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December 14th, 2012
04:50 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Friday, December 14

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:


A Virgin Mary statue stands in the Breezy Point neighborhood of Queens, New York, after Superstorm Sandy destroyed at least 80 homes.

CNN: Survey: One in three Americans see extreme weather as a sign of biblical end times
More than a third of Americans see recent extreme weather as a sign that the world is in biblical “end times,” according to a survey released Thursday. Thirty-six percent of Americans say that the severity of recent natural disasters indicate that we are at the precipice of Jesus’ second coming and the end of the world, according to the survey, released by Public Religion Research Institute. The survey found that 15% of Americans believe the world will end, as predicated in the book of Revelation, in their lifetime.

CNN:#AskPontifex: Twitter questions for the pope touch on faith, sex scandal and lunch
Pope Benedict XVI's first tweet from his new personal Twitter account on Wednesday was simple: "Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart.” But the social media response to the pope's first day of active tweeting has been anything but straightforward. The pope’s Twitter account quickly swelled to over a million followers and tweets about @pontifex – meaning “bridge builder” – swirled around the Internet. Thousands of the pontiff’s Twitter followers replied to his message, which was retweeted more than 50,000 times.

Tweet of the Day:

Belief on TV:

Photos of the Day


Photo credit: Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images

Swedish children take part in a Lucia concert in a church at the open air museum of Skansen on December 13, 2012 in Stockholm. On December 13, Sweden, Estonia, Denmark, Norway, and Finland, celebrate Saint Lucia, a celebration of light that sees every school and day care picking one Lucia. Concerts with choirs of children dressed in white dresses and holding candles are typical.

Enlightening Reads:

Reuters: Ten Commandments join Isaac Newton's notes online
A copy of The Ten Commandments dating back two millennia and the earliest written Gaelic are just two of a number of incredibly rare manuscripts now freely available online to the world as part of a Cambridge University digital project. The Nash Papyrus - one of the oldest known manuscripts containing text from the Hebrew Bible - has become one of the latest treasures of humanity to join Isaac Newton's notebooks, the Nuremberg Chronicle and other rare texts as part of the Cambridge Digital Library, the university said on Wednesday.

Religion News Service: Fate of accused abusive pastor in the hands of his flock
The Rev. Travis Smith paced First Baptist Church’s sanctuary while addressing his congregation about forgiveness. Since Smith’s arrest in October on sexual abuse and statutory rape charges, which follow similar allegations from 2010, forgiveness from his congregation has become critical to his survival as its pastor. It is this group of about 100 souls — not a bishop, nor a disciplinary committee nor national church leaders — who will decide Smith’s future in the Southern Baptist Convention. Unlike members of many denominations — such as Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists, Episcopalian and Presbyterians — Southern Baptists don’t conform to a centralized, hierarchical structure.

Huffington Post: End Of World 2012: Mayan 'Doomsday' Part Of Long-Standing Interest In End Times, Apocalypse
Lonny Sundvall doesn't know what will happen on Dec. 21, but he's ready for the worst. He's amassed a year's worth of canned and dry food, dozens of gallons of water, hundreds of water purification tablets, and a small cache of weapons in a old U-Haul truck outside his western Oregon home in preparation for "doomsday," the end-times scenario based upon the ancient Mayan calendar hitting a symbolic turning point this month.

JTA: Jordan warns Israeli tourists on Jewish symbols
The Jordanian tourism ministry warned Israelis not to wear Jewish symbols when visiting the country. The ministry also suggested that visitors to Jordan not perform any Jewish rituals there. In June, six Israeli tourists were assaulted in a southern Jordan market because they were wearing kippot.

New York Times: Secularism in Search of a Nation
In 1976, India made an amendment to its Constitution that inserted the word “secular” to describe the great republic. It was a national aspiration and still is, and is glorified as a national characteristic, which it is not from the evidence in plain sight. By “secular,” India did not mean that it was atheistic or agnostic or that it rejected all religious practices. By “secular,” the people who framed the amendment meant that in India all faiths are accepted, and that Indians are expected to tolerate all religions. Every Indian has grown up listening to the idea of India as a “secular” republic. It is a ceaseless background hum, like all moral lessons. One cannot escape its persistence.

