Talk:Atheism

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Hitler was not an atheist.[edit]

Your very own article is far more balanced:

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

Sources citing Hitlers religion can be found in various places.

This articles representation of Hitler as an atheist is untrue.

“I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so.” - Adolf Hitler. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 95.8.223.187 (talk) 05:23, 22 May 2014 (UTC)

Yes, all of the Hitler/Mussolini/Stalin/Mao/Pol Pot/etc. references have to go. 'Kicking out the (religion) competition' does not make them 'atheists'; they do not represent atheism in any way, and atheism was not at all at the center of their ideology, so they can't be presented as such. This POV is strangely similar to some news stories I've seen on the preachings of a few of the 'religious right' recently, and I don't think that's a coincidence. I'm putting up a 'POV' tag until the problem is resolved. Cheers. THEPROMENADER 09:14, 22 May 2014 (UTC)
Added - Much of the rest of the article sounds like a 'debate' for or against atheism (often with Christianity presented as 'the other side')... there are actually a lot of POV issues to fix here. This article is ~far~ from its ~2007 FA state; it had no Hitler/etc. references then, so go figure. Cheers. THEPROMENADER 09:24, 22 May 2014 (UTC)
I completely agree with you. At the very least, these sections (on fascism in particular) are grossly violating WP:WEIGHT. -- Scjessey (talk) 11:40, 22 May 2014 (UTC)
I'm glad you agree. In fact, I think "Emergence of state atheism under Communism" and "Irreligion under fascism" should be simply removed. Compared to its 2007 FA state, this entire article seems to have been rewritten from a theistic point of view; at least it reads like that. Thanks, and cheers. THEPROMENADER 12:02, 22 May 2014 (UTC)
Both of these additions seem to be from a single Catholic-interest(ed) contributor, but they have been edited since by others (and other sections as well, mainly reorganisation, links and sources), so I can't suggest simply reverting. I'm still looking into this, though. THEPROMENADER 13:41, 22 May 2014 (UTC)
To be clear, I think both sections are quite well written and sourced; however, I think they have too narrow a focus for this article. I think a heavy handed reduction is in order, and I would not object to their complete removal. -- Scjessey (talk) 15:40, 22 May 2014 (UTC)
I do agree that the contributor did work very hard to make his argument seem credible. Alright then - I just put the 'POV' tag up this morning, so I'll let it rest a few days before getting to work. Will you be able to help out? THEPROMENADER 18:04, 22 May 2014 (UTC)
I'll do more than that. Per WP:BRD, I'll just remove the sections immediately. If someone thinks they should return, they can make their case on this talk page. -- Scjessey (talk) 20:20, 22 May 2014 (UTC)
So far there seems to be sufficient consensus here for doing that. Good idea. - DVdm (talk) 20:27, 22 May 2014 (UTC)
Okay, great, thanks! I'll be back tomorrow morning to look at the rest, then ; ) THEPROMENADER 20:29, 22 May 2014 (UTC)
I was one of the editors who revised those sections after they were first added. At the time, I was uncomfortable with them for the same reasons that have been raised here. I think, after seeing the discussion here, that I agree that the lengthy sections were WP:UNDUE. At the same time, I wonder if we shouldn't have some coverage of those topics. What do editors think about bringing back some of the content, but maybe at approximately one-tenth the amount of length? --Tryptofish (talk) 21:59, 22 May 2014 (UTC)
I'd be okay with that. -- Scjessey (talk) 01:09, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
Sure, I was going 'review and recuperate' from what had been removed today. But the recoverable material will probably be even shorter than that, and it certainly will not have the form it had before; neither of those additions were representive of this article's topic, neither merited a title/section of its own. THEPROMENADER 03:33, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
User:Tryptofish and User:ThePromenader, I agree with your proposal to reintroduce at least some of the information that was removed. Including the summary about state atheism would definitely be appropriate for this article. Perhaps we should inform the editor who originally wrote the information, User:Ozhistory, to be involved in this as well? I hope this helps. With regards, AnupamTalk 03:38, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
I made no proposal, and no, I do not at all agree to bringing back any of the information that was removed as a section of its own. THEPROMENADER 03:53, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
It seemed that you had had agreed with User:Tryptofish above, but I apologize for stating that it was your proposal. In my opinion, there should be at least some information about state atheism in this article. Thanks, AnupamTalk 04:03, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
My intention was to begin work on this article today; I'll have a more in-depth look at what was removed later on. It's still 6am here ; ) THEPROMENADER 04:09, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
But in the meantime, Anupam, start a new 'state atheism' talk-page section to describe your propos; if atheism was not the central ideology of any regime, I have difficulty seeing how it merits a section of its own. Cheers. THEPROMENADER 04:22, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
I'm going to wait for User:Tryptofish to delineate his proposal in detail. I do feel that much of the content written by User:Ozhistory was acceptable. Whether you or I regard atheism as the central ideology of those regimes is not of much relevance. The fact is that historically, some nations have made atheism the official doctrine of the state and for some of these states, such as China, this continues to influence public policy there (see Exhibit One & Exhibit Two). Since it is 6 am where you're at, maybe you can get some more rest till User:Tryptofish and hopefully User:Ozhistory respond! I hope this helps, AnupamTalk 05:10, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
It doesn't matter what anyone thinks (Wiki is not a pedestal for opinion), if atheism is not the central ideology of a regime than it can't be presented as such - as I said earlier, many of those 'eliminating the (politico-religious) competition' didn't even consider the belief system they were eliminating, they just wanted themselves at the centre of things. Now that I'm reading, that's one of my biggest issues with this article thus far: it presents all 'suppression/criticisms of religion' as 'atheism', and that is just plain wrong. THEPROMENADER 05:38, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
Um, no sorry, it is not acceptable to delete the section on state atheism entirely from this article. How ridiculous. This is especially in the case of Communist states where it was indeed central to their foundational ideology. Ozhistory (talk) 09:45, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
I have trimmed both sections. My sense is that the Fascism section can be greatly reduced (maybe even only alluded to), and the Communist section currently focuses too much on persecution and can venture more into philosophy of Communist state atheism Ozhistory (talk) 10:20, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
The above consensus is clearly for removing them, so please do not replace anything until we can work out a new format.THEPROMENADER 10:25, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
"This is especially in the case of Communist states where it was indeed central to their foundational ideology" - if you can find a citation expressing exactly that, I'd be surprised. THEPROMENADER 10:27, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
I can't see that there is consensus for removing them in their entirety at all. A number of comments above express the view that there was well sourced, relevant content. I agree that both sections were too long, given the scope of the article, and do not oppose modification, trimming, but cannot agree with your apparent suggestion that Communist state atheism and its leading proponents are irrelevant. Ozhistory (talk) 10:40, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
There is clearly consensus. Yes, individual citations were well-sourced, but the central propos they created together (arguably WP:OR) was both overweighted and unsupported by fact ('kicking out the (political and religious) competition' != 'atheism'). Again, you're going to have to find a citation for "This is especially in the case of Communist states where it was indeed central to their foundational ideology". Cheers. THEPROMENADER 10:51, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
Also, it would be extremely helpful to provide references to atheists who cite these figures as models of their ideology, as that is the message that their prominent presence here seems to convey. Cheers Again. THEPROMENADER 11:13, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
With respect, Promenader, I don't think that is a valid concern. We are writing about an historical period and whether or not contemporary atheists look to this period for inspiration is neither here nor there. That said, there are in fact still millions of Marxists, Maoists etc who of course cite these figures as "models of their ideology" as you put it. Ozhistory (talk) 11:45, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
What is it not a valid concern? If you are talking about the citations I requested, of course they are of 'valid concern' - they are central to the message you are trying to convey. Please provide these, or it is the context of your content (and perhaps the content itself) that is invalid. Thanks. THEPROMENADER 12:04, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
I was referring to your comment "it would be extremely helpful to provide references to atheists who cite these figures as models of their ideology". As for your request for citations they are valid -- if a little perplexing. Ozhistory (talk) 12:13, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
Ah, my bad for phrasing (I do that sometimes). By "provide references to atheists" I meant "provide examples of atheists that cite these people as examples of the atheist ideology." If this is not possible, then your context is invalid and has no place in this article. THEPROMENADER 12:32, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
On the idea that there is "consensus" not to restore anything of the original text, I would point out the following: I have said I want some restored, user:Tryptofish has said there should be some coverage; user:Scjessey says he ok with that and user:anupam agrees some should be restored. Where is this "clear consensus" you speak of to restore none of it?? The deleted text was too long, but state atheism and its proponents must be covered in the history section dealing with the 20th century. That seems to me to be the consensus. Ozhistory (talk) 12:25, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
There was consensus, so please don't attempt to deconstruct. Rather than waste time doing that, why not provide the references I asked for? Is that so hard to do? - they're for your claims. THEPROMENADER 12:32, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
Sorry, no time (or access to usual library) tonight -- but in the meantime, you could start with the neat intro summary in Marxist—Leninist atheism and take a look at links like Polish anti-religious campaign, Religious persecution in Communist Romania, League of Militant Atheists and that sort of thing to get a sense of the topic. Sorry to leave mid-argument -- 'I'll be back as Arnie would say. Ozhistory (talk) 12:43, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
It's okay, this page isn't going anywhere. I'll read those for sure. Night! ; ) THEPROMENADER 12:46, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
Since my username has been invoked to support both sides of the above argument, I'd like to clarify my position:
  • In my opinion, the sections I removed were well written and sourced; however, I think they were grossly violating WP:WEIGHT.
  • I would not support the restoration of those sections to the article in any form.
  • I might be persuaded to support some material from the deleted sections making its way back into the article, but I would envisage this as merely supporting text for links to articles where these issues can be given proper coverage.
Finally, and because of the sensitivity of this material, I would expect any proposals to be introduced on this talk page and a consensus for inclusion to be reached before being incorporated into the article. The last thing I want is for there to be any edit warring. -- Scjessey (talk) 13:04, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
I think it is absolutely vital to maintain neutrality in any connection of state or political atheism with any atrocities under those movements. The causality is too difficult to establish (and is false) and should not be the subject of this general atheism article.Johnnyp 76 (talk) 13:16, 23 May 2014 (UTC)

20th century state atheism and its leading proponents[edit]

Here is a base suggestion for a compressed state atheism section. It still needs expansion on the underlying philosophy of Marxist-Lennist, Maoist atheism.

