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Ex-pope breaks silence, denies cover up
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, left, greets Pope Francis during a March meeting at the Vatican gardens.
September 24th, 2013
02:05 PM ET

Ex-pope breaks silence, denies cover up

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-editor

(CNN) - Retired Pope Benedict XVI says he never tried to cover up the sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests, breaking his post-retirement silence to address one of the greatest threats to his legacy as a church leader.

In a lengthy letter published in La Repubblica, an Italian newspaper, the former pope answered theological and moral arguments from Piergiorgio Odifreddi, an Italian atheist and mathematician who had written about Benedict in 2011.

Earlier this month, La Repubblica also published a letter to its atheist editor from Pope Francis, Benedict's successor.

Since his retirement on February 28, Benedict has mostly stayed out of the public eye, living in a converted monastery behind St. Peter's Basilica and keeping his promise to steer clear - at least publicly - of church business.

Benedict's new letter, coming on the heels of Francis' blockbuster interview published last week, makes for a remarkable week for papal communication. Most modern popes have been fairly inaccessible - to the media, at least.

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

In Benedict's letter, published Tuesday, the former pope said: "As far as you mentioning the moral abuse of minors by priests, I can only, as you know, acknowledge it with profound consternation. But I never tried to cover up these things."

Benedict, who now has the title "pope emeritus," also said that even though sociologists have determined that the percentage of priests accused of abusing minors is not markedly higher than other professions, that's "not reassuring" for the church.

Critics answer that it's the not just the crimes but the coverups that made the church's response to sexual abuse so scandalous.

"Over a clerical career that lasted more than six decades, we can’t think of a single child-molesting bishop, priest, nun, brother or seminarian that Benedict ever exposed," said Barbara Dorris of the U.S.-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

Before he was elected pope, Benedict, formerly known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, headed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which assumed responsibility for handling priest abuse cases late in his career.

As pope, he issued revised guidelines in 2010 making it easier to remove abusive priests from the ministry, apologized for the "shame" the scandal brought on the church and met with victims, including in the United States in 2008.

Critics like SNAP dismissed those moves as too little, too late.

In the United States alone, nearly 17,000 people have come forward with abuse claims, and the church has paid $2.6 billion in settlements, therapy bills, lawyers' fees and expenses related to removing priests from the ministry, according to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

MORE ON CNN: Can Pope Francis make his vision a reality?

In Tuesday's letter, and on past occasions, Benedict has decried the "filth" of sexual abuse in the church. But, the emeritus pope said, it is not "specific to Catholicism." He also chided Odifreddi for neglecting the good the church has done.

"If you do not remain silent about evil in the Church, we must not, however, be silenced even by the great shining path of goodness and purity, which Christian faith has traced through the centuries," Benedict said.

Pope Francis said in April, in one of his first statements as pope, that the church must take "decisive action" regarding cases of child sexual abuse and protecting children.

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Crime • Media • Pope Benedict XVI • Pope Francis • Rape • Sex abuse • Vatican

soundoff (2,421 Responses)
  1. Ed T Duck

    It's no excuse that instances of child abuse occur with the same frequency in priesthood as other professions. Priests are given the highest level of trust. They are supposed to be role models and followers of Christ. For the pope to even mention this sociological observation is completely unacceptable.

    September 25, 2013 at 12:11 am |
    • bostontola

      I agree, the abuse of power is reprehensible.

      September 25, 2013 at 12:20 am |
    • Susan

      Well, he is dealing with reality, real numbers and real people. Yes, I agree, priests should be above the fray, but, alas, they are human beings, just as Christ was fully human, and fully divine.

      September 25, 2013 at 12:25 am |
      • Ed T Duck

        Yes, they're human, but the restriction to celibacy in RC priesthood tends to select a subsection of the human population that is prone to fiddling around with little boys. Nowhere in the bible does it say priests can't marry. Only a suggestion that it is better not to marry by Paul. He was writing under the premise that the second coming was imminent. It's high time for a Vatican III to fix this problem and allow RC priests to marry.

        September 25, 2013 at 12:37 am |
  2. Radio

    I'm not catholic nor do I agree with much of their doctrine. I have no doubt they have as many per capita bad apples as any other organization, religious or not. That said I have personally witnessed that Church do great things to help many people, both in and out of their Church. IF there is a God, he knows who follows Him, and I'm sure many Catholics (as well as are many others) are on that list.

