This simple sentence uttered by Pope Francis has set off an explosion of controversy. And, for good reason. Taken at face value, the sentence means there is no god without the human mind creating it. This implies there is no sovereign god. Atheists have said this since the first god. Why then would the Pope say such a thing?
He was speaking to a group and explaining the role of God in the world. I think he meant that there would be no god in their lives if they did not keep the god concept front and center in their minds.
A critic of the Pope said God really has no need for humans. This position, too, would be off putting to people who think God is focusing on them and loves them. Why would God have no need for humans if his is obsessed with every sin and heard every prayer? Why would he bother to kill thousands of babies in Noah’s flood?
That the Pope would express this reflects the problem Christianity has. The Catholic clergy are taught they have an exclusive lock on interpreting the faith. Some Protestant clergy and seminary professors consider themselves experts on the mind of God. Such people do not converse with skeptics and realize how they would pounce on such a comment.
From what I have read, the Pope is a big believer in the literal Satan. I wish he would admit there is no Satan without humans making it up.