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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. panthrotheist

    clarification on my claim of a single parent is the scientific proof of our original parents called the Mithochondrial eve ,who existed in africa 200,000 thousand years ago and proven through D N A analysis by scientists

    January 26, 2014 at 10:47 am |
    • Science Works

      And the male side was it a single parent ?

      Humanity's most recent common male ancestor emerged earlier than thought: 209,000 years ago, study finds
      Date:
      January 22, 2014
      Source:
      University of Sheffield
      Summary:
      Our most recent common male ancestor emerged some 209,000 years ago - earlier than many scientists previously thought, according to new research.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140122134148.htm

      January 26, 2014 at 10:53 am |
    • bostontola

      More clarification is needed. Do you mean Eve is the last single parent (mother)? Did Eve have a mother?

      January 26, 2014 at 10:54 am |
    • Doris

      (Why do I get the feeling that this is Lionly Lamb who got too high one night and created his own religion?)

      Regardless, I would ask –

      I would assume, based on this and previous posts, that since you seem to see God as everyone and everything, that it is something to be respected, but does it warrant worship? And if so, why?

      January 26, 2014 at 11:26 am |
  2. panthrotheist

    science makes me a panthrotheist,as a panthrotheist I believe that all religions is Gods Will,therefore i believe that all religions has a purpose and since it served humanity in its time of existence it was rightly founded by humans guided bt God.Since scientific process of progress requires evolution or change ,the percieve conflict now in our real world is just a normal historical process,So we have to be open minded ,and be more tolerant of the stresses of change.although a heated debate is a healthy intellectual discoures.The bottom line here is the scientific reality that we belong to one specie,that came from a single parent.That all of the present religions,are all right and has a social,political,economics,scientific and spiritual purpose or teleology tha came from Him,if you dont want to call Him God, you can call Him anything.But refer Him as the ORIGIN or any designition you want.

    January 26, 2014 at 9:58 am |
    • Anthony Crispino

      "we belong to one specie,that came from a single parent."

      I don't know about you, but I was not adopted or anything unusual. I have a mother and a father – although I'm not sure where my father is these days. Someone said they saw him walking around over in Newark.

      January 26, 2014 at 10:11 am |
    • igaftr

      Panthro is not a god...and no gods have been shown to exist.
      You keep posting and posting but have no more validity than any other religion.

      and panthrotheism is not a word.

      January 26, 2014 at 10:16 am |
      • panthrotheism

        panthrotheism is not God,it is a classification of religious faith that believed in the integration of humans to God ,materially and spiritually as the consequence of the big bang In contrast to other existing religions that are dualistic.For example the polytheistic faiths of the ancient Greece and Rome,they have twelve gods,the word poly means many,in Monotheism ,the present christian,moslem and Jew religions has only one God,in Panthrotheism its not many or one God, WE ourselves is Him. (PAN -god ,ANTHRO-humans – THEISM -panthrotheism) God and Man is one.

        January 26, 2014 at 11:12 am |
        • igaftr

          Just because you made it up and defined it does not mean it is an accepted term in english, which it is not...and it has just as much nothing to support it as all other religions.

          January 26, 2014 at 11:22 am |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          I reject panthro's religion for the same reason I reject other religions: the level of faith required is more than seems reasonable.

          January 26, 2014 at 11:40 am |
        • ME II

          @panthrotheism,
          "in Panthrotheism its not many or one God, WE ourselves is Him. (PAN -god ,ANTHRO-humans – THEISM -panthrotheism) God and Man is one."

          FYI: While there a specific god named Pan, pan as a prefix mean all

          "Pan- as a prefix (Greek πᾶν, pan, "all", "of everything", "involving all members" of a group)"
          (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pan)

          January 26, 2014 at 2:07 pm |
    • Pamela

      Panthrotheist, your post is vacuous and has a suspiciously high woo factor. In addition, calling a parent of any generation a "god" is specious and does not represent a start of intellectual "discoures" (not that one would expect to find that here).

      So, in terms you might barely be intelligent enough to grasp: you must be pretty stupid, to believe the shit that you just posted.

      January 26, 2014 at 10:26 am |
    • Science Works

      And the pits of HELL must be angry as HELL right ?

      Recent Kilauea Status Reports, Updates, and Information Releases
      HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY DAILY UPDATE
      Saturday, January 25, 2014 7:00 AM HST (Saturday, January 25, 2014 17:00 UTC)

      http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/activity/kilaueastatus.php

      January 26, 2014 at 10:27 am |
    • bostontola

      Sounds like Rodneykingtheism.

      January 26, 2014 at 10:30 am |
  3. Anthony Crispino

    I watched this video and – very confusing. I asked my nephew Toolie about it, and he said "don't worry, uncle Tony, the only thing you have to remember about it is that skeleton in the middle comes from something called a young earth creationist". I dunno – it all looks Greek to me.

