Atheists Can Go To Heaven, New Pope Says

We’re still a little flabbergasted by this—we did just dispense with the Nazi Pope, after all—but apparently it’s not a mistranslation: Pope Francis (first of his name!) just told the world that even atheists are redeemed by Jesus Christ if they do good in this life. So you’re saying I had to wear a white Colonel Sanders suit to get first communion for nothing?

All your prayers were moot! There’s actually no reason to sing hymns! Pope Francis even cited the Gospel of Mark to make his point—take that, fundamentalists. Between this comment and his earlier remarks condemning a global culture of money that precludes compassion for the poor, he is really angling to make some conservative heads explode. For that, we must salute him.

But I’m also really enjoying this idea that people can be redeemed almost against their will. Take someone like Ricky Gervais, who’s completely obnoxious in his atheism but gives millions to charity—how mad would he be to find out that heaven exists and he has to hang out there with the devoutly religious for eternity? Jesus saves whether you like it or not, I guess. And if you don’t, better cook up some evil deeds.   

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Photo: The Independent

Today In Streaming Music: The Walkmen, Sigur Ros

It’s not as good as a download, but it’s better than watching a song’s video—or worse, a single image with a soundtrack behind it—but a stream is the music industry’s preferred way of getting new tracks out in the world.

It’s not portable and any kind of pirating from a stream would require technological know-how that’s way beyond us, but there’s something to be said for being able to hear an album front to back.

Today we’re treated to two pretty excellent new albums via stream. The first is the Walkmen’s Heaven, not out until May 29, which is streaming over at NPR. The band delivers yet again with the sort of music that makes us believe that we can be grown ups and still like great music. The title track is a killer, though the entire album is fucking excellent. Even if this one was downloadable, we’d plan to buy it.

Another streamer today is Sigur Ros’ latest, Valenti, which is out May 29. In addition to the album, which is streaming here. The band has also announced a project called “Mystery Film Experiment,” in which they gave a dozen filmmakers a small budget and asked them to make a video based on a song from the new album. Directors on the project will include Alma Har’el, John Cameron Mitchell, Ryan McGinley, Arni & Kinski, Ramin Bahrani and Ragnar Kjartansson, whose short, “Ég anda,” dropped today.