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August 6th, 2014
08:59 AM ET

Blood libel: the myth that fuels anti-Semitism

By Candida Moss and Joel Baden, special to CNN

(CNN) – Last week a video of Hamas spokesman Osama Hamdan emerged in which he claimed that Jews use the blood of non-Jewish children to make matzo for Passover.

The translation of Hamdan’s interview with the Lebanese television station Al-Quds on July 28 reports him as saying:

We all remember how the Jews used to slaughter Christians, in order to mix their blood in their holy matzos. This is not a figment of imagination or something taken from a film. It is a fact, acknowledged by their own books and by historical evidence. It happened everywhere, here and there.

When confronted about his statements by CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Monday, Hamdan did not retract his claim or distance himself from the blood libel slur. His only defense was that he “has Jewish friends.”

Whatever “historical evidence” or “facts” Hamdan believes himself to be remembering, this is nothing more than the infamous blood libel: the most persistent and longest-lived anti-Semitic myth in history, aside from the claim that the Jews killed Jesus.

The blood libel originated in medieval England with the death of William of Norwich. William was a 12-year-old tanner’s apprentice who was killed in 1144. At the time of his death, his parents accused the local Jewish community of responsibility, but investigations revealed nothing.

Six years later Thomas of Monmouth, a Benedictine monk, decided to investigate and sensationalize the murder.

Drawing purely on anti-Semitic hearsay and sensationalism, he wrote a martyrdom account, "The Life and Miracles of William of Norwich," in which he said local Jews, acting as part of an international conspiracy, crucified the young boy as part of a ritual to reclaim control of the Holy Land.

Monmouth’s work was used to garner financial support from pilgrimages to the boy’s grave and laid the foundations for the blood libel.

Similar stories crop up throughout Europe in the Middle Ages, often accompanied by episodes of violence and retaliation toward Jews. Stories of mob lynchings and illegal trials abound, especially during the Crusades, when these stories were used to justify pogroms.

In the case of the disappearance of 2-year-old Simon of Trent in March 1475, the entire Jewish community was arrested and 15 men burned at the stake after being forced to confess under torture. Until 1965, Simon of Trent was regarded as a saint in the Catholic Church.

Throughout history the specifics of the blood libel varied and expanded. It primarily involved the baking of Christian blood in Passover matzo, but early accounts also occasionally described the crucifixion of children, the poisoning of wells, and the use of Christian blood to heal cuts from circumcision.

It should go without saying that these lurid stories in all their manifestations are patently untrue.

But these accusations of ritualistic murder and cannibalism are found not only in anti-Semitic propaganda. Early Christians faced their fair share of slander, too.

The Christian writer Minucius Felix records one rumor, which spread widely in the second and third centuries, that early Christians would ritually kill and consume infants as part of their initiation rites.

These accusations are effective because they strike at the heart of society’s fears about outsiders. They involve the most vulnerable (children), the destruction of public resources (wells), or the presence of secret organizations in society's midst.

Accusing those who are religiously different of attempting to undermine society by engaging in the ultimate taboo of cannibalism provides a justification for dislike of and violence toward small nonconformist groups.

But the shadows of history are long, and the longevity of this particular slander is impressive.

As recently as 1928, Jews in Massena, New York, were victims of blood libel. And in 2005, 20 members of the Russian Duma attempted to ban all Jewish organizations on the grounds that Jewish groups were anti-Christian and practiced ritual murder.

References to the Nazis are irresponsibly bandied about in modern discourse, but in the case of blood libel these myths helped sow the seeds of the Holocaust.

In his interview Hamdan linked blood libel to current events in Israel.

He said, “The Israelis concentrate on killing children. … This is engraved in the historical Zionist and Jewish mentality, which has become addicted to the killing of women and children.”

Blood libel is only one chapter in the violent history of anti-Semitism, but it resurfaces throughout as a means of encoding anti-Jewish sentiment and justifying violence toward and mistreatment of Jews.

As Osama al-Baz, an adviser to former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, observed in 2013, some “Arab writers and media figures … attack Jews on the basis of … racist fallacies and myths that originated in Europe.”

Hamas may be doing no more than repeating tired cultural clichés and long-debunked slander, but myth and action go together. The history of Europe is a testimony to the devastating power of the blood libel.

People and cultures are defined by the myths they create, but also by the myths they accept and propagate.

Joel S. Baden is professor of Hebrew Bible at Yale Divinity School. Candida Moss is a professor of New Testament and early Christianity at the University of Notre Dame.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Discrimination • Holocaust • Israel • Judaism • Middle East • Persecution • Prejudice • Religious violence • Violence

soundoff (915 Responses)
  1. richunix

    I learned a long time ago: Good people do good deeds, evil people do evil deeds and Religion makes good people do evil deeds.

    August 7, 2014 at 10:52 am |
    • igaftr

      Close but I would adjust that by saying religions allow people to rationalize immoral behaviors, and allows them to delude themselves they are being moral.

      August 7, 2014 at 10:58 am |
      • richunix

        Religion doesn’t make you any more moral, as the absent of Religion make you any less moral.

        August 7, 2014 at 11:02 am |
        • wilburw7

          I very strongly disagree with your statement. I am 100% sure that think in a more moral way being a Christian and I would certainly do more wrong things if I did not believe in God.

          August 7, 2014 at 11:05 am |
        • SeaVik

          I strongly disagree. Let's assume we are all born with an equal tendancy towards being moral. Some of us are injected with religion, which places value on "faith" (believing things without evidence or despite conflicting evidence). This results in people who can justify whatever view they want as "moral", since they live in a sort of fantasy world. Atheists, on the other hand, are not able to justify immoral behavior since we see it for what it is. This is why atheists, at least in my experience, are generally more moral than religious people.

          August 7, 2014 at 11:16 am |
        • igaftr

          wilbur
          Like the immorality of allowing another to take your just punishemnt? Oh wait...that immorality is the BASIS for christianity.
          Too funny.
          Christians have no moral highground, as their book allows them to justify anything. Want slavery? The bible justifies it.
          Want to discriminate and persecute gay people, the bible justifies it.
          Want to invadea "godless" or "lost" civilization, the bible endorses it.

