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Pope Francis' Message To Atheists and Agnostics: Live A Moral Life and listen To Your Conscience

The Pope has struck a surprisingly conciliatory tone towards atheists and agnostics, saying that God will "forgive" them as long as they behave morally and live according to their consciences.

By Nick Squires, Rome | 11 Sep 2013 | The Telegraph

The unprecedented gesture came as his incoming number two, the Vatican's newly-nominated secretary of state, said that the rule that priests should be celibate was not "a dogma of the Church" and could be open for discussion.

Francis, who has won praise for spontaneous and unusual moves during his six month papacy, wrote a lengthy letter to a newspaper, La Repubblica, which the Italian daily printed over four pages, including page one, under the simple byline "Francesco".

"God forgives those who obey their conscience," he wrote in the unprecedented letter, the latest example of the markedly different tone and style from his predecessors that he has set since being elected in March.

Read more: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/the-pope/10302850/P...

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Sorry you feel that way

You were not a Christian though, its not possible to be a Christian one day and not be another day. I didn't make the Bible say that, it just says it.

Even talking about about reason or logic begs that there is a Creator behind it. I'm sure you aren't interested but you should check out some of the writings of Tim Keller he is a very intelligent man from NYC that has helped me a lot in my thinking about God and the Bible.

"Once you become knowledgeable, you have an obligation to do something about it."- Ron Paul

Let me first start by saying,

Let me first start by saying, these are not insults, and I have no doubt you're a great person. I have no doubt we are allies in the battle for human liberty. However my opinion cannot be stated honestly without you percieving an attack, so I won't try to suger coat it. You're wrong. I was a Christian and I believed in all the same nonsense you do now. I "believed" that I had a relationship with god, that the bible was truth, that god was good etc etc.

Then I woke up. Dispite your basless platitude statment, you "can" be a Christian one day, and not the next. That's exactly what happened to me. My first trip through the bible left me with a lot of questions that I was unable to face, so they lingered in the back of my mind, always blocked from coming to the surface. Compartmentalization is the psychological term.

I read so many things that conflicted with my own morality that if I had tried to face them, my reason and my "faith" would have collided, and I wasn't ready for that yet. I felt if I re-read the bible, it would make more sense, however part way into Genesis, I finally came to the sudden and immediate apithany of two things: 1)Its all bullshit. 2) Its imorale bullshit." It was just that simple.

You didn't make the bible say the things it does, a group of Roman ologarchal imperialists with an interest in controlling dumb peasants did... You simply accept it as the truth for some inexplicable reason. The fact that you "know" Jesus is a god is because these same Roman politicians during the council of Nicea NARROWLY voted that Jesus was divine. Had the votes gone the other direction, today you would "know" that Jesus was a mortal profit of god like Mohamad. The truth is, you don't "know" anything. You "believe." And you do so dispite all evidence and reason.

Im not interested in the slightest what Tim Keller or any other religeous delusionalist has to say on the subject. Ive been debaiting religeon for decades. I have listened to countless hours of religeous scholars and philosphers that people threw at me and found every single one of them to be laughable easy to refute. Its not their fault, many of them are brilliant. Its that the position they are trying to defend is simply wrong. Even the smartest person in the world cannot proove something that simply isn't true and contradicts logic. In the end, I propose my questions and they deflect/insult/avoid answering them. Given enough time, if I can get them to honestly answer, they have meltdowns and either become athiests, or zealots beyond all reason.

The last time I listend to some author here on the Paul that someone insisted "prooved" faith, it was the dumbest thing id ever heard. And it was nearly an hour long. Something to do with pilots could only fly through a cloud because of faith. In reality, the entire thing only prooved that trust must be developed through experiance as pilots learned to "trust" their instruments rather than panicking when they lost the ability to see. The exact OPPOSITE of faith.

Christians love to say dumb crap like: "Love can't exist without god." But they can never seem to answer things like: "If you learned god didn't exist tomorrow, would you still love your children, or would you suddenly not care about them nor work for a society where they would have rights and a chance to prosper?"


You are your own god.

I wish you the best. I really have nothing for you as it appears you have closed your mind to any attempts at knowing God. I am not your enemy and I hope you find joy in this life.

