It’s on: Modern atheism “has led to the greatest forms of cruelty and violations of justice,” declares Pope

posted at 7:05 pm on November 30, 2007 by Allahpundit

Commenter Peski sends the link and sniffs, “Maybe he only reads the New Testament.”

Actually, the Pope’s after more than just the atheists. You’ll find the encyclical here; our Protestant readers will note with interest (or not) what he has to say about individual salvation. As for the godless, his argument will be familiar as it’s been made in the comments of this blog many times.

The atheism of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries is—in its origins and aims—a type of moralism: a protest against the injustices of the world and of world history. A world marked by so much injustice, innocent suffering, and cynicism of power cannot be the work of a good God. A God with responsibility for such a world would not be a just God, much less a good God. It is for the sake of morality that this God has to be contested. 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. 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.

He’s referring to communism (and refers to Marx by name earlier on), of which atheism is of course a component. To read this, you’d think it was communism that was a component of atheism — that the root of the problem is godlessness, not an economic system based on state coercion and compulsory compliance. It’d be like arguing that the problem with white-power churches in the midwest isn’t their racist ideology, it’s their Christianity. The difference, perhaps, is that while you don’t need racial theory to practice Christianity effectively, you may well need atheism to practice communism effectively, to clear the way for the state to be installed in the role of God. That makes the link between the two rather more problematic, although it also politely neglects to consider atheism within the context of other economic systems. Would a libertarian atheist state lead to the “greatest forms of cruelty”? I’m skeptical. But then, I would be.

Exit quotation: “We secretly resonate with the atheists — thank God he is absent!”


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You know perfectly well how computers work.

Entelechy on December 1, 2007 at 12:50 AM

You’s are sdownpose t’be done keepin’ dat t’yo’self. What it is, Mama! Some sucka’s ere feel much mo’e betta’ about dem selfs if dey dink ah’ done be some stdownid.

MB4 on December 1, 2007 at 12:55 AM

Entelechy on December 1, 2007 at 12:50 AM

I know we kind of got started off on a heated discussion (which I found very respectable), I do enjoy your intelligent, thoughtful posts.

There now, lets all sing cumbyaa and have a big hug.

See I do nice things, I’m just not known for it.

Speakup on December 1, 2007 at 12:56 AM

Are you still here ronsfi?

I apologize Will but I think the point is that the Pope, as well as some commenters state that all morality comes from God in a divine manner and that without God, specifically the Christian God, civilization will devolve into debauched anarchy. Ironically, exactly what I see as the current state of civilization.

ronsfi on November 30, 2007 at 11:20 PM

Which institution do you propose should replace the Christian morals as provided by the Christian church?

Speakup on November 30, 2007 at 11:26 PM

No answer.

Speakup on December 1, 2007 at 12:06 AM

Speakup on December 1, 2007 at 1:00 AM

How old is “organized religion”?

Gee, I dunno. Pretty old I guess.

The death toll of Islam (270 million and counting) is more than that of Christianity, Nazism, Russian/Chinese Communism and two atomic bombs put together.

But hey it’s all organised religion, right?

aengus on December 1, 2007 at 1:04 AM

Speakup, I’ve forgotten what we sparred about. Do you remember? I don’t hold grudges, as I get them over with right away, or pretty soon after. Agreeing all the time is boring, and no progress has ever come from total synergy. Thanks for the kind words. I always read your comments, and enjoy them. Love the nome the plume too. As you already know, my comments can be substantive, or sometimes goofy. I like it that way, especially later at night, when thinking becomes harder :) Best regards,

Entelechy on December 1, 2007 at 1:11 AM

ronsfi on November 30, 2007 at 10:40 PM

So out of 270+ popes you found about 30 to be despicable, most before the reformation. A couple after the reformation.
So out of about 200 you have a couple of rogues, and in the past 400 hundred years you have one, and that was for not taking a stand against Hitler (like Chamberlain, and 1/2 of the U.S. Senate).
Gee, those are valuable facts.
I think I saw your list in San Diego on the side of a bus. It is quite famous, the guy parks it and sits in front of the bus with a sign proclaiming the Pope is satan. All over the bus are saying’s against Catholics and specifically the Popes. All tie dyed and such, pretty cool looking, a real throw back, and of course that guy is a little crazy also.

right2bright on December 1, 2007 at 1:12 AM

But hey it’s all organised religion, right?

aengus on December 1, 2007 at 1:04 AM

Just as a personal guess I’d say basic religion became a part of hominid groups sometime before homo sapiens I.

Long about the time they could look up at the stars and imagine.

Speakup on December 1, 2007 at 1:14 AM

Speakup on December 1, 2007 at 1:00 AM

Red Herring. I never advocated replacement. Just divine revelation. Do you even read the original post or, do you just look for someone to grief?

ronsfi on December 1, 2007 at 1:19 AM

Make that question divine revelation.

ronsfi on December 1, 2007 at 1:19 AM

Who’s Dana Perino? Go to the Home page of HA. She’s on the top left, the blond, Mr. Bush’s current press secretary who took over recently.

