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February 5th, 2013
11:50 AM ET

Can religion prevent violence?

By Jim Roope, CNN

(CNN) – When tragedies happen like the shooting at Newtown, Connecticut, the question of faith often comes up. How can horrible events like that be allowed to happen?

Rabbi Marvin Heir with the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, said he’s not surprised that people question religion, and, God in tragedies.

Hear his and others' perspectives on the role of religion in our world from religious thought leaders in the player above or on CNN Radio Soundwaves

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Interfaith issues • Leaders • Violence

soundoff (536 Responses)
  1. daan

    religion induces criminal behavior..

    read ur history books, watch tele..

    their own manifests r advocating massmurder on everyone thats not a member of THEIR fashist terrorist and criminal organisation

    if they all dropped dead now, all war on this world would stop.

    March 1, 2013 at 3:24 am |
  2. Austin

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tELc7wwJcsA&w=640&h=360]

    February 7, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
  3. Prayer changes rings

    Can prayer prevent Chad from posting? Please pretty please.

    February 7, 2013 at 8:32 pm |
    • Austin

      nothing can stop the Truth.

      February 7, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Austin

      You said, "nothing can stop the Truth."
      But lies and misinformation are even harder to stop.

      February 7, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
    • Austin

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tELc7wwJcsA&w=640&h=360]

      February 7, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
    • Austin

      this place is full of people who "believe Hitler". they have faith that he is exactly who he claims he is.

      February 7, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
  4. Doc Vestibule

    Can it?
    Sure!

    Does it?
    Infrequently.

    February 7, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Can violence be used to prevent religion?
      Should it?

      February 7, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
  5. Chad

    @HotAirAce "when are you going to answer my question about more recent violence, almost entirely due to religion not atheism?"

    @Chad "what Christian violence are you referring to?"

    @HotAirAce "NLFT, Orissa, Anders Breivik, Lord's Resistance Army, evangelical christians in Peru. And http://onemansblog.com/2011/08/06/christians-openly-advocate-killing-athiests-on-fox-news-facebook-page/.

    @Chad "NLFT, Lord's Resistance Army
    =>not Christian

    Orissa
    =>violence against Christians

    Anders Breivik
    =>lunatic

    evangelical christians in Peru
    =>Hunh?

    http://onemansblog.com/2011/08/06/christians-openly-advocate-killing-athiests-on-fox-news-facebook-page/
    =>LOL, comments on a face book page?
    violence?
    really?

    that's what you call evidence?

    =====
    @HotAirAce "There is more factual evidence for recent violence by christians than there is for any god, The Babble or the jesus myth."
    @Chad "really??
    wow.. so.. what do you call the muslim violence
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_and_violence#Modern_violence

    in fact, if you look at the current conflicts, majority are in Muslim countries
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ongoing_military_conflicts

    sorry to bring facts into the discussion.. I realize how that muddies the waters for you..

    February 7, 2013 at 10:46 am |
    • rabidatheist

      @ Chad Just because you don't agree with, or like their brand of Christianity, or their actions in the name of it does not invalidate their Christianity. You may be the one that has is all wrong, and they may be correct. If history is a teacher, then you are absolutely wrong because Christianity wasn't spread around the world by asking nicely. All of this December 21 2012 nonsense could have easily been debunked if we had the Mayan writings, but what happened to it? Oh that's right it was all burned in one big fire under the orders of the Catholic priest Diego de Landa, because he thought the Mayans needed Jesus, and all other writngs were heresy.

      February 7, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
    • SHrUb....gOd wIlls iT.....

      @ Chad,

      ...and then theres the day to day conflicts that arise every day on this rock.... One side of a familiy not showing up at a family function just because the event is held in the wrong church or because the other side has the wrong take of the same damn religion.

      How many people not hired/ or fired for/from jobs that are more than qualified because they dont attend church, remain silent when a boss references God?

      seemingly minor events that change everyday life for the worse – all because of an imaginary being.......

      February 7, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Chad, Chad, Chad. . . You are either dumber than a sack of hammers or a deliberate liar!

      I started out talking about religious vs atheist violence in recent years. You attempted to narrow the field to christian vs atheist violence and objected when I mentioned Iran, stating you only care about christians and that everyone else are not true believers (or some such bullsh!t). I then presented multiple examples of christian violence, many more examples of which can trivially be found. You are now trying to deflect attention from your cult's violence by saying "but, but, but, what about the muslims!?!"

      Chad, it won't work. Religion, including christians and muslims, is responsible for violence in recent years, arguably more responsible than atheists.

      So, are you dumber than a sack of hammers, or just another lying hypocritical delusional believer?

      February 7, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
    • Chad

      Feel free to rail away at Islamic violence, that doesnt in any way shape or form reflect on Christianity.

      Your "Christian violence list" is laughable.. lunatics, groups that arent Christian, and nonsense on message boards.. enough said about that 🙂

      ====
      you then made this utter nonsense claim, which was refuted in two manners, first showing that there has been minimal Christian violence, second showing that your "for any god" statement is utter nonsense as there is significant violence by Muslims.

      @HotAirAce "There is more factual evidence for recent violence by christians than there is for any god, The Babble or the jesus myth."

      ======

      think that is about it right?
      lol

      February 7, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Bluster, bluster, bluster, no true Scotsman bullsh!t, denial, denial, denial.

