Is the Pope a Catholic?
April 14, 2020 at 4:44 pm #31130
The Cuddly One has recently been asking if the Coronavirus is one of “nature’s responses” to human beings ignoring the ecological crisis. He has also wondered if melting glaciers, floods and forest fires are the “revenge of nature”.
Why is he even thinking like this if he is a Catholic? Nature does not decide to “take revenge”. He seems to consider Nature as being in charge of this planet and not the god of the Christians of whom he represents here on Earth.
This is magical thinking but it unintentionally reveals an insight into how his mind works. He cannot believe in God and that his God is in control of everything if he also assigning a consciousness to “Mother Nature”.
I know that on first read many will dismiss this as “it was just a figure of speech”. I don’t think it falls under the rules of Papal Infallibility but being the Pope, he must weigh up all pronouncements before making them public.
I will accept that I am stretching the idea somewhat but for me this is a non-trivial statement for the Pope to make. This is the position a pantheist would hold. “God is Nature” or “Nature is God”. Spinoza wrote “God or Nature” because they were the same thing to him. He also wrote that if God is infinite and omnipresent as Catholic profess then if we were to find a place where God is not, then He would not be infinite and omnipresent. Spinoza was persecuted for his beliefs (He was Jewish) and was also excommunicated for holding the same views.
Therefore, if the Cuddly One is anthropomorphizing Nature (which he just did) then he is removing the Christian God from the scene. If he does not see his God as being in control then he does not consider Him as omnipresent. Ergo, the Pope is not a theist. He is a pantheist. Agree or disagree?April 14, 2020 at 6:30 pm #31135
Reg, my knee jerk reaction is identical. But upon reflection i wonder what is the position of the church on the natural world.
Man has free will. I think that is undisputed. God intervenes in human affairs in response to prayer i guess although i don’t see how that can be reconciled with the notion of god’s plan. Theologians are wont to read god’s motives for pandemics, earthquakes and storms that take lives but does that mean all of the weather and illness is controlled by god? I really do not know what the Catholic church says about that.
So perhaps if it is consistent with the official position and only metaphorical and a natural extension of the magical thinking that is at the heart of Catholicism.
As an aside i don’t really see that pantheism is saying anything other than that a personal god(s) is not there.April 14, 2020 at 6:55 pm #31136
The Devil is an actual person rather than a concept. Satan is smart and should not be argued with.
Really? Arguing with Satan is a big problem? Seems the man is an impulsive half-wit who probably wouldn’t even realize the implications of his declarations.April 14, 2020 at 7:10 pm #31137
Far be it from me to argue any pope is a half-wit.
Does it follow that his dimwit nature negates his pantheistic expressions/sentiments?April 14, 2020 at 7:40 pm #31138
@Reg, I remember reading that and also thinking WTF? He is slightly better informed than Donald Trump. At least he knows that “Climate change is real.” He clearly doesn’t understand science but… Then again that’s not his profession LOL. I gave him at least a few brownie points for understanding the environmental impact we are having on the planet. But I did also find that statement strange. I’m glad he is speaking up about climate change, but he is also really misinformed about it. Climate change has absolutely nothing to do with COVID-19.April 14, 2020 at 8:30 pm #31139
@ivy Climate change has absolutely nothing to do with COVID-19.
Indirectly it has insofar as pollution has been reduced worldwide over the last 2 months. I went for a run at 10:30 a few nights ago. The streets were silent. No cars, buses, taxis even. The air was warm and easy to breathe. Then I noticed it…..several other runners out for exactly the same reason. Complete silence. It was surreal but a shared moment. That is a definition of “spiritual” that I might accept 🙂 It was a connection to something real, not imaginary.
This moment of Zen was courtesy of Covid 19.April 14, 2020 at 8:38 pm #31140April 14, 2020 at 10:29 pm #31143
<i>Indirectly it has insofar as pollution has been reduced worldwide over the last 2 months.
yes…That is a bonus benefit from the fact that we are in the midst of the pandemic and our CO2 emitting activities are greatly reduced because everyone is at home, but the way that the pope said it made it sound like he was saying that somehow the climate change crisis is the cause of Covid-19 which is totally inaccurate.April 14, 2020 at 11:00 pm #31144
Reg, i read theologians and apologists when i was 12 and 13 years. Found it all wanting. Other than excerpts i refuse to read or listen to long videos.