Mao Zedong with Joseph Stalin in 1945. Both leaders repressed religion and established state atheism throughout their respective Communist spheres.

In the 20th century, Communist governments sought the political advancement of atheism. Spurred on by interpretation of the works of Marx and Engels, they sought to implement state atheism, often through coercion. Marxist states were 'godless' by definition, wrote Alan Bullock.[1] The Soviet Union's founding leader Vladimir Lenin believed every religious idea and every idea of God to be "unutterable vileness... of the most dangerous kind, contagion of the most abominable kind".[2] His successor Stalin mocked religious belief and, Bullock wrote, his assault on the Russian peasantry "had been as much an attack on their traditional religion as on their individual holdings, and the defence of it had played a major part in arousing peasant resistance... ".[1]

The Russian Orthodox Church, for centuries the strongest of all Orthodox Churches, was suppressed.[3] Many priests were killed and imprisoned. Thousands of churches were closed, some turned into temples of atheism. In 1925 the government founded the League of Militant Atheists to intensify the persecution.[3] Following the Second World War, the Soviet Union promoted coercive state atheism throughout Eastern Europe. Religion was suppressed in Poland, Hungary, Lithuania, Romania and Bulgaria elsewhere.[3] Churches lost their formally prominent roles in public life, children were taught atheism, and clergy were imprisoned by the thousands.[4]

Further post-war communist victories in the East saw the implementation of state atheism across China, North Korea and much of Indo-China.[4] In 1949, China became a Communist state under Mao Zedong's Communist Party. Religious schools and social institutions were closed, foreign missionaries expelled, and local religious practices discouraged.[4] During the Cultural Revolution, Mao instigated "struggles" against the Four Olds: "old ideas, customs, culture, and habits of mind".[5] The Communist Party launched a three-year drive to promote atheism in Tibet as recently as 1999, saying that intensifying propaganda on atheism is "especially important for Tibet because atheism plays an extremely important role in promoting economic construction, social advancement and socialist spiritual civilization in the region".[6] In Cambodia, Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge also instigated a purge of religion during their 1975-1979 rule in Cambodia. Until 1975, Buddhism had been officially recognized as the state religion. Under Pol Pot, all religious practices were forbidden and Buddhist monasteries were closed. Influenced by Mao Cultural Revolution, and Stalin's collectivization experiments, Pol Pot instigated a rapid radical social transformation, resulting in the Cambodian genocide.[7][8]

References
  1. ^ Cite error: The named reference Stalin_pp.412 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  2. ^ Martin Amis; Koba the Dread; Vintage Books; London; 2003; ISBN 9780099428021; p.30-31
  3. ^ a b c Geoffrey Blainey; A Short History of Christianity; Viking; 2011; p.494
  4. ^ a b c Geoffrey Blainey; A Short History of Christianity; Viking; 2011; p.508
  5. ^ Encyclopedia Britannica Online - China - History: Cultural Revolution; accessed 10 November 2013
  6. ^ China announces "civilizing" atheism drive in Tibet; BBC; January 12, 1999
  7. ^ Encyclopedia Britannica Online - Cambodia History; accessed 10 November 2013
  8. ^ Encyclopedia Britannica Online - Cambodia: Religion; accessed 10 November 2013


Perhaps some of this can be said more efficiently, and there are other leading proponents of state atheism yet to be mentioned, and more of the underlying philosophy of Mao, Stalin etc can perhaps be discussed? Ozhistory (talk) 11:29, 23 May 2014 (UTC)

Yes, again, the entire premise of the content is wrong. The leaders of the regimes you cite got rid of all competition, regardless if they were religious or not, as they wanted themselves to be the sole centre of its power. Yet your text suggests (shouts, even) that atheism was central to their ideology, and you stated as much in this page above, yet I have yet to see any citations supporting this claim. So, again, please provide references for your "This is especially in the case of Communist states where it was indeed central to their foundational ideology" claim, and references to atheists who cite these regimes and their figures as models for the atheist ideology, otherwise this text has no place in this article. I am not saying that nothing can be said about it, just not in that context. Sorry for insisting, but you seem to be evading. Cheers. THEPROMENADER 12:39, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
Not all authoritarianisms have sought to eradicate religion. Many have sought to co-opt or accommodate it. Communists had an ideological opposition to religion (based on Marxist-Leninist atheism and similar variants) which said that religious belief, like private property had to be eradicated. I have already addressed your request that I provide "references to atheists who cite these regimes and their figures as models for the atheist ideology" and said that I fail to see how it is relevant? Ozhistory (talk) 13:09, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
Hitler is a very good example, he actually made a pledge to preserve the Catholic church, so it is even sillier that he figure prominently here. Sorry, I missed those 'references to athiests' references (will read again), but for the 'atheism was central to x regime ideology' rest, looking forward to your references tomorrow. THEPROMENADER 13:18, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
No, I'm sorry, I couldn't find any of the references you mentioned. Marxists referring to Marx as their ideological figurehead is of course valid for Marxism, but I asked for examples of prominent (or a large movement of) atheists citing someone like Marx, Hitler or Stalin as an ideological example (as this article is, after all, about atheism). Anyhow, for the time being, your text reads like "bad things Lenin, Stalin, etc. did to religion", and it fails to provide any valid evidence that all that was in the name of atheism, yet in its context, it makes this (invalid) connection all the same. Cheers. THEPROMENADER 14:01, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
Fwiw, I have struck two off-topic statements. Perhaps more should be removed, but these were the most obvious, and sourced by a mere wp:tertiary source. - DVdm (talk) 16:24, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, but proposing to remove a couple sentences won't help when it's the premise of the entire section that is at fault here. The principle goal of Communist governments was not to promote atheism, as it would have us believe; this erroneous affirmation (without proof) is found even in the first sentence. THEPROMENADER 16:51, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
I don't see where or how it says that the principal goal of Communist governments was to promote atheism, but I struck another (unsourced) part. I also remove the "wrote Bullock" specifications, as this article is not about Bullock, and either these are notable facts, in which case they can stay, or if they are not notable, the sentences should be removed. - DVdm (talk) 17:05, 23 May 2014 (UTC)

I agree with User:Ozhistory's comment that it was inappropriate to remove the section regarding state atheism in the article. The proposed revision above is well referenced and does a good job of summarizing the topic. I support its inclusion in the article. To address User:ThePromenader's suggestion, Communist governments had a few different principal goals--the promotion of atheism was one of them. Marx's assertion was that "religion is the opium of the people." This tenet was a large reason why Communists sought to rid their states of religion and replace it with atheism. I hope this helps. With regards, AnupamTalk 17:00, 23 May 2014 (UTC)

Just my $0.50 on this issue, I think this section should be kept under a more broad category of Atheism and Politics instead, with a little re-writing. This article overall does have lots of social science material that is well beyond the mere concepts of atheism (since it touches on other issues like sociology, ethics, and history), so there is room here to insert another dimension. After all, atheism is often seen as some political force even today with active organizations in the political arena in some countries like the US. In terms of history, there were some atheist groups which probably cannot be denied their fusions of their atheism with their own politics such as League of Militant Atheists and their usage by governments to promote their agendas. Other examples of such activity is Mexico and the attempt to remove religion in the last century too. So since atheism does get involved in politics, I don't see any issues with the premise of this section at all.--Mayan1990 (talk) 17:36, 23 May 2014 (UTC)

So we agree that the elimination of religion was but one facet (task, rather) of the communist ideology, yet the above text does not at all reflect that: it puts atheism, through its context, as a foremost reason for the suppression of religion (amongst other abominations). Furthermore, after further examination, the most of the 'well sourced' citations use a single source (#3 & #4, 'A Short History of Christianity' - which is an odd place to look for references for an 'atheism' article?), namely in the middle paragraph that is simply a list of events that, again, fails to mention that they were not committed in the name of atheism. In fact, why go on in detail because ~all~ of the events listed here, although each individually are fact, were commited in favour of the communist ideology, not atheism, and this section goes out of its way to omit that fact. THEPROMENADER 18:01, 23 May 2014 (UTC)

