Vatican to atheists: you’re still going to hell

Pope Francis’s conciliatory words to atheists last week, implying that both Catholics and nonbelievers (if they’re good) will “meet one another there”—presumably “there” being heaven—were unusual for a pontiff, though I doubt they got many of us excited that we’re actually headed for the Elysian Fields. But, according to CNN News, some humanists really thought the Pope meant what he said, and was inaugurating a new era of comity.

Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association, said that although he has been skeptical of Francis’ outreach to the nonreligious, he welcomed Wednesday’s comments.

“I gather from this statement that his view of the world’s religious and philosophical diversity is expanding,” Speckhardt said. “While humanists have been saying for years that one can be good without a god, hearing this from the leader of the Catholic Church is quite heartening.”

He continued, “If other religious leaders join him, it could do much to reduce the automatic distrust and discrimination that atheists, humanists, and other nontheists so regularly face. “

. . .Greg Epstein, the humanist chaplain at Harvard University, said Francis’ comments reflect “the interfaith and inter-community work many of us nontheists are dedicated to.”

That said, Epstein hopes that lay Catholics are listening.

“I hope Catholics, and all people hearing the pope’s statement, will recognize that his words about atheists need to symbolize much more than just a curiosity or an exception to the rule,” Epstein said. “If someone thinks there are only a few atheists out there doing good just like Catholics do, that’s a major misunderstanding that can lead to prejudice and discrimination.”

. . .Even atheists like David Silverman, president of American Atheists, who has had an antagonistic relationship with the Catholic church, welcomed the pope’s remarks.

“While the concept of Jesus dying for atheists is wrong on many levels (especially given that Jesus himself promised hell for blasphemers), I can appreciate the pope’s `good faith’ effort to include atheists in the moral discussion,” Silverman said.

“Atheists on the whole want no part in Catholicism, of course, but we are all interested in basic human rights.”

I guess that doesn’t include the right to go to heaven, though.  For, sadly, the accommodationists and interfaith folk were taken in.

Realizing what the Pope had said, the Vatican and other Catholic theologians immediately did damage control:

On Thursday, the Vatican issued an “explanatory note on the meaning to ‘salvation.'” [JAC: I haven’t found it unless it’s simply what Rosica says below.]

The Rev. Thomas Rosica, a Vatican spokesman, said that people who aware of the Catholic church “cannot be saved” if they “refuse to enter her or remain in her.”

At the same time, Rosica writes, “every man or woman, whatever their situation, can be saved. Even non-Christians can respond to this saving action of the Spirit. No person is excluded from salvation simply because of so-called original sin.”

Rosica also said that Francis had “no intention of provoking a theological debate on the nature of salvation,” during his homily on Wednesday.

Although the pope’s comments about salvation surprised some, bishops and experts in Catholicism say Francis was expressing a core tenant of the faith.

“Francis was clear that whatever graces are offered to atheists (such that they may be saved) are from Christ,” the Rev. John Zuhlsdorf, a conservative Catholic priest, wrote on his blog.

“He was clear that salvation is only through Christ’s Sacrifice.  In other words, he is not suggesting – and I think some are taking it this way – that you can be saved, get to heaven, without Christ.”

Yep, we can meet those Catholics post mortem, all right, it’s just that we have to accept Jesus first, probably by converting to Catholicism.  And so, I guess, must Muslims, Hindus, Jews, Buddhists, and billions of other hell-bound folk.  We can at least be consoled that we won’t be eternally licked by flames, since more liberal Catholics now see hell as a “removal from God” instead of eternal immolation in molten sulfur.

The lesson is that the Vatican will be the Vatican, and it’s foolish to think that Catholic theology has suddenly done such a volte-face. They are of the Right Faith, and everyone else is headed for perdition. But I tell you what: I’d rather be removed from God, and in the company of Christopher Hitchens, than to rub elbows for eternity with the likes of C. S. Lewis. Or, as Billy Joel wrote, “I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints.”

h/t: The Friendly Atheist via reader Barry

77 Comments

  1. Posted May 28, 2013 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    But I tell you what: I’d rather be removed from God, and in the company of Christopher Hitchens, than to rub elbows for eternity with the likes of C. S. Lewis. Or, as Billy Joel wrote, “I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints.”

