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September 20th, 2013
02:16 PM ET

Conservatives 'disturbed' by pope's remarks

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-editor

[twitter-follow screen_name='BurkeCNN']

(CNN) - “Rain on parched land.”

“A bold new course.”

“Revolutionary.”

That’s how liberal Catholics responded to the stunning interview published Thursday in which Pope Francis bluntly said the church shouldn’t be “obsessed” with culture war issues like abortion and gay marriage.

“It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time,” the pope said, warning that the church's moral foundations will fall "like a house of cards" unless it strikes a "new balance" between preaching the gospel and taking stands on divisive issues.

How did conservative Catholics, the church’s most ardent culture warriors, react?

“I’ll be honest; I was disturbed,” writes Matthew Archbold in the conservative National Catholic Register.

“While it's clear that the pope is not changing church teaching, he is clearly changing the emphasis. The pope with a few words has unsettled so much.”

Archbold said that he’s concerned that the pope's words will be used against anti-abortion activists and opponents of gay marriage in the United States.

But after thinking and praying about the pope's remarks, Archbold said, he decided that being unsettled may not be "such a terrible thing."

"I think the pope was reminding us that we're a religion of 'yes.'"

MORE ON CNN: Pope Francis: Church can't 'interfere' with gays

Before the release of Thursday’s interview, Bishop Thomas Tobin of Rhode Island said he was “disappointed” that Francis had not spoken much about abortion. On Friday, Tobin welcomed the pope’s comments, but said it won’t change his focus.

“I have spoken out clearly about the dignity of all human life and the nature of holy matrimony as designed by God and will continue to do so whenever the situation warrants,” Tobin said. “It is a demand of the Gospel.”

The bishop also said, however, that he appreciates the new pope’s “balanced and inclusive” approach.

Other conservative Catholics said the media and liberals had misconstrued the pope’s remarks, made in a 12,000-word interview published Thursday in 16 Jesuit journals around the world.

“The pope is a reformer, but not a revolutionary,” Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Civil and Religious Rights, told CNN’s Chris Cuomo.

“This is the problem with the left," Dohonue continued, "they are trying to take what the pope said and then run with it.”

Donohue, a caustic and sometimes controversial critic of people he perceives as anti-Catholic, said the pope’s remarks won’t silence him.

“There’s nothing the pope said that should give relief to people who say all of a sudden now that conservatives should shut up,” Donahue said. “We’re not going to shut up because we’re in consonant compliance with what the pope said. “

After all, conservatives say, it’s not like the pope changed Catholic doctrine in Thursday’s interview.

To underscore that point, the conservative blog Rorate Caeli posted a lengthy quote from the pope’s meeting with Catholic gynecologists on Friday in which he strongly denounced abortion.

“Each child who is unborn, but is unjustly condemned to be aborted, bears the face of Jesus Christ, bears the face of the Lord,” the pope said, according to Rorate Caeli’s translation. “They cannot be discarded, as the `culture of waste’ proposes.”

Father John Zuhlsdorf, a conservative Catholic blogger, said the pope urged Catholics to find a “new balance” between their moral and political missions. He didn’t say they should surrender the culture wars.

“I think that Francis thinks that constant correction and condemnation does more harm than good,” Zuhlsdorf wrote on his blog.

“Francis said `all the time," Zuhlsdorf said."He did not say `we should not talk about these things.’"

MORE ON CNN: The pope said what? Six stunners from Francis

Other conservatives said the pope's remarks are “nothing new.”

"The pope is not in any way proposing that the church should abandon important moral and social teachings,” said Ashley McGuire of the Catholic Association.

"Rather, the pope is reaffirming a longstanding teaching that reaches all the way back to the founding of Christianity: love your neighbor.”

And while most liberals praised the pope’s bold new vision, some took issue with his remarks about women’s role in the church.

“We have to work harder to develop a theology of women in the church,” Francis said in Thursday's interview.

“Breaking news, Pope Francis: There is already a profound theology of women," said Sister Maureen Fielder, a Catholic nun and longtime advocate of women’s ordination in the Catholic Church.

“There are libraries of feminist theology just waiting for you, and others, to dive in.”

Fielder said she likes the new pope, but she thinks he “sorely needs a course in feminist theology.”

For the most part, however, liberals praised Francis.

Under previous popes, liberal Catholic nuns, politicians and theologians were castigated by church leaders, said John Gehring, a writer and advocate at the group Faith in Public Life. Now “the air is starting to clear,” he said.

“Pope Francis is rescuing the Catholic Church from those grim-faced watchdogs of orthodoxy who in windowless rooms reduce Catholicism to a laundry list of nos,” Gehring said.

