Tag Archives: Religion

An atheist praises Pope Francis

Pope Francis in South Korea in August, 2014. Photo by Jeon Han, Korean Culture and Information Service. Creative Commons

Pope Francis in South Korea in August, 2014. Photo by Jeon Han, Korean Culture and Information Service. Creative Commons

Facts and Opinions’ Seeking Orenda  columnist Tom Regan is a fan of Pope Francis. Regan is an atheist. He explains in his column, My atheist fan letter to Pope Francis. An excerpt:

When you’re an atheist you don’t spend much time thinking about “important” religious figures. Most of them are just too silly to care about. Pat Robertson is an example.

He’s a former Baptist preacher, and Republican presidential hopeful, and a media mogul who hosts the Christian conservative show The 700 Club where he makes pronouncements like gays were responsible for the damage in New Orleans from Hurricane Katrina.

I’m not one of those atheists who tend to hate all forms of  religion. I’d like to think my approach is more nuanced.

Basically, I don’t care what you believe as long as you don’t try to make me believe it and as long as what you believe does not make the world a worse place.

So while I have lots of good Muslim friends, I consider the twisted hyper-fundamentalist form of Islam practiced by a group like ISIS as sort of being a modern-day version of the Spanish Inquisition on steroids.

In fact when you come right down to it I’m pretty down on almost all forms of fundamentalism: Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, pick your poison. … continue reading My atheist fan letter to Pope Francis.

Tom Regan’s columnist page is here

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China’s latest Cultural Revolution underway — Manthorpe

China’s constant sensitivity about its international image has intensified as Beijing flexes its muscles as a growing world power, writes International Affairs columnist Jonathan Manthorpe. An excerpt of his new column, China’s Xi launches his own Cultural Revolution:

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Frontispiece of Athanasius Kircher’s China Illustrata, 1666.

Xi Jinping is not content with being the most powerful leader of China since Mao Zedong. He also wants to play God.

Xi’s ruling Communist Party announced last week it will write its own version of “Chinese Christian theology” to ensure adherents abide by the country’s party-imposed political culture. The attempt to take control of religion in China is part of a broad campaign by Xi to establish “cultural security.” The aim is to outlaw and control all foreign influences that might undermine the communists’ one-party rule. The campaign, endorsed by the National People’s Congress last November, is seeing unrelenting crackdowns on the media — especially foreign journalists — academics, foreign businesses, and civil society organizations as well as Christian churches.

Chinese in their millions have been seeking a spiritual element in their lives by becoming Christians or following traditional religions such as Buddhism since the Communist Party in the 1980s abandoned any pretence of being an idealistic social movement. The most reliable estimates are that there are about 70 million Christians in China, most of whom are Protestants and about 12 million of whom are Catholics.

As well as re-writing Christian theology and liturgy, the Communist Party is engaged in a more direct assault on religion …  log in first (subscription required*) to read China’s Xi launches his own Cultural Revolution 

Click here for Jonathan Manthorpe’s columnist page or here  to purchase a subscription or a $1 site day pass)

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