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January 31st, 2013
04:40 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Thursday, January 31, 2013

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: Author of Scientology book: ‘There have been a lot of tears in this story’
To Scientologists and their supporters, L. Ron Hubbard is a voice of wisdom and the church is the way to enlightenment. To antagonists and skeptics, Hubbard is a con artist and fraud, and the church is a mishmash of Freudian psychology and science fiction, a celebrity-laden scam. Lawrence Wright doesn’t buy either generalization. In his new book, “Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “The Looming Tower” delves into the life of Hubbard, the writer-turned-prophet, and the church he created – one which, he says, arose out of an atmosphere of spiritual ferment in post-World War II Los Angeles.

Belief on TV:

Tweet of the Day:

Photos of the Day:

Iranian Zoroastrians take part in a performance as they fight with the devil during the annual Zoroastrian Sadeh festival in the western suburb of Tehran on January 29, 2013. Sadeh, is an ancient Persian festival that is celebrated by setting a huge bonfire to honor fire and to defeat the forces of darkness, frost, and cold. Sadeh means 'hundred' and refers to one hundred days and nights past the end of summer.

Newly initiated 'Naga Sadhus' perform rituals on the bank of the Ganga River during the Maha Kumbh festival in Allahabad on January 30, 2013. During every Kumbh Mela, the diksha – ritual of initiation by a guru – program for new members takes place.

Enlightening Reads:

Huffington Post: France To Deport Radical Imams
France will deport a number of radical foreign imams in the coming days, though Paris did not identify which preachers would have to leave the country. France24 reports that French Interior Minister Manuel Valls announced the plan during an international conference on extremist movements held in Brussels on Tuesday. Valls described the decision as part of France's effort to fight "global Jihad."

Washington Post: Prince George’s Co. school lets Muslim students out of class to pray
The growing number of Muslim students seeking accommodations to practice their religion in public schools has stirred debate about the long-contentious issue of prayer in America’s public institutions. But a Prince George’s County high school principal believes she has found a way to accommodate Muslim students: She gives those with parental permission and high grades a pass out of class every day to pray.

Religion News Service: At halftime, a religious alternative to Beyonce
Whether to avoid the raunch, or simply to capture part of the Super Bowl’s supersized audience, some religion-oriented programmers are producing their own halftime shows.

The Guardian: From Ace Ventura to I AM: one man's search to end human suffering
For an evaluation of the world's woes and what to do about them, most people probably wouldn't turn to the director of Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. But since bringing Jim Carrey to the big screen, and grossing nearly $2bn with a subsequent string of blockbusters, Hollywood filmmaker Tom Shadyac has had quite a change of heart. So on Thrusday Shadyac was in a small theatre at the Empire, explaining without fanfare why he sold his Beverly Hills home, gave away most of his money and made Desmond Tutu, Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn the stars of his latest documentary film, I AM.

Religion News Service: Modeling agency helps demure Muslims keep it ‘Underwraps’
Nailah Lymus argues that there’s greater demand for modesty than perhaps the fashion industry realizes, and that it will need models to respond. Since launching her Underwraps modeling agency, she’s received more than 400 queries from aspiring Muslim models from the U.S. to Indonesia to Great Britain.

Quote of the Day:

If one looks at texts in the Old Testament where God seems to be mean or violent, and people look at texts in the New Testament where Jesus is compassionate and caring for people and healing people, you can see kind of a dichotomy. I see God in both testaments doing the same things. Jesus bases his teaching, as does Paul, on the teachings of the Old Testament. And the things that Jesus does in the New Testament – healing people, forgiving people, caring for people – we see God in the Old Testament doing the same things.

–Evangelical theologian David Lamb, author of God Behaving Badly: Is the God of the Old Testament Angry, Sexist and Racist?” in an interview with Religion News Service.

Join the conversation…


Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis has regularly thanked God in the Ravens' somewhat improbable run to the Super Bowl.

CNN: Poll: Quarter of Americans say God influences sporting events
With millions of Americans set to watch the Super Bowl on Sunday, a new survey finds more than a quarter of Americans believe that God "plays a role in determining which team wins" at sports events. The survey by the Public Religion Research Institute also found that more than half of Americans believe “God rewards athletes who have faith with good health and success.”

- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Morning Read

soundoff (227 Responses)
  1. ..

    53 Who has believed our message
    and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
    2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
    and like a root out of dry ground.
    He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
    nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
    3 He was despised and rejected by mankind,
    a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
    Like one from whom people hide their faces
    he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
    4 Surely he took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
    yet we considered him punished by God,
    stricken by him, and afflicted.
    5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
    the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.
    6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
    each of us has turned to our own way;
    and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.
    7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
    yet he did not open his mouth;
    he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
    and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
    so he did not open his mouth.
    8 By oppression[a] and judgment he was taken away.
    Yet who of his generation protested?
    For he was cut off from the land of the living;
    for the transgression of my people he was punished.[b]
    9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
    and with the rich in his death,
    though he had done no violence,
    nor was any deceit in his mouth.
    10 Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
    and though the Lord makes[c] his life an offering for sin,
    he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
    and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
    11 After he has suffered,
    he will see the light of life[d] and be satisfied[e];
    by his knowledge[f] my righteous servant will justify many,
    and he will bear their iniquities.
    12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,[g]
    and he will divide the spoils with the strong,[h]
    because he poured out his life unto death,
    and was numbered with the transgressors.
    For he bore the sin of many,
    and made intercession for the transgressors.
    Footnotes:

    February 1, 2013 at 1:07 am |
  2. Apple Bush

    I recently found out that atheism might be a hoe-axe. Have you heard this?

    January 31, 2013 at 10:22 pm |
    • Akira

      Um...huh?
      No, I haven't heard that...elaborate, please?

      January 31, 2013 at 10:26 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      A Hoe-Axe is a another description for a Pickaxe.

      February 1, 2013 at 12:10 am |
    • End Religion

      Is it really you, Doug?

      February 1, 2013 at 12:20 am |
    • wheelbarrowfullofspacerock@live.com

      The pick axe and DNA

      Check your god(S) at the cave enterance before entering.. No god(s) required for studying humans..

      updated 1 hour 55 minutes ago
      Jan. 29 2013

      Scientists have unearthed and dated some of the oldest stone hand axes on Earth. The ancient tools, unearthed in Ethiopia in the last two decades, date to 1.75 million years ago.

      http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/50620121/ns/technology_and_science-science/

      Ancient DNA reveals humans living 40,000 years ago in Beijing area related to present-day Asians, Native Americans January 21, 2013

      Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-01-ancient-dna-reveals-humans-years.html#jCp

      February 1, 2013 at 5:42 am |
  3. Atheism is Healthy for Everyone - Kids Too!

    Different kinds of fundamentalist Christians now as much as ever are arguing with each other with as much sense and rationality as a flock of chickens. They can't support their beliefs by any reasonable means, yet they deem themselves fit to judge others from those beliefs or attempt to put others in the midst of their religious infighting. Their beliefs have a very weak foundation and are not consistent, ergo the over 30,000 different denominations.

    Thomas Jefferson

    Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth.

    John Adams

    I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved – the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced! With the rational respect that is due to it, knavish priests have added prostitutions of it, that fill or might fill the blackest and bloodiest pages of human history.

    James Madison

    During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution.

    Thomas Paine

    I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church. All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.

    January 31, 2013 at 8:47 pm |
    • Akira

      You out to read the SpeedRead from yesterday; December and Chad were debating who is a "real" Christian and who isn't...fascinating thread.

      January 31, 2013 at 9:02 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Atheism,
      Christians disagree on a lot of things, most of which do not matter.

      Christian = a person born again by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ.

      January 31, 2013 at 9:07 pm |
    • mama k

      I did read some of that. It was interesting to say the least. lol.

      January 31, 2013 at 9:38 pm |
    • Akira

      Robert Brown:
      I think it would be fascinating to see you debate Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison, and Thomas Paine, but alas.
      They're long gone.
      Luckily for us, we have their learned words, and their fervent desire for separation of church and state.