    That reminds me of Machiavelli, who said he would prefer hell where he would be among popes and princes to heaven where he would be among pious monks and saints.

  2. Diana MacPherson
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Yeah, I had to tell my Catholic friends that I won’t be in heaven with them but I told all my other non Catholic friends that I’ll see them in the lake of fire.

    As Kathy Griffin said when she accepted her Emmy, “suck it Jesus!”

    • Dave
      Posted May 28, 2013 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

      She really said that? I like her even more.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted May 28, 2013 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, she really did…something like “suck, it Jesus, this Emmy is my god now” referencing how everyone came up & thanked god. 🙂

        • Dave
          Posted May 28, 2013 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

          The little devil!

        • Hempenstein
          Posted May 28, 2013 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

          There was a compendium of comments from atheist celebs just the other day on/linked via CNN that included more on that. Unfortunately, I can’t find it now, but it was something along the lines of everyone getting up and thanking Jesus for their Emmy. IIRC, the extended quote was, “Well Jesus had nothing to do with mine, so suck it, Jesus…”

  3. Quantumbee
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    There were so many websites I visited where people were applauding this pope and getting starry eyed about a more “open” and “ecumenical” Vatican. I kept posting that this man is a con artist, just like the long line of popes have been, and that he would never invalidate the very core of the reason for the existence of the Roman Catholic Church. People are so gullible! No wonder this insitution has literally gotten away with murder for 2000 years!

    • Quantumbee
      Posted May 28, 2013 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      oops! Need to spell check myself! I meant “institution”.

    • Rebecca Harbison
      Posted May 28, 2013 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      I’d argue even if the guy at the top somehow manage to fool enough of the Old Guard to get elected*, the Vatican isn’t going to let him just say ‘yeah, really, be a good person and you’ll be fine’ without trying to reinterpret that as ‘he means that you need to accept Jesus and tithe plz’. Organizations have a lot of inertia, even when you claim the guy at the top has a hotline to God.

      * In general, my impression of the Catholic Church is that the higher you go, the more entrenched in Tradition (Right or (mostly) Wrong) people get. I’m not even sure if some of them think about the evil gays and atheists and uppity women, but more just a knee jerk of ‘change is bad’. (Some do think about this, obviously.)

      And they are the ones who decide who gets promoted.

    • papalinton
      Posted May 28, 2013 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      “I kept posting that this man is a con artist, just like the long line of popes have been,…..”

      To borrow a phrase from a failed Australian politician, ” .. a congaline of suckholes …. “.

      • Posted May 28, 2013 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

        the greatest con the world ever knew….money, power, and control of the masses…the real holy trinigy

  4. Posted May 28, 2013 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    not worried about it…dead is dead…no more pain and suffering….

  5. Posted May 28, 2013 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    The Rev. Thomas Rosica, a Vatican spokesman, said that people who aware of the Catholic church “cannot be saved” if they “refuse to enter her or remain in her.” (emphasis added)

    Shirley, his ear simply can’t be that full of tin, can it?

    b&

    • magster2
      Posted May 28, 2013 at 9:00 am | Permalink

      Yes, it can. And don’t call me Shirley.

    • John Scanlon, FCD
      Posted May 28, 2013 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      He was presumably thinking in Latin where ecclesia is grammatically feminine (without implying it’s actually female), but…

      Have you ever had a good look at mediaeval church doorways? – all those carved ruffles and folds, and usually a little projection from the keystone at the apex. Pure utilitarian design, or maybe not.

      • gerard52
        Posted May 28, 2013 at 9:29 am | Permalink

        Salacious architecture? … humm.

    • Marta
      Posted May 28, 2013 at 9:24 am | Permalink

      For all the commentary I’ve read about Rosica’s remarks about Pope Francis “generosity” of including atheists in humanity, the words you bolded are the most important and the most continuously overlooked: these words still mean that EVERYONE is going to hell if they know about the Catholic Church and refuse to become Catholic. In other words, non-Catholics are still infidels. Tell you what, it’s been a very, very long time that I’ve heard this idea expressed so boldly outside Islam.