      Chad, you are a mentally ill member of a sick cult. Please seek help

      February 7, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
    • Chad

      @rabidatheist "Just because you don't agree with, or like their brand of Christianity, or their actions in the name of it does not invalidate their Christianity. "

      =>sorry, no..
      would you accept a person as an atheist if they believed that the God of Israel was real? No you wouldnt, why? because if a person believes that the God of Israel is real, they can't claim to be an atheist (a person who either disbelieves, or denies the existence of any Deity).

      similarly, the criteria for being a Christian means that you believe:
      A Christian ( pronunciation (help·info)) is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament. "Christian" derives from the Koine Greek word Christ, a translation of the Biblical Hebrew term Messiah. Central to the Christian faith is the gospel, the teaching that humans have hope for salvation through the message and work of Jesus, and particularly, his atoning death on the cross 1Co 15:3 and resurrection 1Co 15:4. Christians also believe Jesus is the Messiah prophesied in the Hebrew Bible. Most Christians believe in the doctrine of the Trinity, a description of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

      You dont believe that, you arent a Christian. Simple. Doesnt matter what you call yourself. I can call myself a Cadillac Eldorado, doesnt make me one.

      February 7, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
    • rabidatheist

      Ahhh Chad you silly little boy, defining an atheist is fairly simple. Do you believe in any gods? Yes = NON-ATHEIST, NO = ATHEIST. As for your defininition of a Christian "Christian ( pronunciation (help·info)) is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament. "Christian" derives from the Koine Greek word Christ, a translation of the Biblical Hebrew term Messiah. Central to the Christian faith is the gospel, the teaching that humans have hope for salvation through the message and work of Jesus, and particularly, his atoning death on the cross 1Co 15:3 and resurrection 1Co 15:4. Christians also believe Jesus is the Messiah prophesied in the Hebrew Bible. Most Christians believe in the doctrine of the Trinity, a description of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit." I can run through a whole list of mass killers, and killings that have been committed by your fellow Christians that believe the very same thing. Not only were those killings committed by Christians, but motivated by the instruction of the very writings you quoted. Very recently the Pope himself was in South America and apologized for the forced conversion, and killing on Native, and South Americans, also saying "The people of these lands really wanted Jesus, they just didn't know it yet".

      February 7, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
    • just wondering

      How would an atheist know what it is to be a Christian? In their warped world view they include all those who are unaffiliated with their sicko position (the unaffiliated are not atheists) and freely assign to Christ many who will never see the Kingdom. How is it that atheists claim to know so much when truthful evidence shows them to be so very wrong?

      February 7, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
    • Chad

      @rabidatheist "defining an atheist is fairly simple. Do you believe in any gods? Yes = NON-ATHEIST, NO = ATHEIST."
      @Chad "um... that's what I said, thanks for confirming 🙂

      =============
      @rabidatheist "As for your defininition of a Christian ... I can run through a whole list of mass killers, and killings that have been committed by your fellow Christians that believe the very same thing. Not only were those killings committed by Christians, but motivated by the instruction of the very writings you quoted. Very recently the Pope himself was in South America and apologized for the forced conversion, and killing on Native, and South Americans, also saying "The people of these lands really wanted Jesus, they just didn't know it yet".

      @Chad " I am not attempting to dodge responsibility for the crusades, etc.. but to say that Christianity is a ongoing source of violence that even approaches the level of violence from other religions or atheists is utter nonsense, as demonstrated.

      February 7, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chad

      Have you figured out how to draw that line from "I'm an atheist" to "these people must die because they're not atheist" without adding in other beliefs yet?

      February 7, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Of course, no one but Chad ever made the claim he highlighted above.

      February 7, 2013 at 6:22 pm |
    • Chad

      This example may (perhaps) help you, but I doubt it.. You seem remarkably committed to the nonsensical notion that atheists never kill other people simply because they arent atheist..

      The history of Christianity in the Soviet Union was not limited to repression and secularization.
      Soviet policy toward religion was based on the ideology of Marxism-Leninism, which made atheism the official doctrine of the Soviet Union.
      Marxism-Leninism has consistently advocated the control, suppression, and the elimination of religion.[1]
      The state was committed to the destruction of religion,[2][3] and destroyed churches, mosques and temples, ridiculed, hara ssed and executed religious leaders, flooded the schools and media with atheistic propaganda, and generally promoted 'scientific atheism' as the truth that society should accept.[4][5]
      Religious beliefs and practices persisted among the majority of the population,[4] in the domestic and private spheres but also in the scattered public spaces allowed by a state that recognized its failure to eradicate religion and the political dangers of an unrelenting culture war.

      [1] http://www.country-data.com/cgi-bin/query/r-12521.html
      [2] Daniel, Wallace L. "Father Aleksandr men and the struggle to recover Russia's heritage." Demokratizatsiya 17.1 (2009)
      [3] Froese, Paul. "'I am an atheist and a Muslim': Islam, communism, and ideological compete tion." Journal of Church and State 47.3 (2005)
      [4] Paul Froese. Forced Secularization in Soviet Russia: Why an Atheistic Monopoly Failed. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Vol. 43, No. 1 (Mar., 2004), pp. 35-50
      [5]Haskins, Ekaterina V. "Russia's postcommunist past: the Cathedral of Christ the Savior and the re-imagining of national ident ity." History and Memory: Studies in Representation of the Past 21.1 (2009)

      February 7, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
    • Chad

      @HotAirAce "There is more factual evidence for recent violence by christians than there is for any god, The Babble or the jesus myth."

      @Chad "to say that Christianity is a ongoing source of violence that even approaches the level of violence from other religions or atheists is utter nonsense, as demonstrated."

      @HotAirAce "Of course, no one but Chad ever made the claim he highlighted above."

      =>words escape me..

