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Tucson Atheists Message Board › Violence and Religion - Unofficial Survey

Violence and Religion - Unofficial Survey

A former member
Post #: 459
I want to put together a list of incidents of violence due to some aspect of religion. This is not a list to lambast any particular faith or faith in general. My purpose is to see, based upon the knowledge of our combined group, what instances within history that we are able to cite. If you know of any and want to participate, just add them to the message board here.

  • 911
  • The Crusades (1076 for about 200 years)
  • Protestant and Irish Catholic Rebellion of 1641
  • Thirty Years War (1618-1648)
  • St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre (Massacre de la Saint-Barthélemy in French in 1572)
  • LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam) Sri Lankan Buddhist attacks on Muslims and Christians, and now counter attacks by aggrieved Muslims 1990's to current
  • A long history of persecution, including genocidal persecution, of Hindus by Muslims in Bangladesh and West Bengal, beginning with the partition of India into Pakistan and India in the 1940s and furthermore into Pakistan and Bangladesh in 1971, although it is thought that general persecution has existed for 800 years.
  • The Holocaust
  • Kosovo, Serbia in 1990's
  • From 1389 to 1829, Muslims persecuted the Orthodox Eastern Church in the Balkins
  • Continuing problems currently in Palestine

Interesting article at the Atheist Alliance International about Atheists and Violence


Thanks for any contributions you may have. Please just provide the general statement and not a complete history.
A former member
Post #: 460

  • Child abuse within a church or cult
  • Mutilation of women's genitals
  • Stonings
  • Domestic violence due insubordination of female when the male is told of his right to dominance
  • Pollution (very violent) on the earth and species extinction because of man's dominion over the earth

Oh the pleasantries of life.
A former member
Post #: 11
Having just finished reading "Nomad" by Ayan Hirsi Ali, a former Muslim now atheist woman, I was pleased that your list includes the oppression of women in tribal and Muslim cultures.
However I take issue with the last entry. I can't see any way that "man's dominion over the earth" qualifies as a religion or religious belief. Also I question counting pollution as violence except in cases where there was knowing intent to harm, which is probably a small fraction of all polluting acts. Can you elaborate?
A former member
Post #: 462
Regarding man's dominion over the earth, it is found in the Bible. There are people who consider their right to do anything to the earth and it's process as justified within their religious belief. It is an extension, but it happens everyday. Regarding knowing whether they are doing it or not. In the past they didn't know, but such practices today are a willful act of destruction. There are safety measures ignored everyday. So, the havoc reaped upon the earth with the decimation of species or cancer-causing contamination is to be extremely violent. People just don't think of it that way because in the first example, it hasn't in their minds affected "one of their own kind" or they don't choose to believe scientific evidence of contamination of certain processes because it does not suit their needs. Are scientists sometimes wrong or incomplete? Yes, but more times than not, their tested wisdom seems to be ignored.. When a system becomes out of balance, it is no longer healthy, will not survive and cannot support those who rely on its state of health to provide for them.

Continuation of the list

  • Human sacrifice to receive something for themselves
  • Exorcisms (mental torment and sometimes physical) of non-believers
  • Declaration of insanity of an individual based upon a lack of belief
  • Genocide of Native Peoples for those who won't convert
  • Acts of violence against homosexuals and lesser forms of gay-bashing
  • Burning at the stake of independent women as witches
  • Torture in prisons based upon religious conflict
  • Bullying (mental violence of torment) for a different belief
  • Spanish inquisition
  • Murder of Galileo - one of the great minds of his time.

A former member
Post #: 463
Religious violence timeline­

Select the option of showing 50 examples per page and the timeline really starts showing a pattern of how communal violence is actually increasing in contemporary times.

A former member
Post #: 12
Many interesting examples on that timeline!
but note, Galileo was not murdered, but was threatened with dire punishment - still a violent act - so he recanted (publicly) his scientific findings and died of natural causes at age 77. see http://en.wikipedia.o...­
A former member
Post #: 464
Thank you Joy for the clarification. I do recall that now, but I guess in my mind he was murdered because punishment for free thought to advance humanity to me is a form of murder. It is extinguishing quality in society. Not everyone cares to participate on his level or can, but when we have these kinds of individuals who come along, they should be fostered, much like artists of that era were fostered. modern day ad agencies, these artists were paid to promote what version theology the various religious leaders wanted to put out to the population. I guess the independent artists expressed their own beliefs or the ones they thought would catch attention to get commissions. Times have not changed and probably never will. The critical mind must decide for themselves.

The ironic thing was that Galileo was a pious man who believed in God. He did not challenge their belief in God, just the construct of how they created that particular God.

Also, a lot of theories that are fostered at some point burn themselves out, but they become examples of what doesn't work. Or later on, someone else will take a stab at it from another perspective and find the missing key that proves it correct or truly incorrect. So, I guess in my mind, mea culpa, I admit, to me it was a form of murder shutting him down. Same as a raped woman or any abused person. There is a fundamental shift in that individual and a tremendous loss that removes who they are. They become a reflection of the ugliness infringed upon them.

And now..... on with today's list:

  • Ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits
  • Taiping Rebellion
  • Second Sudanese Civil War
  • Jewish-Roman Wars
  • "Tuez-les tous; Dieu reconnaitra les siens," or "Kill them all; God will recognize his."
  • http://en.wikipedia.o...­
  • The Reformation
  • Gunpowder Plot
  • Mountain Meadows Massacre
  • Ritual killings and slaughter
  • Hundred Year's War
  • Jim Jone's Jamestown
  • Standoff in Waco, Texas
  • Warren Jess

A former member
Post #: 466
Atheism and Violence - No real examples found as instigators, but sometimes recipients as prejudice with results typical to prejudice. The Hindus actually seem to be in the same situation, although at some point, they have developed extremists that are fighting back.


Didn't really find any serious examples in a very brief search. But was amused at one website that we were accused of everything we have historically said about religious belief. In general, I think Atheism as a belief is subject to prejudice which can turn violent towards the prejudice.

Nevertheless, just thought I'd see if there were any quick references (the level at which I found all the other examples added to my own remembrances of learned history) to an Atheist or a group of Atheists had incited violence based upon their non-belief of a supreme being.

One individual did credit Stalin, who was an Atheist, for incredible violence. That is true, but his violence was not based upon teaching others to non believe in God, but as a pursuit to institute a political system.

I guess the closest you might come, which again was an economic revolution would be Chairman Mao who instituted a program for the population to drop their religion.
A former member
Post #: 7
Stalin used Jews as human minesweepers after the nazi defeat at Stalingrad behind the retreating German army.
A former member
Post #: 467

Were you saying this example was a targeted religious persecution with that as the end goal or were they the easy target to accomplish some other power-mongering goal. I thought his quest was more about development of power and particular economic structure than a singling out of a specific religious group. No doubt what he did is still heinous and cannot be denied the horror he wrought. Absolutely inhumane. I guess what I am saying is that he as an atheist was not requiring others to change their religion, but attacked and used what he considered to be the most easy to target within society at the time and manipulate others to do the same, to accomplish his personally defined goals.

Please clarify since you know more than I on this one.
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