Vatican Representative: Just to Be Clear, Atheists Are Still Going to Hell

Yesterday, I posted about something interesting Pope Francis said in a recent homily — namely, that even atheists could be “redeemed” if they were good people:

“The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone! And this Blood makes us children of God of the first class! We are created children in the likeness of God and the Blood of Christ has redeemed us all! And we all have a duty to do good. And this commandment for everyone to do good, I think, is a beautiful path towards peace. If we, each doing our own part, if we do good to others, if we meet there, doing good, and we go slowly, gently, little by little, we will make that culture of encounter: we need that so much. We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.

Many atheists thought it was pretty damn nice of the Pope to say that… even if the idea of being “saved” or “redeemed” thanks to Christ’s death is all made up.

We all knew that sense of one-ness and actions-speak-louder-than-prayers wasn’t going to last very long. As the Pope’s words made their way around the world, a Vatican spokesman had to do some damage control and remind everybody that atheists, in fact, are going to hell unless they accept Jesus:

Rev. Thomas Rosica

On Thursday, the Vatican issued an “explanatory note on the meaning to ‘salvation.’”

The Rev. Thomas Rosica, a Vatican spokesman, said that people who know about the Catholic church “cannot be saved” if they “refuse to enter her or remain in her.”

(That’s what she said.)

Okay, okay, so that’s what we were expecting all along. Atheists, according to Christians, are going to hell unless we accept Christ’s divinity. We already knew that. It was still an unusual and welcome gesture from the Pope to recognize that everyone, regardless of beliefs, can do good and “be saved” — at least it was a step up from what we’re used to hearing.

***Update***: Many news outlets have since pointed out that CNN’s attribution of Rosica being a Vatican spokesperson is wrong. Rosica is just a religious leader with no formal ties to the Vatican. That doesn’t change the fact that Catholicism still teaches that atheists are going to hell, but there you go.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • MD

    I am soooo worried.

    But on a serious note, it makes me angry that people I love really fear for me because of stupidity like this. They are the one caused pain and suffering.

    • http://stevebowen58.blogspot.co.uk/ Steve Bowen

      What’s inane about it? Many people get upset that atheists within the family will go to hell. It doesn’t bother the atheist that they are being condemned to a non existent place but it bothers them that their families are stressed about it.

      • Greg G.

        I think Joycey’s comment was self-referential.

        • Lee Miller

          One day perhaps Joycey will wake up and realize how silly it is to believe in invisible, undetectable, unverifiable things.

          • http://twitter.com/tomorgel Tom Orgel

            Oh … wait a moment … I get it.
            God is Dark Matter!
            ;)

            • Hat Stealer

              I get what you’re trying to say, but even if there were no evidence for dark matter (there is) it’s not as if atheists are emotionally invested in the existence of dark matter. It’s not as if we’ve based our lives on the existence of dark matter. In fact, I’m pretty sure that if there was evidence that the dark matter theory was wrong, most atheists would abandon it in favor of a better one. Can you say the same for God?

              • http://twitter.com/tomorgel Tom Orgel

                I surely can, yes. No problem. *g*
                Although there is a good chance, the very existence of our lives IS based on the existence of dark matter.
                And the other way round – I’ve seen more than one christian (or muslim or even other religion) who would abandon the idea of their God, given there was any real evidence of non-existence (probably in favor of another god or another kind of adherence, like, say, football or communism).

                In one point you are not correct: There is no evidence for the existence of Dark Matter besides in mathematical theory, simplified as “If it is not there, our formula is wrong”.
                And that is more likely a form of “educated guess” based on observation. Striclty scientific speaking, that is not evidence.
                And largely the same argumentation, believers of various religions use for explaining their chosen deity.

                As this is, i admit, besides the point of the article:
                Let me insert the information, that Father Rosica does NOT speak for the whole of the catholic church but merely expresses his personal view. The German catholic church, for example, has dropped any actual thought of a real place called “hell” altogether years ago.

                Interstingly the bibles statement on this is very atheist-friendly: Everyone who dies goes into nonexistence. No ghosts, no souls, no dreams, no thoughts, no hell, no whatever (as an atheist thinks anyway).
                Biblically spoken there is just one difference: Believers will be brought back from nonexistence one day (kind of a backup system). The others simply will not. So – no harm done here. Who wants to live forever anyway. ;)

                • pRinzler

                  From Wikipedia on “Dark Matter”

                  “Instead, its existence and properties are inferred from its gravitational effects on visible matter, radiation, and the large-scale structure of the universe.”

                  That would seem to go beyond mere mathematics.

    • Ozark Atheist

      It was a poignant and heartfelt comment. It reflects the fear and mental anguish that the concept of hell causes. Anyone who perpetuates hell only contributes to the anguish.

    • Matthew Booth

      Please explain.

    • KeithCollyer

      I thought your original comment about who got to choose who went to hell was thoughtful, though of course deluded as nobody knows who is going to hell, even if it exists, for which of course we have zero evidence, calling MD’s reasonable point inane when it is very real is just stupid

    • MineApostasy

      My ex-fiancée used to cry regularly because she was worried we wouldn’t end up in heaven together. Oddly enough that was but a tiny fraction of the reason we ended the engagement.

      • The Other Weirdo

        Similar experience here.

        Edit: Downvotes now on reporting similar bad experiences? Srsly?

        • MineApostasy

          Hahah, wow. I just came back and noticed it, too! I had a similar experience on a Youtube video for a TEDx talk with which I had the “audacity” to disagree (falsely-represented science and an adherence to harmful purity culture). Do they not realise that most of us will go down through most, if not all, of the comments?

          Trolls gon’ troll.

        • Bdole

          Really weird about the down-vote thing. You can only do it once for a given account so does this mean dozens of people are downvoting these innocuous comments? Why? Too stupid to respond maturely? TSTR

      • MD

        I have friends who are lovely people, and they are so worried about me. But they are also the kind who bring up the subject matter once, and then drop it. i hated hearing the anguish in their voice though. I think that with time the fear starts to wear away.

        • MineApostasy

          It always happened right around the times that she was particularly abusive; I think it was indicative of a feeling of penitence and confusion regarding her beliefs. She thought that she, the abuser, was going to heaven, whilst I was not, simply because I didn’t, and don’t, believe in gods or an afterlife. She couldn’t understand this, and I think it further complicated things.

          Oh, yeah, for those playing along at home: that was the reason we broke it off.

      • David McNerney

        Dodged a bullet there mate.

        • MineApostasy

          Oh definitely. I’m just glad it’s behind me. Does make for a funny story, though.

  • Hat Stealer

    I love it when religous folk talk about hell. It’s just a nice reminder of just how reprehensible they all are.

    I must say though, it seems like many were becoming bamboozled by the Pope’s “gesture.” Please don’t forget what his organization stands for, and all that they’re doing (and not doing.) Feeble attempts at outreach do nothing to change that.

    • http://twitter.com/fmitchell Frank Mitchell

      Honestly, I don’t think the Pope actually runs the Catholic Church. Officially his “infallibility” has quite a number of conditions. Only six(?) statements in the history of the Church are considered infallible, all concerning fairly abstruse or uncontroversial points of doctrine. No, the real power comes from the Cardinals and lesser functionaries in the Vatican, and to a lesser extent the bishops who the Vatican appoints. Even then, lay people, nuns, and the occasional priest will quietly agree to disagree.

      • MD

        I agree. It looks like Francis is trying to be nice, and then all the Vatican machinery runs around cancelling out all the goodwill.

      • Hat Stealer

        Agreed. I was listening to a news report recently that said that the Pope has surprisingly little power as to how the way things are run in the Vatican. The entire system apparently works as a huge corrupt bureaucracy, with special interest groups competing to get different things prioritized.

        • Derrik Pates

          Corruption? In the VATICAN?

          I refuse to believe it.

      • Reginald Selkirk

        Only six(?) statements in the history of the Church are considered
        infallible, all concerning fairly abstruse or uncontroversial points of
        doctrine.

        So… is the Doctrine of Infallibility among them?

    • Hat Stealer

      Goodness gracious mio. Equal upvotes and downvotes? It is a special day.

      EDIT: And now it’s gone…

  • Lee Miller

    I’m so relieved. For a moment I was concerned that not going to imaginary hell would make not going to imaginary heaven less terrifying.

  • Sara

    Ha, not even accepting Christ’s divinity, it’s entering and staying in the Catholic church we have to do. I think I’ll pass on both just the same

    • Alua Oresson

      You too can go to heaven for only four easy payments of $19.99. Operators are standing by.

      • http://boldquestions.wordpress.com/ Ubi Dubium

        But wait, there’s more! We also include a large package of Guilt with your order for no extra charge (just pay separate shipping and handling).

      • http://twitter.com/fmitchell Frank Mitchell

        FOUR easy payments? The Catholic Church is on a subscription model. My mother still gets a packet of envelopes each month to put her offerings in.

        • The Other Weirdo

          Good. It costs the church money to send those out.

          • Charles Honeycutt

            Sadly, that money actually comes from old people with tiny savings accounts who have been lied to all their lives.

            • The Other Weirdo

              I understand that, but I often think that, at some point, one must take responsibility for oneself.

  • Lee Miller

    Buty Joycey, isn’t that what “The Rev. Thomas Rosica” just did? “All y’all who ain’t in the Cathlic Church, y’all ain’t gonna be up there in heaven with us.”

    • http://www.youtube.com/user/GodVlogger?feature=mhee GodVlogger (on YouTube)

      well, “nobody knows except God”…. and Vatican spokesman Rev. Thomas Rosica

    • brainburger

      But he did say atheists cannot be saved, right?

    • http://twitter.com/fmitchell Frank Mitchell

      I grew up Catholic, and the hardliners argue there’s no path to “salvation” except through the Catholic Church. As in everything, the hard-liners at the Vatican and comparatively liberal American Catholics each claim to speak for the Church but say different things. Unlike a corporation, the Catholic Church can’t “fire” members who aren’t clergy. (Technically there’s excommunication, but if the RCC excommunicated everyone who disagreed with some doctrine or other they’d run out of members.)

  • fett101

    Why is the Catholic church considered female? Is it like a car or something? Did he give the church a nickname too, like Josephine or something?

    • iamfantastikate

      Because the Church is considered the “Bride of Christ” because religion.

    • MD

      If the church were male, priests wouldn’t be able to marry it upon ordination. That’d be gay.

    • Charles Honeycutt

      Questions like these are somehow made even more entertaining when I look at your icon and imagine Serious Face Twilight Sparkle pondering conundrums aloud while scratching her chin.

    • Space Cadet

      Because the church is an object, of sorts, owned by the Ultimate Alpha Male, Yahweh. If the church were referred to as male that would be more like slavery, and we all know god doesn’t condone that.

      • Charles Honeycutt

        That’s… well geez, that’s actually fairly horrifying. I think you’re on the right track there.

  • Matthew Booth

    Who’s this aimed at? Hemant, or the priest?

    • iamfantastikate

      I love how you’re getting downvoted for merely asking a question. Leave it to the blindly religious to feel threatened by simple questions and requests for explanations.

      • Matthew Booth

        I’m not that familiar with Disqus. Does downvoting eventually do anything? If it does, this abusive downvoting has the potential to be quite obnoxious.

        • http://criticallyskeptic-dckitty.blogspot.com Katherine Lorraine

          I believe with enough downvotes it closes your comment.

        • MD

          At the very least, down voting pushes you comments to the bottom. Too many down votes, and your comment is hidden.

        • Greg G.

          I am still learning about Disqus but I’ll give some thoughts and assumptions anyway. It seems that anyone can vote up but one must be logged in to down vote. Disqus allows a reader to select the order that posts are presented by newest, oldest, or best. The votes come into play for the best order, however, it only applies to a post made to the article itself. All responses to that comment are under it. I’m not sure whether those responses are ranked by the reader’s selection.

        • Hat Stealer

          I believe that comments with the most upvotes appear at the top of the page. Thus, downvotes will cause your post to be posted last. I don’t know if enough will delete the comment though.

          • LrZ

            A fair number of people seem to have made the effort of downvoting _everything_. I wonder how well they understand sorting.

            Hey folks, it’s impossible to sort a list with all the items at the bottom. Top and bottom are relative positions. You’re wasting your time.

            Oh well, I am probably wasting mine too. (Wooosh.)

            Now to sit back and watch my comment being downvoted.
            *grabs popcorn*
            Yes, it’s a slow day.

            • allein

              lol, and 2 days later there are no downvotes on this post.
              I keep comments sorted oldest to newest (makes it easier to follow the various conversations when threads get long) so votes don’t affect how I see them. *shrug*

  • iamfantastikate

    Phew, for a minute there I thought the Catholic Church was trying to get new members through modernizing its (official) beliefs. Glad that’s not the case. Now it can continue its slow, awkward death.

  • Charles Raymond Miller

    As if atheists believed in any of that. Of course Tommy’s message is for those who believe that childish nonsense: to keep them in line, insure the money flows in, and maintain a feeling of smug superiority.

  • Beth

    But Catholic heaven is atheist hell!

  • Keith

    No one is going to hell, because there is no hell. There.Is.No.Hell.

    • Mairianna

      But HOW am I to be a good person if there is no Hell to scare the crap into me to follow the rules of the wierdo church leaders who use phrases such as “refuse to enter her or remain in her.”????? I am shuddering…..

    • David McNerney

      There better be a hell, because I get to go on a date with Mary Kerrigan in Marketing when it freezes over.

  • Greg Scott

    Oooooh- you mean Christs love isn’t unconditional? bummer.

    • http://twitter.com/fmitchell Frank Mitchell

      Christ loves you, but you’ve turned your back on him when you left the Catholic church, so He has no choice. Seriously. That’s essentially what a priest said in grade school. Talk about one-sided relationships: “You do everything my representatives say, even if they disagree with each other, or we can never hang out. I, on the other hand, give no evidence of my existence. Also I’ll provide no tangible comfort in your darkest moments but claim I did.” What a friend we have in Jesus.

      • Greg Scott

        Hes the best imaginary friend a person can have. all he needs is a cape.

      • Beth

        I am an over-reactive boob

        • http://twitter.com/fmitchell Frank Mitchell

          No problem. Sarcasm doesn’t always translate as well as one thinks.

          [WAS: Is that a threat? I'll have to contact law enforcement and MY legal team.]

          • Guest

            Good luck with that. Maybe you should just pray about it.

            • MD

              Beth, he was making reference to Linda’s threat to contact her legal team. Let’s avoid friendly fire.

              • Guest

                He replied to me, I am an over-reactive boob Carry on…

          • Hat Stealer

            I honestly wonder what the police are going to think of all of us once this is all over.

      • onamission5

        Following hell doctrine is like being in an abusive relationship with your extortionist:
        Nice soul you have here. Too bad if something happened to it. Also, if you love me you will deny your own needs and do everything I say, and if you don’t do everything I say, I will torture you, because I love you.

  • SteveUK

    Heaven and hell don’t exist,anyway, I know where I’m going when I die, a pile of ashes. Whatever this Pope says doesn’t matter in the slightest, if he wants to be patronising and condescending, so be it. Look to your own organisation, Francis!

    • Derrik Pates

      Agreed, but the problem isn’t the (nonexistent) afterlife; it’s how the religious will treat the non-religious in the here and now. It’s like the people who mention the quote about how threatening an atheist with hell is like a hippie threatening to punch you in your aura – just because you don’t believe in the thing they’re raving about doesn’t mean they won’t try to also do you more real harm.

  • LesterBallard

    Whew! That’s a load off.

    • Charles Honeycutt

      I really wish I hadn’t read this comment in the context of the whole “coming into the church” thing, but there it is. Buncha goddamn pervs. :P

  • MD

    Did we just get invaded by a religious horde? Let the fun begin.

    • eonL5

      Seems to be the case. Lots of senseless downvotes. I’ll go ahead and counter-upvote those things. But it’s a pretty silly game.

      • Greg G.

        They have realized that down voting is more effective than prayer. Of course they have to read each message to know which to down vote. Perhaps they’ll accidentally learn enough to actually engage in conversation.

        • MD

          I don’t think they actually read the comments. Just home in on names they’ve identifies as not of their thoughts and reflexively down vote them.
          I congratulated someone because his daughter participated in the Spelling Bee, and THAT got down voted. Tools.

        • Charles Honeycutt

          But downvoting doesn’t hide comments here. At best all their work is slightly and accidentally reshuffling the order of the posts on this page. They truly are cutting off their own noses in order to make us laugh.

          Oh wait, you didn’t say it was effective, you said it was more effective than prayer. My bad!

    • Tainda

      Yes and I’m frightened :(

      • Charles Honeycutt

        Don’t be scared, they’re drawn to your terror! Look at your downvote ratio!

        Oh my god, Tainda, get out, get out! The downvotes are coming from INSIDE YOUR HOUSE!

        • Tainda

          My co-workers are now asking why I’m laughing so hard lol

          Run away! Run away!

          • Charles Honeycutt

            Always happy to add to officeplace confusion, even a little ^^

    • ShoeUnited

      The last time I saw a religious horde they invaded Palestine and looted the Temple of Solomon.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/GodVlogger?feature=mhee GodVlogger (on YouTube)

    I admit that I can not tell the difference here between a Poe and a Troll.

    But either way they seem to have cloned someone like Bill Donohue (Catholic League) to up-vote all the pro-Catholic comments and down-vote all the replies that don’t blindly accept their dogma.

    • Matthew Booth

      Joycey’s follower count is dropping again. I guess she’s not that popular after all :(

    • Frank LaFerriere

      Ha ha Bill Pig Face Donohue of the Catholic League? That low life scum is going to burn in the 8th Level of Dante’s Hell.

      He had me charged with a Class A misdemeanor for a series of phone calls I made to him tearing him a new one for his crap he spews out of his well used outhouse piehole against us survivors of priest rape and torture and nun abuse and torture. He attempted to get me charged with hate crimes against him and have me brought to New York from NH and put into Rykers Island. Screw him, it did not happen.

      He insists I threatened him and the Church. He took the things I said to him in the phone calls out of context to prove his point and then tried to get his lackies to do his dirty work for him. They and he did not succeed.

      He said I threatened him. One of the messages I left for him was I am coming for you and your pedophile pimps of the church and I am going to make damn sure you all pay for what you did, I will see all of you put into prison where you belong.

      Then he said this was a particularly evil message and proved I wanted to murder catholics.

      Heya bill I understand you supported the Pope when he went to Uganda to bless Rebecca Kadga who said to her christians of her country she will make sure for a christmas present to them the Kill the Gays bill would be passed. I wonder how you all would feel if we passed a bill that allows us to kill all the bigoted Christians?

      He pissed his granny panties over that one.

      We got him beat though because he does not even have the guts to show up at the trial. So we will get it dismissed based on the fact in a court of law I am allowed to face my accuser and have him cross examined….and if he does not show up then it can be dismissed just on that.

      • Frank LaFerriere

        I see the child rapist defenders of the Unholy Roman Catholic Church of Pedophile Pimps, Priests and the Parishioners who love, support and defend them are hard at work here.

        You all get it through your thick skulls right now. You are dealing with one pissed off survivor of a sick and twisted child rapist priest of your church. For 36 years I hid myself in horror and pain over what your sick scum did to me. I have in fact gone through the deepest pits of hell and have come out on the other side of it. I fear not any of you. I do not fear any of your leaders, your priests or nuns, or any of you parishioners.

        Remember this and remember it well. YOU ALL who defend these scum, along with all your Popes, Cardinals, Bishops, all of your child rapist priests and nuns are in fact going to be spending an eternity in your own hell. For Jesus Christ said: it would be better for you to tie a boulder around your neck and throw yourself into the deepest lake than harm a single hair in the head of a child.

        Enjoy your eternity in hell you losers.

        • Frank LaFerriere

          You are definately a psychotic Delia. I am now reporting this to the FBI and the police.

          • Hat Stealer

            “FBI headquarters were flooded today with multiple reports of suspicious behavior, all stemming from the same internet blog ‘Friendly Atheist.’ When pressed for comment, FBI director has been reported as saying “What is… I don’t even…” “

            • Frank LaFerriere

              You honestly think I would contact the FBI over a psychotic freak like Delia? I wouldn’t waste my time bro. I am just throwing back into this psychos face what she throws at others.

          • Frank LaFerriere

            But Delia….then you will be tortured and brutally murdered too. I am willing to bet though you would love the torture part.

      • Charles Honeycutt

        When you have conversations with these sick fucks, make sure you record the conversation. Hitting them with a perjury charge after they testify would make for great copy.

  • Chris

    I’m new to your site but wanted to say “thank you” for not only your outspoken atheism, but also for your commitment to teaching our youth in a public school. My daughter made it to the Scripp’s National Spelling Bee 3 years and was educated in a small-town public school system. She beat out many home-schooled or Christian academy kids to get to Washington, D.C., which made me very proud.

    • MD

      Congratulations.

  • indorri

    Honestly, this was as expected. The RCC is wretched, and I do not expect any charity from them until they stop being wretched.

  • Matthew Booth

    Oh, and probably Linda Cassidy :)

    It’s all publicly available, Linda.

    • http://twitter.com/fmitchell Frank Mitchell

      Hey, using Google is considered hacking now. It’s not what the law says, it’s what a lawyer can persuade a judge or jury to believe. Or by how much a plaintiff can outspend a defendant.

  • MD

    It’s already in a public profile.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.zamecki.7 Joe Zamecki

    They require the business of religion and its supposed necessity in daily life. As soon as they declare that we’re okay even if we avoid their program, they render their program unnecessary. That’s for folks who think honestly about the implication. So of course it was cloud-talk and the Vatican was going to zoom in and correct the story. This ought to inspire more investigation of their inner dealings, because they’re not unified. Even at the very top. Organized criminals are like that.

  • http://twitter.com/fmitchell Frank Mitchell

    You had a legal team standing by? Seriously?

    • iamfantastikate

      Trinity Law Group, where there’s only one schizophrenic lawyer who never seems to show up.

      • Guest

        why?

        • MD

          Because?

      • Charles Honeycutt

        *gapes in wonder* I would become part of a zombie horde just because I want your brain after reading that.

        That sounded less creepy in my head. >.>

  • Jason Coleman

    I think we are going to start seeing a lot less of this pope eventually. The higher ups in the church are probably going to start limitting his speaking opportunities before he grants the world-wide absolution.

    • TheG

      If this were the Vatican prior to about 1850, this Pope would mysteriously get called to heaven and replaced by another Ratzinger.

      • Charles Honeycutt

        There are reasons why the RCC and “this thing of ours” came into power in the same region. Most of those reasons are synonymous with “They’re the same damn thing.”

  • Matthew Booth

    I look forward to the arrival of the black helicopters :)

    Trolling is obnoxious, and anonymity fuels it. You thought you were hiding, but you weren’t. That’s funny :)

    Incidentally, your FB profile is also linked to your Disqus profile. You might want to change that if you don’t want anybody to find it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.zamecki.7 Joe Zamecki

    Where is the quote from the Vatican representative taken from? The link provided here is the original CNN report about the Pope saying we’re okay. Not the Vatican correction. Where’s that taken from?

    • http://twitter.com/fmitchell Frank Mitchell

      It’s the linked article. Check paragraphs 8 through 11.

  • Beth

    Yep, the FBI and Interpol have nothing better to do than police the internet.

    • blasphemous_kansan

      >>”You definitley haven’t seen some of the people who were imprisioned recently for internet crimes of harassment.”

      You’re right, I haven’t, so would you please link one, or describe it so I can find it for myself? Please also describe how that situation is like this one.

      *EDIT: And when I ask to describe how that situation is like this one, I’m of course asking how it is similar to a bunch of idiots ganging up and flaming a blog they don’t agree with and assuming that the good lord, the FBI, and Interpol would protect their shoddily preserved anonymity.

  • Frank LaFerriere

    If heaven and hell are real…they got it wrong. I would much rather spend an eternity in hell with all the cool people than spend an eternity in heaven with these child rapists and abusers. These bigoted self righteous scumbag losers are not worth our time or trouble, but again, they got it wrong because heaven will actually be hell and hell will actually be heaven.

    • Machintelligence

      Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company.

      Mark Twain ca. 1890

  • http://gadlaw.com gadlaw

    And once and for all, nobody is going to a make believe place. Not to Hell, Heaven, Valhalla, Tír na nÓg, Elysian Fields, The Asphodel Meadows or any of these make believe, made up places so no need to get in a theological/mythological argument about what which religion/mythology says about afterlife rewards. No need to get upset when a guy in a dress and a funny hat says something nice that doesn’t fit what your guy in a dress and a funny hat says.

    • TheG

      But Sto Vo Kor is still totally real, right? I don’t know how I’ll sleep tonight if I can’t be assured that I will spend eternity in glorious battle!

      K’plah!

      • http://gadlaw.com gadlaw

        Isn’t there the catch to that one that you have to die in battle to be able to engage in glorious battle in eternity? So that heaven is like Battlefield 3 or Black Ops 2? I hope they get the respawning glitches ironed out in Sto Vo Kor version 2.1. I’d hate for it to be shut down and everyone sent to Valhalla Worlds of Warcraft servers, you know how well those Star Trek online games have tended to peter out.

        • Hat Stealer

          Most people just pick a fight with a mosquito and get there on a technicality.

          • Charles Honeycutt

            Or die from an infection from a splinter while digging roots out of your clan’s tunnels. That will at least get Thor fighting to take you.

            /OotS

    • http://boldquestions.wordpress.com/ Ubi Dubium

      The Beer Volcano is totally real, too! If there’s no Beer Volcano, then the heavenly Stripper Factory isn’t real either, and I really want to Stripper Factory to be real, so it all has to be true. The FSM (pbuH) wouldn’t lie to us, would he?

      Besides, my religion’s funny hat is way better than their religion’s funny hat.

      • MD

        Male strippers?

        • http://boldquestions.wordpress.com/ Ubi Dubium

          Sure, if that’s the kind you prefer! And the Beer Volcano actually dispenses your beverage of choice, not just beer.

          • MD

            I’m getting my pasta strainer on, baby!

      • Tainda

        RAmen!

      • Frank LaFerriere

        I run the Church of the Holy Cheesecake. All are welcomed and loved. Even if you do not like cheesecake you are welcomed and loved.

        All hail the Holy Cheesecake.

        • Hat Stealer

          Of course, not liking cheesecake just means you’ll end up in cheesecake hell.

          • Frank LaFerriere

            Not in my church….everyone gets to heaven…even you Hat Stealer.

        • Charles Honeycutt

          “Even if you do not like…”? What the hell, Man! We all know that everyone likes cheesecake. It’s just that some people deny they like cheesecake so that they can sin and I have no idea how to continue this I’m sorry.

          • The Other Weirdo

            They don’t deny that they love cheesecake, they’re just embarrassed. Our Cheescake god is more merciful than the Christian god, for he understands human nature and accepts(and forgives) those who cannot, in good conscience, proclaim their love for cheesecake.

            • Charles Honeycutt

              Annnnd now I want a shirt that reads “Cheesecake: More Merciful Than Yahweh”, only no one would get it.

              What about those of us who love cheesecake, but get sick after more than one thin slice?

              • The Other Weirdo

                His Tastiness is well pleased with thee, knowing that thou but trieth thy very best. Verily I say until ye, one piece our Lord demands a month, no more and no less.

      • Charles Honeycutt

        There is NOTHING FUNNY ABOUT PIRATE HATS OR STRAINERS THEY ARE SERIOUS GRRRRR

  • Alexander

    I wonder if he realizes, that even if there is a hell, 1) its a sin to condemn other people and 2) hes catholic, not christian, therefore he will be there too

    • http://twitter.com/fmitchell Frank Mitchell

      Catholics ARE Christians, no matter what your Baptist/Methodist/whatever minister says.

      • Miss_Beara

        I was told by a former friend who was a Real Christian™ that Catholics weren’t Real Christians™, that you can’t know god through Catholicism. She wasn’t Baptist or Methodist, I am not sure what she called herself other than Real Christian™.

        • http://twitter.com/fmitchell Frank Mitchell

          “Always choose TRUCHRISTIAN brand salvation! It’s far more effective at removing stubborn stains from your soul than Brand RC!”

          Here’s the revelation that soured me on all religion: they’re ALL making it up. Oh, sure, they have ancient documents, but IF those events really happened, and IF the authors of those documents saw what they claim (most don’t even pretend to), and IF those documents weren’t accidentally or intentionally miscopied by generations of monks, THEN what modern religious people claim will STILL only have a tenuous relation to the contents of those documents.

          They’re not God’s words, or Moses’s, or Jesus’s; even the Quran we know came from a caliph who separated “true” verses from “Satanic” verses. Same for the Upanishads and maybe the Buddhist sutras. It’s all what people THINK documents of uncertain provenance mean, and as we see they mean different things to different groups.

          That people don’t see how “their” bogus claims are the same as “our” Irrefutable Truth just astounds me.

        • Derrik Pates

          Funny how it always smells of NIH sour grapes. “Their bullshit is more bullshit than our bullshit.”

      • Alexander

        I dont have any of those as I am an Atheist. and no, they have slightly different doctrines catholics were DERIVED from christians. therefore, no they are NOT the same, dumbass…..

        • Charles Honeycutt

          And then Protestants were derived from Catholics, so you just argued that there are no Christians. Which wouldn’t be a problem, only a mistake, if you hadn’t been a dick about it.

  • NewDawn2006

    Shouldn’t the shame rest on the shoulders of those who have lied, abused children, and hoard wealth. That doesn’t sound like any of us. The actual disrespectful thing is those 1.3 billion souls have done nothing to fix the abuse issues in their own church.

    • http://twitter.com/fmitchell Frank Mitchell

      In fairness to the majority of Catholics, there’s not really much they can do but protest (which falls on deaf ears) or quit (which many already have done, as long as they don’t fear Hell).

      • Frank LaFerriere

        Frank there is a lot more Parishioners can do than just protest. Talk to legislature and the US Attorney General about ending the statue of limitations against child abuse. Talk to the AG about putting forth the same kind of commissions that Ireland, Scotland, Australia and other countries have done about this evil. Demand the arrest and trials of all credibly accused Cardinals, Bishops and yes Pope Benedict who covered up these abuses. March en mass on the Cardinals and Bishops residences and demand they resign or better yet….remember all the people who showed up at the Vatican when Benedict retired or they picked the new Pope? Well imagine if that happened with all the same people demanding that all the Cardinals and Bishops be sacked, arrested and prosecuted?

        Withhold the offerings to the church. Hold all offerings and contributions from them until they fire all the Cardinals and Bishops and they are turned over to the police and prosecuted.

        If a group of priests and nuns can form an organization called Catholic Whistleblowers and demand change at the risks of losing their jobs and being kicked out of the RCC then why should not the Parishioners have the guts to do the same?

        These are just some of the things Parishioners can do.

      • NewDawn2006

        They are still tithing.

  • Troy Boyle

    Just to be clear, the opinion of a fantasist opportunist who leverages a fictional afterlife punishment in order to glean millions of tax-free dollars from the offertory while abetting and shielding pedophiles from prosecution means very, very little to me.

    • MineApostasy

      Those who claim to speak with absolute morality are held to their own standards. I thought their marriage to the church was a monogamous one?

    • http://twitter.com/fmitchell Frank Mitchell

      Citing a site that’s obviously pro-Catholic Church doesn’t really help your case, especially when it’s a huge “tu quoque”. The point isn’t how frequently priests abuse children compared to the national average, but that the Catholic Church shuttled them from parish to parish. It’s also about the Magdalen laundries, and at least one woman in Ireland who died in a Catholic hospital because of an easily treatable ectopic pregnancy. It’s about a leadership that admonishes nuns for caring more about poor people than they do about propagating Catholic dogma. No amount of charity can “make up” for injustices that the Church usually doesn’t even acknowledge, let alone take steps to correct.

      • blasphemous_kansan

        >>”FACTS are FACTS, TRUTH is TRUTH”

        Unfortunately for you, you haven’t provided either.

      • http://www.facebook.com/Eurotrash98 Laura Bucklin

        Well the facts show the catholic church protects pedophiles, , they promote AIDS and lie at every turn. Just to name a few…

        What a holy trinity of fuckball-insanity.

        • http://www.facebook.com/Eurotrash98 Laura Bucklin

          LOL…

        • Tainda

          HAHAHAHA!! Wow!! I love how you all had a little meeting and decided you were going to start posting that you are atheists and agnostics.

          Absolutely amazing the hate that spews from your ignorant mouths.

          • http://www.facebook.com/Eurotrash98 Laura Bucklin

            I’ll wager they aren’t even catholic trolls. Just trolls. Garden-variety trolls. Bummer.

            • Hat Stealer

              I agree. While debating an honest to goodness Catholic might be a frustrating experience, not many Catholics on Pathos that I know would actually type out the phrase “What a fucking shit-eating facebook fucking slut fucking orgy bitch you are.”

              • Charles Honeycutt

                Most of the Catholics and Protestants I work with won’t even let loose a “Shit!” when they rip a finger half off while working. Great, helpful people, just misled, unintentional bigots by virtue of ignorance when it comes to teh gayz.

              • Antinomian

                It’s almost like summer cancer at 4Chan Catholic.

      • ravenlynne

        Actually, that’s not correct.

      • Hat Stealer

        Yes, and the things you’ve posted are neither fact nor truth.

      • DeviousSoybeans

        But Frank, all caps. ALL CAPS!!

      • TiltedHorizon

        “FACTS are FACTS, TRUTH is TRUTH no matter the orgin.”

        Yet. Only ‘your’ facts are true while anything else is ‘atheist propaganda’. Go figure.

    • RG

      I don’t necessarily fault the catholic church for a priest abusing a child. I fault the catholic church for doing nothing about it.

      • Cannon Fodder

        There were quite a few priests doing it. And the RCC didn’t do nothing about it, they covered up for and/or merely relocated the molesters to other areas with children in order “protect the Church’s image”.

    • Matthew Booth

      Justin, are you aware of the Church’s position on sex outside of marriage? It’s pretty hard line.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Eurotrash98 Laura Bucklin

      The largest charitable organization???? In THE WORLD? Gee, I bet those people dying of AIDS in Africa thanks to the church’s “charitable” missionary work are grateful….in addition to the “charitable” works the late fraud Mother Teresa did in India (I am referring to the people she lead to death when preventable medical care would have saved them, and she knowingly denied care….), what about the “charitable” Political Action Committees hell-bent on making the USA a birth-control-free nation and making each and every woman a brood mare? WOW, I could go on about their charity, but….when you look at it, they make charity a foul thing. They are charitable so long as it fuels their ideological agendas – that is it. Not to HELP mankind or be like the deity they worship, you know Christ-like …

      • Angelo Elevado

        I’d like to back up Laura’s claim about the “fraud Mother Teresa”. Yes, it is true. Hemley Gonzales has known to have exposed the FRAUDS going on in Mother Teresa’s Missionaries Of Charity. Nope, I believe it is not “atheist propaganda”, Denise. It’s called telling the truth.

        • http://www.facebook.com/Eurotrash98 Laura Bucklin

          Catholicity.com – ROTFLMAO!!! Hell Exists!!! Just visit catholicity.com!! An inundation of assholes and bullshit for eternity!

        • David McNerney

          If he was a psychopathic liar then it was probably a bad idea for the Vatican to choose him as Devil’s Advocate.

          And Peter Hitchens is an idiot.

      • http://www.facebook.com/Eurotrash98 Laura Bucklin

        HE is the foremost authority on AIDS in Africa? Says who? His opinion is the foremost authority?

        For your ONE source -which is from a religious editorial BLOG of the BBC, I have found hundreds that say the opposite.

        Here are some:

        http://www.unfpa.org/hiv/programming.htm
        http://www.givewell.org/international/technical/programs/condom-distribution
        http://www.unaids.org/en/resources/presscentre/featurestories/2009/march/20090319preventionposition/

        Seems like your foremost authority is just waging his opinion in contrast to the FACTS and DATA. Nice try.

        • Gareth Connors

          It would seem then that we should turn to Google not God.

      • Hat Stealer

        Just a side note: all the statistics about how much Catholics give? They all come from the Catholic Church (as far as I can tell; if I’m wrong please call me on it.) While I’m not saying that they’re outright lying about how much they give, we should keep in mind that this is an organization that has lied about things many many times in the past. Also, we should be wary as to WHO the Church is giving money to. Our idea of charity might be very different from the Catholic Church’s (Mother Teresa thought that being poor was a good thing, as it allowed people to be closer to God.)

        • http://www.facebook.com/Eurotrash98 Laura Bucklin

          She also let the sick get sicker so they could die and get to Gawd sooner. She was truly an “angel of death” She never met a poor person who she didn’t rush to death by neglect in her houses of horror if they came (mistakenly) for help while in desperate need.

          And the $$$$ that those good catholics donate, most goes to the church, building funds, anti-abortion/contraception efforts, and diocese upkeep. A paltry sum goes to the poor and needy – and only then if those poor are catholic or can be converted.

        • Guest

          Wow, even more lies from you.

          • Hat Stealer

            I am the Hat Stealer after all. What, did you expect me to be a saint? I steal people’s hats.

        • Guest

          Did you ever hear of teh United Nations? Individual governments that are aided by Catholic charities etc???Of course you didn;t because you prefer to listen and belive atehists lying propaganda.

        • Jill

          Did you ever hear of the United Nations who work with Catholic organisations? Individual governments that are
          aided by Catholic charities etc???Of course you didn’t because you
          prefer to listen and belive athesist lying propaganda.

          • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

            Elucidate us- at what point did it become perhaps ok to use condoms to reduce the spread of AIDS?

            • Jill

              Maybe the foremost expert can enlighten you…he advises the United Nations and the American Government.

              http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/ni/2009/03/aids_expert_who_defended_the_p.html

              • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                Oh, so the Catholic Church’s reversal is wrong, and they should go back to saying that condoms are bad and should never be used? Isn’t that kind of hypocritical of them?

                • Jill

                  No, it is people like you who spread fear and spread AIDS by promoting the use of condoms when scientific data has shown that is the wrong way. Of course peopel like you will keep your head in the sand and deny deny deny.

                • islandbrewer

                  Well, Amit Chakravarty, can you (1) cite any actual scientific evidence that condom use spreads AIDS or (2) why you’re calling yourself Jill?

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  William Crawley: You accept that condoms do work in other parts of the world, like the Western World, for example?

                  Edward Green: I do. And they should have a back-up role even in the generalised epidemics of Africa. I believe condoms should be made available to everyone. It should be, and as you say, the ABC strategy: Abstain, Be faithful, use a Condom. Condoms may well have contributed to the prevalence decline in Uganda.

                  From your own expert. Talking about the full ranges of ways the spread of AIDS can be reduced is good, but the RC Church isn’t doing that. They’re demonizing the use of condoms, which is bad science.