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Culture wars • Faith • Gay marriage • Pope Francis

soundoff (1,798 Responses)
  1. Dyslexic doG

    2 + 2 ≠ 5

    It never has, it doesn't now, and it never will. YOU come along and say that 2 + 2 = 5. I say it does not. You say it does, I say it equals 4. You say it doesn't – I say 2 + 2 ≠ 5. You say it does, I say it doesn't. The argument/war goes on for years.

    NOW you come along and say "Let's COMPROMISE!"

    Ya know what? 2 + 2 ≠ 5

    And ya know what else? Your "compromise" of 2 + 2 = 4½ doesn't work, either.

    2 + 2 ≠ 5 It doesn't, and I don't have to RESPECT your belief that it does. You're wrong, I'm SAYING you're wrong, I'm telling you to your FACE you're wrong, and if you teach it to your children, it should be considered child abuse. You're wrong, you should be shamed for believing it, and I'm willing to do it. I'm calling you an idiot and you are if you believe it.

    2 + 2 ≠ 5

    September 20, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
    • AE

      Who are you talking to?

      Who said "Let's COMPROMISE"?

      Who is trying to tell you 2 + 2 = 5?

      September 20, 2013 at 10:21 pm |
    • a reasonable atheist

      2+2=5*

      *for large values of 2

      September 20, 2013 at 10:24 pm |
      • Doris

        lol

        September 20, 2013 at 10:29 pm |
        • a reasonable atheist

          The math is strong in this one. I can sense it.

          September 20, 2013 at 11:35 pm |
    • Doris

      2 + 2 = 4 is just an expression. But it represents something that just about everyone agrees on as a "truth". Probably because what it represents is something easily demonstrated; something we can experience with most of our senses together minute by minute. I really don't believe that people know any moral/objective truths (from God or any "truth" totally from outside of the human experience). How could they? How has anyone come to any kind of belief by purely objective (from God) means? I certainly don't discount that one might think they have been inspired or touched divinely, but just conveying the experience to someone else brings subjectivity into the picture. Now just think for a moment how long subjectivity has been a part of the puzzle. Now fundies, go clean out your spam folder – it's getting dusty in there.

      September 20, 2013 at 10:50 pm |
      • Hell and destruction are never full

        Did you clear this post with yer hubby??

        September 20, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
  2. rtrauben

    i respect the church for distancing itself from the bigotry of these "culture warriors"
    and respectfully ask them to stop using religion to justify their beliefs. After all if you
    want to play politics with religion, get yourself elected to become POPE. Otherwise
    your opinion is just that rather than catholic doctrine. Otherwise, why do you need
    or want a POPE. If you dont want to respect the POPES decision on this you can
    always turn away from the CATHOLIC faith and start the Church of Fill-In-The-Blank
    rather than setting yourself up to be holier than thou.

    September 20, 2013 at 10:10 pm |
    • NSL

      You've obviously missed the Pope's point. He's not saying to Catholics to change their ideology, just to lie about and not tell anyone what the ideology is.

      September 21, 2013 at 12:26 am |
  3. Hell and destruction are never full

    ALL RISE!!!

    Gen 28:14 And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.

    Now when you get done debating the meaning of "is", "seed", "families" and "shalt", you might make some progress on "blessed".

    September 20, 2013 at 10:09 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      Speaking of blessed seed...

      " 31 One day the older daughter said to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is no man around here to give us children—as is the custom all over the earth. 32 Let’s get our father to drink wine and then sleep with him and preserve our family line through our father.” 33 That night they got their father to drink wine, and the older daughter went in and slept with him. He was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up." Genesis 19:31-33

      September 20, 2013 at 10:16 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      When you're done debating the meaning of "invisible" and "undetectable" you can move on to "irrelevant."

      September 20, 2013 at 10:19 pm |
  4. Dynan3

    Of COURSE the Bible thumpers are rebelling against this Pope! He makes sense and is a compassionate humanitarian as Christ expounded.

    September 20, 2013 at 10:02 pm |
    • The hell we care

      Apparently the Pope wants wanted to convey another message to gays.

      September 20, 2013 at 10:08 pm |
      • Hell and destruction are never full

        There is no message to gays.

        September 20, 2013 at 10:11 pm |
        • Eve

          No, there's not, because Jesus never said ONE WORD about gay people.

          September 20, 2013 at 10:21 pm |
        • Doris

          Who's on first?

          September 20, 2013 at 10:32 pm |
        • Eve

          Who is.

