That’s an Atheist Thing To Do, Pope Francis

Perhaps Pope Francis will have the freedom and desire to make not just stylistic and rhetorical changes, but substantive changes as well.

Many atheists and humanists have mixed feelings when someone compliments one of our good deeds by saying “That’s a Christian thing to do.” We know they mean well, but they falsely equate goodness with Christianity. Consequently, and because of Pope Francis’ recent remarks, I’m tempted to compliment him with “That’s an atheist thing to do.”

In an interview with an Italian atheist, Pope Francis said “proselytism is solemn nonsense” and that we should listen to and get to know each other, expand our circle of ideas, and improve our knowledge of the world. He added that we should encourage people to move toward what they think is Good (he did not say God!). Pope Francis referred to heads of the Church as “narcissists,” and that he will do everything he can to change a Vatican-centric view that neglects the world around us. He even called himself “anti-clerical,” and said “clericalism should not have anything to do with Christianity.” This sounds as if he might be encouraging people to question Church dogma and then do what they think is right. That really is an atheist thing to do.

In a recent piece, I said “Pope Francis may be as good as it gets, but the Catholic Church just doesn’t allow popes to get that good.” I hope I was wrong. Perhaps Pope Francis will have the freedom and desire to make not just stylistic and rhetorical changes, but substantive changes as well.

For instance, this human-centered pope had the courage to alienate those in the Church hierarchy as well as other conservative Christians who value belief over behavior. Because the Pope’s priorities include alleviating poverty and treating women with respect, perhaps the Church will come to trust people to make contraceptive decisions based on their personal circumstances, instead of being pressured by its hierarchy of celibate old men who declare contraception sinful under all circumstances. In an overpopulated world with millions of undereducated and vulnerable women, that change alone would diminish suffering and reduce the spread of sexual diseases. A Pope who values human expressions of love might even someday “bless” same-sex couples who want to love each other in a committed relationship. There are a lot more changes I’d like to see, but these would be a much-needed start.

I suppose I’ll be criticized as an outsider for giving advice to a church, but everyone has the right (and duty) to object to the power of any institution that negatively affects so many lives.

As for my Jewish religion/culture, I’m far from alone in having moved from religious to irreligious. According to a major study by the Pew Research Center, only 15 percent of Jews see being Jewish as mainly a matter of religion, while many view themselves as culturally or ethnically Jewish. Approximately 32 percent of Jewish millennials identify as “Jews of no religion,” and quite a few with Jewish parents no longer consider themselves Jewish. Sects within Judaism run from most religious (Orthodox) to not-at-all religious (Humanistic), both attempting to preserve Judaism in different ways.

The Orthodox frequently form insular communities devoted to Torah study and take seriously the Commandment to be fruitful and multiply. They have minimal contact with gentiles, their children are likely to adopt the same religious practices, and intermarriage is shameful and rare. However, only a small percentage of all Jews have religious views compatible with those traditionalists. Humanistic Jews are inclusive secularists interested in preserving Jewish culture, with outreach to the increasing numbers of Jews of no religion. But Humanistic Jews frequently marry outside Judaism, and their children often abandon or lose interest in the culture.

While both Jews and Catholics struggle to preserve the faith and/or culture, younger people are less inclined to do so. Jew or Catholic, atheist or humanist, I care most about whether an individual is a good person, regardless of religious belief. Here are constructive words I try to live by, authored by sages through the ages:

Rabbi Hillel (110 BCE-10CE), when asked to recite the entire Torah standing on one leg: “What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. The rest is commentary.”

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826): “It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”

Robert Ingersoll (1833-1899): The hands that help are better far than lips that pray.”

John Lennon (1940-1980): “Imagine nothing to kill or die for, and no religion, too.” 

I’d like to think that Pope Francis agrees with the rabbi, the politician, the social activist, and maybe even the Beatle. But I suppose that might be a bit of a stretch.

Image courtesy of Semilla Luz.

Herb Silverman
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  • yehoshooah adam

    i find you silverman, about as true to G-D, as the pope, hitler, stalin. and the more subtle than any other beast of the field. since you all forget, TheTorah given to Moshe, is about being true to G-D here in TheTorah actually happening. This Story from THEM again, is not about being true to catholism, protestantism, judaism, muslimanity or any other pagan atheist. it’s about being true to TheG-D, of This Same Story again actually here in IT. and i have not found one person, true to G-D here in TheTorah yet. so this whole world and everyone in it, is not good. ain’t even close, to being considered as good according to G-D. TheOnly Accounting, HaShem G-D ever claimed to give to this world is called TheTorah. regardless as to how many new testament tanachs, not here in TheTorah testaments evil men write. about two thousand years ago, G-D had Adam put to death. because Adam was all alone, here in TheTorah from G-D. and this whole idiotic world not here in TheTorah world, can’t figure out what happens next. because all you atheists think, TheG-D of Only TheTorah is a liar, and still is not giving it. so now there are about seven billion, atheists in this world, who all reject TheG-D of Only TheTorah, here in Only TheTorah again. as you even sedate yourselves, from seeing all the pestilence, plague and famine in this world as the result of refusing to be all here in TheTorah.

  • yehoshooah adam

    i find you silverman, about as true to G-D, as the pope, hitler, stalin. and the more subtle than any other beast of the field. since you all forget, TheTorah given to Moshe, is about being true to G-D here in TheTorah actually happening. This Story from THEM again, is not about being true to catholism, protestantism, judaism, muslimanity or any other pagan atheist. it’s about being true to TheG-D, of This Same Story again actually here in IT. and i have not found one person, true to G-D here in TheTorah yet. so this whole world and everyone in it, is not good. ain’t even close, to being considered as good according to G-D. TheOnly Accounting, HaShem G-D ever claimed to give to this world is called TheTorah. regardless as to how many new testament tanachs, not here in TheTorah testaments evil men write. about two thousand years ago, G-D had Adam put to death. because Adam was all alone, here in TheTorah from G-D. and this whole idiotic world not here in TheTorah world, can’t figure out what happens next. because all you atheists think, TheG-D of Only TheTorah is a liar, and still is not giving it. so now there are about seven billion, atheists in this world, who all reject TheG-D of Only TheTorah, here in Only TheTorah again. as you even sedate yourselves, from seeing all the pestilence, plague and famine in this world as the result of refusing to be all here in TheTorah.