          • islandbrewer

            I find it hard to take accusations of lying seriously from someone named Amit Chakravarty pretending to be someone named Jill.

      • http://www.facebook.com/linann.singh Linann M Singh

        the pope told the people in Africa, that condoms were a sin,

      • David McNerney

        Firstly, the Pope could not give a whit for the medical evidence for or against condom use in Africa – if the evidence was incontrovertible the Pope would still be against it.

        Secondly, you didn’t read very far into that piece. Green clearly states that there is no causal evidence either way, and more importantly sees condoms not as the solution, but as part of the solution.

        Does the Pope see it that way?

        • Gareth Connors

          “is no causal evidence either way”. Causality can only be evidence in one temporal dimension and even then it cannot be profound as quantum probability suggests that alternative states of reality are uncertain and therefore non predictable.

      • MD

        Where did all the sock puppet statements go?

        • Jill

          The so-called “friendly atheist” decided he hates theists so much he deleted all theist comments and left the anti-theist hateful comments alone. Typical censorship by anti-theists.

          • Jenny Hunter

            So much for calling himself “The Friendly Atheist”!!!

            What a nasty character!

            • TiltedHorizon

              Oh look. The sock puppets are back again, armed with nothing to say and nothing to add.

              • http://twitter.com/FelyxLeiter Felyx Leiter

                Methinks they’ve figured out that logging on and off of the comments section allows them to downvote more than once.
                I don’t know about you, but my weekend has been completely ruined by a few random downvotes. :(((
                And I’m pretty sure it means we’re going to Hell.

                • TiltedHorizon

                  My mind is frozen with fear by the thought of going to hell…. at least it was till my stomach grumbled. Now my mind is gripped with thoughts of lunch.

                • Charles Honeycutt

                  Lunch… IN HELL!

                • TiltedHorizon

                  Woo-Hoo! Hell’s Kitchen has a 90% ‘Liked it’ rating on Zagat’s site.

                • http://twitter.com/FelyxLeiter Felyx Leiter

                  I hear the hot wings are THE BEST.

            • http://twitter.com/FelyxLeiter Felyx Leiter

              The article was about being told (again) by the Vatican that we’re going to burn in Hell, even if we’re good and decent people. If we don’t accept their rigid doctrine of believing in virgin births, women being brood mares, gays being evil, trying to bring pedophiles to justice, etc. we’re going to be in agonizing pain for the rest of eternity. I don’t know about you, but there are Mondays that feel like they go on forever. Wishing that someone is on fire for the length of one Monday seems outrageously cruel to me. Now put it into the context of eternity.
              Do you really want to talk about nasty character?

            • onamission5

              For the last time (oh how I wish that was true) “friendly” is not a synonym for “doormat.”

            • Baby_Raptor

              “He didn’t let us run roughshod all over his own blog! He erased our lies, insults and fake threats! What an evil person!”

              Child, you have no idea what nasty is. Stop trying to insult decent people.

          • TiltedHorizon

            You mean they deleted the flame-spamming by those who are old enough to know better.

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

            Theists don’t get deleted. Trolls/evangelizers/crazy people do.

            • Björn Bramere

              Seems only that criteria applies to theists. Atheist trolls/evangelizers/crazy ones are allowed, not matter what they post. Hypocricy in action.

              • TiltedHorizon

                This forum is filled with theists hoping to keep us honest, to win an debate, or to simply make a positive impression on behalf of their faith; those comments are not deleted. This flame-spamming by your ilk does not fit in the context of a ‘discussion’, nor does it fit within any forum, regardless of subject matter. But even though your posts have violated the terms and conditions of forum etiquette the deletions did not start until your ilk crossed the line with threats of rape and violence.

                Yep. Hypocrisy IS in action; yours. So feel free to down-vote me, you have no argument to stand on so you are limited to the only tool you are capable with.

              • Michael W Busch

                Incorrect. I know of several atheists whose posts have been deleted from here – usually because they were bigots in various ways. And no doubt Hemant could provide the deletion log as evidence.

              • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                Plenty of atheists have been banned as well.

            • Matthew Booth

              You deleted my lists! I was just looking under the troll bridge to see who was hiding there :)

              • Tainda

                Lies! You’re an atheist aren’t you? Hemant wouldn’t delete an atheist’s posts!!!

                :)

                • Gareth Connors

                  AHHH SOOO you think that atheists are wrong! Better get out your holy beads and see what they say.

                • Tainda

                  Late to the party and sarcasm is lost

                • Gareth Connors

                  Late to the party and still sober.

          • MD

            Hoy come your Facebook account is for someone name Amit, not Jill?

          • Charles Honeycutt

            He deleted my posts before I even made them! New World Order! Death Panels! 666 CREDIT CARDS!!!!!11!!!!

          • RobertoTheChi

            No, that’s something you people do. I think Hemant explained it perfectly.

            • Guest

              No he did not. He is a hypcorite. Any atheist can use swear words etc and other nasty langauge, but when a theists rebuts,., they are banned. Total hypocricy,

            • Jill

              No he did not. He is a hypocrite. Any atheist can use swear words etc
              and other nasty langauge, but when a theist posts FACTS in rebutal,., they are banned.
              Total hypocricy,

              • TiltedHorizon

                Hello again Jill.

                An f-bomb from time to time is overlooked, a curse used a emphasis or color is not a problem. The ‘fact’ is your ilk posted things like “You deserve to be raped” and they were banned as a result. The only ‘hypocrisy’ in the resulting ban is your cry of umbrage.

                • Jill

                  How dare you!!!

                  I never said anyone should be raped!!!! Stop lying!!!!

                • TiltedHorizon

                  Are you an ‘Ilk’ or a ‘they’? Try more than a cursory read.

                • Jill

                  Liar. But of course you will not be banned because you can lie and say anything as an atheist and get away with it.

                • TiltedHorizon

                  Yet your new posts are still here. At least till you tell me I deserve to be rapped or some other form of violence.

                  So is this your plan then? To throw a tantrum in the hopes I convert to pacify you?

                  You are welcome to stay, call me a lier and such but unless you have some evidence or argument I have not considered then you may be better off relocating a mountain using a spoon. How sad, you could have tried be an example of your faith, instead you showcase why faith fails.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  Not just overlooked, saying fuck isn’t any fucking problem because it fucking hurts fucking no one.

                  The only specific words that will get you considered for banning are epithets.

                • TiltedHorizon

                  What the fuck are you saying? lol

              • Etienne Vernier

                Yes…facts…of course.

              • Baby_Raptor

                Only small-minded people looking for any possible way to judge and feel superior care about “bad” words.

                Also, you need to look up the definition of “fact.” Rilly, rilly believing something does NOT make it a fact.

              • RobertoTheChi

                That word doesn’t mean what you think it means…

        • TiltedHorizon

          They will be back. They are off in search of new props.

          • MD

            You’re a prophet of the interwebs! How did you they’d return?!?

            • TiltedHorizon

              I’ve been posting to forums since TCP/IP first opened access to ARPANet. This is not my first flame-spam. Seen one, seen them all. (I’m sure these trolls thought they had an original idea)

              • MD

                Your are and Elder! All hail TiltedHorizon! ;-)

              • Gareth Connors

                Honest question…Do you think that anything constructive or edifying comes from any of this?

                • TiltedHorizon

                  Do you mean the topic at large, this tangent thread, or the hundreds of flame spams I’ve seen?

                  I’m assuming the latter, in which the answer is ‘No’. It may feel like a victory to them but they failed to cause doubt, inspire introspection, or even derail the thread. A hollow victory is still a victory for some I guess.

                  Vita Perseverat.

                • Gareth Connors

                  Forget about all the flak and supernatural nonsense. All the pseudo intelectual noise, all the ‘survival of the faith at all costs’ crap that we hear from the religious leaders and politicians. I am talking about the topic at large, penultimo, capito whatever. Religious doctrine taught from an early age is a pernicious cancer that targets a fundamental geneticaly encoded human quality, that of unswervable (almost) beleif in what we are told as children

      • C Peterson

        It may well be the largest charitable organization in the world. That doesn’t mean it is the charity that gives the most, however. And in terms of the ratio of what it gives to its assets, I’d guess the Catholic Church is near the bottom of the list of charities.

    • JKPS

      > The Catholic church is the largest charitable orgainisation in the world.

      Well, that’s not even relevant. I mean, Troy never said that wasn’t true. What he said was that they make money by threatening you with an eternal punishment, and nothing you said disproved that. I also can’t find any info to back up this claim.

      >all academic studies have shown that priests are less likely to abuse children than any other males in society

      I have no idea if that’s true or not, but it doesn’t MATTER. Part of what matters is how often that abuse is happening, but the other part that matters is how the Church responds to it. They responded to it by covering it up and letting the priests continue on in different parishes. That’s abhorrent.

      > teachers and other secular professionals are vastly more likely to abuse children.

      Again, I don’t know if that’s true, but I don’t think citing such an obviously biased website is going to do you any favors, especially when it says things like “FACT: The Catholic Church is likely the safest environment for children today.” That’s not a fact; that’s propaganda.

      > Also the vast majority of cases you cite were not hidden but were of the prevailing professional course of action for it’s time, ie psychological help.

      First, you’re a terrible person! You’re a terrible person because you’re excusing child molestation by saying “oh, they did what everyone was doing.” Second, that’s bollocks. The professional course of action for child molestation at that time is the same as today: send the pedo to jail. You may notice that’s exactly what your website says that the Church does…these days (and we don’t even know if that’s true). But in the past, the Catholic Church decided they were above the law in this matter.

      > The lying atheist propaganda machine I see is well-oiled.

      Okay, Glenn Beck.

    • TiltedHorizon

      Sorry. I don’t read facts unless there are at least two capital “true’s” preceding it. Come back when you have TRUE TRUE Facts.

    • MyScienceCanBeatUpYourGod

      They have power. They have a significant percentage of the population in their thrall. Fanatical Harry Potter fans wouldn’t be scary either unless their number also included as many government and corporate leaders.
      I’m not concerned about going to an imaginary afterlife, I’m concerned that people making decisions that effect all of us are.

    • Paul Moore

      It should mean a lot to you, Roy. The opinions of present-day popes (with the possible exception of Albino Luciani and, maybe – hopefully – the latest pope) are not that dissimilar from the opinions of the popes who ruled over the Roman Catholic Church in Europe during the Middle Ages. They could all be labelled as ‘fantasist opportunists’ who leveraged ‘a fictional afterlife punishment’ in order to glean power and wealth while, amongst other debacles, abetting and shielding paedophiles from prosecution’. It was those popes who instigated the Crusades. How’s your history?

      There are a few billion people on this little planet who are convinced that there really is a god. Many of those people – whether Muslim, Christian or Jew – are not afraid to die for their beliefs. The effect is not that different from the Borg phenomenon. How’s your knowledge of Star Trek?

      There are still less atheists than there are staunchly religious people. We’re getting there, but it’s tough going. When kids are brainwashed by parents, teachers, priests, the media and politicians into believing there is a god, it’s very hard to reverse that damage. In any civilized society, such a brainwashing process would be regarded as abuse, but somehow the church gets away with it.

      As long as many American politicians and all US presidents insist on finishing their speeches with the words “God bless America” (thereby completely disregarding the separation of church and state laid down by the founding fathers), we are up against a brick wall of stupidity.

      We should also not forget that such labels, with slight amendments, can easily be attached to certain infamous individuals throughout history. Hitler, for example, was a fanatical opportunist who leveraged a very real punishment (death) in order to glean power over millions of people while
      instigating some of the worst atrocities the human race has ever witnessed. He was a mad genius who combined religion, mythology and (most importantly) imagery to ‘hypnotize’ and gain control over the minds and actions of millions of Germans. Check out the Nuremberg Rallies. Again, how’s your history.

      What I basically want to say is that the phenomenon of the ‘collective’ is very dangerous when applied to religion. We should not be complacent. It really should mean a lot to you.

    • Paul Moore

      It should mean a lot to you, Troy. The opinions of present-day popes
      (with the possible exception of Albino Luciani and, maybe – hopefully –
      the latest pope) are not that dissimilar from the opinions of the popes
      who ruled over the Roman Catholic Church in Europe during the Middle
      Ages. They could all be labelled as ‘fantasist opportunists’ who
      leveraged ‘a fictional afterlife punishment’ in order to glean power and
      wealth while, amongst other debacles, abetting and shielding
      paedophiles from prosecution’.

      It was those popes who instigated the Crusades. How’s your history?
      There are a few billion people on this little planet who are convinced
      that there really is a god. Many of those people – whether Muslim,
      Christian or Jew – are not afraid to die for their beliefs. The effect
      is not that different from the Borg phenomenon. How’s your knowledge of
      Star Trek?

      There are still less atheists than there are staunchly religious
      people. We’re getting there, but it’s tough going. When kids are
      brainwashed by parents, teachers, priests, the media and politicians
      into believing there is a god, it’s very hard to reverse that damage. In
      any civilized society, such a brainwashing process would be regarded as
      abuse, but somehow the church gets away with it.

      As long as many American politicians and all US presidents insist on
      finishing their speeches with the words “God bless America” (thereby
      completely disregarding the separation of church and state laid down by
      the founding fathers), we are up against a brick wall of stupidity.

      We should also not forget that such labels, with slight amendments,
      can easily be attached to certain infamous individuals throughout
      history. Hitler, for example, was a fanatical opportunist who leveraged a
      very real punishment (death) in order to glean power over millions of
      people while instigating some of the worst atrocities the human race has
      ever witnessed. He was a mad genius who combined religion, mythology
      and (most importantly) imagery to ‘hypnotize’ and gain control over the
      minds and actions of millions of Germans. Check out the Nuremberg
      Rallies. Again, how’s your history?

      What I basically want to say is that the phenomenon of the
      ‘collective’ is very dangerous when applied to religion. We should not
      be complacent. It really should mean a lot to you.

  • Tainda

    I would comment but I don’t have a legal team standing by…

    The pope and his minions opinions matter as much to me as my mailman’s. Meaning, they are just people I don’t know and have no link to a supernatural sky fairy. They are free to say what they want and I’m free to roll my eyes and keep on doing things that actually matter to me.

  • Frank LaFerriere

    The FBI will laugh their asses off at you Linda and then hang up. Interpol will more than likely arrest you for being a stupid idiot and wasting their time with your lame bs. If you cannot stand the heat…then get the heck out of the kitchen.

    Sounds like your Jesus Christ on a Cross dildo that was blessed by the Child Rapist Enabler Benedict XVI needs some new batteries so you can get some stress relief and cry out Holy Jeebus I’m Coming Home!!!!

    • Frank LaFerriere

      First the lawyer will check to see if I have any money. Seeing I suffer from PTSD because of the rape and torture I went through at the hands of a child rapist priest at St Thomas More parish in Durham NH and am living on disability…it is highly doubtful they would even consider suing me. Even if they did, I would destroy them myself in a court of law based on my Constitutional right to free speech and the fact Linda and the rest of the slugs have posted on a public forum and therefore responding to their ugly mugs is not in any way a violation of any kind of harrassment charges. On the slimmest, off chance they might win how the hell are they going to collect? My disability checks are unattachable according to FEDERAL LAWS.

      • Frank LaFerriere

        Awww Maria saying I should go to jail and be raped. That is so very christian and catholic of you Maria. But what do I expect from scum who support and defend the rapists of their children.

        • Frank LaFerriere

          Aww Maria did you give me the thumbs down? What you can say I should go to jail and be raped but I cannot throw it back into your face?

          What a hypocrite you are. I can assure you Maria, Jesus spoke about people like you:

          For many shall call me by my name, but their hearts and minds are far from my teachings. To these I shall say get thee behind me you doers of evil, into the pit of hell for which I have reserved for you.

          I suggest you read Dantes Inferno and pay special attention to the 8th level of hell. That is where YOU and the rest are going to spend eternity.

        • Frank LaFerriere

          What are they going to imprison me for Delia? Telling the truth? Bring it on biotch. I do love though how you want me to go to prison and be raped. You pray to jesus with that mouth?

        • http://www.facebook.com/Eurotrash98 Laura Bucklin

          Are you speaking from personal experience, Delia??? Did you enjoy your time in the Pen?

          • Frank LaFerriere

            It sure sounds like she is.

        • Tainda

          Yeah, you’re about as atheist as the pope

        • John (not McCain)

          People don’t like you either. Also, please scrub a little harder “down there” next time you bathe. When the stench penetrates even the internet, it’s time.

          • Frank LaFerriere

            She has a stench that not even ajax and mr clean can take off. Maybe she ought to use sulphuric acid????

        • Frank LaFerriere

          Please cross your legs Delia, your breath stinks like the most well used outhouse on the Appalachian Trail.

      • MD

        I don’t often say this, but you disgust me. Threatening hell is silly, but to threaten rape Is beyond words. To say it of a survivor of sexual abuse makes me sick.

        You are a pathetic excuse for a human being.

  • DougI

    According to Catholics, Jesus created the Catholic church and the Pope is God’s spokesman. So if the Pope decrees it then it’s the will of God regardless of the infallible Pope differing views from previous Popes.

    All rather silly really.

  • brentrasmussen

    I was pretty sure that there was an asterisk next to the Pope’s atheist love-fest when I first read about it. “Conditions may apply*.”

  • Baby_Raptor

    ..What are you going on about? He didn’t lie about anyone…He posted direct quotes from two prominent Catholic leaders. If quoting someone verbatim is lying to you….Well, you need to meet a dictionary.

    Further, it takes a huge pair of balls and a fatal amount of hypocrisy to talk shame when you’re defending a religion that encourages and protects and pays off child rapists. You know who should be shamed? You.

    • Frank LaFerriere

      Pay us off? I have been fighting them for three years now fighting them for justice for my priest rape and torture. The average settlement for us? around $50,000. Imagine, I have survived 36 years of a living hell and ruined life and to them it is worth what? a little over a grand a year?

      • The Other Weirdo

        I think you misread the comment you’re replying to.

        Edit: A downvote on a comment informing another commenter that he misread a comment? Really? No wonder nobody in the religious community ever admits to improper interpretation. They just found new cults.

        • Frank LaFerriere

          Yes I did and I apologize. I know about Dolan paying off the priests to go and hide too.

      • onamission5

        That is horrible.
        I hope you get the justice you deserve, Frank. I don’t know what that justice would look like or feel like to you but I sincerely hope you are able to find it.

  • Frank LaFerriere

    Linda let me put it bluntly to your sick and sorry child rapist defending butt.

    I AM NOT AFRAID OF ANYONE FROM THE RCC. I am not afraid of your Cardinals, your Bishops, your Popes, your priests or nuns, nor am I afraid of scum like Bill Pig Face Donohue, least of all I am not afraid of YOU.

    Bring it on you psychotic freak, bring it on. Matter of fact, contact me on facebook. I will give you all the personal information about me for you to sick your law enforcement and legal team on me.

    Just tell them to be ready to be shredded by me in any court of law.

  • MineApostasy

    It kind of reminds me of Mitt Romney’s campaign wherein he’d say something different every day and his campaign would have to backtrack within hours back to his actual policies.

    • http://twitter.com/fmitchell Frank Mitchell

      Except Romney would say something stupid and spokespeople would retcon it into something sensible. Here the Pope said something sensible (by religious standards) and someone “corrected” it to something stupid.

      • MineApostasy

        Fair. Very fair.

  • angie

    I am one of those 1.3 billion as my name is still on the baptismal records, but now I am an atheist. There must be hundreds of thousands of people who are counted in this number yet do not believe in this corrupt organisation any more. I have asked for my name to be removed. I have been told by born again christians that I am going to hell and by muslims that it’s a pity I don’t convert to islam because despite all the good work I do in saving lives, I won’t be going to paradise! just as well I don’t believe in either!

  • carlos

    What a relief. Hahaha

  • mikespeir

    That’s a relief. I was afraid I’d be stuck for all eternity with those people.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Man, this article got hit with religious troll bat hard.

    Keep showing off that love, Christians! Downvoting a comment just because the writer doesn’t blindly parrot your views is totally something Jesus would do!

    • Hat Stealer

      I’m having so much fun right now!

      • Tainda

        I can’t work because I keep coming back to check the insanity. Just showing how “charitable” and “loving” they all are.

        • MD

          I know, right? I was the first one to comment (the wonders of different time zones) and just watched everything unfold.
          Pass the popcorn.

          • Tainda

            I think it’s over :( At least until they make some new accounts lol

            Still want some popcorn though!

            • MD

              They’re back for round two! Ding ding ding.

              • Tainda

                Game on!

                • Charles Honeycutt

                  MORTAL KOMBAAAT!

                  EDIT: I forgot to mention, dibs on Rayden. I’m going with a REAL god, and one with a snazzy hat to boot. The only thing that could make Rayden better is if he were also a pirate, and possibly an anthropomorphic panda or gerbil or some other animal that is less known for throwing lightning than most animals.

                • Tainda

                  ROFL I was always Sonya Blade. They needed more girls in the old days :P

                • Charles Honeycutt

                  I didn’t care much for Sonya’s moves, though she looked great: confident, competent and practical. I played the bejeezus out of Chun Li on Street Fighter II, who was a badass.

                  And yes, only including token girls in games was almost as annoying as including sexpot characters later on. >.<

      • http://www.facebook.com/Eurotrash98 Laura Bucklin

        I dunno, I am about to convert being presented with so many “FACTS” and overwhelming love by Christ’s followers….

    • islandbrewer

      “And they’ll know they are chistians by their sock puppet trolling.”

    • islandbrewer

      I also like how nearly ALL the comments are getting a bunch of down votes.

  • Baby_Raptor

    And they’ll laugh at you. Oh, no! Someone pointed out that you have followers! Someone called you out on your blatant trolling! Clearly your life is in danger, right?

    Besides, your bible says that you are to turn the other cheek to people who “persecute” you. You’re supposed to love them. Not immaturely troll the hell out of them and then go running to the government when they respond inkind.

  • A3Kr0n

    I suppose once an asshole, always an asshole

  • Hilda Whitby

    Notice how little of the paragraph is actually in quotation marks:

    “The Rev. Thomas Rosica, a Vatican spokesman, said that people who know about the Catholic church “cannot be saved” if they “refuse to enter her or remain in her.”

    And notice that this immediately follows it in the CNN article:

    ‘At the same time, Rosica writes, “every man or woman, whatever their situation, can be saved. Even non-Christians can respond to this saving action of the Spirit. No person is excluded from salvation simply because of so-called original sin.”’

    It’s not that simple: the Catholic Church believes that people will grow closer to God AFTER death, and that “the Church” doesn’t just exist on earth.

    Yes, atheists might be saved; anybody might be saved. The Catholic canonized some people and officially states that they are in heaven. They say that hell exists. They don’t state that any human being – even Judas – is going there.

    • John (not McCain)

      Are you drunk on Christ’s semen right now?

      • Hilda Whitby

        What a helpful, insightful remark.

      • Charles Honeycutt

        Nasty little git.

    • Rick M.

      Christianity – 2000 years of deciding who goes to heaven. Every Christian is denied entrance by some other Christian. The pope is announcing the only reasonable solution in face of all of this exclusionism – everybody goes. It is the most humane way to posit a heaven. I wonder if I can choose not to be with Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and Mother Teresa for eternity? To really open this up to humanist principles, the pope should announce that everyone also gets to make up their own version of heaven.

    • MD

      So in all those years of Catholic education, the nuns and the priests were lying to me? Say it ain’t so!

    • indorri

      “because of [...] original sin” is the key. http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P29.HTM 846-848, 851. He’s talking bout inculpable ignorance.

  • ravenlynne

    My thought on the original statement was a bored “that’s nice.” Now that the clean up committee has arrived, it is “well duh…”

  • John (not McCain)

    Linda, you are a disgusting pervert who enables pedophiles. Please leave Earth at once!

  • Edgar Micallef

    Just to be clear. Pedophiles and people who stole acres of land from vunerable on their dying bed are still going to hell

  • John Junior

    I’m an atheist myself so words coming from the Pope, are truly somehow remarkable, but at the same time they sound fake.

    The reason why i don’t follow religions and am not catholic is that if such entity moves along God’s / Jesus teachings than the church opinion should not change by time. Changing such opinion which is based on the Almighty God shows nothing but how unreal and untrusted a religion is.

    Obviously we can’t keep killing each other for just the sake that they don’t believe in our same religion or ignore women’s importance in society as it’s described in the bible… that’s absurd, so the only way out of such stupid writings which might have applied to people living over 2000 years ago is Atheism.

    Atheism portrays nothing but tolerance being open to other’s way of thinking and a way forward to science, which 90% of the world population depends on in a way or another.

    The only + points coming out of the Pope’s speech is that at least, he is using his convincing power to reach out to believers and giving a better image of tolerance. Most attacks and wars are nothing but a result of fanatic religious groups (mainly Muslim) – but i am pretty sure Catholic groups do as much damage too, maybe in a smaller scale.

  • Edgar Micallef

    Just to be clear. Pedophiles and people who stole acres of land from vunerable people on their dying bed are still going to hell. Amen!

  • Hat Stealer

    Man, you are really dumb, aren’t you?

  • http://www.facebook.com/linann.singh Linann M Singh

    I’m going to hell, so I can be with my friends.

    • Michael W Busch

      If hell were to exist and anyone was to be in it, the indicated procedure would indeed be to go to hell. The next step would be a cosmic jailbreak. Well, either that or remodeling the place.

      But, fortunately, there is no hell and no heaven, except metaphorically.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Eurotrash98 Laura Bucklin

    Awww Tamara, do you have a crush on me now? Can I call you my groupie? *hugs*

  • C Peterson

    This would be laughable except for the genuine harm the Catholic Church creates in the world through its influence on the intellectually weak.

    Seriously? These are grown men, talking about gods and demons, life after death, original sin, redemption by proxy, virgin births, and all manner of utter, childish nonsense. Stuff that anybody with an ounce of sense rejects as primitive superstition.

    It’s pathetic. They need to throw away their silly hats and grow up. And the rest of the Christians in the world, who don’t wear funny hats, need to grow up as well. Because they’re an embarrassment to the human race.

    • Chad Phriday

      But they don’t ever want us to grow up. You can’t control a grown up. They want us to be “born again” so we can stay emotional children forever.

      • C Peterson

        Sure, but “they” aren’t the real problem. “They” are just Walmart, another corrupt corporation in it for the money and power. As long as people will shop there, the problem isn’t going away.

        The Catholic Church is bad. It’s corrupt and promulgates a harmful message. But in the end, the problem is Catholics, and more broadly, Christians. These are the ones that need redemption, in the true sense of the word. These are the ones that need to recognize the utter absurdity of their belief systems, and the intrinsic lack of morality they advocate (luckily, most Christians are, in practice, humanists, and derive only a small part of their applied moral systems from Christian teaching).

        In any statistically significant way, people don’t become Christians. Why would they? The dogma is patently crazy. They are born into it, brainwashed by their parents, who were brainwashed by their parents before them. It’s a vicious cycle of psychological abuse. And I understand how difficult it can be to escape from that. But that’s where the solution to the problem lies. We won’t get rid of the Church until we get rid of those who accept its teachings. And the humane way of doing that is to change minds.

        • Leo

          At least Walmart sells you stuff that exist LOL

        • Kurt Knittle

          Superb! Now don’t overkill their ideals, lots of us need laughter in our busy schedule.

        • Randy R.

          (Pokes head in.) Sounds like somebody is angry at God. (Sneaks away.)

          • TiltedHorizon

            One has to believe in god to be angry at god. Are you mad at Santa?

            • ShoeUnited

              That bastard gave me socks!

              • Mary Elizabeth Bowman

                ShoeUnited just won the internet.

              • baggie

                Socks…….That’s all that Bastard ever bring me!!!!!

              • HermitTalker

                You mean your Daddy or Mommy or Guardian or ? did not give you the shoes, pants and shirt also. Bad Santa. Poison his milk and cookies next time. OR shoot Rudolph and eat him. Watch that red nose. Maybe too much Christmas cheer.

          • mark jeffery

            if you are serious with this comment then I would say to you sounds like someone is angry with thinking

            • Randy R.

              I was being somewhat facetious. I realize that atheists can’t be angry at a God they don’t think exists. (Although the Christian worldview says EVERYONE really does know God exists because the evidence in abundant.)

              But people who don’t believe in Santa or the tooth fairy don’t write books about it or waste their time on blogs railing against them. Obviously something more is going on. Atheists who behave that way are angry at the God other people believe exists because they think He is a cruel, petty unjust, control freak (etc, etc a la Richard Dawkins).

              It would be more intellectually honest to just admit it rather than hide behind the false definition of atheism as merely a “lack of belief.” When one belief is removed, another one always rushes in to fill the void.

              • Whitney

                People don’t tell others to tithe to Santa or the Tooth Fairy, or that not believing in either of them will result in their eternal damnation. I don’t know of any wars that were fought on behalf of Santa, the Tooth Fairy, or Bigfoot for that matter. Books are written and discussions are had on this subject because it is scary as fuck that people are willing to die and/or kill for a divine being that they cannot prove exists. As soon as people are dying in the name of Santa, expect more books on that subject.

                • Randy R.

                  “I don’t know of any wars that were fought on behalf of Santa, the Tooth Fairy, or Bigfoot for that matter”

                  Fewer than 7 percent of the wars of history were religious wars. (Over half of those involved Islam.) Compare that to the mass genocides of history – more than 100 million people murdered by atheists (or more accurately anti-theists) in the past 100 years. More than all the people killed by religious people in all of human history. Anti-theism is the most dangerous view of all. Why not try to stop that?

                • C Peterson

                  Millions have died in the name of religion. Virtually nobody has died in the name of atheism.

                • Randy R.

                  LOL! I’m sure you believe that but the complete opposite is true.

                • TiltedHorizon

                  LOL! I’m sure you believe that but the complete opposite is true.

                  (see what I did there?)

                • Charles Honeycutt

                  See my post above. Totalitarians killed in the name of specific ideologies, not in the name of atheism. The latter doesn’t occur. Learn what words mean.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  The Holocaust was religious, in large part. The Crusades, all of them, were religious. The wars that tore Europe apart for centuries? Mostly religious, between Protestants and Catholics.

                  While wars for resources might be more common than religious wars (I highly doubt it’s only 7%, though), religion has been the sole or more important factor in a number of wars. Even one is too many, don’t you think?

                • Randy R.

                  “Even one is too many, don’t you think?”

                  Yes, even one is too many. Jesus abhorred violence. So if we really want to stop the violence, let’s stamp out atheism.

                • TiltedHorizon

                  “So if we really want to stop the violence, let’s STAMP out atheism.”

                  Stamp: Bring down (one’s foot) heavily on the ground or on something on the ground.

                  Translation, stop the violence by violently removing atheism.

                • Charles Honeycutt

                  Exactly. And the evil little sack has the nerve to libel other people as violent.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Because Christians killing Christians, or Christians killing Muslims, or Muslims killing Christians, or Buddhists killing Muslims, or Hindus killing Muslims, or Muslims killing Hindus, or … well, there’s lots of combinations. But it’s clearly all the atheists’ fault.

                  Your lack of logic confuses and infuriates us …

                • Cannon Fodder

                  Didn’t Jesus say in the NT “I come not to bring peace, but the sword”? Isn’t Jesus described in Revelations as slaughtering millions himself? Sure to bring justice, but that hardly demonstrates an abhorrence to violence. Since Jesus is also supposedly God, did he not then also condone and/or partake in the various incidents of atrocity and violence in the OT as well?

                  The root of the problem does not lie in whether one believes in God or not but rather the determinations one makes and uses to guide his/her actions – does the action promote health, happiness, and a thriving community and how can one objectively measure that? Atheists can do good and evil. Theists can do good and evil. Political, social, and economic power corrupt both theists and atheists alike. Whatever faith or lack of faith a person has, most if not all humans desire health, happiness, and a thriving community. We just disagree a lot about how to get there. XD.

                  You will have about as much success stamping out atheism as atheism will have trying to stamp out religion. :P

                • Camorris

                  And replace atheism with what? Unquestioned belief in God? Whose God? Only one God? Who will enforce compliance?

                • Charles Honeycutt

                  He doesn’t know. He’s just jabbering because he thinks that trolling equals winning. He’s too stupid to even know that eugenics was a Christian invention and distinctly anti-Darwin (whom the Nazis abhorred and whose writings they banned.)

                • Cannon Fodder

                  Even if your statistics are correct (where’d you get those stats btw?), the argument that atheists committed so many genocides holds no ground even were it true. Why? Because atheism is not a religion or organization. It is a broad label used to describe a group of people with only one thing in common – they refuse to believe in God’s existence due to lack of evidence. Beyond that default position, atheists can be however cruel (regrettably) or benevolent they want. The point being is that you cannot tie actions committed by one atheist to the character of another atheist because there is so much more that goes into a person’s ethics than whether they believe in God or not (hopefully) – there is no institutional connection.

                  The only way to save your case here is to sufficiently and validly demonstrate that not believing in a God inherently must result in a genocidal character – good luck.

                • Randy R.

                  “Even if your statistics are correct (where’d you get those stats btw?)”

                  The Encyclopedia of Wars by Charles Phillips and
                  Alan Axelrod

                  “the argument that atheists committed so many genocides holds no ground even were it true. Why? Because atheism is not a religion or organization. It is a broad label used to describe a group of people
                  with only one thing in common – they refuse to believe in God’s existence due to lack of evidence.”

                  Agreed. And I said it first. (Although that is a recent definition of atheism invented by the New Atheists.) It is anti-theism which kills. Beware of anyone (like C. Peterson) who rails vehemently against religion. If they ever get into power the bloodshed of the faithful will begin. Religious people get power and they build hospitals and universities. Atheists get power and they commit genocide and eugenics.

                  “The point being is that you cannot tie actions committed by one atheist to the character of another atheist”

                  And you cannot hold one religious person (or an entire religion) responsible for the actions of another religious person (or religion).

                  “The only way to save your case here is to sufficiently and validly demonstrate that not believing in a God inherently must result in a genocidal character – good luck.”

                  Atheism is, shall we say, NECESSARY but not SUFFICIENT to commit genocide. Anti-theism is what kills. The world’s greatest atrocities have been committed by those who sought to eradicate religion. I don’t have to “save” my case. Just pick up a history book sometime.

                • TiltedHorizon

                  “Religious people get power and they build hospitals and universities. Atheists get power and they commit genocide and eugenics.”

                  LOL! I’m sure you believe that but the complete opposite is true.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Uh, the Turks committed genocide against the Armenians for ethnic reasons. American settlers committed genocide against the Native Americans in large part because the “savages” weren’t Christian. Hitler, a Catholic, committed genocide against Jews and Gypsies. Catholics in Guatemala committed genocide against the Mayan population. If you believe the Bible to be true, God commanded a great many genocides against the Canaanites.

                  Clearly atheism is not a necessary condition for genocide to occur, given that religious people have committed genocide and sometimes even specifically for religious reasons.

                • HermitTalker

                  Hitler,, a Catholic. Baptised. Not apparently well formed in it. Obama was baptised Christian as an adult. Signs of that in his pubic policies. And so on.

                • Cannon Fodder

                  “Agreed. And I said it first. (Although that is a recent definition of atheism invented by the New Atheists.) It is anti-theism which kills…Atheists get power and they commit genocide and eugenics… Compare that to the mass genocides of history – more than 100 million people murdered by atheists (or more accurately anti-theists) in the past 100 years. More than all the people killed by religious people in all of human history. Anti-theism is the most dangerous view of all. ”

                  I’m somewhat confused as you used anti-theist and atheist quite interchangeably. You statement is also somewhat unclear as you “agreed” to the following words:

                  “the argument that atheists committed so many genocides holds no ground even were it true. Why? Because atheism is not a religion or organization. It is a broad label used to describe a group of people with only one thing in common – they refuse to believe in God’s existence due to lack of evidence.”

                  “And you cannot hold one religious person (or an entire religion) responsible for the actions of another religious person (or religion).”

                  Fair enough, I’m just saying that religion and religious people aren’t the perfect institution and people you seem to think they are. They are not inherently evil, but it is quite clear from history that there have indeed been problems.

                  Sure, religious people in power do sometimes build hospitals, but religious people in power also do bad things – molest children, embezzle money, cover up abuse, holy wars, etc.

                  “Atheism is, shall we say, NECESSARY but not SUFFICIENT to commit genocide.”
                  - Hitler, Osama bin laden, and Joseph Kony I think would beg to differ.

                  Could you give a few examples of these great atrocities committed by people seeking to eradicate religion? I’ve read history books before, can’t quite seem to recall what exactly you are talking about. XD – The Holocaust, Crusades, Inquisition, and 9/11 all seem to be religiously motivated.

                • Charles Honeycutt

                  Your foul and evil libel on behalf of Jesus is noted.

                  When religious people get power, only religious people CAN build hospitals and universities. I notice you don’t mention the ones that Christians destroyed. Or how Catholics are trying to get control of the health care system and, when they succeed, deny basic and lifesaving medical procedures on the basis of their religion.

                  The world’s greatest atrocities were committed in eras when greater technology, organization, and populations existed. It’s more than a little moronic to compare it on the basis of pure numbers conveniently cherry-picked from specific large-scale incidents during periods when information gathering had become easier.

                  The Bible specifically describes God killing MILLIONS, personally or through his genocidal servants, over a long period of time, for not believing in him enough. And yet here you are, claiming that atheism is “necessary” to commit genocide. Because you’re an evil little libeling shit who is to stupid to know that the Nazis weren’t atheists.

                  Pro Tip, evil little shit: they persecuted and killed atheists. So did Stalin and Mao. They wanted power, not atheism. Oh, and Stalin worked hand in hand with the churches also. Read a book for comprehension sometime.

                • Charles Honeycutt

                  Christians and other religionists happily took part in all those “anti-theist” slaughters. Also, the Nazis weren’t atheists. They were Catholics and Lutherans, OOPS.

                  Also, you’re too stupid to know the difference between a war and an act of genocide, or between an atheist and an antitheist. ATHEISTS didn’t commit those acts of genocide. Atheistic TOTALITARIANS did. You’re another one of those arrogant, uncomprehending twits who doesn’t understand that atheism is not a philosophy. No one kills on behalf of atheism. They kill on behalf of totalitarian ideologies that – and here’s the kicker – recognized religions as competition. Substitute “the State” for “God” and all those atheistic mass murderers turn out to be theists in disguise.

                  If you had the experience you claim, you’d be familiar with this point. But you don’t. You’re just talking by rote and misrepresenting statistics. It’s all your lying ilk has.

                • kso721

                  those wars were fought because of nationalism. not atheism. derp.

              • Space Cadet

                When the believers of the Tooth Fairy do their best to enact legislation that oppresses others, we will be the first ones to point out their absurd beliefs.

