An Atheist and the Pope

This is the continuation of my previous post about the Popes recent encyclical, covering sections 6-10, and maybe more.

More below the fold.

Section 6:

You talk about how philosophers before Jesus were “Charlatans.” That Jesus was the “true philosopher.” Can you prove this? Where is the evidence that the arguments of the other philosophers are somehow untrue, while your particular philosopher is somehow better? It’s special pleading, it’s a fallacy.

Section 7:

Ahh, my favorite verse in the Bible. Hebrews 11:1, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Yes, I said evidence, not proof. You note the Latin translation, I won’t quote it, but since you assume infallibility of the text, I’ll note the following, the word argumentum can be translated in two ways, according to this dictionary: “evidence, proof.” Now, I only studied Linguistics as a hobby, but I do remember that it was considered best when translating to choose the lesser connotation. I think your translation of argumentum as “proof” is misleading, you cannot prove the existence of anything in science, and since science is the study of the real world, proof is a bad term. We do not “prove” in science, we construct theories — collections of facts — and make predictions which are supported by material evidence. Faith has no place in science, and in science, there are plenty of things we can’t see, but can show — by evidence — to exist. Dark Matter, Dark Energy, Subatomic Particles, Singularities (Black Holes), and many others. Hey, we can’t even “see” air, but we know that when the wind blows that that is evidence of its existence. Even Jesus said that (John 3, KJV, “The wind bloweth where it listeth… etc”) We do not need to invoke faith, or God, to show the existence of anything. So then- what good is faith? What does it give you that science can’t? Does it somehow make the future “no longer a ‘not yet'”? By which I think you mean that it makes the future tenable, real, somehow more apparent. I argue no, I am an atheist, I do not have faith in any divine being. I do not have faith in anything, I have evidence. What does this mean for me? It means I live in the moment, the real, the now. I know that the future is uncertain, as it is for everyone, Christian or no.”Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what tomorrow may bring forth.” Proverbs 27:1, Since you and I are both in a state of unknowing about the future, by your own dogma’s admission, what difference does it make what I believe about what happens when I die? Faith is meaningless, you do not need it. Occam’s Razor helps us trim the fat, as atheists, and as scientists, faith is just that, unneeded fat to be cut away from the meat of truth.

Section 8: “In their case, it has been demonstrated that this new life truly possesses and is “substance” that calls forth life for others. For us who contemplate these figures, their way of acting and living is de facto a “proof” that the things to come, the promise of Christ, are not only a reality that we await, but a real presence: he is truly the “philosopher” and the “shepherd” who shows us what life is and where it is to be found.”

No ones actions, no ones anecdotes, and noone unsubstantiated stories can ever constitute any kind of proof, besides a fallacious one. The plural of anecdote is anecdotes, not evidence.

I appreciate what you are trying to do in this treatise, really; the problem, sir, is this — you do it at the expense of others. You try to encourage your followers by insulting others. I have hope, I do not need any faith — much less yours — to have it. Do not insult the concepts of proof and science by saying anything involving your dogma and superstition constitute proof. That makes me sick.

Section 9 is short, and I don’t see much in it I haven’t already addressed.

Section 10

Here you discuss “eternal life.” I have only one question, how do we know that eternal life exists? How do we know Heaven, Hell, or any of this exists as fact? Is it testable? Can I touch it, smell it, feel it, measure it? You are, in simple terms, telling me to believe in a boogey man. To use my “blind faith.” Well sir, I know you aren’t fallible, but I certainly am, and I won’t trust myself with anything less than material evidence, repeatable experiments, and scientific observations. I don’t know what it takes to be infallible, how pompous you have to be, how prideful to say, “I am never wrong.” It is a doctrine of the church, is it not? I have found no evidence that your organization has ever rejected it. Funny though- that the Bible says the following: “As it is written, there is none righteous, no not one.” and “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:10 and 3:23 resp). So how did you get to be so special that you’re held above the Bible, the very thing you’re telling me to believe unconditionally, without evidence? Oh? Whats that? Some Cardinals elected you? So I’m supposed to trust religious politicians? Yah, I don’t even trust the secular ones.

Skipping sections 11 and 12, nothing particularly interesting, section 13:

“In the course of their history, Christians have tried to express this “knowing without knowing” by means of figures that can be represented, and they have developed images of “Heaven” which remain far removed from what, after all, can only be known negatively, via unknowing…”

What? Knowing without Knowing is not “Unknowning” we aren’t “forgetting” anything. Are you honestly trying to say that the only way we can possible understand heaving is by forgetting about it? Oh! I get it, its not heaven we should forget about, it’s common god damn sense. Thomas Paine — who was a Diest, no less — said this, one of my favorite quotes, “Knowledge is the forbidden tree of the preistcraft.” It’s true, isn’t it, Benedict, Benny– can I call you Benny? If your followers were to start really critically thinking about what was going on. About things like– gee, I don’t know– how you can be infallible, the blatant mathematical, logical, physical, and self contradictions in the Bible, the fact that you’re elected pope, but you are divinely chosen at the same time, or the laundry list of other problems with your faith. If they started thinking about the heinous acts that were committed in the name of the Catholic Church, the Crusades, the Inquisition, or St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre of the Hugeonots. That they would realize just how stupid the dogma they’ve been spoon-fed, likely since birth, as you point out in section 11, is pointless and cruel. Do you honestly believe this stuff you preach? I wonder sometimes if you aren’t just playing along- if this is just a game to you. If you just want to string these poor people along into giving you there money. I often wonder if the Catholic Church is really just the worlds longest running confidence trick, with the Pope as the lead conman. Do you realize, Benny, that you’re messing with peoples lives?

Section 14, then I’m done for this post.

Let’s talk about omnibenevolence.

You mention in this section the following: “Psalm 144 [143]:15: ‘Blessed is the people whose God is the Lord.’ ” Now, I have a question, does this mean that people whose God is not “the Lord” are not blessed? Who’s doing the blessing? Are there suddenly many Gods to choose from? Why wouldn’t any of those Gods bless me? Lets assume that this YHVH God Fella, the one you seem to have proclivity to, (I always preferred Ra, myself, or Thor, I can never choose…) is the one doing the blessing, and that there are no other Gods. So, if the people of God (Christians) are Blessed, then it stands to reason that the people who are not God’s are not Blessed. To be not blessed is to be cursed, or to be treated benignly (thats a proper negation, correct?). If this God person is omnibenevolent, as you claim, then he obviously cannot curse me, as an atheist (and therefore non-christian, by default). However, your bible o’ dogma states quite clearly that the nonrighteous will go to hell, which I’m fairly sure is not a benign treatment. So we have a problem, either your God is not omnibenevolent, or I’m not going to hell. If the former is true, you’ve got some doctrine issues. If the latter is true, not only do you have some doctrine issues, but you have some purpose issues, and I don’t have to worry about all this silly “going to hell” stuff (not that I did in the first place). Since for me to be treated benignly, I’ll just have to be ignored for eternity, left to my own devices. That oughta be fun, I’ll go find Richard Dawkins, PZ Myers, Thomas Paine, Christopher Hitchens, and all my other atheist/nonchristian buddies and reminisce about the good times back on the late great planet earth- I’d be okay with not having to worship some pompous ass for eternity, just like I’m okay with dying and having nothing happen.We’ll be coming back to this topic later, so keep it in mind.

Back next time with a fresh installment of “The Pope and Me” Hopefully I’ll get to something more interesting.


~ by jfredett on December 1, 2007.

One Response to “An Atheist and the Pope”

  1. goddamn 🙂

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