Pope Francis Calls Upon Atheists to Work with Believers for Peace

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Pope Francis, in his first Christmas address since becoming head of the Catholic Church, specifically called on atheists to join with believers of all stripes to work toward a global “homemade peace.”

The New York Times, reporting on the address, notes that in mentioning atheists, Francis was “departing from his prepared text,” saying:

I invite even non-believers to desire peace. (Join us) with your desire, a desire that widens the heart. Let us all unite, either with prayer or with desire, but everyone, for peace.

This is not the first time Pope Francis (or as I have referred to him at my CFI blog The Morning Heresy, “Pope Fluffy”) has spoken with warmth about atheists, most notably when he implied that nonbelievers are not necessarily destined for eternal damnation, emphasizing instead a need for everyone to “do good.”

There is of course an enormous amount of skepticism about Francis’s sincerity and intentions with his inclusive rhetoric, be in about atheists, gays, the poor, or what have you, and there should be. (I examined this question in a previous post at this site.) No matter how sweet the talk from the pope, the Catholic Church itself remains a backward, harmful, oppressive, sexist, homophobic institution that continues to obstruct and obfuscate on one of history’s greatest scandals: its culpability in the systematic sexual abuse of children.

But I do have to wonder if his desire to bring atheists into his Christmas speech, off-script, implies a degree of true feeling. One can only speculate.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • momtarkle

    I’m in.

  • PrimateZero

    Sorry, I got to “believe” it’s more PR bullshit for a rotten institution. I can’t help it….I’m an ex-catholic.

  • lainnj

    Agreed. The spin is embarrassingly transparent, albeit well-done.

  • lora120

    “Yup and double-ditto”, from another ex-catholic.

  • guest

    Him going ‘off-script’ could easily be a part of a bigger script, where he tries to look spontaneous.

    I don’t need the Pope to tell me to desire peace. Most human beings desire peace instinctively. I certainly haven’t been going around starting wars lately. Peace is necessary, for children to grow up safe, for scientific research to be done, for most businessess to thrive (except gun-runners) and for people to live safely and persue their dreams. I find it an insult that the Pope thinks we don’t already desire peace and aren’t already working towards it. Fuck the Pope. Fuck his PR machine.

  • John Barleycorn

    I’ve seen the pope. I’ll pass. But what does his PR machine look like? One of those Japanese sex robots?

  • lainnj

    His Communications Director is a former Fox News reporter and member of Opus Dei. He’s obviously doing an admirable job and people seem well taken in by it.

  • # zbowman

    Something more European, surely, given his palace’s location. Maybe something putting the twerk in Kraftwerk.

  • Art_Vandelay
  • MN Atheist

    Thank you…I just spent 3 hours on YouTube acquainting myself with Tim Minchin.

  • Art_Vandelay

    Awesome.

  • ahermit

    While appreciating the sentiment I can’t help being put off a bit by the phrasing; “EVEN non-believers” makes it sound like desiring peace is something surprising or foreign to atheists.

  • AxeGrrl

    YES!

    That’s the first thing I thought/felt too. Like wanting peace never occurred to us as something to want, before the Pope mentioned it to us.

  • FarkingFarker

    His next words should strike that down:

    “(Join us) with your desire”

    Implying the desire is pre-existing.

  • Tim McElligott

    He was using desire as a way to point out our inability to pray, perhaps even implying our desire is just prayer by another name. it does not strike down his main point, which is that the Church is the leader in peace and that we could follow his lead. It is simultaneously a power grab and an insult.

  • SeekerLancer

    Put your money where your mouth is and make the first move, Francis. End the institutionalized bigotry and sexism of the Catholic church. No? Not going to make much headway on peace then.

  • Brett N

    This. Far too many non-believers are wetting themselves over how great this pope is. Meanwhile, he hasn’t done a fucking thing to change that criminal organization. Stop being so easily impressed by pretty words, people!

  • Christian

    Atheists should fix tthe sexism in their own movement before casting stones

  • SeekerLancer

    That’s a terribly false equivalence.

    Jerk atheist individuals who are sexist versus the Catholic church, a religious institution that is actively against rights for women and homosexuals? I am not speaking about Catholic individuals either who may or may not be sexist, but the institution of the Catholic church itself.

    Regardless I don’t speak for anyone but myself, and as such I’ll cast stones at any social ill I see fit, including sexism in the atheist movement when it arises. Your attempt to label me or anyone else here a hypocrite is misplaced.

  • Richard_L_Kent

    Close the laogais and get back to us.

  • TCC

    Funny, I don’t remember anyone on this blog being Xi Jinping. I do remember Francis being the head of the Catholic Church, though.

  • SeekerLancer

    So then you’re telling me when the United States had child labor and sweatshop work conditions and coal mine company towns or even literal slavery that it was the majority religion of Christianity’s fault and not the fault of lack of government interference or oversight? I can play the false causality game too.

  • Cake

    “I invite even non-believers to desire peace. (Join us) with your desire,
    a desire that widens the heart. Let us all unite, either with prayer or
    with desire, but everyone, for peace.”

    Whats with the automatic assumption that we don’t desire peace?
    Take your combined superiority and persecution complex and shove it.

  • Paul Jackson

    I think you are taking it wrong. He is saying that we *do* desire peace and that desire is just as good as prayer.

  • EuropeanCommunist

    While it may be so, the phrasing suggests Cake’s interpretation is correct in this context. Had he said “I invite everyone, non-believers included, to desire peace” it’d be clear, unfortunately his actual phrasing implies everyone already wants peace, except for the stinking atheists.

  • Richard_L_Kent

    Yekatrinberg massacre. Executions of the Orthodox hierarchs. Execution of the White leadership under Lenin. Holodomir. Great Purges. Katyn Forest. Doctor’s Plot. Great Leap Forward. Great Cultural Revolution. Gang of Four. GULag. Laogai. Tito’s massacres. Srebrenica. Zepa. Sarajevo siege. Killing fields. Fall of Saigon and the reeducation camps. Nork executions. Not to mention minor things like Margaret Sanger and her gang of bloodthirsty childkillers….. or Ayers and company.

    Nope. No persecution complex to be seen here. It’s all in our heads.

    “With reasonable men I shall reason, with compassionate men I shall plead….” – Wm. Lloyd Garrison, 1830

    “…men have forgotten God….” – Solzhenitsyn, explaining the bloodthirst of the Bolsheviks, at the 1982 Harvard Address

  • Richard_L_Kent

    PS I know that I’m about to hear about all of Christianity’s great massacres. Knock yourself out. But the ones I’ve listed here are WITHIN LIVING MEMORY. I challenge anyone to match with the same.

  • Cake

    Thanks for reinforcing the Superiority and Persecution Complex meme.

  • Richard_L_Kent

    Thank you for cheerleading communist democide.

  • TCC

    Thank you for your insincerity.

  • ahermit

    the ones I’ve listed here are WITHIN LIVING MEMORY. I challenge anyone to match with the same.”

    Well, just off the top of my head there’s Jasenovac, Rwanda, Srebrenica (that was Serbian Orthodox Christians doing the killing there, not atheists), the the massacres in Kosovo, Christian and Muslim militias in Sudan, Congo, Uganda, forced conversion and terrorism by Christians in Northern India…not to mention all the victims of two “world wars” fought primarily by nominally Christian Europeans…

    Do you really want want to play this stupid game of “Body Count” Richard? You might not score as high as you seem to think…

  • Richard_L_Kent

    I was at Srebrenica, and they were communists. (The whole war in Bosnia was manufactured by the Serb Communist party to delay elections there. All through the rest of Europe the atheist communists–and Slobodan Milosovic was an atheist core through–the atheist communists were driven from power. Slobo created the Bosnian “Muslim” crisis for the same reasons the “segregationists” created the problems in the American south in the 1950s and 60s… to distract their own voters from their own interests.)