                That’s what people like you don’t understand. We don’t rail against the religious for shits and giggles. We do it as a response to what we believe are unjust demands from theists who feel they have 1) a monopoly on morality and ethics and 2) the divine command to enforce their will on others.

                • Randy R.

                  “We don’t rail against the religious for shits and giggles.”

                  I know. You do it because you are angry at the God you know exists.

                • Cannon Fodder

                  Kind of presumptuous to claim to know the true beliefs of every human being. Would you happen to be the God people know exists but angrily deny?

                  And I would say that, at least for myself as an atheist, that I rail against religion because billions of people are completely convinced that the Christian God exists and that we ought to structure everything around God.

                • Randy R.

                  “Kind of presumptuous to claim to know the true beliefs of every human being.”

                  I’m not omniscient but God is and said everyone knows He exists in His Word, the Bible.

                  “. . . and that we ought to structure everything around God.”

                  I’m not sure Christians think that. Jesus said His Kingdom was not of this world. But I’ll tell you one thing: if we DID structure everything around God, the world would be a hell of lot better off. No more wars for starters.

                • Cannon Fodder

                  That is assuming that the Bible is indeed the actual word of an actual God. Furthermore, the Bible’s claim seems false as I am not angrily denying God’s obvious existence because I don’t like him or that I just want to do whatever I want. I truly and sincerely do not and see no reason to believe in any god or gods.

                  lol. Fair enough. Depends on the God. I suppose it would best to structure society around a perfect God if one existed.

                • Charles Honeycutt

                  Oh yeah, Randy’s a false prophet. According to his book, he’s going to burn in Hell. It’s very sad that he hasn’t read it and doesn’t really believe in God.

                • Space Cadet

                  That’s a nice assertion you got there. I’m almost convinced. Almost.

                • c Rob

                  randy, you really did not answer the points brought up – you basically pick a phrase within the larger context of a point to pick on. this really is not getting anyone closer to a productive dialogue.

                • Charles Honeycutt

                  Doesn’t God condemn false prophets and witches like you, Randy? See you in Hell, I guess, you fake psychic.

                • Matt D

                  Yep, out of all the religions to choose from, I’m angry at the one that shoves itself in my face on street corners and blogs. Go figure.

                • Joshua Davis

                  I’m confused, what unjust demands do religions place on those who aren’t religious? What monopoly on morality and ethics do they force upon you? What will do they enforce on others?

                • Charles Honeycutt

                  If you aren’t familiar with religiously-motivated legislation, you aren’t informed enough to be allowed outside.

                • Joshua Davis

                  Legislation that is motivated by religion is not necessarily bad, or anti-atheist, it does not create a monopoly of morality, and it doesn’t enforce the religion on the will of others.

                • C Peterson

                  Legislation that is motivated by religion is, without exception, bad. I can think of no exception. If legislation is worth enacting, it can be justified without recourse to religious arguments.

                • Joshua Davis

                  I can see your point, I think the word usage is incorrect. Legislation is rarely motivated by religion, however, legislation is influenced by religious ties. Much of the legislation which has religious influence isn’t bad, much of it can be justified without recourse to religious arguments. I would agree that legislation motivated solely by religion would be bad.

                • Space Cadet

                  I don’t think there’s a substantive difference between motivated by religion and influenced by religion. There a significant number of legislators who view secularism as some evil force that they need to combat, and that they are doing gods will by submitting/approving legislation that does so.

                  Take North Carolina’s recent House Joint Resolution 494. It’s a not so subtle attempt at subverting the 1st & 14th Amendments with the endgame being the ability to establish a state religion. I don’t care if that’s motivated by or influenced by religion, and I certainly don’t see how it could be justified in a secular way.

                • Joshua Davis

                  I think there’s a HUGE difference between something motivated by religion (which indicated direct action, doing something based solely on your religious beliefs, for and in behalf of those beliefs) and something that is influenced by your religious beliefs, it is impossible to ignore the influence our beliefs have on our actions (be they secular or religious beliefs) those influences are part of what make us who they are. Quite often we don’t even realize the influence they have, this is not inherently bad, most of the time it’s a good thing.

                  Regarding that resolution, it’s most certainly motivated solely by religion. It’s also a complete load of hogwash and even if it somehow gets made law will be struck down by the Supreme Court.

              • C Peterson

                Belief in the tooth fairy and Santa Claus generally go away by late childhood, and don’t have significant negative social consequences. Belief in gods tends to be exploited by religions, with what many of us here see as creating huge social ills.That’s why we invest so much effort in challenging theism and religion. When people start basing social policy on their belief in Santa Claus, I can assure you we’ll be right there fighting that as well.

                Do not confuse atheism, which is not a belief, with the beliefs that many atheists maintain, such as secular humanism, anti-religion, skepticism, anti-theism, etc. Those are all active belief systems, but simply being an atheist doesn’t require any of them. Removing a belief in gods doesn’t require any new belief system to replace it.

                • Putnam

                  This is brilliant.

                • Randy R.

                  “That’s why we invest so much effort in challenging theism and religion.”

                  Yes, but you are preaching to the choir here. Why not spend your time on Christian message boards the way I choose to debate on atheist ones?

                  “Those are all active belief systems, but simply being an atheist doesn’t require any of them. Removing a belief in gods doesn’t require any new belief system to replace it.”

                  Don’t kid yourself. Every atheist I know (and I know a lot of them) believes in naturalism and evolution to explain the world. (Cue C. Peterson to say, “Evolution is a fact. It’s not something you believe in, it’s something you accept.”) Trust me – I know all the arguments. I’ve been doing this too long. That’s why my next book is called, “How to Debate an Atheist.” ;^)

                • C Peterson

                  Obviously we are not preaching to the choir here. The responses you are seeing are to Christians, invading this forum and very clearly threatened by what they see. Most of the discussion in this forum isn’t addressing the silliness of religion, but rather is exploring ways of fighting religious incursions into our lives.

                • Randy R.

                  “The responses you are seeing are to Christians, invading this forum and very clearly threatened by what they see”

                  Me thinks you greatly over estimate yourself if you think a Christian would ever feel threatened by anything an atheist has to say. Religion will never go away. We are hardwired to believe in God. Studies have shown that we are not born atheists (as atheists are fond of claiming).

                  “Most of the discussion in this forum isn’t addressing the silliness of
                  religion, but rather is exploring ways of fighting religious incursions
                  into our lives.”

                  Yes, we realize that the debate is not really about evidence because atheist have all the evidence for God they need. It’s all about autonomy. Atheists want the right to call their own shots and do what feels good without having to answer to God for their actions. That’s why the behavior of most atheists is, quite frankly, appalling – not to mention dangerous.

                • Cannon Fodder

                  Ah, those absolutes you love. I’d bet there are plenty of Christians who have or are feeling threatened by what an atheist has to say. But sure, I’m sure there are plenty of Christians who wouldn’t change their mind about their faith regardless of any evidence/logic/science provided.

                  Yea, religion will never go away – just like disease, crime, etc. Not saying that religion or religious people are inherently bad, just making the point that just because something probably won’t go away from society doesn’t automatically make it desirable or legitimate.

                  Yes, indeed, you and many other Christians have clearly hardwired yourselves or by hardwired by some other person to believe in God. :P It’s kind of a poor hard wiring that is so easily rejected no? btw, Aquinas would disagree with you – he states quite clearly that God is not self-evident.

                  Atheists have all the evidence they need for God? What evidence? Your word? The Bible’s word? Again, you are quite fond of making absolute judgments. You quite clearly insinuate that the only reason atheists “reject God” is because we just want to do whatever we want. That might be true for some, but most certainly not true for many if not all people on this blog including me. The difference is I guide my actions by reason and logic (things that make sense to most people) not the alleged words of heavily edited text which claims to be God’s very own divine words. Logic and reason, unlike the God described in the OT and NT, leads me to accept and live by the principles that genocide, infanticide, slavery, etc. are bad things – detrimental to health, happiness, and society. Religion has absolutely nothing to back up its doctrine beyond “because I said so, he/she said so, or the Bible said so.” Reason and logic provide testable parameters from which one can objectively measure the meaningfulness/usefulness of his/her ethics, unlike religion which tends to promote divine command theory – which allegedly led Abraham to believe killing his son was moral b/c it was commanded by God as well as the Inquisition, the Crusades, etc. Religion claims to be perfect, thus how can it adapt or even begin to question the validity of its doctrine? Why would it? Hence, the various atrocities throughout history.

                • Tom in Virginia

                  Randy, the thing is . . . Christians also want the right to call their own shots and do what feels good to them. They just invent a God in order to pretend they aren’t going their own way. So you have the Catholic heirarchy saying “do as I say” based on what “God” tells them, and those who choose to reject Catholic theology make up a different set of commands from their imaginary god, and so do the Muslims, and the Jews (different sects of them too!) That is why the behavior of most Christians is, quite frankly, appalling — not to mention dangerous to the survival of the human race!

                • C Peterson

                  Methinks you are very out of touch with reality if you don’t see how many Christians in the U.S. are feeling very threatened by the growing acceptance of atheism. And they should feel threatened, since a good many of them realize that their ideas don’t hold up to scrutiny. They realize that they act morally without a god, and that much of the immorality in the world around them comes from the belief that morals are devised by, and enforced by, a god.

                • C rob

                  are we hardwired to believe in God, are are we hardwired to believe in an external force(s), as we are incapable of explaining the reason behind things that happen? (its much easier to say that a God made something happen, rather than try to explain it scientifically). As you know, ancient and some more primitive cultures believed in several gods, not just one. so this notion of being hardwired to believe in God is not as accurate as you would have us believe. what you are perhaps trying to push forward is that God placed this ‘hardwired belief’ within us when he made us, right? more ‘proof’ of there being a God, right?
                  also, is the behavior of most atheists really that appalling? in what sense? you mean, living together in sin? is that what you mean by appalling? not going to church? how are most atheists more dangerous to the planet? oh, wait, that opens up another issue – define dangerous for us.

                • Charles Honeycutt

                  Your insecure dishonesty only proves his point.

                  Oh, and you claimed to be telepathic again. Dumb little sack.

                • clevertitania

                  Isn’t it interesting, that Christians think that Wiccan’s are Satan worshipers and Atheists hate God, when Wiccan’s don’t believe in Satan, and Atheists don’t believe in any of it?

                  Atheists want the right to live their lives, free of the incursions of a fictional man in the sky. If you don’t think anyone is making attempts at such incursions, I suggest you look up “transvaginal ultrasound legislation.” Let me ask you this… are you concerned with the moral implications of not living according to the teachings of Zeus? How about Ra, or Thor (not comic book version)? No, you’re not are you? Because they are fictional right? Just as your God of Abraham is, to millions of people across the world. And even if I did believe he existed, I would not follow him anyway – by HIS words I am nothing but a piece of cattle to be passed about by any man who can corral me. By the Christian concept of the protection of souls, HIS people justify telling me that conception begins (and must be protected by the state) BEFORE I’ve even had sex! Don’t believe that, Google “conception at ovulation legislation.”

                  You know nothing about actual Atheists, and what their lives involve. Nothing at all. This board is full of people you know nothing about, and whom you would presume to judge, by their lack of belief in a book that’s been edited more times than Spam-A-Lot. And you think that makes you morally superior. I would call it sad, if it wasn’t so appalling.

                • Andy Anderson

                  “Me thinks you greatly over estimate yourself if you think a Christian would ever feel threatened by anything an atheist has to say. ”

                  You ought to ask the 16 year old high school student who received rape and murder threats from Christians because she stated she was an atheist, and asked her taxpayer-funded school to obey the Establishment Clause and take down their “School Prayer”. Ahlquist v Cranston. Look it up.

                  Or does that just fit in the “facts that cease to exist when I ignore them” file?

                  “Yes, we realize that the debate is not really about evidence because atheist have all the evidence for God they need. ….Atheists want the right to call their own shots and do what feels good without having to answer to God for their actions”

                  Ah. I see what you did there. I won’t engage with people who argue dishonestly, so I’m done.

                • HermitTalker

                  CP We thinkers delight in bursting the illogical bubbles and irrational babbling of people like you and those on this site who repeat the 4000 year old objections to the existence of Monotheism and the millennia of the testimony to the existence of some gods, Divine Force. I have been to Machu Pichu Peru on Dec 21, and visited the exact same phenomenon that is shown in New Grange where the SUN shines through a tiny window into a burial worship area. Makes a lot more sense and is evidence of a sense of the Sacred Human and recognition of a powerful Force, the Sun and what it represents, Light and Life for the Earth.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  You mean the Earth moves in predictable, mathematical patterns around the sun and the ancient Incans figured this out and built temples to take advantage of that knowledge?

                  Sounds like a natural universe that follows its own laws rather than a miracle of … following the laws of the universe. It’s a lot less mystical sounding when you say it that way, but hey, I’m a pragmatic person. Why shroud perfectly understandable things in mystery and bullshit when, instead, you can understand them?

                • HermitTalker

                  Modern scientists have shown that there is order in the Universe, it has its own inner logic and so has to have arisen from some a. Intelligent Designer. b an Unmoved First Mover- Aristotle for the five proofs from Reason and developed by Aquinas. Some source had to begin those laws and rules and arrange the complexity of the human body and the instinct of animals and birds and the magnificent colour and marvels of Nature we now can see or visit or see power points or videos of them. It just did not happen.. Some Power did. Believers call Him God, a caring Person. The reference to Machu Pichu and Ireland five thousand miles apart was a Human Desire to worship a Higher Power, in their case the Sun which has its Source , the Light itself. Reason and not your vulgar epitaph.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  ‘Intelligent Designer’ hm, that sounds like something that would have to have an inner logic.

                • HermitTalker

                  Correct. A Being. Force, A Self Starter that did not get its boost from a prior outside Force. aka God.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  A Self. Starter. With internal logic.

                • HermitTalker

                  Do not know what your comment means, RW. Getting no answers to my simple question other than the same tired old illogical rejections that contradict science and common sense and every normal human person’s experience. Saying it all assembled and organised itself as explanation for the working of the Planet Earth, apart from the as yet un-charted Universe is illogical, irrational and unacceptable,

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  I completely disagree. The internal rules by which the universe works just happened to happen that way. Nothing had to arrange them or force them to work- we developed inside the universe, adapted to its rules. If it had other rules, life might well exist, but it wouldn’t be human or anything we would necessarily recognize.

                  Also, we don’t know what’s outside our universe. I mean, our universe is big. Really really big. Far too big for human minds to comprehend. And that’s just everything we know could possibly exist- who knows what, if anything, exists outside everything we know could exist? Maybe there’s other universes. Maybe there’s nothing. Maybe our universe exists inside the event horizon of a massive black hole in a parent universe, stacked up and down who knows how many times. The point is we don’t know. We should not say “God did it” when the true answer is simply we don’t know.

                • HermitTalker

                  You defy logic. Aristotle followed by Aquinas refer back to a PRIME MOVER. Aristotle was not a monotheist was five hundred years BCE/BC from outside the Jewish monotheistic realm. He used his mind to figure out that Something, some , Power started it all off. Scientists who are not theists suggest some outside Intelligence. The simple example we got was putting a typewriter in a forest and coming back to see a Monkey had typed a Shakespeare play. OR find an old fashioned watch in the forest and realise someone made it. That was 1950s and Science has since figured out an inner mathematical logic and science to the Universe. Some future crowd can figure out how the Moon and Earth actually came to separate from each other, and if so how. They are working on that now. You are still dodging the basic question. How did the inner logic and interconnectedness of this Planet and the dignity and majesty of sun moon stars, 3000 mile migration of birds and fish and the human love and some birds and animal instinct to mate, and bond for life “happen.” Let someone else figure out planets we may not have discovered yet,

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  No, I’m not missing anything. I’m saying I don’t know how the universe began exactly, how it got the rules it has, or what’s outside of it. I reject the idea that some Being had to make it happen, but I’m perfectly comfortable with knowing that I don’t know how it did happen. The universe is internally consistent, but that doesn’t mean something created it to be that way. It just means universal laws are, well, universal. Nothing says that there must be majesty in the night sky (humans created that concept, as we are the observers who give meaning to what we see), that there must be animals, that those animals must develop on an molten-iron-cored planet, or that those animals must migrate. Things developed as they did because they developed that way. There isn’t a rhyme or reason to it. We are the result of winning a cosmic lottery- how cool is that?

                  We can see evolution happening; we’ve even got pretty decent theories about how life could have begun on a planet previously devoid of it. The current scientific consensus is a major asteroid strike on a still-developing planet caused us to have our relatively giant moon. We’re discovering new planets all the time, even some that could theoretically support life (approximate right size, approximate right distance from their sun). We’re learning that our solar system actually is pretty weird how it’s set up, with the multitude of planets orbiting as they do and at the distances they are from our sun.

                  As for Aristotle and Aquinas- they said some interesting things, but they were wrong. They were working with much worse data than we have now, and in Aquinas’s case started with the supposition that there must be a God and then twisted logic to try to “prove” it, instead of using the scientific method (which, granted, hadn’t been developed yet) to test a hypothesis about the world.

                • HermitTalker

                  Aquinas] followed Aristotle’s logic as a Philosopher, aka a Thinking Man, a Rational Animal to quote A. Did you take Logic. You keep begging the question, pushing your First Mover, further back with irrational, illogical guesses, cosmic lottery, it must have, it just happened. E-mail me when your Orangutang builds a church or your Monkey produces a best seller on her laptop or your skunks produce a Michelangelo. Evolution, bring it on please.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  The entire first mover premise presumes that there’s some thing with the ability to create, which itself was not created. The point at which we switch from “must have had a creator” to “is an unmoved first mover” seems completely arbitrary. And we know nothing about this presumed “first mover” other than attributes like ‘intelligence’ that we presume (rather anthropologically I might add). That’s not logic. That’s us filling gaps with cuddly toys so we don’t feel afraid in the dark.

                • HermitTalker

                  Try me then. Why does the Sun not burn the Earth up. Why is the rotation of Earth and Sun so regularly predictable, Why do salmon leave the ocean, come up our river to spawn and those new salmon come back 3000 miles the exact same place to spawn next year. Why do bird couples come each year to have their babies in last year’s nest. Why are certain laws constant, normal human temperature? You seem to exist inside your own brain and never moved outside it to challenge your own unoriginal objections to standard questions and rational answers. We know we use human language, what word do you use to explain how this Planet and our Moon and Sun are organised? Chance, evolution ,random do not work. Please answer and do not repeat with silly old objections and cuddly toy images.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  Most of those are well understood but there’s not much point in me giving you detailed answers to the ones I do know if you’re going to a priori reject them.

                  Chance, evolution ,random

                  One of those three things is very much not like the others.

                  My objection to your entire line of argument is that you aren’t really saying anything. When someone explains the theory of gravity or evolution, they’re making concrete statements that are falsifiable.

                  You tell us we need something intelligent to organize it all. We certainly don’t need something intelligent to get Salmon to return to their spawning ground. If there’s any necessity for something intelligent to organize the laws of physics, it’s so far removed from us that me calling it a cuddly toy is no less accurate than any description you can give it.

                  I’m not at all opposed to challenging ideas, but I’m interested in challenges that have substance. Saying something doesn’t work one way doesn’t explain how it does work. (Especially when the way you say it doesn’t work has been show to work).

                • HermitTalker

                  I do not seem to be expressing it properly. How did the magnificent order of the Planet Earth come to be. Other posts suggest, chance, random, evolution and that is common outside this site, they make absolutely no sense, There is order, a system, an organisation at work. Call it what you wish. Use a word other than Intelligence that does make sense as an explanation. The burden is on you. I have offered Aristotle, Aquinas as Thinker, Philosopher which he was relying on A. as Augustine did on Plato on which Aquinas built his Theology based on Reason and Revelation as he believed. I have spent a lifetime to date learning, challenging and being challenged by these fundamental questions, Neither Aquinas nor the Bishop of Rome ever say “God said it, I believe it, that settles it as the evangelicals say in their bumper sticker.” We respect human intelligence and resent being called irrational or believing in fanciful stories as several atheists do here and outside this site.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  *Facepalm* You clearly don’t understand what evolution is or how it works. Humans appear to be unique on our planet for our combination of consciousness and tool usage. Many other animals use tools, and we’re coming to realize that some other animals may have self awareness, cultural transmission of customs, and communication (dolphins being high on that list). Why is it illogical to note that we’re here because things randomly fell out that way? You don’t like that answer, I get that, but it’s not an inherently illogical one. We know that things with very tiny chances of happening do happen on a regular basis- there’s just so many things happening all the time. What are the chances that *this* particle gets quantum entangled with *that* particle? Pretty damned tiny. But we know that particles get entangled with each other, so clearly it did happen.

                  You should also reread your list of logical fallacies. Begging the Question is a type of informal fallacy in which an implicit premise would directly entail the conclusion. It is a type of circular logic. I am saying I don’t know, which by definition doesn’t involve a conclusion other than that I don’t know. However, I will note that Aristotle was famous for his use of just this fallacy. “There must be a God/Prime Mover” is an excellent example of begging the question, because it begins with a premise that is also the conclusion.

                • Cannon Fodder

                  Maybe we have been on both Christian and atheist message boards. Just because we are here tonight doesn’t mean we haven’t been anywhere else.

                • Tom in Virginia

                  Randy, if you’re such a Christian, why don’t you behave like one? Why do you insist on pushing your bullshit in an atheism conversation? Why aren’t you considerate like we are — we don’t come into your churches trying to push our perspective. Apparently you don’t really believe in the God of the Bible yourself, do you? “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you?” As for “trust you” — I wouldn’t trust you to fix my kitchen sink! Don’t kid yourself. Every Christian I know (and I know a lot of them) only pretends to believe in a God — deep down you and they know that gods are make-believe, but you need it as a crutch to get through your daily grind.

                • Charles Honeycutt

                  You’re not debating, troll. You’re trolling. You’re also making artificial demands of us. If we were* on Christian messageboards**, you’d just set up another hoop and claim we’re not serious because we didn’t jump through it. You’re a dishonest git.

                  Using proven methodology is not the same as belief based on faith. You’re extremely ignorant of how words work.

                  It’s funny how you claim experience on the basis of being able to cite one thing, yet magically you can’t actually refute it. It’s almost as if you’re dishonestly trying to use misdirection to score points. But how could THAT be? After all, Jesus hates lies, and you ARE Saved, right?

                  *Many of us do that very thing. You’re kind of a moron if you don’t know that and yet are talking anyway.

                  **Christian forums are prone to heavy moderation. You and yours fear facts.

                • HermitTalker

                  not to believe is also a belief, I believe in nothing and create a system around that- racism, greed, genocide and a verbal, or physical war against believers. Logic 101 CP

              • Putnam

                You’re surprisingly ignorant. People don’t rail against the other made up things because they don’t have a massive negative effect on the world we live in. We are forced to speak about it because it affects our lives every single day. There ale rules and laws set in place that we non-believers are FORCED to live by, based on your ridiculous superstitions. Get the f#ck out of our lives and we’ll shut our big mouths. Let people not die EVERY SINGLE DAY because of your fairy tales, and we’ll be quiet. Let women not be subjugated by religious doctrine and we’ll leave you the hell alone. Until then, expect to be ridiculed for being a grown-child who is willfully ignorant.

                • Randy R.

                  “You’re surprisingly ignorant.”

                  Rule #1: People who have no valid arguments always lead with an ad hominem attack.

                  “Until then, expect to be ridiculed for being a grown-child who is willfully ignorant.”

                  Ridicule is ineffective. I’d prefer you use reason and logic but I realize that is difficult for many atheists. (See what I did there? ;^))

                • Cannon Fodder

                  lol. You should take some of your advice. I’d prefer you use reason and logic because I haven’t seen much of either from you besides one joke, one dubious statistic, and a whole lot of baseless assertions. Honestly I don’t mind what you believe in so long as it is tempered by reason – preventing people from being able to justify anything because of verbal claims or subjective mental experiences.

                  Please, surely your case rests upon more than just that most wars are fought for political/economic reasons and that atheists are irrational and know God exists but angrily deny him.

                  Here’s my case for you (I’d be happy to explain in detail in later responses as I don’t want to be here all night).

                  1) God can neither be proven or disproven by empirical means. Thus the question become whether it is reasonable or not to believe in God. Since God is supernatural and “beyond time and space” it seems impossible to sufficiently and validly demonstrate his existence, much less his exact person(s) and/or attributes. Thus from the get go, we have little to no valid reason to assume a god or gods. Furthermore, even were it verifiable that a higher power existed, without being able to know its characteristics its existence becomes negligible except of course for intellectual truth.

                  3) Scriptural/Doctrinal Problems

                  - Problem of evil – God has the ability and supposedly has used his abilities to save some people from atrocity and disaster in the past. Why save some, and not others? The free will response does not work – because of the alleged miracles described above which describe God as intervening as a third party without violating free will which ought to be possible even if the described miracles are false. The “good that comes from the evil” response is also problematic. God really has to allow a woman to be raped just so the rapist can fully manifest his free will and the victim can have a chance at redemption, hope, or forgiveness? God really has to allow a Jewish boy to be hanged so an Nazi soldier or general can fully express his free will and so that the boy’s family can have a chance at hope, forgiveness, or moving on? Furthermore, the response does not work as heaven is a place without sin – God essentially finishes the job and makes us perfect. So is a world with temptation really necessary or desirable? If you are a Catholic, then Mary is perfect example of how thoroughly God has screwed humanity – a perfect human being who never sinned with free will.

                  - The Bible – On multiple occasions the Bible demonstrates God condoning or commiting genocide (the Egyptians assisting the Jews during Exodus, the Amalekites), infanticide/murder (Abraham & Isaac, Elisha & the 42 Children), slavery, severely beating/disciplining children, execution (for adultery, eating shellfish, disrespecting one’s parents,etc), and deliberately damning people to disaster or damnation (2 Thessalonians, Pharaoh in Exodus, a large portion of humanity). There is a clear and obvious difference between the God of the OT and the NT. Not to mention that the Bible itself was heavily editing, added to, and re-translated.

                  - Miracles, even were miracles true, unless they could be performed always at will (for good reasons) it is very difficult if not impossible to tie that miracle to a specific God. As most major world religions have a plethora of miracle accounts, it really minimizes the credibility of the various miracles stories.

                  - Heaven, if heaven is true, then what is point of life as Christians will supposedly being completely made perfect by God and live in a place with no sin anyway. God can’t technically even get rid of evil b/c good and evil inherently exist as a result of sentience.

                  - Hell, what could anyone due to merit eternal and unimaginable torture meant as punishment not as restoration? Is God really so incapable of being supremely persuasive to all humanity, so that all would be saved? Is God really going to judge primarily based upon what guess or belief a person choice in life due his/her specific circumstances (which God could have supposedly influenced) rather than the person’s actual actions and intentions?

                  4) The teleological argument does not work – The mystery of existence does not automatically justify the assumption of a god or gods, much less the Christian God specifically. Just because there is no empirical answer available, does not justify assuming a creator – which would be a fallacy of incredulity. Humans were not created “perfect” as suggested by many theists, as numerous parts of the body, were they created by a designer, were designed incompetently – the back, knees, female hip bones, respiratory/digestive track, etc. If one attempts to claim that sentience or life requires a creator, then the claim devolves into an infinite regression as God, being sentience and alive, now requires his own creator who requires another creator, etc.

                  5) The ontological argument does not work – The argument commits a fallacy of equivocation. Just because a mental, abstract idea or ideal can or does exist does not automatically bring that thing/being into tangible reality.

                  Conclusion: In order to reconcile these various problem with Christianity, one seemingly has no choice but claim that because “it’s God it all somehow works out.” Faith. A baseless assumption. Christians can certainly use reason to formulate doctrine, but most if not all of it is based on the foundational faith-based assumption that Christianity is true regardless of any evidence/logic/science that suggests otherwise. If one examines history, Christianity with all of its problems and struggles for power seems quite secular, but under the guise of a claimed divinity. It’s current prominence in the minds of human beings lends it no legitimacy – as millions also believe in hinduism, buddhism, and Islam.

                  You don’t have to believe me, but I am primarily concerned with truth – right now that has brought me to atheism but if you can present me with sufficient and valid evidence/reason/science, I’ll gladly convert on the spot.

                • Charles Honeycutt

                  It’s not an ad hominem if it is a judgment backed up by argumentation. Your Facebook level of understanding of logical fallacies is not going to serve you among people who have experience with your junk arguments.

              • marmy002

                Oh my, someone playing the Devil’s Advocate. How trollish of you, but worth it as the people that are responding to your slightly snarky comment are making extremely intelligent and insightful remarks. Thanks for pointing out their great minds!

                • Randy R.

                  You’re beautiful Jennifer but if you feel anyone’s responses to me here have been “extremely intelligent and insightful” I would suggest you need to get out more.

                • Tom

                  Oh wow, male theist troll’s first response to a statement made by an openly female commenter is to talk about her physical appearance, then follow it with intellectual dismissal. Colour me surprised.

                • Charles Honeycutt

                  Your sexist condescension is noted, Dimwit.

                • Matt D

                  Few adults see merit in discussing mature topics with someone who can’t behave themselves when anonymous.

              • Cannon Fodder

                With all due respect, it really doesn’t matter what the Christian worldview says – what matters is what you have to back it up with. Unfortunately your comment is utterly lacking of any substantiation.

                People write against Christianity because so many people believe it and structure their lives and interactions around – and at the end of the day there is no foundation beyond “b/c I said so, he/she said so, the bible said so, or ‘God’ said so.” If the myth of Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy were actually believed by billions and used to structure society, politics, and economics then I bet you there would be aclausists and whatever no believing in the tooth fairy makes you. :P

                Simple fact of the matter, atheists don’t, technically can’t hate God – what we are adamant against is the unsubstantiated, contradictory, immoral, and non-sensical version of God offered by Christians and other theists as reality.

              • Tom in Virginia

                If there were millions of adults going around trying to dictate to others how they should behave based on a note Santa left them in their stocking at Christmas, you can bet your sweet ass I would be arguing with the fools who were pushing such nonsense — and it wouldn’t be because I was “mad at Santa.”

              • C rob

                really Randy? people dont write blogs about the non-existence of santa claus, bec the only people who believe in him are kids. I wont go any further into this than that, since I am not an atheist – merely an open-minded agnostic here to enjoy the comments.

              • Charles Honeycutt

                Yes, we’re aware that Christians claim to be telepathic and thus they know what people are REALLY thinking. It’s also a common trait among paranoid neoconservatives.

                Are you seriously unable to grasp the difference in the levels of harm cause by belief in religion and belief in the Tooth Fairy? Well of course you aren’t. You’re telepathic, after all. You claim so directly in your second and third paragraphs.

                You are however, ignorant of the difference between a “belief”, a “philosophy”, and a “methodology”, as demonstrated in your last sentence. Might want to work on that with your psychic powers.

                It’s very sad that you consider discussing and resisting the negative actions of others to be “wasting time”… unless of course it’s YOU doing such.

          • Putnam

            That’s because your ears have been stuffed with bullshit your whole life…

        • Mattanyah

          You people sure waste a lot of your time talking about God who you claim doesn’t exist. That seems silly and a big waste of time if you ask me.

          • TiltedHorizon

            How odd that you need to come to the defense of the most powerful force in the universe.

            Not to worry, I’ll cordon off an area around god so the next breeze does not dispel his supreme ethereal existence.

          • Michael W Busch

            Not true. The people here are spending their time talking primarily about the people who believe in a god that doesn’t exist. Those people exist, and it is important to understand what they are saying and doing.

          • C Peterson

            We don’t talk much about a god that doesn’t exist, we talk about the social institutions that belief in gods produce, and about the negative personal and societal consequences of theism and religiosity.

          • mike

            Nobody asked you!

          • Putnam

            We are forced to speak about it because it affects our lives every single day. There ale rules and laws set in place that we non-believers are FORCED to live by, based on your ridiculous superstitions. Get the f#ck out of our lives and we’ll shut our big mouths. Let people not die EVERY SINGLE DAY because of your fairy tales, and we’ll be quiet. Let women not be subjugated by religious doctrine and we’ll leave you the hell alone. Until then, expect to be ridiculed for being a grown-child who is willfully ignorant.

            • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=546007417 facebook-546007417

              Oh what a load of BS Putnam! You just want attention and undeserved respect.

              Nobody is forcing you to pray the Rosary at gunpoint. Nobody is FORCING you to live by ANYTHING. You are “bravely” standing up to a “huge evil theocracy” that is no more real than the United Federation of Planets.

              I”m assuming you are an American. IF that’s so you live in a country where adultery is not just legal, but no big deal (outside the military). Divorce is cheap, quick and easy, abortion is available universally, (even after birth if you read the Gosnel case) porn is universally available and free on the net, euthanasia and same sex marriage are legal in many states, and Christians are increasingly coming under legal attack if they stand up for their faith in either the business world or the public square. You’re not being FORCED to do anything by anyone.

              So get over yourself. IF you want people to admire you for taking a strong and courageous stand, then you probably need to stand up against something that actually exists in the real world.

              • Charles Honeycutt

                It’s very sad that you stupidly rushed into a blog (one of many) that regularly describes all the things that Putnam mentions with extensive documentation, then in your ignorant outrage, made a fool of yourself. It’s doubly sad that you won’t learn anything from your outburst, and will instead puff up and dig in rather than do the most basic research or ask a question and thus learn something.

                Please Brendan, grow up and learn to Google. And to not make things up about people. Unless of course you think that Jesus loves false witness.

              • HermitTalker

                freedom for Atheists, Agnostics, Leftie Humanists is to deprive the Earth of any moral restrictions and file suits and pass laws to force us to submit to their Laws and Moral Code, er, immoral code. Logic where are thou, Roam-eoing around Empty Heads

              • acninee

                You are making too many assumptions. Abortion is not universally available. It’s legal under federal law, but increasingly states are passing laws to limit it. Many women have to travel a long way to find a provider. I would not presume to describe that situation as ‘universally available’. I live in Puget Sound in Washington State. Our hospitals are merging and it seems that the Catholic hospital system is aggregating most of them under its control. This changes services available to the people who live within the catchment areas where those hospitals are the dominant providers. I like the Catholic hospitals – they have caring, competent providers working for them; but I do find it extremely worrisome in terms of women who will be denied services as a result. Will a terminally ill patient in pain be able to choose euthanasia in accordance with his legal right as a citizen of Washington state to do so? When any religious group.. Catholic, protestant, Islamic, Jewish.. becomes so dominant that it forces it’s values on everyone else regardless of their choice to embrace an alternative religious tradition or to reject religious tradition completely — there is a tyranny involved.

              • Elizabeth

                Kermit wasn’t readily available so that part doesn’t make too much sense. Same sex marriage is legal in SOME states, not the majority. xtians still get to have “in God we trust” on license plates, currency, schools, etc. abortion is still in the media because it’s available now, but some conservative’s would like to take that away. euthanasia is still a very touchy topic and not available everywhere either, even if you’re on your death bed, and in constant pain.

                damn though, bro. spare us the christians are under attack BS. i still can’t buy alcohol on sunday. that’s definitely not because of any logical reason i can think of.

            • HermitTalker

              Pray tell what laws shouldst we Majoritarians follow so as not to upset thy minority’s silly soul, heart and mind with our non-existent god and her moral code. The pray in pray tell is optional, olde Englishe for please, prithee,

          • pfzzzer

            who asked you?

          • Undefyned Poet

            And you seem quite idiotic to me. Are athiests in a separate culture all by themselves or are they in a nation along with believers, most of which seek to oppress people? So god not existing is not the issue. The fact is because christians make up the majority, religion still touches the lives of us athiests against our will due to unjust laws, therefore the “silly waste of time discussions” we have.

          • Cannon Fodder

            LOL…We “waste our time” talking about a God who doesn’t exist because billions of people are convinced that he does without try to impose their social, political, and economic on the society without sufficient and valid cause. We “waste our time” talking about a God who doesn’t exist because the religion that comes with it often promotes a blind obedience lacking of any true critical thinking. :P

          • Andy Anderson

            It’s okay. Nobody asked you.

        • John Lynch

          I have escaped the Catholic church but I still feel embarrassed at what I fell for hook, line and sinker.It was difficult but worth the trip into reality. No more guilt or shame.

          • Greg

            It is interesting looking back and thinking, wow I believed that! funny

          • Laura

            I know exactly where you’re coming from but why does the guilt and the shame still pester me not that I’ve done anything to encourage guilt or shame – I guess it’s just a state of being Catholic raised

            • just me 123

              It’s because Christ resides in you. You are uneasy because you know there is more there. Jesus IS present in the Eucharist. Please read Steve Ray’s Crossing the Tiber.

              • proud2beDem

                @ just me123 ,Again you are preaching guilt and shame in your statement , I don’t think you helped Laura . Read the book The Mystical Life of Jesus by Sylvia Brown . An eye opener to some common sense facts .

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  Or maybe Laura doesn’t need any ‘help’ from people who make shit up and peddle it as either common sense or messages from God/the dead.

                  “The reason you didn’t find him is ’cause he’s in water”

                  “It was September 11th”

                • jimmy

                  there is a difference between shame and humility. you know there is no shame, no one said that. but there is humility towards the one who is above the sins like war, adultery, and hedonism

            • Birdie Golden

              I think guilt and shame is a human condition. What the Catholic church has done is take these conditions and utilize to their advantage.

              From my view, the way the Catholic church gathers its members is very similar to the way some pervert might take advantage of a girl passed out at a party.

            • Birdie Golden

              Also, you are a woman Laura. It is not just one thing in our society that has been tailored to beat unnecessary “shame” into women.

        • Paul Harrison

          Im so sick and tired of people thinking that Christianity is some blind, unintelligent decision that people make. It has its own set of logic and reasoning as to why people follow it. Science is just as fallible. Its the nutcases in the minority that give both a bad name. Many of the churches teachings are very very relevant to this world. By sheer logic if everyone did as Jesus did we would have a very peaceful world….but NO people want to do things their OWN way….humanism

          • C Peterson

            Christianity has no internal logic. It is fundamentally irrational, and if examined critically, is unethical. The belief that rationality is a better approach to decision making than other methods is certainly a matter of personal philosophy, but the belief that theism can be arrived at rationally represents an error of fact.

            For all but a statistically insignificant number of cases, the route to Christianity is, indeed, a blind and unintelligent path… because for most, it isn’t a decision at all, but an indoctrination, seldom considered critically after childhood.

            • Name

              “Christianity has no internal logic. It is fundamentally irrational, and if examined critically, is unethical.” Hmm. I don’t suppose you mean that by “no internal logic” you mean “no system of beliefs that I prefer”? Because I think you know as much as anyone else who has read a Bible — even those who treat it as fiction — that there is internal logic and consistency within the Bible. The real issue of contention here is the foundation of belief, i.e. faith in a divine God, as opposed to the belief that we only believe in what we can perceive or arrive at through reason.

