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May 19th, 2010
09:35 AM ET

Welcome to CNN's Belief Blog

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.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Uncategorized

soundoff (358 Responses)
  1. Just the Facts Ma'm

    News is the objective reporting of an event that actually happened or is happening. It is FACT based. News can be backed up by evidence or by proof. Too often news can be distorted on purpose or subconsciously by the the person reporting the news and it becomes "newsertainment". Belief is not news, though it might be newsertainment. According to the Oxford dictionary belief is " a feeling that something exists or is true, especially one without proof." Facts and proof are key words here. That is why news should be covered on a news website and belief shouldn't. There are other sites for that.

    May 21, 2010 at 1:54 pm |
    • Guest

      So your belief is you don't exist? Why do you worship yourself?

      May 24, 2010 at 2:34 pm |
  2. Just the Facts Ma'm

    Here's a crazy idea, how about sticking to the news and only the news on a news website. By news I mean objective reporting of events with no spin tainted by political or religious agendas. I'm a tolerant atheist, but a belief blog doesn't belong on a news site. There are plenty of faith-based websites and discussion groups for that. If there can be a belief blog, then expect to be required to make room for the nra blog, the gay blog, the nazi blog, the communist blog, the satanist blog, the which-way-do-you-hang-the-toiletpaper blog...

    May 21, 2010 at 12:14 pm |
    • Sid

      Belief is news. It's called the good news. Kind of refreshing, don't you think?

      May 21, 2010 at 1:19 pm |
    • Trash

      No, it is called propaganda.

      May 22, 2010 at 11:32 am |
  3. Fr Rick Rod

    A long time ago, in the 60's, there was a good, small book out in paperback called YOUR GOD IS TOO SMALL. The author's last name was Phillips. The book deals with the many mistaken notions of god/religion that people can have. It makes a good read. The Library of Congress will have one copy–good luck otherwise.

    May 21, 2010 at 11:50 am |
  4. Sid

    So you ask, "Why do people die of hunger? – Because of the hearts of stone of other men, not because of God's will. If God solved these problems, then free will for man would not exist." Jesus. i.e Billions die of hunger today because of gross inequalities in distribution, not due to lack of food tonnage. It's the same old story. If you divided up all the money in the world and distributed it equally to everyone, in a few years, those that have all the money now, would again have all the money.

    May 21, 2010 at 11:32 am |
    • Trash

      Oh, please. God has nothing to do with anything because, yes, it is all humans doings because... god does not and connot exist. duh!

      May 22, 2010 at 11:32 am |
    • Nicole

      Then why pray to god for anything ? - god will not interfere to make sure our free will is pure.

      Then there are many stories of miraculous survival that are attributed to god's interferance, recently a young boy was the only survivor of a plane crash... many say that god saved him ? If god is will to interfere in this matter then why not others.

      Finally "God has a plan" ... we hear that phrase over and over agian. God has a plan, god can not be worng, whatever god's plan is ... it HAS to happen - we have no free will to start with.

      May 24, 2010 at 10:14 am |
    • Guest

      How much money does the ACLU people have? Is it $85,000,000 that just came in donations last year? Gosh, Sid who knew?

      May 24, 2010 at 2:32 pm |
  5. Sid

    Because, Tango, that's how God talks to us – for those who have ears to hear. After nearly scaring his people to death when he physically spoke they begged him never to speak to them again.

    May 21, 2010 at 11:29 am |
    • Nicole

      Exactly how do you know your holy book is the holy book god is actually speaking through ... why not the Koran, or Upanishads or any of the other myriad holy books. What proof do you have that your holy book is the word of god ?

      May 24, 2010 at 10:09 am |
  6. Sid

    For those that are interested: The key to belief is to understand the beginning of the Bible. It's like when a farmer opens a feed bag. If you get it right, it just opens right up, if not, you can be fumbling around at a corner trying to get it open for ages. You have to dig into the Hebrew manuscripts to understand the very beginning. For instance, pure common sense will tell you that two individuals cannot produce all of the wonderful races that God created (and He said that they were good). It's not that Eve is the mother of all physical living – but through which Christ would come and therefore the mother of all living (eternally).