    January 26, 2014 at 9:32 am |
    • Anthony Crispino

      Oh and here's the video – Toolie had to show me how to do this

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_LY-LZtJAs&w=640&h=360]

      January 26, 2014 at 9:32 am |
      • Science Works

        And is the internet a gift from god – NO – so the pope just proved evolution is not guided by their god.

        In comments that will likely rile the more conservative wing of the church, Francis suggested that in engaging in that dialogue, Catholics shouldn't be arrogant in insisting that they alone possess the truth.

        http://www.cbsnews.com/news/pope-francis-internet-is-a-gift-from-god/

        January 26, 2014 at 9:40 am |
    • Jane G.

      You're an idiot. The middle figure is a Chimpanzee, an animal with a much greater aptitude for learning than the young earth creationist.

      January 26, 2014 at 9:40 am |
      • On intelligence

        There are different types of intelligence. There is social intelligence and emotional intelligence. In those ideas people like to consider interpersonal things like if it is ever appropriate to call someone an idiot even when they are mistaken about something.

        January 26, 2014 at 1:23 pm |
  4. nothing to lose

    ask him to come into your heart

    what can you lose?

    January 26, 2014 at 8:21 am |
    • igaftr

      What we can lose is what we have always lost when religion takes over. Logic and reason.

      Belief in "him" and the bible has led to wars, faster spread of disease, attempted genocide, murders, slavery, persecution.

      Why don't you pray to Zeus? Odin? Ra? Quetzlcoatl? They will be angry for worshiopping the wrong god.

      What do you call someone who believes completely in Santa Claus, and lives their life as if ALL of the myths surrounding Santa are true...would you say that is a mentally healthy individual?

      January 26, 2014 at 8:26 am |
      • Saraswati

        True, but Santa is not a social sanctioned myth for adults, which is part of the definition of sanity. Most Americans, including atheists, believe that their actions are not wholly determined by biology and culture but are somehow non-deterministically driven be something called "self". They believe there is something called "proof" that allows "knowledge" of the world. They think they are better than average drivers and that the matter matter has some sort of external existence in a meaningful way that isn't a product of our mental limits. They think language has absolute meaning.

        Socially sanctioned and evolutionarily beneficial myths are not insanity.If they were we would all be insane.

        January 26, 2014 at 9:40 am |
        • igaftr

          saraswati
          the question was asked what can we lose. I answered.
          We can lose some of our mental health. It really depends on how far the believer takes it.

          January 26, 2014 at 10:45 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      I can see it now. We allow it to come into our hearts. Then we imagine that it has. Then we spend our lives chasing around what we think it wants – what it wants us to do or stop doing and what it wants us to make others do or stop doing.

      January 26, 2014 at 8:58 am |
    • Saraswati

      You have at least one, and probably two, unsupported premises here:

      1. Things will "enter your heart only if they are true"
      2. Having the god of which you speak (The Christian God? Thor?) will make everyone happier and not decrease lifetime or after death happiness.

      January 26, 2014 at 9:22 am |
    • Science Works

      your brain ?

      January 26, 2014 at 10:07 am |
  5. Reality #2

    Dear Francis, Part VIII

    (Only for Francis and the other new members of this blog.)

    Putting the kibosh on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    • A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached and belief that various beings (angels?, tinkerbells? etc) exist that we, as mortals, cannot comprehend makes for a no on Sikhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "

    January 26, 2014 at 7:52 am |
  6. Christians are mentally ill

    Christians are like children that believe in Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny, except they have no innocence. Presented with evidence, they reject it. They are mentally ill.

    January 26, 2014 at 12:27 am |
    • Allegedly psychotic

      The nice thing about religious people (Christians, Muslims ect) is they always have "some" sort of an explanation. It might be wrong but it keeps things interesting.

      January 26, 2014 at 6:04 am |
    • Saraswati

      Except that's not the definition of mental illness. It may be delusional, but all humans are delusional (though not in a clinically significant sense) with a very few exceptions who generally themselves end up treated for mental illness.

      January 26, 2014 at 9:23 am |
  7. Forgetaboutatleast

    I challenge any xtian apologist to offer more than biblical anecdotes to prove the existence of god(s). It cannot be done.

    January 26, 2014 at 12:08 am |
  8. tony

    If religions stopped seeking donations, they'd die out completely. None of the money goes to god as a sacrifice as implied, but it sure as heck builds nice churches, and impeccably dressed and well fed pastors.

    January 25, 2014 at 9:00 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Which religions claim the money goes to God? I don't quite get what you are saying?

      January 25, 2014 at 11:46 pm |
  9. bostontola

    I don't get the resistance to accepting evolution. Why couldn't God have used it as his creation tool, along with the Big Bang?
    To blindly fight scientific fact reminds me of the people that clung to a Geo-Centric model 500 years ago.

    Even if you want to put evolution aside, how can you ignore the physical evidence of early Ho.mo, the tools they used, the art they made, etc. We have stone choppers, morphing into blades, then projectiles, fire, ceramics, metal smelting, etc. Do you deny the existence of these artifacts? Did scientists fabricate them? There are so many of these artifacts that lay out over time, that slowly get refined with newer better versions, new inventions, that all point to humans developing along a timeline consistent with genetics and evolution. An enormous trove of artifacts and fossils, coupled with genetic analysis all point to the same thing.

