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April 19th, 2012
04:44 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Thursday, April 19

By Laura Koran, CNN

Here's the Belief Blog’s morning rundown of the top faith-angle stories from around the United States and around the world. Click the headlines for the full stories.

From the Blog:

CNN: Watergate figure Chuck Colson reportedly near death
Chuck Colson, the convicted Watergate figure turned evangelist, is near death after suffering a brain hemorrhage earlier this month, his media representatives said Wednesday. “It is with a heavy, but hopeful heart that I share with you that it appears our friend, brother and founder will soon be home with the Lord,” Jim Liske, CEO of Prison Fellowship Ministries, which Colson founded, said in a statement.

CNN: New Bible translation aims at 'own it but haven't read it' demo
The "own it but haven't read it" demographic is his target market, says Capes, who teaches the New Testament at Houston Baptist University and was part of a team that compiled "The Voice," a new translation of the King James Bible. Capes told CNN that the motivation behind the translation, seven years in the making, was to emphasize the meaning behind the words.

Tweet of the Day:

From @RELEVENT: "It just doesn’t make a good marriage when one person is the 'decision-maker.'" More thoughts on mutual submission: http://relm.ag/J2jcoX

Enlightening Reads:

The Washington Post: Vatican report: U.S. Catholic sisters, nuns hold ‘serious theological’ errors
A Vatican investigation of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), an umbrella group representing 80 percent of Catholic sisters and nuns in the United States, found serious theological errors in statements by members, widespread dissent on the church’s teaching on sexuality and “radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith” a church report released Wednesday stated.

Religion News Service: Religious belief highest in developing and Catholic countries
Belief in God is slowly declining in most countries around the world, according to a new poll, but the truest of the true believers can still be found in developing countries and Catholic societies. The “Beliefs about God Across Time and Countries” report, released Wednesday by researchers at the University of Chicago, found the Philippines to be the country with the highest belief.

Slate: Pastor Who Called Mormonism a "Cult" Backs Romney
The growing list of conservative evangelical Christians supporting Mitt Romney's GOP bid now includes megachurch leader Rev. Robert Jeffress, who called the all-but-certain GOP nominee's Mormon faith a "cult" at the 2011 Values Voter Summit last fall.

The Christian Post: Ariz. Governor Signs Bill to Allow Bible Classes in Public Schools
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has signed into law a bill that allows the establishing of elective classes that focus on the Bible and its influence on western civilization. Sponsored by State Representative Terri Proud, House Bill 2563 was passed by a 21 to 9 vote in the state Senate last Thursday and signed by Brewer on Tuesday.

The New York Times: British Ultranationalist Warns of Shariah’s ‘Creeping’ Influence, and Twitter Laughs
It began when the leader of the English Defence League, an ultranationalist group opposed to the building of mosques in Britain — and New York — suggested a hashtag to go with his outraged Twitter post regarding the image of a mosque on the homepage of the social media site.

Quote of the Day:

Who do I think is the most important and influential person over the last year? It’s a slam dunk for me. I give the same answer any year, any day, any month. For me the most influential person is always Jesus Christ.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, named as one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2012, on who he believes should have the top spot on the list.

Join the conversation…

Gay rights activists hold hands in protest in front of the Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City, Utah, in July 2009.

CNN: Gay rights activists see Mormons softening attitudes toward their community
Though the church’s doctrine condemning homosexuality has not changed, and the church remains opposed to same-sex marriage, many say the church is subtly but unmistakably growing friendlier toward the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, including voicing support for some gay rights.

- CNN's Laura Koran

Filed under: Morning Read

soundoff (111 Responses)
  1. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things
    Proven

    April 20, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • Jesus

      You're a proven liar. Prayer doesn’t not. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!.!.

      April 20, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
  2. Joy

    Amen Robert Brown! Very well said. I shall remember you Quick in my prayers.

    @Skae Thanks for your coments. Alex is a remarkable young man. Jesus said, Lest we be like little children....how innocent and accepting these little ones are to thier Father in Heaven. Blessed with the Holy Spirit in his heart, Alex gives even the weakest of us such courage and strength. God Bless Him Always!

