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Notorious Villain “Religion” Strikes Again

December 1, 2008

The notorious mass murderer Religion* struck again this Thanksgiving. Religion, under the guise Islam, stormed into Mumbai, India and took several American and British Nationals hostage in hotels before killing them. In total, Religion killed 188 people, wounding 300 others.

While the coordinated attacks were going on in Mumbai, Religion was simultaneously committing more atrocities inside the Middle East. Through the use of suicide bombers, rockets, and IEDs, Religion, once again under the alias Islam, slaughtered 86 people throughout the nation of Iraq.

We’re also getting reports that more than 483 people were killed in and around JOS, Nigeria over the weekend by Religion posing as both Islam and Christianity. The fighting started out over a recent election but quickly expanded along ethnic and religious lines. The 483 dead do not include those that died that are followers of Christ,  a well known supporter of Relgion.

That brings this holiday’s known death total to 757 with many more likely waiting to be found or reported. Details will be updated as they come in. 

* Religion is a well known terrorist organization that has caused the deaths of more people than any other in the known history of mankind. It has followers in every country in the world and controls the foreign policy of most governments.

  1. December 1, 2008 10:27 am

    Care to look at the death tolls of both the Soviet Union under Stalin and the Maoists in China? I think the militantly atheist have at least equaled the theists in body count and overall damage.

  2. December 1, 2008 10:33 am

    I love how people always bring these guys up. Mao, Pol Pot, and Stalin were Atheists themselves, but they did not kill the religious in the name of Atheism. The primary reason they attacked the religious institutions is because they were alternative positions of authority that threatened their own hold on power.

  3. December 1, 2008 11:11 am

    I never claimed that those atheistic monsters killed the religious in the name of Atheism. I only responded to your post on how religion has “caused the deaths of more people than any other in the known history of mankind.”

    I think all the deaths caused in the name of religion would have trouble stacking up against Stalin’s, Pol Pot’s – thanks, I’d forgotten him – and Mao’s efforts, both of whom were both atheists and anti-theist and waged their programs of mass death and cultural destruction for purely secular reasons.

  4. December 1, 2008 11:28 am

    I think you fail to realize exactly how long humans have been around and how many people have been killed over faith.
    I’m not going to jump into this argument with you much deeper, I don’t think there is much point to it. You have a very entrenched opinion of atheists and anti-theism, as you’ve previously exposed in comments here an elsewhere. I would be arguing against a wall of unreason.

  5. December 1, 2008 1:44 pm

    Hardly unreason, Sisyphus. If anything you’re the one who is entrenched in his opinion – or perhaps we both are.

    I’m certainly not the one describing religion itself as a terrorist organization – especially while ignoring all the horrors committed for purely secular reasons.

  6. December 1, 2008 5:21 pm

    Jonolan, I raped your sister, but since you raped mine, you didn’t rape my sister. Ring a bell? It’s called “projection”, and I hate to break it to you, but saying that there’s more to evil than religion does not, not in the least, absolve religion of its evil, which is the sole topic of this post.

    Your projection even fails to achieve its purpose. Since the atrocities mentioned in the post were done in the name of religion, the evils done by the atheists you mentioned were not done in the name of atheism, and thus your entire point is completely moot. If you had any meat in your arguments, you would have argued that religion is not a culprit, not that there are worse culprits. Until you address this point specifically, you’re up against the wall.

  7. schevus permalink
    December 1, 2008 6:14 pm

    I will address that argument, at least somewhat. Bear in mind, I am agnostic and in no way espousing the greatness of religion. That said, I think religion is too often used as an excuse and scapegoat.

    Take the 9 / 11 attacks for example. Were those attacks against Christians? That argument can be made, but I think if you look at the underlying causes that has little if anything to do with it. Were they caused by Muslism fundamentalists trying to reap their 72 virgins? Maybe, but again I am dubious.

    I think if anything, “fundamentalist” Muslims are duped with religion by those in charge, and that is not religion’s fault. If those who become pawns in a greater game were more educated, they would likely easily see through the religious rhetoric and say “Hey, blowing myself up for Allah is retarded!!”

