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November 7th, 2013
12:30 PM ET

Even atheists love this Pope

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-editor

(CNN) - With his penchant for crowd-pleasing and spontaneous acts of compassion, Pope Francis has earned high praise from fellow Catholics.

Hell, even atheists love him - as amply demonstrated by the surprising displays of affection tweeted after the Pope publicly embraced a severely disfigured man on Wednesday.

MORE ON CNN: Why the pope's embrace of the disfigured man is so powerful

Here's what some atheists had to say on Twitter:

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Catholic Church • Christianity • Church • Internet • Nones • Pope Francis

soundoff (756 Responses)
  1. Snow

    Proves that atheists care more about goodness of heart than being branded by this-or-that group name brand. Glad to see that the staunch fanatic theists who claim "Athiests have no morals" being proved wrong.

    November 7, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
    • Tess

      Word.

      November 7, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
    • thinker

      Silly intentional misinterpretation of the moral argument. Atheists have no BASIS for moral values. Atheists are borrowing moral values from the theistic world view.

      November 7, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
      • bostontola

        How do you know atheists have no basis for their morals?

        November 7, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
      • LPN

        Actually, the prevelant view of morality among atheists is that it is an evolved construct to help our ancestors survive in their ancient African environment. But nice try.

        November 7, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
        • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

          Actually most atheists realize that morality is an ever evolving psychological mechanism for successfully living in groups. Morality changes as the needs of society changes ... just like the Gods for those who need them.

          November 7, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
        • LPN

          Sorry, but there is little evidence that our innate morality has undergone much change at all since we left the savannah. Society and culture may evolve that fast, but not so much DNA.

          November 7, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
        • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

          LPN ... you think "morals" are in our DNA?!
          Morals are in our society and culture NOT our DNA.

          November 7, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
        • thinker

          LPN
          If morality is an evolved construct, then you agree with me. For atheism there is no right or wrong. It is a mere tradition and not based on anything. Therefore, serial killing is not really wrong, and it is just against the tradition. Do you really believe this and live your life as such?

          November 9, 2013 at 10:45 pm |
        • Spectator

          thinker,
          " Therefore, serial killing is not really wrong, and it is just against the tradition."

          Stop it. You are sounding like a petulant brat.

          Serial killing is wrong because it takes away the one and only life that anyone has, and threatens our own.

          November 9, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
        • thinker

          Spectator,
          Perpetual brat is the atheism and your objection is my point! People hold on to atheism not knowing the sheer implication of it. What does atheism say about human life? It is no fundamentally different than a rock. You are nothing more than a DNA copier. Famous atheist Dawkins says, "The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference."

          November 9, 2013 at 11:51 pm |
      • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

        It's very sad that you have no basis for morality except that which someone else tells you to have ... for people like you, I'm very glad you have religion or you'd simply be a menace to civilized society.

        November 7, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
      • SkepticalOne

        Was your first statement an apology for the ridiculous nonsense that followed it?

        November 7, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
      • Richard Cranium

        thinker
        Live up to your name and study social animals.
        Rats will help rats unknown to them get out of a trap and will share food with them.
        Elephants band together and work as a team to defend the troup, and the are visibly shaken and will cry when they ecounter elephant bones.

        It is nature that provides the morality. It is a matter of survival. Our race would never have survived if we murdered everyone we saw. It is benefitial to ALL social animal to co-operate, creat culture communication. It is NOT soley humans that have morality.

        And there is still no indication that any gods exist, so until you can show there are any gods, you should not presume that any gods gave us anything.

        November 7, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
        • thinker

          Why say survival is good? Why bother sacrifice for others? Why bother imitating animals and call it good?? What's wrong with destroying the entire planet? Why? Why? Where is your basis for your morality?

          November 8, 2013 at 12:23 am |
        • redzoa

          "Where is your basis for your morality?"

          Effectively, it's direct or indirect self interest, akin to the golden rule. Nothing particularly complicated here . . .

          November 8, 2013 at 1:03 am |
        • thinker

          redzoa
          If it is mere self-interest and golden rule, then it is just a rule and not really right or wrong. Do you really believe this live your life this way? 911 was merely again the rule?

          November 9, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
      • Observer

        thinker,

        You need to become a DEEP thinker. Superficial thinking won't do.

        November 7, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
      • Susan StoHelit

        Morals predate religion. They come from society and to a degree evolution, and that is why the moral values for pretty well every religion are the same.

        November 7, 2013 at 7:45 pm |
        • thinker

          You say we ought to love one another? Then you are religious.

