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November 26th, 2013
10:21 AM ET

Pope Francis: No more business as usual

By Daniel Burke, Belief Blog Co-editor

(CNN) - Pope Francis on Tuesday called for big changes in the Roman Catholic Church - including at the very top  saying the church needs to rethink rules and customs that are no longer widely understood or effective for evangelizing.

"I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security," the Pope said in a major new statement.

"I do not want a Church concerned with being at the center and then ends by being caught up in a web of obsessions and procedures," Francis added.

The Pope's address, called an "apostolic exhortation," is part mission statement, part pep talk for the world's 1.5 billion Catholics. Francis' bold language and sweeping call for change are likely to surprise even those who've grown accustomed to his unconventional papacy.

"Not everyone will like this document," said the Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and author in New York. "For it poses a fierce challenge to the status quo."

And it's not just a verbal challenge, the Pope said on Tuesday.

"I want to emphasize that what I am trying to express here has a programmatic significance and important consequences."

Since his election in March, Pope Francis, the first pontiff to hail from Latin America, has made headlines by decrying the iniquities of modern capitalism, embracing the poor and people with disabilities and reaching out to gays and lesbians.

At the same time, the 77-year-old pontiff has sought to to awaken a spirit of joy and compassion in the church, scolding Catholic "sourpusses" who hunt down rule-breakers and calling out a "tomb psychology" that "slowly transforms Christians into mummies in a museum."

"An evangelizer must never look like someone who has just come back from a funeral!" the Pope said.

Officially known in Latin as "Evangelii Gaudium" (The Joy of the Gospel), the 85-page statement released on Tuesday is the first official document written entirely by Pope Francis. (An earlier document was co-written by Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.)

Although Francis sprinkles the statement with citations of previous popes and Catholic luminaries like St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine, the new pontiff makes a bold call for the church to rethink even long-held traditions.

"In her ongoing discernment, the Church can also come to see that certain customs not directly connected to the heart of the Gospel, even some which have deep historical roots, are no longer properly understood and appreciated," the Pope said.

"Some of these customs may be beautiful, but they no longer serve as means of communicating the Gospel. We should not be afraid to re-examine them. At the same time, the Church has rules or precepts which may have been quite effective in their time, but no longer have the same usefulness for directing and shaping people’s lives."

Such statements mark a sharp break from Benedict XVI, a more tradition-bound pope who focused on cleaning up cobwebs of unorthodoxy in the church.

By contrast, in "Evangelii" Francis repeats his calls for Catholics to stop "obsessing" about culture war issues and to focus more on spreading the Gospel, especially to the poor and marginalized.

READ MORE: The Pope’s bold new vision

The outside world, particularly its economic inequalities, didn't escape Francis' notice either.

In a section of "Evangelii" entitled "some challenges to today's world," he sharply criticized what he called an "idolatry of money" and "the inequality that spawns violence."

The Pope also blasted "trickle-down economics," saying the theory "expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power."

“Meanwhile,” Francis said, “the excluded are still waiting.”

But the bulk of Francis' statement addresses the church, which, he said, should not be afraid to "get its shoes soiled by the mud of the street."

The Pope also hinted that he wants to see an end to the so-called "wafer wars," in which Catholic politicians who support abortion rights are denied Holy Communion. His comments could also be taken as another sign that he plans to reform church rules that prevent divorced Catholics from receiving the Eucharist.

"Everyone can share in some way in the life of the Church; everyone can be part of the community, nor should the doors of the sacraments be closed for simply any reason," Francis said.

"The Eucharist, although it is the fullness of sacramental life, is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak."

Even so, Francis reiterated the church's stand against abortion, defending it against critics who call such arguments "ideological, obscurantist and conservative."

"Precisely because this involves the internal consistency of our message about the value of the human person, the Church cannot be expected to change her position on this question," Francis said.

The Pope also reiterated previous rejections on ordaining women, saying the topic is "not open for discussion."

But that doesn't mean the church values men more than women, he said.

"We need to create still broader opportunities for a more incisive female presence in the Church," the Pope said.

Francis also said he expects other parts of the church to change, and called on Catholics to be unafraid of trying new things.