Promenader my friend, if it is your belief that Marx, Lenin, or Mao have no contemporary admirers, and that their thoughts on the necessity of atheism are not still supported by many millions, then you are sorely mistaken. These are some of the most influential proponents of atheism of all time. To seek to censor them from this article on the basis that you believe that their overall ideologies have been discredited (which by the way is a very Anglosphere assumption) is not going to stand. The A short history of Christianity to which you refer deals extensively with that religion's rivals - from early Paganism to modern atheism and as such is entirely relevant and useful. At any rate, multiple sources are available for the points made by Blainey. But when you say that the actions of atheists like Lenin, Stalin, Mao or Pol Pot in employing coercion to ban religious practices, enforce the teaching of atheism, and eliminate the influence of religion on society was "not done in the name of atheism" you seem to be quoting Richard Dawkins, would that be right? Can you provide superior sources for this assertion (Dawkins if not an historian)? Ozhistory (talk) 08:57, 24 May 2014 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but you're the one making the "This is especially in the case of Communist states where it was indeed central to their foundational ideology" claim, so the burden of proof is on you, sir. THEPROMENADER 09:49, 24 May 2014 (UTC)
You can only be purposely missing the point. These were communists, for sure admired by communists - and where is the reference to the 'atheists' who admired them I asked for? If your claims that 'the communists' principle goal was promoting atheism' were true, this would be easy to prove, yet it is obvious that it is not true at all. After a bit of research, I see that this discredited (and here, WP:OR) fringe point of view/affirmation (without proof) is promoted by only a few, fundamentalist Christians for the most part. So since the context of the above propos is unreferenceable, it has no place here, and without the faulty context, few, if not none, of the events have any place here either. Cheers. THEPROMENADER 09:44, 24 May 2014 (UTC)
Keep it civil please. The claim is not made that the "principle goal" of Communism was promoting atheism. Marxian thought on atheism has been and remains highly influential. Strange of you not to concede such a basic point. Ozhistory (talk) 08:19, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
I don't see any ad hominem in anything I wrote; I was referring to your refusal to address (and provide references to) your "principle goal" claim that is your (section's) "This is especially in the case of Communist states where it was indeed central to their foundational ideology" and resort to deconstructionism instead.
I begin to see the reason for this, as, after some research, I see that the unfounded 'communist/fascist ideology == 'atheism' claim is but an opinionated (and false) correlation promoted only by Christian fundamentalists (and your section neglected to mention this, too). If anything, the suppression of religion undertaken by these regimes is arguably Antireligion (and Marx and Lenin are clearly present in that article). There was no 'Marxian thought on atheism'; communism sought only, as history clearly shows, to eliminate religion and replace it with communist ideology, not atheism. Cheers. THEPROMENADER 09:26, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
Here's some text you've deleted which says precisely the opposite: "the Soviet state under Stalin's policy of state atheism did not consider education a private matter; it outlawed religious instruction and waged campaigns to persuade people, at times violently, to abandon religion: "the Communist Party has never made any secret of the fact, either before or after 1917, that it regards 'militant atheism' as an integral part of its ideology and will regard 'religion as by no means a private matter'. It therefore uses 'the means of ideological influence to educate people in the spirit of scientific materialism and to overcome religious prejudices..' [sic] Thus it is the goal of the C.P.S.U. and thereby also of the Soviet state, for which it is after all the 'guiding cell', gradually to liquidate the religious communities.[1]
I've made that reference easier for you to click through and review.
And here's more for you user:Promenader : In the Soviet Union after the Revolution, teaching religion to the young was criminalised.[1] Thousands of churches were closed, some turned into temples of atheism. In 1925 the government founded the League of Militant Atheists to intensify the persecution.[2] Across Eastern Europe following World War Two, "the atheist messages were amplified [in the Soviet Union], and relayed to the new Communist countries of Eastern Europe such as Poland, Hungary, Lithuania, Romania and Bulgaria.[3] "Church schools and many churches were closed, and they lost their formally prominent roles in public life. Children were taught atheism, and clergy were imprisoned by the thousands."[4] From the beginning the Bolshevik line in the Soviet Union had been "militant atheism", but it was not only the lynching, show-trials and executions of Russian Orthodox clergy for their links to Tsarism that was state policy, but also the "intention to stamp out private, even individual, worship too ('aiming to replace faith in God with faith in science and the machine')."[5]
  1. ^ Cite error: The named reference Blainey was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  2. ^ Geoffrey Blainey; A Short History of Christianity; Viking; 2011; p494
  3. ^ Geoffrey Blainey; A Short History of Christianity; Viking; 2011; p494
  4. ^ Geoffrey Blainey; A Short History of Christianity; Viking; 2011; p.508
  5. ^ Martin Amis; Koba the Dread; Vintage Books; London; 2003; ISBN 978-0-09-943802-1;
Now, can you offer any sources for your assertions that these regimes did not promote atheism? Ozhistory (talk) 10:18, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Again, it is you wanting to insert a yet unreferencable " 'communism/fascism' == 'atheism' " claim, so it is for you to provide proof, dear Ozhistory.

Most of what you cite above is, again, suppression of religion in favour of communism and nothing more. The only part that merits further study, IMHO, is the "League of Militant Atheists" if not only for its name: was its role indeed for promoting atheism, or was it just a 'named tool' for suppressing religion? This also isn't mentioned in the text.

The single claim relevant to 'atheism being taught' (and not suppressed), that "Children were taught atheism", seems to be unshared by mainstream media: it is little-found outside of a single citation in a Christian-authour "A Short History of Christianity" book (and it seems that you even created the Wikipedia article for it).

So, if you want to present a fringe POV, you have to be quite clear in the text body about its provenance, otherwise it will misleadingly seem that it is a widely-accepted fact. And one can easily argue that a fringe-view so unimportant not appear at all. THEPROMENADER 10:57, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

A source please for your assertion that Communist regimes did not promote atheism. Ozhistory (talk) 11:00, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
And note the line: '[the Communist Party] regards militant atheism' as an integral part of its ideology. Ozhistory (talk) 11:08, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
'Integral part != 'central role', and if atheism (antitheism, rather) was just one of the communist ideology's many parts, all the atrocities you mention cannot be attributed to atheism.
As per the last three days, you're the one making claims, so the burden of proof is on you, sir. THEPROMENADER 11:27, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
You are making claim, after claim, after claim. And have not produced a solitary source for your fringe POV that Communist regimes did not promote atheism. 'Integral' means 'essential to completeness'. I am happy to use the word integral if you prefer it to the word 'central'. Now can we move on? Ozhistory (talk) 12:03, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
My pointing out your continued lack of proof for your claims is not a claim, and you ~do~ have yet to provide any valid proof (or any at all, for that matter) that communists did their atrocities in the name of atheism. If you agree that 'integral' is the correct term, you also agree that communist regime atrocities cannot be labelled 'because atheism', meaning they cannot appear in this article, and that is fine with me. THEPROMENADER 13:11, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

I wanted to clarify that I support User:Ozhistory's version as I see that it is supported by reliable sources and presents a good summary on the topic of state atheism. An additional source to support User:Ozhistory's assertion comes from Religious Human Rights in Global Perspective (Brill Publishers) on page 289:

For seventy years, from the Bolshevik Revolution to the closing years of the Gorbachev regime, militant atheism was the official religion, one might say, of the Soviet Union, and the Communist Party was, in effect, the established church.

I hope that this reference is helpful. With regards, AnupamTalk 21:10, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

Second proposal[edit]

I thank the editors above who said that they were waiting to see whether I would offer an alternative proposal, and I agree with much of the above discussion, in that anything we add back should be brief. It also seems to me that we should simply steer clear of saying anything about cause-and-effect between atheism and any given form of politics. So let me propose the following.

Please see Atheism#Since 1900. Instead of having a new section, I propose adding the following at the end of the first paragraph of that section, making the paragraph longer:

In addition, state atheism also emerged during that period, particularly in the Soviet Union under Vladimir Lenin and Communist China under Mao Zedong. Lenin described religion as "unutterable vileness... of the most dangerous kind, contagion of the most abominable kind".[1]

References
  1. ^ Amis, Martin (2003). Koba the Dread. London: Vintage Books. pp. 30–31. ISBN 9780099428021. 


That's it. Then the second paragraph of that section would continue from there, as it is. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:39, 23 May 2014 (UTC)

I agree with your propos, Tryptofish, but as for the citation: I still don't see what it has to do with atheism, per se (it is a POV/citation from the mouth of a communist leader complaining about 'the competition' to his ideology, not an atheist complaining about... whatever), but I would prefer this by far. I'm still reserved about it, though. THEPROMENADER 20:39, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
I'd be fine with replacing the quote with something else. I simply took it from the proposal above, as a statement about rejecting religion, said by the person whose image is already the illustration of that section of the page. I do think, though, that we should have a second sentence of some sort. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:43, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
You are right Tryptofish to identify Vladimir Lenin as one of the most significant and influential atheist thinkers and activists of the 20th century. It's a start, but such a brief discussion of of such a significant topic simply won't do. Lenin was perhaps the first militant atheist to gain control of the organs of a state in modern times, but of course he wasn't the last. Much more can be said about his philosophy on atheism, his methods of implementation and those who followed his example. Otherwise this article risk becoming Western-centric, of ignoring a great swathe of atheist thought in the wider world. Ozhistory (talk) 08:41, 24 May 2014 (UTC)
I think that "much more about Lenin's philosophy on atheism, his methods of implementation and those who followed his example", probably belongs in an article about Lenin, but not in an article about atheism. - DVdm (talk) 08:52, 24 May 2014 (UTC)
No. If they were influential atheist thinkers and proponents then they belong here, in a section about 20th century state atheism. Ozhistory (talk) 09:01, 24 May 2014 (UTC)
No, they were influential communist thinkers. I have yet to see any (promised) references showing that their acts were done in the name of atheism. THEPROMENADER 09:23, 24 May 2014 (UTC)
Exactly. Sources are needed for claims that Lenin contributed to atheism as a school of thought, etc. — ArtifexMayhem (talk) 14:22, 24 May 2014 (UTC)
A bit more perhaps, but not much more. It all depends on the variation of our mileages. - DVdm (talk) 09:13, 24 May 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────In the "real world" (outside of Wikipedia), one of the debates about atheism involves (mostly religious) critics of atheism pointing to tyrants who promoted state atheism as evidence that atheism is bad, followed by atheists responding (some of the New Atheists have written extensively on this) that atheism has nothing to do with what the tyrants did, followed in turn by further polemics back and forth. Per WP:NPOV, our articles must not become part of that debate. I'm saying this to multiple editors, and not pointing at any single individual: if you want to use this page to promote one side of the debate, you've come to the wrong website.

