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Is Christianity Really the Worst Source of Evil?

I find it especially interesting that he is looking for less harmful alternative beliefs, when I am pretty sure humans have a long history (with or without God) of screwing one another over.

You don’t even have to look back very far—like, one century. The 20th century is the bloodiest in history, and most victims died from violence and hatred fomented by secularist ideologies: nationalism (e.g., Japan’s devastation of China, Germany’s devastation of Europe), communism (Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot—and let’s not forget the smaller-time, but still sanguinary, rightist regimes in Central and South America; both kinds of regimes are notable for devastating their own people), and Buddhism (the nasty little wars in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia), if you see Theravada as “atheistic.”

So what kind of atheism is “less harmful”—that is, something other than armchair atheism but an atheism that has attracted a wide following and governed states and commanded armies?

What we sometimes hear from the not-so-New Atheism at this point is: “Those aren’t the kinds of atheism I’m commending. Those are bad atheisms. I’m talking about the good atheisms that appeal to our better natures and especially to our rationality.”

(Such people rarely tolerate the same claim from our side—namely, that we’re defending the good kind of Christianity, not the bad kinds. But let’s press on.)

We might ask in reply: “What real-world atheisms are you talking about? The studied apatheia of Epicureanism or Stoicism? Do you really want Marcus Aurelius in charge of, say, public charity? The similar nirvana of Theravada Buddhism in its stark, pure form: too unearthly-minded, one might say, to be any earthly good?” The historical record of such philosophies is chilling, not comforting: hardly the kind of warmhearted, pacific humanism your friend likely prefers.