      February 7, 2013 at 6:28 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chad

      "You seem remarkably committed to the nonsensical notion that atheists never kill other people simply because they arent atheist."
      That's not what I'm saying, that's just your Straw Man for what I'm saying. I'm saying that the cause isn't the atheism, it's the communism, or marxism.
      For something to have a causal relation, it must both be sufficient and necessary.
      Atheism, being the disbelief in a god, was necessary in those communist countries, but it was not sufficient. You cannot make your claim without demonstrating that atheism, by itself, is sufficient to justify mass murder. You have not done so, and continue to not do so. Until you can, I will continue to call you on your dishonest bullshit.

      February 7, 2013 at 6:32 pm |
    • rabidatheist

      @ Chad Do you just parrot everything? Is that your way of telling yourself that you have answered something without actually answering it?

      February 7, 2013 at 6:34 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Where did I write "that Christianity is a ongoing source of violence that even approaches the level of violence from other religions or atheists"?

      February 7, 2013 at 6:37 pm |
    • Chad

      "You cannot make your claim without demonstrating that atheism, by itself, is sufficient to justify mass murder. "

      =>LOL
      well, as NOTHING is sufficient to justify mass murder, I think you're covered there 🙂

      all that's necessary to show that atheists killed Christians because they were Christians , is to ask them, "why are you killing those people"
      if the answer was "because they are Christians "
      then

      here's the tricky part, so pay attention..

      If those atheists said they were killing Christians because they were Christians, they killed them because they were Christians.

      seems simple.. you just dont seem to want to believe it though..

      February 7, 2013 at 6:41 pm |
    • Chad

      @HotAirAce "There is more factual evidence for recent violence by christians than there is for any god, The Babble or the jesus myth."

      @HotAirAce "Where did I write "that Christianity is a ongoing source of violence that even approaches the level of violence from other religions or atheists"?

      =>words escape me...

      February 7, 2013 at 6:43 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chad

      Wow, you really are disingenuous. If you don't have an answer, then just admit it instead of continuing your dishonest bullshit.

      February 7, 2013 at 6:43 pm |
    • rabidatheist

      @ Chad Where were these atheists killing Christians, because they were Christian?

      February 7, 2013 at 6:46 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chad

      "If those atheists said they were killing Christians because they were Christians, they killed them because they were Christians."
      Yes, but as I siad, ATHEISM BY ITSELF CANNOT BE THE CAUSE! That's what I'm trying to get you to actually admit! It wasn't "because they were atheists", it's because they were communists, or marxists, or things like that! HOW IS THIS SO FUCKING HARD FOR YOU?

      February 7, 2013 at 6:46 pm |
    • The Truth

      I fail to see how the phrase "recent violence by christians" and "ongoing source of violence that even approaches the level of violence from other religions or atheists" are in any way similar. Chad once again shows us his dishonest attempt at slight of hand, too bad he's trying to trick people who can see right through his veil of bull shlt.

      February 7, 2013 at 6:48 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Chad, there is no evidence supporting the existence of any god, the jesus myth or the truth of The Babble therefore any instance of violence by christians exceeds the evidence for your delusional beliefs. No where did I make the highlighted claim about christian violence – I focused on religious violence but you always brought it back to your own cult. You wanted examples of christian violence and I provided a few but I did not single out christians as you claim.

      You are a delusional lying dishonest cultist deeply in need of help from a mental health professional.

      February 7, 2013 at 6:54 pm |
    • The Truth

      It's impossible for the Chad to see reason because he has a vested interest in maintaining the status quo of lies heaped upon more lies which when fashioned together by ropes of bullshlt become the great temple all these fools bow down to. He refuses to see atheism as the neutral default position of man because he has misspent his life chasing the coat tails of pedofiles and embezzlers and to admit now that he was wrong would just be too hard for him to bear, so he's going to ride out the wave of bullshlt and see just how far it takes him...

      February 7, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      I thought we are already ripped Chad a new one on this a few days ago? Deja vu or is he repeating stupidity over again over again?

      February 7, 2013 at 7:03 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Anybody seen Chad recently? Hopefully he is busy begging his god for forgiveness for being an outright liar. I expect he will be back to say that it is perfectly acceptable to lie to non-believers.

      February 7, 2013 at 8:11 pm |
    • Chad

      @HotAirAce "There is more factual evidence for recent violence by christians than there is for any god, The Babble or the jesus myth."

      @HotAirAce "No where did I make the highlighted claim about christian violence"

      =>words escape me...

      February 7, 2013 at 8:25 pm |
    • Chad

      @hawaiiguest "ATHEISM BY ITSELF CANNOT BE THE CAUSE! That's what I'm trying to get you to actually admit! It wasn't "because they were atheists", it's because they were communists, or marxists, or things like that!"

      =>perhaps this will help.. but again, I doubt it.. sigh..

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persecution_of_Christians_in_the_Soviet_Union
      The history of Christianity in the Soviet Union was not limited to repression and secularization. Soviet policy toward religion was based on the ideology of Marxism-Leninism, which made atheism the official doctrine of the Soviet Union. Marxism-Leninism has consistently advocated the control, suppression, and the elimination of religion.[1]
      The state was committed to the destruction of religion,[2][3] and destroyed churches, mosques and temples, ridiculed, harassed and executed religious leaders, flooded the schools and media with atheistic propaganda, and generally promoted 'scientific atheism' as the truth that society should accept.[4][5]
      Religious beliefs and practices persisted among the majority of the population,[4] in the domestic and private spheres but also in the scattered public spaces allowed by a state that recognized its failure to eradicate religion and the political dangers of an unrelenting culture war.[2][6]

      February 7, 2013 at 8:31 pm |
    • End Religion

      Debunked and refuted about 10 times a day. None of these characters, whether they were atheist or not, killed in the name of a lack of belief in a god. Some of them suppressed religion as a tool to further the goal of totalitarian control.

