Of Popes, Catholics and Atheism

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.


  1. kevinalexander says

    I too would like the church to evolve to become a force for good but I don’t see it happening. Human suffering is seen by the men who run the show as the shows most entertaining feature. It’s not an accident that martyrs are featured so prominently up to and including god himself who is depicted as bloody and torn, hanging from the cross.
    Sadomasochism, dominance and submission, torture porn are unofficial sacraments in the Roman church.
    And that’s without mentioning the misogyny which also is unlikely to fade as long as the celibacy rule filters out men who can care about women.

  2. Alverant says

    The current pope also worked with right wing terrorist groups and has the blood of the innocent on his hands. If he wants me to give him a chance, he has to earn it. And since his first speech attacked homosexuals and not addressing the problems within the church, I’d say the chance of him earning my respect is pretty low.

  3. Psychopomp Gecko says

    To be somewhat more humorous in my criticism of the whole thing, I think it’s asking too much ask to change a “A church damaged by orthodoxy and insularity and fantasy.” that is full of a strict hierarchy of people who speak their own special language and think their bread turns into manflesh.

    I’m more worried about the role the current pope had in Argentina’s Dirty War. There are accusations he had something to do with the abduction and torture of Jesuits who were tending to the poor, and there’s the support provided to the military dictatorship by the church, like reassuring the soldiers that they are doing God’s Work when they kidnap people for simultaneous beating and electrocution.

  4. corporal klinger says

    Those of us which have a sense of morality, justice, fairness and logic reject and loath all those murderous, mind and body torturing ideologies and doctrines that have, and still do, cause pain, harm, suffering and death for so many.
    Stalinism, Maoism, National-socialism, Khmer Rouge, Fascism and all the other blood stained “-isms” are (or should be) rejected by every decent human being.

    Still, religions in general, and the abrahamitic religions in particular, have somehow managed to stand their self proclaimed “moral highground” despite their long, long history of holy wars not “only” against the heathens or non believers but their brothers and sisters in Christ, Allah or whatever magic poobah they were and are killing and torturing for, physical and psychological tyranny, fighting tooth and nail every scientific or social progress. Religions deserve the same rejection and disgust that we have for the above mentioned “isms”.

    It’s time for humankind to grow the fuck up, leave behind superstitions and come to it’s full potential.

  5. sillose says

    wow number one (kevinalexander) thats really kink negative.

    but if we got rid of the oppression of LGBT people, the shit stances on poverty, the sex negativity, the regressive stances on reproductive rights+general healthcare, the misogyny, the insularity, the long history of collaborating with tyrants, and, of course, the organized mass rape of children, what would be left?

    other than the obvious bunch of old white guys with terrible fashion sense and worse fanfic

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