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Pope: The Internet is a 'gift from God.' But watch out for the trolls
Pope Francis addressed digital technology and social communications on Thursday.
January 23rd, 2014
10:40 AM ET

Pope: The Internet is a 'gift from God.' But watch out for the trolls

By Daniel Burke, Belief Blog Co-editor

(CNN) Careerist clergy. The super rich. And now we can add another pelt to Pope Francis' collection: Internet trolls.

In statement released on Thursday, the Pope said the Internet and social media are making people across the world "increasingly interdependent."

"The Internet, in particular, offers immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity," Francis said. "This is something truly good, a gift from God."

At the same time, though, all those tweets and texts and comment streams can cause people to "lose our bearings," said the 77-year-old pontiff.

"The speed with which information is communicated exceeds our capacity for reflection and judgement, and this does not make for more balanced and proper forms of self-expression," Francis said.

"The variety of opinions being aired can be seen as helpful," he continued, "but it also enables people to barricade themselves behind sources of information which only confirm their own wishes and ideas, or political and economic interests."

There's a tinge of irony to the Pope's comments, considering that his own soaring popularity can be partially traced to the Internet and social media. According to a study released in November, Francis was the most talked about person online last year.

MORE ON CNN: Pope Francis won the Internet. Literally.

Whether consciously or not, the Pope has become an unlikely poster boy for how stories spread in the modern world.

Photos and videos of him washing the feet of Muslim inmates, embracing a severely disfigured man and giving his pal a lift on the Popemobile have gone viral, with hundreds of thousands sharing the images.

MORE ON CNN: Pope Francis' greatest hits of 2013

"Goodness always tends to spread," Francis said in his apostolic exhortation, "The Joy of the Gospel," a line that could have been uttered in the boardrooms of savvy online outlets like Upworthy and BuzzFeed.

But the Pope's theory of communication seems to derive from a more ancient source: his namesake, St. Francis of Assisi.

"Preach the Gospel all the time. Use words when necessary," the 13th century friar is often quoted as saying. (Some call the quote apocryphal.)

Rather than "bombarding people with religious messages," the Pope urged Catholics on Thursday to listen patiently and engage their interlocutors' doubts and questions.

"Let our communication be a balm which relieves pain and a fine wine which gladdens hearts," Francis said.

The Pope also warned against spending too much time online, saying  the "desire for digital connectivity" can sometimes isolate people from their friends, family and neighbors.

“It is not enough to be passers-by on the digital highways, simply 'connected'; connections need to grow into true encounters," he said.

"We cannot live apart, closed in on ourselves. We need to love and to be loved. We need tenderness. Media strategies do not ensure beauty, goodness and truth in communication."

Drawbacks aside, the Pope did not argue that people should reject social media, which he said can foster unity and "help us feel closer to each other."

Instead he argued that advances in bits and bytes shouldn't distract from the fact that digital communication is, at root, about people connecting with each other.

"What is it, then, that helps us, in the digital environment, to grow in humanity and mutual understanding?" the Pope asked.

"We need, for example, to recover a certain sense of deliberateness and calm. This calls for time and the ability to be silent and to listen. We need also to be patient if we want to understand those who are different from us."

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Internet • Pope Francis

soundoff (2,371 Responses)
  1. Science Works

    Different from us ? – maybe that is the problem ?

    Smithsonian's Human Origins Program

    http://humanorigins.si.edu/

    Comments welcome .

    January 23, 2014 at 12:14 pm |
  2. Alias

    Just put the shipping and handling in the collection plate.

    January 23, 2014 at 12:10 pm |
    • tony

      Nice one!

      January 23, 2014 at 12:11 pm |
  3. tony

    Pope invites non-catholics to join church services with the first 6 months free!

    January 23, 2014 at 12:08 pm |
  4. whocares

    Glass houses.......

    January 23, 2014 at 12:07 pm |
  5. Ah

    no doubt.. Pope PR confirmed. Trolling? Pope out to manipulate again.

    hey pope.. Why not take care of those abused by the cover ups. Or do the posts revealing the truth scare you.

    January 23, 2014 at 12:04 pm |
  6. Will

    WHAT SAY YOU TROLLS???

    January 23, 2014 at 11:55 am |
    • Hugh Jass

      Who cares what trolls say? That's kinda the point of it. Once you are a troll, you have zero credibility.

