He Who Doesn’t Pray to God Prays to the Devil

March 16, 2013

Been gone for a few weeks. Living in a cave in north Pakistan. Little known fact: Al-Zawahiri snores.

Seriously, I was on a leave of absence, so I have to catch up now. Let’s see what’s happening:

Red states passing laws restricting abortion.

More heated exchanges in blogosphere about sexism and feminism.

Controversy over some Twitter remarks by Richard Dawkins.

An anti-gay theological dinosaur is running the Catholic Church.

Hugo Chavez still drawing huge crowds.

OK, so nothing has changed. It’s like I never went away.

Well, the pope does have a new name and he is a little taller. But from remarks he made in the past and his first few comments as pope, it does not appear that Francis is going to make any changes either with respect to the Church’s stand on issues relating to human sexuality, such as same-sex marriage, or the underlying theology of the Church. Anyone who has described laws legalizing same-sex marriage as “machinations of the Father of Lies” doesn’t seem a likely candidate for leading reform of the Church’s position.

Nope, on core issues Francis is going to double-down, as suggested by the remark he made the other day that “he who doesn’t pray to God prays to the Devil.” That’s right. Pope Frank doesn’t want to leave open the possibility that people don’t pray at all, that there is a growing number of people around the world who have rejected the entire illusion of a spirit world, populated by gods, angels, demons, fairies and what not. He wants everyone to buy into his picture of the world: if you’re not on God’s side, you must be on the side of the devil.

As repugnant as I find this pope’s position, I understand its logic. The Church will not be able to continue in anything like its current form if it stops emphasizing its Bronze Age theology and actually focuses on what some use as an excuse for its existence, namely its charitable activity. The pope himself disparaged this work, saying that unless the Church preached about Jesus, it would just become a “pitiful NGO.”  Oh, you mean like Oxfam?

The Church doesn’t want to become a pitiful NGO like Oxfam because you can’t get people on their knees in slavish adoration just by appealing to their benevolence. No, you have to manipulate their emotions, create an aura of sanctity, nourish false hopes, and create in-group solidarity by condemning those who aren’t with you, the gays, those who use contraception and, of course, those devil-worshippers, the atheists. It’s a strategy the Church has long followed and this pope is committed to the same game plan.

“Liberal” believers and other interested observers of the Catholic Church often remark, “Oh, sure, the Church is going to have to change its position on [fill in the blank].” No, it doesn’t and it won’t.

The pope has made it clear how he sees the world. We humanist and atheists have a different vision. It’s largely up to us which one will prevail.

I think I’m ready to return to work.


#1 Griff on Saturday March 16, 2013 at 12:46pm

Another Center for “Inquiry” lovefest.  Hate to throw facts at your rant, but plenty of believers, “liberal” and otherwise, consider the Catholic Church a lost cause and have for some time.  So, as ever, you have nothing to crow about.  And, as ever, that’s not going to stop you.

I think I’ll start a pop movement in which I tout the painfully obvious as if it were the special knowledge of an enlightened, brilliant view.  I’ll call it secular humanism.  Oh, wait—is that taken?

#2 Ronald A. Lindsay on Sunday March 17, 2013 at 1:58pm

Thanks, Griff, it’s great to be back.

#3 D (Guest) on Monday March 18, 2013 at 8:44am

sorry griff this may be true
except for the 1 billion or so catholics

#4 Martin (Guest) on Monday March 18, 2013 at 9:38am

This is a classic comment followed up by a classic response.  You made me choke in my diet coke with lime.  I have no problem with Mr Lindsay making his comments but the Griffs response confirms how nothing has changed.

#5 Griff on Monday March 18, 2013 at 1:00pm


I don’t suppose you’ll explain what on earth you mean?


What part of the reality that not all believers are Catholics are you not taking in?  By the way, here in the U.S. even most Catholics aren’t on the same page as the Dope, though this doesn’t stop them from remaining C.‘s, for some unknown reason.  That is to say, those progressive values humanists pretend to own are, in fact, more and more becoming the popular norm.

#6 Griff on Monday March 18, 2013 at 4:08pm

By the way, speaking of same ol’, notice how the above essay plays like the standard political attack ad?  That is, it attacks its opponent(s) without spending much ink on its own positions, virtues, etc.  I have no doubt many an armchair skeptic really and truly advocates for gay marriage, some version of gender equality (as long as it doesn’t address rape or male domination in general), and so on, but armchair skeptics, as a rule, are libertarians, and libertarians aren’t popularly perceived to be on the cutting edge of progressivism.  For good reason, I would add.  Relentlessly beating up on such illiberal institutions as the Catholic Church, the pop culture joke du jour, might be intended to shift focus from the fact that CFI, and similar outfits, aren’t all that lefty to start with.  Which any thinking person has already concluded.

#7 KelleyRene (Guest) on Tuesday March 19, 2013 at 5:14pm

Richard Dawkins is one of our very own polymaths and no doubt will be cited by historians some day as one of the leaders of our civilizations inevitable modern day renaissance.  I hope I live to see its beginnings.  Francis may be listed too, (along with the US GOP and similar radical influences) as among the instigators of a tumultuous religious environment that eventually nurtures our intellectual rebirth!

#8 Griff on Tuesday March 19, 2013 at 6:48pm

Dawkins?  What about Dick Cavett?

Every generation thinks it’s living in The Important Times,  and every generation is mistaken in that conceit.

#9 Doc Bread (Guest) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 at 8:08am

Griff.  we have inflated this generations self importance by making it possible to obliterate all human life on earth.  So, yes we are living in the important times.

#10 Griff on Wednesday March 20, 2013 at 1:08pm

Doc Bread,


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