Pope Francis’ Strategy: Don’t Demonize Actual People When We Can Demonize Somthing Invisible.

The Pope recognizes that when the Church demonizes gay folks it loses not only the gay people themselves but their friends and relatives and young people around the world.

The Pope has wisely decided it is better to demonize something invisible so each person can make up the villian in his own mind. He talks often about literal sin and Satan.

The Pope’s actual enemy is not Satan, but the social sciences. It is in the social sciences where myths of the world are exposed.  Myths need to be exposed because they drive humans into wars and take people’s money.

The current Pope has recongnized apparently that social sciences have made progress addressing in a rational way certain behaviors in humans.  The propensity for large numbers of humans to become addicted to alcohol and drugs has become an illness, instead of a sin.

Mental illness is becoming recognized as something to be treated by doctors instead of by a Christian shaman.  Sexual orientation is now considered by the majority as something outside the control of the individual.  All this makes domonizing any group of people unpopular.

The only demon available, then, is an invisible one.  With sin harder to pinpoint, an all purpose and invisible Satan fills the void left when the social sciences took these behaviors out of the religious realm.  This Pope has put his laser on Satan.

Focusing wrath of something so far away it cannot be seen is always safer than condemning friends and neighbors.

http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Blog/2887/satan_sin_and_sociology.aspx

Avatar of Jon Lindgren

About Jon Lindgren

I am a former President of the Red River Freethinkers in Fargo, ND, a retired NDSU economics professor and was Mayor of Fargo for 16 years.
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35 Responses to Pope Francis’ Strategy: Don’t Demonize Actual People When We Can Demonize Somthing Invisible.

  1. entech says:

    A literal Satan. You would need to believe in miracles if you wanted that one to fly. ;)

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      entech 2:45 “A literal Satan. You would need to believe in miracles if you wanted that one to fly.”

      That you would. They do.

      In writing this blog, I was reminded of our local politicans who have represented North Dakota in Washington. For a couple of decades, they had invisible Satans like the Pope has. When they were complaining things in Washington were not going ND’s way, they would blame it on “eastern interests”, “Wall Street” or “inside the Beltway”. They never said who the actual people were that were located in those places, they were invisible like the Pope’s Satan. In fact, they could have used Satan and it would have been given us just as much information.

  2. Henry says:

    Jon:“He talks often about literal sin and Satan.”

    Atheists also obsess over sin. They talk often about what is right and wrong. They have their own moral law, and they do not liking it being transgressed.

    Sorry to run. Out for a while.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Henry 12:50 “Atheists also obsess over sin. They talk often about what is right and wrong. They have their own moral law, and they do not like it being transgressed.”

      Stay warm, Henry. Check in when you get back.

      I agree that atheists have there own versions of right and wrong and talk of them constantly. But they are not Biblical sin, I might call them civic transgressions. They are all about harm to others or to the community (except when they are about self gain, which atheists and religious people both participate in). They are transgressions that destroy the community if everyone does them–murder, theft, irresponsible behaviors, unethical behaviors and so on. These principles have been established over time and altered by time and cultural change. They hold the real time individual or organization responsibile, not an invisible Devil/Satan.

      In reality, of course, religious people have almost identical rules the learned from the nonreligious culture over time. They just attribute their rules to their religion and change them as culture changes.

      • Adam Heckathorn says:

        I would like to throw something out here for discussion an example of why Your better off with out religious belief. I have tried for many years to resolve a difference between My in laws and I over whats best for My wife in regard to health care for Her brain injury. (for now lets just say I have a greater respect for Doctors than they do). Over the course of years They’ve done some things that over time are becoming more apparent were a little short sighted. A While back When I was doing My best to hold on to a faith in God a well meaning Elder in My congregation approached Me and gave Me What I call the “God is going to smite Your brother in law ” speech. About the third time He gave Me that speech (He sincerely meant to encourage Me) I said “As Christians We would all agree that whatever Jesus taught would be the definition of justice right?”To which He agreed. I then went over what Jesus taught that pertained to the situation at hand all the time making sure He agreed with each point. At the end of the discussion I said now if We haven’t done these things has My Brother in Law had justice according to these principles? His eyes got big and He said I never thought of that. I went on to say if I had done something We Both agree to be evil I would want this process done for Me. Well He’s had plenty of time to think about it ( months) He’s never brought it up again and I’m not holding My breath that He will. The principles I’m talking about are found at Matt 18:15-17. To except a principle from the Bible cause God say’s so reminds Me of the behavior of Wild Turkey’s I’ve heard many people talk about their sense of hearing, sight finally tuned instincts attributing intelligence to their behavior. I’ve also watched one trying to rejoin a flock with a fence between them pacing trying to walk through for two hours My Dad said He’d seen the same behavior. I’ve seen this same kind of thing in My old congregation absolutely mindless behavior. I’m not against many of the principles in the Bible in fact I dare say I actually apply them to a greater extant than most”Christians” I know, not because I trust or believe in God but because of the practical long term wisdom of each individual principle. I’m sure tribesman from long ago noticed when Tom sleeps with Joe’s wife We end up with problems in Our society.