          Christianity is one of the least moral religions around wilbur.

          You keep talking though, wilbur...it will prove my point all the more.

          August 7, 2014 at 11:26 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          believing things without evidence or despite conflicting evidence
          ------------
          That's not the definition of justifying faith.

          Justifying faith is a saving grace (Hebrews 10:39), wrought in the heart of a sinner by the Spirit (2 Corinthians 4:13, Ephesians 1:17-19) and Word of God (Romans 10:14-17), whereby he, being convinced of his sin and misery, and of the disability in himself and all other creatures to recover him out of his lost condition (Acts 2:37, 4:12, 16:30, John 16:8-9, Romans 6:6, Ephesians 2:1), not only assenteth to the truth of the promise of the gospel (Ephesians 1:13), but receiveth and resteth upon Christ and His righteousness, therein held forth, for pardon of sin (John 1:12, Acts 10:43, 16:31), and for the accepting and accounting of his person righteous in the sight of God for salvation (Philippians 3:9, Acts 15:11).”
          > Westminster Larger Catechism, Question #72

          August 7, 2014 at 11:26 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Here's another definition...

          “True faith is not only a knowledge and conviction that everything God reveals in His Word is true (John 17:3, 17, Hebrews 11:1-3, James 2:19); it is also a deep-rooted assurance (Romans 4:18-21, Romans 5:1, Romans 10:10, Hebrews 4:14-16), created in me by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 16:15-17, John 3:5, Acts 16:14) through the gospel (Romans 1:16, Romans 10:17, 1 Corinthians 1:21), that, out of sheer grace earned for us by Christ (Romans 3:21-26, Galatians 2:16, Ephesians 2:8-10), not only others, but I too (Galatians 2:20), have had my sins forgiven, have been made forever right with God, and have been granted salvation (Romans 1:17, Hebrews 10:10).”
          > Heidelberg Catechism, Answer #21

          August 7, 2014 at 11:27 am |
        • SeaVik

          Although I know you're not a fan of using the dictionary for the ACTUAL definition of words, here is the ACTUAL definition:

          "strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof."

          Which can easily be paraphrased as, "Believing in things without or despite conflicting evidence." Using "spritiual apprehension" rather than actual evidence ("proof").

          August 7, 2014 at 11:33 am |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          "I am 100% sure that think in a more moral way being a Christian and I would certainly do more wrong things if I did not believe in God." Well, it is clear then that you are a simpleton.

          August 7, 2014 at 11:36 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          SeaVik,
          That's an interesting definition, but when you are talking about BIBLICAL faith, then it only makes sense to use the Bible to understand what KIND of faith that the Bible is actually talking about. In this case, as in others, the Dictionary shows itself to be mistaken.

          August 7, 2014 at 11:38 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          " I would certainly do more wrong things if I did not believe in God."

          Wow, that should be a clear indication that you honestly shouldn't be in society. Why hasn't someone had you admitted for a psych assessment?

          August 7, 2014 at 11:49 am |
        • Doris

          In other words, SeaVik, to be person who is faithful to the Bible, it's important to think in circles. (eyeroll)

          August 7, 2014 at 11:50 am |
        • SeaVik

          LOL, I love it when Theo displays his blind faith by claiming the definitions of words in the dictionary are wrong...sorry Theo, the bible isn't a reference doc.ument and doesn't trump the dictionary, which contains the accepted definitions of the words of our language.

          August 7, 2014 at 12:22 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          SeaVik, the dictionary – a secular book – has no bearing on theological matters. Faith (at least Biblical, justifying faith, which is what is in context here) cannot be defined by extrabiblical means. If you're talking about Biblical faith, then it must be defined by the Bible. It's that simple.

          August 7, 2014 at 12:42 pm |
        • SeaVik

          "If you're talking about Biblical faith, then it must be defined by the Bible. It's that simple."

          Ok, I didn't realize I had to clarify this, but when I write words, I am using their actual accepted meanings, as defined in the dictionary.

          Your behavior seems to be perfectly consistent with the word "faith" as defined in the dictionary, so I have no idea why you would object. You do believe in things for which there is no evidence. You do believe in things for which there is extensive evidence that conflicts with your beliefs. That is the faith I am referring to and the one you and other religious people exhibit.

          August 7, 2014 at 1:01 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          You do believe in things for which there is no evidence.
          ---------------
          Wrong.

          Romans 1:18-32 – "...For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse..."

          There's a creation, therefore there is a Creator.

          August 7, 2014 at 1:28 pm |
        • SeaVik

          Ok, I'll be more accurate. You believe things for which the only evidence is a 2000 year old book based on heresay, which contains all kinds of claims that most people would say have been proven to be wrong. You believe things based on extremely weak, highly faulty evidence that conflicts with things based on extensive, very strong evidence.

          August 7, 2014 at 2:37 pm |
        • SeaVik

          "There's a creation, therefore there is a Creator."

          I don't know how many times that obviously illogical statement needs to be shot down before you stop trying to use that. By the same logic, if there is a creator, he must have a creator ad infinitum.

          August 7, 2014 at 2:39 pm |
        • otoh2

          Theo,
          "There's a creation, therefore there is a Creator."

          Calling all that exists "creation" is a Begging the Question fallacy - circular reasoning.

          August 7, 2014 at 2:41 pm |
      • believerfred

        Rejection of absolute truth allows man to create his own morals to satisfy his own desire.

        August 7, 2014 at 11:03 am |
        • SeaVik

          Incorrect. Morals are instinctual, resulting from evolution and honed through parental guidance (or screwed up through religion).

          August 7, 2014 at 11:17 am |
        • believerfred

          If we are products of social evolution then religion is out of that social evolution. Religion or lack thereof is neither good or evil it just is. If morals are relative and anything goes then please applaud the pederasty of the Greeks and the mothers who turned their young sons over to the great men that today we see as perp's

          August 7, 2014 at 11:24 am |
        • SeaVik

          "Religion or lack thereof is neither good or evil it just is."

          Well I would certainly disagree with that statement. I think it's immoral to brain-wash children into believing fantasies. Then again, the parents' have typically been brain-washed themselves, so they don't see their behavior for what it is. Perfect example of how religion breeds immoral behavior.