      • gluonspring
        Posted May 28, 2013 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

        Which sure begs the question why the church didn’t go underground so no one would ever hear of it.

        • gluonspring
          Posted May 28, 2013 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

          Sorry for idiom fail… wrong use of “beg the question”, caught in the ignosecond after pressing post.

    • Diane G.
      Posted May 28, 2013 at 10:02 am | Permalink

      Oh, yeah! That stood out like a…like a…

  6. Posted May 28, 2013 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Highly rational atheists can also believe into hell, check out Roko’s basilisk 🙂

    • gluonspring
      Posted May 28, 2013 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      I might dispute “highly rational” in this context. In any case, wow. Religion really is here to stay, isn’t it? Our brains seem so susceptible to a certain kind of story that new religions spring up like mushrooms after a rain.

      Actually, reading that made me almost feel a fondness for the religions we’ve got. We’ve spent a long time taming those and their flaws are well known, even among believers. The idea of having to wade in and stamp down an whole new series of cleverly crafted religions just makes me feel… tired.

      • Posted May 28, 2013 at 9:36 am | Permalink

        Good luck trying to debunk this one. The atheist hell is based on a lot of intricate arguments from the “bleeding edge of rationality research”.

    • M Janello
      Posted May 28, 2013 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      Wow. That is really demented.

    • Posted May 28, 2013 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      Here is another explanation I wrote on how the atheist hell works:

      Roko’s basilisk is a trade scenario where all parties involved offer incentives in order to influence each others actions.

      The important difference between normal trade scenarios and Roko’s basilisk is that there exists no causal relationship between any of the parties involved in the trade.

      All parties involved in such a trade have to simulate, or reason about, the other parties involved in the trade in sufficient detail to be able to learn about what possible trades those parties predictably accept. This is also called acausal trade.

      What “acausal” in acausal trade refers to is that decisions are being made based on mutual reasoning about, or predictions, or simulations of causally disconnected possible trading partners. If all parties come to similar conclusions about each others predictions, actions and goals then they can trade with each other by accounting for those inferences in making mutually beneficial decisions affecting their causally disconnected parts of the multiverse.

      Here is an example of the possible reasoning process of two agents P and Q that are involved in an acausal trade:

      Agent_P: Based on reasoning about the most probable decision theory employed by rational Agent_Q I predict that if I don’t do X then Agent_Q will apply negative incentive Y.

      Agent_Q: Based on a simulation of Agent_P it is highly probable that Agent_P does predict that I am going to do apply negative incentive Y if they don’t do X. Due to game and decision theoretic considerations I will follow through on the deal. Since if it was predictable that I break acausal deals then no such deal would be made in the first place. Any potential trading partner knows this. Breaking acausal deals would be detrimental to my terminal goals, therefore I precommit to follow through on any stated or predictable trades.

      The gist of the matter is that the decisions of all parties involved in an acausal trade are based on the expected or simulated decision procedures of all possible trading partners.

      If an agent does expect other possible agents to also partly base their own decisions on the expected or simulated decisions of itself, then it established an “acausal” relation between its decisions and those of other possible agents that are expected to have established or to establish a similar connection between them and its own, from their perspective, possible decisions.

      It is actually possible that you, the person that is reading these words right now, is already being simulated by some sort of superintelligence that is trying to learn if it can trade with you.

      • Posted May 28, 2013 at 10:06 am | Permalink

        The important difference between normal trade scenarios and Roko’s basilisk is that there exists no causal relationship between any of the parties involved in the trade.

        But trade is itself a causal relationship. Right off the bat, you’re discussing the dating habits of married bachelors, so it’s no surprise that the rest doesn’t make any sense, either.

        If all parties come to similar conclusions about each others predictions, actions and goals then they can trade with each other by accounting for those inferences in making mutually beneficial decisions affecting their causally disconnected parts of the multiverse.

