January 23rd, 2014
10:40 AM ET
Pope: The Internet is a 'gift from God.' But watch out for the trolls
By Daniel Burke, Belief Blog Co-editor
(CNN) Careerist clergy. The super rich. And now we can add another pelt to Pope Francis' collection: Internet trolls.
In statement released on Thursday, the Pope said the Internet and social media are making people across the world "increasingly interdependent."
"The Internet, in particular, offers immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity," Francis said. "This is something truly good, a gift from God."
At the same time, though, all those tweets and texts and comment streams can cause people to "lose our bearings," said the 77-year-old pontiff.
"The speed with which information is communicated exceeds our capacity for reflection and judgement, and this does not make for more balanced and proper forms of self-expression," Francis said.
"The variety of opinions being aired can be seen as helpful," he continued, "but it also enables people to barricade themselves behind sources of information which only confirm their own wishes and ideas, or political and economic interests."
There's a tinge of irony to the Pope's comments, considering that his own soaring popularity can be partially traced to the Internet and social media. According to a study released in November, Francis was the most talked about person online last year.
MORE ON CNN: Pope Francis won the Internet. Literally.
Whether consciously or not, the Pope has become an unlikely poster boy for how stories spread in the modern world.
Photos and videos of him washing the feet of Muslim inmates, embracing a severely disfigured man and giving his pal a lift on the Popemobile have gone viral, with hundreds of thousands sharing the images.
MORE ON CNN: Pope Francis' greatest hits of 2013
"Goodness always tends to spread," Francis said in his apostolic exhortation, "The Joy of the Gospel," a line that could have been uttered in the boardrooms of savvy online outlets like Upworthy and BuzzFeed.
But the Pope's theory of communication seems to derive from a more ancient source: his namesake, St. Francis of Assisi.
"Preach the Gospel all the time. Use words when necessary," the 13th century friar is often quoted as saying. (Some call the quote apocryphal.)
Rather than "bombarding people with religious messages," the Pope urged Catholics on Thursday to listen patiently and engage their interlocutors' doubts and questions.
"Let our communication be a balm which relieves pain and a fine wine which gladdens hearts," Francis said.
The Pope also warned against spending too much time online, saying the "desire for digital connectivity" can sometimes isolate people from their friends, family and neighbors.
“It is not enough to be passers-by on the digital highways, simply 'connected'; connections need to grow into true encounters," he said.
"We cannot live apart, closed in on ourselves. We need to love and to be loved. We need tenderness. Media strategies do not ensure beauty, goodness and truth in communication."
Drawbacks aside, the Pope did not argue that people should reject social media, which he said can foster unity and "help us feel closer to each other."
Instead he argued that advances in bits and bytes shouldn't distract from the fact that digital communication is, at root, about people connecting with each other.
"What is it, then, that helps us, in the digital environment, to grow in humanity and mutual understanding?" the Pope asked.
"We need, for example, to recover a certain sense of deliberateness and calm. This calls for time and the ability to be silent and to listen. We need also to be patient if we want to understand those who are different from us."
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.
Leave it to the church to attribute the accomplishments of science and technology to an imaginary being.
I'm an agnostic, but man, is this Pope awesome or what?
I may not believe what he believes, but I can still appreciate his genuinely kind heart and love for his fellow man.
Religious or otherwise, we could all do worse than to take his example.
How can you see with all that wool over your eyes?
Ok, so you're clearly an atheist, and that's fine. But which of us is deluded? The atheist who claims to KNOW there is no god, or the agnostic, who is humble enough to admit he doesn't KNOW what CANNOT possibly be proven/disproven?
what about an atheist who just doesn't believe in any of the gods presented so far due to lack of evidence? You say you can't know if god exists, which I agree with, but do you believe in god at the moment? Yes or No? For me, since I can't know if god exists or not I currently don't believe in god.
I don't believe or disbelieve, Pete. I have no idea whether there is or isn't a god (or gods). But, the question doesn't impact my daily behavior in any way. I just do my best to be a "good" person as per my own personal standards. That's really all that anyone do.
...all that anyone *can* do.