    September 24, 2013 at 11:41 pm |
    • Einstein

      Well said. I have witnessed myself many religious associations that provided all kind of help in many occasions. but i have not seen a single one from any atheists groups. By that i meant other than atheists giving charities to other atheists. I have witnessed many atheists showing up at different area where a disaster happened, and i have seen atheists showing up with their atheists pride flag but they were not within the group of religious people who were there to help. Bill Gate and other atheists who owns billions of dollars are too busy to compete to each other of which one of them will get the biggest mega yacht that cost billions. Instead of giving some of it to charities where it really needs to be.

      September 25, 2013 at 1:55 am |
      • Try again

        Slim has been the richest person in the world since 2010. He has extensive holdings in numerous Mexican companies in areas like communication, technology, retail, and finance. However the reason he's beaten out Gates is mainly because Gates has given away so much of his fortune to charity.

        Gates you probably know a bit better as the big brain behind Microsoft. From 1995 to 2007, he was ranked the wealthiest person in the world. He is best known for his work in entrepreneurship in the personal computer revolution, as well as his philanthropy. Gates established his own foundation in 2000, and has donated 28 billion dollars to charity- that’s 2 billion dollars more than what Stefan Persson, the 8th richest person in the world, is worth.

        September 25, 2013 at 2:23 am |
        • Einstein

          Bill Gates has given to charities but those charities were for educations and a big part of it to different atheists organizations. None of it went or was given for a disaster area. You can pretend what you want, but it will not change the facts and the reality. none of these so called billionaires are giving money or supports to disasters. Or even to poor people who are really in need for money to survive when their lives are depending on it.

          September 25, 2013 at 2:39 am |
      • OKfine

        Einstein
        You really do not know much about the Gates Foundation backed by Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and now Michael Bloomberg or the charity work being doe by Bono and Bill Clinton. They are not so called billionaires , they are billionaires. Depends what you consider a disaster, the malaria epidemic and AIDS epidemic in Africa are they not disasters, these are just two areas were the foundations are doing amazing work. There are much better organizations with the assets and experience to deal with "natural" disasters ie, the Red Cross.

        September 25, 2013 at 7:09 am |
  3. Reality # 2

    Hmmm???

    "Ratzinger's 2001 letter De delictis gravioribus clarified the confidentiality of internal church investigations, as defined in the 1962 docu-ment Crimen Sollicitationis, into accusations made against priests of certain crimes, including s-exual a-buse. This became a target of controversy during the se-x abuse scandal.[43] As a Cardinal, Ratzinger had been for twenty years the man in charge of enforcing the docu-ment.[44] While bishops hold the secrecy pertained only internally, and did not preclude investigation by civil law enforcement, the letter was often seen as promoting a coverup.[45] Later, as pope, he was accused in a lawsuit of conspiring to cover up the molestation of three boys in Texas, but sought and obtained diplomatic immunity from prosecution.[46]"

    September 24, 2013 at 11:37 pm |
    • OKfine

      Add on that after being in charge of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for three years that received all the docu.ments pertaining to child se.x abuse, he had the gall to say in a speech as Pope that he was SHOKED that this type of behaviour was prevalent in the church. The whole RCC is based on hypocrisy, an organization that does not and never has practiced what it preached.

      September 25, 2013 at 6:30 am |
  4. Triston

    Pope Benedict can deny any role in abuse coverup as much as he likes.
    What is the truth of the matter?

    September 24, 2013 at 11:32 pm |
  5. Reality # 2

    Are religious leaders like the pope essential in the 21st century? It is obvious from all the scandals that none of them have any "above the rest of us" character. Time for a lot of "pink slipping" and a sale of all as-sets.

    September 24, 2013 at 11:28 pm |
  6. EdL

    :Looks as though when a pope resigns he or she is not required to relinquish his or her pope cap.

