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Hindu holy book coming to a nightstand near you
January 12th, 2013
06:00 AM ET

Hindu holy book coming to a nightstand near you

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.”

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Books • Faith Now • Hinduism • Uncategorized

January 9th, 2013
10:52 AM ET

My Take: An open letter to Justin Bieber

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

Dear Justin,

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.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Music • My Take • Uncategorized

December 14th, 2012
06:17 PM ET

Massacre of children leaves many asking, 'Where’s God?'

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.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • God • Uncategorized

#AskPontifex: Twitter questions for the pope touch on faith, sex scandal and lunch
December 13th, 2012
11:51 AM ET

#AskPontifex: Twitter questions for the pope touch on faith, sex scandal and lunch

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.

FULL POST

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Uncategorized

Christian’s year of living 'gay' leads to dramatic change, sparks controversy
December 2nd, 2012
06:45 AM ET

Christian’s year of living 'gay' leads to dramatic change, sparks controversy

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.

FULL POST

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Belief • Faith • Homosexuality • Sexuality • Uncategorized

Is praying for a lottery win frowned upon? Depends on who you ask
November 28th, 2012
02:51 PM ET

Is praying for a lottery win frowned upon? Depends on who you ask

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?

FULL POST

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Uncategorized

November 9th, 2012
08:57 AM ET

Church of England names new archbishop of Canterbury

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
- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Uncategorized

My Take: 7 Ways religious diversity played in the election
November 9th, 2012
05:00 AM ET

My Take: 7 Ways religious diversity played in the election

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.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Atheism • Barack Obama • Buddhism • Church and state • Hinduism • Judaism • Mitt Romney • My Take • Politics • Polls • Uncategorized • United States

November 7th, 2012
05:14 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Wednesday, November 07

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:

CNN: Your Take: Should we have polling places in churches?
It's an election issue that gets virtually no attention, but we found out today that many of you do feel strongly about it: Churches being used as Election Day polling places. A guest Belief Blog piece on the subject Tuesday morning, "My Take: Stop using churches as polling places," fetched more than a thousand comments, prompting us to ask Twitter followers to share their church-based voting experiences and pictures. Then we noticed the "My Take" rising to near the top of reddit politics, sparking a lively discussion there.

Tweet of the Day:

FULL POST

- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Uncategorized

Viral video shows Romney in testy exchange over his faith
Romney has said he didn't know that a testy 2007 exchange was being videotaped.
November 5th, 2012
01:19 PM ET

Viral video shows Romney in testy exchange over his faith

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) – In campaign time, it’s ancient history: a 2007 video showing a testy off-air exchange between Mitt Romney and a radio host over the candidate’s faith and his stance on abortion.

But the back-and-forth has resurfaced in the days before Election Day. Video of the exchange posted on YouTube on October 31 had garnered nearly 1.8 million page views as of noon ET Monday.

“You don’t understand my church like I do,” Romney tells conservative Iowa radio host Jan Mickelson near the beginning of the roughly five-minute video, recorded in August 2007. “I understand my faith better then you do. You don’t believe me, do you?

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Uncategorized

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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.

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