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Dec 25 2013

I don’t smile back at the smiley pope

The pope has included (nominally) atheists in his Christmas message.

He proved unpredictable again on Wednesday, when he went off script to include atheists in his call for peace, rare for a Catholic leader.

“I invite even nonbelievers to desire peace,” he said. “Let us all unite, either with prayer or with desire, but everyone, for peace.”

Speaking for myself…NO. I turn my back on this pope and any other.

I believe strongly that how you arrive at a conclusion is just as important as the conclusion itself; I care about the process, because even a flawed method will give you an answer — you just don’t know whether it is right or not. I can agree with the pope that peace is a desirable end, but I only happen to agree with him this time. I probably won’t agree with him on just about any other subject, and I can’t trust how he arrived at this mutually copacetic idea.

I also disagree on the nature of the peace he is looking for. The Catholic church desires the peace of ignorance, the peace of acquiescence, the peace of unquestioning acceptance of a dogma calibrated for fools. No, thanks. Give me the kind of peace where dissent can thrive and knowledge grows and ideas can change.

The pope can join in the quest for peace as a fellow human being, but he is not a leader and he is not representative of humanity in any way, and the media attention on his toothless pronouncements is unseemly. I also don’t want to live under a peace that allows misogyny to thrive and lets child rapists roam free and thinks fetuses are more precious than women. This pope is not my friend nor my ally.

I want to live in a world in which it is not sufficient for a clown to get a prestigious position by bowing to an arcane hierarchy, and then gets a lot of fawning friends, even among atheists who ought to know better, because he is glib about preaching platitudes. I’m not taken in by the smiling façade plastered over the goddamned Catholic Church.

Don’t forget what this man represents, even when he kisses you on the cheek, atheists.

243 comments

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  1. 1
    chigau (違う)

    I find
    “I invite even nonbelievers to desire peace,”
    to be offensive.
    Of course I desire peace, even without his invitation, even without belief in the monogod.
    What an asshole.

  2. 2
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Cue the accommodationists…

    For my part, I agree with you PZ. I’ve no desire to work with the pope-not until he does more than give nice speeches about people living in harmony.

  3. 3
    prfesser

    One wonders…is popey actually a functional atheist, like the vast majority of Catholics and probably a large majority of other xtian religions? I can’t imagine that someone could rise so high in that miserable heirarchy without real belief in a supreme being. But… I have known two preachers, both still practicing, who admitted privately that they didn’t believe most of what was in the bibble. One wasn’t sure whether jebus was a real person.

    I know, it’s quite a stretch. But ya gotta believe in something. :)

    I believe that the xmas music will finally end. Until next year, of course.

    Watching A Christmas Story for the umpteenth time, and loving it because *I* wasn’t allowed a BB gun for the same reason as Ralphie,
    Prfesser

  4. 4
    Martin Clemens

    The Vatican, these days and all others, is a PR machine. The greater public sees and hears only what the Catholic hierarchy wants us to see and hear (with certain obvious exceptions). Sound bites and headlines do nothing to repair the damage this organization has done in years past, and no matter how palatable his current message, he is still the leader of an organization that benefits from the suffering of our world’s needy.

  5. 5
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    prfesser:

    One wonders…is popey actually a functional atheist, like the vast majority of Catholics and probably a large majority of other xtian religions? I can’t imagine that someone could rise so high in that miserable heirarchy without real belief in a supreme being. But… I have known two preachers, both still practicing, who admitted privately that they didn’t believe most of what was in the bibble. One wasn’t sure whether jebus was a real person.

    I know, it’s quite a stretch. But ya gotta believe in something. :)

    Yes, but shouldn’t one believe in things for which there is credible supporting evidence? Isn’t that preferable to believing in things for which little to no evidence exists?
    Do your musings have any basis in reality? That 2 practicing preachers admit to not believing in the bible does not therefore mean the pope is likely an atheist.

  6. 6
    Inaji

    “I invite even nonbelievers to desire peace,”

    So nice of him to phrase it in a way which implies nonbelievers don’t normally desire peace. Apparently, we must be invited to consider such a radical idea.

  7. 7
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Until a pope is willing to say his deity doesn’t exist, no evidence for it, the bible is book of mythology/fiction based on evidence, and therefore catholic theology is nothing but bullshit, he has nothing of interest to say to me.

  8. 8
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Martin:

    Sound bites and headlines do nothing to repair the damage this organization has done in years past, and no matter how palatable his current message, he is still the leader of an organization that benefits from the suffering of our world’s needy.

    ^^This.
    The pope can say nice things. He can make statements about building bridges with atheists or queers. Yes, yes. That’s all well and good. But let’s see him do something significant beyond talk. The amount of damage done by the RCC is staggering and nothing he’s said shows a desire to make amends for said damage.

  9. 9
    Inaji

    Tony:

    He can make statements about building bridges with atheists or queers.

    Sure, all while maintaining the belief that evil atheists will burn in hell, and continuing Catholic efforts in Africa, refusing to help the sick unless they sign onto Catholicism, and continuing to ‘educate’ that condoms are against god and don’t prevent HIV anyway. Yeah.

  10. 10
    Paul

    Once again, the most likely result of the pope saying something someone not of the faith might find hopeful, will be the vatican coming out with a follow-up statement in the vein of “Yeah, but…”

  11. 11
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Just one point out of many.

    As long as RCC owned hospitals disallow abortions and will not allow for birth control, I do not care about the pope making nice with me. It is still the same old inhumane organization.

  12. 12
    chigau (違う)

    prfesser #3

    I can’t imagine that someone could rise so high in that miserable heirarchy without real belief in a supreme being.

    I can’t imagine anyone could rise so high with real belief in a supreme being.
    To top out in the RCC would take a supreme amount of cynicism and hypocrisy and manipulative skill.
    Belief is probably not very useful.

  13. 13
    Inaji

    People should remember Hamlet: That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain…

  14. 14
    Alex

    Seriously, “even nonbelievers”, my first reaction is: what a condescending asshole? Depending how you parse the statement, the more charitable interpretation (lost in translation?) would be that even he as a catholic wants to reach out to nonbelievers, but the more straightforward interpretation is that he identifies us as ethically deficient.

  15. 15
    David Marjanović

    I’ve no desire to work with the pope-not until he does more than give nice speeches about people living in harmony.

    As far as Syria is concerned, this is all he can do.

    (And no, I don’t think it’ll have any effect on that clusterfuck of steadily increasing complexity.)

    But ya gotta believe in something. :)

    “To believe in X” has two very different meanings in English: “to believe that X exists” and “to believe that X is a good idea”.

    Your platitude may make sense if we assume the second meaning. If we assume the first meaning, it’s complete rubbish.

    So nice of him to phrase it in a way which implies nonbelievers don’t normally desire peace. Apparently, we must be invited to consider such a radical idea.

    Or the “even” applies to himself: several times before, popes have invited members of other religions to join prayers for peace, but never have they so much as mentioned atheists in this regard, so it’s a surprise that this one now does it – and he knows it, so he says “even” to draw attention to that fact.

    while maintaining the belief that evil atheists will burn in hell

    Since the 2nd Vatican Council, and at least in Germany since the 1870s when Protestant and Catholic Germans suddenly found themselves living together in the same nationalist country, the Catholic Church has been careful not to claim that anybody will go or has gone to hell, God’s mercy being ineffable and all. There are people who are officially in heaven (canonized saints), but nobody is officially in hell.

    Unfortunately, this doesn’t distract in the slightest from the Church’s evil and hypocritical* stance on contraception.

    * The temperature method is officially allowed. That’s because access to it can’t be controlled, my religion teacher in let’s-call-it-middle-school told me.

    refusing to help the sick unless they sign onto Catholicism

    I can’t imagine that’s church policy. But I’m sure there are missionaries who do it anyway…

  16. 16
    hexidecima

    completely agree with Chigau. This man is indulging in the usual attempts by a theist to lie about atheists.

    ““I invite even nonbelievers to desire peace,”

    what a twit. Yes, Popey, people other than you also desire peace and have long before you “invited” us to do so.

  17. 17
    Inaji

    David:

    I can’t imagine that’s church policy.

    Why? You end up doing a lot of defense when it comes to Catholicism, because you’re familiar with what’s close to you. That has little else to do with how Catholicism operates elsewhere. You won’t find the Catholic Church condemning the “you must sign onto Catholicism first” business, which goes on all over the place.

  18. 18
    David Marjanović

    To top out in the RCC would take a supreme amount of cynicism and hypocrisy and manipulative skill.

    Hah. On the one hand, many popes were compromise candidates that nobody specifically wanted; the cardinals grudgingly agreed on them when they saw that neither of the preferred candidates would get the necessary supermajority. On the other hand, on a few occasions popes were chosen for being exceptionally pious! Recent examples are John XXIII and John Paul I; the most famous one may be Celestine V, who was a hermit (not a cardinal!) when he was elected and became the first pope to resign.

    In theory, any male Catholic can become pope. It’s entirely possible that some were or are actually atheists, but I’m sure most have been true believers.

  19. 19
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    Pretty much what Martin said @ #4. When he changes the Church’s tune on contraception and stops killing people by proxy with bans on abortion by Catholic hospitals and fighting access to condoms in Africa, when he hand over the assorted child molesters being protected by the hierarchy, when he causes the RCC’s vast wealth to be spent doing things that actively improve the world, then I’ll care what he has to say about anything. Until that time, talk is cheap and unimpressive.

  20. 20
    David Marjanović

    You end up doing a lot of defense when it comes to Catholicism

    I also end up a lot defending the principle of parsimony from your tendency to jump to the least charitable interpretation…

    You won’t find the Catholic Church condemning the “you must sign onto Catholicism first” business, which goes on all over the place.

    Oh, you’ll find it condemning very little indeed of what its agents do. It’s a very cynical organization. Still doesn’t mean “you must sign on to Catholicism first” is official church policy; most likely there simply is no official policy on this.

  21. 21
    Inaji

    David:

    Still doesn’t mean “you must sign on to Catholicism first” is official church policy; most likely there simply is no official policy on this.

    What on earth makes you think Catholic Church policies are all aboveboard and public? The CC has a long history of saying one thing and doing another. You’ve been downright shocked when I’ve related Catholic school stories before, because it’s not a Catholicism you recognize. The Catholic Church operates in whatever manner suits it best in each particular place. I daresay there is some ignorance of activities, but not nearly as much as you wish to posit.

  22. 22
    chigau (違う)

    David Marjanović
    If a pope were chosen because he was exceptionally pious, it’s probably because it made him easier for the cardinals to manipulate.
    It is not quite true that any male Catholic can become pope. Becoming a priest requires a call directly from God. And God does not call every man.

  23. 23
    sigurd jorsalfar

    I invite even Roman Catholics to bring an end to child rape. Let us all unite, with action (forget the prayer because it’s useless), but everyone, for an end to child rape.

  24. 24
    Inaji

    Sigurd:

    I invite even Roman Catholics to bring an end to child rape. Let us all unite, with action (forget the prayer because it’s useless), but everyone, for an end to child rape.

    Win.

  25. 25
    Gregory Greenwood

    I agree with Caine, Fleur du mal; the Pope manages to condescend to atheists by phrasing his invitation in such a way that suggests that atheists would not seek peace on their own initiative without first being prodded in that direction by pious believers, and he does this while head of an organisation that doesn’t only hold as an article of faith that all we dirty unbelievers are bound for eternal torture after we die – and that this is the morally unimpeacheable act of that supposedly flawlessly benign and ethical god of theirs – but that is also a bloated parasite that has grown fat while engendering a disproportionate percentage of human suffering throughout its benighted existence.

    Being offered an invitation to ‘pursue peace’ by the Catholic Church is not unlike being offered swimming lessons from a tiger shark.

  26. 26
    robro

    I was certainly shocked to see “Atheists” in the headline of the first story on Google News this Christmas morning. It suggests that the Pope (or his writers) recognizes that atheists, agnostics, non-theists, areligionists, or what have you are a significant segment of the world’s population now, enough so to be addressed directly.

    However, he can’t escape his presuppositions. I’m sure in his mind Christianity in general and the Church in particular is the bastion of peace, despite the many ways they have been and continue to be the opposite. So everyone else just needs to join them in this quest. They don’t need to change. It’s tempting to write him asking, “When do you start?”

    I was amused by the awkward “atheist and followers of other religions” in the first paragraph of the story. I don’t know if that’s from the Pope’s address (it’s not quoted) or the NYT writer paraphrasing, but either would not surprise given the prevalent supposition that atheism is just another religion.

  27. 27
    Pierce R. Butler

    The substance so far remains the same, but the style has undeniably changed.

    My question: how do the sheep take this?

    I was too young to pay any attention at the time, but it seems the duration & outcome of the “Vatican II” conference inspired a wave of progressivism among grassroots Catholics, suppressing which has taken nearly all the work of the hierarchy since.

    Arguably, Benny I represents the emergence of Latin American “liberation theology” from its catacombs; as a Jesuit, he also embodies the intellectual elite of The Church™. Apparently many of the flock are now standing on their pews to cheer, even while lots of bishops strictly maintain Business As Usual. No doubt the Curial reaction – as ever – is too complex to describe both briefly and accurately, but does anybody have a feel as to Benny stands within Church™ politics? If he gets his Last Rites tomorrow, how much of Bennyism will outlast him? How long until he convenes Vatican III?

  28. 28
    Subtract Hominem, a product of Nauseam

    From PZ’s OP:

    I also disagree on the nature of the peace he is looking for. The Catholic church desires the peace of ignorance, the peace of acquiescence, the peace of unquestioning acceptance of a dogma calibrated for fools. No, thanks. Give me the kind of peace where dissent can thrive and knowledge grows and ideas can change.

    As one particular non-Catholic once put it, this pope’s one of those people who is “more devoted to order than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice.”

  29. 29
    Al Dente

    Hey Frank, I was desiring peace long before you became pope. So I don’t need your condescending invitation for me to continue doing something I was doing while you were collaborating with the Argentinean junta.

  30. 30
    fullyladenswallow

    I invite the pope to desire, then demand some accountability first.

  31. 31
    fabianocaccin

    I can’t imagine that someone could rise so high in that miserable heirarchy without real belief in a supreme being

    Niccolò begs to differ.

    Of course that is not proof of lack of belief per se, but sure as Copernicus proves that it does not make that big a difference. God’s judges other people.

  32. 32
    Lofty

    Hey Popey, please pray with me for the kind of peace you get by keeping religion out of schools, hospitals, governments and all other positions of power. Then we’ll talk.

  33. 33
    Pierce R. Butler

    Re my # 27 – pls read “Franny” for “Benny”, kthx.

    Happy holidaze!

  34. 34
    mnb0

    “I turn my back on this pope”
    I don’t. Too much effort to do for a pope.

  35. 35
    Ryan Cunningham

    “I invite even nonbelievers…” was obviously meant in contrast to the usual Catholic stance of not including us, not that he thinks we don’t usually want peace. If he’s rebuking anyone, he’s rebuking the church.

