Pope Francis, thoughtful and progressive, is a Pope that an atheist can love. PHOTO: Reuters
Pope Francis once again made headlines today with a surprisingly progressive stance: that the Catholic Church should not be so concerned with gays and abortions. It is this sort of statement that makes Pope Francis the best pope the atheist movement could ask for.
“It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time,” Pope Francis said. “We have to find a new balance, otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel.”
There is a growing movement of outspoken atheists in the world, such as Richard Dawkins, Bill Maher and Ricky Gervais, who see religion as a mass source of false beliefs. They contend that religious beliefs are not just odd, but profoundly dangerous, given that people are willing to vote, legislate and kill based on ideas about the world over 2,000 years old. Or, as Bill Maher put it to Senator Mark Pryor:
“You're a Senator. You are one of the very few people are really running this country. It worries me that people are running my country, who think, who believe in a talking snake.”
Religion isn’t going away, however, and that’s why it’s supremely important to have religious leaders who emphasize the moral core of their teachings instead of the arbitrary rules and…highly unlikely histories. Christ-like compassion is the moral core of Catholicism. Which gender you are allowed to sleep with is a detail that should get equal attention as the stuff about when you can eat an animal with cloven hoofs.
Atheists, religion is here to stay. Let’s be thankful that we have a Pope who preaches the spirit of Catholicism, and not just the letter of the law.