Editor's note: Laurel Snyder is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, a poet and author of many books for children. Follow her on Twitter at @laurelsnyder.
By Laurel Snyder, Special to CNN
(CNN) – A few years ago I was invited to my local Jewish Community Center to do a reading of my picture book “Baxter, the Pig Who Wanted to Be Kosher.” It was going to be a child-friendly event, so I took my kids along.
Now, “Baxter” isn’t really a book about being kosher. It’s about wanting to be accepted into a community. But I always like to make sure my listeners know what the word kosher means before I read it, since the joke at the center of the book depends on that. So as usual I asked the Jewish Community Center crowd if they could define the word.
Before anyone else could answer, my own son Mose, who was 5 at the time, jumped up and shouted out, “I know! I know! Kosher is us! We’re kosher!” Then he sat back down again, beaming proudly.
And I might have been proud too. Only, you see, we’re not kosher.
On the drive home I tried to figure out what to say to Mose about his mix-up. I wanted him to know what it means to be kosher, to live by a rigid religious dietary code, day in and day out. But I also needed him to understand that we’re not.
How could I show respect for this part of our Jewish tradition while also suggesting that it doesn’t seem relevant in our own household? Should I just blame it on my own parents, who didn’t raise me that way?
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It’s not easy to explain something to a kid when you haven’t yet figured it out for yourself. One of the most helpful/terrible things about having children is that they require us to think things out explicitly. That often means they make us face the very things we’ve been avoiding.
Sometimes, as a result, kids challenge us to become more mindful or observant. I hadn’t been a member of a synagogue for years when I became a mom. I hadn’t hosted a Passover Seder or found the time to light Shabbat candles.
Even though I worked for a Jewish agency and wrote about religion professionally, when it came to my home life I was almost completely unobservant. Judaism was something I thought about more intellectually than personally. Religion was an interesting idea more than a belief system.
Now I light candles each week and say the blessings. I belong to a havurah – a cohort of local Jewish friends who get together for monthly potluck dinners – and also a synagogue.
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Because there’s something about having kids that makes me want to be a better version of my Jewish self. I want something special to pass on to them. Something more than “You’re Jewish because I’m Jewish.”
But sometimes the opposite is true. Sometimes my kids help me recognize the limits of my faith.
In truth, I do not keep kosher and I don’t really want to. My husband is not Jewish, though we’re raising our family to be. So, yeah, we eat tacos for Shabbat dinner most weeks and usually skip Friday night services.
This is the truth and I have to own it. I can only shift my life around so much without feeling inauthentic. Lying to my kids about my religious life is no way to model the value of faith.
So when, after the “Baxter”/kosher fiasco, I set out to write my new picture book, “Good night, laila tov” (laila tov means “good night” in Hebrew), I wanted to paint an honest portrait of my largely secular household.
I wanted my kids to recognize the family in my story as Jewish, but also as, well, like us. Which is to say, not exactly kosher.
On some level I was reacting to the fact that most of the Jewish picture books in my home feel like they’re about someone else. They’re usually set in a Polish village a century ago, or on the Lower East Side of New York City, where mothers cook and fathers pray.
I wanted “Good night, laila tov” to be a sort of lowest common denominator. Contemporary and universal. It’s not about Jewish history, and it doesn’t have a single rabbi in it. It won’t teach you new Hebrew words or show you how to say a certain prayer.
It’s just a story about a Jewish American family going camping, experiencing nature, love, work and rest. In writing it I hoped to capture something typical, something natural, something simple.
And it does present, to my mind, Jewish values: Nature is spiritual, and takes us beyond ourselves. Time spent with family is sacred.
The family in the book plants trees and picks up their campsite, because caring for the earth is part of Judaism, I think. Along with caring for each other.
But as I wrote, I found myself a little afraid that, in attempting to write a picture book for everyone, I was letting the Jewish particularity go. Aren’t family nature, and environmentalism tenets of faith beyond the Jewish world, in every religion?
What did it say about me, my choices, my household, that the Jewish life I was choosing to depict looked like it could be any household at all?
Then I come back around to that moment with Mose, that moment of realizing I’d somehow misled him. Because whatever I’m unsure of, whatever I don’t know about faith, I do know this: if it isn’t honest, it doesn’t count.