      There is no such thing as state-imposed atheism. Imposed irreligion is not atheism. Atheism is only the lack of belief in a god; one can't force people to not believe in a god.

      The actions of Mao, Pol and Joe (who attended seminary) were totalitarian opportunists. They sought total authority and banned religion that would compete with that authority. The pursuit of control over a people was the cause for the bloodshed.

      Although Stalin initially sought to rid Russia of religion, once firmly in office he re-instituted the Russian Orthodox Church and re-opened theological schools. Suppression of religion was a tool not a reason.

      Pol Pot is said to have practiced some Theravada Buddhism (and his Khmer Rouge were radical Buddhists. He studied at a Catholic school in Phnom Pen for 8 years. This mad man targeted not only religion but science, medicine and education. Political dissent was not permitted, with torture a common sentence.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_views_of_Adolf_Hitler

      Hitler was raised Catholic. In his book Mein Kampf and in public speeches he made statements affirming a belief in Christianity. He called the purge of Jews "positive Christianity." While there is debate over his actual private feelings about the faith, he was a publicly practicing Christian. There exists no known evidence that Hitler was an atheist or agnostic. Again: evidence he was Christian; no evidence he was otherwise.

      Hitler said: "Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord."

      The Reichskonkordat was a treaty signed on 20 July 1933 between the Holy See (Catholic Church) and Nazi Germany, guaranteeing the rights of the Roman Catholic Church in Germany, giving moral legitimacy to the Nazi regime soon after Hitler had acquired dictatorial powers, and placing constraints on Catholic critics of the regime, leading to a muted response by the Church to Nazi policies. Yes, the Catholic Church colluded with Nazis.

      http://wiki.ironchariots.org/index.php?ti.tle=20th_century_atrocities (take dot out of 'title')
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reductio_ad_Hitlerum
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin%27s_law

      February 7, 2013 at 8:42 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Chad,

      Soviets killed, or by neglect or bad policy caused the deaths of a lot of people – relatively very few of them because of their religion. A very large number died by famine – a very indiscriminate killer.

      The deaths by repression were in the name of Marxism, not atheism. And yes, there is a distinction that I am sure you can follow. Most Marxists may be atheists but very few atheists are Marxists.

      In any case, the total number of deaths by war and opression in the 20th century can be estimated at 203 million.

      Of these, about 87M deaths can be attributed directly to Communism
      leaving a residue of 116M deaths by non-Communism.

      http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/warstat8.htm
      (It's an estimate as good as any you can find. Numbers are terribly imprecise.)

      Let's talk about Franco. He declared Catholicism to be the official religion of Spain. How many deaths did the Generalissimo cause?

      February 7, 2013 at 8:43 pm |
    • Chad

      @End Religion "There is no such thing as state-imposed atheism. Imposed irreligion is not atheism. Atheism is only the lack of belief in a god; one can't force people to not believe in a god."

      =>State atheism is the official promotion of atheism by a government, sometimes combined with active suppression of religious freedom and practice. In contrast, a secular state purports to be officially neutral in matters of religion, supporting neither religion nor irreligion. State atheism may refer to a government's anti-clericalism, which opposes religious inst itutional power and influence in all aspects of public and political life, including the involvement of religion in the everyday life of the citizen.
      State promotion of atheism as a public norm was first practiced during a brief period in Revolutionary France. Since then, such a policy was repeated only in Revolutionary Mexico and some communist states. The Soviet Union had a long history of state atheism, in which social success largely required individuals to profess atheism and stay away from houses of worship; this att itude was especially militant during the middle Stalinist era from 1929–1939. The Soviet Union attempted to suppress public religious expression over wide areas of its influence, including places such as central Asia.

      =>words escape me... again...

      February 7, 2013 at 8:46 pm |
    • Cosette

      Chad, Excellent points as usual 🙂

      February 7, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Oops, looks like faith broke Chad. Now he can't tell when some idea that "supports" his a priori belief is completely unfounded. You're so wrong, Chad, and you're just completely blind to the reason.

      February 7, 2013 at 8:53 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      That's it, I give up. Chad is too much of a dishonest, cowardly, useless, fucked up, delusion piece of horse shit that even reading his stupidity is giving me a headache. Keep going Chad, keep showing everyone how much of a fucking dishonest shit you are, but I'll have nothing to do with it. You're just too ingrained in your own little fucked up fantasy world to care what reality is.

      February 7, 2013 at 8:56 pm |
    • Chad

      @GOPer,

      take your pick, #1 or #2.

      Option 1: The Christian/atheist has to own ALL of the civilian deaths at the hands of said Christians governments/atheist governments.

      Option 2: The Christian/atheist ONLY has to own those civilian deaths at the hands of Christians governments/atheist governments which occurred expressly because of the persecuted civilians Christian/atheistic beliefs

      Under Option 1:
      – Christianity is responsible for American Indian genocide, slavery in the US, crusades, Salem witch trials, other odds and ends
      – Atheism is responsible for all the deaths to their citizens during the reigns of Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot, etc.

      Under Option 2:
      – Christianity is responsible for the crusades, Salem witch trials, few other odds and ends.
      – atheism (USSR, China, North Korea, Albania, Cuba, Cambodia) is responsible for persecution of members of religious groups.

      Cue attempt to expand the definition when perpetrator is Christian and restrict when perpetrator is atheist.