          September 20, 2013 at 10:35 pm |
  5. There are some important things to consider

    on this page:

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Evidence_for_the_historical_existence_of_Jesus_Christ

    September 20, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
    • Whine of Treason

      Age of Reason would surely deny that using batman's opinion, I bet.

      September 20, 2013 at 10:05 pm |
  6. Reality

    Francis,

    Bottom line: THERE IS NO GOD !!!

    Find a new job.

    September 20, 2013 at 9:40 pm |
    • Vast Majority

      Says, how many?

      September 20, 2013 at 9:46 pm |
      • Just the Facts Ma'am...

        Yes, we know the vast majority of people on the earth believe in some form of sky fairy. However, when looking at average education levels, a majority of people around the world do not get beyond an 8th grade equivalent education.

        September 20, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
        • Hell and destruction are never full

          Fairy?? Are you a gay, too??

          September 20, 2013 at 10:12 pm |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          Not that there is anything wrong with being gay, but no, I am not gay. What has that got to do with your imaginary sky fairy who never answers your prayers?

          September 20, 2013 at 10:14 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        facts are not elected democratically you fool!

        just because billions of people believe in some sort of a god doesn't mean that there is a god when facts tell us otherwise.

        September 20, 2013 at 10:14 pm |
        • a reasonable atheist

          I'm starting a campaign to reverse gravity. I hope I get enough votes!

          September 20, 2013 at 10:27 pm |
        • an ordinary theist

          If all Christians join force to throw you into the mid-air, you will definitely experience how the reversed gravity works before going to the real course.

          September 21, 2013 at 12:53 am |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          @an ordinary theist

          Do you really think that is a rational response? lol

          September 21, 2013 at 12:59 am |
        • a reasonable atheist

          @AOT

          If your supposition occurred, I'd experience forces other than gravity but, unfortunately, not a reversal of gravity (my goal).

          Therefore, I muss press on in my campaign to alter reality by consensus!

          I commend you on your choice of a nom de plume, however. Your understanding of Newtonian physics is consistent with that of the typical theist.

          September 21, 2013 at 7:40 am |
  7. Age of Reason

    ..."I don't believe that jesus was historical person , nor do I believe that he existed, but if the French people wish to keep believing in him, I won't be against them!" Napoleon Bonaparte upon the discovery of the Rosetta Stone in expedition to Egypt (as quoted by General Charles Dupuis)

    September 20, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
    • Live4Him

      Everyone has an opinion – right or wrong.

      September 20, 2013 at 9:36 pm |
    • Whine of Treason

      @ Age

      Keep whining, way to go...

      September 20, 2013 at 9:43 pm |
      • Age of Reason

        ...NO,NO, and NO! This is Napoleon's WHINE!

        "jesus christ and the twelve apostles are just a parody of the Sun God and the twelve signs of the Zodiac!"
        THE RELIGIOUS COMPILATIONS OF THOMAS PAINE (tommy's whine!)

        September 20, 2013 at 9:46 pm |
        • Live4Him

          So, you depend upon other's to do your reasoning for you?

          September 20, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
        • Whine of Treason

          booty

          How about Batman's whine?

          Quoting from individual's opinions to support your claim never fail to amuse me.

          September 20, 2013 at 9:51 pm |
        • Eve

          Do you not use the Bible to think for you, L4H?

          September 20, 2013 at 10:30 pm |
    • I'llbeOnEasyStreet

      Why don't you do something productive with your life then rant on about your beliefs. You are just as bad as the people knocking on your door on Sundays with pamphlets about God. People aren't always going to agree with you, such is life move on and become an adult. All you are doing here is screaming "I'm insecure about my beliefs so I'm going to attempt to change other people's minds!" You are a disgrace to the atheist community who fought for the right to believe what they believe and you turn around a do the exact thing they were fighting against.

      September 20, 2013 at 10:17 pm |
    • I'llbeOnEasyStreet

      Why don't you do something productive with your life then rant on about your beliefs. You are just as bad as the people knocking on your door on Sundays with pamphlets about God. People aren't always going to agree with you, such is life move on and become an adult. All you are doing here is screaming "I'm insecure about my beliefs so I'm going to attempt to change other people's minds!" You are disgracing the atheist community who fought for the right to believe what they believe and you turn around a do the exact thing they were fighting against.

      September 20, 2013 at 10:20 pm |
  8. El Pibe

    Too late Francis...The RCC has no more market in the Stock market...the old people are dying, and the younger generations dont give a crap about the church!

    September 20, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
    • David Cramer

      There are 2.1 billion Christians in the world, and 1.1 billion of them are Catholic. It will take a good long while before Catholicism dies out, I'm sure that you won't live to see the day.

