Saturday, May 02, 2015

Atheism had nothing to do with it? That's not what they said: Wurmbrand's Tormentors and atheism

This is from Richard Wurmbrand's Tortured for Christ. 

The cruelty of atheism is hard to believe when man has no faith in the reward of good or the punishment of evil. There is no reason to be human. There is no restraint from the depths of evil which is in man. The Communist torturers often said, 'There is no God, no hereafter, no punishment for evil. We can do what we wish.' I have heard one torturer even say, 'I thank God, in whom I don't believe, that I have lived to this hour when I can express all the evil in my heart.' He expressed it in unbelievable brutality and torture inflected on prisoners.8

There are moral pits that Christians can fall into. Here is a Chesterton Father Brown story that describes one. But there is the "everything is permitted" moral pit that requires atheism. And it is a deep one. It is far from the case that atheists must fall into it. But I think it delusional to deny its existence, or to deny that it was partly responsible for the horrors that took place behind the iron curtain. 

9 comments:

Crude said...

But there is the "everything is permitted" moral pit that requires atheism. And it is a deep one.

Funny how 'everything is permitted' has led to totalitarian systems up to the gills with rules and punishments. There's some dark comedy in there.

B. Prokop said...

I posted this some weeks ago in a thread below this one, but it is appropriate to repeat it here (slightly amended):

The failure of atheists to take responsibility for their own history means they learn nothing from the ghastly events of the last century. No lessons learned means nothing stopping them from repeating the same mistakes (a.k.a., crimes against humanity) in the future.

If an individual has a problem in his life (say alcoholism), he must first acknowledge that he has a problem before there can be any hope of overcoming it. The same thing applies to societies and nations. Germany's admission of guilt in the Second World War paved the way for that nation's reintegration into the Civilized World. The Truth and Reconciliation Commissions in South Africa enabled that country to rise above its apartheid past.

The atheists' refusal to own up to crimes demonstrably committed by their fellow non-believers and (yes) in the name of their shared non-belief, guarantees that given the chance, they'd do The Same Damned Thing again. Repetitious insistence that "It wasn't us!" only deepens the denial.

It's far worse than a drunk telling himself he can handle "one more drink" - this is a case of him denying he's even holding the bottle (which everyone can plainly see in his hand)!

Jezu ufam tobie!

Jim S. said...

I posted a longer section from Wurmbrand on my blog here.

B. Prokop said...

Jim,

Thanks for that link. It was a painful read to be sure, but of course nothing to the reality of what Wurmbrand and millions of others suffered at the hands of the atheist Communists.

I was especially struck by this passage: "I am very sorry if a crocodile eats a man, but I can't reproach the crocodile. He is not a moral being. So no reproaches can be made to the communists. Communism has destroyed any moral sense in them. They boasted they had no pity in their hearts." (my emphasis) I thought, now where had I read something similar to this not long ago? Then I remembered. It was right here, on this website. It went something like this: "I love life. I’m living life to the hilt, pretty much guilt free, primarily because my ethical standards aren’t as high." (again, my emphasis)

Question: How far is it from "no guilt" to "no pity"?

Blessed Martyrs of Eastern Europe, Pray for us!

David Brightly said...

I suppose a belief in divine punishment could deter someone otherwise determined to do evil, and this last barrier would be missing in an atheist. But it could be worse. Suppose someone believed that evil was divinely demanded and that good would be punished? A kind of Manicheanism perhaps. That would count as a theistic belief and atheism would protect against the ensuing evil.

But is the 'moral vacuum' idea right anyway? Didn't Soviet and Nazi totalitarianism have perverted moral systems of their own? Perhaps you can only boast you have no pity if first you have made a god of 'progress' or 'destiny' or 'the Volk', whose demands override the sentiments of the heart.

Edward T. Babinski said...

Vic's anti-atheist argument gets one nowhere, because people have been joining enthusiastic mass movements of a nationalistic, cultural, political and religious nature (often combined and intertwined) that wind up persecuting everyone else for, like, ever. Read Eric Hoffer's The True Believer about the commonalities of how and why people are drawn to enthusiastic mass movements from fascism and communism to Christianity and Islam.

So, the argument Vic proposes cuts in every possible direction.

How many of you guys also realize that atheism was around for millennia before "communism" co-opted it and turned it into a religion? Why do I say a religion? Because communism promised a heaven, a worker's paradise. And it raised up a particular devil or scapegoat on which to blame the majority of human ills, namely, the pitiless factory owners. Neither would communism have taken off as it did if all the "Christian" nations weren't busy tearing each other apart, demonstrating that even more than 1500 years of Christianity does not preserve a continent's peace, safety or prosperity. The Russian revolution also succeeded during the last year of World War 1, when nations were too busy fighting each other to notice or to get involved. And it was also driven by the gripes of Russian people sick of a kingship (almost a divine messiahship judging by how closely the Orthodox Church was in bed with the Czar, exalting him to such a high degree as God's representative on earth) and denied representation in government, something European nations were already granting their people, but which the Czar and the state Church both rejected. Neither did the communists in Russia invent the secret police and sending people to work camps in Siberia. The Czar was already doing that.

