In our last look at the morality Dawkins speaks of, he decides to defend the atheistic mindset by talking about Hitler and Stalin. (Never mind the influence of Sartre in Cambodia or such rulers as Mao and Pol-Pot.) For Hitler, he leaves us with ambiguity. Much time is spent on discussing if Hitler was really a Christian or not.
From those who have read up on him who I have spoken with, Hitler was one who would use Christianity for his own benefit, but he was avowedly against the whole idea. Now if he was an atheist is another question, but I think we can rest assured that Hitler was certainly not a Christian. While he may have made claims to that regard, they were merely that. Claims.
He comes to Stalin though and I’m not that surprised. Stalin only gets a few paragraphs, but there is little doubt that Stalin was handpicked by Lenin for his hatred of all things religious. Stalin was an atheist and atheism has quickly become the worldview of the Soviet Union with Communism driving its economy.
However, Dawkins’s main point seems to be that atheism does not lead to this. Now if he wants to say that if someone is an atheist, that means they have no morality and are the scum of the Earth, then I agree with him. That is not what it means to be an atheist. Many atheists are fine and upstanding people. We have a good friend here who is an atheist who spends much time with us.
In turn, some Christians do great harm to the body of Christ by how they live their lives. Their Christianity is merely nominal and they don’t care who they hurt along the way. While I do not think hypocrisy is a good reason to reject the Christian faith, I think we should all strive to live like Christ to not throw any stumbling block in the way of anyone else.
However, this is the point that needs to be made. Atheism may not necessarily lead to many massacres in history, but it doesn’t contradict them. Someone might say as an atheist you are to respect your fellow human being. Says who? Give me a basis for the moral law that you think we must follow.
Nietzsche was at least honest with his atheism. He made it clear that there’s no point in establishing a moral system. God is gone and we have no eternal reference point any more. We should go on and live our lives our own way and do what we can to be the “Superman” as he would call it. (Who is quite the opposite of the comic book character.)
Now someone might say “What about the Crusades and Inquisitions?” My reply is simple. Were these actions done in accordance with the teachings of Christ or in contradiction? I’m not condemning the whole events by the way. The Inquisition has been made into a nightmare it never was and some Crusades were I’m sure just. It doesn’t mean all were. I’m not approving all and I’m not condemning all.
Where they are condemned though we have to look at the whole situation and ask, “Is this in accordance with the teachings of Christ or not?” Do Christians always live up to that standard of Christ? No. We know that. Those of us who know it well care about it and try to make the necessary change.
However, I do believe that if we do hold to atheism consistently, it can easily lead to the Gulag and other such events. If there is no ultimate meaning, you must make your own. If there is no higher power, why not make yourself that higher power? Who is anyone to say you are wrong? There must be some authority that is appealed to outside of both of you. What is it?
Again, not all atheists are like this, and I believe that’s because of Christianity. Christianity has changed the world so much that the values it brings with us we assume are just basic. The ancient world did not know of these values we take so much for granted. The ancients did not know of the self-evident truths the Constitution speaks of. Christianity brought those realizations about.
Overall, I think Dawkins just skimmed over things too much and did not want to follow the logical conclusions of the ideas that were taught. My finishing of the section left me with no qualms at all about the position that I still hold.