Is the transition to secularism in the West inexorable? There’s so much media coverage of the pockets of superstition and religious ideology that it sometimes seems we’re not making headway against religious privilege and naïve religious belief.
The Pope’s visit to Ireland, however, shows how drastically things have changed in a short time. Check out this selection of articles:
- Irish PM: time to move Catholic church from centre of society (The Guardian, Australia)
- Pope Francis to find Ireland transformed, troubled by Catholic Church (Sydney Morning Herald)
- What will the pope have to say now that Ireland’s dirty secrets are out? (The Guardian, Australia)
- It’s too late. Not even Pope Francis can resurrect Catholic Ireland (The Guardian, Australia)
Closer to home, there’s good news on the evolution vs creationism front. Biology students are much less likely than their forerunners of 30 years ago to espouse creationism, and much more likely to say that God is not involved in evolution.
Vigilance is still necessary, however, to call out the abuse of religious privilege and self-interest. The activities of the Exclusive Brethren have been under the spotlight (again), and we still allow tax concessions for some of those who show the least respect and compassion for marginalised LGBTI people.
In the interests of fairness, however, the recent news about succession at the Wayside Chapel shows the value that religion, done well, can add to our society. It’s reasonable to ask who might have got this amazing endeavour underway in a completely secular society.