    Just because there is no mention of these developments in the bibles doesn't mean they didn't happen. Why all the animosity towards evolution?

    January 25, 2014 at 8:12 pm |
    • panthrotheist

      I believed in science,evolution and all the principles of of it,but I also believe in God with out conflict in my conscience.Thats the faith of the future.

      January 25, 2014 at 8:22 pm |
      • Awakenings

        Hi Panthrotheist,

        Given any thought yet to the platonic solids and Metatron's cube? Or perhaps the pineal gland, or shared dreaming?
        Just learning about a lot of this now too.
        Peace.

        January 25, 2014 at 8:30 pm |
        • sshh

          William Lane Craig
          I agree, in Lüdemann’s words, that "The resurrection of Jesus is the central point of the Christian religion." Second, I agree that if someone asks "What really happened?" it is not enough to be told to "just believe." Third, I agree that the historian’s task is very much like that of the trial lawyer: to examine the witnesses in order to reconstruct the most probable course of events. Fourth, I agree that if someone does not believe in the literal resurrection of Jesus, he should have the honesty to say that Jesus just rotted away and that he should not be persecuted for having had the courage to say it. Fifth, I agree that if someone does not believe in the literal resurrection of Jesus, then he should have the honesty to say that he is not a Christian just as Lüdemann has done. Finally, sixth, I agree that if someone does believe in Jesus's literal resurrection, he should admit that he believes in a miraculous intervention of God in the natural world.

          January 25, 2014 at 11:42 pm |
    • Dandintac

      Boston,

      They hate it because it directly contradicts the Genesis account of creation. Some theists accept it, but to do so they have to admit that parts of the Bible at least are "metaphor, allegory, saga" and so on. The problem with that is once you go down that road, there is no guide for which parts of the Bible are what genre, and admitting that these are anything other than exact truth implies the Bible is largely a work of fiction. Some religions rationalize this and say some parts are truth, and those that are "symbolic" contain truths.

      One of the most important jobs of God is his status as "creator". "God created man in his own image" makes people feel special and close to God, and is one of their most cherished myths. Evolution by Natural Selection strongly implies that one need not invoke God to explain some of the most profound mysteries of life. Natural processes are enough.

      Add to all of this, the fact that the public schools have done an absolutely abysmal job of teaching evolution, so most people do not understand how it works at all. It should be taught as the centerpiece of biology, and students should have it taught multiple times, and have to describe its workings to graduate from high school. Schools give it short shrift though, because they don't want to deal with angry parents.

      So we have an ignorant population that knows just enough about it to feel their most cherished beliefs are being unfairly challenged, and they feel personally attacked.

      January 25, 2014 at 8:30 pm |
      • bostontola

        The Pope, and the RCC accepts evolution. When certain Christian sects reject fact, they look like throwbacks to the 14th century.

        January 25, 2014 at 8:43 pm |
        • Saraswati

          I think they're still kind of noncommittal on evolution, especially as the last official statement on Adam and Eve was that they were real people.

          January 25, 2014 at 11:42 pm |
        • Dandintac

          The RCC's position on evolution has...um...evolved over the years. Their current position is Theistic Evolution. To sum up–yes, life evolved and continues to do so, but it was created by God and continues to be guided by god. Evidence? None as usual. It is a step up from the Creationists, but not all that much. Under Benedict, it looked to me like they might embrace Intelligent Design, but they wisely rejected that course.

          January 26, 2014 at 12:09 am |
      • panthrotheist

        Dandintac, your discussions and suggestions is Gods guidance,we are now making progress towards it.

        January 25, 2014 at 11:29 pm |
    • tony

      Because it undermines the oversimplistic arguments of dumb church leaders trying to controltheir even dumber flocks.

      "God made everything and I'm his representative here on earth, so thank him with everything you have, but via me of course"

      January 25, 2014 at 8:47 pm |
      • doobzz

        "Thank him with money."

        January 25, 2014 at 9:53 pm |
    • Saraswati

      People like to belong to groups and they like to believe those groups have special knowledge outsiders don't have. The weirder the better.

      Gotta love humans.

      January 25, 2014 at 11:48 pm |
    • Atheist, me?

      Bostontola
      Scientific theories are not meant to be believed! It is only a way of explaining something! They can be proved untrue when a better explanation comes along. It is best to leave belief where it is needed in Religion including Atheism!

      January 26, 2014 at 5:59 am |
      • bostontola

        I never asked about belief in evolution. I asked about acceptance, acceptance of scientific facts. I also asked why there is animosity towards a body of scientific facts. Regarding truth, science doesn't deal with truth, it tests ideas and keeps the ones that are validated by tests. When scientists find something new via test of an accepted theory, it is seldom wrong/false as much as incomplete. Newtons theory of forces and gravity works great in most human scales. Einstein found it would not work close to the speed of light and extended the theory and our perspective on gravity and space in the process.

