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: Christmas exposes atheist divide on dealing with religion
The Christmas season is revealing a growing rift among American atheists when it comes to the question of how to deal with religion. Some atheist activists are trying to seize the holidays as a time to build bridges with faith groups, while other active unbelievers increasingly see Christmas as a central front in the war on religious faith. With the dramatic growth of the nonreligious in the last few decades, more atheist leaders are emerging as spokespeople for atheism, but the Christmas rift speaks to growing disagreement over how atheists should treat religion.
Tweet of the Day:
#Vatican crows that #Pope #Benedict beats Justin #Bieber on #re-tweets reut.rs/UbrEHR #twitter #retweet #catholic #church— Tom Heneghan (@RTRFaithWorld) December 20, 2012
#Vatican crows that #Pope #Benedict beats Justin #Bieber on #re-tweets reut.rs/UbrEHR #twitter #retweet #catholic #church
Belief on TV:
Reuters: Canada’s Supreme Court rejects blanket rule on wearing niqabs in court
Canadian judges should decide on a case-by-case basis whether women can wear the niqab, a full-face veil, while testifying in court, but a blanket rule on the issue would be “untenable,” Canada’s top court said on Thursday. The decision, supported by four of the seven judges who heard the case at the Supreme Court of Canada, said lower courts must consider, among other things, the harm that could come if Muslim women who wear the niqab feel discouraged from reporting offenses.
The Guardian: Gujarat's divisive leader scores resounding victory at state elections
Narendra Modi of the Hindu nationalist BJP now eyes the national stage, but his role in 2001 sectarian violence against Muslims could count against him.
The Guardian: The Bible is surprise bestseller in Norway
The hottest read in Norway this year is packed with polygamy, prostitutes – even corporal punishment. But this isn't Fifty Shades of Grey; instead, Norwegians have been rushing to pick up copies of the Bible. Published last October, a new Norwegian translation of the Bible has been one of the top 15 bestsellers in the country for 54 out of the last 56 weeks, jostling for position with more populist titles from the likes of EL James, James Nesbø, Ken Follett and Per Petterson.
Huffington Post: End Of The World 2012: Live Updates On The Mayan Apocalypse
As Dec. 21, 2012 fast approaches, doomsday-believers around the globe are bracing for what they believe will be the end of the world. A Chinese inventor built "survival pods" to help him through the mayhem. A contractor developed underground bunkers to safeguard their Italian owners. And fare finder website Skyscanner reports its customers are showing an increasing interest in one-way tickets to "Apocalypse safe havens."
The Telegraph: Christian parents group to sue school over yoga classes
The Encinitas Union School District plans to offer yoga instruction at all of its nine schools from January, despite a protest by parents who say they believe it will indoctrinate their children in Eastern religion. The growing popularity of yoga is forcing U.S. public schools to address the question of whether it is a religious practice or simply exercise.
Join the conversation…
Tourists are seen in front of the 'Gran Jaguar' Mayan temple at the Tikal archaeological site, 560 kms north of Guatemala City. Ceremonies will be held here to celebrate the end of the Mayan cycle known as Bak'tun 13 and the start of the new Maya Era on December 21, 2012.
CNN: Some believe Friday is doomsday on the Mayan calendar; the Mayans don't
There may be no one left on earth to say TGIF this week. Some believe the world is coming to an end Friday - on 12/21/12 - which is when an important phase on the ancient calendar of the Mayan people terminates. Mayans don't buy it. At least the ones living in the city of Merida, Mexico don't. Neither does the Mayan village of Yaxuna. They know the calendar their ancestors left them is about to absolve a key phase, which means the end of an era and the heralding of a new one, but they don't think we're all gonna die.
way too much pride, try reading the new evidence Bible by kirk cameron and ray comfort. That is to open your hard hearts to God.
you still get a holiday, even though this date was made by a man,
Merry Christmas and Gods Blessings
The idiots who think the banana in its current form is proof that goddidit?
No, thanks. If I want fantasy, I'll read Tolkien.
