A short “The Guardian” article “Pope Francis says atheists can be good” discusses this new attitude towards unbelievers like me. That’s a refreshing new view from a person inhabiting a position that’s not known for this sort of “liberal” statements:
Just do good, and we’ll find a meeting point
Well, this pope is getting more and more sympathetic in my eyes. Maybe after all it will be possible for atheists to be considered ethical humans despite their lack of faith. Surely there are ruthless atheists as there are ruthless people of faith. It doesn’t mean unbelievers can’t also possess ethics and morals and live by them. None of us is without “sin”, I just don’t feel I need absolution (Catholicism) or some such in order to go on with my life.
In my opinion there is no more compelling reason to “be nice” than the humbling thought of ones own finite existence. John Niven made a good point in his book “The Second Coming” in which God and Jesus are still mightily annoyed because Moses came up with his own ten commandments instead of using the single rule God gave him: