Pope Francis Says Athiests are O.K.


It’s not about being right, it’s about being loving, the unusually tolerant Pontiff tells his flock.

Photo Credit: Emipress/Shutterstock.com

May 23, 2013  |

 

It likely doesn’t matter much to the atheists of the world that — of all people — Pope Francis is on their side. But he is. And that’s a cool thing for all of us.

In a message delivered Wednesday via Vatican Radio, the new pontiff distinguished himself with a call for tolerance and a message of support – and even admiration – toward nonbelievers.

Naturally, a guy whose job it is to lead the world’s largest Christian faith is still going to come at his flock with a Jesus-centric message. But he’s taking it in an encouraging new direction. In his message, Francis dissed the apostles for being “a little intolerant” and said, “All of us have this commandment at heart: Do good and do not do evil. All of us. ‘But, Father, this is not (a) Catholic! He cannot do good.’ Yes, he can. He must. Not can: must.”

And the pope spoke of the need to meet each other somewhere on our on common ground. “This commandment for everyone to do good, I think, is a beautiful path towards peace. If we, each doing our own part, if we do good to others, if we meet there, doing good, and we go slowly, gently, little by little, we will make that culture of encounter: We need that so much. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.” It was a deeper affirmation of his comments back in March, when he declared that the faithful and atheists can be “precious allies… to defend the dignity of man, in the building of a peaceful coexistence between peoples and in the careful protection of creation.”

That’s a message that’s vastly different from Catholicism’s traditional “We’re number one!” dogma. Six years ago, the Vatican reasserted the church’s stance that while there may be“elements of sanctification and truth” in other faiths, “that fullness of grace and of truth… has been entrusted to the Catholic Church.” In other words, close but no cigar, everybody else.

The pope was not, of course, addressing the non-believers of the world in his Wednesday sermon, or trying to win them over. Instead, he was telling his Catholics about the importance of cutting outsiders slack. And it’s a hugely important message for Christians to hear. It’s not about being right. It’s about being loving. And it’s a necessary concept, one that needs to be expressed again and again, in a world in which the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor  in Virginia is justifying his repulsive hate speech against gays and lesbians because “I’m a Christian, not because I hate anybody, but because I have religious values that matter to me.” Coming within a week when atheists have been stepping into the spotlighthere in America with their own messages of live-and-let-live tolerance, it’s downright refreshing to get a similar message from the biggest Christian in the world.

There are plenty of atheists out there who will no doubt take the pope’s message with a grain of salt or even flat-out disdain. The last thing somebody who doesn’t believe in heaven could possibly need is some guy in a funny hat telling them that they’re okay in God’s eyes anyway. But maybe, whatever we believe or don’t believe, we can consider that the man is on to something when he speaks about “the culture of encounter.”

Francis notes that the apostles were “closed off by the idea of possessing the truth,” an arrogant certainty that no one group currently has a monopoly on. Where we find each other is in practicing tolerance for our differences, and in finding the commonality of our values. “Doing good,” Francis says, “is not a matter of faith.”

It’s not that faith, for the faithful, doesn’t matter. It’s that belonging to a church isn’t what saves us. It’s belonging to each other.

 

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a staff writer for Salon and the author of “Gimme Shelter: My Three Years Searching for the American Dream.” Follow her on Twitter:@embeedub.

 

An Anonymous humorous letter to Bible candidate – Rick Santorum



Dear Friends,

 I have been greatly moved by Rick Santorum‘s wise pronouncements, guided by Biblical principles, especially those concerning marriage. Of course he believes that sexual intercourse should be used only for purposes of procreation (he says he has never worn a condom), but there are some gray areas I was hoping he could clear up, so I wrote him the following letter:

Dear Sen. Santorum:

 Thank you for doing so much to educate us regarding God‘s Eternal Law. I have learned a great deal from you and understand why you would propose and support a constitutional amendment outlawing same-sex marriage, which of course is an abomination.

 As you said, “In the eyes of God, marriage is based between a man and a woman.” I try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination.End of debate.

 I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God’s Laws and how I might obey them:

 1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female,provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies only to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Can I own Canadians?

 2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her? (She works hard, but does eat a lot.)

 3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanness (Lev. 14: 19-24). The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking when meeting young women at church socials, but most of them seem to take offense.

 4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord (Lev. 1:9). The problem is with my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them, or would Lysol work?

 5. I have a neighbor, Aaron Rogers, who insists on working on the Sabbath.Exodus 35:2 clearly states that he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it? And how good is the Packers backup QB?

 6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination (Lev.11:10) it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I  don’t agree. Can you settle this? Are there degrees of abomination? What about a homosexual at an oyster bar?

 7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I do wear glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here? What about contacts? Can God tell?

 8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die? I know they must be put to death, but I do not know the recommended method. .

 9. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field (I think corn and alfalfa). And his wife wears garments made from two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? (Lev. 24:10-16). Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14).

 10. And last, I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean. May I still play football if I wear gloves?

 I know that you are very busy with your presidential campaign, but, if you get a chance, I would really like your guidance on these critical and disturbing issues.

 Thank you again for reminding us of the eternal and unchanging truth of the Holy Bible.Thank you again for reminding us of the eternal and unchanging truth of the Holy Bible. God bless you. And may He guide you in your quest to lead this great nation of ours. “

 Sincerely Unknown Author

P.S- The mail came as a forward,, in my mail inbox  🙂

Bill Maher: “Atheism Is a Religion Like Abstinence Is a Sex Position”


During last night’s New Rules segment, Bill Maher noted that “Until someone claims to see Christopher Hitchens‘ face in a tree stump, idiots must stop claiming that atheism is a religion.” He goes on:

Not only is atheism not a religion, it’s not even my hobby. And that’s the great thing about being an atheist — it requires so little of your time….

There is a growing trend in this country that needs to be called out, and that is to label any evidence-based belief a “religion.” Many conservatives now say that a belief in man-made climate change is a “religion,” and Darwinism is a “religion,” and of course atheism — the total lack of religion — is somehow a “religion” too, according to the always reliable Encyclopedia Moronica.

To believers he says, “You don’t get to put your unreason up on the same shelf as my reason.” Then he un-baptizes Mitt Romney‘s dead father-in-law, because hey — if religious people get to do wacky things like that, why not atheist Bill Maher?

Watch the segment , via http://www.mediaite.com/tv/bill-mahers-new-rule-atheism-and-religion-are-not-two-sides-of-the-same-coin/

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