          November 8, 2013 at 12:27 am |
        • Observer

          thinker,

          You are a very superficial thinker. Think things through before commenting in the future, especially if you are using such an inappropriate handle.

          The concept of the Golden Rule long predated Jesus and the Bible. So the Bible stole it, apparently.

          November 8, 2013 at 12:36 am |
      • Observer

        thinker,

        Christians aren't nearly as STUPID as you think they are. Most of them are bright enough to figure out that it's not a good idea to run around killing everyone. Why do you put them down so much?

        If you want to speak for yourself and claim you're not bright enough to not go around killing people if you hadn't read it in a 2,000-year-old book, then (sadly) I don't know you well enough to argue with you. You know yourself.

        November 9, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
    • Hoss

      You need a lesson in logic.

      November 7, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
      • thinker

        Your moral value has no basis, but you say we shall love one another. That's illogical.

        November 8, 2013 at 12:29 am |
        • Observer

          thinker,

          You put NO VALUE on intelligence for determining personal morals. That's where your whole illogical argument falls apart.

          November 8, 2013 at 1:11 am |
    • HotAirAce

      I kind of like thinker. About as bright as Topher but a bit edgier.

      November 8, 2013 at 12:53 am |
  2. Oregonian

    This guy is causing church-haters to accept the church, and the church to accept church-haters. He's the single most Christlike Christian leader since perhaps St. Francis himself. People have to remember that -he- chose his name, and as soon as he did the Catholic establishment got nervous. St. Francis "the reformer" after all, was the patron saint of the environment, animals, the poor, the children...

    By walking into dangerous slums and doing things his security people consider risky and insane, he's demonstrating something that we so -rarely- see, which is true, actual faith. Pope Francis is a man whose convictions are strong that he has no fear walking among the people of earth.

    Meanwhile, what he says brought three million people to a beach in Brazil to see him. What pop star, Pope, or dictator EVER accomplished that? Not even Bono or Madonna. So, what the Pope SAYS is of magnficent importance because he's leading and energizing so many of his people, which are about a sixth of the world's population.

    That his message is so luminescent and utterly CHRISTlike is astonishing and something for which all of humanity should rejoice. We are lucky to have a spirit such as his among us.

    November 7, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
    • Bob

      Actually, in one way, the present Pope is doing far better than Christ did. He has stayed alive much longer than Christ did.
      (silly Christian mythbook tales about resurrection notwithstanding).

      November 7, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
  3. steve

    anyone that thinks this pope is going to change the church for the better is sorely mistaken. 1700 years of crazy doesn't stop with one pope.

    November 7, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
    • Jaysin

      No, but it will start with one pope.

      November 7, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
      • Voice in the Desert

        Well said. It has to start somewhere. Where would this world be if every forward thinker said, "Well, I'll never do it by myself, so I'd better not try."?

        November 7, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
    • Susan StoHelit

      I'm an atheist – and one person choosing to do better is how EVERYTHING we have came about. Every little contribution, every chip in the wall makes a difference.

      November 7, 2013 at 7:47 pm |
  4. southernwonder

    just an another guy on welfare with privileged access to the media.

    November 7, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      and a good PR company that stages all of these photo ops ...

      November 7, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
  5. mulehead

    I'm gaining a great amount of respect for this Pope. I'm a non-believer married to a Catholic...needless to say we've had interesting conversations. I truly hope this Pope can continue on his reformation of the church and bring a new era of transparency to the issue of abuse that has gone on far too long.

    November 7, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
  6. heyitsadam

    How come everyone who's an atheist has to put an adjective in front of it?

    DEVOUT atheist
    STAUNCH atheist
    MILITANT atheist
    DEDICATED atheist

    We get it. You're a godless heathen. Next time actually BEAT a dead horse.

    November 7, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • bostontola

      "godless heathen". Thanks for the compliment.

      November 7, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
    • Tess

      Yawn.

      November 7, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
    • Lynn

      the same reason people say they are a DEVOUT catholic, etc

      November 7, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
    • Observer

      The same reason I feel it is necessary to call you a "TOTAL" Di**head instead of just a Di**head.

      November 7, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
      • Observer

        fake Observer,

        Fake Christian. You are using my handle to slander others.

        Reported.

        November 7, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
    • kwhisperer

      You just did the same thing by putting the adjective after godless?

      November 7, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Heyitsadam

      For the same reason christians are called Jesus freaks, and religious nuts.

      People like labels.