The purpose of faith, as I understand it, is to infuse life with greater meaning. To make it more real. Not to dress it up. Not to pretend.
My kids and I are on a journey together. We’re setting out for parts unknown.
And while we may find ourselves changing as we trek along, there is a sacred quality in simply being who we are today. Of stopping on the trail and taking a deep breath. It’s enough, I think, to be exactly who we are, kosher or not.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Laurel Snyder.
> if it isn’t honest, it doesn’t count.
Dear Laurel, be honest. I recommend aish.com to help you find your way.
I am NOT going to teach my children late Bronze Age Palestinian mythology as a fact. I'm odd like that.
@colin: i would say however to teach them the reasons they will need to defend against such assults from religious people. they can be pretty convincing on the whole "come and belong" thing....so i would say arm them with what they need to know and give them the self-esteem to be able to stand for themselves. good luck, i'm doing the same.
You could tell your kids the truth. That you don't believe in that stuff. Or, you could wrestle it out and come to believe in it. So what's the problem here? We all struggle with our own hypocrisy, or not. Kids can handle it. You just have to work out your belief system and come to peace with yourself. If you're religion is like the Easter Bunny to you, where you don't believe in it but out of tradition you observe the rites, you can explain that. Your kid might not respect that, but OK. It's about authenticity. If you're a religious flake, be willing to say so. Don't just play two sides. Kids know a phony when they see one.
It's ok to be fake, as long as you admit it? seriously?
All of the comments about this article are so clever, and everyone is correct too. You must be, 'cause you said it.
I don't believe, but, as George Harrison sang "Whatever gets you through the night/it's alright/it's alright"
i love how this secular lady is trying to be true to her values as much as she can without being a little dictator to her kids. if my kid would have stood and said "we're kosher" i would have burst out laughing and said "yes we are."
Maybe people could teach their kids what anthropologists, archeologists and religious historians seeking the truth think of about where god came from:
Science builds modern jet aircraft.
Religion flies them into buildings.
Not All Docs Play Golf,,,,,,,,,,,, ,.
Talking about buildings,,,,,,,,,,,,
1Corinthians 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's "building"
Men flew those planes. MEN.
Pick up and read the Bible – every single prior civilization ended because MEN became prideful, arrogant and violent. They all built themselves a "tower" and and came together to go against God! Well guess what people? Our tower of "world trade" was knocked right down.
We have let these violent atheists and "satanists in atheists clothing" remove God from everything...they've been able to convince you to FORGET ABOUT GOD and they went right after our children in the schools by removing references to God. Here's your proof – they left in references to mythological gods, false gods. Wake up, call out to God to remove this cancer from the world.
Trumpets are blowing! If you don't know God, simply ASK HIM directly to come to you
Would you be willing to have the Abrahamic mythologies taught in the same way the the ancient greek/roman/egyptian myths in school? IE: Recognizing them as culturally significant fictions? I'd guess no...
The story of Babel is a fine example of God acting like a petulant child.
Human kind, once able to communicate effectively amongst ourselves, came together to work towards a common goal.
God didn't like it, struck down teh work and divided mankind into tribes with distinct languages, thus ensuring that we would never be able to work together again. He sowed the seeds of strife by placing seemingly insurmountable barriers to communication.
The joke is on God, though. You and I are right now using the most powerful communication tool ever conceived. We have instant, global, audio-visual communication and ever evolving language translation matrices.
Truth, do you hear actual trumpets? Man destruction and demise for the most part is because of man. No secret and no Gods there.
Yes men flew those planes, but they did so in the name of their religion. Your religion is similar, calling for the execution of unruly children, non-believers, gays, really anyone who disagrees with you.
I have a feeling this will be the comment board that finally settles the differences between people of faith and atheists. That, or nobody will get through to anybody and everybody will believe the same thing they did before.
daily do people awaken to be risen up and as the day goes on they fall and rise in every turn of the clock's hands! By the Time night does fall upon them the die in their sleep perchance to dream of better things!
Is there something to settle? I don't think the strife exists between people of faith and agnostics/athiests; I think the problem is between extremists of all types who refuse to respect the beliefs of others.
