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. Topher

    Great Pope! Everyone should get a bath time pope-on-a-rope-soap and we can all enjoy him ;} 🙂 :[

    November 7, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
  2. Kevin

    Catholicism isn't going anywhere in my lifetime. It's nice to see the head of it be focused on good will. This guy makes JP2 look like a conservative.

    Now let's get the Shia a Grand Ayatollah that thinks the same way.

    November 7, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      Whoa there, one step at a time. Actually, if we can get the Ayatollah and Fred Phelps to bone each other, then we know everything will be just fine.

      November 7, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
  3. Chris

    He seems less of an authoritarian stone age dictator than the last bloke. I don't have to dislike someone just because they are deluded. But he still leads an oppressive system designed to enslave people to the will of a powerful few by using lies and coercion. There is no magic, there are no gods, no devils, no spirits. The catholic church is an international pseudo nation. That is all.

    November 7, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
    • t

      well put Chris!

      November 7, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
  4. MandoZink

    There's something weird here. These tweets use phrases like "devout atheist" and "staunch atheist". It's like they're still fighting something inside, or else these are planted comments. If you are atheist, well... you simple are atheist. No devotion or whatever. That's for belief systems. Atheism is a non-belief.

    People have sometimes written to our local newspaper with claims like "I used to be a Democrat, but now I'm a Republican because of such-and-such" Then they make some bizarre statements that obviously come from a long-life Republican. They're just pretenders, as I think these so-called atheists are.

    This pope is presenting a nicer facade, but the problems with belief systems are still the same. I was raised Catholic, by the way.

    November 7, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
    • JJ

      Yes, it's like those tweets were from those who think atheism is a religion so I find them quite suspect to have come from an atheist. They are probably really from Christians, liars for Jesus being deceitful.

      November 7, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
  5. PaulMN

    Of course atheists love him... he preaches Political Correctness, not the God of the Bible. I used to be Catholic, but the Catholic Church has gotten so weak over the past decade that their message has drifted far away from the salvation requirements (yes requirements) set forth by the God of the Bible.

    November 7, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that


      November 7, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
    • Pete

      So, because he teaches to love an respect everyone (even people you may think are doing obvious wrong), you quit being Catholic? Hmm....

      November 7, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
  6. JJ

    These photo ops and him saying atheists and gays will go to heaven is no accident. The church has no choice but to play down their arrogance and disdain for their sheep and utilize the mass, gullible media to their benefit if they are to hold onto their hordes of gold and power .

    People see this man in a dress hug this pitiful man and all the sudden 2000 years of raping children and destroying civilizations is forgotten! Pathetic.

    November 7, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
    • ImIrish

      You are a very sad, jaded soul.

      November 7, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
    • John

      So brave.

      November 7, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
    • I've changed

      Hey JJ-suck back and re-load will you.Your anger is not doing any good here.For most atheists,religious faith can be difficult to understand and it can be frustrating when talking to the believers,but hating is not the way to go.You have to admit this pope seems like a pretty nice guy and the fact that he's surely ticking off the old guard must give you some comfort.No?

      November 7, 2013 at 6:41 pm |
  7. bspurloc

    if there is a love, it isnt for a man its for this dude their high leader calling them hypocrites as he should.
    Mr Jesus never told these hypocrites to hate fellow humans, never told them to judge them, never told them to look down upon them, never told them to go forth and massacre and convert them... yet here we are.

    November 7, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
  8. Niknak

    This atheist does not love him.

    November 7, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
  9. Olaf Big

    No, we don't love him. He is certainly more publicity savvy than his predecessor, but he runs the wrong show anyway, and we don't see any real reforms yet that would make Catholic church slightly less irrelevant even to the believers.

    November 7, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
  10. Nathan

    As an atheist I see the Pope as just another person. A good person. A really good person that uses his stature and position in life to help others.

    November 7, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
  11. DAVE

    The Pope is showing the type of kindness we all should show, no matter what you believe.

