American Vision, one of my favorite home-schooling, Christian world view sites, has a good summary of why institutional atheism leads to a type of theocratic totalitarianism. Of course, this sort of statement will automatically cause the logic circuits in the atheist brain to fry, and they will probably immediately and uncontrollably start ranting about how “atheism can’t be theo-anything because there is no God in atheism,” but in my summary below, whenever the author I am summarizing writes ‘theocrat’ (he’s being purposely provocative), just substitute ‘autocrat.’
One point of constant disagreement between xians and atheists is, unfortunately, the simple use of language. Xians like to use religious descriptors for any idea that functions like a religion or God, where as atheists often want to limit it to the letter of the definition. I understand their desire not to be labeled as dogmatic or religious, since that’s one of the main things they hate about religion.
ASIDE: I remember one of my self-help books gave this advice for recognizing your own self-hatred issues – anything that you hate in others you may actually be projecting, and you probably actually hate in yourself. The book recommended that you take the sentence “I hate it when people do whatever” and replace it with “I hate myself when I do whatever.” I think many atheists and theists might become more aware of their dogmatism and tendencies toward autocracy if they did this exercise ;)
So here’s my redux of the American Vision post entitled Why Atheists are Theocrats. He doesn’t back up all of his arguments well, but I agree with most of his conclusions and sentiments in general.
1. Atheism and Marxism most certainly are related, and atheism as a philosophy can not disown the cruelties of modern atheist states, writing them off as megalomaniac anomalies. And Darwinism is also culpable.
As Joel McDurom writes in The Return of the Village Atheist, ‘”In an early private notebook Marx wrote, ‘Communism begins at the outset with atheism.'” What has been the result?
At the end of the Darwinian atheists’ first great experiment in civil government, 1917-1991, at least 85 million residents of Communism’s officially atheistic social laboratories had been either executed or starved to death by their rulers. The more likely figure is a hundred million, according to The Black Book of Communism.
The total may have been higher. Mao’s strategy of systematic extermination may have resulted in tens of millions of executions not recorded or else not yet made available to researchers. What went on in Castro’s Cuba has been recorded in horrifying detail.
What has gone on in North Korea has not been equally well recorded. The death toll from starvation is in the millions. This is the survival of the fittest, Darwinist-style.
2. The manner in which atheists “rely solely on reason” inevitably leads to cruelties even if atheists are well meaning.
This happens for many reasons, chief of which is that man is fallen and cruel, and when this type of “unfettered reason” is given full sway, it becomes corrupted by power. This approach is imbalanced and lacks the leavening and balancing power of the absolute revealed values that healthy, accurate faith provides.
Barker and Gaylor believe that ‘reason and kindness’ should replace ‘superstition and ideologies.’ Stalin, Hitler, Mao Zedong, and Pol Pot thought they were being quite reasonable as they implemented their purges. Barker and Gaylor need to read the literature of their fellow atheists.
The French revolutionaries of the eighteenth century elevated reason to high art, turning it into a goddess and confirming its legitimacy by the blood of the guillotine. Kindness is a great thing, but atheists cannot account for it given atheistic assumptions. Try telling a lion to be kind to a gazelle or a serial killer to be kind to his victims.
While balancing the demands of reason and kindness are most certainly laudable, in practice, atheists leave out kindness because (1) it gets subsumed into their goal of benefiting all of humanity by getting rid of the problem people (like religionists), and (2) because their reason answers to no absolute principles or God, save it’s own supreme reasoning.
I know that atheists probably would consider that last statement a straw man, and I would hope that in practice atheists recognize some objective morals or ethical principles, but in actual historical practice, when human reason is enthroned as sole king, it ends up justifying cruelty every time, for the general good.
What Barker and Gaylor do not understand is that atheism is theocratic with the human animal as the final arbiter of truth. If atheists get their way, they will be running the world in terms of some ultimate principle.
3. Our culture is actually benefiting from the remains of a Christian world view, and atheism is merely borrowing the ideas of kindness, which in the end, are incompatible with it.
At the moment, atheists have the benefit of a vibrant Christian worldview where they can borrow moral plugs like compassion and kindness to keep their hole-filled materialist boat afloat.
Given time, future generations of atheists will logically throw off these moral precepts that at one time had been mined from ‘ancient literature.’ Consistency will lead these newly empowered atheists to conclude that ‘kindness’ is a superstitious remnant of an ancient book-led religion that once proposed that immaterial entities exist. Science will show that there is no way to account for these religion-defined virtues given naturalistic assumptions.
4. We are not in danger from Christian theocrats, but from atheistic theocrats.
Don’t be fooled by the charge that a new theocratic form of government is threatening America; it’s already here. For example, there is a new [de-facto] secular Third Commandment that says, ‘Thou shalt not take the name of a homosexual in vain.’
Atheist Arthur C. Clarke demonstrates the religious nature of materialism and what it will mean for those who disagree with its tenets: ‘Though I am the last person to advocate laws against blasphemy, surely nothing could be more antireligious than to deny the evidence so clearly written in the rocks for all who have eyes to see!’
It’s interesting to see both extremes (far right, far left atheists secularists) calling each other fascists and theocrats, as seen in the two recent books I mentioned. Maybe there’s some truth in both.