June 13th, 2013
02:15 PM ET

The pope said what? Six stunners from Francis

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
[twitter-follow screen_name='BurkeCNN']

(CNN) –Pope Francis has challenged his flock of 1 billion Catholics not to be “starched Christians” who chat about theology over tea.

He’s been taking his own advice.

Since his election in March, Francis has delivered sharp and unscripted remarks on everything from homosexuality to atheism to his unlikely election to the seat of St. Peter.

Anyone who bet the 76-year-old Jesuit from Argentina would become Supreme Pontiff likely won a lot of dough, Francis joked on Sunday.

We’re wagering this pope’s got a few more surprises up the sleeves of his white cassock.

Meanwhile, here are six eye-openers Francis has uttered thus far.

1) There’s a “gay lobby” inside the Vatican

Meeting with Catholic leaders from his native Latin America and the Caribbean on Sunday, the pope said that there’s a lot of holy people in the Curia, Catholicism’s Rome-based bureaucracy.

But there is also a “stream of corruption,” Francis said, including a “gay lobby.”

"We need to see what we can do," he added, somewhat cryptically.

Only the pope knows exactly what he means. The Vatican has clammed up, refusing to explain.

Catholic experts believe Francis was referring to a secret dossier presented to his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI that investigated a series of embarrassing leaks from Vatican insiders to Italian journalists.

The dossier referred to a Vatican network of sexually active gay clergy who might have been subject to blackmail, according to Italian reports.

2) All atheists go to heaven?

During a homily in Rome on May 22, Francis said that God redeems everyone – not just Christians, but atheists, as well.

“We must meet one another doing good,” the pope said. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.”

So, was the pope saying that people can go to heaven, even if they don’t believe in God?

Probably not, say church experts.

Catholicism has long held that salvation is open to everyone – but with a really big caveat. If you know about the church and don’t become a member, the door to heaven is likely closed, a Catholic spokesman later clarified.

Many American atheists say they appreciated the olive branch from the pope, however unclear his remarks may have been.

3) “I didn’t want to be pope”

Meeting with Catholic students from Italy and Albania on June 7, Francis ditched his “boring” speech and instead took questions from the children.

A little redhead in a blue scarf elicited laughter by bluntly asking, “Francis, why did you want to become pope?”

“I didn’t,” Francis answered. In fact, “a person who wants to become pope doesn’t love himself. And God doesn’t bless him,” the pontiff said.

4) Sleepy prayers

In May, the pope shared intimate details about his spiritual life with a crowd of 200,000 people gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

Every day, Francis said, he prays at an altar before he goes to bed. On occasion, the sandman arrives before the end of his prayers, the pope said.

“Sometimes I doze off, the fatigue of the day makes you fall asleep, but God understands,” Francis said.

5) Christians should mind their own beeswax

In some of his sharpest comments as pope, Francis criticized Christian busybodies in May.

“We all chat in church,” the pope said. “As Christians we chat.

“It is as if we want to put each other down,” Francis continued. “Instead of growing, one makes the other feel small while I feel great. That will not do.”

Gossip, the pope said, is like honey. It tastes sweet at first, but large doses deliver stomach aches.

6) Throwing food away is stealing from the poor

The first Latin American pope has made fighting poverty a top priority of his papacy. Scarcely a speech or homily ends without a mention of the homeless and disabled.

On June 5, Francis lambasted a “culture of waste” in which consumerism trumps compassion, people become just another disposable object, and little care is given to those who need help.

“This culture of waste has made us insensitive even to the waste and disposal of food, which is even more despicable when all over the world many individuals and families are suffering from hunger and malnutrition. ” Francis said.

“We should all remember, however, that throwing food away is like stealing from the tables of the poor, the hungry.”

- CNN Religion Editor

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

soundoff (1,006 Responses)
  1. EvinAR

    The "door to heaven", that's nice. Cute thought. I always thought human beings invented doors.

    Nice too, that people on Earth know when an imaginary door is open or closed to me, after my body can no longer walk through them, much less think about them.

    Why does Catholicism create so many contradictory images of the afterlife and then proceed to accept scientific facts? You can't make up things about personal gods, saints, angels, the hierarchy of heaven, purgatory, etc. and pretend you have anything close to what science has for reality. So idiotic. If science ever becomes a government bureaucracy that mandates how people should live and makes up rules for whole alternate realities, kill me please.

    June 13, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
    • faith

      lawsuits dm

      June 13, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
    • CNN

      Delete all 'faith' posts.

      June 13, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
    • chaz

      Jesus is the door...see the teaching by Joseph Prince.

      June 13, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
    • AdamC

      They have to try to keep it somewhat modern, otherwise everyone will realize how crazy it is and leave the church in droves. Expect to see the church continue accepting more and of what the majority wants.

      June 13, 2013 at 6:20 pm |
    • Owl96

      Except that the Heavenly realm is ouside the body of physics. The church does not deny any scientific findings or theories. None of it has anything to do with the afterlife.

      June 14, 2013 at 9:15 am |
  2. bananaspy

    So, has anyone realized yet that the Pope is just a regular guy in a dumb hat?

    June 13, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      yeah, the pope knew it right away.

      June 13, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
    • STFU

      "God" gave him an opportunity to live like a king, but he threw it away; it is like hitting a power ball in your 90s.

      June 13, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
    • JMEF

      Shows humility agreed, why can't you as a mouthpiece for the RCC not show even a scintilla of the same. You are a pompous, arrogant, pontificator, so un-Christ like.