      November 7, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
  7. Sussay

    I'm an atheist, and I like Frank-1... LIKE... I'm not interested in going back to the church, but I support the influence Frank-1 has on people to think about their conduct.

    November 7, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
  8. Mike

    Good to see the Catholic Church waking up to reality and moving away from their old and extremely incorrect dogma and towards a correct humanist stance. Slowly but surely, they are admitting one by one that a good portion of their teachings and behavior are wrong. This Pope is a major change for them and admission that they have been wrong in many ways. They are evolving to what atheists have known all along. Welcome!

    November 7, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • MattD

      What dogma is the RCC moving away from?

      November 7, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
  9. Andrew

    It's true. This atheist loves this pope, and here is why... He seems to practise thoughtful reasoning (for the most part) to determine right from wrong. He has rejected the lesson of the story of Abraham and Isaac which makes so many religious people bad people: 'do not practise thoughtful reasoning, that is God's job alone, just follow orders no matter how nasty.'

    November 7, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
  10. cedar rapids

    Conversely you have some of the evangelical and fundamentalist members starting to criticize the pope for some of the things he has said.
    Wonder how long it will be before they start labeling him a CINO or PINO.

    November 7, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • Oregonian

      Too late, sir. He already has the conservatives shaking in their shoes. "This guy's a LIBERAL!!" My daughter's Montessori teacher is an elderly Franciscan nun who used to work at the Vatican, and when I asked her if they were excited for the new Pope, she laughed nervously and said "He was a Jesuit. He's going to shake things up." I think they all pretty much adore him now, but, I think people are afraid some fundamentalist Bible Belter or crazy person he hugs is going to be the one to try to take a shot at him.

      By the way, Sister A's first graders learn Roman, Greek and Egyptian history and they have a mural outside the wall called "700,000,000 years of life on Earth." They study all the religions of the world and take an extremely aggressive pro-active measures to make sure that the kids aren't abused by a parent or faculty member. One of the dads who drops his daughter off every morning wears a turban, and there are Jewish students too. We are all proud of our children and their school.
      What people think they know about Catholics is wrong.

      Unfortunately, his greatest threat is from the religious fundamentalists themselves.

      November 7, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
  11. capnmike

    I am a devout atheist, and I don't like ANY popes...religion is a huge scam...parasites masquerading as do-gooders

    November 7, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • Rob

      I am also an athiest but this guy, for whatever reason, whether he's delusional or completely insane, he's doing good things....usually when a christian does something good, it's an accident...

      November 7, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
      • Bootyfunk

        no, Rob, he's not doing anything. he's said a few nice things and gave a man a nice hug - but what has he actually done to change church policy?

        November 7, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
        • Susan StoHelit

          Read up on it.

          He rejected a ton of the material crap they give popes, rejected the gold ring, simplified the regalia, is encouraging bishops to do likewise. Suspended a Bishop spending a ton of money on his personal residence. A pedophile priest reported to the Vatican – they forwarded the report to the cops, rather than sitting on it as they have before.

          It's been little time, but he's making some real changes.

          November 7, 2013 at 7:52 pm |
  12. Bootyfunk

    he's said a few nice words, but he's done NOTHING to change policy.
    are women allowed to be priests? he said no.
    are g.ays allowed to be priests? no.
    the vatican has a long list of child molesters in their ranks, but he hasn't done anything to affect the pedophile problem in the church.

    aside from some nice but ambiguous words and a nice hug, what has the pope actually DONE to change church policy? seems like a nice guy, but he's done nothing.

    November 7, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • Yardley

      very good points

      November 7, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
    • Katie

      Um. you should probably know what you are talking about before you open that big dumb gaping hole in your face. Gays can ABSOLUTELY become priests, and many devout catholic gay people do so.

      November 7, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
      • Steven

        No openly.

        November 7, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Priests are celibate.
          They're natural se/xual predilections are a moot point.

          November 7, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          "their", not "they're"

          November 7, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
        • MattD

          Which is good, because no man who takes it up the kazoo then cleans it should be a priest.

          November 7, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
  13. Colin

    As a proselytizing atheirst, I much preferred Benedict XVI. He drove so many away from the church with his cold, Germanic demeanour.

    November 7, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • Rob

      he was the former nazi, right? just recently opted to not be pope anymore?

      November 7, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
    • Thom

      Gee, not stereotyping Germans, are we? Do you think they all wear jack boots, too? I bet you even think you are a liberal, rather than a small-minded bigot.