      February 7, 2013 at 8:56 pm |
    • Austin

      the bible spells out false teachers and false christianity.

      if you believe that Hitler was a christian because he claimed that he was, then you are a snake

      for putting your faith in trust in Adolf Hitler .

      February 7, 2013 at 8:58 pm |
    • Austin

      Have you put your faith and trust in the "word of Hitler"

      February 7, 2013 at 9:02 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Is it really possible that he is so stupid as to not see how there is no parallel? I'm not sure I have the required faith to believe that the Chad is quite this stupid. He must be an atheist pulling this sh!t as a poe.

      February 7, 2013 at 9:05 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Chad,

      it may surprise you, but I am not that far off from accepting your option 2.

      Though I would expand on a lot besides "a few other odds and ends" as you so dismissively put it.

      "Under Option 2:
      – Christianity is responsible for the crusades, centuries of successive post-Constantine* Roman/Byzantine wars, colonial era genocides, starting with the Spanish in the new world, but most notably the Belgian Congolese genocide, and many more.
      – Communist atheists (USSR, China, North Korea, Albania, Cuba, Cambodia) are responsible for persecution of members of religious groups."

      The Salem witch trials are an interesting indicator of the extremism of American Protestantism but they are a mere footnote to religious violence.

      Communist atheists do not represent "atheism" but I will stipulate that Marxists were atheists and they certainly did target and repress religious groups amongst other 'enemies of the state'.

      The number of people repressed for their religion under Communism is far smaller (at least an order of magnitude) than the excess deaths caused by these regimes.

      * The motto of Constantine (starting from the Battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312) is legendarily: "In hoc signo vinces" using the Christian cross as the insignia. It essentially means 'in the sign of the cross, you will conquer'.

      February 7, 2013 at 9:14 pm |
    • mama k

      I see Chad is busy pigeon-holing everyone else's choices–like a substitute teacher handing out an over-simplified multiple choice quiz on something they are unfamiliar with.

      February 7, 2013 at 9:15 pm |
    • mama k

      (they being the teacher, not the students)

      February 7, 2013 at 9:17 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Having said that,

      – Christians were responsible for slavery in the US – and this is supported biblically (in Leviticus) as theologically sound, even if immoral to our contemporary thinking.

      – Christians were responsible for Indian genocide

      – Christians were responsible for WW1.

      – Christians were responsible for WW2.

      And yes, atheists were responsible for Soviet and Chinese democide.

      February 7, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
    • Chad

      I dont care which way you want to criticize the opposite side, my point is one has to be consistent in using the same rules vis-à-vis Christians and atheists.

      February 7, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
    • Chad

      so you're going with option 1, that's fine. Under that definition:
      – Christians own every death ever to have occurred at the hands of a Christian govt (a nice side effect of that is you acknowledge that the US is in fact a Christian Govt 🙂 )

      – Atheists own every death ever to have occurred at the hands of a Atheist govt.

      care to wager which has the bigger tally? 🙂

      February 7, 2013 at 9:34 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Chad,

      "one has to be consistent in using the same rules vis-à-vis Christians and atheists"

      I make no argument with that.

      The Communist regimes of the 20th century were deplorable. Marxism was about eliminating everything that was bourgeois – including religion. They were atheists and did truly horrible things. Their mission to destroy organized religion is not atheism.

      February 7, 2013 at 9:36 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Chad,

      no it is not option 1.

      There is a distinction between Christians and Christianity surely.

      Not all people who profess to be Christians behave according to Christian philosopy.

      February 7, 2013 at 9:39 pm |
    • Chad

      doesnt matter to me which you pick.. you decide.

      whatever consistent division you arrive at, atheists have killed more than Christians 🙂

      February 7, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Chad,

      my whole point of (almost) accepting your option 2 is that I don't stipulate to this statement in every instance:

      "Christians own every death ever to have occurred at the hands of a Christian govt

      There are cases where it is true: crusades, post Constantine Byzantine conquests, wars of the reformation, etc and cases where it is not the result of Christianity but merely the all too human quest for power.

      February 7, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Chad

      "whatever consistent division you arrive at, atheists have killed more than Christians"

      Actually – no. Certainly not over history and not even in the 20th century.

      The total number of deaths by war and opression in the 20th century can be estimated at 203 million.
      Of these, about 87M deaths can be attributed directly to Communism, leaving a residue of 116M deaths by non-Communism (most of which was inflicted by Christians).

      http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/warstat8.htm

      February 7, 2013 at 9:46 pm |
    • Chad

      pointless to try and go down that route, all it leads to is squabbling over what the "True Motives" were and whether they were or werent inline with what the "True Definition" of your side happens to be. That's what Hawaii relentlessly tries.. it's useless..

      February 7, 2013 at 9:47 pm |
    • Chad

      LOL
      yer a sneaky one 🙂

      atheists own all the deaths at the hands of USSR and China.
      Atheists: 165,000,000
      Christians: 60,000,000

      and, we have a winner!!!

      ===========================
      Communist Oppression: 110,286,000
      Democratic democides: 2,028,000

      Wars: 34,021,000

      Non-Democidal Famine (often including famines associated with war and communist mismanagement):
      China (1900-87): 49,275,000
      Russia: (1921-47): 5,833,000

      February 7, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Chad,

      "pointless to try and go down that route"

      I will stipulate that the argument is indeed pointless. Equally pointless and unprovably is the assertion by religionists that atheists killed more than Christians.

      Defending the argument is only necessary because the stupid an unsubstantiated claim that 'atheists killed more than Christians" is repeatedly made, and usually done so with imaginary figures like "Mao killed 800 million people".

