The Hostile Utopia: Atheist Oppression and the Assault on Religion in the USSR
The New Atheists’ identification of the perennial malevolence of religion is set against claims that atheism possesses no basis upon which to oppress others. It is an absence of belief rather than an ideology. They reject outright theist claims that atheism was culpable in the persecution of believers in Communist Russia and China. Yet, this reality is unquestioned by historians. Johnstone reviews the place of atheism in the political and social programme of the Soviet Union and the resulting physical and psychological oppression of believers. He critiques the ways in which this history is avoided by the New Atheists and considers how it illuminates the ideological potentials of atheism and challenges the assumption of its innate benevolence.