    September 24, 2013 at 11:22 pm |
  7. Joey Navis

    i spend some time reading comments in the belief blog, and it seems to me that the problem with many many atheists, which used to include me, is one of hubris, most really believe that they have the answers and if others were smart enuf that they too would feel the same way. for me, my favorite aristotilian saying has come to fruition, i have come to know that i don't know much. the certainty of my youth has been replaced by an acceptance and realization of limitations, something that western culture doesn't seem to have begun to grapple with. if it can't be measured, if it can't be counted it can't be real,,, and we are sure of this. even though we are alone in this mindset and it is historically very new, our contempt for others is real, apparent and frankly, kinda frightening.

    September 24, 2013 at 11:06 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Richard Dawkins said something to the effect that religion is used as an excuse to not try to find out the truth about things. That is what is objectionable about it. When real answers are needed, the religious sit back and reassure themselves that God knows all answers and is in control.

      September 24, 2013 at 11:14 pm |
      • AE

        But not all religious people do that! Look at all the hospitals started by religious groups, for example. I'm told that faith without works is dead.

        September 24, 2013 at 11:18 pm |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        Yes, the work is valuable. Still, your faith is most likely misplaced.

        September 24, 2013 at 11:20 pm |
        • Joey Navis

          seriously, what difference does it make if his faith is misplaced???? if it works for him??? if people can find some solace,,, some happiness in this life on this rock,,, not that u should give up ur pursuits intellectual and otherwise,??/

          September 24, 2013 at 11:32 pm |
        • AE

          I put my faith (complete confidence and trust) in God. And He doesn't fail me.

          September 24, 2013 at 11:40 pm |
      • Joey Navis

        dawkins is right there. however, it is the contempt which many atheists here have for believers which i find somewhat troubling. there are some things which no one has answers for,,, the prime mover for one. and the lack of empirical evidence for something does not prove it's absence, there are forces beyond our understanding,,, humans are not the end all. while we should not give up the pursuit of knowledge to excoriate those who do not fall in line with our view of reality is counterproductive.

        September 24, 2013 at 11:25 pm |
        • Einstein

          Well said Joey.

          September 24, 2013 at 11:29 pm |
        • Dippy

          Its, not it's.

          September 24, 2013 at 11:31 pm |
        • AE

          Yep.

          September 24, 2013 at 11:32 pm |
        • Joey Navis

          its late dippy, and i've been up for a lot of hours, or so its seems

          September 24, 2013 at 11:35 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          I agree with you, Joey. There are things that can't be known, even in principle. We should be civil to one another.

          September 24, 2013 at 11:36 pm |
        • Einstein

          We should be civil to one another.

          I'm glad to hear that coming out of an atheist. "Not all atheists are bad, but most of those hanging on these blogs are"

          September 24, 2013 at 11:52 pm |
    • sam stone

      hubris?

      it is the believers who say they KNOW what god likes and what god dislikes

      September 25, 2013 at 5:40 am |
  8. brian

    I had to put my glasses on. At first I thought the pope was breaking wind.

    September 24, 2013 at 10:55 pm |
  9. DJ

    Understanding time as only a sequence.......and believing in creation - begs the question of "how was the creator created?"
    Positing that the creator always existed (was not created) .... accepts the primary point of evolutionists: that there need not have been a "creation" for matter and energy to exist.

    September 24, 2013 at 10:43 pm |
    • Doris

      I have always entertained the idea that maybe some creative force might have existed to kick-start this universe, but then promptly slipped down a inter-universe portal to go work on the next new universe. I'm not sure about multi-verse, but somehow that idea might fit nicely with the Deistic god concept of those that influenced Adams, Madison, Jefferson and company.

      September 24, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
      • Doris

        an inter-universe

        September 24, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
        • Einstein

          An Extra-Verse

          September 24, 2013 at 11:02 pm |
        • Doris

          No, Einstein – you didn't read the next word "portal". Have you ever driven on the highway?

          September 25, 2013 at 12:27 am |
      • DJ

        As long as we think of time as a sequence, we are doomed to believing in "starts" or "creation".
        There is just no proof for a creation moment.....other than our inability/refusal to understand our existence any other way.

        October 16, 2013 at 8:40 pm |
    • AE

      God lives in a different dimension (eternity, heaven) than us.

      This dimension, or universe, was created for us and has limits (time, space) that doesn't exist outside of those limits.

