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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. Red

    Atheists may love this pope but the resident atheists on this blog must hate this headline ... What is an atheist anyway? They claim to have no God. So if we just magically appeared here, shouldn't water be God to them. They have to have belief in some sort of creator. I know one thing, atheists on here should stop calling religious people "delusional" because their beliefs are no where near strong enough to call anyone delusional. Except maybe themselves.

    November 7, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
    • amniculi

      Atheism is a lack of belief. Have fun with your delusions and keep your speculation to minimum please.

      November 7, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
      • Red

        Delusions? LMAO. You are alive and typing right now but you have no beliefs????? Hah???? So you're dreaming right now? That sh** makes ZERO sense. Like I said, stop calling people delusional. You have no room to call people that. No leg to stand on whatsoever.

        November 7, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
        • Well Duh

          "but you have no beliefs"

          Who said we have NO beliefs. We just can't seem to find logic or reason to believe in your God.

          If you have some kind of convincible evidence, please do share.

          November 7, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
        • Red

          So answer the damn question then!!!! What's your belief? How did we get here? How can we see? Why is everything so nice and organized for us? How did that come about? Once again, what's your belief?

          November 7, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
        • Well Duh

          "How did we get here? "

          I don't know. But, again, if you have convincing evidence of how we did, please do share.

          November 7, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
        • Madtown

          So answer the damn question then!!!! What's your belief? How did we get here? How can we see?
          -----
          Why the need to have answers? We probably can't answer a lot of these questions, maybe never will be able to. "I don't know" is a perfectly acceptable answer, and is a better answer than concocting a religion to attempt to provide answers.

          November 7, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
        • Kev

          Merriam Webster Dictionary:Main Entry: athe·ism Pronunciation: \ˈā-thē-ˌi-zəm\Function: nounEtymology: Middle Frenchathéisme, from athée atheist, from Greek atheos godless, from a- + theos godDate: 15461 archaic : ungodliness,wickedness 2 a : a disbelief in the existence of deity b : the doctrine that there is no deity

          November 7, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Red
      You don't know what an atheist believes – you know only one thing they DON'T believe.
      Atheism is a negative statement that simply says the person has a lack of belief in gods.
      Any other worldviews, morals, political stances etc that you attach to the term are your own inferences and assumptions.

      November 7, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
      • Red

        So if there's a lack of belief in God, what is it they believe in? It has to be something. That's what I'm trying to figure out. Believe in nothing but yet we're here. ??? If that's what you believe, fine, I'm just saying don't call another human delusional. Belief in nothing? What the hell is that?

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

          That's what I'm trying to figure out
          ---–
          Humans have been trying to figure that out since the dawn of consciousness. It's probably not something we'll ever be able to answer completely, so don't get your boxers in a bunch.

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

          My boxers will never be in a bunch because I already know we weren't created to know how it all works. We're on punishment, we're not supposed to know about the other side. If we knew, we'd all act right and that kills the purpose of this test/probation. My faith will never change. I'm just trying to put a finger on what an atheist believes, since we're "delusional." If I'm delusional, I wanna hear why.

          November 7, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
        • Well Duh

          @Red
          "My boxers will never be in a bunch because I already know we weren't created to know how it all works. We're on punishment, we're not supposed to know about the other side. If we knew, we'd all act right and that kills the purpose of this test/probation."

          And how would you provide evidence that anything you just said is true?

          " I'm just trying to put a finger on what an atheist believes"

          We don't know how everything got here, thus no belief, in regards to that. But, we can have plenty of other beliefs like the sun will rise tomorrow, if I throw this ball up in the air it will come down, etc. So, we have beliefs, just not in knowing how it all got here.

          November 7, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
        • Madtown

          I already know
          --–
          Ah, another arrogant one who thinks they have it all figured out. Nevermind that these questions have been wondered about since the dawn of man.

