Licia Corbella – That’s Some Interesting History They Teach in Canada

Licia Corbella from the Calgary Herald is pleased that atheism will be an equally valid viewpoint to the existence of gods and will be protected as a viewpoint. But not for the right reasons.

You see, apparently a school in Calgary was allowing the Gideons to hand out Bibles so an atheist father asked for permission to hand out Atheist literature.

This resulted in a total ban on any such shennanigans and indeed the school recognised that a secular environment is best. Then the government got in on it.

But Licia thinks this is good because she can now hold atheism to account!

Oh No!

Atheism is indeed a belief system that holds mighty power. Let me explain. Atheists, like Richard Dawkins, are fond of claiming that religion “ruins everything” and is to blame for promoting conflict and violence. However, they rarely study the role atheism has played in creating wars and killing.

Atheism holds power? Really?

Atheism doesn’t hold ANY power. For the love of fuck! I get around 2000 visitors per day. That’s not power. That’s like a small town listens to me. And I can’t get them to do anything really. Maybe raise money for worthy causes. Power? Pfft. I could get more power claiming to have seen god, wearing some orange robes and doing cheap conjuring tricks while offering enlightenment in exchange for Rolls Royces.

Yen Buddhism as Terry Pratchett called it.

Atheism plays a role in war and killing? Oh who here’s thinking Godwin’s?

As Dinesh D’Souza writes in his New York Times bestselling book, What’s so Great About Christianity, “five hundred years after the Inquisition, we are still talking about it, but less than two decades after the collapse of ‘godless Communism,’ there is an eerie silence about the mass graves of the Soviet Gulag. Why the absence of accountability? Does atheism mean never having to say you are sorry?”

Oh! It’s Stalin!

I understand Licia is new to this but there is a fundamental difference between Stalin’s Gulags and the Spanish Inquisition. And Dinesh D’Souza is so bad at telling the truth, that I often quote him as proof that god doesn’t exist. IF the Christian god existed, then Dinesh D’Souza is so untruthful that his hands should burn on contact with the Bible.

The Inquisition left a scar on Europe. It was the last struggle of a desperate Church that fought down knowledge. Because the knowledge was causing people to think thoughts that were blasphemous. These were men and women who thought that maybe we could learn more about medicine by experimentation. These were the rudimentary ideas of science forming and people who thought that there were massive inconsistencies between observation and religion.

Religion’s response was to try and destroy and silence knowledge. While Leonardo painted the Last Supper he also cut open humans to find out how they worked. The Renaissance was precisely this. People paid lip service to the church and then wrenched mankind off their knees to their feet. They restarted a process that religion helped stagnate.


I want you to pick up a single Atheist Bible or whatever you think we follow and show me where it says “Thou shalt open A Prison so that you can throw thine enemies into it”. I want you to pick up a single Atheist Bible and show me where it says “Kill Dissenters in order to hold onto absolute power”.

Stalin did these things not because he was an atheist, but because he was a power mad dictator who feared revolution. Let’s compare him to monarchs. He was an absolute monarch and could do pretty much whatever he felt like. Except he was paranoid. In order to stay alive he thought he had to kill those who opposed him. And since he was paranoid he thought most people were out to get him.

It didn’t matter what he believed in because this is what paranoid people in absolute power do to keep absolute power. In fact considering most atheists subscribe to secular moral codes such as humanism, Stalin’s behaviour is irrational, poorly thought out and indeed counter-productive.

Let’s look at the Inquisition, as an example. According to Henry Kamen’s book, The Spanish Inquisition: A Historical Revision, over a 350-year period only about 2,000 people were killed. That’s just 5.7 people per year. In communist China in 2009 alone, however, it is estimated that 5,000 people were executed by the state, many for adhering to beliefs other than atheism, such as Falun Gong.

Again. I must point out that China’s atheism isn’t the reason for their executions. They have a massive population with little political discourse and again an absolute government with little to no ability to lobby for changes to be made. China’s method of policing has been with a strict hand because the biggest fear that the Chinese government has is that the people will want a new government and try and change it. So they need fear and brutality  to keep China working.

