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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: Faith Now

soundoff (358 Responses)
  1. Adelina

    I believe Christianity is the only way. Anything else is false and of the Devil.

    June 3, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • Rosemary

      Who is God? Have you seen Him? Where is he?

      June 17, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
  2. Name required

    I have no dog god in this fight

    June 3, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
  3. Bucky Ball

    ;)

    June 3, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
  4. canadian prairies

    Boy what a day, christ came back to guide us, love us and hold us dear to his fathers heart. I cried today for hurting another person through my own selfish need. A best friend who loved me for who I am, wanting to annoint my club feet. That hurt like a deepened wound, all I can say is Christ must of felt like this wondering about his people when he prayed. I couldn't continue with a relationship that was drowning every fibre of my soul and deciding to choose the right choice as God expects it, not what I want or need. Obedience and I pray for forgiveness from him.

    April 24, 2011 at 10:21 am |
  5. Eileen Shavelson

    If you want to explore spirituality and surfing together, in a non denominational way, I wrote a book called Secrets of a Kahuna BodySurfer; A Spiritual Adventure Guide. I too, live on Kauai, and I wrote this book with Hawaiian Spiritual traditions in mind, and I am Jewish. Ibooks, Kindle, etc carry it.Shaloha- Shalom and Aloha!!

    April 13, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
  6. Joe

    I'm an atheist, and I believe people should have the freedom of religion. People should be allowed to believe in whatever they want. I also feel these beliefs should not be part of any legislature. Freedom of religion and freedom from religion. We should all respect each other. Muslim, Christian, Jewish, agnostic, atheist, Wiccan, everyone.

    April 11, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • Rosemary

      That is very true. All organised religions try to spread their beliefs. But the trouble with Christians is that they do not respect the others' beliefs, only their's is the truth, all the others are damned and have to be saved. They exploit poverty that exist in poor countries-offer them material benefits, employment and other inducements. The poor accept them and become Christians without questioning as to why they have been born into poverty, why they are handicapped, why they are maimed. Proselytism is arrogance and superiority - Let's harvest their souls.

      June 17, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
  7. mb

    Hey Mr. Jones: It's the GOLDEN RULE you're called to follow. If you wouldn't want someone to burn your Bible, then don't burn a Koran! Hello???

    April 1, 2011 at 11:09 pm |
  8. Sanjiv

    There is a fundamentalist culture, 40,000 strong, living in relative secrecy and outside the law in America today – as strong a statement of faith as any. And yet we hear very little about Mormon polygamy. Just the occasional news scandal, and then mostly from just one group, the FLDS.

    On May 10th, a new book, reveals the reality of the polygamist diaspora in Utah – their daily lives, the alleged abuse and forced marriages, the power of the prophets and the profiles of the followers. It's a window into a secret world.

    Check it out here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Secrets-Wives-The-Hidden-World-of-Mormon-Polygamy/116325335058396.

    March 12, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
  9. Luigi Enrico Pietra d'Oro

    Has anyone ever really researched our beliefs in Heaven and Hell. They are states of mind, not actual places. If you want the naswers to the Second Coming, and what we humans have to do about it, order the new book The Second Coming, The Last Parable of Jesus from http://www.revolvingdoorbooks.com. Jesus Himself will tell you where we have gone wrong and what we have to do!

    March 1, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
  10. jules

    Please ask Mr. marrapodi to do some research before writing his drivel... sorry I mean investigative journalism.. no i was right the first time.
    CS Lewis was writing about the pagan beliefs that go with certain heavenly bodies:
    The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe – Jupiter
    Prince Caspian – Mars
    Voyage of the Dawn Treader – Sol / The Sun
    The Silver Chair – Luna / The Moon
    Horse and His Boy – Mercury
    The Magician’s Nephew – Venus
    Last Battle – Saturn
    Read them as CS Lewis intended not as the christians have claimed...

