The Pope is my new hero – my socially progressive, secularist, humanist new hero. How can you not love a man who’s supposed to be the emissary of god on earth, yet has the courage to acknowledge the irrepressible truth that evolution shapes the biological world? Or a man who keeps philosophical company with Stephen Hawking in espousing the dangers of artificial intelligence in its future potential to strip humanity of its humanity? Or a man who wants to walk with Catholics – and non-Catholics – through their spiritual lives… on Instagram.
The cynic in me can’t believe that his Pope-ship is not a carefully orchestrated ploy to broaden the Catholic (or just Christian) base. But the humanist in me wants to believe that this is the great reckoning – the grand reconciling – that organised religion has finally seen the error of its ways and is embracing Jesus’s original teaching of non-judgementality and pure love.
The Pope is all those things, but more importantly, he has simply called time on the nonsense of the past two thousand years of theological perversion without denying the profoundly positive impact that belief has on the human heart. It’s like Coke owning up to the fact that it’s product will make you rotund, but still having the wherewithal to say “but it tastes good”. And I think that’s why he’s endeared himself to a non-Catholic, non-Christian, non-religious audience – he’s simply been brave enough to not play the juvenile game of moral religious one-upmanship and acknowledge that your secular moralist approach to life is just as valid.
Peter is a London-based computational artist whose practice utilises design language to communicate meaning in complex systems with work integrating research, analysis and experimental technologies.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio himself
Vatican City (The Vatican)