T.J. Holmes with CNN producer Maria Ebrahimji on the book, "I Speak for Myself," and on Muslim reaction to events.
By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor
(CNN) – I don't know whether to be surprised that it happened or surprised that it took so long: a California college has become the first in the nation to offer a major in secularism.
The New York Times reported this weekend on the move by Pitzer College, a liberal arts institution in Southern California that's one of seven Claremont Colleges.
Some back story from The Times:
The department was proposed by Phil Zuckerman, a sociologist of religion, who describes himself as “culturally Jewish, but agnostic-atheist on questions of deep mystery.” Over the years he grew increasingly intrigued by the growth of secularism in the United States and around the world.
By Ishaan Tharoor, TIME
After delivering a lecture on "secular ethics" at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles just days after the U.S. raid on Abbottabad, the Dalai Lama was asked of his thoughts about the killing of Osama bin Laden. A headline in the Los Angeles Times claimed the great spiritual leader in exile thought bin Laden's death "was justified," quoting the Dalai Lama: "If something is serious and it is necessary to take counter-measures, you have to take counter-measures."
But the Dalai Lama's camp responded almost immediately, claiming this was not at all the gist of his remarks, emphasizing his appeal for us to distinguish between "the action" and "the actor" and stressing that, as a fellow human being, even bin Laden deserves our compassion and forgiveness. But, he stressed, "forgiveness doesn't mean forget [sic] what happened."
Editor's note: Abdal Hakim Murad is a lecturer in Islamic Studies at the Faculty of Divinity, Cambridge University, England. In 2010 he was voted Britain's most influential Muslim thinker by Jordan's Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center. His latest book, "Bombing without Moonlight," is about the religious meaning of suicide bombing.
By Abdal Hakim Murad, Special to CNN
Death, as Henry James put it, is "that distinguished thing." Whether we believe in immortality or think that consciousness dies with the body, we instinctively treat it with a mixture of nervousness and respect. We remember the deaths of Socrates, of Kennedy, of Gandhi, and of Hitler.
Unless suicidal, their deaths were not of their choosing; yet in a strange way they remain a living part of their legacy. Sometimes our final moments forever shape the way we are remembered.
By Jessica Ravitz, CNN
(CNN) – Faith has outweighed fact at Di Tzeitung, a Hasidic newspaper based in Brooklyn, New York.
The ultra-Orthodox Jewish publication ran a doctored copy of the iconic “Situation Room Photo” last Friday – you know, the one taken of President Barack Obama and his national security team during the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound.
Scrubbed from the picture: the two women in the room.
Add Mitt Romney to the growing list of probable 2012 GOP presidential candidates speaking at a major social conservative conference early next month here in the nation's capitol.
The former Massachusetts governor and 2008 Republican White House hopeful will address the Faith and Freedom Conference and Strategy Briefing on Friday, June 3rd, according to an early Monday morning announcement on the organization's website by Ralph Reed, the founder of the Faith and Freedom Coalition. A Romney adviser also confirmed the appearance. In recent months Romney's beefed up his campaign staff, and last month he formed a presidential exploratory committee.
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.