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. zampaz

    I'm an atheist and as a former Catholic I like the new Pope. Eventually the church may even support the use of contraceptives which is the most divisive issue facing the church.

    November 7, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
  2. JPG

    If you are an atheist you don't like the Pope and what he represents, you may like Jorge Mario Bergoglio and that is fine, I like him too but let's not get confused.

    November 7, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
    • LT Fang

      I couldn't care less what he believes. I only care what he does. Action is what counts.

      November 7, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
      • JPG

        You are right, his actions unfortunately affect a lot of people.

        November 7, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
  3. Osama

    Pope Francis is cool, but as someone already mentioned, compared to the last guy, Osama bin Laden would make a good pope! But respect to this man for his kindness. I find it funny that people are hating on him because he doesnt think women should become priests... HOW MANY WOMEN WANT TO BECOME PRIESTS ANYWAY? Jeeze, feminists can be brutal!

    November 7, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
    • sly

      What's your problem with Osama Bin Laden – lots of folks in the world admired him greatly.

      But, to your point: It's well known that women are a whole lot smarter than men, so I totally agree with you – why would any woman want to be a priest? Why would any man want to be, unless he just wants to stick his hand down little boys pants.

      Gosh ... you should know that.

      November 7, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
  4. Human

    The Catholic church is not stupid. They realize that religion like theirs is falling by the way side and realize that it will hurt their pocketbooks if they don't start to condone to the masses who are calling them out on their fallacies. So, what better way to get people to start coming back as the old fashioned approach of " if you can't beat 'em, join 'em." They have only played upon the people's senses and have made it look like they are including their "sheep" by allowing them to vote on "moral or immoral" decisions (depending on how one looks at it). Has this pope really changed anything? No, not really. It's just another hoodwinking to get back in the popularity contest. They have no idea what their so called god wants. They make the stuff up as the world turns, as the sun sets etc etc. If most people would only let people be who they want to be and mind their own business, we wouldn't need any condoning from these old pedophiles. Really this guy is just paving way for them to say it's ok to molest little boys and girls. Because in reality they are gay or lesbian. Call it what it is. I have no personal problems with the LBGT community. Everybody needs love. Just don't force little kids who don't know any better into such situations. Do I love this Pope? To this atheist, he's just another person in this human disease and just another living creature in the great survival of the fittest.

    November 7, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
    • Lionly Lamb

      Are you nothing more than a Darwinian Survivalist with an insatiable desire to flaunt verbal dysenteries upon religious capitalists ..? Me..? Guess...

      November 7, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
      • Human

        Nope, no desire to crap on you. Just see how things really are. I don't need a weather man to know which way the wind blows and I don't need money to make me happy. And I don't need an imaginary friend cause I'm not 5 years old anymore. Reality sucks but it's what each person makes it for their own personal life. I am doing just fine with mine.

        November 7, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
      • mrsinned

        @Lonly Lamb
        Your posts are bizarre. Are you using a translator program or are you doing shrooms?

        November 7, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
  5. dust

    Looks like little more than a photo-op to me.

    November 7, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
  6. Michael

    I'm atheist too, but I don't feel the need to insert a "but" in front of "I like Pope Francis". If I disliked everyone who had a religious affiliation I would be leading a pretty miserable life.

    November 7, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • Lionly Lamb

      Makes one up to be I write and never be should be ever and always as a catch as might dare catch whenever possibly so to be doing for the one toward which I write...

      November 7, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
      • Roger that

        Holy crap...

        November 7, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
      • Goku

        Well said

        November 7, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
    • dean

      Great point

      November 7, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
  7. Harley Quinn

    No, we don't. We think he's better than the last guy, but Benedict was pretty evil so it doesn't take much to improve upon it! It's honestly a little annoying that he gets praise for doing normal, good things...because the Pope normally doesn't do good things. He seems like a decent human being, but I don't love him (I respect him, but not his beliefs) and I'm certainly not going to start believing in some imaginary sky man any time soon because of it.

    November 7, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
    • Michael McCollum

      Who is this "we"?
      You have an LLP for Atheists? Do you have a dogma so fixed you speak for "we"?

      The arrogance shown in people who say, "we" while addressing what they think of as common ilk, is very telling about how you're reading the world around you.

      You don't speak for anyone but yourself.

      November 7, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
      • Realred

        Thanks Michael for straightening him up...lol

        November 7, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
      • marks320

        Interesting that you had no response to anything else he said but felt the need to fixate on his use of "we". Farther along in his post he used "I" several times but you ignored that because it would invalidate your outrage. Well, he does speak for some other people, myself included. I don't think for a moment he intended to pretend he was the official voice of all atheists and I suspect you knew that. Arrogance meet carefully concocted outrage.

        November 7, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
      • Lor

        Wrong; he spoke for me pretty well, too. 😛

        November 11, 2013 at 7:46 am |
    • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson rebukes Richard Dawkins

      Some of the folks that "love" him are former Catholics, so that would make sense. As for atheist that were never religious, I can see how they would have a hard time understanding that.

      November 7, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
    • Lionly Lamb

      Sire Quinn...

      Writing in the "we" are you..? We this and we that... Never could tell you all apart...

      November 7, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
    • Lionly Lamb

      Sired Quinn...

      Writing in the "we" are you..? We this and we that... Never could tell you all apart...

      November 7, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
  8. KR

    Pope Francis is awesome!

    November 7, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
  9. Sherri

    I am an atheist and I do NOT love this man. And he IS just a man. Nothing more. He has denied half the population by saying women can't be priests. He may be humble and live simply, but that does not mean that he should be worshiped. He has a long way to go before I'd even admire him. So, no, I do not love him. Sorry catholics

    November 7, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
    • Michael McCollum

      Your comment says much of you and nothing about Catholics, this Pope Francis guy, or even religion. Lighten up, have a drink, crack open some good Voltaire and chill out.