    But I guess if you’re looking for a reason to be outraged about how hard it is to be an atheist, you can find them everywhere. Are you angry at dogs for being “god” spelled backward, too?

  36. 36
    Kamaka

    Peace, you say? What of justice?

    Cast Bernard Francis Law from his servanted palace in Rome to face justice in Boston.

    Order the release of all files concerning child-raping and cover-up in the RCC, all pedo-files throughout the world, even the sex crimes that are presently hidden.

    Until then, I am not buying your holier-than-thou pseudo-humility. Justice for the wounded children, or you are the worst of fucking liars and disseminators, more dispicable than Ratzi, the architect of rape enabling.

  37. 37
    Lofty

    Ryan Cunningham @34

    Are you angry at dogs for being “god” spelled backward, too?

    Are you really that thick that you think that is a possibility?
    Popey is just doing his usual seasonal whitewash and it’s not for the benefit of the likes of us.

  38. 38
    Inaji

    Ryan Cunningham:

    “I invite even nonbelievers…” was obviously meant in contrast to the usual Catholic stance of not including us, not that he thinks we don’t usually want peace.

    I’d say it wasn’t obvious at all. However, as you seem to be the current pope’s personal mind reader, you should really claim that million bucks from Randi.

  39. 39
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Ryan Cunningham:

    “I invite even nonbelievers…” was obviously meant in contrast to the usual Catholic stance of not including us, not that he thinks we don’t usually want peace. If he’s rebuking anyone, he’s rebuking the church.

    I don’t agree that this is all that obvious.
    No need to talk down to others for not being the mind reader you are.

  40. 40
    unclefrogy

    words are cheap action are dear.
    when taken as something from and really addressed to the heart of “the church” this guys statements must be some what shocking.
    I all so would not presume the translations carried the nuance intended, regardless he is free to exerciser any influence he has and pursue any action to further peace he deems helpful. I commend him and encourage him to go further.
    uncle frogy

  41. 41
    markr1957

    What I see is a lot of people not paying attention as child rapists are still living free among us. Look – puppies…

  42. 42
    Rob Grigjanis

    I’m always leery of reading intent from a translation. Here’s another transcript which has “And I also invite non-believers…” instead of “I invite even nonbelievers…”. Bit different.

    http://www.mediaite.com/tv/watch-pope-francis-delivers-first-christmas-day-address/

    Still, yeah, this is just PR until we see something concrete. The Vatican’s head PR person is an ex-Fox news correspondent.

    http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2013/12/pope-francis-catholicismeconomics.html

  43. 43
    draconius

    I’m not listening, unless the speech starts with, “Mornin’ everyone, just came out to say, fuck it, sold the Vatican, ending world hunger three times over. Also, a message to those rapists we’ve been hiding: ‘Get ready to cry.’” >:-)

    I doubt we’ll be hearing it from the “even nonbelievers” pope anytime soon. *eyeroll*

  44. 44
    Holms

    “I invite even nonbelievers to desire peace,”

    As if to suggest that we did not already want this. Patronising fuck.

  45. 45
    theignored

    Exactly, Holms.

  46. 46
    anuran

    Diddums get out on the wrong side of the crib, PZ?
    “If he isn’t just like me and doesn’t do what I want all the time he’s a poopy head and I don’t like him!!!!”
    That’s about the level this post is at.

  47. 47
    stever

    Let’s not forget that the Vatican seems to be using the old Islamic (and later Soviet) definition of “peace”, “The state of the world once we have subdued or exterminated all opposition.”

  48. 48
    interpretivechaos

    As an ex-Catholic from a fairly liberal parish (i.e., a priest who attended gay pride parades) who encountered a number of catholics (especially nuns) doing very selfless completely non evangelizing work to help the poor, I find it difficult (and counterproductive) to label all of Catholicism with a single brush (any more than I would label the US with a single brush, no mater how horrible of things our various presidents and agencies might do). Most (liberal) Catholics I know view it the same way as they viewed the US under Bush: deeply flawed, with a number of horrible people, including some in charge, but as a community of people not defined by the worst of them with the potential of improvement. Saying the Catholic church stands for child rape and mysogyny is like saying America stands for torture, lack of privacy, economic inequality, and destroying the environment. It has a horrible track record on it, but it’s disingenuous (and logically flawed) to say America’s devoid of worth because it’s deeply flawed in many domains. I personally hope religion will fade into obscurity (and that America won’t), but the distinction isn’t because the Catholic church has done worse crimes, but because I think that faith in questionable facts is central to religion, and that, like something like gender essentialism, makes otherwise good people make systematic errors in judgement.

    There are good people who happen to be Christian, and as an atheist, I believe that their goodness comes from being human. If they say that their humanity is a gift from God, it doesn’t mean that they’re any worse people. Saying their desire for good things is hollow is ridiculous, and playing gotcha on poorly worded extemporaneous remarks clearly meant in good faith obscures the real problems with religion, and makes atheists sound petty. I’d much rather prominent atheists welcome all calls for peace and understanding, and then let the understanding of the other guy’s genuine faith and belief in the other God do the dirty work.

  49. 49
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    anuran:

    Diddums get out on the wrong side of the crib, PZ?
    “If he isn’t just like me and doesn’t do what I want all the time he’s a poopy head and I don’t like him!!!!”
    That’s about the level this post is at.

    No, it’s really not.
    We’re talking about the head of a major, influential, corrupt organization that is responsible for a lot of pain, misery and suffering across the world. The pope delivered a patronizing message to nonbelievers and there are people getting all giddy bc he’s said some not bigoted things about gay people and atheists, but he hasn’t actually done anything to repair the damage done to those two groups by his church. Yes, I’ll grant that he’s making some strides at building bridges with LGBTQ people within the Church (though even there, he hasn’t rejected RCC doctrine about gays), and his outspoken views on income inequality are welcome, but none of that takes away from the lack of action to rectify the shit perpetrated by the church.
    Do that, and maybe I’ll listen to his speeches about harmony.

  50. 50
    Holms

    Saying the Catholic church stands for child rape and mysogyny is like saying America stands for torture, lack of privacy, economic inequality, and destroying the environment.

    Does the leadership stand against child rape and mysogyny, or actively obstruct those being addressed? The pope may not stand for all catholics (though, if you disagree with his stances on X, Y and Z, he is hardly a useful leader to your particular faith – so why stand by him?), but his words remain hollow if they are belied by his actions.

    So, fuck the pope.

  51. 51
    ChasCPeterson

    America stands for torture, lack of privacy, economic inequality, and destroying the environment.

    sounds about right to me. on the whole.

  52. 52
    Inaji

    Chas:

    sounds about right to me. on the whole.

    Yep, me too. No point denying reality.

    Interpretivechaos:

    Saying the Catholic church stands for child rape and mysogyny

    The Catholic Church built one of the most enduring pillars of misogyny, and continues to support misogynistic thought and behaviour. Denying that does not change the reality. You might want to read Misogyny: The World’s Oldest Prejudice by Jack Holland. It would fill in some serious gaps in your knowledge. As for rape and sexual assault, well, the Catholic Church has centuries of those particular sins to answer for, and not just for rape and sexual assault, but the ongoing protection of those who commit those crimes. All the fingerpointing and shouting of “but, but, hey, look over there – those are Catholics doing good stuff!” won’t take away from the tremendous amount of death, torture, harm and damage done by the Catholic Church, much of which continues on today.

  53. 53
    interpretivechaos

    And the US systematically diminished and destroyed Native American tribes, systematically facilitated the discrimination of blacks, attacked the rights of women, engaged in colonialism and supported corrupt dictators. The leadership of the US offers platitudes about income inequality, privacy, and holding ‘foreign combatants’ indefinitely without bail. Saying “look, some Americans did some good things” won’t diminish that, and these things shouldn’t be whitewashed, especially as they continue on today.

    But it’s ridiculously easy to say fuck everybody by association, and pretend that any decent person would immediately tear down an institution they were a part of and take the directly proportional action to redress all their wrongs. Self-righteous fuck you’s are intellectually lazy and rhetorically useless. Maybe I’m unique, and everyone else here popped out of the womb a progressively enlightened atheist, but I’m stuck having some empathy for people who are associated with (or even lead) institutions with checkered past. At the very least, it’s a better rhetorical strategy for actually accomplishing something.

  54. 54
    interpretivechaos

    Really, it just strikes me as ridiculous to rail against the Pope talking about peace as it does to rant against Obama for encouraging more students to pursue STEM education. Sure, they’re flawed leaders who’ve made at best glacial steps towards fixing the deeply flawed institutions they lead, but why target them when they advocate something good?

  55. 55
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    intepretivechaos:

    But it’s ridiculously easy to say fuck everybody by association, and pretend that any decent person would immediately tear down an institution they were a part of and take the directly proportional action to redress all their wrongs.

    Where has anyone said “fuck everybody by association”?
    The condemnation I see is focused on the Church. On the whole (as Chas said). Yes, there are some good people within the RCC. No one denies that. But those good people are not the ones in charge. They aren’t steering the ship. The ones in charge of the RCC are the ones who have committed the atrocities Caine mentioned @52.

    BTW, I’d love it if the pope would redress *one* of the wrongs committed by the church. Howzabout turning in those fucking child rapists? Or ending the campaign of lies and misinformation about condoms in Africa?

  56. 56
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    interpretivechaos:

    Really, it just strikes me as ridiculous to rail against the Pope talking about peace as it does to rant against Obama for encouraging more students to pursue STEM education.

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m railing against the pope for *talking* rather than *doing*.

  57. 57
    Lofty

    interpretivechaos, you obviously don’t understand the type of “peace” the pope stands for, and the type of peace that all right thinking people stand for. Look, I can disagree with El Papa but I don’t have a worldwide audience of hundreds of millions. He mouths platitudes for the faithful while the RCC hierarchy continues to do real damage all over the world.
    I can merely grumble on a personal blog, he can influence many bigots. That’s the imbalance here.

  58. 58
    PatrickG

    But it’s ridiculously easy to say fuck everybody by association, and pretend that any decent person would immediately tear down an institution they were a part of and take the directly proportional action to redress all their wrongs

    As an American myself, I do not support “torture, lack of privacy, economic inequality, and destroying the environment.” (to use your words). I still feel ashamed that these are planks of American policy, and that I’m paying taxes to support these activities

    But then, the Catholic Church has no power to jail me if I don’t tithe on Sunday. If my extremely Orthodox (Greek) Catholic 91-year old grandmother-in-law can tell her priest that she won’t tithe until they “take care of that boy thing”, I’m quite comfortable with saying “fuck everybody” who chooses to donate money to the Church.

    You don’t have to “tear down” an institution. That’s hard. That takes a lot of people. Some of those people are those who simply stop supporting and defending the institution. In some cases, apathy can be quite powerful!

  59. 59
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Lofty:
    Your comment caused a lightbulb moment for me.
    Not only is the pope just making platitudes, he appears oblivious to the very real problems that many people–not just atheists–have with him.
    How do I have peace with an organization that is so vehemently anti-women?
    How do I have peace with an organization that is responsible for shielding child rapists?
    Peace? With the RCC?
    When their lies and misinformation have screwed up the lives of people the world over, I don’t want peace with them.
    I want them to acknowledge the problem.
    I want them to apologize for the problem.
    I want them to rectify the problem.
    Has the pope done that?
    Has he acknowledged the tremendous harm the church has done?
    No. He hasn’t.
    He says he wants peace. But he glosses over the reasons why that peace will not be forthcoming from a great many people.

  60. 60
    PatrickG

    Self-correction: my extremely Catholic grandmother-in-law is an incredibly sharp woman with a very clear grasp of the ethical issues involved in giving money to an organization actively obstructing justice. She’s decided to give her (to her: required) tithe directly to local service organizations, instead.

    I feel I misrepresented her by quoting one of her more piquant sayings, hence the apology. :)

  61. 61
    se habla espol

    Don’t forget what this man represents, even when he kisses you on the cheek, atheists.

    In the very unlikely event that I would consent to a pope kissing me on the cheek, he would need to wait until I dropped my trousers.

  62. 62
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    PatrickG:
    I wish more Catholics had the grasp of said ethics that your grandmother-in-law does.

  63. 63
    rachelholmes

    I fully take the point about what sort of peace is sought under Catholic doctrine, but would reiterate what Rob Grigjanis said in #42. The word rendered as “even” in PZ’s post (as in “even non-believers”) is “anche”, which is usually translated as “also”. Moreover, “non-believers” (a direct translation of “non-credenti”, used by the Pope) would surely mean non-Catholics in this context, rather than atheists. So while you may justifiably not want to work with Catholics to procure the type of peace they may be after, I see that particular phrase as expressing a desire to work with all people for peace, rather than a patronising comment based on an assumption that atheists don’t normally desire peace.

    In Italian there is a phrase “traddutore – traditore!”, meaning “translator – traitor!”. I think that applies in this case.

  64. 64
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Pff, the RCC is always the most conservative version of itsef it can get away with. So it’s different in different places.
    There’s the nice feel good catholics (usually laity) doing good to old ladies and poor children in Germany and other parts of Europe, and you’re only mildly frowned upon for using birth control, while you apparently go directly to hell for using a condom in Africa.
    Pat Robertson would be heavily criticised by the German catlick clergy, but is apparently completely OK with the American parts.
    And at the top you always have conservative old men who hate women for the fact that they can make babies and still want to have their say in it.

  65. 65
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Agreeing with all the other reasons to turn your backs on the pope and Catholic church, save one. He actually wasn’t condescending, it’s just the bad translation that made it look so.

    If anyone speaks Italian, they can check the original by themselves:

    Una catena di impegno per la pace unisca tutti gli uomini e le donne di buona volontà! E’ un forte e pressante invito che rivolgo all’intera Chiesa Cattolica, ma che estendo a tutti i cristiani di altre Confessioni, agli uomini e donne di ogni Religione e anche a quei fratelli e sorelle che non credono: la pace è un bene che supera ogni barriera, perché è un bene di tutta l’umanità.

    (bolding mine)

    source

    He first invites all the Catholics, but then extends the invitation to all other Christians, all other religions and in the bolded part says: and also brothers and sisters who don’t believe.

  66. 66
    jacobbasson

    PZ, you wrote: “I probably won’t agree with him on just about any other subject.”

    Don’t you already know that you do agree with him on a few important things?

    A) Pope Francis on homosexuality

    “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” — Interview aboard the Papal Plane after World Youth Day in Brazil.

    “A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: “Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?” We must always consider the person. — Interview with Jesuit Catholic journals around the world.

    He can’t be expected to turn around the 2,000 year old institution of christianity overnight, and while I don’t condone the role the church generally has played on the issue recently, I suspect you and the pope feel more similarly than your prediction implies.

    More importantly, in my opinion, B) Francis on economic injustice

    “Just as the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say “thou shalt not” to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?” — Apostolic Exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel.

