Pope Benedict recently visited the haunted grounds of Auschwitz, which has come to be the symbol of the systematic violence that caused the deaths of millions of Jews, Gypsies and others. He asked a question, “where were you God?”, in a round about way.
The obvious answer is that there was no God then and thus, there isn’t one now. The Holocaust cannot be explained if there is an all-powerful, all knowing and all loving being called “God” running the show. It is impossible to reconcile the torturing and murdering of millions with the idea. God permitted it, didn’t care about it, was incapable of interfering or he does not exist.
However, this is an unacceptable answer to most theists so they hem and haw in order to justify such savagery and hold on to their views of God. This is essentially, what Pope Benedict did when confronted with this obvious contradiction of Christianity. He took the coward’s way out by blaming someone else:
Let us cry out to God, with all our hearts, at the present hour, when new misfortunes befall us, when all the forces of darkness seem to issue anew from human hearts: whether it is the abuse of Gods name as a means of justifying senseless violence against innocent persons, or the cynicism which refuses to acknowledge God and ridicules faith in him.
The pope seems to have taken the stance that the Nazis were atheists and that atheism lies at the heart of the Holocaust. Two thousand years of Christian hate for Jews had nothing to do with it nor did the creator who created the minds that would come up with such savagery have anything to do with it.
Perhaps we can’t blame him for not wanting to deal with the reality that is his god, but we can blame him for smearing atheists and attempting to transfer the weight of religion inspired genocide onto our shoulders.
We atheists have no creed or holy book that says the Jews killed our god. This is a Christian belief that Christians have used to persecute and kill Jews for hundreds of years. The Holocaust was a culmination of those beliefs. Christians are not atheists and atheists are not Christians, got it?