I have no idea if Pope Benedict likes her or not.

Entelechy on December 1, 2007 at 12:50 AM

She kind of looks like an “old” girl friend of mine. Not sure what it is, I think the shape of her face more than her individual features so much. A certain resemblance though.

Se was Catholic, but not really.

MB4 on December 1, 2007 at 1:22 AM

Speakup, I’ve forgotten what we sparred about. Do you remember?

George Bush, I don’t hold grudges either, doesn’t do any good.
You can’t agree all the time, its important to play fair though and thank you for the kind words.
I’m a born smarta$$ so poking fun is cool.

Speakup on December 1, 2007 at 1:25 AM

right2bright on December 1, 2007 at 1:12 AM

There only one pope during the Third Reich and he folded like a paper plate. Only 30? That isn’t enough? Rogues? I suppose you consider torture and paedophelia “Rakish” That you would minimize the abhorrent nature of these turds excuse me, Holy Fathers, is sad. But faith requires these compromises or it crumbles before common sense.

ronsfi on December 1, 2007 at 1:29 AM

Red Herring. I never advocated replacement. Just divine revelation. Do you even read the original post or, do you just look for someone to grief?

ronsfi on December 1, 2007 at 1:19 AM

You were suggesting that other commenter’s offered that if the Christian morality went away the world would devolve into anarchy.

I was just wondering that if that occurred, what might be your idea of a replacement?

Speakup on December 1, 2007 at 1:33 AM

Speakup on December 1, 2007 at 1:33 AM

You don’t make sense. You’re just greifin’ me man. I would not replace it since I am not the one who believes it will devolve into anarchy. You see as an evolutionist I understand that social science has evolved along with the human race and as a godless heathen I accept all morality a purely human construct even if it professes a divine origin.

ronsfi on December 1, 2007 at 1:42 AM

You see as an evolutionist I understand that social science has evolved along with the human race and as a godless heathen I accept all morality a purely human construct even if it professes a divine origin.

ronsfi on December 1, 2007 at 1:42 AM

Haven’t you notice a correlation between the steady loss of Christianity in the last 40-50 some odd years and a steady loss of morality and as a result a steady loss of freedom through an ever more pervasive nanny state?

Speakup on December 1, 2007 at 1:50 AM

ronsfi on December 1, 2007 at 1:29 AM

It is not a matter of “enough” it is the dates. In the past 400 years, you never listed one except the Pope that rolled over for Hitler (like many in the U.S. and Europe).
That list was a list covering 2,000 years (from Pope Peter to the present). 30 examples in 2,000 years.
You want to go back a 2 thousand years, and find fault. In that case, everything is suspect, because you can go back a thousand years and find examples of wrong doing for everything…if you go back far enough.
But lets keep things more modern, that is the world we live in and historically understand a little better. I am assuming you just took that list off of that website, and regurgitated it, without any real research or knowledge.
In the past 200 years, what Pope has committed things horrific crimes?
If your point was that those Popes were wrong, no argument, if you are saying they are wrong therefore all other Popes are wrong, that would be quite a stretch.
That is why pulling anything you Google off the internet, is so dangerous. You now are forced to defend that over 1,500 years 30 Popes did terrible things…therefore the Popes are dishonored for the entire of 2,000 years. I don’t think I will wait for your answer, my head would explode, and you would never admit that was a weak argument. You sound like a smart guy/gal, keep it that way and know what you are quoting…are you sure that information is correct?
What some people quote…whadda ya goin do?
Here
Here is a website just for you…Have a ball, all the stats you want
http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/1000years.htm

Goodnight, enjoy the site…

right2bright on December 1, 2007 at 2:03 AM

No 1193 FAUC was ever a woman.

MB4 on December 1, 2007 at 12:38 AM

Entelechy on December 1, 2007 at 2:05 AM

Darn, forgot the quotes…

Boys and girls of HA, it’s December already, at least on the East Coast – hard to believe. Another year almost gone by, and we haven’t solved the theist/atheist thing yet, again. But threads like these are never boring.

Good night, from a place where it’s still Nov. 30. See you again tomorrow/today.

Entelechy on December 1, 2007 at 2:13 AM

No 1193 FAUC was ever a woman.

MB4 on December 1, 2007 at 12:38 AM

I never did noticed how the acronym sounds before.

No wonder the Army goes by numbers for MOS’s.

MB4 on December 1, 2007 at 2:15 AM

Darn, forgot the quotes…

Entelechy on December 1, 2007 at 2:13 AM

That’s OK, I got mine in the wrong place.

