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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. Derrick

    Personally, words are insufficient to describe my feelings about the combination of faith in god and politics.

    I find it deeply disturbing that many of those in the business of running our country actually admit that they seek divine guidance when preparing to make policy decisions. In fact, many conservative politicians even still believe that the universe and everything in it, including our planet, was "created" in six days. Beyond this, many of them likewise believe in the radical concept that the earth is only 7,000 to 10,000 years old. And we as a modern society wonder why we cannot solve our most basic problems such as poverty, homelessness, basic healthcare, etc.? I believe it is self-evident that for as long as we continue to elect these people with such archaic beliefs, we will never be able to solve our most basic problems.

    If we can get some intelligence in our political leadership we will be able to develop and evolve as a society. As long as we have policy makers that actually believe in the bible, the torah, santa claus, the koran, the tooth fairy, or whatever other being of fantasy, we will never socially progress. We need those who thoughtfully seek solutions as opposed to those who talk out loud into thin air asking their mythical figure of choice what to do. If we elect people who will choose to make decisions based on logic and rational reasoning as opposed to those who talk and wait for their mythical figure to decide for them as to how to vote on an issue, we may actually begin to get some problems solved.

    January 15, 2012 at 9:19 am |
  2. Tom

    I wonder when will christian funamentalists remember that Jesus was probably a socialist. He feed the poor and healed the sick without charge.

    January 7, 2012 at 8:54 am |
    • Derrick

      That's a good point Tom. But that is precisely the problem. We are not dealing with rational people when we are talking about religious fundamentalists of any kind. Christian fundamentalism is particularly dangerous. In fact, I equate making children go to church as child abuse.

      These so-called Sunday school teachers are radically and scarily dangerous. To actually teach these young, innocent children that they are going to be eternally tormented in a lake of fire unless they buy into the beliefs is reprehensible! In fact, I submit that our society is filled with deranged individuals as a direct result of filling our children's heads of such concepts. It should be outlawed in my opinion.

      January 15, 2012 at 9:33 am |
    • Sasha

      @Derrick, I think that you're looking at a specific group of Christians. I went to Sunday school as a child and teenager and while I stopped as a young adult, the most predominant messages I remember being instilled into us were that of tolerance, love and forgiveness. Christianity, like most major religions, is taught radically differently in different towns and in different churches. Today, we need to be aware of these fundamental differences and shy away from general statements.
      I agree with you, however, on the morality of instilling in young children, or anyone for that matter, that they will be tormented if they don't do x, y and z. Although I wouldn't go as far to say that it's child abuse, it's definitely a bit of an extremist view on Christianity and one that is not focused on in many other denominations.

      January 17, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
  3. Dwight Huth

    Locating the Relics of Religions Past***

    Long thought hidden are many of the worlds ancient religious artifacts. But I have found a way to lead you in your search for them.

    From the Bible:
    In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

    New Eden meaning:

    Like the raven who flies on high and sees the new age approaching so to will the weapons of the Gallente be those instraments. Instraments that will bring about the freedom of those enslaved by masters who long have sat in their places on high.

    Basically using a form of DaVincian Cryptex code breaking the new words formed from the above sentence from the Bible are

    raven,hearth,teath,tee,tea,rod,rot,dot,dod,bog,bot, tog, got, it, an, end, den, need, deed, dead, that, thin, tin, vine, it, at, then, age, rage, rat, hat, nate, nat, gnat, rare, tear, tare, teen, neat, rotten, beg, eat, ate, taint, bait, bet, get, got, going, groin, heath, head, heed, hard, had, hid, hide, hidden, heathen, rate, train, tron,era and north and so on.

    By discovering new words from the religious texts around the world we can set our compasses to begin the journey looking for the lost relics hidden for centuries that are discussed in the religious texts along with relics not discussed but will be discovered along the way.

    So to begin your journey in looking for the ancient relics of the religious texts of the past you merely need to create new words from the sentences of the religious texts from around the world. It might take a lifetime to achieve looking for that one treasure but you will discover more along the way during your quest.

    Let your quest begin today.

