"Stalin's power grab was the cause of his crimes, not atheism. He didn't want any interference with Communism, his religion if you will. Obviously you have to destroy all of the old framework for the new."
That's not obvious to me at all. I think ultimately religion will go away and atheism (some mixture of psychology and philosophy) will take its place. But I think an essential part of making the transition from religion to atheism is the belief in reason. That belief says that you never try to coerce someone to believe something through force but rather you use reason.
Speaking of history, I have read quite a bit by the way, the communists committed many terrible crimes in the name of wiping out religion and enforcing communism. You are wrong that they didn't coerce people to become atheists. There was immense pressure to be a Marxist in Soviet Russia (which meant being an atheist) and not just any Marxist but a Stalinist. You could be tortured and killed not just for defending religion but even for defending Trotsky's ideas.
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