              And, seriously, “unethical”? I think you’re conflating Christian doctrine, which is indubitably ethical (flip through the Bible and count the number of teachings in there which a modern rational society would unquestionably construe as being perfectly moral and ethical) and the behaviour of people who claim to adhere to said doctrine, which is indeed often questionable. The Bible itself records or refers to many instances of esteemed members of the early Christian community who either betrayed the principles that Jesus taught or perverted them either through ignorance, selfishness or habits of tradition. These people were summarily lambasted and denounced in the Bible. The fact that some proponents of a belief fall short of its ideals does not diminish its inherent value.

              I have to agree that there is much misinformation and blind acceptance of the Christian faith without proper consideration and thought given to its beliefs, and that is certainly lamentable. But surely there are better ways to criticise Christianity than to resort to sweeping generalisations obviously made in the heat of an irrational moment.

              Of course, my opinion doesn’t actually matter, since I am statistically insignificant.

              • C Peterson

                Consistency in the Bible? That’s a joke! Clearly, you’ve never read the thing, or if you have, you’ve never given it any critical thought.

                • HermitTalker

                  critical Thought yes, to read and study it in its historical setting and context. Same as I do USA social history, slaves are property, 5/7 of a white man, cannot pee in whitey’s piss pot, and I can breed her and him to make more slaves Kill the natives to take the land and its resources. Are YOU still stuck in that un-evolved state, and that was 18th c USA while the OT is as old as its Babylonian 1900 BCE/BC roots. Idiot atheists. LOGIC 101 and basic History.

              • Cannon Fodder

                Please demonstrate this biblical consistency and moral perfection with actual examples. It is true that there are indeed admirable and correct moral values promoted by some of the Bible – love, charity, hope, compassion, etc. However, anyone who has actually read the Bible also know that there is a great deal of appalling atrocity, usually if not always derived from a divine command theory mentality.

                Actually the real contention here is whether the Christian God matches up with various expectations one would have about an omnipotent, perfect, and omniscient God.

                You my friend clearly have not thoroughly read your bible. God either condones and/or commits various incredibly unethical actions throughout the Bible – murder (Job, Abraham & Isaac, the Egyptians assisting the Israelites in Exodus, Elisha & the 42 Children), genocide (Amalekites), slavery, severely beating/disciplining children, execution (for adultery, eating shellfish, disrespecting parents), God deliberately ensuring people run into disaster and/or utter damnation (the Pharaoh in Exodus, 2 Thessalonians), technical cannabalism (Bread of Life teaching), etc. No modern or rational society would ever condone any of the above (hopefully).

                • HermitTalker

                  The so-called appalling atrocity dates to an era that evolved morally, led to a thorough development in Jesus and warrior savages were converted by it over the centuries. Your so-called Enlightenment. Age of Science gave us the French Revolution, Humanistic Atheism gave us Stalin and Chairman Mao and Hitler and read your History. There is no cannibalism in John 6, there is a sacramental presence of Christ’s Body and Blood, not a physical presence of a dead/risen body. it pays to have studied the Text before performing major surgery on a 2100 year old Church’s story. Many of you critics are rejecting “belief” in Santa Claus while missing the fact it is a Myth about Selfless Giving. And Myth has a classical meaning, a Truth that is wrapped inside a Story. The Gift is hidden inside the wrapping. Please grow up. Becoming Little Children is an invitation to humbly learn, not leave home at 16 because your Parents are so stupid…

                • What?

                  Funny you bring up Hitler considering the Catholic church backed him up. Idiot. Just because you can choose to see something positive in an otherwise Bullshit mythology that has caused more harm than good in the world doesn’t give you the right be such a condescending prick. Get off your high horse, you’re an asshole. You speak of “gifts”? How about the gift you just tried to give by painting a positive picture and wrapping a nasty little piece of “fuck you” in the middle? Such an ass…

                • HermitTalker

                  what. your fluent use of vulgarity and lack of logic, and insulting personal comments entitles you to a place……. Excuse me please while I offer some options…..later,
                  For starters, your Hitler-ology-Catholicism seems to have come from Hochhuth’s 1968 THE DEPUTY that has been totally discredited by scholarship ever since. Except by Flat Earth scientists and the Moon Landing was filmed on a Hollywood back lot conspirators . and bigoted Hate-filled filthy mouths such as yours.

                • Charles Honeycutt

                  God created that unevolved morality. Humans fixed it for him.

                  Stalin, Mao and Hitler were not Humanists. Their philosophies were not derived from it. Hitler was a CHRISTIAN. You’re kind of a dumbass, Hermittalker, and dishonestly ignorant, since you have the entire Internet with which to correct your paranoid, revisionistic understanding of history.

                  Your Christlike maturity and humility are dazzling.

                • HermitTalker

                  Hitler was a baptised Catholic. So what, did he absorb that or was it just a family ritual and meant nothing more. Point to my paranoid, revisionist understanding of history. I do not do droning or blitzing or sniper fire. Face me at High Noon on Main Street and argue like a Man. I will have a glass of milk first. And challenge your logic. Or are you still playing in an Intellectual Sandbox in a pretend world?

                • Cannon Fodder

                  Lol.
                  Impressive that it took God so long to get the correct message across to his chosen people – there goes God’s omnipotence and omniscience out the window. It’s a poor God who cannot accurately and convincingly inform his people of the correct morality that ought to be followed. Not to mention the various people before Christ and those that have or never will hear about him.

                  You clearly need to read your history. Hitler was clearly a Catholic firmly convinced of his divine mission from God – ever read his mein kempf? Furthermore, the fact that Mao and Stalin were atheist by no means attaches an inherent evil to atheism itself. Atheism is a broad label that describes a large group of people who only have one thing in common – suspending belief in God due to lack of evidence. There is nothing about not believing in a God that is inherently evil.

                  As for John 6, depends on who you ask – most if not all Catholic scholars would say that the Eucharist is indeed the very real flesh and blood of Christ. Apologies, I should have specifically mentioned it was a Catholic view. Either way, it was a very minor side point so fine no cannabalism :P.

                  One does not need to believe in Santa Claus’ existence to learn the lesson of selfless giving – one does not need to believe in Santa Claus’ existence in order to derive the lesson of selfless giving even from the narrative of Santa Claus itself.

                  With all that stuff about myths, are you then conceding that Christianity is indeed a myth – a nice narrative that provides some insights into life but without any actual substantiation in reality?

                  If you hold the position that Christianity is a myth with a nice moral lesson, then I’m not really even addressing you – I’m talking to the people who are claiming that God’s actual word and that it ought to be adhered to word for word.

                  “Becoming Little Children is an invitation to humbly learn, not leave home at 16 because your Parents are so stupid…”

                  Actually, becoming little children seems to be an invitation to blindly obey the words of another person who claims he/she speaks for your “father”/god. lol…what is the second part of that sentence even supposed to even mean? I haven’t left home, and I don’t think you would think my parents are stupid as they are Christians.

                  Grow up? I thought you advised becoming little children?

                • HermitTalker

                  Atheism, is Greek, A negative. Theos, God. ATheos.No God. Not a question of lack of evidence. That would be the word A No, Gnosis ,Knowlege, Agnostic, there may be but we have no knowledge. I referred to Atheistic Humanism, I am a Christian Humanist, different label, totally different concept as with atheism and agnostic. Hitler was a baptised Austrian Catholic. Not a Catholic as an adult as he seemed to have developed a maniacal complex and rage against his perceived vision of a purely Aryan nation and so declared Mein Kampf, My War, against Gypsies, Jews, Germans who disagreed with him and all others. Experimenting on babies( Mengele) working to kill one-legged WW1 veterans before his Aryan Magic Kingdom collapsed.
                  As to God, are you a parent/ g’parent. You were a child. You know from the bird and animal world, that parents feed their baby birds, then at a point, kick them out of the nest to fly and fend for themselves. Mammals may take longer to teach their young to hunt their food, danger about predators and then send them off to instinctively fend for themselves. Some birds, marine animals fly or swim 3000 miles to mate and raise a family exactly where they were born last year, some in the same nest with their monogamous partner. Humans are slow learners, we take longer to learn language, then good, bad, fear, flight, harmful helpful and eventually the A B C baby is a prize-winning author and the bird lover becomes a Ph D in his field and the toy airplane girl becomes an ace pilot.
                  God does the same- He built laws into the plant and animal world, some teach their young and off they go. He gave humans choices, we learn as we go along individually, and the Race did to along from primitive survival to moral evolution. guided by Teachers, and always opposed by Self-Appointed warriors against Natural Law, exercising racism, greed, rape, murder, and theft, destroyers of the Earth, ravaging “The Other ” and imposing their view by fire and sword.
                  Whoever said on here that Adam and Eve were preceded by…. have no idea how to read Genesis. Myth does not mean bull dung, or never happened. It has a technical classical meaning, a wrapping around a Truth, so do not try to pretend it was written as WE were taught to read it, talking snake, photosynthesis before the Sun was created, Moon is Big Light that shines at night and similar false understanding. It took time to discover the clay tablets found in the 19th century to show the origin of those stories in Babylon, today’s Iraq and that massive discovery still goes on as it is learned and taught. Same as Humanity discovered Electricity, the telephone,space travel and the Internet. When will humans land on Mars, I learned that the Owl said the Moon was made of Green Cheese and as a child tried to find the Man in the Moon.

                • acninee

                  Honestly, I always thought the ‘little children’ thing was about embracing innocence, never intended as an exhortation to become childish in any other way. I think that line is really getting overworked by everyone here. :)

                • Cannon Fodder

                  “Honestly, I always thought the ‘little children’ thing was about embracing innocence, never intended as an exhortation to become childish in any other way.”

                  Ignorance and “innocence” often go hand in hand.

                • acninee

                  I disagree. I know a great many individuals that I would consider innocent but far from ignorant. They choose to be good people, to live ethically. Knowledge doesn’t make them guilty of anything and in fact informs their ethical choices.

                • HermitTalker

                  child LIKE. Not child ISH

                • acninee

                  no, ‘childish’ is what I meant. Let us say, they were exhorted to become ‘childlike’, not to become ‘childish’

                • acninee

                  But there really isn’t a concept of morality evolving through the ages in the Bible, because the Judeo/Christian concept of God provides for an eternal, unchanging supernatural being. And those who embrace Christian fundamentalism would happily have us live by the letter of some of the rules that seem draconian to many of us today.

              • Tom

                “Of course, my opinion doesn’t actually matter, since I am statistically insignificant.”

                How very passive-aggressive of you. But you see, it doesn’t matter who says it – if your opinion makes sense and can be proven to be right, it will become significant. If it doesn’t, it won’t.

              • Charles Honeycutt

                The Bible you consider ethical describes an all-powerful and all-knowing being who allows rapists and murderers to take away the free will of their victims so that the rapists and murderers will enjoy free will. This being pitches genocidal tantrums because the things he set in motion then successfully occurred. Eventually he decides to give people another chance… but then invents Hell so as to hurt them even worse if they mess up on the test that he doesn’t properly explain and that relies on particular types of brain functions in order to pass.

                That’s only the start. Your book is not only fiction, it’s filth. It’s an abuse story, front to back. And guess what? Many of us, probably most of us, have read and researched it a LOT more than you have. You are ignorant of the backgrounds of the commenters here. Dozens of them were far, far more involved in Christianity than you will ever be.

                • HermitTalker

                  LEARN to read the BOOK before you knock it. Do you read a Library book on Brain Surgery and set up practice- or even cut hair or work at auto mechanics before getting some classes and a license/

          • Cannon Fodder

            Please, do share this separate legitimate logic/reasoning Christianity has. Is it not the case that all of this “logic/reasoning” you referred to is based upon the foundational assumption that the Christian God is perfect and true no matter what?

            Well, yes there are people who want to do things their own way – hopefully guided by valid logic/reason. Doing things “God’s way” or whatever is claimed to be God’s way hasn’t really worked out well in history.

            • HermitTalker

              your way has?

              • acninee

                His way hasn’t really been given a fair chance. I do see perils in giving it a fair chance, but seeing perils isn’t the same as having it proved that it will be disastrous. And we can point to incidents in history where the influence of religious belief on a society has been disastrous.

                • HermitTalker

                  Agree that a people can make an idol of God, as US used do to export its Manifest Destiny and fight the USSR as God’s war. Luther rejected the pope and sat back while his Prince slaughtered the Peasants. Some “reformation” of a corrupt “Church” Prisoners of their own culture, the point I make on here about Moral Evolution,
                  A lot of History blames the RC Church for the Crusades but forgets that Islam started the slaughter and caused the Crusades while they committed horrific atrocities. Some only point to the undisciplined attack on Jerusalem that broke all laws of God and violated the Knights’ Code of Chivalry. Our maternal roots are in NI; The decades of the “Troubles” since 1969 were presented as Catholic -Protestant but the restraint of Catholics against the viciousness of the government and soldiers and para-militaries was due to their deep faith and forgiving spirit. The IRA became a force when the Brits and old NI government conspired to refuse basic human rights and I saw and heard what that means visiting as a youth,.

              • Cannon Fodder

                For me yeah lol XD.

                • HermitTalker

                  did not understand last XD comment?

                • Cannon Fodder

                  You asked me, “your way has?” and I answered yes it does for me XD, but obviously it hasn’t been tested in history lol.

            • HermitTalker

              It is a Greek philosophic and not Jewish or Christian concept that God is perfect, immutable that has coloured History. Evolution of Morality from Genesis to Jesus’ Magna Carta, the Beatitudes is the real story of Human Moral Evolution that never has been linear, but cyclic in many ways.

              • Cannon Fodder

                “It is a Greek philosophic and not Jewish or Christian concept that God is perfect, immutable that has coloured History. ”

                Yes, and? Is this to say “God” is not perfect and immutable?

                • HermitTalker

                  did not write that, CF. OT shows a God with human feelings, angry, relenting, coaxing, threatening, promising throughout. the entire History, ever the Shepherd, a Person with very human feelings and characteristics who offered Life and a Promised Hope. They as a people grew, for Christians He became an Image of His Invisibility in Jesus the God-Man, an Eikon, Greek Icon for Humans to see the Hesed Jahweh, thee Loving Kindness of God who cried and loved and ,healed and showed that compassion to the outcasts; then revealed as a communion of Persons Father Son and Holy Spirit inviting humanity into Koinonia, communion,, fellowship., Family, . Not a hidden radar trying to catch us speeding to jail us or a Greek god killing or burning us up or messing humans up with their Star Wars of jealousy and spite…

                • Cannon Fodder

                  “It is a Greek philosophic and not Jewish or Christian concept that God is perfect, immutable that has coloured History. ”

                  You did indeed write that XD. Check your comments.

          • Tom

            Science is demonstrably less fallible than religion; it is also self-correcting when it fails whereas religions treat it like a virtue to cling to dangerous errors no matter how obvious they become.

            I also don’t think an advocate of a religion that has had tens of thousands of different denominations since its inception and currently has over a thousand mutually exclusive, endlessly bickering denominations in the USA alone should be taking the moral high ground in denouncing humanists for wanting to do things their own way. I can’t speak for humanism, but there’s only one way of doing science – the one that gets results.

            • HermitTalker

              The Jewish Faith was revealed to saints, adulterers and murderers like David who was converted and repented and to Apostles who jostled for Top Table honours and Peter denied Jesus and all but John an from the Cross. They were converted. As was St Augustine, and the King who had Thomas Becket murdered and on until today. Jesus gave the parable of the catch of fish, and the cereal harvest, the good and bad fish and the good harvest and the weeds will be sorted out at the end. We are not permitted to Judge hearts today. “Walk a mile in my moccasins first.” Before you judge

          • Tom in Virginia

            If everyone did as Jesus did, the world would collapse in chaos almost instantly. Everyone giving all they have to the poor? And then the poor giving away all they have? Nobody actually working to produce food, clothing & shelter — instead wandering around pontificating? Let me see . . . what else did Jesus do? Oh yes, he claimed to be God’s only son! Let’s see what happens in the world if everyone starts making that claim about themselves!
            It’s true that Jesus did have some inspiring messages and some keen insights in certain areas. But he was woefully ignorant of science, economics, medicine, and a host of other fields that are essential to the survival of modern civilization.

          • Charles Honeycutt

            Science is self-correcting. Please Google “false equivalency” and “tu quoque” and get back to us.

            You appear to be ignorant of Humanism and contemptuous in your ignorance. Add that to the list, please.

            Are you going to go off about Feminism next? It usually follows in these cases.

          • Andy Gibson

            That’s because Humans EXIST jesus doesen’t ! Simple

            • HermitTalker

              Your opinion that Jesus does not exist. Bald statements such as the Earth is Flat, and the Moon is a Big Light for those who cannot read Genesis properly, prove nothing. Evidence, history, actual research not repeated objections over the centuries do not make the false true

          • acninee

            You are making the assumption that the values of humanism must always be in opposition to the values of Christianity. I don’t find them to be so. I find them to be mostly in concert, with disagreement on some points.

            • writeby

              Man, I couldn’t agree with you more. Of the humanism of which I think you speak: metaphysics–primacy of consciousness; epistemology–faith is absolute equality; ethics–creed of sacrifice.

              Result: “The best ordered state will be one in which the largest number of persons … most nearly resembles a single person. The first and highest form of the State … is a condition in which the private and the individual is altogether banished from life, and things which are by nature private, such as eyes and ears and hands, have become common, and in some way see and hear and act in common, and all men express praise and blame and feel joy and sorrow on the same occasion, and whatever laws there are unite the city to the utmost …” (Plato’s _Republic_ & _Laws_ c. 370 BCE)

              In the name of the Common Good, Equality and the
              Holy Collective. Amen.

          • Michael Russell

            It IS a blind unintelligent decision that people make. Its the first rule ‘god’ gives to man. “do not eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge” I call people that are otherwise normal but believe in god ‘functionally insane’. They can go about the day doing all the normal things that need to be done but have to return to the reprogramming center once a week, or in the case of muslims, morning noon and night. Religion is a mental cancer that eats intellect like i eat sandwiches. I dont need to debate it or look for logic to refute it. If no one got to you young and installed this crap into your head, you dont ‘feel’ god or the presence of divine being or an emptiness. You dont think about it until someone tries to talk you into their reality. You’re all fucking nuts and thats that.

    • J1Militans

      Really…? The intellectually weak…? So no intellectual men could be Catholic or even Protestant?

      I guess these historical giants don’t count…

      Literature: Dante, Shakespeare, Chesterton, JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis, Chaucer, etc.; science: PopeSylvester II, Albertus Magnus, Roger Bacon, Francis Bacon, René Descartes, Galileo, Blaise Pascal, Isaac Newton, Kepler, Mendel, Fancis Collins, Roberto Busa, etc,; Art: Da Vinci, Caravaggio, Michelangelo, Guido Reni, Veronese, Delacroix, Raphael, Salvador Dali, etc,; Philosophy: Agustín, Anselm, Aquino, Descartes, Bacon, etc.; Universities: Georgetown, Harvard, Oxford, Paris, Salamanca, Padua, Cambridge, etc.

      *facepalm*

      • ShoeUnited

        Read what was written. He said the Catholic Church preys on the intellectually weak. You know, the masses of under-educated, the poor, the sick. That’s who the RCC goes after.

        Not everyone who is Christian is intellectually inferior, nor is everyone who proclaims to be Catholic actually practicing (85% of Quebec claims to be Catholic, >90% of Quebecans identify as atheist, they’re culturally Catholic).

        Making an appeal to popularity/authority list isn’t good either.

        Leonardo Da Vinci himself wrote, “Anyone who conducts an argument by appealing to authority is not using his intelligence; he is just using his memory.”

        I’m not going to pick apart your list, but clearly you didn’t do your research or pay attention to what you’re replying to.

        • J1Militans

          I agree with what you said, though that’s not what the man above said.
          I am Catholic and more in the intellectual side, but I’ve seen people that believe in crazy things, things that aren’t even official Church teaching.
          Also in other religions and atheism you see this.

          • TiltedHorizon

            “genuine harm” created by “Catholic Church” via “influence on the intellectually weak”

            In this sentence the “intellectually weak” is a subset of a whole, it is therefore not a blanket statement. It is as Shoe explains it.

            • Joshua Davis

              It is very much a blanket statement, he specifically states that ALL Christians need to grow up because “they’re an embarrassment to the human race” this is most certainly a blanket statement. People will still upvote you despite your obvious inability to comprehend 2 small paragraphs, I thought atheists prided themselves as being intellectually superior.

              • TiltedHorizon

                “People will still upvote you despite your obvious inability to comprehend 2 small paragraphs,”

                Yet I wrote only 1 small paragraph and you failed to comprehend it. I was very specific in my reply to J1Militans, I was addressing the “intellectually weak” comment and broke it down in the context of the first paragraph. The “ALL Christians need to grow up” comment was in the 3rd paragraph and creates different sets and subsets. Not to worry though, I doubt accuracy has ever been something you have been too preoccupied with. Flame away.

              • Charles Honeycutt

                People will still upvote you despite your obvious inability to
                comprehend 2 small paragraphs, I thought atheists prided themselves as
                being intellectually superior.

                Your fade into insecure sulking was not unexpected, trust me. It’s practically a given with your ilk.

          • Penny

            So you believe it is faithfully okay to molest children? You believe faithfully every thing that comes out of a priests mouth? You never question anything? Come on now. The true religion is that of the Sumarians and the Egyptians and all religions today are nothing but a copy. The virgin birth was Horus, born of Isis, a virgin, and Osiris was brought back to life by Isis. You need to take a trip to Egypt to understand what is going on with religions today. Use the internet and research ancient religions. No religion today is true. They have all been made up by man. The Bible may have facts in there, but most of it is BS. Can you prove there was a Jesus? Just because I say I am rich does not make me rich. Just because they say there was a Jesus does not make it so. Jesus is just Horus with a different spelling. “Religion is the opium of the masses.” It keeps you brain dead.

            • Joshua Davis

              I like how because I disagreed with the comment you automatically assume I’m Catholic…is that how you decided to be atheist? “Hey that guy talking about atheism is pretty smart, I’m going to just assume that he’s right!”

          • Carmelita Spats

            Christ-On-A-Cracker…You swallow the body and chug down the transubstantiated (????) blood of a trinitarian-incarnational-atoning-resurrecting-ascending-soon-to-be-returning doG? That’s not just weird and cultish and grotesque…it is patently insane. Period. I didn’t say “stupid”, I said, “insane” as in “crazier than an acre of snakes”. I know. I used to do the EXACT same thing (opening wide for a mouthful of Savior on Sunday) until I got help and decided to quit cannibalizing. After much cognitive therapy, I have now achieved a ZERO-point urge to eat Jesus, even if he does taste like chicken. Praise! You claim to be a Catholic on the “intellectual side”…This is garbage…Your “elite” “theology” is no more “intellectual” or “respectable” or “awe-inspiring” than that of the wide-eyed worshipers of a spaceship piloted by talking, lava-eating, sea clams. I recommend the Outsider Test for Faith before you dare claim a “sophisticated theology” and scoff at “those OTHER nutjobs”. Superstition is laughable but belonging to an organized crime syndicate is just immoral…They didn’t fuck up…They fucked down…They fucked children and covered it up. I’d rather go to hell. Besides, an eternity of squatting next to Mother Teresa would make me want to chew broken glass.

            http://www.bishop-accountability.org/

            http://patrickjwall.wordpress.com/

            • Putnam

              YOU.TOTALLY.ROCK!!!!!!

          • mike

            So then “official church teachings” are NON crazy things??? Hmmmms, sounds pretty darned silly to me! Official church teachings have included murder, torture, and BUYING out of sins. That shit is bat-shit crazy, and just the tip of the berg!

            • Joshua Davis

              I like how because I disagreed with the comment you automatically assume I’m Catholic…is that how you decided to be atheist? “Hey that guy talking about atheism is pretty smart, I’m going to just assume that he’s right!” And just to respond to your post, I said he’s as crazy as what catholics believe, I never said what catholics believe wasn’t crazy, I would suggest learning to comprehend paragraphs before you begin spouting off.

              • Charles Honeycutt

                Claiming you MIGHT not be Catholic in the context of your other posts is just lying and trolling. Does Jesus love that you lie in order to score points?

                • Joshua Davis

                  I’m not catholic, never been catholic, it might be time for you to stop posting. Never once did I post anything that would indicate a belief in Catholicism.

          • Cannon Fodder

            Well sure, but are you willing to admit to the bad things committed by and poor doctrine the RCC has made official teaching?

            i.e. – molestation and financial corruption within the Vatican, the Pope excommunicating an archbishop in New Zealand for proposing married clergy (allowed right now anyway if you convert as an Episcoplian), the doctrine that women can’t be priests b/c Jesus didn’t choose female disciples (he also didn’t choose any African, Asian, or European disciples either :P), technical cannabalism, not condemning slavery or torture/execution of non-Catholics up until the 19th Century, etc.

            Certainly, there are always extremists and people who have no idea what they are talking about, but even you must admit there are numerous problems with “God’s chosen Church.” One would think a religion actually chosen by an omnipotent, omniscient, and omni-benevolent God would have its act more together, especially as God supposedly has perfect communication skills and methods.

          • Charles Honeycutt

            Tu quoques aren’t valid arguments, no matter how badly you were taught in school.

      • Satan’s Cousin

        I think he means that the church prays on the ignorant and converts people who have not got enough knowledge of the natural world.

        • Guest

          I love that I have a fan who likes what I write so much they elect to use my username.

        • J1Militans

          Religion – holier-than-thou
          Atheism – smarter-than-thou
          haha.

          On a serious note. His point may have been that, but also to say that Christian belief is irrational and this consequently means an intellectual cannot believe Christian doctrine.
          With the examples I gave I refuted that nonsense claim.

          And on another note, the “intellectual weak” or the ignorant will believe in anything for the wrong reasons.
          You see this with all religions and atheism. Ask the average american if he believes in God and he will say “I guess so,” ask him further and you’ll see he’s more of an ignorant atheist than an ignorant theist.

          • ShoeUnited

            Well, no. If they profess a belief in god then they’re a theist. How much knowledge they have of religion is immaterial (as is the deity in question). That’s the difference.

            So no, he’s not an ignorant atheist (though I’d love to use that as an argument some day that all theists are ignorant atheists in a tounge-in-cheek style), they are theists.

            • J1Militans

              hehe, yeah I see what you mean.
              But in terms of what they actually believe, they’re more towards atheism, or to be fair, agnosticism. Like, ask them what they think of the Virgin Birth, or if the Bible is indeed God-ly inspired, etc.
              Either agnostics or deists at best (though if deists it would mean at least they have a firm philosophical understanding about God’s existence, which most don’t)

              I guess more people are closer to agnosticism than a/theism.

              • Charles Honeycutt

                So the ability to recognize metaphor is an atheistic trait. Gotcha.

              • Penny

                Who created God? Something from nothing. We are part of the universe ourselves. We have the same matter in our bodies as what is in the universe. There are 34 gods mentioned in the Bible. I find that a little odd. Where was the singular god for over 5,000 years? How could that have happened I wonder. Did they all join together to become one powerful god? If you can explain that to me, then I will become religious. If you cannot explain it to me, then you know nothing about religion.

                • Jan Chilton

                  Who created “God”? Look at this latest scientific announcement…

                  http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21829184.400-string-theory-may-limit-space-brain-threat.html

                • Joshua Davis

                  The Bible mentions many gods but only one God, when you can understand that sentence come back and comment.

                • Derrik Pates

                  And supplies no evidence for any of them. The Bible is the claim. It can’t also be the evidence.

                • Joshua Davis

                  Obviously you didn’t understand that sentence so I don’t know why you commented. In response, the Bible does provide evidence, that you choose to ignore it is your choice. The Bible is NOT the claim, the Bible has only existed for 1500 years or so, people claimed the existence of God thousands of years before that.

                • Derrik Pates

                  I understand the sentence fine. You just don’t understand what the word “evidence” actually means. If I can’t see the claimed “evidence”, I only have the word of people who’ve been dead for 18 centuries, it is not evidence. It’s just hearsay. And as Thomas Paine said, a big lie is just as easy to tell as a little one.

                • Joshua Davis

                  So if evidence is old its not longer evidence? Are Newtons theories hearsay because they’re old? Should we discount the effectiveness of logarithms because they’re old? Is pie useless because it was found anciently? You choose to discount the Bible’s evidence because it’s old? Those people who have been dead for centuries (even millenia) provide the evidence for you, if you choose to dismiss them as liars that’s your choice, but they gave you ways to prove them true or not, it’s up to you to do the rest.

                • Charles Honeycutt

                  You’re falling apart if you think that made any logical sense as a retort to Derrik Pates. Might want to go chill out and Google for a few days.

                • Charles Honeycutt

                  The circular claims of the Bible’s veracity are a well-described consequence of your religion. It’s really unsurprising that you’re unfamiliar with the text; that ignorance is part of what is driving your hyperdefensiveness now that your shell has cracked.

                • Space Cadet

                  On which day of creation did God create the lesser gods? I don’t recall that part of Genesis.

                • Charles Honeycutt

                  A jackass hypocrite who can’t describe the difference between a theist, an atheist, and an agnostic is stupidly contending that someone ELSE is ignorant. The Internet must be functioning.

                • Cannon Fodder

                  Well God is supposedly uncreated, infinite, immortal…

          • TiltedHorizon

            “With the examples I gave I refuted that nonsense claim.”

            Actually you refuted the claim which you created. As I have stated in another post to you, C Peterson’s assertion speaks of a subset of a whole. You took that subset and expanded it to mean ‘all’. It is the ‘all’ assertion, created by you, which you have refuted and labeled nonsense.

          • Charles Honeycutt

            Speaking of the mote in one’s eye, you just claimed that the average wishy-washy believer is an atheist, while describing an agnostic or a weak theist. And yet here you are complaining about ignorance…

          • Michael Russell

            It IS irrational to believe in magic. To state it is not irrational would signify to anyone with a grade 6 level of science education that you are in fact, insane. No one has ever been killed by a supernatural being nor have then been saved by a supernatural being.

          • Cannon Fodder

            Intellectuals can be Christians, it doesn’t mean Christianity is legitimate at all. If any Christian intellectuals were able to present a valid and sufficient cause for their God, then please do tell.

            I’ve talked to two theology ph.d’s on my campus – both intellectuals and Catholics. You know what their ultimate justification for having faith in all the contradictions and problems in Christianity was (they admitted that the contradictions and problems existed, but that because God was God it all somehow just works :P)? – sentimental appeal:

            “I prefer a world with God in it.”

            “I just can’t see a world without God bringing restoration to it.”

            Obviously this example is by no means indicative of Christian theologians as a whole, but hey there it is.

        • Gareth Connors

          Religion is what fills the vacuum that nature abhors.

      • urgodisnotreal

        Yeah… all those people had a limit to the level of intelligence they could attain. Belief in these superstitions, hold a ceiling over one’s ability to see the world as it is; that is a form of ignorance, and there by intellectually weaken.

        • J1Militans

          Lol! So belief in the supernatural, in the metaphysical, makes you intellectually weak. Riiiiight. Because your reasoning is obviously so much more enlightened, that I can see you’re right…
          And that’s not snobby at all… They say people believe in Hell to feel superior, couldn’t the opposite be said? I mean, look at your comment, it surely makes you feel superior, more intellectual… ;)

          • Hat Stealer

            Could you possibly attack the argument instead of the people making it?

            • J1Militans

              I thought I had attacked both ;)
              Either way how can one attack an argument that says “if you believe in the supernatural you’re intellectually weak.” That argument should fall on its own.
              Hasn’t anyone here read any Augustine, Aquinas, Anselm, Boethius, Descartes, Chesterton, Pascal, Lewis, Kreeft? Philosophical arguments for God’s existence, anyone?

              So if you want a rebuttal, there it is: the claim that to believe in the supernatural means you’re intellectually weak is absurd because as we can see, many intellectuals across human history have believed in God in mere philosophical terms, and have devoted many philosophical writings to show the philosophical coherence of many religious doctrines.

              • Hat Stealer

                Personally, I though those guys were idiots. Pascal is the most well known for his infamous “Pascal’s Wager,” but they were all godawful.

                • C Peterson

                  Some were idiots, in that virtually everything they said was ridiculous (sometimes all it takes to succeed as an idiot is eloquence).

                  Pascal was clearly not an idiot. But he had a huge blind spot because of his religious beliefs, and as a result most of his dialog on religious matters displays no sign of a powerful intellect. Like many religious intellectuals, he was able to compartmentalize, and to a reasonable degree isolate the religious nonsense from the other stuff. And that’s why we still treat some of his ideas as important today. But not the religious ones.

              • Cannon Fodder

                What philosophical arguments? If you have an actual case then present it. Ad hominens and baseless, blanketing assertions are the staples of those who don’t have a case.

                Also, all intellect is not inherently tied together – people are smarter about some subjects than others. Thus, it is quite possible for all the people you listed to be smart in some areas and not so smart in others.

                Again, what are all these convincing arguments that are supposed to be out there? Please bring them forward so we can actually talk about something. With the Christian God allegedly being entirely mysterious, infinite, three-in-one, incarnated, etc., I’d imagine it would be extremely difficult to prove him through any means.

            • Billy Gorson

              why not attack both

              • Hat Stealer

                I suppose you could (I probably do more than I care to admit) so long as you don’t use the personal attacks as the basis of your argument. You can say “you’re an idiot” and still make a valid point, but if you say “you’re an idiot, therefore you are wrong,” then you are committing ad
                hominem.

          • C Peterson

            If you believe in the supernatural, you believe in that for which there is absolutely no evidence, and for which there is overwhelming evidence against.

            So yes, belief in the supernatural (which includes any deities) reflects intellectual weakness, by definition.

            • Robert Scott McKnight

              Please present this overwhelming evidence against that you say exists. Or, is it like faith, I have to take your word for it.

              • C Peterson

                There isn’t a single observation about nature that we can’t propose an at least somewhat supportable theory to explain. Not a single thing we observe is better explained by a creator than by nature alone, following predictable laws.

            • Joshua Davis

              You go WAY too far in your assumption of the belief in the supernatural. no evidence does not = overwhelming evidence against. There is NO evidence that proves God does not exist. There is also NO evidence proving his existence. Much of what we accomplish today would’ve been seen as supernatural as little as 50 years ago, just because its currently defined as supernatural now doesn’t mean we won’t one day find an explanation.

              • C Peterson

                Absence of evidence is evidence of absence, given that a serious effort has been made to seek such evidence. And people have been unsuccessfully seeking evidence of a god for thousands of years, and have found nothing. Zero. That represents powerful evidence for the nonexistence of a deity or deities.

                • Joshua Davis

                  Thats simply logically fallacious, the absence of evidence does NOT indicate evidence of absence. An absence of rain doesn’t mean there isn’t water in the air. The absence of pain doesn’t mean your body isn’t hurt.

                • C Peterson

                  You are mistaken. In fact, an absence of rain, over a long period, when we are looking for condensed moisture of some sort, is very good evidence that there is no water in the air. An absence of pain is, in fact, good evidence that the body isn’t hurt. Neither are proof, of course, but I’m not making that claim.

                  In reality, an absence of evidence, after looking for such evidence, has to be logically considered evidence of absence.

                • Joshua Davis

                  Actually I’m not, even in a long absence of rain theres still water in the air, (there is almost ALWAYS hydrogen and oxygen in the air and they constantly collide to create water). In many situations no pain is felt when the body is hurt (ask a soldier just hit by an IED) if you were to ask someone if they got hurt and they replied “I don’t feel any pain” the doctor would not be satisfied with that answer. It is not at all logical to say absence of evidence indicates absence of whatever you were looking for. It only indicates that, at this point, you can’t find it. No one ever said there was “powerful evidence” to reject Einsteins theory that the universe was actually circular simply because at the time of the theory there was an absence of evidence. Yet you claim there’s powerful evidence to reject God simply because (according to you at least) there’s an absence of evidence, why do you assign different rules to prove/disprove God than you do to prove/disprove scientific theory?

                • C Peterson

                  You are missing the point. Deliberately, I’d say.

                • Joshua Davis

                  So what is the point I’m deliberately missing? I think I’ve sufficiently explained that the absence of evidence is not enough to prove evidence of absence. I could provide some more examples if you wish. Or did you just write your last sentence because you have no rebuttal to the point I’m making?

                • C Peterson

                  The fact that you choose to use the word “prove” in your comment demonstrates that you don’t understand the concept at all.

                • Joshua Davis

                  You claimed God does not exist based on the absence of evidence, and then went on to argue that the absence of evidence is “powerful evidence,” you are correct in my misuse of the word prove, but the fact that I used prove instead of what I should have used (“provide powerful evidence” fits in quite well there) does not magically negate the point I was making. Attacking the incorrect word only avoids the points.

                • C Peterson

                  I did not claim that god doesn’t exist.

                • Joshua Davis

                  You were arguing against his existence based on an absence of evidence, the difference between claiming he doesn’t exist and arguing against his existence, while important in some cases, is completely irrelevant to the argument, do you have anything else would you like to discuss or are you simply going to point out irrelevant mistakes in my writing?

                • C Peterson

                  If you don’t recognize how fundamentally different it is to say there is no god (which no atheist I know claims) and there is no evidence that a god exists, and therefore a reasonable person doesn’t believe in gods, then you have no understanding of logic and we have no common ground for discussion.

                  Atheists don’t believe in gods; they don’t claim there are no gods. Very, very different.

                • Joshua Davis

                  I do recognize they’re different, but we’re not discussing whether or not God exists, we’re discussing your argument that absence of evidence provides powerful evidence of absence. Regarding that argument my mistake was irrelevant, and you pointing it out was simply dodging the discussion.

                • C Peterson

                  And in the case of deities, which most traditions argue involve themselves physically in the world, the absence of any evidence is, indeed, extremely strong evidence of absence.

                • Joshua Davis

                  Well I think this debate is over, you’re no longer trying to dispute the point you’re just avoiding it and repeating what you already said, completely ignoring my argument. Have a good day.

                • Charles Honeycutt

                  We can measure humidity and vital signs. In fact, we regularly measure things by their absence. Please look for analogies that work.

                • Joshua Davis

                  Charles, none of your posts are relevant, most of them are commenting about things that we have already discussed, and it appears you have nothing new to add to the discussion, in this particular post you actually HELP my analogy, since the analogy was that the typical evidence of water in the atmosphere is rain and clouds and the absence of rain and clouds does not indicate an absence of water. Vital signs might not indicate injury at all, in fact pain is probably better at indicating injury than vital signs, thus we could argue that the absence of irregular vitals does not indicate the absence of injury, please go troll elsewhere.

              • TiltedHorizon

                “Much of what we accomplish today would’ve been seen as supernatural as little as 50 years ago, just because its currently defined as supernatural now doesn’t mean we won’t one day find an explanation.”