      September 20, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
      • Cpt. Obvious

        You have no idea if some person on this blog will or won't live to see the day Catholicism dies out. Sometimes regimes evaporate extremely quickly. It's stupid to be so certain, but it's also about what atheists expect from a typical believer.

        Also, comma splice.

        September 20, 2013 at 10:39 pm |
        • Cupid

          Catholicsm is like first love, it never dies.

          September 21, 2013 at 12:56 am |
  9. Lionly Lamb

    What will happen if Cannabis were made legal for medicinal usages or even legally available for adult recreational use to the masses..? Could the world’s farmers grow enough industrially usable HEMP to feed an ever growing demand and not Cannabis meaning the control of the psychoactive plants being of the Cannabis varieties could be regulated for adults to use much the same ways tobacco and alcoholic beverages are now being regulated..? Hemp is but the oil’s weed and Cannabis is on: The Pharmacological World Tour…

    September 20, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
  10. WhenTheDevilVisits_dot_com

    It doesn't matter what religion or non-religion you are. We must put the human race first if we don't want to annihilate the world one city at a time. You can still have moral beliefs and not fight with others for theirs. Just remember, we are all God's children. Let him deal with the bad ones.

    September 20, 2013 at 9:14 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      let an invisible sky fairy deal with the bad ones? er....?
      btw, the bible gives many instructions to kill people of other or no faiths.
      and jesus says you must love him/church more than your own family members - very dangerous cult-think.

      love people more than a myth. love your family, friends, neighbors, coworkers and everyone else on the planet more than you love something that doesn't exist. love all your brothers and sisters.
      you don't need god to be a good person.

      modern ethics > religious morals

      September 20, 2013 at 9:21 pm |
      • holy butt

        atheism =/> piece of sh it.

        September 20, 2013 at 9:38 pm |
      • holy butt

        atheism < piece of sh it, rather.

        September 20, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          At least we have proof of pieces of shlt (you yourself are a perfect example) but sadly you have no evidence of your God or his divine son who also happens to be your God.

          September 20, 2013 at 9:51 pm |
        • a reasonable atheist

          If only we had evidence for "Holy Shlt!"

          September 20, 2013 at 10:30 pm |
      • David Cramer

        Which modern ethics are you referring to? The NRA love of guns? The Tea Party hatred of government and anything it does for the poor? Assad's gassing of his own citizens? The gang shootings in Chicago? Sandy Hook Elementary? al Qaeda? Modern ethics covers a lot of ground, and I'm not sure we're living in Utopia yet.

        September 20, 2013 at 9:58 pm |
      • Fact Hard

        You have proof, where is it? Just facts, Sir! It's all we need.

        September 20, 2013 at 10:00 pm |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          Just go to your local market and buy some prunes. Eat them. Wait a bit, then run to the bathroom and you will have all the proof you need.

          September 20, 2013 at 10:12 pm |
        • Hard Fact

          And you really think that I would waste my money, time and energy to go somewhere else to buy prunes if that kind of proof I wanted to see, when your single post is more than a tone of prunes to produce a pile of (sh) it?

          September 20, 2013 at 10:32 pm |
        • Hard Fact

          *ton

          September 20, 2013 at 10:33 pm |
      • OperationSpiritualMission

        Don't quote the Bible, especially if you don't believe it. We should not use each other's belief systems against each other.

        One believes he is a Christian (God exist)
        One believes he is an Atheist (God does't exist)
        Both are belief systems.

        September 23, 2013 at 11:50 am |
  11. OperationSpiritualMission

    TO ALL THAT I HAVE INTERACTED WITH HERE:
    Since everyone said that I am judgmental, I can't count to two, and the one who said that I am tiresome, and the rest of name callings, please accept my sincere apologies to all believers and non believers alike. I was out of line and disgraced my faith in Jesus. Please, let me know how I can make amends to all of you that I have judged or offended. Let me know and I will do the best to make amends with all of you.

    Sincerely,

    OperationSpiritualMission

    September 20, 2013 at 9:10 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      i'm not offended by you. didn't read anything you wrote earlier, but you seem nice enough here. i'm an atheist, so i do think you are wasting your life following an invisible sky fairy... but i'm not offended by you until you start knocking on my door on a sunday morning.

      cheers, mate.