      September 24, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
      • Athy

        What is your evidence for this "different dimension," AE? Do you have any observations to substantiate this claim? Do you have the mathematics that describes it? Inquisitive minds want to know, AE. Please share your advanced knowledge with us.

        September 24, 2013 at 11:00 pm |
        • AE

          Just a theory as to why the Creator didn't need a creator.

          September 24, 2013 at 11:08 pm |
        • G to the T

          AE – Sorry that still wouldn't resolve the issue of the Creator still needing creator and so on...

          September 25, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
        • DJ

          no matter how many layers you overlay onto the point of discussion......eventually, if you believe in "creation", you must answer the question: "who created god"

          October 16, 2013 at 8:35 pm |
      • Athy

        PS, I really don't expect any answer, AE, so don't knock yourself out.

        September 24, 2013 at 11:03 pm |
        • Einstein

          Stephen Hawking came up with string theory and there is no direct visual observations of those invisible strings and yet atheists hold it as a reality.

          September 24, 2013 at 11:08 pm |
        • Joey Navis

          so what is the answer athy???

          September 24, 2013 at 11:16 pm |
        • Athy

          AE, you didn't express it as "just a theory." You claimed it as a fact. So we need some proof.

          September 24, 2013 at 11:27 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          String theory (and its branches and offspring) provides a comfortable mathematical framework for describing things that can't be easily grasped by other means. It is not reality. We can't have direct experience of reality on most scales and must rely on such models and descriptions.

          September 24, 2013 at 11:32 pm |
        • AE

          Basic theology. There is a natural world and a spiritual world.

          Do you honestly want to know more?

          September 24, 2013 at 11:35 pm |
        • Einstein

          Einstein

          We can't have direct experience of reality on most scales and must rely on such models and descriptions.

          What kind of direct experience of reality do you have on the string theory but you can't have on God existence? They're both invisible as far as i know.

          September 24, 2013 at 11:37 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          I said elsewhere that scientists look for things that are pointed to by other things. There is nothing that points to a God of specific properties that is a necessary and sufficient explanation for anything.

          September 24, 2013 at 11:46 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Of course string theory is not proved, but merely a very plausible inference when considering all the data. The data we have, in essence, draws an arrow towards a deeper reality that has gone through stages, our universe being one product or byproduct of that larger energetic symmetry. But nobody is asking anyone to believe it and it's not that big of a deal if you don't. Science has uncovered no arrows that point to a creator god. None. Sorry.

          September 24, 2013 at 11:55 pm |
    • Kevin H

      I've found the logic of genesis to be confusing at best. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And it was void." Thus what existed before God create them – what was the void? Furthermore did God created the heavens and the earth everywhere or only in this universe? Did God also create time in addition to space or the void? Is God's time also man's time? How long is God's day?

      September 24, 2013 at 11:00 pm |
      • DJ

        I not sure any of us can really avoid thinking in terms that include a beginning. However, I think that a closer understanding of the real universe comes from not doing so. Theory: there is a finite number of particles/energy .... and their convergence and divergence are all ultimately related. The universe continually rebalances itself.
        Is there a higher being than ourselves? Seems likely.
        Is the higher being of unlimited ability and power..and has it intervened in our world? Possibly intervened, but seems unlikely that has powers unlimited (judging by the evidence).
        Would any religion touting a higher being describe that being as having limited powers?

        October 16, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • Ken

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jAG08ptsAj0&w=640&h=360]

      September 25, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
  10. Mr Dalloway

    There is no god...only us

    September 24, 2013 at 10:32 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Only us atheists "Satan followers"

      September 24, 2013 at 10:49 pm |
  11. Doris

    GodfreeNow speaks of "Truth". There are many expressions for "Truth". "1+1=2", "God is", etc. I personally don't believe that there is any pure "truth" that is knowable by us as human beings. If we look at both "1+1=2" and the alleged objective theistic "truths" (moral or otherwise, directly from God), it seems to me that the concepts claimed from these expressions are only accepted by groups of us humans subjectively. The scientist sees the pattern and no other scientist comes up with other possibilities and collectively they agree that 1+1 must always be 2 in this space and time. But a purely objective "truth"? Well, even if not an objective "truth", you might have trouble finding someone who disagrees with "1+1=2".