        • H.P.Drifter says:

          Adam

          Those of us that are non believers also have principles, to think otherwise is foolish. There are good and bad people in both groups, you can not put a label on the non believers, just because they don’t believe in Christianity, for most of us that are atheists or non believers we made a conscious choice to explore other possibilities. And our willingness to be non believers is based on making moral and ethical conclusions on our own. Free thinking is free of Christian dogma, no guilt, no fear, not being deceived, which as I see, religion is a fairy tale. Now most non believers can agree that sticking to high moral whether you are Christian or is the way to go in your personal dealings with others. There are many good books out there on being a non believer or Atheist and also many websites with material to read. Check it out.

          H.P.D.

          • Wolfy32 says:

            Free thinking is free of Christian dogma, no guilt, no fear, not being deceived, which as I see, religion is a fairy tale.

            I agree H.P.D. Where you and I differ though is on more along the lines of what’s out there.

            I agree, we can’t know what we are unable to prove. Totally with you. And I totally agree with organized religious dogma, manipulation, guilt, etc.. No arguement, it’s become an institution of control and manipulation.

            However, I also believe, that like the wind, solar winds, surfaces of planets that we’re unable to see…. There’s things that exist beyond our knowledge and understanding.

            We don’t even know what’s on the surface of some of the planets of our solar systems. We tried sending a probe in to jupitor. After 2 miles or so of descending into the highly windy atmosphere all contact was lost. Saturn supposedly has 400+mph windows (non stop) and possibly liquid oceans on the surface. (not of water of other gases).

            Yet, we know there’s a surface of some type on Jupiter. It’s there, we can’t see, it, we can’t really even prove it, yet we believe there is one…

            The same is true for things beyond our capability of seeing. What would a 4 dimensional creature look like? Would we be able to see it? Would it be capable of seeing us.. We know we can see 2 dimensional and 1 dimensional objects. Yet, we are incapable of processing a 4 dimensional object. So, what if there’s life in the 4th, 5th, 6th dimensional planes?

            Is the blackness of space we see actually curvatures of another building / dimension. As in, we are incapable of processing it so all we see are the black curves of the 5 th dimensions?

            If we went far enough we’d run into the side? Or can we even feel / touch a 5th dimensional object?

            These are questions humanity may never know the answer to, yet in math they exist.

            So, do I believe there’s more to the universe and there could be life on other planes? Yes? Is there? Who the hell knows!

            And does it care about us? For all we know we’re descendents of those beings. . .

          • H.P.Drifter says:

            Wolfy

            Nature never seises to amaze me obviously something is going out there. But that is all I see. if I let my imagination run wild, I could think of many possibilities, instead of that I read mostly non fiction books recommended to me, I trade books with certain friends and enjoy nature for what is, awesome really. And get out in it when I can. At least here you can see time move, in LA or some other cities or in surrounding areas everyday is the same. Gray, pretty hot with not a lot of visibility, in other wards nothing changes. Here we get the five minute change, one minute it could one thing, the next something else.

            In case of the little boy you should actually go see a therapist with out the kid for your own benefit. Find out what he is up to, the day dreaming in class, is not good, educate yourself then tackle the issues. Being a parent or parenting kids in the family, what a job, no pay and few rewards, but you got to it, for the kids sake otherwise he will have a fat chance for long term survival or treat you like crap in your olds age (big problem these days in some families)
            Got to think ahead with that one in mind. Good idea is to test the guy for allergies, food, hay-fever, as well go on the meds. I like to try all possibilities first, try out one of those nature doctors, change his diet around, if nothing works, go for the meds and your own sanity. Don’t wait to tackle the problem get right in there and do what you have to do, easier in the long run.

            Follow your instincts, good luck

            H.P.D.

        • Jinx says:

          Adam, you sound like a good and decent man and just the right person to look out for your wife’s best interests. My heart goes out to anyone caring for someone with a brain injury. Don’t forget to take care of yourself onece in a while!

