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I'm not completely sure if atheist is the way I describe myself. It would likely be more along the lines of a Teacup Agnostic. But if you say that to people, they just stare at you blankly.
I don't believe there is a god. For me it defies logic. I also do not deny it's possible one exists. It seems highly unlikely. It seems no more likely than the existence of Zeus, Loki, Vishnu, or any other number of gods that have been worshipped.

Having said that, I have always been fascinated by mythologies. Whether they were a part of one of the big religions or a more obscure pagan belief system, the metaphors and archetypes (The term coined by Jung) are to me a fascinating exploration of humankind's psyche. (Although usually only from the male perspective).

The other aspect of religion that interests me is the moral aspects. I do not believe religion holds a monopoly on morality. I think a person who needs religion to tell them that they shouldn't kill people has some serious issues that religion is not going to fix.

But I see good moral lessons with scripture. I also see scripture more related to maintaining authority and subduing unrest amongst the population. I see long dead principles that have no place in modern society. This is were the pope comes into my discussion.

This is hardly the first time that I have heard a pope say something that moved me, but never to this level. Usually in my lifetime, speeches given by a Pope have concerned reinforcing religious dogma with little to no thought as to what the negative consequences in modern society would be.

Speaking out against contraception in countries riddled by overpopulation and std's seems not just wrongheaded, but actually cruel. This based on writings from close to 2000 years ago when population growth could only be viewed as a good thing.

This speech by our current Pope though is something very different. Not only is it kind and compassionate. It is well thought out. It seems to create a bridge between the spiritual and the philosophical in a way that I have only heard in current times by the Dalai Lama.

It gives me a great deal of hope for the future to hear a leader, followed by so many, that not only truly addresses the horrific inequality that exists in the world today, but that also is not afraid to point the finger at what, and who is responsible for the inequity.

With 1.2 billion Roman Catholics in the world, many of whom are wealthy and powerful, a spiritual leader that could actually give them pause to question their current actions, Pope Francis could actually be a real driving force in positive change in the world today.

Don't get me wrong, I don't plan to become a Catholic or start believing in god. Whoever said the Bible is the greatest story ever told must not have read anything by Chuck Palahniuk. But if Pope Francis continues forward with actions that match his words, I would happily call myself a supporter if not a follower of the Catholic Church.  

Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 12:34 PM PT: Well, I've only written a few diaries on Daily Kos, and this one has by far been the most commented on and the most recommended which I thank everyone for.

I'm not sure if the large amount of views it received was due to the diary itself, or the level of passion that people feel for the subject.

The comments yielded a large amount of discourse from people who have extremely varied viewpoints. Most of that discourse was extremely civil and well thought out. Of course there were some who were less civil, and could have easily by some received the label of "troll" which is a term I don't like to throw around lightly, but sometimes just seems the only good description.

Overall I was extremely interested with people's thoughts, their passion, and their ability to listen to others viewpoints.

I have not been with Daily Kos for long, but have often thought that the diaries themselves are educationally second to what can be found in the comment section.

I'd like to thank all that took part in that discourse.

Originally posted to Shawke on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 02:20 PM PST.

Also republished by Street Prophets , Progressive Atheists, and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (139+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    followyourbliss, Alexandra Lynch, offgrid, Amber6541, Hammerhand, Susan from 29, Pinto Pony, simaramis, Ojibwa, Joy of Fishes, viral, linkage, Dumbo, Matt Z, Farkletoo, stevemb, Evoculture, pixxer, martini, jrfrog, Tom Rinaldo, lennysfo, subtropolis, 1BQ, The grouch, pvasileff, T C Gibian, Habitat Vic, vonrobkin, RJDixon74135, democracy inaction, foresterbob, nzanne, elwior, Timaeus, Powered Grace, MKSinSA, ArthurPoet, hwy70scientist, vcmvo2, Bridge Master, chloris creator, paz3, Bob Guyer, the dogs sockpuppet, YellerDog, JosephK74, emal, Rhysling, muddy boots, mujr, UtahLibrul, tung sol, Aaa T Tudeattack, Kingsmeg, AverageJoe42, ferg, bluesheep, Involuntary Exile, GMFORD, Texknight, kevinpdx, gene s, SherwoodB, ontheleftcoast, historys mysteries, Gardener in PA, Loudoun County Dem, Zack from the SFV, ruleoflaw, Robynhood too, TomP, AaronInSanDiego, samoashark, Bonsai66, sydneyluv, jan4insight, Cassandra Waites, tofumagoo, Lahdee, TexasTwister, certainot, This old man, science geek, wild hair, myrmecia gulosa, Bud Fields, msdobie, caul, rat racer, HiKa, boofdah, Raggedy Ann, veinbulge2000, Zinman, Question Authority, Kristina40, mungley, Jlukes, Sailorben, Eowyn9, Jollie Ollie Orange, Ahianne, javan, Paragryne, Ice Blue, OregonWetDog, VTCC73, purplepenlady, createpeace, Syoho, cotterperson, North Central, thomask, 2thanks, Mighty Ike, john07801, melo, splashy, jadt65, murphy, steamed rice, diggerspop, sk4p, science nerd, South Park Democrat, StrayCat, pianogramma, Tom Anderson, Hayate Yagami, TheDuckManCometh, Im a frayed knot, Front Toward Enemy, Boris49, Gentle Giant, Yoshimi, MKinTN, UTLiberal, Treetrunk
  •  I'm an atheist, but completely (41+ / 0-)

    understand your point of view.  I got my user name from Joe Campbell.  Have you read his books?  Probably from the sounds of your diary.

    This pope is amazing me almost on a daily basis.  I've always said that the Bible is metaphor, not fact.  Some stuff is very relevant to today--love thy neighbor, what you do unto the least of us, you do unto me--but what the christianists preach is not, in my mind, in any way christ-like.  Hopefully, this pope will wake up some lost souls.

    "Jesus died for somebody's sins but not mine." -- Patti Smith

    by followyourbliss on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 02:35:38 PM PST

  •  As long as the Pope and Cardinals (30+ / 0-)

    remain a men's only club, I'll take everything he says about equality or justice as a sick sexist joke

    •  That is a very valid point. (15+ / 0-)

      Perhaps I am overly enthusiastic after hearing every Pope speaking in ways that largely undermine women's rights and freedoms, that hearing one speak of equality gives me hope.

      He also has stated that the church has too high an "obsession" with issues of contraception, abortion and gay marriage. That gives me hope.

      I agree that women should be an equal part of the church. I also doubt it is something we will see change in the near future. But even if his actions can't be seen as completely supportive of women's rights, at least he is moving in the direction of not working actively to destroy women's rights.

      So I think there is movement in the right direction. But I completely understand your desire to not put much hope in Pope Francis without real reform.

      •  Additonal points (9+ / 0-)

        this pope has not taken a personal, let alone an institutional stance decrying church discrimination against women priests, gay marriage, gay adoption or women's reproductive rights.

        I appreciate that he doesn't want to emphasize what is driving people away from the catholic organization and cementing it's reputation as one of the largest, organized hate groups re: gay rights. I understand he wishes the focus to move from these no-win, antediluvian positions the church has taken.

        Pope John XXIII wished to modernize the church. Towards that end, within the first 3 months of assuming the papacy, he announced the fact that there would be a Second Vatican Council. The last one had been in 1868. Profound changes came out of that council.

        Let's not support an overly low bar when it comes to this pope and this organization.

        "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others". –George Orwell

        by crescentdave on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 05:38:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I think women should reject the church (7+ / 0-)

        Why belong to something that is putting you down?

        by chloris creator on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 05:55:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  What, it only took a few hundred years to (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        caul, ArthurPoet

        un-excommunicate Galileo

      •  On what do you base the statement that (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        caul, javan, ArthurPoet, OregonWetDog

        Pope Francis is ''not working actively to destroy women's rights"?  

        He not only adheres very strongly to the anti-abortion, anti-contraception rules of the Roman Church, he has ruled out any discussion of women being admitted to the priesthood... not just ruled out the possibility, but even the discussion of the possibility.   That is not Christ like at all ..
        Jesus never refused to discuss issues ...
        This pope has also left Sister Simone Campbell and others like her at the mercy of the same Archbishops that were opposed to these women and their work under Benny XVI...
        He has left Cardinal Law living like a Prince .. he does nothing to silence Mahoney, in spite of proof that Mahoney knowingly protected  a priest pedophile

        You may have heard that the Pope wants to have synod on the Family and discuss issues like contraception, except the guidelines sent to the Bishops for these discussions ask how can Catholic families be encouraged to practice 'natural' contraception, and better yet be more open to 'welcoming' more children...

        Having grown up Roman Catholic, I know how the fact that men can be priests and women can't is used every day in every way to keep women down .. to cheapen them .. we are not fully admitted to all the sacraments of the church ... and in this country, we all know that this is the result of 'separate but equal' policies ...

        Jesus allowed women full humanity, but the Roman church doesn't .. and in denying them full humanity, they open the door to every sort of discrimination and exploitation .. and that becomes the justification for economic injustice  
        He talks about a "theology of women" .. he doesn't need to go any further than the first chapter of Genesis.. "in the image of God, male and female, the Creator made the human race" ... total and complete equality ...

        and economic equality goes all the way back to Moses and the Commandments ...

        Give your heart a real workout! Love your enemies!

        by moonbatlulu on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 09:00:09 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  not really. I could never be a part of anything (4+ / 0-)

        like the Catholic church for its teachings on women, gays etc but I agree with the Pope on trickle  down economics and I am not foolish enough not to have him as an ally in this cause because he is wrong on the other issues. It is not a sick joke to be against trickle down economics. It is the core issue that keeps us from fixing other things.

        Join the War on Thinking. Watch Fox News- John Lucas

        by Jlukes on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 08:26:14 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  so far (0+ / 0-)

        this Catholic woman has not seen that this pope is not moving in the direction of not working actively to destroy women's rights. He has done nothing to give me any hope that anything will change. It is "situation normal" as far as the church's treatment of women, and therefore no reason for me to have any enthusiasm for change.