MB4 on December 1, 2007 at 2:18 AM

Speakup on December 1, 2007 at 1:50 AM

Dude. Don’t you wish sometimes you could ctrl+Z comments? Are you really saying that Christianity…CHRISTIANITY? is the bulwark of liberty? My sister says that the Constitution is divinely inspired. I don’t understand how Christians go around commandeering ideas that have no basis in their faith and denying all the tragedies the faith inspired or commanded outright. The principals that provide the foundation of our liberty were developed by the science of philosophy. Not prescribed by Religion. The Pilgrims and Puritans seeking may have been the story of the European expansion into the new world but they were not seeking religious freedom. They were seeking freedom from particular religions. Within their own communities there was no liberty. American ideas of liberty stem from the concept of natural law and by extension natural rights. Philosophical concepts INCORPORATED into religion. Nowhere in the bible are the RIGHTS of man delineated. Only the laws whereby they are to be governed and judged in the hereafter. I am godless and a non-believer but if I had to pick a faith, I like the Buddist metaphor of a Universal Sea of Consciousness in which we as living beings are but waves living out our lives believing we are separate and unconnected to each other or the sea and once spent on the shore flowing back to become one with the sea until eons later we emerge in a glorious oblivious wave again. That would be nice.

ronsfi on December 1, 2007 at 2:24 AM

right2bright on December 1, 2007 at 2:03 AM

Nice site. All I have to say to that is, to quote Harry Bellafonte.

“House built on a weak foundation will not stand oh no. Oh no. Oh no. Oh noooooo.”

ronsfi on December 1, 2007 at 2:35 AM

Yes! I realize it’s biblical source.

ronsfi on December 1, 2007 at 2:36 AM

Has ANYONE on this thread heard of the book, “The Myth of Hitler’s Pope”?!?!? That anyone could believe the Pope “rolled over” for Hitler or the Nazis demonstrates an astonishing ignorance that is only belied by the irony of such morons claiming Galielo as their club to bash the Church. An appeal to intellectualism doesn’t do you any favors when you speak such ignorance.

Not surprised that the usual Catholic bashers have come out of the woodwork. Anti-Catholicism is the last acceptable prejudice, apparently.

Sydney Carton on December 1, 2007 at 3:10 AM

It was not atheism but Marxism and Nazism that caused the problems.

Let’s give credit where credit is due.

Misidentification of causation is the bread and butter of a fool.

TheSitRep on December 1, 2007 at 3:18 AM

Sydney Carton on December 1, 2007 at 3:10 AM
Via http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hitler's_Pope
Change in Cornwell’s views

Five years after the publication of Hitler’s Pope, Cornwell had somewhat modified his views: “I would now argue, in the light of the debates and evidence following Hitler’s Pope, that Pius XII had so little scope of action that it is impossible to judge the motives for his silence during the war, while Rome was under the heel of Mussolini and later occupied by the Germany.”[8]

Take a pill

ronsfi on December 1, 2007 at 3:39 AM

astonishing ignorance … … … such morons … … … such ignorance. … … … bashers … … … out of the woodwork … … … prejudice

Sydney Carton on December 1, 2007 at 3:10 AM

Now you sound like a real rocket scientist.

MB4 on December 1, 2007 at 3:55 AM

“House built on a weak foundation will not stand oh no. Oh no. Oh no. Oh noooooo.”

ronsfi on December 1, 2007 at 2:35 AM

Time is short but I can’t let this stand:

re: the “30 Popes” list at 10:40 PM last night:

Yes, certain Popes did evil things. Did each of those Popes do each of the eveil things you said? I don’t know.

But. Let’s suppose it’s all true.

Now, HOW MANY of those popes spoke and taught that what they did was moral, and right? How many taught that adultery, embezzlement, etc. was the right thing to do?

NOT ONE.

The teaching of the Church regarding faith and morals (please carefully note that phrase) is always consistent through the centuries even though its members are weak and sinful human beings, and yes, come of them even end up being Pope. Peter himself denied knowing our Lord three times. Popes are not nor will they ever be without sin (it’s much better if they’re holy man, quite obviously, but everyone sins, unfortunately, even holy men).

So much evil done by weak human beings, yet the Church still stands after 2000 years.

That’s because the Church’s foundation is NOT human beings but Christ Himself, and it is not protected from error in teaching faith or morals by humans, but by the Holy Spirit, according to Jesus anyway (if you put stock in what He says, which I do: John 16:13, Matt. 16:18-19, etc. etc). The Church didn’t make this up. You don’t agree? Take it up with Jesus.

Ironically, your quote above attempting to undermine the Christian Church BTW is a paraphrase of something the Foundation Himself said: cf. Matthew 7:24-29).

If the Church were merely a human organization it would have collapsed long ago from the weight of the human folly, ignorance, and sin of those stewarding it. Also, if you throw those popes onto your scales, you also have to throw millions of holy people, and thousands of canonized saints and martyrs onto the scales of your judgment too. I think the Church on balance comes out looking pretty good, say so myself.
But re: terrible sinners as popes? THat’s the definition of hypocrisy in case you haven’t heard: not living up to the good truths you teach. And hypocrisy doesn’t make the teaching automatically wrong, no matter how much your opponents scream that it does.

