Saturday, September 26, 2015

Pope Francis Visit - Part Deux



Yesterday my longtime good and every vigilant friend Lar informed me via Facebook that the Pope Francis quote I posted yesterday was an Internet hoax.  Oh well, I fell for a hoax again.  Surely not the first time nor the last time I will be suckered in an Internet hoax posting for something that I believe in.  My first response to my friend Lar was "So what?"  It's the way I feel.  And friends, that is the way I feel. 




I don't believe that one has to go to church every Sunday to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  Actually, I don't even believe in the Afterlife but I can't help but hedge my bets.  Just in case there is something after we pass on, I don't believe that those who don't accept Jesus Christ as their savior will not enter Heaven.  Just doesn't make sense to me.  You mean all those in this world, which is the majority of people, will not enter Heaven?


  

Of course I am well aware of the impregnable self certainty of many Bible reading, church going Christians that they and only they will go to Heaven.  I do not condemn then for their beliefs, unlike what many of them do for those who do not believe their way. If they find comfort in their faith, then I am happy for them.  But please do not condemn me because I don't subscribe to YOUR beliefs.  My response has always been to those who try to proselytize me because they want to "save" my soul is "Worry about yourself, I'll take care of my own life. Don't make your life's work trying to change me to your beliefs."




I remember a conversation I had with another longtime friend of mine when we was trying to "save my soul."  He actually told me that Ted Bundy, the serial killer, would enter Heaven before me because, Mr. Bundy, a few minutes before he was executed for his horrendous crimes, had accepted Jesus Christ as his savior.  I pointed out to him, "Don't you think that the manipulative Mr. Bundy only did his conversion at the last minute to save his life?"  My friend, who I have always considered very intelligent and had common sense, said "No, as long as he (Ted Bundy) accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior he will go to Heaven before you."  I asked him "Do you mean that the little old lady who lives at the end of the block, and has been good her whole life but did not Believe, would not go to Heaven?"  He said "Yes."  

Well, if he was trying to convert me, or "save" me,  this line of reasoning was unsuccessful.  

These days I try to avoid religious and political discussions because I find that if someone disagrees with you, I can never change their mind.  NEVER.  And of course they will never change my mind.  So it is a waste of my time and their time to even engage in such a conversation.  

I saw this live on TV this morning.  Pope Francis was leaving the Philadelphia airport but stopped and got out of his car to give his blessing to this young man.

But getting back to the original point I want to make, I believe that if one lives a good life or as good a life as possible because all of us have faults, that their will be no punishment at the end of our life just because we didn't accept Jesus Christ as our Savior. There are too many good people in the world who aren't Christians.  All of those are damned?  

I am a spiritualist.  I believe that, if there is a God, then He (She?) is in each of us.  This life we live now is IT.  We only get one time around and we should make the best of it.  Of course we have many failings as human beings do, but we can always strive to do better.




All this week I've been following the coverage of Pope Francis' visit the U.S. While all the pageantry of the Catholic Church still make me uncomfortable, I understand the goodness of this man in reaching out to the children, poor, homeless, physically disabled and disaffected. That can't be wrong. And his visit makes me feel good.  




P.S.
Now I await someone (Lar?) to tell me these photos were Photoshopped.  

15 comments:

  1. (After seeing your reply to my comment on your previous post).
    Well, I was taken in also, Ron. It's been said before that people read into this Pope what they'd like him to have said, though in actuality he adheres to Catholic tradition. Nevertheless, I still reckon that he's causing a lot of discomfort in Cardinal/Bishop circles because of a perceived ambiguity in his pronouncements, when most Church seniors crave the old 'certainties' through their non-questionable authority.
    As for the rest of what you say above, I'm with you 100%.

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    1. Ray,
      I like that Pope Francis is causing "a lot of discomfort" in the Cardinal/Bishop circles. I've always been a believer that the Establishment needs a shakeup every now and then and that is just what he is doing. Trump is doing it also in his own crude way, but sad to say, he pales terribly in comparison with the Pope.
      Ron

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  2. As a teenager in the Bible Belt, I had my faith crisis when I realized that according to the tenets of my then-church, I would go to heaven because I held the right theological opinions whereas Albert Schweitzer -- winner of the Noble Peace Prize and an admirable person in lots of ways I was not -- would go to hell. It made no sense, and if I could see that, I would assume so could God. Yet I was assured that this absurdity was exactly what God believed and taught. Needless to say, I decided to move on.

    As for the non-quote from the pope, I am reminded of a theology professor in Rome who was fond of saying, "As Thomas Aquinas says ..." One day he was challenged by a seminarian. "Where does St. Thomas say that?"

    "Well," the professor replied immediately, "if he didn't say it, he should have."