Also how many people here have much knowledge of the crimes Christians have committed, or much knowledge concerning what Luther and Calvin taught concerning the necessity of magistrates to persecute heretics (among others)?

How many have read The Criminal History of Christianity (in several volumes).

Edward T. Babinski said...

Comparing the deaths and other injustices due to communism with those of Christianity (but why stop there, since you claim communism equals atheism which means you'd have to compare all the injustices of ALL RELIGIONS with communism's) we would need to compare figures on how many people were pressured or forced to repent, convert, how many were forced into exile, left destitute, how many were threatened with torture or tortured, how many were enslaved, and how many died due to diseases (spread deliberately in some cases) by Christians and/or within the context of the spread of "Christian" civilization. Not to mention how many MORE people would have died if populations in cities back then had been as high as twentieth century levels and if all the participants had modern weaponry, from handguns to tanks and bombers like in World War 2. I daresay, The Thirty Years War would then have killed not just millions, but far more, and probably would have spread much further if modern means of transportation and communication also existed back then.

And for all the Christian talk about the importance of converting people in other nations and getting them to build churches and go to church regularly like in Europe, think about what Europe went through. Europe experienced an endless stream of wars. In fact only since Europeans have grown increasingly secular have wars of that multitude and kind diminished greatly in Europe, i.e., during the last seventy years following the end of World War 2. Also note that Mussolini and Hitler and Franco were elected by nations that featured a majority of Christians (both Catholic and Protestant in the case of Hitler). And all the churches and prayers in Europe didn't ensure them peace or safety with kingdoms warring against each other, creationist trinitarian Christians tearing apart creationist trinitarian Christians. War after war, including such beauties as the Thirty Years War, and two World Wars in the heart of the continent where churches were still more numerous than anywhere else on earth. And now the continent which was Christianity's own has grown increasingly secular, and perhaps not surprisingly, more peaceful.

Edward T. Babinski said...

Eric Hoffer quotations--on the similar psychological drives that animate adherents of mass movements be they Christian, Islamic, Fascist or Communist
http://edward-t-babinski.blogspot.com/2012/01/eric-hoffer-quotations-on-similar.html

The Criminal History of Christianity
http://edward-t-babinski.blogspot.com/2010/03/whos-man-standing-next-to-richard.html

Protestant & Catholic Defenses of the Need for Rulers to Persecute Heretics, Blasphemers, etc. http://edward-t-babinski.blogspot.com/2010/05/protestant-catholic-defenses-of.html

The Protestant Reformers and their Animosities Toward One Another http://etb-history-theology.blogspot.com/2012/03/calvin-reformers-and-their-animosities.html

Protestantism: Historic Persecution and Intolerance (Index Page) http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2006/11/protestantism-index-page.html

Things Christians Have Been Against (Index Page)
1) Other Christians--from the Early Church to the Reformation
2) Hellenists (which Christians insulted by naming them "pagans")
3) Native Americans
4) Jews
5) Witches
6) Feminists
7) Homosexuals
8) Miscellaneous additional things, Satan (any things or behaviors that one Christian sect or another denoted as "satanic" or "demonic"), Cats, Forks, Christmas and other Holidays, Plays, The Use of Musical Instruments in Church, The Abolition of Slavery, The Right of Females to Vote, Child Labor Laws, Educational Information About Sex and/or Birth Control, Condoms, Anesthesia & Anesthetics, Cures for Malaria and Syphilis, Inoculations and Vaccinations, Striped Clothes, Split-Breeches, Short Dresses, Long hair (on men), Short hair (on women), Drinking, Dancing, Rock and Roll Music, Playing Cards (or Billiards or Pool), Going to the Movies, Watching TV, Masturbating, Dishwashers, Democracy, Working or Playing on Sunday, and, Touching Women. http://edward-t-babinski.blogspot.com/2012/03/list-of-things-christians-have-been.html

How many would like to live Calvin's glorious Christian Geneva? And attend church three times a week where Calvin or some other minister would go on for hours? And if you missed church (without extremely good reason) you had to pay a day's wages as fine? And you were tested on your knowledge of Calvin's catechism and certain prayers, and you were subject to the Consistory's inspections of your home and behavior and subject to lengthy admonishments from them, or worse, being turned over to the city council? And in Geneva at the height of Calvin's influence you could not be a Jew, a Catholic, an Anabaptist, nor a Lutheran. In fact you could not dispute Calvin's view of predestination without being exiled. Nor was organ music allowed in church, nor dancing at one's own wedding, among many other restrictions.
http://etb-history-theology.blogspot.com/2012/03/execution-of-child-and-adulterers-in.html

Victor Reppert said...

If it does in every direction, in a way that's fine. The New Atheist ideology is that religion causes violence, which means that lack of it will eliminate violence. There is no good reason to believe this.