"More than by fear of going astray, my hope is that we will be moved by the fear of remaining shut up within structures which give us a false sense of security, within rules which make us harsh judges, within habits which make us feel safe, while at our door people are starving."

Francis didn't mention specific reforms, but he suggested that it could include changes at the very top of the church.

"Since I am called to put into practice what I ask of others, I too must think about a conversion of the papacy," he said.

READ MORE: Pope Francis: Church can't 'interfere' with gays

The church's centralization, where all roads lead to Rome, and the "we've always done it this way" type of thinking have hindered Catholics' ability to minister to local people in far-flung places, Francis suggested.

"I invite everyone to be bold and creative in this task of rethinking the goals, structures, style and methods of evangelization in their respective communities," the Pope said.

Martin, the Jesuit priest and author, said he could not recall ever "reading a papal document that was so thought-provoking, surprising and invigorating."

"The document’s main message is that Catholics should be unafraid of new ways of proclaiming the Gospel and new ways of thinking about the church."

MORE ON CNN:

The disfigured man in popular photos talks about the Pope's embrace 

Opinion – the Pope’s revolutionary message 

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Christianity • Pope Francis

soundoff (2,437 Responses)
  1. Me

    First thing they should do is put a Bible in every pew of the Catholic church and encourage their members to read it. The entire church is almost entirely ignorant and just blindly follow what the priest says

    November 26, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
    • Realist

      you can't do that!!! They'll be stoning children and women.

      November 26, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
    • Third Eagle of the apocalypse.

      Poll after poll shows that is common for all Christians not just Cathys. In fact those same polls show that Atheist and Agnostics know more about whats in the current version of the Bible than most Christians. Look it up.

      November 26, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • Adam M

      Amen.

      November 26, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
    • Colin

      Well, I guess that may be a good idea if one is a late Bronze Age Jew, but it is not much help in the Twenty-First Century USA.

      November 26, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
    • sonny chapman

      Especially the Four Gospels. Even just Matthew; it's only 40 pages but can change your Faith !!

      November 26, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
    • Maria

      Your idea is misguided. This is a myth perpetuated by non-Catholics. Let me educate you. The center of our Mass is the Eucharist adoration of the body, blood and divinity of our dear Lord Jesus Christ. Each Mass has a a weekly focus and the structure of the Mass always reading from the Old Testament and two from the New Testament. Each year the new testament readings are decided by the Church for all Catholics. As as result as Catholics we are intimately knowledgeable of what is in the Bible and know all the readings including Pslams. We may not memorize and cite chapter, paragraph .. but that is not the point. we know the Word. The Word of God is centered in our Mass adoration. I hope this will open your skewed understanding and encourage you to attend a Mass as we would welcome you.

      November 26, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
      • snowboarder

        unfortunately most of the catholics I know are irish, which mean they are the first generation to walk upright and we are fortunate that they don't eat their young.

        November 26, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
      • sonny chapman

        Sorry, but THE WORD works for me & my nourishment by the Spirit. Heck, THE WORD comes directly from the Father! What else do you need. Try It !

        November 26, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
  2. magicpanties

    Does a bear poop in St. Peters?

    November 26, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
  3. habemusachum

    I heard that he is part of the harlot of Rev 17... is it true? if so, when will it fall?

    November 26, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
    • snowboarder

      likely never.

      November 26, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
  4. Susan

    I love this pope. Ever since I was little & watched Anthony Quinn in "Shoes of the Fisherman" I prayed for the day we would get a man of his honor. A true Chrisitan, no judging, no labels, just the simple truth, be kind & love one another. Amercian conservatives could take a que from him. Come down of your high horses, quit judging people.

    November 26, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • Realist

      ignoring is judging,, he ignores the abused children suffering today. You failed in your post.

      November 26, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
  5. Rose

    I guess Palin is going to be a bit upset with the Pope again. Accept people? Not likely.

    November 26, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • Realist

      pope doesn't accept the small children abused,, he ignores them, lets them suffer

      November 26, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
      • chieftrainer

        You are looking for Jesus. The pope is not Jesus.