                Which means that which was “seen as supernatural as
                little as 50 years ago”, was actually just ‘natural’ and that which is “currently defined as supernatural now” will also be ‘natural’. Hence reinforcing C Peterson’s assertion of there being no evidence of the supernatural.

          • TiltedHorizon

            “So belief in the supernatural, in the metaphysical, makes you intellectually weak.”

            The problem with belief in the supernatural is the absolute lack of evidence in support of it. Without evidence all assertions of the supernatural and claims of knowledge over the unknown are equally valid. This means the specifics of what you believe to be ‘true’ is AS TRUE as the assertions which you do not subscribe to or hold stock in. This means god lives on Kolob, we are descended from aliens, and
            a prophet once traveled between two cities on a miniature flying horse with the face of a woman and the tail of a peacock. All of this is “true”.

            Since you have not accounted for why all beliefs except yours are ‘true’, then there is some intellectually weakness at play on your part.

          • Aeon

            I am a snob. What of it? Does that automatically make my arguments false? Is it a crime?

            Offer one single bit of evidence for the existence of the supernatural, and I will no longer think you are an idiot.

          • Charles Honeycutt

            Hey, weren’t you saying something about ad hominems elsewhere in the thread?

            Oh silly me, I forgot that Apologists switch gears whenever things get uncomfortable.

      • Charles Honeycutt

        Just think what many of them could have done if the Church hadn’t retarded Science and Philosophy. Thank God for the Enlightenment.

        Being a member of a religion that dominates and domineers, as Catholicism has historically done, is not a sign that you have entered the church for intellectual reasons. It’s a sign that the church dominated and domineered the culture. Most of those you name HAD NO CHOICE but to be Christians.

        • J1Militans

          Not at all. That’s entirely debatable and to make a serious case you’d have to bring hard evidence. I don’t think neither of us have the time, resources, or at least scholarship to truly debate that.
          Most of those I mentioned actually wrote much about religion – if you’re “forced” to be Christian then be a quiet Christian, don’t put your religion as your trademark…

          The same goes with science and philosophy, but that’s too long of a conversation to have over the internet.

          • Sweetredtele

            oh, why does he need evidence? Can’t you take his word on faith?

            • Joshua Davis

              sweetredtele, your ignorance is so blatant I don’t know what to say…you didn’t really even study before you decided to be atheist did you, atheism was just nice and convenient?

              • Sweetredtele

                What would I need to study since the default position is no belief? I wouldn’t know about yer god if I hadn’t learned/studied it, if someone hadn’t told me.

                So it’s special pleading, that yer god doesn’t need evidence to show the positive claim that he exists, yet a less incredible claim like the one made above does need evidence?

                By all means, please enlighten me instead of just relying on an ad-hominen attack when you have no idea how much education or studying I have done.

                • Joshua Davis

                  It was hardly ad-hominem, your comment showed an ignorance regarding how faith works, I then concluded that since you obviously don’t understand faith there’s no way you could have done any kind of serious studying, since faith is one of the most basic principles of the Gospel, go learn about faith and you can answer your entire post for yourself.

                • Sweetredtele

                  How does faith “work”? All religion (and woo) Is based on faith, that is the acceptance of something without evidence. If there were evidence,faith wouldn’t be needed. Is there a special definition? Certainly can’t be knowledge, since again, then it’s not faith.

                  You missed the inside atheist joke of how theists will use the different definitions of faith interchangeably to try to point out we have faith- but we have the faith where something has been demonstrated over and over-such as faith in my brakes working.

                  So yes, I understand the different definitions of faith (better than the average theist) and was just making a joke.

                • Joshua Davis

                  If you understand the definition of faith you wouldn’t have to ask how it works. Faith is not the acceptance of something without evidence. I’m not going to get into a theological discussion on faith here (i’ll take a wild guess that it would be pointless). I’ll just end by saying there is evidence of God. There is no evidence that love is real, yet those who have felt it know and understand its existence despite it only being a ‘feeling.’ If you choose to attempt to understand faith you would find evidence of God.

                • Sweetredtele

                  Lolz, again, if there is evidence, it wouldn’t be faith. You basically came back with “if you have faith you will have confirmation bias for god.”

                  I have yet to see evidence of god.

                  So everyone who had faith in the other gods found the evidence, and then they are real?

                  There is evidence love is real, such as MRI scans and behaviors associated with love. Love is also not a supernatural claim. The greater the claim, the greater the evidence needed.

                  Actually, it’s not pointless, I will change my mind when presented with suffient evidence. Until then, I feel the same about all gods, like you do with all but one.

                • Joshua Davis

                  You’re right, once the evidence is found it’s no longer faith, but assurance. But faith must come first. Love cannot be shown to someone, you have to feel love to know it exists. Someone can point out different neurotransmitters firing in the brain and say ‘hey look, love!’ But that’s not what love is, indeed scientists who have studied those emotions have said they still barely understand whats occurring to cause love. Up to this point I have never found a book about any other God detailing how to determine if that God truly exists or not, its impossible to prove the existence of something if you don’t know how. Since the God of the Bible shows us how, it’s quite possible to prove His existence. Just because Faith comes first doesn’t mean you ALWAYS have to live on faith, as you pointed out yourself.

                • Charles Honeycutt

                  Blaming the victim in the last sentence: another sign of an abusive relationship.

                • Charles Honeycutt

                  But Sweet, theist apologists NEVER run in here blindly spouting off while being completely unfamiliar with the jargon and tropes that they’re complaining about!

                  *reads any given five comments of the thread* Oh wait, my bad.

                • Sweetredtele

                  Also, is it convenient for you not to believe in all the infinite other gods? in unicorns? In gremlins, Sasquatch or Nessie?

                • Joshua Davis

                  The difference between the God of the Bible and ‘all the infinite other gods’ is simple, the God of the Bible provides a test for us to determine if He is real or not. It’s always confused me why people find it hard that He requires belief (or at least a desire to believe) BEFORE he provides evidence. Do you want Him to just leap out and announce He’s real? What would happen to agency? Do you think everyone would magically love life knowing without a doubt God was real? More likely they would feel chained, a man forced to believe cannot prove himself. Or perhaps God wanted to try our dedication, perhaps He wanted to see who would search Him out for themselves, who really had the desire to know Him. Perhaps…

                • Charles Honeycutt

                  There’s no “test”. That’s a dishonest word game based on misrepresentations of terms. Feel free to try again.

                  You just described an abusive parent, by the way.

                • Joshua Davis

                  Here are the first three definitions of test CHarles:

                  1. the means by which the presence, quality, or genuineness of anything is determined; a means of trial.
                  2.
                  the trial of the quality of something: to put to the test.
                  3.
                  a particular process or method for trying or assessing.

                  I think the test God wants us to try would fit any of those 3 definitions. And no, I didn’t describe an abusive parent, if you don’t understand why tests and trials are important in the progression of a moral human being than there’s no real point in debating with you. Go find a parent who gives there child everything they ever want the first time they ask and see the psychological damage such a ‘parent’ is doing to the child, THATS abuse.

              • Charles Honeycutt

                Your Christlike humility, humor and charity are noted.

                • Joshua Davis

                  your trolling is also noted (again) why comment if you’re not going to actually participate in the discussion, please go away.

          • Charles Honeycutt

            “Having no choice” is not synonymous with “being forced”. When everyone in your culture is an adherent of a belief and differing beliefs are oppressed and libeled as unholy, you do not get a choice about being inculcated in that belief every minute of your life. See how many famous atheistic thinkers you can find mention of in those times and places by comparison. It OUGHT to be at least 12-16% of the total. Instead, it’s probably closer to 1% until modern times, and for most of European history until the Enlightenment, it was more like 0%. That alone dispels your argumentum ad auctoritatem. There were no options.

            Intellectuals who have no intellectual options will find ways to rationalize their entrapment.

            It’s trivial to demonstrate that the RCC retarded Science and Philosophy. They destroyed libraries and knowledge and persecuted Galileo and uncountable others. The reason they’re so assertive now about Evolutionary Theory and other modern scientific understandings is that they’re sick of looking the fools, and even then they distort the science.

            • Billy Gorson

              most religions hate intellect….islam and christianity have opposed and often murdered those who won’t fall in line

              • Robert Scott McKnight

                Ok, seriously, you are going to have to prove such a blanket statement. Now, if you want to make the case the fundamentalist Monotheism hates intellect, I would have to agree. But, pre-muslim/christian Egypt, Rome, Greece, Persia and many others actually worshiped gods of intellect and wisdom in order to improve there abilities in intellectual pursuit. As you are referring to only a very small set in the history of world religions, I would hardly call it most. Honestly, it’s not even most now.

            • Joshua Davis

              Where in the world to you get that 12-16% should have been atheist? You’re saying that currently somehwere between 30 and 50 million americans are atheist? I’m certain by modern times you mean VERY modern, since freedom of religion has persisted in the USA for over 200 years, yet atheism wasn’t prevalent until the last 100 (really I think 100 is gracious, its mostly only become prevalent in the last 20-30 years)

              • Charles Honeycutt

                You may want to Google this website called Google. It’s very useful for looking up census statistics and other stuff like videos of cats falling down. Yes, the “Nones” are in that range, and in the context of the historical discussion, and considering that EVEN NOW most atheists are not “out” or have not consciously considered their beliefs, those are very fair numbers for most of the historical time frame in question.

                I wasn’t talking about current American numbers, only making a quite conservative estimate based on how much we know about how these things go and the official, admitted numbers. However, now that you mention it, the modern numbers could be even higher. It’s just that the people you want to defend have slandered atheism and outright harmed non-Christians to the point that they’re still in hiding in the United States today. I received an anonymous e-mail from a sixty year-old lady thanking me for my local newspaper discussions. She’s an atheist who attends her family’s church because she is TERRIFIED that she will lose everybody if she admits she doesn’t believe in a god. She hadn’t known that there were communities of nonreligious people, and was grateful to see someone saying what she wished she could have said. She wanted desperately to write in herself, but the paper didn’t allow for pseudonyms, and she had cause to fear ostracism.

                Atheism was present even in the writing of the American Founding Fathers. It wasn’t such an issue then, as those people had personally witnessed the harm caused by religion in government and wanted a secular footing to try again. It’s not a new thing; it’s just been driven into obscurity by an increasingly privileged and increasingly oppressive fundamentalist base. Now we’re thankfully able to come out again without, for instance, having our careers, reputations and social lives destroyed by your peers. Even so, prominent atheist writers have been around for quite a while in this country.

                Atheism and a naturalistic universe were widely discussed topics at least as early as Ancient Greece, by the way. Those Catholic school teachers are typically not real fond of bringing that up.

        • Penny

          If you did not become a Christian they killed you. The same as with Islam. No difference, just a different name for it.

      • C Peterson

        You go back a couple of hundred years, and the human race simply lacked the raw knowledge to challenge superstition. So yes, many intellectuals throughout history have believed in nonsense- because there was no alternative.

        But today? We know better. We know that there are no gods. We know how the Universe works (to a reasonably degree). We understand how life developed, and how moral systems evolve (again, to a reasonable degree).

        Today, belief in gods represents intellectual weakness. You cannot believe these things without being intellectually damaged. That doesn’t mean you can’t be intellectually functional, but you are, nevertheless, broken if you believe in gods, and even more so if you believe in the clearly false (and often damaging) teachings of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and most other religious systems.

        • J1Militans

          The first part is debatable and I could agree with you.

          But atheism really, really is the religion of the snobs. “You cannot believe these things without being intellectually damaged.”

          I mean, really? You really, really believe such an absurd thing?

          Actually read what many of these philosophical giants had to say. Read Agustine, Aquinas, Anselm, Boethius. Even if you disagree with them you will see that they are NOT intellectually damaged, and that they are far more intellectual than any of us in this blog.

          Even Plato and Aristotle, who may have had some weird cultural beliefs, were true intellectuals. Plato at times seemed to reject the idea of polytheism, and Aristotle was a deist (non-religious, as far as I can remember).

          Again, your first point I can take seriously and discuss it.

          You’re second point only shows arrogance and a desire to put people of faith down and yourself above it, and there is no point on having a real discussion if you’re so blinded to reason.
          It bears no real argument, and it’s by no means true (even if lot of religious people are not intellectual, or even anti-intellectual, like some I’ve met).

          • Gareth Connors

            Non religious deist is an oxymorn.

            • Robert Scott McKnight

              Actually, it’s not. Religion and faith are two separate things. Faith is what you believe to be true (in the case of Deists it would be “The Divine Tinker”), and religion are all of the practices and dogma put around the belief. Atheism is not a religion. It is, in fact, a belief. Atheists believe there is no such thing as God(s), because they cannot find any evidence. It is a belief, because there is also no evidence to prove there is not a God. When dealing with either side, an old axiom applies,”For those with faith, they will see proof even in small things. For those with no faith, no proof is ever enough.”

              • Hat Stealer

                Personally, deism always struck me as a perfectly reasonable alternative to atheism. It’s not a belief that I hold, but it’s certainly not detached from reality in the way that most religions are.

                • C Peterson

                  Deism is still detached from reality. But it’s probably fairly harmless, in that it doesn’t spawn religions, and doesn’t typically play a large role in people’s practical world view.

                • Charles Honeycutt

                  Sure, it’s harmless, it makes people happy, it doesn’t hurt others. I wouldn’t mind ascribing to it exactly, but unlike these fools rushing in with the bad arguments they were taught in Seminary, I’m willing to hold ideas that are emotionally uncomfortable for me, such as the probability that no such greater powers.

              • Steve Jacoby

                Not true. Atheism is a lack of belief in DESCRIBED gods, due to no evidence. It doesn’t necessitate the stance that gods cannot exist, merely that there has been no evidence for the ones we have heard described. The same way that ‘not guilty’ in court does not necessarily mean innocence, atheism does not mean ‘no gods can exist’, but that is a likely conclusion since thousands of described gods have failed the test of evidence.

            • Charles Honeycutt

              Did he really say that?

              … Holy fuck, he did.

          • C Peterson

            The fact that you call atheism a religion reveals the depths of your ignorance.

            Some of your greats- Augustine, Aquinas- were idiots. I mean that literally. Their ideas, even by the standards of their time, were absurd. Their logic was so broken a three-year old could see it. And certainly, from a modern viewpoint, nearly all of these people’s ideas are now seen as wrong, the product of GIGO: garbage in, garbage out.

            My second point reflects a perfectly reasonable view: if you choose to believe in something that isn’t supported by evidence, and is, in fact, contradicted by evidence, you are displaying intellectual weakness. This describes all people of “faith”. It isn’t an arrogant viewpoint at all. You can only disagree with the position if you choose to somehow redefine what reason actually is. You can certainly make the philosophical point that faith trumps reason. I wouldn’t agree, but I wouldn’t say you were wrong, this being a point of philosophy and not fact. But that such a position is unintellectual and unreasonable is indisputable.

            • George

              When you start discussing with religious people, you can only expect to laugh. :)

          • Justin Proctor

            I wouldn’t say people who are religious are intellectually weak. Ive had some of the best debates of my life with Christians on the idea of religion and evolution. But to put forth the idea of the invisible man in the clouds over concrete facts we can test and prove, thats where you lose me. The idea of dinosaurs for example which is fact, is still denied by the majority of christians i have spoke to. Or even the age of the earth, come on. I could accept them being a bit off but 6000vsBillions of years is a bit of a gap….They need to get a scientific calculator and learn how to use the complicated buttons :S

            • Penny

              The simple fact that no dinosaurs are mentioned in the Bible, nor the pyramids just gives proof that the Christian religion is a made up religion along with the others to control masses of people. As Marx or Lenin put it, “religion is the opium of the masses.” In other words, keep them sedated with religion and they will believe anything you say to them. BS. If any religion were to be a true religion it would have to be that of the ancient Sumarians and the Egyptians. They were the first religions. On my trip to Egypt there are temples where they would have priests stand where the person coming in to pray couldn’t be seen. So when they were answered by the priest,, they thought that a god was talking to them. hahahahaha. Even then they were smart enough to fool the people. It is also true for their pharmacies that they had. It was made so that a person leaving would be able to hear someone talking to them the whole way leaving and they would believe it was a god. Get some education on religions and you will see that all religions of today started with the ancient religions. They are plagerized. All they did was change the names to fit the day. The first virgin was Isis and the first resurrection was Osiris and the child born of them was Horus.

              • Jan Chilton

                As Dr. House said on the tv show… Religion is not the opium of the masses, it is the placebo.

                • Steve Jacoby

                  Also, “If you could reason with religious people, there would be no religious people”. I like that one better, too.

                • Joshua Davis

                  That quote shows such a complete ignorance I’m surprised you managed to decide to be atheist…

                • Steve Jacoby

                  Ignorance of what, exactly? The idea that most religious people are religious because of indoctrination or emotional reasons? And I didn’t “decide” to be atheist, I just never bought into the b.s. that religion peddles.

                • Joshua Davis

                  Ignorance of some of the most brilliant minds in history, who you now discount as idiots, if you don’t understand the ridiculously horrid blanket statement that quote is then you’re the one who can’t be reasoned with. Also, if you don’t understand that you CHOSE to be atheist, thus making a DECISION, there’s really no reason to talk to you at all.

              • Joshua Davis

                I’m a little confused as to how your argument that the bible doesn’t mention dinosaurs or pyramids somehow magically proves it wrong. If we are going to prove books false based on things they leave out you better start throwing away every history book ever written. “oh guys this history book is TOTALLY wrong! It COMPLETELY forgot to mention the [insert random historical fact here] that occasionally occurred [insert random location here]” You’ve fallen victim to one of the most basic logical fallacies. Don’t atheists pride themselves on their own personal intellectual superiority?

                • Charles Honeycutt

                  How about Exodus having been proven to be fiction? Does fake history detract from the credibility of a book purporting to be magically infallible?

                  Your strawman is noted.

                • Joshua Davis

                  When was exodus proven to be fiction? Last I checked they actually found hundreds of dead bodies in armor at the bottom of the red sea and even dated them to approximately when they believe moses left Egypt, they’ve also found Egyptian hieroglyphs depicting the plagues that occurred (they’ve also theoretically shown how the plagues could have happened as well) , and found a way to (theoretically) explain how the sea actually could have been parted, that sounds like proof to me…

                • Space Cadet

                  I’ve never heard of the “hundreds of dead bodies in armor at the bottom of the red sea”. Can you provide a link to that claim?

                  As for Exodus being fiction, we’re back to absence of evidence. The bible states that 600,000 male slaves were brought out of Egypt. Add to that the wives, children and animals and we’re talking around 2 million people and animals. Wandering around the Sinai Peninsula for 40 years. There should be massive archeological evidence for this, yet we find none.

                • Joshua Davis

                  Here is one link to it: http://www.preteristarchive.com/Ancient_Revelations/epigraphy/egypt_exodus-crossing.html, I will note that snopes and truth or fiction.com list the claim as yet unproven (NOT false), but as with most important archaeological discoveries those who actually made the discovery wait to cement the claims and evidence before presenting it to the general public.

                  What massive archaeological evidence would you expect to find? Do we find archaeological evidence for the massive exodus crossing from Russia to Alaska? The people lived in tents, moved around constantly, and had everything designed for traveling. You could surmise that burial grounds might have lasted the thousands of years since the event but even if that was found it would be hard to prove it belonged to the Exodus. As for absence of evidence=evidence of absence, I’ve already discussed elsewhere on this thread how illogical that is in some detail and don’t feel the need to discuss it here.

                • Space Cadet

                  Just so we’re clear, that article you linked to does not back up your claim that we’ve “found hundreds of dead bodies in armor at the bottom of the red sea and
                  even dated them to approximately when they believe moses left Egypt”. The Wyatt findings are dubious at best, especially since the one wheel he claims to have brought up to the surface for inspection has since disappeared. I agree that important discoveries should be cemented before going public, but there comes a point where you have to stop waiting and just move on. If the people working on this come up with more concrete evidence in the future, great, but we’re not going to hold our collective breath for another 4 decades, since the previous 4 decades didn’t bring much in the way of evidence.

                  Yes, we do find evidence to support the idea that humans crossed the Bering Strait. (http://archaeology.about.com/od/yterms/qt/yana_rhs.htm) This is exactly the type of evidence we would expect to find in support of Exodus. Yet we don’t, despite that the Exodus would have happened 3,000 years ago, compared to the Yana site which is close to 30,000 years old.

                  I know you’ve discussed absence of evidence elsewhere, but it’s important to note that absence of evidence does not mean that a claim is 100% dis-proven. It means that because we don’t find the evidence we would expect to find (in the case of Exodus- graves/bones of both people and animals, discarded/lost tools and other materials, etc.) a higher level of scrutiny needs to be applied to the remaining claims. If that higher scrutiny does not provide sufficient evidence, then the absence of evidence claim carries more weight, but still not 100%.

          • ShoeUnited

            Someone disagreeing with you doesn’t make atheism a religion. Atheism is the lack of belief of any gods due to lack of evidence. That’s it. Water is not a soda, bald is not a hair color, The Moon is not a star.

            • Putnam

              Abstinence is not a sexual position!

              • Charles Honeycutt

                The Prequels are not real Star Wars movies!

                …wait, what were we mocking again?

            • Cannon Fodder

              Not collecting stamps is not a hobby!

          • Putnam

            You mistake honesty for arrogance, that’s your christianity showing.

        • James Howard Bartley

          Some of the names on JTMilitans’ list are very amusing, and
          show either a lack of specific knowledge or a lack of irony – possibly both.

          Firstly, people mostly go along with the religion/cult that
          is prevalent in their time and place.
          Someone born in rural Egypt 2,000 years ago probably believed in the truth
          of Horus, Isis and company with the same devotion and fervor that someone born
          in Egypt NOW believes that there is one God and Mohammed is his prophet. Zero plus zero is zero.

          Secondly, who knows what many of the people listed off with
          so much certainty actually thought privately?
          Even today many people don’t feel safe coming out as atheist – and,
          unlike many previous periods of time, we don’t burn or torture unbelievers to
          death in this time and place.

          Thirdly, some of the people listed were (nominally, for all
          we know) Catholic or Protestant at times when each violently attacked the others
          right to exist – a point of some importance to the argument being made using
          their names. Once again, zero plus zero
          is zero.

          Fourthly, if you’re going to list these people and universities off in order to
          prop up your point of view, you should realize that many of them are dubious
          supports.

          It’s funy that Galileo is mentioned
          - most intelligent people used to believe the Earth was flat and at the center
          of the Universe before him – and for a long time after him, too. Same point is being made here about
          religion. We do better as we learn
          better – or at least some of us try to.

          Francis Bacon was lots of things, but I’m not sure you could make the case that
          he was a devout, believing Anglican.
          Anyone familiar with his Rosicrucian and other activities will know that
          what he thought privately and professed publicly (especially given the era he
          lived in and his position in the government) might not have been the same.

          Newton was a
          genius of the first order – but even by the standards of his day some of his
          beliefs and researches into religion were on the lunatic fringe.

          Leonardo, Descartes and Caravaggio are other “greats” who would be easy to pick
          apart if you want to use them as props in this argument. Not that it’s even necessary – there where
          heaps of great thinkers, artists, leaders, etc. who believed in the gods of
          Greece or Rome, and any number of other things.
          Does that place them on an equal footing with Christianity in terms of
          believability? According to your
          thinking, it should.

          Facepalm indeed.

      • Lorna Dune

        Next time, try actually reading the response before replying to it. Then you’ll look less like an ass.

        • J1Militans

          same to you and the friendly atheist. ;)

        • J1Militans

          By that I mean that if the friendly atheist and all other atheists had actually read Catholic doctrine, you would know that what the Pope said it’s nothing new. Benedict, John Paul II, Pope Leo XIII, the Catechism, and Scriptures (to mention a few) have affirmed this for 2,000 years.
          Redemption /= Salvation.

          Though yes, I need to read rather than skim, so as to make more coherent points and no straw men or ad hominem fallacies. Point taken.

      • Derrik Pates

        Which has nothing at all to do with the fact that until fairly recently in history, if you publicly admitted to not believing in your preferred imaginary deity, the high likelihood that you’d be burned out of house and home, if not burned at the stake for your trouble. But hey, all these intellectuals were totally Christian by choice!

        Pull the other one, it’s got bells on.

      • http://www.facebook.com/Sylve5ter Sly Cooper

        Not to mention many of these intellectuals believe in a God in a really round about way, more and more twisted as time went on.

        I have a friend who is a Christian but doesn’t believe anything in the Bible literally happened and that you can take from it what you will. He is a experienced software engineer, a really intelligent guy. But he was raised Christian, and that is the problem. You can see it because he’s hanging onto this twisted form of faith because he just can’t let go.

      • Cannon Fodder

        LOL…just b/c a person is an intellectual doesn’t automatically mean they are right about everything, especially about God. If there is one that history has demonstrated is that even the brightest of intellectuals can get a lot of stuff wrong – i.e. Aristotle. btw can you tell us how any of those people sufficiently and validly proved God? And what of intellectuals from other faiths and cultures?

    • Christopher Parker

      ^^^^^LOVE! ^^^^^ what you wrote C Peterson

    • Joshua Davis

      Gotta love the “christians are childish” argument, no matter that your blanket statement regarding their “embarrassment” to the human race is as wildly irrational and idiotic as most of what catholics believe.

      • Darrell Ross

        It’s not a blanket statement. Keep studying.

    • Kurt Knittle

      Cheers! Lets time travel back to the 80′s, I was severely forced into the christian faith, with supper prayer, Christian schools, going to church…the entire spiel. One night at mass in our local church (with a 104 temp) I vomited, only I held it in my mouth for 2 hours thinking that vomiting in a ‘holy place’ would be a fast-pass to hell. I was very young but can remember every awful second of those two hours. To end this story on a positive note, I obviously kicked that ludicrous bullshit and got into astronomy and evolution. And for all those with bad childhoods, you can change the system. Science doesn’t lie.

    • Iv

      I’m afraid that according to latest Vatican guidelines you are going to hell…

      • C Peterson

        And I’m so worried about it. Being of a Scandinavian heritage, and having put up the good fight against these heathen Christian newcomers, I’m expecting that I’ll end up in Valhalla.

        • Charles Honeycutt

          Can you please adopt me?

      • Cannon Fodder

        Well…I haven’t molested any children, told nations to help the poor while living in luxury,endorsed slavery, tortured/executed people who don’t agree with me, nor discriminated against women so I actually think I will be ok. If the Christian God judges people by what belief or guess they happen to choose instead of their actual actions and intentions, then he is by definition an unjust God. Hell proves it – is there any crime that anyone could commit that would merit an eternity of unimaginable torment (meant for punitive not restorative purposes)? The “God can’t be around sin” response doesn’t work here – God is perfectly able to bring souls in and out of existence, it theoretically would have save everyone a lot of trouble.

    • C rob

      right, but let us not restrict this statement to christians only.

    • Andre Villeneuve

      You guys don’t see how pathetic you are? Smugly slapping each other’s backs as you spit out one gross misrepresentation and laughable caricature of Christianity after another, totally driven by prejudice, pretending to be experts on a topic that almost every line you write indicates that you are profoundly ignorant of, clearly not interested at all in what Christianity actually teaches, wallowing in your shallow worldview that offers neither hope nor meaning to life. You may get comfort and affirmation from other anti-Christian bigots, but you will not get much respect from anyone who has an open mind and interest for truth and objectivity – regardless of one’s creed or lack thereof.

      • C Peterson

        Your opinion is noted. Hope you feel better.

        My observation is that people who are actively opposed to what Christianity teaches have a far better understanding of that subject than the vast majority of Christians.

        • Andre Villeneuve

          I am sure there are many cases where this is true, but I see no evidence of it here.

      • Charles Honeycutt

        Don’t forget to share that Christian love, Hypocrite.

        You walked into a discussion among those versed in jargon and news items of which you are ignorant and IMMEDIATELY began calling everyone bigots because you weren’t up to speed and don’t understand basic conversational concepts like hyperbole. You’re one of those dipshits who walks in halfway through a movie, complains because he can’t follow the plot, and then shrieks because the other viewers don’t respect his loud opinion. You don’t know how to learn or debate, and you’re getting bad treatment because you sauntered in assuming you did and that you had the Arrogant Magic Argument That Somehow No One Has Ever Heard Before On A Forum Where Said Arguments Have Been Discussed Hundreds Of Times.

        Enjoy reaping what you sowed. And don’t pick at that beam; it might get infected.

    • Dumbstruck

      Embarrassment and pathetic or not, one has to wonder about the Church’s constant anamnesis from generation to generation for over 2000 years. The truth is surely stranger than fiction, you just can’t make this stuff up!

  • Amor DeCosmos

    Well, this very good FA article was made all the better by the butthurt Christian Trolls. Too funny. I hope they stay around just for the lulz and hey, maybe they will actually learn something!

  • The Other Weirdo

    Nice sexual imagery from the priest. At least it wasn’t about boys.

    • Ignatz

      [Nice sexual imagery from the priest.]

      Yes, “enter” and “in” are entirely sexual terms.

      “Heh, heh, Beavis, he said ‘enter.’

      Holy crap.

  • blasphemous_kansan

    Wow, I just scrolled down through this entire thread and as I went I watched someone downvote every single comment from an *actual* atheist as I went. It was happening much faster than they could possibly be read, because it was exactly as fast as I could scroll.

    They really are coming here just as fast as their little happy christian hearts can be recruited.

    Are they all really happy with how they’ve spent their time here today? What positive thing have these juvenile temper tantrums done for their faith, other than expose it as the mental weakness that it is?

    So, thanks for doing our work for us, I guess.

    • The Other Weirdo

      Unless it was just the one person posting from sock-puppet accounts run from different computers.

      • blasphemous_kansan

        Could be. It makes me sad, I mean, people who downvote other people like this can ruin my whole weekend!

        Oh wait, no they can’t. Fancy that?

        • MD

          My self esteem has hit rock bottom today, man, I haven’t received enough validation. Waaaah!

    • RobertoTheChi

      You’ve got 9 christers down votes so far. They’re a pretty pathetic bunch…

      • Hat Stealer

        But they’ve inadvertently made his like ratio 69! Bwahahahaha!

  • tanyam

    “Atheists, according to Christians, are going to hell unless we accept Christ’s divinity.”
    Not according to all Christians, now or in the past. Universalism (the salvation of all) has a long history in Christianity. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_reconciliation
    See Origen, Clement of Alexandria, Gregory of Nyssa, et al.

  • Space Cadet

    Who left the door open and let all the godbots in? Dammit people,it’s gonna take months to get the smell out.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brindusakatalin.poenaru Brindusa-Katalin Poenaru

    I just hope nobody will force me into a Heaven populated with all these bigoted and homophobic freaks! i’ve already reserved a place with the cats and dogs! If the Hell is overpopulated with my fellow freethinkers…:D

  • Gamecock Fan

    Not surprising that a Catholic wants me to “enter her [and] remain in her.”

  • Antinomian

    “Enter her and remain in her?”

    There is no using the rhythm method with the church. Can I go in wearing a raincoat without being condemned to hell?

    • islandbrewer

      So, according to this guy, once inside the church, we can’t pull out. I’m sure he’d say that the church prefers us on our knees, receiving her blessing.

      I’m also wondering if it matters to him which way we come into the church, as I’m sure there are many ways into her.

      • Antinomian

        One of the prefered ways in may be through the back door. I hope they keep it clean.

        Edit: the to they

  • scott

    I look forward to going to hell, it will be a great party. heaven will only be full of s*** heads like this guy.

  • Beatle Icious

    I entered her, I remained in her for a while…then I came, pulled out and wiped my sh*t off on her drapes.

  • Guest

    Superstitious, geriatric pedophile is a superstitious, geriatric pedophile. Fu–tard.

  • Debra Louise Barry

    I’m with the Pope, not the spokesperson! LOL, my sons say “that’s what she said” all the time…made my laugh.

  • ShoeUnited

    And here for a moment I was afraid I was going to stodgy old heaven where they keep Padre Pederastia and do nothing all day buy praise god.

  • Peter Hardy

    1) He’s just one Cardinal, he shouldn’t be treated as an absolute authority. Oh sorry, he’s not even a Cardinal.

    2) When Catholic doctrine talks about ‘knowing about the Catholic Church’
    in this context of salvation, it’s being used in a technical theological
    sense. It doesn’t literally mean that you’ve simply heard of the
    Catholic church and are aware of its existence. It means that you have a
    relationship to the church in which Catholicism as a whole and the
    philosophical reasons behind it have been received and fully understood
    by you. Ergo, if you haven’t deliberately avoided that, then you should still be saved.

    • Charles Honeycutt

      So if I dismiss the RCC’s technical word games as being insufficient evidence for the existence of magic instead of spending my life trying to accept rationalizations to the effect that word games prove magic, it’s morally justified for God to torture me forever.

      • Peter Hardy

        You don’t have to believe in magic to be a Catholic. The only requirement is living faithfully to Jesus’s message of love.

        Using technical language is one of the prime necessities of discussing very complex topics, it hardly invites your references to ‘word games’ and ‘rationalizations’.

        • Charles Honeycutt

          Miracles = magic. Saints = magic. Original Sin = a blood curse = magic. Yahweh = magic.

          Catholicism has survived on many centuries of apologetics and catechisms designed to paint over logical holes in the religion. Those are word games and rationalizations.

          • Peter Hardy

            Those are all crass assertions Charles. Philosophy of religion and Christian theology are flourishing academic disciplines in which such remarks just don’t wash.

    • Bdole

      OMG, Jesus actually showed up to post a comment!

      • Peter Hardy

        Lol. I’m flattered x

        • Peter Hardy

          I get that a lot in person but that’s the first time online.

  • David McNerney

    “I’m going to hell, not heaven. I mean, the devil’s got all the good gear. What’s God got? The Inspiral Carpets and nuns.” – Liam Gallagher

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Nunez/100000281459047 Chris Nunez

    Hemant, I don’t know who this guy is, but I’m going to do some research on him. We do not speak this way. And by the way, it really sounds like you’ve got a chip on your shoulder and you’re looking for a reason to cap on religion, just exactly the same way this guy is trying to cap on atheists. Wish you’d all stop fighting and just be your good selves — all of us! I’ll get back on who this guy is if I can find out.

    • Space Cadet

      Start doing your research here:

      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/05/24/vatican-representative-just-to-be-clear-atheists-are-still-going-to-hell/

      There’s a picture of the guy with his name under it and a linked article to what he said.

      Please, keep us informed of how your investigation is going.

    • MD

      Ya see, interfering with civil legislation that gives women access to contraception, letting a mother die from septicaemia because her non-viable foetus still had a heartbeat, prohibiting condom use and thus aggravating the spread of AIDS, covering up sexual abuse of children, the magdalene laundries…

      Yes, people have a bone to pick with the RCC, and most of us are former Catholics. The hell stuff just swings between condescending and amusing.

    • Charles Honeycutt

      You’d have a chip on your shoulder against any enormous organization that actively maligns and slanders you and yours and tries to legislate against people you love.

      Even if we discounted that, the RCC actively hides and protects men who rape children, and goes so far as to blame the children. The last POPE did this*. You should know this.

      *There’s evidence that the current one may have cooperated with fascist murderers to “disappear” people.

  • J1Militans

    This is exactly why it’s so hard to take atheists sometimes. You spend up almost all of your day writing about (or against, I should say) a religion(s) you don’t believe in… And yet you freaking misunderstand it? Gee!

    The Church has ALWAYS taught that ALL… yes. ALL men are redeemed by Christ’s sacrifice, but that one chooses to accept that or not – one chooses to follow or deny Christ; to be saved or damned. I mean, it’s in the BIBLE and the Catechism, look it up!

    The key difference here is in the theological meaning of the words redeemed and saved.

    Analogy:
    REDEMPTION: Christ’s sacrifice = someone gives you a key.
    SALVATION: Your faith in Christ and love to God and brother = you choose to open the door and walk in.

    • Space Cadet

      What about ALL women?

    • Satan’s Cousin

      Why do you need to know all of the details about the church in order to understand that it is shit?

      Seriously, just because you don’t know the ins and outs of cancer doesn’t mean that it isn’t killing people. The catholic church is just like cancer. It doesn’t matter what you believe, you can still believe in jesus and all that trash and still be an asshole.

      • ShoeUnited

        Neat. Someone posting with my name.

        Please, feel free to use your own name next time, buddy.

        • Satan’s Cousin X2.0

          sorry, I didnt know you used this name

          • Guest

            Have been for 15 years now. How did you come across it?

            • Satan’s Cousin X2.0

              I thought it was funny. Satan having relatives.

          • ShoeUnited

            Oh it was an issue with Disqus. I swear, it was showing you posting as my username. Boy do I feel stupid. Haha.

            It was an issue on the page. Disregard all of that BS then.

      • J1Militans

        Well you don’t. It’s a matter of seeking truth.

    • Charles Honeycutt

      You spend up almost all of your day writing about (or against, I should
      say) a religion(s) you don’t believe in… And yet you freaking
      misunderstand it?

      This coming from a poster who is spending all day writing about religion while not being able to portray the difference between a theist, an atheist, and an agnostic and complaining that others are “ignorant”.

      We got the difference during Francis’s initial statement. It’s all over the blog post about that. Please save your enlightening of the “ignorant” masses until you’re at least up to speed.

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    Did someone alert Donohue to the existence of this article? Seriously, what is up with all the down votes?

  • oldsneekers

    Priest, Bishop, Cardinal or Pope, it doesn’t matter. These people are trapped in the cultural propaganda that is religion. They exemplify the neat human practice of segregating two diametrically opposed view points and accepting each according to their egocentric needs and wants: the reason of science and the irrationality of religion.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Nunez/100000281459047 Chris Nunez

    So, this is what my source says ” Appearing at daily news briefings and giving over 160 interviews in
    English, French, Italian, Spanish and German to news networks and media
    outlets from around the world, Fr. Rosica assisted the Vatican during a
    critical period in Church history. He completed his service upon the
    election and inauguration of Petrine Ministry of Pope Francis.” Fr. Rosica became a ‘spokesman’ when Benedict XVI announced his impending resignation, and remained a spokesperson until the transition to the new papacy was complete. To my knowledge he has not become an official spokesman in any new position at the Vatican. So it looks like this is his personal opinion. Theologians get to have their own opinions, we all get to have our own opinions in matters we are trained in. There is nothing that says he is speaking for Pope Francis! or for all Catholics whether laity, or religious. We have lots of theological opinions! Yes, we do!

    • blasphemous_kansan

      So you admit that your original claim: “We do not speak this way.”
      is false then?

      Thanks for the research! I wish others would be so brave to refute their own claims when evidence presents itself.

    • Space Cadet

      Your source is wikipedia, for crying out loud. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but stop acting like you’ve been down in the dregs uncovering little nuggets of the truth, bit by bit.