    November 7, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
    • Madtown


      November 7, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
  12. Joke

    Is this a Joke, one Atheist tweets, makes here wanna be a catholic, other says truly embraces the teaching of christ?
    is this a joke?
    curious how did those nuts even became an atheist in the first place?

    whats next this pope promising atheist salvation and atheist joining the flock?

    November 7, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
    • Magda

      weak minded atheist they are eh?

      November 7, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
      • ktappe

        I believe you've confused "weak minded" with "open minded".

        November 7, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      I believe he already said that atheists can get into Heaven.

      November 7, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      They are already among the flock...closeted atheists who would be ostracized if they spoke up about their true beliefs.

      November 7, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
    • Tess

      The joke is, that all of the tweets in this story are from atheists. Can't you count?

      November 7, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
      • Dippity do da

        Joke never said there was only one. Can't you read?

        November 7, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
  13. my reply

    Typical religious politician trying to look good in the public eye and gain trust. Why not kiss babies and embrace the least of these for the camera? Makes you look really good. It's the faithful few who are willing to serve others quietly without broadcasting it because of their love for God that get my attention. Not because they want to show off how pious they are. The pope's group is very rich and they can certainly use their money to help the poor without displaying it.

    November 7, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
  14. Fred

    I'm confused...so atheists like Christianity now?

    November 7, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
    • JohnnyBlue

      No... we like Christ-like behavior. Unfortunately, that's sorely lacking in Christianity.

      November 7, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

        Do we? I personally don't care for hippy carpenters who threaten me with eternal torture.

        November 7, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
        • Ted

          "They're just pretenders, as I think these so-called atheists are" LOL

          NO thrrrt. promise

          November 7, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
      • Magda

        So u actually believe Jesus was real? lol
        go back to being a Catholic, ur too brainwashed to be on our side.

        November 7, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
        • JohnnyBlue

          Who said anything about Jesus being a real person? You don't have to believe that Jesus existed to sympathize with and appreciate the behaviors attributed to him in a book, any more than you don't need to believe Atticus Finch or Henry Drummond were real people in order to think that they behaved decently. Time to clean out the ears, Magda...

          November 7, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
        • Kevin

          There's no evidence for Socrates having ever existed, but that doesn't negate doubt as a valuable quality.

          November 7, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
      • MattD

        Actually, Christ-like behavior is very common among Christians. Far more common than among atheists.

        November 7, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Yep, it's rare for an atheist to gleefully wish eternal torture on others.

          November 7, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
        • Religion is NOT healthy for children and other living things

          I have met only two or three Christians in my ENTIRE LIFE that seem to make ANY real effort to live in a "Christ-like" manner at all! Most so-called "Christians" that I know do not seem to be aware of what their own imaginary prophet allegedly said and preached! I have read the entire old testament as well as the new testament twice in two different translations, so I DO know what I a talking about!
          In light of what I have personally witnessed throughout my rather LONG life, I strongly disagree with your presumption about "most" Christians living in a Christ-like manner! You and I must have a VERY different impression of what YOUR bible really says! You might want to read it some more and think REAL HARD about how YOUR actions fit into those scriptures...

          November 7, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      Some do, most don't. Same as always.

      Anyway, I know many Protestants who think Catholicism is just as bad as atheism and don't consider it Christian at all.

      November 7, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
      • ImIrish

        I am a Catholic, and I don't care if anyone thinks I am a Christian or not. God knows that I am, and that's enough for me.

        November 7, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Well, he doesn't exist, but good for you anyway. I don't blame you for believing either. Free booze and cardboard is a sweeeeeeeeeeeet deal.

          November 7, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
    • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson rebukes Richard Dawkins

      No, atheists appreciate a moral, compassionate person (at least some do).

      November 7, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
    • Edwin

      No, we just like those that actually follow the teachings of the bible. Too many self-proclaimed Christians never show the compassion and kindness that Pope Francis does.

      November 7, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      Could everybody please stop saying 'we' to describe stuff unrelated to atheism? The only 'we' statement about atheists is that 'we' reject belief in deities. Everything else is superfluous.

      November 7, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
    • JoJo

      These days most Christians believe in everything about Jesus except what he taught. Humanists believe in nothing about Jesus except what he taught.

