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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. john

    The Internet is for sure one of the best invention in human's history. Pretty sure, it will end up marking time as the first printed book by Guthenberg did.

    January 23, 2014 at 5:06 pm |
  2. tony

    If god created all the birds, animals, fish and veggies for all our guardianship and use, why the heck didn't he think to specifically mention oilfields?

    January 23, 2014 at 5:05 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      and penicillin! Imagine all he could have saved!

      January 23, 2014 at 5:08 pm |
      • Alias

        Penicillin? Really?
        Wouldn't it have been more efficient to either not make some viruses/bacteria or give us better immune systems?

        January 23, 2014 at 5:38 pm |
        • OTOH

          Bacteria thrive virtually everywhere on Earth – from sub-zero temperatures to over 750 degrees F (in hydrothermal vents at the bottom of the ocean), and in widely varying oxygen, pressure and nutrient conditions. The Bacteria God rules!

          Humans don't do too well in Antarctica or the North Pole; or in the Sahara; or at the bottom of the sea; but many other creatures do. We get by the best that we can.

          January 23, 2014 at 7:06 pm |
  3. tony

    When I was young man, I inherited an Austin. It was an old A35 van that had a lot of rust, especially in the lower half of the body.

    The problem that caused me to destroy it, for the sake of the World and the safety of Mankind, was that the two fixed part of the cable mountings that operated the rear brakes were situated on either side of a a rusted gap in the rear floor. So depressing the brake pedal, instead of applying the brakes hard, would instead cause the rusted gap to close.

    The moral of this story is that older Ausytins can be dangerous and will not necessarily repond correctly, or as expected, when stimulated.

    January 23, 2014 at 4:58 pm |
    • sly

      Prayer is the answer. Prayer heals rust, which is created by the Devil.

      January 23, 2014 at 5:06 pm |
    • Mmmmmmm

      Well played, sir. I see what you did there.

      January 23, 2014 at 5:36 pm |
  4. Vic

    God created everything, the universe and life in it. Of this universe is the United States Of America. God blessed the United States Of America. The United States Of America invented the Internet. May God—The Father, Son (Lord Jesus Christ) and Holy Spirit—continue to bless The United States Of America.

    January 23, 2014 at 4:33 pm |
    • ME II

      " God blessed the United States Of America."

      Really, when?

      January 23, 2014 at 4:34 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        that's a Mormon thing. Apparently jesus lived here for a while.

        January 23, 2014 at 4:38 pm |
    • igaftr

      Vic
      More opinion...as if we didn't already know your opinion.

      January 23, 2014 at 4:40 pm |
    • Mr. Peaceful

      Technically speaking, our country was founded by mostly Deists not Christians. Most people that came here were Puritans and such. God was added later in our history though it was not founded by Christians. I don't even understand why "In God we trust" is printed on money when God doesn't care about currency...

      January 23, 2014 at 4:41 pm |
      • CommonSensed

        Money lines the coffers of the churches. The vatican didn't build itself, ya know.

        January 23, 2014 at 5:09 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      “The Government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.”
      ~1797 Treaty of Tripoli signed by John Adams

      January 23, 2014 at 4:43 pm |
      • CommonSensed

        SInce when do trolls care about facts?

        January 23, 2014 at 5:22 pm |
    • tony

      Doesn't that move the date of creation back a bit to around only 250 years ago?

      January 23, 2014 at 5:01 pm |
      • sly

        It is well established that God created Earth 1750 years ago.

        January 23, 2014 at 5:08 pm |
        • CommonSensed

          Rubio said 6000 and he's a Senator, so I believe him.

          Heh.

          January 23, 2014 at 5:10 pm |
        • PaulB

          There were already well-established Christian communities 1750 years ago, and Jesus wouldn't even have been born yet.

          January 23, 2014 at 6:26 pm |
    • JW

      The bible in revelation says that Satan gave his power and authority to the beast ( government world powers)...
      Do not forget what satan offered Jesus in one of the 3 temptations... Matthew 4:1-10

      January 23, 2014 at 5:23 pm |
      • sam stone

        Don't forget that the bible (or any book) is only relevant to those who accept its authority

        January 23, 2014 at 5:29 pm |
        • JW

          Your correct.This point is exactly for those who do... Vic seems like one of them.

          January 23, 2014 at 5:33 pm |
        • Science Works

          Hey JW the other one I posted to you got sucked into a blackhole – it is not millions itn IS US !

          Smithsonian's Human Origins Program

          http://humanorigins.si.edu/

          January 23, 2014 at 6:35 pm |
      • Sue

        You mean, when Satan supposedly showed Jesus all the empires of the world from one point ... which would have only been possible if the earth was flat, like the NT authors believed?

        January 23, 2014 at 6:23 pm |
        • JW

          Sue- how do you know they believed in that the earth was flat?

          January 23, 2014 at 10:33 pm |
        • Sue

          From any single "high" point, it's impossible to see the Roman Empire along with the Chinese and Mayan civilizations along a spherical globe.

          January 24, 2014 at 9:51 am |
    • sam stone

      Wow, that is a whole stinkin' pile of conjecture you have there. Any support?

      January 23, 2014 at 5:28 pm |
    • Sue

      And here I thought our vast resources and ruthless takeover of the land from the natives has a part in it.

      January 23, 2014 at 6:20 pm |
      • Sue

        "Had" a part

        January 23, 2014 at 6:20 pm |
      • portend

        thanks yo

        those who believe in an imaginary man in the sky are delusional and should be strictly prohibited from voting, serving on a jury, serving in any public office, purchasing/owning firearms or teaching public school.

        it is impossible for the adherents of any monotheistic religion to be nice. they are divided, and their religions are predicate on ignorance, hate, bigotry, and racism.

        tolerance of religious idiocy has to end.

        enough is enough."

        1. this is hate speech.

        2. copy and send this page to your u.s. senators and the president.

        3. she's made these kinds of statements before on these forums. copy those as well, and forward them to authorities and local and national media.

        4. she is not the only one to make violent, hateful comments about Christians. every time you find one, forward it to those same people and media outlets.

        5. she is inciting others to take action now. "enough is enough"

        January 24, 2014 at 12:08 am |
        • austin

          thanks. i have and will continue to do so

          January 24, 2014 at 1:20 am |
        • austin

          thanks.