    December 28, 2010 at 4:45 pm |
  11. Doug Wildman

    The belief that everything which exists can be observed and dissected in a laboratory is just that... a belief. Nobody is stopping you from expressing those beliefs here.

    November 15, 2010 at 6:47 pm |
  12. Cheritino

    It is amazing how you and others that ponder the mystery of God can be so close, yet so far apart from the real facts concerning our relationship with God as Human Beings.

    People do blame God for much of their troubles. They have been taught to ask God for answers and solutions to their problems and feel horrible when they find out none of the prayers have actually been answered.

    I have researched this mystery for nearly fifteen years and have come up with a truthful solution. A solution that the Christian Community will not readily accept because of the myths and mystery surrounding the beliefs in God. This myth that God answers prayer is played upon by the ministers and makes some very wealthy and leaves the congregation very spiritually poor, and has driven millions away from God and Jesus.

    God never intended to babysit with the humans he created. The Book of Genesis certainly spells that out after Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit and were banished from the garden of Eden.

    God gave us all the freedom to have and do our will and be prosperous in the process. All God wanted in return is for the people to pray to him with Thanksgiving for all his efforts and understand that he, God, is the Alpha and Omega of all things that are past, present and the things to come. Because he knew that we are natural sinners he sent Jesus Christ to offer a way and path for entering heaven. So don’t foolishly pray for resolve because an answer will never come.

    It is wonderful for a Christian to have this secret that only he or she understands that they can pray to God as to whether they should buy a new car. A total waste of time because God is not in the Car business. Further, God won’t watch your children as they walk to school or play in the back yard. God is not a Babysitter! He expects us all to be responsible and account for everything in our daily lives. If anyone that can read and has Wisdom, Knowledge and Understanding can find these same answers in the Holy Bible.

    What do you think if this solution would come to the surface in the Christian Community?

    The bottom line is this; If you believe in God, have faith in God, and have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal savior then all that is necessary, is to pray to God and Jesus and thank them for all that they do in your daily lives. And, be responsible and follow the teachings of Jesus and take care of business twenty four hours a day. Then, God and/or Jesus will be there for you when you least expect it. But you have to be able to know
    when that occurs and if you don’t your faith is phoney in the first place.

    God doesn’t cause children to be set upon by perverts or caught in tragic fires or drowned in raging rivers. I have heard some say, “Well it must have been God”s Will! ” No, God don’t will bad things on people, people will bad things on themselves by not paying attention or just ignoring responsible positions in their daily lives.

    God Almighty has brought to my knowledge this prophetic prediction;
    On the third through the ninth days of the fourth month of the eleventh year of the new millennium, God Almighty will bring his hand against all evil in the entire world as we know it. Those that forge ahead with false claims of faith will be stricken right along with the evil, greedy members of the world society. Even Israel who has broken covenants with God will be destroyed for the last time.

    Grace and peace be unto you from God, our Father, and from Jesus Christ our savior.

    November 13, 2010 at 1:01 pm |
  13. Randy

    I find faith to a very curious thing – especially when it comes to the concept of God. Why do so many people believe in an all-powerful, loving God when there is no objective proof for the existence of this kind of being? The so-called proof is always faith-based and the evidence of such a being would never hold up in a court of law. What draws people to believe in God? Is it just tradition that is passed on from generation to generation, or is it somehow tied to an intrinsic genetic memory that has been in our genes throughout the expanse of our existence?

    October 21, 2010 at 6:49 pm |
    • steve

      Randy,i dont know if you will see this reply,but I hope you will read my words with an open mind.i understand what you are saying,.If you could find the time to read the Bible ....new testament first....I believe God would show you through those written words,that HE is for real.HE will remove the blinders that we are all born with.you will see amazing things and prophesies that have, are, and will come to pass.i cant give you all the answers,but i know HEhas changed me,and HE will change you.HE really will.I PRAY YOU WILL TAKE ME SERIOUSLY.It will change you and give you something i cant even describe.I wish you well.contact me if you wish.Peace.

