I am a philosophical "fan" of St. Anselm of Cantebury, who developed a so-called "ontological proof", ideas argued against and argued for for 6 or 7 hundred years. St. Anselm approaches the a
theist in this manner. "You do not believe in God?", to which the a
theist say "No, I do not!". Anselm pauses and then asks: "What do you mean by God?" Of course, Anselm is asking for a philosophical or ontological definition. In effect, Anselm is baiting his atheist friend to define God as, say, absolutely infinite (or as I prefer, esse infnite
). Ah, Anselm then begins to delve into what a thinking atheist means by God and involves the atheist in a discussion that makes it impossible for a thinking atheist to deny Divine reality or Being. (Interestingly, my favorite Anglo-American idealist, Josiah Royce, argued similaritly in his "The Conception of God".) Why mention all this?
Ignorance! Pp Francis is leading the flock following the path of Jesus (his last homily) to God, whoever or whatever that might be. I am disappointed and freigthened that a prelate such as the Pope cares so little, indeed, disdains so much a thoughtful atheist that he leaves said atheist untested. The point is not to convert or not, rather to pursue truth -- and truth of supreme importance. In effect, the Pope has insulted to the very core of a fine thinking atheist -- a person who thinks enough about God to deny Him--, instead of showing how the atheist's thought could come to fruition in grasping Divine reality. Frankly, such show modesty by the Pope leaves me with the sour taste that the man does not really believe in anything definable, just a vague goody-goody goal to occupy by life.
Other then some banal statement about God, I doubt that either Pp Francis' atheist or Pope Francis himself understands
what God, understood entitatively, means. A priest (and a pope is such a person) who will not talk about what God is
should hang up his vocational hat as he represents nothing of salvational importance.