Not because Atheism says “Kill Falun Gong worshippers”. I could not care less about your carpenter god and the only reason I actually blog is that many Christians think that it is their divine duty to insert Jesus into any available activity. The inability for religious people to keep religion out of stuff is precisely why we have the “Angry Activist Atheist”.

Most atheists are probably more ethical about China’s behaviour than religious people mainly because China’s treatment of people isn’t linked to it’s lack of belief in any gods..

If we look at the Scandanavian countries which are “staunchly secular” there is the opposite end of the spectrum.

However let us look at the USA. Texas effectively halted nearly all abortions in the state. Why? Religious reasons. How? Religious Mobilisation of Christians forcing everyone to adhere to a Christian rule.

There is a massive difference between the two.

“In the past hundred years or so,” writes D’Souza, “the most powerful atheist regimes — Communist Russia, Communist China and Nazi Germany — have wiped out people in astronomical numbers.” Stalin wiped out 20 million, Mao Zedong’s atheist regime killed 70 million of its own citizens and “Hitler comes in a distant third with around 10 million murders, six million of them Jews,” states D’Souza.

As I said. If there was a Christian god then Dinesh D’Souza’s hands should burn in contact with a Bible for such a bad lie.

We already covered the problems with “Atheism” was responsible for Communism. The reason religion was hated by Communists in Russia was because the Church threw in with the Royalists during the Oktober Revolution.

Mao’s problem was that China was a cut up bunch of colonies owned by different countries fighting in WW2 and fighting against itself. Mao was a good general but a TERRIBLE politician. His ideas were just bad all round.

The notion that any farmer can make iron and that intellectuals need to get their hands dirty effectively destroyed China’s Intellectual base and got farmers wasting time making brittle and useless pig iron.

People starved because they were too busy making Iron and because professors are not very good at working fields causing massive famine and massive death. And the other part was the civil war. Lest we forget, the deaths caused to Chinese soldiers on both sides are dumped onto Mao because we wouldn’t want the Christian Chian Kai Shek to have any blame.

Mao’s behaviour was not that of an atheist but that of a brutal dictator. It wouldn’t matter what his religious beliefs were, the power would have corrupted him.

As for Hitler? 10 Million? 12.5 million Slavs were killed in the Concentration camps along with around 6 million Jews and around about a million Roma. That is without the war casualties. Hitler’s madness lead to more than 40 Million Deaths.

And Hitler’s entire ethos was built around anti-semiticism. From the Catholic Church’s blood libel to the writings of Luther, all were used to justify and breed this sort of hatred.

Hitler didn’t do anything new. Killing Jews was practically a sport every Easter in many parts of Europe. No what Hitler did was use Technology rather than good old mobs. I am afraid Dinesh D’Souza likes to tell this little lie so that people will associate ultimate evil with Atheism when in reality atheism doesn’t like Genocide.

Add to that the killing regimes of other atheist poster boys like Lenin, Khrushchev, Pol Pot, Nicolae Ceausescu, Fidel Castro and Kim Jong-il, to name just a few. Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge, the Communist Party faction that ruled Cambodia from 1975 to 1979, murdered 1.5 to two million citizens — or one-fifth of its population.

Lenin? Er… If you read anything about the way Russia used to be under the Royal family you would not understand why Lenin existed. Put it this way. When we are so horrified by the deaths caused by starvation due to changes in the Russian policies post WW2 in the Ukraine we must remember that in Russia prior to Oktober revolution, famine was so common as to be the norm. In fact one of the major events that caused the Peasant Support was that the Royal Family were shipping in expensive food on ice while many peasants were forced to eat rocks.

Khruschev? Really? Pol Pot killed people again like Mao. Through stupid practices and idiocy. I want you to name the line and verse in Atheism where it says “Kill people with spectacles”. I want the line and verse that says “Force people to do jobs they are unqualified for then kill them when they do a shitty job resulting in starvation.

Any person with access to Wikipedia knows that forced executions may have killed a lot of people but not as much as the relocation of people to agrarian societies who lacked the skills to do so and then promptly caused a famine which caused people to starve to death. Again I must point out that no part of Atheism says “Agrarian Socialism is the way forward! I bet that PZ Myers would make an excellent farmer! If he can understand Squid biology then surely he can wrap his mind around gardening for food!”.

