President of Poland
Pope Benedict's latest major flub involves atheism. During a speech in Germany in which he attacked both Islam and secularism, he claimed that atheism today is due to "being afraid of God." Afraid of God? What's there to be afraid of? That's like saying I don't believe in Athena because I'm afraid of her, or that I don't believe in Xenu because I'm afraid of what he'll do to me. In other words, it's complete nonsense.
“Today, when we have learned to recognize the pathologies and life-threatening diseases associated with religion and reason, and the ways that God’s image can be destroyed by hatred and fanaticism, it is important to state clearly the God in whom we believe,” the pope said.
“Only this can free us from being afraid of God — which is ultimately at the root of modern atheism,” he said. “Only this God saves us from being afraid of the world and from anxiety before the emptiness of life.”
Does Pope Benedict even know any atheists? If not, then he’s just making things up about other people in order to fit them neatly into his religious ideology. If he does, then on what basis did he decide that their main reason for not accept his myths is that they are afraid of his god? Did they actually say so, or did he engage in a bit of armchair psychologizing — and without a psychology degree?
Followers of various gods can be a very scary lot, that’s undeniable. So many kill each other in great numbers over trivial and irrelevant issues. Their beliefs can cause them to develop inflated egos all out of proportion to anything that is really deserved. This does not mean, however, that any of their beliefs have any basis in reality or that their gods, spirits, fairies, and whatnot are anything to be afraid of.