    Here is a link to his story.

    http://files.tyndale.com/thpdata/FirstChapters/978-1-4143-3606-0.pdf

    April 20, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
  3. Prayer changes things

    Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    April 20, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • Jesus

      "Prayer changes things"

      Prayer doesn’t not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!.!.

      April 20, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
  4. Joy

    Read the book, The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven by Alex Malarkey. I think you will find it an extraordinary read. This child was in a car accident and his spine was severed and disconnected. He survived, and was in a coma for two months.
    Prayer does indeed work. Those employing it have to use common sense as well, God use's medication and other medical proceedures to heal, as well as the miraculous healings.

    Prayers works, and God hears them. He also knows your heart, and wether it is hardened or full of love. Be not decieved by the principalities and powers of the unseen that would have you believe a lie..

    April 19, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
    • Quick

      It's a long, long, long, long road from some kid getting healed by modern medical science ....to even coming close to proving that "prayer works" or that your god even exists.

      Did it never occur to you that simple science healed this boy? Or that you only saw what you wanted to see in this story?
      Prayer or any meditative state can help people feel better, yet it doesn't require any particular god to be prayed to for this to work.

      And what of the health benefits the young enjoy compared to older people? They heal faster with or without prayer.
      So this story is basically worthless as evidence of prayer or religion or your god's existence.
      Sorry, but you seem unable to understand that one glorified fish story does not mean god landed you a fish that gets bigger with every telling. It only means the story has been clearly modified, dramatized, and distorted and sold to you, the all-too-willing believer.

      If you could repeat any miracle, then others could see it. But the funny thing about miracles is that they only happen in the descriptions afterwards and always by a believer in that religion.
      You never hear of a Muslim imam having a vision of Jesus, or a Christian hearing god say "I am well pleased with the Muslims for they are of my people", nor do you hear of any miracle that can be verified independently by everyone or anyone.
      Water drips from a Jesus statue and people think it is tears of god. Then an independent investigator comes in and discovers that the water is laundry-room run-off due to bad plumbing.
      He is castigated and driven away by the believers. They did not want the truth. They wanted their personal delusions to be reinforced. They wanted the lies to be true. But the lies are never true. Every miracle can be shown to be a hoax or a jumping to the wrong conclusion on the part of some believer who sees everything according to the bias that distorts their thinking and perceptions.

      It's great that some kid got healed. But since your god hasn't done anything else in the past 2000 years, it's going to take more than one anecdotal piece of religious hospital gossip to convince anyone like me that prayers did anything at all.
      Without modern medicine, this child would have died or been a paraplegic their whole life. Prayers do not heal spinal cords.
      Prayers 'might' make someone feel good, but the more desperate you are to show that this was some actual supernatural miracle, the more you are likely to have a conflict of interest when evaluating the evidence.

      April 19, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Quick,

      I would be surprised if someone could prove God to you on an internet blog. Especially since you seem to be skeptical. But, who knows, all things are possible for God. Those who seek God find him. According to God's written word, faith comes through hearing the word of God preached. This is the first step. If you are unwilling to take it, baring a miracle, God will not be proved to you. There is power in the preached word. This power is called the Holy Spirit. If you are serious about proving God to yourself I would challenge you to go to your local church on Sunday morning.

      April 19, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • Quick

      Robert, I was a very devout Christian for many years. My faith was extremely strong. Yet never did I see any clear indications that god existed or prayers worked. Anywhere in the world.

