It’s no secret that Atheism and Skepticism are rising movements. What was once a lose confederation of a lack of belief is more organised and more connected thanks to things like the Internet.
Love him or hate him, the Pope is the world’s most influential religious leader. Due to his rank as the head of the Roman Catholic Church, he does wield an inordinate amount of power. And so despite all our exhortations that the Pope should be irrelevant, here we are. Jorge Mario Bergoglio is the new pope and how he deals with the Church and indeed “us” is yet to be seen. Lest we forget? The Church is a wounded beast. It’s been hammered to bits in the third world over it’s stance on contraception and women’s access to healthcare. It’s been hammered in the west over it’s protection of child abusers. It’s been hammered across the social liberal demographic as a force for the oppression of the GLBT. Hell, the Previous Pope went so far as to make highly inflammatory comments about Atheists and Secularism in the UK.
While many people believe that the Pope is a moral force on issues such as poverty, human rights, environment, peace and religious liberty and is a force for all who share humanistic values (Rigoberto Vega – FIU Minister) many atheists think otherwise. However that may be due to the History of the Church.
I Am willing to give him a chance. The first pope from South America has a sinking ship to captain. A church that must change. A church damaged by orthodoxy and insularity and fantasy. A church of abuse and pain that must become a moral force in action, not just in name. And for that one needs to ditch the orthodoxy. One needs to treat women better. One needs to stop with the gay bashing. One needs to address the HIV and population issue using science rather than prayer. One needs to treat the sexual abuse scandal as a crime and provide justice and closure while ensuring there are ways of preventing such abuse in the future.
While I disagree with the notion of many that the Roman Catholic Church is the only institution in the world that has withstood the test of time and the havoc wrecked by Barbaric Rulers (er… The Buddhist Lama and Hindus are older… As is the Copt Church) mainly because the RC church was the barbaric ruler for a long while. And it’s influence is not the influence of a benevolent ruler but that of the iron fist of colonialism. The question is how can this RCC change to a force for actual good rather than mere lip service.