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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. Beverly VanBuren

    I feel totally feline some of the time. I could actually purr. I am SHE in a world where even prayers are ended aMEN. Men, I do love them. I have no idea why? It may have something to do with the story of creation. It certainly wasn't MY idea. My first male was my father but he was taken by my mother. Never did get close to that woman until it was ALMOST too late. My parents have died. Where they are is eternal. What I believe is MY business. I think since sexual orientation has come OUT of the closet there's plenty of room to stuff social unrest and disease. Hang the prejudices on your Christmas trees and REALLY make a difference in God's opinion. Imagine that this is your last chance to study for that test. It's kinda like playin' chicken with your happily ever after. You can say there's no such thing but this is MY story. I know how it ends. I feel like the guy who begged God to let him find a few worthy souls to bring out of the city before all Hell broke loose. Play nice, children...the grandmothers are watching.

    August 13, 2010 at 4:34 pm |
  2. Tim Timmons

    Love the concept and want to participate in the conversation. We're finding an amazing phenomenon as we are working with Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Christian, Animist, and Atheist/Agnostic cultures of the world. As long as you are not out with a conversion agenda, you can find reconciliation and peace, even at the highest levels of religion and government. The unifying effect is the attractiveness of Jesus out of the religious box.

    August 4, 2010 at 10:21 am |
  3. wullen

    I forgot to say....except for Anderson Cooper who I think is a very decent human being!

    July 15, 2010 at 8:30 am |
  4. Chris

    Wow, belief blog? Seriously CNN? You've lost another long time viewer of both your website and programming. Can't say I'm surprised that you're trying to pick up part of that teabagging viewer pie, though.

    July 14, 2010 at 1:28 pm |
  5. Doug

    All of the angry, ill-informed, anti-religious bigotry in these posts is truly unfortunate. However, I agree that agnostics and atheists should have a voice here as well. I miss the days when people could engage in intelligent discourse with those with whom they disagree without resorting to childish name calling, which is neither accurate or productive.

    June 28, 2010 at 7:42 pm |
    • illlisten

      i agree doug. it's obviously a sensitive issue for everyone including agnostics. this is important to remember if we are to be patient with each other.

      June 28, 2010 at 7:45 pm |
  6. Tellurian

    Why am I still not allowed to place a comment on the Chaplain story?

    June 16, 2010 at 1:16 pm |
  7. Tellurian

    Why are you NOT allowing any comments on your Chaplain story?

    June 15, 2010 at 11:54 am |
  8. Saved Chick

    Lol A non-belief blog what a laugh. Atheists do not need a blog because they have nothing to talk about except their non-belief.

    June 11, 2010 at 7:23 pm |
  9. Gil T

    I commend CNN on the launch of the Belief Blog. I discovered it days after its launch and have posted on a few threads already. Great job!

    June 5, 2010 at 1:32 pm |
  10. Dave

    Hey, perhaps CNN needs a Non-belief blog?

    June 4, 2010 at 3:20 pm |
  11. Barry Monette

    I have a concern over the belief in intelligent design. This belief reinforces the status quo, derived from the notion that god made reality the way it is.

    Does this not also reinforce the dominion of human over human, and entrench existing power and property relationships, so that those who "have" can hang onto it and limit the possibility of those who do not have? Intelligent design wants people to accept their position and status in life as this is the way god made it.

    How is this belief consistent with the American Dream?

    June 3, 2010 at 9:06 am |
  12. Beechbum

    As someone who has spent the last 45 years studying religions, I can say that most of what I have witnessed in the U.S. is a belief in belief. The actual "god-fearing" has been over in this country, for the vast majority in my opinion, for quite some time. Also, it seems to me that there are as many variants of those beliefs as there are participants with those beliefs, ie. people believe in the god they themselves create. Which means, religion in this country is no more than a superstition centered around a warm fuzzy father figure.
    Don't get me wrong, even this is still very dangerous. Anytime clear, critical thinking is supplanted with dogma, magical or supernatural thinking, one has limited any means of intelligent discourse and evidentiary methodology. This is all the baser human emotions need to turn normally civilized people into fearful, hate-mongering tyrants – capable of anything.

    May 25, 2010 at 3:23 am |
    • Doug

      You wrongly assume that those with whom you disagree aren't engaged in "critical thinking". I don't agree with atheists, but would never be arrogant enough to say that all who disagree with me must, therefore, not be thinking.

      June 28, 2010 at 7:46 pm |
  13. Eidolon

    Faith does seem to be a common element in many news stories, but usually not in a good way. Religious thought seems to hinder advancements in our culture, rather than improving us.

    We'll see what kind of interest and input we'll have on this board dedicated to critical assessment of faith in the news.

    May 24, 2010 at 8:05 pm |
  14. Guest

    I ready for the Facts whenever you are.

    May 24, 2010 at 2:48 pm |
  15. Ryan

    So many emotions on this subject. I read every comment on this page and I appreciate some of the well thought out comments, especially the one from Elaine.

    May 24, 2010 at 12:39 pm |
    • Guest

      Emotions should keep in the privacy of your therapist.

      May 24, 2010 at 3:15 pm |
    • Guest

      Kept...you knew what I meant to say or is know what I mean?

      May 24, 2010 at 3:17 pm |
  16. Nina

    Faith or beliefs is one thing. Religion is another. This is not a Religion blog. Yet terrorism of all kinds throughout history has been born out of religions and strong held beliefs. Terrorism is news. There is value in learning about each other globally with a mature willingness to consider opposite beliefs without defensiveness or attacks. As long as we keep catagorizing people into us and them, there will never be world peace or a world community. There can be no meaningful dialog.

    May 24, 2010 at 12:33 pm |
    • Guest

      Lets keep it to what they said and we said...Please no individual comments........funny

      May 24, 2010 at 3:13 pm |
  17. Colleen

    Ok, so CNN now has belief blog...but where did the science section go?? Hmmmm.....

    May 24, 2010 at 11:04 am |
    • Guest

      Ask Tom Cruise.....cutey

      May 24, 2010 at 3:11 pm |
  18. Scott

    So this is where we dicuss how our everyday lives are impacted by social delusions? In some ways, isn't this just making excuses for ourselves? Can we please stick to facts here, as this is a news site?

    May 24, 2010 at 9:29 am |
    • Guest

      The fact is worshiping yourself is a religion.

      May 24, 2010 at 3:10 pm |
  19. SHRIKE

    Christian Fundamentalist/Conservatives = Christian Gestapo

    May 24, 2010 at 8:22 am |
    • Guest

      ACLU is a religion and the Bill of Rights is their bible, hey that ok, you are on the same level as the rest of us. The Bill of Right guarantees it. Or is it Freedom from Rights? I always get the two mixed up. of or is it from?

      May 24, 2010 at 3:09 pm |
  20. Nancy Rich

    I'm changing my homepage. This should not be part of a news site.

    May 24, 2010 at 8:22 am |
    • Guest

      Change your homepage back to your picture of you with your back to the Cross you mean?

      May 24, 2010 at 3:04 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.