      Your pompous and arrogant assumption that I just need to become a Christian and then your god will become automatically "real" for me is just so much hogwash.
      He was "real" enough that it took decades to ask "Him" for the honest truth about anything at all that he would like to show me. The silence was just as "profound" as throughout the whole of my previous life.
      Oh, I believed. But without any reason beyond going through the motions mentally, physically, and spiritually the whole time.
      Once I started reading the Bible seeking a framework upon which I could build an even stronger faith, I found nothing but tatters of wild ramblings written by Middle Eastern ignoramuses who only wanted others to believe their lies and misdirection.
      I did not read the Bible with an eye towards disproving any of it. I was looking for inspiration, some clear sign or truth upon which I could move forward and gain a better understanding of what "God" actually wanted ME to do.
      Prayers and Bible-reading all empty of your fake god's existence in ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM.
      Yet I tried harder. I tried easier. I looked at what other people said. I gave it everything I had. I had already given, supposedly, my heart, mind, and soul to "God", yet where was he?
      He doesn't exist.
      I prayed for truth and what I got was reality. Reality IS the truth. The only true truth that exists.
      I did not get "God" showing me anything, telling me anything, or doing anything. My life is a horror story in places.
      Never did I get any help no matter how hard I prayed. Never did he help me or even talk back to me.
      It was like talking to a stump.
      Because your god does not exist.

      I went looking in science, history, and all the other fields.

      And nowhere was there any proof, not even the SLIGHTEST indication that ANY god exists as described, much less the Jewish Christian god.

      What I did find was constant and extreme forms of perceptual bias. Confirmation bias, etc. And fallacious arguments in the thousands.
      And still no evidence that there was a god.
      Now there was more than enough evidence to the contrary. I had plenty of evidence that your god does not exist and that your religion is utter bullsh..t.
      I have proof of something now. It's called reality, and it's proof that your god does not exist.
      All of science, all the facts known to man, all the history taken, as must needs be, with a grain of salt, the sum total of human knowledge when given the closest and most exacting scrutiny, PROVES THERE IS NO GOD.

      But there will always be believers like I used to be, with their distorted perceptions, emotional fabrications and internal reinforcements of their delusions, hallucinations of every sort, who, like you, think that all I need to do is just "come to god" with a repentant heart and an open soul or some bullsh..t like that.

      Been there. Got the t-shirt. Didn't see any god or god-caused events of any sort large or small, internal or external.
      I have proof. You have NOTHING because your god DOES NOT EXIST.
      So you see, I have good reason to be very skeptic of any religious claim, since I have investigated most of them already and found them to be hoaxes, falsehoods, etc.
      One healing child, not dying of malnutrition but healthy and surrounded by the best of modern medicine and tons of money for every little thing, is quite likely to heal or get better and there would be no prayers needed. Prayers don't do anything real beyond making you think you did something real and gaining some delusional comfort thereby.

      There is no proof that god exists in a child getting healed by medical science. No proof that prayer works either.
      But why do I bother trying to explain to someone deeply brainwashed and in one of the most publicly supported cults in the country? You probably have no reason to ask your god for the truth. Most people like you cannot and will not handle the truth. You will die before letting anyone tell you the truth! You will advocate murder before you stop to think that maybe your reasons are meaningless and have no basis in reality. You will just help the insanity of your cult continue because you are all programmed to act that way. You have no moral strength. You do not want to see if maybe your god has something new to tell you. You do not care if the words of your god written by other fools is even true or honest in the first place!!!!!

      Your soul, so cheaply given to lying strangers who have blinded you to the truth and any honesty associated with it, should be more important to you than just accepting what others say. Who made them mouthpieces for your god?
      If you value your soul and your moral values, you'll make sure that they are safe from all, and I mean ALL, lies.
      So in return, I say to you to put your faith on hold for once in your brainwashed life and just take an objective look around you, examining all verifiable and incontrovertible facts at your disposal, and check them for any signs that your god actually exists, cares about us, does things for us, or even interacts with us in any way shape or form.

      I bet you can't do it. I've already been where you are, and most people like you cannot break free of the brainwashing.
      There will always be others to drag you back into church, like heroin addicts keeping each other supplied with the one thing they think they will die without.
      You're just an addict on a trip. Maybe I'll get through to someone. At least I tried to help. What have YOU done to stop the lies you KNOW are there in your religion? Ask your god to show you the REAL truth. Be honest. Why wouldn't your god do such a simple and honest thing for you if you ask? Because he's not there.