      January 31, 2013 at 10:31 pm |
  4. Iguman

    I just got paid $6784 working on my laptop using these simple steps leaked on this web page. Make up to $85 per hour doing simple tasks that are so easy to do that you won't forgive yourself if you don't check it out! Payments are paid every Friday! Here is what I've been doing Rich45.ℂOM

    January 31, 2013 at 8:36 pm |
    • The Lil' CNN Belief Board Dictator

      forgive myself? I thought only god can forgive me. tell me exactly who is and who isn't going to hell. now.

      January 31, 2013 at 8:38 pm |
    • The Lil' CNN Belief Board Dictator

      Hm? nothing? fundies always crack when you make talk about hell.
      w.omp w.omp.

      January 31, 2013 at 8:40 pm |
    • Akira

      Lil Dicatator, is spam is a fundie thing, I guess he's guilty as charged.

      January 31, 2013 at 9:04 pm |
  5. Robert Brown

    Plow your fields, scatter seeds of justice, and harvest faithfulness.

    Worship me, the Lord, and I will send my saving power.

    (Hos. 10:12)

    January 31, 2013 at 8:26 pm |
    • Athy

      Why do you need to worship to be rewarded?

      January 31, 2013 at 8:28 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Athy,

      Think of it as praising and thanking in advance.

      January 31, 2013 at 8:30 pm |
    • Athy

      That's not worshipping.

      January 31, 2013 at 8:32 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Athy,

      How would you describe it then?

      January 31, 2013 at 8:45 pm |
  6. Robert Brown

    Obstacles to the formation of life on primitive earth would have been extremely challenging. Even a simple protein molecule is so rich in information that the entire history of the universe since the Big Bang wouldn't give you the time you would need to generate that molecule by chance. Even if the first molecule had been much simpler than those today, there's a minimum structure that protein has to have for it to function. You don't get that structure in a protein unless you have at least seventy-five amino acids or so. First, you need the right bonds between the amino acids. Second, amino acids come in right-handed and left-handed versions, and you have to get the left-handed ones. Third, the amino acids must link up in a specified sequence, like letters in a sentence. Run the odds of these things falling into place on their own and you find out that the probabilities in forming a rather short functional protein at random would be one chance in a hundred trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion. That is a ten with one-hundred and twenty-five zeros after it. And that would only be one protein molecule, a fairly simple cell would need between three-hundred and five-hundred protein molecules. – McKenzie

    January 31, 2013 at 8:10 pm |
    • OOO

      OK Robert, I'll bite. Can you be specific about what you are claiming?

      January 31, 2013 at 8:13 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      OOO,
      I don’t suppose it is really a claim, more a thought. I was watching a show on the history channel the other night, not sure of the exact ti.tle, something like “ Our invisible World.” I was amazed to learn that this planet is literally teaming with life, 99% of which we can’t see without magnification. They even found this tiny organism that they now think causes precipitation.

      The show reminded me of this post that I copied and pasted. The thought is where did all this life come from? It surely didn’t make itself. It doesn’t seem possible that it developed over large amounts of time. I think this planet teaming with life lends a lot of weight to the idea of a creator. What about you?

      January 31, 2013 at 8:24 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Robert

      zzzZZZzzz
      zzzZZZzzz

      Same old fallacies, same old idiocy.

      January 31, 2013 at 8:26 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Hawaiiguest,
      How is it a fallacy to have a thought and ask a question?

      January 31, 2013 at 8:28 pm |
    • Athy

      So the creator fell into place, then created life? Wouldn't the creator have to be even more complex than the life he created?

      January 31, 2013 at 8:31 pm |
    • OOO

      RB,
      Are you interested in reading the latest science on evolution and how things came to be? Are you interested in researching the answers? Or are you insinuating that all this was placed here by some supernatural being, a theory that to date has not been backed up by any evidence.

      By the shows you watch you do seem to be somewhat interested in science, but you then seem to stray away into the same kind of thinking that gives rise to religions.

      January 31, 2013 at 8:36 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Athy,

      Yes, the creator is definitely more complex.

      January 31, 2013 at 8:51 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      OOO,

      I’ve probably missed the boat on being a scientist, but yes I do enjoy reading about scientific exploits.

      There are lots of ideas on how things could have come to be, I believe in God more from personal experience than evidence, but the amazing things we discover only confirm my faith.