        "Every Pootie is a masterpiece." - Da Vinci

        by mdsiamese on Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 10:34:03 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Wow that is sexist (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      vadem165, white blitz

      I assume you feel the same way about all women's colleges?  Or Girls Scouts?  

      The Constitution must be worthless along with any Supreme Court decision prior to 1981.

      Sexism cuts both ways.

      It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

      by ksuwildkat on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 03:44:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  While I appreciate your right to your opinion.... (18+ / 0-)

        I don't think comparing Girl Scouts or women's colleges to the Catholic Church is a very appropriate comparison. If the Catholic Church changed it's name to "The Men's Catholic Church" and was only concerned with the spiritual needs of men, then your conclusion would be more valid.

        Schools and clubs that are based on one of the two sexes seems fair enough to me. But the Catholic church is an organization that's members are inclusive of both sexes. If that is the case, why can't their leadership include both sexes?

        A more valid comparison would be of having a company, or a government that only allowed men as leaders.

        Do you feel that if the U.S. government only allowed female leaders that would be fair? I mean if they did, things would likely be far less fucked up. But it still would not be fair.

        •  Free association (0+ / 0-)

          Im going to make an assumption that you are not a Roman Catholic.

          The policies of the Roman Catholic church are pretty well known.  They havent changed for THOUSANDS of years.  Yet many people - including a LOT of women - choose to be Roman Catholic.  And they choose this freely.  The government does not force them to go just like the government doesnt force kids into Scouting.  And its not like there are not lots of other choices - choices like the Episcopal Church that shares the vast majority of its liturgical foundation with Catholicism but has women priests.  This tells me that having an all male clergy is not as big a deal as you might wish.

          Finally, your original statement invalidated the very good and very progressive statements from the Pope because he is MALE.  That is the very definition of sexism.  

          It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

          by ksuwildkat on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 04:04:38 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I don't believe I invalidated his statements..... (10+ / 0-)

            I as I said in the diary, am extremely optimistic about his progressive statements.

            As for the Roman Catholic Church being a voluntary organization, that is true to an extent I suppose. But just like a country, most people do not choose to join it, they are born into it. You can choose to leave a country too. But just like the church, by doing so you leave behind your community.

            I understand that you must be a Roman Catholic and therefore are somewhat defensive of anyone attacking your faith. As for my faith, based on the fact that I identify myself as an atheist in the subject line of my diary, it should make it rather obvious I'm not a Catholic.

            Your attempts to label anyone who thinks church leadership should include both men and women as "sexist" actually kind of defies logic.

            I do not say that men can not make good decisions as leaders. But when both men and women are being governed, it makes sense that both sexes should be represented in the decision making process. That seems to be the antithesis of sexism.

            •  You assume wrong (0+ / 0-)

              I am not Catholic nor have I ever been.  

              Voluntary "to an extent"?  Your kidding right?  Few churches demand more time and dedication that the Roman Catholic Church.  Friday Mass. Sunday Mass.  Closed confession.  Fasting during Lent.  Intrusion into your bedroom.  People who don't want to be Catholic leave weather they are born into it or not.  (BTW most of our most Catholic Republicans are converts)

              I do not assume the leadership of any organization should be anything other than what that organization chooses.  You made the sexist statement that the leadership of the organization was invalid because it included only males.  Who are you to decide what is right for an organization you don't belong to and whose principals you reject should be?  And yet you brush aside any lack of legitimacy for all FEMALE organizations.  Where is our outrage that Girls Scouts excludes men or that all FEMALE universities exist at all?

              Government and a free association are vastly different.  Governments should reflect the governed.  Thankfully in this country the government has no say in the leadership of religion and religion has no say (or no more than their votes say) in the leadership of the government.

              You have parse it as being atheist all you want but your original statement invalidating the Popes comments because he is male is blatant, ugly sexism.

              It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

              by ksuwildkat on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 04:31:04 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  So you think companies should be able to make the (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                caul, simaramis, Ice Blue, ArthurPoet

                decision of whether to have only male executives?

                If you think any organization has that right, then why not?

                When I say, to an extent, an extent. You are voluntarily an American citizen  to an extent. You certainly can leave if you want to. There are other countries you could easily move to. Doesn't make it easy. But you can do so. But just like the church, you can lose family and friends in the process.

                I'm not sure what line you are referring to where I invalidate the popes statements because he is a male? I'm actually curious if you are confusing me with the original parent of the comment, simaramis. If not, please quote me where I invalidate the pope's comments. I am the one who wrote this diary commending his comments.

                •  Again, you mix things (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  A public company must abide by employment regulations.  If they can prove that their all male executive suite was due to a lack of qualified female applicants, they will have no issues.  I would not want to be their lawyer.

                  Private companies and sole proprietorships have more leeway but even more than public companies they are VERY profit focused and tend to hire the best qualified they can get their hands on.  

                  Private voluntary organizations are a much different story.  Despite that most formerly all male organizations in this country have been forced to allow females to join (including Boys Scouts and most all male colleges) while female only organizations are allowed.  

                  Some day the PGA is going to have a woman qualify for a tournament and will be forced to allow her to play yet the LPGA can freely keep males from participating.  Lots of male players who cant play in the NBA would be stars in the WNBA.  Same for male Tennis players in the WTA.Funny how women are against sexism unless they benefit

                  Citizenship is a legal status.  Religion is not - with some obvious exceptions like Vatican City, Israel and Saudi Arabia.  While I am free to renounce my US citizenship I would need to find some country who would accept me as a citizen.  Ask someone in Gaza how life is without a country.  On the other hand I can stop being one religion and be another in seconds.  Becoming a Muslim is particularly easy while becoming a Jew is a little more difficult.

                  I am not confusing you with the OP but your response was "That is a very valid point."  Pretty clear that you agreed with "everything he says about equality or justice as a sick sexist joke."

                  I dont like sexism in any form.  I have seen the results of it on an industrial scale in Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Afghanistan.  But it is no better if it is directed at men than women.  

                  It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

                  by ksuwildkat on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 05:07:52 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I think we may need to agree to disagree here. (5+ / 0-)

                    I agreed with the commenter had a valid point regarding the lack of women being a part of the decision making process within the church and I stand by that.
                    It in no way invalidates my belief that what the pope said as being positive things.

                    I do not think that the pope being a male has less ability to make decisions. I do think the leadership would be in a better position to make decisions that affect females if they had females within their leadership.

                    Beyond that, I feel this link best demonstrates how I feel this back and forth debate on the subject between us is going:
                    So perhaps we should leave it there and agree to disagree.

                    •  Sorry but no (0+ / 0-)

                      You agreed with the commenter's sexist statement that "everything he says about equality or justice as a sick sexist joke."  You agreed that it was valid to dismiss his progressive statements you had just highlighted based on being male and nothing else.  We jump on Republicans ALL THE TIME for not repudiating sexist comments by their supporters.  We do so very correctly and dont let them get away with saying they were agreeing with everything except the sexist part.  

                      You didnt shade your support for the original statement.  You replied "That is a very valid point." and then proceeded to justify it by saying it was no different than a government being all male while suggesting that an all female government would be better.  You further tried to justify mandatory inclusion of female leaders buy suggesting there was a mandatory aspect to religion.  Are you a mandatory atheist?  Could I force you to believe in Roman Catholicism?  Of course not because you cant FORCE belief or non-belief.  You can't, in this country, be put in jail for not believing in religion.

                      Your attempts to hide your sexism behind arguments about government and executive employment only reinforces that you believe the original comment was correct.  You even attempt to hide behind a mistaken believe that I am Catholic and therefore "defensive."  Thats right up there with assuming a woman is incapable of making a rational decisions because everyone knows "they are emotional."  Even if I was Catholic it would not change that you agreed with an sexist statement and then defended it...vigorously.  

                      It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

                      by ksuwildkat on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 05:50:59 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I initially decided to make no further comments on (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:

                        this stream, but will make one more.

                        I think perhaps a rather large difference between you and I, is that I take everyone's opinion with a grain of salt. I try to draw whatever knowledge I can from someone, learn from it, and understand where they are coming from whether I agree or not.

                        When I said to the original poster "That is a very valid point." it is because I understand her problem with the Vatican not allowing women into the decision making process. It does not mean I agree with her entire comment.

                        While I appreciate that you see things in a different way than I or many others in this comment board, I do feel you are being somewhat attacking and vitriolic towards others for not sharing your opinion, or for seeing some validity in others statements you don't agree with.

                        How I see your attacks would be akin to someone getting mad at Walmart for not having enough minority groups in their management, and someone yelling "You are racist against whites because you say they can't make valid decisions.' It is counterintuitive and comes off as racist in itself.

                        Let's make one basic point concerning reverse racism, reverse sexism and such. The person that has generally been on the wrong end of discrimination can be expected to have some negative feelings about those that discriminate against them. It is something that is far more deserving of understanding and to some extent tolerance than the original discrimination itself.

                        Now I have said my final piece on this subject. If you wish to respond to this, that is of course your prerogative. I will likely read it. But I would prefer to not continue a discourse that I feel is not continuing in a respectful way to both parties. So I will likely not respond.

                      •  A word of advice... (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Shawke, simaramis

                        When you ignore the valid points that have disproved the main points of your argument, you will not win the argument and convince anyone (except maybe yourself) by merely repeating the same disproved point.... doing so will only make you look like a fool to anyone who does not harbor a prejudiced bias towards defending such an unconscionable practice by the Catholic. In other words, STOP MENTIONING girl scouts and women's schools... or any other unrelated practice THAT DOES NOT INVOLVE MEN OVERSEEING WOMEN.... because THAT is the sickness being criticized in the Carholic church's religious order. 

                        GOT IT?