        Only a fool would trade with another agent based solely on assumptions about what it’s logical for such agent to do while completely lacking in all other empirical sources of information about said agent. Thus, only fools would engage in this “acausal trade.”

        It is actually possible that you, the person that is reading these words right now, is already being simulated by some sort of superintelligence that is trying to learn if it can trade with you.

        There is nothing I have that an entity capable of simulating me could possibly want that it doesn’t already have. The mere thought of trade between agents with such disproportionate resources is ludicrous in the extreme.

        Cheers,

        b&

        • gluonspring
          Posted May 28, 2013 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

          I wish I could torture the code I write to get better answers out of it. My simulations stubbornly refuse to support my hypothesis.

          • Posted May 28, 2013 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

            I assure you, my own code is plenty tortured enough.

            Still doesn’t seem to have done it any good….

            b&

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted May 28, 2013 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

            Or data – stupid data doesn’t always tell me what I want to hear either!

    • Marcoli
      Posted May 28, 2013 at 10:51 am | Permalink

      Yes. Wow. Stuff like this always makes me think ‘could a movie be made about this story’?

      • Posted May 28, 2013 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

        Maybe starring Keanu Reeves?

        /@

        • Marcoli
          Posted May 29, 2013 at 4:39 am | Permalink

          Well, then it would be a flop.

  7. Dan
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    Secularists are the saints.

  8. Posted May 28, 2013 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    And Moses came down Mt Sin I, and said to Aaron, ” What do you think of these 10 commandments given to me by Yahweh ? ”
    And Aaron replied, ” How come they aren’t much different from Babylonian or Egyptian law codes ? ”
    And Moses said, ” Look, do you want to make a living or not, these folk are too gullibull to check up on it”
    Just then sheet lightning lit up the sky carving out huge initials J.C.
    The thunder sounded like, ” Moses climb Mt Improbable.”
    Moses looked at the cliff and said, ” Who speaks ? It looks impossible to climb that cliff, I can’t see a way ”
    The science & reason deity replied, ” This is the voice of the science and reason deity, the source of the one reliable method to finding the truth about reality. I have a software upgrade for you [ recommended ]. You will find a very gentle slope to the top round the back of Mt Improbable.
    Moses reaches the top and sees a tungsten filament burning brilliantly bright yet never burning out, from it the voice says, ” Moses take your staff and strike the rock beside you “. Moses did this and it split in two.
    ” Now look at the rock closely and you will see trilobite, these animals swam in the sea 500 million years ago, they became buried in the sediment & got fossilized, then the collision of continental plates forced the sea bed to rise forming these mountains ”
    ” But I thought that life on Earth was created instantly by magic 3000 years ago ? ” said Moses
    The science and reason deity said, ” I can see you are naked of experimental data and I can see through what you do have. The model you are trying to fit data in is transparently false, have you been listening to the spamming snake ?”
    Moses, ” Yes, It told me that unless I accepted it’s hypothesis of 7 day creation then I would suffer for ever after death ”
    SRD, ” The snake is lying as is it’s habit, it’s hypothesis doesn’t have a leg to stand on . Listen my theory of evolution by natural selection is the only one that really works, the rest are vain idols.
    Evolution is the idea that the simplest lifeforms too small to see with the naked eye little by little transformed into more & more complex & varied organisms with the result being the present day flora & fauna ”
    ” Wow ” said Moses, ” That is an earth shattering, iconoclastic revelation ”
    Now said SRD, ” Bring me some slabs of slate and I will use micro lightning to etch detailed drawings of many transition forms of animals to help you understand, show these to the people that they might accept your teachings as true ”
    Moses said, ” Great but just one thing, before I forget ” Your initials are SRD so what did the great letter’s J.C. stand for ?
    SRD, ” Those are the initials of the prophet Jerry Coyne who will guide you into further truths.
    Just one more thing. Your 10 commandments are little better than the Egyptian or Babylonian law codes you need some more advanced ones. Wait a minute and I’ll go back to the future to bring you a copy of English common law 2013 as an example to follow.
    Then Moses came down Mt Improbable but found the people serving a load of bull to their children.
    But Moses understood & sympathized with their hominid origins, so he blended the neat truths in many appetizing snacks so they would eat of the knowledge of science willingly, and not leave it at the side of their plate.

