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October 28th, 2010
11:20 PM ET

Saudi prince opposes Islamic center near ground zero

From CNN's Salma Abdelaziz:

Saudi Prince and billionaire Al-waleed bin Talal says he opposes the building of an Islamic center and mosque near New York's ground zero, according to a magazine interview with him published Thursday.

"I am against putting the mosque there out of respect for those people who have been wounded over there," Al-waleed told Arabian Business, a Dubai-based magazine

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 'Ground zero mosque' • 9/11 • Houses of worship • Islam • Mosque • New York • United States

October 28th, 2010
08:06 PM ET

Gallup: Very religious Americans have higher levels of well-being

From CNN's Dan Gilgoff:

Christopher Hitchens' atheist manifesto was subtitled "how religion poisons everything," but a new polling analysis challenges that notion, finding that very religious Americans have higher levels of well-being than the rest of the country.

The most religious Americans show the highest levels of well-being as measured by factors ranging from physical and emotional health to self-evaluations of life to perceptions of work environment, according to a Gallup report released Thursday.

Americans for whom religion is an important part of everyday life and who attend religious services roughly once a week or more score an average 68.7 on a well-being index developed by Gallup and Healthways, a health consulting company.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Polls

October 28th, 2010
05:07 PM ET

Dalai Lama talks of retirement

The Dalai Lama would like to retire.

"I'm also a human being. ... Retirement is also my right," the exiled spiritual leader of Tibet told CNN's Hala Gorani in Miami, Florida, this week.

Without saying exactly when, he said, "Sooner or later, I have to go. I'm over 75, so next 10 years, next 20 years, one day I will go."

The Dalai Lama also said he supports recent protests in Tibet, where students marched in opposition to government plans to teach university classes in Mandarin Chinese, instead of the traditional Tibetan language.

Read the full story

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Asia • Buddhism • India • Leaders • Tibet

October 28th, 2010
04:34 PM ET

Mohammed tops list of English baby names

Hit the road, Jack.

Last year's most popular name for baby boys in England has been knocked off - by Mohammed.

That's not immediately obvious from data put out this week by the Office of National Statistics, which declared Wednesday that Oliver was the single most popular name for boys born in 2009.

Read the full story

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Europe • Islam • Trends • United Kingdom

Pope praises science, but insists God created world
October 28th, 2010
04:22 PM ET

Pope praises science, but insists God created world

Stephen Hawking is wrong, Pope Benedict XVI said Thursday - God did create the universe.

The pope didn't actually mention the world-famous scientist, who argues in a book published last month that the laws of physics show there is no need for a supreme being to have brought the world into existence.

In fact, Benedict specifically praised - and blessed - science and scientists in an address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

But he also made clear that part of the role of science is to reveal God in the universe.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Culture & Science • Pope Benedict XVI

October 28th, 2010
03:48 PM ET

My Take: Why the Dalai Lama became a global icon

Editor's Note: Arri Eisen is a professor of pedagogy in Biology, the Institute of the Liberal Arts, and the Center for Ethics at Emory University.

By Arri Eisen, Special to CNN

Why has the Dalai Lama become more than just another leader in exile, just another Nobel Peace Prize winner? Why is he now an international icon of peace and positive possibilities?

The other day, some friends and I were sitting around chewing the fat, and I brought up this question because the man himself was preparing to visit our campus.

Just 20 years ago, as a Harvard scientist named Herbert Benson tells the story, he asked about inviting the Dalai Lama to the U.S. and the response was ‘Dolly who?’

What’s happened in the meantime?

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Asia • Buddhism • China • Culture & Science • India • Opinion

My Take: Tearing down the walls
October 28th, 2010
01:51 PM ET

My Take: Tearing down the walls

Editor's Note: Shane Claiborne is an author and activist and one of the architects of a community in Philadelphia called The Simple Way. Shane worked in India alongside Mother Teresa and spent time in Iraq with the Christian Peacemaker Team during the recent war. His books include Jesus for President, Follow Me to Freedom, and the best-selling Irresistible Revolution. Check out more at: www.thesimpleway.org.

By Shane Claiborne, Special to CNN

The Church has often been better known for building walls than for tearing them down.

Too often, we Christians are known by what we are against rather than by what we are for. So it was a proud moment for me this week, as a Christian, when leaders of the Catholic Church made an unambiguous statement calling for an end to the Holy Land apartheid.

After a two-week meeting summoned by the Pope, Catholic bishops issued a statement asking Israel not to use the Bible to justify injustices to the Palestinian people. Thanks be to God.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Church • Israel • Opinion

October 28th, 2010
12:26 PM ET

Ugandan anti-gay measure will be law soon, lawmaker says

The member of the Ugandan Parliament behind a controversial "anti-gay" bill that would call for stiff penalties against homosexuality - including life imprisonment and the death penalty - says that the bill will become law "soon."

"We are very confident," David Bahati told CNN, "because this is a piece of legislation that is needed in this country to protect the traditional family here in Africa, and also protect the future of our children."

Read the full story

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Africa • Christianity • Gay rights • Homosexuality • Politics • Uganda

October 28th, 2010
12:16 PM ET

Explainer: How and why to practice compassion meditation

Editor's note: Video produced by Brandon Ancil. Shot by Jarrett Bellini and Mandy Carranza. Text by Dan Gilgoff.

Lobsang Tenzin Negi wears a lot of hats.

He’s a former Buddhist monk who presides over a Buddhist monastery in - of all places - Atlanta, Georgia. He directs Emory University’s unique partnership with Tibet's government-in-exile.

And he’s a highly regarded meditation teacher, designing meditation courses for much of the recent scientific study of the practice.

Like many Buddhists, Negi insists that a person doesn’t don’t have to be Buddhist to benefit from meditation.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Buddhism • Georgia • Meditation • United States

October 28th, 2010
11:41 AM ET

'You don't forget': Medic's Holocaust diary tells story of hell

The tattered journal, its pages yellow with age, contains the painful memories of a U.S. medic, a man who recorded the deaths of soldiers who survived one of World War II's bloodiest battles yet met their end as slaves in Nazi Germany.

32. Hamilton 4-5-45
33. Young 4-5-45
34. Smith 4-9-45
35. Vogel 4-9-45
36. Wagner 4-9-45

"Some were dying," said its author, Tony Acevedo, now 86. "Some died, and I made a notation of that."

Flipping through the pages, you encounter a horrific part of world history through the eyes of a 20-year-old inside a slave labor camp.

Read the full story

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Europe • Germany • Holocaust • Judaism

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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.

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