  • Gloria2

    Well you sure would’t follow-up a good deed with “That’s a Muslim thing to do”, because beheadings aren’t a good thing.

  • Gloria2

    Well you sure would’t follow-up a good deed with “That’s a Muslim thing to do”, because beheadings aren’t a good thing.

  • yehoshooah adam

    where are all the alleged grandchildren, of adam and his mate again here in TheTorah? since we are all here in TheTorah, near the end of day six again. and all their is are these, these billions of subtle talking critters again, all following the subtle mr lizard atheist lips.

    can you not follow the logical sequence from G-D actually here in TheTorah. from day one with Noach, His-Family and the 144,000 talking critters in TheTorah. to the end of day two with Avraham and Sarah, with two cities destroyed, for refusing to be here in TheTorah. to day three with Moshe, with a bunch of clowns refusing to be here in TheTorah. to the end of day four, with G-D having Adam put to death, for being the only one all alone here in TheTorah. to the end of day six, with the return of Adam as adam and his mate again. as TheHisSon adam, finds himself all alone here in TheTorah. because grandma, got run over by an evil and wicked reigndear again.

  • yehoshooah adam

    where are all the alleged grandchildren, of adam and his mate again here in TheTorah? since we are all here in TheTorah, near the end of day six again. and all their is are these, these billions of subtle talking critters again, all following the subtle mr lizard atheist lips.

    can you not follow the logical sequence from G-D actually here in TheTorah. from day one with Noach, His-Family and the 144,000 talking critters in TheTorah. to the end of day two with Avraham and Sarah, with two cities destroyed, for refusing to be here in TheTorah. to day three with Moshe, with a bunch of clowns refusing to be here in TheTorah. to the end of day four, with G-D having Adam put to death, for being the only one all alone here in TheTorah. to the end of day six, with the return of Adam as adam and his mate again. as TheHisSon adam, finds himself all alone here in TheTorah. because grandma, got run over by an evil and wicked reigndear again.

  • yehoshooah adam

    from where does this world get, all of your higher demonic intelligence from? without any higher intelligence from G-D, here in TheTorah whatsoever.

  • yehoshooah adam

    from where does this world get, all of your higher demonic intelligence from? without any higher intelligence from G-D, here in TheTorah whatsoever.

  • dagwinn

    ” Many atheists and humanists have mixed feelings when someone compliments one of our good deeds by saying ‘That’s a Christian thing to do.’ We know they mean well, but they falsely equate goodness with Christianity. ”

    I suppose that’s one way of interpreting the phrase, and I’ll admit that some people may be making that equation. And I can see why it might be taken that way.

    And yet, this isn’t how the phrase has been used by those around me throughout my life. For believers I’ve known, the phrase often highlights a course of action that’s not comfortable or easy, but is “right” according to our understanding of what being “Christian” is supposed to mean.

    It’s not that the act was good because it was Christian, or that it was Christian because it was good. It’s that whatever was done is congruent with Christian beliefs. Surprisingly, people can do “Christian things” without being Christians.

    Admittedly, Christians often fail to do the “Christian thing.” And, perhaps a non-believer’s view of the phrase might be different if more Christians were visibly doing “Christian things.” But, to steal a sappy line from a bumper sticker, Christians aren’t perfect….”

  • dagwinn

    ” Many atheists and humanists have mixed feelings when someone compliments one of our good deeds by saying ‘That’s a Christian thing to do.’ We know they mean well, but they falsely equate goodness with Christianity. ”

    I suppose that’s one way of interpreting the phrase, and I’ll admit that some people may be making that equation. And I can see why it might be taken that way.

    And yet, this isn’t how the phrase has been used by those around me throughout my life. For believers I’ve known, the phrase often highlights a course of action that’s not comfortable or easy, but is “right” according to our understanding of what being “Christian” is supposed to mean.

    It’s not that the act was good because it was Christian, or that it was Christian because it was good. It’s that whatever was done is congruent with Christian beliefs. Surprisingly, people can do “Christian things” without being Christians.

    Admittedly, Christians often fail to do the “Christian thing.” And, perhaps a non-believer’s view of the phrase might be different if more Christians were visibly doing “Christian things.” But, to steal a sappy line from a bumper sticker, Christians aren’t perfect….”

  • yehoshooah adam

    don’t care how many times, you all make the exact same mental magic demonic mistakes. TheG-D of Only TheTorah, is not going to change The-Story we are all here in again. as you will all rather, murder all of your grandchildren in the food again. rather than believe in TheG-D of only TheTorah here in IT.

    and all G-D has to do to keep THEIR Promise, to not destroy the whole world. is to survive, Noach, His-Family, and whosoever the 144,000 critters are. and G-D can always do this, all over again and again.

  • yehoshooah adam

    don’t care how many times, you all make the exact same mental magic demonic mistakes. TheG-D of Only TheTorah, is not going to change The-Story we are all here in again. as you will all rather, murder all of your grandchildren in the food again. rather than believe in TheG-D of only TheTorah here in IT.

    and all G-D has to do to keep THEIR Promise, to not destroy the whole world. is to survive, Noach, His-Family, and whosoever the 144,000 critters are. and G-D can always do this, all over again and again.

  • yehoshooah adam

    should have been flood again.

  • yehoshooah adam

    should have been flood again.

  • leibowde84

    Why don’t you take a minute to get your thoughts together, buddy.

  • leibowde84

    Why don’t you take a minute to get your thoughts together, buddy.

  • yehoshooah adam

    i would say that G-D, and THEIR HisSon adam. is not exactly happy with this world and your grandmother of all again here in Only TheTorah is in TheHappening.

  • yehoshooah adam

    i would say that G-D, and THEIR HisSon adam. is not exactly happy with this world and your grandmother of all again here in Only TheTorah is in TheHappening.

  • yehoshooah adam

    since when is encouraging, world genocide here in TheTorah a good thing? cause i can tell you what is going to happen, when G-D returns from TheDay of Rest, and looking for Noach and His-Family, and whoever all the 144,000 critters are.

    as you might want to consider yourself fortunate, that they are not muslims doing their muslim head slicing thing. as i so not find, jews, christians, or muslims, being true to G-D here in TheTorah still. in fact their lying about, may even be considered a worse form of atheism.

    cause this story from G-D, is not about being true to any religion in idolatry. it is about being true to G-D, religiously here in TheTorah again. even trying to be true, to any organized religious group, even if it is russianism, frenchism, or chinaism, shall nationally mislead you.