      November 7, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        I used to live on the outskirts of Stuttgart in Vahingen.
        At least once a month I was afraid to leave my house because they were having "Auslander Raus!" rallies downtown and it wasn't safe to be a foreigner.
        And for whatever it might be worth – the German language is the only one that has a specific word for taking pleasure in the misery of others (schadenfreude).
        That being said, they also had beer in vending machines, wine kiosks in the malls and I've yet to find a good rotwurst since I left.

        November 7, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
        • MattD

          Pretty hilarious! Are you a Middle-easterner o African? If not you had no reason to worry about a right-wing fringe rally. Yes, German has a word for the misfortune of others. It has a history of making up wonderfully evocative conjunctive words, like Schadenfreude, Zeitgeist, and Gesamtkunstwerk. English is full of dull words that mean the same thing, without the poetic specificity.

          November 7, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
  14. bostontola

    This pope can do more than move the RCC in a new direction. With his (apparently) sincere desire to be tolerant of others, he could usher in a time where different denominations, religions, and atheists get along better. That would be a historic accomplishment if it happens.

    November 7, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
    • SheilaKA

      The wheels of the Vatican move very slowly. His Holiness is giving them a push in the right direction but few expect radical change to occur quickly. The norm is evolution rather than revolution.

      November 7, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
  15. Morgan

    He's delightfully radical, warm and humble, and clearly not who the cardinals thought they were electing. This atheist is a bit smitten with his popeliness.

    November 7, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
    • Scott

      As an athiest I have no comment on his religious beliefs.

      As a human being, I see another human being acting with compassion and humility and encouraging others to do so. What is not to love?

      November 7, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
      • Morgan

        Exactly! He's showing love and compassion, which is what I ask that we all show one another.

        November 7, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          yet women and g.ays are not equal to straight men in the eyes of the church. he said some nice things but hasn't actually done anything to change church policy on g.ays or women. certainly hasn't touched the molestation problem in the church.

          November 7, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
  16. Rob

    this is the first christian that I have EVER seen actually ACTING like a christian is SUPPOSED to act....the rest just talk the talk but never seem to take a step...

    November 7, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
    • etjla

      I guess you never heard of Mother Teresa.

      November 7, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
      • Oregonian

        Mother Theresa was an amazing woman but she did not have direct Godlike authority over one sixth of the religious population of our human civilization. Mother Theresa never got three million people to come listen to her on a beach.

        November 7, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        Mother Theresa was not such a good person.
        Her theology was such that she believed that pain and suffering are "the kiss of Christ" and that the more pain you're in, the closer you are to God.
        She refused to administer pain killers to people in excruciating pain.
        She pinched pennies when it came to her "hospitals" or houses for the dying to the point where the Nuns working in them were forced to re-use blunt needles.
        Her Houses for the Dying were little more than tents with army cots in them.
        The people who went to them were denied visitation from family or friends, not to mention any access to the outside world.
        They basically were relegated to laying in bed and dying quietly.
        Thanks to her PR campaing, hundreds of millions of dollars were donated directly to her and her "humanitarian" campaigns – and instead of using the money to build hospitals or to equip those that were all ready in existence, she instead built convents and shipped the rest of the coin back to the Vatican to be put in the coffers.

        November 7, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
        • Joe Bloe

          Well put Doc. It is amazing how many people buy into the mythology about the late torturer Mother Theresa. She certainly was no saint, no more than Jesus was a God, lol. I guess if you repeat a bs story enough times, a certain percentage of the populace will believe it, no matter how preposterous!

          November 10, 2013 at 2:53 am |
    • Robert

      Then you've never seen the thousands of nuns, monk, and priests who do this everyday .. open your eyes, bud, Christians around the world are helping people all the time.

      November 7, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        but rarely do they help them without trying to convert them to their cult. It's not selfless giving.

        November 7, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
    • MattD

      And what do you do, but judge?

      November 7, 2013 at 7:06 pm |
  17. thinker

    From the pure atheist's perspective, is there such thing as right or wrong? If u say there is then where is it come from?

    November 7, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      Basically its what society, and individuals determines it to be, and that shifts over time, and often has society and the individual disagreeing.

      November 7, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
      • kenny

        golden rule. think about it. its based in our survival instinct. if i help you survive, you will want to help me. If i hinder your survival, you will want to hinder/end mine. ...

        November 7, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
    • Scott

      You can be an athiest and still know right from wrong.

      Thou Shalt Not Kill. Not because God says so, but because it is not good for a functioning society to have us killing indescriminately. If you use respect for the rights of others as a base on which to build a morality you do not need a religious aspect to act ethically.

