Last week the Pope, Benedict XVI, visited England. During his weeklong visit, he gave an impassioned speech in which he attacked Atheists for being both intolerant and aggressive. In this speech he was able to both tie Atheists to the creation of Hitler and to blame them for the holocaust, saying that it was “Hitler’s desire to eradicate God from Society (that therefore) had lead to the Holocaust”. In his first speech before the Queen of England and the assembled dignitaries at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh the Pontiff associated what he was to call “extreme atheists” to being overly aggressive, and a murderous group of like-minded people who fueled the horrors of the holocaust.

In this comparison of the New Atheists to Nazis – that is in comparing those merely criticizing organized institutional religions with those who carried out a program which killed, tortured and oppressed millions – Benedict XVI marvelously hints to the fact that he, and the church, thinks that all Atheists were in collaboration with this most horrific of events and that the church, itself, thinks of us Secular Atheists as the grounding of this killing machine.

As an Atheist myself, I cannot even begin to express how hurt and offended I am by these remarks and its harmful and deceitful caricature of atheists. Doesn’t this belong in the same category as the sweeping generalizations which are imposed in the vocabulary of oppressing minorities? How is this not like a majority calling those of a minority “Stupid, evil, violent and unclean”. I respect that religious leaders want to criticize and defend themselves against atheists in their intellectual bouts, but there must be a more decent and respectful way how to carry this out than the popes comments do. However I feel that these comments are specifically meant to be deceitful about our secular society and thinkers, and are destined to polarize our profitable social dialogue further.

To read the article about Benedict XVI’s speech, click the link below:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/sep/16/pope-benedict-xvi-atheist-extremism

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