    May 21, 2010 at 11:17 am |
    • tango

      So, why the bible?

      May 21, 2010 at 11:21 am |
    • Dave

      I like how the key to understanding belief necessitates the bible when clearly the writings in the Library of Appolodorus tell us to "look in (this ome) and you will find in me all that the world contains". Clearly you are reading a false book and should change your beliefs to that of the ancients. Pure common sense will tell you that the immortal Gods thought that they should create beings like themselves but mortal. With the guidance of Prometheus and Epimetheus, we became like we are today. It's not that Cronos was the father of all physical living things, but through him Zeus was born and created elysium such that Cronos is the father of all the living (eternally).

      I will give offerings to Athena that she may grant you wisdom and free you from your ignorance lest the ferryman Charon take your soul to Tartarus.

      May 21, 2010 at 12:41 pm |
  7. lol

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    May 21, 2010 at 9:26 am |
    • lolol

      The good old GOP symbol. Against higher education and want everyone to be farmers and factory workers. So that the few can control the rest.

      September 17, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  8. DK

    I am an atheist, but I completely understand the need for this perspective, because religion does, indeed drive people's motivations to do bad things, or good things, and it impacts our world. I don't agree with the belief systems underlying the actions, but the actions affect my world. So it IS important to know why people do the things they do.

    May 21, 2010 at 7:47 am |
    • Guest

      I wonder why anyone would want to worship themselves also...

      May 24, 2010 at 2:09 pm |
  9. Stewart

    In your belief's would you believe Larry King's greatest moment in 25 years was when he once had Jack Hanna on. Jack pulls a big snake out of a burlap bag and King asks, "Jack, is a snake an animal?"

    May 21, 2010 at 7:44 am |
  10. jeff

    To write my own blog;I believe that all of the planets and parts of the universe has some part of a role to play as far as the bible and spiritual life is concerned.And to further,also to remember,that,all things are for a reason.
    As we all need each other to work for him,all planets,stars,moons,etc. need each other for him too;as well as what is inside and out.And if we did'nt,we would each float off to ourselves all alone.Therefore,we are all one and the same!

    May 20, 2010 at 9:36 pm |
    • thes33k3r

      You think it's all tied to the bible? Have you read the entire bible...cover to cover? Have you read the Koran, Vedas, Upanishads, Torah etc. so you could rule them out? Or was the bible the only religious text you have ever been exposed to? You need to broaden your horizons Jeff. There's much more truth out there for you to know than what's in your outdated desert-tribesman text called the bible.

      May 21, 2010 at 12:16 am |
  11. Web

    It always amazes me that people will comment in a blog just to say that they don't want any part of that blog. If you don't like this forum just treat it in the same way you treat the many Christian churches and other places of worship that are on every corner in this country – just pass on by and don't give it a thought.

    Congratulations Cnn, but based on what's been said here so far, you'll have to spend a lot of time monitoring this thing for acceptable content! Good luck.

    May 20, 2010 at 9:28 pm |
  12. Alexandra

    I have mixed feelings about this idea. On the one side, I think communication is desirable. The other side is, few people know how to properly communicate. Too many times have I had conversations with the "religious", only to find that the term "conversation" needs to be applied liberally, meaning, they just want to talk, they don't care what you think. If you disagree, you're the devil (or whatever they believe). Still, I'll attempt some optimism and hope this blog will open the blocked communication.

    May 20, 2010 at 4:28 pm |
    • Guest

      Maybe you should pray about it a while, before you.....