      November 7, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

        Like eternal damnation?

        November 7, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
    • truthprevails1

      Far from it honestly. I do appreciate seeing this pope being a little more open minded and trying to give his cult a better name, now all he needs to really do is admit the bible shouldn't be followed and maybe turn all the known pedophile priests over for persecution.

      November 7, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
    • Tam

      Being an atheist does not necessarily mean rejecting most of the beliefs about love, charity and decency that are embodied in Judeo-Christian faiths. In fact, most atheists are firm believers in these traits. It is the idea of a divine god that is rejected.

      November 7, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
  15. goddog

    Some Atheists... so far. Not most.... just wait.

    November 7, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
  16. steve-0

    So few Christian leaders try to be like Jesus. The world would be all Christian if more acted like this good man

    November 7, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      No it wouldn't.

      November 7, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
    • sly

      We have a winner in Most Ignorant Comment of the Day.

      Dude – most folks in the world don't even know who this Jesus' guy was, and I guarantee they ain't got no interest in 'being like him'.

      It's fine that you have some obsession with a man, but not the rest of us. If you like chicken – eat chicken. I'm sticking to beef. So please, don't tell me how you know that chicken is better than beef.

      November 7, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
    • Magda

      Jesus was not even real, there is overwhelming evidence against his existence. he was the the creation of the romans, ps u can even use apostle Paul's own statements to disprove Jesus's existence.. google it, research it on your own, maybe ur just a typical mindless religizombie.

      November 7, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
      • Magda Stupid

        Humm...regardless of your faith, Jesus having been a real person is pretty well established. He shows up in almost every religion including Judaism and Muslim faiths. He just played a different role in their teachings, but existed non the less. The book that we now call the bible is comprised of writings from before the Roman occupation, which yes they helped choose which parts to publish, but the writings themselves were much much older than when the "Bible" was created. Learn some real history, wikipedia is not always correct you moron.

        November 7, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
        • Religion is NOT healthy for children and other living things

          The ONLY thing about the mythical Jesus that is well established is the fact that there were MULTIPLE individuals who lived during this approximate time period whose name was Jesus. Whether or not ANY of them was the alledged "prophet" referred to in the Gospels has NEVER been determined! So, NO there really is NO evidence nor consensus that there EVER was an actual "prophet" named Jesus who did and said any of the things attributed to him in the Gospels. It is still pure speculation with NO tangeble evidence to support it. sorry!

          November 7, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
      • areyouforseriousmyboy

        or perhaps you know nothing? that's a possibility....

        November 7, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
  17. Portland tony

    Love is a pretty strong word. I truly respect his approach to religion and his respect for his fellow man. If all the so-called religious leaders in the world, including evangelical "pastors" and radical imams possessed half the humility and goodness that this man exudes, there may yet be hope for mankind and a peace on earth.

    November 7, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
  18. Fred

    Free people can be more tyrannical and oppressive than the government, seeking to control what you express and communicate. Good example of what I mean:


    November 7, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
  19. If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

    I'll have a bit of respect for this Pope (or any) if he would admit the cover-up, turn over all of their known pedophiles and all information pertaining to these crimes and fully cooperate in the investigations. If just one Pope would put their "money where their mouth is" I'd give a little respect.

    November 7, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
    • CJ

      Have you seen the Pope's views on Pedophiles in the church? In addition, and more importantly, he has ordered all Catholic churches to act decisively to root out pedophile priests. It is a start in the right direction.

      November 7, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
      • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

        I have not seen that .. so thanks for informing me! If that is true he has a little respect from me, but I'm holding out for the whole 9 yards.

        November 7, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
    • Susan StoHelit

      He is doing it.

      They had a pedophile priest recently that was reported to the Vatican – and the Vatican notified the police! Rather than hide the whole thing, they reported it. So it does seem that he's getting real results.

      November 8, 2013 at 7:53 pm |
  20. 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 4:20 pm |
    • James

      Except that is never going to happen.

      November 9, 2013 at 4:48 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.