  • yehoshooah adam

    since when is encouraging, world genocide here in TheTorah a good thing? cause i can tell you what is going to happen, when G-D returns from TheDay of Rest, and looking for Noach and His-Family, and whoever all the 144,000 critters are.

    as you might want to consider yourself fortunate, that they are not muslims doing their muslim head slicing thing. as i so not find, jews, christians, or muslims, being true to G-D here in TheTorah still. in fact their lying about, may even be considered a worse form of atheism.

    cause this story from G-D, is not about being true to any religion in idolatry. it is about being true to G-D, religiously here in TheTorah again. even trying to be true, to any organized religious group, even if it is russianism, frenchism, or chinaism, shall nationally mislead you.

  • Rongoklunk

    Religion is only acquired through childhood indoctrination, when the brain is empty of knowledge and the child unable to know the difference between sense and nonsense. And when the child becomes an adult – god is safely uploaded into his brain – and the adult will be a believer forever.

    As Herb Silverman wrote a few weeks ago – 93% of all members of The Academy of Sciences do not believe in a god. (This can be verified on Wikipedia under ‘Atheism’) If so many of the best brains on the planet reject the god hypothesis – we should all give it some thought. Science in general does not recognise anything supernatural. There is only reality. Gods were invented by our ancient ancestors, who were totally without knowledge, and who also believed in ghosts and fairies and all manner of invisible flying thingies.
    We’ve come a long way since then. Our understanding of reality no longer requires gods, or fairies or the boogeyman.

  • Rongoklunk

    Religion is only acquired through childhood indoctrination, when the brain is empty of knowledge and the child unable to know the difference between sense and nonsense. And when the child becomes an adult – god is safely uploaded into his brain – and the adult will be a believer forever.

    As Herb Silverman wrote a few weeks ago – 93% of all members of The Academy of Sciences do not believe in a god. (This can be verified on Wikipedia under ‘Atheism’) If so many of the best brains on the planet reject the god hypothesis – we should all give it some thought. Science in general does not recognise anything supernatural. There is only reality. Gods were invented by our ancient ancestors, who were totally without knowledge, and who also believed in ghosts and fairies and all manner of invisible flying thingies.
    We’ve come a long way since then. Our understanding of reality no longer requires gods, or fairies or the boogeyman.

  • CCNL

    Continuing Rongoklunk’s commentary:

    “John Hick, a noted British philosopher of religion, estimates that 95 percent of the people of the world owe their religious affiliation to an accident (the randomness) of birth. The faith of the vast majority of believers depends upon where they were born and when. Those born in Saudi Arabia will almost certainly be Moslems, and those born and raised in India will for the most part be Hindus. Nevertheless, the religion of millions of people can sometimes change abruptly in the face of major political and social upheavals. In the middle of the sixth century ce, virtually all the people of the Near East and Northern Africa, including Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt were Christian. By the end of the following century, the people in these lands were largely Moslem, as a result of the militant spread of Islam.

    The Situation Today

    Barring military conquest, conversion to a faith other than that of one’s birth is rare. Some Jews, Moslems, and Hindus do convert to Christianity, but not often. Similarly, it is not common for Christians to become Moslems or Jews. Most people are satisfied that their own faith is the true one or at least good enough to satisfy their religious and emotional needs. Had St. Augustine or St. Thomas Aquinas been born in Mecca at the start of the present century, the chances are that they would not have been Christians but loyal followers of the prophet Mohammed. “ J. Somerville

    It is very disturbing that religious narrow- mindedness, intolerance, violence and hatred continues unabated due to randomness of birth. Maybe, just maybe if this fact would be published on the first page of every newspaper every day, that we would finally realize the significant stupidity of all religions.

  • CCNL

    Continuing Rongoklunk’s commentary:

    “John Hick, a noted British philosopher of religion, estimates that 95 percent of the people of the world owe their religious affiliation to an accident (the randomness) of birth. The faith of the vast majority of believers depends upon where they were born and when. Those born in Saudi Arabia will almost certainly be Moslems, and those born and raised in India will for the most part be Hindus. Nevertheless, the religion of millions of people can sometimes change abruptly in the face of major political and social upheavals. In the middle of the sixth century ce, virtually all the people of the Near East and Northern Africa, including Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt were Christian. By the end of the following century, the people in these lands were largely Moslem, as a result of the militant spread of Islam.

    The Situation Today

    Barring military conquest, conversion to a faith other than that of one’s birth is rare. Some Jews, Moslems, and Hindus do convert to Christianity, but not often. Similarly, it is not common for Christians to become Moslems or Jews. Most people are satisfied that their own faith is the true one or at least good enough to satisfy their religious and emotional needs. Had St. Augustine or St. Thomas Aquinas been born in Mecca at the start of the present century, the chances are that they would not have been Christians but loyal followers of the prophet Mohammed. “ J. Somerville

    It is very disturbing that religious narrow- mindedness, intolerance, violence and hatred continues unabated due to randomness of birth. Maybe, just maybe if this fact would be published on the first page of every newspaper every day, that we would finally realize the significant stupidity of all religions.

  • neighsayer

    “Narrow-mindedness”, “hatred”, violence” are synonymous with the religion called “Atheism”. Just how “tolerant” are Atheists in their veiled (and in some cases, wide-open) hatred, rebuke and contempt for anyone who does not share their compulsory viewpoints and beliefs or has a belief in Jesus? It seems that everyone must “be tolerant of our intolerance”. This is already happening at an alarming rate in this country (USA). Militant Atheism is on the rise, as is the name-calling and outright bigotry through their often elitist thinking.

  • neighsayer

    “Narrow-mindedness”, “hatred”, violence” are synonymous with the religion called “Atheism”. Just how “tolerant” are Atheists in their veiled (and in some cases, wide-open) hatred, rebuke and contempt for anyone who does not share their compulsory viewpoints and beliefs or has a belief in Jesus? It seems that everyone must “be tolerant of our intolerance”. This is already happening at an alarming rate in this country (USA). Militant Atheism is on the rise, as is the name-calling and outright bigotry through their often elitist thinking.

  • edwills

    Atheists discuss their views, they don’t kill others simply because others don’t believe the way they do.