      September 20, 2013 at 9:13 pm |
      • OperationSpiritualMission

        Believe me, I don't knock on anybody's door. You interjected that I am wasting my life to believe invisible fairies, but you and I don't know what is right until we die and find out. I may believe in Jesus and you don't believe in Jesus, who is right and who says? Where did they get the info?. Who can prove that either one of us is correct? No body. I think we both need to think more outside the box. Our frame of mind that we hold what we think is true is just a tool that the government uses to keep each other apart. We are Americans and we need to unite as one; not by our background and belief systems; unite as patriot American.

        September 23, 2013 at 11:13 am |
  12. John Morgan

    Our Holy Father is instructing us not to become polarized over political issues; though they have a moral dynamic. We, each Catholic, has a responsibility to introduce others to the warmth and salvation faith in Christ gives. This cannot happen when you set yourself up as dictating instead of gently leading others to see the error of their ways so that they can embrace with Christ and walk through life with Him. For you conservative hotheads, I'll make it a simple paraphrase...."You get more converts with honey then vinegar." Any questions?

    September 20, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
  13. Age of Reason

    ..this is all a moot point, as "JESUS CHRIST" was a mythical, political construct who NEVER existed and DO NOT believe in him!

    September 20, 2013 at 9:07 pm |
    • Whine of Treason

      You don't have any idea what you've been whining all day, do you?

      September 20, 2013 at 9:11 pm |
      • Bootyfunk

        well, there is no good evidence that jesus christ ever lived and wasn't just a mythological figure, similar to hercules. in fact, there is much evidence that the story of jesus was plagiarized from other religions/mythologies. it is up to the one making the claim to provide the evidence. it is impossible to prove a negative. what is your proof that your messiah actually lived and isn't just a fictional character in a book of myth?

        September 20, 2013 at 9:15 pm |
        • holy butt

          booty

          I think that was lame, unless you could provide a link (a reliable source) in here that would support that piece of crap your saying.

          September 20, 2013 at 9:32 pm |
        • holy butt

          *you're

          September 20, 2013 at 9:33 pm |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          lol, Holy butt think that was lame Booty. He didn't say it was wrong, just lame of you to point that out about their religion. It is pretty funny though as you ask for proof of their Christ and Holy butt comes back asking for proof that Christ didn't live. What a moron.

          September 20, 2013 at 9:49 pm |
        • Hard Fact

          Look Holy butt...You've rather said it was lame than saying it was wrong, yet, some armchair genius expected you to provide proof to disprove booty's claim. Whatta pr!ck.

          September 20, 2013 at 10:21 pm |
        • David Cramer

          I'm not sure that any Christian here feels an obligation to prove to you that Jesus Christ is real. Feel free to be a non-believer, it doesn't harm us a bit, no more than our beliefs harm you.

          But I would point out that if Jesus is a mythical figure, he's the only mythical figure to have 2.1 billion followers 2,000 years later who believe him to be a god. 2.1 billion followers who admit he was crucified by the Romans and that he died, just like you and I will, though (hopefully) more painfully. But who also believe he resurrected himself to eternal life. If he is a mythical figure, surely that makes him a unique mythical figure.

          There are historical figures who've been considered by their followers to be gods. The Roman Emperors. The Egyptian Pharaohs. David Koresh. Whom among these real, historical figures, are still considered to be gods?

          We've all read stories with fictional characters. Name a fictional character whom a significant part of the population consider to be real. I can't think of any fictional character that started a mass movement. Can you?

          You don't have to believe, it's really immaterial to me whether you do or not. But don't think your puny comments on the Huffington-Post are going to make any serious headway at overturning Christianity, it's just not going to happen.

          September 20, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          You seem quite nonchalant over what you believe to be the most important, powerful, life-altering idea ever. I wonder why you care so little? Oh, and are you really stating that if there were much fewer believers your belief would not be accurate? It sure seems like it, but then again, you're the one who seems to think that the ad populum argument is sound.

          September 20, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
    • OperationSpiritualMission

      You are right that all this is made up. I believe that you are saying the truth because you are intelligent and everyone else are just dead wrong. I should be more like you. Perhaps we should become friends and hang out so you can mentor me. I mean it. let's exchange phone #

      September 20, 2013 at 9:17 pm |
      • Bootyfunk

        you talking to the christians....?

        September 20, 2013 at 9:22 pm |
        • holy butt

          booty

          Apparently he/she wasn't, unless you're a christian.

          September 20, 2013 at 9:28 pm |
        • OperationSpiritualMission

          I was talking to all fellow American Athiests.

          September 23, 2013 at 11:25 am |
    • Live4Him

      And yet your actions speak otherwise – expending effort to discredit Him.

      September 20, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
    • John Morgan

      In your next existential crisis, you'll realize the verity of the old Sargent's saw:"There are no atheists in foxholes!"