Fortunately for us humans, the Church is also a divine organization and evil will not prevail in the end, thanks be to God.

inviolet on December 1, 2007 at 7:23 AM

astonishing ignorance … … … such morons … … … such ignorance. … … … bashers … … … out of the woodwork … … … prejudice

Sydney Carton on December 1, 2007 at 3:10 AM

Now you sound like a real rocket scientist.

MB4 on December 1, 2007 at 3:55 AM

Respectfully, I must disagree. I agree with what Sydney Carton said, given more than a few of the posts above. Look at the tone: some posts with no reasoned argument, just “look what THAT ONE GUY did, it was bad, so I’ll stick my fingers in my ears and won’t pay any attention to any of the good other people in your church did, plus what that guy did proves your moral teaching isn’t the boss of ME” tone of the posts.

inviolet on December 1, 2007 at 7:33 AM

I meant to give kudos to Will Barrett especially, and others above, for their responses to the points made by others, and yes, some of the out and out bigotry, above.

Oh, and Allah? Please don’t EVER promise again to keep an eye on a thread for gratuitous anti-Catholicism like you promised–and didn’t do–the other night. Because now I know with certainty it won’t happen.

After consideration, I’ll stay at HotAir because not all of the anti-Catholic posts on threads are bigotry (though some are and even bigotry deserves a response). I hope other Catholics can continue to look past the ignorance and ad hominem of others to respond to substantive points made, and to continue to treat even the bigots with charity.

But I must say, I’m appalled at the vituperation of some of the attacks. I try very hard to show respect to people of other faiths, and no faiths, on this thread and it would be nice to have people think about the difference between respectful disagreement, and bigoted attack. Thanks for listening.

inviolet on December 1, 2007 at 7:40 AM

Has ANYONE on this thread heard of the book, “The Myth of Hitler’s Pope”
Sydney Carton on December 1, 2007 at 3:10 AM

I have. Much of the (later) attack against Pius X11 came due to a famous postwar antiCatholic play by Roland someone (the name escapes me; I’ll post later if I remember it). Sydney, do you remember it?

But during WWII, convents were emptied and Jewish converts killed by the Nazis (St. Edith Stein was just one) because they were punishing the Church for the Pope speaking out against Naziism. The Pope also personally saved thousands of Jews by hiding them in the Vatican, instructing his cardinals, priests and bishops to do it, and encouraging other Catholics to do so too. Did he speak out enough? Probably not. But he did speak out (the Nazi punishments for his doing so attest to that), and he had to make a judgment call I would never want to make: do I speak out even more and the result is that more people die?

After WWII the chief rabbi of Jerusalem converted to Catholicism and took the Christian name “Eugenio” –the name of that Pope–partly in gratitude for his speaking out, and hiding and saving so many Jews. Golda Meir spoke in praise of the Pope too, after the war.

These are facts. Why antiCatholic bigots continue to ignore them is regrettable.

Rent “The Rescuers: Two Women,” from a video series on the saving of Jews during WWII, from a book written by a Jew and produced by Barbra Streisand, for just a couple of these *true* stories.

inviolet on December 1, 2007 at 8:00 AM

ronsfi on December 1, 2007 at 12:19 AM

Might I suggest Alasdair MacIntyre’s Whose Justice? Which Rationality? It is quite the difficult read, but in it MacIntyre discusses the nature of Greek, Roman, and Christian moral thinking.

The Greeks never looked to Zeus? Except perhaps in how not to act? Bingo. Homer and indeed much of Greek mythology is all about the correct way to act and to live a “good life.” Again, you are not very clear on your terms. I’m not suggesting that one has to believe in the Christian God in order to live a good life, although I would argue that he does in order to lead the best life. But the point is that one needs a metaphysical foundation for their morals, whether it is gods or God. Some of the pre-Socratics and Plato especially all believed in gods/God as the basis of morality (this is a pretty interesting overview: http://www.iep.utm.edu/g/god-west.htm).

WillBarrett on December 1, 2007 at 9:51 AM

Dude. Don’t you wish sometimes you could ctrl+Z comments? Are you really saying that Christianity…CHRISTIANITY? is the bulwark of liberty?

ronsfi on December 1, 2007 at 2:24 AM

Our freedom requires the morals that the Christian church has provided from the beginning and the decrease of morals is exactly why in the last 40-50 years our freedoms have been slipping away not out of step with the decline of Christianity.

Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” –October 11, 1798, John Adams

Speakup on December 1, 2007 at 9:55 AM

WillBarrett on December 1, 2007 at 9:51 AM

Very good comment and references. Thanks.

JiangxiDad on December 1, 2007 at 10:18 AM

Stirring the theological soup at Hot Air again? Right on!