    November 18, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
  4. Richard

    I was having a tough day until I read about Belief Blog, so I followed a link over here. Thanks, CNN. This really lightened up my day. To think that CNN could have an outlet serving as an authority or representation of "belief" at all. This is funny stuff. You might want to categorize Belief Blog as a subcategory under "Humor".

    November 9, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
  5. tready

    For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don't believe, no proof is possible.

    October 24, 2011 at 6:57 am |
  6. Rick Adkins

    On the comment by the Baptist Reverend saying Mormonism is a cult. This radical Baptist rhetoric compares to the radical rhetoric of the Muslims. Neither seem to follow the teachings of their respective Prophets.

    October 12, 2011 at 8:51 am |
  7. PJ Powers

    Forget evolution. A radical new view of Creationism states that it isn't evolution but the dimensions of this universe (relativity,
    quantum mechanics) that differentiate it from the creation of Genesis. Today's universe did indeed evolve out of the latter;
    evolution has as its basis relativity, man's relative relation to the world around him. This is in contrast to the absolute relation of man to God that was broken through sin. It's relation that determines dimension. Relativity demands that beings change
    in relation to a changing planet (evolution). We don't need to evolve in relation to God since God doesn't change. This is The
    New Face of Creationism. Check it out.

    October 4, 2011 at 10:51 am |
  8. littleman420

    i think the time has come for the South to rise up and have another Civil War against the Rich ppl that dont want to pay what we
    pay!! And we will be Civil in this war!!

    September 19, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  9. kimsland

    Faith refers to beliefs that are not based on proof.
    That in itself should tell everyone how crazy it is.
    Thankfully religion is on the way down, as places like CNN discuss the ludicrousness of it.
    Since reading articles on CNN, I have strengthened my opinion that being religious is foolish.

    September 10, 2011 at 3:13 am |
    • Mark B

      Kimsland: you said "Since reading articles on CNN, I have strengthened my opinion that being religious is foolish"

      The whole point of this blog is to convert readers to Atheism, congratulations to CNN for their evangelism.

      October 18, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
    • Sopir

      You need all three keys to succeeding in netrowk marketing for any of them to really work. Without one, the other two won't produce the results we all know are possible with the character traits we also must have to find great success.

      November 8, 2012 at 11:08 am |
  10. SB

    Hi, I have a question. Could one submit one's article to CNN's Belief Blog for consideration?

    September 3, 2011 at 12:11 am |
    • Mark B

      SB: you may submit any article that supports the premise that religion is foolish.

      October 18, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
  11. Lex

    Dear Steve Jobs
    CEO Apple Corporation,

    You have been incredibly successful in your
    lifetime, and have made billions of dollars.
    But, even with all that money, you cannot prolong
    your lifetime beyond what is planned for you.

    The legacy you are leaving is not too impressive.
    You sell millions of I-phones to Americans, but you
    have these phones made overseas and not here in your
    own country. You make billions, live in beautiful
    homes, but you don't care at all if your neighbors
    can get a job because you are cheap and selfish,
    and are only concerned about how much MORE money
    you can make, even knowing your life keeps getting
    shorter every day with your health problems.

    You have always been a leader in Tech.
    Why can't you be a leader in Citizenship,
    and leave a good legacy behind you that will
    amaze everyone in the world?

    Why don't you have your I-phones
    made here in the United States?
    We need the jobs here.
    Your stockholders are rich enough.
    You are an example that shows no matter how
    much money one has, individual life will still end.
    You will put your neighbors to work this way.
    You will cut down the National Debt because
    billions of dollars will NOT be going out of
    the U.S to Asian firms.

    If someone of your stature were to turn around
    this deadly cycle of Asian out-sourcing,
    you would be so famous I would propose a
    coin denomination be made in your image!

    Each day as you get sicker, you loose the
    initiative to do something that could change
    the World.

    Steve, be a TRUE American.
    Do what is right for America.
    What good is all your money doing for you,
    when so many of your fellow Americans go for
    years without finding work?

    Bring those jobs back HOME!
    Stop supporting the Red Chinese Communist Party
    by supporting their Asian companies.
    You say you are an American, well ACT like one!
    Americans help each other.
    You only help Steve Jobs.