  3. H.P.Drifter says:

    Post for yesterday

    Entec

    Here I take a couple days vacation and you forgot to shut the door on the way out for your bike ride. Seems we have an infestation of the flies on the meat, on todays subject, they are not talking about it as usual. What would you or I expect, nothing of course, I would like to see them put the bible down long enough so they can read the news, and the subject for the day on the blog or would that be asking too much. (would be nice) I wonder if the Lutherans they have their own militias as tribal practices, with (Will This) and (Will That), in charge. And I see (Will it over here) has raised his ugly head again. Yes we learn a lot about tribal practices here on the blog, geldings making decisions on birth control. Tribal practices from the middle ages, still in practice, these guys must be born of older parents (way older). I wonder what the women that read the blog must think?

    Today topic

    Clever guy this new South American Pope, prey on human weakness and you will always win something. Even if it is just us on the blog condemning such practices. Devil from afar, sounds like the expert from afar, almost always more respected that the local experts (more familiar with the problem). Yes demonize what you can not see or explain (add your personal take on Satan) then ram it down the throats of people that are just coming to the surface for air. Superstition is abundant in most of the third world, why not put it put it to use before someone else does. (like human rights workers).

    H.P.D.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      H. P. D. “Devil from afar, sounds like expert from afar, always more respected that the local…demonize what you cannot see or explain..”

      Good summary. I wonder how ancient the practice is of demonizing what one cannot see. Perhaps when humans first started looking at the stars they decided some were evil and some good. They also thought animals held spiritual powers, maybe some of them were Satan animals, others gods. This Pope plays those ancient emotions like a Stradivarius.

      • Wolfy32 says:

        The practice of demonization probably goes back a long ways…

        Just going back to the fact that all isolated ancient civilizations had their own “mythological dragons” in their cultures that they believed in. These may have represented societal fears.

        All the things a person or a community couldn’t control, were summed up in the dragon of some type. Some resembled mixes of real animals combined into one, some had wings, and were birdlike but had powers such as breathing fire, etc.

        Each culture / society was different in what the dragons looked like and what powers they may have had.. However, the key is all known ancient civilizations so far, have had a tie back to some type of dragon in their historical development.

        Maybe these societal fears were summarized eventually into demons. Thus collectively grouping all dragons from each culture / society into a single grouping.

        After all, there’s very very evil people in this world. and the evils they commit, could not be something the human mind is capable of there must be evil outside it the human mind to drive it to do crazy things…

        How about there’s logic and programming with the human mind that goes awry? And people that have been significantly abused develop wrong at times. Something misfires and the wrong parts of the brain work and bypass ethical development.

        Also keep in mind…. Rational, logical people, thought it o.k. to drop two nuclear bombs on Japan… I don’t care if it meant the end of the war, the horrors those people went through, is far more hanous than any child molestor or rapist. And those people were made heroes for ending the war…

        Evil lies within ourselves. In the form of rationalizing our actions that we know will hurt others.

        There doesn’t need to be demons on this planet telling us to do bad things… There only needs to be us pesky humans.

        • H.P.Drifter says:

          Wolfy

          In Christianity its the “Devil get behind me” for the Buddhists the evil is in men’s hearts (this I can believe),
          The one thing about checking in with a therapist about the ADHD you will find out with what you are up against. A time frame for treatment, this knowledge will do a lot to help you get through the deal along with kid. Take the mother with you, if she will go or set up an appointment for her alone. Get a woman therapist (they do a better job) especially when it comes to kids. Wannbe’s ideas are good as well, nice easy listening music or classical music is good for kids, while taking their thoughts off themselves. Having a calm household helps as well. By the time my kids were fit to live with, they were leaving with someone else.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Drifter: The reason I brought up the music points, is about 5-6 yr. ago, we had a family visit with a 10 yr old child that with dyslexia, and did exhibit quite “busy” moves. I had an electric keyboard on a stand in the living room, and he went over to it and looked at it. I turned it on, and showed him how it worked. We went to the dining room. He never left the keyboard for the remaining 3 hours they were there. Not really making music, but going up and down the keyboard, discovering two note combinations, somewhat melodies, etc. His parents were impressed. They said he had never stayed at something more than ten minutes. He was happy. I’m hoping they got a keyboard for him. I never heard what happened. Maybe in time he could get lessons, but that’s not necessary for all. Some really great musicians can’t read a note. For some, the passion for music is more important than formal learning. Music after all is almost pure math. Irving Berlin could only play in one key on the piano. He could neither read or write music. I believe the only key he played in was A flat. He would play it in that key, and he had a musical transcriptionist write it down, or transpose it for others.

  4. H.P.Drifter says:

    Wolfy

    Another great piece you wrote on inside Evangelical America. The hands towards the baby thing almost unbelievable or conceivable for some of us. I hope at some time you decide you can share this info with the world, write a book.