    I was a peacekeeper in Bosnia for more than two years. Don’t lecture me on the subject unless you were there.

  • http://127.0.0.1 3lemenope

    I was a peacekeeper in Bosnia for more than two years. Don’t lecture me on the subject unless you were there.

    Interesting conversational tactic.

    Truth is, “being there”, in whatever capacity, grants you a perspective that should not be dismissed or taken lightly, but you manage to piss most of that ethos away by demanding that such an experience ought to make your opinion incontrovertible or ultimately dispositive. Being there does not grant you special political insight and can, in fact, be an impediment for any mode of analysis that requires you to zoom out from the on-the-ground experience. As Orwell pointed out, to see what is directly in front of one’s nose requires a constant struggle.

  • Richard_L_Kent

    No it just means you guys for the first time are up against someone who knows your game.

    I had my nose rubbed in Communist genocide in Bosnia for two years. You haven’t. Your airy ‘objectivity’ is self-deluded bullshit.

  • TCC

    So all of those Orthodox Christian Serbs (who I’m sure you talked to individually) were communistic atheists?

  • Richard_L_Kent

    The ones that gave them guns and armies, the ones that fed lies into their ears through a controlled press, the generals, the presidents, the thinkers, the drivers… were atheists.

    Read the history. It’s not pretty but it’s all there.

  • ahermit

    The ones that gave them guns and armies, the ones that fed lies into
    their ears through a controlled press, the generals, the presidents, the
    thinkers, the drivers… were atheists.

    Even if that were true ( and I don’t doubt it is for at least some of those) what about the ones pulling the triggers? What they were being fed was an ethnic nationalism and religion played a huge role in defining that nationalism.

    http://berkleycenter.georgetown.edu/publications/bosnia-ethno-religious-nationalisms-in-conflict

    http://icrd.org/rp24/

    We see similar dynamics in Russia today where the former KGB Communist Vladimir Putin cozying up to the Orthodox Church and adopting their hatreds to prop up his regime…http://ncronline.org/blogs/grace-margins/orthodox-church-s-role-russia-s-anti-gay-laws

  • http://127.0.0.1 3lemenope

    The reason why Orwell was right is that the temptation is often very great, when immersed in an on-the-ground perspective, to ignore or minimize details that contradict comfortable ideological preconceptions. Our first instinct is to reinforce, rather than dilute, the ideas that give sense to our personal place in the world.

    Judging by your age and your extreme and undisguised hostility to communism, it is not surprising that you would read your entire experience through a lens of “it must be all the Communists’ fault”, reinforced by the fact that you would be predisposed to dismiss any evidence that a category you identify with–Christians–could possibly be responsible for a horrible crime.

    What you cannot possibly conceive, because it simply does too much violence to your cherished categories, is that it was the fall of Tito’s Communist regime (about which there is much legitimate to criticize) that allowed theretofore repressed ethnic and religious tensions to arise and be asserted to genocidal ends. It does not require that any of us reject the texture or authenticity of your experiences to reject as obviously wrong the conclusions your experiences have led you to. The question your interpretation must answer is simple: If it were “Communist Genocide” why didn’t it happen when the Communists had complete control of the country, but did happen nearly a decade after they lost it?

    And I never even made a pretense towards objectivity. I would not be so foolish as to claim a God’s eye view; there are good pragmatic as well as philosophical reasons to believe that such a position is impossible, and if it were possible would have limited applicability in dealing with issues facing fundamentally subjective creatures. You, however, are being foolish in asserting that only a mud’s eye view matters, and thinking that your lens gives you privileged access to a truth that requires both an intimate experience and a cognizance of the wider political, social, and religious forces in play. Your overly simplistic explanation (which is not well supported, frankly, by either frame) belies your inability to take into account the complicated interplay of those larger forces, and betrays your penchant for straining your experiences on the ground through a stilted ideological frame.

  • The Starship Maxima

    Richard, I have to protest. First off, thank you for your service in Bosnia. Your courage is appreciate.

    But understand that while you’ve had your nose rubbed in Communist genocide, some of us here have watched gay kids get beaten and left to die in Wyoming fields, transgender people beaten to death, and gays shot in broad daylight.

    I am a black American. I’m only here because my forefathers and foremothers were stolen from their homes and beaten and raped.

    All this done by God-fearing folks. I don’t agree with the atheists, but the bulk of their gripes against religion, particularly Christianity are legit.

  • dullsteamer

    Funny thing that, when I was trundling through what was then Yugoslavia in the early 80’s as a cheap and cheerful backpacker, how devoutly religious all the folks I met were. Nice to me, too.

    But I suppose your time as a civilian assistant, sorry, peacekeeper, might have coloured you views somewhat.

  • ahermit

    Why should I believe you instead of the Canadian peacekeepers I’ve personally met? Why you and not the historians, human rights investigators and reporters who have also been there and who all disagree with your assessment? Does your personal experience trump all of theirs?

    To ignore the role of religion in a conflict between Catholic Croats, Orthodox Serbs and Muslim Bosniaks seems awfully naive to me.

  • Richard_L_Kent

    Yes. I want to play this game of body count, because YOU LOSE. The hemoclasm of blood murder has atheism behind it. Take the beam from thine own eye and whack yourself over the head with it till you get a clue.

  • ahermit

    Only if you ignore all those incidents I’ve listed, not to mention the horrifying legacy of European colonialism in places like the Congo…the Belgians under King Leopold were responsible for ten million deaths, and they weren’t communists or atheists; they were Catholics and capitalists…

    Human history is sadly full of such stories, and while the Communists are indeed an especially egregious example they are not unique as religious ideologies have been responsible for atrocities equally as horrifying.

    But I would not take those horrors to be representative of all religious believers any more than I would lay Stalin’s crimes at the feet of all atheists, as you seem to want to do. Atheism is not synonymous with Communism.

  • Cat MacKinnon

    the vast majority of those were purely political and had nothing to do with religion.

    sorry, try again. (and btw, most of us don’t appreciate being lumped in as “Commies”. that sort of false correlation seems to come from right-wing conservative propaganda.)

  • Blacksheep

    Sorry – The events cited above were mainly done by states that promoted state sponsored atheism, so they can be fairly identified as having persecuting religion.
    It’s not a matter of being lumped as “Commies” – any more than, say, judging all of Christendom based on the behavior of the catholic church.

  • dullsteamer

    The RCC is the subject of this thread, hence we are judging the behaviour of the RCC, which by any standard is piss poor. Judging the rest of “Christendom”, whatever that may be, can wait for another day.

    Now you’d like us to believe that only “states that promoted state sponsored atheism” persecute religion. That’s bullshit. Or did you not notice the religious flavour of Rwanda, Northern Ireland, and the Balkans, to name but three?

    Spin away, old mate.

  • Richard_L_Kent

    No, state sponsored atheisms are not the only states that persecute religion. They are, however, the only ones that commit mass democide against religious believers.

    And by trying to restrict this to a discussion of the Holy, Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church, you are acting as atheists always do in power: not with reason but with STFU.

  • dullsteamer

    Mate, I realise you’re a crazy left-footer who’s very protective of your church, but have a squiz at the title at the top of the page. The discussion IS about the RCC. You’re the one who went spearing off on some mad tangent comparing massacre totals.

