Our first thought concerning religion in general seems to be based on the belief of a supernatural reality of human morality.
We tend to focus on the bad things of it because in the end, the main focus of religion in general is to influence human behavior.
It's not in our nature to obey commands or to accept changes in our natural behavior without first understanding the rewards or retributions attached to those commands.
So in the end, people tend to choose to be influenced by what they 'feel' attuned with. Some grow up with religion, some adopt it, and some are forced to adopt it. Others reject any concept of a spiritual reality and rather choose to live by the known natural laws.
Those who grow up religious, continue to be religious for several reason but mainly we could call this 'tradition'. Those who adopt religion change their moral identity or worldview. Those who reject a religion based on the supernatural adopt a religion based on faith on the human potential for perception and analysis. Either way, all people have some sort of law governing their lives.
So a question comes up: Is religion mankind's creation, or is the source found in another reality? or both? or none?
If religion is a reflection of humanity's expression, then religion is not the cause of the "good" or "bad" in the world, but only the filter through which those expressions are conveyed. And if religion goes beyond the natural reality we live in, then we would have to consider the possibility of a supernatural reality that may be an influence behind those subjective concepts.
We couldn't blame the evil in the world on something before defining 'evil' through a specific parameter.
A forced conclusion of this topic would be to understand that ethics and religion always go together. No matter the object of worship, whether it be a spiritual being, an object, a creature, an idea, or humanity itself, mankind has always remained a being with a nature for worship.
Pope Francis, with the intention of rescuing the image of his institution, makes the mistake of compromising some of the most central beliefs of Christianity, and even some central dogmas of the Catholic church.
The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone! And this Blood makes us children of God of the first class! We are created children in the likeness of God and the Blood of Christ has redeemed us all! And we all have a duty to do good.
It sounds nice, "tolerant and accepting", but that is heresy. Why identify yourself as a follower of the gospel of Jesus Christ that speaks about repenting from sin, and accepting the work done at the cross through the redemptive sacrifice in the death and resurrection of Jesus, if in the end you are going to deny the very essence of the faith?
The word of the apostle Paul says in the letter to the Galatians: "in Christ Jesus you are children of God through faith
". What faith? The faith in Jesus Christ as the savior of the world from sin and death. Also in the letter to Romans: "those
who are led by the Spirit of God are
the children of God." Atheist don't believe in things like spirits or God. Then how can they be 'led' by the Spirit of God' or be 'children of that God'? It clearly says 'those who are led', so it infers a fraction or selection, not "all" as the Pope would like to say.
It's easy to contrast the simple and widely available scripture to those statements made by the Pope.
Yes. We have a duty to do good, but if we don't have a standard or measurement to define that 'good', then everyone will do what they 'feel' or 'think' is good.
In the scripture we have that standard in the person of Jesus Christ. His example is real because he lived among the sinners of his time but didn't condemn them, instead he drew them to him with his words of forgiveness.
That's why Pope Francis' message, even if it sounds nice and accepting, is based on error and not on the teachings of Christ. Jesus loved and taught about the kingdom of heaven, but also warned about the condemnation reserved for those who didn't accept him. Instead, Pope Francis wants to hide the consequences that denying Christ as Lord will bring to unbelievers. There is no accountability in his message. But God is a God of justice, and no evil deed will go unpunished. God is a God of holiness, and no unrepentant or sinful being can come to his presence.
I believe history has taught us that neither governments, nor any human law or moral standard has been able to bring that peace that the Pope would like us to believe can be obtained. There's always gonna be conflict as long as different worldviews are around. Throughout history, religious discrimination or persecution has also occurred, and it also won't stop people from believing what they want to believe. Religion will never be the answer, but Jesus Christ came to fulfill the works of the perfect religion, so that those who believe in his words, could become the children of God, not because of the works required by a religion but through faith in that perfect work done by Jesus, by the grace freely offered by God.
Now, that is a more welcoming and accepting offer than what Pope Francis would like to come up with. It's free! If God puts conviction in your heart then you take that offer and the work of God begins to change your behavior from a life of dispassionate religious observance to a life that is lived for others because you know that someone already lived, died, and lives for you too. That is the peace religion and the world cannot offer.