                        And also stop trying sell the (also) disproved notion that peoples' j membership in the Catholic church is entirely by choice... because that arguement was also disproved, given that children are raised (aka "brainwashed") into that religion, as they generally are for all religions. And yeah, those brainwashing tactics have done a great job of maintaining their hold on their flock for almost 2 thousand years without letting a single female become Pope or Cardinal or Priest... so freakin what? Does that make t right? Are you also gonna suggest that slavery is right just because it has been done for thousands of years ... and, oh yeah, it says they slavery is okay in that Christian bible, so it must be okay.

                        And so what that many Republican Catholic Politicians are "converts" ??? ... and what exactly is that supposed to prove? That proves nothing other than that maybe they wanted to secure the vote of their Catholic constituents. 

                        Now, I am gonna go out on a limb here and take a wild guess that you're a male, not female, and further, I am gonna take a wild guess and say that, although you are not Catholic, you are however a member of a Christian Church that is run by male leaders and does not allow women to occupy the senior most positions in your church.... lest why would you be so adamant about defending such an undeniably sexist practice by the Catholic Church. 

                        Your arguments are flawed, sir, and were proven flawed ... many comments upstream... so why continue? And why repeat arguments that were already disproved? Why? Yup... any any objective reader of this thread can see.... you are biased.

                        * Move Sooner ~ Not Faster *

                        by ArthurPoet on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 05:45:03 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  And you too assume WRONG (0+ / 0-)

                          But lets get to your wrong assumption in order.

                          First off, I referenced Girls Scouts and all Women's colleges once in my original response.  I did so because the Original commenters basic statement was that the lack of a diverse leadership made an organization flawed.  I asked if that meant organizations with all female leadership would be similarly flawed.  

                          Second, the relationship between a priest and a parishioner is not overseeing.  He is not a supervisor or manager.  In fact, by its very structure a Roman Catholic priest, bishop, cardinal or Pope can ONLY "oversee" other men.  The only way a Pope could "oversee" women would be if women were allowed to be priests.  So in other words the only way your statement would be true is if the church did what you claim they wont do.  Interestingly since some all female colleges have male faculty, they represent the very situation you seem to be against.  How is it just to have all female "executives" with both male and female employees?

                          As for brainwashing, that is pretty insulting to millions of people, including millions of women, who CHOOSE to go to church.  Who are you to say that they dont do so by free will with free and critical thought?  Nice detour comparing religion to slavery.  You are just one step away from Godwin so why not go all the way.

                          Since you seem to think belief comes from "brainwashing" it is very relevant that some of our Most Catholic Politicians are converts.  As converts they freely choose to be Catholic - something you seem to think is impossible.  I tend to believe they converted because of the policies of the church.  They CHOOSE Catholicism because it fit their world view.  Imagine that - someone choosing to follow a belief set because it matches their....beliefs.

                          So now to your wrong assumption.  I am an Episcopalian.  In fact I am a "cradle" Episcopalian having been baptized in, confirmed in and spent my entire life in the Episcopal church.  By your standard, I am brainwashed.  In some ways we could not be further from Roman Catholicism since we have female priests and bishops as well as homosexual priests and bishops.  While relatively recent events in the history of the church female and homosexual priests have been part of the church since 1977 putting us far ahead of most of American society.  And of course we have married priests and we dont shun people for getting divorced.  We share a long liturgical history with Roman Catholicism but despite the myth that we were formed so Henry the VIII could marry Anne Boleyn we are not just Catholics who can get divorced.  (Trivia - did you know there are Roman Catholic priests who are married?  Episcopalian priests who are married but then convert to Catholicism are allowed to stay married.)  Our differences with Catholicism are deep and fundamental and our acceptance of women and homosexuals ended once and for all any possibility of reunification of the two churches.  Since I am a believer that Mary Magdalene was not only a "priest" but the wife of Jesus, I believe the prohibition against marriage and women priests is a remnant of Peters jealously of Mary and not in keeping with the teachings of Jesus.  

                          I have long been a student of religion.  Given the Anglican church is often called "the thinking mans church" that should not be a surprise.  I have studied each of the five major religions at length but I have concentrated on the Abrahamic faiths.  I have lived in, not visited, Saudi Arabia and gotten as close to Mecca as any non-Muslim is allowed to.  I would say I have about as good an understanding of Islam and Catholicism as any non-believer.  Judaism not so much.  Im working backwards and have only gotten to about 1000 BCE.  I probably dislike the LDS church as much as you seem to dislike the Catholic church.  You want brainwashing, look to Salt Lake City.  You want ugly sexism that makes Catholics look good, look to Salt Lake.  You want sex abuse scandal that makes the Roman Catholic church look like amateur hour, look to Salt Lake.

                          So far from defending the Catholic Church because its sexist policies reflect my world view, I reject them as much as anyone and more than most.  But I accept that they have every right to run their church as they see fit.  They do not hide their policies or trick people into thinking they are different than they are.  They are very open and very up front about their sexism.  To me that is reason enough to not believe in the rest of their doctrine.  Clearly billions of others feel differently.  My own church offers a completely opposite view on this matter and yet there are only about 75 million Anglicans (though some Anglican communions are less open to women and homosexuals).  If this were a popular vote thing, my side would lose.  More than anything, I reject sexism in ANY form.  My original response was to a sexist statement.  I would have responded the same if it had been something to the effect of blaming lack of progress with Iran on the last two Secretaries of State being women.  Or Danica Patric being proof that women cant drive.  Or saying a woman cant be President because of "that time of the month."  Its crap, just like saying the Popes words are crap because women cant be priests.

                          So to review, my point was that the original comment was sexist.  Not disproved because it was sexist.  Priests don't oversee women.  Believers are not brainwashed.  Religion is not slavery.  Politicians convert to match their belief with their beliefs. I am not a member of a misogynistic church.  And I continue because I have probably forgotten more about religion and the practices of the various faiths than you have ever known.  Because I dislike sexism no matter who it is directed at and because pointing out fools gives me great joy.

                          It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

                          by ksuwildkat on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 10:49:16 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Listen, (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Shawke, simaramis

                            I do appreciate the time you've taken to respond and the detail manner in which you've responded. I, however, must be blunt. 

                            1) Standing at a podium in front of a congregation of followers who are looking to you for guidance throughout their entire life so that they do not "burn in hell" is a position of the most profound "overseeing" leadership anyone could ever imagine in any rational analysis... so please, just please STOP likening this to an adolescent child playing childhood games with her childhood friends in the girl scouts. Please! And your insistence to repeat that flawed argument given the utter absurdity of this comparison leaves me bewildered, so much so, that I question whether I am conversing with someone who has any allegiance to honesty or truth whatsoever. You would be well advised to note this. In other words, every time you even mention "girl scouts" in the context of this discussion, you loose more and more credibility, no matter how desperately you attempt to spin it in your favor. 

                            So just stop. Trust me. Stop it. You are convincing no-one other than yourself with that argument.

                            2) I harbor no anger towards the Catholic church. What I am, is disgusted at the way they have conducted themselves over the centuries. But then, I am critical of all of the Abrahamic lineages with much the same disgust, namely, for their abuses and hypocrisies.  

                            3) You most certainly do know far more than I do about those Abrahamic lineages.... because I have never had much respect for any of them. You can have your superior knowledge of them. Personally, I'm not interested. Clearly you are. Hence, you must be a fan. Like I said, you're biased, which is the only logical reason why someone would persist pushing an argument that was debunked. In other words, your actions have revealed your agenda. Be advised.

                            4) Yes, indoctrination into a church is a "brainwashing" into that faith's way of thinking... (way of looking at reality... way of looking at life... way of looking at death... etc etc etc) ...and the FORCED indoctrination of an impressionable child's psyche into "the faith" is nothing short of pure unadulterated "brainwashing" ... by any rational objective standard. 

                            Now, if me saying that, offends anyone. 


                            I'm okay with that. 

                            In fact, that makes me downright gleeful. 


                            Because their words and actions have deeply offended me for quite some time. 

                            Now we're even.

                            5) You claim to be a life long member of the Episcopal Church. And that same Episcopalian Church seems to have come a long way towards forging equality in their church ... and I applaud them for this. You, however, may or may not be what you claim to be, and no, I am not asking you to prove you are what you claim to be, but I will say this. When you do not demonstrate honor in your dialogue such that you admit when a point you've made has been disproved, but rather, you parrot the disproven refrain over and over... a refrain that has no weight, yet you continue to cite it as if it does... this leads me to question the veracity of anything you write. No offense, but you really should know this. Your words do not carry the weight that you seem to think they do. You lost the argument, and yet you persisted, thinking that you were somehow winning, yet you had long ago lost. You might want to ask yourself why. Or maybe you don't care. But, even if you really don't care, you might want to at least note that this seemingly "desperate" habit of yours is (most likely) the cause for the other commenter to basically "bow out" of this discussion... because to continue engaging with someone like your self, who does this, is a pointless endeavor. She just stopped responding. You lost. You swayed no one. You convinced no one. All you did was reveal your bias. 

                            6) So to review: Your point, that the original comment in this thread was sexist, was not proven by you, nor was this illustrated or illuminated by the  arguments you presented, in fact, your arguments were flawed, and when those flaws were pointed out to you, you ignored the flaws and simply restated your same arguments. Maybe you thought no one would notice. We noticed.  It's pointless continuing to engage with someone who conducts discussion in this manner, because, basically, you ignore any rationale or facts that disprove the bias that you are promoting, and yeah, you definitely are promoting a decidedly pro-patriarchy bias. As I said... my bet is that you are a male, not a female. Just a guess.

                            * Move Sooner ~ Not Faster *

                            by ArthurPoet on Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 12:55:27 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Facts? (0+ / 0-)

                            Its laughable that you speak of facts and proof while presenting none.

                            Fact - Priests don't "oversee" anyone other than other priests.  Simple, indisputable, fact.

