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September 20th, 2012
07:51 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Thursday, September 20

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: Putting the 'jab' in 'hijab': Girls beat up Iran cleric when he tells them to cover up
They may be a far cry from their Western counterparts fighting for the acceptance to breast feed – or go topless – in public, but two girls clobbered a cleric recently in a small town in Iran, when he admonished one of them to cover herself more completely. The cleric said he asked "politely," but the girl's angry reaction and some pugilistic double-teaming with her friend landed the holy man in the hospital, according to an account in the semi-official Mehr News Agency.

CNN: 5 questions and answers about Jesus' 'wife'
Since the news broke Tuesday about a scrap of papyrus containing the line in Coptic, "Jesus said, 'My wife..' " questions have rocketed across the world about what this means. We put many of the big questions to leading scholars, pastors and people in the pews to find the answers.

Belief on TV:

Enlightening Reads:

Aljazeera: The fallacy of the phrase, 'the Muslim world'
On September 12, the day after the attacks on the US diplomatic missions in Egypt and Libya, the New York Times set out to explain what it called the "anguished relationship between the United States and the Muslim world". According to the Times, the "Muslim world" was prone to outbursts of violence, and the reaction to the 14-minute anti-Islam movie trailer The Innocence of Muslims was both baffling and predictable. "Once again, Muslims were furious," wrote reporter Robert F Worth, "and many in the West found themselves asking why Islam seems to routinely answer such desecrations with violence." Other media outlets echoed the claim that "the Muslim world" was consumed by anger, and had long been so. It is time to retire the phrase "the Muslim world" from the Western media. Using the phrase in the manner above disregards not only history and politics, but accurate reporting of contemporary events.

CNN: Actress in anti-Islamic film files lawsuit against filmmaker and YouTube
One of the actresses in "Innocence of Muslims" - the anti-Islam film that ignited a firestorm in the Muslim world - is suing the producer of the film, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, claiming she is a victim of fraud, invasion of privacy and misappropriation of her likeness.

Religion News Service: Vatican helps launch church-approved ads for Catholic websites
An Italian startup is launching a web advertising platform that aims to provide Catholic websites with Catholic-approved advertisements. The platform, called AdEthic, will be presented on Thursday (Sept. 20) at a press conference in Rome, as part of a wider Catholic project to engage in social media.

EWTN: Obama religious freedom ad points to issue's significance
A new ad by the Obama campaign acknowledging the importance of religious liberty shows that the issue is still a critical aspect of this election, said a religious freedom advocate. “It’s having a huge impact, and he's recognizing that,” Scheidler told EWTN News on Sept. 19. The fact that the web video was made shows that the issue is still alive and that the president feels “threatened” by the impact of the grassroots campaign opposing his policies, he asserted.

Religion News Service: Can hip-hop be holy? A Q&A with Monica Miller
Hip-hop's all the rage at universities and seminaries these days. Scholars parse its angry and often violent language. They sift out refrains of religious redemption or clever critiques of modern culture. In some traditionally African-American divinity schools, the rise and fall of response and call, old-school black preaching, is giving way to intricately rhyming rap.

Quote of the Day:

Senators, I came here today to ask the government to give my mother the dignity of being a statistic. The FBI does not track hate crimes against Sikhs. My mother and those shot that day will not even count on a federal form. We cannot solve a problem we refuse to recognize.

Harpreet Singh Saini from Oak Creek, WI lost his mother in the Aug. 5 Sikh temple shooting.

Opinion of the Day:

CNN Opinion: Media don't get #MuslimRage
Dean Obeidallah, former attorney, political comedian, editor of the politics blog "The Dean's Report" and co-director of the upcoming documentary "The Muslims Are Coming!, " discusses the #MuslimRage phenomenon. “A small number of protesters should not define the entire Muslim population of over a billion. The media should know this and report the truth accordingly,” he says.

Join the conversation…

CNN: Newly revealed Coptic fragment has Jesus making reference to 'my wife'
A newly revealed, centuries-old papyrus fragment suggests that some early Christians might have believed Jesus was married. The fragment, written in Coptic, a language used by Egyptian Christians, says in part, "Jesus said to them, 'My wife ..." Harvard Divinity School Professor Karen King announced the findings of the 1 1/2- by 3-inch honey-colored fragment on Tuesday in Rome at the International Association for Coptic Studies.

- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Uncategorized

soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Atheism is Great for Kids and Grown-Ups Too!

    It's really best for all people including children to have an agnostic approach to god, and an atheistic approach to all religion. It keeps things simple for kids, and lets them be all that they can be. They just need to be taught that some things, like all religion, were just made up by salesmen and politicians from long ago. (Yes, charlatan folklore and spam started long before the Bible; what would make you think they hadn't?) And they need to be taught that other things, like God, we really don't know a damn thing about.

