Pol Pot was an atheist

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Background History

Pol Pot, also known as Saloth Sar, was the leader of the communist party of Cambodia from, and served as the Prime Minister from 1976-to 1979 in the Democratic Kampuchea. In his reign he attempted to purify Cambodia, through an Agrarian Socialism, which forced people to move into the country to restart Cambodian civilization. This led to a poor infrastructure and a mass genocide, killing 1.7 to 2.5 million people. With the poor quality of living and the mass murder of people, a total of 21% of the Cambodian population died. Pol Pot lost his power after the Vietnam invaded in 1979, during the Cambodian-Vietnam War. This forced him to flee into the southwestern jungle of the border between Cambodia and Thailand. Pol Pot died in 1998 under house arrest of the Ta Mok faction of the Khmer Rouge.

Apologetics

Apologists often point to people like Pol Pot, trying to make a point about atheism:

  • Pol Pot was an evil murderer.
  • Pol Pot was an atheist.
  • Thus, Pol Pot's atheism has something to do with him being an evil murderer.
  • Therefore, atheism causes evil.

The point of the argument is to try establish that it's wrong to be an atheist, because if too many people are atheists, bad things will happen.

Counter Apologetics

This apologetic is an example of an association fallacy. If Pol Pot had a mustache, we wouldn't conclude that anyone with a mustache is like Pol Pot. This particular implementation of the fallacy is rampant, whether the example is Pol Pot, Stalin or Hitler (though he wasn't actually an atheist).

The claim that atheism causes evil is a subtle, but ultimately refutable claim.

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