      June 13, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Cuz I think it's fun to yank your chain.

      June 14, 2013 at 9:28 am |
    • Science

      Wow Bill classic..................the talking donkey and all.

      June 14, 2013 at 9:36 am |
    • Science

      Who is wearing the chains of the beast Billy ..............you know you can shake the chains off Bill.

      June 14, 2013 at 10:32 am |
  3. Phaerisee

    Until we eliminate prelatures that operate independently with no accountability within The Church, they will continue to be a source of scandal and sin. It has been a full year since the bones found in the Opus Dei Crypt were sent for DNA testing. Why has it taken a full year? Are the bones found there with the remains of mobster Enrico DiPidis the bones of the kidnapped girl Emanuela Orlandi or not?

    June 13, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
    • AdamC

      Remember the golden rule: He with the gold makes the rules. And the church has a lot of gold.

      June 13, 2013 at 6:22 pm |
  4. M.E.

    He and the Dalai Lama should team up, they seem to have pretty similar views on many things. They could do a pretty decent bit of good by working together.

    June 13, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
  5. STFU

    tucking away artworks by masters in vatican is called stealing from art hungry people too!!

    June 13, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
  6. The best of: The pope said what?

    Throwing food away is stealing from the poor!

    June 13, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
    • Camus

      About as bad as the idiot that said, "The Middle East is obviously an issue that has plagued the region for centuries." Or when the numbnuts said, "No, no. I have been practicing...I bowled a 129. It's like - it was like Special Olympics, or something."

      June 13, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
    • Camus

      I'm sorry, I'm a bitch.

      June 13, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
    • JFCanton

      Think they were asking that in the 1700s too.

      June 13, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      And the 800's

      June 13, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
    • Camus

      Must have touched a nerve with my comment, good 🙂

      June 13, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
    • Camus

      Now I will try and touch a few other things.

      June 13, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
    • Camus

      What's wrong bubbeleh? Didn't like the quotes I put up? The guy that said them must be a few IQ points under the Pope right?

      June 13, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
    • Camus

      Above post is not mine – what is wrong with you people?

      June 13, 2013 at 7:11 pm |
    • Camus

      Oy, try "are".

      June 13, 2013 at 8:28 pm |
  7. In GOD trust!~

    The level of intelligence (or shall I say, lack thereof) is quite impressive. Perhaps instead of posting your ridiculous rants over things you quite obviously know nothing about.......you should indulge in a little self-exploration. Why are you so filled with hatred? And why do you feel the need to trash religion.......PERIOD?! If you don't believe in something, or agree with something....... MOVE ON! Why do you feel the need to express your unwelcomed opinion at all?? I feel sorry for you and only hope that one day when you depart from this f****** up world and are greeted by our CREATOR......you have a much different opinion.

    June 13, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Is this supposed to be a response to another post? If so, which one?

      If you don't use the reply function, you look a bit mad.

      June 13, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
    • Jesus sukz

      lol religayan is the dumbest thing that exists on this planet.

      June 13, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
    • mo

      If you don't believe in something, or agree with something....... MOVE ON! Why do you feel the need to express your unwelcomed opinion at all?? ...uh do only religious people have freedom of speech? if you dont want to listen move on.

      June 13, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
    • Joey

      It seems to me it is the religious people who can't move on when they disagree with someone. It goes something like this: I don't think gay people should get married because I find them icky, therefore instead of moving on I will try and ban gay marriage. As an atheist I would gladly leave the believers alone if they would leave everyone else alone, but that hasn't happened yet.

      June 13, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
    • In GOD trust!~

      Uh.....no "mo"....I feel everyone has the right to express their thoughts, not just "religious" people. I just find it rather humorous that someone who claims to be an ATHEIST would take the time to post their hatred on a wall from an article on the POPE. If you're an atheist, why are you even taken the time to read about anything religious at all? Perhaps they need to go post something on the Scientology walls, or maybe find out when the mothership will be boarding?!

      June 13, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Well, maybe if the religious would stop pushing their religion on the rest of society, maybe there'd be fewer comments about it on here. You have no evidence for a god and science proves that the creation myth is just that.

      June 13, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
    • In GOD trust!~

      Religion isn't dumb......people are ignorant.

      June 13, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
    • In GOD trust!~

      Hey Santa.......Rudolph just got hit by a bus!!!!
      The "proof" I have that GOD exists is held in my FAITH, that is all the proof I need. I'm sorry but I did not evolve from a monkey. If that were the case, wouldn't monkeys cease to exist?? Some things are unexplainable, this is true.......but that is what our FAITH is used for. And I have never "pushed" my religion on anyone. In fact, I don't even claim religion at all. I just know what I know..... and believe what I believe. I am what they call a "born-again Christian". I believe in GOD......and I believe that He gave his Son, Jesus Christ, to forgive us as sinners and live eternity with the Holy Father. If you would have an open mind and do research.........science and religion can, and do, work together. We are finding out new things all the time.

      June 13, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
    • Athy

      You haven't a clue how evolution works, do you?

      June 13, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
    • Joey

      Well like In GOD trust said, people are ignorant, and he is a perfect example.

      June 13, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
    • Joey

      Also it is true that you did not evolve from monkeys, but you do share a common ancestor with monkeys whether you like it or not.