    Atheists have strong minds and don't need a religion. Many religious folk have the best intentions. But too often, religious folk run and hide their misdeeds within their religion (and by doing so, they disserve society). And too often, religious folk are easily offended when someone mocks their make-believe characters – and, as we can see they can get really CRAZY!

    Although there are many religious folk with good intentions – some selflessly helping others, religions and religious organizations are, as a whole, just big old clubs – each trying to out do each other and inspiring hate and division (often disguised as love) along the way. The problem is that people too easily buy into religion and don't realize how unfounded it all is. And when they buy into it, they buy into a lot of really old, really weird tenets that are nothing but harmful for the human species.

    Take Christianity, for instance. Just look at all the things that Christians argue about amongst themselves today – abortion, men's and women's roles in the church, celibacy, contraception, acceptance of gays, etc. Most of these issues have their roots in the conflicted, unfounded tenets of early Christianity. Non-Mormons harp on Joseph Smith these days. But we really don't have any more proof at all to believe that Paul, the self-proclaimed "apostle" was anything more than an ordinary man who needed to make up religious "sales literature" to survive and spread his own personal beliefs. And yet a good chunk of the NT is attributed to Paul and accepted by many Christians. And a lot of what he wrote about has to do with many of the issues I mentioned above that have Christians fighting amongst themselves hundreds of years later. It's way too unfounded to argue over.

    Get a good cup of tea, and sit down and collect your thoughts. If you find it helpful to pray to a god (something you know nothing about), fine. But it is really healthier for the mind to leave behind all the characters that people over the centuries have invented or given powers to, for which there is little or no foundation. Because with those invented characters and powers – that's where division and hate join the little party in your mind. That's where, in your mind, you are inheriting the division and hate from ordinary politicians, lobbyists and salesmen from long ago. My goodness.

    mama kindless

    September 20, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
    • Irp

      Posted on I don't Have a solution as well Aloka. I've gotetn into some arguments with people over similar incidents. Once at a 5* hotel where the security staff didn't even move. As long as authorities do not back you up I'm not sure how much can change. A lot of people in power think the same way as these men. I hope that can be changed. How, is the question

      October 8, 2012 at 2:18 am |
  2. hippypoet

    absurdity is the mindset of the believers mind and so they produce absurd "evidence" to back up their absurd beliefs and then ask you absurd questions in order to show superiority to you for not believing as they do since they believe you could never answer the questions without the requirement of a god type figure. its a p!$s poor stance to take but many do because they lack the ability to discern fact from fiction. its absurd and arrogant!

    September 20, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
  3. hippypoet

    Adam's response to Eve eating the apple – "I'm so going to core her apple!"
    Eve's response to this – "Eat me!"
    The talking snake – "sounds kin.ky!"

    September 20, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
  4. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    September 20, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • 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! -

      September 20, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but your assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. The degree to which your assertions may represent correct statements is 0.0. To help you understand the degree to which your assertions may represent correct statements, I will access my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE). Using my IEE module, the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent correct statements is: "TOTAL FAIL".

      I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book might help you overcome this problem:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...
      by the Alzheimer's Disease Society

      September 20, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
  5. niknak

    Ha ha ha, laughing at fundies.
    Everyday science is proving your sky fairy myth wrong.
    People are leaving organized religion for just that reason.
    And you know what?
    Deep down inside you have doubts, as evidenced by how fervently cling to life by any means, which of course depends on science to make that happen.
    Enjoy your long slide into oblivion. Absolutely no one is going to miss you.

    September 20, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • Robert Brown

      Niknak,
      Someone will miss you and someone will miss me. Faith without ever any doubt would be perfect faith. Do you know anyone who is perfect?

      September 20, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • Perfectly Human Human

      I'm totally without sin, does that count? Your god does not exist, so all your preaching is empty of value, Robert.

      September 20, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
  6. Robert Brown

    For God so loved the world.....

    What is so bad about that?

    September 20, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • mama kindless

      That's a good concept. You know – thinking of God like mother nature, if you will. But no one knows any more than that and no one ever did. And if you think about God as just a mother nature, then things like hardship and catastrophe make a lot more sense than the spin that religions have tried to do (in circles I might add) to explain such things.

      September 20, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • mama kindless

      Just remember that "For God so loved the world" is something that a man wrote, not any deity.

      September 20, 2012 at 10:14 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Good morning Robert

      I guess it bothers me because it suggests that God's powers are limited while at the same time religious people, Christians in particular, are claiming that they are not. You say God did something out of (boundless?) love for the world, but there is still death and a lot of pain, suffering and injustice in it.

      September 20, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • myweightinwords

      Love is good. However, true, absolute, unconditional love? The god you speak of would seem incapable of that.

      September 20, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • Robert Brown

      mama kindles,
      Through Gods Holy Spirit we know much more than that, not everything of course, but much more.

      Tom,
      Good morning, according to Gods word death, pain, suffering, & injustice exist because of the unrepentant sin of people. From a Christian perspective, if you believe that God created everything we can perceive and he has been faithful to do as he promised for you personally, his power certainly seems unlimited.