  • edwills

    Atheists discuss their views, they don’t kill others simply because others don’t believe the way they do.

  • CCNL

    Strong circumstantial evidence that there is no god– (or were they all martyrs?)

    Number of your god’s creations who died horrible deaths from the following diseases:

    1. 300,000,000 approx.
    Smallpox

    2. 200,000,000 ?
    Measles

    3. 100,000,000 approx.
    Black Death

    4. 80,000,000–250,000,000
    Malaria

    5. 50,000,000–100,000,000
    Spanish Flu

    6. 40,000,000–100,000,000
    Plague of Justinian

    7. 40,000,000–100,000,000
    Tuberculosis

    8. 30,000,000[13]
    AIDS pandemic

    9. 12,000,000 ?
    Third Pandemic of Bubonic Plague

    10. 5,000,000
    Antonine Plague

    11. 4,000,000
    Asian Flu

    12. 250,000 or more annually Seasonal influenza

  • CCNL

    Strong circumstantial evidence that there is no god– (or were they all martyrs?)

    Number of your god’s creations who died horrible deaths from the following diseases:

    1. 300,000,000 approx.
    Smallpox

    2. 200,000,000 ?
    Measles

    3. 100,000,000 approx.
    Black Death

    4. 80,000,000–250,000,000
    Malaria

    5. 50,000,000–100,000,000
    Spanish Flu

    6. 40,000,000–100,000,000
    Plague of Justinian

    7. 40,000,000–100,000,000
    Tuberculosis

    8. 30,000,000[13]
    AIDS pandemic

    9. 12,000,000 ?
    Third Pandemic of Bubonic Plague

    10. 5,000,000
    Antonine Plague

    11. 4,000,000
    Asian Flu

    12. 250,000 or more annually Seasonal influenza

  • neighsayer

    CCNL – Are you arguing that there is no God based on the fact that there exists suffering, and that there is no allowance for suffering or evil if God is who He is claimed to be? And, if you are claiming this, why is it a problem that suffering and evil exist, when Atheists do not believe in absolute morality or evil? By what moral standard?

  • neighsayer

    CCNL – Are you arguing that there is no God based on the fact that there exists suffering, and that there is no allowance for suffering or evil if God is who He is claimed to be? And, if you are claiming this, why is it a problem that suffering and evil exist, when Atheists do not believe in absolute morality or evil? By what moral standard?

  • Rongoklunk

    Atheism isn’t a religion. It is not a belief. It is a lack of belief. Atheists are linked with scientists who only believe that which makes sense. Skygods don’t make sense, and neither does an afterlife.
    When we think of religion these days – we think of 9/11, when 19 true believers flew planeloads of people into the WTC for Allah and armloads of virgins. They weren’t crazy, just religious. Atheists say they’re dead – though they expected to be alive up in Paradise with everything they ever desired including everlasting sex with one celestial virgin after another. They were true believers and look where it got them. Their dust is still blowing in the wind where the WTC once stood, demonstrating the outrageous stupidity and madness that religious beliefs are.

  • Rongoklunk

    Atheism isn’t a religion. It is not a belief. It is a lack of belief. Atheists are linked with scientists who only believe that which makes sense. Skygods don’t make sense, and neither does an afterlife.
    When we think of religion these days – we think of 9/11, when 19 true believers flew planeloads of people into the WTC for Allah and armloads of virgins. They weren’t crazy, just religious. Atheists say they’re dead – though they expected to be alive up in Paradise with everything they ever desired including everlasting sex with one celestial virgin after another. They were true believers and look where it got them. Their dust is still blowing in the wind where the WTC once stood, demonstrating the outrageous stupidity and madness that religious beliefs are.

  • neighsayer

    Rongoklunk – How do you, then, define “reality”? What is real, if only the physical, observable universe? Can the brain simply “know” facts, being only matter? How can facts be known: How does a brain – if consisting of only matter – know if what it is thinking is true or real? If it is only matter and a series of random electrical impulses, who can trust it? If reality can only be defined by what is observable as physical matter, then by definition information itself is unknowable and therefore untrue and not real. Mathematics must also be a lie, along with the definition of gravity (gravity itself is not known, only defined and observed).

    Therefore, your statement is self-defeating, or the rules only apply so long as there is no mention of God or a Creator having to do with the apparent fine-tuning and order of the universe.

  • neighsayer

    Rongoklunk – How do you, then, define “reality”? What is real, if only the physical, observable universe? Can the brain simply “know” facts, being only matter? How can facts be known: How does a brain – if consisting of only matter – know if what it is thinking is true or real? If it is only matter and a series of random electrical impulses, who can trust it? If reality can only be defined by what is observable as physical matter, then by definition information itself is unknowable and therefore untrue and not real. Mathematics must also be a lie, along with the definition of gravity (gravity itself is not known, only defined and observed).

    Therefore, your statement is self-defeating, or the rules only apply so long as there is no mention of God or a Creator having to do with the apparent fine-tuning and order of the universe.

  • Rongoklunk

    Reality, as Dawkins says – is everything that exists. He goes on; “We come to know what is real in one of three ways. We can detect it directly using our five senses; or indirectly using our senses aided by special instruments like telescopes and microscopes, or even indirectly by creating models of what might be real and then testing those models to see whether they successfully predict things that we can see or hear etc. with or without the aid of instruments. Ultimately it always comes back to our senses one way or another.”
    From The Magic of Reality by Dawkins. p18
    It’s available in paperback for about twenty bucks. It will answer all your questions. Really.

  • Rongoklunk

    Reality, as Dawkins says – is everything that exists. He goes on; “We come to know what is real in one of three ways. We can detect it directly using our five senses; or indirectly using our senses aided by special instruments like telescopes and microscopes, or even indirectly by creating models of what might be real and then testing those models to see whether they successfully predict things that we can see or hear etc. with or without the aid of instruments. Ultimately it always comes back to our senses one way or another.”
    From The Magic of Reality by Dawkins. p18
    It’s available in paperback for about twenty bucks. It will answer all your questions. Really.