    • Posted May 28, 2013 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      well done….a much better version…try selling this to the nincompope in Rome..

  9. Dominic
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    So much for all that inter-faith bollocks. They keep going on about ‘people of faith’ when all the time they really think the other guy is going to hell, even if s/he belies in a god.

    By the way, say AC Grayling at the Southbank talk about Humanism last night. Very good speaker. He was in Texas last week he said & joked there to someone that his book sales might increase if there was an assassination attempt on him, to which the fellow replied “most assassinations in Texas are successful”!

    • Dominic
      Posted May 28, 2013 at 9:10 am | Permalink

      Belies in a god?! believes – but now I see there is a ‘lie’ in ‘belief’!

    • Posted May 28, 2013 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

      Which reminds me of the interfaith group where each delegate in turn described what they believed, and the others were all enthusiastic, saying, ”Great – whatever works for you.” Then the Catholic spoke up (in my mind, sounding like the Venerable Jorge de Burgos), saying, “No, no, no! Salvation can come only by entering the Catholic Church and remaining in her!” To which the others responded, ”Great – whatever works for you.”

      /@

    • Posted May 28, 2013 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

      How does that work when the Pope and the Archbish of Canterbury get in all their drag and funny hats together and meet and mwuh-kiss on the cheeks and all that, and all the while the Pope is thinking “You’re going to Hell”?

      (And what is the Archbish thinking? His KJV Bible begins:
      “… if on the one side we shall be traduced by Popish persons at home or abroad, who therefore will maligne us, because we are poore Instruments to make GODS holy Trueth to be yet more and more knowen unto the people, whom they desire still to keepe in ignorance and darknesse…”)

      • Dominic
        Posted May 29, 2013 at 1:21 am | Permalink

        Wow! Shuggy didn’t just read the bible, but the INTRODUCTION to the bible! 😉

  10. Posted May 28, 2013 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    In the wildly improbable event that I meet a God one day I expect it will say to me, ” I don’t know you, who, what are you ? ”
    I shall reply, ” I am a human from planet Earth ”
    And God will say, ” So the rumours were true, the possibility has become a reality, there was
    highly advanced organic life forms in the universe after all ”
    I shall ask, ” So you weren’t aware of life on Earth then ? ”
    And God will say, ” No, I thought it would be a really interesting experiment to start off a universe with a big bang but afterwards it occurred to me that there could be some outcomes I had not initially foreseen, I just hoped it wouldn’t come back to haunt me. Sure I suppose I should have travelled through the universe to check up on it but it looked so vast that I feared I would get lost in it and besides I didn’t have a space ship ”
    And I will say, ” Oh that sort of explains it then, sure it was a fabulous experience in some ways but so much pain & suffering too ”
    And I expect God will say, ” Oh, sorry about the suffering, if only i had known , i would have helped prevent it if I could, but I couldn’t. Did you manage to work out how you came to be like you are ?
    And I shall say, ” Well the scientific method revealed that the theory best support by the evidence was evolution by natural selection – basically a very gradual built up of complexity based on a genetic code ”
    And God will say, ” Sounds damn interesting, wish I had known and been able to take a closer look. Now I’d sure like to offer you a happy everafter but I’m afraid you have no immortal soul. So long buddy ”
    THE END

  11. microraptor
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Whew. I was starting to get worried I might be stuck in an afterlife with a bunch of sanctimonious Catholics for eternity instead of getting oblivion.

  12. peterr
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    “…experts in Catholicism say Francis was expressing a core tenant of the faith.”

    He himself is a core tenant of the Vatican.

    I’ve heard of ‘living the faith’, but not ‘in it’.

    • brujofeo
      Posted May 28, 2013 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      Yes…this is one that drives me nuts. The writer meant “tenets.”