    I would also say this is not singularly the case with Islam, it’s just the easiest example. If religion were not used for this duplicity, money, power, threats, or something else would likely get the job done just as easily. The cause of evil is evil people. They merely use the tools that will accomplish their goals the quickest, and that is often religion. I don’t think it’s reasonable to blame a tool for the world’s ills.

  8. December 2, 2008 3:15 am

    To quote Voltaire: “If people can be made to believe absurdities, they can be made to commit atrocities”. Surely, politics, greed and garden variety malice play a part in fundamentalist Islam as well, but the ground is made by the absolute and unquestioned faiths at the base of religion itself. Not everyone has to cross the line and blow up in the name of religion, but if religion wasn’t the way it was, blowing oneself up would never come to mind. Critical eyes will fail see see religion as an option just as much as they will fail to see blowing up in its name a beneficial thing to do.

    And again, since even the slightest evil decree is an obvious indictment of religion, then it cannot be absolved or defended. No one has ever said that religion is the sole root of all evil, but anyone who denies its crimes is in effect condoning or at least forgiving its evil.

  9. December 2, 2008 5:52 am


    I do not deny that religion has had its part in a long series of atrocities. I do though argue that religion was the sole – or even primary – motivating force in most if not all of the atrocities attributed to it. In the context of this post I was merely arguing the relative scale of these things.

  10. schevus permalink
    December 2, 2008 8:34 am

    I agree that the framework of religion lends itself for easy abuse, but I still don’t believe that religion itself can be blamed for that. I hate to do it, but the quip “Guns don’t kill people, people with guns kill people” comes to mind for this argument. Religion itself does not cause war and hatred. Rather, people abusing and twisting religion to their own devices causes that.

    “Critical eyes will fail see see religion as an option just as much as they will fail to see blowing up in its name a beneficial thing to do.” I think you are wrong here. There are many highly intelligent individuals who chose to follow a religion. Many people for whatever reason need to have “meaning” in their lives, and that meaning is often manufactured by religion. I don’t think that need for meaning will ever go away.

  11. December 2, 2008 8:53 am

    Several of the 9/11 hijackers were college educated. However, they were also “brainwashed” in a sense with their religion. I suspect that some people are just more susceptible to religious indoctrination than others. My girlfriend still swears to this day that she witnessed an exorcism when she was a child, even though she’s practically a deist now, and despite her solid education. However, I still strongly believe that a solid education that encourages critical thinking and skepticism will rid the world of the most dangerous parts of religion. The rest will die off with time. I don’t advocate the forced removal of religion from society, just education.

    You are right Schev, in your observation that evil men use religion as a tool. What do you do when a child is running around hitting people with a stick? You take the stick away and then you punish the boy. If evil men have less tools to do evil with then we are better capable of stopping the harm. The Catholic church in Germany had been killing Jews for a long, long time before Hitler came along. Look up “Host Desecration” in Wikipedia, or PZ Myers has a wonderful post on it on his blog Pharyngula. If it hadn’t been for their already prevalent abuse of the Jews, Hitler might not have been able to kill the 6 million he did.

    I’m not saying the world would be pefect if religion were gone, but even if it would be 1% better, that’s still 1% we didn’t have before. I suspect it would be more like 49% though. ;)

  12. schevus permalink
    December 2, 2008 8:58 am

    My main argument is that I think it’s unreasonable to “blame” religion and to cast it as the perpetrator of the heinous acts you list above. Let’s be realistic and intelligent and accept that those are the acts of men, merely achieved through religious (maybe?) means.

  13. December 2, 2008 9:09 am

    I agree with you to some extent. I disagree in that I think that there are people who commit evil acts because their religion prescribes these things and they don’t know any better. The Muslim that is a part of the local stoning group (my wording is poor, I don’t mean to imply all Muslims are part of the local stoning group) does this because he believe Allah commands him to do so. The Ayatollah is certainly using religion as a tool.

    Would the Ayatollah hate gays if the Koran didn’t speak against them?