          November 7, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
        • Lor

          No answer will ever satisfy you, because you have a cognitive issue in this area. Wherever there would be an "I don't know", you have inserted religion – so the very idea of an "I don't know" absolutely baffles you; you can't understand/imagine being in a head that is fine with 'I don't know.' Probably the best way to explain to you is to say that we aren't afraid of the unknown. Centuries ago, people thought demons caused illness; now we know better. Human knowledge accrues. If we survive long enough as a species, and the Abrahamics don't end up bringing on a nuclear Armeggedon or something, we'll eventually have all or the majority of the answers. We're still discovering, but the discoveries come faster and faster as they build upon previous knowledge.

          November 11, 2013 at 8:09 am |
        • Lor

          Red said, "My boxers will never be in a bunch because I already know we weren't created to know how it all works. We're on punishment, we're not supposed to know about the other side. If we knew, we'd all act right and that kills the purpose of this test/probation. My faith will never change. I'm just trying to put a finger on what an atheist believes, since we're "delusional." If I'm delusional, I wanna hear why."

          You just answered your own question.

          November 11, 2013 at 8:21 am |
      • Kev

        Merriam Webster Dictionary:Main Entry: athe·ism Pronunciation: \ˈā-thē-ˌi-zəm\Function: nounEtymology: Middle Frenchathéisme, from athée atheist, from Greek atheos godless, from a- + theos godDate: 15461 archaic : ungodliness,wickedness 2 a : a disbelief in the existence of deity b : the doctrine that there is no deity

        November 7, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
    • Roy

      I used to find humor in liberals, i.e. secular fundamentalists, making a second day job out of mocking their cousins in anti-reality, the religious fundies.

      It happens so often now, though, that it's gotten boring.

      November 7, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • Well Duh

      "What is an atheist anyway? They claim to have no God."

      Wrong. I don't claim there is no god, because there is no way I could possibly prove that. However, those who make claims of a god have not met their burden of proof for one.

      "So if we just magically appeared here"

      Magically appearing here is God's trick.

      "They have to have belief in some sort of creator."

      Wrong again.

      "I know one thing, atheists on here should stop calling religious people "delusional" because their beliefs are no where near strong enough to call anyone delusional. Except maybe themselves."

      Nanny nanny poo-poo.

      November 7, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
      • Red

        So what do you claim? Water? You're alive. You had to be created.

        November 7, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
        • Well Duh

          "You had to be created."

          Please provide convincing evidence of a creator.

          November 7, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • Roger that

      Science doesn't have all of the answers yet, but that's no reason for you hop on the "a bush talked to a man" bandwagon.

      November 7, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
      • Red

        Oh, but you're on the "we just popped up out da water" bandwagon? Lmao. Not a very convincing wagon.

        November 7, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
        • Well Duh

          "Oh, but you're on the "we just popped up out da water" bandwagon? Lmao. Not a very convincing wagon."

          I'm still waiting for your convincing evidence of how we did get here.

          November 7, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
        • Roger that

          Best of luck with your 500 BCE mentality.

          November 7, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
  2. Joe S

    I don’t place labels on myself as I am an evolving being who is not closed minded or rigid – Naturally as a logical person I don’t believe in gods or other fantastical concepts to deal with natural mortality. So simply put I don’t believe in God or gods. I’m not opposed to religion as a personal choice to live by other peoples ideals, philosophies or moral code and obey the commandments of long dead people. I do oppose it being used to force those beliefs on other people who chose other ways of life or as an excuse to absolve yourself from civic duties or humanitarian responsibilities. But I agree that this Pope seems to be a good role model for his cult followers.

    November 7, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
  3. Dan Allen

    WOW . ATHIESTS LOVE THIS POPE? GUESS AGAIN.

    November 7, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
    • Dan Allen

      Is ANYONE taking CNN seriously anymore?

      November 7, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
      • Madtown

        The Kardashians do, mainly because they're on the front page every other day.

        November 7, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
  4. Wesc2

    Since when did being atheist mean you hated the pope? These people are just stupid, atheist or not. He can be a great person but doesn't mean I agree with his religious beliefs. These are just bandwagon atheists who probably became one because they felt "god betrayed them". Real atheists are that because of logic.

    November 7, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
  5. zachmarsh

    I'm an atheist and I think this Pope is doing what all religious leaders should be doing.

