Pope: Atheists Who Do Good Are Redeemed

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by brian577, May 23, 2013.

  1. horatio83

    horatio83 Commodore Commodore

    Oct 25, 2009
    I think the problem is that you just report your big mistakes when you confess and the guilt is partly taken away from you. I'd have to quote Kirk here "I don't want my pain taken away from me, I need my pain".

    I think a community (which is what church, ecclesia means after all) instead of just one person other person a social space which consists to lower your shields, show how weak and broken you are (this is broader than just confessing mistakes) ... and paradoxically gain strength precisely via being able to do this instead of suppressing your brokenness or doing things that make you directly feel good like we do most of the time.
  2. Timelord Victorious

    Timelord Victorious Vice Admiral Admiral

    Feb 27, 2006
    Germany, Earth, the Solar System
    Not to become the one to drag this thread down, but i thought of something else.

    While it is indeed good to not openly condemn other beliefs or non beliefs, but he said good people go to heaven, too.

    Now, he didn't say what makes a person a good person.

    As far as I know, if you are gay, use condoms, had an abortion, etc, than you don't qualify at all.
  3. horatio83

    horatio83 Commodore Commodore

    Oct 25, 2009
    Sinning is obviously a choice. Evil is a bit more complex and depends on what religious text you take and how you read it but if you take the Lucifer story it is also a matter of choice. If you read it through Tolkien's Silmarillion it becomes even more obvious that it is a matter of choice. Not that I appreciate these stories, while the guys who followed Melkor did not listen to their own music in Tolkien's creation myth the main point of both stories is evil = not respecting patriarchal authority.

    The fall from paradise, well, the superficial and literal (just because there are some fundamentalists who read their religious texts literal doesn't mean that you should do the same mistake) reading of "you take the apple, you get punished" doesn't suffice IMO.
    Human beings differ from animals because he hunger for knowledge and this very knowledge makes us those crazy creatures who we are. We are aware of our mortality in an abstract sense, not just in a concrete sense like animals and we are unlike animals not hedonists. Take unrequited love, only humans can become even more obsessed whereas all other apes are pragmatic and choose another mate.

    So our intelligence, self-awareness and free will make us pretty crazy creatures in some ways and fallen or broken are in my opinion just religious-mythological terms for this. I am an hardcore atheist but I don't think that the ancients have been that stupid. They didn't write clear essays, they expressed themselves via fiction / mythology / religion and sometimes you can find interesting ideas in these texts. It is e.g. no coincidence that Freud found the best examples for his theories in such old mythological texts.
  4. Lt. Uhura-Brown

    Lt. Uhura-Brown Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    May 14, 2013
    New Zealand
  5. iguana_tonante

    iguana_tonante Admiral Admiral

    Sep 15, 2006
    Italy, EU
    Yeah but since the idea is that we are sinners, what choice do we have? We must sin, that's our nature. Sure, we can avoid sin for a while, but we can't avoid it forever. As sinners, sin is what defines us. That's the point. To overcome our sinful nature, we must obviously look outside, to an external agent of salvation, to rescue us from ourselves, and deliver us to a prize we can't achieve on our own.

    That's the whole point of revealed religions. To create a need we didn't have before, and act to fulfill it. Kinda like marketing.

    That's because both Freud and mythology are weird in the head. :p
  6. horatio83

    horatio83 Commodore Commodore

    Oct 25, 2009
    I agree that God as the agent of ultimate redemption is stupid and leads of course to simple power problems. Humans can pretend to wield part of that great power, e.g. confession in Catholicism, and that power gets abused in one way or another.

    I wouldn't hesitate any moment to claim that overall you find more crap than useful stuff in religious texts. But then again I also think that the nasty stuff in them as well as organized religion is obvious so it is more interesting to find the not-so-bad and not-so-obvious ideas.

    Let's stay e.g with tge "Christ died for our sins" notion. It also has some nice implications that do not involve any metaphysical power figure. It does after all not mean that we messed up, now the slate is clean and now we can mess up again. It rather means, time-travel paradox style, that this act created the very possibility of redemption. This can make people more forgiving and my personal experiences with Christian is that this is indeed the case (but then again my personal experiences are hardly representative as I do not personally know any Christian right-wingers who obviously prefer revenge to forgiveness).

    About the point of monotheistic religions, of course they are as you rightly pointed out a way to structure society and wield power. But I also think that they are a progress from pagan religions where gods stood for natural processes which have not been understood yet. Yahwe on the other hand stands for the law, for abstract stuff (hence the forbidding of making a picture of God in Judaism) which is some kind of progress. And in the Jesus story God even dies so it is a stepping stone towards atheism, more progress.

    I admit that my reading of the text is basically a left-wing one, Jesus wants to create a community of equals beyond tribal bounds (if anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, even their own life, such a person cannot be my disciple) and his notion of God equals this very community (for where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them) so when Jesus the man dies all that is left is this emancipatory group.
    I don't think that this reading is entirely correct but I also think that it is a closer and more truthful reading than the Christian orthodox or fundamentalist interpretation. Or wouldn't you say that a Martin Luther King or Oscar Romero have more to do with the Jesus story than a stupid Pope?
    Of course I gotta admit my motivation is also partly strategical, bashing a right-winger with his own holy book is potentially more powerful (and fun) than bashing him with secularism.
    Last edited: May 24, 2013
  7. Tora Ziyal

    Tora Ziyal Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Feb 27, 2010
    Well, it's one thing that defines us. If you let it become the whole (or even the major part of the) definition, then, yes, that's a big problem.

    I've never thought of it as taking away personal responsibility, just as being realistic that, try as we might to choose the good/right/beneficial things to do, we don't always succeed. Ultimately, everyone's imperfect, to use word Lt. Uhura-Brown suggested. But I do see where you're coming from.

    I'm clearly not a Calvinist. No room for predestination in my world view.

    It's 4:30 a.m., and I've been up most of the night with insomnia, so if this isn't totally coherent, I'm sorry.