    H.P.D.

    • Wolfy32 says:

      I have a novel started that I’ve been writing for a long time.. one of those things, that “I would love to finish” but never seem to get around to…

      It’s taking what I’ve learned from my life experience and putting it out there as fiction. What if demons were running around all over controlling things, fighting humans and angels, and angels were all around fighting this epic battle.

      What is God’s take? Who are the masterminds.. To make it possible, I had to steal some from Cthulhu mythos by H.P. Lovecraft. Ancient powerful demonic beings that control the demon hordes with thier minds. They are huge planet sized masses of organic matter held together by energy. Their surfaces are covered with thousands of large eyes, that all see into numerous universes, outside of time and space. They see the infinite possibilities of all existence. They are the excommunicated fallen angels. Vampires, magic, and all kinds of beings are real. What would the end of the world be like when the barriers between these magically protected beings break down, and they inevitably all come together to finally conquer the earth for their own reasons.

      I also am integrating Revelations prophecy into the story to help it unfurl. The truth is though, when you make it all tangible… Everything in religion… Something you can touch, smell, feel, and make it life like… You realize how unreal, and how much more messed up things would be and how many unexplained things would happen.

      I don’t know if it would sell. Probably too tangible… I’d alienate the religious and the nonreligious would think it’s too religious… :)

      • H.P.Drifter says:

        Sometimes Wolfy the best fiction is the disguised truth. Write a book keep it personal and you will have a best seller on the subject matter you know best.

        H.P.D.

  5. Adam Heckathorn says:

    Demons! hoo boy there is a wide variety of views as a person who formerly believed I know how challenging this can be to maintaining faith this can get so weird and people can be manipulated too incredible acts of evil for example We have The Salem Witch trials. I have experienced this personally I could (and look forward to) tell You a story that comes right out of the Middle ages and falls under the “You couldn’t make this up” category but time would fail Me today. I got a nook a while back and learned of The Gutenberg Press site. This is a site publishing all kinds of literature digitally that legally has no copyrights preventing it. Among the interesting things You can find are essay’s written in the aftermath of The Salem Witch trials contemporary with It . This event has turned into part of our Halloween culture which is fine but can leave People of Faith at risk of repeating history.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Adam 2:21 re: Gutenberg Press site.

      I hope to look at this sometime soon.

      • entech says:

        librivox is similar in someways, a lot of the older out of copyright literature has been made available in audio versions. A lot of kind and decent people put a lot of time and effort into the production of the text and audio electronic publications.

        There is also edx.org that I discovered recently, short courses put out by a range of Universities and colleges, huge range of subjects. All free (apparently there is there possibility of certification which does require a fee) and some are “live”, with questions and answers on an on line forum, other are ‘archived’, I have just started an introduction to philosophy course being an archive you can work through at your own speed, there are copies of selected readings (.pdf) and videos of the lectures.

  6. Adam Heckathorn says:

    I’ve really enjoyed these discussions on this forum. and now that I’ve figured out I have to refresh to see the last few comments maybe I won’t be pitied as that poor guy that just can’t seem to keep up! Let Me also ask for Your indulgence as I am dyslexic and although I read and comprehend well enough I really struggle to write that is to get My thoughts from My brain to paper or screen. If ever I write something that does not quite make sense please point it out so I will have the chance to correct it.

    • Wolfy32 says:

      Adam, I’m dealing with a 6 year old that has mild dyslexia. He insists that 41 is 14 and will throw a tantrum over it because 41 is 14 in his mind. (Also has ADHD which doesn’t help).

      Any suggestions on how to deal with it at an early age? There’s organizations that will tutor two to 3 times a week if you have the $50 per session cash for every tutelidge… That gets a little costly..

      • H.P.Drifter says:

        Better to pay now than later, at six the problem is easily treated, not so later then the 50 an hour will look cheap

      • Jinx says:

        Wolfy, some types of fonts are easier for dyslexics to read…..google it, I can’t remember which ones.

        Also, have something like a blank recipe card to keep under each sentence as the dyslexic reads. I have also heard that laying a red transparency over the page makes reading easier.

        As for Math, the child should write his numbers on graph paper. You can buy different size grids or make your own with a pen and ruler.

        My son is dyslexic and severe ADHD and the above tips helped him.

        Some special ed teachers know alot and some don’t…..and do a google search for more tips.

    • H.P.Drifter says:

      ADAM

      Your doing fine, I enjoy your posts

      H.P.D

  7. H.P.Drifter says:

    Wolfy

    Teach the child to read using phonetics, Sounding things out, emphasis on grammar. The ADHD if he is hyperactive but nothing more, don’t medicate he will just grow out of it. If he is disruptive in class, then medicate him.