That kind of logic is stupid and anyone can tell me so.

Not if I was power mad and at the top of a brutal dictatorship though.

As D’Souza writes, in just a few decades atheism has killed more people than all religions combined since time immemorial. So, yes, atheism is a powerful creed. But it’s powerful in another way, too. Think about this. Since these atheists have been successful in wiping out virtually any mention of the true meaning behind the national holidays of Christmas and Easter in our schools, for instance, doesn’t that mean that their minority religion is the one being adhered to in our schools to the exclusion of all others? Doesn’t that mean, then, that the creed of atheism is more equal than all other religions and that it is Christianity, primarily, which as the founding and majority ethic and creed of this country that has been discriminated against?

And D’Souza is incredibly wrong. The people killed were killed because of the egos of power mad dictators and absolute unchecked power.

Mao was a general. What does a general know about agriculture? He made plans that ran roughshod over more skilled people.

I have the perfect analogy. Mao was no different from Mike Adams, the infamous  Health Ranger and the guy who gives terrible advice on healthcare. Imagine if Mike was in charge of an absolute monarchy. He would ban all real doctors and instead make quackery the system of choice. And this would cause people to die. Mike’s absolute lack of understanding of real medicine would kill people just as Mao’s lack of understanding lead to the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolutions.

The True Meaning of Christmas and Easter? Oh you mean the Saturnalia and a Spring Fertility festival? Or would you like to explain to kids about “phallic imagery” and fertility rituals?

And that’s the sad thing. I am an atheist who loves Christmas. I celebrated it as a Hindu. My dad dressed as Santa too you know. There were photos of me terrified out of my mind aged 5 on my dad’s knee because I clearly couldn’t recognise my dad if he wore a fake beard and stuffed a cushion up a red jumper. I had a Christmas Tree. Hell I even sang in a bloody Christian choir for Christmas!

If you think the most important thing about Christmas is Jesus then you are blind. You are blind to the human beings around you. You are blind to the relationships you have and the things that really matter. In that period of darkness and cold (for us in the North!) we have an event of such brightness and warmth.

And you think it’s just about Jesus? And in a secular society Easter and Christmas are not pushed as Christian Only Festivals so that others may enjoy them. Because unlike Hindus Christians are rather more exclusive.

And one could point out that the “Original” creed of Canada is not Christianity. There were people living there before you know.

Those are questions worth pondering.

Only if you think that historical revisionism and the utilisation of the deaths of millions to specifically attack a group of people who had nothing to do with them is an acceptable tactic.


  1. says

    It is beyond appalling to lumber us with the man who sent out his most-prized soldiers under the banner of “Gott Mit Uns”.

    The difference between the so-called atheists Mao, Stalin, and Pol Pot, and the millions killed every year by the Catholic Church’s Dark Age policies on contraception and abortion, is that none of the former ever said “I’m killing these people because they have a god they believe in!” In each case the goal was pretty much completely about power, the taking and keeping of it.

    Whereas every bit of the Religious Reich’s horrific nature is predicated on their sadistic, woman-hating, slavery-endorsing, child-murdering super-villain of a god. The kind of god who says to a man, “You have to prove you love me, by murdering your own child for me.” That’s not a god, that’s a fucking abuser.

  2. says

    Hitler’s religious beliefs are the subject of debate. The wikipedia article on the subject is worth reading.

    It is a minority opinion among the scholars quoted that he was an athiest. His statements on religion were varied and changed through his career. The strongest influence seems to have been anti-semitism which was common among European Christians and was associated with the non-biblical belief that “the Jews Killed Jesus” (the new testament states it was the Romans). There was also a movement in Nazi Germany to create a German Religion with elements of the pagan Nordic religion and other mystical elements.

