Here are a few thoughts inspired by the selection of a new pope. Who is probably not all that different than the last one.
Why is he elected by cardinals? This is another example of a thought that has occurred to me a few times lately: Why does god need people to do his work? Why can’t god put the name of the new pope into peoples’s heads? Why can’t every Catholic (or even every human being) just all simultaneously think, “I think the new pope should be so-and-so.” That would be pretty miraculous. I am guessing that most Catholics had never heard of this guy a week ago.
I saw an image on twitter recently of a woman holding a handwritten sign: “If I could I would end suffering. That’s the difference between me and god. I’m proud to be an atheist and ex-Muslim”. (If you are the woman who held this sign, you see this post and need a green card, contact me.)
To a certain degree, my idea and the sign are expressing the same idea as the question “Why Won’t God Heal Amputees?” Why aren’t there more true miracles? Why doesn’t god do something that can’t be explained any other way? (Sunrises and smiling babies aren’t miracles. They are natural phenomena that happen all the time.) Billions of people thinking that someone they have never heard of before should be pope. I am sure a lot of people would become believers then.
One objection to this is that we would be “forced” to believe in god, that god wants us to have free will.
Let me trot out the usual objections: That this “free will” is extortion. It’s Mafia free will: If you make the choice god does not want you to make, then you are punished.
Another problem I have with the “free will” objection is that a lot of christians think the ideal state for them is to do whatever god wants them to, to do his will and not their own. To be a slave. To be an automaton. I have not heard (or read) them using those exact words, but that’s the general idea. It sounds Orwellian: “Freedom is obedience.”
If it is good for people to choose to be mindless robots, why is it bad for god to make people as robots from the beginning? Why didn’t god just create a small number of people to be true believers, and spare everybody else a lot of suffering?
If we had this worldwide telepathic event, I don’t think that we would be “forced” to believe. I hope that I would at least reconsider things if it happened. But I think a lot of people would still come up with alternative explanations or just deny any evidence. We have people who still deny evolution (even though they use medicine) and climate change (even though over 99% of the articles say it is happening). I bet that a lot of people would think that papal telepathy would just be satan trying to deceive people. There are a lot of evangelicals who think that the catholic church is an arm of satan.
According to the bibles I have read, Jesus did a lot of miracles. But not everyone was convinced that he was the son of god. If people were not “forced” to believe while the son of man supposedly walked amongst the living, why wouldn’t people choose to accept or deny god in the face of miracles today?