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Sun May 26, 2013, 06:49 PM

 

Dear Pope, Atheists Don't Need Redemption [View all]

Atheists like me are used to religious leaders like the last pope telling us that we are going to Hell to be tortured for all eternity because we are skeptical of their pretty hard to believe claims. This new pope surprised everyone the other day by proclaiming that atheists are not condemned to eternal torture if we live a virtuous life. Thanks for that, Pope Francis, but I wasn't worried. I'm reasonably sure that Hell is imaginary.

The thing is that Pope Francis went farther than just acknowledging that atheists aren't going to be tortured for all eternity. He also said that if we live virtuous lives, we will be "redeemed" by Jesus just like Christians. I think that last part goes a little too far for me. I know the pope meant well and probably didn't realize just how condescending that actually sounds to many atheists. In an effort to help the pope better communicate with the growing atheist community and in the spirit of furthering dialog, I'm going to explain why I take issue with his statement.

I'm not interested in being "redeemed" by Jesus. Contrary to the Catholic and even the broader Christian belief, I don't believe humans are evil sinners in need of redemption. I don't see the glass as half empty. The way I see it, the glass is full. Half the glass is filled with water and the other half filled with air. In other words, I don't think people are inherently evil; I think people are more nuanced than that. We do good things and we do bad things.

As a humanist, I have come to understand that people generally try to be the best they can. We are all trying to be the heroes in our own story, sometimes getting sidetracked along the way.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/staks-rosch/dear-pope-atheists-dont-need-redemption_b_3332013.html?utm_hp_ref=religion

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SecularMotion May 2013 OP
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