                            You state as a "fact" that people are brainwashed into belief.  Handy since it cant be proven or dis-proven.  But what are the odds that 4-6 BILLION people - including 2 billion Catholics - are collectively brainwashed compared to the odds that they voluntarily and of free will choose to believe in a higher power?  Why dont you consult Occam's razor and get back to me?

                            What is more likely that John, Robert and Ted Kennedy were simpletons unable to break free of childhood brainwashing or that they were intelligent people of free will?  That Dr. King was a victim of an elaborate plan to hold him by threat of eternal damnation or that he held firm beliefs that he freely formed?  That President Carter, President Obama and EVERY OTHER President and almost every other elected leader in the country plus more than 80% of the general population is in full possession of their minds or that they have all been brainwashed into believing a lie?

                            Your knowledge of the religion in general and the Catholic church in particular seems to be from old movies and TV shows.  Watching Becket, the Borgia's and the Thorn Birds is not what most of us would call "learning."  I have attended well over a thousand church services including quite a few Catholic ones.  Ive been to mass at the Vatican and read hundreds Friday prayer sermons from Imams in Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Pakistan, Indonesia, Yemen, Oman, Jordan and Lebanon.  In all that time and all those sermons do you know how many have been of the "burn in hell" variety?  Three.  Three very animated sermons at a small Episcopal church in San Angelo Texas.  I was unlucky enough to arrive during "burn in hell month" as the parishioners called it.  It was apparently an annual thing with their rector at the time to get people in the mood for Pentecost.  The rest are centered around obligations to god, to the church, the poor, prayers for leadership, guidance, forgiveness, appeals for money, time and resources and lots and lots of talk about sex and children.  In other words about the same as a day time soap with some extra god and way more poor.  My current rector manages to reference the Rolling Stones a lot.  Maybe if I read his sermons backwards they will reveal the "truth."  Our female assistant rector spends a lot of time talking about individual kindness.  You think that's because she is so brutally oppressed while being brainwashed?  Our youth rector talks about kids, why I dont know.

                            In all those churches, synagogs, temples, mosques, shrines and sanctuaries I have been in I have never once been locked in.  You would think if these teachings were being forced they would lock the doors to prevent escape.  So people freely enter and freely leave yet they are being forced to listen?  And you think that is a proven fact?  Really?

                            I would not say I am a "fan" of religion but someone who studies it as part of their job.  My job is understanding people.  Since the vast majority of people are believers I need to understand their beliefs. I dont get my "understanding" from movies or fictional TV shows but from academic study backed by personal experience.  I prefer a fact based existence and my employer prefers competence.

                            Yes I could be faking that Im an Episcopalian.  I could have written multiple diaries over a period of years just to establish my bona fides so I could disguise myself in order to defend the Pope.  If only I had been born in Hawaii where its easy to get fake announcements into news papers I could have run one about my baptism.  

                            Yes, I am male, a fact easily discernible from any number of my the one where I said "me as a male."  But why would that matter?  Oh right, being male makes my opinion less valid, just like the Popes.  But you are not sexist......

                            You have not a single fact.  You ignore simple facts.  You choose to believe the least probable explanation.  You resort to questioning my honesty with veiled accusations that I am a secret Papist.  By your own admission you know little about religion yet presume to know how it brainwashes everyone from the President down to unsuspecting children while you remain one of the few untouched.  It must be sad living a life full of evil conspiracies and tough to reside on such moral high ground all alone.

                            It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

                            by ksuwildkat on Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 09:35:39 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Ahh... (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:


                            FACT: You repeatedly argued that being a child in the "girl scouts" is akin to being the Pope (aka, "The Holy See" ... "God's emissary  on earth" ... "The Spiritual Leader of millions").... with an 8 year old little girl playing hopscotch. 


                            Yeah, I questioned your veracity, because of your insistence on repeating that absurd argument in spite of it being rather clearly debunked. 

                            And just because something has been done for generations (by milllions) doesn't mean that it is right. The Roman Empire (and countless other empires) enslaved millions during their reign ... does that make slavery right? No! 

                            And so yeah, just because "X" number of people are brainwashed by their religion does not mean that it is not brainwashing. 

                            The Occams Razor test? 



                            Hmm... lol... Ahh... dude, brainwashing the masses to control them is a pretty simple formula (guilt, fear, salvation) ... especially when that "formula" was put into place during primitive times to primitive minds to placate and control. 

                            And you find that formula (guilt + fear + salvation) to not satisfy the Occam's Razor test? 


                            Unfortunately, as many studies show; those who have been ("raised" into their religion) .. aka "brainwashed", usually cannot see how even the subtlest of things, like merely mentioning "hell" ... or even simply mentioning the opposite (ie: heaven), thus implying the threat of the other, is sufficient to keep the flock in line... you see, as long as the "subject" (aka "flock") knows in the back of their mind that they will "burn in hell" if they don't comply... one need never actually even mention the threat outright. It's sort of like the way they train baby elephants in the circus. They tie the baby elephant's leg to a stake with a thick chain... one they can't break... but once that same elephant was raised with that chain, as an adult, even the most flimsy of ropes, tied to their leg, will keep them in place... same thing with the threat of hell in the Abrahamic lineages. And of course, it's not just "hell" that is part of the threat...fear of the "devil" is part of that same brainwashing. And, of course, this is the side of those religions' programming that they don't want people to focus on, because, like the flimsy rope holding that adult elephant... it won't actually hold up to any real tugging (ie: scrutiny), so too, the dark side of those religions also won't hold up to scrutiny. It's the threat that matters. Bear in mind, that threat is also latent and implied in your Jesus mythology, because that myth about "accepting Christ" to go to heaven only applies, if there is a threat that you will go to hell, if you don't comply with their commandment that you must accept Jesus.

                            Do you see how simple it is?

                            Occam's Razor. 

                            You see.. All they really need to do is get you to accept hell, and then now you need them and their religion for your salvation. It's really quite insidious when you think about it. 

                            And once those social programs of institutional brainwashing have been put into place... each generation merely blindly repeats the same program. 

                            BRAINWASHED PARENT: "I am raising my child the way I was raised." 

                            Simple really... and quite brilliant in its simplicity, in fact. 

                            And your argument is what exactly? ...that because X millions have been following this same formula, for thousands of years, that this means that it is somehow not "Brainwashing" ... just because so many people believe it? or do it? 

                            That's your argument? 

                            You might want to look up the history of the belief that the "earth is flat" and consider whether or not you think that just because millions believed that the "earth is flat" for countless generations, this means that the earth must therefore be flat.

                            There is a famous expression from an old Danish fairy tale that might help you wrap your head around this (very human) occurrence:

                            "The Emperor has no clothes!" 

                            Just because many believe a thing doesn't make it true.

                            * Move Sooner ~ Not Faster *

                            by ArthurPoet on Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 10:56:10 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I have to admit (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            simaramis, ArthurPoet

                            You have far greater patience than I. I decided the debate was a lost cause after a few exchanges. Some people are interested in considering another person's point of view. Some people are interested in possibly learning something, whether they end up agreeing with the other person are not.

                            Others are only interested in cheerleading a particular point of view, and you challenging their views with logical rebuttals, does nothing but make the other person more entrenched, and desperate to defend their position.

                            If I feel I am getting something out of a debate, I will continue it as long as I still feel that is the case. If the debate becomes an endless string of circular arguments, I feel I am wasting my time and bow out.

                            I appreciate your tireless attempts to debate with ksuwildkat, and reading your intelligent responses have helped solidify my thoughts on the debate. It's unfortunate that with the person you are debating, your efforts seem to be the equivalent of tossing pebbles into the Grand Canyon.

                          •  I do concur regarding your (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            assessment of ksuwildcat... but I would say that my comments rested upon yours (upon your foundation)... in other words, I would not have been able to write my comments had you not written yours first, and further, I would not have had the patience had you not gone first.

                            But even still... it fast becomes a pointless endeavor when someone ignores your rebuttal and simply repeats their debunked argument.

                            * Move Sooner ~ Not Faster *

                            by ArthurPoet on Tue Dec 10, 2013 at 12:51:44 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

              •  The pope's statements are not invalid (0+ / 0-)

                because of "blatant, ugly sexism".  You are building a great strawman here.

                His statements are invalid because they have no intention for change behind them.  He is a PR master being coached by a PR team (hired in 2012).

                Look it up.

          •  I wouldn't say freely choose to be (0+ / 0-)

            Roman Catholic. I made a choice long ago, to NOT be associated to the Roman Catholic church after my grandmother died and their treatment of her family after that. I also know, speaking to several who have severed ties with the Church, but not God, who will tell you that being raised under the Church is akin to brainwashing.

            I would say that about all religions however, as any time you take the choice away from a child to explore their feelings about God, they will then feel that is the only way they are to be. Both my children went to different churches during their God searching phases and had limits on how many times they could go to any particular church. Nowadays, many years later, I have two girls who believe in God, but understand they do NOT have to pay someone to tell them they are sinners, damned for all eternity, or how to treat their fellow humans.

            It is every person's obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what they takes out of it. - Albert Einstein (edited for modern times to include everyone by me!)

            by LeftieIndie on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 11:08:17 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Let's talk the Chinese into invading the Vatican (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          and exiling the Pope. Tibetan Buddhism was transformed by this terrible experience. Women Lamas were rare, homosexuality was condemned, the Buddhist hierarchy was dictatorial and well...often dicks, but the suffering of exile was both liberating and liberalizing for this Buddhism.

          Before this can be arranged though, l think we should embrace the good works and intentions of this Pope. The social and gender conservatism of the Catholic Church won't change until a generation of cardinals priests, bishops, and leaders of conservative orders, both men and women, die off.

          •  While I like the idea of the Dalai Lama (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Grabber by the Heel

            invading the Vatican wielding a pair of nunchaku and exiling the pope to the Falkland Islands, I just don't really see that as being a realistic outcome.