      September 20, 2013 at 9:51 pm |
      • Cpt. Obvious

        No, because that's a stupid line. There are plenty of atheists in foxholes, and people in foxholes DOUBT more than consider faith because faith doesn't do anything, at all, ever. People in foxholes know it better than anyone.

        September 20, 2013 at 10:32 pm |
        • atheists in the piehole

          There's no military atheist but there are lots of militant atheists.

          September 21, 2013 at 12:27 am |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          There's plenty of atheist military. When you lie, it makes baby jesus cry.

          September 21, 2013 at 12:33 am |
    • David Cramer

      Off the top of your head, name any other figure from the time of Christ (other than those mentioned with him in the New Testament). Then name any historical figure from any time period worldwide whose name is better known than Jesus Christ.

      The Roman Emperors and Egyptian Pharaohs were considered to be gods by their followers. Name a single emperor or Pharaoh still considered to be a god.

      Name any mythical figure.... Hercules, Spiderman, Bugs Bunny, you name it, who has managed to convince 2.1 billion people that they are the Son of God.

      Name any person from, say, 10,000 years ago? Don't know anyone? I guess that means there were no people 10,000 years ago, because there's no historical record of them.

      Name by legal name any person on this web site you know and have met in person. And if you haven't met anyone, and no one here has seen you, how do we know that you exist? How do we know that you aren't a computer generated response? After all, you're just repeating an atheist cliché, any one, or any computer could repeat it, there's nothing at all original about your comment.

      September 20, 2013 at 10:17 pm |
      • Cpt. Obvious

        Firstly, Jesus didn't convince that many people, a meme did. And yes, there have been religions as successful as Christianity, just with different evidences.

        Secondly, the ad populum fallacy is stupid. At one time most people believed the earth was flat, but it wasn't, even when nobody believed the truth about the shape of the earth.

        Thirdly, if you'd like to have a real debate, I accept the challenge. (I don't suffer any delusion that you will deal honestly, but I know that the arguments against your belief are much, much stronger than the arguments for it, so I'm ready).

        September 20, 2013 at 10:36 pm |
        • David Cramer

          Christianity is the single-most successful religion ever. Nearly 1/3 of the world are Christians. And Jesus is recognized as a historical figure by the Moslems, which means well over half the world recognizes him a historical figure. Any comments that Jesus is a myth flies in the face of logic. Of course he existed.

          Is Jesus divine? That of course is something impossible to prove. Most of his followers didn't consider him to be so until after what they called his resurrection. The Gospel of John is the only one that out-and-out claims that Jesus is divine, yet John himself says John 20:8 "Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed." The other disciple was John, and it actually took looking at the empty tomb for him to believe that Jesus was risen. If they lived with him, talked with him, worshipped with him, saw perform miracles, and they still didn't believe him, then it's a lot to expect us to believe him on just what we read. There isn't a single Christian in this world who can prove the divinity of Jesus, and there isn't a single Christian who can even prove his existence to someone unwilling to accept that the New Testament is a true work about a historical figure, If you aren't willing to accept that basic foundation of what we believe, then of course there's no other reason to believe.

          I'm not going to try to prove to you the Jesus we believe in. And I'm not going to challenge you to talk me out of my beliefs. Do I "know" that Jesus is divine? I would say it's more that I choose to believe, that I desire to believe, that there is a higher power who cares about how we treat one another, a higher power that created us, loves us, approves of us treating one another well, and who disapproves of our mistreatment of one another. I desire to believe that we are all equal to one another by someone or something that matters, that Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stain, Mao Tse-tung, or Donald Trump and the Koch brothers for that matter, are of less value than the commonest man or woman who treats others with love and justice. So, no, Jesus Christ and Christianity aren't logical, and they won't get you ahead in this world. But many of us have a strong emotional desire to believe, and don't care whether we're despised by atheists for it or not.

          September 20, 2013 at 11:28 pm |
        • Cpt. (not so) Obvious

          Cpt.

          Obviously, the number of people who are convinced of Jesus' existence and the number of people who was convinced by Jesus during his existence are two different things.

          I would suggest that you must first get yourself a remedial in Basic reading comprehension, coz if you are to engage in a debate using the level of understanding that you 'currently' have the result would be very Obvious.

          September 20, 2013 at 11:31 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Yes, during the century in question, a couple hundred 'Yeshua/Yoshua/Hosee' named rabble-rousers went around gathering crowds and claiming to be some sort of messiah figure and claiming to have done a bunch of miracles the next town over last week. From those hundred or so figures emerged the fairy tale character of "jesus." So, in a manner of speaking, Jesus existed.

