I like this new pope.

I like this new pope.

Pope Francis is definitely a new kind of pope. He refused to wear the customary robes of past popes to his coronation, instead opting for simpler garb. Pope Francis chose a less expensive papal ring plated with gold instead of solid gold. He purchased a used automobile with 130, 000 miles for his own personal use. Pope Francis frequently leaves the safety of his papal security detail to mingle with worshippers up close and personal. He has broached the subject of women priests and preached a more tolerant stance by the Catholic church towards gays. Most impressive to me is the fact that when he travels in the "Popemobile" he leaves the side windows down so that he feels closer to the people.

For years now I have wondered why any pope would use the security of a Popemobile. From what I have read and from what is preached, God has a destiny for every believer (a plan if you like). If a person dies or is killed, it is God's will and part of a divine plan.

If heaven is ultimately the reward for a Christian life and a place of eternal contentment for the true believer, shouldn't Christians be in a hurry to get there?

I mean why would any Christian go to a doctor, undergo chemotherapy for cancer, take medications or do anything which might prolong their live's here on earth? This begs the question, do the faithful truly believe what they preach?

I am an Agnostic and as such I simply don't know for sure if the true believers are right or the atheists are right. I do admit that I hope the Christians are correct and there is a place like heaven when we die. I also believe that religion is a good thing for millions of folks.

It seems to provide hope to the hopeless, strength to the weak, solace during tragedy and inspiration to lead a good life.

I had an aunt who's son was struck by a car and killed in front of their home when I was a boy. I witnessed the accident, I saw the pain, sorrow and suffering with which my aunt endured after her loss that horrible, tragic day. I believed then as I do now that my aunt's religious faith is the only thing which allowed her to go on after my cousin Clifford's death.

It is my opinion that the faithful have it much easier in life than do those of us without faith. It certainly is comforting to those of faith to believe they will be reunited with their departed loved ones in heaven one day. I think that when tragedy strikes, folks of faith have the reassurance that whatever has befallen them is all part of God's plan.

I say that this new Pope Francis is a refreshing change for the Catholic church. Religions should be more inclusive by offering sanctuary to all those folks wishing to join.

In recent years religions have been perceived as the voice of intolerance and borderline hate-mongering towards large segments of the world's population. From the outside looking in, I think all religions should welcome anyone of faith into their flocks.

As for me, I will need more than a book written 30 years after the death of Christ by men who not one of them ever actually met or spoke with Christ to convince me the Bible is "the true word of Christ."

In the meantime, I will continue to support the rights of both the atheists and the faithful to believe as they wish. I will put my faith into science, medicine and proven facts. I hope one day that I can personally experience undeniable facts which prove the Christians have it exactly right and we unbelievers had it all wrong.