      January 23, 2014 at 12:02 pm |
    • Ah

      problem is that when you have an organization as the vatican, they can slam and hide the truth. Sometimes the real truth comes out in peoples posts.

      In the case of the pope deflecting from the cover ups,, just a good example.

      January 23, 2014 at 12:05 pm |
  7. BobPitt

    The guy is rocking the boat.. I hope they don't kill him..

    January 23, 2014 at 11:49 am |
    • doobzz

      How is this "rocking the boat'?

      January 23, 2014 at 12:02 pm |
      • Ah

        clergy come here to post.. all part of the PR. That's why the pope had to push CNN to come out with this story, he realized that the majority of people see him and the vatican as a scam.. and the destruction to children's lives worldwide

        January 23, 2014 at 12:07 pm |
  8. Forgetaboutatleast

    The pope is telling xtians to stop using bible verses for debates. Instead, he's requesting them to use logic, love and understanding. I completely agree, and I look forward to some thoughtful reasoning.

    January 23, 2014 at 11:47 am |
    • tony

      which will lead directly to atheism for most people of average intelligence.

      January 23, 2014 at 11:57 am |
      • Ah

        pope just doesn't want people to know the truth and depth of abuse cover ups. Most people are aware today

        January 23, 2014 at 12:08 pm |
    • igaftr

      How can someone use logic in a debate about that which there is no evidence for?
      Can you logically argue that Santa is real?
      It is illogical to have belief in the bible, since enough has been disproven to make the whole of it suspect.
      Logic is the enemy of belief.

      January 23, 2014 at 11:59 am |
      • Forgetaboutatleast

        Not exactly. It's not logical to believe that humans are the highest form of intelligence in this universe. It is entirely possible that aliens from other planets, solar systems, galaxies, or quasars decided to use Earth as a giant petri dish.

        January 23, 2014 at 8:09 pm |
      • joshtheapologist

        You obviously are incredibly ignorant of the credibility of the Bible. I'd love to go on but I suspect you'll simply ignore it and go on to post senseless comments elsewhere.

        January 24, 2014 at 10:25 am |
        • G to the T

          "You obviously are incredibly ignorant of the credibility of the Bible." I don't believe I am but I always willing to learn. Whatcha got?

          January 24, 2014 at 2:01 pm |
      • joshtheapologist

        And I love how you pretend to know what logic is, which is a man made thing. You compare things like santa claus to the Bible because you wouldn't know logic if it was flashing on a neon light.

        January 24, 2014 at 10:27 am |
    • WASP

      i can already smell the gears in their heads starting to seaze up and start smoking. XD

      "what i can't use my bible to defend my bible?.................WHAT?!"

      XD

      January 23, 2014 at 12:00 pm |
      • Forgetaboutatleast

        LOL, exactly!

        January 23, 2014 at 8:06 pm |
    • Hugh Jass

      Religion is impervious to logic, so good luck with that. I think he'll suddenly die in his sleep like Pope John Paul and that will be the end of his inconvenient truths.

      January 23, 2014 at 12:04 pm |
  9. Darw1n

    I would like to buy this guy a beer some day.

    January 23, 2014 at 11:44 am |
    • BobPitt

      Write him a letter, probably he would take your offer..!! I am not a Christian but I like the guy..!!!

      January 23, 2014 at 11:47 am |
      • Darw1n

        Maybe I will. I'm not christian either, agnostic bordering atheist, but I like him too.

        January 23, 2014 at 11:49 am |
        • Mike

          This Pope seems to be making friends across a lot of boundaries. Personally, I'm with you on admiration for Pope Francis and more or less where I stand on matters of faith.

          Just goes to show that "Being a good person" and admiration for same isn't restricted by religion, or lack thereoff.

          January 23, 2014 at 12:02 pm |
      • Ah

        in another forum you said you were.. Interesting. Clergy will deceive to any length. The popes have taught you well.

        January 23, 2014 at 12:12 pm |
      • Fan2c

        Pope Francis gives some wise and practical advice. He doesn't seem to push the supernatural fantasies and superst.itions quite as much as others do, but I assume they are there in his mind, just not at the forefront in public right now.

        January 23, 2014 at 12:17 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      The best part about drinking with a priest is that they can bless the bevarage.

      January 23, 2014 at 11:48 am |
      • Doc Vestibule

        Turning wine into blood isn't nearly as good a party trick as turning water to wine.

