Opinion by Mark Schacter, special to CNN
(CNN) – I don’t believe in a divine presence, nor do I subscribe to any organized religion.
And that, perhaps oddly, is why I am drawn to the mystery of faith.
With the wonderment of an outsider, I try to understand the seemingly incomprehensible (to me, at least) pull that faith exerts over so many people's lives.
As a photographer approaching this mystery, I am confronted by what might seem like a contradiction: Photographs capture what can be seen, and yet faith is often invisible.
By Stina Backer and Eoghan Macguire, for CNN
Diwali is one of the most important events in the Hindu spiritual calendar. It is known as the "Festival of Lights" and takes place between mid October and mid November each year.
This year we asked iReporters from around the world to submit their best images of the celebration.
By Naomi Canton, for CNN
(CNN) - Diwali is one of the most important Hindu festivals in India - but the colorful customs and meanings associated with it can vary dramatically depending on whether you reside in the countryside or the city.
On the streets of densely populated conurbations like Mumbai, Diwali - popularly known as the Festival of Lights - is often a raucous affair, marked by a cacophony of firecrackers on the streets and a flourish of ceremonial gambling in the home. The wealthier urban dwellers splurge on gold, jewelry, clothes and expensive gifts such as electronics, which they buy for themselves and their loved ones.
By Stephanie Gallman, CNN
(CNN) – A picture of a woman with facial hair wearing a turban posted to the social media site Reddit has garnered a firestorm of Internet reaction and has taught at least two Ohio college students lessons in graciousness, humanities and religious studies.
The picture was posted five days ago with the caption, "I'm not sure what to conclude from this."
A 20-year old college student, who asked to remain anonymous, says one of his friends took the photo at a library at The Ohio State University.
He's "not really sure why," but after he and his friends shared the picture amongst themselves, he posted it to Reddit.
By Stacey Samuel, CNN
Washington (CNN) - Forty-five days after a deadly shooting at Wisconsin Sikh temple, hundreds of Sikhs and their supporters lined the halls of Congress on Wednesday for a Capitol Hill hearing on hate crimes and the growing threat of domestic terrorism.
“The recent shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, was a tragic hate crime that played out on TV around the country,” said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, who chaired the hearing for a Senate Judiciary subcommittee.
“It was not the first tragedy based on hate, and, sadly, it won’t be the last,” Durbin said of the shooting, which left six dead and four wounded in addition to the gunman, who took his own life. “But it should cause all of us to redouble our efforts to combat the threat of domestic terrorism.”
Editor's note: Ishwar Singh is the president of the Sikh Society of Central Florida and owns a small business called Industrial Scan, Inc.
By Ishwar Singh, Special to CNN
I am honored to be the first Sikh American in U.S. history to deliver the invocation at a national convention. On Wednesday, I will offer a prayer at the Republican National Convention from my Sikh faith.
The prayer calls upon the American public to join with us in recognition that we are one family. As an immigrant, a small-business owner and a father, I am humbled by the opportunity to address the nation. When I came to this country over 40 years ago, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine the honor of offering a prayer for the nation. My story is possible only in America.
My prayer will be an opportunity to share the spirit of the Sikh faith with the American people. The tenets of Sikhism – humility, equality, and justice – lie at the heart of the American ethic.
By the CNN Wire Staff
(CNN) - Michelle Obama met privately Thursday with victims and surviving family members of the mass shooting at a Wisconsin Sikh temple earlier this month.
The shooting - which left six people dead and four others wounded - occurred August 5 at a gurdwara, or Sikh house of worship, in Oak Creek. The gunman, identified by police as 40-year-old Army veteran Wade Michael Page, later killed himself.
On Thursday, the first lady first met with the gurdwara secretary, Kulwant Singh Dhaliwal, and Mayor Stephen Scaffidi in the hallway of Oak Creek High School.
"It's my honor to be here with you," Obama told them, according to a pool report. "I'm sorry it's under these circumstances, but I am anxious to meet with the families and lend whatever support I can."
By Athena Jones, CNN
Washington (CNN) - First lady Michelle Obama will travel to Wisconsin Thursday to meet with family members of those killed and injured in a Sikh temple shooting earlier this month, White House officials confirmed Sunday.
The shooting - which left six people dead and four others injured - occurred August 5 in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. The shooter, identified by police as 40-year-old Army veteran Wade Michael Page, was shot to death by police responding to the Sunday morning attack.
At a memorial service for the shooting victims, Attorney General Eric Holder labeled the attack on the temple "an act of terrorism, an act of hatred, a hate crime" - the strongest denunciation of the rampage by a federal law enforcement official.
By Jareen Imam, CNN
(CNN) – After Sunday’s Sikh temple shooting in Wisconsin, Sikhs across America started sharing their stories. Stories of shedding their turbans and cutting their hair to avoid ridicule. Stories of facing discrimination for the way they looked. Stories of being labeled Muslims or terrorists.
Those stories were among the iReports submitted by Sikhs in the last week.
Harpreet Kaur says her life changed drastically after the 9/11 attacks. Some classmates shunned her and she was taunted as a "rag head" and "bomber."
From Ted Rowlands, CNN
Oak Creek, Wisconsin (CNN) - Members of the Sikh temple where six people died in a weekend rampage swept, scrubbed and painted over damage to their building Thursday after investigators allowed them back inside.
A lone bullet hole remained in a metal door frame, which members say won't be repaired. The doorway leads to the main prayer area, where the only female victim - 41-year-old Paramjit Kaur - was killed.
But elsewhere, the congregation was busy polishing the tile floors, touching up patched drywall and replacing carpet, using donated supplies; and reopening the dining hall, where the SIkhs run an open kitchen for the community. Several members wept as they walked in, while others embraced.
"It takes a toll on you, thinking about the lives that were lost, when you realize our temple will never be the same again," said Kanwardeep Singh Kaleka, whose uncle Satwant Singh Kaleka was among those dead.
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.