    As for your last comment, I’m flattered you think I’m in power. Pissing myself laughing at the idea, too. I’m just a bloke on night shift with a bit of time to spare. The only power I have is the ability to think critically. Is that what pisses you off?

  • Richard_L_Kent

    How convenient.

  • SeekerLancer

    How convenient that we’re talking about CATHOLICS in a discussion about the POPE? What were we supposed to discuss? I’m not sure if you know this or not but the Pope happens to be Catholic.

  • http://www.amazon.com/God-Awful-Worst-Religious-Leaders-Western/dp/0989961419/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1408543857&sr=8-1&keywords=roger+bauman Roger Bauman

    Well, let’s see, there was the holocaust, sectarian violence in Northern Ireland, hundreds of thousands executed in Iran when the Islamic regime came to power, The Lord’s Resistance Army, The Armenian Genocide, everything Al-Qaeda has done, albinos being killed in Africa, tens of thousands of people executed for witchcraft in the twentieth century, the massacre in East Timor, the Israeli-Arab wars, and on and on and on. All in living memory. And unlike you, I stuck to apropos examples. For instance, you use the sectarian war in the Balkans as an example of the persecution of religious people by atheists? Give me a fucking break.

  • Blacksheep

    Every life is precious, but in a debate like this sometimes it’s a matter of just doing the math. Add up the number of people killed by countries that advocated state-sponsored atheism, and compare that to people killed specifically in the name of Christianity (The ones whom FA often claims feign persecution). Even the crusades don’t come close. (And the personal beliefs of the leaders have little bearing, what matters is how the country officially chose to operate).

  • http://www.amazon.com/God-Awful-Worst-Religious-Leaders-Western/dp/0989961419/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1408543857&sr=8-1&keywords=roger+bauman Roger Bauman

    So on one side you have “the number of people killed by countries that advocated state-sponsored atheism” and on the other, you have people “killed specifically in the name of Christianity.” This is an apples-to-bowling balls comparison. To make it fair, you would need to compare the number of people killed in the name of religion to those killed in the name of atheism. Kent’s list, in addition to his cherry-picked start time, is filled with examples that had little – and in some cases nothing – to do with atheists enforcing godlessness on the faithful.

  • SeekerLancer

    Totalitarian politics are totalitarian politics. It doesn’t matter if they’re doing it in the name of god or banning god to replace it with the state. It’s wrong either way. Playing a numbers game to try and say which is worse is stupid because ultimately they’re both the exact same thing, humans finding excuses to subjugate other humans.

  • Richard_L_Kent

    Actually it vastly matters. An atheocrat is free to kill whoever he wants, whenever he wants, if he thinks he can get away with it. A theocrat answers at least to God. An atheocrat answers to nobody. Hence the bloodiness of the last 100 years.

  • http://127.0.0.1 3lemenope

    You speak with great confidence about matters with which you are painfully unfamiliar. It’s off-putting.

  • SeekerLancer

    Well that’s a relief, theocrats can and do only kill people who they label sinners or heretics or blasphemers which happens to be everyone they don’t like. Oh wait that’s not a relief at all.

  • Cake

    “An atheocrat is free to kill whoever he wants, whenever he wants, if he
    thinks he can get away with it. A theocrat kills whoever he wants and thinks god approves”

    Fixed that for you.

  • kaydenpat

    So has answering to “at least to God” ever stopped theocrats from killing/murdering people?

    How many millions were killed by the Catholic church during the dark ages? Why didn’t answering to God stop that massacre?

  • Emmet

    Millions? Come on now. That’s absurd.

  • Cake

    “Nope. No persecution complex to be seen here. It’s all in our heads.”

    Nice to see you admit it. For a second there I thought you were trying to blame all that political crap on atheists. At least you didn’t try to throw Hitler into the mix

  • dullsteamer

    “…men have forgotten God….” – Solzhenitsyn

    One of christianity’s great massacres within living memory that didn’t get a mention was the Rwandan genocide in 1994. And what makes that particularly relevant in light of your Solzhenitsyn quote and the subject of this thread is the active participation in this event by members of the Roman Catholic church. Men – and sadly women – of god. Apparently they’d forgotten too?

    And since you mention Solzhenitsyn, Ekatrinberg and the Bolsheviks, let’s not overlook the many pogroms that took place in pre-1917 Russia, and the complicity of both the Tsar and the Orthodox church in those events.

  • Richard_L_Kent

    Living memory. And though hundreds died in the pogroms, BILLIONS have died in this century at the hands of atheists.

  • http://127.0.0.1 3lemenope

    And though hundreds died in the pogroms, BILLIONS have died in this century at the hands of atheists.

    When you provably exaggerate (or demonstrate, alternatively, that you can’t count), why should anyone take your claims seriously?

    Zooming out a bit, I wonder exactly what it is you hope to show with a “body count” competition “in living memory”. The apostolic authority of the RCC relies explicitly on an unbroken chain of inerrancy from Peter to now, and yet you want to write off the atrocities of the past as not counting. If the past doesn’t count, than you might as well throw the claims of authority by the Church in the trash along with it.

  • Richard_L_Kent

    I am done for the night. Christ is born. Glorify Him!

  • TCC

    You’d glorify him more if you were done forever.

  • dullsteamer

    Done like a dinner.

  • Richard_L_Kent

    Rwanda (and Nazi Germany) do not represent massacres of Christianity but massacres that occurred as a result of the cultural failure of Christianity. Christianity in Nazi Germany was represented not by the Gestapo but by the Scholl siblings and Niebuhr and Bonhoeffer. I don’t recall Jesus Christ calling for the mass murder of opponents. I DO recall Mao, Lenin, Stalin, Pol Pot, the Kims, et al. all (AND Hitler) calling for the mass murder of their enemies.

    Massacres happen when Christianity stands by and does nothing. Massacres happen when atheism takes power and does SOMETHING.

  • TCC

    Okay, but most atheists are not Maoists, Leninists, Stalinists, etc. We don’t follow those people. If you can write off all of the massacres as not being “true Christians,” then we can all safely ignore your examples of atheist dictators murdering.

    There, sorted.

  • Richard_L_Kent

    No, not all atheists are Maoists, Leninists, Stalinists. But all Maoists, Leninists, Stalinists are atheists.

    Compare the most bloodthirsty of Christians–say, Ferdinand and Isabella, The Catholic Monarchs. The very worst boogiemen of your imagination. They drove out the Moors, they drove out the Jews, they set up the Spanish Inquisition.

    Yes, I will admit they were monsters.

    Do you know how many people were killed by the Spanish Inquisition? About 3000.

    Over 300 years. (They kept meticulous records that objective historians can consult to this day. Part of their fanatical pathology.)

    About the same number as was killed on average every day between 1917 (the Bolshevik Revolution) and now by Communists the world over.

    The problem is that the bloodthirsty Christians you seem so obsessed about were bloodthirsty IN SPITE of their Christianity not because of it. Not so the atheist dictators of this century. Their atheism MADE them bloodthirsty–GAVE THEM PERMISSION to do what they will with the populations at their beck and call.

    Atheism comes in three flavors: private atheism (You do what you do I’ll do what I do); annoying evangelical atheism (I do what I do; fuck what YOU do); and actual political atheism (I do what I do, you die). The latter are the fewest of the three…except when they gain political power.

    And God help us after that.

    Most Atheists are in fact crypto-Christians and thus are harmless. (How are they crypto-Christians? They still insist that there is good and evil and they try to do good.) Good on them… and those were the Atheists that the Pope was reaching out to.