Religion News service: Atheists find holiday refuge in Ha Ha Heathens comedy show
It’s just another night of stand-up at the Punch Line, the comedy club where Robin Williams, Dana Carvey, Ellen DeGeneres and other luminaries of laughter got their start. Then, to applause and laughter, Jesus takes the microphone. “Man, this is weird for me too,” says comedian Matt Gubser, his long brown hair flowing freely over a white robe, scarlet sash and a pair of shower shoes. “To be in a room where I don’t recognize a single person. And you call yourself a Christian nation.” Welcome to “Holiday Heathens,” a December comedy show staged by Ha Ha Heathens, a comedy group featuring humor by atheists for atheists.

Join the conversation…

CNN: Police charge man with throwing chemical at rabbi
New York police have arrested a man for throwing a chemical, believed to be bleach, on a rabbi who advocates for sexual abuse victims. Meilech Schnitzler, 36, turned himself in to police Wednesday and was charged with assault, menacing, criminal mischief, and criminal possession of a weapon. He is accused of attacking Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg in Brooklyn's tightknit Orthodox Jewish neighborhood of Williamsburg on Tuesday. Schnitzler allegedly threw a chemical on Rosenberg's face, causing his eyes and face to burn. Rosenberg runs a website and telephone call-in line that publicizes claims of sexual abuse in the Hasidic community, and he believes this attack was an attempt to "silence" him, according to Abe George, the rabbi's attorney.

- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Uncategorized

soundoff (208 Responses)
  1. Joey Niquette

    DeGeneres started performing stand-up comedy at small clubs and coffee houses. By 1981 she was the emcee at Clyde's Comedy Club in New Orleans. DeGeneres cites Woody Allen and Steve Martin as her main influences at this time.."

    Please do view our favorite internet page
    <http://www.prettygoddess.com

    May 4, 2013 at 11:03 pm |
  2. My Cross

    M-y wife and I recently signed up for 23.anadem, which analyzes a sample of ones DNA. It is useful for identifying potential health risks, and tracing an.cestry. My own ancestry, through the genes, was mun.dane My wife had a remarkable ge.netic make up, which includes 3percent gen.etic material which is N-eanderthal. She is Ja-panese, with Sp-anish, French, Sl-avic, and South American na-tive (think Inca) background. But several thousand years ago (note this; it must have occurred well before 8000 years ago which creationists believe was about the time that g-od created man), a very distant ancestor of hers m-ated with a N-eanderthal. I know this is hard to believe, it is hard for me to believe, but this is true, and should cause some of you to think, as it has caused me to do. For those who wonder what this cross looks like – she is beautiful.

    December 18, 2012 at 8:49 am |
  3. Pura Regalado

    When I was age 31, I was suddenly besieged by a formidable compulsion to kill. I was so horrified, the urge to kill was so compelling. It felt like some force was trying to control my consciousness to use my being to kill everyone around me. I did not have a gun but the sight of any implement that can stab, be it a scissor or a knife or any pointed instrument was compelling me to grab it and stab anyone in sight. There were times that I had to hold my hands firmly together behind me to prevent me from grabbing the stabbing implement. I am an Architect and I was a college professor when this happened. This murderous compulsion persisted until I was forced to abandon my post at the university, fearing that if this satanic force would overcome me, my strudents would be the victims. After a month of defying this satanic force, it suddenly took control of both my hands, grabbed my neck tightly to strangle me to death. I was going to be killed by my own hands against my will but my defiant will to overcome this evil force prevailed, I waged a mind war over it and my desperation led me to ask help from God. My hands were freed and I know it was because my conscience was perfectly clear of any wrong doing and I had full confidence of God's deliverance. I was tortured by this force for three months after which this satanic force finally gave up the fight and I was back to normal. It was like being swallowed alive by a dragon but his belly could not digest me so he spat me out back to my freedom but I had to suffer the ordeal for three long months.
    Everytime I hear stories about senseless killings I am reminded of this horrendous incident of my life. I searched for answers and I found it in the works of Dr. Carl Gustav Jung, in his theory of the collective unconscious. He said that god-like forces can emanate from our collective unconscious which can interfere with our activities. Unfortunately, no one wants to believe him and he is dismissed as a mystic. Tonight, at Pierce Morgan's program, Pierce mentioned that Morgan Freeman blames our too much preoccupation with violent entertainment for the tragedy in Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut. Morgan's statement is in line with the forces emanating from our collective unconscious theory of Dr. Jung. I believe that I overcame this demonic force that manifested to me, which emanated from our collective unconscious, all destructive thought energies coalescing all together from all of humanity which sought to manifest and I happened to be its outlet, because I was not and I am not mentally impaired. These people who committed all this horrible senseless killings are mentally impaired. I believe that the demonic force emanating from our collective unconscious, created by everyone nurturing violent, destructive negative thoughts, which manifested to me is the same evil force that possessed all these senseless killers. Not all mentally impaired becomes a senseless killer and the manifestation of forces from the collective unconscious are completely random but whoever becomes the outlet is easily controlled to kill, he or she being mentally impaired. I believe that we have to look into the root of these senseless crimes and I believe that the collective psychological quality of humanity should be scrutinized. Why were 6 and 7 year olds targetted? I was horrified to find out that my four year old grandson was already into electronic war games where he blasts away his enemies. I confronted my daughter and asked her what kind of values these violent games are teaching my grandson and her answer was, "Ma, it's just a game." This is typical of how our little children are growing up. Even four year olds are already contributing to the obsessions of blasting the unwanted and they are already desensitized about killing a living human being. Is it surprising therefore that innocent six and seven year old children became victims? I am with you Morgan Freeman, everyone whose thought energies contribute to the dynamic negative archetypes that emanates from our collective unconscious are guilty. Gun controll is not enough to stop these senseless killings. We have to purge our collective unconscious of all negative, destructive thought energies.

