Yes, it's nice that Time named Pope Francis "Man of the Year," but it's hard to imagine that even a very charismatic religious leader can steer the world away from all the violent stupidity the practice of religion has brought us this year.
Sunni Muslims, Shi'a Muslims, various Christians, Hindus, and even Buddhists and animists have been killing each other this past year. Iraq and Afghanistan, of course, continue to be torn apart, and Syria is worse. Then there are Cambodia and the Central African Republic and Chad and Ethiopia and Lebanon and Ceylon and Burma and Uttar Pradesh and Bahrain and the Northern Caucasus and more places I can't remember right now. Oh, yeah, and don't forget the Israeli ultra-orthodox zealously expanding the settlements, and the Palestinians who hate them.
Then there are the secularists and the Putinistas and the radical atheists and Kim Jong Un. It's all religious craziness, even when there's not much obvious religion involved. It's all religion.
There was a very long time before you were conceived, and there will be a very long time after you are dead. We are very, very finite, and there are no angels nor virgins nor reincarnation awaiting us. We occupy a finite space in time, the same space we always shall occupy. Those who intentionally truncate that time — by volunteering as suicide bombers, for example — get no special consideration.
In the long run, of course, it doesn't make any difference. It doesn't make any difference at all.
Happy New Year.