          "If morals are relative and anything goes then please applaud the pederasty of the Greeks and the mothers..."

          I never said anything remotely close to that. The fact that we don't need religion to know right from wrong doesn't mean "anything goes".

          August 7, 2014 at 11:29 am |
        • believerfred

          If there is no absolute truth then right or wrong have no standards regardless of opinion. If there is no absolute truth then your idea of right or wrong was never really right or wrong just seemed that way at the time given our culture.

          It is immoral to raise an atheist child and promote atheism. We have never experienced a period of mankind absent belief by the vast majority in God, god or gods. Your thought that a meaningless existence out of an accidental universe somehow adds a positive value to the human spirit is bizarre.
          God is not a fantasy and is part of our way of life. If God is removed God will be replaced with something as that is the pattern of mankind. The atheists in power throughout the world install crushing authority worse than the Muslim states. The love of God is removed and replaced by the sterile authority of State. You may want to see why communism fears God.

          August 7, 2014 at 11:49 am |
        • Doris

          fred: "If there is no absolute truth then right or wrong have no standards regardless of opinion. If there is no absolute truth then your idea of right or wrong was never really right or wrong just seemed that way at the time given our culture."

          Sure you can have standards without divine "truth", fred. There is just a disagreement on the source.
          Your second sentence is too vague to be take seriously, fred, because your latter use of "right or wrong" begs that the reader will assume the absolute which is what you're trying to prove.

          August 7, 2014 at 11:54 am |
        • believerfred

          Doris
          If you and I had a disagreement we would to a higher authority on the subject that we both agree to accept. We would not go to a lower authority. At some level we would hit absolute authority would we not. What would you call agency with the highest truth?

          August 7, 2014 at 12:08 pm |
        • Doris

          (to continue my last reply)

          fred: "It is immoral to raise an atheist child and promote atheism."

          Nonsense.

          fred: "We have never experienced a period of mankind absent belief by the vast majority in God, god or gods."

          It seems, as man learns more, the more this majority dwindles – especially in the most advanced parts of the world. I see that as progress.

          fred: "Your thought that a meaningless existence out of an accidental universe somehow adds a positive value to the human spirit is bizarre."

          I'm not sure whose views you are trying to represent here, fred – it's a mixed bag of tricks. "Meaningless existence" – I would think that depends on whose point of view you're talking about.

          fred: "God is not a fantasy and is part of our way of life. If God is removed God will be replaced with something as that is the pattern of mankind."

          I contend that is what the Abrahamic God is – something that is the creation and pattern of mankind.

          fred: "The atheists in power throughout the world install crushing authority worse than the Muslim states. The love of God is removed and replaced by the sterile authority of State. You may want to see why communism fears God."

          Please stop conflating things of different types across different times, fred. "Install??" Please tell me where atheists are installing something.

          August 7, 2014 at 12:13 pm |
        • Doris

          fred: "If you and I had a disagreement we would to a higher authority on the subject that we both agree to accept. We would not go to a lower authority. At some level we would hit absolute authority would we not. What would you call agency with the highest truth?"

          It might depend on where we were with such a disagreement as it depends on if our disagreement is something covered under the local, regional or national law. Now if it was a disagreement over who's a better fiddle player, we might not have any authority to run to.

          August 7, 2014 at 12:17 pm |
        • SeaVik

          "If there is no absolute truth then right or wrong have no standards regardless of opinion. If there is no absolute truth then your idea of right or wrong was never really right or wrong just seemed that way at the time given our culture."

          Personally, I don't see a problem with evolving morals. I think it's a good thing to continually think about right and wrong and reconsider what is and isn't moral. Without doing that, we might still think it's morally acceptable to own slaves.

          August 7, 2014 at 12:28 pm |
        • SeaVik

          "It is immoral to raise an atheist child and promote atheism."

          That statement makes it clear that you don't even know what atheism is. How would one "promote" atheism? By doing nothing at all, a child will remain an atheist. No "promotion" is required. It is only through brain-washing that they can be converted to religious belief.

          August 7, 2014 at 12:31 pm |
        • believerfred

          SeaVic
          "By doing nothing at all, a child will remain an atheist. No "promotion" is required. It is only through brain-washing that they can be converted to religious belief."
          =>No such thing. An atheist parent promotes godlessness. The child has no idea and may forever miss the opportunity to experience God. Godless brainwashing, naturalism, secularism, materialism, scientism etc. all replace God simply because we are designed to seek God and will do so regardless of what god becomes our god.

          August 7, 2014 at 12:56 pm |
        • SeaVik

          You still don't seem to get it. One does not need to promote a lack of a belief in something imaginary for a child to not develop a belief in that imaginary thing. There's no belief there in the first place, so you don't need to promote any changes to a child to result in atheism.

          August 7, 2014 at 1:07 pm |
        • believerfred

          Doris
          I claim you have a soul that is going through a physical experience. In the days of Moses we would have known where to go for authority on the issue after which we would need to stone you of course.
          Today we could not agree on an authority acceptable to both of us.

          When you ask the question of Jesus as Pilate did "what is truth" what do you hear?

          August 7, 2014 at 1:41 pm |
        • believerfred

          SeaVic
          You live in some strange hidden world if a child does not ask who is God who is Jesus. At some point you will brain wash that child into godlessness.

          August 7, 2014 at 1:44 pm |
        • SeaVik

          "You live in some strange hidden world if a child does not ask who is God who is Jesus."

          I have to ask, are you honestly suggesting that a child would ask who is Jesus even if no one has ever told him about Jesus? You realize there are many places in the world where a child would never hear anything about Jesus. Thinking that he would just start asking about a god or Jesus on his own is amazingly delusional, but maybe that's not really what you mean.

          August 7, 2014 at 2:45 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          "I claim you have a soul that is going through a physical experience."

          I'd really love to know, what is a soul made out of? What keeps it's edges together in one place? Is it some sort of water-like soul tension? What are the properties of a soul and what energy readings and particle physics can it manipulate? How do souls move through matter? We know our thoughts in our brain are connected to bio-cehmical and electrical signals and relays, how does a soul think? Can a soul think? If so, where does the thinking occur?