  13. Posted May 28, 2013 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Actually before I go into extinction I expect God would ask me if there were any primitive theories about how life on Earth originated, to which I will reply that there were loads of failed hypotheses. Some people even came up with the idea that the flora & fauna was created by magic over 7 days and that unless you believe that you will be made to suffer for ever more. And God will laugh, ” Oh surely no one fell for that,it isn’t even an explanation of the process where by life came into existence and isn’t it illogical to propose that a good God would create life only for it to suffer for ever.” I will answer, ” Yes that is what i thought ” And God will say, ” Well I just hope that not many people bought that nonsense,” To which I will reply, ” Unfortunately there were many who didn’t realize it was just parasitic behaviour by priests ”

    I was reading ” The God argument, the case against religion and for humanism ” by A.C. Grayling in which he notes that there was a 1996 decision by the synod of the Church of England that hell & suffering there in was just a myth. I google searched and found a BBC news item from 4th April 2000 which had a link to website, http://what-the-hell-is-hell.com/ which includes articles on universalism by Tentmaker.

  14. eveysolara
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    Jesus is such a sadist:

  15. rr
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    Removal from God? That would be heavenly!

  16. Posted May 28, 2013 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Well I’ll be damned. (Pun intended.)

    I’m willing to let the Vatican correct the Pope, but they’ll have to give up his long standing super-power claim of infallibility.

    So to summarize, Catholics can meet up with atheists in heaven if the atheist gave up being an atheist in favor of being a Catholic be he/she died>

  17. Stephen P
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    The Rev. Thomas Rosica … said that people who aware of the Catholic church “cannot be saved” if they “refuse to enter her or remain in her.”

    So the Vatican has gone back to the position that protestants are also going to hell. How very seventeenth-century of them. Must be time for another religious war or something.

  18. Marcoli
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    Atheists to the Vatican: You are definitely not a suitable guide for a moral life.

  19. albert
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    This line of thinking about salvation and damnation is not necessarily the only way that people of faith see things. I would like to offer up a book by poet Christian Wiman, “My Bright Abyss”, as one that expresses belief in Christ in a different way. He is not in the business of converting or prosyletizing, he is a poet responding to his own life and fatal cancer through poems and meditations as he moves from atheism back to the faith of his youth.

    And make no mistake, he is not fleeing to that faith, flinching as it were, in the grasp of his mortality. He is looking life straight in the eye and confronting it, as well as feeling its pull. No doubt one might see simple humanism in his form of belief, but I think a read would show that his meditation goes beyond that in ways that are poignant and inspiring.

    point being that bad religion is the same as bad science.

    • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
      Posted May 28, 2013 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

      Bad religion is as good as good religion when it comes to telling which is true.

      So, no. Religion is not as science. It is anti-science.

      • Albert
        Posted May 30, 2013 at 10:26 am | Permalink

        You assume that “truth” can be contained in the metaphors of language and math. As far as I know, our experience of reality limits our ability to see its entire truth. See experiments on blind from birth people who have congenital cataract repairs and who can then distinguish previously learned shapes by touch, but not by sight, until they are able to touch them and see them together.

        Science, math, religion and art have nothing to do with truth, they have to do with how we conduct our aware lives. The factual nature of science does not always inform our behavior best. For example, the statement that “all men are created equal” is factually ambiguous, yet we use it to guide our decisions and behaviors in multitudes of situations.

    • Posted May 28, 2013 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

      “…he is not fleeing…”

      If you say so…

      • Albert
        Posted May 30, 2013 at 10:30 am | Permalink

        I don’t say so, his words, and actions (as he describes them) express it. You could read it to learn about other ways of conducting a religious life besides those caricatured, or reported in the popular media.

  20. goethalsart
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Thanks God, I’m atheïst.

  21. Mary Canada
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    They’re losing their grip on the populous and resorting to compromise to save face. I couldn’t care less.

  22. will
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    The Rev. Thomas Rosica, a Vatican spokesman, said that people who are aware of the Catholic church “cannot be saved” if they “refuse to enter her or remain in her.”

