I have no intention, none whatsoever, of laying the blame for what these men and others like them did at the feet of my atheist friends. But my point is this: we can read the writings of brutal tyrants such as these and discover what they themselves said about their motivations. For example, Stalin once stated: “You know, they are fooling us, there is no God…all this talk about God is sheer nonsense.” But Stalin was not content with mere words; he also acted on them. In 1925, he actively encouraged the founding of the Leauge of Militant Atheists, which for over twenty years acted out its slogan, “The Struggle Against Religion is a Struggle for Socialism”. It began with popular campaigns in the media against religion, aiming to persuade citizens that religion was irrational and toxic. But soon things became considerably more violent:

Churches were closed or destroyed, often by dynamiting; priests were imprisoned, exiled, or executed. On the eve of the Second World War there were only 6,736 clergy remaining in the Russian Ortodox Church, compared with the pre-evolutionary figure of 66,140. One dreadful day, 17 February 1938, saw the execution of 55 priests. In 1917 there were 39,350 churches in Russia; by 1940, only 950 remained. *

 * – Alister McGrath, Why God Won’t Go Away: Engaging with the New Atheism

– Andy Bannister, The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (Or: The Dreadful Consequences of Bad Arguments