            Not that I mean harm to the vatican. But it sure would make for an entertaining action movie.

            One thing I definitely see is that any pope wanting to reform the church in a positive way is not feasibly going to be able to do so in a short period of time. And unfortunately since most popes are somewhere near 102 years old when they are appointed, time is really not on their side. Maybe that's the point actually. That way no one pope can change much.

            •  You are too wise for my wise assing. But I did (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Shawke, Cassandra Waites

              suggest the Chinese, not the Dalai Lama, invade the Vatican. We want Pope Francis and the other His Holiness to be pals, see? His Holiness takes His Holiness under his wing and teaches His Holiness about the humility and acceptance of change as opposed to the hubris of hu(man) declared immutables.

              So it's not just an action movie we got here, it's also a buddy movie. I agree the Falklands are a good setting for the His Holinesses bonding scenes.

              "Dante's Inferno Goes Bardo " good name?

              •  hmmmmm (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Grabber by the Heel

                Could we have it with the Dalai Lama invading the Vatican, occupying it, replacing all the crosses with prayer flags, and then later we could have a reconciliation where the Dalai Lama takes the Pope under his arm and teaches him the ways of tolerance? At the end they could have crosses with Jesus shrouded in a prayer flag.

                I just really like the idea of Buddhist monks battling it out with Cardinals.

                •  Where's the action if the invasion scene is a (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  bunch of Lamas and Cardinals barking dogma at each other? Everybody in the audience will be nodding out over their malas and rosaries!

                  But your pitch does allow us to use the classic confrontation line, "Your Holiness, we are not so different you and I". But where to set the confrontation? The Sistine Chapel or the Tomb of St Peter? Vatican's a pretty big place, for Christ's sake.

                  •  I like the "For Christ's sake" Comment (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Grabber by the Heel

                    I realize in a real life situation it would barking dogma, but that's really not what I am looking for here Something more absurdist. Perhaps even Monty Pythonish.

                    I want the Dalai Lama with a pair of nunchaku taking on the Pope with a sword.

                    I want cardinals with uzis.

                    I want a Buddhist monk with a flamethrower.

                    I want Rambo in religious garb!

                    I want to see shit getting blown up!!!

                    If we could work in some priests turning into zombies I'd be ok with that too.

                    •  I know the Pope with a sword shtick hasn't been (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      done for hundreds years, but it was a big flop last time out, believe me. The place is lucky to still have a post office. But, a Julius II type may be ripe for a revival.  

                      I like zombie priests. Do you have the Catholic League's phone number? They're gonna be a casting gold mine.

                      I'll have my people call your people.


      •  I don't know of any women's organization (10+ / 0-)

        That presumes authority over men.

        •  Catholic Church is pretty clear (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          They presume authority over those who CHOOSE to be Catholics.  Period.  

          On the other hand the National Organization for Women is an overtly political organization that pursues policy goals that impact me as a male.  Sooooooooo......

          It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

          by ksuwildkat on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 04:09:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  And the Catholic Church... (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Shawke, BYw, caul, Fishtroller01

            doesn't pursue policies that impact you as a male?

            "Woe unto ye beetles of South America." -- Charles Darwin, about to sail on The Beagle, 1831

            by Katakana on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 04:51:35 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Oh Please (6+ / 0-)

            How do you think the vast majority of people "become" catholic? They are "baptized" into it at birth. They are raised to think uncritically about this fact. They are "just" catholic. It takes far more work than someone without this history to make informed and free "choices" about their religion.

            "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others". –George Orwell

            by crescentdave on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 06:22:36 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  So Catholics are stupid? (0+ / 0-)

              Your argument is that because someone poured water over your head when you are a baby - an event you dont remember - you are stuck and unable to make a decision about your beliefs.

              Wow.  You must think VERY highly of yourself.  You must be a more equal pig.

              It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

              by ksuwildkat on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 07:08:47 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Indoctrination (6+ / 0-)

                is not an easy for many people to shake off.

                The fact that some can, and that some even do it easily, does not change this fact.

                There is a reason the quote attributed to the Jesuits: "Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man" has resonance.

                But by all means, pretend indoctrination doesn't exist.

                •  wow more condescension (0+ / 0-)

                  Now not only are they stupid they are lemmings who follow because they can't "shake off" indoctrination.  No chance someone of free will decided they found guidance is the teachings.  No chance someone who grew up with no previous exposure to those same teachings choose to follow them.  No only those with simple minds would ever find value in a church.  If only they could be like you.

                  How mighty you must feel knowing that you are one of the truly enlightened.  

                  It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

                  by ksuwildkat on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 08:01:09 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Condescension? (6+ / 0-)

                    Is that what you call personal experience when you have none of your own?

                    I saw the Catholic Church from the inside. I was one of those who shook it off easily. My dad took until he was around 60 or so. I've seen the full range.

                    Also, we were not talking about adults, who with a full understanding of complex and abstract ideas, pledged themselves to the Catholic Church, but kids who grew up steeped in a strict religion that has had millenia to perfect its message. Eternal damnation is a powerful incentive to an young, impressionable mind. Even now, my father gets messages from his aged siblings desperate for him to return to the fold so that he doesn't end up in hell.

                    You mentioned above that you're not Catholic, so presumably you have none of this experience.

                    So what makes you think you have any idea, whatsoever, about what it takes to break free?

                    •  so you project (0+ / 0-)

                      you project your personal experience on the other billion plus Catholics and by extension the 2 billion plus Christians, a billion Muslims and more than a billion others who practice over 4000 faiths.

                      I know plenty of perfectly happy and perfectly aware Catholics.  Please dont project your issues on them.  

                      It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

                      by ksuwildkat on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 08:24:41 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Nope (4+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Shawke, mrkvica, caul, simaramis

                        I use my knowledge of religion and methods of indoctrination, coupled with the close personal experiences of me, my friends, and my family to know that some people find it difficult to shake off the Catholic teachings, some do not, and some don't even try.

                        The fact that you know plenty of perfectly happy and perfectly aware Catholics does not contradict this one iota. In fact, one wonders how you even evaluate Catholic 'awareness'.

                        Instead, you pretend to 'know' that anyone who wishes to leave the Catholic faith can do so easily, despite the existence of direct contradictory evidence. And you know this how, exactly? Divine revelation?

                      •  Also, if leaving religion were easy (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Shawke, crescentdave, caul

                        then this table would show one hell of a coincidence:


                        Table 29: (percentage of people remaining in faith they are raised)

                        A. Major Religions
                         Protestant 90.4%
                         Catholic 82.3%

                        So yeah, I'm sure it's just coincidence that 90% of people raised Protestant 'choose' to remain Protestant, and 82% 'choose' to remain Catholic, eh?

                        •  It is not the church that indoctrinates you, (0+ / 0-)

                          it's your family.  Usually people do not want to cross their parents and traditions.  If your family is less than committed than it is easier for you to break away.  Some do it anyway but it becomes a major source of friction and makes it more difficult.

                          •  Not always (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            My mother's family was pressured by the nuns at her school to have her sent to the convent after high school. So that's what they did, and it took my mom until her late twenties to escape from that institution.

                            I think you underestimate the influence the church officials and fellow parishioners can have on a family.

                            Those family traditions are generated and reinforced by the church and the church community. There is no 'bright line' that allows one to absolve the church of responsibility when it comes to the indoctrination of youngsters, especially when it comes to religious instruction via Catholic school or CCD classes.

                          •  I am not absolving the church but I am also not (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            absolving parents especially in the last 50 years, we have the benefit of information and a real exercise of free will.  The church could never have gotten away with the amount of abuse(at least in this country) without the complicity of parents.  I went to Catholic school but I also had parents that taught me to think for myself and to be responsible for my choices and I can guarantee you if a priest had laid his hand on me.....they would not have been able to hid his ass anyway on the planet from the wrath of my father.

                          •  We agree then. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            The parents are also complicit, though if they themselves were brainwashed as children the church yet absorbs even some of that responsibility.

                            That said, I was mainly responding to the beginning of your previous post 'It's not the church that indoctrinates you' when it very much is, though often with (as you note) the complicity of the parents and surrounding community in general.

            •  Oh snakes and spiders. Aren't (5+ / 0-)

              the majority of the people in this world born into their religion?  Yes, when born into a religion or culture, one doesn't think "critically."  One lives it.  That does not make people stupid.

              And you forget how many people "change" religions, "find" religions, and "leave" religions in this country and the world.  That is part of the human journey.  For others, growing into their spiritual path means questioning it as well.  Catholics aren't any more unaware or incapable of looking at things with a critical eye -- maybe that's why so many of us have left the Church.

              "Since when did obeying corporate power become patriotic." Going the Distance

              by Going the Distance on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 07:50:45 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  There you would be wrong. (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            BYw, Cassandra Waites, mrkvica, caul

            Right now they are trying to be the determiners of women's reproductive health.  Anyone working for a Catholic organization could be by law, subjected to the Church's position on birth control.  Women of all stripes entering a Catholic hospital for pregnancy issues are subject to the Church's policies on abortion, reproduction, and birth control.  

            Everyone! Arms akimbo! 68351

            by tobendaro on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 07:22:57 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  couple of issues there (0+ / 0-)

              first the courts have not ruled yet.  So your title should say "There you COULD, at some future date, be wrong." That said I find it likely they will rule in favor of religious organizations.  The current Nine are nothing if not inconsistent.  

              On the other hand it should surprise no one that going to a Catholic hospital is a bad idea if you are seeking an abortion.  

              Going to work for the GOP and expecting them to support liberal policies is another bad idea.

              Dont expect an oil company to be supportive of your alternate energy drive either.  

              Going back to the original comment in this case they would presume authority over people who choose to go to their hospitals or choose to work for their businesses.  That is not the same as presuming authority over all women.  