        Count the times when science has proved religion wrong, then count the times when religion has proved science wrong. The score is very large number to zero.

        January 26, 2014 at 9:12 am |
      • Saraswati

        @Atheist, me?

        Do you remember what you had for breakfast? Do you believe you had that?

        Have you ever seen a medication work? Do you believe it is an effective treatment?

        Any idea what is outside your front door? Do you believe there is anything out there?

        Are all those beliefs religion?

        January 26, 2014 at 9:18 am |
  10. Free post-holiday mixed nuts

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mHlK5FA&w=640&h=360]
    gmyM

    January 25, 2014 at 7:00 pm |
    • Free post-holiday mixed nuts

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mHlK5FAgmyM

      January 25, 2014 at 7:11 pm |
      • not u, really?

        they don't attack the validity of scripture. they can't. they don't like the contents. they hate the contents. but, the accuracy is beyond question

        January 25, 2014 at 10:55 pm |
        • nacenoonec

          WRONG

          January 25, 2014 at 11:11 pm |
        • kocheese

          try him

          January 25, 2014 at 11:53 pm |
        • Douglas

          kocheese??? Is that one of the really stinky ones like lynnburger?

          January 25, 2014 at 11:57 pm |
  11. Atheist, me?

    Science
    What is the biblical account of creation that a scientist must accept or reject? I don't think we are getting anywhere! Science is not a religion, period!

    January 25, 2014 at 6:22 pm |
    • Science Works

      IS your name on the list ?

      January 25, 2014 at 6:24 pm |
      • Atheist, me?

        Science I refuse to answer questions which have obvious answers but maybe to humour you, No! My beliefs are more complex than either the Creation or Evolution Camp talk about! If to you Science makes you an Atheist then fine by me but the same Science makes me a Christian and I love it!

        January 25, 2014 at 6:33 pm |
        • Science Works

          Wow I do not see where i typed atheist(s) any where to you ?

          January 25, 2014 at 6:41 pm |
        • Atheist, me?

          Alright so define yourself!

          January 25, 2014 at 6:52 pm |
        • Science Works

          OK DAD.

          January 25, 2014 at 7:08 pm |
        • Happy Atheist

          Science didn't make me an atheist. A lack of any evidence for anything supernatural has made me disbelieve in religion and gods.

          Science does inform my atheism as it is continuing to look into the dark corners of the universe and explore the unknown. As an atheist I have never claimed to know everything and science gives us a method of empirically proving what exists as well as anything can be proven in this universe.

          January 25, 2014 at 7:20 pm |
  12. Reality #2

    Dear Francis, Part VII

    (Only for Francis and the other new members of this blog)

    Why would your god allow the following?

    Strong circ-umstantial evidence that there is no god (or did they all die as martyrs?)

    Number of god's creations who died horrible deaths from the following diseases:

    1. 300,000,000 approx.
    Smallpox

    2. 200,000,000 ?
    Measles

    3. 100,000,000 approx.
    Black Death

    4. 80,000,000–250,000,000
    Malaria

    5. 50,000,000–100,000,000
    Spanish Flu

    6. 40,000,000–100,000,000
    Plague of Justinian

    7. 40,000,000–100,000,000
    Tuberculosis

    8. 30,000,000[13]
    AIDS pandemic

    9. 12,000,000 ?
    Third Pandemic of Bubonic Plague

    10. 5,000,000
    Antonine Plague

    11. 4,000,000
    Asian Flu

    12. 250,000 or more annually Seasonal influenza

    January 25, 2014 at 5:58 pm |
    • RB

      Isaiah 40:6
      The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field:

      January 25, 2014 at 6:30 pm |
      • Reality #2

        Isaiah, another fortune teller in the dark ages. Or was he just another myth like Abraham and Moses?

        Bringing you up to speed:

        origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482 NY Times review and important enough to reiterate.

        New Torah For Modern Minds

        “Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. (prob•a•bly
        Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell).

        The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

        Such startling propositions - the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years - have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity - until now.

        The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine doc-ument.

        The notion that the Bible is not literally true "is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis," observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to "Etz Hayim." But some congregants, he said, "may not like the stark airing of it." Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that "virtually every modern archaeologist" agrees "that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all." The rabbi offered what he called a "LITANY OF DISILLUSION”' about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have "found no trace of the tribes of Israel - not one shard of pottery."

        January 25, 2014 at 11:31 pm |
      • Forgetaboutatleast

        Whenever xtians refer to bible verses for logical arguments, they are rejecting logic in favor of unproven opinions. Debates are never won through emotional appeals.

        January 26, 2014 at 12:13 am |
      • G to the T

        Soooo... you didn't read the part of the article where the Pope recommends NOT using Bible quotes in these discussions?

        January 27, 2014 at 10:20 am |
  13. Atheist, me?

