Pope says atheists are OK with Jesus, so long as they "do good"


That’s what I thought. I’m a total cynic, but it seems like rebranding.


Can Francis also advise good Catholics to avoid the lizard-persons-in-human-skin like Bill Donohue?


No, atheists, like everybody else, do good out of a complex mixture of external/social constraints, pressures, and influences, combined with elements of their choice and willing.


This guy is freaking me out. It’s like he spends his weekend reading the Bible and then (here’s the tricky bit) actually understanding the lessons and teachings contained therein.


From here (yes, it is an article about how great the pope is):

The Catholic Church has been rocked in recent years by allegations and admissions of child abuse by members of the Church. Pope Francis became the first Pope to take effective action against such atrocities. He ammended Vatican law to make sexual abuse of children a crime, and he also established a committee to fight abuse. (source)


In a voice of reason, Francis shocked the Catholic world when he stated that the Church was an unhealthy obsession with abortion, gay marriage, and contraception. He criticized the Church for putting dogma before love, and for prioritizing moral doctrines over serving the poor and marginalized. (source)

His words may not lead to strong enough actions, but this at least seems to be pointing in the right direction.


Wasn’t this from a while ago?

Regardless, this atheist doesn’t give a flying fuck what this pope or any other pope thinks his invisible sky fairy buddy is going to think of him after he dies. I can do without his condescension.


Well personally I approve of pretty much this guy has done so far, so I don’t like to be cynical, but I think the main reason for the Pope swap has less to do with backroom politics and more to do with stopping the hemorrhaging of the flock. In the wake of the priest sex scandals and an overall push to intolerance and downright hatefulness, the Catholic church has lost many member, and has seen a steep decline in new members, not only of the congregation but to the priesthood as well. They have been closing and merging churches at a rapid rate over the past decade. I don’t know their financials but my guess is that they are losing gobs of money as well. I have no doubt that they decided that they needed to take a more populist tone, and Johnny Ratz just wasn’t soft and cuddly enough- or at all. So in an emergency measure they pushed out him and Francis was installed. His new tone isn’t an accident, this is a well choreographed bit of public relations to make the Catholic Church seem more benevolent. Which I can still agree with despite my cynicism. I disagree with the Church on so many things, but Jesus is alright with me.


Today, realtime, daughter:
If there is a God, I’d ask him three questions:

  1. Are you real or just me hallucinating?
  2. Do you really live in heaven?
  3. Could you … give me some powers?



I don’t necessarily suspect him of going in the direction of doing anything genuinely helpful RE: child rape (even if he’s better than his predecessors at in-house cleaning, the Vatican still seems hung up on pretending that the long-lost medieval battle over papal vs. monarchical supremacy is still active, and that clergy shouldn’t really be subject to mere temporal law enforcement). Nor would I necessarily suspect that he’ll actually make any changes (aside from being less myopically focused) on contraception and abortion.

I do suspect, though, that his willingness to actually espouse catholic economic doctrines and similar controversial moves could be (indirectly) useful in attenuating the power of the religious over the rest of us. Demographics have been less than kind to christianity in general in the developed world; but if the various sub-flavors weren’t mostly willing to put aside their theological differences and vote in the same direction it’d be a bloodbath. That’s why I find having the pope say things that Will Not go over well with the US’ God Guns 'n Mammon school of protestantism encouraging. Not because I suspect that the catholics will come around to my school of social policy any time in the next several centuries.


The new New Yorker has an interesting article about him. Well worth reading. (no link because paywall)


Atheists who live in places where they feel threatened by intolerant religious majorities may find a useful rhetorical ally/tool in these statements, or may find themselves less harshly judged by folks whose approval they do value and whose approval may be influenced by the Pope’s sentiments.

Of course in the States, most of the most noxious Christians were already convinced that even the most conservative Popes were agents of the anti-Christ, so Atheists in the Bible Belt might not see much in the way of relief.


Take it easy.
While I haven’t been involved in the Roman Catholic church (or any church) since I was a kid (thankfully my parents didn’t really force anything on me beyond baptism) I can very much appreciate this pope and his message to Catholics and the world.
I hate to call it this early, but it’s possible this is a major turning point towards something approaching sanity.


Yes, and I get that these are not issues that are easily tackled, or easily changed. So if he is beginning then I am very happy that the church finally has some real leadership, I’m not Catholic, so I do not look to the Pope for my own direction, but I have become angry at the network that not only is failing to protect children but has become an organization that is harboring and nurturing rapists - and for policies that are harmful to women, particularly to those with very few financial resources.

I am glad to see that he is beginning to change the focus of the church and look forward to seeing where he takes it; he has a tremendous influence on the world and whether I personally look to him for guidance or not, he affects people I love. For now, I am guardedly optimistic about his leadership. But, not saying bad things about gay people is not the same as opening the doors of the church to them. Not being so fixated on withholding contraception is not the same as looking at sexuality in a modern way… Making child abuse a crime is not the same as going after the abusers with a vengeance.

It’s a good start. I think he has made remarkable changes in a short time. I hope he continues to modernize the church.


Atheists seem to believe no god exists, or can exist. They seem pretty damn adamant about it.


Too bad “doing good” in this case includes voting for stuff like DOMA, protesting abortion clinics, and generally fighting for regressive notions of reproductive rights.

Guess I am still going to hell…


That would make them non-believers.


Sanity would be people renouncing religion. I don’t want a sane pope, or a sane ayatollah, I want them to become a historical footnote.


In general, atheists don’t believe in gods. This is subtly but distinctly different than actively believing gods don’t and can’t exist.


Nope. Nope, nope, nopeitty, nope, and one more for luck, nope.

Atheism is a lack of belief. Really. We do not go to an un-church, and sing songs about un-God, or give up prayers to logic or the human spirit, or use ritual to re-enforce our beliefs. The more scientific of us are open to other possibilities and would accept and analyse any evidence; and maybe we might even examine the usefulness of having and holding a belief without evidence if that helped us in some way. I must say I would be a bit queasy about uploading such mental parasites to my self without some guarantee that some well-wisher could take them out again. I certainly feel no motivation to preach to happy believers and convert them.

We are able to be nice to people without hope of reward in the future. I would have thought we were less likely as a group to kill, knowing killing is taking everything away from the victim without hope of a higher power making things better if we did the wrong thing.

Swears still work too, Go figure.


I don’t know if that is true. I don’t believe people do good out of some altruistic sense. Atheists are just differently motivated than religious people. Game Theory (sorry kind of dense) posits a person is always going to act in their own self interest. If you are atheist and you are raised to be a good person you are going to consider that when deciding to “do good”. It is in your best interest to do so because that is what your morale compass says will build you karma. You might not get a physical something but you will get some emotional or sociological benefit from doing it.