          August 7, 2014 at 3:00 pm |
        • believerfred

          SeaVic
          The majority of the world has heard about Jesus and asked who is this guy. Certainly there are spots like North Korea but generally speaking a child will ask.
          In the public schools they are generally taught naturalism, secularism or scientism all godless religions. They are not specifically taught atheism but very close to it.
          Neanderthal was concerned about after life and most of mankind has believed over time. A child is taught atheism because it involves more than simply non belief. Atheists must suspend rational thought as no one can claim there is no God. Atheist can claim they reject all religion other than their own (materalism, secularism, philosophical naturalism) but they cannot claim non existence of God as there is no such thing as non existence. What atheists do is erect a false boundary around their religion just as the fundamentalist does around a young earth position. The atheist will accept only evidence that meets standard scientific method when in fact any scientist will tell you scientific method does not have the ability to falsify form and substance that does not operate according to known natural laws. Atheists suffer from a logical conflict when they claim one can only know things by scientific method yet they in fact know many things that are not falsifiable one of them being God.
          Take for example time which we have "evolved" to take for granted consists of past, present and future. This sequence is thought to be known yet the future has not happened, will never happen yet you know it to exist in concept as the future. The future moved through our concept of present which we only see though observation of the past. One can no more demand evidence of future than he can demand evidence of God as neither has form or substance known to be falsifiable by scientific method.
          So careful if you teach your children to reject the concept of future.

          August 7, 2014 at 3:43 pm |
        • believerfred

          neverbeenhapieratheist
          "We know our thoughts in our brain are connected to bio-cehmical and electrical signals and relays, how does a soul think?"
          =>That is in error. Awareness of thought and the thought itself is not connected in such a way so as to be "hard wired". Artificial intelligence even if bio-chemical in structure is hard wired but lacks self awareness which is a bi product of "electrical signals".
          =>Human cognitive function incorporates the lifetime awareness of thought, dreams, visions, experiences real or imagined into awareness of self the essence of which is the soul. We do not know where that information is stored or if it needs to be stored.
          =>You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ I would imagine the thinking part happens in the mind.

          August 7, 2014 at 4:59 pm |
        • SeaVik

          "A child is taught atheism because it involves more than simply non belief."

          Wrong again. Every child is born an atheist. Atheism isn't "taught". Do you think a new born baby has a belief in a god? Neither do I. By definition, that is an atheist.

          August 7, 2014 at 8:34 pm |
    • wilburw7

      And atheism does systematic deeds like genocide that they don't think are evil because there is no real belief that there is evil if you are an atheist. Judaism and Christianity core principles are to love others and evil will be punished.

      August 7, 2014 at 11:01 am |
      • Alias

        Atheists know what evil is. That is why we are not worshipping your god.

        August 7, 2014 at 11:06 am |
        • wilburw7

          So which atheist decides what is evil?

          August 7, 2014 at 11:08 am |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          It's called societal/cultural norms in conjunction with societal laws that determine right from wrong. Killing or stealing from your family/neighbor or someone from your tribe has been frowned on since humans achieved self-awareness.

          Christianity or any other religion did not invent morality.

          August 7, 2014 at 11:31 am |
      • TruthPrevails1

        WHAT??? The Crusades; The Inquisition; Hitler; Salem Witch Trials-all rooted in Christianity...good try though but I'm guessing that like most theists, you've never read your holy book with an open mind to know that is chock full of misery.
        No-one commits a crime in the name of disbelief. We don't have holy books to justify our actions, we simply have the ability to tell right from wrong by weighing the pro's and con's of a situation.
        If you are unable to determine right from wrong without religion, you lack empathy and are truly a sad person.

        August 7, 2014 at 11:09 am |
        • believerfred

          "We don't have holy books to justify our actions, "
          =>Stalin had a very unholy book he used to justify killing millions

          August 7, 2014 at 11:17 am |
        • wilburw7

          "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." Jesus Christ

          Hitler's actions were in line with the will of the Father? No. SO Jesus Christ disagrees with you about Hitler being a Christian. Please tell other atheists that Hitler does not fit Jesus Christs definition of a Christian so we don't have to explain this 5 million more times.

          August 7, 2014 at 11:25 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          What Stalin did had nothing to do with a disbelief in anything...even Atheists don't agree with what he did!!

          Wilbure: You sound very uneducated.

          August 7, 2014 at 11:27 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Wilbur: Prove that jesus said anything!! Don't purport to know something you can't possibly know when nothing was written about the character until 30-40 years after he apparently died...it's not trustworthy and you are truly gullible if you believe it. Register for a basic education please!!!

          August 7, 2014 at 11:30 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Prove that Plato said anything!! Don't purport to know something you can't possibly know when the earliest copies of his Tetralogies were written 1,200 years after he apparently died...it's not trustworthy and you are truly gullible if you believe it. Register for a basic education please!!!

          See? I can do that too!

          August 7, 2014 at 11:34 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Oh funny Theo, this coming from you...the dolt who thinks the Holocaust was justified!! Such grand hypocrisy!!! I didn't say I agree with all historical text...my point is that it is usually not reliable and that the jesus story is no different. It's not gullibility to question the legitimacy of something (as I have done), it is gullibility to accept something without questioning it (as you have done).
          Humanism asks questions that may never be answered, theism invokes an answer that may never be questioned. I prefer my open-minded, peace loving stance to your closed-minded divisive stance....much more enlightening.

          August 7, 2014 at 11:44 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Oh funny Theo, this coming from you...the dolt who thinks the Holocaust was justified!!
          -------------------
          God ordains whatsoever comes to pass – whether we call them "good" things or "bad" things – and they all are ordained for His glory to fulfill His purposes, and to work together for good to those who love God, who are called according to His purpose.

          I didn't say I agree with all historical text...my point is that it is usually not reliable and that the jesus story is no different.
          --------------------–
          Any historical text is worthy of scrutiny – especially the Bible because of what it says. And after 1600 years of intense scrutiny, it's veracity has only been proven ironclad.

          It's not gullibility to question the legitimacy of something, it is gullibility to accept something without questioning it.
          ------------------------
          I agree, which is why I have made it my life's goal to question the legitimacy of everything.