    “Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system.” — Apostolic Exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel

    Here I think your feelings are even more similar to his than about homosexuality. Furthermore, my opinion is that this issue is globally at LEAST as important a factor in overall quality of life enjoyed by people everywhere as the issue of religion/faith/bullshit, which I do think is also a major factor or I wouldn’t regularly read and enjoy your blog. (One might argue the threat is from another form of faith/fundamentalism, faith in the power and goodness of markets)
    If you thought there were opportunities to work with the pope to change people’s attitudes about capitalism and improve the lives of oppressed people everywhere, perhaps in part by leveraging the Pope’s influence on Christians worldwide to act more like they’re ostensibly supposed to (meek inherit earth, rich man camel needle no heaven blah blah blah), you wouldn’t take it? Am I wrong to imagine that this wouldn’t necessarily require you pretending to respect more about the man or believe any more of what he says than you actually do?

  67. 67
    PatrickG

    Tony!:

    Indeed. It’s why I tend to be contemptuous of people who argue that it’s unfair to tar with the broad brush, blah blah. Ethical situations can be quite complicated, and often don’t have a clear resolution. This is not one of those situations.

    Technically, she’s not my grandmother-in-law. But that’s primarily because of Prop 22 (the Knight Amendment*, your usual one-man, one-woman, because gawd) in California, way back in the day (2001, I think). If marriage needed to be saved from the gays, well, she and I suddenly got a lot interested in marriage. Clearly not something we wanted. And I’ll give you precisely one guess as to where the Catholic Church stood on that amendment.

    P.S. After 13 years, most people don’t even blink when they learn that we’re not married. Those who do blink I take almost sadistic delight in providing background in excruciating detail. :)

  68. 68
    rorschach

    I find it difficult (and counterproductive) to label all of Catholicism with a single brush

    The single brush that matters is that catholicism is not true. And gets people dead and suffering. If you sign up for that mob when the facts are so openly out there, I’m happy to label you an asshole. Or at least, someone who is gravely mistaken.

    Saying the Catholic church stands for child rape and mysogyny is like saying America stands for torture, lack of privacy, economic inequality, and destroying the environment.

    Yup. Sounds about right.

    It has a horrible track record on it, but it’s disingenuous (and logically flawed) to say America’s devoid of worth because it’s deeply flawed in many domains

    Google “false equivalence”. At least America exists. The Catholic god on whom the whole religious organisation is based does not.

    I’d much rather prominent atheists welcome all calls for peace and understanding

    Yes but this Pope is full of weasel words, peace, love, hate, blablabla. What does it even mean? I’ll take the guy seriously if he tells Catholics in Northern Ireland to let it go, or supports use of contraception in Africa. Words are cheap.

  69. 69
    knowknot

    #53 Interpretivechaos

    Maybe I’m unique, and everyone else here popped out of the womb a progressively enlightened atheist, but I’m stuck having some empathy for people who are associated with (or even lead) institutions with checkered past.

    - You’re not unique. I went to a Catholic College (as a non- Catholic), and though there were a reasonable number of nuns and a priest who appeared to be as theatrically stereotypical as humans can, there were some others who were a huge shock to me.
    - I’d always heard of faithful people who served others without expectation. I came to realize I’d never actually seen it; it had been something like a myth. What I HAD seen was missionaries (long or short term) taking services and goods out as bait, and laying the preaching on heavily as either a prerequisite or a cost.
    - But at least some of the Catholic folks were very different. Still not sure why, or if the cause was a good thing. I do remember feeling like there was an internal conflict in them, that both the call to serve and the faith (and the structure) were so ridiculously deep that none of it could be teased apart.
    - I’ve always wondered if there were some in the hierarchy like that; conflicted, but just unable to separate the bits.
    - Still not sure. But it seems clear to me that precious few have ever taken the risks that the kind of compassion the church preaches would actually require for the good of others.
    - Then I remember how many times I haven’t quite managed “the right thing,” and I have to ignore the whole stupid bloody mess.

  70. 70
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Pope is apparently aware that words are cheap, so he’s following them with a couple of cheap deeds. Papers are full of stories about how he invited some homeless people for breakfast. He invited one with a dog which totally means he loves animals and is a supporter of animal rights!

    Spin, spin, spin, that’s all this bullshit is. And people are all over it.
    Hook, line and sinker.

  71. 71
    michaelbusch

    @Beatrice @64:

    Isn’t that still running with the implication that people don’t think peace is a good thing, and that he is somehow being innovative by extending the invitation to work for peace to others? That was the condescending bit to me (most people want peace – the disagreement is on what peace looks like).

    Or am I mangling connotations when reading Italian again? Since my knowledge of Italian is incredibly poor, I’m interpolating a bunch of words from French/Spanish/Latin roots and trying to error-check with autotranslate software. A certain error rate is inevitable.

  72. 72
    knowknot

    #59
    Agreed to all that, Tony. Respect for the clarity.

  73. 73
    knowknot

    One last: The Pope was off script with the parts of the address in question. The official Vatican text includes nothing of the kind. Odd.

  74. 74
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Also, this “not all catholics are like that” smells of Faux Catholic Martyrdom™

    No, most catholics are decent people. Or as decent as your average Joe and Jane.
    It doesn’t change the fact that by remaining catholic they support an organisation that is deeply homophobic, misogynist and covers up child rape.
    I’ve done this dance with my nominally catholic friend “you’re calling me a homophobe!!!!” No, I don’t. I’m saying you’re supporting an organisation that fights tooth and claw against marriage equality, that usues the money you give them to fight mariiage equality and that claims that the fact you’re their member means that you agree with them. And it’s clear that whatever reasons you have for staying in their club means that those reasons are more important to you than taking a stand against homophbia, child-rape cover-up and their systematic misogyny.

  75. 75
    PatrickG

    @ knownot:

    Not odd at all. It isn’t the first time the comments have been walked back.

  76. 76
    PatrickG

    it’s clear that whatever reasons you have for staying in their club means that those reasons are more important to you than taking a stand against homophobia, child-rape cover-up and their systematic misogyny.

    I took three paragraphs to do what Giliell did in one sentence. On the other hand, I corrected a typo when I blockquoted. And with that, a good night to all, and to all a good night. :)

  77. 77
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    One last: The Pope was off script with the parts of the address in question. The official Vatican text includes nothing of the kind. Odd.

    Not odd at all: plausible deniability.
    Make the progressives happy with the spoken word, make the conservatives happy with the written word.

  78. 78
    enkidu

    Beatrice @64

    I speak enough Italian to know that “e anche” can mean “and even” as well as “and also”, though I agree that the latter was probably the intended. Traduttore traditore.

  79. 79
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    enkidu,

    My Italian is a bit rusty*, so it’s possible I didn’t understand the nuances but I also took the context of the whole sentence into account.

    * I know the words, but forgot some double-meanings

  80. 80
    knowknot

    #72 Giliell

    …it’s clear that whatever reasons you have for staying in their club means that those reasons are more important to you than taking a stand against homophobia, child-rape cover-up and their systematic misogyny.

    - This sort of crystalline structure… I wish my own brain could produce more than it does currently.
    - Wait. I should probably start by wishing I could HOLD ON TO more of it. Day to day. That would be swell.
    - Thank you.

  81. 81
    rorschach

    it’s clear that whatever reasons you have for staying in their club means that those reasons are more important to you than taking a stand against homophobia, child-rape cover-up and their systematic misogyny.

    There is a rational/logical side to this, but I also acknowledge that many Catholics are intensely invested emotionally. Some of the reactions to the Royal Commission on child abuse here were quite astonishing, people being very emotional and apologetic on the one hand, but at the same time trying to somehow cling to their beliefs and the church. Stockholm syndrome, religion way.

  82. 82
    JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness

    67
    knowknot

    - I’d always heard of faithful people who served others without expectation. I came to realize I’d never actually seen it; it had been something like a myth. What I HAD seen was missionaries (long or short term) taking services and goods out as bait, and laying the preaching on heavily as either a prerequisite or a cost.

    Absolutely. I’ve been on the receiving end of religious charity for most of my life, which is why every time someone brings this shit up I fucking laugh. From hot meals to places to stay, I’ve never gotten help without religious pressure and preaching. I’ve even heard the very people making me uncomfortable and “teaching” (read: scaring) my child with Hell turn around and brag about their good works, which they claim is all no strings attached. Even hot meals in the park, which claimed to not make listening to the sermon a requirement fucking lied. They did the sermon first, and then allowed us to eat. Of course, this sermon went on for a while (or it felt like it when you’re starving anyways) and no one showed up after the sermon, because if you’re too late, you don’t get any fucking food. I’ve even had religious people infect secular charities trying to spread their particular delusion.

    So, yeah. I call bull-fucking-shit. To me, it’s like being an ally for a discriminated group you don’t belong to – you don’t get to make the claim (I’m an ally! or I do good things without religious pressure!), the people who are not like you get to make that decision. If they do not call you an ally or feel completely free with receiving your help, then shut the fuck up. It’s not your goddamn decision, because you don’t know what it’s like to be on the receiving end.

  83. 83
    fredfile

    Besides, he looks too much like Merkin Muffley to be taken seriously!

    lff

  84. 84
    kevinalexander

    interpretivechaos
    I get what you mean. Many in my own family are devout catholics and very good people.
    I think of the church as a caddis fly larva, covered in pretty pebbles and lovely bits of whatever it can find, the purpose of which is to disguise a voracious predator. The ugliest part of catholicism, the part which explains all of the other ugly things is the worship of human suffering. All of the other rules are just to maximize that.

  85. 85
    left0ver1under

    chigau (違う) (#1) –

    I find
    “I invite even nonbelievers to desire peace,”
    to be offensive.

    Total agreement. The implication is that all atheists are violent and murderous.

    And I didn’t see one word about the pedopriests. Until he voluntarily turns over the files on all of them to law enforcement, his words are propaganda and public relations.

  86. 86
    bjtunwarm

    I am just shocked to hear of a religious leader call for peace of any kind, much less accept that atheists have the right to live.

  87. 87
    gillyc

    Just about everyone wants peace. I think though, that for most people, if you dig a bit deeper, what they actually want is peace on their own terms – that is, most people don’t really want peace as much as they want to win.
    It’s like when people say “why can’t everyone just be nicer?” and what they really mean is “why can’t everyone just be nicer to me?

    A lot of people (well, my ex hippie-ish friends. They’re ex-friends for a reason) don’t seem to realise that disagreements happen because those other people want what they want for what to them are just as valid reasons and with just as strongly felt emotions…. they’re not just doing it to be awkward. Really, they’re not. The reason we haven’t got peace on earth is because it’s a tough problem, not because people just aren’t trying hard enough.

    Sorry if this is just really trite and obvious to all of you; it’s been going round in my head for ages now and this seemed like it’s finally a reasonable time to get it out!

  88. 88
    timgueguen

    I’m surprised no one has brought up the still lingering question of exactly what relationship Frank the P had with the bunch running Argentina in the ’70s. Their idea of peace was “disappearing” opponents of the regime by throwing them out of helicopters.

  89. 89
    David Wilford

    I’m surprised no one has brought up the still lingering question of exactly what relationship Frank the P had with the bunch running Argentina in the ’70s.

    This may be why:

    For some with impeccable human-rights credentials, such as Argentina’s 1980 Nobel peace prize-winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, himself a victim of the dictatorship, who was tortured and held without trial for 14 months in 1977, Bergoglio is stainless. “There were bishops who were accomplices, but not Bergoglio,” he says. “There is no link relating him to the dictatorship.”

    link:

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/03/19/survivors-reflect-on-pope-francis-role-in-argentinas-bloody-dirty-war/

  90. 90
    LykeX

    @gillyc
    Trite and obvious, I don’t know. Seems like a perfectly valid point that bears a bit of repeating; especially since so many people so often forget it.

  91. 91
    gillyc

    Thanks, LykeX!

  92. 92
    anchor

    “I invite even nonbelievers to desire peace,” he said.

    The domineering insolence exhibited is towering.

    Its not for him to “invite”.

    He has no business inviting what atheists ought to desire, and doing so in a way that implies they don’t generally and quite independently of him desire peace, or cannot do so except through his divine sanction.

    As if he or Christianity invented the concept and own it, like every other human virtue under the Sun.

    He is not my authority for anything. He is my idea of a sneaky fellow that cannot be trusted: a con-man.

  93. 93
    Gwynnyd

    hmm… if the translation is skewed – and it should have read a more neutral ‘and also’ instead of the insulting ‘even’ – that surely says something about the mindset of the people who did the translation and their stance on atheists. So, who did the translation and are they native English speakers who could have understood the nuance? Not that it excuses the insult of using ‘even’. The Vatican ought to have good enough translators to have the translated statements say what the pope means from the get go.

  94. 94
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    kevinalexander:

    The ugliest part of catholicism, the part which explains all of the other ugly things is the worship of human suffering.

    I never thought about it that way, but that sure explains a lot.

  95. 95
    Uncle Ebeneezer

    Peace is a political goal. I’d have a whole lot of respect for the Pope if he had told his followers to forget about abortion, forget about euthanasia, forget about contraception and Hobby Lobby-like obsessions with controlling other people’s private/sex lives, forget about “traditional marriage”, forget about abstinence-only (un)education, forget about prayers in classrooms and teaching-the-controversy. Forget about crosses on public land and Scriptures on Court Houses. Forget about family values and demonizing atheists. If he invited all Catholics to disregard ALL of these issues and vote only for candidates who advocate for Peace through diplomacy, disarmament & shrinking military budgets then I would cheer his statement. If he had invited all Catholics to skip the collection plate altogether and instead donate their money to government audited organizations who aim to bring Peace to the world through real-world solutions, I would be cheering. But the cold, hard truth is that at least here in the US, many of the faithful continue to vote for the most warmongering candidates (at least partly) because of the above-listed cultural concerns. So until the Pope uses his influence for moving the Overton window in the direction of Peace (and/or Economic Equality) his statements are just empty words to make people turn a blind eye to all the sins of the Church and to give him a cookie for his bravery.

  96. 96
    zenlike

    27, Pierce R. Butler:

    Arguably, Benny I represents the emergence of Latin American “liberation theology” from its catacombs

    Not all Latin American catholics adhere to the ‘liberation theology’, and it is my understanding that the pope is one of those who are in fact opposed to it (I bit more focus on the poor is not the same as ‘liberation theology’).

    Also, I wanted to type a frank answer to the apologists who I knew beforehand would stink up this thread with their bullshit, but Giliell said what needed to be said at 72. Thanks!

  97. 97
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    I think my thoughts are captured best by thespian Bernard Hill, playing King Theoden of Rohan in The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

    Theoden: We shall have peace… We shall have peace, when you answer for the burning of the Westfold, and the children that lie dead there! We shall have peace, when the lives of the soldiers whose bodies were hewn even as they died against the gates of the Hornberg, are avenged! When you hang from a gibbit for the sport of your own crows…! We shall have peace.

  98. 98
    zenlike

    Tony! @90, see also mother Theresa, who was really, really, really hard into the whole ‘suffering’ thing, because ‘that’s a straight way to heaven’. Really a vile human being, although how much was her and how much was upbringing/brainwashing will always remain an open question. Why she ever got a Nobel piece price is beyond my grasp, but she had her army of sycophants and a good PR machine, so there is that.