      June 13, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
    • In GOD trust!~

      Joey, YOU are a far better example of ignorance!! In fact, YOU are proof that GOD has a sense of humor.

      June 13, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      If Americans came from Europeans, why are there still Eurpoeans?

      June 13, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
    • OTOH

      In GOD trust!~
      " I'm sorry but I did not evolve from a monkey. If that were the case, wouldn't monkeys cease to exist??"

      Humans did not evolve FROM monkeys, but along side of them from a common ancestor long, long ago.

      Do you, or did you have any cousins? Did they cease to exist when you came along?

      Humans are Primates, along with apes, monkeys and many others, as evidenced by body structure, function and DNA.

      Squirrels and mice are Rodents - they are related in the same way as humans are to monkeys. Would you say, "If there are mice, then squirrels must cease to exist?"

      June 13, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
    • In GOD trust!~

      Has the Mothership landed yet??
      Please do not take every word I said so literally..........it was said in a SARCASTIC manner. Obviously, I am aware I did not "spawn from a monkey". It was meant to be a ridiuclous comment........such as the ones that come from ATHEISTS. Geez.......get a grip people.

      June 13, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      In GOD trust!~

      Perhaps you need to go have a consult with your "Holy Spirit" in order to be able to make a better presentation. Certainly no higher being is guiding you...

      June 13, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      I'll get a grip when children stop dying because of their parent's religious faith. When creationism is no longer a threat to science classes. When gays are no longer persecuted for who they are and when politicians stop saying god would be opposed to food stamps.

      June 13, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      igt, "It was meant to be a ridiuclous comment........such as the ones that come from ATHEISTS."

      You succeeded – it was ridiculous. What comments are you referring to?

      June 13, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
  8. PPJr

    Can Vatican gay lobby go to heaven?

    June 13, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Yes, the option remains

      June 13, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
  9. rudy

    Father forgive them all for they know not. He still loves you.

    June 13, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
  10. V in Chicago

    Not Catholic or even sure about organized religion. But based on these comments, I like this guy. He would be worth listening to.

    June 13, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
    • Ty

      Me too. He’s great!

      June 13, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      I guarantee you his theology is as Catholic as it comes. But he does have a nice way of getting your attention for a teachable moment.

      June 13, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
    • Just wondering

      I agree seems like his a welcome change

      June 13, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • JMEF

      Definitely agree that Francis is a breath of fresh air in the RCC, but I honestly think he would be embarrassed by the likes of you Bill Deacon.

      June 13, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
  11. Seyedibar

    Unless he suddenly stops believing in winged men, alien intervention, and talking snakes, every word out from his mouth is pointless.

    June 13, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
    • Utnapishtim

      The only thing pointless is your opinion about a man you really don't know.

      June 13, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Hey Seyed. Not only does your snake talk, you understand what it says:

      “On the one hand we know we must do good, and in our inner selves this is what we desire, yet at the same time we feel an impulse to do the opposite, to follow the path of egoism, of violence, to do only what he enjoys even though we know that this means working against good, against God and against our fellow man…This inner contradiction of our being is not a theory. We all experience it every day as around us we see the second of these two wills prevail. Suffice to think of daily news of injustices, violence, and dissipation. This is a fact. From the power evil has over our souls, a foul river of evil has arisen over history, poisoning the human landscape.”

      Blaise Pascal, the Pope recalled, spoke of a “second nature,” which puts itself above man’s original nature. This “second nature” makes evil appear normal to man. Evil appears to have become a second nature.

      June 13, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
    • Magooser

      600 comments just like yours everyday, eventually it's just white noise.

      June 13, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
    • JMEF

      Of course Bill, you floated in that river of evil for so long that you needed the delusion of god and the the RCC despotism to live with your self, the great crutch.

      June 13, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      You got me there JMEF. Let me know when you're tired of drinking it in. I'll give you a lift to confession.

      June 13, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
    • JMEF

      Do not need a mythical crutch to live with myself and just so you know I do not believe in sin, that is a religious term, I believe in following the laws society. Just wish that you people could see that your religious dogma is not above the democratic laws passed by the state.

      June 13, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
  12. Colin

    No more Pascal's Wager. Cool.

    June 13, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
  13. Answer

    An old man trying .. still useless as the rest of them.

    June 13, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
    • Utnapishtim

      Remember those words you've spoken young man.

      June 13, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
  14. lionlylamb

    The tastes of socialisms run the gauntlets of perceptible hunches while ever missing the marks.

    June 13, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • meifumado


      June 13, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      Hey I see Stanley Unwin is back.

      June 13, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
  15. Reality

    No matter what Francis says, it will not change the following:

    Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations (or “mythicizing” from P, M, M, L and J) and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Ludemann, Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% or less of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects.

    The 30% or less of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hitt-ites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.

    For added "pizzazz", Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "filicider".

    Current RCC problems:

    Too many pedophiliac priests, an old, all-male, mostly white hierarchy, atonement theology, the resurrection con and original sin!!!!

    June 13, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      Thank you for your inane and incorrect copy/pastes thoughts.

      June 13, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • Ryan

      If you want to know about who Jesus is, read The Bible.

      June 13, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'If you want to know about who Jesus is, read The Bible.'

      Thats like telling people to read Shakespeare if they want to know about Richard III

      June 13, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
    • Gawain

      cedar rapids,

      Aye, or reading Mallory to learn about King Arthur...

      June 13, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      @cedar rapids, Gawain- I am @ssuming that you have alternative reading material on the historical Jesus you would like to recommend?