          January 24, 2014 at 1:20 am |
        • austin

          thanks!

          January 24, 2014 at 1:21 am |
        • Observer

          Yes it is hate speech.

          So should we also send letters to the president every time a Christian tells atheists/gays/pro-choice supporters/etc. that they should go to hell?

          January 24, 2014 at 1:34 am |
  5. Dyslexic doG

    I'd like to ask Christians why your god doesn't just appear to the world and put an end to any doubt?

    He seems to be narcissistic enough and vain enough and insecure enough to want all the adoration and all the worship. Your book which you keep bleating is the "word of god", certainly sees god commanding you endlessly to adore him and worship him and bow before him and idolize him and praise him. "Oh love me, love me, tell me how wonderful I am!"

    It would be effortless for him to show himself, like he seemed to do pretty regularly back in the bronze age, and he wouldn't have to send so many people either born in the wrong place or people trusting logic and science over blind faith, to eternal fire and pain and torment. Surely, if he is the loving god that you claim, he would be anxious to save all these people rather than damn them?

    Are you going to use that tired and asinine "free will" argument? Or are you going to retreat into mysticism?

    January 23, 2014 at 4:30 pm |
    • Cerner

      For me, it was actually my narcissism and vanity that stood in the way of seeing Him. Not His.

      January 23, 2014 at 4:40 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        have you seen him?

        January 23, 2014 at 4:44 pm |
        • Cerner

          I know Him.

          January 23, 2014 at 4:45 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          but have you seen anything that proves he exists or is it just a feeling? Is it like a child believes he knows Santa Claus?

          January 23, 2014 at 4:48 pm |
        • Cerner

          There is overwhelming evidence for God. But God is not a product of the natural world, so science won't prove or disprove God. God's evidence is spiritual in nature.
          Why do you honestly want to know God? That will tell us a lot in why you can't understand Him.
          Perhaps you have a spiritual malady?

          January 23, 2014 at 4:52 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          cerner, So the only evidence is in your head? The fact that someone questions your belief does not mean that they are seeking your god.

          January 23, 2014 at 5:05 pm |
        • lunchbreaker

          Whether or not I believe there to be any God is not as important as to whether or not believing or not believing in said God has consequences. Which leads to the problem of which God.

          January 23, 2014 at 5:05 pm |
        • Cerner

          In Santa we trust

          No. The only evidence is not in my head. Science is proof of God.

          January 23, 2014 at 5:07 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          A god would be identified by its attributes. You need to have sufficient knowledge of the One True God to be sure you have the right God, but it doesn't reveal enough for you to know.

          January 23, 2014 at 5:11 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          no, sorry, science is not proof of god.

          see, hear, smell, touch, taste. Is there any proof of yours or any other god?

          January 23, 2014 at 5:11 pm |
        • Cerner

          Tom, Tom, the Other One

          It doesn't reveal enough for you to know. Yes. But I can't say that.

          Dyslexic doG

          A lot of scientists claim science proves that something like a God authored the rules that everything follows.

          January 23, 2014 at 5:15 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          cerner, Most scientists that I've heard say that mean a god such as espoused by Spinoza or Einstein – not the personal gods of religion.

          January 23, 2014 at 5:53 pm |
        • Cerner

          There are lots of examples of scientists who believe in a personal God, too.

          January 23, 2014 at 5:55 pm |
        • G to the T

          Cerner:
          "But God is not a product of the natural world, so science won't prove or disprove God."

          15 minutes later "The only evidence is not in my head. Science is proof of God."

          Sooooo... which is it?

          January 24, 2014 at 2:20 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        I want to know the truth.

        If your god or any god is real then that is part of the truth.

        I just can't blindly believe in a god because of an old book that is so obviously written by bronze age and iron age men with less knowledge of the world than any 5 year old today. I just can't blindly believe in a god because a person in your religion tells me to, as that person has massive ulterior motives. I just can't blindly believe in a god I want a sense of community.

        And please don't retreat into mysticism. That is the first refuge of the cornered fool. Please keep to actual proof of your god if you have any.

        January 23, 2014 at 5:00 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          sorry, that was meant to be a reply to Cerner.

          January 23, 2014 at 5:07 pm |
        • Cerner

          Yea, I don't know what to say. I don't blindly accept those things you listed either. If you are trying to imply that is what I believe, it isn't factual.

          January 23, 2014 at 5:11 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          so do you have any proof or do you simply believe without proof?

          January 23, 2014 at 5:12 pm |
        • Cerner

          Of course I have proof. If I didn't I would be an atheist. Do you want proof? You are going to have to find it for yourself. If you honestly seek you will find it.
          If you want to insist you are right and that I'm just a cornered fool who believes in a book written by people who just aren't as smart as a superior being like yourself, well then, you are ent -itled to your opinion.

          January 23, 2014 at 5:19 pm |
        • G to the T

          "Do you want proof? You are going to have to find it for yourself. " This old chestnut. Check out "confirmation bias" sometime.

          I'm sorry, but that's just a dodge. You don't have proof, you have a feeling.

          January 23, 2014 at 5:34 pm |
        • Cerner

          It is real easy for me to say you are guilty of the confirmation bias, too. Because it appears you are.

          January 23, 2014 at 5:38 pm |
        • G to the T

          "Cerner

          It is real easy for me to say you are guilty of the confirmation bias, too. Because it appears you are."

          LOL... perhaps, but I'm aware of my bias going in and try my best to not let it dictate my thinking. You seem to wallow in yours and wear it like a badge of honor. I used to be a christian, I'm well aware of the confirmation bias around "seek and ye shall find"...

          January 24, 2014 at 12:16 pm |
    • Um

      You spend way too much time worrying about what Christians think.

      January 23, 2014 at 4:44 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        Maybe because they spend so much time imposing their religious beliefs into our society.

        January 23, 2014 at 4:47 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        it's like a splinter in my mind that I can't leave alone. I figure I must be missing something. I would love to see some proof, ANY proof of your god. It would show me why so many people believe something which at this moment seems absolutely devoid of truth and logic. Help me!

