The author is an atheist:
The only way to dispute Ratzinger’s stature as a major intellect is to refuse to listen to anything he has to say; the only way to deny that his view of modern society’s ills is cogent and valid is to deny his central thesis, and cling to the ‘everything is wonderful in our secular paradise’ mantra that Dawkins and all the rest so shamefully endorse.Ratzinger is a bigger thinker, a better thinker, because he starts from the premise that there is something deeply wrong: the grown-up’s premise.To merely accept this as a starting base takes courage, but without doing so nothing can be achieved. A world view – still more one that assumes entitlement to authority – that does not begin from this base is dangerous, cowardly and irrelevant.If, like me, you don’t like some of Ratzinger’s answers then great – let the civilised adult debate begin. But if you’d rather attach condoms to an umbrella and parade through London with a bunch of dipsticks you rule yourself out of all serious consideration. Ratzinger is asking for a debate on some big subjects, and the best these supposed intellectual heavyweights can do is call him names, ignore the questions, and congratulate each other as the waters rise around their ugly necks.Reason is not a wall that doesn’t need defending, or a talisman incapable of perversion or misuse. It needs rigorous vigilance and bravery to safeguard it from without, and a larger context of legitimisation to prevent corruption from within. Left to fend for itself in the marketplace of ideologies it can never hold its corner against more basic passions, bigotries and appetities. If Dawkins wants us to believe he has not this knowledge, Ratzinger is rather braver, telling the Italian senate in 2004, “reason is inherently fragile”, and ideologies based in the claim either that it can function without morality, or comes with morality attached, “become easy targets for dictatorships”.This, he explains is what happened in Nazi Germany – and that is what Dawkins and his cronies choose to misread as blaming atheism for Nazism. I wish it were only stupidity, but Dawkins is not stupid, so it can only be cowardice.
It’s a huge piece, a risk in a blogosphere centered on quick opinions, but I’m here to state that it’s well worth your time. Read it all. Pass it on. Piss off the unthinking.
Be better for it.