Of course, Lenin was a prominent and notable practitioner of state atheism, and state atheism is part of the subject of this page. It doesn't matter whether or not he was a thinker or philosopher about atheism. Since when does an encyclopedia article about atheism not include important practitioners of atheism? But the "methods" he used as part of his political agenda are not, in themselves, a part of atheism. So I believe that we should cite him as an example, but we should not go into an extended passage about all the bad things he did. We should cover state atheism here, but WP:Summary style applies.

I already said that I'm fine with replacing the second sentence I proposed with something else. I won't quite put this as put up or shut up, but I'll say that I'd rather see a concrete proposal for something else, rather than a wall-of-text arguing about the issues. --Tryptofish (talk) 17:52, 24 May 2014 (UTC)

Okay, I'll second your proposition, but I must admit that I was a bit flummoxed at "state atheism" at first, and now I see that it's a quite widely used term, although I would think that a suppression of religion would be something like Antireligion more than anything: none of these figures were promoting or contributing anything to any atheist ideology; they were only promoting their own. THEPROMENADER 19:50, 24 May 2014 (UTC)
Thanks. As I said, it doesn't matter, here, whether or not they contributed to the ideology per se. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:57, 24 May 2014 (UTC)
Thanks Tryptofish , those comments above are pretty sensible. And yes Promenader, State Atheism was a big deal. As the deleted material confirms, the Eastern block went further than 'suppressing' one or other religion - they actively promoted atheism as an alternative -- had it taught in schools etc. To that extent we need to discuss "method". Lenin's inclusion is a must as he was first. But Stalin also deserves mention because of his role post-WW2 in spreading state-atheism across Eastern Europe. Then there is Mao, who cannot be ignored because he established state atheism in China and the East. These three are the minimum necessary to point readers towards this phase of the spread of atheism. Ozhistory (talk) 08:51, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
I concur with the comments provided by User:Ozhistory, User:Tryptofish, and User:Ramos1990. User:Preomenader, Professor Lee Gilmore has an online introductory lecture you can view about state atheism that might be helpful. With regards, AnupamTalk 09:11, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
"they actively promoted atheism as an alternative -- had it taught in schools etc" - the offending section does not mention anything about 'teaching' atheism for itself, and I would love to see references to this (as here you only refer to the deleted material itself as 'proof'). Again, the Communists suppressed religion and promoted commmunist ideology in its place, so unless you can show that their acts were indeed in the name of atheism and not communism (as you claim you can), and that they did indeed 'promote atheism' as itself, they have no place in an 'atheism' article, which is why I support Tryptofish's proposition. Cheers. THEPROMENADER 09:46, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
And yes, Anupam, I will read your reference, thanks. THEPROMENADER 09:51, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

User:Ozhistory is actually correct and there are a plethora of references to support the teaching of atheism in the Soviet educational system. For example, The Plot to Kill God: Findings from the Soviet Experiment in Secularization by Professor Paul Froese (University of California Press) states:

The Soviet educational system officially stated that "that bringing up of children in the atheist spirit" was one of its primary missions. University students were also required to actively propogate atheism and were told, "Those who refuse to make such practical application of their study [of scientific atheism] will lose their scholarships and must leave the university. Special pressure was placed on academics and scientists to join the atheist educational organization Znanie, and, b the late 1970s, for example, over 80 percent of all professors and doctors of science in Luthuania became members. The course syllabi from the atheist universities of the Soviet Union indicate how the topic of atheism was presented as a historically logical outcome of scientific development.

User:Promenader, I appreciate you taking the time to view the introductory link. From what I can see as of now, it does seem now that at least four different users have favoured restoring the deleted information in some form. I hope this helps, AnupamTalk 09:57, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

No, Anupam, please don't invent consensus. I support Tryptofish's proposition, nothing more. Cheers. THEPROMENADER 10:08, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
By four users, I am referring to myself, User:Tryptofish, User:Ozhistory, and User:Ramos1990. I hope this clears things up. With regards, AnupamTalk 10:09, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
They support Tryptofish's version? (!). Methinks not, you might be referring to Ozhistory's version. If you want to revise/promote that version, please make your comments there, not here.
And why are all the citations/links you provide from only Christian apologetics? Any opinions coming from only these sources must indicate this alongside whatever is quoted from these; if it is a fringe view unshared by a majority of historians, it must be presented as such. THEPROMENADER 10:20, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
Anupam, stop inventing a "consensus" that supports your preferred version. Other editors disagree.
We've been through a lot of cherrypicking and synthesis in the past, in order to make atheism look evil; let's not go though all that again. bobrayner (talk) 13:22, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
Agree with User:ThePromenader and User:Bobrayner. There is clearly nothing close to consensus; and even the quoted 'supporters' of some kind of addition show a much more nuanced view than outright support as suggested by User:Anupam. The information/sources are from Christian apologetics who clearly have a stake making them non-neutral (even if they hold academic positions). Also note that the articles that discuss the topic in some depth (such as State Atheism) are relating to the aim of revolutionary regimes to remove institutionalized religion often because religious leaders had been allies to the overthrown governments - making organized religion (but not necessarily belief in a deity) complicit to atrocities committed before the revolution. So the whole topic appears more subtle than any of the proposals and I think this article is not the place for it. Arnoutf (talk) 14:14, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

Somewhere above, I said that I'd like to see editors make specific suggestions about content, and not engage in wall-of-text arguments about ideology. It appears to me that a couple of editors did not get the message. --Tryptofish (talk) 18:17, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

User:ThePromenader, could you clarify why you think that the source I provided above falls into the category of "Christian apologetics"? Dr. Paul Froese is a "professor of sociology and a research fellow for the Institute for Studies of Religion" who has written a book published by a university press on the topic. I look forward to hearing your thoughts. Thanks, AnupamTalk 20:53, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

Third proposal[edit]

I've read all of the comments above. (Really.) I think that it's reasonable to mention Stalin by name in this context. An awful lot of the rest of the discussion strikes me as a waste of time.

Please see Atheism#Since 1900. Instead of having a new section, I propose adding the following at the end of the first paragraph of that section, making the paragraph longer:

In addition, state atheism also emerged during that period, particularly in the Soviet Union under Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin, and in Communist China under Mao Zedong. Lenin described religion as "unutterable vileness... of the most dangerous kind, contagion of the most abominable kind".[1]

References
  1. ^ Amis, Martin (2003). Koba the Dread. London: Vintage Books. pp. 30–31. ISBN 9780099428021. 


That's it. Then the second paragraph of that section would continue from there, as it is. Please, everyone, let's not have another wall-of-text. Just focus on specific wording for the page. --Tryptofish (talk) 18:17, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

Looks good, but I added one comma and a little preposition. - DVdm (talk) 18:21, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
I agree; that's better, thanks. --Tryptofish (talk) 18:24, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
Fine with the first line (In addition.....Mao Zedong.). But do we really need Lenins view on religion - seems out of place as religion is not necessarily the same as belief in a god. In addition the Lenin quote is already at Atheism#Dangers_of_religions where it fits much better in my opinion. Arnoutf (talk) 18:31, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
Woops, you are absolutely correct about that quote. Sorry I missed it. I agree with you that there is no good reason to have it twice on the same page. That means that I pretty much withdraw proposals 2 and 3 in their present form, although I still think we can work with the first sentence. --Tryptofish (talk) 18:37, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
Yes, sorry for all the blabla, but I felt neutrality risked getting steamrolled. The first sentence sounds good (yet I'm still reading up on 'state atheism'), and Lenin's quote is just a condemnation of religion, anyways. THEPROMENADER 18:47, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

Fourth proposal[edit]

Please see Atheism#Since 1900. Instead of having a new section, I propose adding the following at the end of the first paragraph of that section, making the paragraph longer:

In addition, state atheism also emerged during that period, particularly in the Soviet Union under Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin, and in Communist China under Mao Zedong. Atheist and anti-religious policies in the Soviet Union included numerous legislative acts, and the emergence of the League of Militant Atheists.[1]

References


Please consider this in the context of Atheism#Since 1900, and keep WP:Summary style in mind. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:00, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

This one looks fine to me. In my view it is: to the point, short, neutral, well positioned in the Since 1900 section. Arnoutf (talk) 19:04, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
Yes, obviously. - DVdm (talk) 19:13, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
Okay! THEPROMENADER 20:04, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
Fine with me. -- Scjessey (talk) 20:36, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
Looks acceptable to me. — ArtifexMayhem (talk) 23:29, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
Just one quick point. There's no need for "in addition" and "also" in the same sentence. -- Scjessey (talk) 12:30, 27 May 2014 (UTC)
Yes, you are quite right about that, thanks. I've stricken "also". --Tryptofish (talk) 19:23, 27 May 2014 (UTC)

Fourth proposal updated[edit]

I'm losing track of the numbering here, but this is basically an update of Proposal 4, reflecting subsequent talk. All of this is to go in Atheism#Since 1900.