          Humanism asks questions that may never be answered, theism invokes an answer that may never be questioned.
          ------------------------
          I can't speak for humanism, but whoever told you that about theism lied to you. Raising questions about the Bible is what Seminary students do every day of their student career. And then this is a continuing practice of every theologian I'm aware of. If no one asks questions, how can anyone learn anything?

          I prefer my open-minded, peace loving stance to your closed-minded divisive stance....much more enlightening.
          --------------------
          I admit the Bible is divisive. Nothing is more divisive than truth. Since truth is not relative, for every truth, there is an error, and where there is error, there is inevitably going to be someone in the wrong, and in this day and age, it would seem that the only "sin" left is to tell someone that they are wrong. Of course, it's never "sinful" for an atheist to tell a Christian that he is wrong, it's just "sinful" for a Christian to tell an atheist he's wrong. Oh, and it's "arrogant" too.

          August 7, 2014 at 11:54 am |
        • believerfred

          TruthPrevails1
          "What Stalin did had nothing to do with a disbelief in anything"
          =>You don't know that. You have no idea what his thinking process was. You do not have disposition of heart free of the influence of God even though you have rejected God. The simply fact you were brought up in a society that moved in a way which reflected God altered who you are and how you think. Rejecting God after knowing God is very different than never having known God. There is no such thing as absence of belief. You have a belief that claims there is no soul yet you know what soul is correct?
          "...even Atheists don't agree with what he did!!"
          =>and Christians don't agree with what religion did and does, Jesus did not agree with what religions do.

          August 7, 2014 at 12:03 pm |
      • believerfred

        As evolved animals we do what we do because we have no choice. A lion kills off all non biological offspring in a newly acquired pride this is not evil. Mao and Stalin were not evil. Hitler and religion are not evil. We have no choice as human our orientation is towards taking what we desire and justifying it.
        No wonder Jesus said who is good but God.

        August 7, 2014 at 11:14 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          They were NOT evil?

          Those who commit wicked deeds do so because it is within their hearts to do so – it is their natural, unredeemed, sinful nature. Since a man’s actions reflect who and what he is, wicked men do wicked things… It is the wicked that God hates.

          The sinner who does not repent, who continues in sin will feel the fury of God's hatred. And in Malachi 1:4 it says that the Lord – toward people who sin – is indignant forever. Once the sinner is inexorably and finally identified with the sin, then the sinner feels the hatred of God.

          Matthew 15:18-20 – But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man.”

          Proverbs 27:19 – As in water face reflects face, so the heart of man reflects man.

          Matthew 7:15-20 – you will know them by their fruits…

          August 7, 2014 at 11:21 am |
      • igaftr

        wilbur
        "And atheism does systematic deeds like genocide "

        When has anyone ever in history commited genocide and claimed the REASON was not believing in gods?
        There are many instances where genocide was commited in the name of "god" or religion, but not because of not belief.
        There are some atheists that did commit genocide, intentionally or not, but not BECAUSE of atheism...Stalin for instance killed many to defend against germany, and famine from failed economic and poilitical policies...had nothing to do with NOT belief.

        August 7, 2014 at 11:32 am |
  2. sanjosemike

    The most interesting feature of any blood-libel is that the Nazis themselves practiced in during the Holocaust, using the skin of murdered Jews to create various works of "art" and lampshades. The Nazis also murdered millions of NON- Jews during their various pogroms and attacks.

    Twenty million Russian soldiers died to prevent the Nazis from taking over their country. The irony of blood libel is that the perpetrators of the libel are not the people allegedly taking part in it, but the perpetrators of the myth themselves.

    sanjosemike

    August 7, 2014 at 10:24 am |
    • richunix

      Get your facts right before posting...20 million Soviets died in WWII , less than 3% died under German hands,, the rest died under Stalin regime.

      August 7, 2014 at 10:57 am |
  3. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    Did CNN just pull the 'Blood Libel' retraction story?

    August 7, 2014 at 10:15 am |
    • Alias

      yep

      August 7, 2014 at 10:33 am |
    • Alias

      I guess it was not anti-Hamas, and therefore anti- CNN style moral.
      What's next?
      Posting articles but closing the comment section?

      August 7, 2014 at 10:39 am |
    • Theo Phileo

      Yeah. And the Hamas representative was quoted to say: "We don't have anything against the Jews because of their religion..."

      Wow, he lies so well that he would make a GREAT American politician.

      August 7, 2014 at 10:41 am |
      • Alias

        It has nothing to do with the way Israel treats its neighbors.
        Or how the Palestinians lost their homes in the first place.

        August 7, 2014 at 10:46 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Shhhhh, that'll be your little secret.

          August 7, 2014 at 10:50 am |
  4. conscienceofconservative

    When I hear Hamdan of Hamas repeating the Blood Libel charge straight out of the Elders of Zion in Arabic, refusing to acknowledge it in English when confronted with the video on CNN I could only think this guy is the equivalent of Joseph Goebels. Instead of refuting or acknowledging it, he simply said it was an Israeli trick or fancy MEMRI editing.

    August 7, 2014 at 7:56 am |
  5. thesamyaza

    if you think blood libel is batshit you should hear some of the things the Christians say about us pagans.

    August 7, 2014 at 4:47 am |
    • desertdenizen2014

      At least Christians are only saying things about pagans.

      Muslims are engaged in killing Jews via terrorism and advocating their complete and total destruction.

      See the difference?

      August 7, 2014 at 8:29 am |
      • TruthPrevails1

        The only true difference between what the Muslims are doing and what the Christians did with things like the Inquisition or the Crusades or the Salem Witch Trials is the technology available.
        Religion regardless of which one it is usually has its grubby little hands in the midst of the chaos...extremism is a terrible thing.
        Cut all the religious crap and you will eventually find peace but as long as the root of the issue comes down to who has the right belief system, hope for a resolution won't likely be had and history will continue to repeat itself.

        August 7, 2014 at 8:39 am |
        • Robert Brown

          TP1,

          Peace is what Jesus is all about.

          August 7, 2014 at 9:33 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Such is your opinion Robert. I'm sorry you need imaginary friends to find peace in this world, that must be horrible!

          August 7, 2014 at 9:35 am |
        • Robert Brown

          It works really well, don't know how anyone can find peace in this world. Well except those who dose often.