          An emotional reason is not good enough for something so grand. It's the same reason the muslims believe and the b'hai and everybody else. You gotta use faith just like Islam or any other religion. And the ad populum argument is stupid, but since I'm on the oppositesside, I hope you keep on using it over and over.

          September 20, 2013 at 11:34 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          @The mocker

          Do you realize how stupid you sound? There is exactly ZERO proof for any god or any historical jesus. But by all means, feel free to use text speak to display your superiority complex. It suits you.

          September 20, 2013 at 11:38 pm |
        • a reasonable atheist

          "I would suggest that you must first get yourself a remedial in Basic reading comprehension, coz if you are to engage in a debate using the level of understanding that you 'currently' have the result would be very Obvious."

          So much irony crammed into one(ish) sentence.

          September 20, 2013 at 11:50 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          I won't divulge how I earn my paycheck, but the irony is overwhelming when a person accuses me of not comprehending what I read.

          September 20, 2013 at 11:55 pm |
        • Cpt. (not so) Obvious

          Cpt.

          No need for you to do that, divulging how you earned your paycheck Obviously, couldn't do any help to make your lack of comprehension skills become less Obvious.

          September 21, 2013 at 12:20 am |
        • Cpt. (not so) Obvious

          Obviously, a remedial class would.

          September 21, 2013 at 12:24 am |
  14. Not Difficult to Grasp

    Doncha just hate it when others don't subscribe to the same version of a fairytale that you do? Oh well, that's just how religion works, I guess.

    September 20, 2013 at 9:06 pm |
    • OperationSpiritualMission

      Can I be like you. I need a mentor to teach me what is not fairytale? Let's exchange #. Question, if you don't believe why are you here? Is it curiosity?

      September 20, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
  15. Bootyfunk

    the pope makes ambiguous remarks but doesn't change church policy and he gets a bunch of brownie points he doesn't deserve? lol. he didn't say he supports g.ay unions or that h.omos.exuality is normal. he didn't change church policy to include g.ay priests or say g.ay couples can now get married in catholic churches. all he's doing is trying to keep the youth from fleeing the pulpit. he can see which way the wind is blowing on g.ay marriage and doesn't want the church to look like an irrelevant relic. but did he actually affect change to church policy in regard to g.ays? nope. he could, but chooses not to.

    and what about women? what a slap in the face? you women can give us your opinion, but at the end of the day, we as men don't have to listen to it - we're the undisputed leaders and you just have to trust that we're making the right decisions for you. what a crock. here the pope could also affect change, allow women to be leaders in the church, but nope. the pope fails again. women are to remain subservient to men, for they are the weaker race. a bunch of virgin/celibate men that wear dresses and are terrified of women and their own s.exuality. so they keep women as 2nd class citizens. but that's getting harder and harder for women to swallow these days.

    btw, is the pope saying the bible is wrong? the bible isn't inerrant? lev 20:13 clearly says g.ays are abomination and are to be put to death. it would be great if the pope said people shouldn't always follow advice from a bronze/iron age book written by prejudiced, h.omophobic and misogynistic men that thought the earth was flat. there are many instructions to kill in the bible. anyone that actually lived by the bible would be among the world's worst serial killer/mass murderers ever to have lived.

    modern ethics > biblical morals

    September 20, 2013 at 9:05 pm |
    • rob

      Not devout but I think Leviticus is old testament and before Jesus. Now we are supposed to be nicer to each other than we were before. I think everyone should give it a go and see how it works. LOL. Isn't that really what Jesus would do?

      September 20, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
  16. Vic

    What do you have to do to inhale oxygen? Just breathe.

    What do you have to do to receive Salvation? Just believe.

    It really is that simple. Jesus Christ did everything on our behalf, and provided us with the Free Gift of Salvation. All we have to do is believe. There is no need for all the complications incurred by human doctrines. They are nothing but reinventing the wheel. You can not nor shall you try to outdo Jesus Christ.

    September 20, 2013 at 9:00 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      Science can prove the existence of the air I breathe. Can religion prove the existence of the God i'm supposed to believe in? Well l, good try but back to square one...

      September 20, 2013 at 9:02 pm |
      • Vic

        Well, that's a different level of discussion. I am just addressing the complicated doctrine of the RCC whereas Christianity in reality is the simplest belief system ever, where the legwork is totally done by the provider for the receiver to avail him/herself of the product.

        September 20, 2013 at 9:12 pm |
      • Live4Him

        How about the inverse? Can it disprove it?