  99. 99
    Nicholas Lederer

    Mr. Myers,

    I’m not offended. I don’t think he intended to offend.

    I like this Pope better than most. He appears to try hard to be inclusive and….well….nice. It’s a shame he doesn’t have his speeches proofread; the idea that he might have to implore atheists to desire peace seems a bit naive, and possibly some people would be offended. That little word ‘even’ is ill-considered, and when you’re the Pope you have to consider every word.

    I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he didn’t mean that atheists were generally ignorant warmongers. Maybe he was acknowledging that his usual audience might be surprised to hear him including atheists in his address?

    After all, it is Christmas.

  100. 100
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    After all, it is Christmas.

    Believe in fairies if you wish. I’ll stick with reality that actions beats vapid talk every day of the year. And there is no substance present of changing church policy there.

  101. 101
    Inaji

    Nicholas:

    After all, it is Christmas.

    No, it’s the day after Christmas, and so fucking what? Perhaps you should read all the comments in the thread before attempting remonstration, which would have enlightened you just a tad.

  102. 102
    omnicrom

    Tony:

    I never thought about it that way, but that sure explains a lot.

    Well I can’t say for sure about other clergy, but the worship of human suffering was certainly what Mother Theresa was all about.

  103. 103
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Nicholas:
    It’s nice you like this pope better than others.
    Have you read through this thread? Do you see why many feel his speeches are nothing but empty words?

  104. 104
    Inaji

    Omnicrom:

    Well I can’t say for sure about other clergy, but the worship of human suffering was certainly what Mother Theresa was all about.

    Oh yes, she worshiped human suffering alright, as long as it didn’t include her. She didn’t suffer when it came time for her to die, not in the least, and that squares up with my personal experience with Catholic clergy and nuns. I got to hear all about the nobility of suffering and how it drew one close to god from Fulton Sheen on more than one occasion when he came to our house for supper.

  105. 105
    Rob Grigjanis

    left0ver1under @82:

    The implication is that all atheists are violent and murderous.

    Oh, FFS. There’s enough to be angry about without clutching at a dubious interpretation of a dubious translation (is it ‘even’ or is it ‘also’?) of an off-script remark. Some people’s outrage meters need recalibration.

  106. 106
    Inaji

    Rob:

    Oh, FFS. There’s enough to be angry about without clutching at a dubious interpretation of a dubious translation (is it ‘even’ or is it ‘also’?) of an off-script remark. Some people’s outrage meters need recalibration.

    The larger issue is being obscured as well. No matter how one takes the translated words, it’s another one of those rather marvelous Catholic distraction tricks. “Look, I say something completely unexpected and distinctly not traditionally Catholic!” While the crowd gasps in awe and ecstasy, it’s business as usual, but no one is paying attention to that stuff. Distraction accomplished. The touch with the homeless person and dog was a brilliant stroke, too.

  107. 107
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    The point is: I don’t want to be invited by any pope.
    I don’t give a fuck about some nice words in a speech.
    Really, I’m not the one who has to come asking for being included in the decent human being category.
    But of course, in their view I am.
    I’m a woman who had lots of premarital sex.
    Since no god ever offered his blessing on my marriage anyway, I guess everything we do still counts as premarital, only I’m not sure if it even matters since we’re using birthcontrol anyway.
    And if that birth control failed I wouldn’t need to search my soul and make a heart-wrenching decision.
    I’d get an abortion without having second thoughts about it.
    In short, that Pope sees me as a failed being, a horrible sinner, a potential murderer, so I can damn well do without his “invitation”.

  108. 108
    Inaji

    Giliell:

    In short, that Pope sees me as a failed being, a horrible sinner, a potential murderer, so I can damn well do without his “invitation”.

    By choosing to save my life when I was 8.5, I committed a mortal sin. By Catholic belief, it was all over at that point, destined for hell, no two ways about it. Left me free to sin my arse off ever after. Much like you though, as an adult, a failed being, a horrible sinner, a definite murderer, so I’m not exactly interested in the invite either.

  109. 109
    ryancunningham

    @37

    “Are you really that thick that you think that is a possibility?”

    Are you really that thick that you think I think that’s a possibility? It’s called a joke. Put down the Very Serious Gun. You’re not surrounded.

  110. 110
    ryancunningham

    @38

    “I’d say it wasn’t obvious at all. However, as you seem to be the current pope’s personal mind reader, you should really claim that million bucks from Randi.”

    Ah, but YOU’VE all managed to read his mind properly. It’s only a “paranormal” event when I disagree. Is that how your “skepticism” works? I’d argue that the second sentence quoted above makes his meaning absolutely obvious, but why use reason and argument when we can throw around tired skeptic cliches?

    If you’re really skeptical about this, and you really think we can’t know what he meant, why are you attacking the man? The fact of the matter is, you’re not being skeptical at all. You’ve jumped to a conclusion yourself, but you disagree with me, so I must be “woo woo.” You’re as bad as Penn Jillette. The real skeptics are the ones that agree with your opinions. Everyone else is superstitious. You use the rhetoric associated with skepticism as a crutch to make yourself feel better. You’d rather protect your own opinions than apply the philosophy in general. You’d rather be right than stop and think. You’d rather sling simple slogans than admit that this situation might be more complicated than you thought.

    I hate everything about that. Every. Thing.

  111. 111
    chigau (違う)

    huh.
    That’s a bit over the top.

  112. 112
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Stuff like this is why I don’t give a shit about all the talking the pope is doing:

    After raping a teenager, a Catholic youth leader promised he would stop raping girls if she didn’t tell police, so she kept quiet – but he broke his promise and sexually assaulted her friend, his first alleged victim claims in court.
    Maraen Foley claims in the lawsuit that Catholic youth leader Brandon Eckerson forcibly raped her two days before Christmas in 2012. She was 18.
    Eckerson “convinced plaintiff not to say anything further to anyone about his sexual exploitation of her; in exchange he promised to never again sexually assault anyone. It was understood that if plaintiff discovered he violated this sworn promise she would go to the police,” Foley claims in the complaint in Maricopa County Court.
    She says he broke that promise: that in June this year she learned that he had recently sexually assaulted another girl in the program, so she went to police.

    [...]

    Eckerson took his group off church grounds to bars and restaurants, where alcohol was served to minors, including her, Foley claims in the lawsuit. She says that if the bars refused to serve minors, alcohol was brought back to the Blessed Sacrament campus, where they drank it.

    [...]

    Foley claims the defendants knew Eckerson was a danger to youth even before he raped her. But “The Diocese had a policy of concealment in response to discovery of sexual exploitation,” the complaint states.
    It continues: “There is a 1962 ‘confidential’ policy document issued by the Vatican to all Catholic Bishops, including the Archbishop of the Diocese, [which] instructed that allegations or incidents of sexual misconduct were to be maintained in the ‘strictest’ secrecy, and threatened those who violated this policy with excommunication. The 1962 policy evolved from an earlier 1922 document, which, in turn, was based on policies and practices of the Catholic Church dating back to the Middle Ages.”

    As Caine mentioned @102, all this talk is a distraction. The pope isn’t accomplishing anything to reform the church. It’s all about image. His desire to stop talking about abortion and homosexuality isn’t because he’s some big reformer, out to effect change for the positive within the church. He’s out to improve the PR of the church by saying nice things.
    Look beyond that, and it’s business as usual.

  113. 113
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    ryancunningham:
    Try reading the thread.

  114. 114
    Pierce R. Butler

    zenlike @ # 92: Not all Latin American catholics adhere to the ‘liberation theology’, and it is my understanding that the pope is one of those who are in fact opposed to it…

    My (limited gringo) understanding has it that lib theo spread among a subset of Latin American priests, and some of their lay followers, starting after Vatican II, but never won over even a majority of same. It produced immediate backlash on the ground (note the bloodshed by US-trained goon squads in El Salvador, particularly the murder of Archbishop Romero saying mass in his own cathedral) and a slower and more bureaucratic crackdown led by Pope JP2. By the end of Wojtyla’s unmerry reign, the remaining priests & bishops of the pro-lib persuasion were silenced or isolated (hence my allusion to catacombs).

    Bergoglio, however, rose to Archbishop of Argentina, and [David Wilford @ # 82, please note!] was personal confessor to President Jorge Rafael Videla, leader of the junta which carried out the “dirty war” against all pro-democracy dissidents. So, if Bergoglio had any links to “liberation theology”, he covered them quite thoroughly with layers of lies and blood – well enough to fool a torture-manic dictatorship as well as the Deputy of Christ on Earth.

    Now Bergoglio (having moved to another country and changed his name) presents us with lib theo rhetoric and theater. On some levels this reminds me of US imperialists trying to co-opt feminist language and concerns as justification for continuing the war on Afghanistan. Yet other indications (removing Raymond Burke from the clergy-promotion committee, publicly scolding his colleagues for their sexual obsessions) imply serious attempts at reform well beyond the customary fake clean-up exercises customary to new Popes.

    If – a big IF – Franny I, whether a closet liberationist or a latecomer driven by guilt, wants to reform the profoundly rotten Church™ hierarchy, at age 77 he must feel a definite urgency about it. I speculated about a “Vatican III’ conference specifically because, IF Bergoglio wants to be more than the happy-face chair-warmer suggested by the Cardinals picking a man of his years (also the role expected of John XXIII.b), he needs to move fast and unambiguously.

  115. 115
    Inaji

    ryancunningham, you’re doing a whole lot of projection. Perhaps you should stop and think a bit, eh?

  116. 116
    David Wilford

    @ 110:

    Bergoglio, however, rose to Archbishop of Argentina, and [David Wilford @ # 82, please note!] was personal confessor to President Jorge Rafael Videla, leader of the junta which carried out the “dirty war” against all pro-democracy dissidents. So, if Bergoglio had any links to “liberation theology”, he covered them quite thoroughly with layers of lies and blood – well enough to fool a torture-manic dictatorship as well as the Deputy of Christ on Earth.

    If Bergoglio was a “personal confessor” of Videla, it’s odd that subsequent investigations over the years didn’t discover that:

    Graciela Fernández Meijide, member of the Permanent Assembly for Human Rights, also said that there was no proof linking Bergoglio with the dictatorship. She told Clarín: “There is no information and Justice couldn’t prove it. I was in the APDH during all the dictatorship years and I received hundreds of testimonies. Bergoglio was never mentioned. It was the same in the CONADEP. Nobody mentioned him as instigator or as anything.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Francis#Dirty_War

  117. 117
    Al Dente

    ryancunningham @105

    It’s called a joke.

    When you have to explain that what you said is a joke, the chances are very good that few if any others recognized it as a joke. I make a recommendation. The next time you tell a joke, try to make it funny. That will help others understand your joke as being an actual joke instead of you being an actual asshole.

  118. 118
    Lofty

    Tony! @ 109

    ryancunningham:
    Try reading the thread.

    It’s not reading that he fails at, it’s comprehension. Much harder to correct. Signs of an educational lack.

  119. 119
    LykeX

    #95

    He appears to try hard to be inclusive and….well….nice. It’s a shame he doesn’t have his speeches proofread

    I’d say it’s a shame that he doesn’t seem to be doing much beyond trying to be… Well… Nice. He’s the leader and public figurehead of a pedophile protection racket. Being nice doesn’t excuse him from that.

    As people have already pointed out; talk is cheap. When he starts actually doing something, then we’ll talk.

  120. 120
    David Wilford

    As people have already pointed out; talk is cheap. When he starts actually doing something, then we’ll talk.

    Since talk is cheap, it seems reasonable enough to talk back rather than turn one’s back, at least when someone is being nice about it.

  121. 121
    Inaji

    LykeX:

    When he starts actually doing something, then we’ll talk.

    The foundation of the Catholic Church is power and control, accomplished, in great part, by the instillation of fear. They aren’t about to smash the foundation in order to execute a fix of any kind. There is no fix for a corrupt criminal organization. A cannibal may show his teeth, doesn’t mean he’s smiling.

  122. 122
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Since talk is cheap, it seems reasonable enough to talk back rather than turn one’s back, at least when someone is being nice about it.

    And what part of Dog Whistles and other ways of sounding polite while tell others to bow to your demands don’t you understand? Accommodationists are always so boring and gullible. If the pope wants dialog, he must do more than rhetoric. He must show good faith, like turning over all the pedophile priests to secular police forces world-wide with the corroborating evidence collected by the church.

  123. 123
    David Wilford

    Nerd @ 118:

    I see no reason why one can’t talk while also pushing for the RCC to come clean about past pedophiles.

  124. 124
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    RCC didn’t find out about pedophilia in its ranks yesterday. It wasn’t something that… ups, happened and it was such a horrible surprise to all those nice men.

    They have been hiding this public secret for decades. At least some of those in high position have been actively protecting pedophiles.

    There is no making nice with them while pushing for justice. They don’t deserve nice, they barely even deserve decent. They deserve a fucking international prosecution and trials.

  125. 125
    jacobbasson

    PZ, you wrote “I probably won’t agree with him on just about any other subject.”

    Don’t you already know that to be false? Two subjects of importance come to mind, homosexuality and economic injustice. You probably don’t feel exactly the same way as he does about homosexuality, but his comments (e.g. “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” and “A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: “Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?” We must always consider the person.”) suggest far more common ground than your prediction implies.
    And on what is in my opinion an even more important issue globally, economic injustice, you’re probably even closer to him. He’s said, for instance, “Just as the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say “thou shalt not” to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?” and also “Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system.”
    That is an extremely important point of view to be advocating, and a relatively uncommon example of such an opinion being voiced by someone with as large and well trusted (by some) a media platform as the pope has. If he could leverage his influence on Christians to promote grassroots action that considers ideas like the meek inheriting the earth and rich people having a hard time getting into heaven as important, central ideas rather than ones to be discarded, wouldn’t that be worth taking advantage of? Is it naive of me to believe you could acknowledge common ground with him on those important issues without pretending to respect any more about the man or his beliefs than you actually do? My opinion is that faith in markets is ultimately more destructive than faith in gods these days, though both are huge issues. Given that, I’d be less quick to dismiss the pope as a completely unworthy ally on absolutely any issue.

  126. 126
    Inaji

    Beatrice:

    They have been hiding this public secret for decades centuries.

  127. 127
    carlie

    Since talk is cheap, it seems reasonable enough to talk back rather than turn one’s back, at least when someone is being nice about it.

    I don’t think all of the victims would characterize his continued stonewalling as “being nice about it”.

  128. 128
    David Marjanović

    You’ve been downright shocked when I’ve related Catholic school stories before, because it’s not a Catholicism you recognize.

    In particular, they all sound like they happened before Vatican II. Did they?

    I was too young to pay any attention at the time, but it seems the duration & outcome of the “Vatican II” conference inspired a wave of progressivism among grassroots Catholics, suppressing which has taken nearly all the work of the hierarchy since.

    Yep.

    Arguably, Benny I represents the emergence of Latin American “liberation theology” from its catacombs;

    That’s what lots of people are hoping and some are fearing. I’ll believe it when I see it.

    as a Jesuit, he also embodies the intellectual elite of The Church™.

    That much is true.