              It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

              by ksuwildkat on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 07:43:26 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Catholic hiearchy has been (0+ / 0-)

                influencing policy and laws since abortion was legalized.  They have caused deaths because of the insistence that the unborn be protected even at risk to a mother.  The regressive laws passed since 1973 are backed and funded in part, by the Catholic Church.  This case in front of the SC now is just another rung on the women hate ladder.  I am a practicing Catholic and I have lived the reality of Catholic men restricting me in several venues.

                Everyone! Arms akimbo! 68351

                by tobendaro on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 10:48:13 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  What policy goals impact you as a male? (0+ / 0-)

            More specifically, what policy goals impact you as a male that you do not agree are positive things?  

            Or are you just making a point that they effect you as a male so therefore they presume authority over men as simaramis stated.

            The priest said, "Today's sermon is called 'Liars', but first I have a question. How many of you have read Chapter 66 in Matthew?" Nearly every hand went up. "You're just the group I need to speak to," the priest said. "There's no such chapter."

            by Back In Blue on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 08:08:58 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Then you don't know my wife. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ksuwildkat, Shawke

          Kidding, just kidding.

          "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

          by elwior on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 05:10:28 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  In the Pagan community, there are (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
      •  About women's colleges... (0+ / 0-)

        they're not like convents anymore. Radcliffe exists only as far as the diplomas of female Harvard grads are granted by both institutions while male MIT students are now free to take classes at Wellesley. They just can't grant degrees to men without losing money from their endowments.

        Any jackass can kick down a barn, but it takes a good carpenter to build one.--Sam Rayburn

        by Ice Blue on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 11:11:22 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  thank you! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      simaramis, elwior

      So well said, nothing to add!

      "When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis

      by Evoculture on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 03:57:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I completely wholeheartedly agree... (6+ / 0-)

      but I will give this Pope some time, maybe he will eventually even address THAT (most important of) issues.

      Equality between the sexes (LGBTQ included) is the paramount civil rights issue of our age.

      * Move Sooner ~ Not Faster *

      by ArthurPoet on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 06:03:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Also interesting in a dialectic way (4+ / 0-)

      is how often the interactions Jesus has in the Bible specifically deals with women. Almost always when He is attempting to teach the more, or even most important points of what it means to actually be a "Christ Follower".

      I make no judgments on how patriarchy vs. matriarchy lines up with equality. But the RCC does have an entire portion of the church ensconced in the Nunnery.

      Nurse Kelley says my writing is brilliant and my soul is shiny - who am I to argue?
      Left/Right: -7.75
      Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.51

      by Bud Fields on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 02:06:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Until he goes after the child abuse it's nice PR (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      He says some nice things and I hope he means them and institutes them. To me, if he doesn't clean house of predatory ministry and their enablers, it's all words. If Jesus supposedly ran the money lenders out if the temple, the ruler of this church should do no less than that with these abominations. Until then he's just a variant of his position who is a little more liberal than some, and not really any different than the rest.

    •  me to <nt> (0+ / 0-)

      "Every Pootie is a masterpiece." - Da Vinci

      by mdsiamese on Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 10:31:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank You - N/T (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, marykk

    "Upward, not Northward" - Flatland, by EA Abbott

    by linkage on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 03:33:32 PM PST

  •  I agree (16+ / 0-)

    I'm an Atheist and I completely agree. I never thought I'd respect a Pope as much as I respect Francis. Hope he can keep it going. He's changing the dialogue and there's NOTHING wrong with that.

    Voting straight party D 'til there's no GOP...
    Oh and the name is Jim, not Tim, the user name is a typo

    by jusjtim35 on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 04:09:09 PM PST

  •  Actions speak louder than words (13+ / 0-)

    Fr. Jorge Mario Bergoglio was promoted to bishop, archbishop and cardinal by Pope John Paul II who preached: “The globalized economy must be analyzed in the light of the principles of social justice, respecting the preferential option for the poor who must be allowed to take their place in such an economy, and the requirements of the international common good.” John Paul condemned, “Whatever is opposed to life itself, such as any type of murder, genocide…whatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, torments inflicted on body or mind.”

    Yet he sent a letter to Ronald Reagan even before his inauguration "requesting that the U.S. government take aggressive action against the Liberation Theology movement which he accused of transforming the Catholic Church into 'a political weapon against private property and productive capitalism.'" And then the pope helped Reagan slaughter and torture the opponents of rightwing military dictatorships.

    Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected pope by a College of Cardinals comprised entirely of men appointed by Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Benedict taught: “Democracy will attain its full actualization only when every person and each people have access to the primary goods (life, food, water, health care, education, work, and the certainty of their rights) through an ordering of internal and international relations that assures each person of the possibility of participating in them.” And “Commitment to promoting effective social justice in international relations demands of each one an awareness that the goods of creation are destined for all, and that in the world community economies must be oriented toward the sharing of these goods, their lasting use, and the fair division of the benefits that derive from them.”

    Yet when polls showed a tie between Pres. George W. Bush and Sen. John F. Kerry in 2004, he sent a letter to the U.S. episcopate instructing the bishops to deny communion to Kerry. After favoring Gore in 2000, Catholics voted 52 percent for Bush versus 47 percent for Kerry. “Throughout the 2004 campaign, Rove maintained that, if Bush won the Catholic vote, he would be reelected. Rove was right.”

    Since his election, Pope Francis has spoken about mercy and compassion. His first papal exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, has won enthusiastic praise for his “special concern for the poor and the need for state intervention to promote economic justice.”

    Yet his first official act as pontiff was the appointment of a group of eight cardinals to help him govern the Church. Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriquez Maradiaga who, as head of Opus Dei in that country, helped overthrow the progressive and elected president, Manuel Zalaya, in 2009 is the group’s coordinator. Several other members are also close to Opus Dei.

    •  Thank you for your lengthy reply (8+ / 0-)

      I think it may actually be longer than my diary.

      As I said in my diary, "if Pope Francis continues forward with actions that match his words....."

      So I do temper my excitement by waiting to see his future deeds.

      I was extremely disappointed in how things played out in Honduras. Anyone that supported the overthrow of Manuel Zalaya gets no respect of mine. If what you say regarding Pope Francis' appointment is true, it does make me more leery. Having said that, it is truly hard to know how much of a figurehead the pope is in such appointments.

      My only real experience in the Catholic Church has been either when something really good has happened (Wedding) or when something really bad has happened (funeral). And in both the ceremony seemed to have more to do with re-recruiting and dogma than in the people at the front of the altar (living or dead). It also seemed like some cruel form of simon says that involved "stand up", "sit down", or "kneel". It would have been far more fun if it you were only supposed to do it if the priest said "God says" before the command. Anyone who stood up without the "god says" prefix would then have to leave the church.
      Of course then on Sunday when football is on, all the men would mess up on purpose so they would get home in time for kickoff.

    •  Betty can always be counted on for the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      most hateful possible way to view anything at all related to the Catholic church.  It is her crusade.

      I avoid her poisonous diaries, which are almost always on Sunday (why do you think that is?) and usually recommended.

      This comment of hers here is THREADJACKING against an atheist who has a MUCH more moderate and reasonable position.  She is literally trying to kill the message of solidarity with liberal Catholics.

      I'm not going to HR her comment, but it deserves about 100 HRs.

      Most of her CT-like claims fall apart under scrutiny, but she gets almost zero scrutiny.

      •  A curious form of THREADJACKING (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Fishtroller01, Back In Blue

        in which, over the course of an entirely civil exchange, the alleged threadjacker and the diarist converse, and largely converge, ending with the diarist thanking the supposed threadjacker.

        Then a complaint hurling all manner of accusations at the threadjacker, and complaining that, much like multiple diaries in which Kossacks sing the praises of Mr. Bergoglio, the threadjackers diaries are often recommended.

        I mean, perhaps the length of Betty Clermont's response is a bit threadjack-ish, and it's true that brevity is not her strong point, but if the diarist didn't take it that way -- beyond justifiably ribbing her a bit about it -- how is it really threadjacking?

      •  Betty's diary was posted on Sat. not Sun. (0+ / 0-)

        100 HR's?  Will that make you feel better?  How about this... try taking her recent diary and addressing each point as it's made?  She does much of it in paragraphs. So you could take each paragraph and point out where you see errors in history, facts, references and most of all what she has written that qualifies as CT.

        And "threadjacking"? Come on, you are kidding-right?

        Really Timaeus... I read comments like this and can picture you burning books (or Galileo on a stake).  Why are you so threatened by Betty's writings?

        •  To be fair... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Timaeus, AaronInSanDiego

          Betty's comment above is a lengthy cut and paste from her own diary.   It might be better to address her numerous errors there, rather than here.   Much of it though is weakly sourced and of questionable accuracy.

          Just to run down the allegations here:

          1. JPII sent no such letter, and in no way "helped Reagan slaughter and torture the opponents of rightwing military dictatorships"

          2.  The allegation against Ratzinger, that he wanted to deny Kerry (or politicians like Kerry) communion is correct.

          3.  The allegation that  Cardinal Oscar Rodriquez Maradiaga "helped overthrow the progressive and elected president, Manuel Zalaya, in 2009" is not correct.  Cardinal Rodriguez opposed the coup.  

  •  Thanks for some interesting thoughts. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shawke, mrkvica, Ahianne

    I also have had some about the bible, and other faiths. I see hints of social engineering in some of the stories, especially visitors with hidden identities. (don't be cruel to strangers because they might be angels.) what you do to the least of these, etc. It sure suggests someone trying to create a better world by using superstition as a back door.

    I think that ignoring the fact that those tales are thousands of years old is a mistake. They were written to influence a very different world, although a whole heap of the compassion expressed wouldn't be out of place at any time.

    The teapot agnostic thing also reminded me of a conversation I had some years ago with a Baptist minister who asked me what I believed. i told him, I didn't know if there was anything beyond the physical realm, though I thought it unlikely, but if there was, the odds of it meshing with his viewpoint were near non-existent. I do like the donkeys, though.