      June 13, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
    • Choices

      If Richard is more enchanting, why not amuse yourself by reading Shakespeare?

      Those of us that desire to understand the truth will read the word of God (Bible)

      The choice is yours! Be smart and make wise choices.

      June 13, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
    • Mac

      Every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus the Christ/Messiah is LORD!!
      What See and experience!!!

      June 13, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
    • Reality

      For starters:

      o 1. Historical Jesus Theories, earlychristianwritings.com/theories.htm – the names of many of the contemporary historical Jesus scholars and the ti-tles of their over 100 books on the subject.

      2. Early Christian Writings, earlychristianwritings.com/
      – a list of early Christian doc-uments to include the year of publication–

      30-60 CE Passion Narrative
      40-80 Lost Sayings Gospel Q
      50-60 1 Thessalonians
      50-60 Philippians
      50-60 Galatians
      50-60 1 Corinthians
      50-60 2 Corinthians
      50-60 Romans
      50-60 Philemon
      50-80 Colossians
      50-90 Signs Gospel
      50-95 Book of Hebrews
      50-120 Didache
      50-140 Gospel of Thomas
      50-140 Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel
      50-200 Sophia of Jesus Christ
      65-80 Gospel of Mark
      70-100 Epistle of James
      70-120 Egerton Gospel
      70-160 Gospel of Peter
      70-160 Secret Mark
      70-200 Fayyum Fragment
      70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
      73-200 Mara Bar Serapion
      80-100 2 Thessalonians
      80-100 Ephesians
      80-100 Gospel of Matthew
      80-110 1 Peter
      80-120 Epistle of Barnabas
      80-130 Gospel of Luke
      80-130 Acts of the Apostles
      80-140 1 Clement
      80-150 Gospel of the Egyptians
      80-150 Gospel of the Hebrews
      80-250 Christian Sibyllines
      90-95 Apocalypse of John
      90-120 Gospel of John
      90-120 1 John
      90-120 2 John
      90-120 3 John
      90-120 Epistle of Jude
      93 Flavius Josephus
      100-150 1 Timothy
      100-150 2 Timothy
      100-150 T-itus
      100-150 Apocalypse of Peter
      100-150 Secret Book of James
      100-150 Preaching of Peter
      100-160 Gospel of the Ebionites
      100-160 Gospel of the Nazoreans
      100-160 Shepherd of Hermas
      100-160 2 Peter

      3. Historical Jesus Studies, faithfutures.org/HJstudies.html,
      – "an extensive and constantly expanding literature on historical research into the person and cultural context of Jesus of Nazareth"
      4. Jesus Database, faithfutures.org/JDB/intro.html–"The JESUS DATABASE is an online annotated inventory of the traditions concerning the life and teachings of Jesus that have survived from the first three centuries of the Common Era. It includes both canonical and extra-canonical materials, and is not limited to the traditions found within the Christian New Testament."
      5. Josephus on Jesus mtio.com/articles/bissar24.htm
      6. The Jesus Seminar, mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/seminar.html#Criteria
      7. Writing the New Testament- mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/testament.html
      8. Health and Healing in the Land of Israel By Joe Zias
      9. Economics in First Century Palestine, K.C. Hanson and D. E. Oakman, Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1998.

      June 14, 2013 at 12:00 am |
  16. Colin

    I am as atheist as it gets. I think Dawkins and Harris are too religious. I think Hitchens was too soft on Muslims. I think those who hold out even a 0.000000001% chance there might just possibly be a god are waffling simpletons who haven't read enough science. I don't even believe in me sometimes.

    And I like this guy....

    June 13, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
    • Ty

      I agree. The Pope's great.q

      June 13, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • Who's your daddy now?

      You do know what they say about practicing atheists don't you Colin?

      June 13, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      I agree with you for the most part, Colin, but I don't know enough to like or dislike this guy.

      Ty, atheists are courageous enough to follow their convictions and their reasoning; believers are pvssies who cower before the terrorism of their di.sg.usting god.

      June 13, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Sorry, Ty, bad memory. My second comment was to "who's your father currently"

      June 13, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • Ty

      Cpt. Obvious, as a religious individual, I feel we should bury the hatchet. Come on. What do you say?

      June 13, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Cpt. Obvious,

      Are you a 'turn coat'?

      June 13, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
    • meifumado

      I'm with you on this, and I agree about Hitch he for some reason loved the Arabs who call themselves Palestinians.
      I think Dawkins as a scientist is just waiting for the evidence and facts to 100% disprove.

      Anyway this pope seems to be the real deal, Hard to knock this guy.

      June 13, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
    • Chuckles

      Erm.... I hold that there is a .000000000000000000000000001% chance that god exists, or at least in a really roundabout, ersatz way.

      I was listening to a debate that Harris and Hitch were having with 2 rabbis the other night and Harris mentioned a theory that gave me pause. It sounds rediculous but when he walked through how he got there I could accept it more easily than religion.

      For instance, if we accept that the brain is just a soft tissue computer that is just having zetabytes of information inputed into it all the time. If we also accept that we at one point will create artificial intelligence that matches or even surpasses the computing power of the human brain then it would be possible to create a scenario in which a single religion could be write and what that scenario would look like over the course of human history.

      Harris then takes a little hop saying that what if we, right now are actually inside the program. Our reality is simply just a program running a simulation on a computer chip and the horror could be this might be the mormons, or the scientologists running the simulation where they've programed their god in.

