Smoothseas; It goes beyond that. Hitchens stated that the concept of a supreme being also empowered such people to do and say anything in the name of such power … without the need to justify anything to anyone, even themselves … much as it still is today. So it is a two sided sword; the loss of their individuality and the authority to do anything they desire. This sounds pretty damn totalitarian to me, for sure.
Well if indeed Hitchen's stated that "such people are empowered to do and say anything in the name of God, without the need to justify anything to anyone, even themselves" ....then he is wrong, just plain wrong.
Goodness, gracious! Catholics, priest or laity, CAN'T DO OR SAY ANYTHING in the name of Almighty God.
The Church's God-given power is strictly limited to when the pope or the bishops define or teach only matters of faith and morals and only when that defining or teaching is done ex cathedra.
What Hitchen's didn't know is what Infallibility means.
The Catholic Church... "the pillar and ground of truth" 1Tim. 3:15 ....is infallibly preserved from liability to error in her definitions of dogmatic teachings with regard to faith and morals. St.John 14: 16-17.
Infallibility keeps the Chair of Peter true to her course.
Infallibility means NOT that the Pope or bishops is inspired or that he/they are immune from sin.
It means that he/they are Divinely guided and protected from contradicting, from denying and from changing the revelations of Christ.
Infallibility means NOT that the Pope receives new revelations; it means that the Pope holds inviolate the truths revealed.
Infallibility means NOT that the Pope invents new doctrines or that he cannot err in matters economic, political, scientific or historical; it means that the Pope cannot admit doctrinal changes in religion.
Infallibility means NOT that the Pope is given the power to dictate to States, to dispose rulers, etc.: it means that the Pope's infallible power lies exclusively within the sphere of Faith and morals.
So it is a two sided sword; the loss of their individuality and the authority to do anything they desire.
Well, your conclusion is based on Hitchen's error.
However, au contraire...
Believing in Almighty God and in Christ's teachings given infallibly through the CC gives Catholics knowledge they have the truth.
Here's how I understand it.
Pilate's attitude that truth may not be known is the attitude of many minds today. What is truth, he asked. And truth was standing in front of him. The answer comes directly from Almighty God Himself in the Person of Jesus Christ.
He said, "I am the Way, and the Truth and the Life." St.John 14:6.
But if God is Truth, it is of utmost concern to know if God here and now bespeaks "the way and the truth and the life" and to seek and acquire a knowledge of truth to our utmost capacity.
Truth, being absolute it is reasonable that no finite mind can hold possession of it whole and entire. Yet, to believe that God has set up on earth an infallible authority to guard and defend truth is the sum and substance of ethical and moral satisfaction.
For unless there be an infallible authority to interpret and determine matters of faith and morals, no better reliance for organized religion exists than one man's opinion against any and all others, nothing better than an accidental, uncertain appeal of the thing itself, a fickle plausible, something which is here today and gone tomorrow. In this, there is no intellectual foundation for judgment, no contrast between the Absolute and relative, no difference in quality between the First Cause and contingent causes, no certainty that this is right and that is wrong.
There is nothing which is dependable and reliable nothing to which man can hold to safely when contradiction assails him and the dark clouds of doubt hang heavy over him.
How different all this is for Catholics. We are not left in any such difficulty. We believe that the infallibility of the Chruch is as true and certain as is the dawn after the night, as spring after winter.
I would point out the dilemna that anyone faces who denies the infallibility of the CC as the living word of Christ and denies the infallibility of the Bible.
The Bible does not interpret itself and that truth does not mean this today and that tomorrow..for he is not a Socialist who holds that nothing is eternal but change. People who decide for themself what the Bible means is placing himself in the anomalous position of setting up his own fallible authority as to the meaning of God's Word, which destroys the possibility of understanding its infallible content.
If any man's mind can accomodate itself to such an evident contradiction of the infallibility of the Bible, his judgment can hardly be taken as sound. Yet, this is precisely the position of most Protestants. It is by private interpretation of the Bible that one leader with his group sets up a contrary doctrine and thus tears down and destroys what another built which claimed to be the truth.
No such dilemna faces the Catholic. We believe in the infallibility of the Bible becasue he believes in the living voice resident within the Church which is endowed with the prerogative of infalibility when interpretating God's infallible Word.