        November 26, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
  6. fred

    i reaaly like how pope francis stated that we took are religion to the streets. i find that true. i am kind of up in the air about it all!!

    November 26, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
  7. OwMySkull

    Jesus, save me from your followers.

    November 26, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
  8. A baby with original sin?

    1459 wasn't so bad if you were Christian...lol

    November 26, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
  9. fred

    hahaha! 819 votes? hahaha!

    November 26, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
  10. A baby with prginal sin?

    Sounds as if this church will be modern one day soon at least
    till 1459 ,,wow!

    November 26, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
  11. Realist

    I find it interesting that in a free country, catholics just love having a dictator.

    November 26, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
  12. Brad

    I've often heard people comment that religion keep people from going astray, and without religion, they would give in to sin. I suspect that being denied a sinful nature makes people crave it even more. I know plenty of non-religious people that don't go around stealing, lying, filandering, and murdering.

    November 26, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
    • Realist

      if you are not religious, your good deeds are genuine, rather than measured.

      November 26, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
      • Malcom

        Atheism doesn't equal freedom from impure motives, and being religious doesn't mean they are present. Not all religious people believe that good works are a condition for "salvation", but rather the fruit of it.

        November 26, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
        • Realist

          wow,, you are delusional

          November 26, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
      • ScottC

        Your intolerance and blind hatred is showing. Religion isn't going anywhere, much to you chagrin.

        November 26, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
    • snowboarder

      of course not. it is an empty premise in the first place, belied by a world full of societies of every conceivable religion.

      November 26, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
  13. sportsdrenched

    As a non-Cathloic Christian I welcome this new paradigm that this Pope is bringing to the table. Because, like it or not; many people will lump Catholics & Non-Catholics under same umbrella regardless of how they practice their faith. This can only help the other denominations that have already left the dogma in favor of getting closer Christ and the Gospels.

    November 26, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
    • Realist

      he sure denies small children abused. You'd think a GOOD person would have dealt with that first, rather than deflecting like a politician.

      November 26, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
      • K

        So how exactly has he denied this? In fact, quite the contrary is true. And, not for nothin', but Benedict before him met with an publicly apologized to many victims. He also put in place a programatic means for testing seminary candidates to do everything possible to stop it in the future. Is that denying the problem? I suspect that no matter what the Church does, it won't be enough for you and many like you.

        November 26, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
  14. Robyn

    >> The Pope also reiterated that the possibility of ordaining women is "not open for discussion."
    >> But that doesn't mean the church values men more than women, he said.

    It's like when you have a slave and a master.
    One must do the work and one must reap the reward.
    But both are necessary for the system to work.

    Feel better now, ladies? Sure, I knew you would.
    Now, Get back to work !

    November 26, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
    • notsosweetsue

      Thanks, Robyn. Not goin' back to the church any time soon. I may give the Episcopalians a go: they seem to welcome both women and gays as real-honest-to-goodness human beings of worth.

      November 26, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • Enough

      This has nothing to do with discrimination of women! It has all to do with what Christ established. If you take time to research, you would find that women actually were on equal footing with men in Jewish society at the time and treated better then they are now!

      November 26, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
      • Mary Magdalene

        Spread the word of The Lord. Fail.

        November 26, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
      • A Little Nervous Now

        You better do some more research.Women were never meant to be rulers over men. God created Adam first for a reason and Eve was never his equal.

        November 26, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
    • Justin S.

      read between the lines

      "not open for discussion" = "may open for discussion"

      the church is full of infants, so we must take baby steps

      have patience. it's a virtue or something.

      November 26, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
  15. EX Catholic

    This is like; who cares? Well probably only idolaters and atheists!!

    November 26, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
    • snowboarder

      idolaters?

      November 26, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
      • larry

        Lolligaggers

        November 26, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
  16. A Little Nervous Now

    Well this is interesting. This guy is trying to appease all peoples of all faiths world wide. Also discussing economics, money markets, giving the Catholic Church a more friendly makeover, making statements that will hit home to every human being on this earth. Isn't the Anti Christ going to do the same thing?