    My point here is that both evil men and religion are to blame for this. Religion in it’s nature says: “I have special knowledge of the nature of the universe, science is wrong where it disagrees with me, I am the most important thing in the universe” Those three things, whether they are simple religions or large scale faiths cause people to put a part of their world view on a pedestal and not question it. That is the most dangerous part. If we taught people not to do that, evil men would have no ground to stand on.

  14. schevus permalink
    December 2, 2008 10:04 am

    I disagree with a lot of what you have said, and I will try to explain myself well.

    “The Muslim that is a part of the local stoning group (my wording is poor, I don’t mean to imply all Muslims are part of the local stoning group) does this because he believe Allah commands him to do so.”

    This may be true, but as you allude to, not all Muslims stone people. What then causes some to do so? It cannot be the religion, because not all practitioners follow that belief. The answer is that someone has interpreted a part of that religion in a way that they think is right. A person in a leadership role in the faith has determined that HE thinks Allah condones stoning. This is just another example of evil men twisting religion to suit their desires.

    “Religion in it’s nature says: ‘I have special knowledge of the nature of the universe, science is wrong where it disagrees with me, I am the most important thing in the universe'”

    I absolutely disagree with this statement. As an abstract idea, religion cannot imply anything. Men make ALL of the implications of religion. The only “natural” tenet of a religion that might be arguable is “there is a higher power / level of existence than humanity.”

    I will agree that if religion did not exist that evil people would not be able to use it to their advantage, but the same could be said for dozens of things. I agree with you that education is the key, but attacking the tool that is religion is an erroneous distraction from what should be the goal of freethinkers.

  15. December 2, 2008 11:56 am

    Jon and schev – saying that religion is not to blame because people are to blame is a sidestepping the fact that religion, as a set of morals, often dictates unambiguously to do evil. You don’t have to be brainwashed or to twist Dueteronomy to believe that homosexuals are to be stoned, you just have to read it and follow it to the letter. Saying it’s “the bad people who follow this rule and not the rule itself is evil” is simply dishonest. Obviously, it is human nature and human evil that caused evil religious laws to be thought of in the first place, but that’s completely besides the point. When one says religion in the respect of evil, it is meant “evil morals that religion endorses”.

    Jon, you’re perfectly right in saying that religion is not the sole evil, but it is definitely an important factor. There’s so much in religion that allows abuse that you can’t act all surprised when evil deeds are done in religion’s name. Obviously, it takes evil people themselves to push religiously motivated atrocities, but that doesn’t change the fact that the motivation is still a religious one, and this factor is not a minor one, either.

    I live in Israel, and I can certify that some suicide bombers who bombed the city I live in (well, live next to, anyway) weren’t particularly evil, they just followed religious laws with the added bonus of ultra-nationalist fervor.

    When I became an atheist, I also stopped hating Arabs. It was that simple. I acknowledged the fact that religion no longer dictates me what people are anymore, and thus hating “Arabs” became meaningless. I hate terrorist thugs, not people who speak Arabic and are my neighbors. In fact, I know Arabs who are cordial and sweet, and I couldn’t have come this intimate with them without losing the inherently Jewish xenophobia.

  16. schevus permalink
    December 2, 2008 12:09 pm

    Thank you freidenker, with this line:

    “You don’t have to be brainwashed or to twist Dueteronomy to believe that homosexuals are to be stoned, you just have to read it and follow it to the letter.”

    you have completed my point. If the person who reads that homosexuals should be stoned is ignorant enough to simply go and do it, then there is obviously a lack of education and critical thought.

    Finding some way to educate that poor individual should be the goal of those who want to see the backlash of religious hatred end. I don’t feel tackling the issue sidelong by attacking religion itself will do anything to accomplish that goal, and could even be counterproductive, as attacking religion directly often entrenches the religious more in their positions and feeds them with reason to cause more damage and be more hateful.

  17. December 2, 2008 12:23 pm

    Semantically, you are correct. However, much like you can have a war on terror to fight terrorists, you can have a war on religious extremism to fight religious extremists.

    Think of religion like alcohol. You cure a man of alcoholism and he no longer does the terrible things he did while drunk. He picks himself up and fixes his bad deeds. You don’t leave the man drunk and go and punish the man who invented vodka.