    __________

    I’m a gay man and I usually don’t think along these lines, but that phrasing sounds like vaginal penetration.

  23. Posted May 28, 2013 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    More papal bull.

    /@

  24. Posted May 28, 2013 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    “And the lion will lay down with the lamb, but the lamb won’t be getting a good nights sleep.”

  25. Posted May 28, 2013 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    One day a community of Adams and Eves were sitting around with their little Adams and Eves and Adams parents; Adam and Eve were there, as well as his grandad; Adam.
    Then the littlest Eve said, ” Dad how did we come to be on this planet ? ”
    Adam replied, ” Well, Erm you are a little young… ”
    Eve replied, ” She’s not asking that, i’ve already told her, she means how did life on Earth originate ?”
    Adam , ” Oh, I never thought of that, Dad, how did we come to be here ? ”
    Adam, ” Son, that is a good question, Dad how did we get here ? ”
    Adam, ” Grandson, it’s like this… I don’t know ”
    Then Adam junior asked the Bonobo’s sitting close by, ” Hey monkey face, how did we get here ”
    Bonobo, ” Cheeky, I’m an ape anyhow. Not sure, but I think we have a common ancestor. ”
    Adam, ” No way, are you trying to make a monkey of me ?”
    Gibbon chips in, ” It’s true further back in time your ancestors looked more like me ”
    Adam, ” Come on, you are having a laugh ”
    Squirrel, ” It’s true, further back in time your ancestors looked more like me ”
    Ratty, ” It’s true , further back you ancestors looked more like me ”
    Adam , ” How could this be, things don’t just happen by magic ? ”
    Bonobo, ” We haven’t worked that bit out, we don’t have the skill set, we hoped you could work on it, but you must admit the similarities are clear ”
    Kaa, the snake in the grass, ” Hold up there, I’ve been over hearing your debate and i just want to set you straight, because I know with 100% certainty how life originated because I’ve been talking to God”
    Adam , ” What is God ? ”
    Kaa , ” Not what, who! God is a huge monstrous snake who lives beyond the stars and created everything in 7 days by magic. God has the power to take you to a happy ever after or a miserable ever after when you die and his decision will depend on whether you accept my true version of the origin of life or whether you listen to those know nothing monkeys.
    Haven’t you noticed that when ever you kill one of my relatives bad things happen to you that very year but when you treat us kindly things go better for you ”
    Adam, ” Not totally sure about that link but suppose it could be possible ”
    Ratty, ” Come on Kaa surely you see similarities between your anatomy and the lizards ?”
    Kaa, ” Absolutely not, I am holy separate, any resemblance is a coincidence, a trick of the light ”
    Adam, ” Hmm I’m not sure about all this, but the threat of suffering after death sounds serious, what do you know about it ? ”
    Kaa ( seeing he has spiked Adam’s fear ), ” Oh the suffering is very real, it is like a million snake bites with venom sending people into wild frenzy ”
    Eve, ” Why that sound awful, if there is even a risk of that we must avoid it ”
    Kaa, ” Well the avoidance of this most terrible fate is quite simple, as I have said all that is required is that you believe the truth, that God said abracadabra & created life on Earth in 7 days and that he will give you further advice through me, his humble servant ”
    Eve, ” Why thank you for helping us avoid a horrid end Kaa, how can we repay you ?”
    Kaa, ” Just a little food to help me through the winter, and some to offer as a sacrifice to appease God, to keep him in a happy mood, after all you wouldn’t like it when he’s angry ”
    Bonobo, ” Adam I still think it would be wise to investigate the similarities in our forms ”
    Eve, ” No, we must trust Kaa, what would God think if he could see us doubting the truth, it might annoy him ”
    Kaa, ” Eve I must compliment you on your great wisdom ”
    Ratty, ” I’m not so sure we can trust Kaa. I think he speaks with forked tongue ”
    But Kaa gave Ratty a foul look as if to say, ” I’ve got my eye on you Ratty ”
    And this is why to this very day snakes eat rats.

  26. kelskye
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Does this mean I’m not going to get my unicorn ride either?