    Most American atheists are OK people. Stay out of my face; I’ll stay out of yours. But it is the third variety of Atheist that are to be feared, for they stay out of the face of nobody. Give them power, and a blood-flood always follows.

    Always.

    Ever study Greek philosophy? The political atheist–variety 3–are like Thrasymacus in Plato’s Republic. “Justice is the advantage of the stronger.” Since there is no God AND no objective good, then good is power only. The strong do what they will, and the weak do what they must. There is no God, no judgment, no standard of good and evil, right and wrong.

    What? You disagree with me? There is a right and wrong? Then there is a God. One cannot have a standard of Right without falling back on the natural law…. which is to say, God. Sorry. You can’t have it any other way.

    Nietzsche was right. Most atheists don’t have the courage to take their beliefs seriously enough. Those that do would either turn away revolted or turn into human lions, which is to say… politicized atheists, variety 3.

  • TCC

    Nope, sorry, the argument from objective/transcendent morality is dead right out of the gate.

    The problem is that the bloodthirsty Christians you seem so obsessed about were bloodthirsty IN SPITE of their Christianity not because of it. Not so the atheist dictators of this century. Their atheism MADE them bloodthirsty–GAVE THEM PERMISSION to do what they will with the populations at their beck and call.

    A lack of belief can’t give you permission to do anything. Only additional beliefs – ones that are not in the purview of atheism broadly – can get you there.

    And if you think that Christians who killed didn’t rationalize it with their own religious beliefs, you’re just deluding yourself.

  • Richard_L_Kent

    Sure they rationalized it. But falsely. There IS a Jesus, and He warned up front a long time ago that many of “his followers” would get a very cold shoulder one fine day (re the sheep and the goats on the day of judgment: ‘I never knew you’).

    Atheism OTOH when taken pure is genocidal by nature.

    There are many, many good atheists. But they are good only to the extent that they don’t really believe that shit in their hearts.

  • TCC

    You really don’t get this, do you? Atheism is only a lack of belief in gods. Anything else is extra. “Pure atheism” is like “more infinite” – there are no degrees, no tenets upon which to base ideological purity. You are kicking a strawman of atheism that exists only in your fevered imagination. This whole thing is utterly dishonest.

  • Richard_L_Kent

    “There are no degrees, no tenets” –that’s precisely the problem. The further you get from moral reality is like the further into outer space you get from the surface of a planet. You get total freedom, but you’re surrounded by vacuum, darkness, and death.

    “Men have forgotten God.”

  • TCC

    That analogy makes no fucking sense whatsoever.

  • Pofarmer

    Exactly. A disbelief in Gods doesn’t imply anything more. If you want to talk about moral frameworks, then fine, but to assume that Atheism equals totalitarian bloodletting goes a bit far.

  • Richard_L_Kent

    Atheism doesn’t equal totalitarian bloodletting, for the reason that most atheists are, in fact, cowards. They can’t stare the naked evil of Godlessness in the face, so they cover it up with a belief in ‘there’s still good out there.’ As well they should. There IS ‘good out there.’ That ‘good’ is God.

  • TCC

    Honest question: Are you serious, or are you just trolling? Because I think it’s kind of amusing to think that you’re seriously trying to claim the moral high ground while simultaneously defaming an entire group of people.

  • Pofarmer

    So why aren’t countries like Norway and Sweden running blood in the streets?

  • The Starship Maxima

    Most of the atheists I’ve met are pretty brave. And I’ve met some Christians who are more cowardly than rats when the lights come on.

  • Pofarmer

    I’m starting to think someone made a pass at him in boot camp or something.

  • The Starship Maxima

    It would explain a great many things. :)

  • dullsteamer

    He’s got a face like a dropped pie, more likely NO-ONE made a pass at him in boot camp.

  • The Starship Maxima

    That’s mean. Funny, but mean. :)

  • SeekerLancer

    “But they are good only to the extent that they don’t really believe that shit in their hearts.”

    Mighty presumptuous of you to tell us all what we believe. But whatever helps you sleep at night, friend.

  • http://batman-news.com Anton

    Ever study Greek philosophy?

    Richard, your rants remind me more of Travis Bickle’s internal monologues than Socratic dialogues. That dark room you’re seeing isn’t Plato’s Cave, it’s your own ass.

  • SeekerLancer

    “No, not all atheists are Maoists, Leninists, Stalinists. But all Maoists, Leninists, Stalinists are atheists.”

    That’s like saying not all Christian’s are Nazi’s, KKK members, crusaders, Spanish inquisitors, abortion clinic bombers and IRA bombers, but all Nazi’s, KKK members, crusaders, Spanish inquisitors, abortion clinic bombers and IRA bombers are Christians.

    Your point is pointless. You can call all of those people, “not true Christians” but they probably think the same of you. I’m not going to say all of the Communist groups you mentioned aren’t atheists, because they are. But what does that prove? Nothing. Their atheism is politically motivated in the same way all of the people who do evils in the name of Christianity are using their religion as political motivation. You’re shouting at windmills and swinging at strawmen by playing this ultimately meaningless numbers game that proves nothing more than human beings do heinous things.

    But of course you can’t really combat the accusations made against Catholics or Christians in general so you have to come back with, “atheism has done horrible things.” And to play the devil’s advocate here my answer is, “So what if it did?” Does that mean the Catholic church shouldn’t be criticized when it does wrong? Does that mean any evil done by the church should be ignored because, “atheists have done bad things too?” Seriously? What is your point?

  • Pofarmer

    Jesus may not have, but god certainly did call for massacres and genocide. And you can call it a cultural failure or whatever you like, but killing in the name of all religions seems to be more of a feature than a bug.

  • Richard_L_Kent

    Killing is human nature. FALLEN human nature. Atheism has no time for the fallenness of mankind. Yes, ‘Genesis’ and ‘The Garden of Eden’ are not literal truths; they are poetic representations of the objective truth that human nature is fucked up ab initio. Atheist massacres arise from the fact that they think that that is not a bug but a feature.

  • TCC

    You didn’t even read what Pofarmer said: God calling for massacres and genocide. No atheist is ever going to say that a deity commanded them to kill anyone.

    And again, you insist that you can make a claim about what atheists think about killing. There is one thing that atheists have in common, and it has nothing to do with that.

  • Richard_L_Kent

    No atheist is ever going to say that a deity commanded them to kill anyone.>> He vas onLEY obeyINK orDERZ!

  • TCC

    I’m so glad you decided to use a German caricature, as one of the people most responsible for the German anti-Semitism that led up to the final solution was one of the most significant figures in modern Christendom.

  • Pofarmer

    It’s not a poetic representation, it’s utter bullcrap. Look, we have been pretty much advancing morally and socially since recorded history. Right now there are less wars going on, and less folks dying, than at any time in human history. Perhaps civilized folks have learned a thing or two? Sure, there’s hate and evil in the world. But to say that this is the sole perview of atheists is more than a tad bit naive.

  • The Starship Maxima

    Naive and blatantly inaccurate considering how many God-fearing folks initiated and perpetuated some of the most heinous massacres and human rights violations in the history of the world.

  • Wildcard

    Is it fearing or ferring? How are you actually supposed to pronounce that?

  • The Starship Maxima

    “Fearing” as in the “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge”.

  • Wildcard

    That sounds kinda threatening. I don’t know how that is intended but when I hear it alone it comes off “obey or suffer”.

    What is it supposed to mean?

    BTW Check for a PM I sent you. I think you might be interested I game I found.

  • The Starship Maxima

    Will check.