Let's have a discussion about what I believe to be the truth. In doing so we will discover the folly of your ways, and you will whole heartily embrace my thinking and my way of life. :)
Pipe – And the Sun dies every winter, then after three days of death it is reborn and rises again; only to die the following winter....and so on, and so on.
Darwin, absolutely. I'm just attempting to highlight the futility of expecting to get through to anyone on a message board.
Davamp – Lol, that's the truth.
Darwin has written, "Is there something to settle? I don't think the strife exists between people of faith and agnostics/athiests; I think the problem is between extremists of all types who refuse to respect the beliefs of others."
April 16, 2012 at 3:02 pm
By "extremists", are you referring to people within the elivated branches of the most popularized of many socialisms? Just asking! :-) :-( :-)
Pipe – Hahaha, no Sir, I am referring to religious fundamentalists and religion haters.
Darwin has written "Pipe – Hahaha, no Sir, I am referring to religious fundamentalists and religion haters."
April 16, 2012 at 3:20 pm
What kind of branches are "religious fundamentalists and religion haters"? Who are their leaders?
Pipe – Well, as I see it, religious fundamentalists come from all walks of the faithful and are a minority in those groups, and religion haters come from the ranks of agnostics and athiests, and they are also a minority. As for whom their leaders are, I don't know, nor do I care.
How to brainwash your kids so they follow societal norms, and do not ask too many questions, but not so much that they become complete retards -because teaching them to think for themselves entails too much risk.
Here is a great idea: around middle school have a required "religious studies" class that objectively reviews the history of religious ideas back to the fertile crescent. Then allow kids to draw their own conclusions as to whether there might have been some copying, editing, revisioning, etc..... IMO it is unfair to teach children only what "you" know or believe. That is by definition "indoctrination". Let kids learn and choose to believe what they will; armed with historical fact.
I like it. Religious studies in college were some of my favorite classes. I'm athiest.
Darwin – I draw from personal experience. My folks enrolled me in a summer program in the 5th grade (many years ago). It was all about Ancient Egypt. I was fascinated by it, but also challenged to question what I was being taught in "church". The more I studied ancient cultures the more I came to understand that ALL religions were born of men at some point in history. IMO most kids, if given accurate knowledge, would likely dismiss the supernatural, and realize morality comes from within.
Hey Horus, I think I agree with you 100%
Nothing's stopping them from doing that when they grow up. I was raised Baptist and have sense then switched to Baha'i because it fits better with my personality and world view. Most of the people who grow up as fundamentalists do so in fundamentalist territory, no measly little class is going to change that. You have to go out and live life and see what it has to offer, or stay in whatever little isolated community you were raised in.
Jen, you're wrong, and I'm proof. I was raised in that type of household. I went to Sunday School, Church, Youth Group, even sang in the Choir. One summer class changed my entire perspective on religion. I'd never known anything other than what I was told. You don't give kids enough credit. The more you arm them with knowledge and challenge them to think for themselves, the better we will be as a species.
Interesting - reading about ancient Egypt also was an intro to non-belief for me. I was older than you when I read "A God Against the Gods" and "Return to Thebes" by Allen Drury... historical fiction, but very well researched, and it led me to really start to check the premises of my beliefs.
For me it was in 7th grade. We started reading Greek mythology, after that it was only a matter of research before i became an atheist,
Great story! I love hearing about what your faimly's been up to. Your kids will remember that night forever. I also love how you tied it all in to God's plan for us! God really is good all the time, and we can really thank him for everything even storms.
Wow, imagine that! Another agnostic jew......soon the only ones reading the Torah will be catholics.
Jews, on average, tend to be smarter and/or better educated than your average Christian or Muslim, so it is hardly surprising that they are emerging out of superst.itious beliefs at a more impressive pace.
Yup, quite secular although the author seems unaware of it. For some reason she wants to derive the meaning of life from faith. It is difficult to reconcile something on faith alone. I kind of felt that, while I was reading her thoughts, that she may be happier without the faith bit, because she and her family aren't that much into faith anyway.
Nope .... you will always have faithful, true Jews who will read and follow Torah. It has been proven over and over again. We were exiled to different lands, we were killed in the Spanish Inquisition, we were burned in the ovens during the Holocaust, yet here we still are a lot of us reading and following our Torah.
