November 7th, 2013
12:30 PM ET

Even atheists love this Pope

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-editor

[twitter-follow screen_name='BurkeCNN']

(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. Gina

    I'm an atheist. I raised my children to explore religion and decide for themselves. We ALL LOVE this pope!!

    November 7, 2013 at 11:55 pm |
    • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson rebukes Richard Dawkins

      You have plenty of company.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:30 am |
  2. Maddy

    I was a christian. Then I ran into Sam stone. Now, I'm I'm love

    November 7, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
    • Maddy

      I knew it wouldn't take you long to steal my name. I couldn't care less about Sam Stone. You are awful, awful person. You will be laughed out of court. Lying Christian hypocrite.

      November 7, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
  3. amniculi

    As an atheist, here's how I feel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTIorwtJbhE

    November 7, 2013 at 8:47 pm |
    • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson rebukes Richard Dawkins

      From small minds come small thoughts. You might want to ask what this says about your "superior" morality.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:32 am |
      • amniculi

        I automatically have higher moral standing than any person or organization that protects and hides pedophiles. It's baffling to me that you could even consider defending such an organization. What does that say about your morality?

        November 8, 2013 at 9:01 am |
        • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson rebukes Richard Dawkins

          I stand against those things, but I also recognize the good where there is good. Change takes time, and you'll understand that once you get a little older and wiser. But to ridicule this pope, at this point, in the manner of your "song," well, that's childish.

          November 8, 2013 at 10:24 am |
        • amniculi

          The church has been around since the 2nd century. I agree that change takes time, but this is reprehensible beyond excuse. Besides, morality isn't balanced on a scale. Good acts do not negate the bad. Until all the pedophiles that have been reported to the church are exposed and defrocked, your argument has no leg to stand on.

          November 8, 2013 at 11:22 am |
  4. Ted

    athies hate

    zeitgyst is their latest anti-semetic endeavour

    this is their front

    November 7, 2013 at 8:22 pm |
    • amniculi

      Our latest endeavor should be to teach you how to spell.

      November 7, 2013 at 8:43 pm |
    • Dave Green

      Oh Ted, relax....Stop trying to shove whole groups of people into boxes. Just because I don't believe in gods, doesn't mean I'm anti-Semitic, or even anti-theist for that matter.

      November 8, 2013 at 4:39 am |
  5. Realist


    ... http://www.GODisIMARINARY.com ...

    ... and thank goodness because he emanates from the ...

    ... http://www.EVILbibe.com ...


    November 7, 2013 at 8:06 pm |
  6. HotAirAce

    Did I miss Pope-A-Dope's instructions to the faithful to turn over every pedophile priest and every bit of information about them and the coverup of criminal acts within the RCC? If not then no "likes" for Pope-A-Dope.

    November 7, 2013 at 7:58 pm |
    • saggyroy

      Or that using condoms isn't as bad as getting AIDS?

      November 8, 2013 at 5:54 am |
  7. nick

    all of you are a bunch of morons is not about the action is about the message he is sending to all of you I regret being catholic that does not mean I reject the message this kind men is sending to my heart.

    November 7, 2013 at 6:38 pm |
    • Susan StoHelit

      All of who? Are you talking to an individual, or are you making a blanket judgement about a widely varied group of posters?

      November 7, 2013 at 7:16 pm |
    • Maddy

      Observer tries xtra hard to sound like an idiot when she really doesn't have to change anything

      November 7, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
      • Maddy

        Stop stealing my name.

        November 7, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
    • Maddy

      Observe, u don't have to try to sound like a moron, u idiot!

      November 7, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
      • Maddy

        Stop stealing my name.

        November 7, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
  8. I've changed

    I am atheist and I too can say; I kinda like this guy.

    November 7, 2013 at 6:28 pm |
    • jazzmanjimmy

      Only Atheists tend to reply on these type of stories. The believers in God, for the most part, don't feel the need to.

      November 7, 2013 at 6:35 pm |
      • Maddy

        Nice to know that Christians don't care about the Pope.

        November 7, 2013 at 6:45 pm |
        • Lionly Lamb

          Above all Maddy...

          We are all a ragtag assortment of racially motivated humanoids bantering and bartering for all manner of goods and even goodliness generously frothing away from judgmental posturing...