  • Rongoklunk

    The human brain got us to the moon. It is a wonderful instrument, the brain. Don’t under-estimate it.
    Science is all about reality. Religion is all about the supernatural which science does not recognize.
    There is absolutely no reason why anybody should believe in a god. It is absurd. In ancient times that all people ever did – making up gods. It was an addiction because it gave comfort to people who had no idea of their origins or of the world they found themselves in. They invented more than 3500 gods over time. Apollo, Zeus, Jupiter, Thor, Wotan, Osiris, Isis, Huitzilopchtli. All made up. Like current gods.

  • Rongoklunk

    The human brain got us to the moon. It is a wonderful instrument, the brain. Don’t under-estimate it.
    Science is all about reality. Religion is all about the supernatural which science does not recognize.
    There is absolutely no reason why anybody should believe in a god. It is absurd. In ancient times that all people ever did – making up gods. It was an addiction because it gave comfort to people who had no idea of their origins or of the world they found themselves in. They invented more than 3500 gods over time. Apollo, Zeus, Jupiter, Thor, Wotan, Osiris, Isis, Huitzilopchtli. All made up. Like current gods.

  • ThomasBaum

    Rongoklunk

    You wrote, “Religion is only acquired through childhood indoctrination,”

    If by “religion”, you mean a belief in God than you should know that this is a total falsehood as there are those that come to a belief in God that were not “indoctrinated”, your mentality, as a child.

    Would you consider everything taught to a child to be “indoctrination”?

    You then wrote, “And when the child becomes an adult – god is safely uploaded into his brain – and the adult will be a believer forever.”

    Something else that you should know is a falsehood, seeing as there are those that are taught, “indoctrinated” in your interpretation, about God and later reject these teachings.

    You then wrote, “As Herb Silverman wrote a few weeks ago – 93% of all members of The Academy of Sciences do not believe in a god. (This can be verified on Wikipedia under ‘Atheism’) If so many of the best brains on the planet reject the god hypothesis – we should all give it some thought.”

    Even if it were 100%, all it would mean is that they concur in their “belief” concerning this, it sure isn’t any kind of “proof”, as you said, “members of The Academy of Sciences do not believe’ in a god”.

    You also wrote, “Science in general does not recognise anything supernatural”.

    I suppose that this might be because science is the study of the natural.

    Then you wrote, “There is only reality.”

    Quite an interesting statement that, if one thinks about it, says pretty much nothing.

    What is real is real and what isn’t isn’t, are you saying that you “know” what is real and what is not real?

    Just because you or anyone else does not believe something to be real, doesn’t make it not real, and in the same vein, just because you or anyone does believe something to be real does not make it real, something is either real (true) or not real (false).

    Science is the study of “reality” and I “believe” that there are some things in reality that are beyond our ability to “prove or disprove”.

  • ThomasBaum

    Rongoklunk

    You wrote, “Religion is only acquired through childhood indoctrination,”

    If by “religion”, you mean a belief in God than you should know that this is a total falsehood as there are those that come to a belief in God that were not “indoctrinated”, your mentality, as a child.

    Would you consider everything taught to a child to be “indoctrination”?

    You then wrote, “And when the child becomes an adult – god is safely uploaded into his brain – and the adult will be a believer forever.”

    Something else that you should know is a falsehood, seeing as there are those that are taught, “indoctrinated” in your interpretation, about God and later reject these teachings.

    You then wrote, “As Herb Silverman wrote a few weeks ago – 93% of all members of The Academy of Sciences do not believe in a god. (This can be verified on Wikipedia under ‘Atheism’) If so many of the best brains on the planet reject the god hypothesis – we should all give it some thought.”

    Even if it were 100%, all it would mean is that they concur in their “belief” concerning this, it sure isn’t any kind of “proof”, as you said, “members of The Academy of Sciences do not believe’ in a god”.

    You also wrote, “Science in general does not recognise anything supernatural”.

    I suppose that this might be because science is the study of the natural.

    Then you wrote, “There is only reality.”

    Quite an interesting statement that, if one thinks about it, says pretty much nothing.

    What is real is real and what isn’t isn’t, are you saying that you “know” what is real and what is not real?

    Just because you or anyone else does not believe something to be real, doesn’t make it not real, and in the same vein, just because you or anyone does believe something to be real does not make it real, something is either real (true) or not real (false).

    Science is the study of “reality” and I “believe” that there are some things in reality that are beyond our ability to “prove or disprove”.

  • Rongoklunk

    It used to be the christian thing to burn heretics alive at the stake in front of crowds of people who were supposed to be encouraged to remain christian for ever, or else they too might end up being burnt alive. And there was also the torture – to persuade nonbelievers to change their mind. And there was also the drowning of witches. Very christian things to do when religion had the power to do anything it liked. Christendom must have been a living hell.

  • Rongoklunk

    It used to be the christian thing to burn heretics alive at the stake in front of crowds of people who were supposed to be encouraged to remain christian for ever, or else they too might end up being burnt alive. And there was also the torture – to persuade nonbelievers to change their mind. And there was also the drowning of witches. Very christian things to do when religion had the power to do anything it liked. Christendom must have been a living hell.

  • williambellah

    “committed relationship” are you talking about marriage? For most married parents, marriage is about staying together through all the turmoil the pain and suffering the sweat and the tears until your kids are basically on their own, that can take decades. After you’ve been through all that you start to respect the person your sharing life with and figure you owe each other something, thats what love is.

  • williambellah

    “committed relationship” are you talking about marriage? For most married parents, marriage is about staying together through all the turmoil the pain and suffering the sweat and the tears until your kids are basically on their own, that can take decades. After you’ve been through all that you start to respect the person your sharing life with and figure you owe each other something, thats what love is.

  • williambellah

    It’s almost impossible to believe in God unless he makes himself known to you and then it all makes sense.

  • williambellah

    It’s almost impossible to believe in God unless he makes himself known to you and then it all makes sense.

  • persiflage

    So god has favorites? Many unbelievers are at least somewhat familiar with the fabulous functions of the human brain – the entire human population does the things they do because of 2 lbs. of mystery jelly in their cranial vaults.

    Next to that, the entire realm of religious mythology by way of the human imagination is a pretty small consideration…….including fantasies about divine voices emerging from gray matter. .

  • persiflage

    So god has favorites? Many unbelievers are at least somewhat familiar with the fabulous functions of the human brain – the entire human population does the things they do because of 2 lbs. of mystery jelly in their cranial vaults.

    Next to that, the entire realm of religious mythology by way of the human imagination is a pretty small consideration…….including fantasies about divine voices emerging from gray matter. .