I know it's popular to hold Agnostics up as some sort of untouchable group, to paint Atheist arguments as being on a level field with those of Theists or Deists, but examine the evidence. There is no credible evidence for the supernatural. Is lack of evidence a good enough reason to believe in the existence of something? No. Agnostics value ignorance over reason, as they are willing to ignore the lack of evidence in this particular argument, showing a childlike naivety in using their own judgement to equate the unequated.
Lack of evidence is not the same as evidence, and the burden of proof lies with the believer, because you can not logically prove that something does not exist. You can sure as hell make an educated guess though, and with no evidence to support belief in deities or the supernatural it should be easy to do. Christians probably don't believe in Marduk, Osiris, Amaterasu, Brahma, Quetzalqoatl, Odin, etc., yet the evidence for these formerly worshiped deities is the same as that for Christ and the tyrant god of the desert Yaweh: none.
Well I would probably consider you an atheist then. Since you don't currently believe in god.
Actually, Mopery, it's not as cut and dried as you have laid it out to be.
I have had personal experiences that COULD potentially have been what you refer to as "supernatural." Things I cannot personally explain, that may, or may not, fit into the natural order of things. As an agnostic, I am not personally operating from a position that either precludes or confirms the possibility that these experiences were, in fact, "supernatural." I, frankly have no idea.
Neither, do I have any need, nor desire, to convince others of the veracity or assumed source(s) of these personal experiences. I am perfectly comfortable with the possibility that they were simply beyond my comprehension.
The fact that you have not (I assume) had any such experiences, does not influence me in the slightest.
If I had the vast wealth and power of the RCC and Vatican I would do more than give some pretty speeches and give rides to my employees in my fancy car.
End polio, malaria, etc.
Bring clean water to those that need it and teach them to manage it.
Educate needful folks without using religious mumbo jumbo.
As the Pope, is it really reasonable to expect that he "personally" perform any of the admirable feats you describe? I think not.
But, what he does have, is the ability to use his "pretty speeches" to attempt to open the hearts of his fellow men and inspire those who can physically act on the needs of others to do so.
This appears to be his current modis operandi. And I, personally, admire him for doing what he can to that end.
I thought Al Gore invented the internet. Makes you think????
Whats with the competltion for most irrelevent comedic take on topic? I thought they stopped telling Al Gore jokes back in 2007...
Great, so now Al Gore is going to say he's God's gift to mankind....
Well, he did kill Man-Pig-Bear. What have YOU done for mankind lately? 😉
Pope Francis for the win!
BTW, Al Gore invented the internet. 😉
I'm super, duper serial.
Bush did. Series of tubes.
Zeus? So Zeus created the internet?
I get it, the Poop is trolling here. Got it.
How dare you! The Internet was clearly created by Cthulhu. Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!
Right.....it isn't here because of engineers and computer scientists that designed it....no, it's clearly because of your pretend sky wizard.....
Wow,"Jebusss",how utterly brain-dead do you have to be to make such an asinine comment like that? I wish I could send you a quarter so you could buy a clue;did you read the same comments the rest of us did? Or are you just a troll?
I agree, brazzers is totally a gift from god
Isn't that a pay site? Who pays anymore? There are so many great free sites like Xvideos, Xhamster, P0rnhub, etc.
the bible chapter about internet trolling is between the bits about grain and goats, and the bit about swords and shields.
the bible covers everything don't you know. it's so obviously written by a timeless, omnipotent god and not by bronze age and iron age desert dwelling primitive man.
Of course we should remember that the last thing Catholic theology relies on is Biblical literalism.
I'm sure Rainer would agree.
The Pope verses internet trolls... I'll bet on the trolls because they are vicious animals, and the history of success for my prayers has a batting average that would be similar if I had prayed to a houseplant.
the pope is the internet troll
"Pope: The Internet is a 'gift from God.' But beware of trolls"
+++ wrong. the internet is a gift from humanity. by giving an invisible sky fairy credit for the hard work and ingenuity of humans discredits the people that actually brought the internet into being. the only troll here is pope. religious trolling trying to take credit where it's NOT due.
This must be the funniest Papal sound bite ever!