        January 23, 2014 at 11:49 am |
      • Darw1n

        Hee hee

        January 23, 2014 at 11:50 am |
    • Michael

      Sounds like he's more into wine.

      January 23, 2014 at 11:52 am |
  10. Harry Cline

    Oh Francis is sure hip to the internet.
    He's being kind. The internet has furthered the 'social disconnect'.

    January 23, 2014 at 11:36 am |
  11. Eral Coil

    I'm an Athiest and I like this pope a lot. I think he is a very wise and tolerant man who I hope will preach tolerance and peace for the rest of his days.
    And although I do not believe in god or heaven I will say this for him because I have much respect for him and I too wish to preach tolerance to all.

    "I have no doubt he will go to heaven and god himself will be blessed to recieve this man."

    Although I do not believe personally, if heaven and god are real and I am wrong I will be happy this man was alive.

    January 23, 2014 at 11:36 am |
    • lngtrmthnkr

      Eral, I don't think you are far from the kingdom of heaven.

      January 23, 2014 at 11:55 am |
      • tony

        the same distance as everyone one on this planet and all others.

        January 23, 2014 at 11:59 am |
  12. rhaj

    "... those connections can cause us to "lose our bearings," said the 77-year-old pontiff."

    "lose your bearings" = to become confused about where you are and where other things are.

    So... if I understand, in other words : internet can cause the believers to get "confused" in their faith..

    well... if information and education and science brought by the internet lead to that... that's normal 🙂

    I really think we atheist do not need to contradict and try to "convert" the Christians directly, like here on this Blog. Just bring on the "information and education (and science...)" and they will figure it out by themselves.

    January 23, 2014 at 11:35 am |
    • tony

      If only . . .

      Having some con man do your thjinking for you is what religion is all about. That's why religious leaders so desperately want to get religious belief back as a school subject.

      January 23, 2014 at 11:51 am |
    • tony

      If only . . . .

      Having some con man do your thjinking for you is what religion is all about. That's why religious leaders so desperately want to get religious belief back as a school subject.

      January 23, 2014 at 11:56 am |
      • rhaj

        yes.. they try to bring (back) religion to school. But I think the religious can't compete with the internet. With the information the internet brings, with the open discussion and exchange everywhere (very different from those top-down sermons), I really can see that our kids aren't impressed any more like the old generation. And I understand from the article above that the Pope is getting uncomfortable there...

        January 23, 2014 at 12:36 pm |
  13. bostontola

    If Jesus opened a Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn account, and performed an innocuous act or 2 of objective supernatural ability, there would be next to no atheists, Muslims, Jews, etc. People choosing to be saved Christians souls would go from 30% to over 90%. God wasn't so shy back in Abraham's day, although he was quite focused in His appearances, to one tribe in the middle east, later to their descendants in human form (following the Greek and Hindu traditions), if you believe the Mormons, he did a drive by in North America.

    All He has to do is pop in and the vast majority of humans would flock to Him. All the evil ones wouldn't have a chance.

    He loves us but creates a world where analytical, critical thinkers are skeptical and less likely to accept millennia old stories, where the parts of the world He didn't visit believe in false Gods, passed down from parent to child through many generations. This 70% are doomed to an eternity of fire.

    To me, that is one of the contradictions in the character of the Abrahamic God. Believers of course hide behind the "As a mere human, you can't possibly understand God's intentions" rationalization. All the non-belivers (Buddhists, Taoists, atheists, etc) just see it as transparent falsehoods that are revealed by a full reading of the bibles.

    January 23, 2014 at 11:33 am |
    • Hugh Jass

      What use is a god that never manifests, and how is it different from one that doesn't exist?

      January 23, 2014 at 11:42 am |
    • ed dugan

      Interesting. Let's see now. This god of theirs supposidly is perfect and cannot be wrong. You hear christians say "god does not make mistakes" Then, in a creative frenzy, taking only one week remember, he creates mankind, a faulty product if there ever was one. How can a perfect god create such a faulty product? Then he sends his son down to do a product recall and he gets himself killed. Great strategy from a perfect being. Then, instead of hanging around and proving who he claimed to be, jesus comes back, spends a few days with his friends and disappears. For such a perfect being this seems to be a hell of a lot of mistakes he made.I thought he was supposed to know all, see all and could control the future? Instead he resorts to talking snakes, etc. I don't think athiests need any help in leaving that fairy tale alone.

      January 23, 2014 at 11:44 am |
    • Live4Him

      @bostontola : People choosing to be saved Christians souls would go from 30% to over 90%.