For someone who has posted she has children my question to you is: did you have them through child birth or did you adopt? If child birth is your answer then you should see the origins of where your fairy tale "evolution" was stolen.
Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort. What opportunist jokes. Get back in your cave, Henry – we no longer need bronze-age mystics to help "explain" life to us.
The Biggest Science Breakthroughs Of The Year
The discovery of the Higgs boson confirms mainstream physics theories.
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/sciences-2012-breakthroughs-of-the-year-2012-12?op=1#ixzz2Fhwtm7gE
Collisions between particles inside the Large Hadron Collider atom smasher have created what looks like a new form of matter.
The new kind of matter is called color-glass condensate, and is a liquidlike wave of gluons, which are elementary particles related to the strong force that sticks quarks together inside protons and neutrons (hence they are like "glue").
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/large-hadron-collider-creates-new-kind-of-matter-2012-11#ixzz2Fi921EFh
The collisions of what we 'perceive happens' as emulations of ever smaller bits and/or chunks of material within atomization's of matter only concludes that there are ever smaller undulations being revealed to the seekers who dare to search the voids of the inner chasms of atomic cloisters mainframes. The inner cosmologies of atomically orientated matters are of a contained emulation of the physical variations of the inner spatial kinds and our intentional collisions are determined much the same way that meteors and asteroids and comets crash into planetary objects but on a scale of sublime smallness. The atomic matter not photographed due extremely small sizes leaves science ever to ponder just exactly how much further inwards is matter's size values ever to be ostensibly revealed.
Merry Christmas, everyone!
What's up T? You have some good holidays so far?
Merry Christmas, dude.
It's been OK. Got a VERY busy weekend coming up. Christmas cantata at church, Christmas at in-laws then my family's.
How about you?
Pretty quiet. Looking forward to Christmas morning.
We are still here but the day aint over yet
Are you going to donate the gifts you receive this year towards the victims of Hurricane Sandy? I believe every atheist should do the same with all gifts received. Don't forget to appreciate the giving nature of the people who gave you a gift, Remember to refuse Easter and Thanksgiving invitations to dinners too.
P.S. Getting coal in your stocking today is considered a luxury since the cost of fuels keeps escalating.
Roger, are you going to donate everything you receive?
One doesn't need a deity to give gifts any time of the year; your statement is disingenuous.
Altruism needs no God to give the act validity.
I suggest you grow up.
Akira, next you'll be saying you never learned this ritual from religious teachings and that atheists came up with the idea.
Roger, honey, I don't donate my gifts. I give my own money. I just donated to Heifer International. Why don't you do the same?
Happy Yule! Blessed Solstice!
The wheel turns...the shortest day gives way to the longest night. From here the days grow again, the nights slowly retreat, until the equinox finds them equal again.
I'm already tired of Winter, and it has barely begun!
I like watching the days slowly get longer again...then Spring fever kicks in, lol.
I am very grateful to not live where I get a "real Winter"...I go most of the winter without even really wearing a jacket, though I have days I need one.
I did my years in the deep snow, my first 18 I lived in Upstate NY, near Lake Ontario.
Last night was the first time this year that the temperature has been below thirty degrees, the high today is in the mid fifties.
You're lucky, MWIW; I've dealt with Midwestern Winters all my life...although last night was the first time we had snow.
I currently live in upstate Ny near lake ontario...and guess what....its snowing.
yule : the scandinavian fertility god, to enjoy the tradition of yuletide carols and greetings.
wiccan : the tradition of wreaths and decking the halls with holly.
saturn : the tradition of decorating a saturnalia tree in your home.
odin and thor : a tradition of a visitor bringing gifts during the night.
sleipnie : odin's flying 8 legged horse, a tradition of listening for the sound of hooves on your roof.
mithras : the tradition of celebrating the sun's rebirth on dec 25th.
The Wiccan religion is only about 50-70 years old, so I doubt we get the whole wreaths thing from them.