"Once you become knowledgeable, you have an obligation to do something about it."- Ron Paul

So thats it huh? No attempt

So thats it huh? No attempt to explain away the council of Nacia and the FACT that the bible is a book of lies compiled and maybe even written by roman polical elite?

Im not a god, there's no reason to call me supremely arrogant for not believing in your mythology. gods aren't real, so I could hardly think of myself as one. However I do own myself unless until someone digs up concrete proof that someone has a higher claim of ownership on me than I do.

My mind isn't closed to "knowing" a god anymore than its closed to "knowing" the Tooth Fairy, or Santa Clause. You bring me evidence of any one of these mythical beings, and I promise ill review it with all of my cognative capability. If I find its true, ill get to know them.

I don't think of you as an enemy in any way. Im sure you're a great guy. I just think your mentally crippled at the moment, and that you'll never truly be able to live by the non-aggression principal or the philosophy of liberty because a man may not serve two masters. The "master" you put highest is a cosmic king with magical powers who runs a monarchy in which his subjects are under constant surveilance, have no rights, and are not permitted to question authority. They have no say in their own governing, do not own themselves and they live or die 100% by the whim of their super-king. They either submit or burn.

You believe in both of these philosophies at the same time, inside the same skull. This is made possible only because you compartmentalise your insane religeous beliefs from your rational human reasoning mind. The one has led you to religeon, the other to libertarianism. They are contradictory beliefs, and if you're lucky, that will never be a problem. If you're not lucky, you're in for a bumpy ride one of these days.

I hope you wake up like I did. Gaining control over 100% of your reasoning mind is a wonderful thing and opens up the world in fantastic ways. You'd be amazed at how beautiful this place is when you don't have to limit everything you take in through the filter of mythology. When you realize that this is your one chance to live, you'll love your family more and fight more fiercly for this world rather than selling your passion for delusions of another fantasy world after.

deacon's picture

and what if

that god is just an alien who dumped a bunch
of other evil acting aliens onto this rock,just to get rid of them?

from your other comment...about what the pope should do with his hat...
if he did as you suggest,the smell of rot would be from the bottom
to the top..it is after all a fish head,his robe is the body,and it comes out
of Babylon.
but you didn't hear that from me ;)

setting your expectations to high,can cause depression

Well said.Now if it turns

Well said.

Now if it turns out that god is an alien and earth is the cosmic Australia, that would be pretty cool. Though unless these aliens have some kind of ressurection software to download me out of my meat sack and upload me into one of those dickless were-bird avatars, I don't see that it'll ever much matter to me whilst I take my dirt-nap.

Still aliens would be cool. I think out of all the guesses ive heard in my life as to our origins; aliens seeding the planet with life is the most plausable. But who knows! Cheers to private space industry. We may at last get off this rock before a comet/government wipes us out.

deacon's picture

I have found more evidence

supporting alien life,and the bible was taken from earlier written texts
and changed for the times
for 1,the nasca lines
this here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PMPaTnlDPPo

and the sumerain texts are a great read

setting your expectations to high,can cause depression

double post



Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

James 1:27

Even Jesus Said To Listen To Reason From The Pharisees

When the Pharisees quoted the law to people Jesus said to them, "Listen to them, for what they say to you is true, but don't think they will lift a finger to help you....Hypocrites, whited sepulchers, they look fine on the outside but they are full of dead mens bones...

Billy Graham has emphatically and frequently said this.



I saw the best minds of my generation, destroyed by pandas starving hysterical naked

-Allen Ginsberg

Ah Yes, Mr. Graham

Another man who has come before the pope, dressed in black, knelt down and kissed his hand as have numerous presidents!

"I think..." said Mr. Graham.....

Well, Mr. Graham, what you "think" and what God says are completely contrary one to another. Go think again, and while you're at it, why not go and read the Word of God some more and hopefully you will come to the truth of the knowledge of God and repent of these unbiblical things you utter without the blessing of God!

Jesus said that we are to judge withy righteous judgment and that in the last days, many deceivers, and false prophets would come in His name, and saying ( admitting ) that He is Christ.
Jesus also said that we are to beware of these people and that we would know them by their fruits.