      Organized religion has done a lot to harm the cause of Christ, Christianity is a personal relationship with Jesus, not ritual created by people.

      January 31, 2013 at 8:52 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Robert

      "The thought is where did all this life come from? It surely didn’t make itself. It doesn’t seem possible that it developed over large amounts of time."
      You have no basis for this other than personal incredulity, which is a logical fallacy.

      January 31, 2013 at 9:35 pm |
  7. Robert Brown

    As for asking for the evidence for God, this really amuses me when people say this. You are standing on a massive planet of 6,600,000,000,000,000,000,000 tons. The size of it is beyond imagining. It’s spinning through the freezing blackness of space at 1,000 mph, and tumbling around the sun at nearer 6,000 mph (I think). It’s part of a solar system moving, as a whole, in a completely unknown direction and speed. Now place a cup of water on your desk: you will notice that there is not even the slightest, not even the tiniest wobble. It is completely still. The planet moves a colossal distance with stupendous accuracy and consistancy, meaning that the order in this system is incredible. – Carstairs

    January 31, 2013 at 8:07 pm |
    • Observer

      Yep. And you are apparently claiming that all of this was created from NOTHING by a God who was created by nothing. So God could have always existed, but the universe could not have aways existed. Yep.

      January 31, 2013 at 11:23 pm |
    • Billy

      The cup of water thing I understand. What I don't understand is Noah's ark dropping off the giant turtles at Gibraltar when the flood was over and then somehow having been able to swim all the way back to the Gallapagos. No sir. That makes no sense.

      January 31, 2013 at 11:44 pm |
    • Damocles

      Ok, first of all, the water in the cup will move, especially after you just pour it, but even when it is 'at rest', it is still moving. Secondly, this planet is pretty small and not so astounding in size that I get all misty-eyed about it. Thirdly, the direction that the solar system is moving in is known, it is orbiting the center of the galaxy, I do believe at a slightly greater speed than is mentioned in the lead post. Yes, the planets have a stable orbit achieved over time, but some space bodies have an irregular, unstable orbit so unless your deity is in the habit of taking potshots of its supposed creation with meteors and comets, I still don't see a deity behind the earth, solar system, galaxy, our family of galaxies or the universe.

      In response to your post about amino acids, in the space between one second and the next second lie the chances of an infinite number of possibilities taking place. Time is irrelavnt, it is our human way of trying to bring order to chaos. Trying to put stupendous odds on something happening is pointless.

      February 1, 2013 at 8:28 am |
  8. Sam Yaza

    under Christians Deuteronomic law

    OK i had to post that video,.. but seriously Christians are not any better

    January 31, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
  9. truth be told

    The so called atheist is a liar. That said it becomes impossible for any normal decent person to have honest conversation with it. The self deceived atheist is useless in this world and totally lost to the next, as such they are not only useless but dangerous in the crimes they have perpetuated on mankind. Think how much nicer the world could be if the atheist wasn't in it, for example 60 million people would have lived through the reign of atheist Joe Stalin if Stalins first murder had been himself.

    January 31, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "truth be told", but your repeated assertions regarding atheism are unfounded. There is no data indicating that populations under ruthless dictators of past regimes have committed atrocities in the name of atheism. There is data indicating that segments of populations under different religions have committed atrocities in the name of their respective religions. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE), the expression that best matches the degree to which your repeated unfounded assertions may represent truths is: "EPIC FAIL". Perhaps the following book can help you cope with the problem of repeating unfounded assertions:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...

      January 31, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
    • Damocles

      Fvck you are so right! If only there had been some all powerful, all good thingy out there somewhere who could have killed Stalin with a nice quiet heart attack or something.

      January 31, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
    • WOW

      Think of how much nicer the world would have been if the devout Christian Hitler had killed himself before sending all those people to their deaths..

      January 31, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
    • Damocles

      @WOW

      ^5

      January 31, 2013 at 6:11 pm |
    • sam

      Here you go, troll:

      ....................../´¯/)
      ....................,/¯../
      .................../..../
      ............./´¯/'...'/´¯¯`•¸
      ........../'/.../..../......./¨¯\
      ........('(...´...´.... ¯~/'...')
      .........\.................'...../
      .........."...\.......... _.•´
      ............\..............(
      ..............\.............\...

