When Pope Francis tells the world that it is better to be an atheist than a hypocritical Catholic, he is using the incredulous folks as the bar for what is usually seen as immoral or sinful. But here we are, post-backhanded compliment, and the world seems to be rushing to give him more progressive legitimacy.
It's not the first time he's suggested non-believers could be redeemed.
The truth is, even for some devout believers, there is an honest recognition that our ancient institutions are in need of an overhaul, a modernization process where even the words of god himself are openly criticized and whose hateful messages are ultimately abandoned.
In the Arabic translation of The God Delusion, under the title, Bassam added the words: "This book is banned in Islamic countries." It is fortunate and wonderful that the banning of books in the Arab and Islamic worlds is no longer feasible in our new age of information.
People keep telling me I need to allow my kids to make their own decisions about religion. I disagree. I find that kind of equivalency to be as false as the prophets who represent the superstitions that stop people from thinking about science, or human rights, or rationalism.
For many Muslims, God is not a stingy merchant engaged in debit-credit accounting or a partisan bully that enforces hollow rituals by threats of eternal damnation. For them ritual prayer is not about seeking material gains from a stern taskmaster but having an undying trust in the power of hope, mercy and compassion.
Unlike any other time in our human history, we now can have a worldview completely independent of religious belief. And given the rich variety of other beliefs we can now hold, there's nothing more in common non-believers may have with each other.
Rev. Gretta Vosper is concerned about how mindless faith can motivate harmful actions, and how basing moral authority in a supernatural source can trump "humanistic endeavours." These are extremely important questions that merit careful reflection.
I don't talk about religion in our home. Or, at least, I try not to. This is how it works for everything. From bedtimes to toys to language to diet, you can set up the rules how you like them in your house, but once your kids get out in the real world, the rule book is out the window. But when your kids and my kids go to school, those different rules mix.