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August 15th, 2012
05:45 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Wednesday, August 15

By Arielle Hawkins, 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: Mohammed retakes top spot in English baby names
Mohammed reclaimed its place as the most popular name for baby boys born in England and Wales in 2011 – convincingly ahead of Harry, in second place, according to data released by the government this week.

CNN: Romney-Ryan ticket makes U.S. religious history
In selecting Paul Ryan for his running mate, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has made modern political history: a major party ticket with no Protestant Christian.

Belief on TV:

Enlightening Reads:

The Plain Dealer: Members of fringe Amish group request word 'cult' be banned from hate-crime trial
Members of a fringe Amish group charged with committing hate crimes against fellow Amish have requested words including "cult," "splinter" and "rogue" be banned from their upcoming trial in U.S. District Court, according to court documents filed Monday. They also requested that any Amish called to testify "affirm the truthfulness" of their testimony rather than swear an oath.

EWTN News: Bishops condemn sudden advance of contraception bill
The Catholic bishops of the Philippines have said the national legislature’s recent vote to end discussion on the controversial Reproductive Health Bill was a “display of naked power” and a “brazen disregard of the basic tenets of fair play.”

The Jewish Daily Forward: Orthodox Mobilize To Defend Circumcision Rite
New York City could face mass resistance in the ultra-Orthodox community to proposed regulation of Jewish circumcision rites that involve the oral suctioning of blood from genital wounds, say advocates for that community.

LA Times: Disney says Muslim woman had options in head scarf dispute
Disney officials say they presented "multiple options" to accommodate the religious beliefs of a Muslim woman who is now suing the entertainment giant and claims she unfairly lost her job at a Disneyland Resort café after refusing to remove her head scarf at work. Imane Boudlal, 28, filed a federal lawsuit against Walt Disney Corp. on Monday, saying she was also discriminated against and harassed for her religious beliefs.

Excerpt of the Day:

Possibility #2: Life on Mars is totally independent from life on Earth. This possibility has been termed a “Second Genesis” and would have profound impact on both scientific and faith communities. If Mars has a different source of life than Earth, then it would prove that life began from scratch on a totally different planet. If it could happen on Mars, then it stands to reason that it could happen anywhere in the universe. Theologically speaking, this would spark a lot of questions about the creation story, human uniqueness and the scope of God’s purposes. What if the human story of redemption is only part of a larger picture? If God is letting life bloom on other planets, what would that say about us?

Christopher Abel, a contributor to Relevant Magazine, explores the theological implications of The Curiosity's multi-billion dollar mission to prove we're not alone.

Opinion of the Day:

CNN: My Take: Paul Ryan will provoke a debate on Catholic politics
Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," writes that: “a Catholic on both major party tickets will create an intra-Catholic conversation pitting ‘social justice’ Christians on the left versus ‘family values’ Christians on the right.”

Join the conversation…

First on CNN: Atheist group targets presidential candidates' faith with billboards
A prominent atheist group is using next month's Democratic National Convention to take aim at the presidential candidates' religion, putting up billboards targeting Mormonism and Christianity in Charlotte, North Carolina.

- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Morning Read

soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. icons download

    I apologise, but, in my opinion, you commit an error. Write to me in PM.

    October 9, 2012 at 4:33 am |
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    How to define several excellent poetry blogs as well as sites to create magazine blog posts? womens nike air max 2012

    August 16, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
  3. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    August 15, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • niknak

      No it doesn't you creepy fundie.

      August 15, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
    • truth be told

      yes it does you no account loser.

      August 16, 2012 at 5:29 am |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does 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!

      August 16, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
  4. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    That is a good point. Also your statement "If the Israeli’s feel they must attack, then ground troops would be the ONLY acceptable approach" may be true – as you say, because it is a working reactor complex. A different question comes to mind: If the Israeli's do engage in a ground action, which would have to be large if it is to be effective, what happens if it goes badly? The Israelis fail and are pinned in the positions they hold and can't be extracted. Do we assist if we are asked to?

    August 15, 2012 at 10:10 am |
    • William Demuth

      I wonder if commandos could seize a running reactor and then permanently disable it in some way?

      Perhaps some type of epoxy injected into the reactor core to fuse it in the open position? Maybe pumping concrete into the cooling system, but they would need to bring the reactor off line AND wait for it to cool down. That would require several day of holding it I believe.

      Rife with chance for bad outcomes.

      August 15, 2012 at 10:23 am |
  5. AverageJoe76

    Actually, I'm intrigued by the exert of the day:

    "Possibility #2: Life on Mars is totally independent from life on Earth. This possibility has been termed a “Second Genesis” and would have profound impact on both scientific and faith communities. If Mars has a different source of life than Earth, then it would prove that life began from scratch on a totally different planet. If it could happen on Mars, then it stands to reason that it could happen anywhere in the universe. Theologically speaking, this would spark a lot of questions about the creation story, human uniqueness and the scope of God’s purposes. What if the human story of redemption is only part of a larger picture? If God is letting life bloom on other planets, what would that say about us?"

    what would life on other planets mean to the faithful? what's the new 'spin' to keep the flock?