      THAT is how god could possible exist, even an ersatz god, a god nonetheless

      I do also agree with you though, Some of this popes policies are dark age sh.it, but he's much more progressive than benedict so I'll take it.

      June 13, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
    • Colin

      Cool stuff you mentioned, Chuckles. I will look for the interview. It is a double edged sword. Benedict was SUCH an ass he was a godsend to atheists. A likeble Pope will slow down the migration from nonsense to reality.

      June 13, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
    • oceanica

      i agree with u colin. I like him a lot. Im also athiest and support the popes focus on helping those who cannot help themselves, the sick and the poor.

      June 13, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
    • Chuckles


      Solid point, I guess there is a silver lining to having a nazi youth elected as pope vs. a more progressive pope like Francis or JP II.

      To be perferctly selfish I see the value in an out of touch pope, pushing dark age policies and hastening the demise of the church but I would rather have the progressive pope who encourages the religious to get off my di.ck and leave me alone even if that means prolonging the time where billions of people still believe in iron age myths.

      June 13, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      I believe there is a .000000000000000000001% chance that Colin and Chuckles will learn something from Pope Francis.

      June 13, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
    • Ah So

      You said, "Erm.... I hold that there is a .000000000000000000000000001% chance that god exists, or at least in a really roundabout, ersatz way. "

      So much denial, so deep in the fundie closet. Waaaaaaaay in the back, in the tiniest corner, you think there is a god.
      No wonder you are enamored of confirmation bias in your thinking. You are an idiot. Just sayin.

      June 13, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
    • JMEF

      And it is 10000000000000 positive chance that Bill would kiss Francis' ass if he could, even the old Rat given the opportunity.

      June 13, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Ah so, not so much. He's pretty deep in his own closet.

      June 13, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Science says you can't get more than 100% chance JMEF but we get your point.

      June 13, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
    • Chuckles


      Eh, maybe I will. Considering I figured out the whole "help the poor" thing before I had even heard of the guy, I think I could probably teach him more than he me, but who knows.

      @Ah So

      You wouldn't mind pointing out where this confirmation bias actually happens would you? I also think it's pretty great you think I'm a fundementalist but fail to say what kind of fundementalist, do you mean christian? jew? muslim? atheist?

      Seems to be the only fundementalist here is the guy attacking the moderate position because even admitting for a second that in a purely hypothetical situation with a lot of supposition still goes against your belief that god can, in no conceivable possible way exist. Sounds like you are overcompensating for something, my guess is that you have a baby di.ck but who knows, it just might be an Oedipal complex

      June 13, 2013 at 5:12 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Chuck, I bet the pope would be delighted to have you show him how to stop the disposal by government regulation of food that is not served on a daily basis in all the Catholic hospitals he is responsible for worldwide so that it could be redistributed to the poor. When can you start?

      RE your comments to Ahso. yeah, that's the closet I was talking about. LOL

      June 13, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
    • Ah So

      Your confirmation bias is for anything that can be remotely twisted to support your tiny tiny tiny belief in a god.
      You even use, on the BSA article next door, such things as arguing from popularity, arguing coincidence equals cause, and so on, in your many worthless examples or scenarios you put forth.
      For example, simply assuming that visiting aliens who profess a deep love for Jesus or their own Jesus, is not indicative of anything other than the fact of them claiming such. A claim is not proof of anything, especially a baseless assertion like saying a god exists.
      In that particular case, it is the fact that they visited us that should give rise to the greatest of skepticism as to anything they might say. Why don't you allow for the greater likelihood that they are deliberately lying about their "jesus' instead of conflating their mere assertion as some sort of cosmic confirmation of your 0.00000000000000001 percent belief in a god beforehand?
      You are all ready to believe because deep down you think it might be true. Soooo deeeep innn the closettt.......hallooo!
      Can you hear me in there? LOL

      June 13, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
    • Chuckles


      Considering the disposal of food, many times is for a good reason, especially instead of going to a hosptial considering that food can lead to disease and death. Yeah, I guess it would be a good idea to have a chat with the pope about that then huh?

      @Ah So

      Wait, what? When did I say I believed in a god? Ever? I've reiterated a numbre of times already that I'm an atheist, that god, any god, has a very small chance of existing and yet now you are saying I'm trying to somehow weasle my way to convincing you that god definitely exists using hypotheticals? Really?

      You use the other article to show this and yet as you clearly have shown you can't read, let me help you here. I never said that aliens coming preaching about jesus is proof that jesus exists, I merely pointed out that if this were to happen that it would warrent further investigation. I agree that aliens coming preaching jesus is not proof on its own, not even close BUT to dismiss it out of hand is, simply put, idiotic.

      I'm gonna try to use small words here because it's clear you have the brain the size of a rats so it must be my vocabulary that's throwing you off. Or maybe it's math, or maybe it's everything, I'm not sure.

      If you can't, even in a hypothetical with a crazy amount of suppostion admit that in this extremely unique, very improbable situation that god might exist due to these factors then you're just as bad as the fundementalist christians like our friend Bill here. You might want to rethink why you're an atheist, just sayin....

      Also fun fact about Chuckles, was born and raised entirely jewish and have since distanced myself from judaism because atheism makes the most sense. I'm assuming you're trying to imply I'm somehow a fundementalist christian, which is adorable but very very false.