      April 19, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
    • momoya

      Really great writing and thoughts, Quick.. My story is similar to yours.. (I probably believed a few decades more than you..:) I really don't think christians understand how non-compelling the bible is after viewing it without the confirmation bias christians are continually taught to study the bible through.. It's not that they refuse to understand the non-biased perspective, it's that they have to learn how to take that non-biased perspective themselves and MORE importantly exercise the courage to read the bible accordingly.. I am convinced that many of them just can't do it..

      @Robert

      Think about how worried you are about Allah's judgement.. Think about how much you concern yourself about whether or not Islam might be correct, and this whole time Allah wants your worship and your prayer and devotion..

      Are you there?. Think about it a little more.. I mean, really think about how little you concern yourself over the possibility of Allah/Islam being correct.. Got it?..................Yes?

      Now, that's exactly how atheists feel about the bible and its god and that judgment.. If you'll apply to the bible and its god the exact same level and method of criticism you apply to Allah/Islam/Koran, you'll be an atheist within the week.. (give or take a day or so).. It takes a fair amount of guts and intellectual honesty, though, and not everyone can or should do it..

      April 20, 2012 at 10:19 am |
    • Robert Brown

      Quick,

      You are the third person that I have communicated with on this blog with a similar story. I don’t know them, or you, but I can tell from your post, and theirs, that you, and they are thoughtful and intelligent. I can only guess, and I do apologize if my post appeared arrogant to you.

      I know I have questioned my faith in the past. Fortunately, I have always been able to find God right where I left him, or more accurately, he found me, when I quit trying to do things in my power. I have never had God speak to me in the burning bush either, but God has spoken to my heart and answered my prayers.

      I have had times where I felt as though I was praying to a stump also, but just when I had given up, God answered. For example, I had prayed for months seeking an answer to something that was very important to me. I had just about decided that God was not going to answer. I was driving down the road one day thinking on a completely different subject when out of the clear blue, God answered my question and simultaneously I felt his presence as strong as I had ever felt it. It was so strong I had to pull over on the side of the road. After much praising and thanking him I was able to get it together enough to continue driving.

      Now it is easy for anyone, except me, to dismiss my example. Why? Because I know the answer was something I would have never considered. I know it wasn’t my thoughts. It was completely and absolutely at the opposite end of my thought processes.

      You said you were a devout Christian with a strong faith. Did you ever have a strong overwhelming spiritual experience? If so, I would reflect on this, for there is where you could start again. If not, then it could be that the Holy Spirit was not involved and is still what you may need for an abiding faith.

      Having been a Christian you are familiar with the parable of the sower, so I won’t quote scriptures for you. People can have faith and lose it. Just as with the other two folks I have communicated with, you wrote about studying all types of things and deciding there is no God. God can’t be found through the use of human reasoning, not only that, but it appears faith can even be lost through the use of it. Spiritual reasoning is what is required for the child like or trusting faith.

      After all of that, you may still consider me to be another delusional, crazy, and, or brainwashed nut, or the Lord may have used me to type something that will help you. Either way, I wish you the best.

      April 20, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • Quick

      Robert, I can see I'm not getting through to you just how extensive my efforts were.
      There is something people like you avoid at all costs in your thinking: honesty.

      I'm not talking about the honesty you might feel you have because of your level of sincerity.

      I'm talking about the most pure, absolute, clearest honesty that takes a lot of courage because it demands only the absolute best and honest facts upon which one can say they are basing their honesty UPON.

      If you base your sincerity and your honesty upon lies because you don't know they are lies, then you have massively failed the "due diligence" needed to discern the actual truth that IS reality.

      Do you doubt your senses? You should. Hallucinations are an actual, real part of neuro-psychology.

      Do you doubt what a stranger says to you? You should. Trusting people you don't know is clearly irresponsible and dangerous.

      If you do not insist on facts, but are only too willing to believe any old liar that comes along, then you fail in due diligence and fail to keep truth separate from lies. When you do that why should anyone respect what you say? You have already disqualified yourself from intelligent debate by making up your own false facts based on falsehoods without even checking to see if they are true or not.