      November 7, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
  10. Paul

    How will this affect evangelicals as a part of the conservative US Catholic-Evangelical political alliance? Hopefully for the better by putting attention on their core values in the most important commandment – love your neighbor – first. Then maybe Christians can start really being a positive agent of change again by just focusing on helping people instead of always being so worried about politics.

    November 7, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
  11. Cwhat'sNew

    Yep! I'm an agnostic. I love him as a truthful, courageous and loving human-being, not because he is a catholic.

    November 7, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
  12. Michele

    I'm a confirmed atheist, but I DO love this guy. Not for his religious beliefs but for his overwhelming humanity. If people were like he, we wouldn't NEED religion to control people; they would just do the right thing BECAUSE it is the right thing. His compassion is truly humbling. Jesuits rock.

    November 7, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
  13. TONE

    I will take a wait and see approach when it comes to this pope, it is written (many will come in my name) and he is not exempted.

    November 7, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
  14. Ace Dynamo

    NO, we don't love this pope, or any other figure of fairy tale holy books and hate filled religion.

    November 7, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • Michael McCollum

      Who is "we"? You part of an organized something? No,...you speak for you and you might not be alone in your view. Don't go all "we" on people until you actually represent someone.

      November 7, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
      • Well Duh

        Ace included me.

        November 7, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
        • Michael McCollum

          I understand critical analysis is a chore, but at least pass reading: "you might not be alone in your view"

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

          "Don't go all "we" on people until you actually represent someone."

          Ace represented me as well. Maybe you didn't read past what you wrote when you said "you might not be alone in your view".

          November 7, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
      • Erin

        Lighten up, have a drink, crack open some good Voltaire and chill out.

        November 7, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
      • Lor

        Ace spoke for me, as well. What are you, Michael, the "Must reply to atheists who don't approve" troll? Taking your name a bit too seriously? lol

        November 11, 2013 at 7:48 am |
    • Maddy

      The Royal "we "? Please, speak for yourself.

      November 7, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
  15. Doug

    None of these atheists "love the pope". They respect the man because he occupies a position traditionally held by a bigot, but doesn't himself seem to be very bigoted.

    November 7, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • Michael McCollum

      Doug: "None of these atheists "love the pope". "
      you need to read those comments above again: "so far I love Pope Francis", "

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

      How about you let these people speak for themselves. You dont know what thoughts/emotions they're experiencing. Good grief are some people desperate to be a mouthpiece...

      November 7, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
  16. Linda540

    Of course everybody loves this pope. He's telling everybody what they want to hear. There are no standards, do what you want. And I'm so pious about my humility that I named MYSELF after a Saint known for his humility... Laughable, truly laughable.

    November 7, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
    • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson rebukes Richard Dawkins

      I'm not sure if you understand Catholicism, but his chosen name is up to him, and if it reminds everyone else when they hear that name to act better, what's wrong with that? In your case, you should look for the silver lining on what you perceive to be a dark cloud. So far, he's refreshing.

      November 7, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
  17. Chris

    I am an atheist, but I don't admire him as a man of religion. I may admire him as a person who has shown some compassion. He is in a role that has rarely ever showed true compassion which is what surprises people and that is disturbing considering what he is supposed to represent. Acts of compassion doesn't require a belief in god, it requires empathy. He still sits at the top of an organization filled with corruption and a 2000 year history of oppression and some of the greatest acts of violence ever known to humankind. He has made some small and good gestures, but he has a long way to go and that will never happen. The church will survive, but the pope can always change.

    November 7, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
  18. Ben

    Most people loved John Paul II, at first. Back when he travelled the world. Later, when be settled into the hard line conservative, not so much.

    November 7, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
    • Michael McCollum

      That Pope was also a man of his time, like all human beings. It is a shame to see people see things only in the terms of the now and lack ability to keep progress in mind. I have people I vehemently disagree with now, but in time...they might evolve or the conversation will evolve past us.
      Popes, Dalai Lamas, Grand Muftis, etc...all products of their time.

      And for a first, it seems, Richard Dawkins will be the king of the new religion that seems to think it has all the answers now too, "Modern Atheism" and all its trappings.
      Dawkins is also a man of his time, locked in all its trappings.

      November 7, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
      • marks320

        Well if it's not Michael, defender of "we" and its proper use, now speaking for Richard Dawkins and all of those Modern Atheists. "Man of his time, like all human beings". How profound. You use that term to defend a pope, then turn right around and use it as slur against Dawkins. Adolph Hitler, a man of his times, let's cut him some slack and see if our opinion of him evolves. After all, he was just locked in all its trappings. See how ridiculous that sounds?

        November 7, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
      • Lor

        Ah..here we go again; religionist "everything must be taken in context." How about we leave it with this: there's not much to 'respect' about the underlying religion in the first place. Humanity has far surpassed both it's fragmentary and primitive attempts at morality (let alone it's barbarianism) – and it really only seems to serve to hold some people back from doing things that they otherwise might, if not for fear of a god. At least, that's what I hear from a lot or Abrahamic followers. (Hint: if religion is the only thing "making" you a good person – you aren't one.)

        The bottom line for me? Don't care; religion is dying, and that will be all for the better eventually.

        November 11, 2013 at 7:53 am |
  19. DarqeSide

    This is the first pope in memory who appears to embrace the true 'Christian' value of love for ALL people. I'm an agnostic and I've been impressed by this man.

    November 7, 2013 at 3:34 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.