    Capt Obvious
    The concept of the unicorn is based kn the rhino which does exist! In fact the rhino is called a unicorn in the King James Bible. Enlightenment or eternal life is achieved by repentance, cognitive recognition therapy or mindfulness meditation. As you can see the Bible and psychology almost always agree! It is easy to discount our experience if you do not have it.
    I remember telling someone in an angry mood what will happen in an English FA Cup (either 2008 or 2009) when Portsmouth won the FA Cup) semifinal match between Manchester United and Portsmouth FC (a soccer match)
    See what I said
    "Hey are you insulting my mum? Ok then listen
    1. After a few minutes Van der Saar (goalkeeper) will get injured.
    2. Kyushack the assistant will be put in, commit a penalty and get a red card (sending off) and be replaced by Rio Ferdinand your Captain.
    3. Sulley Muntari will step up to take the penalty and score. Portsmouth will defend this goal for the rest of the match. "
    It happened exactly!

    January 25, 2014 at 5:23 pm |
    • Science Works

      Atheist, me?

      So you have existed in your present form since the beginning of time ?

      January 25, 2014 at 5:29 pm |
      • Science Works

        Vic or fred will not answer either.

        January 25, 2014 at 5:37 pm |
      • Atheist, me?

        Scince,
        When my mother gave birth to me I was not a grown man and definitely won't be same as today even if I die tomorrow! We fight over evolution which is like our babyhood when none of us was! Evolution is an extrapolation of the Law of Variation for which we have evidence. I have no problem with it but we could be wrong and variation could be all there is so please leave science and evolution out of religious fights! It was not meant to validate or invalidate religion. In fact science says spirituality and even religion are helpful to human health. P.S. that includes Atheism!

        January 25, 2014 at 5:41 pm |
        • Science Works

          Wow lots of words for a yes or no answer . By the way here is a list is your name on the list ?

          CMI list of scientists alive today who accept the biblical account of creation
          http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/CMI_list_of_scientists_alive_today_who_accept_the_biblical_account_of_creation

          AND the divine hand bone from long ago that helped create the internet.

          Discovery of 1.4 million-year-old fossil human hand bone closes human evolution gap
          Date: December 16, 2013

          http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131216154902.htm

          January 25, 2014 at 5:54 pm |
    • VM

      @Atheist, me?

      "The concept of the unicorn is based kn the rhino which does exist!"

      So what? And giant fire-breathing dragons are based on huge lizards. What magical, white (or invisible), flying unicorns are "based on" is irrelevant.

      -------------------–

      " Enlightenment or eternal life is achieved by repentance, cognitive recognition therapy or mindfulness meditation."

      What verified, or even verifiable, evidence do you have that this claim is fact?

      January 25, 2014 at 5:39 pm |
    • Atheists: Teaching Christians About The Bible

      The original word that the King James Bible translates into "unicorn" is not the word for "rhinoceros." It's "re'em," a mythical untamable beast of great strength and agility (ever heard of an agile rhinoceros?), found in the Middle East, for which there is absolutely no evidence.

      Not a rhinoceros. The rhinoceros is never mentioned in the Bible, and never was native to the Middle East.

      January 25, 2014 at 5:40 pm |
      • VM

        Correct, but I don't think that Cpt. Obvious was even referring to biblical unicorns. S/he could just as well have said "leprechauns" or "banshees" or any other undetectable, irrelevant fantasy characters.

        January 25, 2014 at 5:49 pm |
        • Larry

          Wouldn't that be Capt. Obvious' point, that all gods are undetectable, irrelevant fantasy characters? That you have no more reason to believe that any god is real than you have for unicorns of leprechauns? Don't you put Zeus and Thor and Allah into the exact same category?

          January 25, 2014 at 5:55 pm |
        • VM

          Larry,

          If you're talking to me, you're preaching to the choir. Of course that follows. Good luck getting that across to @Atheist, me? though.

          January 25, 2014 at 6:04 pm |
      • Atheists: Teaching Christians About The Bible

        I was obviously responding to the initial post of this thread by "Athiest, me?", who does indeed make that false claim.

        January 25, 2014 at 5:52 pm |
        • VM

          Yeah, and you did well. I guess maybe I was trying to zap @Atheist, me? back to the real point via you.

          January 25, 2014 at 5:58 pm |
      • Atheist, me?

        Whilst I appreciate your unicorn knowledge. I also know from history books that before rhinoceros became a common name unicorn was what that beloved animal was called. Besides have you tamed a rhino before. They make wonderful carriage horses!

        January 25, 2014 at 6:28 pm |
        • Atheists: Teaching Christians About The Bible

          Well that was non-sensical. The Biblical name used before the King James Bible was re'em, not unicorn, and by the King James Bible, the rhinoceros was called a rhinoceros. So from any theological perspective, the rhinoceros was never considered as a possibility as either the re'em or the unicorn.

          The unicorn in the span of myth and legend was alway a horse with a long horn.

          Now, what history books are you referring to?

          January 25, 2014 at 9:23 pm |
        • Atheist, me?

          So much for teaching! If u did not know about rhinos and unicorns why were you making all that noise!

