Welcome to CNN’s Belief Blog, where we'll cover the role that faith and belief play in the news - and in our readers’ lives.
We believe that understanding the role of faith in today’s world isn’t optional or nice to know. It’s need to know.
Consider these recent stories:
An American woman is held in a Haitian jail for more than 100 days after allegedly attempting to traffic children out of the country in the wake of a devastating earthquake.
A young man is charged in a plot to bomb Times Square.
A Columbia University graduate quits his first finance job for a go at community organizing - the beginning of a political life that leads to the White House.
To understand any of this news, you need to know something about faith.
Laura Silsby, released from a Haiti jail this week, was a Baptist missionary.
Faisal Shahzad, the suspect in the failed New York bombing, is a Muslim who vowed to “fight back” against the Islamic word’s “humiliation.”
And Barack Obama’s early community organizing was sponsored by Chicago churches - an experience that led him to Christianity and to a minister named Jeremiah Wright, who helped launch Obama’s political career and who, years later, almost ended it.
Faith isn’t incidental to these stories; it’s the driving force behind them. Covering those faith angles is this blog’s mission. CNN’s Belief Blog will focus on the places where faith bumps up against the rest of the news and the rest of the world, from breaking news to entertainment, from business to politics, and from foreign affairs to sports.
We’ll also shine a light on religion as most people experience it in daily life. In a shrinking world, knowing what it’s like to undergo an adult baptism or to pray to Mecca five times a day is essential to understanding the world’s most powerful leaders - and, perhaps, the person in the next cubicle.
And as the ranks of the religiously unaffiliated grow, we’ll cover the rising voices of atheists, those who call themselves “spiritual but not religious” and others who are religiously conflicted or confused. Covering the faithful necessitates covering their critics and rivals.
To do the job, the CNN Belief Blog has enlisted CNN’s international newsgathering team, with correspondents, producers, and writers all contributing. We’ll also be posting the opinions of guest bloggers and will feature regular posts from religion scholar and author Stephen Prothero, an expert at revealing the hidden faith angles that explain so much about American life and world geopolitics.
Finally, we're hoping to have some fun here and avoid getting, shall we say, overly reverential about our subject. Have you checked out CNN's recent church sign iReport? There are as many goofy church sign messages as poignant ones, and many are a little of both.
We hope you'll join us in this new conversation about faith. We're reading those comments - let us know what you think.
This is a "belief blog" ... not a "faith" blog ... and not a "religion" blog.
If it's not a religion blog then what are you doing here?
This is a trash Christians blog. I will not bother with it in the future.
report science anvil tom
they r criminals.
they are perverts
the r sick
they will be jailed for longer terms
report them now
they r criminals
they need their sentences extended
Faieries, angels, demons, ghosts, gods, etc. = beliefs
You forgot paper....
I took notice of TopOTheMornin's mention of our FSM. I would like to warn CNN against running blogs that would cover such obviously fake religions as revolving around obsurdidties like spaghetti monsters or a divine zombie. This blog should be about true people of faith, those have been touched and experience manifestations beyond our world. There are beings of pureness beyond our own and they are majestic and mysterious, being both pink and invisible at the same time.
Effort should be made to highlight the stories of individuals who have repented before Her Horn, along with their missions to other countries to gives this glory to others and save them from the temptation of Him who walks among the clams.
Truly, faith of such things require special consideration and reporting.
Good post....some people apparently didn't get it. I did.
fake religions? They are all inherently fake as nothing is provable, nor has ever been.
This blog is embarrassing. Why don't we have a "show your cave paintings" next.
Do you actually know some clergy at the ACLU.
I will wait and see what is posted on the site. There are hundreds of belief systems around the world. If the three "major" groups (thoses based on the teachings of Abraham) take up most of the space, then either those belief sects are causing most of the consternation and noise, or, this is not a true "belief" blog.
What did you say? Did you say I can't believe something. I didn't think so......
Can we have a fairy tale blog too?
Yes, it's your right under the Law.
I would say that I nearly completely lack faith. Even in science, there are assumptions, things that hold true in practice but can't be proven. I recognize this assumption and accept it.
This doesn't mean I have no faith. I have faith in my family and friends.
Don't forget you faith in yourself also, worshiping yourself is not wrong under the Bill of Rights.
You don't have faith in yourself? c'mon now, how did you make it this far?