    August 15, 2012 at 10:00 am |
    • lunchbreaker

      It really shouldn't matter unless there is alien life that is intellegent enough to understand and reject any particular religions path to salvation. But many faithful will feel threatened enough to need a "spin", "Goddidit" would seem sufficient enough for them.

      August 15, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • Prayer changed my oil. Alleluia, amen.

      It is more likely that the first real threat will come from here.
      1. Humans have assembled functioning viruses from scratch, and a working jellyfish from rat heart cells. It is only a matter of time until DNA, RNA, and some assembled proteins/enzymes will be seen to be "alive", from scratch.
      2. AT some level of complexity, artificial intelligence may be seen to be self-aware.
      Seems the threats to religion are already at hand, and right here, already.

      August 15, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • J.W

      The life forms on Mars will eventually worship a god.

      August 15, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
  6. William Demuth

    Question of the day.

    What impact would the Jews (Israel) bombing the Muslims (Persia / Iran) prior to election day have on the election?

    Will the Jews act if they fear Obama will win a second term, in an attempt to influence our election and assist the right in taking control of US foreign policy?

    August 15, 2012 at 8:41 am |
    • lunchbreaker

      Obama's reaction to said attack, I think, would determine if it would swing the election. If he condemned the attack, our strangely zionist society might come with a backlash. But considering the timing of the attack, it would have most likely been unprovoked. I would think a rational society would be okay with condemming an unprovoked attack. But maybe that's the real question: how rational are our voters?

      August 15, 2012 at 9:00 am |
    • William Demuth

      Well lunch, on a scale of one to ten, with one being Charles Manson, and a ten being Mahatma Gandhi, I would put us at about a weak three.

      One thing that is rarely mention is the reactor(s) at Bushehr. To stop the nuclear program, the attack would have to hit one (and possibly as many as five) OPERATING reactors.

      The precedent, and possible ramifications of a military attack on active nuclear reactors is unimaginable. Even a slight turn of bad luck might cause a meltdown or an explosion in a fuel storage area, leaving a large swath of territory unsafe for humans for 25,000 years.

      We need to send a message that we will NOT be coming along for the ride if any aerial assault is launched against any nuclear facilities.

      If the Israeli’s feel they must attack, then ground troops would be the ONLY acceptable approach.

      Otherwise the Iranians would be well within their rights to launch some suicide truck bombs against OUR reactors.

      Being close to Indian Point, I find that unacceptable, even unimaginable.

      The precedent, and possible ramifications of a military attack on nuclear reactors is unimaginable

      August 15, 2012 at 9:33 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      The Obama administration would release a statement saying "we are watching the situation very closely". The Romney campaign would be at a loss, having hoped that US military action would be a jumping off point for Romney administration foreign policy – or at least that hints of future military action might persuade some of the more gullible Jewish voters.

      August 15, 2012 at 9:41 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      "The precedent, and possible ramifications of a military attack on nuclear reactors is unimaginable" – this has done by the Israelis twice before. Iraq in 1981 and Syria in 2007.

      August 15, 2012 at 9:44 am |
    • AverageJoe76

      He (Obama) may reach out to China and Russia in hopes of calming Iran. Hillary will have choice words for Israel (Joe will probably be cursin' his head off in the background). But ultimately, they'll spin some type of stalling tatic before making any concrete decisions before the election. Either that, or begin to sabatoge Israel's offenses in an attempt to stall for more time. IDK, I'm sure they have WAY more options than what I could think of. I'm sure they've played this 'wargame' before.

      August 15, 2012 at 9:56 am |
    • William Demuth

      Tom

      I believe the Iraqi reactor wasn't running, it was being built. The Syrian attack has little factual information at all. In fact I suspect it wasn't actually even a reactor.

      The Iranian facility is HUGE in comaparison. With the storage onsite, it's potential yield is several magnitudes larger.

      August 15, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Sorry ... I'll put it in the right place.

      That is a good point. Also your statement "If the Israeli’s feel they must attack, then ground troops would be the ONLY acceptable approach" may be true – as you say, because it is a working reactor complex. A different question comes to mind: If the Israeli's do engage in a ground action, which would have to be large if it is to be effective, what happens if it goes badly? The Israelis fail and are pinned in the positions they hold and can't be extracted. Do we assist if we are asked to?

      August 15, 2012 at 10:11 am |
    • William Demuth

      Tom

      I suspect we would then do a precision strike in support of the ground troops.

      Ugly scenario, but Obama would be trapped

      August 15, 2012 at 10:16 am |

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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.