  •  Yes, this Pope may be different. . . (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shawke, mrkvica

    but let's us see how he proceeds from here.  I will be particularly interested to see how he responds to his several critics on the right.

    Canem Praeteri, Cave Modo Hominem. (Never mind the dog, just watch out for the human)

    by T C Gibian on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 04:57:56 PM PST

  •  Until I see some real actions from the Catholic (8+ / 0-)

    church on a whole boatload of issues I'll remain skeptical. However, I do have to admit the degree to which those on the right appear to be concerned about the direction the church with him as Pope is taking is pretty pleasing.

  •  I said this earlier in the week, (9+ / 0-)

    but if this pope continues along these lines, I'll wear a t-shirt that proclaims,

    Atheists for Francis

    The number of children and teens killed by guns in one year would fill 134 classrooms of 20 students each. (Chlldren's Defense Fund, 2013)

    by nzanne on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 05:09:59 PM PST

  •  A few previous popes have expressed similar (7+ / 0-)

    sentiments, but this one is somehow louder than before. I know a few conservative Catholics, some who even call themselves "trads." (traditional) It would be easy for them to call this pope a Marxist and dismiss him. They've dismissed almost every pope since Vatican II for being too liberal.

  •  I loved this sentence in the diary: (11+ / 0-)
    This speech by our current Pope though is something very different.
    That's identifying in.  Yes, he's the pope for everybody.

    Jesus said a person will be judged by his fruits, not just his words. I agree that we are going to see real fruits from this sainted pope.

    There are many atheists and agnostics on this forum. Some diary polls suggest a majority, but I doubt that's true. But in any event, I've had some tangles with some atheists that I think are too doctrinaire, judgmental, and hateful towards religious people.

    But that's only a small percentage of the atheists and agnostics here, and I really love to hear a diary like this from an atheist/agnostic who hears the truth in the message of this pope.

    As Meteor Blades's sig says always:  It doesn't matter what you say, it's what you do.

    As a quite religious American Catholic, I'm in total solidarity with atheists and agnostics who are working together with all liberals to try to advance the ideals of social equality being propounded by this wonderful pope.

    I'm working on a diary series on this, but may be too sick to get it off the ground.

    •  I'm glad to hear (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Timaeus, marykk, Ahianne, cotterperson

      That you didn't feel attacked by my diary. I will take my gentle jests in fun, but try my best to be tolerant of people who have different views than myself.
      Thank you for your comments.

      If someone says or does something I feel is valid, it doesn't matter at all to me who they are. Even if they happen to be so unfortunate as to identify as a republican.

    •  So Timaeus.... (0+ / 0-)

      Atheists who think for themselves are not your cup of tea? What a surprise.  I'll tell you what... if you write that diary of yours, don't forget to include something on how the RCC policies (which will NOT change under Francis) on women's reproductive health rights are directly related to creating more poverty and family misery in the world. Oh, and don't forget the part where gay marriage is the work of Satan.  How you and others can call the RCC policies "progressive" and "social justice" is beyond me.

      I'll look forward to your series.

  •  Me too! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shawke, marykk

    I was saying much the same thing to my roommate, a former Cartholic himself, just yesterday... and he too, has found renewed respect for his church, although I doubt he will ever consider himself a Catholic again, (not that I think he ever really considered himself a Catholic in his heart, but he was raised in a Catholic home and he did go to a Catholic school growing up.)

    * Move Sooner ~ Not Faster *

    by ArthurPoet on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 05:45:40 PM PST

  •  It is sad that we (3+ / 0-)

    are surprised and grateful that a Pope actually acts christian.

    •  We have to be thankful where we can. I (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cassandra Waites, Ahianne

      Maybe even more thankful when it is from a source that has previously set the bar low.
      If tomorrow, Boehner came out in support of maintaining current food stamp levels, it would be a really low bar he was hitting, but still somewhat awe inspiring.

      I've often thought lately that one of the big problems is Democrats trying to be moderate and centrist. It allows the Republicans to move the goalposts to the right. By coming out strongly from a progressive standpoint, it forces the republicans to defend the centre ground.

      I feel the same about the church. Even a move in rhetoric forces those with a more conservative stance onto the defensive.

  •  Agree (5+ / 0-)

    The change in message is welcome.

    More problematic though is how difficult it seems to be to change some of the substance of Catholic doctrine, particularly on subjects where it has clearly gone wrong.  

    In Catholic theory, authentic doctrine must all come from either the direct teachings of scripture, or the practice of the early Christian Church.  Many of the more problematic teachings are weakly supported by scripture (often not at all by the direct teachings of Christ), but are justified by early church tradition.  

    Thus the culture of misogony, which was prevalent in society at the time, gets enshrined as doctine in the church, when many other institutions have modernized and moved on from such backwards views.  

    What is interesting though is the contrast with other issues where the church has corrected such early errors.  Take slavery for example, and you see the view that slavery was permissible and not sinful, and you see that it was fairly well supported by both scripture and the widespread opinion of most early church fathers.  

    And interesting to note that the historical prohibition against women in the priesthood was philosophically based on the idea that women were not capable of teaching men.  From the Didascalia:

    "For it is not to teach that you women . . . are appointed. . . . For he, God the Lord, Jesus Christ our Teacher, sent us, the twelve [apostles], out to teach the [chosen] people and the pagans. But there were female disciples among us: Mary of Magdala, Mary the daughter of Jacob, and the other Mary; he did not, however, send them out with us to teach the people. For, if it had been necessary that women should teach, then our Teacher would have directed them to instruct along with us" (Didascalia 3:6:1–2 [A.D. 225]).
    Likewise Tertullian makes reference to a woman "who had no right to teach even sound doctrine", and views women who do teach as heretics "And the heretical women themselves, how shameless are they! They make bold to teach, to debate, to work exorcisms, to undertake cures".    And also says "It is not permitted for a woman to speak in the church."

    The primary scriptural support for these views comes from 1 Corinthians 14:

    34 Women[f] should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. 35 If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.[g]
    And 1 Timothy 2:
    11 A woman[a] should learn in quietness and full submission. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man;[b] she must be quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. 15 But women[c] will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.
    Needless to say, if these passages were treated as literally divinely inspired, and inerrant, then women would not be permitted to even speak in church, nor to be lectors, professors of theology, or hold any position in society in which they might teach or hold authority over a man.  

    But if we reject these ideas, that women cannot speak, or teach, or hold authority over a man, as reflecting the culturally dominant sexism of the time, and not the will of God, then it is hard to see what is left standing to support the Church's prohibition against women priests.  As these ideas were explicitly laid out as the very foundation of that tradition.  

  •  A positive force (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    If the Church keeps following Francis' lead, it will become a net positive as far as its influence on humanity globally. When compared with its shameful public stances and actions during Benedict's tenure, that should be welcome news to all religious people, agnostics, and atheists alike.

  •  as a non-believer... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ksuwildkat, mrkvica, SherwoodB, Ahianne in not being an adherent of any belief system, be it monotheism, deism, atheism, agnosticism or any other system that involves swallowing some kind of in agreement with you about one thing: When it comes to saying and doing what's right, it doesn't matter what the source is...they should be thanked and appreciated.

    As someone who has no connection to or affinity with Catholicism nor any other religion, it's good to see people like Pope Francis, along with the Dalai Lama and those few other religious leaders courageous enough to do so...promoting the best of human values, for a change. Unfortunately, most religious leaders are more interested in promoting themselves, their dogma and their organizations to do something radical like...doing right.

    We should all thank Pope Francis for that.

  •  I am a "Hard Agnostic" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    historys mysteries, mrkvica, marykk

    Spent to much time studying epistemology and the New and old testament..  I now  think it is impossible for any of us to know God exists or non exists. If we evolve better instrumentation or discover proof I would be willing to change my mind  but do not ever think that will happen at least in my lifetime. Added to that the textual issues in the  Writings of the new testament as well as logical issues with theology I just think the certainty  needed to make those claims is absurd. common 3=1 is not a formula based on reason.

    "We need a revolution away from the plutocracy that runs Government."

    by hangingchad on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 08:01:59 PM PST

  •  c'mon seriously (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "I'm not completely sure if atheist is the way I describe myself... I don't believe there is a god."

    Your aversion to calling yourself what you clearly are reminds me of this Onion article: Why Do All These Homosexuals Keep Sucking My Cock?

    You are an atheist. That's about as clear cut as it gets. Your denial of it undermines every atheist who is trying to destigmatize the term.

    •  We may have a different idea of atheism (5+ / 0-)

      I have no problem to committing to the fact that I do not believe in god. In that way, I can be called an atheist.
      The problem is that I don't say with absolute certainty that this is the case. I don't BELIEVE there is a god. But that is different than saying one does not exist.
      I think the burden of proof of the existence of god clearly falls on those that do believe to prove gods existence. Having said that, I acknowledge that there is no way to scientifically prove a lack of existences.
      That's why I used the term Tea Pot Agnostic. If you read the link I provided it may give a clearer understanding of what I mean.

      Beyond that though, I am in no way in the closet regarding my beliefs. I have laid them on the table quite clearly.

      And I'll call myself what I think best describes my position.

      Thank you for telling me what I am though. I would not have supposed that someone would have the authority to do so.

      •  Absolute certainty (0+ / 0-)

        is not required for atheism. Instead, that criterion is sometimes applied by theists as a way to attack the atheist position by attempting to equate it to a 'faith-based belief system'.

        Rarely do people attempt to nit-pick the 'certainty' distinction when it comes to a lack of belief in unicorns and dragons. But for belief in god, this somehow becomes important.

        But then again, people should be allowed to self-identify however they want. Just don't be surprised if atheists include you among their number, and you really don't have the right to be upset at that anymore than they have the right to force you to call yourself an atheist.

        •  I actually wasn't upset at all by the comments. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ahianne, Ozy, Cassandra Waites

          I just more so found them humorous in a way. Especially the comments regarding the Onion link.