As long as it's called the "belief" blog, it's ok with me. It reminds people that they are beliefs and nothing more. That's why they can be twisted and morphed into anything the believer wants, and can be used to justify even the most aggregious behaviour - because they're beliefs with little foundation in fact.
"Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity. It is the mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus."
Thomas Jefferson (30 July 1816)
Facts can be found in the Bill of Rights.
This blog is terrifying. It's amazing how much power the radical religious right is amassing in our country right now. If I can't have some legislation, can I at least have some news that does not cater to zealots?
So a blog about religion in the news is necessarily a testament to the religious right's power? News about religion must cater to zealots? Seriously? Under this formula, the faithful are all extremists. You're painting with an awfully broad brush.
There's no denying the fact that nearly EVERY major confflict this world has ever seen is in some way rooted in religion – either directly or indirectly. Covering that aspect of the happpenings in our world, whether for the sake of news, or just informing the masses, has nothing to do with "religious right" or "power." It's simply an acknowledgement of pure facts, and an opportunity to possibly learn and understand something about root causes. Sticking your head in the sand and saying you don't want to hear about it doesn't change the fact. You can stay in your house and pretend it's not raining outside – but the rain will still fall.
What's actually terrifying is how much people dread the spread if ideas. If you don't like the blog – don't read it. Trying to prevent the publishing of this bllog is just as zealous as your assertion that the "religious right" has too much power. Either theey publish it and you argue against the religious right. Or they don't publish it and those of faith out there will argue that you have too much power. Preventing the publishing of this blog would be just as much catering to the non-religious as you claim they are cateering to the religious by publishing it.
Why don't people recognize that being opposed to something is still a debateable position. Just because you're "anti-religion" doesn't make you right because you argue for the lack of a thing.
@ Rachel: I'm not religious in any way, and I am looking forward to this blog... I can see myself agreeing, disagreeing, arguing... But keeping my opinion to myself? No, that doesn't seem to be an option. LET the religious Right show up, here... I've had a number of questions for them for a loooong time, now. I just hope they can be respectful.
Fascinating reading tax guide for nonprofits, check it out at your local IRS office.
Thank you to CNN. Those of us who are atheists should be more than happy to see this come to fruition. People really need to learn more about religion.....all religions. Learning about the various religions of the world played a significant role in my decision to be non-religious. Thanks to Dan and Eric for your roles in organizing this blog.
As was posted above by Dan: "And as the ranks of the religiously unaffiliated grow, we’ll cover the rising voices of atheists, those who call themselves “spiritual but not religious” and others who are religiously conflicted or confused. Covering the faithful necessitates covering their critics and rivals."
Boy do I have a lot to say about this one.Major points: it is unfiar and poor logic to look to the past pre-scientific method and use their incorrect assumptions to beat up the scientific method; you confuse (perhaps deliberately) faith, belief and supposition. There is no faith' involved in the scientific method. Changing theories are a strength of the methodology (the discovery of facts that do not fit the theory requires a re-working of the theory).The fundamental difference between the two is that one (science) is open-ended and does not posit any pre-existing conditions. Religion does, no matter how small and insignificant one wants to make them in order to try and fit them in.The analysis in the comments so far is so euro-western civ centric that it's hardly worth commenting on: what about China? what about the advanced civilizations in Africa (animist religions)?The conclusion that those other religion-based regions are just now catching up' totally ignores history, colonialism and so many other factors it is hardly worth addressing.
This blog presumes that there are smeared uses of "faith" and "belief" that overlap, and that is quite contestable. In formal epistemology there are distinctions between relative degrees of belief and knowledge that depend upon credences that vary by evidential strength assessed in some way. Even opinion can be placed on that scale as relatively informed or uninformed. But faith usually is off that rational scale–it is posited independently of relative strength of credences, and usually only in some cultural or traditional context. So, this blog's avowed topics mix rational apples with nonrational oranges. Believing otherwise, as is apparently this blog's avowed purpose, is a commitment to the folly of thinking that any blog is better than none. But some blogs clearly can just accomplish one thing–perpetuate confusion. My challenge to this blog is to produce clarity about matters of faith, belief, and knowledge beyond what it has stated thus far.
I'd love to see an Atheist blog here, or at least something related to non-belief. Until then, I hope the Flying Spaghetti Monster and Pastafarianism is covered deftly. Ramen!
I like the idea of including atheism (and other non-theist beliefs). I'm a Christian, but I really like to learn what others are thinking and why they think that way.
May his noodly appendages touch you!