    Apparently many of the flock are now standing on their pews to cheer, even while lots of bishops strictly maintain Business As Usual. No doubt the Curial reaction – as ever – is too complex to describe both briefly and accurately, but does anybody have a feel as to Benny stands within Church™ politics? If he gets his Last Rites tomorrow, how much of Bennyism will outlast him? How long until he convenes Vatican III?

    It’s not like Ratzinger is the only powerful conservative in there!!! I think most of us will live to see the next council, and of course lots of people combine their hopes for that (which I’m quite cynical about) with their hopes about the new pope, but he hasn’t so far made any noises in that direction; I’ll believe it when I see it. The Austrian parish priests’ initiative* has promised to ramp up the… rather insignificant pressure. *sigh*

    * They’re for such breathtaking reforms as allowing priests to marry** and admitting remarried divorced people to communion.

    ** …again, after a few hundred years of celibacy for all that hadn’t married before their consecration or before they were allowed to hold masses according to the Roman rite. Greek Catholic priests must be married, because that’s the Greek rite, and they’ve been allowed to hold Roman masses for several years now. I’m not the one who’s kidding here. It’s all quite ridiculous.

    The Vatican’s head PR person is an ex-Fox news correspondent.

    *headdesk* X-)

    Not only is the pope just making platitudes, he appears oblivious to the very real problems that many people–not just atheists–have with him.

    Part of his job description.

    It’s called a joke.

    Joke, joke, come out, you’re surrounded.

    We can’t hear your tone of voice. Without it, it isn’t funny. :-|

    What I see is a lot of people not paying attention as child rapists are still living free among us. Look – puppies…

    Oh yes. Cute, cute puppies. They look like they’re smiling.

  129. 129
    Inaji

    David:

    In particular, they all sound like they happened before Vatican II. Did they?

    No, they didn’t. Vatican II closed when I was in first grade of Catholic school.

  130. 130
    a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    I suppose I’ll smile at the smiley pope for the simple reason that he seems slightly better than Ratzi the Nazi. As long as the church is espousing “tolerance” and not actively persecuting/excommunicating believers who think religion ought to be about more than where you put your junk or whether you avail yourself of certain pharmaceuticals or surgical procedures, maybe people will feel more empowered to dissent. The church ain’t going away–better to have a smiley pope than a zombie…as long as you realize smiley pope wouldn’t lift a hand to keep someone from slamming an oven door on you.

  131. 131
    jacobbasson

    I can’t seem to get a comment past moderation and I’m not sure why. Here’s the short version:

    You wrote, PZ, that “I probably won’t agree with him on just about any other subject.” Haven’t his comments about economic injustice already shown that to be false? And while he hasn’t had the 2,000 year old institution perform an about face on homosexuality, it would seem there is at least some substantial agreement between you two on that issue as well.

  132. 132
    Inaji

    A_Ray:

    whether you avail yourself of certain pharmaceuticals or surgical procedures

    :snort: Have you ever been in a Catholic hospital? Not a place you’ll find tolerance.

  133. 133
    David Marjanović

    Shortly before this thread was created, David Wilford made a comment about it on the “Holiday sentiment” thread. I replied two comments later: “Nice, but almost certainly useless.” The response was:

    I have to differ, given the previous remarks made by Pope Francis to atheists. Respectful dialogue may not be much for starters, but the gesture to join together to do good works is to me a welcome development.

    Respectful dialogue between people who aren’t involved in the war in Syria will help end the war in Syria exactly how?!?

    It’s not a gesture to do good works! It’s an invitation to sit there, hope, and keep doing nothing!

    And on it goes:

    In the Twin Cities the archdiocese has turned over a list of suspected priests to the police and there is an active investigation being pursued by the St. Paul police department. So far, so good, but it’s far from over of course.

    That’s one dioecese out of how many?

    As for Pope Francis and his address today, for now I’m willing to take it on good faith and see where it leads. Rejecting it outright may miss an opportunity for unbelievers to score some good will politically with believers, and show that atheists are actually nice people.

    Um.

    There is no leader, or leadership committee, who can make an official statement of “we accept/reject this invitation”. Atheism isn’t even a no-prophet organization, if you understand what I mean: it’s not an organization. There are only individuals. There is no way we can make collective decisions.

    Ratzi the Nazi

    *eyeroll* Not that again. He’s a conservative authoritarian, not a National Socialist one.

  134. 134
    Pierce R. Butler

    David Wilford @ # 112 – I can’t find the article where I read about Bergoglio serving as Vidale’s confessor, so I must retract that claim until further notice.

    Here is a sample of a credible newspaper (rather gingerly) reviewing relations between the Argentine junta and the then-archbishop of Buenos Aires. It describes a balancing act, not a straightforward stand for justice.

    Note: this story, which I had intended to cite, now (2 years after publication) includes a retraction:

    The original article, published in 2011, wrongly suggested that Argentinian journalist Horacio Verbitsky claimed that Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio connived with the Argentinian navy to hide political prisoners on an island called El Silencio during an inspection by human rights monitors. Although Verbitsky makes other allegations about Bergoglio’s complicity in human rights abuses, he does not make this claim. The original article also wrongly described El Silencio as Bergoglio’s “holiday home”. This has been corrected.

    Those “other allegations” go undescribed, and I don’t know enough Spanish to go chasing them with any confidence.

  135. 135
    David Wilford

    David @ 127:

    Consider it an open invitation to all unbelievers then, and think of the possibilities.

  136. 136
    Azuma Hazuki

    I would like one Christian, one, to explain to me how he or she has any morals at all under what they by definition must believe about God.

    A Christian must believe that God is the source of morals, the standard of good, and indeed by his eternal, unchanging, immutable nature, is good itself. By stating this, they commit themselves to making a comparison to God every time they use the word “good” or “moral” or “virtuous.”

    X is good –> X is consistent with God’s nature

    To do X is good –> To do X is God’s command

    God commands what is good –> God commands what God commands

    Goodness is part of God’s nature –> Part of God’s nature is part of God’s nature

    God is morally perfect –> God is exactly like God.

    How can anyone get morals at all out of this, let alone objective morality?! In this worldview, moral facts exist solely in the mind, or “nature,” of God! That quite is literally the Platonic Ideal of subjective morality! Under this worldview, Divine Command Theory, anything God says to do becomes good. There are no good or evil acts. God may tell you to murder, rape, torture, commit genocide, and by definition it would be good. God may tell you to slaughter the entire human race, and it would by definition be good. God may tell you and all humanity to go to Hell for all eternity, for no reason at all, and by definition it would still be good.

    Am I missing something here? How is it possible for a complete, circular tautology like this to have any meaning?

    If anything this means that, far from non-believers presupposing the Christian worldview for morality, Christianity presupposes a naturalistic and secular worldview. Ain’t that a hoot? They’re projecting! Everything they accuse non-Christians of, they’re guilty of themselves!

    I’m wondering if the next person who debates a Christian ought to try this tactic, viz., throwing back all the projecting accusations they make, adopting their language, and calling them out on their presuppositions of naturalistic morality…and, when it comes time to defend those charges, hit them with a massive load of primatology studies (Fouts, de Waal) after showing them how circular and self-referential their supposed objective morals are.

  137. 137
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Consider it an open invitation to all unbelievers then, and think of the possibilities.

    There are no possibilities, as it is all bullshit. Evidently, can’t think of any to explain anything.

  138. 138
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Evidently, can’t think of any to explain anything.

    Meant this to say, evidently you can’t think of any to explain your position (with evidence of course)….

  139. 139
    Holms

    #129
    Consider it an open invitation to all unbelievers then, and think of the possibilities.

    An open invitation… to do what? To desire peace? What an empty invitation. Being invited to desire peace implies that we didn’t already want it, as if christianity has some kind of stewardship over the very concept of peace, and everyone else needs to be shown that war is not cool. Which of course stands in blatant contrast to the fact that violence is strongly correlated with religion, but such pesky details do not typically figure into the worldview of the religious.

    Being invited to desire something you already desire is like being invited into your own home – you don’t need one, because you’re already there.

    This means that, at best, his words are useless, while at worst, they characterise other groups – especially non-believers – as being immoral. Hence, I maintain ‘fuck the pope’ until he stops spouting lame platitudes and starts fucking doing something. Opening his clergy to police investigation or paedophilia would be a good start.

  140. 140
    omnicrom

    Consider it an open invitation to all unbelievers then, and think of the possibilities.

    Are we going to have to do this same old song and dance again David Wilford?

    What possibilities exactly are you talking about? What dialogue with the pope would be effective or useful for anything? I mean we’ve lambasted the RCC for lying about condoms, hating gays and women, and protecting child rapists about a million times now, if we do it two million times will they suddenly reverse course and turn good, just, and uncorrupt?

  141. 141
    jacobbasson

    (Having trouble with the comment system, apologies if all my attempts show up at once or something…)

    PZ, you wrote that you don’t expect to ever agree with him on just about any subject, but don’t you already know that’s not true? I suspect there is at least some overlap in your beliefs about homosexuality, and CONSIDERABLE overlap in regard to economic injustice. Those are not trivial issues…

  142. 142
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    David Wilford:
    Since you value tone so much, if you took the pope up on his offer, what then? There is no indication he is interested in fixing any of the problems we’ve mentioned in this thread, so what would you hope to accomplish?
    BTW, please don’t turn this thread into all about you.

  143. 143
    Inaji

    Tony:

    BTW, please don’t turn this thread into all about you.

    Don’t hold your breath, Tony.

  144. 144
    Azuma Hazuki

    Bergoglio mystifies me, he really does. I can’t tell what’s PR and what he genuinely believes, as well as what’s from him and what he’s being coached to say…

  145. 145
    rorschach

    Beatrice @120,

    RCC didn’t find out about pedophilia in its ranks yesterday. It wasn’t something that… ups, happened and it was such a horrible surprise to all those nice men.

    They have been hiding this public secret for decades.

    Make that millenia, not decades. A detailed account of Christian abuse can be found in this book

  146. 146
    omnicrom

    Bergoglio mystifies me, he really does. I can’t tell what’s PR and what he genuinely believes, as well as what’s from him and what he’s being coached to say…

    I like to think that if Bergoglio wasn’t Catholic he could have been a really good person. Now if he actually was a good guy he’s shackled to the corrupt ugliness of the Roman Catholic Church. All the stuff he did as a priest in Argentina paints a good picture, but now he’s pope and he has to keep the church safe even if it shouldn’t be.

    But then again the Pope is almost certainly a true believer, and he’s probably been extremely well vetted to make sure he’s supremely orthodox so that he won’t do anything embarrassing like taking a stand against child rapists. Additionally all this stuff about the pope going “off message” seems like a cheeky way to try and have their cake and eat it to. The people who want the church to change will buy into his winning smile and his platitudes about how atheists can be invited to not be warmongers. The hardline conservatives will sniff their noses at the pope for the meager concessions and be reassured that he’s merely a maverick and the official church corrections show they’re just as intolerant as they ever were.

  147. 147
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    David Wilford

    Since talk is cheap, it seems reasonable enough to talk back rather than turn one’s back, at least when someone is being nice about it.

    Holy fuck, have you read anything those of us who are not straight men have been writing?
    It does not matter how much he smiles and how nice he’s being about it. He does not see me as a woman or my gay brothers and sisters as full human beings and is working actively in favour of denying us basic human rights. He wants me to be a broodmare that pops out a baby at least every other year. So, why should “being nice” about these things count a fuck?

    Consider it an open invitation to all unbelievers then, and think of the possibilities.

    Like what?
    It’s an invitation on their own terms, an invitation where they graciously deem to tolerate us filthy whores who have sex for fun and those depraved gays.

  148. 148
    zenlike

    In Spain, the conservative government with huge backing from the RCC has reintroduced laws banning abortion except in some narrowly-defined cases. Those are the actions of the RCC, and those speak louder then words. Fuck the pope and his sycophants and apologists.

  149. 149
    a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    David Marjanović,
    WRT my “Ratzi the Nazi”, I was referring more to his youthful fashion statements than his politics. He was, after all, in the Hitler Youth.

  150. 150
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    ARIDS

    David Marjanović,
    WRT my “Ratzi the Nazi”, I was referring more to his youthful fashion statements than his politics. He was, after all, in the Hitler Youth.

    yes, and that is both wrong and deeply insulting to the victims of fascism.
    Would you find it appropriate to call somebody a homophobe for the rest of their lives because they were in the boy scouts?
    No?
    In that case, how about stopping to call people Nazis because they were members of a group where membership was mandatory?
    Call Ratzinger out for the bullshit and the crimes he committed, ffs.

  151. 151
    a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    Giliell,
    I’d feel worse about it if there were evidence his politics had changed significantly from his brownshirt days. I frankly don’t see a whole lot of difference in absolute authority of Hitler and absolute authority of the pope, other than the fact that Germany had industry while the Vatican does not. Ratzinger always stressed purity of ideology over humanity. I have not said that all forced into the Hitler Youth were Nazis, and frankly for Ratzi, if the jackboot fits…

  152. 152
    fabianocaccin

    e anche a quei fratelli e sorelle che non credono

    Indeed “even” is not the right word to use here. “And those brothers and sister who do not believe too” is certainly more suitable.
    About Ratzi being in the Hitler youth: not to defend the reprehensible gentleman but that was not exactly a choice.

  153. 153
    David Marjanović

    Consider it an open invitation to all unbelievers then,

    That’s what it is. Unfortunately, it’s an invitation to sit around and keep hoping while doing nothing.

    and think of the possibilities.

    What possibilities? The possibility that the hypothetical cockles of the alleged hearts of Putin, Xi & Li and al-Assad will be warmed by the sheer cuteness of it all?

    Please do explain.

    Am I missing something here? How is it possible for a complete, circular tautology like this to have any meaning?

    The only thing you’ve missed is that not all Christians are divine-command theorists in the first place.

    Being invited to desire peace implies that we didn’t already want it

    I think it really was off script, and his thought process went like this:

    1) I’ll invite everyone to pray along for peace! The more people pray, the better it works, maybe! And everybody’ll love me for being all ecumenical and interfaith! (OK, the ultraconservative hardliners won’t, but they’ll tolerate it.)
    2) Ooh! I know, I know! I’ll go off script and mention the atheists! I’ll invite them to join, too! (Also, it’ll make the ultraconservative hardliners cringe, which is gonna be a joy to watch, but it won’t make them do anything.)
    3) Oops. Atheists don’t pray. … I’ll ask them to just desire peace. Surely God, being good and all, will see the good will and count that as prayer?

    In all this spontaneity he overlooked that he’d come across to many as implying atheists didn’t already desire peace.

    *shrug*

    Additionally all this stuff about the pope going “off message” seems like a cheeky way to try and have their cake and eat it to. The people who want the church to change will buy into his winning smile and his platitudes about how atheists can be invited to not be warmongers. The hardline conservatives will sniff their noses at the pope for the meager concessions and be reassured that he’s merely a maverick and the official church corrections show they’re just as intolerant as they ever were.

    Whether planned or not, that’s exactly what’s happening.

    In Spain, the conservative government with huge backing from the RCC has reintroduced laws banning abortion except in some narrowly-defined cases.