  • Avocado Punk

    Wow… Judge much? LOL

  • onamission5

    *looks at comments, 459 and counting*
    Well that escalated quickly. 80

    • Avocado Punk

      Atheists United?? lol

  • carl

    saying youll go to hell if your not a Christian is pure blackmail ,and another form of brainwashing ….and we slag off muslims for being brainwashed ,the problem with this whole world is man him self,the greed,the politics ,the selfishness,and most of all ‘RELIGION’…….scrap the lot and just be good and caring and kind to each other, I believed that there was a man called jesus that walked the earth doing good ,and evil men killed him because he was different and a threat to them,but he did not judge others or cast them out ,he loved all , man created religion to brainwash people ,its a total brainwashing system,that mugs fall for, the fear of god gets put into them so leaders can have control of the people (like multilevel marketing ) theres been more wars and blood shed over religion than any other reason …..so how does this make religion good, its all bad wasted energy ,and every one is brainwashed into it (well most people ) just do good in life ,no need for religion ,as that just provokes trouble fighting amongst each others religouse views causing blood shed and suffering to each other…..I believe in simply good ,and I believe I have some form of gods ,but maybe advance man from another planet,who put a male and female on this planet as a experiment to see how they would develop, today is the result of it all,the bible may be a good guild to life if followed on a moderation level, but man has always exaduated and lied and change things over the years so I don’t know what to believe about the bible,does not really matter …..just do good ,if every one all over the world just did good ,the world would not be full of suffering ,and why is that …because of religion and mans evil greed,and once brainwashed he/she loses there own mind…..its man that has wrecked this earth all in the name of religion and greed…..simple as that…….so forget religion and just do good in life.

  • Gareth Connors

    The pope said “And this Blood makes us children of God of the first class! ”
    My questions to the pope is, how many classes of Gods children are there? and how are the classes decided?

    • Space Cadet

      Check for a penis. If present, the child is moved to first class.

  • RómuloVG

    And others are going to the avernus.

  • JA

    No Reverend, I’m pretty certain that your Pope said that even atheists are redeemed by Christ’s blood.

  • Solstice85 .

    If not knowing about the catholic church lets you go to heaven without believing, why did you tell me about the catholic church?!

  • Av8or

    If the pope is infallible and his words come directly for God, then why does the Vatican need a spokesman to come forward to correct his/His remarks?

    • Charles Honeycutt

      Catholics have a Byzantine set of rules about WHEN the Pope is infallible. Basically they vote on it.

      Yeah, I know…

  • http://www.facebook.com/jan.wiese.94 Jan Wiese

    The previous pope was such a horrid ball of hatred, I feared we would never again see someone kind and Christian-like. When I saw the post of yesterday saying atheists could be redeemed if they were good people, I felt a ray of hope for the Catholic Church ( that I refuse to set foot in a church that hates homosexuals, won’t allow birth control, and hides pedophile priests from the public 0. But, then today, a statement was issued that atheists will go to hell even though they are good, honest, giving people who only help others and never harm anyone. Back to the crock of BS. They don’t know anymore about the afterlife than anyone else and to say they do reveals lying and being self-serving. So, my hopes are dashed and I return to the world of trying to be a good person, help others, do no harm, be protective of people, and be as peaceful as I can. The Catholic Church is nearly as bad as the Westbury Baptist “Church”.

  • Lorna Dune

    Since there is no such thing as hell, heaven, gods, devils, angels, demons, the Tooth Fairy, chupacabra, Klingons, Bigfoot or pixies, the entire question is moot.

  • J1Militans

    At the same time, Rosica writes, “every man or woman, whatever their situation, can be saved. Even non-Christians can respond to this saving action of the Spirit. No person is excluded from salvation simply because of so-called original sin.”

    –this from the article. I mean, can’t you guys read?

    • Sweetredtele

      Hemant mentioned that in the blog post. Can’t you read?

      • Tainda

        Beat me to it…

        “Atheists, according to Christians, are going to hell unless we accept Christ’s divinity.”

    • Space Cadet

      All of which requires bowing down to your church’s dogma, which many of us find untenable.

      I mean, can’t you comprehend?

    • Sweetredtele

      Oh, he is also wrong, prolly because he hasn’t read scripture. Deny Holy Spirit=unforgivable sin.

  • http://www.facebook.com/psuliin Paul Suliin

    “Atheists, according to Christians, are going to hell unless we accept Christ’s divinity.”

    I’ll just point out that that the Vatican doesn’t speak for Christianity as a whole. They like to think they do, but one shouldn’t encourage them by pretending that it’s so.

    In fact, the substance of this latest statement is that everyone who isn’t Catholic is going to hell, including every Baptist, Methodist, and Lutheran. So it’s not “Christians” saying that in general at all.

    More to the point, many progressive Christians don’t even believe in eternal damnation.

    • Amor DeCosmos

      Actually, I spoke to a Catholic this morning and he told me the opposite, he said anyone who doesn’t accept Christ’s divinity is going to hell and it is clearly outlined in the Bible that this is true.

      He also said Catholics were the true Christians and the Pope speaks for all Catholics, and the Baptists, Methodists, and Lutherans ARE going to hell because they know about the Catholic Church, but refuse to enter into her.

      How do we know who’s right? You or him? How can you be sure? Can you prove it?

  • Ragnar Lothbrock

    I thought the pope was the bossman.

  • SJH

    There are two linguistic extremes here that are consistent with the faith. To say that atheists can go to heaven is nothing new. To say that, if you know the Church, you must participate in the Church in order to gain salvation is also not new. These however do not necessarily contradict each other. The statements have different functions and are both true. If a person believes that the Church is the one founded by God (presumable a Catholic would believe such a thing) then that person must participate in the Church. If a person does not know this fact (“not believing” and “not knowing” can be construed as the same thing.) then it is not held against them. If an atheist does what he can to honestly search for truth but cannot bring himself to believe in Christ and also lives his life in a way that is loving and charitable then he can be saved. (Remember, God is Love so if you know love then you know God.) On the other hand if a person believes in God knows that Christ started the Church but yet still knowingly defies God’s desire then they are less likely to be saved.

    The fact is that this is not as black and white as many Christians and atheists think it is. If God exists then he can think for himself and does not have to apply a blanket rule to all individuals. God can think within the gray areas.

    • Bdole

      Perhaps god doesn’t need general rules but for the poor souls down here, it would be nice to know if they or their loved ones are burning for eternity or strumming the lyre with King David.
      Uncertainty about this is cruelty.

      • SJH

        That is what the Church and the Bible are for. He has communicated those rules as guidelines for us to follow. If you stick within those guidelines then you will be fine. If not then you are left in uncertainty.

    • Amor DeCosmos

      “God is Love” – Really, I thought you were supposed to fear God (source: http://www.feargod.net/verses.php)

      Or does love of God = fear of God to a Christian? Your god sounds like an abusive boyfriend to me.

  • Mark Hunter

    Hermant – Jill, who posted here, is claiming at http://www.strangenotions.com (http://www.strangenotions.com/atheists-redeemed/) that you blocked her/his IP for a rather innocous post about a Harvard expert on AIDS. Can you clarify? Thanks.

  • Alcira Aldana

    I wonder if the pedofile priests will go to hell????? I guess if they pray a whole lot they will be forgiven and can go to heaven……..

  • MAL

    At least we atheists won’t be lonely in hell with all those paedophile Catholic Priests in there!

    • Quintin van Zuijlen

      Actuall…

  • Charles Honeycutt

    I can’t decide if I love or hate that over a hundred new comments appeared before I got to the bottom of the page, even discounting my jabber. Love, because there was so much wit expressed here, or hate, because there will be more wit and I won’t have time to read it.

  • busterggi

    So is the Pope a heretic? Will the RCC split (again)?
    Stay tuned for tomorrow’s episode of Men in Dresses.

    • Hat Stealer

      This needs way more likes.

    • Miss_Beara

      Next time on Mad Men in Dresses…

  • Scritty

    So – on an equally important point. One that has about as much value on people’s lives as this “fantasists arguing over their pretend friend” drivvel…. “Did Han Shoot First”?

    • Tainda

      Yes

      • Scritty

        He sure did – And I would have done to!

    • Charles Honeycutt

      Fucking heathens, I swear…

      • ShoeUnited

        Is fucking heathens any different that fucking anybody else? Is there a free prize inside?

        • Charles Honeycutt

          There’s a better-than-average chance you’ll find a condom, I suppose. That’s sort of a prize. You could make a balloon animal penis!

    • ShoeUnited

      Clearly. We’ve got data proving it. Any later teachings trying to change history to fit their agenda should be ignored and shamed publicly.

  • Grumpster

    Whatever…it’s all made up garbage anyway. Even if it were real, I would not want to spend an eternity with the nut-jobs that worshiped that cruel and self serving SOB.

  • rasslor56

    After reading many posts here, you all need to understand that just because you have one point or another doesn’t make EITHER point valid—just extreme. One can be intellectual and believe in Science and be spiritual as well. Remember, that which was considered ‘magic’ awhile ago is now considered everyday living through science–there was no evidence AT THAT TIME. But scientists have a form of faith as well and kept going till they were proven. You need both fact and faith to continue as a human being. To remove reason and facts is live without any sense or continuity and no control over your life. To remove faith and belief? No chance of eventually finding that for twhich there is no evidence for AT THIS TIME. But wouldn’t it be great to be the first?

    • Charles Honeycutt

      You are ignorant of the fact that the word “faith” is used in more than one way. Faith that water follows the path of least resistance is not the equivalent of faith in invisible, intangible, untestable supernatural entities that somehow both affect physics and are unaffected by it.

      And because I have the strip number memorized thanks to people like you:

      http://xkcd.com/774/

    • Sven2547

      just because you have one point or another doesn’t make EITHER point valid—just extreme.

      “Yes I’m just as bad as any fundamentalist extremist. Excuse me while I throw acid in a girls face and cut someone’s head off with a machete.”

      –Richard Dawkins

    • indorri

      What you’re describing as “faith” seems more to me like intuition.

      And here’s the thing. Sometimes that thing in the bush really is a tiger or a bear or a wolf. But more often than not, it’s just the wind. Yet you jump every time you hear it at night anyway.

      “Faith”, as we use it, describes continual belief in something that has continuously shown little evidence, or even has contradictory evidence. This isn’t limited to religions. Sometimes, no matter how much faith they have in something, pseudo-science is pseudo-science. So how do we correct this rather glaring error in our system?

  • rasslor56

    And for the Spiritual–just for the sake of argument–let’s take creationism vs evolution–to say it only happened one way limits God–are you saying he couldn’t do BOTH? Limiting God, if you believe in Him, is self-destructive–it places a chink in your faith. Just sayin’.

  • EdwardWJones

    Religion has been the death of people for thousands of years now, when religion (belief) enters the persons intelligence move out. Two thinks cannot occupy the same space at the same time, violence has us trapped and religion is the leader of violence.

  • EdwardWJones

    Will the new pope take boys under 5 or will 5 to 12 be his target age?

    • Paul Moore

      I’m an atheist, Edward, and totally against religion, but I think we (you) should be careful when accusing someone (even the pope) of being a paedophile without proof.

      • EdwardWJones

        Perhaps so Paul, it has more to do with knocking on the door of a closed system of stupidity that the cult can rape children and then be covered up by the higher ups. Religion blocks intelligence and the catholic cult religion is for sure a display of ignorance. BTW an atheist is the same as a religious person to me, one believes there is a god, the other believes there is not a god, both are beliefs. If all religion were gone in the morning, all atheists would be as well. Thanks for your response and your care.

        • Andre Villeneuve

          You are the one manifesting stupidity here with your sweeping generalizations.

          • EdwardWJones

            True but it highlights the stupidity of religion and a cult that would rape children and hide it, don’t you think? I was told 60 years ago to stay away from priests because they hurt little boys, I did not know at the time what ‘hurt’ they were telling me about I just knew never to be along with a priest. That is how long they have been hiding the act of rape of boys. Now you say protect them do not generalize it is the young children that need protection. Do you see the stupidity of protecting a cult who would ruin childrens lives and hide it?

            • Andre Villeneuve

              Are you a victim of clergy abuse?

              • EdwardWJones

                No Andre, other than seeing the mental drug of religion still on our planet, it shows how stupid we are. Religion blocks intelligence.

                • Andre Villeneuve

                  You are apparently brainwashed by secularist propaganda. I am not making any case for the generic term “religion” (a meaningless term, since every religion is so radically different from one another). However, I do find some of the greatest and sharpest minds and most inspiring people to be Catholics. St. Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Blaise Pascal, GK Chesterton, CS Lewis, John Paul II, Joseph Ratzinger, to name but just a few, I’ll read those guys anytime before Sartre, Nietzsche, and the other existentialists and atheists who have but hopelessness to offer.

                • EdwardWJones

                  Well Andre the religious mind is not capable of intelligence because it is blocked by ‘belief’. If that sort of reading (not the religious ones) is interesting to you then this will be prefect for you even tho I wrote both books, and the articles and mads the utube videos as well. Perhaps take a look ;>>> http://selftransformation.org/publications/

                • Andre Villeneuve

                  Edward: reading your comments I am unable to see much open mindedness or intelligence in the things you say. I see rather blind prejudice, anti-Christian bigotry and ignorance. Just out of curiosity, what great Christian works have you read? Any of the names I have listed above?

                  And by the way, contrary to the false mantra that you keep repeating, here is an ABC of Christianity: faith is not opposed to reason but builds upon it. It is atheism that is utterly unreasonable and unable to explain our origins, our destination, or the meaning of life.

                  I don’t get the impression that you are too interested in progressing from your blind prejudice to a more accurate understanding of Christianity, but if you are, since you are so interested in intelligence, you may want to read John Paul II’s encyclical on faith and reason: http://goo.gl/enWZ

                • EdwardWJones

                  Andre, I am about 99% sure you will not ‘catch’ what I am going to say, and here goes. You must be at the level of the happening in order to see the happening. Just as a hint re read your first two lines in your last post to me. Did you look at the URL I posted before to you?

                • Andre Villeneuve

                  I did look at your URL. To me, this new age mumbo jumbo is infinitely more superstitious than the Christian faith. It’s a rehashing of the serpent’s old temptation in Genesis 3 where man rebels against his good Creator and tries to enthrone himself as self-god “knowing good and evil”:

                  “In that sin man preferred himself to God and by that very act scorned him. He chose himself over and against God, against the requirements of his creaturely status and therefore against his own good. Constituted in a state of holiness, man was destined to be fully “divinized” by God in glory. Seduced by the devil, he wanted to “be like God”, but “without God, before God, and not in accordance with God.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 398)

                • EdwardWJones

                  OK, thanks for checking it out, Andre, A Perfect Experience of Life to You!!

                • Charles Honeycutt

                  It’s weird how only religionists who are ignorant of atheism ever talk about Sartre and Nietzsche. It’s almost as if we don’t follow them, and you’re too stupid to realize that.

                  It’s telling that you list a known pedophile-protector and the fool who posited Pascal’s Wager, among other apologists and the like. If you aren’t able to see right through the Wager, even with Google at your fingertips, you’re far too incompetent at this to make an impression. At best you’re speaking by rote.

                  That you only see hopelessness in a universe filled with wonder if it doesn’t have a magic man spinning it around is an issue with you, not with atheism or the philosophies related to it.

                • Andre Villeneuve

                  I don’t see “hopelessness in a universe filled with wonder”, I see hopelessness in your sad worldview which posits that your ultimate destiny is to lose everything you hold dear and be eaten by worms.

            • Andre Villeneuve

              As awful as the sexual abuses are (and their cover up by *some* church leaders), please keep in perspective that about 2-4% of priests have committed abuses. That’s 2-4% too many, of course, but perhaps to keep a more balanced perspective you could also look at the other 96% of priests who carry out their humble service to the faithful on a day to day basis. I see no great fairness in judging a whole organization on the basis of the failures of 4% of its clergy.

              • EdwardWJones

                Except for the extreme ignorance it take to be relogious. The main thigs needed to be religious is a lazy mind, and a mind that is fear filled. Sam as those who owns guns.

                • Andre Villeneuve

                  Funny you speak of ignorance while managing at the same time to have about five spelling and grammatical mistakes in three lines of text.

                  How did you come to such blind and misguided prejudice? Some of the most brilliant and kind people I know are “religious”.

                • EdwardWJones

                  I sent a URL but do not know if it made it, Andre, it is all by me, and virus free if you care to read it and I think my errors are edited. : < )) http://selftransformation.org/publications/

                • Charles Honeycutt

                  Lack of grammatical skill is not the same thing as ignorance of it. I know how to play a guitar, but I can’t play for shit. Your hypocrisy and ignorance are showing again. Might want to do something about that.

              • Space Cadet

                You mentioned, but glanced over, the hierarchy that covered up the abuse by shuffling those 2-4% of rapists from congregation to congregation, enabling them to rape over a very long period of time. Had the whole organization (from the laity all the way to the pope) responded to the abuse the way we would expect any other group to respond, rationally and quickly, we likely wouldn’t be judging the catholic church to the extent that we do.

                • Andre Villeneuve

                  That a fair statement. I have no problem with you criticizing those in the hierarchy who mishandled the abuses, and I criticize them too. However (again) I do take issue with the completely disproportionate fixation of the secular media on the abuses of a small number of clergy while completely ignoring the good work done by the overwhelming majority of priests over the years. I also take issue with the way secularists often have nothing to say against the culture of hedonism, promiscuity and pornography that is promoted all around us on a daily basis, and then are outraged that some priests (who are not immune to all these immoral influences) have morally failed.

                • Space Cadet

                  If you think the media ignores the good that theists do, then you’re not really paying attention. By and large the portrayal of theists, including priests, is positive. That being said, when stories of rape and molestation come out, especially combined with the cover up, the media is right to fixate on that.

                  The difference between what you perceive as a lack of outrage against the “culture of hedonism” and the problems with the church is consent. Secularists tend to understand that what happens between consenting adults, that brings no harm to others, is none of their business. The children abused by priests are incapable of giving consent.

        • Paul Moore

          With all due respect, Edward (because we are generally on the same side), an atheist is most certainly not the same as a religious person. Just because one believes in a god (or gods) and the other does not, does not make them the same. In fact, an atheist and a religious person are as diametrically opposed as you can possibly get. Also, your statement “if all religion were gone in the morning, all atheists would be as well” is purely hypothetical and is really not applicable to the discussion. If we did not exist, we wouldn’t be discussing this matter right now. Unfortunately, religion does exist and has done for a very long time. By their very nature, humans (or at least some humans) will always need to believe in a higher power; an entity that will protect them when things get really bad. Add to this the fact that humans are intrinsically stupid, and the outcome is obvious: religious people will always claim that even the worst disasters are part of god’s plan and must be tolerated and forgiven. The fact that the god they rely on to protect them does not protect them because it does not exist, is irrelevant. Religious people will always place their lives in the hands of their imaginary god. We will often hear them proclaim that If it is god’s will, then so be it. But whatever the case, I simply believe that we should not accuse people of such heinous crimes as paedophilia without first having solid evidence.

          • EdwardWJones

            I wonder Paul, have you ever been wrong?

            • Paul Moore

              Feel free to wonder, Edward :)

      • EdwardWJones

        http://selftransformation.org/publications/ Perhaps you might like this, Paul. It is safe and I wrote all of it, and did the videos.

        • Paul Moore

          Thank you, Edward. I will take a look at it over the weekend.

  • Shira

    Nice Blog!

    I can’t judge the Catholic church,
    though I can be annoyed by it. (I’m religious, but not Catholic – I’m
    Jewish.) So far as I know, Gd is not so petty that someone needs to be a
    particular religion, or know a particular handshake to be “redeemed.”
    (LOVED your “deemed” discussion, btw! – Guffawed!) Good is good. (Even
    tho’ I’m also going to hell if I don’t accept Jesus.)

    Now, that’s
    not to say that all beliefs don’t have crazies… but I’ve found that
    the far right and far left – of ALL religions – are closer to each
    other, than they are to their own religions (or humanity). That does
    make me concerned. Then again, I also know ‘Frightened Atheists,’ – who,
    rather than being comfortable with their beliefs, find the need to
    proselytize. (Of course, that holds for proselytizers of ALL religions,
    imnsho.) So perhaps the middle road, or the open road, or the
    open-minded road, is the best place to walk? Jury still out. But at
    least SOMEONE thinks we’re redeemable… even though apparently he spoke
    out of turn. (hmmmmm)

    Thanks for letting ME vent on YOUR blog!

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      Nice comment, but I can’t help giggle at

      So far as I know, Gd is not so petty that someone needs to be a particular religion, or know a particular handshake to be “redeemed.”

      I hope ‘handshake’ doesn’t include how you spell his/her/its title :-)

    • sk3ptik0n

      Since the name of the Lord, in your religion or in any other, was most certainly not spelled G O D, I find it a bit useless to try to fool him by not uttering his name by removing the vowel.

      I have always wondered, is god sitting around ignoring internet posts that spell his name GD or YHW or whatever but somehow perking up when his name is spelled correctly?

      Does that even make sense?
      Since I am bilingual (well, almost trilingual) I have read a l,ot of Italian. Not one I have seen the Italian name for god spelled this way. Also because “D I O” (comes from Dies as in “Dies Ira”) spelled the same way would be DO. That’s be silly.

  • http://manojpontificates.blogspot.com/ Manoj

    I call this the new Rock-Paper-Scissors game in town: Pope-Jesus-Vatican!

    Pope overrides Jesus’ message (John 3:36)
    Jesus directs the Vatican
    Vatican clarifies the Pope’s statement

    Pope-Jesus-Vatican!

    http://manojpontificates.blogspot.com/2013/05/jesus-died-for-atheists-too.html

  • Wrong1

    Dear Mr Vatican Representative: Just to be VERY VERY VERY clear, Catholics are not going to hell, but also NOT GOING ANYWHERE after death….like the rest of us! You idiot!

  • Max Redman

    I.Q of 154. Senior Systems Engineer, not prone to “primative superstition”. I am a Christian, take responsibilty for my own actions. “Embarrassment to the human race?” you sound like the intolerant, judgemental religious bigots you critizise,, maybe your to much like them.

    • Mark Hunter

      I won’t critizise you but I will criticize you..

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      I don’t normally point out spelling and grammar mistakes, mostly because I make them more than most people.

      But if you’re going tell everyone your IQ, you should probably pay attention to your grammar in the very same comment.

    • Apollo33

      Which website did you take your IQ test on?

    • ShoeUnited

      Guys listen, he said “I.Q of 154.” He didn’t say “I have an I.Q. of 154.” The sentence is just floating there. He follows it by another floating sentence. Clearly these are just non sequiturs before he starts talking about himself.

    • Charles Honeycutt

      I.Q. of 165, writer, in retail, not prone to your primitive superstitions but strongly and negatively affected by them second-hand. Possessed of sufficient grammatical skills to at least not make it look like I’m blustering when I quote that number, which I don’t like to do because I possess sufficient intelligence to know that IQ tests are biased garbage, and usually only cited to insult someone or to puff oneself up.

      When you call people bigots for angrily objecting to bigotry, you make yourself one of the victimizers. I hope you take enough responsibility for yourself to accept that and work on not being a victimizer trying to dismiss and libel a minority by tone-trolling. How does that quote go again, about how demands for civility are always used by those in power to control those who are not?

      You may also want to Google the Salem Hypothesis, as it is tangentially related.

    • RobertoTheChi

      I. Q. of 154 and you don’t know the difference of to and too???

  • penny0314

    First, let us be very clear: any god who would CREATE a hell, let alone send people (or “fallen angels” or whatever) is a man-made god and I want no part of it! Hell is a concept developed in the early church (Nicea and later) to help control the people.

    • Miss_Beara

      It is amazing, in a bad way, that people still think the concept of hell is not a concept at all and we are in the 21st century.

  • Paul Moore

    @ Troy Boyle: It should mean a lot to you, Troy. The opinions of present-day popes (with the possible exception of Albino Luciani and, maybe – hopefully – the latest pope) are not that dissimilar from the opinions of the popes who ruled over the Roman Catholic Church in Europe during the Middle Ages. They could all be labelled as ‘fantasist opportunists’ who leveraged ‘a fictional afterlife punishment’ in order to glean power and wealth while, amongst other debacles, abetting and shielding paedophiles from prosecution’.

    It was those popes who instigated the Crusades. How’s your history? There are a few billion people on this little planet who are convinced that there really is a god. Many of those people – whether Muslim, Christian or Jew – are not afraid to die for their beliefs. The effect is not that different from the Borg phenomenon. How’s your knowledge of Star Trek?

    There are still less atheists than there are staunchly religious people. We’re getting there, but it’s tough going. When kids are brainwashed by parents, teachers, priests, the media and politicians into believing there is a god, it’s very hard to reverse that damage. In any civilized society, such a brainwashing process would be regarded as abuse, but somehow the church gets away with it.

    As long as many American politicians and all US presidents insist on finishing their speeches with the words “God bless America” (thereby completely disregarding the separation of church and state laid down by the founding fathers), we are up against a brick wall of stupidity.

    We should also not forget that such labels, with slight amendments, can easily be attached to certain infamous individuals throughout history. Hitler, for example, was a fanatical opportunist who leveraged a very real punishment (death) in order to glean power over millions of people while instigating some of the worst atrocities the human race has ever witnessed. He was a mad genius who combined religion, mythology and (most importantly) imagery to ‘hypnotize’ and gain control over the minds and actions of millions of Germans. Check out the Nuremberg Rallies. Again, how’s your history?

    What I basically want to say is that the phenomenon of the ‘collective’ is very dangerous when applied to religion. We should not be complacent. It really should mean a lot to you.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Although the pope’s comments about salvation surprised some…

    Note the confusion between redemption and salvation. His Royal Popeness was talking about redemption.

  • mikewest007

    Why do I have a sneaking suspicion that this pope will get poisoned soon for rocking the boat, just like it happened to John Paul I?

    • sk3ptik0n

      Let me put it this way, I wouldn’t want to be his food taster.

      • Charles Honeycutt

        Damn you, now I’m curious as to what sort of meals a Pope gets.

        • Space Cadet

          I’m sure it’s something cheap like Top Ramen, that way the Church can use all that donated money for big hats the poor.

  • Andy Gibson

    If it gets me away from that moron – Gladly ! mind you who would want to be in heaven with all those do gooders ? BORING….Give me hell any day.
    Oh soz I have forgoten heaven, hell – DO NOT EXIST YOU KNOB !!!!

    • SkippyFlipjack

      Are you talking to your knob?

  • Randy R.

    I’m Protestant not Catholic but it has always been the Christian position that atheists can do good and be saved. What would be the point of proselytizing if they couldn’t?

    • TiltedHorizon

      “What would be the point of proselytizing if they couldn’t?”

      To advance your faith and fill the coffers.

    • ShoeUnited

      If I do good and am saved why are you proselytizing? I’m saved.

      • Randy R.

        Because doing good does not save you. Christianity is different from all other religions in this respect. In every other religion, you must earn your way to heaven or Nirvana or wherever. Christianity says you can never earn it on your own merits. It is a gift which is given freely. But you must accept it.

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

          But you must accept it.

          And if you don’t ‘accept’ it, you’re not saved- right?

          It’s like the guy on the street who knows you’re a thief (original sin) and is going to beat the shit out of you for it. Unless you ask him not to. That’s all it takes, just ask, and he won’t beat the shit out of you. But if you don’t actually ask him not to, then he will. Easy enough!

          But wait, now Rev. Thomas Rosica, says that people who know about the Catholic church “cannot be saved” if they “refuse to enter her or remain in her.”

          Whoa! Now you’ve got a second guy promising to beat the shit out of you, if you don’t ask him not to, or if you ask the other guy to not beat the shit out of you.

          But if you ask the right guy, he’ll protect you. Better choose wisely!

          Is it any wonder some of us think it’s a better idea to make restitution for our wrongs than to ask gods to not beat the shit out of us?

        • Charles Honeycutt

          Accepting being told that everything I do is worthless isn’t “free”. It’s abusive.

    • SkippyFlipjack

      Flip side, what’s the point of recognizing Jesus as your savior if all those who don’t do so get into Heaven too?

      Atheists can get in but they’ve got to accept Christ’s divinity, which is kind of a catch-22 since they’d then not be an atheist.

      • Randy R.

        “Flip side, what’s the point of recognizing Jesus as your savior if all those who don’t do so get into Heaven too?”

        But they don’t. That’s the whole point.

        “Atheists can get in but they’ve got to accept Christ’s divinity, which
        is kind of a catch-22 since they’d then not be an atheist.”

        Correct. No catch-22. What I said still stands. Atheists can do good and can also be saved. But being good isn’t what saves them – and the Pope never said it was (thank God).

        • SkippyFlipjack

          Let me say that differently — if the Christian position is that atheists can be saved by not being atheists, the Christian position boils down to atheists not being able to be saved. Costco only allows members to buy stuff. The fact that you can purchase a membership doesn’t change that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.brennan.779642 Robert Brennan

    Because of delusional people like this we are all going to hell, on Earth.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Zombob Robert Banning

    So if I become a Catholic priest and sexually abuse children, I still go to Heaven and the atheist who has done good works his/her entire life will not?

    • RandomCatholic

      No, because you have sinned.

      • Obazervazi

        But what if he tells Jesus he’s sorry?

        • RandomCatholic

          Did he really mean it? Did he truly repent, did he truly feel sorry for what he had done? If he didn’t, it does not count in god’s eyes.

          • Darrell Ross

            So if he does feel sorry for it, he is still redeemed. And yet an atheist who does far more good is not.

            What a dumb god. Certainly not worth of worship.

          • Charles Honeycutt

            So feeling bad is more important than doing good. That’s one of the symptoms of an abusive relationship, by the way. Incidentally, Christianity matches up with all the others also.

  • doug105

    said that people who know about the Catholic church “cannot be saved” if they “refuse to enter her or remain in her.

    Wonder if the other Christians realize those goes for them too? At least as far as the RCC is considered.

  • ShoeUnited

    Am I the only one who thought “refuse to enter her or remain in her” was actually about having sex with an anthropomorphic church?

    • sk3ptik0n

      I tried to figure out where the vagina is and immediately I figured it has to be in front of the St. Peter basilica.

    • Bdole

      But the church is the bride of christ.
      Bunch of homewrecking adulterers.

    • Charles Honeycutt

      Rule 34 surely must apply.

  • Ben Tousey

    I love the irony here. For the first time in a generation, a Pope says something that’s finally inclusive and, immediately his church has to come out and do “damage control.” Thank god he didn’t say that Jesus even loved the atheists. I don’t think that the church could survive such a scandal.

  • BlackRabbit

    Not really. Because you see atheists didn’t make unforgivable sin. Church did. What Jesus said? Never use my word to make a fortune for yourself. Golden churches, parking lots, platinum handbars, golden and silver coats, seeling god’s word for money, they even sell funerals, blessings and so on. All Church bear unforgivable sin. That means that forgivness that priest gives is empty, because God does not stand behind the Church, maybe Satan, but God does not.

    So I think he is just scared, because he will spend eternity on to cross, where in eternity his flash will burn. It is really wierd how church got rid of Holy Bible and started to act like company, which was forbiden by the name of their own God and is unforigivable sin. So, is he really think that noone did read the Bible?! Oh God… those Christians. :D

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=649813048 Nicoline Smits

    You know it couldn’t last, not in a religion where they still have an office that used to be called the Inquisition.

  • CG

    Infidels!

  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.brennan.779642 Robert Brennan

    “ Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, and imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch toward uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one-half the world fools and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth.“ – Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, 1781-82

    Read more: http://www.addictinginfo.org/2012/09/02/freedom/#ixzz2UFEspyf8

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson
  • Miss_Beara

    I don’t understand why the Vatican needs representation when the Pope says something that will disturb the sensitive mindset of Catholics. He is the Pope, head of the church and this representative is going publicly against the Pope. He must me smited!

  • EighteenCharacters

    “The pope is infallible… until he says something that’s bad for business.”

  • Waterlyly

    The Pope was not saying that atheist’s would go to heaven, he was saying that they, like Catholic’s and others are not past redemption. If you read the homily it is clear that is what he was saying.

    • Derrik Pates

      That assumes that atheists care about being “redeemed” by the Catholics’ imaginary friend(s), though. I know I don’t.

      And apparently, the Reverend there thought it was vague enough to issue a clarification that we must “enter and remain in her”. (hurr hurr)

  • Linda

    I’m not too worried the will be plenty of pedophile priests there to offer absolution to us

  • Critic

    I find it funny that when a new trend in morality or world view is presented, the Catholic Church makes an attempt to adapt/adopt the view for the sake of keeping power within the people. The Catholics can claim Atheist are going to hell for the rest of their prolonged existence, but at the end of the day we know who is being intellectually honest with themselves, and what standards for morality are more genuinely held.

  • Joe

    That statement is even worse than what you sugest. It isn’t that non Christians will go to hell unless they accept the Divinity of Jesus. Even other Christians who do will go to hell unless they also accept the authority and doctrine of the Catholic Church.

    • Peter Hardy

      It doesn’t say that at all.

      • Alfredo Wilson

        The Rev. Thomas Rosica, a Vatican spokesman, said that people who know about the Catholic church “cannot be saved” if they “refuse to enter her or remain in her.”

        • Peter Hardy

          1) He’s just one cardinal, he shouldn’t be treated as an absolute authority. Oh sorry, he’s not even a cardinal. He’s certainly not the Pope.

          2) When Catholic doctrine talks about ‘knowing about the
          Catholic Church’ in this context of salvation, it’s being used in a technical theological sense. It doesn’t literally mean that you’ve simply heard of the Catholic church and are aware of its existence. It means that you have a relationship to the church in which Catholicism as a whole and the philosophical reasons behind it have been received and fully understood by you. Ergo, if you haven’t deliberately avoided that, then you should still be saved.

          • Peter Hardy

            And needless to say, if you haven’t deliberately avoided it but aren’t a Christian you won’t be bothered about the possibility of hell.

          • Space Cadet

            Okay, so going with your clarification of Rosica’s clarification of the Pope’s clarification of what god really, really means…

            …if you can be saved without intimate knowledge of the doctrines of the church, wouldn’t it be better to not discuss the doctrines of the church at all, thus ensuring everyone gets saved?

            • Peter Hardy

              That would appear to be a humorous consequence of this in a sense. But that doesn’t make it the right thing to do.

              As you may have heard it has since come out that Rosica isn’t a Vatican spokesperson at all so this was all a big con by the secular media get back into the ‘church is right wing and exclusive’ narrative it so loves to paint.

        • Peter Hardy

          Hmm… I thought I’d commented on this a week ago but it seems to have got lost. Nevertheless Alfredo, it has since come out that Rosica isn’t a Vatican spokesperson at all so this was all a big con by the secular media to get back into the ‘church is right wing and exclusive’ narrative it so loves to paint.

          • Peter Hardy

            Oh sorry the old comment has just appeared again. Not sure why, I’m unfamiliar with the comment format on here and it doesn’t seem to be showing all the branches by default.

      • http://stonesnbones.blogspot.com/ Dr. GS Hurd

        No, Peter. That is what it said.

        • Peter Hardy

          If you take the words literally yes, but in Catholic doctrine you can be part of the Catholic Church in the sense meant here as required for salvation without being a practicing Roman Catholic. This is nothing new. Other Christians, for example, are members of Christ’s Church, it is just that Catholic doctrine, confusingly, also refers to Christ’s Church as the Catholic Church (since it regards itself as the true Church).

          I can’t speak for what this guy actually meant- I’m not sure how well he is expressing authentic Catholic teaching. But the Second Vatican Council, as interpreted in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (the official teaching document) and by Popes John Paul II and Francis, teaches that non-Christians can be saved if they live moral lives.

          • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

            That is what the church teaches. Did he change that? Otherwise I’ll assume that’s what he meant. Playing around with words doesn’t change anything.

            • Peter Hardy

              Why is it playing around with words to point out what is meant by them?

            • Peter Hardy

              And as you may have heard it has since come out that Rosica isn’t a Vatican spokesperson at all so this was all a big con by the secular media get back into the ‘church is right wing and exclusive’ narrative it so loves to paint.

  • DMJM

    You know, I find it interesting how it seems that the majority of people who are getting upset by this are the ones who deny the existence of God, Heaven, and Hell anyways…So they resort to assuming that people of other religions are “intellectually weak”.
    If you really didn’t believe in any gods, or the idea of Heaven and Hell, then you wouldn’t even bother commenting. You wouldn’t even care what other religions have to say. Especially if they’re, in your eyes, “intellectually weak”.

    • Mario Rodgers

      We don’t deny their existence. They just flat out don’t exist. What DOES exist is this bothersome aspect of your religion, how it is bullying and thuggish and promotes emotional anguish and rewards arrogance. The whole redemption fairy tale is problematic, and this is a prime example of why it’s so abhorrent.

      • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

        Exactly. They don’t exist. There’s no evidence, no proof and no reason to believe. My belief or lack of belief has no impact on that nonexistence.

    • indorri

      Why do people keep using this excuse to dismiss things atheists say? There’s a word for that type of thing, though I forget what it’s called. (Edit: found it, thought-terminating cliche) We rail against homeopathy, psychic mediums and pseudo-science as well. Are you going to tell us “why should we rail against them” even while people are conned out of their money, fail to seek proper care for illness and, in extreme cases, actually do something harmful to themselves?

    • http://stonesnbones.blogspot.com/ Dr. GS Hurd

      I have the impression that the non-Catholic Christians, the non-Christian religious (a billion Muslims, and a billion Hindus for example), and the tiny number of atheists thought that maybe the Catholics hierarchy were going to stop being vicious pigs.

      They are merely disappointed.

    • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

      I comment because I find it hilarious. The only thing that offends me is that it’s considered a major news story any time the kidfucker-in=chief makes a pronouncement.

    • Charles Honeycutt

      If you’re too ignorant and arrogant to grasp that theists affect those who don’t ascribe to their beliefs, that’s your incompetent thinking at issue, and not a problem anyone else has.

  • Agent Strong

    No, you can’t say “according to Christians” because we don’t all believe that.

    • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

      Catholics do this all the time. They presume to speak for all Christians. Just remember that, because they do not believe non-Catholics are true Christians and are all going to hell. Remember that when they act like they are in favor of ecumenical outreach.

    • Charles Honeycutt

      You can’t complain about reasonable hyperbole and generalization whose meanings are well understood and expect to engage in serious discussion.

  • Mario Rodgers

    Hell is real. It’s called The Vatican.

    • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

      Silly. It’s a lovely vacation spot with museums and concerts. The church even owns a gay bath house!

  • http://stonesnbones.blogspot.com/ Dr. GS Hurd

    Well I am glad to know that I won’t need to spend eternity with the child rapists from the Vatican.