  • Rusty Yates

    Pope Francis is giving the Catholic Church a glimpse of what it is to be an atheist humanist. I wonder if the Vatican will poison him.

  • Rusty Yates

    Pope Francis is giving the Catholic Church a glimpse of what it is to be an atheist humanist. I wonder if the Vatican will poison him.

  • dagwinn

    Perhaps I need new glasses, but I don’t see anything in what you wrote that refutes my comment.

    What you wrote happened. But what you wrote doesn’t mean that what “Christians did” (or even still do) was actually a “Christian thing to do” in the sense that the phrase is currently being used.

    If that’s a discrediting refutation, then pretty much any ideology is equally discreditable.

  • dagwinn

    Perhaps I need new glasses, but I don’t see anything in what you wrote that refutes my comment.

    What you wrote happened. But what you wrote doesn’t mean that what “Christians did” (or even still do) was actually a “Christian thing to do” in the sense that the phrase is currently being used.

    If that’s a discrediting refutation, then pretty much any ideology is equally discreditable.

  • ThomasBaum

    Wouldn’t that be a theistic humanist?

  • ThomasBaum

    Wouldn’t that be a theistic humanist?

  • ThomasBaum

    williambellah

    You wrote, “It’s almost impossible to believe in God unless he makes himself known to you and then it all makes sense.”

    Could that be why they call it “faith” and that it is said that faith is a gift?

    By the way, wouldn’t the person you are referring to in your statement be beyond believing in God into knowing that God Is?

  • ThomasBaum

    williambellah

    You wrote, “It’s almost impossible to believe in God unless he makes himself known to you and then it all makes sense.”

    Could that be why they call it “faith” and that it is said that faith is a gift?

    By the way, wouldn’t the person you are referring to in your statement be beyond believing in God into knowing that God Is?

  • ThomasBaum

    persiflage

    You asked, “So god has favorites?”

    Why would you ask this?

    God works differently in everyone’s life, that doesn’t mean that God has favorites.

    You then wrote, “Next to that, the entire realm of religious mythology by way of the human imagination is a pretty small consideration…….including fantasies about divine voices emerging from gray matter.”

    If one thinks/believes/knows that God Is, what you are saying here is that which is created is so much more fantastic that Who created it.

    As far as “including fantasies about divine voices emerging from gray matter” when I met God the Father and the Holy Spirit there were no “voices emerging from gray matter” as a matter of fact there were no voices at all, however I did use my God-given “gray matter” to think about these events at the time they were happening and later on.

  • ThomasBaum

    persiflage

    You asked, “So god has favorites?”

    Why would you ask this?

    God works differently in everyone’s life, that doesn’t mean that God has favorites.

    You then wrote, “Next to that, the entire realm of religious mythology by way of the human imagination is a pretty small consideration…….including fantasies about divine voices emerging from gray matter.”

    If one thinks/believes/knows that God Is, what you are saying here is that which is created is so much more fantastic that Who created it.

    As far as “including fantasies about divine voices emerging from gray matter” when I met God the Father and the Holy Spirit there were no “voices emerging from gray matter” as a matter of fact there were no voices at all, however I did use my God-given “gray matter” to think about these events at the time they were happening and later on.

  • persiflage

    I’m wondering why God converses with (or makes Himself known) to only a select few………

    T. Baum, the problem with religious faith is that it requires belief in a host of unproven assumptions and/or perceptions concerning reality that are not readily available to those that have not been schooled in the metaphysics of a particular faith-based belief system. This works best in childhood, of course. But not always………..

    For example, the doctrines of the Catholic Church mean absolutely nothing to the headhunters of New Guinea or the endogenous peoples of the Amazon rain forest/river basin………….unless of course, they’ve been ‘converted’ by missionaries.

    Since these primitive people believe in supernatural realms to begin with, sometimes it’s possible to successfully populate those realms with divinities approved by the Catholic Church – and so it goes for primitive cultures steeped in shamanism and animistic traditions. The cargo cults of Melanesia believed that one day great supply ships would magically appear with mountains of consumer goods, thus making for a true island paradise.

    Italian St. John Bosco was revered as a successful missionary in Argentina, where he worked among the savages of Patagonia – all based on a dream ( a premiere product of our famed gray matter).

    However, the Jesuit missionaries were not particularly successful in the conversion of Buddhists – because divinities were notably absent, and the concept of salvation was profoundly different. They believe that perfect insight requires personal effort – and many lifetimes. The Buddha was a completely human role model rather than a divinity – although ironically he did represent the human aspect of a transcendent triad.

    It could be that religious folk are predisposed to the faith and ritual of religion because it somehow improves their quality of life. The Pope seems to recognize that this is not always the case with all people.

  • persiflage

    I’m wondering why God converses with (or makes Himself known) to only a select few………

    T. Baum, the problem with religious faith is that it requires belief in a host of unproven assumptions and/or perceptions concerning reality that are not readily available to those that have not been schooled in the metaphysics of a particular faith-based belief system. This works best in childhood, of course. But not always………..

    For example, the doctrines of the Catholic Church mean absolutely nothing to the headhunters of New Guinea or the endogenous peoples of the Amazon rain forest/river basin………….unless of course, they’ve been ‘converted’ by missionaries.

    Since these primitive people believe in supernatural realms to begin with, sometimes it’s possible to successfully populate those realms with divinities approved by the Catholic Church – and so it goes for primitive cultures steeped in shamanism and animistic traditions. The cargo cults of Melanesia believed that one day great supply ships would magically appear with mountains of consumer goods, thus making for a true island paradise.

    Italian St. John Bosco was revered as a successful missionary in Argentina, where he worked among the savages of Patagonia – all based on a dream ( a premiere product of our famed gray matter).

    However, the Jesuit missionaries were not particularly successful in the conversion of Buddhists – because divinities were notably absent, and the concept of salvation was profoundly different. They believe that perfect insight requires personal effort – and many lifetimes. The Buddha was a completely human role model rather than a divinity – although ironically he did represent the human aspect of a transcendent triad.

    It could be that religious folk are predisposed to the faith and ritual of religion because it somehow improves their quality of life. The Pope seems to recognize that this is not always the case with all people.

  • tonykdarcy

    Dear oh dear !

    Believe or perish horribly. yehoshooah adam is just so convincing, the way s/he argues the case !