          August 7, 2014 at 9:44 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          "It works really well, don’t know how anyone can find peace in this world. Well except those who dose often."

          The fact is that society as a whole will probably never find peace. Religion adds to that greatly.
          Peace on an individual level is determined by the individual...so if you need that imaginary friend for peace, so be it but respect others who don't share your opinion and keep it out of the Secular world.

          August 7, 2014 at 9:51 am |
        • Alias

          Islam is as much about peace as christianity is.

          August 7, 2014 at 10:44 am |
        • richunix

          Morning Truth, glad your posting, it is good to have a level and educated person respond with historical facts, not twisted fact to support theories

          August 7, 2014 at 11:00 am |
      • igaftr

        "At least Christians are only saying things about pagans."

        First off, that is not even close to true, but secondly and more importantly, is that your defence? that at least you aren't as bad as "name whatever scapegoat you want here"?

        Truly pathetic.

        August 7, 2014 at 8:53 am |
  6. ynotblue

    He may be incorrect about the blood libel, but his assessment that in all Arab Israeli conflicts, including the current one, mostly Palestinian women and children were killed is statistically confirmed.

    August 7, 2014 at 3:51 am |
    • conscienceofconservative

      "HE MAY BE INCORRECT"? If you are not sure, you need to re-examine your belief system

      August 7, 2014 at 8:42 am |
      • johnbiggscr

        He didnt mean he may or may not be right but that he was only partly wrong in his statement; that the first part was false but that doesnt negate the rest of the statement.

        August 7, 2014 at 9:12 am |
    • sanjosemike

      The deaths of the non-combatants reflects the Media policy of the Palestinians. This war is not just a war of missiles, but even more important a Media war. Israel must be presented as the murderer and aggressor.

      Setting up human casualties is a policy of Hamas. And it is paying off. Israel will lose the Media war no matter how it responds, or does not respond. ynotblue, I think most observers realize this. It surprises me that you do not.

      Alternatives? I'm not sure if there are any, aside from just "permitting" Hamas to lob bombs over the border. Perhaps you, ynotblue would choose to move into one of those communities? I didn't think so.

      The Hamas solution is to simply have all Jews move out of Israel. Even that would not help. Muslims will just continue their 1400 year war of Shi'a vs. Sunni....even without Jews.

      Islam is a cancer. Surely you should recognize that by now. An Israeli physician researcher is now close to a cure for Ebola. Exactly what do your friends, the Muslims contribute?

      sanjosemike

      August 7, 2014 at 10:31 am |
  7. drunkbs

    If you all only understood how ridiculous all of this sounds to an atheist...

    August 7, 2014 at 1:33 am |
    • saggyroy

      Why can some people step outside the box and others can't? Interesting.

      August 7, 2014 at 5:37 am |
  8. lwriker

    If this 'blood libel' was true, then the partakers would be plagued with a 'madcow' like pandemic as seen anywhere that cannibalism-like rituals exist. Hamas needs to get educated.

    August 6, 2014 at 10:39 pm |
  9. bostontola

    “Throw the Jew down the well, so my country can be free, you must grab him by the horns, then we have a big party”
    - Borat

    August 6, 2014 at 9:55 pm |
    • netinbra

      I was only 14 years old when that movie came out and I had no idea that Middle Eastern people hated Jews... Now looking back at Borat, it all makes sense... Now I know why he sang such a song.

      August 6, 2014 at 10:02 pm |
    • mteksolution

      Agreed. Also the Jews did kill Jesus and for that they will pay. That is no myth that is the truth.

      August 7, 2014 at 8:22 am |
      • brianz72

        The Jews "will pay" for killing Jesus? Even if they did kill Jesus, wouldn't it have been God's Plan? After all, according to Christian myth, God sent himself (Jesus) to be sacrificed to himself, in order to save his own creation from himself. If the Jews killed Jesus, then God wanted it to happen to fulfill the sacrifice. Otherwise Jesus would have died in obscurity of old age as yet another primitive cult leader.

        August 7, 2014 at 9:16 am |
      • zhilla1980wasp

        mtek: i find something oddly funny with the whole "god's chosen people" and " jews killing jesus will bring god's wrath."

        if you look at jewish history and apply "god's chosen people to all that"..............makes you wonder; did god mean he was his chosen red-headed step children?

        LMFAO

        August 7, 2014 at 9:28 am |
      • evidencenot

        "the Jews did kill Jesus and for that they will pay. That is no myth that is the truth."

        Another example of the sickness that is religion. Yes. mythology...

        August 7, 2014 at 10:28 am |
      • sanjosemike

        mteksolution, assuming that the Jews did kill Jesus, recall that Jesus went to his death as a Jew. At no point in Jesus' life, or near death did he consider himself anything other than a Jew. If the Jews killed Jesus, they killed one of their own. If I recall correctly, Jesus did have "sort of a trial" prior to his death. He was given the opportunity to refute some of this statements against both the Jews and the Romans. Jesus "engineered" his own death.

        I guess you sort of "forgot" about that...

        sanjosemike

        August 7, 2014 at 10:37 am |
      • bostontola

        You agree with Borat?

        Borat is a satirical fictional character, created to illuminate the absurdity of antisemitism.

        I don't know what to say.

        August 7, 2014 at 11:32 am |
  10. netinbra

    "We all remember how the Jews used to slaughter Christians, in order to mix their blood in their holy matzos. This is not a figment of imagination or something taken from a film. It is a fact, acknowledged by their own books and by historical evidence. It happened everywhere, here and there."