    The theist reads words from a book that some unknown author wrote millenia ago involving witnesses that have no names. Where the purely objective truth? Some might say they receive such "truth" directly. If that's the case, they should step up and demonstrate such a "truth". Ah, but the pattern seems to be that it's not readily apparent to their audience, so the audience is asked to believe. Hmm – let's see – that puts the audience back into an obviously subjective position with the presenter. Objective truth from the Abrahamic "God"? Mmmmmmm – I think not.

    September 24, 2013 at 10:21 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      I sit looking 'round
      I look at my face in the the mirror
      I know I'm worth nothing without you
      In life one and one don't make two
      One and one make one
      And I'm looking for that free ride to me
      I'm looking for you

      Pete Townshend

      September 24, 2013 at 10:31 pm |
      • Bob

        Tom, if there was a like button, I'd click it.

        September 25, 2013 at 12:19 am |
  12. Monk

    How does the end of the entire false religious system come? The Bible answers: “The ten horns that you saw [all the national rulers], and the [scarlet-colored] wild beast, these will hate the harlot and will make her devastated and naked, and will eat up her fleshy parts and will completely burn her with fire.”—Rev. 17:16.
    What prompts them to act, since they have not done so even though they see the churches meddling in political matters? Jehovah God himself. “For God put it into their hearts to carry out his thought, even to carry out their one thought by giving their kingdom to the wild beast, until the words of God will have been accomplished.”—Rev. 17:17.
    False religion’s end will therefore come with surprising suddenness, while she is thinking, “I sit a queen, and I am no widow, and I shall never see mourning.” But God says: “That is why in one day her plagues will come, death and mourning and famine, and she will be completely burned with fire, because Jehovah God, who judged her, is strong.”—Rev. 18:7, 8.

    September 24, 2013 at 10:17 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      You envision experience as you define it. Question. What sort of end comes to a man who glories in apocalypse?

      September 24, 2013 at 10:21 pm |
    • Reality # 2

      "Nineteenth-century agnostic Robert G. Ingersoll branded Revelation "the insanest of all books".[30] Thomas Jefferson omitted it along with most of the Biblical canon, from the Jefferson Bible, and wrote that at one time, he "considered it as merely the ravings of a maniac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation than the incoherences of our own nightly dreams." [31]

      Martin Luther once "found it an offensive piece of work" and John Calvin "had grave doubts about its value."[32]

      September 24, 2013 at 11:40 pm |
  13. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    I do too.

    September 24, 2013 at 10:07 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Believing in Satan

      September 24, 2013 at 10:09 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      ?

      September 24, 2013 at 10:09 pm |
  14. Eric

    The statement that "other organizations do it, too" does not negate the decades of abuse and subsequent cover-up; the Church knew it was happening and actively worked to cover it up.

    September 24, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
    • eduardo

      Yep, a shamely statement from him. The cover up is also gross. Let's be naive and say they didn't know abou the abuses (yea right), then we are dealing with the most incompetent leaders any organization had had. Right?

      September 24, 2013 at 10:04 pm |
  15. GodFreeNow

    @ajk68,
    Finding Truth is always enlightening. I'm not sure where your understanding of atheists or scientists comes from but we are all guided by what we believe is true. It's silly to think otherwise. It's just that some of us require verifiable evidence before accepting something as truth and others blindly believe what they've been told because it makes them feel better about themselves to believe it.

    Truth is the light that brought us out of the religiously oppressive dark ages. But you don't have to take my word for it. Go find truth for yourself and see if it is the same for you.

    September 24, 2013 at 9:43 pm |
    • eduardo

      Indeed. Amen. 100% agree with you.

      September 24, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
    • B Kried

      Does being an atheist give you peace, joy, love, and a reason to live and a reason to die? Does atheism teaches you to be more charitable oand merciful to others?

      September 24, 2013 at 10:10 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        Those are not the exclusive domain of religion; believers like to tell themselves that to buttress their beliefs

        September 24, 2013 at 10:13 pm |
        • eduardo

          You don't need ti be a religious person to be a good guy. I know a lit of people that call themselves Christians and they are far from being a model. In the other hand, a lot of so called "not believers" are far more generous and loving people...

