The Catholic League has just posted this on their website [ATHEISTS MUST APOLOGIZE FOR HITLER].
Catholic League president Bill Donohue reacts to the way British atheists are handling Pope Benedict XVI's trip to their homeland:The accommodationists are going to be all over this one. They'll rip Bill Donohue to shreds, right?
The pope cited Hitler today, asking everyone to "reflect on the sobering lessons of atheist extremism of the 20th century." Immediately, the British Humanist Association got its back up, accusing the pope of "a terrible libel against those who do not believe in God."
The pope did not go far enough. Radical atheists like the British Humanist Association should apologize for Hitler. But they should not stop there. They also need to issue an apology for the 67 million innocent men, women and children murdered under Stalin, and the 77 million innocent Chinese killed by Mao. Hitler, Stalin and Mao were all driven by a radical atheism, a militant and fundamentally dogmatic brand of secular extremism. It was this anti-religious impulse that allowed them to become mass murderers. By contrast, a grand total of 1,394 were killed during the 250 years of the Inquisition, most all of whom were murdered by secular authorities.
Why should atheists today apologize for the crimes of others? At one level, it makes no sense: apologies should only be given by the guilty. But on the other hand, since the fanatically anti-Catholic secularists in Britain, and elsewhere, demand that the pope—who is entirely innocent of any misconduct—apologize for the sins of others, let the atheists take some of their own medicine and start apologizing for all the crimes committed in their name. It might prove alembic.
Meanwhile, let's follow the logic. Atheists are people who don't believe in god. According to people like Bill Donohue, if you've failed to be convinced by any of the arguments in favor of superstition then you have to take the blame for the actions of everyone else who hasn't fallen for the common delusions of religion. (Including imaginary non-believers like Hitler.1)
Okay. Where does this sort of logic take us? Bill Donohue and the Pope don't believe in the tooth fairy. Neither did any of the people who flew airplanes into buildings on September 11, 2001. .... Do you see where this is headed?
Donohue's "logic"—using the word in its loosest sense—is based on a false premise. He assumes that atheists (those who haven't accepted religion) share a common moral and ethical position that makes them collectively responsible for the actions of every atheist. In other words, he thinks that atheism is a religion like Roman Catholicism or Voodoo. That's just plain nonsense.
Why is it so hard for believers to understand the absence of belief? After all, every single one of them doesn't believe in hundreds of Gods. The Pope doesn't believe in Thor or The Flying Spaghetti Monster. Neither did Hitler, Stalin, or Mao. When can we expect an apology from the Pope?
[Hat Tip: Why Evolution Is True]
1. PZ Myers has just posted a list of Hitler quotations proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that Hitler was a firm believer in God. Very likely the same God that the Pope and Bill Donohue believe in.