  18. schevus permalink
    December 2, 2008 12:28 pm

    I’m not saying you shouldn’t endeavor to bring people away from religion, I’m merely questioning your methods.

    To build on your alcohol analogy, how do you “cure” someone of alcoholism? Do you smash all their bottles and throw out their beer? No, to effectively cure someone you make them realize that THEY have a problem and then guide them through fixing the problem.

    That is exactly what needs to happen for people who ignorantly follow religion and cause pain and suffering as a result. You don’t punish the man who invented vodka, but you also don’t punish the vodka.

  19. schevus permalink
    December 2, 2008 12:29 pm

    As a note, the war on terror is a whole different argument which isn’t relevant here.

  20. December 2, 2008 12:44 pm

    I agree with Schev and Freidenker almost completely.

    I wrote this post as more of a satirical rant (hence the news broadcast style), I did not intent for this post to convince the world that religion is bad. I wrote it because I was frustrated over the huge loss of life from this single weekend caused by religious extremists. I find it very difficult to understand how people can just throw these people’s lives away so carelessly.

  21. schevus permalink
    December 2, 2008 12:58 pm

    I think most of us share your dismay and disgust at the loss of life. All we can do is endeavor to enlighten those who might be vulnerable to such hatred and manipulation.

  22. notreallyalice permalink
    December 2, 2008 1:16 pm

    Does anyone else notice that all religious violence is virtually the same thing as anti-religious violence? Both atheists and religious people may be anti-religious (or anti-other-religions), though neither need be.

    Stalin and Mao and whoever the hell else gets accused of killing in the name of atheism are actually doing the exact same thing as the leaders of the Inquisition and the Crusades: killing religious people. It is sad, though, that while the atheists are supposedly the morally deficient ones, the religious folks have all had their turn of killing people of another religion. The difference is that the religious supposedly had God on their side. Killing in the name of God and killing in the name of power are related… but different.

    Ultimately though, no matter the motivation behind the killing, people get dead. Which is something we can all agree is bad, amirite?

  23. December 2, 2008 1:41 pm

    I’m not sure I would say that Stalin, Mao and Pot killed in the name of atheism or that they solely targeted the religious. They were atheists who commit wholesale slaughters without the goading of religion; their reasons were purely secular.

    Kill in the name of God or the Gods.
    Kill in the name of Culture
    Kill in the name of…

    That’s really the sum of my point. Man will find a cause to kill for – or to blame his killing upon or excuse it by why of. If it isn’t religion it’ll be something else. If anything religion limits our violence, if not very well or evenly.

  24. December 2, 2008 1:49 pm

    If our society put value in critical thought and the ability to question everything, mass murders would not occur at all. With that in mind, I disagree with you in your assumption that religion limits violence.

    In my opinion, the vast majority of religious people who would do good, would do good without their faith. A lot of atheists are former theists, most in fact. When they shed their god they are still fine people.

  25. December 2, 2008 2:49 pm

    I wonder if they’ve shed their god or just shed their church, the flawed mortal agency of their religion. I run into a lot of supposed atheists were actually agnostics who had ran in horror – sometimes quite justified horror – from the churches they grew up in.

    ‘Tis a moot point though. ;)

    As for our disagreement on whether or not religion limits or encourages violence, I would imagine it depends a great deal on the people involved and our respective opinions about people in general.

    You have more confidence in the masses to make good individual decisions than I do. I have more confidence in the masses to make good group decisions when guided by codified moral principals – religion being one source – than you do. Or at least that’s how it appears to me.

  26. December 3, 2008 10:43 am

    That religion is the primary source of violence in the world is a myth. I have written to expose this at: See also:

    Steve Cornell

  27. ghettophilosopher permalink
    December 3, 2008 11:06 am

    Sisyphus, I still don’t agree that religion promotes violence or normalizes it at all (if I may assume thats your argument. I am on my way out so I haven’t caught up with all of it). I mean men commit violence on others for a variety of reasons that have nothing to do with religion. Hitler is one among many. In fact there are animals that mass murder to get a thrill out of it. Not for food, or to protect themselves but just because. As for the former theists who are now atheists, can you argue with certainty that they didn’t encode the moral lessons they had learned into a cognitive schema? They didn’t all of a sudden become a different person just because they stopped believing in God. Those lessons they internalized could very much have been there, they don’t just shed it like old skin. Oh and just a question, do you read work by former atheists who became christians?