          September 24, 2013 at 10:20 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        We atheists have no love for others and we don't want peace either. We are here to destroy life on earth.

        September 24, 2013 at 10:21 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Why are you making baby jesus cry with your lies?

          September 24, 2013 at 10:32 pm |
  16. Name*John

    I've always marveled at the evolutionary process of all things including humanity, the church, and all religions. The only thing that remains constant is change.

    September 24, 2013 at 9:40 pm |
    • eduardo

      Yet evolution is not an option for Catholic church. They remain obsolete and medieval. Although they are very good at laundering money and being so powerful.

      September 24, 2013 at 10:00 pm |
      • B Kried

        Actually the Catholic Church teaches that evolution can be accepted as long as God is recognized as the prime mover of evolution.

        September 24, 2013 at 10:05 pm |
        • eduardo

          Seriously? Evolution has nothing in common with God. That's why they arealways on collision course. Two separate theories, yet I respect both positions

          September 24, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
        • AE

          A lot of Christians accept the theory that life appears to be evolving and the God responsible for that.

          September 24, 2013 at 10:26 pm |
        • Athy

          That's a small step in the right direction. But they just will not give up on that "god's in control" foolishness, can they? Maybe in another 500 years?

          September 24, 2013 at 10:28 pm |
        • NuttyDarwin

          Of course Athy, you atheists are 500 years behind.

          September 25, 2013 at 12:01 am |
        • Athy

          Oh, that was so clever, Nutty. Best comment yet from you!

          September 25, 2013 at 12:29 am |
        • fintastic

          I nutty you are but what am i?

          September 25, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
  17. omeany

    and we care because?,,,

    September 24, 2013 at 9:35 pm |
  18. Darwin was right

    Everyone knows that BAD NEWS "trickles up" slowly or never. Naturally the lower level church authorities made sure that their "dirty laundry" was white-washed locally and thus only rarely was sent up to Ratzinger. This made it very easy to cover up these crimes.

    September 24, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
  19. Seattle Sue

    Doesn't the ex-Pope know that you can go to Hell for lying?

    September 24, 2013 at 8:53 pm |
    • Frank

      If anyone knows how phony religion is, it is an ex-pope.

      September 24, 2013 at 9:03 pm |
    • B Kried

      In many big organizations, such as the Catholic Church, they operate the management system using the law of subsidiarity which means that what can be done in the lower level should not be elevated in the higher level. When problems arise in the parishes, they do not most of the time go beyond the local diocesan or archdiocesan level. Almost all of diocesan problems do not reach the Vatican. Pope Benedict is not lying.

      September 24, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
      • eduardo

        Seriously? Did the read the news? They were all over the world and he had the power to stop the abuses. Of course he didn't do nothing.

        September 24, 2013 at 10:07 pm |
  20. Frank

    God is dead. We killed him.

    September 24, 2013 at 8:51 pm |
    • Athy

      Frank, he was never alive to kill!

      September 24, 2013 at 8:55 pm |
      • Frank

        If there ever was an all loving, all powerful god, we are the proof that he has long since died.

        September 24, 2013 at 8:59 pm |
    • SeniorMoment

      How do you solve the puzzle of how the first matter and/or energy (since one can be converted into the other per the famous E = mc with the c squared)? There is no doubt a decline in religious participation, but would you say the Earth doesn't exist if it were hidden from view by our sun?

      September 24, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        If there were no evidence that Earth exists, I would not accept Earth as an explanation for anything.

        September 24, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
      • tallulah13

        As I live on the earth, it's existence is undeniable.

        September 24, 2013 at 10:02 pm |
        • tallulah13

          Or maybe not, i don't know anymore.

          September 24, 2013 at 10:12 pm |
        • tallulah13

          Oh, sad little troll. My heart just bleeds for you. Maybe someday you'll find the courage to post a real opinion under your own made-up, anonymous screen name, instead of stealing the made-up anonymous screen names of others and posting pointless drivel. I wish you luck finding that courage.

          September 24, 2013 at 10:15 pm |
    • B Kried

      God is dead in your mind, but the reality is He will continue to exist even after your death. The beauty of life and nature, among the many complicated things around us, is one proof of God's existence.