You are like a cerebral flagellant in suffering through such tripe. But have you encountered any apologists/theologians who make sense? Impressed with any of em?April 14, 2020 at 11:02 pm #31145
Reg, that is a working definition and application of the word spiritual that i can subscribe to.April 14, 2020 at 11:05 pm #31146
It never ceases to amaze me how Christian leaders get to know how the mind of their God works. I think they are just pretending to know things that they cannot possibly know. I could be wrong. Maybe they can communicate with the Creator of the Universe.
Excerpt from Chapter One of the Portable Atheist by Christopher Hitchens;
A few years ago there came some devastating floods to the north of England, leaving thousands of people homeless. The Church of England was not slow to rush to the aid of the stricken. “This is a strong and definite judgment,” announced the Bishop of Carlisle, “because the world has been arrogant in going its own way. We are reaping the consequences of our moral degradation.” From a list of possible transgressions the Bishop (who has sources of information denied to the rest of us) selected recent legal moves to allow more rights to homosexuals. These, he said, placed us “in a situation where we are liable for God’s judgment, which is intended to call us to repentance.” Many of his senior colleagues, including one who has been spoken of as a future Archbishop of Canterbury, joined him in blaming the floods—which had only hit one geographical section of the country—on sexual preference. I have chosen this example because most people would agree that the Anglican/Episcopalian “communion” is among the most moderate and humane of modern religious institutions.
Yet who said this, and when, and while speaking of the likelihood of a nuclear holocaust? “The very worst it could do would be to sweep a vast number of people at one moment from this world into the other and more vital world, into which anyhow they must pass at one time.” That was not Rafsanjani or Ahmadinejad, both of whom have gloatingly said that Islam could survive a nuclear exchange while the Jewish state could not. It was the mild, sheep-faced Archbishop of Canterbury, Geoffrey Fisher, who spoke not very many years ago. And, in a sense, and while we may laugh or jeer at the old fool, he would have been untrue to his faith if he had said otherwise.
To admit that a thermonuclear catastrophe would be the end of civilization and of the biosphere would be, in religious terms, profane and defeatist. All religions must, at their core, look forward to the end of this world and to the longed-for moment when all will be revealed and when the sheep will be divided from the goats, or whatever other bucolic Bronze-Age desert analogy might seem apt. (In Papua New Guinea, whereas in most tropical climes there are no sheep, the Christians use the most valued animal of the locals and refer to the congregation as “swine.” Flock, herd: what difference does it make?) Against this insane eschatology, with its death wish and its deep contempt for the life of the mind, atheists have always argued that this world is all that we have, and that our duty is to one another to make the very most and best of it. Theism cannot coexist with this unexceptionable conclusion.
It was Hitchens Day yesterday. I enjoyed my glass of Johnnie Walker Black, the breakfast of champions, and helped inspire a person new to atheism and unaware of Hitchens.April 14, 2020 at 11:22 pm #31147
yeah i marvel at the ability of Christians to read god’s mind, to know that this or that natural event is the judgment of condemnation against some hated group or sinful behavior.
Is god in control of the weather, geology and infections? If so how come he punishes so many innocents? If he can control weather and geology why not make it comfortable and hospitable and avoid cataclysms. Isn’t there a judgment day? Don’t the sinners spend all eternity suffering? Why bring the HEAT now? If he is all powerful why not give an unmistakable message by appearing and speaking so that he resolves the toxic conflicts between the religious?April 14, 2020 at 11:43 pm #31148
I agree. The pope, or any leader for that matter, should use careful consideration when speaking to the public. This is something that doesn’t happen as often as it should.April 16, 2020 at 7:02 pm #31166
Funny thing is, not only to so many Christians claim to know the mind of their god but more often than not their god has the same ideas about right and wrong as they do!!April 16, 2020 at 7:10 pm #31167
One man, Giordano Bruno dared to assert his freethinking ideas about the Universe in a forced hearing with another Pope. For this heresy he was hunted from land to land, finally trapped in Venice, imprisoned at Rome, stripped naked, had his tongue bound and was then burned alive and his ashes scattered to the winds! Yes, for thinking thoughts about the Universe that 7 year old children now take for granted.
I have twice written to the Vatican asking if they would apologize as I want to be able to forgive them. Still waiting 🙂
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