Autonomy/Atheism by Zach Stern
Autonomy/Atheism by Zach Stern

Special to Earthpages.org

Hindus have criticized Pope for rough handling of atheists and humanists in his long awaited encyclical “Caritas in Veritate” (Charity in Truth) issued in Rome.

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI wrote in this letter: “…ideological rejection of God and an atheism of indifference, oblivious to the Creator and at risk of becoming equally oblivious to human values, constitute some of the chief obstacles to development today. A humanism which excludes God is an inhuman humanism.”

Acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that as Catholics and Hindus and others had freedom of their belief systems and were respected for their respective choices, and so should be the atheists. A religious leader of Pope’s stature should have been more inclusive.

Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, said that although Pope talked about “right to religious freedom”, “cooperation of the human family”, “truly universal human community”, etc., in this document, he apparently condemned the beliefs of a considerable chunk of world population called atheists, humanists, etc. Who were we as human beings to judge publicly that other humans’ beliefs different than us were “inhuman”?

We applauded Pope Benedict for his call for the “common good”, greater social responsibility, reform of financial bodies, sharing earth’s resources equitably; for taking a strong stand on environment; for criticism of growing divide between poor and rich and abuse of modern technologies; etc., as mentioned in this document but he need to learn to be more inclusive and large-hearted, Rajan Zed argued.

More than two years in the making, this 144-page and over 30,000-word encyclical letter of the Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI to “all people of good will” is considered the highest form of papal teaching.

Atheism is disbelief in the existence of God and atheists argue that there is little or no real evidence for the existence of God. Pope Benedict heads the Roman Catholic Church, which is the largest of the Christian denominations. Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksha (liberation) is its ultimate goal.