        September 20, 2013 at 9:28 pm |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          The things I cannot disprove are limitless, which is why I don't give a shlt about what I can't disprove. I stick to things that we can prove or at least form working theories with the data and research available. Only a moron would ask you to disprove something. I know I can't even disprove my daughters imaginary friend, so I don't even try.

          September 20, 2013 at 9:45 pm |
        • Live4Him

          I thought so, but you act like you know God doesn't exist. Yet, you're just acting upon your beliefs.

          September 20, 2013 at 9:49 pm |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          I do not believe you or anyone has yet provided the evidence required as proof positive of any deity, ever, in the whole of human history. Thus I do not currently believe in any God/gods. I do not however, claim I have done all the research and science that would be required to disprove the possibility of some God/gods someday being discovered. I do not however believe that if they show up they will look or sound anything like the ones humans have invented so far that are so very human in their depictions. They have feelings of love, anger, jealousy. They exhibit human traits such as having eyes and mouth and penises (they keep calling Him a Him) which all spells out "f v c k i n g f a k e" if any of you would take the time to sit and think for a moment instead of closing your eyes and just blowing your spiritual load in your face and calling it a divine glow or holy spirit. People who don't question and just follow along are indeed sheep, but sheep that are about to be sheared and then cooked for the benefit of their masters.

          September 20, 2013 at 10:09 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Belief in an unproven person is not essential for life.

      September 20, 2013 at 9:03 pm |
    • Answer

      What do you "need" in order to be a christian..? Be stupid.

      September 20, 2013 at 9:12 pm |
      • Response

        What you all need to do to become an atheist..? Whine all day.

        September 20, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
      • Live4Him

        You call THIS post an example of intelligence?

        September 20, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
    • Sane Person

      Difference is, air actually exists and doesnt require indoctrination to be discovered. People who have never been told of air, never heard of air, or read about air can still discover air and prove its existence. It will be the same air for every human. It will always have the same properties, and react the same way under the same conditions.

      People who have never been told there is a god, will never come up with the same fantasy you have. If they invent some higher power, it will vary greatly from person to person, depending on how they perceive the world and their place in it. Each religion man has ever invented was convinced in its own superiority. Each one debates with all those who disbelieve, and each one claims to know the truth. The only thing they all have in common is the inability to prove, anything.

      September 20, 2013 at 9:14 pm |
    • John Morgan

      ...and He makes it easy to practice....love and do what you will.

      September 20, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
  17. Fail

    Major Fail!!!!! The author confused the word "conservatives" with "republicans". Since WHEN has a republican EVER been a conservative!!!!

    September 20, 2013 at 8:59 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      since the civil rights battle when the democrats lost the south. the republicans, long a liberal party (think A. Lincoln) became a conservative party, thus scooping up the southern states, which until then had been reliably blue. the Dems were the conservative party up till then. they switched. Dems went from conservative to liberal - and Repubs went from liberal to conservative. look up the famous quote: "We've lost the South for a generation."

      conservatives, whether democrat or republican, have always been on the losing side of social justice.
      conservatives supported slavery.
      conservatives supported segregation.
      conservatives were against women voting rights.
      conservatives were against minority voting rights.
      conservatives were against whites and minorities getting married.
      conservatives are fighting against g.ay marriage today.

      liberals in whatever time have always led the fight for human rights. conservatives want things to stay the way they are, tilted in their favor. they seldom embrace change because equality means losing power to them. a narrow-minded view that hurts them in the end.

      September 20, 2013 at 9:11 pm |
  18. Ed

    Since conservatives are all disturbed, anyway, what else is new?

    September 20, 2013 at 8:56 pm |
  19. Jolly

    Of course they're disturbed. It is their SELLING POINT to talk about these issues. Now the Pope told them to shut up? LOLOLOL. No they will not shut up. They want to keep their job LMAOOOO

    September 20, 2013 at 8:55 pm |
  20. allatheistsrgaynotallgaysratheist

    Atheists are disturbed people.

    September 20, 2013 at 8:54 pm |
    • billsf

      Why? Because we didn't drink the kool-aid?

      September 20, 2013 at 8:57 pm |
      • allatheistsrgaynotallgaysratheist

        Would have been much better if you did.

        September 20, 2013 at 9:03 pm |
    • La di da

      You are a lying asshole troll. Shut up.

      September 20, 2013 at 8:59 pm |
      • allatheistsrgaynotallgaysratheist

        I was telling the truth and it wasn't trolling. STFU yourself!

        September 20, 2013 at 9:06 pm |
        • La di da

          You're a lying piece of shit troll. And I'm telling the truth.

          September 20, 2013 at 10:33 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.