          November 7, 2013 at 7:36 pm |
        • Maddy

          What? You don't think that jazzman jimmy was being judgmental as well? And what are you mean by "racially motivated"? Please.

          November 7, 2013 at 7:43 pm |
  9. OMFW

    I am an Atheist, ex-Catholic, who went to 12 years of Catholic School. I too an impressed with Pope Francis, his character, values and the direction he is moving in. It is much needed.

    November 7, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
    • Krittick

      You don't sound like much of an "ex-catholic", more like a fawning idiot easily fooled by theatrics. Gullible much?

      November 7, 2013 at 8:40 pm |
    • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson rebukes Richard Dawkins

      OMFW, Same here. Time will tell how legitimate he is, but he has walked a life more compassionate than most here on this board can even imagine, and that is to be admired. I hope he comes through – we could use more examples like him in the world.

      November 8, 2013 at 5:38 am |
  10. Jeebusss

    I'm also an atheist. "Love" would be a strong word. That would imply I admire him. I will say simply that he is making some effort to move the church out of the dark ages.

    Saying I was impressed with him would be like saying you are impressed that someone decided not to be racist anymore, 150 years after the emancipation proclamation.

    November 7, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
    • Susan StoHelit

      I'm impressed.

      It's more like someone elected to head the KKK, choosing not to be racist.

      He's elected to a gold plated, corrupt organization, and he is pushing back and trying to make changes. However much they should be something anyone else would do, no one else HAS done them, so what he is doing is notable and inspirational.

      November 7, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
      • Krittick

        Gullible much? It's all theatrics by a JESUIT calculated to fool idiots like you. If he were truly as "good" as his theatrics, he'd utterly destroy the criminal organization he LEADS as a JESUIT, you silly wog-gnawing simpleton.
        And what did you steal, anyway? "stoelit"?

        November 7, 2013 at 8:43 pm |
        • Chancho

          Yes, because whatever you are believing in is apparently making you into a much better person! You sound like a ball of joy wrapped fun.

          November 8, 2013 at 2:25 am |
  11. Reality # 2

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

    November 7, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
    • Krittick

      A Jesuit doesn't need to face the truth because they are so busy turning people away from any hint of it. Hello?

      November 7, 2013 at 9:06 pm |
  12. JCS

    I'm an atheist. I'm only impressed the Catholic Church hasn't killed this liberal hippie pope yet.

    November 7, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
    • Krittick

      Yes, if he were assassinated by some hard-line catholic fundamentalist, he would become a sort of martyr to those who view him favorably, but this is all already agreed to within the criminal organization as being necessary to bring back those who have left in disgust. He is a Jesuit, trained in propaganda, theatrics, apologia, misdirection, etc. who emerged pre-eminent in the sacking of the German Nazi-pope. His job is to dance for the idiots who can't see through the tricks, to fool the "flock" into thinking the criminal organization has any intention of stopping their criminal conduct. What a slick pretender this guy is. His criminal machinations are all designed with targets in view. Never trust any Jesuit.

      November 7, 2013 at 8:52 pm |
      • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson rebukes Richard Dawkins

        My prediction – not gonna happen. He has allowed many Catholics to take a breath of compassion for a change. The Catholic Church has been stagnant for years and he is breathing something into it that many people desire. Besides, the gun nuts are mostly in the other half of the Christian family tree (where the Southern Baptists live).

        November 8, 2013 at 5:46 am |
      • zampaz


        November 8, 2013 at 10:04 am |
        • zampaz

          (meant for Krittic)

          November 8, 2013 at 10:05 am |
  13. mik73

    Wow he embraced a disfigured man...good golly gee I guess every single thing written in the bible must be true then. Clearly I was wrong. He embraced a man, so god exists. Good to know. I must have been this close to burning in hell forever.

    Now, where the choir boys at...I get to embrace them now too, don't I?

    November 7, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
    • JonT1980

      Sad. You must be a miserable person.

      November 7, 2013 at 6:11 pm |
    • Susan StoHelit

      Read more about this guy. It's not because he embraced a crippled guy. Pope John Paul did all those photo ops stuff.

      It's because he seems to actually mean it. He's rejected a bunch of the expensive trappings of office, advised his bishops to do the same. A pedophile priest was reported to the Vatican recently – and unlike the past – they passed the report on to the police, rather than sitting on it. He is talking to real people.