    December 16, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
    • allan

      oh please stop advertising god.. there is no god no equality.
      grow up.
      man does good/bad selfish/selfless deeds all the time since the beginning.
      People kill or die for others all the time..
      all it takes is a rational mind..
      god is crap

      January 25, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
  4. Chick-a-dee

    Catechism of the Catholic Church

    II. Handing on the Faith: Catechesis

    4 Qu1te early 0n, the name cateches1s was g1ven t0 the t0tal1ty 0f the Church's eff0rts t0 make d1sc1ples, t0 help men bel1eve that Jesus 1s the S0n 0f G0d s0 that bel1ev1ng they m1ght have l1fe 1n h1s name, and t0 educate and 1nstruct them 1n th1s l1fe, thus bu1ld1ng up the b0dy 0f Chr1st.

    5 "Cateches1s 1s an educat10n 1n the fa1th 0f ch1ldren, y0ung pe0ple and adults wh1ch 1ncludes espec1ally the teach1ng 0f Chr1st1an d0ctr1ne 1mparted, generally speak1ng, 1n an 0rgan1c and systemat1c way, w1th a v1ew t0 1n1t1at1ng the hearers 1nt0 the fullness 0f Chr1st1an l1fe."

    6 Wh1le n0t be1ng f0rmally 1dent1f1ed w1th them, cateches1s 1s bu1lt 0n a certa1n number 0f elements 0f the Church's past0ral m1ss10n wh1ch have a catechet1cal aspect, that prepare f0r cateches1s, 0r spr1ng fr0m 1t. They are: the 1n1t1al pr0clamat10n 0f the G0spel 0r m1ss10nary preach1ng t0 ar0use fa1th; exam1nat10n 0f the reas0ns f0r bel1ef; exper1ence 0f Chr1st1an l1v1ng; celebrat10n 0f the sacraments; 1ntegrat10n 1nt0 the eccles1al c0mmun1ty; and ap0st0l1c and m1ss10nary w1tness.

    7 "Cateches1s 1s 1nt1mately b0und up w1th the wh0le 0f the Church's l1fe. N0t 0nly her ge0graph1cal extens10n and numer1cal 1ncrease, but even m0re her 1nner gr0wth and c0rresp0ndence w1th G0d's plan depend essent1ally 0n cateches1s."