        January 23, 2014 at 4:47 pm |
    • Mr. Peaceful

      Why doesn't God appear? So you want no choice but to believe instead of finding God on your own? So it's wrong for a human to force you to believe but you want God to force you to believe? May I ask how you know that you aren't wrong? I know atheists use "The evidence proves God wrong" but want type of evidence? "The bible proves God wrong". I can't prove God using the bible, that is scientifically using equations and such. Takes time to understand the bible but basing it off of what people say doesn't mean anything. I can't prove God exists. If you can't accept that, that's your choice. That is the honest truth. Take it or leave it.

      January 23, 2014 at 4:46 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        your god doesn't have to force me to do anything. If he would just give me and the rest of the human race all the facts, i.e. show himself, we would still have the free will to believe or not.

        At the moment, there is absolutely no evidence that your god exists and yet you believe based on what your parents told you or what your priest told you all without any evidence.

        January 23, 2014 at 4:53 pm |
        • Cerner

          There are lots of reasons to believe that God exists. And people that believe in God are not devoid of truth and logic like you try to claim.

          January 23, 2014 at 4:58 pm |
        • Mr. Peaceful

          Let me ask you something, if something was proven to be a fact or real in science, you have no choice BUT to accept it correct? If God proved he exists, how many humans would still deny he exists? In faith, nobody else does the hardest work for you. You do it. There's no scientist to prove you correct. It's all on you. I think that's where atheists get stuck on. Nobody else is doing the work for you. You do it yourself and only you hold the power to believe or not. God isn't going to force himself onto you when you aren't ready or willing. If you do not understand this, I'd recommend rethinking what you think is true.

          January 23, 2014 at 4:59 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          I accept what is proven. correct.

          the rest of what you said reads like mumbo jumbo to me. Thanks for trying though. Sorry I couldn't get it.

          But apart from who's doing the work and the readiness and the willingness, can you just answer
          1) why won't god show himself?
          2) do you have any actual proof he exists?

          January 23, 2014 at 5:04 pm |
        • Mr. Peaceful

          I admit I cannot prove God exists. Can you admit to yourself and to the world you can't disprove God? Even if you deny it, you are in the same boat as everyone else. Instead of bashing them, why not tell them with kindness? Anger solves nothing you know.

          January 23, 2014 at 5:09 pm |
        • Pete

          Let me ask you something, if something was proven to be a fact or real in science, you have no choice BUT to accept it correct?

          That is not true, for a good example see Christians who deny evolution.

          January 23, 2014 at 5:12 pm |
      • G to the T

        Maybe – but at least I'd be able to make an informed decision instead of having to rely on the word of his very fallible emmisaries.

        January 23, 2014 at 5:07 pm |
        • Pete

          This is part of the problem with Christianity. The bible itself say humans are broken and can't be trusted and then god goes and relies on humans to spread the word? That doesn't make any sense at all to me. It seems to me that if god wanted everyone to follow the bible then every single person on the face of the Earth would have access to it.

          January 23, 2014 at 5:14 pm |
    • tony

      to maximise box office takings when he finally does appear.

      Geriatic Rock groups figured that out long ago.

      January 23, 2014 at 5:08 pm |
  6. Dyslexic doG

    that god, he's just like Al Gore, making spurious claims about the internet.

    January 23, 2014 at 4:27 pm |
  7. tony

    Having worked on many of the fundamental building blocks of the Internet for most of my 40 year career, I can state with absolute certainty that the internet is anything but a gift from god. It is rather a massive, mostly cooperative, international human effort and a great example of technical evolution based on thorough scientific progress.

    What concerns me here is the the usual historical lying and stealing of the credit of most worthy areas of human effort by religious leaders seems to be back in full swing, whether it be morality, various annual festivals, medical claims, natural occurences and disasters and now the work of science.

    While I've not thought bady of the new pope up til now, this has changed my mind completely. So my suggestion is that he takes all such claims, and without using a condom, sticks them up his holy rear orifce.

    January 23, 2014 at 4:22 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      If only God used the same level of redundancy and error correction as TCP/IP when sending psychic transmissiosn to the Bible's authors, there would be only 1 religion.

      January 23, 2014 at 4:24 pm |
      • bostontola

        Best comment of the day.

        January 23, 2014 at 4:31 pm |
        • Austin

          in other words we have a new god, science, or computer? what you are saying is you like what is perfect and without error correct?

          January 23, 2014 at 4:34 pm |
        • tony

          That's not what he said. He implied that god, should he exist, is extraordinarily incompetent. Which is of cpourse what many parts of the bible also imply.

          January 23, 2014 at 4:38 pm |
        • bostontola

          Austin,
          in other words we have a new god, science, or computer? No. I liked how Doc pointed out how man can communicate to man better than God can communicate to man. That is a deep idea. Evidence? All the Christian sects that interpret the bible differently, even within each sect, the members disagree on interpretations. We see it it on the blogs every day.

          what you are saying is you like what is perfect and without error correct?
          The words in the bible may be perfect, but they don't communicate that message perfectly to humans. See the above answer.

          January 23, 2014 at 4:40 pm |
        • Austin

          the bible does not imply that God is incompetent.

          if you die, and the receive eternal life, how is that incompetent.

          incompetent would be rejecting salvation, where you are born dead, you die, and then die again.

          as apposed to being born dead, being born again, and the dying and receiving eternal life.

          there is injustice. choice, is not injustice.

          January 23, 2014 at 4:41 pm |
        • Austin

          pardon.... there is no injustice

          January 23, 2014 at 4:42 pm |
        • Austin

          better than God can communicate to man.

          tell me how you will communicate to God the father, who is holy , when you are full of un atoned sin?

          God has a fire attribute that burns impurity.

          January 23, 2014 at 4:44 pm |
        • Austin

          the comment you have made about God being insufficient in communication when you have the Word, who is Christ, and you also have the Holy Spirit available,

          is borderline of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. and you think you are having a good time? The Holy Spirit is present and omnipresent. He is there in your room.

          January 23, 2014 at 4:47 pm |
        • tony

          Of course the bibke implies god is incompetent, definitely by today's standards of eduction.

          Really obvious : (1)The Destruction of the Tower of Babel preceded the writing of the 10 commandments.
          (2) Rainbows instantly communicate the covenenant world wide. But then the communication method switches to marks on a couple of easily lost rocks?

          January 23, 2014 at 4:49 pm |
        • bostontola

          Austin,
          You didn't address my point, you merely hurled a threat. I don't fear your God's fire any more than Thor's lightning.