      Pushing back against all this tradition and corruption is admirable, even if it should have been obvious all along, no one else did it before.

      November 7, 2013 at 7:24 pm |
      • Krittick

        The RCC is an international criminal organization. The Jesuits are the propaganda / dirty tricks arm of the Vatican.
        You fail to see that, despite a few token reforms made VERY visibly, those reforms are not substantial nor widespread but only for SHOW. The sheer scope and breadth of the criminal conduct of the RCC is breathtaking, sometimes literally as they murder people. They still engage in all the crimes they did before. All you see is one or two "non-examples" of what the RCC is really in business to do. I proclaim you a gullible idiot and simple-minded fool. Hey, the Pope called and wants to talk to you personally, so wait here and I'll patch him through in a jiffy, okay? Thanks.

        November 7, 2013 at 9:01 pm |
      • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson rebukes Richard Dawkins

        Susan StoHelit, You have summarized the reasons very well. We all should be happy to see things moving in a more compassionate direction for any religion. Judging from a some of the comments I have read here, some of the atheists can see no silver lining to what they perceive to be a dark cloud, though I would say he's anything but that. I wish him well, and I wish him great success.

        November 8, 2013 at 5:42 am |
        • zampaz

          I agree NDGT, as a former Catholic and atheist I see this man bringing some much needed change to the Church.
          The high hurdle is birth control and hopefully Francis will soften the hard line on the issue.

          November 8, 2013 at 9:42 am |
        • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson rebukes Richard Dawkins

          Zimpaz, It will be interesting to see how much he can accomplish. I think he would try to do more, but the conservative portion of the Church is holding him back. They've also felt it necessary to reinterpret the Pope's public remarks a few times already, indicating he is ruffling some with his progressive approach. They can't remove him, and they can't stop him from saying what he wants, so it will be interesting to see how things change. But as a former Catholic as well, I like the kindness he appears to be bringing.

          November 8, 2013 at 10:30 am |
      • zampaz

        I agree Susan, Francis is pushing reform. I'm not anti-theist, but I am anti-fundamentalist. It's going to take the modern christian theologies (Catholic/Anglican) that accept science to educate the willfully ignorant young earth creationists.

        November 8, 2013 at 9:54 am |
  14. mikehipp

    Atheist, including myself, are inspired by the particular man precisely because he is so unlike other openly religious people in our lives. It's him actually practicing your Christ's message that makes him stand out in a world of people who proclaim their religious credentials while spewing hate at every opportunity.

    November 7, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      Please stop using the term atheists as a collective term to describe people whose characteristics that have nothing to do with atheism.

      November 7, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
      • Susan StoHelit


        Many people believe all atheists, as a collective, hate religion and the religious. And what Mike says is true of many atheists.

        So yes, many atheists, including myself, find this Pope a refreshing change, and while I don't agree with many of his beliefs, I am glad to see someone who is not a hypocrite trying to do some good in that role.

        November 7, 2013 at 7:18 pm |
        • Krittick

          How can you say he isn't a hypocrite when you don't know diddly-squat about his actual internal values and thought processes? He is a Jesuit. That is all you need to know. But you don't know much about the RCC, do you? Nope.

          November 7, 2013 at 9:04 pm |
        • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson rebukes Richard Dawkins

          Krittick, Very few of us truly "know" anyone. I have always believed to judge someone less by their words and more by their actions, and this pope has plenty of both on the plus side. If all of Islam were to take a more compassionate view on issues (think fundies), would you not be glad about that? Maybe no more car bombings?

          November 8, 2013 at 5:50 am |
  15. TAK

    No Gods, No Kings...Only Man. And I'm glad to see Francis acting less like a king and more like a decent man.

    November 7, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      Well, you mightn't like them, but I assure you kings exist.

      November 7, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
  16. Truth

    This atheist doesn't like him for saying that atheists still go to a god interview at death. leave your feeble thoughts out of my life, thank you toddler-Human

    November 7, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
    • Susan StoHelit

      Hey, it's his beliefs, and unlike most, he doesn't demonize atheists.

      He is the Pope – he is supposed to make statements about what his religion believes.

      November 7, 2013 at 7:15 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.