  3. says

    Christmas is an addition to the Christian holiday cycle that was not grafted onto Christianity until it spread north to the parts of Europe with long winter nights and short winter days. My hypothesis is that when you get into parts of the world where the long nights of midwinter trigger Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) as a serious problem, then winter solstice festivals become very important. They remind the emotional part of our minds that the sun will come back! (Terry Pratchett has a book on this, Hogfather). So as Christianity spread north it had to assimilate Winter Solstice celebrations and the birth of Jesus became attached to that important counter depression holiday. In the new testament it is claimed that the shepherds were watching their flocks at night when Jesus was born. Shepherds watch their flocks by night during the lambing season which is in the spring, not midwinter. For a Middle Eastern Jewish Messiah being born during Passover would be symbolically more significant than being born in midwinter.

    For anyone who suffers from SAD, participation in a Winter Solstice celebration is just the thing! The more lights and bonfires and feasting and gift giving and mutual love, the better!

  4. mck9 says

    Minor point: It wasn’t Leonardo who painted the Sistine Chapel, it was Michelangelo, with contributions from Botticelli, Perugino, and others. You’re probably thinking of the Last Supper, which Leonardo painted. He also did dissections.

    More important point: while some cruel tyrannies have been atheistic, Hitler’s wasn’t one of them. Whatever his private religious views may have been, he was at least formally a lifelong Catholic. He often used religious imagery in his rhetoric, and bragged about having stamped out atheism. His following was composed almost entirely of Catholics and Lutherans. For a Christian to describe the Nazis as an atheist regime is akin to a blood libel.

  5. Jenora Feuer says

    Gah. As a Canadian, all I’ll say on this, is that Alberta is often known as Texas North. And it’s not just because of the oilsands.

  6. left0ver1under says

    All atrocities throughout history were perpetrated by extremist ideologies. Nobody ever mass murdered others in the name of uncertainty or tolerance.

    Communism is an extremist ideology.
    Fascism is an extremist ideology.
    Nazism is an extremist ideology.

    All religions are extremist ideologies. Religions are exactly the same as any other ideology in terms of violence, atrocities, and demand for unquestioned power.

    Bertrand Russell once said that the reason christianity and communism opposed each other so strongly was be cause they were so similar. Both want the same things – money, power, absolute control of the populace.

  7. Bruce says

    While I doubt she will publish it, I e-mailed the author of this editorial a note to try to help her to realize that her position was incoherent and confused. To anyone who feels this note is too snarky or too non-serious, that is how I felt about her writing. I hope she’s sitting down when she realizes what she is really saying here.
    Here’s what I wrote her:

    Dear Editor Corbella,
    Your article indicates you feel that Christianity is better than atheism. But clearly, this is just the fact that you are jealous of us Americans, because we are more moral than you Canadians. All the statistics show that Americans are more Christian than Canadians, so that’s why you are ashamed of your moral failure as a nation to be as good and ethical as your superior neighbors to the south. I think you ought to show a little humility in the face of our superior ethical and moral leadership of this planet, because we are a nation that does what you value, unlike Canada.

  8. Z says


    It is beyond appalling to lumber us with the man who sent out his most-prized soldiers under the banner of “Gott Mit Uns”.

    Correction: The motto was inherited from 19th century Prussia and WWI, during WWII it was worn by the low-ranking soldiers of the regular Wehrmacht, on their belt buckles. The Waffen-SS (assuming it’s what you mean by “Hitler’s most prized soldiers”) used a different motto in the same place.

    [Sorry for the off-topic, Avicenna, but it’s a pet peeve of mine.]

  9. baryogenesis says

    Uh may seem picky, but Bonnie @2, it’s not a non-biblical belief that the Jews killed Jesus. It’s increasingly biblical after Mark.

  10. colnago80 says

    The issue as to Frankenberger’s religious beliefs has been the subject of much debate and acrimony since 1945. All we know is that in every public speech and in every known writing, he professed to be a devout Christian. On the other hand, there is an account by Albert Speer of a conversation he had with Frankenberger in which the latter opined that the adoption of Christianity by Germany was a mistake and that Shintoism would have been a better choice. He further opined that he considered Christianity to be effete and the the Bushido belief of Shintoism would have been more suited to a warlike attitude such as he wished to impose on Germany. Frankenberger fervently believed in Napoleon’s aphorism (which may actually have first been said in some form by Voltaire), “Le Dieu se marche avec les gros battalions”.