      Myweightinwords,
      I knew a preacher once who liked to say “it is better felt than telt.” His way of saying that Gods love is hard to describe with words. The unconditional part is he provided the way requiring no act on our part. He loved us first, it is up to us whether we love him back.

      September 20, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      God's love cannot be unconditional is He is a jealous being who demands obedience and flattery.

      September 20, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • Huebert

      @Robert

      If you stop with that one statement their is no problem. Problems occur after the "that".

      September 20, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • *facepalm*

      "The unconditional part is he provided the way requiring no act on our part."

      This would be true, but this doesn't describe the Christian mythology where a god demands obedience and worship and threatens eternal torture. The god of the xtian mythology describes the exact opposite of unconditional love.

      September 20, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Doc,
      God is jealous, he doesn’t want you to love anyone or anything more than him. Obedience = faith period.

      Huebert,
      If faith is the problem then yes you are correct. Nothing else is a deal breaker.

      *facepalm*,
      Yours is a common misconception among nonbelievers. When God walked the earth in human flesh the children of Israel were judged. We live now in the age of grace until he comes again. You are invited into his grace.

      September 20, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      Robert, so your saying that your god used to have conditional love, and now he doesn't? Your god was imperfect and now he's perfect?

      Believing in your god is a condition of his love. You can try to explain it away all you want, but your bible is quite clear on this matter. The bible also lists quite a large number of ways that one gets to be eternally tortured – your god sets up a lot of conditions, unless the god you believe in is not the one described by the bible.

      September 20, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      *facepalm*,
      Not at all, his love has always been unconditional, in that he loved us first. He loved the children of Israel before they loved him. They didn’t do anything to deserve his love and neither do Christians today, we are all sinners. He put a lot of conditions on them for material blessings and life on this earth in the Old Testament. Those who disobeyed paid a heavy price up to and including losing their life here, doesn’t mean he sent them to hell. He puts a lot of conditions on Christians today for spiritual blessings, it doesn’t mean if we mess up he sends us to hell. It means he corrects us. We don’t do our best by his spirit to obey him to avoid hell. We avoid hell by faith period. We obey him because we love him for loving us first.

      September 20, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • Huebert

      @Robert

      You are correct faith, belief without knowledge, is the problem.

      September 20, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Huebert,
      If faith is what you are lacking, there is a tried and true method to obtain it. Hear the word of God.

      September 20, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • Deeter

      @Robert Brown
      I see you have retreated from trying to argue and are now no more than a dumb parrot preaching at people. Pathetic.

      September 20, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
  7. mama kindless

    It's really best for all people including children to have an agnostic approach to god, and an atheistic approach to all religion. It keeps things simple for kids, and lets them be all that they can be. They just need to be taught that some things, like all religion, were just made up by salesmen and politicians from long ago. (Yes, charlatan folklore and spam started long before the Bible; what would make you think they hadn't?) And they need to be taught that other things, like God, we really don't know a damn thing about.

    Atheists have strong minds and don't need a religion. Many religious folk have the best intentions. But too often, religious folk run and hide their misdeeds within their religion (and by doing so, they disserve society). And too often, religious folk are easily offended when someone mocks their make-believe characters – and, as we can see they can get really CRAZY!

    Although there are many religious folk with good intentions – some selflessly helping others, religions and religious organizations are, as a whole, just big old clubs – each trying to out do each other and inspiring hate and division (often disguised as love) along the way. The problem is that people too easily buy into religion and don't realize how unfounded it all is. And when they buy into it, they buy into a lot of really old, really weird tenets that are nothing but harmful for the human species.

    Take Christianity, for instance. Just look at all the things that Christians argue about amongst themselves today – abortion, men's and women's roles in the church, celibacy, contraception, acceptance of gays, etc. Most of these issues have their roots in the conflicted, unfounded tenets of early Christianity. Non-Mormons harp on Joseph Smith these days. But we really don't have any more proof at all to believe that Paul, the self-proclaimed "apostle" was anything more than an ordinary man who needed to make up religious "sales literature" to survive and spread his own personal beliefs. And yet a good chunk of the NT is attributed to Paul and accepted by many Christians. And a lot of what he wrote about has to do with many of the issues I mentioned above that have Christians fighting amongst themselves hundreds of years later. I don't buy any of it.

    Get a good cup of tea, and sit down and collect your thoughts. If you find it helpful to pray to a god (something you know nothing about), fine. But it is really healthier for the mind to leave behind all the characters that people over the centuries have invented or given powers to, for which there is little or no foundation. Because with those invented characters and powers – that's where division and hate join the little party in your mind. That's where, in your mind, you are inheriting the division and hate from ordinary politicians, lobbyists and salesmen from long ago. My goodness.

    mama kindless

    September 20, 2012 at 9:15 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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.