Alphabetical Movie – Hotel Rwanda

Hotel Rwanda is a mercifully sanitized account of the Rwandan Genocide of 1994.  I say mercifully because I can’t imagine anyone wanting to watch as many as a million men, women and children hacked to death with machetes.  After some amount of time, things would start to get a little bleak.

In all the talk about how Mao and Stalin and Pol Pot were atheists, you would think that all of the senseless killing in the 20th century was perpetrated by atheists.  We are the scourge of the planet, mercilessly wiping out those who would oppose us by believing in god.

Yet Rwanda is predominantly Catholic.  In fact, both the Hutus and Tutsis are predominantly Catholic.  Are we to then blame the insanity that gripped their country on the Catholic Church?  I ‘m not fan of the Catholic Church but that kind of thinking is, frankly, nuts.

The Rwandan genocide was an ethnic genocide, not a religious one.  Just as Pol Pot’s killing fields were not motivated by atheism.

It seems, in fact, that no ideology will prevent the mass killing of individuals if someone has enough power and lacks a conscience.  Atheism doesn’t compel someone to murder all of their political rivals any more than Islam compels someone to fly a plane into a building.   The major difference would seem the number of virgins one hopes to receive in the afterlife.

What is tiresome and annoying, then, is when someone says “how can you, an atheist, justify what all of these other atheists did?”  I can’t.  Stalin was an asshole.  Do you feel better when I say that?

Now what do you want me to do?  Say that even though logic has convinced me there is no god, I’m going to believe in one anyway because I’d rather be a theist than be associated with Mao Tse Tung?  Christians are associated with a whole slew of nut jobs (see: The Westboro Baptist Church) and murderers (see: The Dark Ages) and seem comfortable in saying “that isn’t what I believe.”

Why, then, are atheists expected to answer for the behavior of every other person who claims they do not believe in a god?  If anything, our beliefs are far more disparate than the beliefs of those who profess a religion.  About the only thing we agree about is that the divine does not exist.  Beyond that, we argue about everything.

By and large, we don’t kill each other when we disagree, either.

The question shouldn’t be “why are atheists capable of such atrocities” because that is a bullshit question.  The question should be “why are human beings capable of such atrocities?”

I have huge problems with organized religion but ultimately, pointing a finger at Muslims and saying “look at what horrible things Muslims have done” as a response to “look at the horrible things atheists have done” doesn’t advance anything because we still haven’t gotten to the meat of the problem, which is that neither worldview stopped someone from killing millions of people.

Atheists don’t use god to justify their actions but there are atheists who did horrible things.  The argument seems to be that without god and with enough power, all atheists will turn out that way.

If that argument fails to hold water for Jews, Muslims, Christians and Hindus, why should anyone who uses that argument against atheists be taken seriously?

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About Petsnakereggie

Geek, movie buff, dad, musician, comedian, atheist, liberal and writer. I also really like Taco flavored Doritos.

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