruel and muderous inquisitions were held in Spain as well as in most parts of Europe, torturing and killing not just the non-believers, but also those who were suspected to be weak in their belief. St. Xavier not only carried the Catholic cross to India, but imported the most heinous version of inquisition to Goa, where most conversion took place. Suriani (Syrian) Christians were selectively punished for practicing their most original form of Christianity. The Christian invaders caused as much murder and mayhem in India, though the British rewrote the history blaming Muslims for all the inhuman carnage and destruction. As for genocide and torture of Hindu Indians by Muslim invaders, Babar nama, the supposed diary of Babar, boasts of the monstrocities in detail. The book is considered to be one of great literary merit.
If you’re a Muslim, you’re more likely to remember with pride rather than regret the inhuman atrocities perpetrated on the Hindus and Buddhists of India and Zoroastrians of Iran, not to mention the decapitation of Yazidis and the rape of their women happening till today in the so-called Islamic State whose ‘courage’ most Muslims decry in public but gloat over in private. No doubt, they are fighting and killing in the cause of Allah and even if they die in the process, will be greeted by 72 heavenly virgin prostitutes appointed by god; seventy of their relations will be forgiven all their sins.
Quran calls for the murder of non-believers wherever you find them unless they agree to convert. Apologists say that you must read such calls in context – which means that the Prophet meant only the killing Meccans of the time who chose to stick to their beliefs. Since Quran, the alleged words of God mentions no context, one must assume, as the Taliban, Al Qaeda and Islamic State and other smaller but equally dangerous fries believe, the commands of god are not context-dependent. Muhammad got a mad Jewish convert to ‘judge’ that 200 neutral Jews be beheaded and had the sentence instantly carried out. Women are stoned for being raped, for reporting rape , not reporting rape, and in revenge for their brothers’ alleged crimes of rape. Beheading the dead and the living – an art perfected by David of the Bible – is popularized by modern Islam, and perpetrated by the Islamic State, Saudi Arabia and Iran. How many Yazidis, Shia Muslims and other ‘Kafirs’ have been murdered in the most heinous fashion in this very century is yet o be counted.
I remember dozens of ordinary Muslim youth proudly sporting T-shirts with the photo of the burning World Trade Towers Shortly after 9/11. Sunni brigades bombing Shia mosques in Pakistan and Iraq are weekly affairs. Weekly, not daily because the Friday prayers collect maximum victims.
If you’re a ‘tolerant’ Hindu, do not gloat. Your history beginning from the Vedic period is one of annihilation of the indigenous population (Dasyus in Veda, Rakshasas in Puranas, untouchables in recent history) cries out in shame, and in most parts of India this subjugation and killing still goes on. Mahabharata waxes eloquent on the millions killed in a fratricidal war. God Ram is praised to heaven for murdering 14,000 jungle dwellers in one night – their crime ‘disturbing’ the mumbo-jumbo of the so-called sages who cleared their forest and wantonly sacrificed their animals. The ill treatment of the aboriginals by Hindu high castes would make Australian whites seem angels. The jungle dwellers are now called Maoists; their sequential killing is orchestrated by the government and carried out relentlessly by the police and soldiers.
Under the new dispensation, an old law passed but never practiced in many states is revived and vigorously enforced by marauding youths who go under the name of cow-protectors. People who carry on legitimate meat trade, those who herd cattle to cattle fairs, and those who are alleged to have eaten beef are thrashed and often put to death. None pays heed to the pious, but adequately muted ‘warning’ of the partisan Prime Minister that such activities will not be permitted. Those warnings, everyone knows, are not meant to be heeded.
The partition of India in 1947 led to one of the bloodiest human tragedies recorded in history. Ever since this horrific event that cost probably 3 million lives, Hindus and Muslims live in animated antagonism under the guise of ‘’religious brotherhood’. In 1991 the wanton destruction of a nondescript mosque at the instigation of a political party (that is in power today) supported and instigated by a Hindu volunteer force led to many communal riots and murders all over India. If Muslims lost out in the battle for mutual annihilation in India, Hindus in Bangladesh suffered death and rape in the scale that happened to the black Sudanese in South Sudan. The tenth anniversary of the destruction of the mosque repeated the carnage; the man who allowed the burning alive of hundreds of Muslims in a well in the State of Gujarat rode to the glory of Prime Ministership of India 12 years later. The Western world that denied him a visa all those years cringed after he won the general election and received him with open hands and embrace atop red carpets. There was no political leader in the world stage who was fit to throw the first stone.
Sikhism was a religion formed to combine the best teachings of Islam and Hinduism; it’s scripture carries the teachings of Poet Kabir, a sage born Muslim, but sang about Hindu Divinity. The Gurus of Sikhism gave their lives to protect the rights of Hindus to practice their faith under Muslim rule. Sikhs suffered heavy loss of lives in the 1947 carnage. In independent India, a section of Sikhs who thought that the privilege they deserved was not accorded to them demanded independence. Political manipulations led to deadly hostility between Sikhs and Hindus – although many families in the North had some brothers practicing Sikhism while others were Hindus. Both sections paid homage to the Sikh Gurus. By 1984 the tides turned and the open hostility and war cries led to Indian army attacking the sacred temple of Sikhs and killing the rebel leader and many of his followers. This resulted in a series of murders and desertion of the army by Sikh soldiers, leading to the assassination of the Prime Minister. Thousands of Sikhs were murdered by Hindu zealots while the new Prime Minister (son of the one murdered) stood pious guard on his mother’s cooling ashes. His explanation for the carnage was: “”When a big tree falls, the earth shakes.”
The prime dictum of Buddhism is non-violence. (Recall the turn-the-other-cheek sermon of Christ). The recent history of Srilanka shows how Buddhist monks led the genocide of the people of Indian origin (mostly Hindus) and the consequent civil war. Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar are simililarly hounded, tortured and killed – the chief instigators being Buddhist monks. Buddhist Thailand has been through a history of violent wars; street violence is rampant in Thailand as well as in Myanmar.
The Israeli-Palestine conflict that has lasted more than seven decades is one of religious conflict (no doubt perpetuated by the Bible and the Quran), not a territorial dispute. Kashmir burns and its youth want to break away from India because Islam forbids working alongside heathens (‘Kafirs’). If they succeed, there will be unimaginable death and holocaust in three nations that were once one whole region, divided only by religion.
Genocide through human history has been a monopoly of religions. Atheism is an unorganized philosophical strain among science-oriented men and women who depend on debates rather than wars to settle their arguments. They are not known to, nor are likely to, cause any harm to humanity. They have no god nor a messenger to protect; hence no need to go to war for their sake. On the other hand, they can try to steer human mind from childish gullibility to serious enquiry.