I thought Odin's horse had 6 legs.
how dare you argue my gods and their traditions!!!! my gods gave me this list, they are never wrong...and they made me their dude on earth!!! and so by default well everything i say is law and you are all wrong – and my god says i must kill those who don't believe as i do! so die!!!!!!
that about wrap it up?
since they are all made up, even if i am off by a foot or two, does it make a real difference? :P
Every time an atheist complains about God, proves to believers they are lawless.
My son's name is Sleipnir, and his legs are eight in number. I never gave Odin permission to ride him about as a common steed!!
Today is the day all people on earth gets a chance to raise the love energy of this plant. today is a new beginning for us, a realization that we are all one with everything within us, and the universe, a day to promote love, not fear, and realize that we create our reality, so people lets create a world of connection, unity, harmony, peace, and Love. A world with conpassion, forgiveness, a world were the people of earth does not liable themselves by there color, or nationality, or religious afiliation,just simple the Human Race where God lives within in us all.
It's all fine except for the part where god lives within us all. That is just not so.
God is within us. God is everywhere. Blessed are those you know this. Sympathy towards those who are still learning.
New age belief
it is still demonic
Would you rather fight a horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses?
the horse sized duck – duck is amazingly tasty and i think i would be in heaven if i had the amount of meat that creature would have....yummy :)
I had not thought of that aspect hippy, then again I'm a vegetarian. Just watch out for that beak. A duck that size could exert some serious force.
as a vegie dude do you have to take vit. B supplements?
as far as the damage done by mr big beak...if you are familiar with the terror bird i'd imagine i'd have no chance of victory unless i have a gun. and i'd imagine the speed of said creature would be rather quick...and it would fly unlike the terror bird!
I've always taken a multivitamin, never vitamin B specifically. If you are a woman you just have to make sure you get enough iron, which isn't a problem in todays society, many products are iron enriched. But before modern society, a woman could not survive being a vegetarian.
anyone else hear about how Peter Gertsen's jump went. You know, the nut case who was going to jump off a plateau on the winter solstice in Arizona?
Wonder if he will bounce when he hits?
I guess he chickened out or got smart, one of the two.
The sky portal didn't open for him, I guess. Oh well.
One of the biggest stories that should be featured today is the Pagan holiday of Yule. We need more media exposure to reassure people that Pagans don't worship the devil, or any of that nonsense. Describing a Yule/Winter Solstice ritual would have been perfect for today, but I guess the Belief Blog is only focused on mainstream religion. What a shame.
A blessed Solstice to all of you!
the use of the word pagan makes you seem very ignorant. the word pagan is an extremely general term – like an umbrella term. the word pagan does not refer to any one specific group of non abrahamic god worshippers but everyone who is not a worshipper of Ab's god. the word pagan is a paralell to the word barbarian!
I refer to the contemporary Pagan movement. We have reclaimed the word "pagan" for our faith. Contemporary Pagans are polytheistic nature worshipers who believe in magic to create real change.
Hindus are not Pagan–they are Hindus.
Buddhists are not Pagan–they are Buddhist.
Atheists are not Pagan–they are atheists.
Are you getting the picture?
Patheos (www.patheos.com) has some really great Pagan blogs that you should check out to learn more about the contemporary Pagan religion.
so because in the modern day people have "reclaimed" a word and changed its actually meaning and definition to suit them you think i should care? interesting. i don't by the way! your idea of what paganism is is infact wrong. i am sorry to be the one to tell you this but, creating a new definition for an old word doesn't make it its definition.
there is a reason why the definition of pagan is what it is. what do you think the word gentile means? non believer in ab's god...that is what a pagan is...get over it. if you wish to call yourself a pagan, and indeed do not worship ab's god then you are indeed a pagan and so go on calling yourself one. but i have no respect for the new age bullSH.it about how druids are the only true pagans or that following an earth based religion is true paganism – sry, its all retarded.