I'd agree though, the internet has absolutely nothing to do with "God
Having said that, these comments are pretty accurate:
"The speed with which information is communicated exceeds our capacity for reflection and judgement, and this does not make for more balanced and proper forms of self-expression,"
"The variety of opinions being aired can be seen as helpful, but it also enables people to barricade themselves behind sources of information which only confirm their own wishes and ideas, or political and economic interests."
yep, good ol' religion... mixing in lies and deceptions with the truth. religion has been losing people to the internet. truth and fact-checking are killing religion. the pope sees it and wants to stem the tide.
This is another example, along with being more gay-friendly, of the Catholic Church getting more aggressive to put more butts in the seats, or more accurately, more collection dollars in the baskets for The Vatican. Young people are turning away from religion in droves and the internet/social media is a major factor in that trend. Atheists are kicking ass on the internet ( http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/07/30/why-are-millennials-leaving-church-try-atheism/comment-page-41/ ) and the CC is trying to rally the troops to fight back.
I thought the internet was a gift from Al Gore.
It's time to flush the Poop.
WHEN PEOPLE PURSUE BALANCE THEN THEY ARE LIKELY TO PARTICIPATE IN THE DOWNWARD SLIDE–WHEN CERTAIN ELEMENTS "GO SOUTH," AND ONE TRIES TO BE IN BALANCE WITH THEM–CORRECTION.<3+++
Are you having a stroke?...Do you need an ambulance?
“Preach the Gospel always. If necessary, use words.” are not St Francis words http://www.catholicvote.org/pope-francis-and-st-francis-preach-the-gospel-always-and-for-the-love-of-god-use-words/
igaftr,doobzz: As I wrote earlier, give it a rest you could not see good if it fell at your feet. There is always negatives in any part of the world, but I choose to see the positives that make the negatives have less power over me. I try to make things better in any way I can, little or big, Have a little faith in humankind try to be just a little more positive and you might not be so down on things all the time. doobzz, just so you know I was an abuse victim for 6yrs when I was a child. I am asking you nicely please do not try and speak of things you know nothing about. The preist (Monsignor) is now doing 15 yrs. He did not destroy my faith because I didnt let him. I know that there will always be evil but again I choose to use the good for positive outcomes. Sorry for those reading my posts, English is not my first language.
your English is great!
sorry to hear of your childhood experience. You seem to be living a positive life in spite of it so well done and good luck to you!
Oooh, I made Don Diego's list!
"doobzz, just so you know I was an abuse victim for 6yrs when I was a child. I am asking you nicely please do not try and speak of things you know nothing about."
Yeah, so was I, so you can quit assuming you know anything about me. I'll say whatever the hell I want about it.
I am very positive...I simply pointed out that you say they do not harm me, when in fact they do.
Show that the Universe is a created thing, as in created by an intelligent agent, before you try to persuade anyone, including yourself, of a Creator.
But if there's a universe, there MUST be a creator.
"But if there's a universe, there MUST be a creator."
In your narrow mind, maybe. Could it be *any* other way?...a way or ways which perhaps we don't know about yet, (and which ancient Middle Eastern men didn't know about)?
If the basic options are it came from creation or accident, I can't believe in the accident. That doesn't even need my Christian faith. Math, laws, my conscience say it isn't possible.
If there's lightning, there MUST be a Zeus! Right?
"If the basic options are it came from creation or accident,"
Maybe you need to do the thought experiment of 1,000 uses for a brick...
Nope, it was Jesus.
What does that have to do with anything?
Except that Topher clearly doesn't understand math or science, and what his conscience tells him has no bearing on reality.
First, logical fallacy. Second, complain if you want to, the laws of thermodynamics alone say nature can't create itself. And mathematicians say to get the world we have is a mathematical impossibility.
If your god didn't need a creator, then why should the universe have needed a creator?
You'll have to elaborate, Topher. What do the laws of this Universe have to say about the emergence of Universes? How is the world made impossible by mathematics?
Don't lie now, god punishes the liars, stillborn, Topher, gods handiwork for sinners like you.
If the math says there is a 1 in any number chance that means it is not impossible, just improbable. So do you have the math that shows a zero percent chance?
No logical fallacies you have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that you don't understand math and science or that you just ignore that science that you don't agree with.
"If your god didn't need a creator, then why should the universe have needed a creator?"
Well, because the universe exists within time, space and matter, and because we know through science that each of these things had a beginning. God, who created these things, would have to exist outside of them. So if He's outside of time, He'd have to be eternal.