    However, as others have stated above, the ranks of the Wehrmacht were overwhelmingly composed a believing Lutherans and Catholics. In fact, the founder of Lutheranism, Martin Luther, was the author of a tome on the Jews that was worse then anything in Mein Kampf.

  11. sc_0affc0292d8027b5e51050247e4d3ad3 says

    I believe Capitalism kills more people than any other ideology/theology. If statistics hold any truth, studies have found that anywhere between ninety and one-hundred thousand people die yearly in American hospitals because of simple errors. I find that a rather low range of deaths, because I have worked in Nursing homes, and hospitals. But let’s say the numbers are correct, and for mathematical reasons 100,000 is the number I’ll use. This means that one million people would die in a decade, again, this only covers results from preventable situations brought on by having too many patients to care for, so taking shortcuts or forgetting simple things that could protect a patient from say an infection that eventually kills them is overlooked. Even with the advancement of medical procedures, if the main goal is to make money, shortcuts will always be taken and rushed medical will always take place. This may not seem to be a lot if people compared those killed by Hitler, but I am not done. Capitalism also gives companies to include unhealthy ingredients in our foods, furniture etc. Some of these chemicals are even banned in states that are less “advanced” than the USA, when it comes to medical care. Then we have prescription drugs, over the counter drugs, industries that poison our sit and water. After you place all of these examples together under “Capitalism” you can see, over time, it will be the greatest killer. One last point, war is included under Capitalism because we all know why wars happen….not for the people, and war is big business.

  12. says

    Er… Errors are not due to capitalism. They are due to the unfortunate way medicine works.

    Many medical related deaths are the medicine killing you AFTER the disease would have. So think of it this way, if you have metastatic cancer it may be better to take large doses of morphine shortening your lifespan but improving quality. Or you may die later of a complication rather than earlier due to the disease. So fewer people today die from diabetic ketoacidosis or uncontrolled infection but more die from renal failure due to diabetes.

    And mistakes do happen. American doctors don’t have a sane work schedule and routinely have to deal with days where they are overworked or without senior staff resulting in more deaths. Added to that an unwillingness to unify systems means that mistakes are more likely to happen. A lot of medical advancements are to prevent this from happening and reduce mistakes but the fact of the matter is mistakes do happen and people do get hurt and there is nothing much you can do apart from changes to the lifestyle and ethos which costs money.

    Junior and Government Doctors need better pay. They need sensible work hours. If they have to do night shifts they should have the next day off. Overworking them causes them to want to leave those hospitals and makes them more prone to errors.

    It’s the most stressful job you can think off combined with a physical demand.

    Put it this way. You have to perform at peak mental capacity at 4 PM as if it were 8AM and you have to stand so long.

    The medical issue is one of the private industry with doctors working hard for 20 years, selling out and then raking money in. And this system makes errors occur.

    You need to simplify the doctor’s job, reduce the stress, pay them properly and create good work environments and make sure doctors do weekends with appropriate compensation. Not work them like that. But that requires proper interference by government and licensing bodies which no one likes.

  13. says

    As I said Capitalism. What is capitalisms goal? Money! So it’s mantra/slogan/chant would be “Profits Before People”. That covers all industries that are “for profit” like the medical field.

  14. says

    Yes, but it’s hard to be a doctor and I do think we should be paid well otherwise there is no reason to work in this field. For the good of your fellow man doesn’t put food on my table you know…

    Profit isn’t bad, uncontrolled profit is.

  15. junego says

    @Avicenna #15

    Your salary/wages are not profit under capitalism. They are part of the cost of “production”. Profit is the money “left over” after all “costs” are deducted. (In a hugely simplified explanation ;)

    I agree that highly trained specialists, such as doctors, should be well compensated.

    Here in the US, though, the medical industry is squeezing profits higher by understaffing, overworking, cutting support to the bone marrow, etc. Not to mention the idiocy of our drug prices which forces people to choose between food, shelter, or other obligations and getting the meds to keep them healthy, productive &/or alive.

    So Capitalism/profit enhancement is causing deaths, a better salary for doctors is not.

  16. Fishes says

    We (Calgarians) aren’t all like this, I swear. Licia Corbel doesn’t have a track record of well thought out arguments in general, either.

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