The praxis of Central American Catholic (big C) leadership is Marxism. For a leadership position that has declared itself infallible, Der Pope needs to get the word to his own lieutenants.

All faiths are filled with leaders and followers that have reinterpreted the connection with the Creator and put God in the periphery. Nothing new to see here.

Hening on December 1, 2007 at 10:48 AM

Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” –October 11, 1798, John Adams

Speakup on December 1, 2007 at 9:55 AM

The concept that all men (mankind) are created equal is Biblical, and the way God sees us.

Hening on December 1, 2007 at 10:51 AM

Hening on December 1, 2007 at 10:48 AM

Well. What you refer to as the “praxis” of Central American Catholic leadership is not in reality dogmatic “Marxism.” It is “liberation theology,” although I’m not sure it holds as much sway as it did 30 years ago. It is true that this liberation theology (namely reconciliation theology) was informed by aspects of Marxism, but it is hardly the atheistic philosophy of the Soviets. Furthermore, the Pope (as Cardinal Ratzinger) has often written quite critically of liberation theology. For example: http://www.christendom-awake.org/pages/ratzinger/liberationtheol.htm

WillBarrett on December 1, 2007 at 11:00 AM

The name of the postwar anti-Catholic play mentioned above is The Deputy by Rolf Hochhuth.

inviolet on December 1, 2007 at 11:02 AM

*cough*
inquisition
*cough*

uptight on December 1, 2007 at 11:04 AM

uptight on December 1, 2007 at 11:04 AM

*cough*
http://www.catholic.com/library/inquisition.asp
*cough*

Money quote:

Ultimately, it may be a waste of time arguing about statistics. Instead, ask [discussers] just what they think the existence of the Inquisition demonstrates. They would not bring it up in the first place unless they thought it proves something about the Catholic Church. And what is that something? That Catholics are sinners? Guilty as charged. That at times people in positions of authority have used poor judgment? Ditto. That otherwise good Catholics, afire with zeal, sometimes lose their balance? All true, but such charges could be made even if the Inquisition had never existed.

So…your point?
Gotta meet a friend. Be back later.

inviolet on December 1, 2007 at 11:13 AM

ronsfi on December 1, 2007 at 2:24 AM

Since Christianity does not show up on your radar as “good”.
Who feeds the thousands of homeless each night, who gives the thousands of displaced families money and a place to sleep each night. When disaster strikes, who is the first to arrive? Over 96% of the money donated to the Lutheran relief fund, goes to the victims, what secular group equals that?

When all is said in done, at the break of dawn when millions wake up in their comfortable homes, thousands of men, woman, children,without that luxury, are cared for by religious people. The schools and hospitals of this nation were built by religious groups. I don’t know about your city, but most cities hospitals are faith based…except for the government run ones, you know the ones like Martin Luther in L.A, the one with the highest death rate for admitted patients in America.
Compare that to Cedars-Sinai Medical about 10 miles away…which one do you want to be admitted to?
So people like you get to reap the benefits of what the faithful have built, and are strengthening, and you are not impressed, or thankful…why does that not surprise me?
God forbid, anything tragic medically happens to you (or a family member), but if it does, you want to be at Hoag hospital, a Methodists hospital, and be treated there, or Cedars-Sinai, but then you should opt for Martin Luther, because they are secular and you feel more comfortable in that setting…good luck.

right2bright on December 1, 2007 at 11:25 AM

inviolet on December 1, 2007 at 11:02 AM

Originally a book in German, der Stellvertreter. Was required reading in my undergraduate German class many moons ago.

JiangxiDad on December 1, 2007 at 11:45 AM

Those atheist terrorists are such a problem.

Destroying churches and synagogues and temples everywhere.

Stalin is dead 50 years, and more.

Communism fell in 1989.

Concentrate on the current problem, Pops.

It’s Islam, the rival theocracy, not wan and powerless “atheism”, that is the existential danger which we face as a Civilization.

Fighting yesterdays battles wins only dust.

profitsbeard on December 1, 2007 at 12:11 PM

The concept that all men (mankind) are created equal is Biblical, and the way God sees us.

Hening on December 1, 2007 at 10:51 AM

Stemming from the Bibles declaration that we are created in his image.

Speakup on December 1, 2007 at 12:38 PM

Well. What you refer to as the “praxis” of Central American Catholic leadership is not in reality dogmatic “Marxism.” It is “liberation theology,” although I’m not sure it holds as much sway as it did 30 years ago.

WillBarrett

Will,

I think liberation theology is painting with a very broad brush. Blacks, feminists, homosexuals, Hispanics and others have all taken contemporary sociopolitical expression and mixed it with theology. Latin American proponents respond more to the social perspectives of Marx. The dominating Church that has applied liberation theology has been the RC, and the area of the world that has seen the Marixt praxis (significantly) is Latin America (they sure ain’t fighting for homosexual rights and women’s lib). The Latin RC leaders claim that they are the victims of corporations all being controlled by North American interests. The USA also is accused of giving support to military regimes that oppress the common people (leaving out the more realistic example in Venezuela).

