The Pope’s Visit from an Atheist’s Point of View
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you are well aware that Pope Francis is visiting the US for five days. I don’t need to detail his entire visit, you can find that in any major news site.
As a long-time, very stout atheist, I love this Pope. I respect him, and, yes, I admire him. I see all the good of mankind wrapped all up in one humble, elderly man. Pope Francis is called "The People’s Pope" for a reason – he so loves the people, and has openly demonstrated his kindness and compassion for the poor and the marginalized. When I heard he washed the feet of several young detainees in a youth prison, my "Like-o-meter" took a big jump. The Pope also celebrated his 77th birthday with three homeless people, sharing his birthday breakfast with them and treating them like family. Now THAT is what being humble is all about.
We’re all human, it is in our nature to judge, some more than others. When judging affects how the ones being judged live, there is nothing good about it (**cough cough** Kim* cough* Davis* cough cough**). Pope Francis has nailed that one on the head, he… does… not… judge. He believes that if someone lives against the teaching of the church, then god will judge them when that time comes. As Pope Francis said today while meeting with the US Congress, follow the Golden Rule. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Simple.
When the Pope spoke to Congress, I have to wonder of Boehner’s tears were partly because he sees all the wrong he has done against the people of the US by wanting to remove welfare, medicaid/care, repeal Obamacare, and many other government assistance programs. Everyone knows Boehner cries at the drop of a hat – he has openly admitted this. I want to believe, though, that the Pope brought forth feelings of guilt within Boehner, as Boehner is Catholic. Will this change the way Boehner treats the citizens of this country? Doubtful. He probably thought about it for a fleeting moment. Boehner will continue making the poor even poorer, the hungry more hungry, the sick unable to pay for medical services, and the young unable to afford an education.
Someone asked me once that since I don’t believe in god, then what keeps me from being evil, committing crimes and other similar acts? I explained that one does not need to believe in a god to be good to our fellow man, and it is in my nature to be a good person. It takes work to be an evil person. I asked him that if suddenly god was removed from his life, if his first response would be to be evil, then he is just hateful from within. It is man’s nature to be kind to one another, and it feels good. Many people just forget, don’t try, wallow in self-pity or are so self-absorbed that the desire to be good to one another vanishes like a fart in the wind.
Pope Francis helps bring out the goodness man often holds within themselves, and he places the people before himself. This is why I admire him. I will follow along as he visits the US, and after. In case you’re wondering, though, I am still an atheist. Pope Francis has not, nor will not, change this.