  28. ghettophilosopher permalink
    December 3, 2008 11:18 am

    I mean don’t you realize that certain people will critical think themselves into still committing these heinous acts because thats what they really wanted to do in the first place and by virtue of them being smarter than other people they can always, always convince people to follow them. Thats a given.

  29. schevus permalink
    December 3, 2008 11:24 am

    If that’s what they want to do in the first place, then they are evil people and must be dealt with. I’m not sure what your point is there..

  30. December 3, 2008 12:48 pm

    Finding a way to mitigate the evil religious inflicts to be anything other than criticizing it as containing evil laws is besides the fact that it does, in fact, contain evil laws. Of course it takes ignorance to read an evil religious decree and simply follow it to the letter, but that does not absolve religion. You’re running in circles around the fact that writing a law in a holy book that specifically says “kill homosexuals” is a *bad thing*. This is a religious law, and since that holy book firmly requires all religious adherents to follow it, it’d be extra-biblical not to follow this law as-is. Perhaps there are better ways of tackling this problem other than saying “religious is bad”, but that does not change the fact that deuteronomy states plainly that anyone who follows God, also follows him to hell with this abominable law.

  31. December 3, 2008 1:37 pm

    ghettophilosopher, I’ll address your other comments a little later today but in the meantime I want you to look up Hitler’s speeches and writings on why the Jews should be exterminated.

    “by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord”

    Hitler was raised a Catholic and his justification for his anti-Semitism was always religious.

    Religion not only promotes obvious violence, it also promotes more subtle violence.

    Example of obvious violence:
    “And if a man lie with mankind, as with womankind, both of them have committed abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them” – Leviticus 20:13

    Example of subtle violence:,2933,341869,00.html

  32. ghettophilosopher permalink
    December 3, 2008 3:17 pm

    Schevus my point is simply that evil people are evil regardless of whether or not religion factors into their reasons for doing what they do. My point is that removing religion from the equation isn’t going to simply cause these people to stop. Critical thinking doesn’t always go the way we anticipate that it will go because human beings are different.

  33. December 3, 2008 3:27 pm

    There are plenty of people who will harm gays because they believe god wants them to. Take god away and they have no rational basis for their hate, less gays will be hurt. Just an example.

  34. ghettophilosopher permalink
    December 3, 2008 3:29 pm

    Sisyphus, I stand corrected on Hitler’s religious affiliation but it in no way kills my point. Hitler who claims to be doing God’s work by killing the Jews must have missed the part of the bible where God called the Jews his people. If he is doing “God’s work”, do you now say that religion encouraged him to do so? Of course not. Yes in Leveticus they were supposed to be stoned for committing certain sins but don’t forget that they chose to serve this God. You make it sound like these rules were being forced upon Israel when they weren’t. Infact many times they broke the rules that God laid down and didn’t die for it. That was basically a contract that they signed off on knowing fully well what they were getting into as can be seen in the bible. I also find it strange that gay bashers use this portion of the bible to bash gays when it was written to condemn premarital sex and not gay sex. Another example of people cherry picking portions of scripture to try and fit their own agenda. Gay bashers usually are closet homosexuals themselves and are lashing out because they are angry at that.

  35. ghettophilosopher permalink
    December 3, 2008 3:39 pm

    Sisyphus, just because someone rationalizes something with something doesn’t mean causation. I can rationalize a lot of things I do by a lot of other things that they are not. People who harm gays are people who usually afraid that they would get tainted in some way by being around homosexuals. It is caused by a fear of the unknown. There are other things that the bible has called sins but you don’t see people taking up arms about them. Certain people are taking certain sins personally. That speaks to their personality not to the Bible.

  36. December 4, 2008 3:31 am

    “In fact many times they broke the rules that God laid down and didn’t die for it.” – and this makes the rules not evil because…?


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