Colin,,,,, " superst.itious"
Don't you mean "superstiscious"? My pheno in phonetics is really really a misery! :-)
Thats fine. It's almost like you do it just to be defiant. It's not a good reason too, though.
More and more people in today's world care about what's true and real. Believers will continue to find their views more and more marginalized.
IsrealJudah – given all that, wouldn't one have to question whether the Jews really are god's chosen people? If I were you, I would ask him to choose someone else.
Seek ye the mind's eye! Find ye then the eye's mind! Once there, stay a while! Bleeding hearts do throb for heavily weighted undulations of ever to inwardly revolve with not much whimpered bitterness and they will even and always proclaim them not their deadenedness sarcasms. Search your vents of one's vintage-aged rationale! Hunt down the lying shames and rid one's self of zealotism! Corner ye the markets before others have their will to blindingly stake a claim via their shallowed integrations! Ride high amidst the banyon tree's branches! Ever careful and ever mindful and ever conceited ye be while ever in denial are the unbelievers' eyeing minds!
April 16, 2012 at 9:50 am
Even the disbelievers have honor and creedences and they so much do abound in their rather rancid indivisiblities! They clamour about with much regularisms upon the backs of the religiously rational and even still, the unwaiverable commodities proclaim the yet unleavened in their bread-baskets of Faith! Those who dare challenge the otherly will never ever right that which is wronged and of faithlessness! To do so does one to only vent their own bitternedness and is never ever truly worth one's efforts! Therefore, die, ever to try, while never knowing why, yet always buy in the good bye!
April 16, 2012 at 10:16 am
Clarity in truth's visionarialisms are a visionary's only mechanisms' of needfulness! To Be and to not be are the determinations of one's indelibilities! Though the mind is weak their hearts are strong! Give therefore their jsuted fruits and may God show mercies and kindness upon the Allness with no specialities recognized nor claimed! God is like that does one not know?
April 16, 2012 at 10:59 am
YeahRight wrote, "Nah, we have more intellect than you have and don’t need to make up bogus words so that our ego can feel justified in its own stupidity. People like you have to come up with lies of bitterness so that you don’t have to look yourself in the mirror and acknowledge your delusional state."
April 16, 2012 at 10:56 am
Even the "boogeymen" makes up their ownliness vocals and "vocabularianalisms"! No one person nor any social organisms have cornered the markets on words or words' phraseologies! You (YeahRight) are as a disgruntled amulet of despocisms' rather perturbing mundaness but regularly are you to be appeased for your charming witticisms! Tally Ho!
April 16, 2012 at 11:10 am
Justified are the delusionalists in their crooning "ventaged" soothsayings against the eye minded rather than the eyes' minds! Commonalities venture forth and are righted "forthward" always in the lights lime-of-bittered sweetness from the peanuts' galleries of nutiness! The declarings of selfish & decidedly fruitiness of clamoured ventrilquists who amke mockeries their daily ambitions are of the fools' fooleries of fool-heartiness! Mock ye then God and God will not be moved! Spit upon God and God will never sway! Challenge your God and He will not bet! Let God Let Go of God's Will for Christ's sakes!
April 16, 2012 at 11:26 am
Disgruntledness becoming the unrighteousness renditionings of verboseness and in rancidities' lamentations do the dogs waggle and waddle upon dribblings of their ownliness fruits! Tiz a shame really it is! Anguish that is,,,, mixed with the beings of disgruntalisms makes the heart bitter and as such does age, the tempests' tea pots will most enduringly boil over until it is either moved off the burner or it remains there to be boiled down to where there is no more issues left to boil upon leaving the tea pot dry to the bones!
April 16, 2012 at 11:44 am
The main jist of living one's Life is to ponder Lfe's living ways! Whether one is religiously devoted or atheistically inclined, the road to death's gates are ever to be! The settlements of living is an arrangement not to be made void of Life's abundancies! Humanists will ever linger "awhiles" in their humanisms of concernments! Our physicalities ever condones one to the fleshly desires! While the eyes of the mind do wrestle and jostle about with physicalities, the heart throbbings of soulfulness' desires shall always be strewn! Upon one's decisiveness should be wagered one's momentums ever so slowly and never thrusted about!