      June 13, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
    • chaz

      isnt it funny how every atheist has to comment on Pope threads...why? why bother? Why out yourself out....are you God-Curious?

      Remember, Jesus said "there is only ONE Father and he is in Heaven." No need to go thru these people that insist you call them Father. They are false profits. They read out of their own "creeds" not the Bible

      My church has a Holy Bible in EVERY pew and we read from it...

      June 13, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
    • Chuckles


      I reccomend actually reading the comments before spewing stupid all over the comment board.

      June 13, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
    • Ah So

      I see you are indulging in fallacies again.
      No, you are a theist way deep down. I was not thinking you were a christard. You are just stupid. Not the same thing at all.
      You are one of those wishy-washy fools who refuses to check each premise, and it shows in your arguments.
      Instead of checking your premises, you would rather rely upon mere assertions as indicative of something they do not, in fact, indicate, and assume that because some similar cognitive errors arise in an alien culture, you blatantly ignore the fact that they are cognitive errors and go straight to "oh, this should be worthy of serious investigation".
      What a maroon. What a nincompoop. I am not the one jumping to conclusions here, it is you, every fucking time.

      June 13, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
    • JMEF

      Bill Deacon
      Really Bill, I had a stock I bought increase in value by 400%, was it supposed to stop at 100%? Stick to religious BS, that is your forte.

      June 13, 2013 at 6:19 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Ah So

      Oh kiddo, you're adorable. I feel like I have my very own troll just for me!

      Lets walk you through this one more time, maybe we'll uncover who's using a fallacy here. Aliens come to earth, they have a the jesus story and preaching christianity in alien form. I point out that this is fascinating and say it warrents further investigation. You say they are idiots (even though they've achieved the technology of space flight and are clearly anything but) and that them having a religion is not surprising at all but just an error in their judgement.

      You do see the problem right? We both identify as atheists because there is no evidence to support any religion or a god. Where we differ however is apparently you use your confirmation bias to immediately assume that if aliens have christianity as their religion, ipso facto they're idiots. You don't investigate why they would believe in that and sure you could be right. Maybe they're saying that to gain access to influential leaders of man (even though choosing one religion isolates just about everyone else in the world which is exactly the opposite of what they would want), or maybe they're as backwards as humans here who believe by virtue of faith alone.

      Or maybe, just maybe, they've also done the research and found something that man hasn't that's made them absolutely sure that there is a god and that he had a son named Joshua (the jesus). Considering these hypothetical aliens have achieved flight between space it would suggest that they probably have more knowledge of the universe than we do and yet you still loudly bray like an as.s that they are the idiots.....

      Yeah, I'd prefer not to sound like an uneducated dic.kless bit.ch like you. 🙂

      June 13, 2013 at 6:21 pm |
    • Ah So

      LOL You are so desperate.
      No, I get what you are saying, but you don't want to believe that, do you? Oh, the irony.

      You are so willing for the aliens to be saving your sorry ass. Well, enjoy your future probing. I'll pass, thanks.

      You are using more fallacies and biases in your arguments. You equate technology with knowledge and cognitive ability.
      What an idiot. You are the sort to be taken in by a tv magician, wondering if the guy really did use magic. LOL

      Anyone can have technology they do not understand fully. We do. Simply assuming that they are credible in any way simply because they show up in a spaceship is one of the most fucking retarded things I have ever read.
      You still have a lot of stupid shit in your head. Raised religious? That might explain your inability to think clearly.

      June 13, 2013 at 6:46 pm |
    • *

      How can you fly "between space"?

      June 13, 2013 at 6:51 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Ah So

      When would I want aliens to "save my sorry ass"? Is it because I posed a harmless hypothetical and sh.it youself because I'm not a hardliner atheist? I hear they're doing wonderful things with adult diapers these days, I suggest you invest that way you'll be prepared for the future when you will undoubtedly sh.it youself again.

      "You are using more fallacies and biases in your arguments. You equate technology with knowledge and cognitive ability."
      - Please, point me to the specific fallacies I'm using and how. I'd be happy to watch you squirm. Also lets walk you through this slowly. Highly advanced tech, especially tech that allows you to travel at the speed of light in order to plausibly travel through space shows that whatever beings can do this has a high intellect and knowledge of the universe, how does that not make sense to you? What do you consider knowledge if not the ability to come up with highly advanced mathamatics and then translate that into machinery?

      "Anyone can have technology they do not understand fully. We do."
      - Haha, ok so I guess there's a couple of things to unpack here 1. Anyone huh? What other species has a bunch of tech but also doesn't fully understand it? 2. Just because you don't understand something fully doesn't mean you have no knowledge, it means you have partial knowledge. If an alien race traveled as far as they did they would have more knowledge than we do. Whether they fully grasped exactly how they did it in no way invalidates the knowledge they possess.

      If by raised religious you mean raised in a reconstructionist household then... yeah, sure. Super religious reconstructionist recovery victim here..... Honestly, I'm a little surprised by the fact that you still think you are even making a slight amount of sense here.

      This is for anyone reading this idiotic thread: If you would like to weigh in I'm all ears. I've only see Ah So here embarrass himself, but I submit to the belief blog board: If you have any opinion on the above thread, by all means, add your two cents, it'd be fun to watch Ah So sh.it himself again (I'm assuming he has to keep changing his undies between posts)

      June 13, 2013 at 7:01 pm |
    • Chuckles


      It's called a warp drive, which admittedly I'm not the go to scholar on how exactly it is theorized to work but if I understand the basic concept is that you cast a bubble around the object that essentially cuts space in front of it in order to bypass the law that you can't travel faster than the speed of light.