    You are really going to be honored after
    you pass on. NOT!!! NOT!!! NOT!!!

    Don't blow this chance at fixing your America
    and changing the world!

    Thanks for listening,
    and Good Luck in your future

    August 25, 2011 at 1:22 am |
    • sirrhenry

      II suppose in all his getting,he did not get understanding. For what profit a man if he gain the whole world,and lose his soul.You are thy brother keeper-LIVE LONG/WELL.

      November 1, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
  12. Fred Moore

    Belief Blog Editors,

    I must commend you on what you are attempting to accomplish with this blog. I discovered the blog earlier this year and I've visited many times since.

    I've chosen Christianity as my belief system and it does inform my worldview. But I'm also a U. S. Citizen, by birth, and I believe in the FREE exchange of ideas. Perhaps that belief in a free exchange of ideas is what provokes me to commend you on this blog.

    I believe that in a free exchange of ideas, truth and/or real meaning rise to the top. A belief blog MUST be available to both the believer and the unbeliever - as well as any and all ideological believers. Congratulations on attempting to make this a reality.

    I have found the articles, and responses to those articles, at times enlightening. On other occasions I've found the articles and/or responses to them alarming and/or frightening. But, in most cases, I've found the content here thought-provoking.

    Thank you, Editors, for this forum.

    Fred

    August 22, 2011 at 7:27 pm |
  13. RightTurnClyde

    CNN BELIEF BLOG has gone down the tubes. Maybe one of the last ten posts was worth reading. It's just junk posts right now .. Detroit Jewish speculators? Mormon bigamist trial? Presidential politics? the Hobbit? Ramadan .. Ramadamadoo .. an Iran story?? (who cares) Garbage. It's been garbage for a couple of months now. Must not be anything they can find (of substance).

    August 5, 2011 at 8:22 pm |
  14. emrka

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/07/15/michele-bachmann-officially-leaves-her-church/?hpt=hp_t2

    must everything at cnn, including their religion blog, be filtered through the lens of a liberal democrat view?

    July 16, 2011 at 12:00 am |
    • L.A.

      I just want to take a minute to comment on the segment you just had on about faith and the Presidency. First of all, I find it deeply disturbing that as many people that were polled had NO idea what faith Mitt Romney is and these people vote??? Secondly, I have five words to say..."seperation of church and state". Religion is every single person's PERSONAL and PRIVATE matter and has NO business in public office, especially one as powerful as the President of the United States. If people would start being more concerned with the IMPORTANT issues we are involved in and LESS about what goes on behind the general public's closed door, maybe we can get more things done. Freedom of ALL religions is what the USA is all about! Thanks!

      July 28, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • Mark B

      emrka: yes, everything at CNN must be filtered through a liberal view point; that's the point of the entire organization!
      Unfortunately, there is not place you can go for "news" anymore, everything is "opinion" at worst and "filtered by political ideology" at best. Your only hope is to watch CNN & FOX then spend hours figuring out what the facts are, researching the facts yourself and then trying to form an opinion about any given story. It's damn near impossible to get "unbiased" information today!

      October 18, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
  15. Kurt C. Dollinger

    I believe in the non-mutual-exclusivity of the world religions. I believe in mutual respect, tolerance, love and compassion. I believe that, in the final analysis, it is not about this religion versus another religion. I believe it is about finding God in your own way in your own time. I found God in the form of Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad-Gita. This is a perfect fit for me given my interest in Indian philosophy. Find your own "fit". Find it in Jesus Christ in the Christian Bible. Find it in the Torah. Find it in the Koran. Find it in Taoism. Find it in Zen Buddhism. The point is to find it. Find it while we are still in school on this beautiful planet Earth. Find it so that on graduation day when God asks you what you have learned, you can answer with confidence: "I have found You, God Almighty, in the depths of my soul, in one of Your manifestations in Holy Writ". Thank-you for allowing me to share this opinion. Sincerely, Kurt C. Dollinger.

