March 9th, 2014
09:40 AM ET
Boston (CNN) – In some ways, the "Pope Francis effect" doesn't seem very effective at all.
Despite the immense popularity the aged Argentine has won since his election last year, not a jot of doctrine has changed, nor has the Catholic Church swelled with American converts.
But there's more than one way to measure a pontiff's influence on his far-flung flock.
Start asking around - here in Boston and beyond, Catholics and atheists alike - and it's easy to find people eager to share how one man, in just one year, has changed their lives.
There's the gay man who finally feels welcome in his church.
The woman who weeps when headlines deliver good news at last.
The former priest who no longer clenches his fist during Mass.
The Latinos who waited forever for a Pope who speaks their language.
"I'm telling you, brother, if you focus on the numbers, you're missing the story," says the Rev. John Unni, a Boston pastor with an accent as thick as clam chowda.
"There's an energy, a feeling, a spirit here. It's like a healing balm."
If anyplace needed healing, it's Boston - the country's most Catholic city.FULL STORY
March 3rd, 2014
06:01 PM ET
(CNN) – At the American Israel Public Affairs Conference on Monday, Sen. John McCain of Arizona joked that, because of his close friendship with former Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, he observed a lot of Judaism's Sabbath laws.
"I've had to go through all this all these years and I've gotten none of the benefits," McCain told the crowd. "So I'm announcing my conversion to Judaism."
He might've gone through with it, the senator said, but for one little thing...
February 28th, 2014
12:08 PM ET
Opinion by Carol Costello, CNN
Editor's note: Carol Costello anchors the 9 to 11 a.m. ET edition of CNN's "Newsroom" each weekday. Watch at 9:40 a.m. ET Thursday for a discussion of the new film about Jesus.
(CNN) - Clearly Jesus was sexy.
After all, He is the Son of God.
I don't mean to be disrespectful, but as I watched the trailer for the new movie, "Son of God," I found myself gawking at the actor portraying Jesus.
Diogo Morgado is one hot dude. His Jesus looks more like Brad Pitt than that nice man with the beard in all those paintings.
I'm not the only one gawking at Morgodo's Jesus. He inspired the hashtag, "#HotJesus". It went viral on Twitter. The actor told The New York Times he doesn't want his looks to distract from the movie, but, "If the message of Jesus was love, hope and compassion, and I can bring that to more people by being a more appealing Jesus, I am happy with that."
Clearly we have a new trend. A "more appealing" Jesus is not just a better prophet, he's ... sexy.FULL STORY
February 22nd, 2014
09:06 PM ET
Opinion by Linda Mercadante, special to CNN
To accept this as good news, however, we need to listen to what they are saying, rather than ridicule them as “salad bar spiritualists” or eclectic dabblers.
After spending more than five years speaking with hundreds of “spiritual but not religious” folk across North America, I’ve come to see a certain set of core ideas among them. Because of their common themes, I think it’s fair to refer to them by the acronym: SBNR.
But before we explore what the SBNRs believe, we first need to learn what they protest.
February 19th, 2014
11:35 AM ET
Opinion by Laurence England, special to CNN
(CNN) - In the year since Francis was elected Pope, the media have told us a certain story about this man “from the ends of the Earth,” as he once described himself.
Francis, we are told, is warm and friendly, gentle and compassionate. He embraces the poor, the disfigured, the outcast.
These attributes pose a sharp contrast, we are informed, to his mean-spirited, judgmental and arrogant predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who was known for his fancy vestments and aloof, academic attitude.
If Francis has the common touch, the story goes, Benedict was firmly out of touch, perched on an ivory tower far inside the Vatican.
To many Catholics this media-driven contrast between the two Popes is laughable.
February 13th, 2014
05:32 PM ET
Opinion by Janet Nima Taylor, special to CNN
(CNN) - Valentine’s Day can conjure up the whole spectrum of human emotion, from the ecstasy of new love to the intense pain of loneliness.
It seems the day reeks of the expectation that we need a perfect relationship in order to be happy. But what do we really want?
Some of you might know that the Buddha left his wife and young child to pursue enlightenment, so maybe he’s not the best person to give advice about your love life. On the other hand, his teachings on love, relationships and suffering have a lot to say about our harried modern lives.
The Buddha’s first teaching, known as the Four Noble Truths, was about the connection between expectations and suffering.
He taught that life includes suffering because we seek happiness in inherently dissatisfying ways. If things are going great, we think they'll never change. (They always do.) If things are going poorly, we think it's because the world has failed us.
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.