Sigh. Once again, what was a relatively sensible and civil discussion between a couple of believers and a couple of atheists has been disrupted and sidelined by an embarrassing attempt to attribute some of the worst atrocities of the twentieth century - including the holocaust, of course - to atheism. Honestly, even believers are embarrassed by this one. There are several reasons this is complete rubbish, so let me lay out a few of the basics:
1: Hitler was a Roman Catholic. No, really - look it up. He made several references to his faith in Mein Kampf, and the first international treaty of the Nazi Party, the Reichskonkordat, was with the Vatican - the details can be seen here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reichskonkordat. Even if Hitler himself had not been a believer, most of his followers were; their lifelong conditioning to hate Jews as the killers of Christ was instrumental in creating backing for Hitler's party and policies. So let's drop the whole "Hitler was an atheist" thing, shall we?
2: Niceness does not determine correctness, nor does being nasty make one wrong. It would not matter if every atheist on the planet was an absolute arsehole; that would not in itself make us wrong.
3: Do you reeeeeaaally want to get into a slagging match about crimes committed by believers versus crimes committed by atheists anyway? Really?
4: This is the point that even many atheists seem to miss; it is not logical or even possible to commit crimes in the name of an UNbelief. If you want to tell me that I as a non-believer in gods am a bad person because Stalin was also a non-believer in gods, it is perfectly reasonable for me to reply using the same logic that YOU are a bad person as a non-believer in dragons because Stalin was also a non-believer in dragons. Stalin didn't believe in the Easter Bunny, therefore aEasterBunnyism is responsible for his regime. Mao didn't believe in Santa Claus, therefore aKrisKringlism has killed millions. Kim Jong-il doesn't believe in an invisible squid monster called Bob circling Alpha Centauri, therefore you, as a fellow aBobist, are evil too. Getting the point?
And for anyone reading this who wants to bleat "OK, so those evil men didn't do what they did in the name of atheism, but if they'd believed in gods they'd've had morals and they wouldn't have done it"... pick up a history book, I'm begging you.