      February 17, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
    • izzy

      what draws people to religion? mainly hope. that is why religion thrives among the poor. eradicate poverty, and this world will be a better place for all.

      March 10, 2011 at 7:49 am |
    • Trey

      Larry, you are an idiot.

      March 24, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
    • su

      Searching for the TRUTH is where I found GOD

      May 1, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
  14. rg

    Hey John King, I though you were fare and balance, but from you got your new show i saw that tend to lean to the Republican side. I use to wash your show every Sunday morning. I don't like to wash your show anymore.

    October 5, 2010 at 1:48 pm |
  15. Muneef

    JOHN KEATS SAID.. 
    "IT IS VERY EASY TO DEFEAT SOMEONE, BUT IT IS VERY HARD TO WIN SOMEONE"

     
    SHAKESPEARE SAID.. 
    "IN THE TIMES OF CRISIS I WAS NOT HURT BY THE HARSH WORDS OF  MY ENEMIES,  
    BUT BY THE SILENCE OF MY FRIENDS".

    NAPOLEON SAID.. 
    "THE WORLD SUFFERS A LOT. NOT BECAUSE OF THE VIOLENCE OF BAD PEOPLE,
    BUT BECAUSE OF THE SILENCE OF GOOD PEOPLE!"

    MICHAEL PAUL SAID.. 
    I WROTE ON THE DOOR OF HEART, "PLEASE DO NOT ENTER"  
    LOVE CAME SMILING AND SAID: "SORRY I AM AN ILLITERATE"

    SHAKESPEARE SAID.. 
    "LAUGHING FACES DO NOT MEAN THAT THERE IS ABSENCE OF SORROW!    
    BUT IT MEANS THAT THEY HAVE THE ABILITY TO DEAL WITH IT"   

    JOHN KEATS SAID.. 

    "IT IS VERY EASY TO DEFEAT SOMEONE, BUT IT IS VERY HARD TO WIN SOMEONE"

     

    September 29, 2010 at 8:46 pm |
  16. Lynn

    Please make a facebook page fro Belief Blog! It's a convenient source to get the articles known and could focus only on Belief Blog articles/issues (as opposed to CNN facebook which covers everything).

    September 28, 2010 at 10:41 am |
  17. larry

    to all Christians he's dead get over it!

    September 11, 2010 at 9:44 pm |
  18. Roxsan

    Larry–I'm currently watching your Stephen Hawking show and I have something to add to your question about God, empty space and creation. It has to do with my experience of God AS creation itself. In other words, God IS creation, God does not create, as in a separate being. God/Spirit is that creative energy that is the very essence of creation, which is the core of everything in the Universe. It is life itself. I have had this experience, so that is how I know..what a gift. Thank you for listening.

    September 10, 2010 at 9:49 pm |
    • Tech

      Roxsan, You depiction of god is a good way of looking at it, but its not taught that way. Please don't take the word God out of context.

      September 28, 2010 at 11:56 am |
    • su

      I also have received GOD's gift. Praise the LORD

      May 1, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
  19. dbfla

    pull th plug on their website for inappropriate racist contents, and stop covering the story on the news. The Website is the place where internationals will be watching the show.

    September 7, 2010 at 9:19 pm |
  20. God like Being

    John10:33 The Jews answered Him saying...
    "For good work we stone Thee not... but for blasphemy.
    And because that Thou... being a man... makest thyself God"
    Jesus answered them... "Is it not written... in your law,
    I said...YE are... Gods.
    If 'HE' called 'them'... Gods.... unto whom the word came.
    And the Scripture cannot be broken.
    Say Ye of 'Him'... Whom the Father hath sanctified... and sent into the World.
    Thou Blasphemest!... Because I said...I AM the Son... of God."What about us the Gnostics. Those that believe 'We' are GOD.

    September 5, 2010 at 11:54 am |
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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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.