    November 26, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • Justin S.

      blah blah blah

      Every time there's a popular leader there's always naysayer with a wolf-in-sheep's-clothing spiel. Did it ever occur to you that "the anti-Christ" (which your Bible says are many and constant) are those people who refuse to see Christ in action even when he's directly in front of their faces?

      November 26, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
      • A Little Nervous Now

        Do you STILL believe that a priest can give you absolution? Before Jesus died on the cross yes, after, NO. Why do the Catholics STILL make you believe you have to confess to a priest all your sins and ask HIM to forgive you? Before Jesus died, yes, after, NO. Why do you pray to saints and worse of all MARY? Thou shalt have no other Gods before me! All Catholics who still practice these insanities in this day and age are ensuring themselves a miserable long suffering after life.

        November 26, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
        • snowboarder

          assuming their beliefs are any less loony than yours.

          November 26, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
        • PaulJ

          You do not even understand the basics of Catholic sacraments, especially Reconciliation. When a member of the body of Christ sins, they sin against the entire body. God forgives the sin, he doesn't need a priests help. Reconciliation reconciles the person to the body of Christ. I don't mind a bit standing up for what I believe but those who think they know Catholic faith simply show their willingness to speak without the benefit of knowledge. go learn what we really believe instead of the BS you've been told or currently think you know. Go read John 20: 23. Christ gave the power to forgive sins to the Apostles. Apostalic authority has been passed down through the ages unless you believe it ended with the death of the original 12 which would only prove that God created a church on Peter without any plans for it to continue.

          November 26, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
        • PaulJ

          Sorry, I fogot a few. So i guess you never ask anyone to pray for you? That what intercessory prayer is, asking others to pray for you. Asking the Saints or Mary to pray for you seems fairly logical to me. I ask God something, ask others to pray with me. I like the idea of having the Saints or Mary on my side in the discussion. The Saints nor Mary grant a prayer but asking them to pray with us and for us to Jesus works for me. You don't like it, don't do it. If you don't think Mary has a special place in heaven you haven't bothered to read Revelatiion. She has no "special" powers but as the Mother of Christ don't you think her prayer with us might be helpful?

          November 26, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
  17. sonny chapman

    Instead of location,location, location, Francis is preaching The Word, The Word, The Word.–The FOUR GOSPELS !!

    November 26, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • Realist

      he sure keeps the cover ups going. Forget about addressing the #1 priority, helping those abused. After all, they are just throw away.

      November 26, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • A Little Nervous Now

      Yea the 4 Gospels. Not the Bible as a whole. The Catholics use bits and pieces from it like false prophets and such. I too grew up a Catholic and never saw a Bible in the pews on Sunday mornings and was never required to bring one the church. The Catholic church preaches things that will send you to straight to the devil for life. There are so many things that changed when Jesus died on the cross but Catholics don't teach and preach that yet Sonny here wants to talk about the 4 Gospels.

      November 26, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
      • Justin S.

        I used to be a Protestant like you.

        Then I grew up.

        November 26, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
        • A Little Nervous Now

          I don't think you grew up at all. Being a Catholic puts your future after life in danger. How can you call yourself a grown up and not know this fact? Keep growing though, you'll eventually get a clue.

          November 26, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
      • sonny chapman

        The Old Testament was the birth Faith of Jesus; Hebrew. Some followers of Jesus, the Red Letter Guys, rely solely on THE WORDS of Jesus as found in the Gospels. Totally ignore the rest of the New Testament.

        November 26, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
  18. Matt

    I'm an atheist and obviously no fan of religion, but if there were more Christians like this pope I'd be less hostile towards them. No question.

    November 26, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • Charlie Manson

      Yes, the pope has my moral values at heart. Glad he cover ups the child abuses and distracts everyone from it. Sure the cover ups were worse that the abuses, but who cares – just look at meeeee.

      November 26, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
      • Matt

        If I judged all people based on the actions of a screwed up minority then I may as well move now because no American will ever be safe.

        November 26, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
        • Realist

          too bad the majority, pope down, covered up the abuses. That placed the final blow on the child..