    Kinda sorta, it more means “Only God can threaten you. Be cool with him, and everyone else can take a hike.”

  • Emmet

    What’s your definition of “moral and social advancement”? What are your measures?
    What do you know of modern slavery – sex trafficking? Including child pornography?
    Child soldiers?
    Rampant capitalism and its effects on social structures, the environment, etc?
    Increasing fatherlessness in Western cultures?

  • Pofarmer

    This presents an interesting little theological puzzle. The death of Jesus was said to atone for the sins of Adam and Eve, on account of original sin, well, among other interpretations. But, if original sin is an allegory(which it is, and a poor one) then doesn’t that also put the life and works of Jesus in the same category? Otherwise it makes no sense.

  • Pofarmer

    If the Massacres of Nazism were a failure of Christianity, then it was a failure that was inculcated at it’s roots. Popes were the ones to put Jews in Grottos and make them wear identification, at least as early as the 1500’s, and they were depicted poorly in artwork and literature earlier than that. Rwanda’s problems probably started with cultural identification by the Church in the 1800’s, but when it came bloodletting time, there were some Church members actively rooting it on. When I watched a special on Top Gear for the first time on the River Nile, the first thing that struck me of footage of going across Rwanda was all the Children walking along in Catholic School uniforms. They had been TAUGHT that hatred. Hitler only capitalized on what a large part of his population was already feeling. He couldn’t have done it otherwise. We can learn from our failures, but not if we hide them or run away from them, which is what you are trying to do.

  • The Starship Maxima

    Where I come from, we call this post “Keeping it real”.

  • kaydenpat

    So the inquisition wasn’t something the Catholic Church did to those who wouldn’t accept the church’s doctrines? Really?

  • Blacksheep

    Always unny how just citing historical events gets downvotes on FA.

  • Blacksheep

    (Funny)

  • Richard_L_Kent

    Funny ha ha or funny vomitous?

  • TCC

    Your list would be less impressive if you didn’t include deaths that were caused by ineptitude rather than malice (most of the deaths caused by the Great Leap Forward) or duplicate/related things (the Cultural Revolution and the Gang of Four).

  • Richard_L_Kent

    Those who died from ineptitude cannot tell the difference.

    And they CAN appreciate what happened. Man is immortal, as you will find, whether you like it or not.

  • TCC

    Well, you can’t very well argue that Mao’s failed agricultural reforms were caused by a lack of morality, now, can you?

    Thanks for the laugh on the end, though. Cheers!

  • Richard_L_Kent

    Mao’s agrimurders were founded on the belief that his people were mere ants to do his will. That’s atheism through and through.

  • TCC

    1. [citation needed]
    2. Not even close. Atheism is merely a lack of belief in gods. This is 101 level stuff.

  • Richard_L_Kent
  • TCC

    Care to give a page number, even?

  • Richard_L_Kent

    1-692. Read it and learn.

  • TCC

    You’re so helpful.

  • TCC

    Actually, I’ll beat you to the punch and give a short quote from page 487 (source online here):

    Undoubtedly it was not Mao’s intention to kill so many of his compatriots. But the least one can say is that he seemed little concerned about the death of millions from hunger. Indeed, his main concerns in those dark years seems to have been to deny a reality for which he could have been held responsible. It is always difficult to apportion blame in such situations, to know whether to attack the plan itself or its application. It is, however, indisputable that the Party leadership, and especially Mao himself, displayed economic incompetence, wholesale ignorance, and ivory-tower utopianism.

    There is plenty to criticize about Mao and the CCP leadership, but your claim seems to be false.

  • dullsteamer

    Really? “the belief that his people were mere ants to do his will”?

    Sounds a lot like more like the christian god to me.

  • Freydis

    There is someone with the moniker “Guest” who would not have an atheist come near him/her. S/he can’t have a happy christmas without hating everyone else.

  • David Croteau

    “There is of course an enormous amount of skepticism about Francis’s sincerity and intentions with his inclusive rhetoric, be in about atheists, gays, the poor, or what have you, and there should be. ”

    I believe that should be an “it,” not “in.”

  • God’s Starship

    “EVEN nonbelievers”. Not loving being singled out like that. And as for desiring peace, this nonbeliever is way ahead of you, pal.

  • david r.

    Give the guy some credit. I’m an atheist and liked his words, especially compared to the last pope

  • Anathema

    Francis is definitely better than Benedict XVI. Mind you, that’s not saying much. It would be difficult to be worse than Benedict XVI.

    I’ll give Francis credit for trying to be more inclusive. I like his words too. But I’m worried that in the end they’re just words. I’d really like to see Francis actually put some of his nice words into action. Unfortunately, I think that many of the problems with the Catholic Church are so deeply ingrained at this point that they are beyond the pope’s ability to reform.

  • Camorris

    Not being a Catholic, I am curious. Does the Pope have real power to change things, or is he a puppet-on-a-string?

  • http://127.0.0.1 3lemenope

    Sort of. He can put his thumb on the scales by moving the chess pieces around with choices on who to elevate to leadership positions and who to remove, which pastoral innovations to condemn and which to endorse or ignore, and of course using the bully pulpit. Moving too quickly or radically invites schism, which the Church (for good or ill, mostly ill) fears far more, for historical and theological reasons, than persisting in being wrong in a harmful way.

    A pope can always call a church-wide council to discuss broader changes, but cannot control how it will turn out; if the reactionary forces in the Church prevail, such a move could easily be counterproductive on a horrifying scale.

  • EuropeanCommunist

    Being slightly less bad than the previous guy is still worthy of zero credit in my book. Not to mention that talk is cheap, I have yet to see some actual changes.

  • John Barleycorn

    My sentiment, exactly. Definitely don’t need to be preached to about peace. (Or anything else, for that manner.)

  • John Barleycorn

    “I invite even non-believers to desire peace.” As if we don’t already? As if we weren’t already at the front of the peace-lovin’ congo line?

  • Mike De Fleuriot

    How about him joining us in a desire for peace. I am sure we would allow him into our fold…

  • Savoy47

    Pope Francis declared.

    “Through humility, soul searching, and prayerful contemplation we have gained a new understanding of certain dogmas. The church no longer believes in a literal hell where people suffer. This doctrine is incompatible with the infinite love of God. God is not a judge but a friend and a lover of humanity. God seeks not to condemn but only to embrace. Like the fable of Adam and Eve, we see hell as a literary device. Hell is merely a metaphor for the isolated soul, which like all souls ultimately will be united in love with God” Pope Francis declared.

    There it is. No Adam & Eve = no “Fall” = no need for Jesus to die for anyone’s salvation and no hell to be saved from. This is not an off the cuff remark. This is from his speech at The Third Vatican Council.

  • Brian K

    A quick google search revealed there was no third Vatican council. I’m afraid this is a hoax.

  • Savoy47

    I doubled checked my source (Diversity Chronicle ) and you are correct. Thanks for setting the record straight.

  • UWIR

    You should have included your source to begin with.

  • God’s Starship

    Yeah, I kind of smelled that one.

  • cyb pauli

    This is from the anti-liberal satire site Diversity Chronicle.

  • LesterBallard

    Sell some of the Vatican’s atrocious wealth and do some good with it, Frank. Then get back to me.

  • CryoFly

    Unfortunately, the religious institution is the biggest problem that peace faces. Calling upon the atheists to join one of the religious groups to “desire peace” is nothing but an veiled attempt at calling rational thinkers as an impediment to peace. El Papa did not concede that atheists are working for peace. However, he seems to be claiming that the catholic institution that he heads stands for peace. But I have to give one to Father Francis for his knack with words and pragmatism. I fervently hope he can think rationally and notice that god is not in the overall equation that operates nature and the human behavior.