      February 7, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Chad, words escape you because you have been shown to be a liar and have no defense against my extremely clear recitation of your duplicity. As another has said, you are one fucked up believer, with absolutely no scruples. Again, please get help for your mental issues.

      February 7, 2013 at 10:03 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Chad,

      you are cherry picking the data. The estimates vary all over the place, often by a factor of two or more.

      I used the totals that Matthew White compiled and published on his website that are his educated best guess between the highest and the lowest data of all the sources that he compiled and docvmented.

      To pick out sources in isolation is disingenuous – but that's business as usual for you.

      Matthew White's http://necrometrics.com/ website is interesting work. He makes a effort to provide balanced findings. It is a disservice to his work to deliberatly cherry pick outlier datapoints.

      February 7, 2013 at 10:05 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Chad,

      if you want to quote Rummel as the source, do so, but don't cherry pick.

      Here's what Matthew White says about Rummel's analysis:

      "◦Probably the favorite atrocitologist of the libertarian right wing. The best thing about Rummel is that he explains in detail how he arrived at his numbers.

      The unbest thing about Rummel's numbers is that they fit his theories just a little too neatly, so you might want to approach with caution. Here are a few dangers to be aware of:

      He generally goes high on the numbers killed by Totalitarian regimes."

      February 7, 2013 at 10:14 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Fucked Up Chad (FUC from now on) seems to be missing in action – which is usual when he's not man enough to admit his dishonesty.

      February 7, 2013 at 11:15 pm |
    • Chad

      "Cherry picking"

      LOL

      thanks for that 🙂

      you like Matthews NOT because of the total, rather because of the categories that he divides into..
      lol

      if you want Christians to own every person killed by a Christian govt, then you atheists own every person killed by an atheist govt.
      and the sad truth is, China/Russia killed VASTLY more than Christians.

      there simply is no way to divide up the deaths such that Christians killed more than atheists.. and you know it 🙂

      February 7, 2013 at 11:29 pm |
    • Chad

      Mao Ze-Dong (China, 1958-61 and 1966-69, Tibet 1949-50) 60,000,000
      Jozef Stalin (USSR, 1932-39) 6,000,000
      Pol Pot (Cambodia, 1975-79) 1,700,000
      Kim Il Sung (North Korea, 1948-94) 1,600,000
      Leonid Brezhnev (Afghanistan, 1979-1982) 900,000
      Suharto (Communists 1965-66) 500,000

      atheist democide total: 70,700,000

      ==========
      Adolf Hitler (Germany, 1939-1945) 12,000,000
      Leopold II of Belgium (Congo, 1886-1908) 8,000,000
      Hideki Tojo (Ja pan, 1941-44) 5,000,000
      Ismail Enver (Turkey, 1915-20) 1,200,000
      Menghistu (Ethiopia, 1975-78) 1,500,000
      Yakubu Gowon (Biafra, 1967-1970) 1,000,000
      Jean Kambanda (Rwanda, 1994) 800,000
      Saddam Hussein (Iran 1980-1990 and Kurdistan 1987-88) 600,000
      T ito (Yugoslavia, 1945-1987) 570,000
      Fumimaro Konoe (Ja pan, 1937-39) 500,000
      Jonas Savimbi (Angola, 1975-2002) 400,000
      Mullah Omar – Taliban (Afghanistan, 1986-2001) 400,000

      Non-atheist democide total 31,970,000

      note, over half of the "non-atheists" arent Christians

      ========
      so the 20th century democide total is 70m athiest to 30m non-atheist
      we'll examine wars next 🙂

      dont stop now, I dearly love hammering atheists with data

      February 7, 2013 at 11:46 pm |
    • midwest rail

      I'm tired and not going to bother with research at the moment – so let's assume the totals you posted are accurate. A total of close to 32 million dead merits a smiley face ?!? You are a strange man, sir.

      February 7, 2013 at 11:50 pm |
    • Chad

      true,
      I apologize for that, inappropriate in the context. I let GOPer's "cherry picking" nonsense get to me. no excuse.

      February 7, 2013 at 11:53 pm |
  6. GodFreeNow

    Most of the people in the militaries are religious and they are some of the most violent people.

    February 7, 2013 at 1:21 am |
  7. Reality

    What is the current cost to USA taxpayers for preventing/checking the violence that is Islam ?

    – One trillion + dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    – Eighteen billion dollars/yr to Pakistan .

    – Four billion dollars/yr to Egypt..

    – Four billion dollars/yr to Israel (also keeping Zionism under control)

    February 7, 2013 at 12:05 am |
    • Uncouth Swain

      Hmm, I see it more as watching nations that either have a lot to do with oil or the ones we screwed up politically.

      February 7, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
  8. Petercha

    Being that we had FAR less violence in the 1950's, when we had prayer and the Bible in the public schools, I'd have to say that yes, religion (or at least Christianity) can reduce violence.

    February 6, 2013 at 9:03 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      We also had segregation, racism, s3xism. Are those the good 'ol times you are referring to?

      February 6, 2013 at 9:06 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      I believe we had as much violence back then as we do today. The only difference is with the advance of the internet, we read and hear about everything in almost real time. The local news cant "sanitize" the news today.

      February 6, 2013 at 9:09 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      I really don't want to pile on. But I cant help myself. Didn't the catholic church coverup the s3xual abuse of young boys? Are you including that in your Christianity?