A Trappist living in the Arizona desert was telling me how illegals stop at his quarters to ask for food on their travels into the U.S. This came up in a story he was telling me about how all he stocks are Nutri-System bars, and they get miffed when he offers them. The Latin American big “C” church is active in promoting illegal entry into the United States and trains people for the trip with the idea of no borders.

My original point was that the Pope needs to focus on his infallible program within his chain of command worldwide, and lighten up on throwing stones at targets far outside of his throwing arm’s reach.

Hening on December 1, 2007 at 12:40 PM

profitsbeard on December 1, 2007 at 12:11 PM

Hening on December 1, 2007 at 12:40 PM

It seems that part of your criticism of the Pope rests on the belief that atheism is not a danger, and therefore the Pope should instead focus on militant Islam. Well, I would disagree with you on two points:
First, the Pope does see atheism and an increasingly militant secularism as a problem. He has written about this extensively for the past 40-50 years. One might argue that the tendency of many in the West to prop up secularism and, in some sense, relativism has led to a multiculturalism that has left us weak in dealing with not only our own problems (abortion and the so-called “culture of death,” with its declining birth rates in Europe, etc.), but also those that threaten us from the outside (militant Islam). So second, I think that you are wrong in claiming that the Pope has not focused on Islam. He has written on the relationship between the Christian and Islam God. Moreover, remember that Regensburg address that caused such an outcry last year? That was an attempt for a learned understanding of religion and violence, and how violence in the name of God is never justified. If you are waiting for the Pope to pull an Urban II, I’m afraid you may have to wait indefinitely. Personally, I don’t want the head of a Christian Church calling for war against the jihadis. But that’s just me.

Hening, with regard to your points about immigration and Marxism (two separate issues, I think). Yes, you are right that the Church is hardly conservative when it comes to immigration. But as far as Latin American bishops only criticizing the U.S., you are quite wrong. Take your example of Venezuala and Hugo Chavez: the Church is hardly beholden to that clown: http://pajamasmedia.com/2007/11/hugo_chavez_vs_the_catholic_ch.php

The late Cardinal Ignacio Velasco, a longtime critic of Chavez, said in 2002, “Every day we turn another cheek. I have no cheeks left because every day there is a new insult.” Upon Velasco’s death in 2003, Chavez declared he was “in hell.” At Velasco’s funeral, Chavistas threw stones and held up pictures of the cleric with devil horns.

WillBarrett on December 1, 2007 at 1:50 PM

WillBarrett on December 1, 2007 at 9:51 AM

But the point is that one needs a metaphysical foundation for their morals, whether it is gods or God.
Tell you what. I will concede we always have. But I will not concede we always will. Do you believe that Zeus is a real god? I don’t think so. So the “Metaphysical Foundation” you assign to the Greeks is not metaphysical. Is it? For the record, everyone who is dear to me is Christian save one. Furthermore I recognize the “good” in religion. I don’t hate Catholics or the Pope. I just don’t believe in God and so I believe all morality was clearly created by mankind. I present my case. You throw up a straw man to tear down. Eh. I don’t for one second think I can “Win” the argument. Do you?

ronsfi on December 1, 2007 at 2:07 PM

ronsfi on December 1, 2007 at 2:07 PM

Where have I thrown up a straw man? You are the only one using ad hominem attacks and strawmen characterizations of the Catholic Church. It’s not a matter of “winning” or “losing” the argument. Who give a crap? This is hotair.com, for pete’s sake.

As far as your substantive points: You acknowledge that you don’t believe in God and all morality was “clearly created” by mankind. As long as you realize that that is a belief. And not a fact. “But I will not concede we always will.” Fair enough. We can agree to disagree. I look at the 20th century and atheist ideologies and see only problems. You look at religious history and see only problems. As I said in my original post, it’s not a numbers game. It’s simply a matter of philosophy: Christians don’t believe paradise is possible on earth through their own hand, and that salvation comes from above. You think that mankind can make his own. When mankind has attempted to make his own salvation I see only monstrosities. Perhaps the future will be different. But I am by nature a pessimist.

WillBarrett on December 1, 2007 at 2:20 PM

Was required reading in my undergraduate German class many moons ago.

JiangxiDad on December 1, 2007 at 11:45 AM

Required reading – wow. And what was your opinion of it at the time, just curious?

inviolet on December 1, 2007 at 2:46 PM

with regard to your points about immigration and Marxism (two separate issues, I think). Yes, you are right that the Church is hardly conservative when it comes to immigration. But as far as Latin American bishops only criticizing the U.S., you are quite wrong. Take your example of Venezuala and Hugo Chavez: the Church is hardly beholden to that clown

Will,

It’s my opinion that the attitude of no borders and not honoring America’s right to sovereignty is an ancillary action to Latino flavored Marxist teachings. That’s where it becomes “us” being bigots for wanting to enforce our laws (which also exist within international law) and “them” being the “victims”, who need to come here to survive and are granted special privileges that negate laws. This is relative to your comment about thirty-years ago being a better example of Marxist praxis. I believe it has just shape-shifted a bit.