      January 31, 2013 at 6:51 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Correlation is not causation, simpleton. Think how many kids would be so much better off without the molesting priests. Fool.

      January 31, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
    • truth be told

      All atheists are liars. From the accurate historical record... hitler was an atheist born as a catholic but never used the church as a belief system only using the church as a political prop. As an adult hitler lived and died the lie of atheism. Had he killed himself on his first attempt the world would have been spared both the holocaust and the second world war. Over 250 million dead because of one lying atheist.

      January 31, 2013 at 7:33 pm |
    • Akira

      Tbt, Hitler was a Christian just like you...re-writing history to back up your lies doesn't change the fact that he was a Christian.
      So, please, think of a new lie to bolster your disingenuous baloney, mmkay?

      January 31, 2013 at 9:12 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @Akira, Interesting comment because I was just thinking about how much @truth be told's language structure reminds me of the kind of limited perspective of neo-nazi indoctrination.

      January 31, 2013 at 9:58 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @truth be told... [INSERT INCONVENIENT QUOTES HERE:]
      “My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a
      fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded
      by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and
      summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest
      not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian
      and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord
      at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the
      Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was his fight
      against the Jewish poison. Today, after two thousand years, with
      deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact
      that it was for this that He had to shed his blood upon the Cross. As
      a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have
      the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice… And if there is
      anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly, it is
      the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty
      to my own people. And when I look on my people I see them work and
      work and toil and labor, and at the end of the week they have only
      for their wages wretchedness and misery. When I go out in the morning
      and see these men standing in their queues and look into their
      pinched faces, then I believe I would be no Christian, but a very
      devil, if I felt no pity for them, if I did not, as did our Lord two
      thousand years ago, turn against those by whom today this poor people
      are plundered and exposed.”

      [Adolf Hitler, speech in Munich on April 12, 1922, countering a
      political opponent, Count Lerchenfeld, who opposed antisemitism on
      his personal Christian feelings.

      January 31, 2013 at 10:00 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      “And the founder of Christianity made no secret indeed of his
      estimation of the Jewish people. When He found it necessary, He drove
      those enemies of the human race out of the Temple of God.”

      [Adolph Hitler, _Mein Kampf_, pp.174]

      January 31, 2013 at 10:03 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      “I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so”

      [Adolph Hitler, to Gen. Gerhard Engel, 1941]

      January 31, 2013 at 10:04 pm |
    • Akira

      GodFreeNow:
      You know, now that I think about it, if you take tbt's posts and exchange Jew for atheist, it would rather sound like some Hitler Youth propaganda pamphlet...
      Nasty troll.

      January 31, 2013 at 10:39 pm |
    • truth be told

      One liar quoting another liar as if it were Truth ... It isn't hitler was an atheist.

      January 31, 2013 at 10:40 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @truth be told, There's definitely lying going on here, but sadly I fear it is you who is lying to yourself. No matter how convenient it may be to hold on to your perception of reality, or how inconvenient reality may be to your perception, the truth should be your friend. I'm never understood willful ignorance. It's so lazy. How can you expect any of us here to treat your perspective with respect when you don't even respect yourself enough to accept inconvenient truths. No doubt your anger comes from the sad emptiness that thrives like cancer in a life lived in subjugation to the god, Denial.

      February 1, 2013 at 12:34 am |
  10. Akira

    I find it vastly amusing that two people that are in a relationship, (agapé, yeah right) are on here right mow asking about each other's beliefs, (as if they didn't know.)

    Hey, Apple. Not a Vinnie fan?

    January 31, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
  11. Apple Bush

    VINNIE POLITAN
    and that smell I still
    can't quite get out
    of my mouth.

    January 31, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
  12. Apple Bush

    Shouldn't name your kid "Sharia" in the first place. LOSER!

    January 31, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
    • Archibald Smythe-Pennington, III

      True – Sharona maybe.

      January 31, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
    • Akira

      Archibald, you've got 'The Knack'.

      January 31, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
    • Damocles

      M-m-m-m myyyyy Sharia!

      January 31, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
1 2

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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.