I don't think either of those things. I am a Druid, but my path is no more or less valid than anyone else's, much less that of another Pagan. True Paganism is faith in the old ways. If a Christian gains wisdom from the Celts, then in my eyes they are Pagan in spirit, even if they choose not to identify themselves as such. Meanings of words do change. Take the word "sweet" as an example. It originally meant "something that tastes like sugar; lovable; kind." Now it can be used as slang for "great." The same with "pagan."
Also, before you attempt to refute others' claims, perhaps you should learn to capitalize things like "Abraham" and the beginnings of sentences. It might help others take you more seriously.
your funny....if the lack of capitalized words is going to bother you and overcast the message in my words then you are not worth talking to.
I am very happy however that you have choose to agree with the fact that your use of the word pagan is not proper and is infact the slang usage. Your paganism is on par with those that use phat...to use the jargon, lingo, patter, and the vernacular – thats not hot, not cool, completely rocket science and sounds heavey, might need serious brain surgery to figure this out!
notice the use of caps for the first words – :)
now, to be as frank, blunt, to the point, pointed, clear spoken, and candid as well as i am very sincere about this. i believe you are a simple person. i shall you lenny.
the use of the word pagan makes you seem very ignorant. the word pagan is an extremely general term – like an umbrella term
The word Pagan is, in fact, very much an umbrella term, much the same as the word "Christian" is today. This does not mean that a person identifying as Pagan or identifying a group of people is using the word incorrectly.
the word pagan does not refer to any one specific group of non abrahamic god worshippers but everyone who is not a worshipper of Ab's god. the word pagan is a paralell to the word barbarian!
This is incorrect. In it's original form, it was used to describe those who lived outside of the urban centers, those less likely to be educated in "modern" understanding. Eventually it came to mean those who lived outside the influence of the church, though it still mostly meant those living outside of urban centers, since those were the people who tended to take the longest to convert to the new religions because they weren't exposed to them. It evolved to mean "those who clung to the old religions" and was used as a pejorative by the church.
At no time has it meant "all people who are not of Abrahamic faiths". For example, Hinuds and Buddhists are not Pagan. In today's world, with a growing resurgence of people seeking to reconnect to spirituality outside of the Abrahamic faiths, Paganism is on the rise and all of the faiths that thrive under that umbrella term continue to grow.
At it's origin, the word once meant "country bumpkin". At it's worse it was used to decry those who wouldn't change beliefs. Today, it's meaning is changing again. This is the way of words.
Happy Solstice! I hope your feast is bountiful, your home warm and welcoming, and may the returning light bring a productive spring.
you may believe what you wish – doesn't make it correct. and i can safely say it no longer pains me to tell you that you are indeed wrong. i get an odd pleasure out of it. :) good day to you as well. just so you know, the "light" didn't go anywhere, we did. and so your beliefs are false inthemselves not to mention that name you give them...sorry, reclaimed for them? laughable, ignorant, yet humble...oh if only others of enduring false conceptual foundations could be as you...i mean in the sense of being humble, they too are as laughable and ignorant as you!
let me just say this one more time – just because you believe it doesn't make it true. just because you don't know something doesn't make it wrong!
Nothing I stated about the word "Pagan" was incorrect.
And to be honest, you know very little about what I believe...nor it would seem are you very poetic. I understand the science behind the changing seasons, including the length of days and nights. Yule isn't about the science.
I doubt you would understand what it is about, so I won't waste the words. I'll just wish you a happy Friday, a good weekend and joy in your life.
Words change meanings all the time. Language is not a static thing. The acceptable term for African-American at one time is now considered unprintable. I'm sure there are many other examples you can think of. Stop being so picky.
The biggest story today is the crux of the matter. When two points meet.
"people have "reclaimed" a word and changed its actually meaning and definition to suit them...i am sorry to be the one to tell you this but, creating a new definition for an old word doesn't make it its definition" states exactly why there is such a disturbance over the alleged redefinition of marriage.
We came from from an ape like creature 6 million years ago in africa. At one point we had many different species of creatures like us living at once. We rose above the hardships. We learned and taught what we had learned and so made every next generation better equipped! We spent 6 million years becoming what we are today – the top species. The most intelligent and due to our intellect have pretty much taken control of the planet!
