For a moment, let’s assume that there is a God, a powerful force that created the world and all its inhabitants.
Strict Old Testament adherents will say that it took seven days for God to create the world.
Men of science will adhere to the Big Bang theory, an enormous explosion of energy that was the true beginning of the world.
Islamists will say that Mohammed was God’s prophet and what was written in the Koran is inviolate. What the Koran says is fact.
Pope Francis is a man of courage. Attempting to get Catholics to accept our changing world is an amazing step forward. To promote the idea that gays and divorced people are part of our society and should be treated with the same respect as non-gays and married people can change how millions of people treat others.
For me, it isn’t religion that’s important, it is doing everything possible to help our world be a better place. Strict religious zealots do exactly the opposite. ISIS will happily kill anyone who doesn’t agree with their strict brand of Islam. Right-wing religious fanatics in our country have killed physicians who perform abortions.
I applaud Pope Francis. I respect and admire men in power who stand up against the religious power structure that only adheres to dogma.
Psychiatry is a profession that honors the rights of people to have their own opinions and lives based on personal beliefs. It doesn’t honor the rights of people to kill or attack others who don’t agree with them. In the seventies, psychiatrists believed that homosexuality was a disease. Their belief was wrong and now we know better. WE CHANGED. Homosexuality is not considered a disease. It is an accepted sexual preference.
The pope is trying to get fellow Catholics to change. Maybe his thinking can influence millions of people who are not yet capable of thinking for themselves. Leaders have great power. Using that power to make our world a kinder, more loving place seems to me to be the essence of what religion should be all about.
Art Smukler is an award-winning psychiatrist and author of Chasing Backwards, a psychological murder mystery, Skin Dance, a mystery, and The Man with a Microphone in his Ear. All are available as paperbacks and eBooks.
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