      The large disconnect between your inner delusions and the real world around you is plain to see in your words.
      You live in a fantasy world. I could have this same conversation with someone in a rubber room.
      Your ignorance and brainwashed world-view bars you from noticing this disconnect.
      In fact, you are less likely to see it because you think there is no disconnect at all.
      Funny how we sound similar in telling the other how they just don't see the truth.

      Yet I have stood where you are. You have not stood where I am. I could hold my nose and pretend hard enough to regain my faith, feeling the feedback loops of endorphins, etc. as I hyped myself up into feeling those things you "enjoy".
      It's not hard to be a believer. All it takes is a willingness to completely ignore any evidence to the contrary.

      I am willing to examine any evidence even now. You will go into delusional mode and tell me no evidence is possible because faith can only be faith if it is mindless and unquestioning. Truly the refuge of the incompetent, ignorant, and lower IQ sectors of the population.

      That's why religion is strongest amongst the least intelligent. A harsh truth that does nothing to help relations between us.

      I will say this: If there was a god, as described in the Bible, and Jesus was his son, then the sheer number of things that would be different about the universe, our lives, and everything would be astonishingly obvious to you, if you were to simply extrapolate the abilities and other things written in the Bible that describe you god.

      Extrapolate the Bible. If you do this honestly, using basic investigative techniques, you can only come to the conclusion that your god does not exist. Examine the real world and find confirmation of this. Examine your "relationship" with your god and you will see it is only your own mind giving echoes of everything in it. There is no original or supernatural knowledge that you can gain using prayer. This is one of many proofs.
      For example, you cannot pray to truly know something out of thin air. You cannot get your god to tell you anything you wouldn't have already known or been able to fabricate on your own.
      Do you see? An intense personal examination is needed without any nonsense about it. There is nothing but what you have been programmed with, nothing more. That shows your god has never entered the picture even though you got some wonderful emotional glow and warm feelings.

      Reality is extremely harsh and unyielding in it's facts.
      If you disagree, then I am wasting my time with you.

      April 20, 2012 at 11:49 am |
    • Skae

      I loved reading the book about Alex's journey. Once you read it, be sure to follow him and his family on Facebook. Alex is often rushed, however, to a major medical center in OH when times get bad so he can always use our prayers.

      God bless this young man. His story is remarkable and gives one even further hope that there is a God in Heaven.

      April 20, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Quick,
      I appreciate you for your concern. I do understand that you have convinced yourself that without verifiable physical evidence, there is no God. However, I must admit that I am a lost cause.

      My faith has been tested, tried, and verified to the point where I am convinced beyond hope. When faith is tested in the trials of life and prayers are answered, faith grows stronger.

      If your experiences with the Holy Spirit have been limited to explainable chemical and emotional responses then I fear you have never met Jesus Christ. I base that on no more than what you have written, so if I am incorrect I do apologize. I do believe you have at some time, and maybe still do have, what Jesus described as “little faith”. Little faith can be a good starting point. As Paul said, each man must work out his own salvation. It is between you and God.

      I am happy and at peace in my ignorant, brainwashed, delusional fantasy world with my hallucinations. Thank you for taking the time to explain your thoughts. If we never blog again I wish you the best and hope you find the evidence you need.

      April 20, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • Scarecrow

      Quick,

      Excellent presentation. Thank you. I wish I had a smidgeon of your writing talent and your apti'tude for concise debate. I am so glad that you shared it with us.

      April 20, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
    • Scarecrow

      Robert Brown,

      You write nicely too, but I do not share your fantasy anymore. Again, I wish you well.

      April 20, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
  5. Phosphorus

    Sky fairies are not healthy for children and other living things.

    April 19, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
  6. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things.

    April 19, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • Jesus

      ~Prayer doesn’t not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!.!.!~

      April 19, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • Joy

      Amen!

      http://www.seekgod.org/

      April 22, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • Joy

      Amen! Please check out this website It is such a blessing. Peace and Love to you all!

      http://www.seekgod.org/

      April 22, 2012 at 3:53 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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.