A second reason for the horrors of atheist regimes is that they operated without any of the moral restraints that are the product of religion and that, however slightly, held back the bloodthirsty tyrants of the past. Nietzsche saw this coming. Writing in the nineteenth century, he predicted that the next two centuries would be cataclysmic, with wars and violence beyond all imagining.” The death of God, Nietzsche wrote, would result in the total eclipse of all values. Since values no longer came from God, they would now be made up by man. And since man is descended from the animal kingdom—an idea Nietzsche adopted from Darwin—man was likely to embrace the value of the libido dominandi (the lust to dominate) that we see everywhere in nature. Superior humans would eliminate inferior ones for the same reason that lions eat antelopes. “Master morality” prevails over “slave morality.” It becomes useless to appeal to pity and compassion and decency any more. That would be like telling lions that they should stop being lions.

In other words, the atheist bloodbath is the product of a hubristic modern ideology that sees man, not God, as the creator of values. In rejecting God, man becomes scornful of the doctrine of human sinfulness and convinced of the perfectibility of his nature. Man now seeks to displace God and create a secular utopia here on earth. In order to achieve this, the atheist rulers establish total control of society. They invent a form of totalitarianism far more comprehensive than anything that previous rulers attempted: every aspect of life comes under political supervision. Of course if some people—the Jews, the landowners, the unfit, the handicapped, the religious dissidents, and so on—have to be relocated, incarcerated, or liquidated in order to achieve this utopia, this is a price the atheist tyrants have shown themselves quite willing to pay. The old moral codes do not apply, and ordinary atheist functionaries carry out behavior that would make a church inquisitor quake. The atheist regimes, by their actions, confirm the truth of Dostoevsky’s dictum: if God is not, everything is permitted.