  • LesterBallard

    But I’m an atheist; I don’t want peace. I want death and destruction and chaos. And babies; I want to eat lots of babies.

  • Ike Pleaves

    I’m an ex-catholic, so maybe I’m sensing sincerity where there is none, but I think he may be serious. Still, creating meaningful change within a 2.000 year old institution that’s bound by dogma is an uphill battle, so I remain heavily skeptical of any lasting peace between the two parties.

  • code_monkey_steve

    Let us all unite to peacefully dismantle the Catholic church.

  • lainnj

    Either this is an intentional and backhanded way to promote the idea that non-believers are somehow the ones who have not previously wanted peace, or he is completely clueless. Considering how smart and well-educated the leaders of the Catholic Church are, I suspect the former.

    He knows full well that it is believers who have perpetrated wars and atrocities in the name of superstition. Non-believers have generally desired peace and they certainly do not need an invitation to join the Catholic Church — of all institutions! — in the quest for peace. This is twisted indeed.

  • AxeGrrl

    Either this is an intentional and backhanded way to promote the idea that non-believers are somehow the ones who have not previously wanted peace, or he is completely clueless.

    You summarized/expressed that perfectly.

    It almost seems that when they’re acknowledging we growing-in-numbers-so-they-cant-avoid-us heathens, they can’t be too nice….and they must also use every instance of acknowledging atheists as an opportunity to remind people of our lesser-than-them character/nature.

  • lainnj

    I completely agree. There has been a lot of acknowledgement of atheists on the part of the Catholic Church. Previously, they wouldn’t have bothered to mention it. Ignoring it was probably the best strategy. Now, they realize it is growing. People just aren’t buying their b.s. anymore. So, new strategy. Now they have to try to take it down. Rather than attack it directly, which would be a losing battle that would only draw attention to the ridiculousness of their position, they are just trying to present themselves as the bigger person, so to speak. They are extending an olive branch even to those indecent people who have gone astray, people who have previously not worked with them for peace. So good of them. Let’s watch people marvel at how big-hearted they are. It’s a great PR job. Eventually, they will lose. But this will buy them time, perhaps a lot. They are playing this well. Nobody ever said they were stupid.

  • Brendan Reid

    All his off-script recurring mentions of non-believers makes we wonder ….

    Could Pope Fluffy be nudging himself towards joining the Clergy Project?

  • squinney

    It’s the Muslims and Christians that are killing each other. He is speaking to the wrong two groups.

  • lora120

    Says the man at the head of a church that tortured and murdered heretics and non-believers for most of the last 2000 years. The same churchmen who still subjugate women, who rape children and nuns, demonize consentual sexual practices, who thwart scientific and medical research that could end the suffering and premature death of millions, who celebrate ignorance and childish thinking and blind obedience to wealth and power…

    Repent from your own evil deeds. Then join us and we will all rejoice.

  • Paul Little

    What a coincidence! Atheists have been begging Christians to work together for peace for decades. No takers yet…

  • cyb pauli

    This Good Pope PR stuff is one of the best monkey and accordion comedy routines I’ve ever laughed at. Keep up the good entertainment RCC!

  • A3Kr0n

    Even non-believers? What the hell does that mean? I would think a religiously neutral group would be the most desirable partner.

  • Ryan1159

    I’d like to see less talk and more action from this guy.

  • Abbé Faria

    Wait, so us lazy atheists who don’t do any good should consider joining the good catholics to help the world become a better place? What a condescending asshole he is.

  • Marie Alexander

    I don’t know about everyone else, but I see this as a small step forward. There have been too many cases where secular humanist groups have been denounced by religious groups instead of accepting our help, too many cases where they have seen themselves as being above everyone else. I do get the point from the comments that he seems to be condescending, but that’s not really the impression I got – quite the opposite, it looks to me like he’s trying to end that sort of thing for the sake of more important goals, like the preservation of human life.

  • FOXHOUNDER1014

    To me, I view the new pope as if the KKK got a nicer leader. The person themselves may be okay, but the organization that they stand for is still a horrible group.

  • Roy Radin

    I have watched american politics for 20 years, watched hollywood cia sponsored movies that for most people make up there historical knowledge have watched talk shows and sitcoms change society for the worse…….but if this is a pr company, they will be the most in demand pr company ever, but they wont because there is no pr company….. just a man with an understanding of his role and his duty and knows the best way to lead is by example ……. Alot of americans wont get it and thats a good thing because it means they truely are apart from this world.

  • rg57

    If I could only trust him…

  • Aspieguy

    I do like Pope Francis as a person. I am aware that even Popes cannot change the basic teachings of the Catholic church. That may require a Vatican III council. I like him far better than his predecessor, The Dark Lord of the Sith. Even though he tries to put a new face on the Church, it’s medieval teachings remain the same, and he is committed to them.

  • escorpio

    You know what. You are fucking sufferable idiot. According to you the church may be all the bad things you said, but guess what… this Pope is doing something about it. Would you rather the church and the Pope not do a thing or two or what? You are so subjective it is ridiculous. The least you could say is that you, an atheist, wouldn’t have a problem to work towards world peace with a religious person, but no. Maybe it is time you get out of your high horse because religious people are people too, and they are not any less than you.

  • sTv0

    Maybe…just maybe…Pope Frank could *actually* do something about it…just like you said. Maybe, just maybe, he could…oh…say, change the Catechisms of the Catholic Church. Like, he could start with #2357: “Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.””
    If he can change that one, and perhaps a few hundred more, that would, in my book, demonstrate that he actually fucking means what he says.

    Otherwise, people like you, who claim the moral high ground when your religion supports slavery, hatred of homosexuals, genocide, rape, torture…and especially the rape and torture of children… can just STFU. Got that? Just STFU. Fucking insufferable idiot, indeed…

  • Ibis3

    When the Pope and his Church stop killing women and forcing them into reproductive slavery and condemning them to poverty, maybe I’ll be a little more willing to believe that he means what he says.

  • $925105

    Since Atheists don’t fight religious wars merely being an Atheist is promoting peace.

  • Jansen Waddell

    While I appreciate the shout-out, I’ll remain cautiously pessimistic about this pope, thank you very much.

  • http://www.rawstory.com/ Mark(((MarkusGarvey)))Estrada

    sure…why not…unfortunately us atheists will be easier to work with than xtians…all xtains seem to want to do is fight and create drama and shove Jesus down everyone’s throat…

  • Cat MacKinnon

    “Join us) with your desire, a desire that widens the heart.”

    we’ve been trying. ya might wanna have a little conference with your fellow Christians and tell them to stop turning away our charitable donations and volunteers.

  • Milton

    Francis is simply fulfilling his role as Christ’s representative on Earth; Christ loved the sinner but hated the sin.

    Race, Class, Sexuality, etc. are not the problem; Sin is the problem. Man is not the enemy; Satan is the enemy.

    Sadly, the average atheist peasant has been brainwashed to believe in the fairy tale known as non-directed evolution which originated with Epicurus, was repackaged by Charles Darwin and has been marketed to great success by the false prophet Richard Dawkins.

    The great evils of the 20th and 21st centuries: the wars, pornography, drugs, sodomite “marriage,” sex-slave networks, environmental pollution, economic manipulation and warfare, eugenics, abortion, etc. – are all the work of the Devil and his largely atheist, Freemason collaborators.