    • Jinx says:

      Ritalin was immensely helpful for my son. His pediatric neurologist said that using ritalin just for school and not weekends and summertime not only slowed him down and attend to his work, but also allowed him to learn how to do it himself. If at all possible, have the child accessed by U of MN pediatric neurology. They are fantastic and work with the school to help the child learn.

      • Wolfy32 says:

        That’s the problem with him, he can’t focus. Everytime we try to read with him at home, he fights it like the plague to the point of throwing a tantrum and ending up in a time out because he proceeds to violence. (Hitting, kicking, throwing things — That’s how much he hates reading…)

        So, we’ve taken to just reading to him at home. Which, he doesn’t seem to mind as much. Try to form some positive experiences then slowly move into the reading forum. We’re wondering if the ADHD meds would help him to focus more and not get so frustrated so easily. He constantly fidgets, tries to find other things to do, and becomes extremely inattentive to reading. If he was able to focus, I have a feeling he could learn more in school and at home. He’s not disruptive in school, but, he can’t focus… The teacher says he appears to just be dazing out, dreaming about something else all the time.

        They escalated him to tier 3 remedial reading intervention. Meaning his skill in reading actually went down in the last month.. Instead of up. And he’s got special help already reading for an hour and 15 minutes per day in school with a dedicated specialist. They have a tough time keeping him on task as well. Requiring a lot of one on one attention to get him to focus.

        He’s definately got the inattentive part of ADHD, so much so he can’t focus on anything. Some nights he’s been up past 1:00am because in his words ” I can’t get my brain to turn off.” That poor little head is just constantly thinking and worrying about everything. He needs something to slow those thoughts down and focus on one thing at a time. Then maybe he could learn coping skills to help him sleep better and learn better in school.

        You give him something tedious to focus on though, he’ll be occupied for hours. It’s like he has to have something that consumes all of his thoughts at once or he’s thinking about a million things at once. Give him legos, minecraft, or the wonderloom (knitting with rubberbands) and he’ll go at it fully concentrating for hours.

        And he’s awesome at math other than occasionally reversing his numbers.

        • Wanna B Sure says:

          Have you tried music? Some interesting things happen in and around music. You might try an electric keyboard, such as a Casio. Not a sized piano size. 64 keys ? They are not terribly expensive. I have seen them cheap at flea markets, or E-Bay. He would not need to take lessons. Let him experiment on his own. All the built in sounds may also inspire him. Who knows. This may give him creative expression.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Sorry: not a(( full )) sized piano.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            PS; There are music therapists. I see one on Area Voices from time to time with her own blog. Or ask around. You may get a referral name to ask at a hospital. He could start with simple one note melodies from himself, and expand. There is the possibility he may have a strong talent, not yet discovered.

  8. Adam Heckathorn says:

    On dyslexia I wasn’t diagnosed ’till I was a senior I was tested for retardation twice and diagnosed as gifted and lazy. I went to a large number of different schools and with the constant moving those that would of helped could never catch up with Me. My reading ability made the dyslexia hard to diagnose. A recognized leader in the field diagnosed Me and discovered I don’t read in the normal way (I can’t) but I still was able to have high score’s in reading speed and comprehension. My advice is work with the school provide as stable an environment as possible same house same school over course of years and don’t allow anyone to sideline the kid keep him in a meaningful curriculum.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Adam 5:15 We discovered our son had dyslexia after many other theories did not fit. Then, after observing him grow up, I realized I have a milder form of it and often do not see typos or mistakes.

      If writing is difficult for you, I’d suggest doing it more. For me, it really does make the mind take some better direction. Glad to have you here.

  9. H.P.Drifter says:

    Adam

    Don’t let the dyslexia get you down, some of the most talented people that are around have some kind of dyslexia. Steve jobs from Apple, Einstein, Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, to name only a few. So you are in good company. Your brain processes things differently, for me different is better. We are always looking for people that have something to say, out of the mainstream, to think what needs to make society a better place to be and to help people understand different points of view. Any insights you can share would be appreciated by all of us, as least on the side of nonbelievers. Turn adversity to advantage. Constantly learning things new is a real turn on for some us here on the blog, Don’t be discouraged by some of up the unmentionables here on the blog, they never come up with any thing important, just criticize. We just tune them out (they are a bad joke, gone weary)

    H.P.D

    • entech says:

      Susan Hampshire a very prolific actress was not diagnosed until she was thirty and learned all her lines by having them read to her.

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