I was using Loco Hugo as an example of someone who is sporting a Marxist styled ideology, but is guilty of the sins the U.S.A. is supposed to be committing….and the craziness has yet to really get rolling. Hopefully there is a dash of rational separation between Red on Red, and Red on red, white and blue.

Hening on December 1, 2007 at 2:57 PM

Sorry about screwing the quotes up…..

Hening on December 1, 2007 at 2:58 PM

WillBarrett on December 1, 2007 at 2:20 PM It’s simply a matter of philosophy.
Philosophy. A science. Paradise? Salvation? With all due respect, and I mean that sincerely, you keep missing my point. Let’s take UFOs for example. If it is here on earth it is either natural or man made. Not natural? Man made. I mean let’s look at what you are claiming. You claim that human beings, the creators of the silicone chip and the Mona Lisa, the wheel and pulley, the plow and irrigation, Mozart’s Requiem, flying machines, steel, architecture, etc., Vaccines, and Anesthesia, are incapable of conceiving of Good and Evil on their own? We have developed ideas that we recognize as good. It doesn’t matter if the wheel works because round things are holy, or if it works because it is physically the most efficient shape. The simple fact is morality exists and so is man made just as the wheel is man made. You see the fallacy of worshiping the Gods of yore. Why can’t you see that yours is one of the many?

ronsfi on December 1, 2007 at 3:00 PM

astonishing ignorance … … … such morons … … … such ignorance. … … … bashers … … … out of the woodwork … … … prejudice

Sydney Carton on December 1, 2007 at 3:10 AM

Now you sound like a real rocket scientist.

MB4 on December 1, 2007 at 3:55 AM

Respectfully, I must disagree.

inviolet on December 1, 2007 at 7:33 AM

You have got to be putting me on.

If that really sounds like rocket science to you I sure hope you don’t work for NASA.

All our astronauts will be in great peril.

MB4 on December 1, 2007 at 3:07 PM

MB4 on December 1, 2007 at 3:07 PM

Heh. Good one. Our brave astronauts at NASA are safe, howevah. But the leaders of the NSS? Perhaps not so much…

inviolet on December 1, 2007 at 3:22 PM

Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” –October 11, 1798, John Adams

Speakup on December 1, 2007 at 9:55 AM

Quoting one of the founding fathers, now that is an interesting idea, why didn’t I think of that before?
*
The Government of the United States is in no sense founded on the Christian religion.
- John Adams, 2nd US President
*
What influence in fact have Christian ecclesiastical establishments had on civil society? In many instances they have been upholding the thrones of political tyranny. In no instance have they been seen as the guardians of the liberties of the people Rulers who wished to subvert the
public liberty have found in the clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate liberty, does not need the clergy.
- James Madison
*
Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.
- Thomas Jefferson
*
I have examined all the known superstitions of the world and I do not find in our particular superstition of Christianity one redeeming feature. They are all alike founded on fables and mythology. Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, and imprisoned. What has been the
effect of this coercion? To make one half the world fools and the other half hypocrites; to support roguery and error all over the earth. The clergy converted the simple teachings of Jesus into an engine for enslaving mankind to filch wealth and power to themselves. They, in fact, constitute the real Anti-Christ.
- Thomas Jefferson
*
– Now moving forward in our history of great Presidents -
*
The Bible is not my book nor Christianity my profession.
- Abraham Lincoln
*
While it may be fairly said that Mr. Lincoln entertained many Christian sentiments, it cannot be said that he was himself a Christian in faith or practice. He was no disciple of Jesus of Nazareth. He did not believe in his divinity and was not a member of his Church.
“He was at first a writing Infidel of the school of Paine and Volney, and afterwards a talking Infidel of the school of Parker and Channing.
“If the Churches had grown cold — if the Christians had taken a stand aloof — that instant the Union would have perished. Mr. Lincoln regulated his religious manifestations accordingly. He declared frequently that he would do anything to save the Union, and among the many things he
did was the partial concealment of his individual religious opinions.
Is this a blot upon his fame? Or shall we all agree that it was a conscientious and patriotic sacrifice?”
- The New York World (1875)

MB4 on December 1, 2007 at 3:24 PM

Hening on December 1, 2007 at 2:57 PM

Hening, I just really think you overestimate the influence of Marxism in the Church’s position on immigration. Right or wrong, I’m fairly certain you can arrive at a relatively “liberal” position on immigration by merely being Christian. You know, compassion for others and all that. I have deeply conflicted views on immigration myself, and I assure you that they have nothing to do with Marxist ideology. It’s simply a matter of wanting to help the less fortunate. That said, I’m not trying to downplay the need to keep our borders safe…

ronsfi on December 1, 2007 at 3:00 PM

Ah, yes, but of course there is more than one morality. As soon as you define a certain way of acting, the next question is of course: “Why?” Why should a person not enslave another person? When and why should a person not go to war? There are religiously-grounded and secularly-grounded answers to these questions. Which answer is the most philosophically sound is open to debate. My argument has been that as soon as you eliminate a morality grounded in the transcendent, particularly one of the Judaic-Christian strain, you end up with many conflicting world-views. World-views and moralities that lead to violence and despair. The 20th century totalitarian dictatorships did not come from nothing. They came from the atheistic, secular ideologies of the 19th century.