While I am an atheist, I am also a practicing Buddhist. Talk about caught between two worlds.
I understand and believe that we must keep religion seperate from government, but the reality is (I know fellow atheists, I know) our nation and our world is dominated by religions. There are thousands of deities that are worshiped daily. That has to account for something. And, you are right, it does in one way or another effect how we deal with others.
If we could all just take the time needed to understand where the next person is essentially coming from, I think this world would be a better place.
And to those that automatically see this as religious propganda, I urge you to approach this with an open mind. Not everyone that has a religion or is religious is or will be against you.
Ddubbya – As another non-theist/Buddhist, I frequently find myself involved in conversations about the difference between religion and spiritualism. It will be interesting to see how this blog differentiates between the two, and in how that difference influences newsmakers and events, and the coverage of same.
Dan – I suspect (although I hesitate to predict) that you and your fellow contributors will find religious conflict – not spiritual conflict – to be at the root of most of the people and events you cover. I'm looking forward to your efforts.
Good, this world has enough self worship in it.
The belief blog? Is that for sheeple, those who can't see through stupid agendas and have no idea what to think? Better work hard, you're gonna need a pile of em to make it profitable to ya.
I will if you will work on your spelling. I understand Latin also if thats easier for you.
I could only stomach skimming bits of this as it reeks of pro-religious sentiment, which is these days usually used AGAINST the religious. Ooo, you'd better be afraid, someone may be trying to use your religious beliefs against you! You'd better believe they are and they're right under your nose...
If people have to be dumb, I guess it shouldn't be without paying the price.
Services @ ACLU are when?
Most of this stuff is religion, not belief.
It must be one of those Frank Luntz word transformations, where polling suggests that the words such as "faith" and "belief" rank higher than the hot-button word of "religion". So everyone will say "faith" and "belief" and pretend that's what were talking about, but we will all know that religion is at the root of the conversation.
All is religion Bazoing, all is about our Freedom of.
Good call, CNN. Regardless of one's personal convictions, religion DOES play a role, consciously or unconsciously, large or small, in the public sphere. Prothero nailed it in his book "Religious LIteracy."
All orgainized religion is man made. The only thing God requires is respect for Him and sincerity of heart toward Him. If we give Him what He deserves, He will reward us immediately with His wisdom. Respect for Almighty God, the Creator, will be well rewarded. I, for one, can vouch for that. There is no hocus pocus or sorcery; just genuine love; and this is offered to anyone willing to put their self-serving haughty and stubborn ego down for five minutes and ask God to allow them to know Him. His faithful Son, Jesus Christ will respond to all those who are sincere; for he is the one who has the authority to allow us to know His God and Father. Please see John 1:12 in the Holy Bible.
To atheists/agnostics/the spiritual but not religious–
This isn't gonna be a a believers-only corner. As I wrote in the post:
"...as the ranks of the religiously unaffiliated grow, we’ll cover the rising voices of atheists, those who call themselves 'spiritual but not religious' and others who are religiously conflicted or confused. Covering the faithful necessitates covering their critics and rivals."
Also, in a world where faith drives so much of the news, isn't it imperative to understand believers of various stripes, even if you're not one of them?
Well put, Dan.
Do we REALLY NEED a belief blog on CNN.com, or is this just another example of a big media outlet kowtowing to the religious right and affirming their belief system in public? Faith is a personal, spiritual thing between a person and his or her Maker (or not, if agnostic or atheistic). Can't we, as Americans, celebrate individual faith instead of group religions, and if so, there's no need for this forum. I'm tired of proselytizing masked as information and/or "newsworthy." I'd prefer human interest stories from all over the world to reading MORE about American's predilections in religion.
@ Dan- I think this could work really well. I hope that it is moderated properly, though- There are few issues that elicit a response as passionate as religion or spirituality, as even those who agree on their faith can disagree on their doctrine and dogma. I am not an Atheist, but a Deist who actively shuns religion because of its' extremely divisive nature, and I frequently find myself arguing with apparently lunatic believers of varying faiths, who "pray for Me" when I say something they find uncomfortable. I look forward to this being my go-to place on the site. Thanks!
Stephen – I completely agree. This is nothing but media kowtowing to the religious right. This is nothing but America moving away from its wondrous spirit of Apollo 11 into a mindset of the perpetually intellectually challenged.
I think there was some news today about scientists having created the first artificial cell. That should have been a HUGE story. And yet, what do we get? A faith blog. Pathetic.