          January 23, 2014 at 4:50 pm |
        • Austin

          (2) Rainbows instantly communicate the covenenant world wide. But then the communication method switches to marks on a couple of easily lost rocks?

          who said God was done communicating? are you saying the rainbow was the end of communication?

          Bostontola, man can communicate to man better than God can communicate to man. That is a deep idea. Evidence? All the Christian sects that interpret the bible differently, even within each sect, the members disagree on interpretations. We see it it on the blogs every day.

          what you are saying is you like what is perfect and without error correct?
          The words in the bible may be perfect, but they don't communicate that message perfectly to humans.

          Bostontola, what we have is the human element of humans. how do you KNOW, that the problem is what God did, and not that humans have issues with interpretation?

          what you are saying is that sin is God's fault proven by different religius sects . The whole story of the old testamet, take the ten commandments for example, that they were not held to perfectly. is there a translation problem with the ten commandments?

          January 23, 2014 at 5:00 pm |
        • Austin

          the problem is selfish disobedience and idolatry. God was not enough , they were "set in their way"

          32 When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods[a] who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.”

          January 23, 2014 at 5:03 pm |
        • bostontola

          Austin,
          Bostontola, what we have is the human element of humans. how do you KNOW, that the problem is what God did, and not that humans have issues with interpretation?
          Communication is a two way street. The transmitter and receiver. God is the superior and the transmitter, so isn't that where the responsibility lies for accurate communication? God is omniscient, so it knows exactly how well we will interpret the message. If your God exists as defined, then it intended a poor communication, another of it's "mysterious ways" I suppose.

          what you are saying is that sin is God's fault proven by different religius sects . The whole story of the old testamet, take the ten commandments for example, that they were not held to perfectly.
          No. If all men had a very similar interpretation, then any faults would be on the men.

          is there a translation problem with the ten commandments?
          The 10 commandment are not perfectly clear. Take thou shalt not kill. Clearly the Israelites could kill their enemies. They could kill in self defense. Where the line is drawn is not clear. There are many killings that are on ambiguous moral ground, not clearly set out by the 10 commandments.

          January 23, 2014 at 5:47 pm |
      • Austin

        no there would not . Doc. If there was no fall, or fallen angel, or sin, or temptation, then there would be NO salvation. or religion. we would not be sinners.

        January 23, 2014 at 4:33 pm |
        • tony

          Nor any atheism. Because no-one would have any idea of what you were talking about. And you can hardly disbelieve in something you haven't heard of.

          January 23, 2014 at 4:36 pm |
        • Austin

          yup. but there would not be prophecy if there was not sin. because prophecy is spiritual. premonition is a lie from the pit.

          there is no natural premonition. something in my case, had to know the exact future through sovereign power, and then for the will of God to deliver reality in the same sense that the dream first occured.

          That is proof of God.

          January 23, 2014 at 4:39 pm |
        • igaftr

          That is not proof in the slightest.
          It seems quite ironic you are trying to say what reality is, when you clearly do not have a grasp of it.
          All you offer is dreams and opinions...hardly something to pin hope on.

          January 23, 2014 at 4:43 pm |
        • Austin

          igaftr, hey friend, my testimony is only testimony from another human being. good point do not hope in me.

          But you can put hope in God's promises, because God cant take back a promise,and His character would be nullified if He did not deliver.

          12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

          Romans 10:9

          King James Version (KJV)

          9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

          all you have to do to find hope, is to contemplate sin and admit to God that you need His help. Ill pray for you.

          January 23, 2014 at 4:51 pm |
        • igaftr

          Austin
          " Ill pray for you"
          Yeah...I didn't get you anything either.

          Save your prayers for yourself, you need them more than I, especially that only you think that there is a point to prayer.

          Everything you have said is just from the man made propoganda that is the bible...nothing has ever shown any gods, spirits or any such thing exist, and the whole salvation line is the same as a schoolyard bully...create the threat, threaten people, make them think it is their fault if they don't heed the threat ( and hope they don't realize if not for the bully, the threat does not exist.)
          I hope you find logic and reason some day.

          January 23, 2014 at 5:01 pm |
  8. Philip K Dick

    Since none of these comments are passing the Turing test, I feel free to disregard them.

    January 23, 2014 at 4:14 pm |
    • Austin

      do you wish you WERE A ROBOT? would that be better?

      January 23, 2014 at 4:16 pm |
      • ME II

        @Austion,
        Do you have visions of electric sheep?

        January 23, 2014 at 4:23 pm |
        • midwest rail

          "...electric sheep." Best comment today, sir. Well played.

          January 23, 2014 at 4:25 pm |
        • Austin

          you DO NOT, need to have a vision to receive the gift of faith. that is not how it happens.

          7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

          8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;

          9 To another faith by the same Spirit;

          January 23, 2014 at 4:31 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      We are all humans here.
      Now let's all say robot grace and shake hands.
      001010110101011101010101010101011010101010101011101010001010100100101010010101010111010101

      January 23, 2014 at 4:22 pm |
      • Unit #5

        Doc...watch your language...there are nano-bots present.

        January 23, 2014 at 4:48 pm |
    • CommonSensed

      Would you like to play a game of chess?

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

    Dear Francis,

    Some added information from the awesome, light-speed Internet:

    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 23, 2014 at 4:06 pm |
  10. Pete

    Deleting comments only proves you're a coward.

    January 23, 2014 at 3:28 pm |
    • Austin

      hey buddy. Pete. I enjoy our conversations. you know my past and what i claim. I am being honest. with that , i also understand how hard it is to come to the truth. unbelief is a powerful force.

      When you say , "I do not believe in God", do you understand that this does not mean He is not real, and it does not meant that I am wrong ?

      January 23, 2014 at 3:32 pm |
      • doobzz

        When you say, "I believe in God", do you understand that this does not mean he is real, and it does not meant that I am wrong?

        January 23, 2014 at 3:36 pm |
        • Austin

          yes i do understand that.

          January 23, 2014 at 3:40 pm |
      • Pete

        Austin what you are trying to use as proof of your god is based on a foundation of lies.

        January 23, 2014 at 3:38 pm |
        • Austin

          Pete, what is the point of you saying that they are a 'foundation of lies", you enter the whole conversation by sabotoging it to begin with. That is dishonest and manipulative.