          January 26, 2014 at 5:50 am |
  14. Atheist, me?

    The Greatest Commandment (Updated) Matthew 22

    34 Now when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they assembled together.

    35 And one of them, an expert in religious law, asked him a question to test him:

    36 “Teacher, which commandment in the Mosaic Law is the greatest?”

    37 Jesus said to him, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’

    38 This is the first and greatest commandment.

    39 The second is equivalent to it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself no matter what.’

    40. The whole Bible depend on these two commandments to make any sense.”

    January 25, 2014 at 4:59 pm |
    • Science Works

      Good News

      Published on Dec 30, 2013

      According to a Pew Survey, 67 percent of Democrats and 43 percent of Republicans believe in the theory of evolution.

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFR8-Ila91I&w=640&h=360]

      January 25, 2014 at 5:05 pm |
    • Atheist, me?

      I am Ghanaian! I am a scientist and no scientist will believe in evolution. It is a working model till we find something better!

      January 25, 2014 at 5:27 pm |
      • Science Works

        Is your name on the list from above ? little over 200 names on the list.

        January 25, 2014 at 6:03 pm |
      • Science Works

        NO scientists what ?

        January 25, 2014 at 6:34 pm |
  15. Atheist, me?

    The Greatest Commandment

    34 Now when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they assembled together.

    35 And one of them, an expert in religious law, asked him a question to test him:

    36 “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”

    37 Jesus said to him, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’

    38 This is the first and greatest commandment.

    39 The second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

    40 All the law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”

    January 25, 2014 at 4:53 pm |
  16. Atheist, me?

    I think Peter pointed out that Paul was right but people tend to twist his message.
    In fact for a long time I would read the Gospels and avoid the Pauline letters for the same reason you say this!
    However Paul and the other Apostles were the ones who made me understand what Christ meant when he defined the two Greatest Commandments!
    They made me see that I could only love God with all my life if I love my neighbor as myself!
    Religious people make it seem like Paul believed in Salvation by faith alone. What Paul, James, John and Peter all believed was that you needed to have faith to show love and that is true acceptance of Christ's work and not the Sinner's Prayer(which was from a Passage on St. Peter's Sermon and not Paul)!

    January 25, 2014 at 3:46 pm |
    • Scince Works

      Too many pickled peppers in the bunch for it to be true flavor.

      January 25, 2014 at 3:50 pm |
      • Austin

        66 books Powerful!
        38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

        January 25, 2014 at 3:57 pm |
        • tallulah13

          These commands have little value to people who understand that the bible is nothing more than the compilation of the myths of a specific middle-eastern tribe added to the propaganda surrounding one of the many messianic cults common in Rome at the time.

          January 25, 2014 at 4:03 pm |
        • Austin

          "people who understand".

          Hi Talullah,
          1 Corinthians 2:14 ►

          The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.

          Talullah, do you have the Holy Spirit? Do you think that the mass shootings are a sin?

          January 25, 2014 at 4:09 pm |
        • Mmmmmm

          The mass shootings are a tragedy.

          January 25, 2014 at 4:22 pm |
        • tallulah13

          Austin, I think that mass shootings are terrible and wrong. I believe that they are a product of over-population combined with a lack of personal accountability.

          Perhaps if fewer people thought that a supernatural being was taking care of them and would forgive them if they just said sorry, more parents would teach their children that they are ultimately responsible for their own choices. Perhaps if religion didn't stress procreation over common sense, we wouldn't be overpopulated. Perhaps if religion didn't divide, people could look upon their fellow humans as something other than convenient targets.

          January 25, 2014 at 4:36 pm |
        • sam stone

          still drinkin', are you Austin?

          January 26, 2014 at 4:11 am |
    • Vic

      Actually, Apostle Paul DID believe that we are saved by the Grace of God through Faith "ALONE" in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

      That does not mean we don't God's N"Natural Law" for order in this life, but that's not what saves us.

      January 25, 2014 at 3:54 pm |
      • Slight problem there

        Paul did not have faith. He was given substantial evidence of God's existence by God, and thus lost any ability for faith. For once you have evidence that something is true, you by definition do not have faith. You have evidence-based knowledge. The same paradox exists for the disciples and anyone who experienced any of his miracles, especially his supposed resurrection.

        Faith stops being faith when you have evidence. So the guy who said you must have faith to get into heaven himself cannot be in heaven.

        And if some are given evidence such as that, why would others be forced to believe without evidence or be severely punished?

        And why would a true deity severely punish enormous numbers of people for the single crime of not believing? That's vain and shallow and unjust and cruel and egotistical, hardly the attributes of a good entity.

        Just some of those lovely paradoxes that make Christian theology impossible.

        January 25, 2014 at 4:33 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Perfect post. The surprising thing to a believer who loses his faith through logic and reason is that there are SOOOOOOOO many ways that "Christianity" falls apart. The only thing that manages to hold it together--for the believer--is the DESIRE that it be true.

          January 25, 2014 at 4:37 pm |
        • Fan2C

          @Slight problem there,

          Excellent post.