If this continues for another ten years, the US will lag so far behind the rest of the world (well OK, the non Islamic world – they are worse in matters of faith) that it will be impossible to catch up. Then we can have our weeping Marys and dinosaurs with saddles and lady justice with covered breasts, while the rest of the world will have spaceships and solar power and high-speed rail and stem cells.
Dan your so religious sounding, are you part of the clergy at the ACLU?
As an atheist I don't consider myself "religiously conflicted or confused"...quite the opposite.
So most people would classify me as an athiest. But that's not really it. I believe in proof. If there will ever be more proof than people believing a story written 2000 years ago that there is a god or gods then I will believe. I won't have a choice to believe. I once believed in god when I was little because my gandma told me he existed. But when my parents told me Santa (pretty god like for a 9 year old) didn't exist I didn't want to believe them. So I told them to prove it to me that he doesn't exist. So they told me how they shopped for me and they even had me keep up the lie for my brother for a whole extra two years. I was so confused during that two year but I finally saw that it was all a hoax. Later I applied this same logic to god. And I tested whether god existed to the best of a 12 year olds ability. and you know what. No god. Every now and then I still test some of these theories and hypothiesis. And as best as I can test scientifically, no god, no God, no gods. So when people ask me why I'm an athiest I say I'm not ( this is usually followed by 'are you an agnostic or a SBNR? which I aslo say no). I usually ask them back why they don't belive in Santa. And I mean that in a very serious way its not a joke like people think.
Now as far as SBNR goes it kind of irks me just as much as people who blindly believe in a dogmatic belief structure. Same curve just different ends. The blind faithers are just that, blind. But the SBNR folks just seem to want to pick and choose as if it were a buffet all the while they are never 100% scientifically sure there is a God or are gods or not. Which to me makes them seem just as crazy as the blind faithers only less predictable.
And so you may be asking yourself what kind of proof do I need to believe in a god? Lets forget the big bang vs intellegent design because thats just a whos on first abbot and castello routine that has no end. but in order for me to believe in a god that currently exists and who has either a paaive or active role/knowledge in the workings of the world as it is today I'd have to see hear touch and to a lesser extent smell and taste this god as it speaks to a group (3+) of people that don't have mental disorders or drug addiction or are currently on mind altering substances. Is that too tall of an order for a supposedly all powerfull being to do for its followers assuming it cares about its followers?
What about us pagans? Or do we not count?
How do I subscribe to Belief Blog? Can't find anything to click on!
I think this blog is overdue. For too long most of the media has forgotten the term "yellow journalism" because that is all many of them practice. I have felt for some time that the religious fanatics were using the media's tendancy to cover the body counts for their heinous acts. If it bleeds, it leads. I have wondered where is the quote from the perpetrators moderate religious leadership stating that their religious texts abhor the acts committed in their name.
It seems there are two groups, the religious and the atheists (or agnostics). Each religion, except one, states that they are the one true religion and the penalty for not believing like they do is eternal damnation. The one exception is the Bahai faith, which got quite a bit of press 25 or so years ago, believes each religion was founded by a prophet to bring a message from a single God. Perhaps you can investigate all religions similarities at:
So beliving that there is no god based on the fact that there is no proof, excludes people from having faith? Morals, faith and virtues are not limited to people who believe in anything written in the bible.
You can believe in a piece of paper too, like I said that perfectly acceptable under the Law of the Land.
Isn't "non-religious" such as Athisism just another form of faith? To believe in nothing, that's truly another religion.
Like the way bald is hair color and not collecting stamps is a hobby? Faith is believing in something despite proof or in the face of proof. Atheists, generally, don't buy the god hypothesis due to a lack of proof. Therefore, no, atheism is not faith.
I think it does include non- religious athiests or what ever term you choose to go by. If this leads to actual understanding and the end of ignorance great. Besides if you really look at it everyone has beliefs. You can't say something doesn't exsist or not practice something without acknowledging it could exsist.
Again...atheism is simply the lack of belief in a deity. Atheists also lack a belief in elves. If you want to call the lack of belief in leprachans a religion then go right ahead. I just ask that you be consistent about this negative and exclude nothing.
