The Pope is a Great Guy, but…

Of course if you are in the U.S. you know that life is all a buzz because the Pope is here.  Democrats are happy, Republicans are mad, life can’t get better for us liberals right?

Now don’t get me wrong…I think this pope is miles ahead of popes in the past and I really love his positive messages about doing something about climate change, helping refugees, and taking care of the poor. But….

On the topic of climate change, there this group, let’s call them a hell of a lot of scientists across numerous scientific disciplines who have been saying we need to do something about climate change.  But if the Pope says, then we better start listening.

There are a large group of people who feel great compassion for the poor and already believe we should be helping them.  The Pope says we should help them and so now we better start listening.

There are a lot of people who think we need to deal with the humanitarian crisis in Syria better.  The Pope has made it clear we must help, so now we better start listening.

And look, I get it to a certain point, because there is a large portion of this country who only start to take things seriously when it is said by religious authority, but that doesn’t mean we should really be happy about it.

Secular humanists and those that value the scientific method as the best way to try and understand how the universe works are years ahead of the church on these kinds of issues and yet nothing can be done about it until the Pope says to do something about it?

But here is the thing, the Pope is right, but there is nothing about his religion beliefs that are germane to the issues he speaks of.  Helping the poor is a matter of acting out of our natural capacity to feel empathy, it speaks to equality, and human rights.  There is nothing divine about it.  Doing something about climate change has nothing to do with the story of Jesus Christ.  Once again it is being proactive about reducing suffering and listening to what 1000’s of scientists are saying who have spent years and years researching changes to our environment.  If there was no Pope and no God this would all still be the right thing to do, because why let people suffer?

So I’m happy that the Pope is saying all these things, but there are many among you have been saying these things all along.  Intelligent and compassionate people.  They aren’t called the Pope but maybe they are worth listening to as well. To me it’s a bit sad that we have to look to a man who says many things other have said all along, but just because he is the Pope it becomes relevant.

It is science alone that can solve the problems of hunger and poverty, of insanitation and illiteracy, of superstition and deadening custom and tradition, of vast resources running to waste, of a rich country inhabited by starving people… Who indeed could afford to ignore science today? At every turn we have to seek its aid … the future belongs to science and those who make friends with science. – Jawaharlal Nehru – 1961

18 thoughts on “The Pope is a Great Guy, but…

  1. Well done Swarn, as usual. 😉

    Here is another side to the Pope, his church, and the majority of his minions, whoops… I mean “followers”. This is another blog I follow… for the human side of Nature. I think it’s apropos here:


    I hope everyone reads this post, from a gay man/Dad who invites the Pope into his home. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Lizstomania is a reference to a musician in 1600’s I think- who every time he played people literally had mania and went crazy like Beatle mania. My correlation to pope was he speaks and draws crowds and creates hysteria whether good or bad- it’s just mania lol. Any who- you will have to google lizstomania to see the story it’s rather interesting 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Great quotes, excellent post. I watched ABC News tonight on TV, and they dedicated nearly the whole 30 minutes to the pope riding through 5th Avenue in NYC. Security was mind boggling. I thought it was overkill.

    As you mentioned, being prosocial is a matter of acting out of our natural capacity to feel empathy, but religious institutions would go bust if they taught that.

    Humans are not much different than other primates who get star-struck over dominant members of their species, and will give up a cherry juice reward to look at pictures of them. The scientists suggest that this is a form of hero worship.

    [ S.V Shepherd, R.O. Deaner and M.L. Platt, 2006, Social Status Gates Social Attention in Monkeys, Current Biology 16(4):119-20.]

    You wrote: “To me it’s a bit sad that we have to look to a man who says many things others have said all along, but just because he is the Pope it becomes relevant.”

    Religion taught me that humans were innately depraved and prosocial behavior was divine. Science taught me that humans are innately prosocial, and are significantly impacted by the environment, for better or for worse. Religion made me lose hope for humanity. Science restored that hope.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Excellent comment Victoria thank you. It’s not so much though even that I don’t think we should take those with high status perhaps more seriously, it’s rather that we A) don’t elevate always the right people to high level of status, and that B) when we do that we leave ourselves vulnerable to believing bad messages they have. What happened if this Pope was going around and saying God will take care of the climate, keep going as usual. So we should be using good messages to help us elevate a person’s status rather than letting the status elevate message.


  3. The pope is a great guy, but…

    He still doesn’t get it. His rhetoric about the ills of capitalism, global warming, poverty and economic inequality makes him one of the least aware people on the planet—or perhaps it’s willful ignorance? While the masses throw themselves at his feet, they are unaware that he, supposedly the vicar of Christ, inhibits progress by failing to address the core problem and doing something about it in his own kingdom.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great article and great points. I am reminded of clip of Christopher Hitchens that I watched one time where he basically chews out the Catholic Bishop in charge of the African continent for not encouraging people to use birth control while AIDS runs rampant. There is so much deep seeded gender inequality in a lot of religions and it really needs to go away. Even population control isn’t enough as long as there is no gender equality. Look what has happened in China. Females are aborted in favor of males. Not only it is not right, but it’s stupid, because there ends up being a lot of men having a hard time finding a mate.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Indeed. I’ve read several articles about the woes in China because men can’t find mates. The blame of gender imbalance is being blamed on communist China’s draconian social engineering policies. However, the root cause of due to Confusciusism, where the teachings placed males as being more valuable than females. Now they are paying the price for their ignorance. Most of the world is paying the price for their ignorance in the cost of inequality.


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