So what kind of atheism is it that is dangerous? What kind of atheism breeds guys like Stalin?
The kind of atheism that expresses intolerance towards theists. Is it really a mystery?
What kind of god beliefs help protect us from Stalinesque atrocities?
The reason Stalin didn't hesitate slaughtering millions based on their religious belief, had much to do with the fact that he thought theists were delusional. He didn't want divisions and he knew how divisive religion could be in society. He felt religion was a threat to society in the same way many atheists express an alarmist mentality on this forum.
For me, it seems less likely that a theistic dictator, of any religious stripe, wouldn't have been so willing to slaughter so many because of their religious beliefs. So I don't think it was a "kind" of atheism that made Stalin what he was. It was just a case where disbelief in the divine existed, there was also a sense of being above reproach; no consequences, no accountability, and no moral responsibility. Religious dictators, at the very least, have to answer to a religious constituency.
Is it enough to believe in any kind of god? What if I accept the Bible but my interpretation of it says that God was really an alien whose powers were godlike by man's standards?
I can't help but ask, who cares? What's the point with this semantic dilly dally? Theists generally understand an atheist as one who denies the existence of any God. I don't know of any who think Muslims are atheists. They probably think Buddhists are theists, when they're really not.
What if I believe in a god but think that everything is made of matter, even god? Remember Joseph Smith said that spirit was just a more refined form of matter. Is that materialism? Gee, Joseph Smith was a materialist whose idea of God was a super mammal with a creaturly form and certain definite limitations.
Yea, I noted that elsewhere, and I think it is a good point. As far as I know, Mormonism is the only theism that is materialistic. Of course, just leave it up to some apologist to say "that's not official." Given half the chance, it'll happen.
What is the real enemy for people who think atheism is evil or dangerous? Is it the lack of magical or supernatural thinking that is really the scary part? Is it the hard nosed, show me the evidence attitude that is so fearful?
I doubt it. I think most theists who truly fear atheism, have recent history on their minds. Particularly where atheistic dictators legalized religious persecution. They are mainly afraid that, given enough time, their religious freedoms would be removed. That's certainly the vibe I get from the prominent atheist writers. As long as they can convince people that group X represents a "danger", then that is the first step in justifying a removal of rights. JAK and mercury seem to think politicians should not be theists, especially the President.
I have no doubt that defensiveness is part of the equation, but I wouldn't want to overlook the power of life-long (or any long term) investment in god belief.
Removing yourself from a life-long religion is much harder than merely removing yourself from a private belief. With the former there are social factors that make the move much more difficult. It was hard for me to shove myself out of Mormonism, but I wasn't raised in the Church. I can only imagine how hard it is for those who were. Sometimes I wonder if I had been raised LDS, whether I'd be like Will Schryver, still howling at the moon about how Joseph Smith was a prophet and no amount of evidence could prove to me otherwise.
As it is, I have no "investment" in my belief because it has no bearing on my life, socially, emotionally or even spiritually. I am totally disconnected from God, so I would have no problem abandoning belief in God if there were evidence to prove he doesn't exist. Disproving Mormonism is easy.