|Lenin demands that you stop trying, Vox|
It’s really getting tiresome, all of these attempts by anti-atheists to demonize atheism by claiming that because some violent tyrannical regimes in the past were nonreligious or even anti-religious, therefore, atheism leads to violent tyrannical regimes. It’s a prime example of fallacious reasoning coupled with glaring historical ignorance, and it’s always certain that those who bring up these “argumentum ad Stalinum” attacks have no idea what they’re talking about. I’ve already debunked this ridiculous “atheism leads to despots” notion in the past, so I won’t repost the refutations here. Instead, I wish to take a look at this latest post by Vox Day wherein he tries to explain, via a quote regarding Napoleon Bonaparte, just how and why atheism is bad because of its purported relation to despots [my emphasis]:
It is not atheism itself that is the problem, but as I explained in TIA, atheism combined with a burning ambition to achieve immortality through material ends. Whether this immortality is achieved through military glory, the creation of a New Man, or the construction of a new society on the ashes of the old one is not important, the point is that the underlying motivation to commit acts of horrific violence involves more than the simple absence of the belief that one will face judgment for one's actions in this life.
For such men of burning ambition, ideology is nothing more than a means to a self-serving end. Men have little to fear from an atheist libertarian or a Christian monarch, but they have everything to fear from an ambitious atheist who dreams of great actions and is determined to leave the world with the recollection of his existence.
Now, read this – several times, if need be – and tell me: Where does Vox make his point that because some cruel historical figures imposed atheism under their regimes, ergo, atheism is bad? What he seems to claim, here, is that the (only) reason that such despots as Stalin, Pol Pot and etc. were able to carry out their horrific reigns with a sense of impunity is a lack of fear of judgment and/or damnation after they die. The problem with this sort of absurd reasoning – or one of the problems, anyway – is that it thus implies that religious or otherwise God-fearing tyrants with equally powerful ambitions to lay down an enduring legacy won’t create such horrible regimes. The thing is, once you’ve gotten to the point where you’re an evil dictator at the head of an oppressive empire, you’ve either stopped caring and worrying about God and post-mortem judgment, or you’ve become sufficiently maniacal as to believe that you are actually acting upon God’s will, or that you have divine backing one way or another.
It’s not a combination of atheism and a great desire to create a lasting legacy that leads to despotism. It’s anything combined with cruelty and a lust for power that will lead you to becoming a power-hungry monster. Atheism is merely a belief (in non-belief), not an ideology as so many foolishly claim (Vox included), and cannot be any real driving force behind acts of inhumanity, whether committed by a terrible all-powerful ruler or by your average neighborhood serial killer. Once again: One cannot possibly “kill in the name of atheism” – or really, do much of anything “in the name of atheism” – as it is inherent to atheism that there is simply nothing to kill or do anything for. There’re no deities or supernatural entities to suck up to, no doctrines or dogma to impose, no scriptures to uphold. Nothing. As they say: Atheism is to religion what bald is to hair color; in other words, there’s nothing there. You can’t pin your actions on nothing; all that’s left is yourself and your own desires.