    I would be quaking in my boots, but I’m expecting a nice Californian gal to arrive soon ! No bloody “Saviours” for me !

  • tonykdarcy

    Dear oh dear !

    Believe or perish horribly. yehoshooah adam is just so convincing, the way s/he argues the case !

    I would be quaking in my boots, but I’m expecting a nice Californian gal to arrive soon ! No bloody “Saviours” for me !

  • tonykdarcy

    What’s Christian about flooding the world and almost killing off all life ?

    No wonder Dawkins wrote the things he did about Jaweh ! But Jaweh was Jesus’ Father.

    Makes sense ?

  • tonykdarcy

    What’s Christian about flooding the world and almost killing off all life ?

    No wonder Dawkins wrote the things he did about Jaweh ! But Jaweh was Jesus’ Father.

    Makes sense ?

  • tonykdarcy

    I find your G-D to be bl–dy offensive to my intelligence !

  • tonykdarcy

    I find your G-D to be bl–dy offensive to my intelligence !

  • nkri401

    @T,

    “The answer was, interestingly, “We don’t know, we can use it and we can generate it but as far as what electricity is, we just don’t know”. ”

    We know what is electricity. It’s the flow of electrons. I’ll not get into the voltage and current. You need to take a course from a science teacher.

    BTW, we don’t know what is gravity, yet, as there is no graviton. However, Higgs Boson particle may be it. But science has no faith either in electrons or HB particle and more importantly do not worship subatomic particles, no matter how wondrous they are.

  • nkri401

    @T,

    “The answer was, interestingly, “We don’t know, we can use it and we can generate it but as far as what electricity is, we just don’t know”. ”

    We know what is electricity. It’s the flow of electrons. I’ll not get into the voltage and current. You need to take a course from a science teacher.

    BTW, we don’t know what is gravity, yet, as there is no graviton. However, Higgs Boson particle may be it. But science has no faith either in electrons or HB particle and more importantly do not worship subatomic particles, no matter how wondrous they are.

  • nkri401

    See about burning heretics by Christians per Ron.

  • nkri401

    See about burning heretics by Christians per Ron.

  • ThomasBaum

    nkri401

    You wrote, “We know what is electricity.”

    Ask a physicist, ask a scientist, we know what electricity does, we do not know what electricity is.

    You then wrote, “It’s the flow of electrons. I’ll not get into the voltage and current.”

    This is what it does, not what it is, I am not a physicist but if you ask a physicist, the answer he/she gives you just might surprise you.

  • ThomasBaum

    nkri401

    You wrote, “We know what is electricity.”

    Ask a physicist, ask a scientist, we know what electricity does, we do not know what electricity is.

    You then wrote, “It’s the flow of electrons. I’ll not get into the voltage and current.”

    This is what it does, not what it is, I am not a physicist but if you ask a physicist, the answer he/she gives you just might surprise you.

  • ThomasBaum

    persiflage

    You wrote, “I’m wondering why God converses with (or makes Himself known) to only a select few………”

    I guess one day we will both find out.

    You then wrote, “It could be that religious folk are predisposed to the faith and ritual of religion because it somehow improves their quality of life.”

    Just because someone gets chosen by God does not mean that their “quality of life” improves.

    Then you proceeded to write, “The Pope seems to recognize that this is not always the case with all people.”

    I would only be guessing but maybe the Pope believes that the “Good News”, which Jesus asked us to proclaim, is actually Good News.

  • ThomasBaum

    persiflage

    You wrote, “I’m wondering why God converses with (or makes Himself known) to only a select few………”

    I guess one day we will both find out.

    You then wrote, “It could be that religious folk are predisposed to the faith and ritual of religion because it somehow improves their quality of life.”

    Just because someone gets chosen by God does not mean that their “quality of life” improves.

    Then you proceeded to write, “The Pope seems to recognize that this is not always the case with all people.”

    I would only be guessing but maybe the Pope believes that the “Good News”, which Jesus asked us to proclaim, is actually Good News.

  • Gloria2

    And what century are you living in nkri401?

  • Gloria2

    And what century are you living in nkri401?

  • persiflage

    ‘If one thinks/believes/knows that God Is, what you are saying here is that which is created is so much more fantastic that Who created it.’

    What I’m saying is you can’t escape your own brain or it’s products – although you can project it’s activities on an outside world, including the attributes of meaning, purpose, and significance

    You can also believe anything you want about your own inner experiences, but the emergence of the known universe and it’s activities remains subject to known and/or unknown physical laws, rather than divine forces – at least as far as science is concerned.

    We have to ask ourselves this question – when belief systems don’t change for hundreds or thousands of years, doesn’t that defy scientific principles, much less our own everyday experience?

    Change is at the very center of existence.

  • persiflage

    ‘If one thinks/believes/knows that God Is, what you are saying here is that which is created is so much more fantastic that Who created it.’

    What I’m saying is you can’t escape your own brain or it’s products – although you can project it’s activities on an outside world, including the attributes of meaning, purpose, and significance

    You can also believe anything you want about your own inner experiences, but the emergence of the known universe and it’s activities remains subject to known and/or unknown physical laws, rather than divine forces – at least as far as science is concerned.

    We have to ask ourselves this question – when belief systems don’t change for hundreds or thousands of years, doesn’t that defy scientific principles, much less our own everyday experience?

    Change is at the very center of existence.

  • nkri401

    Mr. Baum,

    Your assertion “we do not know what electricity is” is devoid of semantic value.

    The set of phenomenon that are related (because we could form a theory) is named “electricity”. We didn’t know what it was. That’s why we gave it the name “electricity”, so that we know it’s not water, wind or fire.

    e.g. I can say I don’t know what an apple is. I know where I can get. I can recognize it so that others will agree that it’s an apple. But what is it really?

    If above seems absurd, change “apple” with “luck”.

    Hope this helps.

  • nkri401

    Mr. Baum,

    Your assertion “we do not know what electricity is” is devoid of semantic value.

    The set of phenomenon that are related (because we could form a theory) is named “electricity”. We didn’t know what it was. That’s why we gave it the name “electricity”, so that we know it’s not water, wind or fire.

    e.g. I can say I don’t know what an apple is. I know where I can get. I can recognize it so that others will agree that it’s an apple. But what is it really?

    If above seems absurd, change “apple” with “luck”.