      November 7, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
      • thinker

        Why do u say killing is wrong? U may not like it but does it make it wrong? Again what is your basis?

        November 7, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
        • mrsinned

          What amoral world are you trying to concoct to make this absurd point? I assume you are religious based on your exsiting posts. That means you (i) have some sort of holy book [presumably the Bible, but I don't want to offend by assuming; not that you're very concerned about offending anyone] and (ii) believe in God. So your telling everyone that you personally didn't "know" you shouldn't kill another person until you read this elusive truth in your holy book or God told you this directly? Are those really the only options for someone "knowing" this? If so, you must have been a very dangerous toddler before you learned how to read (unless you are saying that God spoke to you to set you straight at a very early age).

          Please keep posting "Thinker," you're doing a great job of setting us ignorant atheists straight.

          November 7, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
        • thinker

          @mrsinned
          You certainly do not need the bible to basically know what is right or wrong because you were made to know this. You have a deep objective moral view that we ought to love one another. This view that objectiveness exist regardless what one thinks is the evidence that God exists. Basically you say there's no God but you live your life as if God exists.

          November 8, 2013 at 12:49 am |
        • Observer

          thinker

          "Basically you say there's no God but you live your life as if God exists."

          So where do your morals come from that tell you that the Bible is wrong about such things as support for slavery and discriminations against women and the handicapped?

          November 8, 2013 at 12:56 am |
        • thinker

          @observer
          You and I cannot apply and demand the same kind of moral values that apply to humans to God. I mean if God decides to exterminate the humankind through an asteroid so be it. Btw, the issues you mentioned about the Bible have plenty of opposing opinions as well.

          November 8, 2013 at 1:16 am |
        • Observer

          thinker

          Sorry you missed my question. Here it is again:

          Where do your morals come from that tell you that the Bible is wrong about such things as support for slavery and discriminations against women and the handicapped?

          November 8, 2013 at 1:18 am |
        • thinker

          Observer
          No the slavery in the Bible was nothing like the American south. You wouldn't call those abuse or discrimination if the situation calls them inappropriate. You wouldn't say asking little children out of adults meeting discrimination. Also there are a bunch of stuffs in the Bible that would be wrong if were purely done by human intention. But if was truly from God then so be it. Let Him kill me. Maybe I deserve it.

          November 8, 2013 at 1:56 am |
        • mrsinned

          back@Thinker
          This is a cop out via circular reasonsing. We can't have a meaningful discussion if you simply assume the very thing we are debating: I must get my sense of right and wrong from God, because God gives everyone the sense of right and wrong (there's the circle). Thus, if I have a sense of right and wrong, that's proof of the existence of God.

          Moreover, it's not as simple as that based on biblical teachings (I'm no expert but I have learned a thing or two). Assuming the Bible is true for the moment, then God gave humans free will. Thus, knowing right from wrong is just as easily evidence of free will as it is of the existence of God. Second, if you are literally saying that everyone MUST have a sense of right and wrong because God gives everyone that sense, then why isn't the opposite just as valid? I.e., a person incapable of telling right from wrong is evidence that there is no God–and we know that there are people who behave as if they do not know right from wrong. But now you're going to say that they DO know right from wrong but they resist. There are people who the criminal justice system have determine do not have the ability to tell right from wrong–they are or were legally insane. Thus, you have more than just the person saying they don't know; experts agree that they don't know right from wrong. So what makes you so sure that all of these individuals actually DO know right from wrong? It's literally impossible for you to know based on your senses or any technology known to man. And I assume you're not going to say that you can read minds. So how are you so sure that you know what is going on inside these other people? You will argue with your last breath that they MUST be able to tell right from wrong, no matter the evidence to the contrary, because God gives them the ability to know right from wrong. You might as well be saying "God exists, well...because God exists!"

          Here is the truth: Unless you are saying that you personally have seen God, then you CHOOSE to believe in God based on faith–not based on any trumped up pseudo-logic that "knowing right from wrong" provides objective "proof" of anything. Again, your test is valid only IF you are willing to accept the first premise: that the only source of man's innate sense of right and wrong is God. How on earth does anyone accept this first premise without first believing in God?