          It reminded me of a friend that identifies as bi-sexual. He is constantly told by people that he isn't bi-sexual, that he's gay but doesn't want to completely come out of the closet. Strangely it is the gay community that is the most critical of him. Some of them have called him a coward. Being people who have faced such a high level of discrimination in the past, I was surprised at the lack of acceptance.

          I do think that's quite offensive myself. They claim to know who he is and isn't attracted to.

          Personally I like to rib him and tell him he isn't gay, straight, or bi-sexual.....just greedy.

          As for myself, that may be the difference. I often do hear many atheists who do pronounce their belief as absolute fact. It is the level of absolute faith that I guess makes me uncertain of labelling myself thus.

          I'd be uncomfortable giving myself the outright label of agnostic as well. That seems to give the idea that I give equal weight to the ideas of their being a god, and their not being a god.
          Let me put it this way, if there were a higher power, I find it far more likely we have been created by some form of enormous giant alien child creating the universe in a test tube for a school science project than of the god of the Christian Bible.

          If it is your preference to term me an Atheist, I'm fine with that. I would not have used Atheist in the subject line of the diary if I had some form of problem with the term.

          As for my previous comment, I can be quite sarcastic. If I came off as overly condescending to Ray in TX or anyone else who identifies as Atheist, I do apologize.  

  •  There's often this from atheist perspective (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "If someone needs religion not to kill people ..."

    Religion doesn't necessarily give people their morality, but it does give their morality authority and enforcement. Both in social numbers and sheer force/money/power, and through the appeal to a higher power.

    Clearly by your statement, there's a common morality you expect in society. Like not killing. What else is religion than that, except more refined?

    •  I see your point.... (0+ / 0-)

      And can perhaps imagine that in a time when laws were not so easily enforced by a government, that religion played a more prominent role in the authority over morality.

      I really can't say I see any morals within the bible that a reasonable person from anywhere on the globe would not see for himself. That is aside from morals in the bible that do not make sense at all. Such as spilling ones own seed, or possessing the level of obedience to kill your own son if god commands it.

      I truly do like to be accepting of other people's beliefs. But I do think that if religion wishes to stay relevant at all, it need to accept the need to view the bible with a critical lens, accept that much of what is in there was written by with a personal objective, and if not remove it, make it known it is no longer the position of the church.

      I think that is one of the biggest challenges to the vatican. Even if it wants to change laws, it invalidates the authority of previous popes, which it turn takes away the current pope's infallibility. That would strip away the very core of the Roman Catholic belief system.

      •  The core? (0+ / 0-)

        Well there's certainly plenty of moral behavior I expect people to comply with beyond what's legislated.

        Your comment could be construed as a desire for the state to act as moral authority, because of its means of enforcement.

        What is reasonably enforceable by a state barely scratches the surface of what constitutes moral behavior. And, quite frequently has nothing to do with it.

        I would revise your take on the "core" of the Roman Catholic belief system, and what the Pope's infallible authority regards. If you think Catholics don't read the bible critically, I'd guess you don't know many Catholics.

        How do you reconcile what you think reasonable people would see as innately moral with "what men write with a personal objective"? Yours is just competing with theirs.

        But I truly commend your faith in humanity. Do you think "reasonable" people are a majority?

    •  What else? Precisely the opposite. (0+ / 0-)

      An entire history, thousands of years of killing in the name of some religion.

      The priest said, "Today's sermon is called 'Liars', but first I have a question. How many of you have read Chapter 66 in Matthew?" Nearly every hand went up. "You're just the group I need to speak to," the priest said. "There's no such chapter."

      by Back In Blue on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 07:59:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  One usually becomes or is an atheist/agnostic (0+ / 0-)

    as a result of not buying into what one is told about the nature of the world and cosmos without applying some skepticism and some research.

    So I find it really hard to read diaries and comments by atheist/agnostics who have not applied those skills to the recent proclamations by this pope.

    First of all, he has said nothing new (look up other papal writings).  Second, he has done nothing to change the nature of the RCC and its solid entrenched worldwide power mongoring and capitalistic actions. And he won't. This institution is tied firmly to the right wing economical and political philosophies and actions all over the world. It is not and never will be a progressive institution.

    Third and most of all..... denying women their reproductive rights CAUSES much of the issues of poverty all over the world. And this will not change under Francis or anyone else.

    I highly recommend that this diarist take the time to read Betty Clermont's excellent diary that was just posted yesterday.

    •  I certainly do feel skepticism (0+ / 0-)

      As I said in my post "But if Pope Francis continues forward with actions that match his words"

      I was impressed by the Pope's statements. But if all they are is words, then it means little.

      Having said that, even if it just comes in the form of dialogue, it does have the power to make those that identify as Catholics rethink their own actions. If it does nothing but that, it still can do some good.

      I am reading some of Betty's diaries. They are quite lengthy and full of information (if she wants to get her masters on the subject, I think she has her Thesis pre-written).

      So being a skeptic, as I do temper my enthusiasm for the words the pope has spoken against the fact that they may not be matched by any actions.

      Having said that I also have to temper Betty's diaries by the fact that I don't have the required 6 weeks needed to fact check her diaries. I do not discount her diaries and have had the opportunity to check a couple of her statements. Thus far I have not found anything she is saying that is untrue. They are however to some extent interpretations of events. In something as large and secretive as the Catholic Church, we can hardly know the reality of the decision making process and who does and does not make the decisions, and who may or not be just a rubber stamp.

      To clarify though, I don't really see a need for religion at all. But if messaging from the church can be even somewhat positive towards equality, that in itself is a step forward.

      •  The message has been (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        "Who am I to judge gays" since Francis became pope. In Argentina, it was "gay marriage is the evil work of Satan" and Francis worked very hard against the gay marriage bill (which passed).

        As for equality... his message to the nuns recently was that they shouldn't be acting like a bunch of old maids.

        Come on Shawke....the message is not about equality. It's about trying to deflect the church's corruptions with children from the public's minds. It's about increasing power by offering soothing words with no deeds behind them.  Take some time to look at the issue of what is happening to women in the US in catholic owned hospitals (Merger Watch). THAT is not going to be changed by Francis either.

        What I feel we really need around these Daily Kos "ain't the pope a nice guy"  diaries is a frank discussion on what the terms "social justice" ,  "equality" and "progressive" really mean.

        Sorry to get on your case about this, but I find all this non-application of serious scrutiny upsetting.

        •  Well Fishtroller... (3+ / 0-)

          I wrote my diary based on my thoughts on the popes recent statements. It was short and not to be a full dissection of all things good and bad of the pope and the church.

          One of the best things about writing a diary on Dailykos, isn't necessarily about the diary itself. It's about the dialogue that takes place in the comments section afterwards.

          I've read comments on here from several people with different points of view. So even if you didn't find the dialogue you wish within the diary itself, I think it is easily found in the comments section below.

          While I would like to have written a diary that was full of scrutiny and dissection of the catholic church and it's stance, I find that pages long diaries often lose the original intention it was meant to convey.

          My diary was meant to give a clear and simple idea that I find some of the pope's recent statements as being a positive sign.

          The comments below are where the dialogue has taken place.

          I appreciate the comments made, and always feel more educated for having read them.

          You have no reason in my opinion to be sorry. One should never be sorry for stating an opinion unless it is made with the intent to hurt. And I don't feel you intended any harm.

  •  Until he speaks out on pedophilia (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and backs his words with actions, I'm going to reserve my opinion on this pope. I appreciate what he's doing, but the man has to do some serious housecleaning and set some very clear zero tolerance ground rules.

    You can never go home again, but I guess you can shop there.

    by Hobbitfoot on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 09:32:52 AM PST

  •  Long ago I decided that atheist, while accurate, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shawke, Ahianne, No Exit

    was incomplete and misleading as a description of my belief system.

    My solution to using the awareness of my atheism, its utility and power, was to consider the full spectrum of the potential of the human species, and to realize that this was something I could believe in and devote myself to, and that it was completely natural, completely grounded in empirical reality, even though in fact, the concept of humanity is actually as abstract, concept-wise, and the concept of a deity.

    I decided that instead of just being an atheist, I was a humanist. This term has many connotations; for example, there are religious, god-believing humanists. But I am a secular humanist, and for me, the most important part of humanism is its connection with “humanity”.

    Yes, I believe in and identify myself with humanity, i.e., human beings, both historically, back to the earliest pre-sapiens, and globally.  I embrace all of humanity, even while recognizing that part of being human means we (and I) can make bad decisions and cause harm to humanity.

    What does it mean to believe in humanity? It means that humanity is the only higher power to which we can appeal to help us. By definition, it is the most adequate, most powerful resource, because there are no others.

    It also means that all of our ideas are productions of human beings. For example, gods and demons, along with liberty and sin, are human productions. Religions are human productions, and although they sometimes harm humanity, they also have sometimes been a positive force. Since most human beings hold supernatural beliefs, it would be hypocritical for a humanist of my stripe to condemn them for it. It seems to be a very natural part of the human experience for many of us.

    Finally, since we are all part of humanity, it also means that appeals to higher powers are appeals to ourselves, and that gives us all a profound responsibility to ourselves and to our fellow human beings.

    Sure, not having a belief in supernatural constructs like gods, heaven, the sacred, or the sinful is a critical starting point, but it's more like learning to read and write than like writing a novel: a prerequisite, not an endpoint.

    So I see the Pope's recent statements as positive ones for humanity, made by a human being. Other popes, equally human, have made statements I believe to be less positive for humanity.

  •  I'm an atheist. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shawke, Cassandra Waites, Yoshimi

    If this man is going to use his position to promote social justice for all than more power to him. However, actions speak louder than words and I believe we are seeing more action from Pope Francis than any Pope in my life.

  •  He is very cool (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I know he's not Jewish, but I would encourage him to apply.  I would personally teach him the secret handshake

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