    The Catholic Church is the only legitimate voice speaking out against these evils, and for doing so she will continue to be attacked by the Prince of this World.

    All the suffering around the World could literally end tomorrow if the World really wanted it to end. True Peace is attainable in this World. But it can only occur under certain circumstances. If you read the Old Testament you will see that God only intervenes to help those nations that publicly acknowledge and worship Him.

    But I can’t think of one nation on the face of the Earth currently that publicly acknowledges and worships the Creator. Russia is probably the closest to meeting that criteria but even they fall short.

    Don’t worry though, God has a backup plan for achieving Peace. And Peace will come. It was promised at Fatima in 1917. I have a feeling that Pope Francis will be instrumental in initiating this Peace and for this reason he will be viciously opposed by the atheists and Freemasons in coming months.

  • kaydenpat

    “The Catholic Church is the only legitimate voice speaking out against these evils, and for doing so she will continue to be attacked by the Prince of this World.”

    Really? Funny that a lot of Evangelical believers would strongly disagree with you — especially as seeing your church as anything but a cult.

  • dullsteamer

    This new pope is just the latest in a long line of silly old blokes in a dress who spout nothing but bullshit. A front man for an organisation that harbours and protects child rapists. Why does anyone take them seriously?

  • Aguz

    I find interesting that many people is upset that he might not assume the best of us when we clearly don’t assume the best of him. Everyone wants peace, as much we can all agree.
    Or maybe I’m just an optimist.

  • The Starship Maxima

    It seems that in some circles, if the Pope said “Daily exercise is good for you”, someone would find fault or question with it.

    No matter how sweet the talk from the pope, the Catholic Church itself
    remains a backward, harmful, oppressive, sexist, homophobic institution

    At some point, you people will realize that the Church, and the Catholic Church in particular, has been taking principled stands since long before this atheist trend, and perhaps they just don’t care how it appears to others.

    On the child abuse thing, got no retort on that one.

  • dullsteamer

    Principled stands on what, exactly? I doubt whether the RCC would recognise a principled stand if it ran up and bit them.

    As for “the child abuse thing”, as you so coyly put it, the RCC has only one principle, and that’s to cover their own arses. I’ve attended a few sittings of the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse here in Sydney, and that’s been the default position of the RCC from day one.

    They care very much how they appear to others, and have gone to extraordinary lengths to protect their reputation. So spare me your bullshit.

  • The Starship Maxima

    I pointed out to a friend how funny it is that people can’t even correctly read another person’s statements on the internet, written in the present, and in clear American English, but they speak with such authority on the truthfulness of the Bible. Anyway….

    I was not being coy about the child abuse thing; your bias led you to that. If you’re read my statements anywhere, you know I’m the first person to bash the Vatican, or any theist, on child abuse, as I take a particularly dim view of such an abhorrent thing. If anything I’m harder on theists than on the non-religious who do it. I said I have no retort, because it is completely indefensible and there is no statement one can say in response.

    Regarding principled stands, the RCC, like many Christian sects, denounces homosexual behavior ALONG with divorce, pre-marital sex, and careless abortion. It’s my opinion people harp on the homosexuality and the not allowing of women in the priesthood because feminism and gay rights are the big trends.

    But the Church’s doctrine isn’t based on the big trends. It’s based on the Bible.

    Does this make the Church perfect? No, in fact the RCC and Christianity overall have done some vile shit that no just God would ever condone.

    But the point I’m making is that the Catholic Church has an obligation to be right to themselves and their faith, not to cater to modern sensibilities.

  • UWIR

    The Church’s doctrine is not based on the Bible. The Bible says absolutely nothing about birth control. It has only a smattering of mentions of homosexuality and female roles, and what it does has is absolutely vile. If the Chruch were really following those passages, it wouldn’t allow women to speak in church, and would be calling for death for homosexuals. The Church has absolutely no “obligation” to follow the Bible. If they refuse to cater to “modern sensibilities”, it is absolutely legitimate to criticize them for that. Your argument seems to be “you can’t blame bigots for being bigots”.

  • The Starship Maxima

    It truly gets wearying to argue the “but why are they eating shellfish and not stoning adulters” thing over and over again.

    Your argument seems to be “you can’t blame bigots for being bigots”.

    Close, my argument is that the Church has absolutely no obligation to cater to “modern sensibilities” and if that makes them bigots, (shrug) well, you and I and they and everyone else will learn to deal with it.

  • Art_Vandelay

    It truly gets wearying to argue the “but why are they eating shellfish and not stoning adulters” thing over and over again.

    Actually, do you mind just humoring me here? I’ve never actually heard a decent reply to this. In light of the church’s strict adherence to certain biblical commands, how do they justify ignoring other commands that are only a few verses away? I always thought that was the nail in the coffin for people that use the bible to defend their actions.

  • The Starship Maxima

    The Bible is actually pretty good about categorizing legal and ceremonial obligations, traditions, and matters of honor and justice.

    The Bible also makes it clear that the point of Jesus’s sacrifice was to negate the need to stone anyone, hence why he saved the cheating woman from the proscribed Levitican punishment.

    The Pharisees (think the WBC but with sandals) constantly questioned Jesus on the very same thing that comes up now. Is it right to work on the Sabbath, should you eat non-kosher food, etc.

    Jesus actually responded to such a question on diet with “It is not what goes into a man that defiles him, it simply becomes waste. It is that which flows from within his heart that condemns him.”

    The Bible is clear that sexual morality is a big deal to God, so there’s never any way it was going to be as insignificant as wearing certain fibers or eating kosher food.

  • Art_Vandelay

    Well the story about the cheating woman didn’t show up until about the 4th century. Most bibles will even footnote that. Didn’t Jesus in fact tell the Pharisees that people who ignore commands such as the one to stone unruly children to death are hypocrites?

  • The Starship Maxima

    He never said “ignore this as such”. But he did say “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” Meaning, NONE of us are so high and holy we can even afford to persecute someone else for their failings.

  • Art_Vandelay

    You’re not following me. Jesus never said “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” That story didn’t show up in any scripts prior to the 4th century. It was put in there by some monk to try to justify Jesus and his propensity with telling sinners what’s going to happen to them if they sin. Any theologian will tell you this. Even any decent bible will tell you this.

    However, Jesus did tell the Pharisees that if you ignore the OT law to stone unruly children, that you are a hypocrite, yes? Matthew 15: 1-9?

  • The Starship Maxima

    As far as I know Biblical scholars have studied the Bible for many years and according to many, it’s consistent. There is no copy of the book known as the Holy Bible that omits that story.

    On to Matthew 15, you are misunderstanding the point of the story. The Pharisees were once again getting in Jesus’s face because he cared more about humanity than outdated codes. In this case the Pharisees were bitching because the disciples didn’t wash their hands before eating (think how you don’t wash your hands to eat a slice of pizza).

    Jesus, in what was a running gag, promptly exposed their foolishness. Jesus pointed out that the Pharisees ignored the Levitican code for their own ends constantly. Yes, in the OT, God said anyone who dishonors their mother and father should be put to death.

    However, honor doesn’t just mean “obey”. We’re talking about a society in which people financially supported their parents and grandparents. The Pharisees came along and said “Well, if you dedicate this money, property, whatever, ‘to God’ then you don’t have to give it to your parents.”

    As Jesus points out, they (the Pharisees) literally said it was okay to leave your parents high and dry so long as you donate to the Church. Jesus pointed out that Isiah warned people about the Pharisees.

    In short Jesus was saying, “you assholes can’t even uphold your own bullshit code. I, however, am God himself. If I say my disciples can skip a washing and chow down, they can. Deal with it.”