    November 7, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
    • Lor

      Oh? What might that be – living his entire life, never having to earn a paycheck, his food or pay a bill – living off of working people, in a heavily patriarchal organization of men-only power surrounded by mutli-millions worth of property, gold and wealth? Private planes, bodyguards, maids, cooks, laundry done. I could go on. 😉

      November 11, 2013 at 8:17 am |
  6. CommonSensed

    I wouldn't use that many "o"'s...

    November 7, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
  7. EP Sato

    "Hell, even atheists love him"

    When writing about the Pope and matters of religion, should the author use the word "hell" in the article so callously?

    Seems a bit disrespectful to me. AND i'm one of those non-religious fans of the Pope the article talks about BTW.

    November 7, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
    • amniculi

      Why are you bothered by a meaningless word?

      November 7, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
  8. brian

    I wonder why religion articles have to be so silly.

    November 7, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
    • Well Duh

      Well that's a silly question.

      November 7, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
    • amniculi

      Because it's a silly topic. Or it would be if it wasn't so scary.

      November 7, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
  9. Fred Evil

    Has everything to do with his being a CHRISTian, and not a Xtian.
    If more Christians lived a Christ-like life, they would get a lot more respect. The vast majority of self-described Christians are actually Xtians, because they do NOT live a Christ-like life. It's hard, no doubt, but if it's what you supposedly believe, it should be simple.
    But for so many, it's an impossible task. And they don't owe us an explanation, they owe their Lord one. Oh to see them squirm if(when?) they finally have to give it. To be a fly on that wall would be very interesting.

    November 7, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
    • sonny chapman

      All Organized Religion is Man Made;Christian Islam, Jewish,Buddhist. Men are fallible. Weak men with enormous power over spirituality are extremely fallible. Francis seems to embrace the Message of Christ as found in the Four Gospels more than the Catholic Doctrine developed for over 2,000 years. Or, to quote Mahatma Gandhi," I like your Christ. These Christians, I'm not too crazy about".

      November 7, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
  10. Reality # 2

    Francis I, good man, bad theology and he is afraid to face the flaws.

    November 7, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
  11. Well Duh

    If he influences anyone to believe in, or continue to believe in Christianity, then he gets no love from me.

    I can respect him as a person, and extend him respect in that sense, but I have no respect for what he symbolizes or teaches.

    November 7, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
    • Lester Singleton

      Someone has had a bad experience.

      November 7, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
      • Well Duh

        Nope.

        November 7, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
      • Roger that

        Comparatively all religious experiences are bad.

        November 7, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
      • CommonSensed

        Why do you assume it was because of something bad? Oh – yes, because you assume he was once religious and had a bad experience.

        Interesting.

        November 7, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
    • lngtrmthnkr

      He simbalizes a kind loving man who has the compassion to look past the ugly surface of the individual and see the soul within and to set an example to us to do the same.

      November 7, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
      • Well Duh

        You don't need Catholicism or Christianity to do that.

        November 7, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
        • CommonSensed

          More to the point you don't need religion to do that.

          November 7, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
  12. anne smith

    Clearly, these people are not atheists if they are saying they would be catholic simply because they agree with one or two things this pope is doing. Atheism is simply "lack of faith in any god". These twitter posts are most likely catholics trying to start something trending, and what do you know! CNN writes an article about it. Not falling for it, but nice try. Pope Francis can give back all the Nazi money and gold they stole from the Jews, he can turn in all the pedo priests and have them sent to jail. He can dissolve the whole catholic church and that still wouldn't make me want to become a christian, or even say he is now acting like a good christian. It would be a good start for him, but it doesn't change the fact that the religion is a plagiarised/made up bunch of nonsense with no exclusive claim on morality. He has a lot of work ahead if he's trying to get the church to live up to modern times' views of basic morality. But it still doesn't make me anything other than an atheist. Also, there was no Jesus. If you study religion you realize that it is a motif all cultures had.

    November 7, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
    • Roy

      The Church and the Nazis were bitter antagonists by the time the war started.

      You've no doubt swallowed the "Hitler's Pope" slander of Pius XII.

      November 7, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
  13. Mark

    Here's another doubter that is a big fan of Pope Frank!

    November 7, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
  14. OldMo

    The atheists have more in common with this Jesuit than most realize.