    8 Per10ds 0f renewal 1n the Church are als0 1ntense m0ments 0f cateches1s. 1n the great era 0f the Fathers 0f the Church, sa1ntly b1sh0ps dev0ted an 1mp0rtant part 0f the1r m1n1stry t0 cateches1s. St. Cyr1l 0f Jerusalem and St. J0hn Chrys0st0m, St. Ambr0se and St. August1ne, and many 0ther Fathers wr0te catechet1cal w0rks that rema1n m0dels f0r us.11

    9 "The m1n1stry 0f cateches1s draws ever fresh energy fr0m the c0unc1ls. the C0unc1l 0f Trent 1s a n0tew0rthy example 0f th1s. 1t gave cateches1s pr10r1ty 1n 1ts c0nst1tut10ns and decrees. 1t l1es at the 0r1g1n 0f the R0man Catech1sm, wh1ch 1s als0 kn0wn by the name 0f that c0unc1l and wh1ch 1s a w0rk 0f the f1rst rank as a summary 0f Chr1st1an teach1ng. " The C0unc1l 0f Trent 1n1t1ated a remarkable 0rgan1zat10n 0f the Church's cateches1s. Thanks t0 the w0rk 0f h0ly b1sh0ps and the0l0g1ans such as St. Peter Can1s1us, St. Charles B0rr0me0, St. Tur1b1us 0f M0ngr0vej0 0r St. R0bert Bellarm1ne, 1t 0ccas10ned the publ1cat10n 0f numer0us catech1sms.

    10 1t 1s theref0re n0 surpr1se that cateches1s 1n the Church has aga1n attracted attent10n 1n the wake 0f the Sec0nd Vat1can C0unc1l, wh1ch P0pe Paul Vl c0ns1dered the great catech1sm 0f m0dern t1mes. the General Catechet1cal D1rect0ry (1971) the sess10ns 0f the Syn0d 0f B1sh0ps dev0ted t0 evangel1zat10n (1974) and cateches1s (1977), the ap0st0l1c exh0rtat10ns Evangel nuntiandi (1975) and Cateches1 tradendae (1979), attest t0 th1s. the Extra0rd1nary Syn0d 0f B1sh0ps 1n 1985 asked "that a catech1sm 0r c0mpend1um 0f all Cath0l1c d0ctr1ne regard1ng b0th fa1th and m0rals be c0mp0sed" The H0ly Father, P0pe J0hn Paul 11, made the Syn0d's w1sh h1s 0wn, ackn0wledg1ng that "th1s des1re wh0lly c0rresp0nds t0 a real need 0f the un1versal Church and 0f the part1cular Churches." He set 1n m0t10n everyth1ng needed t0 carry 0ut the Syn0d Fathers' w1sh.

    December 16, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
  5. Bill Utrup

    God is unknowable. God can only be experienced through us. God is grounded in the polarity conscious world we live in, all is God experiencing itself as a human, in all facets of human reality. Everything happens for a reason to awaken us to this reality. Once we understand this, we will no longer need drastic events to wake us up to this reality...

    December 15, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • Brian

      "God is unknowable. God can only be experienced through us. "

      God is unknowable but yet you can experience it, oh and then you need drastic events to wake you up to this fact. Religious people are nuts.

      December 16, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • allan

      god does not exists..
      there is no god, no santa claus. no incubus, no succubus..
      grow up dude..
      stop playing this make belief games for once and for all...
      We lable/have labeled people who talk talk to imaginary persons in the mental hospitals or on the street. and yet you are talking about the imaginary person..
      god is sickness which we need to be cured off.

      January 25, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
  6. CCC

    Catechism of the Catholic Church

    I. The life of man – to know and love God

    1 God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life. For this reason, at every time and in every place, God draws close to man. He calls man to seek him, to know him, to love him with all his strength. He calls together all men, scattered and divided by sin, into the unity of his family, the Church. To accomplish this, when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son as Redeemer and Saviour. In his Son and through him, he invites men to become, in the Holy Spirit, his adopted children and thus heirs of his blessed life.

    2 So that this call should resound throughout the world, Christ sent forth the apostles he had chosen, commissioning them to proclaim the gospel: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age."4 Strengthened by this mission, the apostles "went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that attended it."5

    3 Those who with God's help have welcomed Christ's call and freely responded to it are urged on by love of Christ to proclaim the Good News everywhere in the world. This treasure, received from the apostles, has been faithfully guarded by their successors. All Christ's faithful are called to hand it on from generation to generation, by professing the faith, by living it in fraternal sharing, and by celebrating it in liturgy and prayer.6

    December 15, 2012 at 6:59 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.