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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Why would any self-respecting, clear thinking, caring, compassionate person want to hold a world view of a god, a redeemer, a transcendent, a spirit want to believe these delusions? Why should they? What would motivate them? From my perspective church leaders have a need to control and dominate and religion offers them a legitimate way to do that. church followers have a need to be controlled and dominated and religion offers them a legitimate way to do that. 

So, what other reason is there for a healthy, self-respecting, respecting others wanting to be a member of such a group?

I am a do-goodder old man waiting for death. I should be thankful to the pope for clearing my way to the heaven. Should I really be?

Madhukar, you have written so beautifully describing how Homo sapiens got caught into this trap called religion, and you ask if you should be thankful to the pope for clearing your way to heaven. You know better than that. You write better than that. 

Look at that little girl on your lap, a beautiful, precious human being who needs you to stand with her as she discovers her own thinking powers and her ability to stand up and grow into a wise old woman. That does not happen automatically. Many individuals learn to be sick and work their whole lives trying to earn their way into a heaven that does not exist. She needs you to be there when she stumbles, and she will stumble. You will be there to describe how thoughtfully and intelligently she can manage her life in order to be fully human and fully herself. It is not up to anyone else to define her. It is up to her to find her internal guidance system and believe in herself. She is not alive to live someone else's dream, nor is she present for these short few years we have in the scheme of things to do someone else's bidding. She is sovereign living in a community. She will learn about reciprocity, compassion, participation in her one precious lifetime. Don't allow her to have bindings put on her brain/mind. As the old Chinese woman I met in China whose feet were bound by her mother when she was a very small child  told me the crime against her was not so much binding her feet, as binding her mind. Don't forget that! Ever! 

You will not be present for her as she grows, and you leave behind a book worthy of reading. That is a fine heritage you created. 

Joan,

Your reply has left me wordless. I do not know what adjective I should use for it. I will however say that your reply is almost telepathic and expresses completely my own thoughts and the aim I have set for myself for my remaining life. Thanks for the wonderful reply.

I think this Slate article may be most appropriate. Perhaps il Papa would approve, though I, too, "

don't give a flying fig."

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2013/05/pr...

I still want to know what Francis thinks he's achieving by reaching out to those who haven't the slightest use for ANYTHING he has to say!

good article, thanks for sharing.  

Well, first of all, who cares what the pope thinks? I respect the choices he makes to live more simply, humbly, and taking on a less haughty air, even as he stands upon the foundations of his religion that do not stand up to critical analysis. Stories from a Bronze Age culture of tribal lords who discarded the feminine principles of previous eras and myths based on domination and control have no place in modern thinking. Especially when Bronze Age thinking individuals have control over or possible access to atomic, nuclear, or whatever the current bomb of annihilation is the flavor of the month.  A more liberal pope means a gentler, more feminine-inclusive pope? I will believe that when there is a woman pope (god forbid, that would not be any better) and lots of women priests. The church based upon notions of god and a redeemer doesn't make any religion any healthier. It just moves the chairs on a sinking vessels. 

[smile] I was thinking about "rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic" as well, Joan ... just slipped my mind with my last comment.

That's right - blame Leonardo DiCaprio!  Sheesh!  You atheist women are just SHAMELESS! [smirk-smirk ... GUFFAW!]

If you haven't seen it already, go to youtube and look up Neil deGrasse Tyson and Titanic. He has a wonderful story about the movie and the remastered version.

I like him better than the last pope, but like everyone is saying, who cares if he thinks I'm going to pretend land when I die. I do hope it makes religious dumbasses who hate Atheists more tolerant. We will see!

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