    It’s actually more restrictive than the law of 1985. Both sides have been marching in the streets for days.

  154. 154
    David Marjanović

    I have not said that all forced into the Hitler Youth were Nazis

    You just called it a “fashion statement”. You just called his parents not going to jail a fashion statement.

    I frankly don’t see a whole lot of difference in absolute authority of Hitler and absolute authority of the pope, other than the fact that Germany had industry while the Vatican does not. Ratzinger always stressed purity of ideology over humanity.

    It’s true that he’s an authoritarian and that Nazis are authoritarians. That’s where the similarities end, though. Leninist communists are authoritarians, too.

  155. 155
    LykeX

    Since talk is cheap, it seems reasonable enough to talk back rather than turn one’s back, at least when someone is being nice about it.

    Call me crazy, but I’d like it if they’d stop raping children and killing women before we start being all chummy. I know, so unreasonable of me.

  156. 156
    a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    David Marjanović,
    So, because he doffed the brown shirt and donned a cassock, we are to pat him on the head and say, “Aww, there’s a good pope?” What I see is a life-long denial of the importance of individual conscience in favor of absolute obedience to authority–especially when that authority was his.

    I would point out that many here are holding Francis/Bergoglio to a higher standard than that wrt his complicity/survival during the Argentine dirty little war (little, presumably because we can lop off 3 or 4 zeros from the casualty totals compared to the regime of Ratzi’s early allegiance).

    Fine, you don’t like bringing up Ratzi’s Nazi past, how about his association with the Inquisition (albeit, reformed, since they don’t hold weekly heretic barbecues anymore). Benny was about the worst choice possible for Pope. Franky is an improvement. I’ll smile at him. I won’t trust him, but I’ll smile, maybe even wave.

  157. 157
    David Marjanović

    So, because he doffed the brown shirt and donned a cassock, we are to pat him on the head and say, “Aww, there’s a good pope?”

    What?

    What I see is a life-long denial of the importance of individual conscience in favor of absolute obedience to authority–especially when that authority was his.

    Uh, yeah. That just doesn’t make him a Nazi.

    Ratzi’s Nazi past

    He doesn’t have any. Seriously, he doesn’t.

    how about his association with the Inquisition (albeit, reformed, since they don’t hold weekly heretic barbecues anymore). Benny was about the worst choice possible for Pope. Franky is an improvement.

    I agree.

  158. 158
    David Wilford

    Certainly, no one has to talk with the Pope if they’re not inclined to and I respect everyone’s right to make that choice. FWIW, here’s one atheist who talked personally with Pope Francis, and perhaps some here will be interested in what they had to say to each other:

    http://www.repubblica.it/cultura/2013/10/01/news/pope_s_conversation_with_scalfari_english-67643118/

  159. 159
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    FWIW, here’s one atheist who talked personally with Pope Francis, and perhaps some here will be interested in what they had to say to each other:

    Why should anyone who is skeptical of religious motives care? Unless you can show me solid and conclusive evidence that the pope is actually listening and taking action, rather than preaching, there is nothing to be gained by any communication, since as far as the church is concerned it is a one-way street; from them to us, and we change.

  160. 160
    David Marjanović

    and perhaps some here will be interested in what they had to say to each other:

    It’s sort of interesting in what it tells about the pope’s positions (theological, social, political and the like). It’s also… interesting in that the atheist interviewer turns out to believe in a bit of spiritual woo-woo. But apart from that?

    The only thing relevant to this thread is this quote: “The first thing I decided was to appoint a group of eight cardinals to be my advisers. Not courtiers but wise people who share my own feelings. This is the beginning of a Church with an organization that is not just top-down but also horizontal. When Cardinal Martini talked about focusing on the councils and synods he knew how long and difficult it would be to go in that direction. Gently, but firmly and tenaciously.” In short, we may indeed live to see the next council. That’s all.

    So, I don’t see what your point is.

  161. 161
    David Wilford

    Why should anyone who is skeptical of religious motives care?

    Because it’s one thing to be skeptical about religious beliefs, and another to be skeptical about the sincerity of the person who holds them, whether it’s the Pope or any other person of faith. You don’t have to read anything you don’t want to, but for a Pope to talk frankly with an atheist on the record is noteworthy to say the least.

  162. 162
    David Wilford

    David @ 160:

    But apart from that?

    I think it’s interesting to here this from a Pope, myself:

    Your Holiness, is there is a single vision of the Good? And who decides what it is?

    “Each of us has a vision of good and of evil. We have to encourage people to move towards what they think is Good.”

    Your Holiness, you wrote that in your letter to me. The conscience is autonomous, you said, and everyone must obey his conscience. I think that’s one of the most courageous steps taken by a Pope.

    “And I repeat it here. Everyone has his own idea of good and evil and must choose to follow the good and fight evil as he conceives them. That would be enough to make the world a better place.”

    And that applies to believers and non-believers alike, I’m sure.

  163. 163
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Saying the Catholic church stands for child rape and mysogyny is like saying America stands for torture, lack of privacy, economic inequality, and destroying the environment.

    America is also, at least on its face, a democracy where the government supposed to be responsive to the people and reflect their wishes. The church is not, and Very Serious About It.

  164. 164
    dysomniak "They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred!"

    It may be “noteworthy” but it certainly wasn’t “frank.” Was that supposed to be journalism? Because it reads like a handjob. Hell, Jon Stewart’s pro-Blackwater propaganda piece with Erik Prince was more honest.

  165. 165
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    You don’t have to read anything you don’t want to, but for a Pope to talk frankly with an atheist on the record is noteworthy to say the least.

    The atheist was the interviewer. Big whoop-de-do. Don’t overread any significance.
    If you want to talk to the religious, YOU do so. But quit trying to make inane claims that there is any benefit without showing conclusively there is.

    And that applies to believers and non-believers alike, I’m sure.

    Inane meaningless mental drivel without significance.

  166. 166
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    It’s interesting that David Wilford is only talking back to the guys here. Not to say telling.
    I mean, women and gays, really, shut up while we decide how nice the Pope is exactly.

    You don’t have to read anything you don’t want to, but for a Pope to talk frankly with an atheist on the record is noteworthy to say the least.

    It’s only important if you believe that the Pope is a super-special person about whose opinion one shoudl give a fuck.
    Since I firmly belong into the category of “not quite human” according to the RCC, I don’t care.

  167. 167
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    arids

    Fine, you don’t like bringing up Ratzi’s Nazi past…

    As David said, he doesn’t have one. And it’s not only fuck annoying, it’s frankly offensive.
    Not so much towards Ratzinger, but to those of us and our families who suffered under the Nazis and under those who actually had a Nazi past. To equate Ratzinger non-voluntary membership in the HJ with people like Kisinger etc is disgusting and diminishes the actual horrors of German Fascism.
    Because Fascism was not kids singing stupid songs.

  168. 168
    Anri

    Maybe this is a bit tin-foil-hat (or maybe it’s Too Bloody Obvious To Even Mention) but does anyone else think we’ve got a man-behind-the-man situation with the Papacy currently? Pope Palpatine retires, but retains an unspecified amount of ‘influence’ way out of the public spotlight, and we’ve got someone a lot more friendly-seeming out in front now.

    Church getting slammed for seeming too hard-lined, too behind-the-times? No sweat, let’s put a new figurehead in place, just so the Dowager Pope gets to keep his Prada pumps.

    Maybe I’m over-thinking this. And I’m definitely over-hyphenating it.

  169. 169
    ChasCPeterson

    It’s interesting that David Wilford is only talking back to the guys here.

    what’s interesting to me is that anybody is still talking back to Wilford.
    He continues to hold forth only because people (well, OK, mostly Nerd) keep giving him the back.

  170. 170
    ChasCPeterson

    To equate Ratzinger non-voluntary membership in the HJ with people like Kisinger etc is disgusting and diminishes the actual horrors of German Fascism.

    Kisinger? True, he was a righty, but I think ‘Fascist’ is kind of a stretch.

    (I don’t think Heinz was a Nazi either.)

  171. 171
    LykeX

    Everyone has his own idea of good and evil and must choose to follow the good and fight evil as he conceives them. That would be enough to make the world a better place.

    Given that I’m sure a lot of really unpleasant people are doing what they genuinely think is right, I can’t agree with that. Personally, I think there are a lot of people who have a really screwed up idea of what good and evil is.

    And seriously, since you’re so desperate to ignore this point, let me repeat it again: The Catholic church is a criminal organization, directly responsible for the death and misery of too many people to count. Not just in ancient history, but today, right at this moment.

    Right now, as you’re reading this, A child is crying. A child who is lying in bed, scared to death if Father Whatever is going to come in again. Father Whatever has done it before, he was even caught, but then nothing happened. The bishop decided it would be best for the parish if nobody was told.

    Right now, there are people who are mourning a woman who died as a direct result of the Catholic Church’s position on abortion. A wife, mother or daughter. There are people who are dead because of the Church. As a direct and entirely predictable result of the church’s teachings, these people are mourning a loved one.

    It’s not enough that he stops talking about the unpopular stuff, he has to active take a stand against it and put some real authority behind it. He’s the goddamn pope. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask him to do more than talk when people are dying.
    And if he can’t do that, then who gives a shit what he says? If he doesn’t have the power to drag the Catholic Church out of the mire, then what good is he? That makes him completely irrelevant.

  172. 172
    David Wilford

    FWIW, my post @ 158 was addressed to everyone, including Giliell @ 147:

    Like what?

  173. 173
    David Wilford

    LykeX:

    And seriously, since you’re so desperate to ignore this point, let me repeat it again: The Catholic church is a criminal organization, directly responsible for the death and misery of too many people to count. Not just in ancient history, but today, right at this moment.

    Agreed, and I’m not at all sympathetic to the Catholic church’s past record of repression and persecution of unbelievers, its subordination of women, and its unjust treatment of homosexuals.

    It’s when a Pope, of all people, is willing to come out and start saying it’s time to cut that sort of crap out that I consider listening myself. So far, so good, but as further investigation of the coverup of sexual abuse in the church proceeds, we’ll see how far this Pope is truly willing to go.

  174. 174
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Chas
    I was talking about somebody else.
    Not the American Kissingers. But somehow I can’t find the Wiki, so it’s totally possible I mixed up names. I’m terrible when it comes to names

    David Wilford
    So, still no word on the misogyny and homophobia. Guess women and gays just don’t register high enough on your list of people who matter

  175. 175
    David Marjanović

    You don’t have to read anything you don’t want to, but for a Pope to talk frankly with an atheist on the record is noteworthy to say the least.

    I’m still unimpressed, though. I’m more impressed by how far you’ve managed to change the topic, which used to be the war in Syria.

    I think it’s interesting to here this from a Pope, myself:

    Huh. All of that has been doctrine for a long time. Note how everyone having their own conscience in no way means they have different ones; it’s fully compatible with the Catholic doctrine that everyone’s conscience was created by God and that God speaks through it, so people better listen. Indeed it goes back all the way to that passage in some epistle of Paul that claims everybody knows God and the infidels are just in denial about it.

    Since we’re already awash in Godwin, let me spell it out: judging from their public and private writings and speeches, Hitler and Stalin and Mao were all doing what they were fully convinced was right, viewing some but by no means all of it as necessary evils.

    what’s interesting to me is that anybody is still talking back to Wilford.

    Easy: he’s wrong on the Internet, and he hasn’t quite failed the Turing test yet (though sometimes I wonder).

    Right now, as you’re reading this, A child is crying. A child who is lying in bed, scared to death if Father Whatever is going to come in again. Father Whatever has done it before, he was even caught, but then nothing happened. The bishop decided it would be best for the parish if nobody was told.

    Right now, there are people who are mourning a woman who died as a direct result of the Catholic Church’s position on abortion. A wife, mother or daughter. There are people who are dead because of the Church. As a direct and entirely predictable result of the church’s teachings, these people are mourning a loved one.

    None of it mentioned with as much as one word in the interview.

  176. 176
    David Marjanović

    I was talking about somebody else. [...] I’m terrible when it comes to names

    I wonder if I’m remembering some Kiesinger.

    Just to illustrate how far spellings and pronunciations can vary: I personally knew a Giesinger.

  177. 177
    Inaji

    Everyone has his own idea of good and evil and must choose to follow the good and fight evil as he conceives them. That would be enough to make the world a better place.

    When it comes to religion, religious thought and dictates, and religious people, that’s enough to make the world a bad place, twisted with misery and suffering.

    You’re a fucking idiot, and a dangerous one at that, as you rather exemplify the adage “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.”

  178. 178
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Pope babbling about peace and love and everything nice… while still protecting pedophiles and supporting bigoted laws (like those that “protect families” (from teh gay)).

    Alert the press.
    Oh wait, they’re already falling all over themselves to praise the Pope… who’s doing the same spinning all those before him did.

  179. 179
    David Wilford

    David @ 175:

    Huh. All of that has been doctrine for a long time.

    Sure it has been. It’s the renewed emphasis that’s noteworthy.

    As for deciding what’s good or not, let’s be clear about one thing at least: doing things for the sake of wielding power over others isn’t a good thing, which is what Hitler, Stalin and Mao were doing. I’m pretty sure they knew it too.

  180. 180
    omnicrom

    Sure it has been. It’s the renewed emphasis that’s noteworthy.

    In what way? Having the pope reiterate lukewarm insubstantial positive placards is TERRIFIC publicity because suddenly there are lots and lots of people like you who will say good things about the church now. And even better they didn’t have to do a damn thing to earn it.

    Talk is cheap. If it’s really noteworthy that the church is doing PR after being thrashed for their sins I’d honestly like to know how or in what way it’s noteworthy.

  181. 181
    David Wilford

    omnicrom @ 180:

    If it’s really noteworthy that the church is doing PR after being thrashed for their sins I’d honestly like to know how or in what way it’s noteworthy.

    For comparison’s sake, consider if Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) talked with an avowed atheist on the record and said that the Republican Party’s emphasis on judging homosexuality was wrong and that atheists could be good, moral citizens. Sure, it would be nice to have some actual followup, but it would definitely be noteworthy.

  182. 182
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Still no word from David Wilford about homophobia and misogyny…

  183. 183
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    For comparison’s sake, consider if Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) talked with an avowed atheist on the record and said that the Republican Party’s emphasis on judging homosexuality was wrong and that atheists could be good, moral citizens.

    Except you overstate the case for pope. He said nothing whatsoever considered newsworthy by any rational skeptic, much less any atheist. Why you think it is worthy of anything other dismissal as business as usual says a lot about your prejudices not ours. Talk, like yours, is cheap. Follow up with evidence, is golden. Which is why you are ignored except to show your SIWOTI. You are all talk, no substance.

  184. 184
    David Wilford

    Giliell, see my post @ 173 and respond to that if you like.

    Nerd, just consider the comparison with Boehner and tell me whether you’d consider it noteworthy or not.