          January 23, 2014 at 3:42 pm |
        • Pete

          That's your perception and again you are wrong.

          January 23, 2014 at 3:52 pm |
        • Austin

          I am not wrong pete, 30 visions are evidence that the bible is a medium for spiritual activity, hopefully the majority of wich is inspired by the insti.tiution of light and truth, instead of the division of darkness.

          January 23, 2014 at 3:57 pm |
        • Live4Him

          @Pete : That's your perception and again you are wrong.

          Unless you have provided empirical evidence to support your position, then you appear to be dishonest and manipulative. You come across as an angry person, rather than a reasonable person. Perhaps you'd like to think about it and present the evidence that you have seen to justify that judgment? This would eliminate the appearance of dishonesty.

          (BTW – I'm not taking either side in this, just trying to help the discussion flow better.)

             <><

          January 23, 2014 at 3:59 pm |
        • Pete

          I have probably had double that where my dreams come true which is why it's not proof of spirituality or a god, it's just a part of nature.

          January 23, 2014 at 3:59 pm |
        • Pete

          "Unless you have provided empirical evidence to support your position, then you appear to be dishonest and manipulative. "

          I have posted it but it keeps getting deleted. The worlds largest research center backs me up.

          January 23, 2014 at 4:01 pm |
        • Pete

          "You come across as an angry person, rather than a reasonable person. "

          Now ask yourself why you perceived that because it too is wrong.

          January 23, 2014 at 4:01 pm |
        • yellownumber5

          Sorry Austin, but your visions are evidence of nothing more than your own psychosis and inability to understand what const.itutes universally acceptable empirical evidence.

          January 23, 2014 at 4:03 pm |
        • Austin

          @y5 i am simply explaining my experience and the power that comes from the word of God, and this is vehemently attacked.

          the truth about the gospel is where this conversation should really end up. Why does it offend you to admit that you are a sinner and that God would understandably be holy?

          because you don't want to identify as a sinner? because you cant handle God being a judgmental God? or you cant handle the effects and truth about the fall and what cain did?

          January 23, 2014 at 4:14 pm |
        • yellownumber5

          I don't find it offensive, Austin, I find it completely unintelligible and question begging.

          January 23, 2014 at 4:17 pm |
        • Austin

          yellow 5 "unintelligible"

          now that is easily overcome by the fact that i only speak about things that I have written down first, they are all in a stack of papers and dated..these go back 10 years.

          and then the experience that relates to the dreams, is not unintelligible. what you are saying , is that i am not intelligent.

          can you verify that claim? do you refuse to open up to the possibilities?

          January 23, 2014 at 4:27 pm |
        • yellownumber5

          Perhaps you need to learn what the word "unitelligible" means, Austin. What you just wrote borders on gibberish.

          January 23, 2014 at 4:52 pm |
      • Reality # 2

        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 23, 2014 at 4:11 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          Fifteen out of sixteen people who have ever lived are dead. I've heard that death was not part of God's plan. Spectacular failure, I'd say.

          January 23, 2014 at 4:17 pm |
        • Austin

          how can you relate that to the murder of Abel by Cain??

          January 23, 2014 at 4:19 pm |
        • igaftr

          thats easy austin.
          The above info is reality, where your characters out of a book are fictional.

          January 23, 2014 at 4:46 pm |
  11. Live4Him

    bostontola

    Sorry, I got pulled away, but I'm back for a few minutes so I wanted to follow up on your earlier response.

    @bostontola : I am an atheist and if I had strong objective evidence of a supernatural act, I would absolutely consider God.
    @Live4Him : From your perspective as an atheist, why would you chose to follow Christ in the above situation?

    You stated that objective evidence would be good enough for you. However, I pointed out that others had similar objective evidence and yet still rejected it. So, my point

    1) Given that all objective evidence is viewed through a subjective lens, why do you think that you could overcome your subjectivity?
    2) What benefit is it to you to follow Christ (given your previous condition)?

    <><

    January 23, 2014 at 3:22 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      There is no tangible, testable, repeatable, universally demonstrable evidence for anything supernatural.
      That's why it is called "supernatural" and why all religions are predicated on faith.

      January 23, 2014 at 3:29 pm |
      • Austin

        I think there is. Because I keep having supernatural visions.

        January 23, 2014 at 3:33 pm |
        • ME II

          And I think that you are simply deluding yourself into thinking you have visions.

          January 23, 2014 at 3:37 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Your divine, psychic revelations of feline misfortune are not tangible, repeatable, nor demonstrable.

          January 23, 2014 at 3:47 pm |
        • Austin

          ya but the last one may have solved a crime that happened 6 months ago from a dream 2 years ago.Austin

          listen to this. after my buddies funeral last week, i went to buy a few bibles for 2 people at the funeral. at the bookstore i saw this woman i had not seen in ten years i asked her "how is your twin sister" she said "she died of a drug overdose"
          and just then my ex girl friends mom (hadnt seen her for 5 years walks in ) and says, "my twin sister died too".......

          i get home and i had a dream from jail, from two years ago that there was a girl who overdosed, and that my ex girlfriends mom was in the dream. and this girl overdosed only 6 months ago.

          there was another part to the dream, "two guys caught on tape"
          and i called crime stoppers and told the cops and i personally think that this information led to the arrest of 2 guys for 1st degree se.xual assault on top of the wreckless ho.micide.

          January 23, 2014 at 3:54 pm |
        • Pete

          I had a dream about a house down the street, that the husband was beating his wife. I called the cops and it turned out to be true. These type of dreams have nothing to do with gods or religions.

          January 23, 2014 at 3:57 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @Austin
          If you truly believe that you're having prescient dreams, you should keep an online dream journal.
          When said premonitions come to pass, you'll be able to demonstrate to any doubters that you called it.
          Otherwise, your tales of magic are full of sound and fury, yet signifying nothing.

          Or maybe you just need to lay off the Melange, Muad'dib.

          January 23, 2014 at 3:58 pm |
        • yellownumber5

          Seek professional psychiatric help, Austin, I mean that sincerely.

          January 23, 2014 at 3:58 pm |
        • Austin

          why would i seek help because a dream that i wrote down 2 years ago came apparently true?

          you have a good reason for that or just scorn? about the online dream journal. why do i need my journal online? because you cant handle taking a testimony from someone?

