http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/religion/pope-francis-off-sc...

apparently i'm not the only one who has noticed.  so what's going on here?  i don't think he wants to win us back to the faith.  i think he relates better to us than he does his own followers.  he has condemned most of what current Christianity is all about.  yet over and over again he calls to us.  why might that be?

his followers are largely intolerant, dogmatic, and indifferent to the needs of the poor.  meanwhile, pews are empty and the flock has been leaving the pasture.  young people in particular are turned off to what the Christian religion has to offer.  any sane and smart person would recognize the need for change given the current landscape.  

so who can best support his mission?  certainly not the current flock.  they are so far gone from what their religion supposedly teaches that it will take a generation to bring them back.  but atheists - well, we despise what the church is about and so does the Pope.  while we may differ in our thoughts on heavenly beings, we share many of the same values.  

so here's what i'm thinking.  while Francis has several goals for his Papacy. his number one goal is to do something about income inequality and to help the poor.  frankly, i don't think he cares where the support comes from.  if he is indeed a smart man, he no doubt recognizes that we are a growing demographic that will only get bigger.  we also tend to hold humanistic views which aren't so incompatible with the traditional Christian teachings.  why not align yourself with a group that can help advance your agenda, even if it is people who don't believe in God.  

ok, so i know that most of you are deeply skeptical of the Pope.  and i know that i'm A/N's chief Papal rah rah guy.  my opinion is that the guy doesn't give two shits about all the religious crapola that most Christians hold dear.  i think he's on a mission to make the world a better, more rational place.  as we are.  if i'm wrong we'll know in time.  for now, Pope Francis is asking, over and over again, for us to join him in a mission that most of us share.  i think it's one of the most surprising developments that i've seen in my lifetime.  

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Actually I like it as an idea to play with.  There are Unitarians, which are sort of atheist religious people ...  So what would an atheist Catholic church look like?

Catholicism is said to be very esthetically appealing, with the rosaries, the beautiful stained glass, the chanting, the chalice, the robes.  As long as the service is in Latin, an atheist might enjoy it.

Or perhaps it could be therapy for ex-Catholics:  an atheist church with all the Catholic paraphernalia, a liberal social philosophy, where you can go stoned and nobody will give you any trouble :)

I suppose since you're going against the grain here, you're sensitized to the possibility of Snark.  But I'm not that anti-religion, and avoid cheap derision. 

thanks for understanding.  

i grew up Catholic, and i can tell you Catholic mass is the most boring thing you can do with an hour of your life.  i used to pass the time by counting yawns.  i still do if i happen upon one for a funeral or wedding. the people are lifeless, the mass is 55 minutes of the same thing every week (although they do change the awful songs most weeks) with 5 minutes of editorial.  not to mention lining up for the pleasure of eating a tasteless wafer, or having to kneel, sit, and stand constantly.  or figuring out who's hand to shake when it's time to say "peace be with you".  the whole affair is beyond tedious, although it's possible to find some humor in the pageantry of it all.  

But a science museum or whatever, doesn't have that beautiful so-resonant symbolism.  

Damned hard to tell.

Sarcasm and humor don't translate well to print.

Sarcasm and humor don't translate well to print.

They don't? How about the many satirical and comic novels that have been written?
Hopefully you will get to know me in time well enough not to misinterpret. I have a feeling for the personalities of some people around here.

lets just say print can be open to interpretation, and often misinterpretation.  looking forward to getting to know you Laura.  i just smeared your name in another discussion accidentally.  it wasn't you i was commenting about.  apologies.  

That's true Luara that once you get to know people on here you get a feeling for their personalities.  I thought you were being sarcastic too, and I'm glad to find out you weren't.  I think you have a strong personality, and maybe that intimidates sometimes.  I also can tell you're really smart.~ Mindy

Lol let me clarify... My sarcasm and humor don't translate well to print.

And online in short snippets there's more chance of being misinterpreted, than in novels. 

I'm often startled at the reactions people online have to things I say.  In this case, I was sick with an allergic reaction so I didn't check back till many hours later - then it was like "oh, no!" when I saw people were taking it as snark. 

My thought was more like, it is interesting to put (perceived) opposites such as atheism and Catholicism together, something new may come of it. 

The rituals of Catholicism, the resonant symbolism remind me of paganism.  I was interested in the "atheist paganism" thread, because I dread the magic thinking that pagans do - yet the rituals seem at least fun and could be very powerful. 

Some of the appeal of Catholicism comes from the powerful, deep symbolism - the Cross as a symbol of human suffering.  We are indeed perceptions and thoughts "nailed" onto matter, and incredible suffering can come from that.  The chalice or Grail is such a powerful symbol of redemption and a balm for suffering. 

When people go through such rituals, it may echo powerful truths inside them that they don't want to see directly. 

I could get behind an idea like that. Convincing people it'snnot a church would be an issue. I like the pagan rituals I've read about. Some of them.

I could get behind an idea like that. Convincing people it's not a church would be an issue.

Catholicism has that psychological appeal all worked out.  Some people convert to Catholicism as adults, and from what I've read, it seems to be based in emotions.  Sometimes overwhelming emotions.  People get hooked psychologically.  Maybe it's similar to developing other kinds of obsession. 

I've never believed in an organized religion, I'm very mistrustful of churches and such structures, so I've never had that experience of conversion. 

Probably they have more psychological appeal than paganism, because rituals that people consciously create tend to be very "vanilla", and life is not "vanilla".  The Crucifixion isn't "vanilla", confession isn't a vanilla concept although in actual practice it seems to be. 

So perhaps indeed, Catholicism could be atheized - adopting those rituals that have proven appeal, rather than trying to create rituals de novo as paganism does. 

The spirituality of atheists like Dawkins, lacks those psychological hooks, so people may turn instead to a religion that has deep-rooted psychological appeal. 

I think a lot of times peoples sarcasm and humor don't translate well to print.  I think it depends on the person, the situation, how well you know their personality, the topic, etc....

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