      LIke I said though, I might be way off and the wording used might be wrong and should be "around" or "through" instead of "between"

      Care to weigh in on any other part if you would be so kind?

      June 13, 2013 at 7:05 pm |
    • Ah So

      @Chuckles the clown
      You said, "Highly advanced tech, especially tech that allows you to travel at the speed of light in order to plausibly travel through space shows that whatever beings can do this has a high intellect and knowledge of the universe, how does that not make sense to you? What do you consider knowledge if not the ability to come up with highly advanced mathamatics and then translate that into machinery?"

      Wow. I guess logic and epistemology just go right over your head, don't they?
      Once again you go right to a conclusion without any skepticism whatsoever. What an easy touch you must be.
      The credibility of any claim by an alien is warranted how? Just because they might be in a spaceship?
      You are assuming they built it using their own science with their own knowledge and own skills as well as their own brains.
      Why assume this? Because you just made it up after your argument and are pretending it was there all along when it wasn't.
      And so what if they made some whoop-te-do spaceship? It means nothing in terms of their abilities to reason things out and says nothing about their own cognitive biases, which you continue to ignore as a real probability, never having ruled it out in the first place.
      Who says they built the ship? Who says it was their science or knowledge? And none of it is even RELEVANT in terms of ideology, which a religion is since it is not ever based upon real or rational concepts or did you want to re-define religion as well?
      So you get to make up your own facts now? Gee, I don't think that's a good idea there, Chuckles.
      You've already talked definitively about black holes right after saying we know nothing about them and talked definitively about neanderthals and their social activities despite having zero reason or facts to back you up.
      You keep talking about things you don't know and lying, as well as making up new facts to suit your arguments after you've already lost.
      And here I was hoping for an intelligent debate. Oh, well.

      June 13, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Ah So

      There's a difference between being a sk.ep.tic and a cyn.ic. I'm sk.ep.t.i.cal of someone telling me to believe in someone without any evidence. When presented with evidence, I'm more than happy to change my view on the matter. If an alien ship landed on earth, why should I have reason to believe it's not theirs? They are flying it, presumably the controls fit to their biology enough to use it, they also have the knowledge to fly it and land it, why should I think otherwise. I don't need to add in anything to the hypothetical because that's a useless bit of knowledge that doesn't pertain to the question posed.

      Making a spaceship that actually works and can travel between stars says a lot about their co.gn.it.ive abi.liti.es. Why is that hard for your to accept? Seriously, I think this is question you need to answer for yourself. Traveling lightyears isn't something to be taken lightly and clearly if this species created a mode of travel that travels at the speed of light, they sure have more knowledge than we do, at least in the mathematics department. Their being able to travel at light-speed obviously has no direct impact on philosophy or religion which I am fully aware of, however for an ci.vi.liz.ation to achieve such high level so.phi.stic.ation it's a safe bet that their society is advanced in other areas as well, which is why I go back to my original as.sertion that because of this, their claims warrant further investigation instead of being dismissed off hand just because you don't want to agree with it. Honestly, do I have to hold you hand through everything here?

      June 13, 2013 at 8:51 pm |
    • Chuckles

      As to the discussion on black holes and neadrathals. I did back up my claims. I provided links. And you? Show me where these apparent giant, hostile angry neadrathals were exactly?

      Black holes are also fascinating and natures weirdest things. I can hardly call myself an expert on them but I've done enough reading to understand the craziness tat occurs around and inside a hole, theoretically of course. Gravitational laws, space, time and everything else warp. It's interesting stuff, I suggest you take your head out of your ass one day and actually look into it.

      I would also appreciate you actually be able to back up your own claims on my character, whether its the fact that I'm apparently a closeted fundementalist theist or that I'm using confirmation bias somehow. Seems to me like whi.ney baby here is getting his sh.it sta.ined pan.ties in a twist because hes getting embarras.sed in front of his friends.
      I wouldn't mind exactly you stating, unequivocally, why you yourself are an atheist. That would be a fantastic start.

      June 13, 2013 at 9:01 pm |
    • Ah So

      You haven't earned the right to anything from me but a fart in your general direction, little boy.
      When you want to talk with the big kids you have to earn the right by being mature, which you definitely have not done.
      Go ahead and keep talking like a fifth grader. It shows your lack of maturity. I don't have to do a thing.

      June 13, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
    • Chuckles

      1. How many 5th graders do you know who speak like this?
      2. It's a little late for you to be taking the high road here, but yeah, you can pretend like all of a sudden you've been super polite here and it's me that's been ag.gres.sive and mean spi.rit.e.d the whole time. I guess you don't realize everything is in black and white above, it's pretty easy to see:
      a. that I trounced your sorry as.s.
      b. you were a little bit.ch about it and now are trying to use only ad hominem attacks in order to try and make it out with a little shred of self-respect left.... well I'm here to tell you that you failed, so good night kiddo I hope that you learn soon that trying to pull this bullsh.it with me will only land you in a world of public embarrassment.

      Sweet dreams!

      June 14, 2013 at 12:23 am |
  17. Uncouth Swain

    He's open to other people, makes fun of himself, has practical viewpoints on certain social issues and seems like a decent enough guy. Seems like they chose a good man to be Pope. I just hope he lives long enough to help (or at least start the process) of reorganizing the RCC and modernize the church.

