November 7th, 2013
12:30 PM ET

Even atheists love this Pope

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-editor

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(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. Bill

    I like anyone who can smile and laugh and make others do the same at the same time. Stone faces and smurks is what makes other folks leary.

    November 7, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
  2. blessed are the cheeseburgers

    He is like Tim tebow!

    November 7, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
    • Ben

      Tebow ever make anyone feel good about themselves?

      November 7, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
      • sly

        Yes – there are a lot of happy defensive backs when Timmy is QB.

        November 7, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
  3. magicpanties

    atheists judge people on their actions, not their beliefs (unlike fanatic teavangelicals)

    November 7, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
  4. Amanda

    Even atheists loooove the leader of the false Christians (Pharisees). /fixed.

    November 7, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
  5. Tony

    Has he really changed any of the church's position on an issue? He's just talking about unpopular things (gays, atheists) less, not changing any teaching.

    With that being said though, I can appreciate the fact that he's not the next Benedict.

    November 7, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
    • Lester Singleton

      I think his key to success is not to tell people what he thinks they are doing right or wrong but to live a life that he sees as right and let other glean insight from that on their own because, in the end, its always a personal decision. There is no amount of finger pointing that will ever change someone's mind.

      November 7, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
  6. kenny

    the golden rule is the basis for all laws of man and god. It is based in our survival instinct. It is as old as humankind. If you help me to survive, I will want to help you survive. If you hinder my survival, I will hinder/end yours. It applies to every decision we make no matter how large or small, towards nature and even towards ourselves. If you help yourself, eat right/exercise... if you hurt yourself.. drink heavy/do drugs... get the picture... or rather... can you see the light...

    November 7, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
  7. IslandAtheist

    I think Pope Francis will help the Catholic Church die a much more graceful death.

    November 7, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
  8. Bob

    He encourages tolerance for those who walk a different path, even heathens like myself, and that makes him okay in my books. Now if only he could do away with the nonsense about birth control, that crap leads to a lot of lost lives and misery.

    November 7, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
  9. Sivick

    i'm an atheist and a former catholic, but I have to say I too am impressed with this pope. even though I don't believe jesus was a god I think his philosophical teachings have a lot of good stuff in there and the current pope has really taken that to heart. atheists can respect religious people even though we don't believe their religion. to an atheist it isn't about what you believe it's the kind of person you are, displayed best by your actions.

    November 7, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
  10. Katrina Wogoman

    I agree. I am far from Christian and have a great deal of respect for the man.

    November 7, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
  11. sly

    The Pope is irrelevant to me. This one seems better than some in the past, although he seemed to team up with the Right Wing Death Squads in the past. Probably not a good man

    I like him 'more' just as I like Putin 'more' than many of the former Soviet leaders.

    But, Putin rarely has any impact on my life, just like the Pope.

    November 7, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
  12. JayDavid

    After 2,000 years of intense ignorance, hatred and violence, the bar to be the "nicest" Pope pretty low.

    November 7, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
  13. BobbyC

    I think this just shows that someone with common sense can be appreciated by all.

    November 7, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
  14. Fred

    By their constant accusations of hypocrisy, atheists seem to be quite the authorities when it comes to what is and what is not normal Christian behavior. Why go to your priest when you can go to your atheist?

    November 7, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      An excellent idea .. the atheist doesn't have an agenda of getting butts in the seats! Besides who needs a Pope or priest to tell you how to behave, don't you have a book for that?

      November 7, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
    • amniculi

      "Normal Christian behavior" is an oxymoron.

      November 7, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
    • Conrad Polska

      Hate to be the one to break this to you, but most priests are atheists.

      November 7, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      "The Pew Forum on Religious Religion and Public Life released a survey on religious knowledge today. Atheists and Agnostics scored higher on it than anyone else, closely followed by Jews and Mormons, all Christians, Protestants and Catholics, were far behind."

      Probably not a bad idea Fred seeing as how on average atheists know more about your religion than you do.

      November 7, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
    • Science Works

      A 'Light' That Obscures: The Misrepresention of Secular Thought in Pope Francis's First Encyclical


      From 43:

      'Children are not capable of accepting the faith by a free act, nor are they yet able to
      profess that faith on their own; therefore the faith is professed by their parents
      and godparents in their name.'

      November 7, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
    • Science Works

      Still all a mind game Fred !

      November 7, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
    • JohnnyBlue

      Perhaps if people who call themselves Christian started acting more like Christ - in a manner similar to the current pope – then we atheists would be less inclined to point out the blatant hypocrisies against Christ's teachings that they claim to embrace so much.

      November 7, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
      • lngtrmthnkr

        Johnny,I couldnt agree more with you ,some who profess to be Christian, are simply using their self rightousness as a weapon against any one they disagree with .

        November 7, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
  15. Frank Fortune

    i don't....the man's a wolf in sheep's clothing, who also wears a pope costume

    November 7, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
    • lngtrmthnkr

      Frank, you really have no idea about what is truth and what is fake do you?

      November 7, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
  16. Gol

    "Even atheists loooove this Pope"

    Can CNN beg for more atheists to come on here?

    November 7, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Can't blame them ... we're awesome!

      November 7, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
  17. bostontola

    "R we all nothing more than DNA copiers?"

    This was a great question a few pages back. We are not "just" DNA copiers, but we are DNA shufflers. We also know that DNA is not a blue print. The environment affects how our DNA is expressed (see epigenetics). That means we can get more out of DNA if we create the right environments. We also live socially and have culture, science, art, and technology. This breaks the genetic shackles. A little education would go a long way.

    November 7, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
    • mrsinned

      That wasn't a question; it was an accusation (i.e., these atheists believe we're nothing more than DNA copiers). Thinker seems to enjoy toppling straw men, presumably because it's too difficult to respond to atheists' real positions. A common thread evident in the posts here (and something I believe as an atheist): action matters, not talk or membership in a particular religious association. Modifying a line from Forest Gump: "Good is as good does." In response to "Thinker's" post (which predictably focuses on attaching labels), most atheists would probably say, just be a DNA copier who does the right thing, that's all that matters.

      November 7, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
  18. Nina

    This pope appears to personify what a real Christian is, does, thinks, acts. I am not Catholic, but I wish Francis well–he is a breath of fresh air.

    November 7, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
  19. Wa-ling

    This Pope is a closet Buddhist, compassion at the forefront.

    November 7, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
    • Tim

      Actually, he is a model Catholic.

      November 7, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
      • JayDavid

        Actually is a model follower of Jesus so far.

        November 7, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          I believe many atheists see him as a model humanist, much like the Christ of the gospels. Too bad very few Christians seem to be able to follow his lead and prefer to lean on the hate, violence and greed esposed in the rest of the bible when they are imagining their heavenly reward or the fiery reward of those they dislike. I have yet to hear of a humble American Christian turning the other cheek or giving up their guns to rely on the God they claim is watching out for them.

          November 7, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
  20. SkepticalOne

    I do like the guy. I don't believe in his god but if he uses the myth for good, more power to him.

    November 7, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Some people need it .. and for that I am thankful. It's the forcing it on others part that causes the problems.

      November 7, 2013 at 2:40 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.