      February 6, 2013 at 9:12 pm |
    • Reality

      The Korean War (25 June 1950 – 27 July 1953)

      "According to the data from the US Department of Defense, the United States had suffered 33,686 battle deaths, along with 2,830 non-battle deaths during the Korean War and 8,176 missing in action.[211] Western sources estimate the PVA had suffered between 100,000 to 1,500,000 deaths (most estimate some 400,000 killed), while the KPA had suffered between 214,000 to 520,000 deaths (most estimate some 500,000). Between some 245,000 to 415,000 South Korean civilian deaths were also suggested, and the total civilian casualties during the war were estimated as 1,500,000 to 3,000,000 (most sources estimate some 2,000,000 casualties)."

      February 7, 2013 at 12:12 am |
    • Simran

      A peep onto the violence of 1950s:

      http://theawarenesscenter.blogspot.in/2012/09/domestic-violence-in-1950s.html

      February 7, 2013 at 12:18 am |
    • sam stone

      and we had far less violence when we only had black and white TV, so apparently color TV is what triggers it

      February 7, 2013 at 2:18 am |
    • sam stone

      "one of these days...POW, to the moon, Alice" – Ralph Kramden

      February 7, 2013 at 2:24 am |
    • My Dog is a jealous Dog

      Were you even alive in the 50's?

      Lynchings, domestic abuse, ...

      Stop watching "Leave it to Beaver"

      February 7, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      They edited out all of the cartoon violence that were in the original Bugs Bunny era cartoons., and violence increased

      We need to expose children to more cartoon violence, obviously.

      February 7, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
  9. Ken Margo

    This has to be the dumbest question yet! When you consider the percentage of people that pray in the WORLD and how long they have been praying.The answer is obvious. NO NO NO NO. We don't care and God doesn't either.

    February 6, 2013 at 8:27 pm |
  10. rabidatheist

    "Can religion prevent violence?" Has the author of this ever picked up a history book? If there is one thing religion is REALLY good at, it's promoting violence.

    February 6, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
    • sam stone

      i find it interesting that CNN has this article right by the one about Arkansas allowing guns in churches

      February 7, 2013 at 2:20 am |
  11. justme

    Of course religions will prevent violence.
    As soon as we're done killing everyone who worships differently than us.

    February 6, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      .................until the next guy with narcissistic psychosis comes along and claims god spoke to him while he was on the john. Then the religious wars begin anew.

      February 6, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
  12. End Religion

    Religious violence? Couldn't be possible!

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CqgZnvfJ9Jg&w=640&h=360]

    February 6, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
  13. Irrational Exuberance

    Being *most* charitable I would say it depends on the religion.

    The Abrahamic are disqualified given their own basis on bloodshed. Be it the god ordained genocide of the OT, the human sacrifice demands of the NT, or the willing embrace and advocacy for violence of Islam all have violence at their very core.

    Perhaps some religions might qualify, Jainism anyone?

    February 6, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
  14. The Truth

    Can having to urinate really badly prevent violence?

    I'm sure at some point someone has had to go to the bathroom so bad they did not to shoot more people and decided to go relieve themselves instead. Has the need to urinate prevented all violence...no, it has not.

    Just because something might have a secondary side effect of avoiding violence one day cannot be viewed as a true violence reducer when on another day that something is the actual cause of violence. Just because a religion saves the life of one of it's members on Saturday doesn't mean it's reducing violence when you add in the non-believer they kill on Sunday.

    February 6, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
  15. lol??

    hotairace sayz,
    "...........Atheism has progressed.........." Sneaking around and readin' Revelation, are ye?

    February 6, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Nope! The number of atheists is increasing much faster than that of believers. Atheists tend to be more inclusive of others because they are not hindered by the crap in alleged holy books such as The Babble. The more science learns, the less relevant religion becomes. Meanwhile, the Babble Humpers cling harder to their unsupported myths and get more extreme. The future is bright for atheism and dimming for the dimwit believers.

      February 6, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
  16. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    Chad, I cherish theists. Some of my best friends are theists. If my daughter were to bring one to dinner I would do my very best to make him/her comfortable and welcome.

    February 6, 2013 at 10:33 am |
    • lol??

      Sociopaths, always thrownin' out flatarific ear ticklin' compliments.

      February 6, 2013 at 11:06 am |
    • Akira

      You describe yourself very well, lol??.

      February 6, 2013 at 11:25 am |
  17. hippypoet

    There exists no evidence to support belief in any gods. Fact! There exists plenty of evidence to support belief in evolution. Fact! Since no evidence exists of any gods, gods only exist in the mind. Through the belief in god people have created traditions on how to worship and how to live in accordance to their gods commands. People who believe in gods adhere to a mental structure built to explain and give ease to unanswerible fears such as what happens after death. Since no evidence exists for any gods all belief in them is unfounded and speaks more to the fear of death which is as alive today as it was at the founding of the belief! Perhaps the fact of having a consciousness and our very awareness of life/death screams at us to question it all. And perhaps due to a lack of answers we choose to weave a story to answer everything instead of accept the facts! This part I completely understand. It is very nice to have and in the ancient times with many unanswerable questions it was a comfort. Now however with modern science and todays knowledge of the universe and life, beliefs such as these should be a thing of ancient times not modern. It was primitive mans way of coping with a lack of knowledge. It has served its purpose but now only serves to bring us back to its primitive roots.
    To put it simply, the concept of gods bares no merit at this current stage in the evolution of the human species and it would be a betterment to the species to have the concept removed from accepted delusional realities so prevalent in todays society.

    February 6, 2013 at 9:49 am |
    • lol??

      Ya better speed up yer evilution with yer gubmint gods before they kill everybody. If Aristotle was big on this progression what's keeping ya to back on proving it? No, yer faith in him doesn't count.

      February 6, 2013 at 11:02 am |
  18. think for a moment !