April 16, 2012 at 11:58 am
Crying eyes do sometimes reveal the most tenderness of felt ways and issues' bereavements beckonings. Teras of joy are healthy and tears of embittern' unpleasentries cannot be fathomed nor should they be outrightly repulsed. God may so love the silence of whisperings more than the unpleasentries of "demandasionalisms"! Anguish and sullentries are a heart's most repulsive to otherly humanists but to God, they are of his most rooted foundations! We need to find revolutions against heartlessness and seek the heart-felt people who ever do cherish Godliness and their Godly ambitions! Let Go Let God!
April 16, 2012 at 12:17 pm
The "man-made church'd structures" do not make the Kingdom of God! It is of one's body where the buildings of God can be found out and in all truth made said, our bodies are the Kingdoms of the Gods' buildings! I say this becuase I have seen the writings of attainable knowledge to all regarding the innerness of our bodies! Inside our body-buildings are innumerable cellular structures not unlike or no different than the stellarized structures in outward regions of the Great Celestial Cosmos! God's outter-most garment may well be the allness of "celestiality" but God's inner domains are the stomping grounds of Godly Beings we will never ever truly know of in our presnet days timeline(s)! I say this because; for us to "carry on" we need to turn our eyes away from devotionalisms of religious singularisms and make ways to centralize our combined interests for the well-being of all humanists and their humanisms potentials!
April 16, 2012 at 12:43 pm
The "practicalities of nominalisms" are of a retreatists' renderings whereby and from they do the most clamourings either for or even against the liberties' bells!
April 16, 2012 at 12:55 pm
"Pre-determinations are indicative resolutes and not withstanding are the depths' "resonations!" What once was will ever so be! What one sees outwardly is it not seen inwardly? Where is this place at where visions of Life become our body's end-game for visions? The "brain yards" of quraks and gluons and positrons and electrons and all likenesses that science does dictate about are all parts of the human body are they not? Again I do ask, "Where is this place at where visions of Life become our body's end-game for visions?" Are we but not a singularism of mini-nuclearized particles flailing about in random fundamentals of physics' practicalities? Let Go! Let God alone! He is so very busy keeping all things apart and parted from each other's particalized practicalities!
April 16, 2012 at 1:10 pm
It's okay, Pipe-Dreamer. Can you show us on this bunny exactly where gawd has been toughing you?
April 16, 2012 at 1:29 pm
Phosphorus,,,, ,,,, ,,,, ,.,
Such beligerencies from a disgruntled "ambiguist" of wanton godlessness only resorts to anonimities' clearing the house! Your gestations are but slurpiness's vomit so don't forget the napkins when you tender to spit!
April 16, 2012 at 1:37 pm
The "aged" yet childhood memories are that whcih many elder people tend to discover as they grow older.
April 16, 2012 at 1:46 pm
You took the words right out of my mouth. Really.
Forget your meds?
richunix,,,, "Forget your meds?"
Medications? Where in my post did it bring you to deduce I should be on medications? :=) :=( :-)
I see myself as Christian meaning I believe in God but I don't believe there's only one path to him. I believe that being a good person is enough. I could do all the religious stuff (attend church every week, go to 5 am prayer, attend a bunch of church groups, etc) but I see that as attempting to get into heaven through putting in work. I'm in favor of doing what feels right. As a result, I don't smoke, don't drink (that much), steal, or anything else deemed bad because it would violate my well-being. That's not to say that I look down on people that do smoke, drink, gamble, or whatever. What's okay with me is okay with me and no one else. I won't violate my comfort for someone else and other people have to be okay with that.
The problem I have with my beliefs, however, is my family. I was raised to never miss church on Sunday, attend various church groups, and attend morning prayer at least twice a week. I averaged going to church 6 days a week growing up. (Saturday was a free day.) So going to church on Sundays and skipping that when I want to sleep in is considered a sin by them. I thought they would leave me alone after the many "talks" we've had over the years but I think I'm on their list of back sliders that need to be prayed for. They keep using the "But what will you do when you have kids and a husband? How is your behavior going to help them?" First off, I admire their optimism. They see me with a family of my own. Secondly I hope my example in this area will show they not to be a bunch of suck ups and not to do something because they EXPECT a BIIIIIIIIIIGG in the end. If they aren't dedicated to school or their job or their family, what makes heaven an obtainable accomplishment?