  • First, put the following hatnote at the top of the section:
Further information: Marxism and religion
1929 cover of the USSR League of Militant Atheists magazine, showing the gods of monotheistic religions being crushed by the Communist 5-year plan
  • Second, add the image shown here (layout to be determined later).
  • Third, add the following at the end of the first paragraph:

In addition, state atheism emerged in Eastern Europe and Asia during that period, particularly in the Soviet Union under Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin, and in Communist China under Mao Zedong. Atheist and anti-religious policies in the Soviet Union included numerous legislative acts, the outlawing of religious instruction and the teaching of atheism in the schools, and the emergence of the League of Militant Atheists.[1][2]

References
  1. ^ Richard Pipes; Russia under the Bolshevik Regime; The Harvill Press; 1994; pp. 339–340
  2. ^ Geoffrey Blainey; A Short History of Christianity; Viking; 2011; p. 494


I've added some language to those two sentences, so please check on that. --Tryptofish (talk) 00:01, 29 May 2014 (UTC)

I prefer your fourth version, Tryptofish: I'm sure you're well intentioned, but I think you're giving way too much credit to 'both sides' of the talk-page arguments here: one of us is making unreferencable insinuations and claims ; ). The claim that atheism was 'taught in schools' is fanciful and unreferenced (its author won't provide the text excerpt 'referenced'), and, again, teaching communist ideology is not 'teaching atheism'. THEPROMENADER 05:50, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
Yes, it's not very clear what "teaching atheism in schools" means. Did they have double Atheism on Tuesday afternoons? Seems unlikely.
I don't see much else wrong with the paragraph. Maybe we could remove "and the teaching of atheism" (or else clarify). Formerip (talk) 10:59, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
I think the "teaching atheism" is problematic too. Without clarification it can be read as "teaching the canon of atheism" (which as far as I know does not exist) or "teaching there is no such thing as God" (which reminds me very much about teaching people not to think about a pink rhinoceros). I think explanation would take too much space and introduce additional POV forks. Do we need the teaching atheism phrase or can we do without? For the rest fine with me Arnoutf (talk) 11:12, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
Thanks all, those points seem reasonable to me. (Parenthetically, to The Promenader, there's nothing wrong with trying to see both sides of an argument. You might want to try it sometime. Face-smile.svg ) Anyway, please let me make sure that I have this clear, about the wording: where I added a few words about the geography in the first sentence, that's OK, right? (In my opinion, it's an improvement, and really makes the content more accurate.) And for the part about teaching, are we saying "the outlawing of religious instruction and the teaching of atheism in schools,, or "the outlawing of religious instruction and the teaching of atheism in schools,"? I'm understanding it as the latter. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:05, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
P.S.: If I'm understanding correctly, then I think a better wording for the second sentence would actually be: "the outlawing of religious instruction in the schools". --Tryptofish (talk) 19:11, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
I am ok with the suggested alternative "the outlawing of religious instruction in the schools". (ie leaving out the teaching of atheism phrase). Arnoutf (talk) 19:33, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
Good, thanks. (By the way, Arnoutf, both times you've edited here, you somehow put some line breaks into the image thumbnail, making it non-displaying.) --Tryptofish (talk) 19:58, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
Sorry about the line breaks my internet explorer sometimes does that on its own, don't know why :-( Arnoutf (talk) 20:21, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
Just to point out that we have an image of "Allah" on the magazine cover. I'm not sure I see this as a problem but, given that we are not obliged to use this particular image, some might level a charge of gratuitous offence. Formerip (talk) 20:58, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
That hadn't occurred to me, thanks! The file page indicates that this same image is in use at multiple other pages, and also at sister projects in numerous other languages. (I guess I would take that as evidence that there isn't a policy against the image?) I have just looked at some of our pages about Islam, and I cannot really find anything about such images as used on Wikipedia, but although it is about the Prophet and not the Deity, we do have Depictions of Muhammad, which does include numerous literal and even satirical images. I think that, as a matter of policy, we should be guided by the close of Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Muhammad images, extrapolating it to images like this one, since the possibilities for offense are similar. My reading of that close is that such an image is permitted if it has "a clear encyclopedic reason". I'm leaning towards concluding that it is OK to use the image here if the consensus here is to use it, but I'm not strongly committed to including it. There are other somewhat similar images at League of Militant Atheists and Bezbozhnik (magazine), some of them similarly anti-religious (to put it mildly!) without indicating anything about Islam, but they all seem to me to be less applicable to atheism. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:02, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
I hadn't thought about it either. I would lean towards thinking it is acceptable here, for much the same reasons Tryptofish gives above. In addition I think this image is probably more illustrative of the extreme antireligiosity of the magazine than being offensive to religions in this specific context. But if consensus goes another way I am not strongly committed to this image either. Arnoutf (talk) 07:13, 30 May 2014 (UTC)
I was quite involved in the Muhammad RfC, and I don't think it ended with clear enough guidance for this to be anything other than a matter of judgement. Since we seem to be saying that we think the image is the best one but we wouldn't lay down our lives for it, maybe the thing to do is include it but be ready to take into account any reasoned objection that someone might make. Formerip (talk) 11:43, 30 May 2014 (UTC)
I agree entirely with both of you, thanks. I'll wait another day before editing the page, in case there are any further comments, but absent any subsequent objections, it seems to me that we have consensus to implement this proposal, with (1) the removal of the stricken language, above, and (2) the understanding that the image may subsequently be reverted in the event of reasonable objections. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:03, 30 May 2014 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:59, 1 June 2014 (UTC)

Fifth Proposal[edit]

The following addresses some editor's concerns about narrow sourcing, and addresses my concern to cover the topic globally: discussing some leading proponents and their approach to questions of atheism.

State atheism

Mao Zedong with Joseph Stalin in 1945.

State atheism emerged during the period. To Marxists religion was a 'primitive belief' and a means of subjecting lower classes.[1] Following the 1917 Revolution, Russia's "aggressively atheist" government[2] opposed both religious belief - which the Bolsheviks believed impeded modernisation - and the institutional power and ideology of Russian Orthodoxy.[3][4] Lenin saw notions of God as 'vile'.[5] While some Revolutionaries favoured the promotion of science and Communism as an alternative to religion, Lenin and Trotsky favoured a more aggressive atheism; and launched "vehement" attacks on religious belief.[6] A League of Militant Atheists was formed.[7] Party members were required to take part in atheist activities and banned from religious rites.[8] Religious instruction was outlawed and replaced with atheistic propaganda in schools.[9][10]

Marxist-Leninist atheism spread under Lenin's successor Joseph Stalin, who followed the rationalist belief that science would destroy all myths.[11] His assault on the Russian peasantry, wrote Alan Bullock, was "as much an attack on their traditional religion as on their individual holdings" and met with resistance.[12] His Soviet regime established Communist states across Eastern Europe following World War Two, where atheist and anti-religious policies were promoted.[13] Further post-war communist victories in the East saw efforts to purge religion by atheist leaders in Mao Zedong's China, North Korea and much of Indo-China.[14][15][16]

References
  1. ^ Richard Pipes; A Concise History of the Russian Revolution; The Harvill Press; 1995; p312.
  2. ^ Richard Pipes; Russia under the Bolshevik Regime; Harvill; 1994; p337
  3. ^ Richard Pipes; A Concise History of the Russian Revolution; The Harvill Press; 1995; p333.
  4. ^ Martin Amis; Koba the Dread; Vintage Books; London; 2003; ISBN 9780099428021; p.30-31
  5. ^ Martin Amis; Koba the Dread; Vintage Books; London; 2003; ISBN 9780099428021; p.30-31
  6. ^ Richard Pipes; Russia under the Bolshevik Regime; Harvill; 1994; p337-339
  7. ^ Geoffrey Blainey; A Short History of Christianity; Viking; 2011; p. 494
  8. ^ Richard Pipes; Russia under the Bolshevik Regime; Harvill; 1994; p340
  9. ^ Richard Pipes; Russia under the Bolshevik Regime; Harvill; 1994; p340
  10. ^ Geoffrey Blainey; A Short History of Christianity; Viking; 2011; p494
  11. ^ Alan Bullock; Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives; Fontana Press; 1993; pp.412
  12. ^ Alan Bullock; Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives; Fontana Press; 1993; pp.412
  13. ^ Geoffrey Blainey; A Short History of Christianity; Viking; 2011; p494 & 508
  14. ^ Geoffrey Blainey; A Short History of Christianity; Viking; 2011; p.508
  15. ^ Encyclopedia Britannica Online - China: Religion; accessed 2013-11-10
  16. ^ China announces "civilizing" atheism drive in Tibet; BBC; January 12, 1999


How does this look? Ozhistory (talk) 11:57, 26 May 2014 (UTC)