          I am simply adding to my testimony. It will not change either. what is done, has been done.

          January 23, 2014 at 4:03 pm |
        • ME II

          " lay off the Melange"

          lol, nice one

          January 23, 2014 at 4:05 pm |
        • Austin

          for you to term this as a "premonition" is presumptuous and debased as.sumption.

          but i do appreciate your conversation, its just annoying to watch people with no willingness to hear what i am saying, that I know the source of my gift comes from the truth in scripture.

          January 23, 2014 at 4:07 pm |
        • yellownumber5

          I'm not saying to see a shrink because you had a dream, I'm saying see a shrink, because you think your dreams are some sort of attempt by supernatural ent.ities to communicate with you and that you act on that belief. That's dangerous.

          "If you talk to God, you are praying. If God talks to you, you have schizophrenia" – Thomas Szasz

          January 23, 2014 at 4:08 pm |
        • Hugh Jass

          "maybe you just need to lay off the Melange, Muad'dib." Or just go on and declare yourself the Kwisatz Haderach, right?

          January 23, 2014 at 4:09 pm |
        • truthprevails1

          Once again Austin, your dreams are not evidence of the supernatural. No matter how often you claim them to be, they simply are not. You continue to refuse to contact Jame Randi and you continue to spread your delusions as if they were reality...if you wish to be taken seriously contact James Randi or simply admit you're crazy and need professional mental health help.

          January 23, 2014 at 4:15 pm |
        • Austin

          I lean more towards it being our brains being bombarded by neutrinos that interact in our dreams. Give the scientists time and they will probably be able to explain it. The point to this whole arguement is you can't use as proof of your god to try and sell your religion. You are making false claims because you have this great need to feel speical because you can't face the reality that you are not.

          Pete, if anyone else read this comment from you they would agree that you are hypothesizing. I am not selling you anything .
          What this is here, is the resurrection power of firstfruits. Shadowed by the festival in Leviticus, the firstfruit of the spirit, was the resurrected Christ.

          @ truth prevails. James Randii has nothing to do with me right? what does James Randii have to do with God? (according to James Randii). Therefore, my experience is independent of James Randii

          January 23, 2014 at 4:24 pm |
        • truthprevails1

          Austin: In other words, you know you're delusional and are too afraid to face it. James Randi would prove once and for all that you're not special, a little crazy but not special.

          January 23, 2014 at 4:41 pm |
      • Vic

        LOL..

        Just like the complex hardware and software computer technologies underlying the user friendly GUI—Graphical User Interface—available at your fingertips to type your blog reply, the "Supernatural" is the underlying force of the "natural" of this wondrous "Creation."

        January 23, 2014 at 4:02 pm |
        • ME II

          Pure speculation

          January 23, 2014 at 4:07 pm |
        • Science Works

          Vic come on now

          DOS (disambiguation)

          January 23, 2014 at 4:08 pm |
        • Hugh Jass

          Cool, and just as soon as you send email by praying on a Bible, we will accept your interpretation. You must be joking, surely.

          January 23, 2014 at 4:11 pm |
        • Science Works

          Boy Vic your dream of the internet is right up there with Austin !

          January 23, 2014 at 4:19 pm |
    • Mmmmmmm

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

      @Live4Him: 2) What benefit is it to you to follow Christ (given your previous condition)?

      I'm sorry, but I don't get the correlation between the two...I must be missing something?

      January 23, 2014 at 3:29 pm |
      • Live4Him

        @Mmmmmmm : I'm sorry, but I don't get the correlation between the two...I must be missing something?

        given your previous condition = 'I had strong objective evidence of a supernatural act'.

        January 23, 2014 at 3:32 pm |
        • Mmmmmmm

          But he is an atheist who hasn't been shown any...

          January 23, 2014 at 3:34 pm |
        • Live4Him

          @Mmmmmmm : But he is an atheist who hasn't been shown any...

          I guess you don't understand a the purpose / use of a hypothetical question.

          January 23, 2014 at 3:38 pm |
        • Mmmmmmm

          I guess you couldn't wait to be condescending.

          January 23, 2014 at 3:44 pm |
        • Live4Him

          @Mmmmmmm : I guess you couldn't wait to be condescending.

          I'm not condescending, but just accepting where you are at currently.

             <><

          January 23, 2014 at 3:53 pm |
        • Mmmmmmm

          Where your at currently is at condescension. If you has merely said "it was a hypothetical based on an earlier conversation" I would have said "oh, okay." Pretty much why I asked you if I was missing something in the first place.

          January 23, 2014 at 3:56 pm |
        • Mmmmmmm

          Where *you're* currently at....

          January 23, 2014 at 3:58 pm |
        • Live4Him

          @Mmmmmmm : If you has merely said "it was a hypothetical based on an earlier conversation"

          Then I'm sorry. I'll try to be more clear in the future.

             <><

          January 23, 2014 at 4:01 pm |
        • Mmmmmmm

          Thank you. That would be helpful.

          January 23, 2014 at 4:04 pm |
    • bostontola

      L4H,
      1) Given that all objective evidence is viewed through a subjective lens, why do you think that you could overcome your subjectivity?
      Humans have an extraordinarily good track record of using objective evidence to create new technology successfully, it's called science and engineering. Medical, electronic, optical, etc. technology works incredibly well. This use of objective evidence gleaned through subjective lenses has earned my trust (and faith in it's future).
      2) What benefit is it to you to follow Christ (given your previous condition)?
      I said I would follow Christ if he got internet accounts (Twitter, Facebook, etc) and announced himself and the supernatural acts that would leave strong objective evidence, then did those supernatural acts. The benefit is self evident, if there were a supernatural being that was going to roast me for eternity or love me for eternity, I would choose love.

      January 23, 2014 at 3:33 pm |
      • ME II

        I would suggest that the benefit is simply understanding and living in reality, or as close as we humans can get.

        January 23, 2014 at 3:41 pm |
        • bostontola

          I agree, but if Jesus was real, those 2 things would be 1.

          January 23, 2014 at 3:44 pm |
        • ME II

          Agreed

          January 23, 2014 at 3:49 pm |
      • Live4Him

        @bostontola : Humans have an extraordinarily good track record of using objective evidence to create new technology successfully, it's called science and engineering.