Brian – don't just say something because you have heard other people say it before. Atheism is NOT a form of faith (i.e. faith in nothing). It is a purely rational concept. It is a trust in science and rationality. And before you jump at the word "trust", let me explain what that means. It means, THINKING about something, using LOGIC to evaluate it and LOOKING for evidence that supports it. It is NOT faith. It is a rational approach to evaluating a dilemma. Instead of saying "one single book written by ignorant people 2000 (or 3000 or 5000) years ago solves every single problem that mankind faces", we say – let's look at the evidence. Let's look at the numbers. Let's look at results of various experiments. And THEN, let's decide what may or may not be. Uncertainty is its hallmark. Unlike religion/faith which is ALWAYS certain about everything. Faith is an intellectually lazy concept. The answer to everything is simple – God. Scientists/Atheists do not have the luxury of such intellectual laziness. They have to work hard to get to answers.
So no, it's NOT faith.
Well, hope you got the gist of that.
Logic and science is not faith.
Is not believing in faeries a religion ... a form of faith ?
ACLU is a religion based their belief in the Bill of Rights....
But if you want to believe in elves thats your right under the Bill of Rights.
Why aren't we non-religious represented?
To be honest, to include us would run counter to the theme: belief. However, that doesn't mean the entire concept isn't exclusionary and, from my own personal persepctive, insulting.
I am so looking forward to the non-belief blog. Balanced journalism should also speak for those of us who don't buy into mythical belief systems.
Haha don't be insulted, or take yourself so seriously... everyone believes in something, why not share what you've found in life to meaningful, or what ideals you have faith in?
Good point Dave. Since we are in the "age of unbelief" it makes a lot of sense to either include the contrary views or have another section that deals with traditional religion and theology critically. Did Ariana Fellace call herself a Chrisitian atheist? Such a statement is an affront to traditional religion...wouldn't the theologians have fun tackling such a notion!
Good point Dave. Since we are in the "age of unbelief" it makes a lot of sense to either include the contrary views or have another section that deals with traditional religion and theology critically. Did Ariana Fellace call herself a Chrisitian atheist? Such a statement is an affront to traditional religion...wouldn't the theologians have fun tackling such a notion!"
"Christian atheist" is no more of an affront than the contridiction "Conservative Christian". Anyone who claims to beleive in the teachings of Jesus could not possibly be a consevative.
Dave, not only NOT being represented, we are subsidizing religion with tax laws. Look around your town: you will see the churches own some of the most prime real estate and they pay NO real estate taxes! They pass around millions between themselves with NO income taxes! They have businesses, credit unions, etc. that also pay NO business or corporation taxes! We are subsidizing them with OUR taxes! Separation of church & state? Unfair and a big joke.
Because it is called belief, not reality and logic.
Everybody should believe in something. I believe I need a drink and get away from the terrorism of "believers". Organized religion, especially judaism, christianity and islam, i.e. the prosytelizing religions are unacceptable intrusion into the freedome of those who choose not to rely on imaginary dieties and promises of eternal life, unlimited virgins or whatever. Be master of your own life, enjoy it and accept that when you're dead, that's it. Everything else is just sentimental fables. If you want to belive them be my guest, just don't try to impose your beliefs on me by trying to adapt the society to your beliefs.
The site your looking for is under A-C-L-U got it ? good-– see-ya
"THEY CAME FIRST for the Muslims,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Muslim.
THEN THEY CAME for the Mormons,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Mormon.
THEN THEY CAME for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.
THEN THEY CAME for me
and by that time no one was left to speak up."
(Pardon my Paraphrase of Martin Niemeler's famous qhote)
I think people labeled with various religious tags are bogged down with divisions and diferences that are not really helping evolve as 'just humans'. I have a lot to say on this – and have summed up my comments here:
Christianity is anti-sex. End of discussion. Anyone who does have a sex life is really a hypocrite, living in the world. Just read all the writings in any Christian perspective. This tends to prove the Anti-religionists perspective: the Christian faith can't be true, because it really is against our own natural biological endowments.
Why does everyone think that they should come to a blog about beliefs and just shoot it down for their own fun. Why not just leave if it upsets you so much. As a christian I believe in not tearing someone down. If you want to talk about my savior Jesus Christ I will be more than happy to talk to you. But if you just want to tear me or my beliefs down, with no remorse at all, all I do is feel sorry for you.
Our friends and neighbors are in a bunch of trouble in Australia. These are our brothers who have helped us out. They need food, clothes, and money. Most importent is money. This is not Haiti this is our Allay who needs us and is very much like us. Come on Americans lets help them out contact your local gov, state gove, fed gove, Bill and George and all your religous members. These people need our help now not later, Lets show them what the American dream is!
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.