Too long. Biased. Off topic as this is not an anti communism article. Arnoutf (talk) 17:43, 26 May 2014 (UTC)
Carefully written and well-researched, but it reads like an essay with "atheism = communism" as a central thesis. - DVdm (talk) 18:31, 26 May 2014 (UTC)
I concur with the above two comments. THEPROMENADER 19:23, 26 May 2014 (UTC)
I'm afraid that I, too, agree with the above concerns. Ozhistory, would it work for you if we did Proposal 4, but also added the image that is in Proposal 5? --Tryptofish (talk) 21:04, 26 May 2014 (UTC)
Yes Trytofish, it would help to restore the illustration of Stalin and Mao and two of the key figures relevant to the subject, but it still doesn't address the remaining weaknesses of your alternative, which I would nominate as: 1) Eastern Europe and Asia beyond China are completely ignored; 2) no attempt is made to define Marxist/Lenninist atheism, or its place in Communist ideology; 3) government policy in the promotion of atheism is not adequately described (ie none of the sources cited refer only to "legislative action", but all contain extensive coverage of "aggressive" persecution of religious people and ideas and the active promotion of atheism) 4) the point should be made that atheism was taught, not just preferred; 5) The key movers Lenin, Stalin and Mao are now mentioned but their attitude to atheism is not explained.
These are the factual fundamentals which still need to be incorporated into your text. They can be made in fewer words than my draft -- but it was necessary to be precise, because of the unfamiliarity with the subject matter being demonstrated by some editors.
In a nutshell, Atheism was government policy in Revolutionary Russia and similar societies and Marxist Lenninist atheism opposed both institutional religion and personal religious belief. For key decades, the promotion of atheism was not pursued peaceably or merely by "legislative measures". Acknowledging this does not "equate atheism with communism", as some editors fear - it merely describes what happened. Ozhistory (talk) 10:15, 27 May 2014 (UTC)
By what I can see, your insistence on your "atrocities = communism/fascism = atheism" false correlation is just an attempt to paint atheists in a bad light, and it is a preposterous argument that has only fundamentalist Christians at its origins - who else would even be motivated to invent such a far-flung claim? Again, if atrocities weren't carried out in the name of atheism, you cannot say "because atheism", so, in reality, ~none~ of your list of antitheistic atrocities (in the name of Communism) has any place in this article.
Yet, all the same, a few here have been kind enough to propose including at least some of your argument in the article (even the photo (!)), and I find this to be more than generous: if it were I attempting to impose such a fringe opinion as fact, I would be more than happy and just leave it at that. THEPROMENADER 13:05, 27 May 2014 (UTC)
Fully agree with ThePromenader. What you want to add is a biased selection from information already present in a much better way in State_atheism. The unsupported relation between atrocities-communism-atheism is suggested by your section, of course not mentioning any discrimination against atheists which consists of many atrocities against atheists based on religion. As stated above, your text is too long (giving undue attention to the topic), biased because of the implicit and explicit suggestions (in part by bringing in an essay on communism which is not central to atheism). Arnoutf (talk) 14:37, 27 May 2014 (UTC)
@ Tryptofish, I admire your willingness to collaborate on this; but I think that an image of Stalin and Mao would only be relevant if they are presented in some identifiable atheist or at least antireligious context otherwise such an image is not relevant to the larger atheism article in any relevant way. Arnoutf (talk) 14:41, 27 May 2014 (UTC)
  • Arnoutf, would the image work for you if we were to change the caption to: "Mao Zedong with Joseph Stalin in 1945. Both leaders repressed religion and established state atheism."? That would provide the context you are asking for (in, I think, an NPOV way), and is intermediate between the captions of proposals 1 and 5.
  • Everyone, how about adding a "further information" hatnote at the top of the Atheism#Since 1900 section, linking to Marxism and religion?
  • Ozhistory, please note that those two things would help relative to your concerns. That said, I share to some extent the concerns expressed by other editors that the edits you propose would violate WP:NPOV, and I'm pretty sure that you will not get consensus for what you have been proposing. Please also keep in mind WP:Summary style. To take your numbered points individually: (1) There's a limit to how many other countries we can reasonably bring into this without getting into minor points. Also, if you look at Atheism#Since 1900, the existing text of the next paragraph, particularly the quote involving Pol Pot, does go into the subject matter that you are concerned we are leaving out. (2) The proposed link to Marxism and religion would go a long way towards that. (3) and (4) If you follow the link from the words about "numerous legislative acts" to the target page, Soviet anti-religious legislation, the very first sentence of that page makes clear what you are talking about. And the link to the League of Militant Atheists also makes clear that it wasn't just legislative resolutions. (5) The second paragraph of the Since 1900 section already quotes Blainey in a way that covers that, and I think for us to go further really does get us into advocating a POV. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:01, 27 May 2014 (UTC)
1929 USSR Cover of the League of Militant Atheists magazin showing the monotheists Gods being crushed by the communist 5 year plan.
To be honest I would much prefer an image like the one here. The content of such an image is illustrating some of the actual sentiments rather than showing the image of communist leader who (in 1945) were more likely discussing WWII than atheism.
I would be fine with adding "see also" notes. To balance it out I would suggest to add Discrimination_against_atheists#Contemporary_era as well. Arnoutf (talk) 20:18, 27 May 2014 (UTC)
I agree with you that that image (with some copyediting of the caption) would be much better. As for the link to the discrimination page, we already link to it in the see also section of this page. And it's better not to make the hatnote a battle of point-counterpoint, because WP:NPOV cuts both ways. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:31, 27 May 2014 (UTC)
Hmmm...for me, I think that emphasizing "atheism and politics" or "atheism in politics" would be more fitting than calling it 'state atheism' the see also links can stay in my view, along with the second paragraph in the proposal since it looks more focused on atheism as influence. Stuff about the League can surely stay since it is relevant here too and the poster from the League is quite fitting as it highlights atheism more rather than mere communism or dictatorship. I can see why some may complain about the possible associations between atheism and communism if we keep the Stalin picture and I am sure that others will bring this up over and over again in the future.--Mayan1990 (talk) 06:56, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
I think it makes better sense to refer to state atheism because that, specifically, is what it is. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:21, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
It will be brought up again and again because it is a valid point: communists supplanting religion with their own communist ideology cannot equate to 'atheism'. THEPROMENADER 07:04, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
And, again, the only thing I can see worthy of mention in all this is the League of Militant Atheists, if only to point out that this organisation was 'atheist' in name only: it was a communist antitheist organisation whose goal was to eradicate religion and replace it with communist ideology, as its own article, and the magazine cover pictured here, clearly states. THEPROMENADER 07:19, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
It is difficult to respond to editors using slogans claiming that the proposed text contains "argument" when it does not contain any argument. It merely contains a series of statements of fact, which are not in dispute. The more collaborative editor Tryptofish appears to be concerned that it "violates NPOV" either to define Marxian notions of atheism (?), and more particularly perhaps to record that persecution etc was employed by Marxists at this point in history to promote atheism. This all sounds pretty whiffy to me. Failure to define Marxian notions just detracts from our text to no advantage and failure to acknowledge persecution etc gives an entirely false impression of how these types of atheists went about promoting their beliefs. On your repeated preference for incorporating the text into the 1900 section, I think this might work if we can give it proper sequence. Ozhistory (talk) 09:50, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
"gives an entirely false impression of how these types of atheists went about promoting their beliefs"
This is just the same repeated unreferencable affirmation. Hopefully for the last time: these were communists promoting communist ideology. One cannot make a list of "bad things communists did to religion" (referencable) facts and suggest an (unreferanceable) correlation to atheism by slapping an (unreferencable) "atheism" title on it. Even after asking what must be twenty times, I have yet to see any references to communists promoting and teaching atheism as atheism itself, and this is for a very simple reason: there aren't any. Cheers. THEPROMENADER 10:00, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
Could you please get hold of the referenced works by Richard Pipes (or any other history of the USSR) and read his lengthy chapters on spiritual policy in the USSR. Ozhistory (talk) 10:19, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
Again, as you're the one making the claim that these acts were done 'in the name of atheism', it's for you to provide proof and references for it. Cheers. THEPROMENADER 10:29, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
Again you are misquoting me, and offering up a slogan. Indubitably they were Communists of a sort (Soviet, early 20th century), promoting Communist ideology. Indubitably they were atheists of a sort (aggressive, Marxist-Lenninist) promoting atheism. Apply your 'logic' to the collective farming article for a moment. Try proposing to delete their discussion on the Soviet Union on the basis that 'One cannot make a list of "bad things communists did to collective farming" (referencable) facts and suggest an (unreferanceable) correlation to Collective farming by slapping an (unreferencable) "Collective Farming" title on it' and see how far you get. Here (once again!) are the references for my statement that it is inadequate to say that these people promoted atheism only with "legislative measures":
Richard Pipes; A Concise History of the Russian Revolution; The Harvill Press; 1995; pp 312, 333
Richard Pipes; Russia under the Bolshevik Regime; Harvill; 1994; p337-340
Martin Amis; Koba the Dread; Vintage Books; London; 2003; ISBN 9780099428021; p.30-31
Alan Bullock; Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives; Fontana Press; 1993; pp.412
Geoffrey Blainey; A Short History of Christianity; Viking; 2011; p494 & 508
It would be helpful if you could read them - Pipes discusses atheism in revolutionary Russia at length. Thess passages rather contradict some of your assumptions: "militant atheism has been called the element uniting the various groups of the intelligentsia under the tsarist regime. In their tactics for combatting religious belief however, the Bolsheviks were divided. The cruder atheists wanted to attack it by every possible means, especially mockery; the subtler ones... wanted to raise socialism to the status of a surrogate religion[...] Emelian Iaroslavskii... called for a frontal attack on religion on the grounds that it was nothing more than base superstition exploited by the ruling class... [Lenin] preferred the uncompromising atheism of Iaroslavskii."[1] "The confrontation that got underway immediately after the October coup, attaining a climax in 1922, assumed a variety of forms... churches and monasteries were despoiled and converted to utilitarian uses; so too although less frequently were synagogues and mosques. Clergymen were deprived of civil rights and subjected to violent harassment and sham trials, which ended for many in imprisonment and for some in execution. Religious instruction for children was outlawed, and replaced with atheistic propaganda in schools and youth organisations. Religious holidays gave way to Communist festivals. Communist Party members were required to take an active part in atheistic activities and enjoined, under penalty of expulsion, from participating in religious rites, including baptisms and church weddings[2]
As you can see, saying they merely used 'legislative' measures gives a false impression of how these atheists promoted their (non)beliefs. Agreed? Ozhistory (talk) 12:02, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
Please stop calling communists 'atheists' (this is only your fringe view), and again, your citation is just a list of methods communists used to erradicate/replace religion with communist ideology.
It is silly to suggest that I go read/buy the book when you could easily include the text you are citing in your reference - as you must for readers, too!
I think I've repeated myself enough on this matter. THEPROMENADER 12:34, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
Sillier and sillier. Wikipedia is a collaborative effort. I went to much trouble to type out those notes for you. The least you might have done is offer a respectful reply. Ozhistory (talk) 12:51, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
What is so silly and disrespectful about my request? Providing the text quoted in references should not only be simple for you (it is right in front of you), it is common practice in talk-page discussions such as these. THEPROMENADER 13:10, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
PS: What's more, the fact that you are taking the time to type all that is the very reason I'm answering... I could just ignore you and stick to supporting more acceptable versions, but I really would like you to see why your 'communist antitheism/ideology = atheism' correlation claim just isn't fact. Cheers. THEPROMENADER 15:08, 28 May 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Ozhistory and The Promenader, you may each want to read WP:The Last Word. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:23, 28 May 2014 (UTC)

6th proposal incorporating text in sequence into existing 1900 section[edit]

Since 1900

Vladimir Lenin, the first leader of the Soviet Union. Marxist‒Leninist atheism was influential in the 20th Century.