    June 13, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
    • DethPanel

      He should be burned alive just like you Swain.

      June 13, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      ah, the return of the Praetorians

      June 13, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      @DethPanel- "He should be burned alive just like you Swain."


      @Bill Deacon- "ah, the return of the Praetorians"

      I don't see the connection since the Praetorians were a military group that eventually protected the Roman Emporer, sometimes killed the Emporer and even made a few people Emporer.

      June 13, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
    • *


      June 13, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      Oops..thanks asterisk. I always make that mistake when I get in a hurry.

      June 13, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      The Praetorians were also a ruthless, calculating band of assassins who passed judgement and execution on whomever they opposed.

      June 13, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
    • Reader


      You have a lot of hate in you, get help

      June 13, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • Science

      Hey Uncouth Swain..............RCC needs to upgrade............and do away with god(s) made us.


      June 13, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      @Bill Deacon- "The Praetorians were also a ruthless, calculating band of assassins who passed judgement and execution on whomever they opposed."

      Thank goodness the Pope isn't like that right?

      @Science- Uh-huh..not that I'm the master of sentence structure on here but I think your last one needs a little work. And what does "Making College More Affordable" have to do with anything?

      June 13, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
    • Science

      The fairy in the sky did not create us.

      Adam and his bone.

      The bible is BS and as Bill says..............you know.Bill.

      June 13, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      @Science- "The fairy in the sky did not create us."

      Don't know a single person that ever thought that a sky fairy created anything. You should do some background checking before you comment.
      And I guess the whole whitehouse link was just junk you didn't bother to actually visit before posting too right?

      June 13, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      popes have been like that swain but I think it's too early to tell about this one.

      June 13, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
    • Bill

      I believe God created The subatomic particle that was the universe before the big bang.

      June 13, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      But, Bill, you have no evidence for that; we don't know so anything is a possibility. Would you even consider a god a possibility if we bypassed our superstitious ancestors and had our current knowledge.

      June 13, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
    • Bill

      Of course. My belief is one of faith. Not one of science. I certainly wouldn’t want this belief of mine to be taught in the schools as it is only my belief and not fact.

      June 13, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
    • JMEF

      Bill Deacon
      Except catholic schools where you want to have the catechism beaten into the minds of the children, right Billy?

      June 13, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
  18. Bill Deacon

    Pray for the pope.

    God Bless Pope Francis

    June 13, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
    • sam stone

      why pray for the pope?

      isn't he god's representative on earth?

      June 13, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      not any more than you are sam.

      June 13, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
    • sam stone

      really, bill?

      i do not recall anyone lining up to kiss my hand

      June 13, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
    • JMEF

      Poor Bill terrified of change and this Jesuit speaks his mind and the rest of the hierarchy have to figure out how to twist the words to fit the program. By the way more catholic schools shutting down and parishes amalgamating, start of your smaller church perhaps.

      June 13, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      sam, maybe it's your message.

      June 13, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
  19. STFU

    1 through 5, I really don't care, but I don't get it how can he say "6) Throwing food away is stealing from the poor"? I am in one hundred percent agreement with food should not be wasted, but I don't like it when he calls it "stealing from the poor"; I hope he licks his dinner plates.

    June 13, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      Perhaps he means more about the waste in general than specifically throwing food away. The odds are that we (especially in the western world) will throw food away even if we don't mean to waste it. But there are more than enough of us that simply buy more than we will need and that kind of waste might be what he is meaning.
      I dunno.

      June 13, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
    • DethPanel

      We could see the same crap if they chose a pope off the street. This pope is a criminal and should be arrested and shot.

      June 13, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Arrested and shot? Sounds kind of new world order to me. No trial by jury?

      June 13, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      @DethPanel- "We could see the same crap if they chose a pope off the street."

      So you want to be Pope?

      "This pope is a criminal and should be arrested and shot."

      Explain why this man is a criminal.

      June 13, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      He won't. He can't. He's a little froggish but he can't jump. More of a meth head than a deth panel.

      June 13, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
    • STFU

      @Uncouth Swain, I give him the benefit of the doubt that he is a Spanish speaking pope; due to lack of vocabulary he called it "stealing".

      June 13, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      @STFU- that's a good theory

      June 13, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
  20. Rock Kickass

    I see a late night show for this guy in the future. He's perfect....being a religious leader is just a performance anyways.

    June 13, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
    • Arnold

      Doubt it. Not many former Popes go onto a career in television

      June 13, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
    • ME II

      "Not many former Popes go onto..." anything

      June 13, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      They get an awesome retirement plan though

      June 13, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
    • Arnold

      That’s not very nice, ME II

      June 13, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
    • ME II

      Why? Most die in office and therefore don't do anything afterwards. Is it mean to say that?

      June 13, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
    • Chuckles


      I'm confused too. If Benedict is the first pope to abdicate since the 12th century stands to reason that popes aren't doing much of anything "afterwards"


      Your point is true if catholicism is right, if it aint I'm sure all the popes get a little club in hell discussing how wrong they all were.

      June 13, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Chuckles, it's kind of a joke among some of the priests I know. But theologically they see themselves denying rewards (marriage, wealth, etc.) in this life for eternal reward in the hereafter. They call it "passing on the "hors d'ovres" in preference for the main course.

      June 13, 2013 at 4:57 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.