      May 24, 2010 at 3:56 pm |
  13. John

    This blog is about belief, which in this context appears synoymous with faith. Faith is attempting to believe something to a greater degree of certainty than the available evidence warrants. That faith is touted as a virtue is the worst lie perpetrated on humanity in history. The amount of emotional and physical destruction brought about by this lie and the resultant religious beliefs that suckle at the teat of this lie is incalculable. It is any reasoning persons moral obligation to point out, with ridicule, the absolute lack of convincing evidence behind any religious beliefs that are espoused by the muddle headed religious hordes. Given the number of people who have not seriously examined their beliefs and who would, without a doubt in my mind, reconsider their beliefs in the face of social scrutiny and marginalization, it is imperitive those who have stood silently on the sidelines speak up and let their mind be known. This is the only way that the stranglehold religion maintains on society can be eroded and the mainstream can be brought up to date and out of the middle ages in respect to delusional and dishonest religious nonsense. Please, if you see the naked emperor, point and laugh.

    May 20, 2010 at 3:50 pm |
    • Dave

      Well said on the definition of faith. I'll be using that though it is more directed at Willful faith vs Implicit faith.

      May 20, 2010 at 4:58 pm |
    • John

      Thank you. But I can't take credit; scaryreasoner.com deserves the kudos.

      May 21, 2010 at 7:03 am |
    • Guest

      John should we take another bite of the Apple? Why don't take a bite of what your shoveling.

      May 24, 2010 at 2:07 pm |
  14. Lexi

    very well said Dan!
    This is such a great idea coming from CNN.

    May 20, 2010 at 2:45 pm |
  15. jim

    well the only real way to truly worship god is to not worship god. once men started worshiping god and forming religions, then men started thinking for god, and before you know it god has become a creature with needs, needs only the faithful can fulfill ect.........................
    jimmy

    May 20, 2010 at 2:10 pm |
    • Guest

      Your belief in yourself is a religion, and the Bill of Rights gives that to you.

      May 24, 2010 at 2:03 pm |
  16. bg

    Until our species gets over its need for imaginary friends ….we won’t be doing much evolving.

    May 20, 2010 at 1:39 pm |
    • LISTEN TO THIS MAN

      ^^^^ THIS

      May 20, 2010 at 1:57 pm |
    • Alexandra

      So funny (and so very true); thanks for making me laugh.

      May 20, 2010 at 4:29 pm |
    • Guest

      Did your imaginary friend tell you to say that?

      May 24, 2010 at 2:00 pm |
    • Guest

      Can we use you for a example?

      May 24, 2010 at 3:54 pm |
    • TruthMatters

      The idea of "Imaginary friends" have been around since the beginning of humanity and look at where we are. That simple observation proves you wrong. Nevermind all the instances in history of religious societies making alot of discoveries and inventions.

      September 17, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
  17. Total non sense

    In a world where religions are the MAIN cause of war, discrimination, pain and suffering, no blog like this should exist. Religon need to be banned no promoted....

    This has to be the whorst idea of this millenium!

    May 20, 2010 at 1:22 pm |
    • Implying

      This is the most accuracte post here... except for the butchering of the word 'whorst'

      May 20, 2010 at 1:50 pm |
    • thes33k3r

      People,
      I agree that religion leads to terrible things. But I think this blog will be a good thing (see my post above). We can't call for the banning of religion. If religion is to ever disappear, it must do so one mind at a time.

      May 21, 2010 at 12:09 am |
    • Guest

      And I thought it was people believing in themselves that have caused all the wars.

      May 24, 2010 at 3:53 pm |
  18. tango

    Dave,

    You have a very good point.

    Individuals not knowing the distinction will argue their religion (which includes belief) against another's individual belief.

    Very good point.

    May 20, 2010 at 12:59 pm |
  19. Mike M.

    Is there a RSS feed for this blog? I'm having problems finding one.

    May 20, 2010 at 12:52 pm |
  20. Dave

    By reading the description of the blog's intentions, I see no distinction being held by the editors between these three words.

    May 20, 2010 at 12:36 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.