    Hope this helps.

  • edwills

    To say you will only find out why God makes himself known to a chosen few after you are dead is a cop out. Admit you don’t know, and perhaps you are just imagining that there is a God who made himself known to you.

  • edwills

    To say you will only find out why God makes himself known to a chosen few after you are dead is a cop out. Admit you don’t know, and perhaps you are just imagining that there is a God who made himself known to you.

  • ThomasBaum

    nkri401

    You wrote, “Mr. Baum, Your assertion “we do not know what electricity is” is devoid of semantic value.”

    Could be “devoid of semantic value” but that doesn’t mean that it is devoid of value to phycisict’s and as I said I am not a physicist.

    By the way, it wasn’t my “assertion” it was the person teaching the course’s assertion.

    The person teaching the course may or may not have been a physicist but there seems to be a “scientific value” to the assertion that we do not know what electricity is.

    It was just a simple scientific statement that I made from something that I was taught.

  • ThomasBaum

    nkri401

    You wrote, “Mr. Baum, Your assertion “we do not know what electricity is” is devoid of semantic value.”

    Could be “devoid of semantic value” but that doesn’t mean that it is devoid of value to phycisict’s and as I said I am not a physicist.

    By the way, it wasn’t my “assertion” it was the person teaching the course’s assertion.

    The person teaching the course may or may not have been a physicist but there seems to be a “scientific value” to the assertion that we do not know what electricity is.

    It was just a simple scientific statement that I made from something that I was taught.

  • CDD5

    “Many atheists and humanists have mixed feelings when someone compliments one of our good deeds by saying “That’s a Christian thing to do.” We know they mean well, but they falsely equate goodness with Christianity.” If there is no God, humans are but a collection of atoms and the definition of “goodness” is mere unsubstantiated opinion. All morality is thus contrived.

  • CDD5

    “Many atheists and humanists have mixed feelings when someone compliments one of our good deeds by saying “That’s a Christian thing to do.” We know they mean well, but they falsely equate goodness with Christianity.” If there is no God, humans are but a collection of atoms and the definition of “goodness” is mere unsubstantiated opinion. All morality is thus contrived.

  • ThomasBaum

    edwills

    You wrote, “To say you will only find out why God makes himself known to a chosen few after you are dead is a cop out. Admit you don’t know,”

    What do you think that I did?

    I admitted that I don’t know why God picks who God picks and I also admit that I am not a know-it-all and I know that I don’t need to be a know-it-all.

    You then wrote, “perhaps you are just imagining that there is a God who made himself known to you.”

    I have already said in other places that some of the people of Jesus’s day considered Jesus a nut case and I have said that I am either a nut case or one who is speaking a simple truth concerning meeting God.

    Time will tell.

    As I have also said in other places, I can not prove that God Is, only God can do that.

  • ThomasBaum

    edwills

    You wrote, “To say you will only find out why God makes himself known to a chosen few after you are dead is a cop out. Admit you don’t know,”

    What do you think that I did?

    I admitted that I don’t know why God picks who God picks and I also admit that I am not a know-it-all and I know that I don’t need to be a know-it-all.

    You then wrote, “perhaps you are just imagining that there is a God who made himself known to you.”

    I have already said in other places that some of the people of Jesus’s day considered Jesus a nut case and I have said that I am either a nut case or one who is speaking a simple truth concerning meeting God.

    Time will tell.

    As I have also said in other places, I can not prove that God Is, only God can do that.

  • ThomasBaum

    persiflage

    You wrote, “We have to ask ourselves this question – when belief systems don’t change for hundreds or thousands of years, doesn’t that defy scientific principles, much less our own everyday experience?” and “Change is at the very center of existence.”

    You are speaking of the physical universe which I refer to as creation which is an ongoing thing, so there is change all the time.

    There is a difference, to put it mildly, between the Creator and the Creator’s creation and according to Christianity, the Creator became a part of the Creator’s creation in the Incarnation in the Person of Jesus.

    Without the Incarnation, there is no Christianity, it is that simple.

    The god of islam claims Jesus as his prophet yet denies the Incarnation, Christianity’s most basic core belief is the Incarnation and it is for this simple reason that I say that islam and Christlanity can both be false, one or the other could be true but they both can’t be true.

  • ThomasBaum

    persiflage

    You wrote, “We have to ask ourselves this question – when belief systems don’t change for hundreds or thousands of years, doesn’t that defy scientific principles, much less our own everyday experience?” and “Change is at the very center of existence.”

    You are speaking of the physical universe which I refer to as creation which is an ongoing thing, so there is change all the time.

    There is a difference, to put it mildly, between the Creator and the Creator’s creation and according to Christianity, the Creator became a part of the Creator’s creation in the Incarnation in the Person of Jesus.

    Without the Incarnation, there is no Christianity, it is that simple.

    The god of islam claims Jesus as his prophet yet denies the Incarnation, Christianity’s most basic core belief is the Incarnation and it is for this simple reason that I say that islam and Christlanity can both be false, one or the other could be true but they both can’t be true.

  • tieeege

    It’s the atheist thing to do to be depressing and condescending, offering really no salient points. If you had quit after the second paragraph you would have offered at least some hope of a dialogue.

  • tieeege

    It’s the atheist thing to do to be depressing and condescending, offering really no salient points. If you had quit after the second paragraph you would have offered at least some hope of a dialogue.

  • persiflage

    ‘humans are but a collection of atoms and the definition of “goodness” is mere unsubstantiated opinion. All morality is thus contrived’

    Please! A collection of atoms that can think, although most behavior seems to be driven by emotions in the end. Morality is a collection of behavioral determinants that increases the chances for survival of the species………and was probably around in some form or another since the early (tribal) days of homo sapiens.

    Early religion and it’s rituals may have been a codification of behavioral imperatives that enhanced the social cohesion and dominence of various tribal factions

  • persiflage

    ‘humans are but a collection of atoms and the definition of “goodness” is mere unsubstantiated opinion. All morality is thus contrived’

    Please! A collection of atoms that can think, although most behavior seems to be driven by emotions in the end. Morality is a collection of behavioral determinants that increases the chances for survival of the species………and was probably around in some form or another since the early (tribal) days of homo sapiens.

    Early religion and it’s rituals may have been a codification of behavioral imperatives that enhanced the social cohesion and dominence of various tribal factions