" And mathematicians say to get the world we have is a mathematical impossibility."
Which mathematicians? Specifically....so I can show them their error.
First, they clearly do not have all of the variables, so the calculation is based on speculation, second, no mathematician could possibly get the probability to 0..THAT is impossible.
Furthermore...what are the calculation odds for YOUR god existing, and being EXACTLY what you think it is?
What numbers do you have for that?
"Which mathematicians? Specifically....so I can show them their error."
"First, they clearly do not have all of the variables, so the calculation is based on speculation ..."
You're probably right. I think that's a fair conclusion. The problem, though, is that adding even more variables will only make the probability even more unlikely.
"Furthermore...what are the calculation odds for YOUR god existing, and being EXACTLY what you think it is?
What numbers do you have for that?"
How do you calculate for the supernatural?
I don't know Topher, but if you are going to argue that your god is possible then you have to find a way. Otherwise how we will be able to determine which is the most likely?
Considering the level with which I use math, no...I can prove your statement about mathematicians false, so I can show the error to any who make that false claim...quite easily.
"adding even more variables will only make the probability even more unlikely"
Not necessarily...it could be that we add more accurate variables and change the odds accordingly...not all variables move a calculation in one direction, so that is just showing you do not understand how math works.
How do you calculate for the supernatural?...by definition, all that exists is natural...supernatural would be outside of nature, so does not exist.
You seem to have found a calculation for something that cannot be calculated, which is what you started the post with, so why not just make up something, as was done in your probability calculation you originally referenced.
you can just make up a calculation, just like your god, made up out of nowhere by men.
Your original post just shows the ease of which believers will just accept false information in an attempt to bolster their unjustifyable belief...and then try to propogate that false information.
You absolutely do not wnat to to try me on the math stage topher...math is where I live.
"I don't know Topher, but if you are going to argue that your god is possible then you have to find a way. Otherwise how we will be able to determine which is the most likely?"
I think when your worldview of it being a cosmic accident goes against the laws of science it would lead me to conclude that's not possible. If nature cannot create itself, someone had to have.
Can you state the laws of science that are in question, Topher, and show how a posited means of origin for the Universe by anything other than creation by an intelligent agent contradicts them?
First Law of Thermodynamics.
Actually how the universe began has exactly zero to do with my world view. If i found out tomorrow that the big bang never happened I would not care one bit. Unlike you my entire life is not based on how the universe began so I am able to accept new information as it comes along even if it might prove what I used to think wrong. You, however, can't do that because your entire life is based on the bible being literally true so you must reject any new information that goes against your belief. Also, since I learn about this stuff from scientists it is pretty silly to claim that science rejects them. If that was the case they wouldn't be scientific theories.
What information could you possibly get about the origins of the universe that will be testable, repeatable and demonstrable?
Are you also then rejecting science's laws?
Do you just like to keep proving that you don't know anything about science?
"Do you just like to keep proving that you don't know anything about science?"
When you atheists just claim I don't know anything and continue to not provide any evidence to the contrary for yourselves, it just sounds like the ones who don't know are you and you're over-compensating for it by pointing at me. Now, please tell me, oh all-science-knowing-guy, what evidence do you think you'll ever get about the origin of the universe that will be testable, repeatable and demonstrable. You know that's science's standard, right?
You post nonsense, like "evolution is rejected by science" with nothing to back it up but your opinion. The simple fact that Evolution is a scientific theory is enough to prove you wrong.
"You post nonsense, like "evolution is rejected by science" with nothing to back it up but your opinion. The simple fact that Evolution is a scientific theory is enough to prove you wrong."
You're avoiding the question, so I'll have to take that as you won't get anything. Which is exactly my point. So why should I reject the Bible?
And you're right. Evolution is a theory. Not science. It isn't testable, repeatable or demonstrable. And in fact would go against all known science about genetics. A cow only has the genetics to produce another cow. Not anything not a cow.
The Big Bang Theory makes certain predictions about what one would expect to find had it happened. Predictions such as the expansion of the universe, the abundance of certain light elements, and cosmic microwave background radiation. All of these things have been found and proven through multiple Tests by multiple people. If you don't agree with the theory then show how the evidence points to something else. Simply claiming that The Big Bang Theory isn't supported by science will get you no where.