    Allah says

    “…anyone who murders any person who had not committed murder or horrendous crimes, it shall be as if he murdered all the people. And anyone who spares a life, it shall be as if he spared the lives of all the people....." Qur'an [5:32]

    “Recall that your Lord said to the angels, "I am placing a representative on Earth." They said, "Will You place therein one who will spread evil therein and shed blood, while we sing Your praises, glorify You, and uphold Your absolute authority?" He said, "I know what you do not know." [2:30]

    “They do not value God as He should be valued. God is the Most Powerful, the Almighty.”[22:74]

    “If you obey the majority of people on earth, they will divert you from the path of God. They follow only conjecture; they only guess.” [Quran 6:116]

    “They say , "We live only this life; we will not be resurrected. If you could only see them when they stand before their Lord! He would say, "Is this not the truth?" They would say, "Yes, by our Lord." He would say, "You have incurred the retribution by your disbelief." [6:30]

    “Losers indeed are those who disbelieve in meeting God, until the Hour comes to them suddenly, then say, "We deeply regret wasting our lives in this world." They will carry loads of their sins on their backs; what a miserable load! [6:31]

    “The life of this world is no more than illusion and vanity, while the abode of the Hereafter is far better for the righteous. Do you not understand?! [6:32]

    “They even attribute to Him sons and daughters, without any knowledge. Be He glorified. He is the Most High, far above their claims.” Quran [6:100]

    “The example of Jesus, as far as GOD is concerned, is the same as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him, "Be," and he was.” Quran [3:59]

    It does not befit God that He begets a son, be He glorified. To have anything done, He simply says to it, "Be," and it is. [19:35]

    Thanks for taking time to read my post. Please take a moment to visit whyIslam org website.

    February 6, 2013 at 9:34 am |
    • End Religion

      Most importantly Allah wants you to abuse children and cut off the head of any woman you want. SWEET!

      February 6, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
    • Reality

      And the mythical Gabriel said unto the hallucinating Mohammed:

      http://www.muslimaccess.com/quraan/arabic/005.asp et al
      o "Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends." (Surah 5:51)
      o
      "Believers, when you encounter the infidels on the march, do not turn your backs to them in flight. If anyone on that day turns his back to them, except it be for tactical reasons...he shall incur the wrath of God and Hell shall be his home..." (Surah 8:12-)

      "Make war on them until idolatry shall cease and God's religion shall reign supreme." (Surah 8:36-)

      "...make war on the leaders of unbelief...Make war on them: God will chastise them at your hands and humble them. He will grant you victory over them..." (Surah 9:12-)

      "Fight against such as those to whom the Scriptures were given [Jews and Christians]...until they pay tribute out of hand and are utterly subdued." (Surah 9:27-)

      "It is He who has sent forth His apostle with guidance and the true Faith [Islam] to make it triumphant over all religions, however much the idolaters [non-Muslims] may dislike it." (Surah 9:31-)

      "If you do not fight, He will punish you sternly, and replace you by other men." (Surah 9:37-)

      "Prophet make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal rigorously with them. Hell shall be their home." (Surah 9:73)

      "Believers, make war on the infidels who dwell around you. Deal firmly with them." (Surah 9:121-)

      "Say: 'Praise be to God who has never begotten a son; who has no partner in His Kingdom..." (Surah 17:111)

      "'How shall I bear a child,' she [Mary] answered, 'when I am a virgin...?' 'Such is the will of the Lord,' he replied. 'That is no difficult thing for Him...God forbid that He [God[ Himself should beget a son!...Those who say: 'The Lord of Mercy has begotten a son,' preach a monstrous falsehood..." (Surah 19:12-, 29-, 88)

      "Fight for the cause of God with the devotion due to Him...He has given you the name of Muslims..." (Surah 22:78-)

      "Blessed are the believers...who restrain their carnal desires (except with their wives and slave-girls, for these are lawful to them)...These are the heirs of Paradise..." (Surah 23:1-5-)

      "Muhammad is God's apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another." (Surah 48:29)

      "Shall the reward of goodness be anything but good?...Dark-eyed virgins sheltered in their tents...They shall recline on green cushions and fine carpets...Blessed be the name of your Lord..." (Surah 55:52-66-)

      February 6, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
  19. Damocles

    Is this a trick question?

    February 6, 2013 at 9:08 am |
  20. Sane Person

    Can religion prevent violence?

    Considering the centuries of war and bloodshed it has caused.. I'd say no. Why don't you ask a Muslim terrorist if his religion prevents violence?

    February 6, 2013 at 9:06 am |
    • Uncouth Swain

      I think it would be more fait to say that the followers of those religions didn't obey the tenets of their faith very well.

      But did you take into account the Amish and Jains? Those are very non-violent yet religious groups.

      February 6, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
    • Akira

      Uncouth, apparently you've never seen the show "Amish Mafia"...but I get your gist.
      That being said, although they are perceived as peaceful, the Amish are a very fire-and-brimstone type of people, complete with subjugation of women and not sparing the rod...a lot doesn't get reported because they eschew outside intervention. I am not sure if the entire truth will ever be shown.

      February 6, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      "a lot doesn't get reported"

      Sounds like a lot of no evidence.

      February 6, 2013 at 7:54 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      I live in a community that has amish and quaker.
      They are not violent man to man.
      They are violent man to woman, man to child, man to animal.
      Not all of them of course, but it is seen often enough in public.

      February 7, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      And you have witnessed them being violent to women, kids and animals?

      If yes...why didn't you report it?

      February 7, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Swain
      Why do you think I didn't intervene?

      February 7, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      Because it never happened.

      February 8, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.