Tuesday, September 3, 2013

One Pope, two faces

Much was made of the Pope's seemingly friendly remarks toward atheists. He declared intentions to open dialogs and an alliance with atheists, and proclaimed that non-believers could still find salvation through good acts. But his attitude is very different in his first Encyclical letter. So how does Pope
Francis really feel about us without belief?

Faith is born of an encounter with God’s primordial love, wherein the meaning and goodness of our life become evident; our life is illumined to the extent that it enters into the space opened by that love, to the extent that it becomes, in other words, a path and praxis leading to the fullness of love. The light of faith is capable of enhancing the richness of human relations, their ability to endure, to be trustworthy, to enrich our life together. Faith does not draw us away from the world or prove irrelevant to the concrete concerns of the men and women of our time. Without a love which is trustworthy, nothing could truly keep men and women united. Human unity would be conceivable only on the basis of utility, on a calculus of conflicting interests or on fear, but not on the goodness of living together, not on the joy which the mere presence of others can give. Faith makes us appreciate the architecture of human relationships because it grasps their ultimate foundation and definitive destiny in God, in his love, and thus sheds light on the art of building; as such it becomes a service to the common good. Faith is truly a good for everyone; it is a common good. Its light does not simply brighten the interior of the Church, nor does it serve solely to build an eternal city in the hereafter; it helps us build our societies in such a way that they can journey towards a future of hope.
So faith is supposedly required  to bring people and communities together? Funny, since the faithful seem to be the ones throwing up walls of division everywhere. From the rejection of homosexuals, and those that don't share the same conservative viewpoints. Many a believer and church preach that those that disagree are damned and not to be trusted. Does that sound unifying? What about the same attitude toward believers in rival religions. The only unifying aspect of Christian faith is with other Christians... and that's still only if you're close enough to the same kind of Christian. And what about charity? That's surely good for society and communities. And the worlds biggest philanthropist? (Bill Gates) A non-believer.
The history of Israel also shows us the temptation of unbelief to which the people yielded more than once. Here the opposite of faith is shown to be idolatry....

Martin Buber once cited a definition of idolatry proposed by the rabbi of Kock: idolatry is "when a face addresses a face which is not a face"...

Idols exist, we begin to see, as a pretext for setting ourselves at the centre of reality and worshiping the work of our own hands. Once man has lost the fundamental orientation which unifies his existence, he breaks down into the multiplicity of his desires; in refusing to await the time of promise, his life-story disintegrates into a myriad of unconnected instants...

Those who choose not to put their trust in God must hear the din of countless idols crying out: "Put your trust in me!"
 It seems that Francis is claiming that non-believers do believe in God, but don't trust him or are too prideful to follow him. And that we also worship other things in his place... Not only is the Pope
talking out of his ass on this one, but he's missing out on some quality irony. Look at what an 'idol' is being described as, then look in your average Catholic church. At the very least you have statues of Mary and Jesus that church members pray to. What is prayer to a statue, if not prayer to an idol?
The light of faith is unique, since it is capable of illuminating every aspect of human existence. A light this powerful cannot come from ourselves but from a more primordial source: in a word, it must come from God...

... faith is also a light coming from the future and opening before us vast horizons which guide us beyond our isolated selves...

Idols exist, we begin to see, as a pretext for setting ourselves at the centre of reality and worshiping the work of our own hands.  

Faith is God’s free gift, which calls for humility and the courage to trust and to entrust...

The Decalogue is not a set of negative commands, but concrete directions for emerging from the desert of the selfish and self-enclosed ego...
So the pope just happens to have exclusive information that all atheists are just so full of themselves. How is that? Who are the ones claiming to have absolute certainty about the existence of God? The believers. Most atheists will admit to the possibility that they could be wrong. We will also remain open minded and receptive to opposing arguments. Most believers have told me that there is no possibility that they are wrong. Which one sounds self centered to you?
Yet in the absence of light (faith) everything becomes confused; it is impossible to tell good from evil, or the road to our destination from other roads which take us in endless circles, going nowhere...

 ... they fail to realize that goodness comes from God...

They become closed in on themselves and isolated from the Lord and from others; their lives become futile and their works barren, like a tree far from water.
Says that atheists that do good can be saved,
then says that atheists can't do good...
Who's the hypocrite now!
 Got it... Francis thinks we're immoral and can't know wrong from right. So first he says we can earn salvation by way of good deeds, but then say's that we're incapable of good. Thanks for being honest instead of trying to sound nice for the reporters and press. Funny thing is that atheists are perfectly moral. And we don't do it in order to impress a deity as many believers do. Instead, we are good, to be good. Good because it feels right and is good society as a whole. If atheists are so immoral, why is it that with atheists making up 4% of the population in the USA, that we only account for 0.07% of the prison population? And if Christians are so specially moral, why do the make up about 57% of the prison population?
What other reward can God give to those who seek him, if not to let himself be found?

God is light and he can be found also by those who seek him with a sincere heart.
 Ah... So the reason I don't believe is because I haven't sought God out. Oh wait a minute, I WAS a believer once. I sought God with all my 'heart', and believed sincerely. The same is true of most atheists. A good portion or non-believers were once believers. So the pope is incorrect. I am no a non-believer because of a lack of seeking God. I am a non-believer due to a lack of evidence for his existence.
The explanation of the connection between faith and certainty put forward by the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein is well known. For Wittgenstein, believing can be compared to the experience of falling in love: it is something subjective which cannot be proposed as a truth valid for everyone. Indeed, most people nowadays would not consider love as related in any way to truth. Love is seen as an experience associated with the world of fleeting emotions, no longer with truth.

Here we see why those who believe are never alone, and why faith tends to spread, as it invites others to share in its joy. Those who receive faith discover that their horizons expand as new and enriching relationships come to life. 
You mean that I can't feel true love either? I'm glad that Francis has brought this to my attention. I'll be sure to relay this information to my wife. But seriously... How can he make such a claim? I love my wife with all my heart, yet apparently I can't 'really' love? Funny... if that's the case, why is it that non believers get divorced less than believers do? Certainly, if Christians poses some special insight into love, then they would have the most successful marriages.

All we see from the pope's true thoughts is slander that isn't backed up by the facts at all. Instead of engaging false attacks to try and make up look bad, he should look inward and try to fix the problems within his own flock. I knew it was too good to be true when the pope was actually sounding like a decent guy, and this letter just proves those suspicions correct.

 -Brain Hulk

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