Pope Benedict XVI sports a “Saturno hat” in this photo from 2006.
Atheist authors Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris have some new material to work with, thanks to the latest official release from Pope Benedict XVI, who critiqued the work of Karl Marx, warned against excessive faith in scientific progress and condemned atheism, which he believes has led to some of the “greatest forms of cruelty and violations of justice” in recent history.
In Spe Salvi (Saved by Hope), Pope Benedict said that atheists argued that “a world marked by so much injustice, innocent suffering and cynicism of power cannot be the work of a good God”. Since there was “no God to create justice”, atheists said, Man himself was called on to establish it on Earth. This protest against God was understandable, the Pope said, but “the claim that humanity can and must do what no God actually does or is able to do is both presumptuous and intrinsically false”.
He added: “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.”
He said that faith in progress through science was illusory. Scientific advances offered mankind “new possibilities for good”, he said, but science also “opens up appalling possibilities for evil, possibilities that did not formerly exist. We have all witnessed the way in which progress, in the wrong hands, can become and has indeed become a terrifying progress in evil”.