Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it. ~BuddhaHard for me to imagine such a quote ever coming from the current pontiff. Pope Benedict has taken time off from ridding the Roman Catholic Church of any of its recent pesky Brownian motion toward bits of humanitarianism to strike out at atheists and the 'marginalization of Christianity'. He trotted out the usual 'Hitler was an atheist' falsehood as his prime example. I will ignore for a moment the bilious taste of irony in my mouth created by a former Hitler youth falling back on the tradition of deflecting the failings of his culture onto the backs of an unpopular minority. Hard to imagine that one rising to the rank of Pope could be so woefully ill informed, particularly as he was a Catholic within that very regime.
Deflecting blame to avoid accountability is pretty much the political standard throughout the world. Common it is. But sorry, it ain't anywhere near the moral high ground. In fact it is so far from it that the curvature of the earth prevents one from even seeing the moral high ground from your position.
But for now I'd like to make a point that doesn't seem to be the focus of much attention in this endless, and frankly irrelevant, lying about Hitler's religiosity. Where were all the Christians? Presumably, Nazi Germany was not largely populated by atheists. Yes, there were a few who resisted but it isn't clear that their religion had much to do with the moral stand they took. The point is simple; if Christianity is this wellspring of moral virtue then the large numbers of German, (and Polish and French, etc...) Christians should have had a more demonstrable impact on the behavior of the population regardless of whether Hitler was an atheist (which he clearly left no record of being) or not. Also presumably a Christian nation such as Germany wouldn't have elected an atheist to high office anyway. And before you argue that it wouldn't have mattered, consider how the extermination of 'mental defectives' in Germany was stopped by popular dissent (including the Catholic Church) before the war started. Plus there is that pesky truism that one's morality is all that's left in situations where nothing else matters.
So on the face of it, the presence or absence of Christian faith did not steel all that many people to take any risks in stopping the Nazi killings. And since it did not, then it's not reasonable to argue that it is a bastion of moral superiority.
Character is doing the right thing when nobody's looking. There are too many people who think that the only thing that's right is to get by, and the only thing that's wrong is to get caught. ~J.C. WattsIf God is always looking, how can one test his or her true character? There is all this emphasis on wronging God (who presumably should be in a position to take care of Himself anyway) and little on the wronging of one's fellow human beings. It's as if they believe that character only counts if they can force others to abide by the same rules.
Beyond that I would agree with His ----ness to some degree in that there is some marginalization of Christianity. I would disagree that this is necessarily a bad thing. What he's complaining about using his stance of false victimization, is that the market place of ideas has a whole lot more shelf space dedicated to things other than his religion, or its off shoots. That's to be expected now that science is freed of theological constraints and he is limited to searing his opponents with words only...
Old Benedict keeps failing into the same trap; and leading his followers to the same. So much arguing about fighting and being right - so little about just being true.