Adam Eyves
5 min readApr 30, 2024


This is a good dialogue. I appreciate your thoughts.

A few responses below:

"However, you can't reasonably say, "Well, this was politics/imperialism, not true Christianity" as a defense against atrocities committed by Christians and not use the same reasoning on, for example, what communist countries did." [Exactly. I very much can claim that politics/imperialism are not true Christianity, just like you should claim Communism doesn't represent atheism. A corrupt and incestuous political-religious alliance is not Christianity by definition. As I clearly said in my response, just because communism hijacked atheism doesn't mean I blame atheists for the evils of communism. I am using the same measuring stick for both scenarios.]

"So if that's your defense, I think your attack on "nothing like the atheistic atrocities" is still incorrect. " [I am not attacking atheism. You listed a bunch of perceived Christian atrocities from a misinformed viewpoint. I just pointed out the perceived atrocities that stem out of atheism in the same manner as you to show the logical inconsistency of your statement. However, I understand what you are saying and don't necessarily disagree with you.]

"And anyway, Protestant Christianity was used to excuse and motivate its additional atrocities, like continuing the slave trade and continuing the institution of slavery (yes, I know that abolitionists also usually appealed to Christianity to support their points - everyone was Christian, mostly Protestant, in the U.S., so what else is there to lean on?); the repeated annexation, often violent, of North American native lands; the pogroms against Jews in Eastern Europe and Russian in the 1800s (Orthodox, not Catholic); New England witch hunts; the anti-Balaka militias in the Central African Republic ten years ago, and so on. Some of these rise to the same general level of horror, or possibly surpass that, of what Communist revolutions and subsequent authoritarian regimes have inflicted." [Yes, history is messy and complicated, and your list has no justification. That said, there are no black-and-white scenarios where human behavior is always good or bad. We can cherry-pick atrocity outliers all day long, but they don't represent the whole or the essence of what you and I believe. Sure, there are Christians who do bad things, and there are atheists who do bad things.

Another factor that should be considered is that we can't measure past cultural behaviors through today's moral or ethical lenses and cast judgment. Many of the normal cultural values 1000 years ago are morally despicable today. And not all terms are equal, either. A bondservant in Israel 2,000 years ago is not the same as an African slave brought over to America on a slave ship. Tricky stuff.]

"In every case, you can find Christians also objecting to the actions. And you could find a lot of atheists objecting to Communist violence. And you can find people of other beliefs also committing violence and others of those beliefs objecting to violence. So I still don't see your "nothing like the atheistic atrocities" statement as historically justified." [My statement was a blanket response to you claiming that real Christians committed your listed atrocities. So here's mine if I use your method of comparison.

From The Guinness Book of World Records:

Look up the category "Judicial" and under the subject of "Crimes: Mass Killings," the greatest massacre ever imputed by the government of one sovereign against the government of another is 26.3 million Chinese during the regime of Mao Tse Tung between the years of 1949 and May 1965. The Walker Report published by the U.S. Senate Committee of the Judiciary in July 1971 placed the parameters of the total death toll in China since 1949 between 32 and 61.7 million people. An estimate of 63.7 million was published by Figaro magazine on November 5, 1978.

In the U.S.S.R., the Nobel Prize winner, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, estimates the loss of life from state repression and terrorism from October 1917 to December 1959 under Lenin, Stalin, and Khrushchev at 66.7 million.

Finally, in Cambodia, "as a percentage of a nation's total population, the worst genocide appears to be that in Cambodia, formerly Kampuchea. According to the Khmer Rouge foreign minister, more than one-third of the eight million Khmer were killed between April 17, 1975, and January 1979. One-third of the entire country was put to death under the rule of Pol Pott, the founder of the Communist Party of Kampuchea. During that time, towns, money, and property were abolished. Economic execution by bayonet and club was introduced for such offenses as falling asleep during the day, asking too many questions, playing non-communist music, being old and feeble, being the offspring of an undesirable, or being too well educated. In fact, deaths in the Tuol Sleng interrogation center in Pnom Penh, which is the capital of Kampuchea, reached 582 in a day."

Between 35 million and 40 million people were killed by the Chinese in medieval history.

Please consider that these deaths were the result of organizations or ideologies that had left God out of the equation. None of these examples involve religion. And all but the very last actually assert atheism.

This is far more deaths than your list of Christian atrocities. But this is also a false equivalency because it's more of a comparison of external ideologies that have hijacked our positions.

Let's step back. If I accept the definition of an atheist as simply having "a lack of belief in gods" your problem of association with atrocities goes away. All I'm asking is you give Christians the same consideration.]

"If you wanted only to claim that atheism isn't a panacea against atrocity, then pointing at, say, Stalin would justify the claim." [That is exactly my point. Atheism gets hijacked in the name of political ideologies, and you rush to defend it, but you aren't allowing for the possibility that Christianity gets hijacked and misused as well.]

"If one wanted to make a better/worse comparison, that would be tough to make convincing." [The bottom line is that some people are good, and some are bad. Some groups are good, and some are bad. Barbaric behavior is a human condition that has always existed and continues to this day. Christianity has a word for it: Sin. I'm not sure what your explanation is for breaches in morality or where that moral authority comes from, but that's what makes atheism so dangerous in the wrong hands. In that case, accepted moral behavior is reduced to whoever carries the biggest stick (communism for example), with no moral authority to correct it. In Christianity, God is the moral authority. But that is another topic.]



Adam Eyves

Writer, editor, storyteller, sailor, and coffee drinker. I think, I question, I imagine. I am a philosopher at heart, and a connoisseur of all good things.