  • AntonioPeYangIII

    So there’s this Italian basically telling me that I’m free not to believe in his questionable little protection scheme, but that if I don’t, my soul goes up in smoke.

    Didn’t we used to call that extortion?

    • Charles Honeycutt

      Note the geographical similarities of the seat of the RCC and of the Mafia. One was based in no small part on the culture created by the other, and you know which one came first…

  • Blarghonius

    They almost said something not offensive. Good thing they caught it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/linda.terrell.524 Linda Terrell

    CODSWOLLOP!

  • ok_paulo_ok

    Dr. Mr. Pope,
    I’ve been to Cleveland, hell would be a picnic!

  • Jeff_Selbst

    Who cares what the representatives of the Pedophile Church say or think?

    • http://www.facebook.com/pheelyp Pheelyp Aytona

      Many people do, because the Church is not just one of pedophiles, but also of men and women trying to do good in the world, just like you, Jeff.

      • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

        The RCC covered up for and enabled child rapists for decades. Anyone still associated with that organization is participating in the ongoing coverups and obstructions of justice that continue to deny justice to the many victims. It is a criminal organization. If you choose to be part of that it’s your business, but it’s impossible to respect you. I realize that you probably didn’t directly participate in or approve of those actions, but you belong to a church that refuses to accept responsibility for its crimes. The membership could rise up and demand accountability going all the way up tot he last pope, but chooses not to. That part is on you. Why do you not do so? Why do you continue to empower bishops and cardinals who committed the crime of failing to report child abuse and even putting other children in danger? It’s repugnant to any decent person. Are you not a decent person? Why don’t you bring about the purge in the RCC necessary for it to have any credibility?

        • http://www.facebook.com/pheelyp Pheelyp Aytona

          Hello Houndentenor. Thank you for sharing your impassioned view on the subject. Though your comment does not really seem connected to my point that what the reverend said was actually consistent with what Pope Francis said, let me take this opportunity to respond to your words and talk about the topic you want to talk about.

          The members of the Church who did what they did in that situation is indeed a cause for shame. I am not proud that that happened, and I share your outrage that it did.

          However, I believe it would be helpful for you to realize that the Church has indeed apologized for this, and has been working (from at least Pope Benedict XVI) to purge this filth from our ranks. Our processes may not be as fast or transparent as you may prefer, but wheels are turning, and we pray that justice be done.

          You assume that I do nothing to “bring about the purge” in the Church, and I think that is unfair and disrespectful. By raising my voice in different fora calling for the practice of virtue and temperance of anger, do I (do we) not contribute to cultivating a culture where these kinds of sin would be less likely? By living morally, do we not set an example for others to follow, making it easier to live a righteous life?

          When you say that I “continue to empower bishops and cardinals etc.”, are you asserting that I demonize the Church and refrain from giving credit where credit is due? I would be the first to affirm that the Church is not perfect; we are made up of human beings, and make many, many mistakes. Just as evil should be condemend, good should be supported. Organizations, like people, are too complex to be treated so one dimensionally, in my opinion.

          We have different opinions, Houndentenor, yet I respect you. We all have the potential for good, and I choose to believe that you are motivated to actualize this potential.

          • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

            We obviously have very different ideas about what constitutes and apology. Yes, there was an official statement. It consisted of acknowledging SOME of the crimes, making excuses and blaming the victims. I”m sorry but that does not make an apology for me.

            Here is what an apology would have to entail:

            1) Full acceptance of responsibility for the crimes committed

            2) Full accounting of those crimes, including confessions. That would include turning ALL records of criminal offenses over to local authorities and submitting to the criminal justice system of the local company

            3) Stripping anyone involved either in the rape of children or the cover-up and enabling of those rapes of any church authority and removing them from the payroll

            4) Full funding for therapy and treatment of all the victims

            5) Full apologies to all victims and their families. Personally and by name. Not a blanket apology, but each victim would have to get his or her own specific apology delivered personally (if the victim agrees to such a meeting).

            That is the bare minimum that should be required. I haven’t seen anything remotely like this. And we haven’t because honestly no one in the church hierarchy is the least bit sorry for what they did. They are just sorry they got caught and did the least possible they could for damage control. It’s insulting to the victims and a disgrace that our law enforcement let them get away with it. Shame on anyone who stays in the church without a full accounting of the crimes and demanding that all involved be excommunicated and banished from the church. How can you so easily dismiss such horrible crimes with a half-assed apology and think that was good enough? How morally corrupt does one have to be to rationalize that?

            • http://www.facebook.com/pheelyp Pheelyp Aytona

              Again, thank you for sharing your very impassioned views on this topic. I share your desire for justice. As I said though, the Church’s processes are not as fast or as transparent as you may prefer, but the wheels are turning, and that is a good thing.

              I think it is unfair of you to assert that “no one in the church hierarchy is the least bit sorry for what they did.” Again, organizations, like people, are too complex to be pigeonholed and treated one-dimensionally like that. Hasty generalizations do not enrich the discussion, and your eagerness to demonize the entire clergy is unfair to the many good priests who had no hand in this sin.

              The Church has done much good and continues to do much good, and for that I am proud to belong to it. However, I agree with you that this event in its history is a cause for shame, and no one is trying to rationalize that away.

              • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

                I should clarify. It is possible that various individuals feel terrible. they just haven’t done anything to correct the problem. It’s emotional masturbation in that case. It might feel good for them but doesn’t do a damn bit of good for anyone else. I don’t give a crap about anyone’s feelings. I care about actions. What actions has the church done. I made a list. Please tell me which of those have been accomplished. If you can’t, then I don’t want to hear about people feeling bad about what happened.

                As for the church doing good things, that’s fair enough. So please do the math. How many good deeds does it take to make up for raping one child? I’m not Catholic so I don’t know how to do the math for that. Please give me an exact figure.

  • Golden

    The pope is correct. The priest correcting him should be excommunicated. God did not creat religion, man did! And many of those who did, abuse it like this Vatican Spokesman. When an athiest lives a good life and it is not out of fear, they are just good people not expecting a reward. And as the pope says, They are redeemed. The pompous ass priest disagreeing with the pope had better hope he becomes as humble and compassionate as the pope. He may end up in a very unpleasant place in the end.

    • Darrell Ross

      The non-religious and non-RCC of the world were delighted to hear that one of the most ass-backward religions on the planet might have turned a new leaf.

      The existence of some redemption is irrelevant. The interest was in the idea of the hellfire and brimstone brigade being inclusive and positive for once. They hold sway over so many people that such a voice for tolerance could be really powerful.

      Again, the thought of redemption is irrelevant. In the age of information, discussing the finer details of redemption probably generates atheists every day as people realize that it’s all a bunch of nonsense.

  • DeadInHell

    OH GOD THIS CHANGES…nothing.

    Carry on.

  • http://stonesnbones.blogspot.com/ Dr. GS Hurd

    The most radical fact of this revision of the Pope’s statement is that mere PR “spokesperson” Tommy can overrule the Pope.

    • http://www.facebook.com/pheelyp Pheelyp Aytona

      Dr. Hurd, the reverend did not overrule the Pope. In fact, he affirmed what the Holy Father said and showed how his statement is consistent with Catholic teaching.

      The full text of what he said would show this.

      • http://stonesnbones.blogspot.com/ Dr. GS Hurd

        Stick to raping alterboys. It is what the “church” does best.

        • http://www.facebook.com/pheelyp Pheelyp Aytona

          Dr. Hurd, I do not see how your reply was responsive to my comment.

        • Charles Honeycutt

          That’s a nasty response to someone who is simply clarifying the basic issue. There are people here whose comments deserve that kind of response. I haven’t seen him/her posting any of those kinds.

  • Einelorelei

    Shut up, Rev. Rosica. You aren’t the Pope, so your words don’t mean squat! :P

    • http://www.facebook.com/pheelyp Pheelyp Aytona

      His words echoed and affirmed what the Pope said, if you would read the full text of what he actually said, Renee.

  • Martin D SLoan

    When I stop laughing I’ll let you know my opinion that spans more the 30,000 years of history while this laughable ignoramus thinks he knows it all from one book and he has the entire Vatican library at his disposal… That takes real stubbornness to avoid being even marginally curious about the real history… and if he does know the truth then he’s one of the ultimate hypocrite narcissists… SO again When I stop laughing…

  • Tim V Johnson

    Isn’t it sweet that Rev. Thom thinks he can veto the “infallible” pope? …unless he is saying that the pope was lying last week?… What an awesome religion!

    • http://www.facebook.com/pheelyp Pheelyp Aytona

      Mr. Johnson, the reverend neither vetoed the Pope nor said that he was lying.

      In fact, he affirmed that what the Pope said was in fact consistent with the teachings of our faith. If you would read what he actually said in the post in Zenit, you would see this.

      • Tim V Johnson

        I did indeed read what both of them have said.

        Thomas Rosica actually doesn’t have the power to veto the pope, as that is a political power, not a religious one. I also realize that the pope was not speaking infallibly, as he did not issue his statement “ex cathedra.” Both of these things are obvious to any reader who even casually familiar with the teachings of the catholic church.

        My original statement was intended as sarcasm, in order to point out the inconsistency and hypocrisy of blanket statements by the church, and them pretending to pass judgement on the lives of others. It is unfortunate that my meaning was lost on you.

        In truth, the atheist wouldn’t and shouldn’t care about any opinion or dogma of the catholic church, or any church–as any such belief has no bearing upon the life of the atheist.

        • http://www.facebook.com/pheelyp Pheelyp Aytona

          I agree with you, Mr. Johnson. It is indeed unfortunate that I misunderstood your post. What seemed to me as a comment that failed to see the consistency between what the Pope and what the reverend said was apparently just sarcasm. Thank you for clarifying your intention.

          I am glad that you have taken the time to understand the Church’s teachings; mutual understanding is certainly the path to deeper respect for one another. In this light, I hope you could help me out in understanding what you said – I admit to still being lost on where exactly the inconsistency and hypocrisy are in what the Pope and the reverend said. Did they not both say that atheists can be saved?

          (To respond to your last point about the irrelevance of our beliefs to atheists – well, I iamgine that we are all a lot more interconnected than that. Though we may not share the same beliefs, we are all still in this one world, and so how we act (as influenced by our beliefs) impacts on the lives of others. To that extent, won’t everyone’s beliefs have a bearing on all our lives?)

  • Alex Pretorius

    All the cool people are going to hell. Who wants to party?!

    • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

      One of my college friends used to say, “Why would I want to go to heaven? I wouldn’t know anybody there!”

  • Frozen Pen

    But the way I see it, Atheists do in fact believe in the divinity of Christ-within, though they knew Him not, and cursed be on those Christians who say that salvation (be it in this life or in the life hereafter) only pertains to them. There is so much about God that our ‘primitive science’ has not yet discovered; and too much divine knowledge that the religious world has rejected and misunderstood. There is no right or wrong in the thing that neither you nor I understand. God alone is love, this truth is very simple yet too broad a statement for anyone to understand. He who loves does not dwell in the thoughts of punishing the sinners/offenders.For love that delights in punishment does not come from God (rather from sinful people who made God after their own image.) But hey, who really offends? The Christians or the Atheists? I believe none offends anyone. Everyone is just seeking after the truth. Let this therefore be the truth: Love and respect one another that you may dwell safely and peacefully on earth – this is what our science wants, what our God wants.

    • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

      Hey, Frozen Pen, telling people what they believe is not acceptable. If someone says they think the color purple is the prettiest color, you don’t get to tell them they actually think green is the prettiest. If someone tells you they don’t believe there’s a god, you don’t get to tell them they actually do. Shockingly, people know their own beliefs better than someone on the outside.

    • Space Cadet

      I understand all of the words you used, but have no idea what you said.

    • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

      How do you know what god wants? How do you know there is a god? If you do how do you know which one or how many?

  • cckb

    This is not correct” Atheists, according to Christians, are going to hell unless we accept Christ’s divinity. ” Not all Christians think alike and some believe as the Pope expressed, that all people will be reconciled with God after death. You may not agree but you should be accurate in what you write. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universalism

    Christianity is as complex as the 2+ billion people who believe in it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pheelyp Pheelyp Aytona

    With respect, I would like to point out that this blog post seems to misrepresent what Rev. Rosica meant.

    He said that atheists can be saved despite being atheists.

    The full quote of that portion of his statement that you used is this:

    “…they cannot be saved who, knowing the Church *as founded by Christ and necessary for salvation*, would refuse to enter her or remain in her.” (emphasis mine)

    In the context of our faith, we believe that it is fact that the Church is necessary for salvation. Since atheists do not know this, then their lack of belief in God does not seem to fall under this clause of the Catechism.

    In fact, as the reverend points out, no one has the right to judge an atheist as automatically destined for hellfire just for rejecting the version of Christianity that he was presented with. It is possible that an atheist would do so in obedience to his conscience, and thus should not be condemned. As the reverend said, rejecting Christianity does not necessarily mean rejecting Christ.

    His words:

    “6) A non-Christian may reject a Christian’s presentation of the gospel of Christ. That however, does not necessarily mean that the person has truly rejected Christ and God. Rejection of Christianity may not mean the rejection of Christ. For if a given individual rejects the Christianity brought to him through the Church’s preaching, even then we are still never in any position to decide whether this rejection as it exists in the concrete signifies a grave fault or an act of faithfulness to one’s own conscience. We can never say with ultimate certainty whether a non-Christian who has rejected Christianity and who, in spite of a certain encounter with Christianity, does not become a Christian, is still following the temporary path mapped out for his own salvation which is leading him to an encounter with God, or whether he has now entered upon the way of perdition.”

    http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/explanatory-note-on-the-meaning-of-salvation-in-francis-daily-homily-of-may-22

    • TiltedHorizon

      Not to worry Pheelyp, we know.

      • http://www.facebook.com/pheelyp Pheelyp Aytona

        I’m glad, TiltedHorizon.

        I was just worried that the reverend was being misrepresented, and the Pope’s good faith gesture to reach out to atheists be undermined.

        • http://aebrain.blogspot.com Zoe_Brain

          I reject the doctrine of transferable guilt as an evil.
          One cannot redeem the guilty by punishing the innocent in their place.
          While it would be very kind and charitable for someone to volunteer to atone for my sins by suffering punishment in my stead, it would be wrong, and would offend my conscience, to accept their generous offer.
          Moreover, if such a thing as transferable guilt exists, then by refusing to accept the offer, I lessen the unjust punishment an innocent who doesn’t deserve it gets.
          If that means an eternity in hellfire, so be it: but I will NOT contribute even a small part to what I see as a great wrong.

          • http://www.facebook.com/pheelyp Pheelyp Aytona

            Hello Zoe. I sense a clear passion for justice in your comment, and I affirm that that is something good and important to have.

            After thinking about what you said, three things came to mind:

            1. Actually, Jesus didn’t offer to atone for humanity’s sins. He already did it. He already sacrificed himself for us. God took the initiative and loved us first. So it is not so much a matter of preventing/lessening suffering by refusing this offer of atonement, but more of accepting (or not) this grace that has already been bought by his life.

            2. Having said that, I think that/my understanding of salvation is flawed (Jesus putting himself between humanity and the divine thunderbolt meant for us), at least according to this group New Apologetics in Facebook. They present a deeper, more philosophically sound explanation of redemption that I can currently wrap my mind around, but what I understand is that the common notion of salvation is wrong, and you are indeed right in refusing to have someone die for you. Please feel free to check them out.

            3. Hell, as far as I know, is not so much a place but a state, one of total seperation from God. By that definition, if you reject this particular doctrine because it violates your conscience, you are not really rejecting God but moving toward Him. As the reverend explained, atheists who in good faith reject Christianity are not by doing so also necessarily rejecting God, as so may be saved.

    • http://stonesnbones.blogspot.com/ Dr. GS Hurd

      You should stick to raping alterboys, and burning witches. It is what the “church” does best.

      • http://www.facebook.com/pheelyp Pheelyp Aytona

        Dr. Hurd, I would be the first to admit that the Church has done grievous wrongs. We are made up of human beings, and make many, many mistakes.

        I hope though that we could work to seeing beyond our mutual failings and help rach other do good in the world. This would need us to enter into what the Pope calls a culture of encounter, where we can meet each other doing good, which we both feel is necessary.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jim.jones.906 Jim Jones

    In the words of Adam from Mythbusters I REJECT YOUR REALITY AND SUBSTITUTE MY OWN

  • seahen

    I guess this proves when you’re as many people as the Catholic Church, you can’t agree among yourselves about practically anything.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1803285342 Daniel Desembrana

    I’ll keep an open mind. Do good to each other is a brilliant idea. Maybe it’s the atheists’ turn to convert the Christians to their belief of the non-existence of a supreme being. Yet, the universe is huge. Maybe He’s just busy.

  • Cannon Fodder

    Hey guys, just thought I’d present my reasons for why I reject Christianity and religion in general. I don’t really have a problem with religion so long as it remains tempered by reason – to of course prevent people from justifying anything based on the words of a person written or spoken. If religious people are committed to and act out charity and compassion with their decisions tempered by reason, then it doesn’t really bother me if they want to add God on top. Naturally in terms of principle and academic accuracy, I quite adamantly oppose theism.

    Here’s my case for you (I’d be happy to explain in detail in later responses). It is by no means comprehensive, but provides a good outline of my views. This isn’t meant to bash or convert Christians/theists, but rather provide an intellectual starting ground for anyone interested in pondering over their beliefs and why they hold them.

    1) God can neither be proven or disproven by empirical means. Thus the question become whether it is reasonable or not to believe in God. Since God is supernatural and “beyond time and space” it seems impossible to sufficiently and validly demonstrate his existence, much less his exact person(s) and/or attributes. Thus from the get go, we have little to no valid reason to assume a god or gods. Furthermore, even were it verifiable that a higher power existed, without being able to know its characteristics its existence becomes negligible except of course for intellectual truth.

    2) Scriptural/Doctrinal Problems

    - The Euthyphro Dilemma – essentially, is God arbitrary (acts are good b/c God commands them) or appealing to an external standard (does God command acts because they are good)?

    - Problem of evil – God has the ability and supposedly has used his abilities to save some people from atrocity and disaster in the past. Why save some, and not others? The free will response does not work – because of the alleged miracles described above which describe God as intervening as a third party without violating free will which ought to be possible even if the described miracles are false. The “good that comes from the evil” response is also problematic. God really has to allow a woman to be raped just so the rapist can fully manifest his free will and the victim can have a chance at redemption, hope, or forgiveness? God really has to allow a Jewish boy to be hanged so an Nazi soldier or general can fully express his free will and so that the boy’s family can have a chance at hope, forgiveness, or moving on? Furthermore, the response does not work as heaven is a place without sin – God essentially finishes the job and makes us perfect. So is a world with temptation really necessary or desirable? If you are a Catholic, then Mary is perfect example of how thoroughly God has screwed humanity – a perfect human being who never sinned with free will. Furthermore, preventing natural disasters would not violate free will, so why does God not prevent those or why does he only supposedly prevent some.

    - The Bible – On multiple occasions the Bible demonstrates God condoning or commiting genocide (the Egyptians assisting the Jews during Exodus, the Amalekites), infanticide/murder (Abraham & Isaac, Elisha & the 42 Children), slavery, severely beating/disciplining children, execution (for adultery, eating shellfish, disrespecting one’s parents,etc), and deliberately damning people to disaster or damnation (2 Thessalonians, Pharaoh in Exodus, a large portion of humanity). There is a clear and obvious difference between the God of the OT and the NT. Not to mention that the Bible itself was heavily editing, added to, and re-translated.

    - Miracles, even were miracles true, unless they could be performed always at will (for good reasons) it is very difficult if not impossible to tie that miracle to a specific God. As most major world religions have a plethora of miracle accounts, it really minimizes the credibility of the various miracles stories.

    - Heaven, if heaven is true, then what is point of life as Christians will supposedly being completely made perfect by God and live in a place with no sin anyway. God can’t technically even get rid of evil b/c good and evil inherently exist as a result of sentience.

    - Hell, what could anyone due to merit eternal and unimaginable torture meant as punishment not as restoration? Is God really so incapable of being supremely persuasive to all humanity, so that all would be saved? Is God really going to judge primarily based upon what guess or belief a person choice in life due his/her specific circumstances (which God could have supposedly influenced) rather than the person’s actual actions and intentions?

    3) The teleological argument does not work – The mystery of existence does not automatically justify the assumption of a god or gods, much less the Christian God specifically. Just because there is no empirical answer available, does not justify assuming a creator – which would be a fallacy of incredulity. Humans were not created “perfect” as suggested by many theists, as numerous parts of the body, were they created by a designer, were designed incompetently – the back, knees, female hip bones, respiratory/digestive track, etc. If one attempts to claim that sentience or life requires a creator, then the claim devolves into an infinite regression as God, being sentience and alive, now requires his own creator who requires another creator, etc.

    4) The ontological argument does not work – The argument commits a fallacy of equivocation. Just because a mental, abstract idea or ideal can or does exist does not automatically bring that thing/being into tangible reality.

    Conclusion: In order to reconcile these various problem with Christianity, one seemingly has no choice but claim that because “it’s God it all somehow works out.” Faith. A baseless assumption. Christians can certainly use reason to formulate doctrine, but most if not all of it is based on the foundational faith-based assumption that Christianity is true regardless of any evidence/logic/science that suggests otherwise. If one examines history, Christianity with all of its problems and struggles for power seems quite secular, but under the guise of a claimed divinity. It’s current prominence in the minds of human beings lends it no legitimacy – as millions also believe in hinduism, buddhism, and Islam.

    • aedler

      AnnNice artcle., anywaysi believe in god., indeed you cannot test the validity of god thru empirical basis so you used the reasonable test to prove or disprove his existence. That observation is quite good.,.i have faith in you brother., god may or may not exist, but i chose to believe that god exist.,here are my arguments
      1. I believe in god, becuase my faith gives me some sorth of euphoria, a mental condition, a sense of contentment, peace as i call it., when i pray in church iam talking to god, although he may not talk back but nonethless it provides my mind peace and some sort of rest.
      2. I believe in god., because i chose to do good rather than evil., majority of gods teachings is somewhat incorporated in majority of the organized and civilized world. So if you follow gods teachings it is some sort of added motivation not to break the law.
      3. My faith gives me hope when i grief, i dont know what the medical term is,. But nonethless my church tells me that everything has a purpose and that god loves us. This infact translates into calmness an added motivation that indeed all bad things will pass.
      4. I also chose to believe in miracles, this may apply to every situation in your life., i cannot explain a human beings determination, some call it will, some call it determination., but i chose to fight till the end who knows miracles so sometimes happens.

      Anyway i know that you probably think that my arguments are silly. But this is what i believe in. Life is much more beautiful if you have faith brother, you are not required to be critical of things. You just have to have faith and believe that everything has a purpose.

      • Space Cadet

        Unless you simultaneously have faith/don’t have faith how can you know that life is more beautiful with faith?

      • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

        1. You could get that through meditation and contemplation. No deity is necessary. You are doing that yourself which means you will continue to have that ability with or without belief in the supernatural. I know the feeling. I have it looking up at the night sky or out at the ocean. It’s a good feeling. I don’t believe in the supernatural and I experience the same thing. You can too.

        2. You do good because it benefits yourself and others. You bring good to yourself, the people you care about and society as a whole by acting in ways that are beneficial rather than malignant. I don’t find theists any more ethical than nonbelievers. By your logic I should, but I don’t. In fact I find that religion often gives people a way to justify being nasty to other people and to rationalize their racism, sexism, homophobia or other reasons for treating others badly. Giving up religion removes those excuses.

        3. That’s a self delusion. Even if heaven and hell were true, you have no way of knowing what another person actually believed. Since you can’t know, you have know way of knowing whether the loved one for whom you are grieving is in paradise or eternal torment. The comfort is a just wishful thinking on your part. Last year when my dog had to be put down I liked to think of him in doggie heaven treeing squirrels and chasing tennis balls and eating all the bacon he could ever want. It’s just a fantasy though and I have given it up because it’s not real.

        4. If miracles happen, give us an example of an actual miracle. There’s actually a prize for provable claims of the supernatural so that could pay off well for you.

        Personally my life is more beautiful without religion. I no longer believe I am evil and doomed to hell just for being who I am. I find my own purpose, I don’t need it given to me by an imaginary being. And yes I am critical of things. I am curious and want to know how things work or how they got to be the way they are. that is a virtue, not an affliction. There are so many rational explanations for things and they are beautiful. Take time to understand how the universe really began and how life developed. it’s far more interesting and amazing than the nonsense found in the various mythologies. Yes, there are some good stories in mythology. I’m rather fond of Thor and that crowd myself (which is why I’ve seen Wagner’s Ring so many times). But I don’t believe that they are true. Faith is belief without evidence. Without evidence you don’t know if what you believe is true. Given how many religions there are, how on earth do you know that yours is the right one other than it’s the dominant one where you were born. That requires far more faith that I could muster. I’d be up at night hoping that the real one wasn’t Zaroastrianism or Shinto and I’d be screwed!

      • Cannon Fodder

        I appreciate your honesty and sincerity, thank you. Your reasons for believing in God are exactly the ones I talked about in my overall theme – sentimental appeal and blind faith used to cover up all of the problems that come with believing in a god, particularly the Christian God. However, like all the theists who have been presented with the above arguments so far, you have avoided actually responding to my objections to Christianity – I assume this is because you lack a substantive answer and have explained everything away through faith.

        The problem with faith is it becomes absurdly easy for anyone and everyone to justify whatever they want – murder, rape, genocide, etc. – it is all easy. moral, and beautiful if one just has faith. Many of the humanity’s most immoral events occurred precisely because everyone just had faith they were doing the right thing. Not saying that sort of thing is your position or Christianity’s position, but rather pointing out that there needs to be more substantiation at least in regards to applying religion in society. Furthermore, what about people of other faiths who find similar contentment, miracles, and hope in their gods? Who is correct and why? Because one of them is more persuasive and/or powerful?

        True, no one is required to be critical of claims made by others, I choose to be because I am concerned with the truth and my well-being – it is easy to be led astray when one isn’t critical of claims made. Ignorance is bliss I guess. Life may be more beautiful with faith to you my friend, but it is all more cruel with faith to me.

        I respect your decision to believe in God, and I am glad that you have been able to find peace and contentment. It just is not for me nor anyone else primarily concerned with intellectual honesty. It is perfectly fine you choose to believe regardless of evidence/circumstances/logic, just make sure your actions are guided by reason first and foremost.

  • Renman

    All of you have just too much time on your hands…

  • Michael Souza

    HEY DUMBASS we don;t believe in hell that is the MYTH you got suckered into believing. ATHEISTS are way too smart to fall for that bit of BULLS#iT!!!

    • midnight rambler

      Yes, you certainly show yourself to be a striking example of genius with this comment.

    • Charles Honeycutt

      Oh ffs

  • bobrussell1957
  • Jazzman7

    Amazing that so many worry so much about “life” after the expiration of our living being in a fantastical “place” that defies known laws of universal physics and dynamics. If only so much concern could be aroused for the very real and present issues that face humanity and our only world.

  • Andy Gibson

    Are you Flappy ??

  • Atheist

    Religions themselves are not harmful, however the majority of the time they are used to forward peoples own selfish motives, and thus damage the world in a great deal of ways, including stereotyping and isolating people, war and discrimination.
    The Catholic faith has to have been one of the most damaging of all religions, including the loss of many traditional societies, and cultures, just look at the conquistadors and what they did to South-America, add to this their current record-banning contraception (thus leading to the spread of STDs; i.e. AIDS and HIV) and contributing to overpopulation by hindering family planning, and that’s before we go anywhere near the Catholic record of almost systematic abuse to the young and vulnerable in their care.
    The AID is often ill planned, and just exacerbates existing problems whilst eroding the culture of an area.
    I think that Tolerance of other beliefs is one of the most important things, and being told that “if you don’t believe in our God X will happen” does not strike me as tolerant.
    Religions are fascinating from and anthropological perspective, but any religion that is used as a weapon against other people or races is one that the planet would be better off without…..

  • SeekerLancer

    Welp, I can go back to giving the middle finger to the Catholic church without living under the illusion that they may be making progress of some sort.

  • DavidP

    Increasingly this wholly episode is looking at nullifying the off-made criticism of Catholicism that those who are born an raised in cultures where Christianity is absent, are damned by geography rather than deed.

    The problem is this new doctrine is totally incompatible with original sin, which according to Catholicism we are infected with from birth. If we can cleanse ourselves of this imaginary disease without finding Jesus, then its totally illogical to say that just because we know we can find the Lord in the nearest church, that this suddenly becomes the only option open to us.

    Its like saying: penicillin cures chest infections, but if you haven’t heard of penicillin you can use another antibiotic to cure the infection and that’s OK. But if you have heard of penicillin, YOU MUST USE penicillin or you won’t be cured.

    Spectacularly dumb stuff from the Vatican.

  • HermitTalker

    The usual suspects climb on board with the usual piffle. Brilliant minds for 2100 years have applied every test of Reason, Logic and debate to verify that Faith is beyond Reason but never contradicts it. A major challenge we face today is to show that the Genesis Creation story is only understood in its 1750 BCE/BC Babylonian Culture wherein it was forged, and adapted centuries later, All the quips about a talking Snake and a flat earth are irrelevant. Other efforts to equate ancient Myths and denigrate the Christian story of the Virgin Birth and God becoming Human and Resurrection as all having been exactly the same and so the Christian Gospel is fake. Utter nonsense and despite centuries of efforts to knock it down, brave, reasoned and calm women, girls boys and men still die for it.

    • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

      The fact that people believe something is not evidence that it is true. Billions of people believe things that are contradictory to the teachings of the Catholic Church. They can’t all be right. Truth is not a popularity contest. You have no evidence to back up your extraordinary claims. Moreoever, you go out of your way to discount large sections of the holy texts, admitting that they are nonsense. Why then should we believe the rest of it?

      • HermitTalker

        I appreciate your puzzlement. I did not and never have or would say that “large sections of the Bible, are nonsense. I do claim and taught for a lifetime at the University level as a Humanities professor that they are not to be read and believed” as popularly read, but in light of their cultural and literary context. That is a long and detailed study, and compares to Medicine when leeches and blood letting preceded contemporary developments. People do what they can with what they had then and their successors today. I made no claims from numbers. I know that Augustine went from Manicheanism to being a brilliant Catholic theologian and philosopher; Aquinas used Reason to make every objection he could and defended Catholic Christianity in his brilliant Summa Theologica. I know of atheist scientists who came to accept that there is an Order and Law in the Universe that cannot be random and requires belief in an Intelligent Designer, same as Aristotle did in five century BC/BCE Greece before Monotheism reached that intellectual world. I also see PhD scientists, physicians and Philosophy professors today using absolutely contradictory arguments in logic to defend impossible moral positions. Simple example, Church-State separation. “ramming theology” or Catholic dogma down our throats when the same Church and the State or nation where they live considers murder and rape a crime and a sin. So dump all Bible teaching and let Government start from scratch and make up its own Moral Code- as they have with abortion, same gender unions equal to marriage, and some advocate murder up to ten days if a baby is born “imperfect” – same as the US Supreme Court did with slaves as property, and they were bred like horses and cows in 19th c America. Tear out a piece of a wool sweater’s knitted fabric and see it unravel all the way if it is not kept intact or repaired.

        • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

          I never said that the Bible, and other religious texts sholdn’t be studied. Like all mythology it tells us what a certain people held of values. Some of those values are worth keeping, many of the stories are still relevant and a great deal of it is beautiful. That doesn’t mean that all of it is true. I can take stories and apply them, as I do with other mythologies and literature, without having to buy into the rest of the big bag of bullshit that it is.

          About your gish gallop of morality. I’ll take them one at a time:

          “Church-State separation”…a good thing. The church should practice their religion and teach whatever they want. People are free to attend, accept the teachings, donate, etc. as they wish. Or not. Using state fund and authority to do that is unconstitutional. They have separate functions and in fact religion flourished in the US precisely because of that separation. No Catholic church was allowed in NY State until the Bill of Rights passed and the state had to allow Catholics to worship there. That comes from the separation doctrine that you seem hypocritically to deplore.

          ” “ramming theology” or Catholic dogma down our
          throats when the same Church and the State or nation where they live
          considers murder and rape a crime and a sin.”

          Any society based on reason would consider murder and rape to be crimes. Sin is a matter for the church and of no concern to the state. My rights end where your begin. I have no right to harm you and murder and rape would be extreme forms of harm. I don’t need religion to understand that those acts are wrong and punishable.

          “So dump all Bible teaching
          and let Government start from scratch and make up its own Moral Code- as
          they have with abortion, same gender unions equal to marriage, and some
          advocate murder up to ten days if a baby is born “imperfect” – same as
          the US Supreme Court did with slaves as property, and they were bred
          like horses and cows in 19th c America.”

          Why shouldn’t the state acknowledge same-sex relationships. Homosexuality is a natural state of about 3% of the population. Denying those citizens the same rights in unconstitutional. If you don’t like it, don’t do it. But you have no right to deny other citizens their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. As for slavery, the Bible condones slavery. Yes, it sets limits but those only concern Israelites who are slaves, not gentiles. So your point there is rather bizarre. We ended slavery not because of the Bible, but because of the enlightenment that bestowed right on all human beings, something the church had always failed to do up to that point. As for abortion, I am pro-choice as are most Americans. I don’t know of anyone who advocates for killing a baby after it has been born. It’s not even legal to abort a fetus once it is viable outside the womb. I don’t know where you got that but it’s a strawman and doesn’t represent the views of anyone I’ve ever met.

          It’s just nonsense. We can construct morality from empathy and compassion. Sam Harris wrote a whole book on this topic. Matt Dillahunty gives a lecture on this available on youtube. And sorry but I’m not about to entrust an organization that raped children and then covered it up for decades any moral authority to tell me what is right and wrong. I’m an atheist and I can obviously see that it’s wrong to harm children and just as wrong to shield the people who harmed them from criminal prosecution. Moreover, allowing them to continue harming other children makes you an accomplice and anyone who did so should also be punished. That’s morality. I don’t know what the church has but moral it is definitely not.

    • sTv0

      “despite centuries of efforts to knock it down, brave, reasoned and calm women, girls boys and men still die for it.”

      Yeah, there is that “Darwin Awards” thingy that keeps popping up every now and then…

  • Pierson

    this pope is going to “die” soon……he’s too reforming, the money people within the church already don’t appreciate it and if they keep having to cover his ass like this, they will take matters into their own hands. it wouldnt be the first time a pope tried to renovate and modernize the church and mysteriously passing away with no warning signs.

  • Homer

    Everybody was born an atheist. Religion shuts down our free spirit.

  • PJ

    Just a word of clarification, that “official” Catholic theology (as stated by Rev. Rosica) is that only Catholics are “redeemed,” not anyone else including others who claim the name “Christian.” And a second word of clarification: Not all Christians believe that atheists are going to hell. Some of us don’t believe that anyone is going to hell, regardless of whether or not they “accept Christ’s divinity.” Some of us don’t believe in an eternal hell (hell is an experience in this world — ask anyone who is suffering deeply). Just want to put that out there.

  • http://about.me/eric.s.riley Eric Riley

    This clarification came as a direct result of everyone misunderstanding the meaning of the homily, and the language the Pope was using to make his point. He was issuing a call to Catholics to work together with people of different faiths (and no faith) to make the world a better place. His use of the language of redemption through Christ was a direct message to Catholics to respect people who are different, because Jesus’s sacrifice is universal and all men are made in the image of God. He said nothing about changing the method by which the Church looks at the afterlife. The afterlife was not even part of the conversation. It was about doing good work together here on Earth.

    The same exact position that the Pope made on Wednesday is also made by Chris Steadman in his book “Faithiest.” Steadman, a secular humanist, makes the argument for atheists to participate in interfaith cooperative work to help make the world a better place. By reaching out to people of faith, and having conversations with people about our positions, and working together on shared projects, we increase understanding and reduce fear of our differences.

  • lifeofablackgirl

    @daf2335999abd273bbfc3a4d6ce22c68:disqus Have you ever really examined the claims of Christianity? If so many millions of people in the world believe in that ‘utter childish nonsense,’ wouldn’t logic suggest that there MUST be something more to the nonsense than meets the eye? It is at least worth a deeply thorough investigation before you call yourself smarter, more adult-like, more progressive than literally millions of people including scholars, PhDs, philosophers, theologians, astrologers.. Are you really more intelligent than all of them? #Digdeeper.

    • Space Cadet

      Millions of people believe homeopathy is a legitimate form of medicine, but that doesn’t validate homeopathy at all.

      Would you care to lay out what the claims of Christianity are? Since there are so many flavors of Christianity it’s much easier if you tell us where you’re coming from.

    • Alice

      That is the ad populum fallacy. If millions of people jumped off a cliff, would you jump too? Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism also have millions of followers, but all four religions contradict each other. Numbers prove nothing except perhaps how effective the religion’s marketing campaign is.

    • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

      I examined all of it closely. There is no evidence to back up the extraordinary claims of any religion. Christianity is no different. But if we are going to use your logic, then I must assume that Hinduism is true since there are over a billion Hindus. Surely all those Hindus couldn’t be wrong?
      BTW, adding astrologers to your list doesn’t add any credibility. That’s a lot of nonsense as well. Perhaps you meant astronomers? That’s something different entirely.

    • phantomreader42

      Eat shit. Billions of flies can’t be wrong!

    • phantomreader42

      Have YOU ever really examined the claims of Hinduism? Islam? Buddhism? Shinto? Have you, in fact, ever made even a momentary effort to communicate honestly with anyone who wasn’t a member of your particular christian cult? Why is it that you think it’s impossible for astrologers who beleive YOUR nonsense to be wrong, but you discount the religions that INVENTED astrology, and insist that BILLIONS of non-christians can’t possibly be right? Oh, yeah, because you’re an arrogant, narcissistic death cultist hypocritically using an argument from popularity that even YOU don’t actually believe for an instant.

  • Michael Dorian

    “I’d never belong to any club that would have me as a member.” ~ Groucho Marx

  • Pat Lynch

    Here is another chuck of raw meat. It’s from my blog. http://wp.me/p270xt-d4

  • sonofloud

    Thanks but I don’t need morality lessons from the child raping, hate mongering catholic church.

  • proscientia

    Hi, I stop by your blog from time to time and I just wanted to leave a note about interpreting what the Pope said and the subsequent remarks by the Vatican (also, I apologize if someone has already brought the following up, but my computer is rather slow, so I have not checked beyond the top few comments).

    I think that in Catholic understanding, when a person dies, at the moment of death, they “see” things beyond the natural world including a more complete picture of God. It is at this moment, that the final decision to accept or reject God is made. I think that Pope Francis insisted in those comments in the homily to do good (which includes faith) because, in doing good, it is more likely that a person can make the decision to accept God’s. Abrahamic religion claim is someone incredibly splendid and wonderful and, though I have to brush up on theology, I think that this is what would attract the unbeliever to God at the moment of death.