          November 8, 2013 at 1:56 am |
        • mrsinned

          final@Thinker
          You say that God is the source of all mankind's sense of right and wrong without any "proof" beyond religious teachings. Why isn't just as valid for me to say that the presence of unidentified substance X in your brain, where substance X happens to always accompany oxygen gas, is really what gives people the sense of right and wrong? Unlike your religious teachings, you can run an experiment today that proves that people without oxygen – and thus deprived of substance X – in their brain are either unconscious or dead. You can also prove that unconscious and dead people do not have a sense of right and wrong. That means that whenever a person has a sense of right and wrong, they have substance X in their brain because they have oxygen in their brain. Therefore, your sense of right and wrong is really due to substance X in your brain.

          But you say you don't believe substance X exists. I ask you if you have a sense of right and wrong? You say yes. Bingo, there's your proof that substance X exists, because the presence of substance X in your brain is what gives you your sense of right and wrong.

          But you then you say you actually do not know right from wrong so that's proof that substance X doesn't exist. Obviously you're lieing. How do I know your lieing? You must be able to tell right from wrong because you're conscious so you have oxygen and substance X in your brain. And if you have substance X in your brain, you can tell right from wrong.

          November 8, 2013 at 2:48 am |
        • Observer

          hinker

          "No the slavery in the Bible was nothing like the American south."

          Nonsense. The Bible tells you WHERE to buy slaves. It tells you how long you can keep them. It tells you to treat them as PROPERTY, not people. It even tells you HOW BADLY you can beat them WITHOUT PUNISHMENT.

          Do yourself a favor and read a Bible someday.

          November 8, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
        • thinker

          Observer
          Interested in Bible slavery? There are PLENTY of resources out there disagree with you. http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/slavery_bible.html In any case, honestly ask yourself. If everything in the Bible sounds great to you, would you then believe in God then? Like I said, as an atheist, why are you still making moral judgement to humankind on this planet at all? It is meaningless. You have made a number of exchanges so far with me and by now you know my point. I know you are an intelligent person, seriously. You know that Atheism DOES NOT and CANNOT ACCOUNT FOR MORALITY. Your moral judgement is based on the theistic world view that there exists ultimate reason and purpose in life that we ought to care for and love each other.

          November 9, 2013 at 8:30 pm |
        • Observer

          thinker,

          According to the Bible:

          What is the punishment if a slave owner takes a rod and breaks the arms and legs of an elderly female slave and she doesn't die "in a day or so"?

          Hopefully, this is a question you aren't afraid to answer, again.

          November 9, 2013 at 8:58 pm |
        • thinker

          Observer,
          http://www.choosinghats.com/2012/03/atheist-andrews-misreading-of-exodus-2120-21-on-beating-slaves/ Again, anytime you raise the so called "Bible cruelty" issue, you will have to face TONS of opposing opinions. This is why I do not get into this stuff, because it gets endless. I only focus on moral ORIGIN, ontology. It appears you want to change the subject. That is up to you. I just hope that you have had some idea of moral argument for God though the conversation with me. In fact, the argument I have given to you does not even say Bible is right or wrong. Remember, atheism faces insurmountable problem in moral argument.

          November 9, 2013 at 10:03 pm |
        • Observer

          thinker,

          Do you actual think you can convince anyone that you are correct when you are AFRAID to answer questions? Do you actually read the Bible or just Google pathetic answers?

          What does the Bible say is the punishment if a slave owner takes a rod and breaks the arms and legs of an elderly female slave and she doesn't die "in a day or so"? If you don't know, why not actually read a Bible?

          You fantasize that slavery then was like having a beloved housekeeper like on "The Brady Bunch". What would you think if they broke her bones?

          Please try to answer so you won't continue to appear to be so lost.

          November 9, 2013 at 10:12 pm |
        • Check

          @thinker,

          – You cure leprosy by having a dove killed, dipping a live one in its blood and having it fly around. Also, you have to anoint the toes of the suffer with the blood.–Leviticus 14

          – You discover unfaithful wives when their bellies swell and their thighs rot after they are made to drink some magical water. – Numbers 5

          – Prized striped goats are bred by having the mating parents stare at striped objects. –Genesis 30

          – You may buy, own, sell, and will slaves to your descendants (only foreigners for slaves, though, no Israelis) –Leviticus 25

          - “If two men are fighting, and the wife of one man tries to rescue her husband by grabbing the other man’s private parts, you must cut off her hand. Don’t have any mercy." Deuteronomy 25

          There are numerous other similar instances of absolute rubbish that this "God" "spoke", along with a bunch of other rules and laws that are obviously only from the minds of primitive men regarding their culture. How anyone can believe that this stuff came from a real smart divine being is ludicrous.