Jesus was very clear in who would, and would not be saved.

We are now in the very end of time and it is most imperitive that we listen not to what "we" think, but what God says, and follow that Truth and none other, and no other!

No, I do not listen to Mr. Graham either!


" In Thee O Lord do I put my trust " ~ Psalm 31:1~

The Pope and his followers

are proving themselves to be the antichrist more and more as their beliefs "evolve" with the rest of the world. Scripture is clear that people who approve of these things will not inherit the coming kingdom.


You are ever so right when you say " it is most imperitive that we listen not to what "we" think, but what God says, and follow that Truth and none other, and no other!"

And those who accuse you of being judgmental for speaking the truth are just as guilty as the pope and graham.

I would caution you regarding

I would caution you regarding "Jesus said that we are to judge with righteous judgment". God is judge. Men judge according to flesh, Jesus judges with righteous judgment. Books will be opened on the final judgment day and the dead will be judged according to their works, according to what is written in the books. We do not have access to these books. You know that you are redeemed and will be saved because God redeems you through the blood of Christ, and your name is written in the Lamb's book of life. Common sense also suggests that we cannot judge (at least not yet) because Mr. Graham might judge a person one way, you another, and someone else another, but God has no need for human testimony because he knows who is his because he chooses them. Many were invited to the wedding feast, but not all went, and one went without on his own terms. Many are called and few chosen.

Now you are judging me

And I do not mind at all.
We here on the DP warn people all the time on a number of very important things and that is very good.

My warning is about salvation and there is nothing more important than that.

PLEASE open your Bible and read it!

Jesus TELLS us that we WILL KNOW them deceivers by their fruit!

There are many verses warning us of THESE PEOPLE and you say I should be cautious of warning others?


I am sorry if that offends you or anyone else but when I hear false religious doctrine telling others that you can go to heaven by some other way than Jesus, and Jesus alone, without works of our own, then I will shout it from the roof top!

What I am presenting here is righteous judgment in stating that to follow Mr. Grahams's teaching, the pope's teaching, or ever Mr. Schuller's teaching is NOT the Way to salvation.

Jesus tells us to warn, just as Paul did in Galatians 1:8.9

Maybe, just maybe the Lord will save these people, I don't know, but I do know that they are right now, telling lies that lead to damnation!

If I were to say anything other than what I have said, then I would be not only apathetic, a most poor witness of the Gospel!


" In Thee O Lord do I put my trust " ~ Psalm 31:1~

Well I judge that you people

Well I judge that you people need many years of therapy.

Excellent Post

Thank you for posting this.

Having read

the text in English it is apparent that the letter is written in order to establish an open dialogue with atheists and agnostics.

I believe that Pope Francis strong desire to share the Peace of Christ is apparent in his willingness to risk all for the sake of the salvation of one. This openness is characteristic of Jesus as described in the gospel of Luke chapter 15:

Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus,
but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying,
“This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
So to them he addressed this parable.
“What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them
would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert
and go after the lost one until he finds it?
And when he does find it,
he sets it on his shoulders with great joy
and, upon his arrival home,
he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them,
‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’
I tell you, in just the same way
there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents
than over ninety-nine righteous people
who have no need of repentance.


The purpose of posting this?

Trying to convince atheists that Catholics are nice guys?

IF the Pope really meant this then he is playing loose with the Faith and scandalizing people like Holbrook.

Maybe the Pope is insinuating that if someone lives honestly and tries their best to do the right thing that they will follow God's inspirations and find the truth. Otherwise, all the martyrs and missionaries have died in vain.

This is a very sad situation. Not Catholic doctrine.


I don't think that Roman Catholic 'inclusivism' is originating from the current pope. Here's some more info about inclusivism in Catholicism prior to the current pope: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vYfC92oe5nY
Here's part of a couple of debates on the subject:

Inclusivism is not Catholic

But there is some gray area as to exactly how God will judge those who are unable to receive Baptism- at least baptism of water.

Muslims and Christians do not worship the same God. Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Second Person of a Triune God. Muslims say that Jesus was merely a prophet. Big difference.