Topher did mention the First Law of Thermodynamics, but not what it has to do with the origin of the Universe.
SOME parts of the Big Bang are conclusive, sure. But the theory has MANY problems. Any astrophysicist will tell you that. But of course a lot of it falls under historical science ... meaning we weren't there to observe it and we can't put it under the scientific standard and thus will never know for sure. Believe it if you want to, but you're taking it on faith, the very thing you want to smack us Christians with.
When you say things like "evolution is a theory" as if that is somehow a strike against it, it only helps to prove that you don't know what a theory is in science.
You're grasping at straws now. It's clear you hold science to a higher standard than it does itself because you can't stand the alternative.
“Evolution is unproved and unprovable. We believe it only because the only alternative is special creation, and that is unthinkable.” — Sir Arthur Keith (wrote the forward to the 100th anniversary edition of Origin of Species.)
Evolution fails the science test. It's not testable, repeatable or demonstrable.
It fails to present even a single change in kinds.
It would require an addition of genetic information when we only see losses.
It has never been demonstrated that any creature has the genetic information to create anything other than what it is. A cow, over even millions of generations, will never become a whale. It does not have the genetic information to create fins, a blow hole or anything else that makes a whale a whale.
You have a habit of stating things as fact that are false. Do you know they are false?
Information is only lost, you say. Here are two ways information is gained: Gene duplication occurs with divergence of function. Genes can acquire information from other genes.
Fins? Limbs become fins simply by losing features they had acquired, like digits. Digits come from rays that were a feature acquired by fins – the information needed for fins precedes the information needed for digits.
Here's a fairly modern and current look at that, Topher:
Mol Biol Evol. 2009 Mar;26(3):613-22
Adaptive evolution of 5'HoxD genes in the origin and diversification of the cetacean flipper.
Wang Z, Yuan L, Rossiter SJ, Zuo X, Ru B, Zhong H, Han N, Jones G, Jepson PD, Zhang S.
This would be about the time that Topher sticks his fingers in his ears and starts yelling "I can't hear you"
At least Tom Tom presents evidence for his side and is willing to discuss things.
Are you talking about mutations?
I see you were never able to back up your claim that math proves the universe is impossible.
You also never told us how the Big Bang violates Thermodynamics.
First Law says, in layman's terms, nature can't create itself. Big Bang, depending on which version you believe, says everything came from nothing, a scientific impossibility.
Actually, the First Law is a version of the idea that energy together with its equivalents can't be created or destroyed. This is viewed as fact based on our experience within this Universe.
I'll go with that. 🙂
"Well, because the universe exists within time, space and matter," Correction – the universe IS time space and matter.
Atheism was killed once, but 3 days later it rose again.
Soon it will take over this world and all those who do not accept its truth will be mocked and ridiculed.
the fasted growing group are atheists and agnostics.. Billions worldwide.
Obesity is also on the rise. Doesn't make it good.
eating too much (obesity) = bad
thinking for yourself (atheism) = good
the vatican's wealth continues to grow as children die of starvation.
As long as you avoid Dawkins & Harris, you'll do fine with atheism.
Your fairy tale is dead.
In your case, the irony of the Pope's comment seems to be entirely lost on you.
We thought you left.
Welcome back, troll.
Hard for me to believe anyone really thinks there are monsters called 'devil's and stuff in 2014. It's like we still live in the bushes like our ancestors from 20 million years ago.
Oh well ... I'm pretty amazed at a lot of things in the news. But, then again, like 95% of the members of the National Academy of Science, I don't believe in child's folk tales about a mythical monster that lives in the clouds and sews tiny wings on all the butterflies.
I really thought humans had evolved past these medieval beliefs ...
Oh well ... to each their own.
There is a need need for humans to feel "connected" to themselves, each other and life itself in order to live a life that is rich and make it worthwhile. Life is hard and that connectedness, in the face of hardship, is often all that keeps us going. So it is really sad to see how the religions of the world have used that to perpetuate their wealth and power instead of feeding it. Still goes to show that whatever your belief is, it is YOURS and you need to be discerning,not give it away to others.
This Pope certainly seems to embody the better part of what it means to be "spiritual" vs. religious.