Richard Dawkins’ site says what I wish I had written:
While the rest of the world has been wrestling with the current situation in the Middle East, North Korea setting off more nuclear bombs, and the frightening effects of Global Warming, the Vatican has been concerned with one of the great issues of humanity: whether or not Limbo exists.
It is amazing any of us can sleep at night when the fate of millions of souls hangs in the balance.
I couldn’t have expressed better than that, the utter irrelevance and vacuousness of religion. And how does this proposed change gel with the Pope’s supposed infallibility? Have popes been wrong all these centuries when they said Limbo exists (were they fallible? Surely not), or has God just decided this week to do away with it? And how do they know? With Galileo’s claim that the Earth orbits the Sun, there was at least scientific evidence that eventually even the church couldn't ignore. But how will they decide if limbo exists or not? As Ophelia puts it:
Okay - you've got your Vatican commission of theologians, thirty of them, and they have been 'examining' limbo. They've been what? What does that mean? How have they been examining limbo? They've been looking at it through a telescope? Through a microscope? Both at once? Both in alternation? Fifteen theologians on the tele and fifteen on the micro, and they combine their findings? Or they X-ray it? Run it through an MRI scan? Shave off bits of it for radio-carbon dating? Or is it that they sit limbo down and ask it a lot of questions? Or do they give it a written exam, with two hours to complete it and proctors walking up and down to prevent cheating? Or what?
Well, apparently none of those, since the pope is going to abolish the concept itself, which would seem to hint that there's nothing physical or material to examine. But then what? What does it mean for theologians to examine limbo? To talk about it, apparently, and decide whether they feel like believing in it or not.
And there you have, in a nutshell, the difference between science and religion. In science, the evidence is there for all to see, examine and find any faults that exist. Contrary evidence means your theory has to change. In religion, knowledge is revealed by authority figures, based on what they decide to make up that day. Theists who claim that trust in the scientific method is the same as their faith in made-up nonsense such as Limbo (its existence or otherwise), need to explain how the infallible Pope (or his “commission of theologians”) arrives at decisions such as this.
Still, at least the church is considering a change. It took them nearly 400 years to admit that Galileo was right, remember? Maybe in another 400 years – condoms?
You can come out now – this place doesn’t exist!