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Pope Bendict XVI condemns 'Intolerant Agnosticism'

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posted on Jan, 7 2013 @ 07:06 PM
I just came across this article and thought it was interesting considering some of the conversations that have cropped up here on ATS between Christians and Agnostics and Atheists regarding which group is attacking which. In my own opinion, it comes from BOTH.

I'm a Christian, though not a Catholic (I have serious reservations regarding their dogma since I was raised in a Catholic family), and I do not feel that the Pope speaks for me as a believer.

The claiming of intolerance from both sides strikes me as foolish since both sides are clearly intolerant of the other in any case. This does not mean that every Agnostic is intolerant of the beliefs of others, and the same can be said about Catholics, but in general terms, yes they are all engaging in a "pot and kettle" type of exchange.

Though I am a believer, I honestly could not care less what you (the reader) happen to believe when it comes to your own personal faith, the fact is that the recognized representatives of these particular groups of people are nothing more than attention-seeking media whores.

So, is this a ploy on the part of the Vatican to bolster the resolve of its Bishops and followers against the onslaught of intolerant Agnostics? Or is it just another useless attempt at clinging to relevance in a world that is clearly growing sour on the Catholic church, its dogmas and public antics?

Here is the article

posted on Jan, 7 2013 @ 07:11 PM
The Church is scared, nothing more.

More and more people are starting to question the Christian hegemony. It's only natural, considering the pace of scientific discoveries.

More people are waking up and realizing that telepathically worshiping a magical sky diety just doesn't make sense in today's world. Our historical perspective now allows us to see that when something in the past couldn't be understood -- it's "God".

This is somewhat similar to people here on ATS that go.... "ALIENS!"

(insert picture of anchient aliens guy with crazy hair)

posted on Jan, 7 2013 @ 07:24 PM
reply to post by ProfessorChaos

Once you say that the Pope is nothing more than an attention-seeking media whores, you make a conversation pretty difficult. It sounds as though you want to lecture more than discuss. I think the Pope mentioned it because he sees it as a growing problem, and wants to focus some attention on it. It further seems that he is more upset with the "intolerant" part, than the "agnosticism" part.

posted on Jan, 7 2013 @ 07:30 PM
reply to post by charles1952

I don't think I'm making the discussion too difficult by sharing my own opinion on the Vatican and its motives, after all, you managed to answer my question easily enough as to what you felt was the purpose of the pronouncement.

posted on Jan, 8 2013 @ 03:32 AM
The actual text of the pope's sermon (translated into English) is here:

I had to copy it over into a word processor to read it, since the text chosen was so small.

Anyway, the theme is the journey of the Wise men from the East (the Epiphany story, whose annual celebration is January 6, the day of the sermon), combined with the consecration of four new bishops (a recent Epiphany tradition).

It is unclear why the Pope chose to describe a dominant mindset of parts of the contemporary world as "agnostic," except that that does seem to echo his conception of the Wise Men:

These men who set out towards the unknown were, in any event, men with a restless heart. Men driven by a restless quest for God and the salvation of the world... But they desired more than simply knowledge about things. They wanted above all else to know what is essential. They wanted to know how we succeed in being human. And therefore they wanted to know if God exists, and where and how he exists. Whether he is concerned about us and how we can encounter him. Nor did they want just to know. They wanted to understand the truth about ourselves and about God and the world... They were men who sought God and were ultimately on the way towards him. They were seekers after God.

So, perhaps "agnostic" is a good description of the Wise Men's mindset. Perhaps, too, the Pope is expressing optimistism that actual rejection of him, and the approach to God which he represents, isn't as settled as "atheism" would connote. Ironic, if so, to condemn the intolerance of what is almost necessarily a tolerant stance.

Here are his remarks about agnosticism, in the context of advice to the new bishops.

How can we not think, in this context, of the task of a Bishop in our own time? The humility of faith, of sharing the faith of the Church of every age, will constantly be in conflict with the prevailing wisdom of those who cling to what seems certain. Anyone who lives and proclaims the faith of the Church is on many points out of step with the prevalent way of thinking, even in our own day. Today’s regnant agnosticism has its own dogmas and is extremely intolerant regarding anything that would question it and the criteria it employs. Therefore the courage to contradict the prevailing mindset is particularly urgent for a Bishop today. He must be courageous. And this courage or forcefulness does not consist in striking out or in acting aggressively, but rather in allowing oneself to be struck and to be steadfast before the principles of the prevalent way of thinking. The courage to stand firm in the truth is unavoidably demanded of those whom the Lord sends like sheep among wolves. “Those who fear the Lord will not be timid”, says the Book of Sirach (34:16). The fear of God frees us from the fear of men. It liberates.

I am an agnostic. Would that my view of things were "regnant" or "prevailing." In truth, agnosticism is a minority view, hemmed in from both sides, by believers and by the insistent rejectors of belief. I know no "dogma" of agnosticism, and feel no intolerance, much less extreme intolerance, toward those who "question it," which would be almost everybody (including agnostics, who typically question ourselves quite frequently).

I speculate that the Pope meant some variety of "secularism," and called it "agnostic" to be diplomatic. In any case, the Pope doesn't specify any particular aspects of this supposedly prevailing mindset for special attention. So, Dr Berry's speculations (in the article linked in the OP, which is largely her, and very little of fresh Pope Benedict, despite the headline) about gay marriage, the ordination of women or "attempts to push religion out of public conversation" are her concerns, and not necessarily what he had in mind.

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