I don't mean any offense by this, truly, but you are not a Christian if you do not believe in the saving grace of Christ. Your parents sound too focused on rules. Remember the saducees and pharisees you learned about in Sunday School? That was their problem too. Christians also believe that you cannot work or be good enough to earn a place in Heaven, or more importantly, justification in God's eyes. That's why Jesus came. I don't know if maybe you're still back and forth on believing or not. But just know that all Christians have questions and doubts. That's a necessary part of faith. The answers you're looking for are there though, if you look for them.
Toya your "moralisms' Words" are your bondages to the Faith you have found and in your Words I "sense" no bitterness. You may well be kind and considerate and compassionate and a capable weigher of Truth(s)! My thoughts are for your welfares goodnesses to ever be an abundancy! :-) :-( :-)
Your statement reminds me of a satirical remark by Steven Colbert: "And though I am a committed Christian, I believe that everyone has the right to their own religion — be you Hindu, Jewish, or Muslim, I believe there are infinite paths to accepting Jesus Christ as your personal savior."
Don'ya just hate the religiously "devotees" being ever led blindingly down the road? Such faiths of singularisms bewailings are just what the preacher s do all hope and pray fro,,, Singled minds that is,,,, never to rise up in unity except when the preachers do beckon them! Although I try as I do to be a moralist of rightful means, I stumble about in my words as if I were a drunkard does so do! I hav'nt touched the "sprits" since sept of 09! Now if I can only keep my own spirit from sinking every day into the depths of vanities, I would be a good little ol' man!
burn the book of lies...
I always find it amusing that people would think a book which they don't believe in, should be BURNED. Really? I guess, at least, that you respect its power. And that's a start. ;< )
let the kids decide rather god is real or not, come on kids you have brains use them....
Exactly. Tech them the following 10 Caommandments..
1. DO NOT automatically believe something just because a parent, priest, rabbi or minister tells you that you must.
2. DO NOT think that claims about magic, miracles and the supernatural are more likely true because they are written in old books. That makes them less likely true.
3. DO analyze claims about religion with the same critical eye that you would claims about money, political positions or social issues.
4. DO NOT accept it when religious leaders tell you it is wrong to question, doubt or think for yourself. It never is. Only those selling junk cars want to prohibit you from looking under the hood.
5. DO decouple morality from a belief in the supernatural, in any of its formulations (Christianity, Judaism, Islam etc.). One can be moral without believing in gods, ghosts and ghouls and believing in any of them does not make one moral.
6. DO a bit of independent research into whatever book you were brought up to believe in. Who are its authors and why should you believe them in what they say? How many translations has it gone through? Do we have originals, or only edited copies of copies of copies– the latter is certainly true for every single book in the Bible.
7. DO realize that you are only a Christian (or Hindu or Jew) because of where you were born. Were you lucky enough to be born in the one part of the World that “got it right”?
8. DO NOT be an apologist or accept the explanation “your mind is too small to understand the greatness of God,” “God is outside the Universe” or “God moves in mysterious ways” when you come upon logical inconsistencies in your belief. A retreat to mysticism is the first refuge of the cornered wrong.
9. DO understand where your religion came from and how it evolved from earlier beliefs to the point you were taught it. Are you lucky enough to be living at that one point in history where we “got it right”?
10. DO educate yourself on the natural Universe, human history and the history of life on Earth, so as to be able to properly evaluate claims that a benevolent, mind-reading god is behind the whole thing.
I sometimes think that, if we first taught our children these simple guidelines, any supernatural belief would be quickly dismissed by them as quaint nostalgia from a bygone era. I hope we get there as a species.
Stephen F Roberts: “I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”
I'm going to free my willy in her mouth
Mmmmmmm... free willy
I think it's time that "Kosher" traditions need to be abolished, like how animals have to be slaughtered with no humane ways , but a knife to the throat. Why be so cruel ro animals in the name of religion?
A knife to the throat is quicker and more painless than a power hammer to the head, don't you think? Which would you prefer?
Power hammer, I don't like the sight of my own blo.od – It makes me queasy.
To shootmyownfood....give the deer a rifle, too, then you can rightly call hunting a "sport."
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.