Monday 20 October 2014

Popes and gays

Pope Francis asked the Catholic church to adapt to 'changing conditions of society'. He wants to soften the church's attitude to divorce and to homosexuality.

I'm baffled. I'm often baffled, but religion baffles me more than most things.

The issue is morals and ethics. What's right and what's wrong? Religions claim that morals and ethics come from their invisible friend (a terminology that tells you where I stand). Everyone else gets it from people around them. We change our morals and ethics as a society.

So, for example, slavery. This is now held to be wrong, very wrong. But for a long time, the religions supported it; the bible even lays down rules about how to treat your slaves.

And society's attitude to divorce changed, maybe 50 years ago. Now, if a couple find out after getting married, that they aren't right for each other, society accepts that they should go their separate ways, and not be chained together for ever.

Society's attitude to homosexuality changed, maybe 50 years ago. Now it's generally believed that what two consenting adults get up to, is no-one's concern except theirs. In 1967, the UK said "homosexuality is no longer illegal", and I think that Julian and Sandy helped a lot with that.

So now, Pope Gregory, may the Great Spaghetti Monster touch him with His Noodly Appendage, has decided that maybe gayness isn't as bad as they thought. But his bishops disagree. Who's in charge here? I thought Popes had a direct and infallible line to their invisible friend.

But here's the big problem. If your morals and ethics come from your invisible friend, as written down in your Holy Book, surely they can't be changed? The Holy Book didn't change, so how can the morals and ethics?

And if you can change your morals and ethics while the Holy Book remains unchanged (perhaps you've re-interpreted it to fit in with 'changing conditions of society'?) then what use is the Holy Book? Surely the obvious thing to do is move the Holy Book to the fiction section of the library, and concentrate on trying to keep up with the improvement in morals and ethics that us atheists are leading the way on.

But it's not all bad. Perhaps this will be one more nail in the coffin for the church.


  1. I don't think it is a nail in the coffin of the church. Pope Francis has a moral compass which is less broken than previous Popes, and as a result I think his teachings will be more acceptable and make the church stronger.

    While we're on the subject, here's my theory about paedophiles and gays in the church. A man is born a paedophile. It is not something he chooses, but he knows it is wrong and so he turns to god. The most powerful way to turn to God is to become a priest.

    At this point the paedophiles suddenly have access to children, and learn that the flesh is weak - but it's ok, so long as they worship (John 3:16) and repent before they die.

    Meanwhile, the gay priests do not have the same temptation, but still have the same impure thoughts. This occupies their mind so they put a lot of effort into preaching against homosexuality. A case of "he doth protest too much". The end result is that christians see homosexuality as sin #1 as it has been preached to them so much, even though a greater percentage of priests are gay than people outside the church.

    Just my theory. I can't think why else there is so much child abuse in the church, and why they have such an unhealthy obsession with homosexuality (as opposed the the healthy obsession that should be enjoyed by homos everwhere, free of repression and bigotry)


    1. Maybe some of the large amount of child abuse in the church, comes from the way that priest-pedophiles have been forgiven and moved, rather than punished?

  2. Ignoring the nonsense above.

    Alan, how are you not committed to the view that slavery was once good but now bad?

  3. Morality is socially determined (in your view) so a society which condones slavery has nothing to reproach itself for. Or if slavery is wrong whence comes the authority from that condemnation?

  4. People change their views. That's the big advantage of not getting your morality from a fixed holy book, which cannot change.