Atheism in the 20th century, particularly in the form of practical atheism, advanced in many societies. Atheistic thought found recognition in a wide variety of other, broader philosophies, such as existentialism, objectivism, secular humanism, nihilism, anarchism, logical positivism, Marxism, feminism,[3] and the general scientific and rationalist movement.

Blainey wrote that during the twentieth century, atheists in Western societies became more active and even militant, though they often "relied essentially on arguments used by numerous radical Christians since at least the eighteenth century". They rejected the idea of an interventionist God, and said that Christianity promoted war and violence, though "the most ruthless leaders in the Second World War were atheists and secularists who were intensely hostile to both Judaism and Christianity" and "Later massive atrocities were committed in the East by those ardent atheists, Pol Pot and Mao Zedong". Some scientists were meanwhile articulating a view that as the world becomes more educated, religion would be superseded.[4]

Marxist-Leninist atheism emerged from the 1917 Russian Revolution. To Marxists, religion was a 'primitive belief' and a means of subjecting lower classes.[5] Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin opposed both religious belief - which the Bolsheviks believed impeded modernisation - and the institutional power and ideology of Russian Orthodoxy. They aggressively promoted atheism as a matter of government policy, outlawed religious instruction and had atheism taught in schools[6][7][8][9][10] After the Second World War, state atheism was also pursued in Eastern Europe, China, Indo-China and North Korea.[11]

Logical positivism and scientism paved the way for neopositivism, analytical philosophy, structuralism, and naturalism. Neopositivism and analytical philosophy discarded classical rationalism and metaphysics in favor of strict empiricism and epistemological nominalism. Proponents such as Bertrand Russell emphatically rejected belief in God. In his early work, Ludwig Wittgenstein attempted to separate metaphysical and supernatural language from rational discourse. A. J. Ayer asserted the unverifiability and meaninglessness of religious statements, citing his adherence to the empirical sciences. Relatedly the applied structuralism of Lévi-Strauss sourced religious language to the human subconscious in denying its transcendental meaning. J. N. Findlay and J. J. C. Smart argued that the existence of God is not logically necessary. Naturalists and materialistic monists such as John Dewey considered the natural world to be the basis of everything, denying the existence of God or immortality.[12][13]

References
  1. ^ Richard Pipes; Russia under the Bolshevik Regime; Harvill; 1994; p338-339
  2. ^ Richard Pipes; Russia under the Bolshevik Regime; Harvill; 1994; p339-340
  3. ^ Overall, Christine (2006). "Feminism and Atheism". The Cambridge Companion to Atheism. ISBN 978-1-139-82739-3. Retrieved 2011-04-09.  in Martin 2006, pp. 233–246
  4. ^ Geoffrey Blainey; A Short History of Christianity; Viking; 2011; p.543
  5. ^ Richard Pipes; A Concise History of the Russian Revolution; The Harvill Press; 1995; p312.
  6. ^ Richard Pipes; A Concise History of the Russian Revolution; The Harvill Press; 1995; p333.
  7. ^ Martin Amis; Koba the Dread; Vintage Books; London; 2003; ISBN 9780099428021; p.30-31
  8. ^ Alan Bullock; Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives; Fontana Press; 1993; pp.412
  9. ^ Richard Pipes; Russia under the Bolshevik Regime; Harvill; 1994; p340
  10. ^ Geoffrey Blainey; A Short History of Christianity; Viking; 2011; p494
  11. ^ Geoffrey Blainey; A Short History of Christianity; Viking; 2011; p494 & 508
  12. ^ Cite error: The named reference stanford was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  13. ^ Zdybicka 2005, p. 16


Sorry, it is again too lengthy, and presenting a WP:FRINGE POV as widely-accepted fact. Also, your references are unverifiable: It is completely possible to include the text you are citing in your references, yet ~none~ have any cited text at all; why are you not doing this? THEPROMENADER 11:47, 28 May 2014 (UTC)

Space for Promenader to provide sources challenging points made[edit]

There is nothing fringy about the text in Draft 6. I have provided page citations from reliable sources easily found in libraries. Perhaps you would prefer to see the historians identified, but this conflicts with your insistence that it is "too long". I have already written out some extended quotations above in an earlier section (you perhaps won't have seen them yet) and of course have page references for the points made. Along the following brief sentences, I invite to provide texts of comparable reliability from historians for the points which you wish to challenge, so that don't waste time on you are prepared to accept:

1) Marxist-Leninist atheism emerged from the 1917 Russian Revolution. To Marxists, religion was a 'primitive belief' and a means of subjecting lower classes.[1] 2) Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin opposed both religious belief - which the Bolsheviks believed impeded modernisation - and the institutional power and ideology of Russian Orthodoxy.[2][3][4][5] 3) They aggressively promoted atheism as a matter of government policy, outlawed religious instruction and had atheism taught in schools[6][7][8][9][10] 4) After the Second World War, state atheism was also pursued in Eastern Europe, China, Indo-China and North Korea.[11]

Look forward to seeing a source, at last if any of this is doubted.

Meanwhile here's some extended Pipes quotes: "militant atheism has been called the element uniting the various groups of the intelligentsia under the tsarist regime. In their tactics for combatting religious belief however, the Bolsheviks were divided. The cruder atheists wanted to attack it by every possible means, especially mockery; the subtler ones... wanted to raise socialism to the status of a surrogate religion[...] Emelian Iaroslavskii... called for a frontal attack on religion on the grounds that it was nothing more than base superstition exploited by the ruling class... [Lenin] preferred the uncompromising atheism of Iaroslavskii."[12]... "The confrontation that got underway immediately after the October coup, attaining a climax in 1922, assumed a variety of forms... churches and monasteries were despoiled and converted to utilitarian uses; so too although less frequently were synagogues and mosques. Clergymen were deprived of civil rights and subjected to violent harassment and sham trials, which ended for many in imprisonment and for some in execution. Religious instruction for children was outlawed, and replaced with atheistic propaganda in schools and youth organisations. Religious holidays gave way to Communist festivals. Communist Party members were required to take an active part in atheistic activities and enjoined, under penalty of expulsion, from participating in religious rites, including baptisms and church weddings[13]

Hope that helps. Ozhistory (talk) 12:31, 28 May 2014 (UTC)

