Joe Ratzinger, who calls himself “pope bendict XVI”, recently issued an encyclical arguing against atheism and outright blaming it for most of history’s atrocities. He should open a history book or perhaps look at the current pedophile infestation he has been covering up with massive payments to victims.
The usual tactic is to note that Joseph Stalin was an atheist and thus insinuate that atheism leads to mass killing because there is no morality to it. And there isn’t. Atheism is not a moral philosophy nor a political movement–it’s simply a lack of a belief in god(s). One can be a strict science based atheist or a new age quack, a libertarian or a socialist. I’ve never known anyone who’s moral beliefs derived from atheism.
Since there is no God to create justice, it seems man himself is now called to establish justice. If in the face of this world’s suffering, protest against God is understandable, the claim that humanity can and must do what no God actually does or is able to do is both presumptuous and intrinsically false. It is no accident that this idea has led to the greatest forms of cruelty and violations of justice; rather, it is grounded in the intrinsic falsity of the claim.
Whether religious or not, most people would agree we need to improve life on earth. This includes establishing governments, creating laws, doing scientific research and creating art, among other things. Since god didn’t deliver unto us the constitution, evolutionary biology, medicine, democracy, or equality under the law since the dawn time, we’ve had to create them ourselves. Ratzinger finds that “presumptuous.” Most likely what he detests is that people have found routes to live fulfilling lives that don’t include attending his church.
A world which has to create its own justice is a world without hope. No one and nothing can answer for centuries of suffering. No one and nothing can guarantee that the cynicism of power–whatever beguiling ideological mask it adopts–will cease to dominate the world.
That’s right. We can’t guarantee it as centuries of atrocities have shown. We are on our own and it is up to us to make the world a better place. If we succeed, the power that will “cease to dominate the world” will be morally bankrupt frauds like Joe Ratzinger.