    Hamas and other Muslim extremists teach children to become suicide bombers to die as martyrs by killing the enemy in which Jews are one of their most hated enemies. So when a child sees that Hamas leader saying that on TV, they only see these things as normal. The local TV channels in Gaza shows TV shows for kids that children watch and it is crazy how they brainwash these kids. In these shows for children, it shows kids music in the background, it shows adults dressed as animal characters, but then they talk about killing Jews. You see these adults dressed as bears or something telling a child, "If a jew doesn't want to listen, kill them!".. Now remember people, this is a KIDS show. The word killing shouldn't even be there. Another kids show played in Gaza showed a child boasting how his mom died as a martyr suicide bombing herself and taking 5 Jewish lives with her, and the child was saying he will follow his mother's footsteps... If you don't believe me just go to youtube and type, "Hamas TV children" ..... Just type that on youtube and click on any video.... Watch the first, second, third, whatever, show watch and of them and you will be SHOCKED!!! You will seriously be flabbergasted with the things they teach things to do on a CHILDREN'S SHOW!!!! And that's what is most unbelievable, the fact that this is happening on shows for KIDS to watch. They brainwash kids from young. So when you hear Hamas saying something like that, he only says that so it doesn't confuse the people who have been brainwashed since they were little to want to kill Jews. When Hamas leader says that, they completely believe it and they think Jews really are like that. I shouldn't say this but Islam is evil. It is just sad and ridiculous.

    August 6, 2014 at 9:51 pm |
    • richunix

      Are you serious, please and I mean PLEASE site your sources? Else your making things up which paramounts to lying even under Muslin law that equates to mortal sin .

      August 7, 2014 at 10:55 am |
  11. jakejoh

    It's strange to see this article about a myth making such an enormous mistake as to conflate Judaism with being Semitic. It's very simple: Judaism is a religion. To be Jewish is to accept the tenants of a religion. To be Semitic has nothing to do with religion. Many, many Muslims are Semitic. One can convert to a religion such as Judaism or Islam. You cannot convert to become Semitic. To confuse the two in the 21st century is really astonishing. It's exactly as though one said that Catholicism is a "race."

    August 6, 2014 at 9:49 pm |
    • Doris

      Unless I missed it, the author of the article only uses Semitic with "anti-". Evidently "anti-Semitic" was first used around 1860 in Germany to specifically mean hatred toward Jews. Perhaps at that time most of the Semitic people in Germany were Jews. The term just continued to carry that specific meaning. Kind of like 'Made in America'.

      August 6, 2014 at 11:57 pm |
    • pajheil

      History lesson: The term "anti-Semitic" was invented by a French newspaper publisher as the description of Jew haters, of which he was one; he published only material AGAINST Dreyfus in his paper, and it turned out that the French army forged all the evidence used against Dreyfus at trial.

      August 7, 2014 at 8:56 am |
  12. leif2720

    War with Russia is coming this year mark my words. This was predicted long ago by the most famous miracle that ever happened in history Google or YouTube Fatima warns of Russia.

    Still Don't believe me? Google exactly what's below every intellectual in the world is saying a global war is happening this year

    'World could be plunged into crisis in 2014': Cambridge expert predicts 'a great event' will determine course of the century

    August 6, 2014 at 9:41 pm |
    • Doris

      Nostradamus was somewhat convincing. But this brother of his – nutsadamus – was not so good in the prediction department. You should get some better sources.

      August 6, 2014 at 9:57 pm |
    • johnbiggscr

      *facepalm*

      August 7, 2014 at 9:20 am |
    • Vic

      I believe you are onto something here.

      The U.S.-Russia relations have been deteriorating at rapid pace since the Crimea Crisis last March, that is highly unusual since the end of the Cold War. Russia has already banned all U.S. food exports and is building-up at the Ukrainian border ready to strike. Some believe this could be the prelude to the war of Armageddon.

      August 7, 2014 at 10:31 am |
  13. lamestreamdoc

    You know what else fuels anti-Semitism? CNN's coverage of Israel and the Jew-haters who post their vitriolic comments on here.

    August 6, 2014 at 9:24 pm |
    • sas0621

      CNN exacerbates and creates phony issues to generate media interest. It such poor journalism. CNN has no integrity but one viewer ratings.

      August 6, 2014 at 10:12 pm |
    • Doris

      I think jakejoh below is right. CNN's motives aside, conflating hatred toward Jews with anger and distrust toward Israel or its government cannot produce a reasonable argument, especially as a generalization.

      August 7, 2014 at 12:10 am |
  14. fmorius

    The blood libel is taught as fact in the Middle East and those who teach it are shown great reverence and respect by liberal media who are eager to pander to liberals and Europeans who regard antisemitism as a legitimate form of criticism of Israel.

    August 6, 2014 at 9:24 pm |
  15. quacknduck

    Richard the Lion Hearted was in England only once, for his wedding. By mistake some Jews were invited, Richard got angry and had hundreds of them killed. Prince John on the other hand, remember him as the bad guy in Robin Hood, left us the Magna Charta—giving us the basis for western law including due process, individual rights, common law and habeas corpus. Western law, one of the things Islamic countries hate.

    August 6, 2014 at 8:58 pm |
    • In Santa We Trust

      You make it sound as though it was a magnanimous gesture on his part – he was forced to give rights.

      August 6, 2014 at 9:10 pm |
    • pajheil

      History lesson: the barons who forced Magna Carta on John slaughtered all the Jews in London, which really made John mad because they were under his personal protection for the money he needed because his barons wanted him to impoverish himself by continuing the policies of Henry II and Richard in handing out estates to them.

      August 7, 2014 at 8:58 am |
  16. rabideyemovement

    The funny part is that both sides are Semitic.

    August 6, 2014 at 8:44 pm |
    • jakejoh

      Yes. Why do people persist in misusing this word? I really believe that I could ask a hundred people how to describe Judaism, and 80 of them would say it is a "race."

      August 6, 2014 at 9:52 pm |
      • pajheil

        see my history lesson above. It's being used in the sense in which it was coined in the 1800s. Any other use is the fallacy of redefinition.

        August 7, 2014 at 8:59 am |
    • babooph

      Shh, I enjoy the politicians & posters showing their ignorance, makes me feel so smug..

      August 6, 2014 at 10:38 pm |
    • mexicotom

      Explanation from Wikipedia: "While the conjunction of the units anti and semitism is suggestive that the word is directed against all Semitic people, the term was in fact coined in Germany in 1860 as a scientific-sounding term for Judenhass ("Jew-hatred"), and that has been its normal use since then."