References
  1. ^ Richard Pipes; A Concise History of the Russian Revolution; The Harvill Press; 1995; p312.
  2. ^ Richard Pipes; Russia under the Bolshevik Regime; Harvill; 1994; p340
  3. ^ Alan Bullock; Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives; Fontana Press; 1993; pp.412
  4. ^ Richard Pipes; A Concise History of the Russian Revolution; The Harvill Press; 1995; p333.
  5. ^ Martin Amis; Koba the Dread; Vintage Books; London; 2003; ISBN 9780099428021; p.30-31
  6. ^ Richard Pipes; A Concise History of the Russian Revolution; The Harvill Press; 1995; p333.
  7. ^ Martin Amis; Koba the Dread; Vintage Books; London; 2003; ISBN 9780099428021; p.30-31
  8. ^ Alan Bullock; Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives; Fontana Press; 1993; pp.412
  9. ^ Richard Pipes; Russia under the Bolshevik Regime; Harvill; 1994; p340
  10. ^ Geoffrey Blainey; A Short History of Christianity; Viking; 2011; p494
  11. ^ Geoffrey Blainey; A Short History of Christianity; Viking; 2011; p494 & 508
  12. ^ Richard Pipes; Russia under the Bolshevik Regime; Harvill; 1994; p338-339
  13. ^ Richard Pipes; Russia under the Bolshevik Regime; Harvill; 1994; p339-340
Again, you could just provide the text you are citing in your references as a quote, or show it to us here. Even the text above is just more examples of communism replacing religion... and I'm sure that your references are more of the same. Why all the evasion and obfuscation?
And thanks for not naming me in the heading... that demands that I 'prove' that communists were... communists? How silly! The burden of proof for your claims that these communist acts were commited in the name of atheism is on you, sir. THEPROMENADER 12:42, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
Please indicate which points you are disputing? Ozhistory (talk) 13:34, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
All of them: Again, 'suppressing the (religious) competition' != 'atheism'. It would help your argument a lot if, for your list of references (1~13), you add the text you are citing to the reference (or numbered on the side), since none are easily verifiable and you have the text right in front of you. Here's the Wikipedia rationale on that. Cheers. THEPROMENADER 13:55, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
I have to agree with ThePromenader. The proposal has a whole host of problems, not the least of which is undue focus on communism, palpable bias and insinuation. The fact that a number of brutal dictators were atheists may or may not be relevant to this article. But it isn't automatically relevant just because the two facts can be placed side by side. Most of them also had moustaches, but so what? Content is needed explaining why and how a link might be made, along with balanced content outlining different perspectives on the issues involved. To put it another way, I think it is unclear why atheism is being blamed for 20th century mass-murder but not thanked for 20th century physics.
On a side note, Ludwig Wittgenstein was not an atheist, but a fairly devout catholic. And a Communist, just to complicate matters further. Formerip (talk) 16:11, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
FormerIP I think you just found it. Moustache wearer are evil mass murderers!! But no kidding. The insinuation is the problem. The photo of a (communist) leaders is not relevant per se. This puts undue attention on the link communism-atheism. If you strip all undue weight and non neutral stuff from this proposal 6 we are basically back at proposal 4, which is the only version that has gathered substantial (if not unopposed) support. Indeed the collaboration within Wikipedia is impressive here, almost all editors (except for one) working together to get proposal 4 very clearly formulated. Arnoutf (talk) 17:55, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
To a tee, Arnoutf. I just noticed that the history of atheism makes exactly the same claims to even greater length, even including Hitler... the work of the same authour(s) as here, I presume. How does stuff like this even get in unnoticed? THEPROMENADER 10:35, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
Problems at another article should be discussed there or at Wikipedia:WikiProject Atheism. Let's focus on this article which is already difficult enough. Arnoutf (talk) 11:08, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
0.o I didn't even know that project existed; thanks for the pointer, sir. THEPROMENADER 11:16, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
To those borrowing cliches about moustaches, and slogans about "fascism = atheism" you completely miss the point of this section. It is a history of atheism. These societies are unique in the history of atheism because they used the organs of state to promote atheism. If you can't see the relevance to a section on the history of atheism --- you are not really trying. Meanwhile your efforts to censor any reference to the use of repressive or coercive measures in these specific societies on this specific subject just makes no sense at all. Ozhistory (talk) 09:04, 2 June 2014 (UTC)
That is only your opinion, Ozhistory, and your opinion seems to be shared only by a few fundamentalist Christians... there's no way that such a fringe view deserves that much attention, and there's no way that one can present such POV without inidicating its origins for what they are. Communists suppressed religion in favour of their own communist ideology... 'suppressing religion' != 'atheist ideology'. In fact, one could even argue that the communists/fascists wanted to present themselves as gods, but forwarding this argument as fact would be POV too. Cheers. THEPROMENADER 10:23, 2 June 2014 (UTC)

LET IT REST (shouting intended). Tryptofish added the broadly supported version 4 (updated). In my view this ends the current discussion as far as I am concerned. It is highly unlikely a new consensus will emerge in the coming time. Arnoutf (talk) 17:18, 2 June 2014 (UTC)

Translation[edit]

Hello. I'm translating this article to spanish Wikipedia, anyone can cooperate? They want to erase a lot of things. Eg. They deleted Eurobarometer 2010 because "It's not representative" and "It's about biotecnology, not about religion". Also want to change the definitions to the positive atheism to the Christian God because "they are too complicated" and "are english definitions", further "refs 1 and 2 talk about God not deities". They tried to erase "Reductionary accounts of religion" section due to disconnected ideas and now they say the same to "Definition as impossible or impermanent". Can you help, please? I need more refs for the last one (specially deathbed conversions and foxholes) and your participations in the discussion. I can be a translater for you. Regards. --Hiperfelix (talk) 00:35, 13 July 2014 (UTC)

They've fundamentally misunderstood what the Eurobarometer is (and probably didn't even read the freely available pdf). If the people are as stupid as you describe, I'm not sure what someone who doesn't speak Spanish could do really? Perhaps on the Spanish wiki there is some wikiproject or similar that you can ask for input? Second Quantization (talk) 19:58, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

Atheism within religions.[edit]

We have to be careful to clarify that some religions are atheist with regards to a creator but very well may have demi-gods, celestial buddhas, demons, devas, brahma, spiritual leader that has attained godhood, or maybe consider the universe itself self-aware. This is not an all-encompassing atheistic view. I reworded a paragraph to indicate this. Alatari (talk) 12:22, 15 July 2014 (UTC)

I went and addressed Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism by reading the sources that were used and painting a contextual picture from those sources. Added a couple sources about Jainism from other articles that clearly show beliefs in demi-god/god-like beings. I wanted to add text about the Hinduism school of Cārvāka but all Wikipedia articles say it's a dead religion. If it makes a comeback and has some millions of adherents maybe it can be mentioned as it was truly an atheistic religion which even denied the afterlife matching it to the original meaning of nāstika. Alatari (talk) 05:57, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

Other editors should also please see User talk:Tryptofish#Atheism in religions, where there is a discussion about this in parallel. I think that this material ought to be covered in sufficient detail to reflect its complexity, and that it is clearly a noteworthy aspect of the topic of this page. Right now, in my opinion, we have a paragraph in the lead that is becoming too detailed for the lead, and covers material that isn't adequately covered in the main text of the page (where it needs to be if it's also in the lead). I'm going to boldly create a new section of the page, moving the material out of the lead section. I suggest that we keep the lead brief, but I think it would be fine to expand the section lower on the page, and I hope that editors will expand it. --Tryptofish (talk) 00:36, 17 July 2014 (UTC)

Numbers[edit]

I've tried to remove the polls from ~2007 and older since they are showing their age. There exist numerous polls on this issue, so I see no reason to use these older polls. Second Quantization (talk) 21:30, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

If anyone wanted to update the Eurobarometer graph, that would be cool, Second Quantization (talk) 21:30, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

Eurobarometer[edit]

I removed the percentages of atheism in the EU based on the Eurobarometer due that according the Eurobarometer itself, they are wrong. Mi revision was undid by user War and he/she said "I double checked. These percentage are correct. They are concerning question QB32 choice #1."

But as you can see in the page 381 of the PDF, they are not correct. First of all, they are original research, because the article combines different answers of the poll to show the percentages of the population did not agree with the stand "I believe there is a God". For example, the article shows 49% of people who don't agree with the stand "I believe there is a God", but the Eurobarometer doesn't say that. Instead, the Eurobarometer says:

  • 51% - "You believe there is a God"
  • 26% - "You believe there is some sort of spirit or life force"
  • 20% - "You don’t believe there is any sort of spirit, God or life force"
  • 3% - "Don't know"

So… Where that 49% comes from? From adding the people who answered "I believe there is some sort of spirit or life force", the people who answered "I don’t believe there is any sort of spirit, God or life force" and even the people who said "I don't know". This is misleading at all and an original research, it can't be said that people who "don't know" are atheists or people who doesn't agree with the stand "I believe there is a God". It happens the same with all the percentages of the EU Member States.

This doesn't corresponds the source, which explicitly says (see page 206): "On average, one respondent in two believes in God (51%) while around a quarter believe there is some sort of spirit or life force (26%) and one in five is an atheist". --Robert Laymont (talk) 15:01, 21 July 2014 (UTC)

You've raised a good point. I don't have an answer for it. Is subtraction "original research"? I, personally don't think so. I'm very interested in what others have to say about this. The question though has nothing to do with "...some sort of life force". The question on the survey for GB32 was "You believe there is a God". and 51% picked this number answer. Therefore simple subtraction give you 49% "did not agree with the stand "I believe there is a God". Now, perhaps the wording is worth discussing, "...large percentages of the population did not agree...". I could see some people arguing that 49% is not a "large percentage". However, I still don't think subtraction constitutes original research. War (talk) 16:12, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
Original research or not, I think it's misleading information since those who answered "Don't know" were added to the percentage too. Anyway, this article is about Atheism, and the survey clearly explains that "one in five is an atheist". If a source is being used, the text must follow what this source says. The source must not be used to reach other conclusions. --Robert Laymont (talk) 16:25, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
I haven't (yet) gone back to the source, so I'm commenting just on the preceding comments here. It seems that the numbers quoted come from adding together "You believe there is some sort of spirit or life force", "You don’t believe there is any sort of spirit, God or life force", and "Don't know". The page currently characterizes that sum as the "percentages of the population [that] did not agree with the stand 'I believe there is a God'". Furthermore, in context, the sentence as currently written equates that sum (implicitly) with the percentage of the population that is atheist. If I understand that correctly, then I think that it clearly does violate WP:NOR. It is both WP:SYNTH and just plain inaccurate to equate people who say they "believe there is some sort of spirit or life force" and people who "don't know" with actually being atheists, or even with being people who disagree with "You believe there is a God". Not knowing could potentially equate to agnosticism, and believing in some sort of spirit could reflect any number of belief systems other than atheism. Choosing one response may mean preferring that response, without necessarily disagreeing outright with the other responses. I wouldn't delete the passage altogether, but I'd change the information to report only the respondents who selected "You don’t believe there is any sort of spirit, God or life force", and describe them that way, not as disagreeing with the first option. Thus, 49% would become 20%. --Tryptofish (talk) 17:00, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
I have done a check of the numbers myself, and it is indeed not correct how its portrait here on Wikipedia. While I am an atheist myself I do not want to mus-construct a survey to look like there are much more then there actually are. I would suggest that the numbers are changed to the actually percentage of atheist in the case of the mention in the lead and also in the actually demographic section. As the demographic section is also implying that the other two options are auto-atheist. NathanWubs (talk) 17:35, 21 July 2014 (UTC)