The election of the new Pope has many people hoping that Pope Francis will bring about reform in the Catholic Church. That’s possible, but the Catholic Church, like religion itself, has one fundamental problem. It’s built on supernatural beliefs and myths. Religion isn’t based on science or empirical evidence. It’s based on faith. Religion attempts to explain the world and the meaning of life through stories. It provides solace by offering a “life after death,” and affirms that good will triumph over evil. Not bad ideas. Religious stories make for fun reading, but as a guide to morality or as an explanation for the world is absurdity.

As an atheist, I view the world as fundamentally physical and knowable. Reality is what we can perceive with the senses, and detect with scientific instruments, or predicted with models, such as black holes. Science is better than religion at explaining the way the natural world works, and it’s not saddled with intolerance and bigotry.

The fact there’s a new Pope makes little difference to me, but for some people, it’s a big deal, and that’s sad.