          November 9, 2013 at 11:07 pm |
    • Rob

      logic....if you need a book to tell you the difference between right and wrong, something is wrong with you...you were born with a malfunctioning moral compass....for thousands of years, philosophers have been able to logically explain the reasoning behind right and wrong without ever mentioning anything to do with religion...it isn't based on some mystical afterlife or fear of punishment...

      November 7, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • Emma

      Morals are something you decide for yourself – they aren't given to you by someone else. Some people find their morals in religion, other people don't need religion to know how to act like a decent person.

      November 7, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
      • thinker

        If you decide morals by yourself then it is called personal opinion, and serial killer's opinion is just as good as yours. You and I certainly do not believe that.

        November 8, 2013 at 12:35 am |
        • Observer

          thinker

          "If you decide morals by yourself then it is called personal opinion, and serial killer's opinion is just as good as yours."

          Not usually according to the society a person lives in and that is critical.

          November 8, 2013 at 12:50 am |
        • thinker

          @observer
          Why do you say we OUGHT TO follow what the society agrees? Where is your moral basis?

          November 8, 2013 at 12:59 am |
        • Observer

          thinker

          "Why do you say we OUGHT TO follow what the society agrees? Where is your moral basis?"

          I didn't say that, but society sets the morals and usually punishes those who don't follow the rules.

          My moral basis comes from trying to apply everything I know to evaluate behavior and determine which seem to be the best for me AND society. I don't need a 2,000-year-old book to think for me.

          November 8, 2013 at 1:04 am |
        • thinker

          So you act as if someone told you to apply the best of your knowledge. Your morality is indeed based on some kind of objectiveness outside of you.

          November 8, 2013 at 1:41 am |
        • Observer

          thinker

          "So you act as if someone told you to apply the best of your knowledge."

          Nope. I just have an IQ higher than a rock.

          November 8, 2013 at 1:43 am |
        • Observer

          thinker

          Obviously, you are stumped by my question so I'm not going to waste anymore time. Good luck.

          November 8, 2013 at 1:46 am |
        • Doris

          @thinker: here we go again with the objective morality rubbish. demonstrate something objectively without resorting to subjective means/consensus and then you may have something. Until then – it's just a concept supporting other things that you can't demonstrate.

          November 8, 2013 at 1:51 am |
        • thinker

          Observer
          Ask fundamental question. Why bother? Just what argument do you have against the nihilism based on your world view? If you disagree with the nihilism then you agree with the objectiveness of your moral view.

          November 8, 2013 at 2:02 am |
        • Observer

          thinker

          Where do your morals come from that tell you that the Bible is wrong about such things as support for slavery and discriminations against women and the handicapped?

          Still NO ANSWER. Is the problem that you are COMPLETELY STUMPED or just AFRAID to answer?

          November 8, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
    • Rob

      it's not, thou shalt not kill....thou shall not take that which does not belong to you, whether it be property, life, liberty, dignity, honor, etc...

      November 7, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
    • kfitton

      You're assuming that ethics/morals are directly linked to belief in religion and that's just not true.

      November 7, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
      • thinker

        Be honest to yourself. As soon as you say we ought to love one another you are religious.

        November 8, 2013 at 12:53 am |
        • HotAirAce

          Please educate us as to why you believe that.

          November 8, 2013 at 12:56 am |
        • thinker

          HotAirAce
          To be truly non-religious, you would make absolutely no judgement whatsoever to anything. No one lives like that. Anytime you say "we should", you immediately become religious.

          November 9, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
    • Joe

      You can have a moral code without being religious as a moral code is not dependent upon being religious. While religious followers depend more on their religion for their moral compass (not solely based in religion for all), those without religion would tend to use society's moral code for theirs. Also, a lot of atheists were once part of a religion so a lot of their morality would stem from their previous religion though they may abandon some as they do not apply since they no longer believe.

      November 7, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
    • bostontola

      Bonobos (and some other primates) have deep social groups and networks. They have evolved many moral behaviors including altruism. We have common ancestors, that's the origin. As humans, many societies have elaborated on those moral foundations with intricate rule sets. These morals and rules provide an evolutionary advantage.

