I personally find both men seriously misguided and devious, but I must admit I am really really surprised by the contradictory statements Cardinal Pell has made in response to some issues and questions (1 hour live debate) raised by the audience and the host of the show.
With such politically correct statements coming from one of the highest and influential authorities of the Catholic Church, it is no wonder why Western Christianity had lost its soul, moral and religious stand in the West; and is now desperately appeasing to all these militant atheists, secularists and disillusioned ex-Judeo-Christian faithfulls with its sugercoating-Christianity .
Please ABC, next time you bring in a celebrity atheist for a debate with people of teh book, invite a seasoned Muslim or Jewish intellectual theologian who could have easily filled the shocking void that Cardinal Pell has created on QA on the Easter Monday.
April 9, 2012
Q&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;A, ABC TV
VALUES OF ATHEISM AND FAITH
IS RELIGION A FORCE FOR GOOD
VALUES OF “SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST”?
BIG BANG FROM NOTHING
DAWKINS – ATHEIST OR AGNOSTIC?
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I DIE?
EVOLUTION AND THE CHURCH
CHILDREN AND “NO GOD”
TONY JONES: Sorry, can I just bring you, in a sense, to the point of the question? Do you accept that humans evolved from apes?
GEORGE PELL: Yeah, probably. From Neanderthals, yes. Whether...
RICHARD DAWKINS: From Neanderthals?
GEORGE PELL: Probably.
RICHARD DAWKINS: Why from Neanderthals?
GEORGE PELL: Well, who else would you suggest?
RICHARD DAWKINS: Neanderthals were our cousins. We’re not descended from them and we’re both descended from...
GEORGE PELL: These are extant cousins? Where will I find a Neanderthal today if they're my cousins?
RICHARD DAWKINS: They’re not extant, they’re extinct.
GEORGE PELL: Exactly. That’s my point.
RICHARD DAWKINS: Your point is that because they're extant they can't be our cousins.
GEORGE PELL: I really am not much fussed.
RICHARD DAWKINS: That’s very clear.
GEORGE PELL: Something in the evolutionary story seems to have come before humans. A lot of people say it’s the Neanderthal.
TONY JONES: But can we say this: humans - you accept that humans evolved from non humans so let me put this to you as a question: at what point in this evolutionary scale was a soul imparted to the humans from God?
GEORGE PELL: Look, a soul is not like putting a spot of gin in a tonic. The soul is the principle of life. So whenever there was a principle of life that could question, that could be open to awe, that was able to communicate then we had the first human. Now, we believe that the first humans developed in South Africa. I’m not quite sure how long ago and that all, you know, humans have developed from that. We know most about that. There aren't remains. We know most about that because of the drawings they left on the on walls and caves and that sort of thing. No such thing from Neanderthals, so we can't say exactly when there was a first human but we have to say if there are humans there must have been a first one. They might have been equal first but if there is a progression there’s got to be first.
TONY JONES: So are you talking about a kind of Garden of Eden scenario with an actual Adam and Eve?
GEORGE PELL: Well, Adam and Eve are terms - what do they mean: life and earth. It’s like every man. That’s a beautiful, sophisticated, mythological account. It’s not science but it’s there to tell us two or three things. First of all that God created the world and the universe. Secondly, that the key to the whole of universe, the really significant thing, are humans and, thirdly, it is a very sophisticated mythology to try to explain the evil and suffering in the world.
TONY JONES: But it isn’t a literal truth. You shouldn't see it in any way as being an historical or literal truth?
GEORGE PELL: It’s certainly not a scientific truth and it’s a religious story told for religious purposes.
TONY JONES: Just quickly, because the Old Testament in particular is full of these kind of stories, I mean is there a point where you distinguish between metaphor and reality? For example, Moses receiving the Ten Commandments inscribed directly by God on a mountain?
GEORGE PELL: I’m not sure that the Old Testament says that God inscribed the Ten Commandments but leaving that aside it’s difficult to know how exactly that worked but Moses was a great man. There was a great encounter with the divine. Actually, with Moses we get the key that enables us to come together with the Greeks with reason because Moses said who will I tell the Egyptians and he tell that my name is "I am who I am".
TONY JONES: Okay, I’m just going to...
GEORGE PELL: And we’ll come back to that.
TONY JONES: I’m just going to bring Richard Dawkins back in here because we’ve moved from evolution obviously to the biblical versions of it. Your response.
RICHARD DAWKINS: Well, I’m curious to know if Adam and Eve never existed where did original sin come from? But I also would like to clarify the point about whether there was ever a first human. That’s a rather difficult and puzzling question because we know that the previous species from which we're descended is probably homo erectus and before that some sort of australopithecine but there never was a last homo erectus who gave birth to the first homo sapiens. Every creature ever born belonged to the same species as its parents. The process of evolution is so gradual that you can never say, aha, now suddenly we have the first human. It was always a case of just a slightly different from the previous generation. That’s a scientific point which I think is quite interesting. I’m not sure if it has a theological significance except that I think successive popes have tried to suggest that the soul did indeed get added, rather like gin to tonic, at some particular point during evolution; at some point in evolution there was no soul and then later there was one so it is quite an interesting question to ask. Now we have rather a good fossil record from Africa of the descent of humans from australopithecines to various species of homo, perhaps homo habilis, perhaps homo erectus, then archaic homo sapiens and then modern homo sapiens. At what point did the soul get injected and what does the idea of original sin mean if Adam and Eve never existed?
TONY JONES: I’ll just quickly let you respond to that, George?
GEORGE PELL: Yeah, well, I mean God wasn't running around giving injections and if there is no first person we’re not humans.
TONY JONES: Can I just interrupt you just to bring you to point of the question, which was really about whether atheists can lead a good life and be good people and socially responsible and so on.
GEORGE PELL: Yeah, absolutely.
TONY JONES: You accept that?
GEORGE PELL: Yeah, absolutely. I think it helps to believe in God because - there’s a Polish poet, Milosh, who says that the opium of the people today is the belief that they won't be judged by God when they die, those who have committed great crimes, done awful things are going to get away with it and that the people who have suffered unjustly, had terrible lives, that’s it.
MATTHEW THOMPSON: I am an atheist. What do you think will happen when I die and how do you know?
TONY JONES: George Pell, we’ll start with you? You ought to be an authority on this, I imagine?
GEORGE PELL: Well, I know from the Christian point of view, God loves everybody but every genuine motion towards the truth is a motion towards God and when an atheist dies, like everybody else, they will be judged on the extent to which they have moved towards goodness and truth and beauty but in the Christian view, God loves everyone except those who turn his back turn their back on him through evil acts.
TONY JONES: So atheism is not an evil act?
GEORGE PELL: No, not - well, no, in most cases it’s not.
TONY JONES: So I guess to get to the point of the question, I suppose - I mean he may be having a little wager here but is it possible for an atheist to go to heaven?
GEORGE PELL: Well, it’s not my business.
TONY JONES: You’re the only authority we have here.
GEORGE PELL: I would say certainly.
TONY JONES: Yeah.
GEORGE PELL: Certainly.
Do Christians think he is right; or does the Archbishop misrepresent the core mainstream Christian teachings?