FEEL BADASS YET?
Our planet is 4.5 billion years old. It has suffered 5 mass extinctions. This planet has known many different living creatures.
450 Myr (Late Ordovician)
estimated 85% of marine species became extinct
374 Myr (Late Devonian)
estimated 70-80% of marine species became extinct
251 Myr (end of the Permian)
estimated 90% of all species became extinct, perhaps 99% of all animals - the greatest mass extinction known in Earth history
200 Myr (end of the Triassic)
most ammonites, half the genera of bivalves, many brachiopods and gastropods, 20% of foraminifera families, 80% of quadrupeds, and all conodonts became extinct
65 Myr (end of the Cretaceous)
dinosaur extinction, along with ~2/3 of all species and perhaps 80% of all individual organisms
Even after all this life exists. Feel lucky yet!
Our very own star, our sun is 4.5 billion years old, it is only the slightest bit older then our own planet. Our galaxy is 13.2 billion years old – our milky way galaxy is actually one of the smaller galaxies out there – we as the galaxy exist in a cluster of galaxies which is actually part of a super cluster of clusters of galaxies. We as a galaxy are but a mere pen dot on a map of just our section of space! In the whole aspect of it all, we aren't even detectable! We are just one species living on a single planet orbiting one star in an entire galaxy full of stars in a cluster of galaxies in a super cluster of clusters of galaxies... light in a light in a group of lights!
The slightly older and much bigger andromeda galaxy is the closest galaxy to ours. In 4 billion years we will collide with the andromeda galaxy and no longer exist. We as of now are the two largest galaxies in our cluster of galaxies. The largest galaxy known to humans is 60 times the size of our own.
feel small yet?
The universe is 13.75 billion years old...for every super cluster, for every cluster, for every galaxy, for every star, and for every planetary object that exists, what is the point...what is the purpose...is there meaning???
i have serious doubts that your god had anything to do with anything!
Good morning HP, nice post. How are you today sir?
Hippy, I have felt since a was a small child that even if the truth of the universe was right in front of us, we might not see it because it may be in a completely different "language". Like moving in a two dimensional world and not being able to see a third. The truth is most likely so exotic and different than our experience that it is not knowable to an Earth animal like us. Who knows?
i'm good. and yes i agree...the wonders of the cosmos and the cosmic world may be too much for even the simpliest understanding. and saying this says that our current understanding is well pathetic and in its infancy.
What blows my mind is that in about 2 trillion years, any life forms around would only be able to see would be thier own galaxy. They would think their observable galaxy was all there was, with no way of knowing about the Big Bang.
Rational Humanist – yes?
I wonder which one of those mass extinctions was Noah's flood?
"I wonder which one of those mass extinctions was Noah's flood?"
All of them...in a metaphorical sense. The point of awe, for me, is just how did our primitive ancestors know we had these events in order to tell the story about them? Obviously, they didn't have our scientific instrumentation. Are we saying they took a lucky guess? Or, we're they sitting around with a Magic 8 ball and some extra time to waste?
II. Ways of Coming to Know God
31 Created in God's image and called to know and love him, the person who seeks God discovers certain ways of coming to know him. These are also called proofs for the existence of God, not in the sense of proofs in the natural sciences, but rather in the sense of "converging and convincing arguments", which allow us to attain certainty about the truth. These "ways" of approaching God from creation have a twofold point of departure: the physical world, and the human person.
32 The world: starting from movement, becoming, contingency, and the world's order and beauty, one can come to a knowledge of God as the origin and the end of the universe.
As St. Paul says of the Gentiles: For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made.7
And St. Augustine issues this challenge: Question the beauty of the earth, question the beauty of the sea, question the beauty of the air distending and diffusing itself, question the beauty of the sky. . . question all these realities. All respond: "See, we are beautiful." Their beauty is a profession [confessio]. These beauties are subject to change. Who made them if not the Beautiful One [Pulcher] who is not subject to change?8
33 The human person: with his openness to truth and beauty, his sense of moral goodness, his freedom and the voice of his conscience, with his longings for the infinite and for happiness, man questions himself about God's existence. In all this he discerns signs of his spiritual soul. the soul, the "seed of eternity we bear in ourselves, irreducible to the merely material",9 can have its origin only in God.
