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My Disdain For Your Proselytizing

You may have heard about this, but the Pope is coming to town and many “Christian” politicians in the US aren’t happy about it. I’ve been posting memes and news articles over the past day or so, pointing out the irony of the fact that (some) atheists respect and revere this Pope more than (some) Catholics do.

These posts came with a slew of comments that I found irritating. Some took the opportunity to present a history lesson about the Catholic Church, as if supporting this Pope indicates an ignorance of history. Here’s the deal; if you can’t separate your feelings about the Catholic Church from your thoughts on this Pope, you need to work on your critical thinking. This Pope, in the context of the Papacy is Bernie freaking Sanders.

Here are some quotes from Pope Frank on the dreaded gay:

“If they accept the Lord and have goodwill, who am I to judge them?”

“Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person? We must always consider the person. Here we enter into the mystery of the human being. In life, God accompanies persons, and we must accompany them, starting from their situation. It is necessary to accompany them with mercy.”

Pope Francis took the initiative to set up tribunals to look at that pesky pedophile problem the church has had for (at least) decades. Is anything going to come from them? I don’t know, but doing anything to address this issue is a giant leap froward from denying that the issue exists at all.

He’s spoken on women’s issues including equal pay (he’s for it) and “reconciliation and forgiveness” for women who have had abortions. Is that last part awesome? No, I personally don’t believe that making the choice to have an abortion is something that one must seek “forgiveness” for, but I acknowledge that he’s moving the church forward on this issue. Is he interested in female clergy? No but for fucks sake, he’s still a Catholic. I’ll take the baby steps.

He’s fucking awesome on the issue of unregulated capitalism and the toxicity that creates.

I don’t need to conflate the issues I agree with him on, with the areas where I vehemently disagree with him (and the church) in order to easily dismiss the obviously improved rhetoric of this Pope. He’s the first Pope in my lifetime who isn’t absolutely loathsome. He actually seems like a lovely person, embracing some of the best parts of Christianity, rather than wagging the old testament in the world’s face as all of his predecessors all did.

Acknowledging (and thereby encouraging) the fact that this Pope is moving things in the right direction isn’t the same thing as converting to Catholicism and suddenly condoning everything that makes up its colored history. If my acknowledgement of the changes that are happening today prompts you to assume that I need a history lesson, I would say that you need a lesson in critical thinking. I know that distilling everything down to black or white is easier for you, but that’s just not how I roll.

If you don’t acknowledge and encourage progress, there’s no reason for anyone to ever evolve.

The other comments I got were from militant atheists deriding and ridiculing Catholics. To you I say, stfu. I don’t need you proselytizing your lack of faith, anymore than I need anyone else proselytizing their religion to me.

The vitriol and intolerance of other people’s beliefs is as repugnant to me as any organized religion. The unmitigated arrogance of believing you have it all figured out, and that everyone else is a fool is indistinguishable between religious zealots and atheists. You’re all doing the same thing, and you see past your own zealotry.

Proselytizing is proselytizing, whether you’re proselytizing a religion or your disdain for religion.

I fall on the side of encouraging people to believe whatever the hell they choose to believe. It’s a free country, and I’m not the kind of dick who feels the need to belittle people for what they believe. Just keep it to yourself. The proselytizing is where you lose me.

Faith is personal, as should the lack of faith be.

You don’t have it all figured out anymore than a Catholic, Muslim, Jew, or Buddhist does. And I can’t tell the difference between the arrogance of foisting one’s religion on others and the arrogance of actively mocking religion. It’s all arrogance, and it’s all based on choice more than fact.

I hate to break it to you, but you can’t call yourself a liberal if you’re intolerant of people who believe something that differs from your beliefs. If it’s not effecting you in any way at all, you have no business dictating to anyone what they should or shouldn’t believe. The line is crossed when someone’s beliefs are being used to oppress or abuse anyone else. That’s when a liberal should speak up. But to chime in on a post about the Pope in order to deride all Catholics, makes you the opposite of a liberal. You are not liberal in your thought, and you’re not liberal with your heart.

All Catholics are not rubes, nor are they obsessed with beating you over the head with their faith. Wanna see an example of two inspiring and lovely people of faith? Here you go (I promise you won’t regret watching both videos all the way through);

 

If you can’t see for yourself how faith gives some people comfort and purpose, I feel sorry for you. Your mind is closed. You don’t need to have faith in anything to acknowledge that for some, there’s value in their faith.

Did you notice that I never espoused my own personal views on faith or religion in this post? That’s because I understand that the only purpose of my beliefs is to get me through this life. That’s the only purpose for anyone’s belief. My beliefs die with me, and I don’t need to get people to agree with me in order to validate my beliefs. I don’t need them validated. They serve me, and they need not serve anyone else.

So please stop with the proselytizing. No one wants to hear it.

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