Letter: Cradles of fanaticism

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The Independent Online
Sir: The Rev Peter Hatton (letter, 8 June) claims that "this century's bloodiest mass murderers have not been believers".

Mao Tse-tung and Pol Pot were not believers in religion but were equally fanatical believers in an ideology partly derived from Judaeo-Christian tradition. Hitler was brought up as a Catholic and remained a believer in God and his system was a parody of medieval Christianity. Stalin was trained as an Orthodox priest and his system was a parody of tsarist Russia.

The historical context is crucial. Just as Nazi anti-Semitism derived from the long tradition of Christian anti-Semitism, European imperialism derived from the long tradition of Christian evangelicalism. The conquerors and colonisers held a sword in one hand, a Bible in the other. It is no coincidence that the first atom bombs were used by white Christians against non-white non-Christians.

The danger is irrational belief of any kind and the remedy is liberalism and rationalism.

NICOLAS WALTER

Rationalist Press Association

London N1

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