34 The world, and man, attest that they contain within themselves neither their first principle nor their final end, but rather that they participate in Being itself, which alone is without origin or end. Thus, in different ways, man can come to know that there exists a reality which is the first cause and final end of all things, a reality "that everyone calls God".10
35 Man's faculties make him capable of coming to a knowledge of the existence of a personal God. But for man to be able to enter into real intimacy with him, God willed both to reveal himself to man, and to give him the grace of being able to welcome this revelation in faith.(so) the proofs of God's existence, however, can predispose one to faith and help one to see that faith is not opposed to reason.
7 ⇒ Rom 1:19-20; cf., ⇒ Acts 14:15, ⇒ 17; ⇒ 17:27-28; ⇒ Wis 13:1-9.
8 St. Augustine, Sermo 241, 2: PL 38, 1134,
9 GS 18 # 1; cf. 14 # 2.
10 St. Thomas Aquinas, S Th I, 2, 3.
Chick, "35 Man's faculties make him capable of coming to a knowledge of the existence of a personal God." How? Where did you get this information? It is just made up.
The way humans experience the world is limited by our evolved faculties. We can “see” light waves but not x-rays for example (without technology). What else are we missing? Just because we can’t experience something doesn’t mean it is not there. There may be many more dimensions we simply don’t have the mental or physical tools to perceive.
The reason I am an Atheist is because I don’t how it all started or where it is going and likely never will. I accept that. I don’t need to fill that gap with gods and goblins. Whatever is “behind the curtain” of the Big Bang is probably not possible for us to know. I don’t believe in the “Super” natural. If something exists, it is natural.
This is a simplistic post for a large subject, but the moral of the story is, it is ok to say, “I don’t know.”
Now it is possible to enjoy the scientific journey of discovery with a clear and rational mind.
By Aquinas saying "that everyone calls God", makes it a false statement being that not everyone does.
I've always though Aquinas argument was like that of the underpants gnomes.
Step 1: There was a first movement
Step 3: The first mover is God.
Hey, what's step 2?
Hey Apple: "Where did you get this information?" It's from the Catechism of the Catholic Church and refers to man's ability to reason if applied to faith enhances our understanding of revelation and certainly does not contradict natural law.
"Just because we can’t experience something doesn’t mean it is not there. There may be many more dimensions we simply don’t have the mental or physical tools to perceive."
"even if the truth of the universe was right in front of us, we might not see it because it may be in a completely different "language". Like moving in a two dimensional world and not being able to see a third. The truth is most likely so exotic and different than our experience that it is not knowable to an Earth animal like us."
We are absolutely in 100% agreement on these statements. Odd how the same view leads to such polar opposite beliefs.
For those of you who are without belief,
You will have your opportunity to believe when you are tired of your burdens, when you are poor, thirsty, hungry, or broken hearted. This is when he is near. This is when you can believe.
Actually, it worked for me the other way around. I believed when I had it all. When challenged by adversity, I waited for God to show up, and only then realized he doesnot exist, that I am on my onw. And then I found the that only I am responsible for myself, not some imaginary being. And I found peace and happiness then.
As think-headed as I am, I never saw Him right in front of me...until my prayers included "and please make it obvious enough that not even I could miss it."
RB, "when you are tired of your burdens, when you are poor, thirsty, hungry, or broken hearted."
Yes, if there were a god, that is exactly when I would expect to find him. After he fucked up my life.
I cannot imagine any reasons for believing in your god.
> Robert Brown
Yea, it is not in self-sufficiency & individualism but in dying to self and living to God where life is to be found. I'm free. Unfortunately it took me having to get pretty miserable before this happened. But I'm happy it happened.
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.