      1) If Christ performed miracles today, people would still reject him with some excuse, just like when he walked on the earth. (see
      2) One cannot be a follower of Christ when all faith has been eliminated. (see Heb 11:6)
      3) Not all those who claim to follow Christ will enter into heaven. (see Matt 7:22)

      Matthew 12:24 But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.

      %nbsp;Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

      Matthew 7:21 Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

      <><

      January 23, 2014 at 11:57 am |
      • Fan2c

        Live4Him,
        "1) If Christ performed miracles today, people would still reject him with some excuse, just like when he walked on the earth."

        An omniscient and omnipotent being would know precisely how to make its existence clearly known to all and would be able to do so.

        Are these "God" and "Christ" characters totally stumped about what to do?

        January 23, 2014 at 12:04 pm |
      • G to the T

        I'd think he could figure out a sure fire way... if he really wanted to. He is all powerful after all...

        January 23, 2014 at 12:06 pm |
      • bostontola

        I am an atheist and if I had strong objective evidence of a supernatural act, I would absolutely consider God.

        January 23, 2014 at 12:12 pm |
        • lngtrmthnkr

          boston , if you consider God perhaps you will find supernatural evidence.

          January 23, 2014 at 12:20 pm |
        • doobzz

          @lngtrmthnkr

          "boston , if you consider God perhaps you will find supernatural evidence."

          And you have to believe in the golden plates to see the golden plates.

          January 23, 2014 at 12:23 pm |
        • Live4Him

          @bostontola : I am an atheist and if I had strong objective evidence of a supernatural act, I would absolutely consider God.

          From your perspective as an atheist, why would you chose to follow Christ in the above situation?

          <><

          January 23, 2014 at 12:24 pm |
        • bostontola

          lngtrmthnkr,
          I was brought up in a religious family. I was pre-disposed towards God. You must have skipped over a key word in my response, "Objective" evidence.

          January 23, 2014 at 12:26 pm |
        • bostontola

          L4H,
          Because in the OP I said He would set up internet accounts under that name, then perform supernatural acts. That would be good enough for me.

          January 23, 2014 at 12:28 pm |
    • Jesus' Beloved

      Unfortunately, the reason you're not seeing Christ is because most believers have not had their minds renewed. The Spirit of Christ lives in every believer, and it is through them that you behold the works of Christ. That's why when Jesus ascended He said it was better for Him to go, because by doing so His Spirit would be multiplied (i.e. the same spirit that raised Jesus from the dead is in each and every believer, and it's that spirit that works through the believer in carrying out the works of Father.)

      When more believers come into the fullness of the Spirit and start doing all that Christ did, then there won't be any questions regarding why Father hasn't shown up.
      We, the believers have to do the Word of God, because what we do establishes the Kingdom of God here on earth, and in that Kingdom there is no lack, poverty, sickness, disease etc.
      Since clearly these things still exist and you can see for yourself not much unity among the brethren, there is still much work to be done.
      But like a muscle, faith in the Word of God has to be exercised. However lack of faith is no excuse not to get out there and do what the Word says (I'm speaking of/to believers).
      The "work" of a believer is not hard... all we have to do is show up and let the Holy Spirit work through us. The heavens belong to God, but the earth He gave to man. Instead of using our words to curse each other, we have to use our words to bless each other, and to curse sickness and disease and command them to leave our planet.

      These are the Three 3 Levels of the Spirit (summarized):
      1. Residue of the Spirit (Law and Prophets)
      2. Earnest of the Spirit (Pentecost)
      3. Fullness of the Spirit

      The first two have already happened. When this last firmament is removed by Wisdom's release of the Fullness of the Spirit, we will observe God face to face.
      2Cor 3:17-18 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass (mirror) the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

      January 23, 2014 at 12:04 pm |
      • bostontola

        You did a nice job of summarizing your beliefs, you did nothing to address my points.

        January 23, 2014 at 12:14 pm |
        • Jesus' Beloved

          You are saying if Jesus came in person or if God showed up and did supernatural acts then you'd believe.

          I'm saying He's doing these things - through people.
          The reason they're done through people is because God gave the earth to man.

          He gave us power and authority to do all that Jesus did.
          So when a believer does supernatural acts... it is not the person but the Spirit in the person. God is always with us. His Holy Spirit lives in us. We're in the Father, we're in the Son. Where ever we go, God goes.