  • alana

    Well, if it’s any consolation, or if you care, other Christian denominations DO believe that Athiests are saved and that the belief OF jesus saves us al; not our belief IN Jesus. The Greek can be confusing… And, if it’s any consolation, all of us who are not Catholic, are going to hell, according to the Catholic church. So don’t sweat it. As a protestant minister, I believe that we are all A-OK in the eyes of the Creator I’ll call God.

    • Anna

      Out of curiosity, what’s your denomination? AFAIK, only the most liberal ones believe in universal salvation.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=691528522 Inga Von Der Morgenstern

    But they don’t believe in Hell either….so…….

  • Anna

    723 comments so far! I think this may be the longest comment section we’ve ever had. There was one about abortion that got into the 600s, but this is beyond that. How are all these people finding the thread? It must be linked (I would imagine) on some Catholic site.

  • ONG

    Re previous Pity-erson comment: Sure, laughable, pathetic, irrational, intellectually weak, etc. etc., must be the answer from the narrow-minded that don’t really understand! Perhaps some brain blockage of some kind? LOL! Buy a dictionary and look up Redemption vs. Salvation. Two different things! Get exact knowledge about the other things too! Ignorance reigns!!

    Also other Fundies: Get it right once and for all! The Catholic Faith has ALWAYS favored Free Will and always will, and never 100% wickedness and total depravity after the Original Sin as the Protestant/Reformers twisted it off more and more, promulgating an ambiguous and insecure Salvation that leads to do NOTHING than just protesting, bullying and belittling others all day long!

    Really pathetic and psychologically unstable!

    Original Sin: Non 100% wickedness, and still remaining in the image of God would mean: even the most reprobate individual IS still able to do acts that are morally good. But that person needs more God’s grace starting with Baptism and further Sacraments to consolidate this NEW path.

    God’s plan for Eternal Salvation IS complete in Jesus Christ anyway, nothing more can be added to it; it only needs to be accepted or rejected, FREELY, and then being aware of this Redemption, decide which final destination one prefers to choose: Heaven or Hell! ;)

    John 12:47 – And if anyone hears my words and does not observe them, I do not condemn him, for I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world.

    Luke 11:23 – Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

    See a local Catholic priest for further guidance.

  • misterd418

    Hello friendly atheist. I am a friendly Catholic. Just a quick clarificatory (is that a word?) comment: Remember, even a vatican spokesman is not the vatican itself, and the soundbites may or may not represent authentic teaching. Everything belongs in context. Here is another way of putting it: if a man has full knowledge and understanding of what he is rejecting, and he has full control over his will, and he uses that will to reject God, then God will grant him that wish, His absence, which is one of the definitions of Hell. Here is the section in the Catechism on atheism. Pay particular attention to the part about the responsibility of Christians in atheism: http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c1a1.htm#2123

  • kok ming

    False beliefs need to be removed because misinformation harms people as
    it influences behavior which affects the whole world. God is a
    erroneous, or pointless, concept . The metaphor I would like to paint is that the more active atheists will
    keep dragging people out from the matrix. The matrix has a head start of
    few thousand years. But we still need to do what we need to do, even
    the number of active atheists or non-theists are very low – to persuade and reason our
    way to convince people to overcome their own brain’s self deception and
    lack of clarity.

    • proud2beDem

      And taking advantage of human weakness !

  • Richard Mallory

    Thank goodness someone has challenged this profligate Pope with intimations of universal salvation. We can’t have the church weakened as a bastion of uniquely saved and special folk. Imagine the dire consequences of Pope’s freely expressing themselves, say, like St. Francis with his passion for people, animals and plants. Why patriarchy and hierarchy could take some severe hits! He could even undo some of the stands of his predecessor. Oh no!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/trent.g.dougherty Trent Dougherty

    Not that I expect Patheos readers to have this level of subtlety, but there is no contradiction between the remarks of the Pope and the remarks of the spokesman. The later’s word was “refuse”. There are atheist who are refusing and those that are not. Many comments below represent well the attitude of refusal. It is very different for some more open-minded and well-tempered atheists.

    • Anna

      Atheists by definition do not believe that what the Catholic church teaches is based on anything real. All of us are “refusing” to “enter” the church despite knowing exactly the dogma entails because we don’t believe it’s true.

      Your insistence on sorting us into “good” (open-minded, well-tempered) and “bad” (refusing!) atheists strikes me as very odd.

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      There are Christians who think everyone else is going to hell, and those who do not. Are you one of the more open-minded and well-tempered Christians? Or are you like the Rev?

  • christallh24

    In relation to what is this “step up” Hemant’s referring? I’m annoyed with how I’m seeing alot of atheists on popular atheist/sceptic/secular sites are giving such a pass to this new pope.

    Tim Minchin’s ‘The Pope Song’. Look it up. Nothing’s changed, folks!

  • http://kruel.co/ Alexander Kruel

    Don’t forget that atheists also believe into hell: http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Roko's_basilisk

  • HermitTalker

    it is not Catholic teaching that any group or category of person goes to Hell. Fundy-evangelical types do rather freely say that. Catholics recognise the Lordship of the Holy Spirit who breathes where He wills, as Jesus said. Those who “follow their Lights” and act the best they can called “baptism of desire,” I would if I knew. Mt 25 says finding Jesus who is identified with each Person who hurts-hungry, imprisoned, sick, naked, and are served go there. The rest who ignore HIM in others have no ticket. Faith is about a Person, not rules and laws and sin. Civil citizenship is all about Patriotism, caring for others and being a team player, not about dodging speed traps, stealing from little old people and dodging taxes and getting so drunk you cannot go to work, and blaming others for your stupidity.

    • Space Cadet

      it is not Catholic teaching that any group or category of person goes to Hell

      Wrong. Section 1033 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

      We cannot be united with God unless we freely choose to love him. But we cannot love God if we sin gravely against him, against our neighbor or against ourselves: “He who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.”Our Lord warns us that we shall be separated from him if we fail to meet the serious needs of the poor and the little ones who are his brethren. To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God’s merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called “hell.”

      (Emphasis mine)

      Atheists, simply by being atheists, are condemned to hell by Catholic doctrine.

      • HermitTalker

        What part of my reply did you fail to read. Catholic doctrine does not condemn any group or person to hell. Unless she/he does not follow Christ’s law as a believer and does not repent, OR follow her/his lights as an unbeliever. Find Jesus the Image of God in other Images of God who hurt. Our State president of Citizens for Life was an atheist, I know priests who could care less about People, sick, hungry or thirsty. Read about Baptism of Desire, Baptism of Blood and please let Jesus be LORD and Judge and hear HIM tell you that the Spirit blows where He will,, not through your nostrils.

        • Space Cadet

          Oh, I read your whole post. Quite a few times, actually, because the majority of it made no sense at all. Much like the majority of this post, as well.

          Do you not understand how this:

          Catholic doctrine does not condemn any group or person to hell

          is in contradiction to this?:

          Unless she/he does not follow Christ’s law as a believer and does not repent

          As for:

          OR follow her/his lights as an unbeliever

          I ask you to re-read the bold part of my previous post.

          • HermitTalker

            excuse me I do not do K or pre K. I presumed the writers on here can follow logic. IF UNLESS and Baptism by Blood and Desire. The RCC does not condemn any groups to Hell. The HS is in charge ultimately, so no one knows what happens inside any Heart, Jesus said not to Judge that is His role and has given certain people authority to make judgments on the known facts retain or not, ex-communicate for an opportunity to repent HS knows which declared atheist is actually inside or outside Jesus’ Grace, and thus inside His Church EVEN if not actually baptised. by water, may be by blood or desire. The Bishop of Rome has never said Judas is in Hell, but Baptists and other Evangelicals say Pope is anti-Christ and homosexuals and Catholics are damned and Mother Teresa is if she was not dunked in a pool instead of being sprinkled. ARE you a Catholic Fundy? Space Cadet, Beam him back to Earth Scotty. Please.

            • Space Cadet

              Oh. Okay. That’s much better. Thanks for, um, clearing that up.

            • proud2beDem

              Organized religion is a Drug a drug used for control of the masses . I find no comfort in being told I need to repent to an other for my sins , abiding by laws written by men {controller’s of masses } three hundred years after Jesus supposed death . God’s truth is very simple , organized religion has distorted it plain and simple with the man made laws to take advantage of the human weakness of needing to be loved . Simplify it by researching Gnostic Christianity .

              • HermitTalker

                Gnostic Christianity. Supposed death of Jesus. Laws by men 300 years after that. To confess, blab to others including psychologists and psychiatrists which is why Jesus gave a privileged totally secure permission and authority to His Church in John 20. One could go on a Talk Show and get ripped by idiots and the audience but it cures no one. IT is not a human weakness to need to be loved. It is a deep-seated real need, and Jesus came to die and rise again to prove it to YOU. Who blocked that beautiful Good News and fed you junk. I am sad for you.

                • proud2beDem

                  So sad , you have no ability for critical thinking beyond what you has been taught. What you call junk is common sense to the writing of the bible , many miss truths that many like you can not except. Live in your little bubble , it is much easier than looking farther than your own nose and seeing what the truth is

  • Graham-Michoel

    Fr Rosica knows the mind of God? I doubt that very much.

    • phantomreader42

      Well, like all believers, he has made his god in his own image, so it’s no surprise that Rosica’s god believes all the same idiotic bullshit Rosica does.

  • Staszek Krawczyk

    The CNN blogger got it all wrong. Father Rosica is not Vatican’s spokesman. Moreover, he confirmed the Pope’s words instead of denying them. See for yourself: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/explanatory-note-on-the-meaning-of-salvation-in-francis-daily-homily-of-may-22

  • Earl G.

    840 comments (so far). Is this a record?

  • Guest

    Well, it’s a big club. Those “who know about the Catholic church” but “refuse to enter her or remain in her” includes just about everybody who is not Catholic – Jews (of course); Protestants, who accept Jesus’ divinity but are, you know, heretics; and anyone who has read a pamphlet and decided it isn’t for them. We belong to a very big club (and everyone you know will be in hell). Did it ever occur to these people that one of the reasons we do not join up is that we can’t believe a supreme being would be so petty? Then again, there are many sects whose adherents believe that Catholics are damned, so it seems we shall all meet in the sweet by and by.

  • Joe Barron

    Well, we belong to a big club. Those “who know about the Catholic church” but “refuse to enter her or remain in her” include just about everyone who isn’t Catholic: Jews (natch); Protestants, who might accept the divinity of Christ but are, you know, heretics; and anyone who has read a pamphlet and decided it isn’t for them. Did it ever occur to these clowns that part of the reason we don’t join up is that we can’t believe a “supreme being” would be so petty? Of course, there are sects whose adherents believe the Catholics are damned, so, it seems, we will all meet in the sweet by and by.

  • NormChouinard

    I would be an atheist too if I relied on CNN and the MSM for my news on the church. Check out The Catholic News Service or Fr. Rosica’s Salt & Light site for some balance. In particular read Fr. Rosica’s blog at Salt & Light for the straight story on the Church and atheist’s and heaven. And they call the Catholic Church intellectually weak.

    • TCC

      Oh, FFS, go away. As if the only reason to be an atheist is because the Catholic Church sucks.

      • Obama_Dogeater

        Why don’t YOU go away, a-hole? No one cares what you think.

        • proud2beDem

          Same to you troll , your not any better !

          • Obama_Dogeater

            Proud2beDimwit, indeed.

  • rodentlover

    I really don’t understand why atheists would have a problem with the concept that a god they don’t believe in will send them to a place they don’t believe in unless they believe in the god they don’t believe in. It seems a bit like me getting upset because someone tells me Santa won’t bring me a Christmas present if I am not a good girl. Please could some atheist explain why you find the standard Christian position (that only believers go to heaven) offensive?

    • c_sc2

      I think It’s mostly the fact that another person believes you deserve an eternity of torture just because you don’t see things their way.

      But you’re pretty much right, which is why this sort of thing is only mildly offensive at most

      • rodentlover

        But surely you all understand that Christianity believes that EVERYONE deserves that?

        • c_sc2

          Well of course, its not personally offensive just the notion itself that is offensive.

          But again, no one is getting broken up about it, especially in this context.

        • Anna

          Exactly. That’s what I find disgusting. Not that they think atheists deserve to be tortured but that they think anyone deserves to be tortured.

          • rodentlover

            Including themselves. So I still don’t see what is offensive about that.

            • Anna

              Really? If you can’t understand why torture would be offensive, then I’m not sure what to say.

              • rodentlover

                Yes really. I suppose there are people who find it offensive that exams have a pass mark, or that the general public can’t just drop in to have tea with the Queen, but I would regard these things as simply a matter of fact. If God exists at all, he has the absolute right, as creator, to determine the rules for his creation. Even certain human rulers claim the right to determine the rules for their subjects.

                • Anna

                  Wow. Quite frankly, I find that insane. Based on that logic, we might as well have let Hitler do whatever he liked. He was a ruler of a country. If his rules included exterminating his subjects, then who were we to stop him? He should have been allowed to torture and kill as many people as he wanted.

                • rodentlover

                  But Hitler was only a man. Surely you don’t seriously think you can fight against God and win?

                • phantomreader42

                  When your imaginary god’s moral example is infinitely worse than Hitler’s, why should it get a free pass due to being more powerful? Might makes right? Is christianity really nothing more than sucking up to the worst tyrant imaginable to save your own worthless hide? If your god is supposed to be so amazing, why can’t it live up to even the most minimal standards of ANYTHING? Shouldn’t those with greater capabilities be held to HIGHER standards of behavior, rather than lower standards or none at all? Would you execute a starving man for stealing a loaf of bread, but allow a mass murderer and rapist to go free because he was rich? Yeah, I guess you would, if these are your standards. That just shows that you’re either a shitty person with shitty standards, or a lying sack of shit.

                • Anna

                  Whether we could fight against it is irrelevant. Obviously, we could not fight an omnipotent deity and win, but that wouldn’t excuse its horrific actions.

                  If such an entity existed, then it would be a cruel sadist. People who would justify its behavior have either been indoctrinated beyond rational thought or are morally corrupt themselves.

            • phantomreader42

              rodentlover, you deserve to be burned alive forever, and I can’t wait to watch from my magical golden palace in the sky!
              Are you REALLY incapable of figuring out what might be offensive about that? Are you REALLY that fucking STUPID? Or are you just pretending to be?

  • Kaddy

    I am assuming the doors to hell are being held open for us by hundreds of Catholic priests who raped children when they were in “Holy Mother Church.”

    Funny how they refer to the Catholic Church as “her” when “Hers” aren’t allowed to be priests of “her”.

    • Obama_Dogeater

      Wow, you managed to bring up TWO irrelevant points. Congratulations, genius!

      • proud2beDem

        Dog you are such a boil on the skin of the people that make comments on FB. No real prospective just degradation .

  • acninee

    My Catholic great aunt was consoling another great aunt on her deathbed. The latter had been born into a Jewish family, but lost faith after her father was murdered during a pogrom while the family was living in Russia. On her deathbed she wondered if there was a God who would punish her for her decades of disbelief. Catholic great aunt told her that her understanding of the universe was wrong. That God was greater and more important than she, so it did not matter if Dora believe in God, but rather if God believed in Dora. Which she was certain was ‘in the bag’ since Dora had spent a lifetime not believing, but also a lifetime caring for others unselfishly.
    Supposedly the Pope speaks under the direct inspiration of the Holy Spirit when he speaks on matters of faith and morals. Nothing has ever said before that he needs to bone up on history or do fact checking first.
    It will be interesting to see where this goes.

  • Anita Burns

    What a steaming load of medieval horse manure.

  • Sean Clougherty

    So, how many of you atheists are atheist because you are sexual perverts? I bet that would be an eye opening survey.

    • Space Cadet

      Not me. I’m atheist because babies are delicious. Om nom nom nom.

  • Child of Nature

    You have to respect their beliefs if you want them to respect ours. If you make unkind remarks about their ‘silly hats’, etc., they will only become defensive and condemn us even more as godless heathens who are void of kindness and incapable of moral behavior. Only through respect and kindness will we be able to show them that it’s OK to not believe in some kind of ‘supreme being’. Peace.

    • proud2beDem

      The respect only came from the Pope ,not from the Catholic church, lack of respect on their part wouldn’t you say .

    • phantomreader42

      Child, their beliefs include the belief that they are allowed to rape children with total impunity, but I deserve to be burned alive forever for disagreeing with them. Such beliefs do not deserve respect.

  • Birdie Golden

    So, essentially, the new pope is nothing more than a guy hand picked by his colleagues to be sucker responsible for lubing up the press with good feelings and positive public relations so the church looks good to a television audience?

    Meanwhile the “official” word of the church goes along in its “business as usual” manner of nasty, fear mongering, and hateful preaching behind the scenes and on the ground.

    Don’t we have a guy like this in our government? The poor bloke who always has to take the hard questions and lie to the press on camera in front of the people so as to not cause a revolt at their true intentions or….well, the truth in general?

  • Tali McPike

    I don’t really care about the theology involved here, but I do care about intellectual/factual honesty. Despite what the press says, in less than 5 minutes of Googling and 1 trip to Wikipedia I discovered quite a bit that the media (and you) are incorrectly reporting.

    “On Thursday, the Vatican issued an “explanatory note on the meaning to ‘salvation.’”

    It, in fact did not.

    Fr Roscia’s “explanatory note” on the Pope’s statement were origionally published on Zenit, an independent Catholic news site that Fr Roscia has been a contributor to for several years. While it is true that Fr Roscia was on staff for the Vatican press office, it was a temporary position. As Wikipedia says “Following the announcement on February 11, 2013 that His Holiness Pope
    Benedict XVI would resign from the papacy, Fr. Rosica was invited by the
    Vatican to join the staff of the Holy See Press Office and serve as one
    of the official spokespersons for the transition in the papacy that
    included the resignation, Sede Vacante, Conclave and election of the new
    Pope. Appearing at daily news briefings and giving over 160 interviews
    in English, French, Italian, Spanish and German to news networks and
    media outlets from around the world, Fr. Rosica assisted the Vatican
    during a critical period in Church history. He completed his service
    upon the election and inauguration of Petrine Ministry of Pope Francis.” Meaning that when he wrote the “explanatory note” he did not do so in a Official Vatican capacity, as it was not published/released by the Vatican Press Office, nor is he speaking from the position of a Vatican Spokesman. He is simply a priest sharing his opinion and this should not have gotten the media attention it has.

  • Paul
  • John

    Dear Hemant and many of you other bloggers,

    Please be mindful to base your opinions one the entirety of what one says, rather than a little sound-bite. The little quote from Fr. Rosica was from Catechism of the Catholic Church, which has little to no doctrinal authority. It provides concise statements that are to be investigated, not taken as infallible. In fact, Papal Infallibility has only been used on two points of doctrine: The Immaculate Conception, and the Assumption (both of which are Marian doctrines). If you bothered at all to read Fr. Rosica’s full statement you would have seen the following:

    5) There is always a
    risk in interreligious dialogue or dialogue with atheists and agnostics today
    that reduces all discussions to mere politeness and irrelevance. Dialogue
    does not mean compromise. There can and must be dialogue today: dialogue in
    genuine freedom and not merely in that ‘toleration’ and co-existence where one
    puts up with one’s opponent merely because one does not have the power to
    destroy him. This dialogue must of course be conducted with a loving attitude.
    The Christian knows that love alone is the highest light of knowledge and that
    what St Paul says about love must therefore be valid of dialogue.
    6) A non-Christian may reject a Christian’s presentation of the
    gospel of Christ. That however, does not necessarily mean that the person has
    truly rejected Christ and God. Rejection of Christianity may not mean the
    rejection of Christ. For if a given individual rejects the Christianity
    brought to him through the Church’s preaching, even then we are still never in
    any position to decide whether this rejection as it exists in the concrete
    signifies a grave fault or an act of faithfulness to one’s own conscience.
    We can never say with ultimate certainty whether a non-Christian who has
    rejected Christianity and who, in spite of a certain encounter with
    Christianity, does not become a Christian, is still following the temporary
    path mapped out for his own salvation which is leading him to an encounter with
    God, or whether he has now entered upon the way of perdition.
    8) The Scriptures teach that God regards the love shown to a neighbor as love shown to Himself. Therefore the loving relationship between a person and his or her neighbor indicates a loving relationship between that person and God. This is not to say that the non-Christian is able to perform these acts of neighborly love without the help of God. Rather these acts of love are in fact evidence of God’s activity in the person.

    If you still disagree with this, that if fine. It is a matter of conscience, and cannot be forced upon anyone with the threat of damnation. And I do not think, based on this fuller statement from Rosica, that he would condemn you for disagreeing. If you read any documents of Vatican II, you would know that the Church has a very kind and charitable attitude towards non-Christians, and even atheists.
    BTW: Fr. Leonard Feeney was excommunicated in the early 20th century for claiming that those who do not profess faith in the visible Church, with the Pope as its head cannot be saved.

    • Anna

      A non-Christian may reject a Christian’s presentation of the
      gospel of Christ. That however, does not necessarily mean that the person has truly rejected Christ and God. Rejection of Christianity may not mean the rejection of Christ.

      I always think this is an interesting mental trick: being able to dissociate oneself from the horridness of what one believes. Evangelicals do it, too, sometimes (saying that maybe someone had a deathbed conversion), but Catholics seem to do it on a grand scale. They seem to completely dissociate themselves from hell-belief by widening the possibility of redemption to people who reject the religion. It’s kind of like having your cake and eating it, too? You don’t have to worry about Aunt Sylvia being Buddhist because she probably went to heaven anyway?

      Anyway, I “truly reject” the possibility of your god being real, and I also “truly reject” the claim that such an entity would be worthy of love and worship. Does that mean I’m going to hell?

      • John

        Anna, I am not so sure about the mental trick. We cannot criticize the Church for being narrow-minded and then, as soon as we find out we were wrong, criticize them for being too inclusive. It looks like you are just reaching for something to criticize without an understanding of what the Church actually teaches.

        As for your second point, I think the article by Rosica combined with Church teaching would not conclude that you are going to hell for your unbelief.

        • Anna

          I think maybe you misunderstood my point? I would have no problem with the Catholic church actually being universalist, but my point was that they are not universalist but tend to behave as if they are. They’re “passing the buck,” so to speak, on the question of hell. They don’t own it or take responsibility for it. Giving a possible “out” to everyone means that they don’t have to wrestle with the horrific nature of the belief itself.

          I understand what your church teaches, and I would criticize any church that says hell is real and that people are condemned to eternity there. I think it’s a profoundly sick, twisted, immoral belief. My argument again isn’t with the Catholic church being inclusive; it’s that they aren’t inclusive but pretend to be.

          At least an evangelical would tell me that I’m going to hell and that I deserve to go to hell. Catholics give me an “out.” I don’t think either of these beliefs is good, morally speaking, but I find the evangelicals more honest in a way. It’s kind of psychopathic how they will justify eternal torture, but at least they are honest about what their belief system entails.

          • John

            Anna, thank you for your post. Perhaps I did misunderstand what you were saying. However, I must disagree with your argument. First of all, to say that the Church is passing the buck in order to avoid the horrific nature of the belief itself, is not understanding the context in which this theological reflection takes place. There are statements made in the gospels where Jesus proclaimed that he came to save all humankind. At the same time, there are statements in the gospels that seem to contradict that.
            So the attempt at finding an answer to this question is essentially a question of how to interpret the scriptural teachings on salvation.
            In the third century, one such interpretation came from Cyprian of Carthage, who said that “outside the Church there is no salvation (Extra ecclesiam nulla salus).” The context in which he wrote that was the early Christian debate about what to do with Christians who left the Church (at that time the pre-eminence of the unity of the Church was assumed). But that then led some theologians to say that those who do not profess faith in the visible Catholic Church with the Pope as its head had no hope of salvation (a teaching which has been condemned by the Church). At the same time, in the twentieth century, some theologians introduced the notion of “anonymous Christians,” meaning that all people who do good are members of the Church, whether they are aware of it or not (it is clear how this can be very offensive to people of other faiths).
            I do agree with you that the Church’s teaching on salvation is not universalist, but neither is it simply pretending to be universalist. The Church does not profess to have any certain knowledge of the nature of salvation, because ultimately it is a mystery (from the Greek mysterion – which means secret teaching, or something that escapes that grasp of human language). But this does not mean that we can know nothing of salvation. As theologians, we have the responsibility of investigating these matters relying on revelation, reason, and engagement with the wisdom of other cultures, sciences, and ways of knowing.
            And I must also disagree with something else that you said. Based on your comment I question how much you actually know about what the Church says about hell. Church doctrine states that there is a real possibility of hell, but that no one can no what the nature of that is. Also, the Catholic Church has never officially condemned any one person to hell (though I am sure several from the clergy have made such statements, but they are not authoritative, nor are they consistent with official doctrine).

            Nevertheless, I appreciate your comments and thank you for clarifying your earlier comments. I am not under the illusion that every intelligent person who comes across the teachings of the Church would become a believer. Nor would I be justified in expecting them to do so. However, respectful dialogue can only be accomplished if all the facts are laid bare, and I was very disappointed with the author of the original article for ignoring the full text of Fr. Rosica. All this author did was contribute to an atmosphere of hostility and ignorance. It is not my hope to prove the Church right here, but to do my best to ensure that the commentators at least have the full information to base their opinions on, otherwise, we have to put up with a bunch of uninformed blogs (I am not including you in that last statement). We should all be seeking to engage in a dialogue that respects and truly seeks to understand the other perspectives.

            • Anna

              I do agree with you that the Church’s teaching on salvation is not universalist, but neither is it simply pretending to be universalist. The Church does not profess to have any certain knowledge of the nature of salvation, because ultimately it is a mystery

              I actually didn’t mean to imply that the Catholic church pretends to be universalist. It’s more that they behave as if they are. They “pass the buck” when it comes to salvation. As you just did when you said it was a “mystery.” One way to completely absolve yourself of responsibility for holding a horrific belief is by pretending that it’s completely out of your knowledge and/or control. Without a specific target for hell, it’s easier to pretend that no one in particular is going there. You don’t have to wrestle with the morality of it because the identities of the damned are unknown.

              And I must also disagree with something else that you said. Based on your comment I question how much you actually know about what the Church says about hell. Church doctrine states that there is a real possibility of hell, but that no one can no what the nature of that is.

              Yes, I know that. When I referenced eternal torture, I was only speaking about what evangelicals believe. I know that Catholics may not agree with evangelical notions of hell. For what it’s worth, I find those who justify eternal torture much more psychopathic than the fuzzier “separation from God” types.

              Also, the Catholic Church has never officially condemned any one person to hell (though I am sure several from the clergy have made such statements, but they are not authoritative, nor are they consistent with official doctrine).

              Sure, but why is that a good thing? Morally speaking, I don’t think it’s better to decline to identify the damned. They still believe people are damned, whether they’re able or willing to say they know who those people are or not.

              • John

                Anna, I think you misunderstood me this time. A mystery does not imply that we are completely beyond our knowledge or control. Catholics have a very sacramental view of the world. By that I mean that creation is fundamentally good, because it was created in the image and likeness of God. Although God is a completely transcendent being, because creation is filled with God’s image, we can know somethings, and have a responsibility to carefully examine both creation and our scriptures so that we can advance in understanding as much as that is possible here. But the Church has always refused to condemn any one particular person to hell, because salvation is not a matter for the Church to decide. If we start condemning people to hell, we are taking God’s judgment in our own hands. And it also reflects the long-standing positive anthropology of the Church, which sees Christ in all people, Christian or not. And if Christ is present in all people, we must treat them with the dignity they rightly deserve as sons and daughters of the same God. So your statement “they still believe people are damned” is wrong. We certainly believe in the possibility that people are damned, but cannot know with certainty. So I do think it is a good think that the Church has never condemned anyone to hell. But that does not mean that we are moral relativists.

                And you certainly were speaking of the evangelicals when you referenced eternal torture. But you also said “I understand what your Church teaches…hell is real and people are condemned to eternity there.”

                I do, however, agree with your assessment of evangelicals. Anyone who has the arrogance to condemn people to hell for eternity, which they certainly do, should take a closer look and themselves and pray that they are not among those condemned.

                But this discussion of soteriology really has anthropological implications, at least for the Catholic Church – I can not speak for the other traditions. We certainly do believe in the real possibility of hell (real possibility not certainty), but our concern has not so much to do with who is saved and who is not – that is an evangelical concern. Our soteriology really reflects a greater concern to treat all people as created in the image and likeness of God, as people graced with God’s gift of life, and as people redeemed by Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross.

                I really enjoy this discussion. You are posing some very challenging questions for me. I certainly respect your point of view.

                • Anna

                  Anna, I think you misunderstood me this time. A mystery does not imply that we are completely beyond our knowledge or control…

                  Well, yes, but I still see invocations of “mystery” as passing the buck. I don’t think it’s intentional on the part of the Catholic church, but that’s what the overall effect is. I don’t see any moral qualms over hell, and I think part of the reason for that is that the people who created the doctrine have refused to be specific about it. Perhaps they sincerely believe they cannot be specific, but the effect is the same whether it is intentional or not.

                  But the Church has always refused to condemn any one particular person to hell, because salvation is not a matter for the Church to decide. If we start condemning people to hell, we are taking God’s judgment in our own hands. And it also reflects the long-standing positive anthropology of the Church, which sees Christ in all people, Christian or not.

                  Well, we’ll have to disagree that it’s a positive thing. The Catholic church thinks hell is justified, so the excuses (sincere or not) for why they’re not condemning people ring completely hollow.

                  And if Christ is present in all people, we must treat them with the dignity they rightly deserve as sons and daughters of the same God.

                  I suppose we’ll have to disagree on that, too! Not seeing people being treated with dignity from my perspective.

                  So your statement “they still believe people are damned” is wrong. We certainly believe in the possibility that people are damned, but cannot know with certainty. So I do think it is a good think that the Church has never condemned anyone to hell.

                  And that doesn’t make it any better. So the Catholic church believes that maybe its god won’t send anyone to hell? But it can’t say for sure? Where’s the moral outrage about hell itself? This is just as immoral as what the evangelicals believe. The evangelicals are just more forthright about it.

                  And you certainly were speaking of the evangelicals when you referenced eternal torture. But you also said “I understand what your Church teaches…hell is real and people are condemned to eternity there.”

                  Okay, so maybe not eternal? I think I remember something about people being able to get out of hell. Pretty sure people can get out of purgatory. Regardless, I’m not seeing this as a good thing. Is it less psychopathic than what evangelicals believe? Well, yes, but that’s kind of a low bar to set.

                  I do, however, agree with your assessment of evangelicals. Anyone who has the arrogance to condemn people to hell for eternity, which they certainly do, should take a closer look and themselves and pray that they are not among those condemned.

                  It’s not their condemnation of people that I find problematic. It’s their acceptance and justification of hell itself. The Catholics are right there along with the evangelicals on that score. They differ in the details, but not in their acceptance of hell and their excuses for it.

                • John

                  Anna, So its the concept of hell itself that you disagree with? I see. Do you believe in any kind of transcendent existence, or is this life here on earth all that you are willing to accept? If I am correct in interpreting you, that the notion of hell (or any spiritual realm for that matter) is ridiculous because there is no such thing as a spiritual realm, then that is our fundamental point of divergence.

                  From the beginning of human existence, people have sought for something greater than what they can perceive with their senses. It is a fundamental reflection on what it is to be human. Only with Enlightenment rationalism was their any sense that truth resided solely in the world of sense perception. For the Enlightenment rationalists, truth was discovered only by using empirical methods of inquiry.
                  If one does not think there is anything beyond sense perception, and if something cannot be proven with empirical data, then certainly any doctrine of hell, purgatory, or heaven will be nonsensical.

                  My problem with the Enlightenment rationalists is strictly an epistemological one. Knowledge begins with sense perception, but it does not end there. Every time a scientist makes a discovery using empirical data, instead of ending his or her quest for truth, he or she is left with more questions to investigate. The quest for knowledge is never ending. Each time we come to understand something, we look for more. That to me, is a sign that ultimate truth lies beyond our ability to fully comprehend it. Reflection on human existence is rooted in a desire for something more, and Karl Rahner said that that something more is God, the Creator of all that exists. The perceptible world can instruct us about the nature of God, his activity in the world, and our relationship with him. If there is a spiritual world beyond what can be proven empirically, then we must consider the possibility of a hell that goes along with a heaven. Or else, how can we begin to explain or make sense of what happens to people like Hitler, Stalin, Bundy, and so on?

                  But a reflection on the possibility of a hell does not lead us to assume certain individuals will end up there. For we believe in a God who loves his creation and desires nothing more than our return to him in paradise, the parousia.

                  I really do appreciate your comments. Unfortunately, I think we are working from two different epistemologies. However, I should not make that assumption. Do you believe in the possibility that heaven exists? If so, why are you so reluctant to acknowledge the possibility of a hell?

                  But I would also like you to see that there are great moral qualms over the existence of hell in the Catholic Church. That is why we never stop seeking an understanding of what it means to be saved by Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross. So hell is not the main issue, but rather, what does it mean that Christ spilled his blood on the Cross for the forgiveness of our sins? (This was a major issue of divergence between Christians and the Greek philosophers in the first few centuries of the Church. Christians began the quest for knowledge from revelation, revelation that took place in history, in a man. For the Greek philosophers, the measuring stick for truth was reason. From reason, the Greeks sought truth. Christians started with faith, and then used reason to better understand that faith). That is what we are trying to understand. It would be presumptuous for us to assume everyone will go to heaven, so we must leave room for the possibility of a hell. However, since we believe in Jesus Christ, who, as God, assumed human flesh, suffered, died on the Cross, and was resurrected from the dead, we have an obligation to treat all people with that kind of respect and dignity, and to hope, pray, and work for a world that best reflects the likeness of paradise in heaven. Unfortunately, we fail miserably so often.

                • Anna

                  John, yes, the concept of hell is what I have a problem with. The only forms of Christianity I find morally acceptable are those that espouse universalism. Mind you, I still think they are factually wrong, but I have no moral qualms about their belief system.

                  Do you believe in any kind of transcendent existence, or is this life here on earth all that you are willing to accept? If I am correct in interpreting you, that the notion of hell (or any spiritual realm for that matter) is ridiculous because there is no such thing as a spiritual realm, then that is our fundamental point of divergence.

                  I’m an atheist. I don’t believe in any form of the supernatural, and that would include both deities and afterlives. The question of hell is purely theoretical.

                  I really do appreciate your comments. Unfortunately, I think we are working from two different epistemologies. However, I should not make that assumption. Do you believe in the possibility that heaven exists? If so, why are you so reluctant to acknowledge the possibility of a hell?

                  No, I don’t believe in the possibility of either. From my perspective the Catholic heaven and hell are as much a product of the human imagination as the old Norse Valhalla or the Hindu Samsara. If there were to be an afterlife (and I stress this is hypothetical), I see no reason to believe that it would bear any resemblance to the ones various human societies have dreamt up.

                  But I would also like you to see that there are great moral qualms over the existence of hell in the Catholic Church. That is why we never stop seeking an understanding of what it means to be saved by Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross. So hell is not the main issue, but rather, what does it mean that Christ spilled his blood on the Cross for the forgiveness of our sins?

                  Well, that’s on the right track at least. I’m glad some Catholics are morally troubled by the idea of hell. Perhaps it shows they are more enlightened than the majority of conservative Protestants, who seem to take a gruesome delight in it. But the concept of sin is another idea that I find just as bad as hell, although I suppose that’s a conversation for another day!

  • Zoomy333

    “In response to the media attention, the Rev. Thomas Rosica, a Vatican spokesman, said that people who know about the Catholic church “cannot be saved” if they “refuse to enter her or remain in her.””

    Surely then, the most moral thing the Catholic Church can do is disassemble itself? Burn the Vatican to the ground, and demolish all the churches. Then, when no-one has heard of the paedophile protection league, their God will be forced to judge people based on merit.

    • John

      Zoomy333,
      I am assuming you are not concerned with the truth of the matter here. Regardless of what Fr. Rosica actually said (which is far different from what Hemant Mehta lazily portrayed), you already have your mind made up about the Church. But I would like to know something. What is your real problem with the Church? If you answer, please do away with all the emotionally charged rhetoric and speak honestly. These blog posts are supposed to lead to respectful dialogue. But your statements about burning the Vatican to the ground, demolishing all the churches, and your reference to the Church as the pedophile protection league, only contribute to an atmosphere of ignorance and hostility. I am sure that you have a real and justifiable beef with the Church. And as a Catholic theologian, I hope to come to a better understanding of these problems so that I can be a more effective teacher and minister. But I cannot do that if you are going to continue to hurl insults and unmerited accusations.

      Am I waisting my time here?

      • Zoomy333

        My criticism wasn’t with the Church itself, at least in this case. It was meant as a specific rebuttal to the idea that “people who know about the Catholic church “cannot be saved” if they “refuse to enter her or remain in her.”” If people know about the Church, but refuse to join, they won’t be saved? Not only is that egotistical in the extreme, but as I said if God refuses to accept anyone who’s heard of the church but refuses to join, then the most moral thing is to remove the church altogether so that people can be judged on merit. According to that statement, the very existence of the Church is sentencing people to damnnation. I’m overall not a fan of Church burnings, but really, I can’t see how anyone join be a part of an organisation that teaches “knowing about us but not joining is a ticket to hell” and actually believe it without picking up a molotov.

        As to my less specific problems with the Church, yeah I’ll admit I’m unoriginal. I hate any organisation that protects child-rapists while intimidating the victims to stay silent. Or tells Africans that condoms causes AIDS. While I’m certain that not EVERY Catholic is a child rape apologist, the organisation itself has problems. These aren’t fundamental problems, reformation is possible, but while the Church actively causes harm to people, whether they be young children who had their innocence stolen by the man they were told to trust, or Africans misinformed to the cause and prevention of AIDS, I don’t see how the Vatican can claim moral authority.

        • Anna

          There are so many problems with the Catholic church, it would be hard to decide what’s worse! It’s a toss-up between the theology and the Vatican’s positions on social issues.

  • Pascal

    Rosica is no longer a Vatican spokesman, and therefor the information in this article is incorrect.

  • Elan

    No one can go to heaven until they pay the church.

  • John Alexander Cannon

    My god loves everybody. That is the great thing about faith you get to choose what you want to have faith in.

  • Dick Reid

    FYi, folks, the late distinguished Catholic theologian–advisor to Vatican II, etc., Karl Rahner, SJ, said in an interview near the end of his long life that ” We have a responsibility to hope that everyone shall be saved.”

    • Anna

      It would be nice, then, if they just got rid of the concept of hell altogether.


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