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    1. Michael,
      Welcome new commenter! As a ten year old my faith was shaken in the church (Baptist) when I had a Pentecostal preacher go purplish red in the face and literally foaming at the mouth screaming at the congregation that we're all sinners (which we are, I don't question that); born in sin, live in sin and "you will die in sin!" That so turned me off that I never saw the church in the same light again. I knew then I was "different" (gay) so I was double dammed. I thought to myself, "I had no control over being born or being gay so why even try to adhere to what that minister wanted me to do?" And I never did figure out what he wanted from his congregation other than to vent his fire and brimstone of fear of God.

      I like the statement "Well, if he didn't say it, he should have." Exactly right.
      Ron

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  3. I totally agree with you. Bravo! God loves us all and I too believe that if we live a good life, we shall be rewarded. (and NO Ted Bundy ain't going to heaven regardless of how he tried to be saved at the last hour of his life. We can be forgiven of our sins BUT we still have to pay the penance for our sins!)
    As for me, I just find it so comforting to know there is a God (or spirit) who watches over me and my family every day. And I also find a great comfort in knowing when I screw up, Jesus is always there to forgive me.
    What a wonderful world, is it not????
    Love your blog. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Cindi,
      Welcome new commenter! I have always believed that if we live a good life we will be rewarded in our life now. Of course I don't know the ANSWER (the question being "Why are we here and where do we go when we die?") but what I do know, that to live a good life is the only way to live. Of course we all fall short sometimes but as long as we always strive to do better, that's what counts. I know myself, for all the challenges of my life (as most of us have had), I have had a great life. So fortunate. And when my time is at an end, I find comfort knowing that I will not be punished but rather be at peace. Whether that be a complete void or a place called Heaven, I don't know. But I do know what is right now as I live my life. I know and I don't need anyone else telling me how to live my life, especially religiously driven people trying to convert me to their organize religion. It that's good for them then I'm happy for them but leave me alone, I have free will and will decide for myself. Thanks again for your comments.
      Ron

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  4. Years ago, my Born-Again uncle kept pompously announcing that he was going to Heaven.
    Tired of hearing this crap, I finally asked him "What are you planning to DO in heaven?" He said he will be singing hymns.

    If people in Heaven are going to be treading clouds and playing harps, it sounds more like Hell to me. And there are so many people who THINK they're going to Heaven, that I imagine it will be pretty damn crowded up there.

    Ron, if I had a dollar for every Internet hoax I ever fell for I'd be a millionaire.

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    1. Jon,
      The concept of Heaven (in the clouds, golden streets, white robes (Roman style) and harps) never made sense to me, even when I was an eight year old attending Bible school. All my life though, I have felt a Presence with me, which I have never been able to explain but I do know it is there. I have always felt my life had a plan. Of course I don't know for sure and I may never find out if, when we die, there is nothing. But what I do know is that to live a good life, goodness will come to us, regardless of what organized religion we follow or do not follow.
      Oh Jon, I am so tired of falling for these Internet hoaxes. I thought I was past that but apparently not.
      Ron

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  5. Love this post. And as an atheist, totally agree. I want to be kind, helpful to others, generous well, you get the idea NOW. It still amazes me that people think there's a heaven somewhere. Oh wait, up past the rainbow in the clouds. I mean think about it . Really ?

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  6. Welcome Christina! Like you I never "got" the concept of going to Heaven and living in the clouds in white robes strumming harps. What I really didn't understand was those religious people, who really don't practice the tenants of their religion but yet are sure they're going to Heaven. If they're in Heaven do I want to be there? Really? I've known and know many good people in my long life and some not so good. I think you are rewarded for the good you do in life while you're alive. Not some vague promise in the so called Afterlife. I'll change my mind when someone comes back who has been there to tell me about it but until then, I will remain as I am, trying to live a good life and not repeat mistakes.
    Thanks again of your comment Christina.
    Ron

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  7. Very well written ..... As I sit with my 83 year old mom glued to the coverage I too sense a calm watching this Pope.

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    1. Thank you Roger. While I'm not a Catholic and an agnostic (I think, I can't say I'm a non-believer totally, hedging my bets), I too find a sense of peace and calm watching the coverage of his visit to the United States.

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  8. As popes go I think he is one of the more compassionate ones. It's good to be Pope.

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  9. I have found that being good to others and myself, it helps avoid hell here on earth. Simple to do.
    It is nice to see someone shake up the Vatican insiders. The previous Pope was a "law and order" man, needed to clean up internal issues and he largely did, he was also an old fashioned hard liner. This Pope, is much more modern in his thinking, they needed that. He still has limits on how far he will go on doctrine. J has a college friend who is a Vatican insider, we need to get back to Rome and have dinner with Fr Bob again.

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    1. David,
      So true, being good to others and yourself, helps us to avoid "hell" here on earth. In other words, if you seek vengeance or ill will towards another it will almost aways come back to bite you in the ass (to be crude about it). I try to let the bad things go as much as I can and not get too depressed about the senseless evil that continues to exist in the world under the guise of religion.
      Ron
      Ron

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