    July 11, 2011 at 10:50 am |
  16. Logical

    If you believe the BIG BANG theory, (not saying it cound not be) I have this to ask of you. HOW DID THE MASSES COME TO EXIST IN THE FIRST IF NOT FROM A CREATOR? WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF THE MASSES THAT CAUSED THE THEORY TO MATERIALIZE?

    June 29, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • AvdBerg

      For a better understanding of Creation we invite you to read the article Creation on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

      July 7, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
    • Mark B

      From the Atheist Bible:

      Gen 1:1 In the beginning was nothing. 2. The nothing, which had existed for infinity, for no reason or due to any causal affect, generated mass from nothing. 3. And so it was that mass came to exist from nothing and completely without cause.

      Gen: 2:1 Now the mass was very small in size, but extremely dense, 2. for you see, all that is, was contained in the mass, 3. for before the mass there was nothing, and since the mass, only that which became mass from nothing exists.

      Gen: 3:1 Now it came to pass that the mass, after existing, unchanged, unmoving, for ions of time, completely with out cause, began to expand rapidly. 2. This rapid, un-caused, expansion of uncreated, self materializing mass, is what, today, we call "The Big Bang".

      Amen

      October 18, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
  17. SV

    This world would be such a better place if politicians had a Christ centered life and chose to set an example for others in our country. Our world was not meant to be this way so full of hatred and corruption. But satan brought sin into the world and ruined it. One day Christ will return and it will all be as it should be. Hope you are one of them? Accept Christ as your savior today and follow him with your whole heart. He will change you and give you peace even during life's stresses. :)

    June 28, 2011 at 11:25 am |
    • Satyanarayan

      Dammit Mark. I wish I had even a scintilla of repesct and hope for ANY cable news network, then maybe I'd be able to work up some outrage and/or energy. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate and admire your diligence, but I fear it's a lost cause, like showing the Pope why pedophilia is a crime even if the pedophile is a priest.

      November 10, 2012 at 2:24 am |
  18. Toni Jill Shoup

    I am a Mormon and I wonder why someone who wanted to know what the Mormons believe would not ask a Mormon or a Mormon missionary instead of someone who has reported themselves to be an expert on the religion. I am a convert to the Mormon Church. I was born and raised in Carter County, Kentucky. When I attended a little rule school there, I was taught American history. I was taught that many Americans came here is search of religious freedom. However, once that group gained that freedom they did not allow it to others. I believe that everyone should be allowed to be what they are.
    Gary is an atheist. I am not a Baptist. I am a Mormon that is what I believe and that is who I am. If we all lived our beliefs, we would not hate and fear others because they are different.

    June 26, 2011 at 8:38 pm |
    • Daniel

      BrandtMorain Posted on @linkleisure Ridiculous! The biggest mass merdurs in all of history were Athiest and/or anti-Christian. Here is the list:1: Mao Ze-Dong 70 Million murdered2: Joseph Stalin 20 Million3: Adolf Hitler 6 Million dead + WWII4: Hideki Tojo 8 Million5: Pol Pot 1.5 Million The rest of the list includes such honorable non-Christians as Mussolini, Idi Amin, Saddam Hussein, Brezhnev, etc The entire Inquisition period only murdered 150,000 people by ignoring Thou shalt not kill

      November 8, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
  19. Muneef

    Consumption of swine-flesh reduces the feeling of shame and as such the standard of modesty.

    Consumption of swine-flesh creates lo-wli-ness in character and destroys moral and spiritual faculties in a man.

    Those nations, which consume pork habitually, have a low standard of morality with the result that vi-rg-in-ity, ch-ast-ity and bas-h-fulness are becoming a thing of the past.

    http://www.zamha.com/announce/halaal%20articles/That%20Filthy%20Swine.pdf

    ------

    When You Feel No Shame, Then Do As You Wish; What Does This Mean?

    http://qa.sunnipath.com/issue_view.asp?HD=7&ID=4540&CATE=120

    http://www.pureislam.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=280&Itemid=32

    June 23, 2011 at 8:04 pm |
  20. Gary

    I will respect your beliefs as deeply as you respect my choice not to join you.
    Not proud; not ashamed; just an atheist.

    June 20, 2011 at 5:00 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.