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Daily Download: Sept. 12, 2013 (The Pope and atheists / “Boy World” / Mass hysteria from Facebook)

Pope Francis assures atheists: You don’t have to believe in God to go to heaven – For a Pope, Pope Francis is really putting himself out there. In an open letter to founder of a newspaper, the Pope wrote:

“You ask me if the God of the Christians forgives those who don’t believe and who don’t seek the faith. I start by saying – and this is the fundamental thing – that God’s mercy has no limits if you go to him with a sincere and contrite heart. The issue for those who do not believe in God is to obey their conscience.

“Sin, even for those who have no faith, exists when people disobey their conscience.”

The response is being referred to as “him seeking to have a more meaningful dialogue with the world.” Even the party who asked the question noted that the Pope’s comments were “further evidence of his ability and desire to overcome barriers in dialogue with all.”  I don’t foresee other critics being so kind.

‘Boys Have Deep Emotional Lives’ — Rosalind Wiseman, writter of Queen Bees and Wannabes and Mean Girls has now tackled the world of boys with her latest book, Masterminds and Wingmen: Helping Our Boys Cope with Schoolyard Power, Locker-Room Tests, Girlfriends, and the New Rules of Boy World.  I have 3 boys, all of whom I’m trying to help develop into men of character and wisdom, physical and mental strength, who are closely connected with God, the people around them, and their world.  Here’s an interview with Wiseman about today’s world of boys (which seems much like the world of boys I knew back in my younger days).  It sounds like the book might be worth the read.

What Witchcraft Is Facebook? — Could Facebook cause events of mass hysteria much like the one attributed to Salem, Massachusetts during the witch trials? Could you “catch” a disease and really believe you have it simply because others are posting about it on Facebook? Sociologist Robert Bartholomew thinks it may already be happening and that we may soon see epidemics of physical symptoms (primarily in girls) where the contagion is actually a mass hysteria propogated by social media.

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