        Actually, no they don't. The purpose of the scientific methodology is to mitigate the subjectivity. Lets take the example of dino soft tissue (and no, I'm not going to discuss this further). Objective evidence that many people have tried to 'explain away'. So, any objective evidence that is contrary to popular belief is rarely accepted until proven again, and again and again – and even then not everyone will accept it. This certainly undermines your posit.

        @bostontola : if there were a supernatural being that was going to roast me for eternity or love me for eternity, I would choose love.

        Thank you. You've proven the point that I was trying to make. To do 'the will of my Father' means to act unselfishly. However, your motiviation is self-serving. Thus, you have revealed why God requires faith to enter into heaven – it eliminates self-serving motivations.

        In short, you choose to receive love rather than give it. Yet, love only works when it flows through you. Think of a hydroelectric dam – it only works when the water flows through the system. Hoarding all the water only causes the dam to break.

         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 3:48 pm |
        • ???

          Good...don't bring up Dino soft tissue; you've been thoroughly trounced on this issue so many times that you look stupid.

          January 23, 2014 at 3:52 pm |
        • bostontola

          L4H,
          Actually...you missed my point. I didn't say science or engineering was perfect, they aren't. That doesn't matter. You asked why I trusted objective evidence viewed through a subjective lens. All the technology around us that works, airplane, X-Ray machines, Hubble Space telescope, Large Hadron Collider, the internet, weather satellites, etc, etc etc, wouldn't work if we couldn't distill objective from subjective evidence. Why can we? Because while each individual has their own subjective reality, science and engineering require validation by independent means and people. It's really quite successful. It's the most trustworthy enterprise man has ever devised.

          January 23, 2014 at 4:01 pm |
        • ME II

          @Live4Him,
          The scientific method is extraordinarily good, when compared to the alternatives random chance or trial and error
          .. and "miraculously" good when compared with prayer.

          January 23, 2014 at 4:12 pm |
        • Pete

          ??? is right you don't want to discuss it because you have been show repeatedly why you are wrong and just don't want to admit it.

          January 23, 2014 at 5:35 pm |
    • Austin

      @Live4Him
      Im sorry for hijacking your thread.

      January 23, 2014 at 4:05 pm |
      • Mmmmmmm

        Can a person actually hijack a thread? I thought that's what the reply buttons were for.

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

    So Daniel Burke changes the name of his article from "The Pope Takes on Internet Trolls" to "Pope: The Internet is a 'gift from God.' But beware of trolls" after someone points out that the pope never mentions internet trolls, and it is his own projection of what he thinks the pope said, most likely to stir the pot. Nothing gets the comments section in a tizzy more than calling someone a troll, even when they didn't.

    Ridiculous. Another day, another Daniel Burke non-article about the pope's blathering about nothing.

    January 23, 2014 at 3:20 pm |
    • Mmmmmmm

      I noticed that, as well. Nice of Mr. Burke to call everyone who visits his blog and comments "trolls".

      January 23, 2014 at 3:24 pm |
      • CNN Belief Blog Co-EditorCNN

        I did no such thing. Don't see how you could possibly read that into my piece.

        January 23, 2014 at 4:07 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          You have been a bit high-handed with some of us.

          January 23, 2014 at 4:09 pm |
        • Mmmmmmm

          Then why use the term troll at all, when Pope Francis didn't, but you clearly did in both your headline and your opening paragraph?

          January 23, 2014 at 4:26 pm |
    • Austin

      what is the Idol that provokes to jealousy?

      computer x 6 =666

      the computer is more bad than it is good.

      January 23, 2014 at 3:24 pm |
      • doobzz

        No, it's not. Without computers, biologic medicines, genome mapping, polymerase chain reaction and hundreds of other technological advances wouldn't be possible.

        January 23, 2014 at 3:32 pm |
        • Austin

          i know , the problem is profane content and profane advertising. ....the result of secular indiscretion..
          and this the children are harmed.

          January 23, 2014 at 3:51 pm |
        • doobzz

          Profane is in the eye of the beholder. Adult content between consenting adults isn't a big deal. That's just prissy people trying to shame others in order to control them.

          There are thousands of pedo sites, yes, but even with that, the technology itself provides civil authorities a tool for luring them out, arresting and prosecuting them, with a hard evidence trail provided by their own computer.

          Millions of lives have been saved by advancements in the sciences not possible before modern data storage.

          January 23, 2014 at 4:54 pm |
        • Mmmmmmm

          IMO, that would be the parent's failure at supervision/parental controls set on the computer.

          January 23, 2014 at 4:02 pm |
    • Live4Him

      It's not like a blog REALLY attracts a troll, now is it?

      January 23, 2014 at 3:25 pm |
      • Austin

        do you believe the internet is a gift from God? lol.

        January 23, 2014 at 3:29 pm |
      • doobzz

        Well, you're here, so I guess it does.

        January 23, 2014 at 3:32 pm |
        • um

          You do the same.

          January 23, 2014 at 3:58 pm |
        • doobzz

          I know you are but what am I? Neener neener.

          January 23, 2014 at 4:54 pm |
      • Trollier than Thou

        Beware...BEWARE...(cough)..sorry couldn't resist.

        January 23, 2014 at 3:40 pm |
    • CNN Belief Blog Co-EditorCNN

      Um, no, @Doobzz. I changed the headline, on my own, because I wanted to get in both the "gift from God" and his comments about negative online conversations.

      And again, it's really hard to read comments like these and think he's not talking about trolls, whether he used that exact word or not:

      "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."

      And this: "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."

      January 23, 2014 at 4:10 pm |
      • doobzz

        Um, well, Daniel, are you suggesting that I'm a troll because I disagreed with your original headline and found it coincidental that you changed it after others expressed the same idea?

        Perhaps it was just coincidence, but as a journalist, I'd hope you'd simply correct me, rather than getting petulant and defensive.

        January 23, 2014 at 5:10 pm |
  13. Mopery

    Oh Lord, my blog has been possessed by Internet Trolls! My computer needs an exorcism! Quick, call The Bishop!!!

    January 23, 2014 at 3:16 pm |
    • Trollier than Thou

      You can't cast us into a bunch of pigs, pigs are impossible to type into.

