August 2nd, 2012
08:20 AM ET
By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
(CNN) - Rapper Snoop Dogg announced Monday that he's burying his name and old career, all because of a religious experience with Rastafari, an Afrocentric religion with origins in Jamaica. Snoop Dogg wants to be called Snoop Lion and instead of rapping on his latest album now he'll be singing reggae.
"I want to bury Snoop Dogg and become Snoop Lion," he said at a Monday press conference. "I didn't know that until I went to the temple, where the high priest asked me what my name was, and I said, 'Snoop Dogg.' And he looked me in my eyes and said, 'No more. You are the light; you are the lion.'
"From that moment on," Snoop said, "it's like I had started to understand why I was there."
Snoop Lion has a new single, "La la la," and a documentary "Reincarnated," which follows his recent trip to Jamaica and chronicles his conversion experience. It debuts at the Toronto Film Festival next month.
So what exactly is Rastafari? Here are some basic questions and answers:
June 6th, 2012
05:54 PM ET
By John Blake, CNN
The voice on the other line was slurred and halting. My childhood hero, I realized, was nearing the end of his life.
“Hello, Mr. Bradbury,” I shouted into the phone, so loud that one of my colleagues sitting nearby raised his eyebrows.
The call was supposed to be professional. I had called Ray Bradbury’s daughter to tell her that I wanted to write about a different side of her father: What did this science fiction giant think about God and the afterlife?
But that request was a smokescreen. I just needed an excuse to talk to the man whose books and stories had enriched my childhood. Would he be as fun to talk to as he is to read, I wondered?
He was better than I imagined. In more than 20 years of journalism, I have never encountered anyone quite like him.
April 27th, 2012
04:01 PM ET
By Becky Perlow, CNN
(CNN) - When was the last time you sat down and questioned your decision to believe in God?
According to a new study, that simple act could decrease your religious conviction – even if you’re a devout believer.
In the study, published Friday in the journal Science, researchers from Canada’s University of British Columbia used subtle stimuli to encourage analytical thinking. Results from the study found that analytical thinking could decrease religious belief.
March 13th, 2012
10:08 PM ET
By Stan Wilson, CNN
Los Angeles (CNN) – A former veteran systems administrator for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory claimed during opening arguments in a civil lawsuit Tuesday that he was wrongfully terminated for expressing his views on intelligent design.
David Coppedge, who spent 15 years on the Cassini Mission, one of NASA and JPL's most ambitious planetary space explorations, asserts that he was unlawfully fired under his employer's anti-harassment and ethics policies. JPL contends Coppedge created a hostile workplace while expressing his religious views with co-workers.
His suit also claims that supervisors wrongly admonished him for distributing DVD documentary films titled "Unlocking the Mystery of Life" and "The Privileged Planet," which present biological and cosmological explanations for intelligent design, according to the complaint.
February 22nd, 2012
02:39 AM ET
By Dan Merica, CNN
Washington (CNN) – The General Theological Seminary was founded in 1817, making it the oldest Episcopalian seminary in the country. Twitter, on the other hand, was introduced to the public in 2006, making it, by comparison, a newborn.
Colin Chapman and Joseph Mathews, the relatively young founders of Digital Formation, hope to bring those two worlds together.
As a social media consulting endeavor, Digital Formation looks to help clergy and lay church leaders work their way through the ever-changing world of social media. When Chapman and Mathews proposed using webinars and classes as the means of teaching, the leadership of the seminary embraced the idea.
Though the organization is still in its early stages, the fact that Digital Formation was so quickly embraced shows how religious organizations not only desire more exposure to Twitter, but are willing to throw out what Chapman describes as a “behind the times” attitude to get that exposure.
December 23rd, 2011
05:49 AM ET
By Dan Merica, CNN
Washington (CNN) – People who are religiously active live more involved and connected lives, according to a Pew Research study released on Friday.
The study, titled “The civic and community engagement of religious active Americans,” painted a broad picture of religious Americans and found that involvement in religious organizations usually go hand-in-hand with participation in civic organizations and a positive outlook on their community.
“There is something unique about religious and spiritual involved people that contribute to their trust, positive outlook, involvement and engagement in the community,” said Jim Jansen, senior fellow at Pew and the leader of the study.
December 22nd, 2011
11:23 PM ET
By Gabe LaMonica, CNN
(CNN) - The Internet is the grapevine. A Vatican spokesman's comments on radio this week led news organizations to report that the Vatican had lost its bid for Vatican.xxx, a coupling of the Vatican and the ".xxx" extension now reserved for pornographic content.
"This domain is not available because it has been acquired by someone else, but not the Vatican," the Rev. Federico Lombardi said on Vatican radio.
But that turns out not to be the case. On the contrary, the domain is reserved specifically for no one.
"Vatican.xxx is a name that is on the permanent reserve list, so it was pulled out of the registry before the launch," said Jocelyn Johnson, a representative for ICM Registry, the company operating the new dot-triple-X domain as a voluntary option for pornographic sites.
December 15th, 2011
10:48 AM ET
Editor's note: Arri Eisen, PhD., is professor of pedagogy at Emory University’s Center for Ethics, Department of Biology, and Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts.
By Arri Eisen, Special to CNN
A referendum that would have restricted in vitro fertilization in Mississippi, disagreements on the causes of global warming, the question of how to allot health care resources for desperate cases at the beginning or end of life.
Many of today's headlines and hyper-polarized political debates happen at the borders of science and society, especially where science meets ethics and religion.
At the same time, in at what first appears to be in an unrelated domain, President Barack Obama and others call for more and better science education in America to compete in innovation with rising giants India and China. This at a time when American science literacy appears to be decreasing, and even students who like science drop like flies from that pursuit once they hit college and its huge introductory lecture courses.
Is it possible that rethinking the ethical calculus of how we teach science could enhance the pool of future scientists and enrich the quality of conversation around controversial issues?
December 7th, 2011
11:17 PM ET
By Elizabeth Landau, CNN
(CNN) - Catholic nuns take a vow of chastity, so you might not think that any sister would need to be on birth control.
But oral contraceptive pills have other uses besides preventing pregnancy; in fact, Catholic bioethicists say there is no inherent conflict in nuns (or any other Catholic) taking these very same substances for prescribed, therapeutic reasons, such as for treating heavy menstrual bleeding or endometriosis.
A new article in the journal The Lancet goes one step further. It argues that nuns "should be free to use the contraceptive pill to protect against the hazards of nulliparity” – that is, heightened cancer risk among women who do not bear children.
According to the authors, Australian researchers Kara Britt and Roger Short, there are about 95,000 nuns in the world, and they are paying "a terrible price for their chastity": increased risks of breast, ovarian and uterine cancer.FULL STORY
December 7th, 2011
06:00 AM ET
By Dan Merica, CNN
Washington (CNN) – Nearly one in five atheist scientists with children involve their families with religious institutions, even if they personally do not agree with the institutions teachings, a recent study says.
The study, conducted by Rice University and the University at Buffalo, found that these scientists affiliate with churches for both social and personal reasons. Additionally, the scientists indicated a strong desire to prepare their children to make educated decisions about their personal religious preference.
“This was so surprising to us just because of all of the public discussion about the ways in which scientists are very against religions people,” said Elaine Howard Ecklund, a sociologist at Rice. “When in fact, those we might most expect to be against religious people are sitting alongside them.”
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.