      August 7, 2014 at 3:11 am |
  17. yanniscohen

    People are hiding behind buzz words. Israel has been accused of disproportional deaths of Hamas terrorists and the civilian population. Two week ago Assad killed 2,000 Muslim opponents. Not a word from the world. The Iraqi government did the same to Isis, and the Pakastani government is killing Muslims everyday. But Israel is guilty, according to world opinion for not upholding the the high standards that the world wants them to hold. Antisemitism has been around for thousands of years in different forms, and the world accuses Israel of killing Muslims. They do not have the courage of their convictions to stand up and say what they really want to say. Not a single country stands by Israel , Where is the voice of the Christians? They will never say anything about the Muslims, only the Jews.

    August 6, 2014 at 8:30 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      The only differences between Muslims, Jews and Christians are a few lies they can't agree on about some stories no one believes.

      August 6, 2014 at 8:38 pm |
      • Marcus Anthony

        Right on!!!!!

        August 6, 2014 at 9:14 pm |
      • Robert Brown

        Hey Tom, where have you been?

        Some believe.

        August 6, 2014 at 9:29 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          Mormons, I suppose.

          Good evening, Robert. How does one come to believe in something that most admit is unseen and unknowable (because its nature transcends anything by which we might describe it)?

          August 6, 2014 at 10:31 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Tom,

          How? Hear the word of God.

          Unseen only applies to the natural eyes.

          Unknowable is only speaking to our ability to learn everything about God. A little goes a long way.

          Peace.

          August 7, 2014 at 6:51 am |
        • Fallacy Spotting 101

          Post by 'Robert Brown' presents an instance of the Secret Decoder Ring fallacy.

          http://fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

          August 7, 2014 at 10:14 am |
        • evidencenot

          "How? Hear the word of God." Translation = the imaginary voices in my head

          August 7, 2014 at 10:31 am |
        • igaftr

          "Hear the word of God."

          How do you know what you "hear" is not pnly a "god" but your god?
          How do you know what you "hear" isn't coming from your own mind?
          How can you exclude all other possibilities?

          The answer is you can't, so you have no idea if what you "hear" is what you believe it to be.
          The psychology of self deluison is fascinating.

          August 7, 2014 at 10:51 am |
    • Doris

      "But Israel is guilty, according to world opinion for not upholding the the high standards that the world wants them to hold."

      Yes, Israel has failed to uphold the high standard that the world wants from them. I think intentionally targeting children is one of those things that doesn't quite fit into the "high standards" category.

      August 6, 2014 at 8:57 pm |
      • Robert Brown

        What makes you think they target kids?

        August 6, 2014 at 9:32 pm |
        • Doris

          Have you been asleep for a couple months?

          August 6, 2014 at 9:52 pm |
    • In Santa We Trust

      Israel is in breach of the Geneva Convention, in breach of several UN resolutions, and any other country taking those actions would be condemned by the US; instead the US prevents action at the UN and Israel is at the top of the US aid list, so I don't think it is accurate to say no one supports Israel – the US does big time.
      Israel has blockaded Gaza for 8 years – so no commerce or economy to speak of, they get 4 hours of electricity a day, limited drinking water, there are areas where the rubble replaces homes, no where to go to avoid shelling – even in UN designated shelters and hospitals. Do you wonder that the Gazans are unhappy?

      August 6, 2014 at 9:06 pm |
      • Robert Brown

        They have every reason to be unhappy with Hamas.

        August 6, 2014 at 9:38 pm |
        • Doris

          Gazans does not equal Hamas and that is a big part of the problem. Still, there is no excuse for intentionally targeting safe havens for children. This is obviously what has occurred. That is, unless Israel wants other to view them in the same way we view extremists of any other group.

          August 6, 2014 at 9:46 pm |
        • Doris

          Clarification and correction: That is, unless, by their recent actions, Israel's ultimate goal is to have others view them as no different than Hamas or other extremist group.

          August 6, 2014 at 9:51 pm |
      • conscienceofconservative

        There are so many falsehoods here. First Israel signed on to the Oslo accords, Araft rejected them. Second Israel left Gaza, with in tact hot houses that could grow flowers for export which the Palestinians tore down. Thirdly when Israel eased permitted importation of cement for humanitarian reasons, Hamas used the cement for building tunnels. Lastly Hamas assembles missiles in civilian areas, and then wires them to be fired remotely so that should israel protect its population and respond, Hamas fighters are not hurt but civilians do get killed and that makes for good propaganda footage.

        August 7, 2014 at 8:47 am |
        • In Santa We Trust

          None of what I said is false and none of what you state is refutation of it. Gaza is a little over 100 square miles with twice the population density of Los Angeles so what would not be a civilian area? That's also a disingenuous argument as Israel has military buildings next to schools and hospitals.

          August 7, 2014 at 10:03 am |
    • jakejoh

      The problem may be that political operatives conflate Israel, and its far right leaders, with Judaism. In reality, many Jewish people despise Netanyahu and the Likud, recognizing that two wrongs do not make a right, and that his goal is expansion and self-promotion.

      August 6, 2014 at 9:56 pm |
      • Doris

        Good point.

        August 7, 2014 at 12:02 am |
      • conscienceofconservative

        In reality a great deal of the anti-zionist rhetoric is really disguised anti-semitism. While one can certainly disagree with a policy of the Israeli government, what you hear coming out of many corners is not a policy discussion , but anti-semitism.

        August 7, 2014 at 9:31 am |
  18. austin929

    "The Inquisition was originally intended in large part to ensure the orthodoxy of those who converted from Judaism and Islam. This regulation of the faith of the newly converted was intensified after the royal decrees issued in 1492 and 1501 ordering Jews and Muslims to convert or leave."

    there is something that keeps happening in different flavors. Is this not the revelation of Satanic character?

    August 6, 2014 at 8:28 pm |
    • LaBella

      It is an indication of those who believe they believe in the One True God.
      And to supress/oppress those who believe differently.

      August 6, 2014 at 8:32 pm |
      • austin929

        ttfn

        August 6, 2014 at 8:45 pm |
        • LaBella

          hage.

          August 6, 2014 at 8:52 pm |
  19. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    Now ritual genital mutilation: that's Jewish.

    August 6, 2014 at 8:24 pm |
  20. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    So? The blood of a Jew is used in every Catholic mass. Christianity is a religion of blood sacrifice.

    August 6, 2014 at 8:19 pm |
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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.