A Humanistic Pope?
How Humanism is Once Again Being Revived in Religion
Posted Mar 13, 2016
Is it possible that we are finally seeing one of the leading religious figures of our time sound like a humanistic philosopher? With statements like “we must guard against simplistic reductionisms” such as “good and evil, or righteous and sinner" and the "good political leader is one who with the interest of all in mind seizes the moment in a spirit of openness and pragmatism," Pope Francis is bringing a new kind of religiosity to the fore. This religiosity might be called "neo-orthodox” by some, but it also brings a spirit of dialogue, of inquiry, and of appreciation for human dignity that could not be more aligned with the emerging generation of seekers, both religious and secular alike; or with what world religions scholar Huston Smith terms "a post-secular humanism." While there are still major questions regarding Pope Francis’s stand on women priests, sexual transgressions in the church, and birth control, to name a few, it may just be that we are witnessing a nascent spirit of bridge-building in the most orthodox corners of humanity. And if such is the case, then it is a hopeful challenge to absolutists and polarizers everywhere, both secular and religious.