          So to see the supernatural acts of God, find a believer, one who actually does the Word of God, and you will see the works of God on this earth and be convinced.

          January 23, 2014 at 12:31 pm |
        • bostontola

          JB,
          You must have missed the part where I said I need objective evidence.

          January 23, 2014 at 12:38 pm |
        • ME II

          "So when a believer does supernatural acts... "

          Hmm... there seems to be a flow in your logic.

          January 23, 2014 at 12:38 pm |
      • doobzz

        "Unfortunately, the reason you're not seeing Christ is because most believers have not had their minds renewed."

        Mind renewal? Is that what you call brainwashing these days?

        January 23, 2014 at 12:26 pm |
        • Jesus' Beloved

          Ro 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

          A mind set is like a mold. Does one allow their mind to be squeezed by the world's mold or will it be expanded to fit the heavenly pattern?

          January 23, 2014 at 12:35 pm |
        • doobzz

          It depends on whether one wants to understand reality or wants to have their mind soothed by imagining that the World's Best Deity has super duper mad love for them and has invited them to the Most Amazing After Party Ever.

          January 23, 2014 at 12:52 pm |
        • Fan2C

          J'B,

          More like - to fit the mind of the martinet, Paul of Tarsus. What makes you so sure that he knew anything special? Because he *said* he did?

          January 23, 2014 at 12:46 pm |
  14. jrcomo35713

    I just think the Pope was saying not to take the social media so serious that its your only way to communicating hiding behind closed doors. He is asking more physical communications. Then you have people once again getting off track to talk about things we already know. Just move forward, there is nothing you can do about the past, its already done. This has nothing to do with Christians versus Atheist...

    January 23, 2014 at 11:30 am |
  15. Ben

    Wise man, this Pope. He has an uncanny ability to get right to the core of the issue.

    January 23, 2014 at 11:28 am |
    • No Evidence

      The core of the issue is there is no evidence for any gods. Lets see the pope provide some!

      January 23, 2014 at 11:47 am |
      • Hugh Jass

        Lacking conclusive evidence, people are going to persist in believing. Would it kill them to try to be decent people while they are doing that believing thing?

        January 23, 2014 at 12:01 pm |
      • lngtrmthnkr

        If your sole aim is to not find evidence of God, guess what, you will succede. However if you are looking for God you will also succede.

        January 23, 2014 at 12:17 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          What objective evidence is there?

          January 23, 2014 at 1:23 pm |
    • doobzz

      Maybe some day he'll get to the core of the abuse of children in his house. In the meantime, he uses the medium he's challenging to distract people from the fact that he's still dragging his feet about it.

      January 23, 2014 at 12:07 pm |
  16. Bob

    Christians are the biggest trolls out there. Look at the web of unfounded lies they spew out. Look at how they get angry and start fights over nonsense like "intelligent design" or "right to life". Look at how hard they are trolling gays on marriage rights.

    January 23, 2014 at 11:16 am |
    • Reality # 2

      You don't have to be a Christian to be a Respect for Human Lifer in All Its Forms.

      Reality, the Atheist and a RFHLIAF

      January 23, 2014 at 11:26 am |
      • WASP

        @UNREALITY: just be honest with yourself, stop lying.
        you and your ilk are ONLY anti-abortionists, you don't give two cruds what happens to children once outside the womb.
        if you did you would be protesting the lack child protections;
        the lack of standardized education and equal education benefits to encourage these children to obtain higher level of education;
        the lack of help for the single parents as far as food aid, daycare assistance, etc etc etc.

        you folks want women to have these children, yet you don't wish to fork out the money needed to help the parents with these children.

        January 23, 2014 at 11:53 am |
      • doobzz

        "RFHLIAF"??

        Is that another term for the anti choice zealots?

        January 23, 2014 at 12:08 pm |
        • Reality # 2

          R espect F or H uman L ife I n A ll F orms.

          And one of the many charities I help support:

          And don't forget to review "The Brutal Effects of Stupidity" .(Google it if you have not read it yet)

          http://www.mothershome.org/

          January 23, 2014 at 4:23 pm |
        • doobzz

          I know what it stands for. I was being facetious.

          Do you still get credit for the charity work if you brag about it online?

          January 23, 2014 at 5:12 pm |
        • Reality # 2

          Credit for charity work? From whom, some mythical god?? And the charity was noted for WASP's benefit in case he or she wanted to assist unwed Mothers.