  185. 185
    LykeX

    For comparison’s sake, consider if Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) talked with an avowed atheist on the record and said that the Republican Party’s emphasis on judging homosexuality was wrong

    As long as he was still voting for legislation that discriminated against homosexuals, I wouldn’t put much stock in it. As long as Republican politicians were still harvesting votes by proposing anti-gay bills and he didn’t call them out for it, I wouldn’t for a moment think that it heralded a new step for the GOP. Rather, I’d think the same as I do now: it’s a PR stunt. It’s an attempt to get critics to shut up without actually changing anything.

    Telling people what they want to hear is easy. Telling people what they don’t want to hear is the hard part. If he really meant to change things, he wouldn’t tell us, he’d tell them. We already know.
    Let me be a speech writer for the pope for a moment:

    We, the clergy, have failed you. We have allowed an evil to grow in our midst and tolerated its presence. As the head of the Church and the heir of Saint Peter, I swear to you that this will stop today. From this moment forward, we turn a new leaf:

    1) The abuse of children is both criminal and sinful. There can be no excuse. Any priest accused of such behavior will be temporarily removed from contact with children, pending investigations. If any investigation, internal or external, shows reasonable evidence of misconduct, the priest will be permanently barred from any position involving unsupervised contact with children. God may forgive them, but we can no longer trust them.

    2) From this moment and ever forward, the church, as a whole and as each individual member, will comply and cooperate fully and completely with any and all investigations made by secular authorities in their relevant country. Any clergy failing to cooperate with such investigations will be considered in breach of his duties and removed from any office and responsibility until he complies.
    If persistent in his refusal to cooperate with legitimate authorities, he will be in direct disobedience to church authority and will be defrocked. This covers all levels of church authority, all documents and supersedes all previous regulations.

    3) Absolution requires penance. In the case of criminal behavior, such penance must include a complete confession to secular authorities. If a person refuses to give such a secular confession, the spiritual confession is considered invalid and the seal of the confession is not in effect.

    4) Any priest that, during the course of a confession, becomes aware of such criminal activity, and if the confessor does not agree to give a full, secular confession, as per point 3 above, the priest has a clerical, moral and legal responsibility to tell all that he knows to the secular authorities. Failure to do so is not only sinful, but also criminal and will therefore fall under the same rules as points 3 and 4.

    5) Any clergy that fails to do his duty in these matters, or, through silence, protects another member of the clergy, will be defrocked, in addition to any other penalties that may apply.

    When he gives that statement, I’ll accept it as a valid first step.

  186. 186
    vaiyt

    For comparison’s sake, consider if Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) talked with an avowed atheist on the record and said that the Republican Party’s emphasis on judging homosexuality was wrong and that atheists could be good, moral citizens. Sure, it would be nice to have some actual followup, but it would definitely be noteworthy.

    Doing that while the party itself keeps trying to make gays second class citizens? Only noteworthy in the “Look, someone’s being a huge hypocrite” sense.

  187. 187
    Inaji

    LykeX:

    When he gives that statement, I’ll accept it as a valid first step.

    Indeed.

    Step two: We now recognize that women are autonomous human beings, individuals with full human rights and the ability to think and make decisions for themselves. We also now recognize that the lives of women are important and will no longer interfere in personal medical matters.

    Step three: We admit to decades of lies over the matter of condom use, and realize we have caused an untold amount of death and suffering, needlessly. We will stop lying about condom use, recognizing that saving lives is more important than the issue of contraception.

    Step four: We have been wrong about all those who are non-heterosexual. As people who have decided to eschew sexual relations, we will step back on our stance and recognize that love is the most important factor between people, and that being non-heterosexual is not deviant, nor does it mean that people should not be allowed to be parents, if this is their wish.

    There’s more, but it would be a start. And there’s a reason it never will – to take any of those steps would remove the very foundation of the RCC.

  188. 188
    David Marjanović

    doing things for the sake of wielding power over others isn’t a good thing, which is what Hitler, Stalin and Mao were doing. I’m pretty sure they knew it too.

    *blink*
    They wielded that power as a means for various ends. What are you talking about?

    will be defrocked

    Insert deeply cynical comment on the general dearth of priests here.

  189. 189
    Inaji

    David:

    What are you talking about?

    The same exact moronic shit he repeated ad nauseum here: http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/11/02/who-needs-reason-evidence-when-youve-got-hurt-feelings/

    Please, I beg of you, don’t respond to this shit. Wilford is worse (much worse) than a mentally impaired parrot.

  190. 190
    David Marjanović

    Ah. That thread was so long when I found it that I didn’t bother trying to catch up.

  191. 191
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Ah. That thread was so long when I found it that I didn’t bother trying to catch up.

    Don’t bother unless you want to feel like you lost a few IQ points. A vacuous accommodationist label fits DW to a tee. Tiresome and inane, like all those who say we should change our behavior. Those we criticize are fine, just misunderstood, should be listened to, and if properly engaged will change their attitudes. Evidently he missed out on the MRA siege of this blog. No way to engage, as they aren’t listening, they are preaching, just like all religious leaders.

  192. 192
    omnicrom

    For comparison’s sake, consider if Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) talked with an avowed atheist on the record and said that the Republican Party’s emphasis on judging homosexuality was wrong and that atheists could be good, moral citizens. Sure, it would be nice to have some actual followup, but it would definitely be noteworthy.

    Not a good comparison at all. The Pope has said that atheists can want peace and be moral and poverty is bad. He has been silent on the suffering the church has inflicted on women and gays and child rape victims. The church has continuously put forth a shallow message of goodwill, so nothing the pope has said is really new. If John Boehner speaking for the Republican party suddenly said something positive about homosexuals and atheists he WOULD be saying something new. The pope really hasn’t.

    Additionally even if John Boehner were to suddenly say something humanistic it means nothing unless the Republican Party actually moved to be better to atheists and homosexuals. As it stands if Boehner gave that Pro-Gay, Pro-Atheist speech tomorrow it would be meaningful, but not in the way you would want. It would be meaningful because Boehner would be committing career suicide and absolutely nothing would come of it. The only difference between hypothetical!Boehner and real!Pope is that real!Pope risks nothing but putting on an air of inclusivity.

    So again David Wilford we’re back to questions. What exactly is so noteworthy about the Pope raking in some free goodwill at no cost to himself? Talk is cheap. It will be noteworthy to me only if the Church finally decides to reduce the amount of evil it inflicts on the world.

  193. 193
    zenlike

    Like all religious apologists, David waxes fondly over kind words spoken by the religious, but does his damn hard to ignore the actual factual actions taken by the same religious because those facts are inconvenient.

    Women! Hear that? Yes, you might be reduced to brooding mares because the RCC pushed for harsh anti-abortion laws (like they did just now in Spain!), but listen! The pope has some nice words to say, so everything is ok!

    Gays! Hear that? Yes, you might have less rights then straights because the RCC pushed for banning ssm (like they did just now in Croatia!), but listen! The pope has some nice words to say, so everything is ok!

  194. 194
    zenlike

    By the way, those two points I mentioned are things which happened just this week. That’s what the RCC is actually doing right now. Care to comment on that David?

  195. 195
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Whatever I had to write to David Wilford, zenlike @193 wrote it better.
    Indeed, cheap words are more important to Wilford than actual people

  196. 196
    Al Dente

    Pope Frank may talk the talk but he doesn’t even try to walk the walk.

  197. 197
    Nick Gotts

    I would point out that many here are holding Francis/Bergoglio to a higher standard than that wrt his complicity/survival during the Argentine dirty little war – arids@156

    That’s because Ratzinger was a powerless teenager at the relevant time, while Bergoglio was in his 40s, and head of the Jesuit order in Argentina.

    With respect to which, evidence of his active, personal complicity with the junta is equivocal (and in this regard, I should say that I’ve previously used photos I believed to be of him with Videla, but which apparently are not), but at the very least, it is clear that the RCC was deeply complicit, and that Bergoglio never spoke out against this. Here is an interview with Argentinian 1980 Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, a defender of Bergoglio, and even from that, it’s clear that his record was far from impressive. Of the two Jesuit priests he has been accused of abandoning to the junta’s torturers, one died in 2000 still convinced he was responsible for their arrest, while the other has “reconciled” with him.

    On abortion, the position of women in the church, homosexuality, and contraception, there is no worthwhile evidence that Bergoglio’s views differ from his predecessors’. As for those who’ve tried to link Bergoglio with “liberation theology”, they couldn’t be more wrong. Bergoglio is a longtime associate of the “integralist” (i.e. clerical-fascist) organization Comunione e Liberazione (“Communion and Liberation”). Note that “concern for the poor” (as long as they were of the right ethnicity and kept in their place) was always a part of fascist doctrine.

  198. 198
    LykeX

    Just stumbled unto this over at Butterflies and Wheels:

    Father Greg Reynolds of Melbourne, Australia found out last week that Pope Francis had excommunicated him, and he was shocked. Granted, Reynolds holds less than traditional views in the Catholic Church—he supports women’s ordination and gay marriage—but Pope Francis has more than hinted lately that the Church needs to adopt a new tone towards those social issues. “I am very surprised that this order has come under his watch; it seems so inconsistent with everything else he has said and done,” Reynolds told the National Catholic Reporter, a widely read source for Catholic news.

    My emphasis.

    Support gay marriage: Excommunication.
    Repeatedly rape members of the congregation: Well, let’s not be hasty. I’m sure he deserves a second third chance.

    Actions. Words. Relative volume.

  199. 199
    vaiyt

    In Brazil, several bishops have been surfacing with histories of giving asylum to people persecuted by the military dictatorship. Well, that’s good and all, but said dictatorship had massive support from the Church (“Reactionary and conservative? Sign me in!”) to set itself up. Thanks for helping mitigate the mess you helped make, assholes.

  200. 200
    Keith Moon

    A careful reading of these 199 comments drives me to the conclusion that “atheists are irrationally angry and self-righteous, which makes them very much like their Catholic antagonists and which causes them to make really stupid decisions” is a pretty reasonable generalization to make.

  201. 201
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    A careful reading of these 199 comments drives me to the conclusion that “atheists are irrationally angry and self-righteous, which makes them very much like their Catholic antagonists and which causes them to make really stupid decisions” is a pretty reasonable generalization to make.

    Evidence to back up that conclusion????

  202. 202
    LykeX

    @Keith Moon
    A careful reading of your comment drives me to the conclusion that you’re a fucking moron.

    Notice that I’ve presented exactly as much evidence as you have, so if you think your comment is warranted, you must also accept mine.

  203. 203
    Al Dente

    Shorter Keith Moon: You atheists aren’t praising the Pope so you’re irrational.

    Note that Keith Moon ignores the many posts explaining why we don’t admire the Pope and his invitation to desire peace along with him. The projection is strong in this one.

  204. 204
    Inaji

    Keith Moon:

    A careful reading of these 199 comments

    Oh, I don’t think there was any careful reading at all. There’s certainly no comprehension apparent on your part.

  205. 205
    omnicrom

    A careful reading of these 199 comments drives me to the conclusion that “atheists are irrationally angry and self-righteous, which makes them very much like their Catholic antagonists and which causes them to make really stupid decisions” is a pretty reasonable generalization to make.

    Well the important thing is that you’ve found a way to feel superior to both.

  206. 206
    Azuma Hazuki

    @David M waaaaaay upthread:

    What alternative to Divine Command Theory is there for a Christian, Muslim, or Jew? Anything else implies that there is a standard of morals, good, righteousness OUTSIDE of God,and furthermore one even he must follow. Doesn’t that imply God isn’t sovereign?

  207. 207
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Keith Moon

    A careful reading of these 199 comments drives me to the conclusion that “atheists are irrationally angry and self-righteous, which makes them very much like their Catholic antagonists and which causes them to make really stupid decisions” is a pretty reasonable generalization to make.

    Yep, all those irrational ladies who will not see male reason when it comes to their own bodily autonomy.
    They are upset about the idea that they should have to face pregnancy and childbirth every time somebody ejaculates inside of them, regardless of whether they consented to the act or not, and whether this will kill them.
    Therefore, they are wrong.
    I rest my case.

  208. 208
    PatrickG

    all those irrational ladies who will not see male reason

    MISANDRY!!!!!!!

    Please don’t conflate that sort of “reason” with males. Just because Keith isn’t able to escape the grasping claws of “civility” doesn’t mean you should assume all men are as stupid as he is. ;)

  209. 209
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Patrick G

    Please don’t conflate that sort of “reason” with males. Just because Keith isn’t able to escape the grasping claws of “civility” doesn’t mean you should assume all men are as stupid as he is. ;)

    Please, you’re being obnoxious.
    1. There are millenia of history where women were deemed irrational (remember, we’re hysterical because our uteri move around) and incapable of making sound decisions (when exactly did we gain the vote, and property rights? Oh right, I still knew women in person who had to fight for them).
    2. We’re talking about the RCC where having a dick is a condition for having anything worthwhile to say.

    Don’t act as if this wasn’t a gendered problem.

  210. 210
    Lofty

    Keith Moon may have read 199 posts but obviously understood none of them.

  211. 211
    gillyc

    Well to give him credit, he probably understood the one he wrote himself, which is very clever of him because as far as I can tell it’s not making any sense at all to anyone else reading it.

  212. 212
    David Wilford

    Keith Moon @ 200:

    I think that’s true. PZ and his ilk are more like the Catholic enforcer-type Bill Donohue than they might realize, in that they are polarizers. My way or the highway, whether it’s deigning to converse with the Pope as long as he undoes everything the RCC has done for the past few thousand years first, or being a “dictionary atheist”, or being a skeptic who happens to be a deist, or well, pretty much anything that doesn’t involve being a balls-to-the-wall social justice warrior online, part-time. Sorry, but PZ turns his back on you! (Hey, should that be an internet meme? Hmmm…)

    Shrug. It’s more like self-isolation if you ask me. That works on the internet, where you can pretend there are a lot of you. Back in the early 1990s on ye olde Usenet there seemed to be a lot of libertarians in the posting mix, but that was because a lot of young, white, male, techies were infected, er, blessed with the programming culture of the time that was pretty Ayn-Randish. There were also a lot of them in science fiction fandom, which led to a friend of mine once saying there should be a panel at a con titled “Libertarianism: Fated or Inevitable?” Honestly, that same kind of attitude is prevalent here.

    So, in the dialect that’s most understood here: the basic point of talking with anyone isn’t to win a fucking argument, it’s to listen to them and they to you. The point of talking to the Pope isn’t necessarily to convince him of anything, but to express your views to him and by extension to the general public in a big way. That atheist reporter in Italy did far more good for non-believers by talking with the Pope than PZ has with his turned back, by respectfully airing his non-belief for a lot of Catholics and other theists to see. There’s nothing the likes of Bill Donohue can do with that, other than choke on it. Good.

    And because it’s there:

  213. 213
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    The point of talking to the Pope isn’t necessarily to convince him of anything, but to express your views to him and by extension to the general public in a big way.

    That can be done other ways, and you know that. Your thinking the pope adds anything shows your lack of reasoning. Which is why you are criticized royally, as you should be.

    That atheist reporter in Italy did far more good for non-believers by talking with the Pope than PZ has with his turned back, by respectfully airing his non-belief for a lot of Catholics and other theists to see.

