http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/22/pope-francis-good-atheists...

let's call this what it is - progress!  i've been a supporter of this new pope with his focus on works and dedication to the poor.  i applauded him washing the feet of imprisoned Muslims. his simple way of living and plain dress is admirable.   his talk of inclusion is refreshing from the world's foremost religious leader.  i'll forgive him the occasional quick exorcism (http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2013/05/21/pope-francis-ex...) if it means a more liberal pope.  

but this is truly staggering.  it flies in the face of so many hard core catholics, born-agains, and evangelicals. this pope believes that good people go to heaven no matter what deity people choose to worship or even if they choose to worship no deity at all.  i feel like this is a big deal.  

of course, personally, i don't give a flying fig whether the pope thinks that i'm going to his imaginary death party.  but i do want to see attitudes towards atheists improve.  i'd like for that atheist woman who Wolf Blitzer interviewed to not feel uncomfortable answering his stupid question, or better yet, for a question like that never be asked again.  i'd like more people to feel comfortable admitting their atheism.  comments like this from the pope can help.  

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I saw the Blitzer question on the evening news, I wanted to "throttle" him, as folks used to say. Wolf has trouble without a script, me thinks.

I wish he would ask me that question, but then bleeps are not that interesting.

i didn't see it till today, and it inspired me to start a discussion on it.  but while i had a negative reaction to Wolf, i was much more interested in that brave woman.  it can't be easy to come out as an atheist on national tv considering where she lives, and she represented us well.  

In the middle of OK that was pretty brave. Good thing her neighbors lost their TV sets.
(I know, that probably sounds insensitive, but I am originally from KS, so I stand by the comment.)

they still have the internet.  i'm guessing she'll be treated fine though.  it's not like she tried to stir things up.  she was asked a question and she answered it honestly.  

Saw the clip, no news there. He made a small assumption and she gracefully corrected him. I do it all the time.

I'm with you Mr. Peterdactyl. 

Hmmm, an outreach to atheists from the pope?  I wonder ... is this an attempt at engagement and maybe a dialogue ... or is it an act of desperation from an organization which may finally be recognizing that it is failing at both engagement and dialogue because of its own entrenched attitudes?  The catholic church is genuinely starting to catch some serious shit, particularly because of the child abuse scandal, but for multiple other reasons as well, like that crap about condoms and AIDS.  Their credibility has taken some serious hits, and if anyone there is fostering a relationship with reality, they KNOW this.  They also know that we're the ones who have been sniping at them the hardest AND the most successfully.  Maybe Francis is trying to love his enemies in an attempt to defuse them.

Francis, maybe you're a decent guy where JPII and Bennie the Dick weren't ... but your organization suffers from some major-league hubris, the kind of hubris which requires recompense.  No, we're not about to let up, not on you, not on your church.  Your church is an anachronism and an abomination and it's overdue for extinction.  What you COULD do is at least attempt to help your followers understand this and make your exit at least somewhat dignified.

Am I overstating this?  Maybe ... but mine is the side that is growing while his is the side that is losing ground in the first world.  Once, just once, it would be nice to see an organization like the catholic church recognize reality ... instead of the dogmatic BS which they so foolishly cling to.

Loren, i was thinking about you and your likely response as i was writing this post.  i know your rightful indignation with the papacy and share it, albeit probably with slightly less ire. 

i must say that i just freaking love your pov.  you are appropriately hostile, even while recognizing that this current pope may be an ok person.  of course, you are correct about the necessary transformation of their faith.  but where you and i differ is that i try (sometimes beyond all hope) to recognize baby steps.  yes, the catholic church needs to reverse their views on condoms, aids, homosexuality, and so many other things.  i doubt those things will happen anytime soon though, so any change in course towards a more enlightened and less rigid worldview is progress to my minds eye.  

are you overstating this?  no, not a pinch.  we ARE on the growing side and eventually our side will be the majority (probably long after we're dead). but progress is progress.  and if the spiritual leader of the world says that we're welcome in his God's kingdom, i say hooray.  

Baby steps are fine, if eventually, baby steps become child steps become adolescent steps become adult steps.  The problem remains that the RC church has always moved in a manner which makes glacial movement look like Usain Bolt on a world-record day.  Mostly, the church does not want to change at all, and when it does, it points to those changes and says, "See, we ARE changing!" when those changes are vestigial and amount to very little in terms of the overall status and attitude of the church.

At this rate, by the time the church arrives in the 21st century, the rest of us will be in the 31st, presuming the church survives at all ... and it shouldn't.

Loren, you are too generous. This old man believes there is a god, that he fathered a human son, the son was crucified, died, and resurrect, and then went to heaven. Now, how much more evidence do you need that he is a remnant in fancy clothes of the old man Abraham and his gang that raped women with impunity, raped boys and finally got some public outcry, and all the while claiming to be a celibate priesthood when in fact they are deniers of their own bodies, delusional about how the universe works, and pretending they can keep up the pantomime by a few conciliatory words? Hogwash! 

If we let up on our denunciation of religion, we become like dainty little men and women who eat that garbage for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Then pray into their nights, all the while having these wonderful dreams that result in a messy bed for men, and women who yearn for love in all the wrong places. 

Keep your vitriol, Loren, the Earth needs men like you. 

Oh, I can give people like Francis a chance here and there, Joan.  Certainly, Francis is breaking with the pattern set by Benedict and JPII and JPI and Paul VI before him in eschewing at least SOME of the pomp and circumstance associated with the title and role.  There's a chunk of me that thinks it might be possible that Francis may be trying to lead his errant group of grown children down a substantially different path from the one they've been following for too long.  He's early on the curve and maybe he has a new agenda.  I can cut him that much slack.

The problem is that, in the final analysis, too often they never actually DO anything with the slack they're given.  I know that too, and if the substance doesn't show up in something resembling a timely fashion (this IS the Vatican we're dealing with, ya know!), then I have no problem dropping the hammer.  Fact is, I'm not sure I gave Joe the Rat any rhythm at all, knowing as I did where he came from in the wake of JPII's papacy, and I'm reasonably convinced he didn't deserve any.  Right now I have damned few points on Bergoglio's curve, so I'm willing to slide him some slack.

The question becomes: will he hang himself with it?

exactly, Loren.  at least with this guy there's some hope.  hell, maybe he's even one of us, lol.  is there a way to see if there's a member of the Clergy Project with the username "BigPapi2012"? 

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