There was a minor firestorm last week when the pope said that all are welcomed into heaven by God-even Atheists. Pope Francis wrote, in an open letter in La Republica newspaper: “You ask me if the God of the Christians forgives those who don’t believe and who don’t seek the faith. I start by saying – and this is the fundamental thing – that God’s mercy has no limits if you go to him with a sincere and contrite heart. The issue for those who do not believe in God is to obey their conscience.
Holy shit! God tolerates Atheists? Ah, well, er, ah…thanks?
Ladies and gentlemen, we have reached the ultimate conundrum. Overall, Pope Francis has proven himself to be a kind, inclusive kind of guy. I like that in my Catholics. But this acceptance of Atheists by God is rather contradictory, wouldn’t you say? The premise that an entity would accept into his “kingdom” those who do not acknowledge his existence (and, in fact, vehemently deny it) sounds like they’re expecting us to be grateful. It’s as if he’s thrown us a Mulligan, just in case we want to renounce our non-religion as if it were Ted Cruz’ Canadian citizenship. It’s non-sensical.
It also suggests that this new Pope has the authority to supersede that which is strewn throughout the bible. John 3:36 says: “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” That’s some serious wrath, folks, but apparently does not apply when the guy whose main gig is to uphold that stuff says “never mind”.
Another is Mark 16:16: “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.” That’s only two biblical references, and so far I’ve got wrath and condemnation issues up the wazoo.
Personally, I’m pretty sure that Francis should check with his boss before he lets the rabble past the guard at the gatehouse, ‘cause, well, you know how hard it is to get rid of rabble once they’ve been in your pool and seen your daughter in a bikini.
He might want to check the Poping For Dummies chapter that covers who gets all that fiery damnation and eternal agony before he gives us a pass on that.
Anyway, in the spirit of forgiveness and inclusion that the Pope has exhibited to Atheists this week, I would like to extend a similar invitation to Pope Francis. We, as Atheists, offer you salvation within our masses as well. We offer you relief from fear of an entity that threatens you with the fires of hell if you look the wrong way (Mark 9:47) but reassures you of his eternal love and salvation if only you’ll spend your entire life praising him and keeping the candle industry viable.
We offer you the pleasure of a life lived for its own sake. A life not fearfully and opportunistically lived toward the promise of a permanent ride on the Disney Dream featuring a Concierge Royal Suite and access to the bridge so you can steer.
A life of being good, not because the ecclesiastical Captain Krabs might be watching, but being good because it is that act, in isolation, which gives life meaning. And isn’t it you guys who invented this ethereal infrastructure for the singular purpose of finding meaning in your lives?
Well, homey, we never lost the meaning in our lives. It’s been here the entire time. The difference between you accepting us and us accepting you is that you don’t need to receive some erstwhile “forgiveness” to get OUR secret decoder ring. We’ll take you just as you are. The rings are free…
But you’ve got to let us try on some of those funny hats or the deal is off.