  • dullsteamer

    Because eating shellfish is yummy and stoned adultery is fun? Oh, bugger – I misread that second bit.

    Joking aside, the reason you’ve never heard a decent reply to your question is that the faithful don’t want to admit they cherrypick the bits that pay out on anything that supports their prejudices.

  • UWIR

    It truly gets wearying dealing with people who think that saying “It’s wearying to deal with that arguments” is an adequate substitute for actually refuting an argument. If the Bible says to kill homosexuals, either you need to kill homosexuals, or you need to admit that you aren’t following the Bible. You don’t get to say “The Bible says to kill homosexuals, and I’m reinterpreting that to say that gay people shouldn’t be allowed to get married.” The RCC does have an obligation to act morally, and dismissing moral arguments as “modern sensibilities” does not discharge that obligation.

  • dullsteamer

    “I pointed out to a friend how funny it is that people can’t even correctly read another person’s statements on the internet, written in the present, and in clear American English”

    I don’t speak/read/write in American English. I’m not an American.

    “but they speak with such authority on the truthfulness of the Bible”

    Which also wasn’t written in American English, fortunately for me – that would have made reading it an even harder slog. Anyway, I haven’t claimed to speak with “authority” on the truthfulness of the christian bible. I can only offer my opinion. So much for your ability to correctly read another person’s statements. Perhaps that’s because I write in Australian English.

    “I was not being coy about the child abuse thing; your bias led you to that.”

    Mate, my feelings about the RCC go a lot further than mere bias. I hate the mongrels with a passion that I doubt you could even begin to understand. There’s a reason I attended the sittings of the Royal Commission.

    “I said I have no retort, because it is completely indefensible and there is no statement one can say in response.”

    Fair enough. That’s something we can both agree on.

    “Regarding principled stands, the RCC, like many Christian sects, denounces homosexual behavior ALONG with divorce, pre-marital sex, and careless abortion. It’s my opinion people harp on the homosexuality and the not allowing of women in the priesthood because feminism and gay rights are the big trends.”

    So they’re just trends? You reckon they’ll go out of fashion soon enough and we can all happily go back to poofter-bashing, and the women can go back to being barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen? That may be your idea of a principled stand – not a good look in my view.

    “But the Church’s doctrine isn’t based on the big trends. It’s based on the Bible.”

    My opinion of the christian bible is that it’s the work of people who didn’t know enough about reality to keep their shit separated from their food. If the RCC, and apparently you, think that these people had all the answers, you’re not much smarter than they were. My opinion is that the christian bible is about as truthful as anything published by Rupert Murdoch, for example. And about as useful.

    “Does this make the Church perfect? No, in fact the RCC and Christianity overall have done some vile shit that no just God would ever condone.”

    Again, something we can both agree on. Which naturally makes me wonder, how people can keep on asserting the existence of a just god? But that argument can wait a while.

    “But the point I’m making is that the Catholic Church has an obligation to be right to themselves and their faith, not to cater to modern sensibilities.”

    Fair point. But then I reckon they’ll eventually wither and die in developed countries, as they’ll cease to have any meaning or relevance to anyone with modern sensibilities.

    In the meantime my own sensibilities and experiences oblige me to sledge them at every opportunity.

  • The Starship Maxima

    So they’re just trends? You reckon they’ll go out of fashion soon enough
    and we can all happily go back to poofter-bashing, and the women can go
    back to being barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen? That may be your
    idea of a principled stand – not a good look in my view.

    Calling them trends was a bit….intemperate. I meant to say that change is necessary and beneficial, but one cannot simply abandon what one deems to be true for the sake of fitting in. Like I said, the Church opposes divorce, and still does, even though it seems like it’s just the thing to do to get married at least twice.

    My opinion is that the christian bible is about as truthful as anything
    published by Rupert Murdoch, for example. And about as useful.

    The many people for whom the Bible has proven life-changing would disagree.

    Fair point. But then I reckon they’ll eventually wither and die in
    developed countries, as they’ll cease to have any meaning or relevance
    to anyone with modern sensibilities.

    Perhaps. Or perhaps we’ll get even stronger. Time alone will tell.

  • axelbeingcivil

    I like this Pope. He’s not perfect, but he’s better than Benedict ever was.

  • pianoman

    At least in my experience, theists and non-theists do work together – quite well, actually – in charitable circles. The ones i work with have a mixture of people from various backgrounds and beliefs or non-beliefs. These non-profits are not affiliated at all with any churches, but everyone focuses on what needs to be done to help these people. That should be the focus. But it can and does work.

  • Blacksheep

    I wouldn’t call that speaking with warmth. “Even non-believers…”?

  • Marie Alexander

    Yeah… still, it IS an improvement, usually Christians aren’t even willing to consider working with atheists.

  • $84687101

    I invite even non-believers to desire work for peace. (Join us) with your desire, a desire that widens the heart petitions, letters to government, protests, donations, phone calls to Congress. Let us all unite, either with prayer or with desire to actually get off your ass and do something, but everyone, for peace, justice, equal rights, and fewer people suffering and dying around the world due to outdated and invalid ideas about birth control and disease prevention.

    Fixed it for him.

  • Sean Beavers

    He is a flawed person, as we all are, that appears to be a genuinely good person who speaks his conscience, and not the typical politicians they have elected in the past who tow the party line. While I find the church to be abhorrent, I find this man’s intent to be genuine even if his perception and method of speach are clouded by his life in the church. He is going against so much history and is ruffling the feathers of so many in his own church and conservative Christianity in general, cut the guy some slack. How would you expect someone with his past and in his position to approach these issues? Talk like an Atheist? He is a shining ray of hope for reducing the perceived divide that religion has helped create. We can only hope he doesn’t get shot by the people that profit from this divide. He, unlike the vast majority of us, is in a unique position to make a real difference in this world.

  • Sven Relsneh

    Papa Paco preventing the canonization of JPII as the patron saint of pedophilia would go a long way to convincing the world of his intentions.

  • Kim Sales

    Atheists are voicing skepticism about the “new look” papacy, and Francis hopes to disarm them with this. It won’t work, as no evidence of actual policy change in the RCC is available.

  • Kim Sales

    Perhaps Francis should make this appeal to the combatants in the sectarian warfare raging in the Central African Republic (where 25% of the population is Catholic)? Then, while he is at it, he can disown the Catholic bishops in Uganda who have pushed for that countries viciously homophobic anti-gay laws to be passed? And, in an attempt to address one of the causes of poverty, and the violence which ensues, he could issue an encyclical allowing contraception.

  • McGettrich_OrDieTryin

    Call me naive or whatever, but I really like this Pope. A lot of people on this board seem to want to be insulted by the semantics of his wording just so they could immediately write him off, which is a bit understandable when you consider all the horrible things the Catholic church has done/is currently doing. But I feel like he has a real desire for reform. Now, obviously he hasn’t actually done anything drastic yet. Positive change requires baby steps. He’s already more or less cut down many of the defining polices that Pope Palpatine and a big portion of the church seem so obsessed with (homosexuality being a sin, abortion being a sin etc) and has actively been helping the poor and downtrodden whenever possible. I feel like we’re building towards something better. There’s always going to be believers, so why not try to work with them towards a common goal? Fuck, the fact that the Catholic Church is being inclusive at all is a pretty big step up.

  • lainnj

    Let’s substitute another group for “non-believers” and see how warm it sounds.

    “I invite even Muslims to desire peace.”

    “I invite even Jews to desire peace.”

    “I invite even the United States government to desire peace.”