I disagree, look at the evidence:

Re: "Muslims and Christians do not worship the same God"
I would agree with that statement, but the Roman Catholic catechism contradicts it and your assertion that Catholicism does not include inclusivism:
The Church's relationship with the Muslims. "The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind's judge on the last day."" http://old.usccb.org/catechism/text/pt1sect2chpt3art9p3.shtm...

Section 847 of the Roman Catholic catechism promotes the idea that the Gospel and the Church are not necessary for the salvation of those who follow their conscience, and might be what the current pope was getting at with his statement:

Eeks. I can't believe they put that in the Catechism.

Would you believe me if I said that was heresy in a catechism?

I will not defend the new catechism. Thanks for pointing that out. I had no idea it was that bad.

I believe you

I believe you, and agree that it's theologically wrong, but I don't think it's very new.

Too bad so many Catholic Priests don't follow his

admonition to live moral lives.

I detect a certain arrogance in the tone of his statement. Why would the disbelief in a god make anyone immoral and in need of his admonition? Atheists and agnostics simply have a different understanding of the origin and nature of the universe than those who believe a god created it.

"Bend over and grab your ankles" should be etched in stone at the entrance to every government building and every government office.

If one desires 'A' then do 'B' Intellectual assent is irrelevant

Intellectual assent is irrelevant. It's only a rational process. Acting conscientiously is an act of an individual aware of reality fully understanding that one doesn't always know what one doesn't know.

>an act or action of admonishing; authoritative counsel or warning.

But isn't it true that insanity is a deliberate ignorance of reality itself?

Is that authoritative because it is good counsel? It would be crazy to judge it good counsel because of an appeal to authority. The latter is a fallacy.

Likewise I would argue the Ron Paul gives good counsel but it is the counsel that is authoritative. As, he's said, "I don't want to tell you what to do!"

Truth, Justice and liberty are ideas of God. Are they real ideas. Do the reflect reality?

But St Augustine warns "We are talking about God; is it a wonder no one understands. If one understands then it is not God." An objective god can be understood or dismissed. Reality itself is not so easily rejected. The challenge is to discover what is absolutely real.

Doubt is part of the process. One who knows they doubt knows something true. They do not doubt their doubt. Doubt is a rational tool of those seeking certainty.

Free includes debt-free!

Cyril's picture

Dear Pope Francis,

Dear Pope Francis,



But, okay, thanks.


(if I were an atheist)

"Cyril" pronounced "see real". I code stuff.


"To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." -- Confucius


Remember what Christ said: There will come a day men WILL NOT worship God in any building built by mens hands nor on any mountain.

"The real worshippers will worship God 'In Spirit and in Truth."

Organized religion WAS created by men.

Judaism is a 'DEAD END'. It doesn't go far enough and leads to nothing meaningful. Christ came to life meaning. He came to add the missing pieces to life eternal.

It was all EXTERNAL. The washing of hands before one eats, etc.. As if eating unclean food make you a sinner.

Christ said, "It is not what goes into your mouth, it is what comes out.

The spirit was created by God, to help man live a moral life.

To live in spirit and in truth is to live a moral life within Gods law..



Why if you believe that organized religion was created by

men, then don't you understand that the entire concept of god or gods was created by men, too?

"Bend over and grab your ankles" should be etched in stone at the entrance to every government building and every government office.

It Was All Based On 'False Concepts'

That is why God sent his son to testify to the truth..

When Christ spoke, it wasn't like anything they had ever heard before.

The people got 'CHRUCHIANITY' shoved down their throats all of their lives. The biggest problem with that is the hypocrites are running everything. There is hardly any christian leaders that are not hypocritical these days.

Christ came and he lived the life he taught, just as Dr. Ron Paul lives by what he preaches and teaches. That is why Dr. Paul is so loved because he is credible person.

He is a statesmen, not a politician..

What America is looking for is credibility in those that speak and teach morality.

The last Pope

as not a good man. He was evil..In the end they had to send him away.

He was unquestionably a degenerate..

However, the verdict on this Pope is not yet in, but I do like what he says..