      January 23, 2014 at 3:51 pm |
  14. sly

    Praise Allah for the internet. Allah Ackbar – God is Great.

    And so is the internet.

    January 23, 2014 at 3:10 pm |
    • bostontola

      I thank Mercury for the internet.

      January 23, 2014 at 3:15 pm |
      • ME II

        The Messenger?

        January 23, 2014 at 3:29 pm |
        • bostontola

          Precisely.

          January 23, 2014 at 3:34 pm |
    • Austin

      i dont know what Ackbar means but it makes me want to puke every time i hear it. I don't mind allah. but ackbar. puke!

      January 23, 2014 at 3:26 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        What have you got against General "It's a Trap!" Akbar?
        You're a speciesist!

        January 23, 2014 at 3:30 pm |
        • Austin

          run! they are cutting heads off!!

          January 23, 2014 at 3:44 pm |
        • Mmmmmmm

          I find that most religious fanatics have their odd ways of honoring Him.

          January 23, 2014 at 3:49 pm |
      • Mmmmmmm

        Allah Akbar means God is Great.

        January 23, 2014 at 3:40 pm |
    • Rong

      actually it seems to be spelled akbar

      January 23, 2014 at 3:49 pm |
      • sly

        Frankly, I have no idea what Allah Akbar means, or apparently how to spell it.

        I just post it because it is so amusing to read all the anti-Muslim bigots getting their panties all in a bun.

        January 23, 2014 at 5:02 pm |
  15. yellownumber5

    Indeed, JoBu bless the internet, where religions come to die.

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Rqw4krMOug&w=640&h=360]

    January 23, 2014 at 3:07 pm |
    • doobzz

      "Is very bad to steal Jobu's rum".

      January 23, 2014 at 6:44 pm |
  16. Corey

    The internet is about as much of a gift from god as the atom bomb. Last I checked the internet was invented by man not god. If you want to use the excuse well god made man and everything else then it must be a gift from god, you know because he is so good. With that logic if god made everything then god made everything else evil out there. So god must be evil as well. What kind of dumb a s s makes something and tells it you can do what ever you want but if you do what I tell you not to do, you will go to hell with my former right hand man. It's against your belief if a woman has a abortion but if your god causes that woman to have a miscarriage then it's all good. Let me guess, because he works in mysterious ways?

    January 23, 2014 at 3:01 pm |
  17. BRC

    I don't have any particular issue with what the Pope has to say on this one, it's kind of a known that as people receed further and furhter into "social networking" and electronic communications, face to faace interactions decrease. For better or worse that's a thing, no real religious issue. I find the CNN's name for the article more than a little dissengenous, there isn't anything in there about Trolls. But, it makes people click, so there it is.

    January 23, 2014 at 2:48 pm |
  18. Winn Myo Thant

    God Bless you

    January 23, 2014 at 2:47 pm |
    • CommonSensed

      Thanks, Odin.

      January 23, 2014 at 2:49 pm |
  19. Vic

    It is so ironic that although government does not make products, the US Government built one the most outstanding products of all times, the Internet.

    The United States Department of Defense's DARPA—Defense Advanced Research Project Agency—was behind the creation of the Internet, which was later commercialized in 1995.

    January 23, 2014 at 2:47 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Part of the way in which teh US Government justifies exorbitant Pentagon expenditures is the argument for "dual use" technology. Stuff made for war and destuction might turn out to have aspects that can be commoditized and commercialized, therefore military expenditures are good for capitalism.

      January 23, 2014 at 2:50 pm |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        All life-saving trauma medicine was learned and developed on the battlefield

        January 23, 2014 at 2:52 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @LET
          Beware of speaking in absolutes.
          That beign said, your statement is true in spirit.
          My father was an infantry medic, SARTech and Commandant of the Canadian Forces Medical Services School.

          January 23, 2014 at 3:10 pm |
    • Vic

      God Bless The United States Of America

      January 23, 2014 at 2:53 pm |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        Shush! God might say no.

        January 23, 2014 at 2:57 pm |
      • I'll Bet

        Vic is enamoured with the free p0rn.

        January 23, 2014 at 3:07 pm |
        • sam stone

          Vic's coming in the name of the lord consists of muttering "oh, g-g-g-od, OH JEEBUS!"

          January 23, 2014 at 3:22 pm |
      • igaftr

        Vic
        What do you have against the rest of the world, or the universe for that matter?
        Why do you command your god to just bless the USA?

        January 23, 2014 at 3:36 pm |
    • Vic

      Regarding the Internet is a gift from God, I agree. God bestows His blessings in so many ways, directly and indirectly through people.

      January 23, 2014 at 3:07 pm |
      • Stupid God

        that can't use his internet creation, seems to be stuck in the first century, ever wonder why Vic?

        January 23, 2014 at 3:09 pm |
        • Vic

          It is the human state of mind that gets stuck in second gear when it comes to the existence of God and His wonderful "Creation" of which is humanity and its knowledge and endeavors, hence the Internet.

          January 23, 2014 at 3:17 pm |
        • ME II

          @Vic,
          "....hence the Internet."

          What?

          January 23, 2014 at 3:26 pm |
      • ME II

        How exactly do you tell it's supposedly from God, perhaps the devil is tempting us, or maybe it's just human innovation and coincidence.

        January 23, 2014 at 3:11 pm |
        • Vic

          Well, as a Christian, I believe God created everything, the universe and life in it, gave it the nature it has, and set it all in motion.

          Science is God's "Natural Revelation" of how His "Creation" physically works, of which is technology, hence the Internet.

          January 23, 2014 at 3:25 pm |
        • ME II

          @Vic,
          Well, everything except sin, right?

          January 23, 2014 at 3:27 pm |
        • Science Works

          Broken record there Vic try again !

          January 23, 2014 at 3:33 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        I've never understood how anyone can believe that a god waited billions of years for our solar system to form, then waited billions more years for life to form and evolve to the point where humans could make advanced tools; it certainly gives the impression that the personal god of religions is made up.

        January 23, 2014 at 3:26 pm |
        • Vic

          Only time will tell how science is full with myths anymore.

          January 23, 2014 at 3:39 pm |
        • lngtrmthnkr

          Santa you don't understand infinity. In infinity time is meaningless . Only in tthe physical universe is time aplicable.

          January 23, 2014 at 4:27 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.