          January 24, 2014 at 12:04 am |
        • doobzz

          "Credit for charity work? From whom, some mythical god??"

          I suppose, if you believe in such things.

          "And the charity was noted for WASP's benefit in case he or she wanted to assist unwed Mothers."

          Well, since you put it under my comment instead of under WASP's, you can see how I thought it was addressed to me.

          January 24, 2014 at 12:26 am |
    • BobPitt

      That is a great point..!!! Intelligent design was introduced by a minority inside the big tent is call Christianity, by all means not all Christians agree with it, just a small minority, the many variations and flavors of Christianity go from mildly moderate to the far extremist.. The same thing applies to other cultures and religions, because a small minority is extreme, doesn't mean all are extreme.

      January 23, 2014 at 11:46 am |
      • HA25

        "extreme" only means that those people follow same book as you, only more closely and literally. You have chosen to ignore such passages that don't align with your actual understanding of the world – or that are not acceptable to the secular (largely Western) influence.

        But it seems to me a problem that the more one adheres to a "good book" the more one is prone to violence and intolerance. Might it not be the book itself?

        January 23, 2014 at 11:58 am |
        • Fedup

          Bravo

          January 23, 2014 at 12:34 pm |
  17. Jason

    Can you exorcise the comment board here?

    January 23, 2014 at 11:01 am |
    • Thinker...

      That would take a miracle.

      January 23, 2014 at 11:19 am |
    • Hugh Jass

      In the Nay-hum of the Faw Thur, I does Hereby commands you to Cease and Desist from Trolling this place, and I banish you to the hellish place you came from, probably in New Jersey somewhere. Amen.

      January 23, 2014 at 11:58 am |
  18. Jeff Roem

    He's talking about me and my successful trolling career here at cnn. 😝

    January 23, 2014 at 10:56 am |
    • G to the T

      And you are...?

      January 23, 2014 at 11:54 am |
    • Hugh Jass

      Oh yeah, the guy who likes goatse. I remember YOU. You used to be huge.

      January 23, 2014 at 11:59 am |
  19. Dyslexic doG

    Oh the irony!!!

    "but it also enables people to barricade themselves behind sources of information which only confirm their own wishes and ideas, or political and economic interests."

    The catholic church has lived like this for centuries, barricading themselves behind sources of information which only confirm their own wishes and ideas.

    All religion is about keeping followers in the bubble and labeling all outside information (facts) as evil or lies.

    January 23, 2014 at 10:50 am |
    • Patty

      Although I agree with many of the things the Pope said mentioned in this article, I do think the line you quoted is obviously the most lopsided. I think there is some truth to the statement, but equally so, hints within opinions can lead to useful investigation into new areas for the reader. I'm not in disagreement with the issue you brought on this, it just seems lopsided in a general sense.

      January 23, 2014 at 10:59 am |
      • Patty

        "it just seems lopsided in a general sense."

        (that is, the Pope's statement)

        January 23, 2014 at 11:04 am |
    • Aggie

      "All religion is about keeping followers in the bubble and labeling all outside information (facts) as evil or lies."

      Uh uh. Just because you label everything outside your bubble as evil or lies, doesn't mean all religious people do that, too. You are projecting way too hard.

      January 23, 2014 at 11:41 am |
      • tony

        All religious people is rarely the problem (control of women, violence, brainwashing, etc., ) that the sub-set of just, slightly more extreme, religious people are.

        January 23, 2014 at 12:04 pm |
        • Aggie

          Extremist groups of any kind are dangerous. Atheist extremists frighten me just as much as Christian extremists.

          January 23, 2014 at 12:19 pm |
      • humanistJohn420

        Aggie when was the last time an "atheist extremist" (whatever that is) killed anyone for believing in religion or subjugated women because their non religion told them so. I would rather have a world with atheist extremists than religious extremists. The atheists might yell at each other but no one is going home in a body bag.

        January 23, 2014 at 5:27 pm |
    • Hugh Jass

      "All religion is about keeping followers in the bubble" All hierarchical organizations do that. You won't read criticism of WalMart in WalMart's own newsletters. West Coast rappers don't talk up East Coast rap, and military people hush up crimes by other soldiers. Great, ain't it?

      January 23, 2014 at 12:39 pm |
  20. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    Let me be the first to extend the hand of brotherhood and forgiveness to the ones who argue against human reason and science.

    January 23, 2014 at 10:45 am |
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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.