    November 7, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • Well Duh

      Like?

      November 7, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
  15. Darlene Buckingham

    12 tweets by 12 non-believers – this is PR pure and simple – the pope may be a nice man but the teachings of the Catholic Church and keeping people in ignorance of who they really are and holding humanity back from progressing to a higher level of living and being. When the Church starts teaching that we are all sacred, sovereign, spiritual beings here to learn how to take care of life on planet Earth I will say the Catholic Church has finally evolved. At this point the Pope would have to step down and acknowledge a circle of wise elders that teach others these fundamental truths. One Man, One God, One Way keeps us fighting with one another. We are ALL ONE and each ONE of US is sacred and part of the Great Mystery. We have to take responsibility for ourselves – there is no saviour – only teachers that empower us to become a responsible caring adult that passes these teachings to his children and walks on Earth with dignity creating beauty wherever they go. Imagine if we all did that!

    November 7, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
    • Susan StoHelit

      Not PR – I'm on a few atheist forums – and threads have popped up a few times from people saying, "Whaddya know, they finally picked a decent person."

      November 8, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
  16. TheSadTruth

    Some atheists are not TRUE unbelievers, but people who reject religion because of the judgmental nature of its followers. Now there's a pope who has really dialed back on the brimstone and is in touch with the common man.

    Look at the new president of Iran- this guy appears so totally 180 from what we've come to expect from Iran he's the new big man on campus. In the same way, The new pope is such a nice guy that even atheists are charmed.

    November 7, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
    • Mary

      In fortunately atheism has nothing to do with the action of religious followers. Atheism is simply a position 1 stance...."is there a god." Atheists simply say "we reject that position" mostly due to the fact that there is no empirical evidence to demonstrate that a deity exists. The actions of the followers have nothing to do with that position

      November 7, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
    • Lester Singleton

      That is like saying that people hate Fords because they have had a bad experience with people who drive Fords. Why not focus more on the people who are saying judgmental things rather than generalizing an entire religion? If this guy was chosen by the top leaders in the Catholic church, could it not be that they also saw that his methods and teachings were more closely tied to those of Jesus rather than what you are used to experiencing?

      November 7, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
    • Roy

      I see atheists as those who feel no need to believe in god.

      What's funny is most militant atheists are loud, loud liberals who worship intellectual abstractions. Just fundamentalists without the deity.

      November 7, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
  17. Roy

    They just like him because he's a weakling who's compromised on church dogma.

    I'm an atheist, and I find nothing to respect in caving to modernism, i.e., trendy degeneracy.

    November 7, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
  18. francis

    Fact is he does follow what he believes... The teachings of Jesus Christ! Jesus moved the hearts of men and women in His days on earth and continue to do so in the likes of Pope Francis.

    November 7, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
    • Reality # 2

      JC's family and friends had it right 2000 years ago ( Mark 3: 21 "And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.")

      Said passage is one of the few judged to be authentic by most contemporary NT scholars. e.g. See Professor Ludemann's conclusion in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 24 and p. 694.

      Actually, Jesus was a bit "touched". After all he thought he spoke to Satan, thought he changed water into wine, thought he raised Lazarus from the dead etc. In today's world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane.

      Or did P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man via their epistles and gospels of semi-fiction? Many contemporary NT experts after thorough analyses of all the scriptures go with the latter magic-man conclusion with J's gospel being mostly fiction.

      Obviously, today's followers of Paul et al's "magic-man" are also a bit on the odd side believing in all the Christian mumbo jumbo about bodies resurrecting, and exorcisms, and miracles, and "magic-man atonement, and infallible, old, European/Utah/Argentine white men, and 24/7 body/blood sacrifices followed by consumption of said sacrifices. Yummy!!!!

      So why do we really care what a first century CE, illiterate, long-dead, preacher/magic man would do or say?

      November 7, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
  19. DM

    U think what u post isn't hate-speech?

    November 7, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
    • Maddy

      Shut. Up.

      November 7, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
  20. blessed are the cheeseburgers

    Ted, 3 billion. Maybe more. Lol. U punk

    November 7, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
    • Maddy

      Name stealing twit.

      November 7, 2013 at 3:09 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.