          A child left to cope alone is at the greatest risk to mental illness and suicide. This church is fil–th

          November 26, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
        • Hypocrisy Democracy

          Really, realist? "The majority" covered it up? You mean, the majority of the leadership or the majority of the Church, because you realize there are like a billion. What do you know about the Church that would qualify you to label it "filth"? Do you sit on their meetings? You are lumping the actions of relatively few in with the whole.

          November 26, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
    • sonny chapman

      Mahatma Gandhi once said,"This Jesus Christ guy, I like. These Christians, not so much".

      November 26, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
      • Hypocrisy Democracy

        Because all Christians are the same.

        November 26, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
      • Linda McDermott

        I absolutely agree....we have taken a simple message and complicated it with man made rules...

        November 26, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
  19. Susan StoHelit

    As an atheist – this is a guy I can respect.

    I don't believe what he does – but unlike most in the Catholic (AND Christian) hierarchy, he seems to actually believe the best parts of his religion, and lives it. I don't expect the church to change it's positions – they have what they think is wrong (abortion, same gender marriage, atheism) – but to treat it properly, as everyone's choice, rather than something they can force the world to change – that is all ANYONE should ever expect. That is how we all live and let live, when we all think someone else is wrong, and we all have others who think our choices are wrong.

    I grew up in a Catholic family, and what the church became hurt many people I love. I never believed, but they did, so for them this was awful. To see someone FINALLY really working on what the church should be, if they act like they believe what they preach, is a good thing.

    November 26, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • Charlie Manson

      I like this guy too. He has my values.

      November 26, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
      • Susan StoHelit

        He doesn't have mine, but he's not a hypocrite, and he isn't judgmental, so I have no problem with that.

        November 26, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
      • Cpt. Obvious

        Boring troll is obvious

        November 26, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
  20. Colin

    There are some pretty fundamental objections to Catholicism that are hard to get around. Now if a believer wants to tell me "I am ignorant of the Catholic faith" please point out what I got wrong.

    If you have a disagreement with a point I make, post it. However, if you only object to the fact that I said it, please understand that I do not buy into the whole “it is immoral to be skeptical of the Catholic religion” nonsense.

    1. At its most fundamental level, Christianity requires a belief that an all-knowing, all-powerful, immortal being created the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies 13,720,000,000 years ago (the age of the Universe) sat back and waited 10,000,000,000 years for the Earth to form, then waited another 3,720,000,000 years for human beings to gradually evolve, then, at some point in our evolution from Hom.o Erectus, gave us eternal life and, about 200,000 years later, sent its son to Earth to talk about sheep and goats in the Middle East.

    While here, this divine visitor exhibits no knowledge of ANYTHING outside of the Greco-Roman Middle East, including the other continents, 99% of the human race, and the aforementioned galaxies. One would have thought that a visitor from the creator of the Universe would visit (or at least mention) the millions up millions of Chinese and other Asians, all the people spread throughout North and South America, the Australian Aboriginals, the ancient Europeans or the Subsaharan Africans. Instead, his entire visit and his entire Holy Book, the Bible, is 100% concentrated on the Jews. It seems obvious beyond any rational doubt that the Jews made God in their image and not vice-versa.

    2. This ‘all loving’ god spends his time running the Universe and spying on the approximately 7 billion human beings on planet Earth, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. He even reads their minds (or “hears their prayers”, if you see any difference) using some kind of magic telepathic powers. He also keeps his telepathic eye on them when they are not praying, so as to know if they think bad thoughts (such as coveting their neighbor) so he knows whether to reward or punish them after they die.

    3. Having withheld any evidence of his existence, this god will then punish those who doubt him with an eternity burning in hell. I don’t have to kill, I don’t have to steal, I don’t even have to litter. All I have to do is harbor an honest, reasonable and rational disbelieve in the Christian god and he will inflict a grotesque penalty on me a billion times worse than the death penalty – and he loves me.

    4. The above beliefs are based on nothing more than a collection of Bronze Age and Greco-Roman Middle Eastern mythology, much of it discredited, that was cobbled together into a book called the “Bible” by people we know virtually nothing about, before the Dark Ages.