WillBarrett on December 1, 2007 at 3:33 PM

Do you believe that Zeus is a real god? Do you?

ronsfi on December 1, 2007 at 2:07 PM

I contend that you are both atheists. You just believe in one fewer god than he does. When he understands why he dismisses all the other possible gods, he will understand why you dismiss his.
- Stephen Roberts +/-

MB4 on December 1, 2007 at 3:35 PM

You are the only one using ad hominem attacks and strawmen characterizations of the Catholic Church.

WillBarrett on December 1, 2007 at 2:20 PM

Now wait a cotton picking minute here!

I tought I was branded as the one doing that?

MB4 on December 1, 2007 at 3:38 PM

Ah, yes, but of course there is more than one morality. As soon as you define a certain way of acting, the next question is of course: “Why?” Why should a person not enslave another person? When and why should a person not go to war?

WillBarrett on December 1, 2007 at 3:33 PM

A man’s ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.
- Albert Einstein
*
BTW, Lincoln was clearly an atheist and he did not believe that men should be slaves. Most southerners were Christin and they fought to preserve slavery.
BTW II, George Bush is a “born again” Christian and he seems to have no aversion to war.

MB4 on December 1, 2007 at 3:45 PM

Lincoln was clearly an atheist

Whaat…? Are we talking about Abe Lincoln Lincoln?

inviolet on December 1, 2007 at 3:59 PM

BTW, Lincoln was clearly an atheist and he did not believe that men should be slaves. Most southerners were Christin and they fought to preserve slavery.

First a claim about Lincoln’s “atheism” that a 10-second Google search exposes as (sorry to be so blunt) ridiculous, then a blanket statement about Christians at the time of slavery.

Um, “most Northerners” were Christians also at the time, if my history memory serves, and they “fought to end slavery.” So, your point is…?

These kinds of statements, which atheists on these threads have made before (don’t remember if you personally have or not) seem pretty, I don’t know, either silly or intellectually dishonest, and in either case are unworthy of you.

inviolet on December 1, 2007 at 5:00 PM

Catholics are starting to piss me off with their contentions that morality is derived from the belief in God. That is such a stupid statement, yet all the way up to the Pope, there has been countless catholics spewing it. Apparently, since I am athiest, I cannot understand that murder is wrong, rape is wrong, etc… These people are dellusional.

muyoso on December 1, 2007 at 6:36 PM

You have got to be putting me on.

If that really sounds like rocket science to you I sure hope you don’t work for NASA.

All our astronauts will be in great peril.

MB4 on December 1, 2007 at 3:07 PM

“Humorless” one, tears were flowing. $50.00 toward that Corvette, in “one cotton picking” second. I think those beers are spiked.

Entelechy on December 1, 2007 at 8:31 PM

Like fun he did. He initiated and won the First Barbary War. Incidentally he sent the Navy off to the North coast of Africa without informing Congress, totally illegal by any standard. JEFFERSON LIED! PEOPLE DIED!

aengus on November 30, 2007 at 9:56 PM

Indeed, TJ DID initiate it. And every battle the Marines fought, they won. Films have been made about the campaign. A handful of marines and the allies that they found in Egypt won an amazing (miraculous really) string of victories in North Africa (remembered in the Marines service tune — “the shores of Tripoli”). But after these hard won victories, Jefferson balked, withdrew the troops, and negotiated a paid settlement with the pirates in order to free U.S. naval personnel that had been captured and were being held hostage. Check your history. I think that you’ll find that I am correct on this one.

CyberCipher on December 1, 2007 at 9:23 PM

MB4 on December 1, 2007 at 3:24 PM

You left out the most important founder quote in favor of a secular government.

“The Government of the United States is in no sense founded on the Christian religion.
- John Adams, 2nd US President”

The problem however is the secular government Adams proposed did not exclude the need for a morals institution to preserve freedom.

Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” –October 11, 1798, John Adams

Amazing, a believer in God was also benevolent enough to realize the need and the limits of Religion in a brand new kind of citizen involved free Republic.

What brilliant founders we were privileged to have had.

Speakup on December 1, 2007 at 9:51 PM

Hitler youth speaking about justice and cruelty. Well, better late than never.

saved on December 2, 2007 at 4:59 AM

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