Pope: “It’s okay to be an Atheist”

Pope Francis met with media

Pope Francis met with media (Photo credit: Catholic Church (England and Wales))

Francis I, the new Roman Catholic pontiff, told an assembled crowd in Argentina yesterday that being an atheist is okay, as long as you do good.

He told the story of a Catholic who asked a priest if even atheists could be redeemed by Jesus.

“Even them, everyone,” the pope answered, according to Vatican Radio. “We all have the duty to do good,” he said.

“Just do good and we’ll find a meeting point,” the pope said in a hypothetical conversation in which someone told a priest: “But I don’t believe. I’m an atheist.”

I neither want nor require anyone’s permission to believe what I do. That goes for Pope Francis, to be sure, but that also goes for the atheist and the anti-theist. Nonetheless, any day I hear someone whose belief system differs with mine say “I don’t believe what you do, but as long as you try hard to be a good person, you’re okay with me,” that’s a good day.

Tolerance rocks, and this step by the Pope should be applauded. One hopes that the entire Church adopts that view toward not only atheists, but all of us whose faiths differ from Roman Catholicism.

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The Sino-Hebraic Connection

Adam Daniel Mezei asks via Twitter:

What’s your read on the connections between Chinese and Jews. Beyond obvious factors, what do you think our connections are?

After wondering aloud if I could answer that in 140 characters, I though about it and gave him this precis of an answer.

I think Chinese and Jews look each other in the eye and see something comforting and familiar. It comes not necessarily from a shared set of values, but of common experience: each is the ancient and seminal culture of a civilization, has endured unspeakable hardship/persecution, and each has emerged from the crucible of history with great depth beneath the hardened exterior shared by all survivors.

Therein, I believe, lies the heart of the mutual respect and admiration – and in my household affection – between the two great cultures.

Thoughts?

Meeting of Mind and Soul

Science and Religion are portrayed to be in ha...

Image via Wikipedia

It demands no great mind of science to deconstruct faith. It requires no saint to enumerate the shortcomings of science.

The truly brilliant will find in Faith a questing of a kind different from – but no less legitimate than – the Method.

And the truly Holy will see in science a new way to know the hand of G-d.

The great minds and the great souls will forge a path of tolerance, of mutual respect, of unity, for tey will apprehend a truth, a shared quest, and the complementarity of their journeys of discovery.