  27. Posted May 28, 2013 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Considering he opened his offer with saying atheists were redeemed from original sin why on earth would we want to embrace such an insulting and obnoxious doctrine?

    As I said at the time talking about original sin – do not fall for it.

    https://homoeconomicusnet.wordpress.com/2013/05/25/pope-woos-atheists-do-not-fall-for-it/

  28. Dave
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    I wondered what he was thinking when he said that. After all, he’d just told all Catholics they were fools for paying the dues when we heathens could get in just for being good little boys and girls. Their marketing folks must have had a cow when they heard it!

  29. cornbread_r2
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    “Pope Francis’s conciliatory words to atheists last week, implying that both Catholics and nonbelievers (if they’re good) will “meet one another there”—presumably “there” being heaven—were unusual for a pontiff, though I doubt they got many of us excited that we’re actually headed for the Elysian Fields.”

    I’ve read a Catholic apologist who thinks the “there” referred to here is not a place, but rather in the activity of working together to do good things. After looking at the context of the homily, I think that’s a plausible explanation.

  30. Jim
    Posted May 29, 2013 at 12:39 am | Permalink

    “more liberal Catholics now see hell as a “removal from God””

    Wow – that would be heaven!

  31. madscientist
    Posted May 29, 2013 at 3:11 am | Permalink

    “… rub elbows for eternity with the likes of C. S. Lewis … ”

    Of course it would only be the likes of CS Lewis and not CS himself since CS is obviously the Wrong Faith and roasting in hell. CS shuffled his mortal coil long before the damned were merely removed from the presence of god.

    “… Francis was expressing a core tenant of the faith. ”

    I wonder who that tenant is and why Francis was channeling him/her (probably a ‘him’ since women aren’t even human) – could it be he was temporarily possessed as he carried out an exorcism?

  32. Wim V
    Posted May 29, 2013 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    “We can at least be consoled that we won’t be eternally licked by flames, since more liberal Catholics now see hell as a “removal from God” instead of eternal immolation in molten sulfur.”

    I don’t see how that would be any less horrific. According to Catholics, God is the source of goodness or Goodness itself. Separation from God would be separation from any goodness, hope, etc. It would be the ultimate depression without even the possibility of hope or suicide, making it worse than any physical torture that could be inflicted. What’s worse, when you die that ultimate Good is supposedly dangled in front of you and then yanked away.

  33. Posted May 29, 2013 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    In fairness to the Vatican’s position, the Pope does not make judgments on who is “saved” or not. The official line is qute nuanced, for those who really want to know it, this orthodox Catholic lays it out pretty clearly, and interestingly, the Pope’s admonitions are strongest for “cafeteria Catholics” who do not tow the strict the dogma strictly enough:

    http://www.christophersmith-op.com/2013/05/28/atheism-the-catholic-church-and-eternal-salvation/

  34. Posted May 29, 2013 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    The Bible has many ideas which a moments skeptical thought show are absurd.
    e.g Genesis 2v19, ” Now the Lord God brought all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air to the man to see what he would name them “.

    A BBC news article by Richard Black, 23 August 2011 says there are now estimated to be 8 million species of flora & fauna which could take up to 1000 years to classify.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-14616161
    Animals: 7.77 million (12% described)
    Fungi: 0.61 million (7% described)
    Plants: 0.30 million (70% described)
    Protozoa: 0.04 million (22% described)
    Chromists: 0.03 million (50% described)

    It would have been really interesting if Adam had used Linnaean taxonomy to make a catalogue of life, complete with accurate drawings, especially if it was 250,000 years ago.
    Adam would have needed to do a round the world tour to classify all living things but his alleged 930 years of life still wouldn’t have been long enough.
    It is a pity there wasn’t a real god to ensure that there was a complete fossil record of every stage of evolution – so that we could marvel at it. Also you would think a real god would like a comprehensive record of all his works, like the family photo album. A real god would have been proud of the wondrous story of evolution and told of the amazing dinosaurs etc that had gone before – even giving visions of it. How come New Testament authors never had useful visions like that ?


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