          It's unlikely that non-believers want to be *more* "blessed" than the apocryphal "Doubting Thomas".

          January 25, 2014 at 5:00 pm |
        • Atheist, me?

          True faith gives evidence. If I trust my girlfriend that she loves me as hrrself even without telling her it gives her assurance and she acts more in an assured manner! I now have evidence that she is trustworthy!

          January 25, 2014 at 5:30 pm |
        • Slight problem there too

          I was discussing tangible evidence. Your faith in your girlfriend is not theological faith but at best another definition (fallacy of equivocation), and is actually evidence- and experience-based knowledge, not faith.

          Paul was a persecutor of Christian, and received his evidence when he had the opposite of faith in Jesus.

          And of course people of every religion claim that if you have faith in Allah, Zeus, or Shiva, that you will be granted evidence of their wonders. And as in those cases as in yours, what is really happening is that people are using their imaginations to say an ordinary coincidence is actually the hand of god.

          January 25, 2014 at 5:50 pm |
        • RB

          There is a slight problem there, with your post. If you will read the 11th chapter of Hebrews, you will notice that most of those recognized for their great faith had very powerful experiences with God. Also, if you have an opportunity to speak to a few Christians and ask them why they believe, you will find that they have had at least one very powerful experience with God as well. So, while it easy for you to claim it isn't faith and blow off any experiences as mere coincidence, this is not the case for those who have lived the experiences. Peace.

          January 25, 2014 at 6:23 pm |
        • Vic

          You have totally ignored that Apostle Paul, then Saul, was a zealous believer in God before Jesus Christ appeared to him—so to speak since he was made blind for a short while, and Jesus Christ spoke to him, which is in itself a testimony to God that He does not show Himself to people—on the road to Damascus, just like so many prophets and people before him, they all had Faith/Belief in God, hence God's Favor.

          God is Sovereign and has Sovereign Divine Will & Wisdom, it is up to Him whom He chooses to deliver His Message, and whom He exempts.

          Last but not least, whatever the case may be with Faith/Belief in God, it Has NO BEARING on the "Existence Of God," which is another thing you have, respectfully, missed. God's wondrous "Creation," this universe and life in it, is but a splendid testimony to His Existence.

          January 25, 2014 at 6:26 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          I don't imagine many people would remain atheist if they had a powerful experience with God – something that obviously could not have come from anything but God. Perhaps your God wants some of us to remain atheist in order that there will be people to argue with you, Robert.

          January 25, 2014 at 6:28 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          Why do you think that anything that we can see or detect by other means was created by God, Vic?

          January 25, 2014 at 6:33 pm |
        • lngtrmthnkr

          Slight , you forget that Paul ,when he was Saul had faith in God as he was, in his mind ,working for God when he was persecuting Christians for their belief in Jesus as the messiah. He believed in God but not Jesus. After his encounter on the road to Demascus, he of course changed his views on Christians.His faith then grew as he did the work he was given by Christ .So really no need for a paradox.

          January 25, 2014 at 8:30 pm |
        • doobzz

          @AtheistMe?

          " If I trust my girlfriend that she loves me as hrrself even without telling her it gives her assurance and she acts more in an assured manner! I now have evidence that she is trustworthy!"

          Maybe she's just a good actress.There are probably times when *acting* is easier for her.

          January 25, 2014 at 10:07 pm |
    • Vic

      Actually, Apostle Paul DID believe that we are saved by the Grace of God through Faith "ALONE" in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

      That does not mean we don't need God's "Natural Law" for order in this life, but that's not what saves us.

      January 25, 2014 at 3:54 pm |
      • Austin

        Leviticus 17:11

        11 For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.[a]
        Revelation 19:13

        13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.

        January 25, 2014 at 4:00 pm |
      • Vic

        Hebrews 9:25,26

        "25 nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own. 26 Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself." (NASB)

        January 25, 2014 at 4:07 pm |
        • Austin

          matthew 3:11
          "I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

          January 25, 2014 at 4:11 pm |
        • sam stone

          it's amusing how when people have nothing of value to say, they quote scripture

          vic, austin (gopher, larry of arabia, lie4him, fred, jw, etc etc et fvcking c) your scripture is only impressive to those in your club

          January 26, 2014 at 12:57 pm |
    • Vic

      John 3:16,17

      Ephesians 2:8,9

      January 25, 2014 at 4:00 pm |
    • Scince Works

      Good here is one that is complete BS 9:18-9- and the sons of Noah – went NOWHERE !

      January 25, 2014 at 4:06 pm |
    • ???

      Actually, I think I will follow the red words and Paul's misogynistic views with a grain of salt, if it's all the same with you.

      January 25, 2014 at 4:06 pm |
      • ???

        *take Paul's words with a grain of salt. Jesus's actual words were fine.

        January 25, 2014 at 4:08 pm |
        • VM

          ???
          "Jesus's actual words were fine."

          Make that *alleged* words...

          January 25, 2014 at 4:13 pm |
        • ???

