February 13th, 2013
05:26 AM ET
By Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
Huge crowds in the Vatican cheered Pope Benedict XVI Wednesday as he made his first public appearance since announcing his resignation at the end of the month.
He thanked the Roman Catholic faithful in several languages and said it was not appropriate for him to continue as pope.
He appeared tired but not visibly unwell as he sat and read his remarks off several sheets of paper.
Benedict will also celebrate an Ash Wednesday mass marking the beginning of Lent at St. Peter's Basilica in the afternoon.FULL STORY
January 12th, 2013
06:00 AM ET
By Jordan Hultine, CNN
CNN–It’s about to get crowded in your hotel room nightstand. The newest addition could soon be a sacred Hindu text called the Bhagavad-Gita.
The Bhagavad-Gita is literally translated as “song of God” and is a discussion between Lord Krishna and his student, Arjuna, on revealing one’s spiritual identity and a relationship with God, says Vaisesika Dasa, founder and president of the Motel Gita project, the group behind the effort.
Motel Gita, with the help of a Hindu nonprofit, has distributed approximately 150,000 copies of the Bhagavad-Gita to 1,100 hotels and motels. Dasa said their goal is to place at least 1 million books to, “provide solace to traveling souls by giving them spiritual knowledge.”
January 9th, 2013
10:52 AM ET
Editor's Note: Cathleen Falsani is an award-winning religion journalist and author of four books including her latest, BELIEBER: Fame, Faith and the Heart of Justin Bieber. Find Cathleen on Twitter @godgrrl or on Facebook.
By Cathleen Falsani, Special to CNN
Chickity check yo self before you wreck yo self ~ Ice Cube
Please consider this a well-being check from someone who genuinely cares about you: Me.
Let me begin by saying that I am for you. I have studied you and your career since you stepped into the public spotlight as an adolescent. You are a gift to the world – to your family, your friends and your tens of millions of devoted fans.
Sweetheart, here’s the thing (and this is an “and,” not a “but”): I’m worried about you. It’s not that you smoke pot (or anything else). It’s what that choice and behavior means.
December 14th, 2012
06:17 PM ET
By Dan Gilgoff and Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editors
(CNN) – As he waited with parents who feared that their kids were among the 20 children killed at a Connecticut elementary school on Friday, Rabbi Shaul Praver said the main thing he could do for parents was to merely be present.
“It’s a terrible thing, families waiting to find out if their children made it out alive,” said Praver, who leads a synagogue in Newtown, Connecticut, and was among nine clergy gathered with parents at a firehouse near Sandy Hook Elementary School, where the shooting occurred.
“They’re going to need a lot of help,” Praver said of those who are close to the dead.
From the first moments after Friday’s massacre, which also left six adults and the shooter dead, religious leaders were among the first people to whom worried and grieving families turned for help.
Over the weekend, countless more Americans will look to clergy as they struggle to process a tragedy in which so many of the victims were children.
December 13th, 2012
11:51 AM ET
By Dan Merica, CNN
(CNN) – Pope Benedict XVI's first tweet from his new personal Twitter account on Wednesday was simple: "Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart.”
But the social media response to the pope's first day of active tweeting has been anything but straightforward.
The pope’s Twitter account quickly swelled to over a million followers and tweets about @pontifex – meaning “bridge builder” – swirled around the Internet. Thousands of the pontiff’s Twitter followers replied to his message, which was retweeted more than 50,000 times.
By Thursday morning Eastern Time, the pope had sent seven tweets, including three responses to Twitter questions from people on three different continents, according to the Vatican.
December 2nd, 2012
06:45 AM ET
By Dan Merica, CNN
Washington (CNN) - Timothy Kurek’s motivation to spend a year pretending to be gay can be boiled down to a simple conviction: it takes drastic change to alter deeply held religious beliefs.
The experiment began after a lesbian friend opened up to Kurek about being excommunicated by her family. All Kurek, an avowed evangelical Christian, could think about, he says, “was trying to convert her.”
He was quickly disgusted by his own feelings, more pious than humane.
In fact, Kurek was so disgusted by his response to his friend that he decided to do something drastic. Living in Nashville, Tennessee, he would pretend to be gay for a year. The experiment began on the first day of 2009; Kurek came out to his family, got a job as a barista at a gay café and enlisted the help of a friend to act as his boyfriend in public.
The experience – which stopped short of Kurek getting physically intimate with other men - is documented in Kurek’s recent book “The Cross in the Closet,” which has received international attention, landed him on ABC’s "The View" and elicited some biting criticism.
November 28th, 2012
02:51 PM ET
By Dan Merica, CNN
Washington (CNN) – With odds of purchasing the winning Powerball ticket set at 1 in 175,223,510 – longer odds than dying from a bee sting or being struck by lighting – it shouldn’t be shocking that lotto hopefuls are turning to God for some divine intervention in advance of Wednesday night’s drawing for a $550 million jackpot.
One hastily set up website, “Prayer List for Powerball,” even charges people a dollar a piece to be included on a “list of those wishing to pray for each other to win the Powerball lottery.”
“Because WE Are STRONGER When WE Are CONNECTED,” the website says.
Around 20 people have bought in, their names scrawled across the bottom of the site.
But the idea of praying for something so selfish has raised some eyebrows. Many on Twitter are asking the simple question: Is it OK that I ask God to make my lottery ticket a winner?
November 9th, 2012
08:57 AM ET
By Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
London (CNN) – The Church of England named former oil executive Justin Welby as the next archbishop of Canterbury, making him the titular leader of the world's 77 million Anglicans.
Welby, who has been a bishop for only a year, is considered an outspoken critic of the excesses of capitalism, a supporter of women bishops and an opponent of gay marriage.
He will be enthroned as archbishop of Canterbury on March 21.
Speaking as his appointment was announced Friday at Lambeth Palace in London, Welby said it was a privilege to take the helm at a time when the "tide of events is turning" and the Church has great opportunities to be involved in a changing world.Read the full story about the appointment of the next archbishop of Canterbury
November 9th, 2012
05:00 AM ET
Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.
By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN
“It’s demography, stupid!” is the new mantra for analyzing the 2012 election, in which African Americans, Asian Americans and Latinos cast their votes in overwhelming numbers for President Obama.
But religious diversity was another key theme. How so? Let me count the ways.
November 7th, 2012
05:14 AM ET
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:
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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.