Clerics’ Easter message: ‘Atheists are stepping up their assault on God ‘
ATHEISTS in Australia have hit back at criticism over Easter by religious leaders, claiming the clergy have made non-believers a scapegoat for declining church congregations.
Several church leaders used their Easter sermons and messages to condemn the increase in atheism, with Sydney Anglican Archbishop Peter Jensen describing non-belief as:
An assault on God.
His comments came a day after Sydney Catholic Archbishop Cardinal George Pell also tore into non-believers.
The Atheist Foundation of Australia said Dr Jensen’s claims were “preposterous” and condemned Christianity for a spate of child sex abuse scandals.
Said Foundation President David Nicholls:
He seeks out a scapegoat and attacks atheism without any understanding of what he is saying. To state we hate his god or are attacking his god is nonsense. How does one hate or attack that which does not exist?
Jensen said in his Good Friday sermon at the city’s St Andrew’s Cathedral that atheism was a form of idolatry.
As we can see by the sheer passion and virulence of the atheist – they seem to hate the Christian God – we are not dealing here with cool philosophy up against faith without a brain. Atheism is every bit of a religious commitment as Christianity itself.
The nitwit added:
It represents the latest version of the human assault on God, born out of resentment that we do not in fact rule the world and that God calls on us to submit our lives to him. It is a form of idolatry in which we worship ourselves.
Cardinal Pell, at St Mary’s Cathedral, launched a similar attack on atheism in his Easter message, and praised government organisations Â -“paid for by the Christian majority” Â- for helping make the Australian way of life the envy of the world. He then pointed out that atheists sponsored no community services.
The new Catholic Bishop of Parramatta, in Sydney’s west, Anthony Fisher, drew broader comparisons.
Last century we tried godlessness on a grand scale and the effects were devastating: Nazism, Stalinism, Pol Pot-ery, mass murder, abortion and broken relationships – all promoted by state-imposed atheism.
An outraged Nicholls said atheists made contributions to society like any other citizen, and added:
Atheists are not out to Stalinise or bring Nazism into the world.
According to this report, neither Fisher nor Pell made any direct reference to the latest Catholic sex abuse scandals in which Pope Benedict XVI has been implicated.
Before World Youth Day in Sydney in 2008, Fisher was castigated for remarks he made about the case of a priest who raped two girls. He told a news conference he wished people would focus on the positivity of World Youth Day ”rather than dwelling crankily, as a few people are doing, on old wounds”.