          Whether or not you believed he lived or not doesn't negate that the words attributed to him carry a very fine message on the way to live a decent life, IMHO.

          January 25, 2014 at 4:27 pm |
        • VM

          ???,

          Yes, some (maybe many?) of them do, but certainly not all of them:

          Just a couple for example here:

          Book of Mark:

          16 He that believeth [in me] and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be dam.ned.

          17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

          18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

          -and-

          The Book of Luke:

          51 Think ye that I am come to give peace in the earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:

          52 for there shall be from henceforth five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.

          53 They shall be divided, father against son, and son against father; mother against daughter, and daughter against her mother; mother in law against her daughter in law, and daughter in law against her mother in law.

          54 And he said to the mult.itudes also, When ye see a cloud rising in the west, straightway ye say, There cometh a shower; and so it cometh to pass.

          55 And when [ye see] a south wind blowing, ye say, There will be a scorching heat; and it cometh to pass.

          56 Ye hypocrites, ye know how to interpret the face of the earth and the heaven; but how is it that ye know not how to interpret this time?

          57 And why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?

          58 For as thou art going with thine adversary before the magistrate, on the way give diligence to be quit of him; lest haply he drag thee unto the judge, and the judge shall deliver thee to the officer, and the officer shall cast thee into prison.

          59 I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou have paid the very last mite.

          January 25, 2014 at 5:28 pm |
      • Vic

        That's a simple one. It was not Paul that was misogynist, it was the people in Corinth he was addressing that were misogynists. Paul had to deal with cultural constraints to deliver the Good News of Jesus Christ.

        January 25, 2014 at 4:12 pm |
        • Fan2C

          Vic,
          " Paul had to deal with cultural constraints to deliver the Good News of Jesus Christ."

          He had to be manipulative? Odd that one doesn't need to do that with delivering the 'news' of gravity or of geometry or chemistry or anything else that is demonstrable and factual.

          January 25, 2014 at 4:21 pm |
        • Vic

          Funny you should mention that.

          Science by humans is full with politics and indoctrination that so many people choose to turn a blind eye to.

          January 25, 2014 at 4:25 pm |
        • ???

          Oh, I don't think so, Vic, but it's generally well known that he didn't like women very much.

          January 25, 2014 at 4:29 pm |
        • Vic

          That's an assertion.

          January 25, 2014 at 4:31 pm |
        • Fan2C

          Vic,

          When and if that manipulation is done by scientists (or others), it's also unacceptable. It certainly doesn't make Paul correct or upstanding to have done it.

          January 25, 2014 at 4:40 pm |
        • Vic

          Correction:

          That was "Ephesus" and not "Corinth."

          January 25, 2014 at 4:42 pm |
        • ???

          As yours is an assertion, Vic.
          As Paul was the first writer to give ecclesiastical directives about women and their roles, his views are decidedly misogynistic.

          January 25, 2014 at 5:06 pm |
        • G to the T

          I'll do you one better – Paul was not a misogynist because he believed the kingdom of god was coming in HIS lifetime. That's why he encouraged people to stay in the social station they were. The letter you reference was not written by Paul, it was written by a later person trying to use the authority of Paul to push his own views.

          January 26, 2014 at 9:37 am |
    • Atheist, me?

      Austin & co,
      I do not care much for memory verses! It is
      what I practise I speak of! The Book of Romans
      talks of Salvation by faith and this faith worketh
      by love so if you are focussing on any verse in
      the Bible Christ has told us what we should
      focus on. Love your neighbor as yourself no
      matter what! If you start practising this then
      the Bible and Christianity will make more sense
      than it does to you now!

      January 25, 2014 at 4:11 pm |
      • Scince Works

        Did you see the popes comment that was from the AP -Atheist, me?

        About the truth which is lacking here .

        January 25, 2014 at 4:30 pm |
        • Atheist, me?

          Well just finished re-reading it and yes when he was talking about media strategies!
          I do hope you understand however my greatest joy is discovering that when the Bible is read without Chapters and verses it makes one less error prone in exegesis. This was further reinforced by the JW tendency to use half verses in their publications which put me off memory verses!

          January 25, 2014 at 4:44 pm |
        • Science Works

          YEP maybe you need to read again .

          January 25, 2014 at 6:07 pm |
        • Science Works

          Sticky e key.

          January 25, 2014 at 6:09 pm |
  17. Mary

    Why are there atoms in Ethernet cables?

    January 25, 2014 at 3:44 pm |
    • Austin

      moles

      January 25, 2014 at 3:45 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Because they're protesting the unfair "No Atoms in Ethernet Cables" laws. Please join them in their fight against unjust discrimination.

      January 25, 2014 at 3:49 pm |
      • Austin

        the molar teeth are too big.

        January 25, 2014 at 3:58 pm |
        • Vesitigiality

          And wisdom teeth are evidence of evolution.

          January 25, 2014 at 4:42 pm |
    • ???

      Ask your mother, whose computer you are apparently on.

      January 25, 2014 at 4:09 pm |
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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.