      November 7, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Concepts such as 'ethics', 'morality' ‘state’ and ‘society’ and ‘government’ have no existence save as physically exemplified in the acts of self-responsible individuals. Morality is a convenent by and for humans that allows us to live together.
      We are selfish creatures by nature, yet our survival depends on cooperation. In order to balance these two conflicting instincts, mankind has had to develop rules that allow room for both.
      These rules are not the same for all communities – hence we've had so many different types of religion and government throughout history.
      Religion binds communities by giving a common frame of reference. Shared fears (like divine retribution), hopes (like going to heaven) and rituals allow the instinct for self preservation to extend beyond one's self and immediate family.
      Effective cooperation is a learned skill and the successful religions recognize this. Christianity reveals this truth about ourselves most poignantly in the character of Jesus Christ. His message is one of peace, charity, modesty and forgiveness – the traits most important to develop when living in a society.
      This is why the great majority of evolutionary biologists find no conflict between religion and science – as long as religion is recognized solely as a social adaptation.

      November 7, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • thinker

      In other words, why r u being divisive by preferring one Pope over other? R we all nothing more than DNA copiers?

      November 7, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        @Thinker
        Look at the last few Popes.
        We had the fellow who became known as "Hitler's Pope" thanks to his inaction during WWII and his subsequent aiding and abetting the escape of Nazi war criminals via Vatican "ratlines".
        Then we had JPII – the travellin' Pope who did little that was terrible, but also little that was notably great.
        Then came Benedict – a bureaucrat who, back when he was Cardinal Ratzinger, was the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and literally wrote the policy known as the "Crimen Sollicitations" which outlined how the church is to handle accusations of se/xual impropriety against clergy (and we all know how that went....)

        Francis has thus far refrained from condemning this and that from a fiery pulpit – something his predecessors did all too often.
        Atheists are liking this guy a lot more becuase even though his theology is dubious, he at least is representing the best of the Christian virtues – compassion, humility, charity and forgiveness.

        November 7, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
        • thinker

          Again what is your fundamental cause for preferring one view over another? Why do you suggest the Christian value us good? Why bother borrowing a group's view?

          November 7, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
        • Bob

          Thinker, a reasonable comparison of the benefits suffices, something that you seem either incapable of, or lacking the courage to do.

          November 7, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
        • thinker

          @Bob
          Why follow what is obvious? Why should one dna copier tell another dna copier how to live and do and don't do things??

          November 7, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
    • kenny

      the golden rule. it is as old as mankind. it is instinct based in survival. If you help someone they will want to help you so you continue to help them. If you hurt someone they will want to hurt you so you can't hurt them again. religion simply added details and controls to force people to follow it. Every single decision in your life no matter how large or small is governed by the rule. It even applies to yourself... if you exercise/eat right you will feel better.... if you drink/do drugs too much you will pay for it. ... think about it... its sooooo simple

      November 7, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
      • thinker

        Why do you say we ought to follow the obvious rule? Why say we follow a whatever a rule out there? What is wrong with not following the rule you chose from the atheist view?

        November 7, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
        • Bob

          thinker, kenny's post actually speaks to that, dummy.

          November 7, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
        • thinker

          @Bob,
          Think deeply. Do you say following your obvious instinct make it right? Why? Tell me your BASIS. Without basis you certainly cannot say it is right. You could say you like it, but not necessarily right.

          November 7, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
  18. Dyslexic doG

    I'm a Christian fundamentalist ... naaaah, just kidding ... I'm an atheist, and I have to say that for a deluded guy who talks to an imaginary man in the sky, the new pope is pretty cool.

    Still, the Vatican has a very good PR company so this photo op with the disfigured man was all staged. It's a cleverly orchestrated membership drive. Also, you know that someone else tweets for the pope.

    It's Catholicism WOW and the buddy christ!! 🙂

    November 7, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
    • Tess

      Nice conspiracy theory. Didn't your mother ever to say to you "if you don't have anything nice to say say nothing at all? "

      November 7, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        Fred Phelps told me that.

        November 7, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
  19. Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson rebukes Richard Dawkins

    Yeah, count me among his fans as well. I think he would do more if the church would let him – his actions speak of change for the better.

    November 7, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
    • Lisa

      He's exciting because you expect him to do crazy, liberal stuff, but do you really expect him to bring actual reforms?

      November 7, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
      • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson rebukes Richard Dawkins

        We should always applaud moves in the direction of more compassion. Time will tell whether I will continue to feel this way, but right now, I do. He really strikes me as someone who cares, and perhaps his very simple life before becoming pope is evidence of that.

        November 7, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
  20. Lisa

    Who goes around calling themselves a "devout" athiest? Methinks I smell posers!

    November 7, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • Andrew

      Actually I do that all the time. It is sort of a funny way of telling people you don't buy even a little bit of the claims of theists.

      November 7, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • steve

      what do you mean? I am deeply committed to the religious fulfillment of my obligations as an atheist. 😉

      November 7, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.