    5. The stories of Christianity are not even original. They are borrowed directly from earlier mythology from the Middle East. Genesis and Exodus, for example, are clearly based on earlier Babylonian myths such as The Epic of Gilgamesh, and the Jesus story itself is straight from the stories about Apollonius of Tyana, Horus and Dionysus (including virgin birth, the three wise men, the star in the East, birth at the Winter solstice, a baptism by another prophet, turning water into wine, crucifixion and rising from the dead).

    6. The Bible is also literally infested with contradictions, outdated morality, and open support for the most barbarous acts of cruelty – including, genocide, murder, slavery, r.ape and the complete subjugation of women. All of this is due to when and where it was written, the morality of the times and the motives of its authors and compilers. While this may be exculpatory from a literary point of view, it also screams out the fact that it is a pure product of man, bereft of any divine inspiration.

    7. A rejection of the supernatural elements of Catholicism does not require a rejection of its morality. Most atheists and secular humanists share a large amount of the morality taught today by mainstream Catholicism. To the extent we reject Catholic morality, it is where it is outdated or mean spirited – such as in the way it seeks to curtail freedoms or oppose the rights of $exual minorities. In most other respects, our basic moral outlook is indistinguishable from that of the liberal Catholic – we just don’t need the mother of all carrots and sticks hanging over our head in order to act in a manner that we consider moral.

    Falsely linking morality to a belief in the supernatural is a time-tested “three card trick” religion uses to stop its adherents from asking the hard questions. So is telling them it is “wrong to doubt.” This is probably why there is not one passage in the Bible in support of intelligence and healthy skepticism, but literally hundreds in support of blind acceptance and blatant gullibility.

    8. We have no idea of who wrote the four Gospels, how credible or trustworthy they were, what ulterior motives they had (other than to promote their religion) or what they based their views on. We know that the traditional story of it being Matthew, Mark, Luke and John is almost certainly wrong. For example, the Gospel of Matthew includes a scene in which Jesus meets Matthew, recounted entirely in the third person!! Nevertheless, we are called upon to accept the most extraordinary claims by these unknown people, who wrote between 35 to 65 years after Christ died and do not even claim to have been witnesses. It is like taking the word of an unknown Branch Davidian about what happened to David Koresh at Waco – who wrote 35 years after the fact and wasn’t there.

    9. When backed into a corner, Catholicism admits it requires a “leap of faith” to believe it. This is probably the “mother of all understatements”. In any event, once one accepts that pure faith is a legitimate reason to believe in something (which it most certainly is not, any more than “faith” that pixies exist is) one has to accept all other gods based on exactly the same reasoning. One cannot be a Catholic based on the “leap of faith” – and then turn around and say those who believe in, for example, the Hindu gods, based on the same leap, got it wrong. In a dark room without features, any guess by a blind man at the direction of the door is as valid as the other 359 degrees.

    Geography and birthplace dictates what god(s) one believes in. Every culture that has ever existed has had its own gods and they all seem to favor that particular culture, its hopes, dreams, and prejudices. Do you think they all exist? If not, why only yours?

    Faith is not belief in a god. It is a mere hope for a god, a wish for a god, no more substantial than the hope for a good future and no more universal than the language you speak or the baseball team you support.

    November 26, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • Realist

      I think you're onto reality. Hope is what they have, much like a gambler bidding away his mortgage payment.

      November 26, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • notsosweetsue

      Bravo! and one other thing–the church's view of humankind is contradictory to say the least–we are supposed to believe that humans are the highest of God's creations, that we are made in his image and likeness–BUT we are miserable sinners due to the regrettable curiosity/disobedience of our progenitors Adam and Eve–and that we must grovel before God asking forgiveness for our human frailty–when he–ALLKNOWING AND SEEING– created us this way–and KNEW how we'd end up. this tale needs to be revisited. I can understand the human need for a Creator, but not the kind of Creator created by men/churches.

      November 26, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • cristian

      man, somebody got you going...
      not rrue that every region has its own gods.
      we use the ones from the Middle East...

      November 26, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • tamalan

      You, sir, ate your Wheaties this morning!

      November 26, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
    • dave

      I will pray that God find you something more useful to do with your time.

      November 26, 2013 at 6:21 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.