    No, he presented the Pope’s thoughts for everybody to see. You are certainly blind when it comes to religion, and respecting religion. Which is why you are criticized, and your inane fuckwitted unevidenced views are dismissed.

  214. 214
    Al Dente

    David Wilford, who never met a Christian he wasn’t impressed by, is annoyed that some of us don’t consider the Pope’s ass kissing-sweet. Just because the Catholic Church is a misogynist, homophobic, anti-humanist, authoritarian organization is no reason for atheists to be less than impressed by the Pope’s invitation to do something that most atheists have been doing for years.

    But wait, David Wilford isn’t saying we should be impressed by the Pope. David Wilford thinks we should talk to the Pope so that something might happen. What that something is and why atheists should want that something is the bit that David Wilford doesn’t explain. But since David Wilford is super-impressed by the Pope then it’s obvious that the Pope has something significant to say. Again what that something is and why it might be significant are such minor details that David Wilford doesn’t bother to define them to the atheists David Wilford is scolding for not being impressed by the Pope like David Wilford is.

  215. 215
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    My way or the highway, whether it’s deigning to converse with the Pope as long as he undoes everything the RCC has done for the past few thousand years first,

    Yes, because it’s not like people have legitimate grievances against the RCC here and now.
    Oh, wait, David Wilford doesn’t. It’s not like he’s a woman living in a country where access to abortion is severely limited thanks to the RCC. If we almost-people could just stop making so much noise about our basic human rights, because David Wilford can’t hear the pope loud enough.
    Jeez, people like you remind me of the servants in Jane Austen novels who all suffer from collective Stockholm Syndrome: The master entertains you once a year so it’s totally OK if your children are dying of Tuberculosis.

  216. 216
    Nick Gotts

    the basic point of talking with anyone isn’t to win a fucking argument, it’s to listen to them and they to you – David Wilford@212

    So why do you never show any evidence you’ve listened to – or at any rate, actually tried to understand – anyone here who disagrees with you?

  217. 217
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    David Wilford:
    Agreeing with Keith Moon I see. Not surprising. Keith’s post did not make much sense and ignored the reasons many of us have turned our back to the Pope. You have too, as Giliell’s repeated comments to you-which remain unaddressed-attest to.
    You cannot get it through your goddamned thick skull that nice words asidenothing has changed for the Pope. Gays and women are sorta humans whom he occassionally talks politely to. But treating us like human beings..? Thats too much for him.

    Oh and your religious apolgism has long since gotten tiresome. Still waiting for you to show how accommodationist tactics are the best way to effect change. As it stands, it looks like the wool is more easily pulled over your eyes by religious people being civil.

  218. 218
    LykeX

    My way or the highway

    You know, when it comes to child rape and the deliberate protection of the culprits, it really is my way or the highway.

    …as long as he undoes everything the RCC has done for the past few thousand years first…

    That’s bullshit. As has already pointed out, and as you yourself quoted earlier (#173), the crimes of the Catholic church are not a matter of ancient history. It’s right here and right now.

    That atheist reporter in Italy did far more good for non-believers by talking with the Pope than PZ has with his turned back, by respectfully airing his non-belief for a lot of Catholics and other theists to see

    I think we have a difference in priorities. I want the church to stop acting like a criminal organization. You want them to like you. Consequently, you think a nice, friendly conversation is a good thing. I don’t. I don’t want to be friends with people like that.

    Maybe the pope will get around to cleaning up the sewer that is the clergy, but I honestly don’t think so. I hope he proves me wrong and if he does, I’ll be happy to listen to him and be friendly. But he has to prove me wrong first.

  219. 219
    omnicrom

    David Wilford go away. I know you get an absolute rush talking down to all of us brutish atheists with our atheist hammers who are just as bad as the tiny smidgeon of religiosity you disapprove of, but as the bible says you’re being prideful and pride is a sin so cut that out. Since you’re tremendously religious you should accept the bible right? You don’t accept reason and logic so why not have some Dogma?

    Also David Wilford I find it hilarious that yet again you’ve decided unilaterally who atheists can criticize. Bill Donahue is okay to dislike, but heaven forbid you criticize the pope! I mean the Pope says nice things! And what you posture is more important than what you believe right David Wilford? That’s what’s come across from you over and over again. But do you really think Bill Donahue and the Pope are all that different in what they actually believe? Or what they think the church should do or say? I mean I know Bill Donahue is outwardly meaner, but here’s something that might blow your mind: content should be considered more important than tone.

  220. 220
    Inaji

    Al Dente:

    David Wilford thinks we should talk to the Pope so that something might happen.

    Here’s a thought: Hey, David Wilford! Here’s something useful you could do – why don’t you personally tackle Ol’ Pope Dude on the issue of the priest he just excommunicated, on the grounds of being a decent human being over being Catholic? G’wan, start your telephone and letter writing campaign, get the smiley pope to take it back, eh?

  221. 221
    Al Dente

    The Catholic Church claims to be the moral authority on Earth while simultaneously condoning child rape. The Catholic Church, governed by a set of geriatric, virgin bachelors, sets all sorts of rules on sexual behavior based on “this is God’s will.” The Catholic Church works to prevent GLBTs from enjoying the same rights as straights because “God thinks what they do in bed is icky.” The Catholic Church condemns use of contraception because “Baby Jesus cries when someone puts on a condom.” The Catholic Church is directly responsible for the deaths of many women, Savita Halappanavar being one of the more prominent examples, because “God hates abortion.” But David Wilford thinks we should ignore all that because the Pope uttered some platitudes.

  222. 222
    PatrickG

    @ Gilliel, 209: A bit baffled by your response. My comment was intended as a joke at the expense of Keith Moon, objecting to the application of the word “reason” to his oh-so-civil “both sides” rhetoric. With a snarky invocation of Misandry™ because I had to deal with too many MRA’s over the holidays.

    Not claiming one true interpretation of my words, or even that my joke was clear (let alone funny). But I thought I’d clarify, since I certainly wasn’t trying to suggest that the RCC’s policies and history — hell, reason for existence — aren’t decidedly skewed on the basis of gender. If my comment can be read that way, then I need serious help with my writing, because …. damn! So not my position. :)

  223. 223
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Patrick G
    Let’s just forget about it.
    See, that’s Poe’s Law: After a while you can’t tell the difference between joke and real opinion

  224. 224
    PatrickG

    Giliell: Consider it forgotten, aside from a reminder to myself to be more liberal with /snark tags. :)

  225. 225
    David Marjanović

    So, in the dialect that’s most understood here: the basic point of talking with anyone isn’t to win a fucking argument, it’s to listen to them and they to you. The point of talking to the Pope

    The point of the Pope talking to “us” is peace in Syria. It won’t and can’t possibly contribute to that very goal. So why should I care about how nicely or not the talking is done? It’s already useless!

    What alternative to Divine Command Theory is there for a Christian, Muslim, or Jew? Anything else implies that there is a standard of morals, good, righteousness OUTSIDE of God,and furthermore one even he must follow. Doesn’t that imply God isn’t sovereign?

    Of course most people have simply never thought about this issue. Those who have, I imagine, might have arrived at one of the following conclusions:

    1) Having external standards for morals make the statement “God is good” meaningful by more than definition; that’s a feature, not a bug.
    2) It’s a mystery, beyond the brainpower of puny humans! Just like the Trinity! *mad cackling* And what an awesome mystery it is! Credo quia absurdum!

  226. 226
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    I’m not talking to the Pope and he sure isn’t talking to me. He’s talking to all those moderate and cultural Catholics, those who cherry-pick only the nice things from the Bible, talk about Jesus’ love and pretty much ignore implications of hell. Those who like Christmas and saying they belong to RCC, but don’t go to church all that much. Those who are made a bit uncomfortable when priests talk against homosexuality or women’s rights or abortion.

    RCC is at risk of losing its sheep, so Pope is trying to lure them back with empty platitudes.

  227. 227
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    So I’m thinking about this whole ‘consider the possibilities’ idea.
    If I chose to sit down with the pope bc he said he wants peace, what would I say? What would we talk about?

    Me: thanks for so kindly extending an offer of harmony with nonbelievers. I’d like to discuss a few things that I think would contribute to greater harmony between the RCC and secularists/atheists/humanists:
    1- the sexual abuse of children by priests is well documented as is the protection offered by the RCC. In the name of peace, what steps will you undertake to rectify the problem? Will you cooperate with authorities? Will you offer apologies and compensation to any victims? Will you begin a charity with all proceeds going to the victims of childhood sexual abuse? Will you make it church policy to stop shielding rapists?

    2-the RCC has long opposed evidence based strategies for reducing the spread of HIV. This is a tremendous problem in Africa where the RCC has spread lies and misinformation. Will you call an end to the lies and make it RCC policy to offer proper sexual education? Will you also set up a fund for the victims of hiv ?

    3- the church has long treated women as vessels for babies and little else. Bodily autonomy is a right ostensibly for all humans, but in practice, only men have this right. Will you call an end to restrictions on abortion? Will you offer support to women who make the choice they feel best, no matter what that choice is? Will you support measures to allow women to have full reproductive freedom?

    These are the three things I feel need to be addressed before any meaningful dialogue can continue.
    Can I count on you to follow the above advice?

    Pope:

    ****
    David Wilford:
    The above scenario is my contribution to ‘think of the possibilities’. Given that the pope has shown no interest in changing church policy, what difference does it make to turn our backs to his hollow words or take him up on this peace offering?

  228. 228
    zenlike

    So, David Wilford, you are not actually going to address any of the points raised against your viewpoint right?

    My not so insightful prognosis:
    - David is not going to address any of the counterpoints on this thread;
    - Next time an article like this pops up, he is going to comment again with the exact same arguments;
    - Commenters will make counterpoints;
    - David will again not address any of them;

    Lather, rince, repeat.

    Look, David, for a guy why is trying to argue tha

  229. 229
    zenlike

    Damn, clicked post too soon:

    Look, David, for a guy why is trying to argue that communicating with the other side is the most important thing ever, you sure are not trying to communicate with us at all (hint: blabbing on and on and never listening to the ones you are talking to, like you are doing right here, is not communicating, it’s pontificating).

  230. 230
    Rey Fox

    So glad to see that insisting on human rights and equality is still seen as “polarizing”. I wish splinters in the asses of all who sit on the fence here.

  231. 231
    Inaji

    Rey:

    So glad to see that insisting on human rights and equality is still seen as “polarizing”. I wish splinters in the asses of all who sit on the fence here.

    I join you in this wish. I even invite all others to join in this wish. So there.

  232. 232
    chigau (違う)

    Splinters For Fence-sitters.
    This could should be a meme.

  233. 233
    David Marjanović

    I join you in this wish. I even invite all others to join in this wish. So there.

    + 1

  234. 234
    omnicrom

    I join you in this wish. I even invite all others to join in this wish. So there.

    +N+1 where N is the number of previous other posters who agree with you.

  235. 235
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    I Too approve of Rey Fox’s comment.
    Bc atheist hammers…
    Or groupthink…

  236. 236
    chigau (違う)

    Tony!
    I approve of your approval.
    —-
    This approvalofapproval may be bringing us closer to the Singularity.
    *duck*

  237. 237
    Hekuni Cat, MQG

    +N+1 where N is the number of previous other posters who agree with you.

    Yes.

  238. 238
    chigau (違う)

    ohno …

  239. 239
    Azuma Hazuki

    @David M/225

    Of course most people have simply never thought about this issue. Those who have, I imagine, might have arrived at one of the following conclusions:

    1) Having external standards for morals make the statement “God is good” meaningful by more than definition; that’s a feature, not a bug.
    2) It’s a mystery, beyond the brainpower of puny humans! Just like the Trinity! *mad cackling* And what an awesome mystery it is! Credo quia absurdum!

    Okay but how does 1) work under an Abrahamic worldview? Implying an external standard of morality for God means God also has to obey it, else he wouldn’t be moral. Where are these morals coming from?

    As for 2), this brings up “Gettier problems,” something i saw on Richard Carrier’s blog a while ago. If i remember right, a Gettier problem is essentially someone being right for the wrong reasons, or an argument appearing both sound and valid and turning out to have conclusions that are indeed the case, but later it is found out that one or more of the premises were actually false.

    So in regards to 2), how do we know one way or another? “I believe because it is absurd” says nothing; and they may be right (er…may they? I don’t know) that there is something here simply beyond human ken…though that also means it could be equally possible there’s an evil God or a malevolent alien trying to fool them and they’d be none the wiser.

    You can tell the moral dimension of this is most important to me, right? I think this is where the apologetics/counter-apologetics war will be decisively fought.

  240. 240
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    All I want for Christmas…

    So glad to see that insisting on human rights and equality is still seen as “polarizing”. I wish splinters in the asses of all who sit on the fence here.

  241. 241
    David Marjanović

    Okay but how does 1) work under an Abrahamic worldview? Implying an external standard of morality for God means God also has to obey it, else he wouldn’t be moral.

    He chooses to obey it, and that makes him moral.

    Where are these morals coming from?

    How about something like naive realism? They’re just self-evident and/or inevitable? There’s even a tradition of thinking that omnipotence does not include the ability to do the logically impossible. (Of course others disagree.)

    “I believe because it is absurd” says nothing;

    It says “I think about this problem till I’m happy, and then I stop”. You don’t stop. I don’t stop. Lots of people do.

    I think this is where the apologetics/counter-apologetics war will be decisively fought.

    There is no war, there hasn’t been, and there won’t be.

  242. 242
    LykeX
    Okay but how does 1) work under an Abrahamic worldview? Implying an external standard of morality for God means God also has to obey it, else he wouldn’t be moral.

    He chooses to obey it, and that makes him moral.

    That position causes all sorts of problems; with free will and the problem of evil. If god is simply choosing to be good, then we have to consider the option that he might sometimes choose to be evil also. If not, he doesn’t really have free will, does he?

    On the other hand, if they really want to insist that it’s possible for a being to have free will and also to always make the right choice (including in all future scenarios), it makes you wonder why god didn’t just create us like that in the first place?

    Under this scenario, you can’t argue that god had to create us like that or that evil is an inevitable result of free will. God himself demonstrates that perfect free will and perfect goodness can coexist and that a person’s eternal goodness is a predictable quality (obviously, this leads into a greater discussion about what we mean by “free will”, but that’s for another day). This leads us to the conclusion that god must have desired a world full of evil people, making him evil as well.

  243. 243
    Azuma Hazuki

    @242/LykeX

    Precisely!

    Your second paragraph is actually part of the takedown of Alvin Plantinga’s attempted free-will theodicy. Plantinga insists that it is impossible to create any possible world where significant free will exists and “transworld depravity” does not, yet heaven by definition must be such a possible world, so right off the bat he’s stepped in a big mess.

    The problem with any view where God obeys an external moral standard is that, as a completely omniscient and omnipotent and free being, he is also completely on the hook for not preventing any evil. Since he COULD prevent all evil, and does not, he himself is then culpable for that evil. Since the existence of heaven shows that it is possible to have free will and no sin coexistent, the fact that any other state has obtained makes him evil.

    Why do so few people think this through?

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