      September 24, 2013 at 10:02 pm |
      • tallulah13

        Not really. It's just proof that you look at the beauty of life and nature and feel an emotion that you believe is god. The life and nature you see is just a snapshot of the current stage in a process that has taken millions of years, Life has evolved and will continue to evolve with no evidence of any supernatural participation.

        September 24, 2013 at 10:07 pm |
        • tallulah13

          I don't believe in your God, i only believe in Satan.

          September 24, 2013 at 10:11 pm |
        • eduardo

          Indeed. And some million years from now, there will not be life and nature in the way we know it now. It has nothing to do with any divine intervention. Just the way it is.

          September 24, 2013 at 10:13 pm |
        • B Kried

          So who put together all the molecules and atoms so there can be life?

          September 24, 2013 at 10:13 pm |
        • eduardo

          Just watch any show at discovery channel, and you can get some clues:)

          September 24, 2013 at 10:15 pm |
        • AtheistSteve

          We atheists did that.

          September 24, 2013 at 10:16 pm |
        • tallulah13

          B, your ignorance of science is not proof of god. It's just proof that you aren't interested in looking for honest answers.

          September 24, 2013 at 10:17 pm |
        • Joey Navis

          there are meds for that multiple personality thing tallulah tallulah

          September 24, 2013 at 10:39 pm |
        • tallulah13

          I'm a drug addict, i'm sorry.

          September 24, 2013 at 10:46 pm |
        • tallulah13

          Wait, maybe i'm not, oh well i don't know anymore.

          September 24, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
      • AE

        I see it, too, B.

        September 24, 2013 at 10:11 pm |
        • tallulah13

          Of course you do. Real science is hard. The easy answer, the one you don't have to think about or learn about is "god did it."

          September 24, 2013 at 10:17 pm |
        • AE

          Nope. Seeing the complexity and great improbability of life, and understanding that as God, is different from saying "God did it" and not pursuing education of our natural world.

          September 24, 2013 at 10:21 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          A game of semantics, then? Understanding as God the things that you don't understand.

          As an aside, how did you ever assign a probability to life?

          September 24, 2013 at 10:27 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Firstly, you don't know how improbable life is. Planets like earth might be extremely common throughout the galaxies. If the universe is "fine tuned" for life, it must be for microbacteria.

          Secondly, how does "understanding that the complexity of life as god" function. What does that understanding do?

          September 24, 2013 at 10:28 pm |
        • AE

          I've never taken the stance that science is useless, and the answer is "God did it" like tallulah13 seems to imply.

          I belong to a church that doesn't preach that either and know many people like me.

          September 24, 2013 at 10:30 pm |
        • Athy

          Actually, it doesn't matter one whit how probable or improbable life on a planet is. Google the "anthropic principle." The religies probably can't (or won't) understand it, but the more enlightened among us easily can.

          September 24, 2013 at 10:36 pm |
        • Einstein

          We came from micro-bacterias?

          September 24, 2013 at 10:38 pm |
        • AE

          Life is illogical. Like human beings are illogical. Human beings thinking they are logical... is illogical. It leads to arrogance, not truth.

          Only something like a God can know true logic. And there is One.

          September 24, 2013 at 10:46 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          Perhaps you mean the constructed system of logic. Order does appear to be everywhere and logic is something we construct both to describe and resemble that order. I don't know what "true logic" is, AE. By it are there things that are impossible?

          September 24, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
        • AE

          Tom

          Good points. I was thinking more about the nature of human beings. Our actions, behaviors and thoughts are not based in logic for the most part.

          September 24, 2013 at 11:02 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Quite right, AE, we do not base most of our behaviors in logic; however, we all use the same systems of logic when making an appeal, and we recognize the inherent superiority of logic. Right now, for instance, are you trying to be logical or not? Why are you using logic right now? We both recognize it is superior and we both make appeals through expressing it.

          It is not the atheist's fault that logic leads to atheism.

          September 24, 2013 at 11:50 pm |
        • AE

          Yes. Based on the evidence God is real. It is logical for me to accept and trust this, even when a couple people on the internet disagree with me.

          September 24, 2013 at 11:56 pm |
      • sam stone

        how do you make the logical leap from a creator to a "God"?

        September 25, 2013 at 5:52 am |
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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.